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A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced 18 people to prison on charges of financing terrorism, collecting information about compounds where foreigners reside, providing hideouts for fugitives and possessing unlicensed weapons.

The extremists of the Islamic State group have turned their social media into a theater of horror, broadcasting a stomach-turning stream of battles, bombings and beheadings to a global audience.

Islamic militants are using a beheading video to send a chilling message — not just through the gruesome act, but also by the choice of messenger.

The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes Wednesday against the Islamic State extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley and that has seized a swath of territory across Iraq and Syria. President Barack Obama vowed relentless pursuit of the terrorists and the White House revealed that the U.S. had launched a secret rescue mission inside Syria earlier this summer that failed to rescue Foley and other Americans still being held hostage.

U.S. stocks were mostly higher in early trading Thursday, helped by a report that showed the number of people seeking unemployment benefits remains at a multi-year low.

Russia's food safety agency will conduct checks on McDonald's restaurants in the Ural region following food safety complaints, local news agencies reported Thursday, a day after four branches of the chain were shuttered in Moscow.

Some Russian trucks in a massive aid convoy began the process of clearing customs Thursday at a rebel-held border crossing in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian border guard service said.

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization's morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel's intelligence services.

Three months after overthrowing an elected government, Thailand's junta leader is stepping out of his army uniform to take up the post of prime minister in a move critics say will prolong his rule and bolster the military's grip on power.

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video showing the killing of American journalist James Foley.

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