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US 'strongly condemns' Israel over new settlement plan

The White House and state department said plans for 300 new homes and an industrial zone were diminishing prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel insisted fewer than 100 homes had been approved.

Its foreign ministry said the new homes would be built within the area of an existing settlement.

About 570,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

US shuts down sex trafficking ring targeting Thai women

Twelve Thai nationals and five Americans were charged with illegally transporting hundreds of women from Thailand.

Their victims were forced to work as prostitutes across the US.

A US lawyer said the ring promised poor women a bright future, then "forced them to live a nightmare".

The women were driven into prostitution in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and other cities, to pay off "bondage debts" of between $40,000 and $60,000 (£31,000 and £47,000).

Guess what? The Internet just slipped from the hands of the United States

A vital thing to the internet is the Domain Name System (DNS) and the United States, the creator of the internet, has been controlling it since more than two decades. You can read more about DNS and its working in our article: What is DNS (Domain Name System) and How it Works ?

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Russia suspends weapons-grade plutonium deal with US

In a decree, President Vladimir Putin accused the US of creating "a threat to strategic stability, as a result of unfriendly actions" towards Russia.

Moscow also set pre-conditions for the US for the deal to be resumed.

Under the 2000 deal, each side is supposed to get rid of 34 tonnes of plutonium by burning it in reactors.

It is part of cuts to nuclear forces.

US states challenge internet administration handover

The transfer concludes a lengthy process in which Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has been given more of these tasks.

Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada have started lawsuits, saying the decision needs Congressional approval.

The handover is scheduled for today.

Icann keeps an eye on the core addressing system of the internet, known as DNS, via a subsidiary called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

DNS translates the names that humans use to navigate the web into the numbers computers use.

US protecting Syria jihadist group - Russia's Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov said the US had broken its promise to separate the powerful Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) and other extremist groups from more moderate rebels.

And he defended the bombardment of Aleppo by Russian and Syrian forces.

Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is linked to al-Qaeda.

Mr Lavrov was speaking to Stephen Sackur on BBC World News TV on the first anniversary of the beginning of the Russian air campaign in Syria.

"They [the US] pledged solemnly to take as a priority an obligation to separate the opposition from Nusra," he said.

Syria: US tells Russia it will end talks if bombing continues

In a phone call with Sergei Lavrov, Mr Kerry said the US held Russia responsible for the use of incendiary and bunker bombs against the city.

The US state department said it was making preparations to suspend talks.

Aleppo has come under heavy aerial bombardment since the end of a ceasefire a week ago.

In response to Mr Kerry's phone call, the Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Evgeny Zagaynov, said the "trend" of Russia being blamed for the attacks in Syria must stop.

US slaps sanctions on Chinese firm over North Korea ties

Dandong Hongxiang is accused of acting on behalf of a North Korean bank that is on a UN sanctions list to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The sanctions come after North Korea sparked a global outcry this month byconducting its fifth nuclear test.

The engineering company and its bosses are also under investigation by Chinese authorities.

US confirms IS used chemical rocket in attack on troops in Iraq

No-one was hurt in Tuesday's attack on the Qayyarah air base near the IS stronghold of Mosul.

Marine Gen Joseph Dunford, chairman of US joint chiefs of staff, said the group's capability to deliver chemical weapons was rudimentary.

But the attack, he added, was a "concerning development".

IS has long been suspected of making and using crude chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria, where it also controls territory.

Gen Dunford told the US Senate armed services committee on Thursday that the rocket had contained a "sulphur-mustard blister agent".

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South Korea, US to simulate attack on nuclear facility

Though the official said the drills are not aimed particularly at North Korea, the announcement comes less than two weeks after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear warhead -- its second nuclear test this year and fifth one ever.

The US and South Korea will also simulate what to do in the event of a sudden missile attack.