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Friday, Jan 20th

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IMF chief Lagarde found guilty over French tycoon payment

LagardeA French court on Monday found IMF head Christine Lagarde guilty of negligence over a massive state payout to a tycoon when she was French finance minister but spared her a fine or prison sentence.

The ruling was a rare setback in Lagarde's glittering career but it was not clear how it would affect her position at the International Monetary Fund, whose board was to meet in Washington to discuss the court's decision.

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Deadly shootings hit police, tourists in Jordan

Jordan shootingsAt least seven people have been killed and several others taken hostage by fighters who have holed themselves up in a medieval castle in the Jordanian city of Al-Karak, according to security forces.

Police in the mountainous city, 120km south of the capital Amman, freed 10 people, including foreign tourists, but some were still being held on Sunday in the Crusader-era castle from where the fighters shot at security forces who were surrounding it, a security source said.

Hani al-Mulki, Jordan's prime minister, told parliament "a number of security personnel" had been killed and that security forces were laying siege to the castle.

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Pope Francis has breakfast with homeless to celebrate 80th birthday

Pope Francis celebrates birthday with homelessPope Francis on Saturday marked his 80th birthday by eating breakfast with homeless people.  Francis invited six men and two women to eat with him at his residence in Vatican before heading to mass later in the day, according to NBC News.

The pope remarked on his old age, admitting that the thought "frightens" him.  "For some days now, I have had in mind a word that seems ugly: old age, a thought that frightens,” he told Cardinals.

Francis has been viewed by many to be a very progressive pope. Over the years, he has criticized treatment of gays and has softened the Catholic Church's stance on gay marriage.

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China says it will return underwater U.S. drone, explains seizure

China returns droneChina’s Defense Ministry says it will return the U.S. Navy underwater drone it captured operating in international waters in the South China Sea, after it seized the device to ensure the “safe navigation of passing ships.”

Yang Yujun, a ministry spokesman, issued a statement late Saturday saying a Chinese navy lifeboat discovered the unknown device in the South China Sea on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

China’s Defense Ministry said that, after verifying that the device was an American unmanned device, “China decided to transfer it to the U.S. through appropriate means.”

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Car bomb hits bus carrying soldiers in Turkey

Car bomb hits Turkish soldiersAt least 13 soldiers were killed and 56 were wounded when a car bomb hit a bus carrying off-duty military personnel in the central Turkish city of Kayseri.

The attack comes one week after a twin bombing targeted police personnel in Istanbul.

"The bus was full of soldiers going on their weekend leave," said Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul. "The soldiers in the bus are from the commando brigade."

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Amid Growing Unrest, South Sudan Kicks Out Aid Workers

Cil unrest in S SudanOver the last week, South Sudanese authorities expelled two top officials from the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the largest international aid groups working in the country.

"It's hugely concerning ... in part because we truly don't know why," says Joel Charny, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council's U.S. office. "For no reason whatsoever, our country director is detained for nearly 24 hours and then asked to leave. Now an area manager is asked to leave. It's puzzling because we don't know what we've done wrong."

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U.N. chief urges Israeli lawmakers to reconsider settlement bill

Ban Ki-moonOutgoing United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged Israeli lawmakers to reconsider a bill to legalize Israeli settlement homes on private Palestinian land as Arab states mull putting forward a Security Council resolution on settlements.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Most countries and the United Nations view Israeli West Bank settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace.

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