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Russia casts doubt on Syria ceasefire deal as army gains ground

MUNICH/BEIRUT Russia said on Saturday a ceasefire deal for Syria agreed by major powers was more likely to fail than succeed, as Syrian government forces backed by further Russian air strikes gained more ground against rebels near Aleppo.

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U.S. commander sees al Qaeda Africa group strengthening

DAKAR Two high-profile strikes in West Africa since November by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) could further strengthen the Islamist militant group, a U.S. commander for North and West Africa said.

Africa 9:14am EST

Russia warns of new Cold War as east Ukraine violence surges

MUNICH Violence in eastern Ukraine is intensifying and Russian-backed rebels have moved heavy weaponry back to the front line, international monitors warned on Saturday as Moscow responded by accusing Kiev of violating a peace deal.

Russia 9:41am EST

Oman leader Sultan Qaboos to travel to Germany for medical checks

MUSCAT Omani leader Sultan Qaboos is to travel to Germany on Sunday for a limited period of time for medical checks, the official Oman state news agency said on Saturday.

9:43am EST

Havel's architect Borek Sipek dies aged 66

PRAGUE Borek Sipek, the official architect for Prague Castle during Vaclav Havel's Czech presidency, died on Saturday after a long struggle with cancer, the CTK news agency said. He was 66.

9:37am EST

Somalia's al Shabaab says its bomber behind airline blast

MOGADISHU Somalia's al Shabaab insurgents said on Saturday they were responsible for a blast that punched a hole in the fuselage of a plane last week that the government said was caused by a bomb meant to kill everyone on board.

Africa 9:10am EST

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