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Sunday, Feb 07th

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Turkey detains academics who denounced military operations against Kurds

Turkey jails dissidentsTurkish police on Friday detained 15 academics who were among more than 1,000 scholars who signed a declaration denouncing military operations against Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The move deepens concerns about freedom of expression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule.

Prosecutors on Thursday launched an investigation into the academics on possible charges of insulting the state and engaging in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The move came after Erdogan severely criticized the signatories, including linguist Noam Chomsky, and called on the judiciary to act against the "treachery."

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Al-Shabab attacks African Union base in Somalia; many feared dead

Somalia attackedFighters from the Al-Shabab group in Somalia attacked a base for African Union (AU) troops in southwestern Somalia on Friday, military officials and insurgents said.

Al-Shabab said dozens of Kenyan soldiers were killed, but the Kenyan military said in a statement that the rebels had attacked Somali government soldiers who were stationed near the base run by the Kenyan contingent. That statement also said that the Kenyans helped the Somalis counterattack.

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Jakarta attacks: Deadly blasts, shootout hit Indonesian capital

jakarrta blastsHere is the chronology of the attack, as outlined by police spokesman Anton Charliyan:

-- At 10:55 a.m.local time, an first attacker blew himself up at a Starbucks coffee shop.

-- Two other attackers outside Starbucks then seized two foreigners, a Dutch citizen and an Algerian citizen.

-- The attackers then opened fire, shooting people on the street.

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Deadly suicide attack targets polio centre in Pakistan

Pakistan blast kills 14A suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a polio eradication centre in Pakistan's western city of Quetta, killing more than a dozen people in the latest deadly assault on the campaign to fight the disease in the country.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said most of the dead on Wednesday were security forces on their way to guard the vaccination centre. "One passer-by was also killed in the explosion," Hyder reported.

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Mobile clinics, medical teams needed in Madaya: WHO official tells Reuters

Madaya residents starvingThe World Health Organization has asked the Syrian government for permission to send mobile clinics and medical teams to the besieged town of Madaya to assess the extent of malnutrition and evacuate the worst cases, its representative said on Tuesday.

An aid convoy on Monday brought the first food and medical supplies for months to the town, where thousands are trapped and local doctors say some have starved to death.

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Deadly blast hits Istanbul tourist district; at least 10 people killed

Istanbul blastAn explosion in the heart of Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet tourist district killed at least 10 people and wounded 15 on Tuesday as Turkey's deputy prime minister blamed the attack on a suicide bomber.

Several bodies lay on the ground in the Sultanahmet square, a bustling area of Turkey's most populous city close to the popular Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia tourist sites.

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U.S. Warns That 500,000 Iraqis Could Die As Vital Dam Deteriorates

Iraq dam may breachMore than 16 months after Iraqi and Kurdish forces reclaimed Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters, the structure faces a new threat: the danger that it may collapse because of insufficient maintenance, overwhelming major communities downstream with floodwaters.

In the worst-case scenario, according to State Department officials, an estimated 500,000 people could be killed while more than a million could be rendered homeless if the dam, Iraq’s largest, were to collapse in the spring, when the Tigris is swollen by rain and melting snow. The casualty toll and damage would be much less if Iraqi citizens received adequate warning, if the dam collapsed only partially or if it were breached in the summer or fall, when the water level is lower.

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