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Hollande urges unity to win battle against Islamic State

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French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday reiterated calls for the nation’s unity to win a long battle against terrorism in a brief televised address after two men claiming allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) slaughtered a priest.

Earlier on Tuesday, two armed men with knives entered a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in France, during a morning mass and seized five people including the priest.

The priest was killed by the two hostages takers who were later shot dead by police units. A second victim was in critical situation.

The Islamist militant threat to France and Europe has never been so severe as now, he said, pointing that the war against terrorism both abroad and at home will be long.

“It is our unity that will make us strong. We need to form a bloc to win this war… but I assure you, we will win this war,” the President said.

Denouncing “an unforgivable act”, he insisted that the government will be determined to apply the anti-terrorist laws while respecting rights and freedoms.

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Belgian court ends extradition case against Catalan leader Puigdemont

The judge had declared the case to be “without merit” during an in-camera hearing.

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Carles Puigdemont

A Belgian court formally closed extradition proceedings against deposed Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont on Thursday.

Puigdemont and four of his deputies fled to Belgium in October to avoid charges of rebellion, sedition and misusing public money in relation to Catalonia’s independence bid. The Spanish Supreme Court withdrew the European arrest warrants last week.

The judge had declared the case to be “without merit” during an in-camera hearing, Paul Bekaert, Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer, told AFP.

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Terror plot to assassinate British PM foiled: Report

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Theresa May

London, Dec 6 : British intelligence have reportedly foiled a plot by Islamic extremists to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May, a media report said.

The disrupted plot against May included an explosive device that terrorists planned to detonate in front of May’s residence on 10 Downing Street, a Sky News report said.

“It is in essence an extreme Islamist suicide plot against Downing Street,” it said.

“Essentially police believe that the plan was to launch some sort of improvised explosive device at Downing Street and in the ensuing chaos attack and kill Theresa May, the Prime Minister,” the news report said.

The plot was just one in a number of planned attacks in 2017 that cops and British security services have been able to prevent, Sky said.

It was not clear on Tuesday night what stage the plot was in or if any suspects have been arrested.

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EU’s Mogherini meets with Tillerson, calls on US to stick with Iran nuclear deal

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File:Rex Tillerson Federica Mogherini 2017-02-09 03

The EU’s top diplomat says Washington’s decision to step away from a landmark nuclear deal would be counterproductive, and insisted that other disputes with Tehran should be tackled in other ways.

Federica Mogherini, who met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Brussels on Tuesday, said that the EU attaches great importance to upholding the agreement. Scrapping the deal “would not put us in a better position to discuss all the rest, on the contrary,” Mogherini added.

Tillerson said that “Iran is carrying out a number of other destabilizing activities throughout the region” and called for joint action to counter it, AP reports.

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