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Russia vetoes Security Council proposal on MH17 tribunal

Russia vetoes Security Council proposal on MH17 tribunal, despite late lobbying of Putin
Cara Anna, The Associated Press

Russia on Wednesday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would set up an international criminal court to prosecute those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine a year ago.

The foreign ministers of the Netherlands, Australia and Ukraine attended a meeting over the downing that killed all 298 people on board Flight MH17. The countries are among the five nations investigating the incident, along with Malaysia and Belgium.

Afghanistan says Taliban leader Mullah Omar died 2 years ago

Afghanistan says Taliban leader Mullah Omar died in 2013, creating uncertainty for peace talks
Lynne O'Donnell, The Associated Press

KABUL - Afghanistan asserted Wednesday that the Taliban's reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, died more than two years ago in a Pakistani hospital — an announcement that injects new uncertainty into the country's fragile peace process.

If confirmed, the surprising news of the death of Mullah Omar would remove a unifying figure for the insurgents, who are believed to be split on whether to continue the war or negotiate with the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

Turkish gov't not ready to restart peace talks with Kurds

Turkish gov't not ready to restart peace talks with Kurds, continues airstrikes on PKK in Iraq
Suzan Fraser And Desmond Butler, The Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkish jets hit Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq overnight and the government said strikes would continue until the rebels lay down their arms, despite calls Wednesday by the pro-Kurdish opposition for an immediate end to the violence and the resumption of peace efforts.

Libya court sentences Gadhafi son to death for 2011 killings

Libyan court sentences Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, to death over killings in 2011 uprising
Esam Mohamed And Brian Rohan, The Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya - Moammar Gadhafi's son and onetime heir apparent was convicted and sentenced to death on Tuesday by a court in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on charges of murder and inciting genocide during the country's 2011 uprising.

Pakistan to host second round of Kabul-Taliban talks

Pakistan getting ready to host second round of Kabul-Taliban peace talks, officials say
Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is finalizing preparations to host the second round of landmark peace talks between Afghan government officials and the Taliban later this week, two Pakistani officials said Tuesday.

The talks are meant to find a way to end the 14-year war in Afghanistan, which has been a priority for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani since he took office last year. Ghani has sought Pakistan's help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence over the group.

Syria's Assad makes rare appearance at rally

Syria's president makes rare public appearance at rally of his supporters
Albert Aji,Elizabeth A. Kennedy, The Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian President Bashar Assad joined thousands of his supporters Wednesday in an extremely rare public appearance, telling a pro-regime rally in the capital that the "conspiracy" against his country will fail.

Dressed more casually than usual in a jacket but no tie, the president told the cheering crowd that he wanted to draw strength from them. Security guards surrounded him as supporters waved his portrait and raised Syrian flags.

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