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Top officer dies in helicopter crash as violence kills 7

A senior army officer died when his helicopter crashed due to a malfunction, the defence ministry said, as violence in Iraq killed seven people on Tuesday. Iraq is suffering a protracted surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,550 lives this year. The heightened unrest has been driven mainly by widespread anger among the Sunni Arab minority, who say they are mistreated by the Shiite-led government and security forces. It has also been fuelled by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Top officer dies in helicopter crash as violence kills 7

A senior army officer died when his helicopter crashed due to a malfunction, the defence ministry said, as violence in Iraq killed seven people on Tuesday. Iraq is suffering a protracted surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,550 lives this year. The heightened unrest has been driven mainly by widespread anger among the Sunni Arab minority, who say they are mistreated by the Shiite-led government and security forces. It has also been fuelled by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Turkey ordered to pay damages 20 years after military disappearances

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey Tuesday to pay 65,000 euros ($90,000) each to four families whose relatives disappeared after a battle with security forces more than 20 years ago. The court ruled the families of those who went missing after a night of fighting between the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces should be compensated because Turkey violated the "right to life", guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Syria army launches assault in besieged Homs

Syrian army troops backed by pro-regime militiamen entered rebel-held neighbourhoods of the central city of Homs on Tuesday after laying siege to the districts for nearly two years. The assault follows a UN operation earlier this year that saw some 1,400 people trapped inside the besieged neighbourhoods evacuated, though around 1,300 people, mostly fighters, remained behind. It comes a day after the regime seized the Christian town of Maalula in the Qalamun region and as media reported the country would soon move into election mode.

Iraq shuts infamous Abu Ghraib prison over security fears

Iraq has closed Abu Ghraib prison, made infamous by Saddam Hussein's regime and US forces, due to security concerns following a mass breakout last year, the justice ministry said Tuesday. The country is suffering a protracted surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,550 lives this year, and the area west of Baghdad where the prison is located is particularly insecure.

British ex-counter-terror chief to probe schools Muslim 'plot'

Britain on Tuesday sent in a former counter-terror chief to investigate claims of an Islamist plot to take over schools in the second city of Birmingham. The education ministry has appointed Peter Clarke, who headed the police investigation into the July 7, 2005 London bombings, to conduct a probe into the allegations. The former head of Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command will "analyse evidence of extremist infiltration" in Birmingham schools, the ministry said.

Iraq shuts infamous Abu Ghraib prison over security fears

Iraq has closed Abu Ghraib prison, made infamous by Saddam Hussein's regime and US forces, due to security concerns following a mass breakout last year, the justice ministry said Tuesday. The country is suffering a protracted surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,550 lives so far this year, and the area west of Baghdad where the prison is located is particularly insecure.

Poland: NATO should send troops to east Europe, ignore Russia's objections

By Marcin Goettig and Marcin Goclowski WARSAW (Reuters) - Russia's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula makes it vital that NATO station significant numbers of troops in eastern Europe and ignore any objections Russia might have in this respect, Poland's defense minister said. Tomasz Siemoniak, in an interview with Reuters, said western Europe was safe thanks to the U.S. military presence there, adding that Russia's military was ready to intervene in Poland's neighbor, Ukraine.

Preview: Knicks at Nets

The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets were both expected to represent the city in the NBA playoffs and carried lofty predictions into the 2013-2014 campaign. When the Nets host the Knicks in the final meeting between the city rivals on Tuesday, only one team will still have something for which to play. New York is closing out a disappointing playoff-less campaign while Brooklyn is battling for positioning in the Eastern Conference.

Preview: Knicks at Nets

The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets were both expected to represent the city in the NBA playoffs and carried lofty predictions into the 2013-2014 campaign. When the Nets host the Knicks in the final meeting between the city rivals on Tuesday, only one team will still have something for which to play. New York is closing out a disappointing playoff-less campaign while Brooklyn is battling for positioning in the Eastern Conference.
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