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Turkey denies paying ransom to Islamic State

RIchard Spencer 11:23am Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to comment on reports that hostages had been exchanged for three top-level prisoners.

Top world stories

NASA's Maven explorer arriving at Mars

In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere.

6:30am NASA's Maven spacecraft is on track to reach Mars following a journey spanning 10 months and 711 million kilometres.

Yemeni peace deal signed in Sanaa

Peace deal: The head of political relations for the Houthi movement, Hussein al-Ezzi, signs an agreement, flanked by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi (blue tie) and UN special envoy Jamal Benomar in Sanaa.

Mohammed Ghobari 8:27am Yemen's Shiite Muslim rebels have signed an agreement with other political parties to form a more inclusive government and end days of fighting in the capital.

Russians protest Kremlin role in Ukraine

Tens of thousands of Russians marched through Moscow in protest at the Ukraine conflict.

1:46am Thousands of Russians have marched through Moscow to protest the Kremlin's involvement in the Ukraine crisis, in the country's first major anti-war rally since fighting erupted in April.

Latest world news

Fears deepen about Pakistan's nuclear capabilities

Tensions: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in May.

Tim Craig 12:05pm Pakistan is expanding its nuclear capabilities, according to analysts.


Walled off: Google's issues in China deepen

A lot of companies are now asking whether they really need to be in China.

Keith Bradsher, Paul Mozur 11:25am As part of a broad campaign to tighten internal security, the Chinese government has draped a darker shroud over Internet communications in recent weeks, a situation that has made it more difficult for Google and its customers to do business.

John Key wants New Zealand flag referendum to ditch Union Jack

Push for new flag: Prime Minister-elect John Key would like to see New Zealand adopt a new flag.

11:59am New Zealand could have a referendum on whether to change the flag next year if Prime Minister-elect John Key has his way.

Israel worries as al-Qaeda affiliates gain control of Syrian side of Golan frontier

Guard duty: Irish members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force  sit in an armoured personnel carrier as they escort a convoy of vehicles leaving the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Ruth Eglash 11:54am Israel has some new neighbours. Al-Qaeda-linked rebels have, for the first time, established a permanent presence on the Syrian frontier.

China and Iran to conduct joint naval drills in the Persian Gulf

Practice: A Chinese guided-missile destroyer takes part in a navy exercise at the East China Sea off Shanghai in May.

Thomas Erdbrink and Chris Buckley 11:27am Two Chinese warships have docked at Iran's principal naval port for the first time in history, Iranian admirals told state television on Sunday, adding that both countries would conduct four days of joint naval exercises.


Iran prosecutor demands social media block

'Immoral': Messaging app Whatsapp.

Judiciary gives one-year-old government a month to ban services which carry "immoral and un-Islamic" content, such as WhatsApp, Viber and Tango.

US General Martin Dempsey stresses vital role of Arab nations in Iraq

US General Martin Dempsey believes an anti-extremist effort needs Arab backing.

Robert Burns 12:05pm US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey has pointed out that wider Arab participation is a prerequisite for President Barack Obama's approval of a military campaign plan in Iraq.

MH17 crash: Families of German victims to sue Ukraine, says lawyer

Scene of tragedy: Wreckage from the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 lies in a field in the Donetsk region of the Ukraine.

8:38am Survivors of German victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 downed over Ukraine plan to sue the country and its president for manslaughter by negligence in 298 cases, the lawyer representing them said on Sunday.

Oktoberfest welcomes one million people

Top brass: A traditional Bavarian brass band takes part in a parade at the Oktoberfest festival in Munich.

8:52am About a million people have visited Oktoberfest, the world's largest festival, on its first weekend despite bad weather.

Afghanistan gets new president, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai signs a power-sharing agreement with unseen rival Abdullah Abdullah at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on September 21, 2014.

ROD NORDLAND 5:13am Afghanistan's election commission on Sunday pronounced Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai the winner of the country's presidential election.

Climate change march attracts thousands of protesters worldwide

Activists hold a banner as they lead a march of tens of thousands down 6th Avenue during the People's Climate March through Midtown, New York September 21, 2014.

