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Syria capital Damascus sees heavy Jobar fighting

Fierce fighting broke out in the Syrian capital, Damascus, as rebels attacked forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, witnesses and rebels said.

DamascusMuch of the violence was centred around the Jobar district and a key junction on the Damascus ring road.

But it was not clear whether the rebels managed to retain any territory they claimed in battle, and the Syrian army said it too launched an offensive.

Earlier, reports said bombings in the town of Palmyra killed 19 people.

The violence in both Damascus and Palmyra came as the head of the main Syrian opposition alliance, Moaz al-Khatib, said his offer of talks with the government would be withdrawn unless women prisoners were released by Sunday.

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Drone strikes US Congress to get legal documents

US officials have agreed to release to Congress documents justifying drone strikes on Americans suspected of working with terrorist groups.

US DronesThe justice department acted after NBC News published a leaked internal memo outlining some of the legal arguments.

President Barack Obama’s choice for CIA director, John Brennan, is likely to face questions on the programme during a Senate confirmation hearing later.

He is believed to have overseen the drone programme, escalated by Mr Obama.

On Wednesday it was revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency had been operating a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia for the past two years.

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Obama urges Kenya to avoid violence as election looms

US President Barack Obama has urged the people of Kenya, where his father was born, to avoid violence and intimidation in next month’s elections.

Barack ObamaHe posted the message, which begins with a greeting in Swahili, on YouTube.

He said the polls were a chance for Kenyans to come together to show they were not just members of tribes or ethnic groups, but a proud nation.

Kenya’s disputed presidential election in 2007 descended into violence in which more than 1,000 were killed.

Kenyans head to the polls on 4 March to vote for president and other offices in the first national election since that violence.

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Bangladesh: Abdul Kader Mullah gets life sentence for war crimes

A war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh has found a leader of the main Islamist party guilty of crimes against humanity during the war for independence from Pakistan in 1971.

War CrimesAbdul Kader Mullah of Jamaat-e-Islami, who denied all the charges, was sentenced to life in prison.

Official estimates say more than three million people were killed in the war.

But the trial has sparked protests from supporters who accuse the government of pursuing a political vendetta.

Jamaat has called a national strike for Tuesday, and clashes between police and protesters broke out in Dhaka and several other cities.

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York fights Leicester for right to Richard III remains

A campaign for Richard III’s remains to be placed at York Minster is gathering force after it was confirmed a skeleton buried under a Leicester car park is that of the former king.

Richard Third
Richard, the last monarch of the House of York, grew up at Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales and visited York several times during his short reign.

He funded the fourth floor of Monk Bar, the city’s 14th Century gateway, and a small museum dedicated to him can be found within its walls.

Some historians believe Richard even planned to be buried at York Minster.

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