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Iranian-Kurdish rebel groups have for decades sought refuge in northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, but they have recently come under fresh fire amid weeks of protests in the neighbouring Islamic republic.

Discontent has brewed for months in China over the country's zero-Covid policy, with relentless mass testing, localised lockdowns and travel restrictions pushing many across the country to the brink.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui said his team "can do anything" at the World Cup after their surprise 2-0 victory over Belgium on Sunday.

Forty Burundian rebels have been killed in a joint offensive by the militaries of Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi in eastern DRC, a Congolese army spokesman said on Sunday.

Thousands of Kurds protested on Sunday in the Syrian city of Qamishli against days of deadly Turkish cross-border strikes targeting Kurdish groups in the country's northeast.

Iranian authorities have arrested the niece of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after she recorded a video describing the authorities led by her uncle as a "murderous and child-killing regime".

As Iran prepares to play diplomatic arch-rivals the United States in the World Cup on Tuesday, AFP looks at how geopolitics have spilled onto the pitch in previous World Cups:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country aimed to have the world's most powerful nuclear force as he celebrated the launch of its newest intercontinental ballistic missile at a ceremony with his young daughter, state media reported Sunday.

Angry crowds took to the streets in Shanghai early on Sunday, and videos on social media showed protests in other cities across China, as public opposition to the government's hardline zero-Covid policy mounts.

Equatorial Guinea's ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been re-elected to a sixth term as president with 94.9 percent of the votes cast, election officials announced on Saturday, putting turnout for the vote at 98 percent.

President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Saturday that Ukraine would continue to resist Russian attacks, as the country marked the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor famine that affected millions of Ukrainians under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

The government of Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition broke a political stalemate Saturday with a broad social accord, and the US government responded by allowing a major US oil company to resume operations in Venezuela.

The Biden administration on Saturday eased some oil sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to support newly restarted negotiations between President Nicolas Maduro's government and its opposition.

Militia fighters killed a lieutenant colonel and another soldier in the Democratic Republic of Congo's deeply troubled east, witnesses and local officials said Saturday.

Germany coach Hansi Flick insisted on Saturday his struggling team have the quality to defeat rampant Spain as they prepared for their do-or-die World Cup clash.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice, including a late winner, as holders France edged Denmark 2-1 on Saturday to become the first team to reach the last 16 of the World Cup.

The family of an Iranian rapper detained for supporting protests over Mahsa Amini's death said his life was at risk after he went on trial behind closed doors on Saturday.

Irene Cara, an Oscar-winning singer and actress who recorded the title tracks to the blockbuster 1980s movies "Fame" and "Flashdance," has died at age 63, her publicist said Saturday.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui said his team would try and draw on the "special emotions" of their Belgian-born players when they take on Roberto Martinez's side at the World Cup on Sunday.

Switzerland centre-back Nico Elvedi said on Saturday his side would not be awed by the might of Brazil, saying they had enough quality to push the tournament favourites.

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