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Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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Islamic State 'training pilots to fly fighter jets'

ISIS trains pilotsIraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State are training its members in Syria to fly three captured fighter jets, according to a UK-based activist group that monitors the conflict.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said witnesses had seen the planes being flown around a military airport in Aleppo.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces have launched an attack on IS militants near Tikrit. The city was among the areas in Syria and Iraq seized by IS this year.

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16 dead in accident at South Korean concert

S Korea accidentSixteen people watching an outdoor pop concert in South Korea fell 20 meters to their deaths Friday when a ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed, officials said.

Photos of the scene in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, showed a deep concrete shaft under the broken grate.

A Seongnam official announced the deaths during a televised briefing and said that 11 others were seriously injured. The official didn't provide his name and didn't take questions from reporters.

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Hong Kong chief ready for talks with protest leaders

Hong Kong protestsHong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, said on Thursday afternoon that the government would welcome a dialogue with protest leaders, after two consecutive nights of violent clasheswith police reinvigorated the pro-democracy movement, which has paralysed swaths of the city.

During an afternoon press conference Leung said the government would be willing to meet with the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the main protest organisers, “as soon as we can, and hopefully within the following week”.

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Attacks in Baghdad kill at least 38 people

baghdad attacksMilitants unleashed a wave of attacks on Thursday targeting Shiite areas in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing at least 38 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The deadliest attack took place when two parked car-bombs exploded simultaneously in a commercial area in the northern Dolaie neighborhood, killing 14 civilians and wounding 34 others, a police officer said.

In the eastern neighborhood of Talibiyah, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police check point, killing at least 12 people, another police officer said. The dead in that attack included seven policemen and five civilians, he added. At least 28 other people were wounded.

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Nepal blizzards and avalanches claim many lives

Nepal blizzardA blizzard and several avalanches in the Himalayas in central Nepal are reported to have killed at least 26 trekkers and three farmers.

The highest number of deaths - two Israelis, two Poles and eight Nepalese - happened when a blizzard hit a point on the Annapurna Circuit.
Many trekkers returning from the circuit remain out of contact.

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Hong Kong Police Dismantle Protesters’ New Blockade

Hong Kong protestsScores of Hong Kong police officers moved in on pro-democracy protesters who blockaded a road near the city government’s headquarters early this morning, using pepper spray and taking away some demonstrators.

The clashes are the most serious since the police used tear gas two weeks ago as they tried to disperse crowds that are occupying key roads in the city. A group of more than 100 demonstrators had seized the Lung Wo Road underpass yesterday evening, initially forcing outnumbered police to retreat.

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US security contractor shot dead in Saudi Arabian capital

US contractor s killed in Saudi ArabiaAn American defence contractor was shot dead and another injured in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, the State Department said.

The two US citizens were employees of Vinnell Arabia, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, the Virginia-based defence and security giant.

They were shot at a gas station and store about half-a-mile from the Vinnell Arabia base, where contractors working with the Saudi Arabian national guard military programs operate, according to Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman. The base is about 20 miles from the US embassy.

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