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Chinese diplomat to visit N Korea
AP, Beijing
Chinese state media reported Wednesday that a high-ranking Chinese diplomat plans to travel to Pyongyang later this week amid a flurry of diplomacy following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's surprise visit to Beijing.
Song Tao, who heads the ruling Communist Party's International Department, will lead an art troupe to Pyongyang on Friday to attend an arts festival, the Xinhua News Agency said.

French police clash with eco-activists
AFP, France
French police battled Tuesday to evict anti-airport protesters and the creators of an alternative anti-capitalist settlement in western France during a second day of clashes.
Some 2,500 officers raided the decade-old camp at Notre-Dame-des-Landes on Monday, destroying makeshift buildings topped with corrugated iron, a giant tent, a watchtower, and a sheep shed and cheese-making area.

Philippine troops kill 12 Islamist militants
Reuters, Manila
Philippine troops killed about a dozen members of a pro-Islamic State group in air and ground assaults this week on the southern island of Mindanao, the army said on Wednesday, in what it called preemptive moves to thwart militant attacks on cities.
Helicopters fired rockets as army units moved to seize two camps of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) rebels in marshlands in central Mindanao island in the south, said spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Gerry Besana.

17 killed in C.African clash  
AFP, Bangui
Seventeen people were killed in a flashpoint Muslim enclave of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), where a UN soldier also reportedly died, an AFP reporter saw Wednesday.
Residents of the PK5 district laid out the bodies of 17 men in front of the headquarters of the United Nations mission (MINUSCA) in Bangui, saying they had been killed in clashes on Tuesday between local armed groups and UN peacekeepers.

Pilot killed in military jet crash in Serbia
AP, Belgrade
Serbia's defense ministry says a military jet has crashed in the north of the country, killing one of two pilots who ejected from the plane.
The crash of the Yugoslav made Galeb G-4 training jet occurred at 9:30 a.m. local some 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Belgrade.

Northern China ozone pollution getting worse
Reuters, Shanghai
Concentrations of hazardous ground-level ozone have worsened in northern China despite country-wide efforts to tackle air pollution, according to a study published by Peking University on Tuesday.
Stringent winter restrictions on industry, transportation and coal consumption enabled smog-prone northern Chinese regions to meet politically crucial air quality targets for the 2013-2017 period.

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