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 Islamic State are determined to strike US this year: Intelligence officials

Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year, senior intelligence officials have said.

 Gunmen open fire on Syria aid convoy, no casualties reported

Syria's state news agency SANA says opposition gunmen have opened fire on aid vehicles in the besieged rebel-held town of Madaya, near the capital Damascus, but no casualties were reported.

 Israel court extends ex-leader Ehud Olmert's prison sentence

An Israeli court extended former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's 18-month prison sentence by a month today for pressuring a confidant not to testify in multiple legal cases against him.

 Spain's Princess Cristina back in court for tax fraud trial

Spain's Princess Cristina is back in court for trial along with 17 others, including her husband, on charges ranging from tax fraud to embezzlement.

 Iranian reformist ex-president calls on supporters to vote

Iran's former reformist president has called on Iranians to cast their vote in the upcoming election despite a ban preventing many reformist candidates from running.

 Myanmar presidential nominees to be named on March 17

The names of Myanmar's next president and two vice presidents will be revealed on March 17, an official said today, setting a clear timeline for the transition of power from a military-controlled government to democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's party.

 Suu Kyi could become Myanmar president, hints Myanmar media

Two pro-government television channels say that "positive results" could come out of negotiations between Myanmar's military chief and Aung San Suu Kyi on suspending a constitutional clause that prevents her from becoming the president.

 34 groups now allied to Islamic State extremists: UN chief

Thirty-four militant groups from around the world had reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group as of mid-December and that number will only grow in 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report.

 Ecuador president fires military chiefs via Twitter

President Rafael Correa says he has fired Ecuador 's military high command for refusing to pay back to the state USD41 million from an overvalued land deal.

 Wikileaks founder Assange 'unlawfully detained' in UK, rules UN

A United Nations panel has ruled that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been "arbitrarily detained", the BBC reported on Thursday.