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Iran says it has arrested head of US-based ‘terrorist group’

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Tehran (AFP) – Iran said Saturday it has arrested the head of a US-based “terrorist group” accused of being behind a deadly 2008 bombing in the southern city of Shiraz and of other, abortive attacks.The group’s “Jamshid Sharmahd, who was leading armed and sabotage operations inside Iran, is now in the powerful hands” of Iran’s security forces, state television said in a report citing a statement from the intelligence ministry.The statement did not elaborate on where or when the leader of the opposition royalist group known as the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, or Tondar (Farsi for Thunder), was arr…

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Herbivores face higher extinction risk than predators: study

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Herbivores face a higher risk of extinction than predators, whether they are mammals, birds or reptiles, according to an extensive study of 24,500 species both living and extinct that was published Wednesday.

The paper, which appeared in Science Advances, suggests herbivores have suffered a higher extinction rate over the past 50,000 years compared to other parts of the food web and the trend continues to this day.

This contradicts the idea, based on anecdotal evidence, that predators are the most vulnerable because they have extensive home ranges and slow population growth rates.

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A third of Afghans estimated to have contracted virus: health ministry

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Nearly a third of Afghanistan's population -- or 10 million people -- has been infected with the coronavirus, according to health ministry estimates published Wednesday.

The figure comes from a survey based on antibody tests on around 9,500 people across the country, with technical support from the World Health Organization, health minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani said at a press briefing.

The survey estimated that 31.5 percent of the population had contracted the virus, with the highest infection rate in Kabul where more than half of the city's five million population were thought to have been infected.

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German neo-Nazi on trial over politician murder admits to killing

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A German neo-Nazi on trial over the murder of pro-refugee politician Walter Luebcke admitted Wednesday to the killing that has shocked the nation and highlighted the growing threat of right-wing extremism.

"I fired the shot," Stephan Ernst, 46, told the court of the killing in a statement read out by his defense.

Federal prosecutors have said Ernst was motivated by "racism and xenophobia" when he allegedly shot Luebcke in the head on June 1, 2019.

Luebcke's killing is believed to be Germany's first far-right political assassination since World War II.

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