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Thousands flee as Russian-backed offensive threatens to besiege Aleppo

BEIRUT Tens of thousands of Syrians fled an intensifying Russian assault around Aleppo on Friday, and aid workers said they feared the major city could soon fall under a full government siege.

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U.S., Britain eye letting UK spy agencies seek email, chat data from U.S. companies

WASHINGTON U.S. and British officials are discussing possible avenues for UK spy agencies and police to be able to directly ask U.S.-based media companies to turn over email and online chat records from people under UK investigation, U.S. officials said on Friday.

2:54pm EST

Al Qaeda group claims kidnapping of Australians in Burkina Faso

CAIRO The militant group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Australians near Burkina Faso's border with Mali on Jan. 15, according to an audio statement on Friday.

Africa, Mali 4:25pm EST

Magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits southern Taiwan: USGS

TAIPEI A powerful earthquake struck southern Taiwan early on Saturday near the city of Tainan, triggering at least one partial building collapse and other damages but no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries.

Italian student killed in Egypt criticized Cairo govt. in articles

ROME An Italian student found dead by a roadside in Cairo with cigarette burns and other signs of torture on his body had written articles critical of the Egyptian government, according to the Italian newspaper that published them.

Italy, Egypt 1:31pm EST

Anti-Nazi center urges dismissal of Croatia's culture minister

ZAGREB The Israel-based Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Croatia's government on Friday to dismiss its culture minister, saying he took a disdainful attitude toward Croatian resistance to fascism during World War Two.

5:13pm EST

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