Hollande, Obama vow unity against IS, appeal to Russia
France and the United States pledged on Tuesday to step up the fight against the Islamic State group, urging Russia to throw its weight behind global efforts to resolve the four-year Syrian conflict. President Francois Hollande met his US counterpart Barack Obama at the White House as Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane dealt a severe blow to efforts to coordinate the fight against IS. Speaking 11 days after jihadists killed 130 people in the French capital, Hollande urged an "implacable" joint response to crush the group in Syria and Iraq.
UN weather agency: It's record hot out there this yearWASHINGTON (AP) ? Because of man-made global warming and a strong El Nino, Earth's wild weather this year is bursting the annual heat record, the World Meteorological Organization announced on Wednesday.
World must secure 'binding' climate deal in Paris: Merkel
The international community must secure a binding deal against climate change at key UN talks in Paris next week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday. "We must now agree on a binding review mechanism under international law, so that this century can credibly be called a century of decarbonisation," said Merkel. A total of 147 heads of state and government will attend the climate summit in Paris next week, at a time of heightened security after the French capital was hit by deadly jihadist attacks in mid-November.
Russia to bolster Syria base, eyes economic retaliation against TurkeyBy Maria Kiselyova MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is to send an advanced air defense system to reinforce its air base in Syria and is considering cancelling a raft of joint business projects with Ankara after Turkey shot down of one of its warplanes, top government officials said. The incident, which resulted in the killing of one of the SU-24 plane's two pilots and a Russian marine, has thrown Russo-Turkish relations into crisis and cooled Kremlin hopes of rapprochement with the West. On Wednesday, the Kremlin said Moscow would dispatch an S-400 air defense system to bolster its Khmeimim air base in Syria's Latakia province, an advanced weapons system that can be used to shoot down planes at long distance.
Syrian state media: Russian, Syrian special forces rescue Russian pilotSyrian state media said on Wednesday that Russian and Syrian special forces rescued one of the pilots of a Russian fighter jet that Turkey shot down near its border the day before. Syrian special forces "last night carried out a joint operation with Russian special forces, penetrating four to five kilometers into areas where terrorists are located, and were able to save one of the pilots of the Russian plane", returning him to a military base, state news agency SANA said.
Germany to send up to 650 soldiers to Mali for peacekeeping mission
Germany is ready to send up to 650 soldiers to Mali to bolster the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the West African country and to help France in the region, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. "We will shortly ask parliament to approve a mandate of up to 650 soldiers," von der Leyen said after a meeting of the Bundestag lower house of parliament's defence committee.
China urges stronger coordination after Turkey downs Russian jetChina called for more coordination in the fight against terrorism on Wednesday after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, one of the most serious clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century. Moscow's decision to launch separate air strikes in Syria means Russian and NATO planes have been flying combat missions in the same air space for the first time since World War Two, targeting various insurgent groups close to the Turkish border. Russia said the plane had been attacked when it was 1 km (0.62 mile) inside Syria and warned of "serious consequences", though Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said the jet had been fired at while in Turkish air space but had crashed inside Syria.
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Afghan army in rescue bid for Taliban chopper crash hostages
The Afghan army launched a rescue operation Wednesday to retrieve 18 hostages, including two Moldovans, who were captured by the Taliban after their helicopter crash-landed in the country's north, officials said Wednesday. The Taliban killed three of those on board -- two Afghans and a third foreigner -- in an initial firefight and took the rest hostage after the Tuesday crash, the defence ministry said in a statement. The helicopter came down in the Pashtun Kot district of Faryab province, an area partly controlled by the militants, officials said.
Russia says second pilot of downed warplane rescued in Syria
Russian and Syrian special forces have rescued the second pilot of a Russian warplane shot down by Turkey and he is now at a Russian air base in Syria, the defence minister said Wednesday. The second pilot has been brought to our base. "I would like to thank all our guys who worked at great risk all night and finished this job at around 3:40 am (0040 GMT)," Shoigu said in televised comments.