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Boko Haram 'abducts dozens more women and girls' in Nigeria

Boko HaramDozens more women and girls have been abducted by Nigerian terror group Boko Haram a day after an apparent ceasefire was announced, it was reported today.

Nigeria's military and president last week raised hopes that 200 schoolgirls snatched by the Islamic militants in April would be returned as a result of the truce.  But fighting has continued and there is still no word as yet on the whereabouts of the teenagers.

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Baby killed and eight wounded in suspected terror attack in Jerusalem

Jerussalem attackA three-month old baby has died and eight other people are wounded – one seriously – in what police believe is a suspected “terrorist attack” after a car was driven onto a pavement crowded with pedestrians alighting from Jerusalem’s light railway.

Video footage posted on social media – and purporting to show the incident – shows a car on the main road slowing slightly before crossing to the train tracks and climbing on to the station pavement and ploughing through the people standing on it.

The Guardian could not confirm its authenticity.

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Soldier shot; gunman enters Canadian parliament, many shots fired

Canadian parliament enteredA gunman shot a soldier at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa and was then chased by police into the main parliament building, where at least 30 more shots were fired, according to media and eyewitness reports on Wednesday.

Parliament was locked down and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had left the building safely as police converged on the area.

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Afghan opium poppy yield hits all-time high

Afghan poppy yieldOpium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has hit an all-time high despite years of counter-narcotics efforts that have cost the US $7.6bn (£4.7bn), according to a US government watchdog.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Afghan farmers grew an “unprecedented” 209,000 hectares (523,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous high of 193,000 hectares in 2007, said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack Jerusalem buses over ad

Ultra orthodox Jews attack busesDozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews hurled stones and slashed the tires of buses bearing ads promoting female worship at a key Jerusalem holy site, Israeli police said Tuesday.

The attack, which happened on Monday night in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood, underscores the still simmering tensions in Israel over religious extremists who want to separate the sexes in public spaces.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police units were dispatched to quell the violence in Mea Shearim where about 50 men slashed tires and pelted the buses with stones.

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Jews buy homes in contested Arab area of Jerusalem

Selwan, JerusalemResidents of a hotly contested part of east Jerusalem said armed Israeli guards moved into two buildings in the area before dawn Monday — a step likely to raise already heightened tensions in the disputed neighborhood.

A similar move last month in the same neighborhood of Silwan drew sharp condemnation from the U.S. and created a high-profile spat with Israel.

Ateret Cohanim, an organization that settles Jews in Arab areas of east Jerusalem, said it facilitated the purchase of the two buildings from their Arab owners. Spokesman Daniel Lurie said the buildings contain nine apartment units and that Jewish families and religious studies students would soon move into the properties, immediately doubling the Jewish presence in that section of Silwan.

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Gaza plan 'relieves Israel of responsibility'

gaza PlanA massive U.N.-supervised project to rebuild Gaza got underway earlier last week, but officials in Gaza and Ramallah are already doubtful that it will bring immediate aid to residents of the battered strip. The reconstruction plan calls for a highly intricate monitoring system, with restrictive measures on the import and distribution of building materials.

This comes at the behest of the Israelis, who have long barred the entry of basic construction materials — including cement, metal pipes and steel — into Gaza, insisting that they are "dual use" items that Hamas could use to build underground tunnels for military purposes.

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