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By Missy Ryan and Erin Cunningham

The Washington Post

In Iraq’s western Anbar province, more than 300 U.S. troops are posted at a base in the thick of a pitched battle between Iraqi forces, backed by tribal fighters, and well-armed Islamic State militants.

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By Jacqueline Klimas - The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2015

The TSA set a new record in 2014 for firearms confiscated from passengers trying to board airplanes, catching more than 2,000 of them, the agency said.

Worse yet, more than 70 percent of those guns were loaded and some even had a round in the chamber, Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

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 New York Times

Hundreds of employees with foreign ties working for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation are subjected to what they say are unfair aggressive background checks that have forced some to cut contact with family members abroad, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

All FBI employees are subject to security screening, but according to the story, those with foreign language skills and who have families or friends abroad find themselves facing more rigorous and more frequent security interviews, polygraph tests and reviews of personal travel, electronic communications and file downloads.

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By Andrew Stevens, CNN

Surabaya, Indonesia (CNN)AirAsia Indonesia did not have a license to fly the Surabaya-to-Singapore route on Sunday that ended in tragedy, it has been revealed.

The airline was approved to fly the route four days a week but it did not include Sunday.

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By: J. Peter Pham

(CNN)On Sunday, at almost the same moment that dozens of world leaders linked arms and led millions of people through the streets of Paris to commemorate the 17 victims of last week's terror attacks in France, explosives carried by two young girls ripped through a mobile phone market in the northeastern Nigerian town of Potiskum.

The blasts, which killed three people besides the bombers and injured 46 more, came just a day after another bomb, strapped to a girl described by witnesses as about 10 years old, exploded in a busy market in the city of Maiduguri, killing at least 20 people.

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By: Lorenzo Ferrigno, Laurie Segall and Evan Perez, CNN

(CNN)The New York City Police Department and other law enforcement personnel responded to a threat from ISIS after someone re-released a September 2014 message that tells followers to "rise up and kill intelligence officers, police officers, soldiers, and civilians."

The threat named the United States, France, Australia and Canada as targets.

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By: Reuters 

JERUSALEM, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Israeli forces have detained three Islamic State-inspired militants in the occupied West Bank, the first known Palestinian cell linked to the Syria- and Iraq-based insurgent group, the Shin Bet internal security service said on Sunday.

It said the three men, all in their early 20s and from Hebron, were arrested in November and told interrogators they planned to attack Israeli soldiers and a Jewish settler.

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By FOX News

Afghanistan's president has suggested that the U.S. "re-examine" its plan to withdraw all of the American-led coalition troops from the country by the end of 2016.

"Deadlines concentrate the mind. But deadlines should not be dogmas," Ashraf Ghani told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday evening.

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By Michael Martinez, CNN

(CNN)—Two portraits have emerged of Boston Marathon terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose trial begins Monday.

There's Tsarnaev the bloodied fugitive, captured by police with rifle lasers tagging his head as he surrendered from a tarp-covered boat in a homeowner's backyard. That ended a massive manhunt for suspects four days after a pair of crude pressure-cooker bombs killed three people and injured 264 more.

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By Irene Nasser and Michael Martinez, CNN

 Jerusalem (CNN)—Israel has decided to freeze the transfer of more than $127 million in tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinians in the wake of their bid to join the International Criminal Court, Israel's newspaper Haaretz reported Saturday.

A Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman said that the freezing of tax revenues is an Israeli decision.

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 By Josh Levs, CNN

(CNN)—The two young women are seen in Islamic garb with only their faces showing. They appear to be seated against a wall. One reads a brief statement in English, which includes: "We are in big danger and we could be killed."

The statement identifies them as Greta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo. Two young Italian women by those names -- ages 20 and 21 -- went missing and were believed kidnapped after they traveled to Syria in late July.

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 By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN

 (CNN)—Abu Anas al Libi, an alleged al Qaeda operative accused of involvement in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa who was captured by U.S. special forces in Libya, has died in a U.S. hospital, his son said Saturday.

 Abdel Mouin told CNN by phone from Tripoli that the family was notified by his lawyer in the United States that al Libi, whose real name was Nazih al-Ruqaii, died in a hospital Friday evening.

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By Omar Nor and Josh Levs, CNN

 Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN)—A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into an army convoy Sunday in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, killing four civilians and three soldiers in addition to himself, police said.

 The al Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility through its spokesman Sheikh Ali Dheere.

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 By Aminu Abubakar and Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN)—The Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped 40 boys and young men -- ages 10 to 23 -- from a village in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, some of those fleeing said Saturday.

The terrorists arrived in the village of Malari carrying assault rifles and then preached to them about the group's extremist ideology before forcibly taking 40 hostages and driving toward the Sambisa forest on December 31, villagers who fled to Maiduguri said.

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By Frederik Pleitgen, CNN

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By Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak, CNN

Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN)—The United States is hitting North Korea with a new set of economic sanctions after determining the country was behind last month's computer hack at Sony.

The White House said a new executive order targets leaders in North Korea's government, preventing them from accessing property and entering the United States. The isolated nuclear regime, which has denied involvement in the Sony hack, was already subject to a strict set of U.S. economic restrictions.

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 By Alexandra Jaffe, CNN

Washington (CNN)—Rep. Steve Scalise may have attended a gathering of a white supremacist group, David Duke, the former Klu Klux Klan leader who founded the group said on CNN Saturday.

"I've got conflicting reports," Duke told CNN's Michael Smerconish. "One person said that he was a no-show, that he was scheduled to come — one person said that he did come. I just don't know what the truth is."

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By Michael Pearson, Jethro Mullen and Anna Coren, CNN

Sydney (CNN) -- Australian police stormed the cafe where a self-styled Muslim cleric had been holding hostages early Tuesday, ending a crisis that had shut down central Sydney for hours.

"Sydney siege is over." New South Wales police announced on Twitter. "More details to follow."

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Iran president: Cartel failure to cut production a ‘conspiracy against Muslim world’

By David R. Sands - The Washington Times

As the infighting among the world’s oil producers heats up, the global price of oil is heading down.

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By George Russell

EXCLUSIVE: As United Nations coordinators are claiming success in getting a handle on the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the medical organization that first sounded an alarm about the epidemic warns that the response is ragged, many areas are not getting help, and U.N. coordinating efforts are not having much impact.

 

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