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Russia is building an army base near its border with Ukraine, the latest in a chain of new military sites along what the Kremlin sees as its frontline in a growing confrontation with NATO.

Nearly 50 air strikes hit rebel-held areas in and around the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday in some of the heaviest recent raids by Russian and Syrian government aircraft, residents and a monitoring group said.

A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may soon be impossible, France said on Friday as it held an international conference to revive the quest for a deal despite Israel's warning that the effort is doomed to failure.

A 17-month U.S. effort to retrain and reunify Iraq's regular army has failed to create a large number of effective Iraqi combat units or limit the power of sectarian militias, according to current and former U.S. military and civilian officials.

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters in a major new offensive against Islamic State vowed on Thursday to cut off the last remaining access route to the outside world for the self-proclaimed caliphate, and won vital, if tacit, backing from Turkey.

At least 700 migrants may have died at sea this past week in the busiest week of migrant crossings from Libya towards Italy this year, Medecins San Frontieres and the UN Refugee agency said on Sunday.

The selection of a hard-line cleric as the new Taliban chief on Wednesday all but dashes U.S. President Barack Obama's hopes for opening peace talks before he leaves office, one of his top foreign policy goals, current and former U.S. defence and intelligence officials said.

The crash of a missing EgyptAir [EGY.UL] jet has strengthened the case for "black boxes" that can pop out of an aircraft before an accident, removing the need for challenging searches on the seabed, Airbus' most senior engineer said on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Sunday ruled out becoming Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, but said he'd be "honored" to play some kind of a role in helping him win the White House.

Egypt has asked European firms to help search for the black boxes of an EgyptAir plane that crashed on May 19 in deep water in the Mediterranean Sea, the airline's chairman and French diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.