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News In Brief

Friday, December 08, 2017

Russia says goal of defeating IS in Syria 'accomplished'
Russia's defence ministry today said its mission to oust Islamic State jihadists from Syria had been "accomplished" with the country "completely liberated" from the extremist group. "The Russian armed forces' goal to defeat armed groups of the ISIL terrorist organisation in Syria has been accomplished," said senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi, using an alternative acronym for the group. "There is not a single village or district in Syria under the control of ISIL. The territory of Syria has been completely liberated from fighters of this terrorist organisation," he said.

Germany expels 27 Afghans despite protests
Germany said that it had expelled 27 Afghan men, despite fierce protests from opponents who say it is not safe to return them to war-torn Afghanistan. "This morning, 27 people were returned to Afghanistan," the interior ministry announced on Twitter. They include 17 who have been convicted of crimes, two who are deemed "dangerous individuals" and eight who have "stubbornly refused to give their real identities," it said. The men left Germany late yesterday from Frankfurt airport, where around 600 people had gathered to demonstrate against the expulsions.

Bitcoin roars to record past USD 15,000
Bitcoin ploughed past USD 15,000 to a fresh record today, triggering a warning the cryptocurrency was "like a charging train with no brakes" and prompting fresh concern about its looming launch on mainstream markets. It struck a new high of USD 15,242.99 around 1030 GMT (1600 IST), according to Bloomberg News. The rally came just a day after the virtual currency, which has been used to buy everything from an ice cream to a pint of beer, hit the USD 12,000 mark for the first time, while it has soared more than 50 per cent in value in just one week.

EU sets Sunday deadline after 'no white smoke' on Brexit
The European Commission said today that there was still "no white smoke" on a Brexit deal and set a limit of Sunday for British Prime Minister Theresa May to return to Brussels with an acceptable deal. "So far no white smoke. We stand ready to receive prime minister May at any moment in time when they are ready," Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesman for commission chief Jean- Claude Juncker, told reporters in Brussels. The Vatican sends up white smoke when a new pope is chosen.

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