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Police kill 7 hostage-takers in China’s Xinjiang

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BEIJING — China said Thursday police killed seven “terrorists” who took hostages in the nation’s restive Xinjiang region during a rescue operation that left one police officer dead.

A “violent terrorist group” kidnapped two people in the northwestern region’s Pishan county late Wednesday night, prompting a stand-off with police, the Xinjiang government said on its official Twitter-like weibo account.

During the stand-off in Pishan, in southern Xinjiang, the kidnappers killed one police officer and wounded another. Police opened fire and killed seven of the suspects, and wounded and arrested four others, it added.

The two hostages were subsequently rescued, it said, without providing further details.

Xinjiang — a resource-rich region that borders eight countries — has been the scene of sporadic bouts of violence, much of which has been blamed by Beijing on the “three forces” of extremism, separatism and terrorism.

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The region is home to roughly nine million Turkic-speaking Uighurs who have long bristled under Chinese rule, and many members of the ethnic minority accuse the government of religious and political repression.

It was unclear whether the kidnappers involved in the latest incident were Uighurs.

Police in Pishan refused to comment when contacted by AFP, and the local government was not immediately available for comment.

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American Islamic State ‘sniper’ charged in New York: Justice Dept

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A naturalized American who was a sniper for the Islamic State group has been charged in New York with material support for a terror group after being captured in Syria and repatriated to the United States, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Kazakhstan-born Ruslan Maratovich Asainov fought for the Islamic State in Syria for five years before he was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces and handed over to US custody, the department said.

Asainov, 43, was brought back to the United States on Thursday and was to be arraigned Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn.

He fought for IS in Syria from 2013 to 2018 as a sniper and a weapons trainer for other combatants.

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WATCH: Employee at Tim Hortons slurs Muslim couple and tells them ‘go back to your own country’

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According to a report from Deadline Detroit, a Muslim advocacy group has filed a complaint against a local Tim Horton's location after an employee insulted a Muslim couple and told them to "go back to their own country," followed by a sexist slur.

The report states Alaa Kouider and her husband, Ameur Dhaimini, were purchasing coffee at the local fast food location when they got into an argument with the cashier.

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President Bolsonaro says claims of hunger in Brazil ‘a big lie’

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday there was no hunger in the country, citing the lack of "poor people in the street with a skeletal physique" as evidence.

Speaking to foreign journalists, Bolsonaro blamed "populists" for propagating "a big lie" that some of Brazil's 209 million people did not have enough to eat.

"There is no hunger," the far-right leader said, noting Brazil "was rich in practically every type of crop".

"You don't see poor people in the street with a skeletal physique like in other countries.

"To say that there is hunger in Brazil is a populist discourse to try to win popular sympathy, nothing more than that."

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