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The Islamic State group is recruiting foreign jihadists on an "unprecedented scale" despite international efforts to stem the tide, according to experts and extracts of a UN report published by Britain's Guardian newspaper. Latest US figures show that around 1,000 foreign fighters are flocking to fight in Iraq and Syria every month, and experts warn that the newest militants may be more extreme than early recruits.

Iraqi forces on Friday attacked the strategic jihadist-held town of Baiji, which has been out of government control for months, regaining control of two areas, army officers said. They "entered the town of Baiji... and moved into Al-Sinai and Al-Tamim neighbourhoods and cleared them," Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, who leads the military command for the area, told AFP. Major Hassan Mekhlif, who took part in the operation, confirmed the two areas had been retaken, adding that "our forces are stationed in a number of sites and checkpoints."
Israeli police deployed heavily around occupied Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound as it reopened Friday for Muslim prayers after a rare closure during clashes over the killing of a Palestinian by security forces. The streets of occupied east Jerusalem were calm before the prayers at midday but teeming with additional police, including many in riot gear, after an Israeli clampdown on the compound, which is holy for Muslims and Jews alike.
Iran faced harsh criticism of its rights record Friday, with UN diplomats highlighting soaring numbers of executions and lamenting the recent hanging of a woman who murdered her attempted rapist. But Iran hit back at the criticism, instead slamming countries trying to impose "specific lifestyles on others".
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's foreign minister will hold nuclear talks in Oman on around November 10, the Austria Press Agency reported Friday. The meeting between Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif comes ahead of a final round of talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna from around November 17, APA cited unnamed diplomatic sources as saying.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday appointed a blue-ribbon panel to recommend changes to international peacekeeping in the face of increasingly complex and dangerous conflicts. The independent panel, chaired by former East Timor president Jose Ramos-Horta, includes 13 experts from a range of countries who will undertake the first major review of peace operations in 15 years.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko backed rival Arseniy Yatsenyuk as future premier Friday, to "unite" the country after it secured a deal with Moscow on future gas supplies. However Kiev seemed helpless in the face of next Sunday's elections organised by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, decried by the West and welcomed by Moscow as the region continues to drift closer to its orbit.
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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
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