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Monday, Feb 20th

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Brazilian police officer, wife detained as suspects in Greek ambassador's death

Greek ambassdor to Brazil detainedThe wife of a slain Greek ambassador was detained along with two other men as part of an investigation into her husband's murder.

Brazilian authorities have detained the wife of 59-year-old Greek ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis along with a police officer and a man believed to be the officer's cousin under the belief they are suspects in his presumed murder, the Guardian reported.

Police found a body they determined to be Amiridis inside a burnt-out car underneath an overpass in the city of Nova Iguacu, near Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday after his wife reported he had been missing since Dec. 26.

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Syria's cease-fire holding despite minor violations

Syria cease fireA nationwide Syrian cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey that went into effect at midnight held Friday despite minor violations, marking a potential breakthrough in a conflict that has disregarded high-level peace initiatives for over five years.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported clashes early Friday between troops and rebels in the central province of Hama and near the capital, Damascus. It said that later in the day a man was killed by sniper fire in eastern suburbs of Damascus, becoming the first fatality since the truce went into effect. The group also reported an aerial attack on the rebel-held Barada Valley near Damascus.

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Russia: Putin decides against expelling US staff

Putin decides against retaliationRussia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions against the country and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US, the Kremlin is quoting President Vladimir Putin as saying in the statement.

Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, had earlier said he had proposed to Putin that Russia expel 35 US diplomats and ban US diplomatic staff from using two facilities in Moscow in retaliation for expulsions and sanctions imposed by the US.

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US gives detailed look at Russia's alleged election hacking

cyber hackingThe U.S. has released its most detailed report yet on accusations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts.

The 13-page joint analysis by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI is the first such report ever to attribute malicious cyber activity to a particular country or actors.

It was also the first time the U.S. has officially and specifically tied intrusions into the Democratic National Committee to hackers with the Russian civilian and military intelligence services, the FSB and GRU, expanding on an Oct. 7 accusation by the Obama administration.

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U.S. Punishes Russia for Election Hacking, Ejecting Operatives

Russian HackersThe Obama administration struck back at Russia on Thursday for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, ejecting 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposing sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services, including four top officers of the military intelligence unit the White House believes ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

In a sweeping set of announcements, the United States was also expected to release evidence linking the cyberattacks to computer systems used by Russian intelligence. Taken together, the actions would amount to the strongest American response ever taken to a state-sponsored cyberattack aimed at the United States.

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Flooding leaves 50 dead, up to 20 missing in southern Congo

Flooding in CongoFlooding this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo port city of Boma killed at least 50 people and left another 10,000 homeless, authorities told Reuters on Wednesday.

Torrential rain on Monday night caused the Kalamu River to overflow, flooding two districts of the southwestern city, said Therese-Louise Mambu, health minister for Kongo Central province.

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Putin: Russia, Turkey guarantee ceasefire in Syria

Syria truce reachedRussian President Vladimir Putin says an agreement has been reached on a countrywide ceasefire for Syria, with Russia and Turkey to act as guarantors.

He said the truce would begin at midnight on Thursday (22:00 GMT) and be followed by peace talks between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the Syrian opposition in the Kazakh capital Astana.

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