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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - ISIS - Islamic State

Islamic State group chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who purportedly appeared for the first time in five years in an IS propaganda video released Monday, remains the world's most wanted man, despite the jihadists' "caliphate" imploding weeks ago. After declaring himself caliph in 2014, Baghdadi held sway over seven million people across swathes of Syria and Iraq, where IS implemented its brutal version of Islamic law.

But that land has been whittled down to disjointed sleeper cells by years of fighting, including a ferocious bombing campaign by a US-led coalition. It is unclear when the footage was filmed, but the man said to be Baghdadi referred to last week's deadly attack in Sri Lanka and to the months-long fight for IS's final bastion Baghouz, which ended in late March.

"The battle for Baghouz is over," he said, sitting cross-legged on a cushion and addressing three men whose faces have been blurred.

"God ordered us to wage 'jihad.' He did not order us to win," he said.

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European Union - EU News

On posters, hustings and social media, a battle for Europe is being fought, as contenders seek votes for an EU parliamentary election in late May - but the real battle for power will come only once the count is in. More than 400 million voters will deal the hands that leaders, of parties, nations and rival EU institutions, must play; but it will be after the May 23-26 ballot that the high-stakes poker will begin that will shape the European Union for years to come.

Then comes the real suspense: how pro-Union groups may build a majority coalition to work with the EU executive and member states to make law; how a growing eurosceptic bloc may disrupt it; how lawmakers will clash with national leaders over who runs Brussels; and whether British members might end up staying.

“The campaign determines the strength of people’s bargaining positions,” a senior official in the European Parliament said. “But the real game will start after the count.”The sheer scale of elections for the 751 lawmakers who will convene in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on July 2 limits scope for surprises of the kind voters have delivered in national ballots as they lose confidence in established elites.

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China's Harbin guided missile destroyer, left, and the DDG-139 Ningbo Sovremenny-class Type-956EM destroyer

China’s powerful military is considered to be a master at concealing its intentions. But there is no secret about how it plans to destroy American aircraft carriers if rivalry becomes war. At November’s biennial air show in the southern city of Zhuhai, the biggest state-owned missile maker, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd., screened an animation showing a hostile “blue force,” comprising an aircraft carrier, escort ships and strike aircraft, approaching “red force” territory. On a giant screen, the animation showed a barrage of the Chinese company’s missiles launched from “red force” warships, submarines, shore batteries and aircraft wreaking havoc on the escort vessels around the carrier. In a final salvo, two missiles plunge onto the flight deck of the carrier and a third slams into the side of the hull near the bow.

The fate of the ship is an unmistakable message to an America that has long dominated the globe from its mighty aircraft carriers and sprawling network of hundreds of bases. China’s military is now making giant strides toward replacing the United States as the supreme power in Asia. With the Pentagon distracted by almost two decades of costly war in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has exploited a period of sustained budget increases and rapid technical improvement to build and deploy an arsenal of advanced missiles.

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Terrorists Send Terror and Bombs to Sri Lankan Churches

A week ago, Sri Lankan tourist guide Ricky Costa was preparing for a typically easy Sunday ferrying backpackers between Colombo’s tea shops and beach bars in his canary-yellow rickshaw. Then the blasts began. The coordinated suicide bombings by Islamist militants at hotels and churches killed more than 250 people and sent shockwaves through an Indian Ocean island state that had enjoyed relative peace since a civil war ended a decade ago.

President Maithripala Sirisena has announced a total overhaul of the security establishment, blaming them for failing to communicate several warnings they had about potential attacks, including one from India hours before the first bomb.

Since Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka won a 26-year conflict against mostly Hindu ethnic Tamil separatists, a well-resourced military has failed to adapt to shifting security threats, the sources said.

“The government was asleep. The military was asleep. They’ve been asleep for a long time,” said Costa, perching on his rickshaw as a suspicious policeman peered inside.

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Russian Armed Forces announced the complete liberation of Syria from ISIS

It was only when his children began to starve that Abdullah al-Amour decided time had come to leave the sanctuary of Rukban camp with his family to face an uncertain fate back under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The cattle trader from Palmyra fled to Rukban on the Syrian border with Jordan and Iraq more than three years ago after his home was destroyed in Russian air strikes targeting areas that were held at the time by Islamic State.

Conditions at Rukban are tough, but it offers one big advantage to the 36,000 people sheltering there: protection from Russian air strikes and pro-Assad forces thanks to its location near a U.S. base.

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Theresa May - Politics Headline UK News Today

British Prime Minister Theresa May needs to win approval for her Brexit deal in parliament on Dec. 11. But critics are lining up on all sides to say they will oppose it and the chances of the government winning a vote currently look slim.

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Stacey Abrams - USA Politics Headline Today News

“What we’re talking about here is parts of the South starting to look like the rest of the battlegrounds around the country, where Democrats can stitch together a diverse coalition and win,” said Boyd Brown, a Democratic consultant and former state lawmaker from South Carolina.

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Leo Varadkar - Theresa May - Michel Barnier - Brexit Deal - Ireland - UK - EU

Brexit deal marks a clear victory for Ireland -- one no-one in Britain saw coming and one which has raised the Irish government's standing at home and abroad. "The Irish government's key preferences were all reflected in the divorce settlement," said Etain Tannam, a senior lecturer at Trinity College Dublin.

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