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  1. Earth breaks heat record in 2016 for third year in a row

    The global average temperature last year was 1.69 Fahrenheit (0.94 Celsius) above the 20th century averageLast year, the Earth sweltered under the hottest temperatures in modern times for the third year in a row, US scientists said Wednesday, raising new concerns about the quickening pace of climate change. Temperatures spiked to new national highs in parts of India, Kuwait and Iran, while sea ice melted faster than ever in the fragile Arctic, said the report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Taking a global average of the land and sea surface temperatures for the entire year, NOAA found the data for "2016 was the highest since record keeping began in 1880," said the announcement.


  2. Israel deploys 'Star Wars' missile killer system

    FILE PHOTO: An "Arrow 3" ballistic missile interceptor is seen during its test launch near Ashdod, IsraelIsrael's upgraded ballistic missile shield became operational on Wednesday, in a "Star Wars"-like extension of its capabilities to outer space where incoming missiles can be safely destroyed. The Defence Ministry said the U.S.-funded Arrow 3 system, jointly developed by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and U.S. firm Boeing Co. , was handed over the Israeli Air Force. The Arrow 3, together with the Arrow 2, which has been operational since 2000, would "significantly reduce the possibilities of ballistic missiles" hitting Israel, the ministry said in a statement.


  3. Kenya, Rwanda ban poultry from Uganda over bird flu

    The Kenyan and Rwanda governments have banned importation of poultry and poultry products from Uganda after the avian bird flu eas detectedKenyan and Rwandan authorities said Wednesday they had banned poultry products from neighbouring Uganda, where a virulent H5 strain of avian flu has broken out. "The government banned importation of poultry and poultry products from Uganda with immediate effect," said Kenya's agriculture cabinet secretary Willy Bett at a press conference.


  4. Key Syrian rebel group says will not join Astana talks

    Syrian Civil Defence volunteers rescue children from a damaged building following a reported airstrike that targeted the Idlib bus station on January 18, 2017Key Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham said on Wednesday it will not take part in peace talks between the regime and opposition factions in the Kazakh capital next week. The group decided not to participate in the negotiations in Astana that start on Monday due to "the lack of implementation of the ceasefire" in force since December 30 and ongoing Russian air strikes over Syria, it said in a statement. Ahrar al-Sham was among rebel groups that signed the ceasefire deal brokered by regime supporter Russia and rebel backer Turkey last month.


  5. Islamist Syrian rebel group says it won't attend peace talks in Kazakhstan

    One of Syria's strongest rebel factions, the conservative Islamist Ahrar al-Sham group, said on Wednesday it will not attend peace talks to be held in Kazakhstan on Jan. 23. Several other leading rebel groups decided on Monday that they would be at the talks, which will be attended by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and are backed by Russia and Turkey. Ahrar al-Sham said in a statement posted on social media that although it was not going, it would support the rebel groups that did plan to attend if they could achieve a beneficial result.

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