3:55am Activists have mobilised in cities across the globe for marches against climate change, with one of the biggest planned for New York, where celebrities, political leaders and tens of thousands of people are expected.

Thousands flee ISIL's brutal onslaught

Bulent Kilic In Suruc, Turkey Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds have flooded into Turkey, fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State group (also known as ISIL) that prompted an appeal for international intervention.

United States believes Khorasan poses as big a threat as Islamic State

Mark Mazzetti In Washington As the US begins what could be a lengthy military campaign against Islamic State, intelligence and law enforcement officials said another Syrian group, led by a shadowy figure once among Osama bin Laden's inner circle, posed a more direct threat to America and Europe.

Two police officers killed in Cairo bomb

Egyptian security forces inspect the scene after a roadside bomb went off on a busy street in downtown near the foreign ministry, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.

2:47am At least two policemen are dead after a bomb exploded near a checkpoint outside the foreign ministry headquarters in Cairo.

Bomb attacks kill six in Iraq

2:16am Bomb and mortar attacks have killed six people in Shi'ite Baghdad, with Iraqi security forces claiming to have broken a siege on soldiers surrounded by Islamic State militants west of the capital.

Best of the world - September 22, 2014

A member of the pro-Russian rebels, who are prisoners-of-war (POWs), looks out from a bus window before he was exchanged, near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, September 20, 2014. The two sides, that of the government forces and the pro-Russian separatists are exchanging POWs under the terms of the current ceasefire. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY CONFLICT)

The Herald's picture editors showcase the best images from around the globe.

Japan's sumo wrestlers tackle cry-babies

10:04pm Japanese parents have watched with glee as sumo wrestlers tried to reduce their babies to tears, in a centuries-old ritual.

Czech zoo burns rhino horns to help save endangered species

9:58pm The zoo burned about 60 kilograms of horns to highlight the plight of a species being driven towards extinction.

As Sierra Leone's Ebola lockdown draws to a close, questions remain

Police guard a roadblock as the Sierra Leone government enforces a three-day lockdown on movement of all people.

Umaru Fofana 4:36pm Sierra Leone's nationwide shutdown has entered its final day, as criticism grew that the extreme action aimed at containing the Ebola virus was no more than a publicity stunt.

Afghan rivals finally agree power-sharing deal

Ashraf Ghani will be Afghanistan's next president, but will his power be fatally compromised?

Rod Nordland 3:47pm The two candidates for president of Afghanistan have agreed on a power-sharing deal that will give the losing candidate substantial influence in the next government.

Putin to face icy reception at G20, says US Treasury Secretary

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with Treasurer Joe Hockey in Cairns.

James Massola, Gareth Hutchens 2:56pm US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has predicted Russian President Vladimir Putin will face an icy reception at the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane in November if hostilities with neighbouring Ukraine do not ease.

World War II agent 'Fifi' deadlier than the male

Glenda Cooper 2:36pm After decades of speculation, Britain's National Archives finally reveal the identity of a notorious World War II agent known as "Fifi".

Bainimarama claims Fiji election victory

Victorious: coup leader Frank Bainimarama.

Morag MacKinnon 2:28pm Frank Bainimarama, the former naval officer who has twice seized power in Fiji via military coups, on Sunday claimed victory in the Pacific island nation's first election following eight years of military rule.

Indirect Gaza talks to resume

A Palestinian imam leads Friday prayer at the heavily damaged al-Faruq mosque in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on September 19.

2:16pm Indirect talks between Israeli and Palestinian delegations on the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip will resume on Wednesday in Cairo, Palestinian and Egyptian officials say.

Washington sees threats beyond Islamic State

Next in line: two Nusra Front leaders speak in front of the Fijian UN peacekeepers they briefly held on the Golan Heights. Some analysts fear that an offensive targeting Islamic State could inadvertently strengthen the Nusra Front, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

Mark Mazzetti 2:07pm US intelligence chief says they may be as much of a threat to the US as Islamic State. But who are Khorasan?

Secret service security review after White House scare

Secret Service officers walk along the lawn on the north side of the White House on Saturday, September 20.

1:56pm The US Secret Service has launched a review of White House security procedures after an intruder scaled a fence, sprinted across the lawn and gained entry to the presidential residence.

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