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Xinhua world news summary at 0030 GMT, Dec. 24

Xinhua, December 24, 2014 Adjust font size:

Clashes between the Syrian troops and the Islamic State (IS) militants raged Tuesday in the province of al-Hasakah amid renewed humanitarian efforts to deliver medical aid to afflicted Syrian areas, reports said.

The Syrian troops targeted the IS positions in the towns of Shbaib and Bab al-Khair in the southern countryside of al-Hasakah, killing over 50 of their fighters, according to the state news agency SANA. (Syrian-IS-Humanitarian Aid)

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday it plans to lift a lifetime ban on blood donations by gay men, allowing those who haven't had sexual contact with other men in a year to do so.

The FDA said in a statement it "carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence" and "will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact." (U.S.-Homosexual-Blood Donation)

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LONDON -- British government and Northern Ireland's political parties on Tuesday reached an agreement on the region's political and economic future after nearly three months of intensive talks.

The talks, attended by British government officials, Northern Ireland's main political parties, and Irish government representatives, sought to strike a deal to resolve the long-standing issues of welfare reform, flags, tradition, parades, and the past in the region. (Britain-Northern Ireland)

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MOSCOW -- The global security system has been deformed amid complicated mix of new and old threats, requiring coordinated actions taken by Russia and its allies, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

At a meeting of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Putin pointed to the urgent need of joint efforts to protect outer borders of the CSTO countries, and to deal with problems brought by terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, as well as natural and man-made disasters. (Russia-CSTO-Security)

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NICOSIA, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades resumed his official duties on Tuesday, 22 days after undergoing a serious heart surgery in the United States.

Anastasiades presided over a meeting of his Council of Ministers to consider pressing state business and later talked to journalists about his health and his plans to push Cyprus back to growth after four years of recession. (Cyprus-President) Endi

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