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Hurricane Matthew in the southern Caribbean picked up strength late Friday and became a powerful Category 5 storm, the US National Hurricane Center said. Matthew, swirling off the northern coast of Colombia and Venezuela and forecast to head towards Jamaica and Cuba, was packing winds of 160 miles (260 kilometers) per hour, making it the strongest storm on the NHC's 1-5 scale, the NHC said in its 0300 GMT bulletin. The storm is also the most powerful since Hurricane Felix in 2007, the Miami-based monitor said.
Spain's crisis-hit Socialists are gathering for a key meeting on Saturday that may help end the country's prolonged political deadlock and decide the fate of embattled party leader Pedro Sanchez. The roughly 300 members of the party's federal committee -- its de-facto parliament -- have been summoned to the Socialist headquarters in Madrid for a showdown between allies of Sanchez and opponents who want him out. The outcome could see the party lift its veto on a new government led by acting conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a move that would be key in unblocking Spain's nine-month political paralysis.
As Syrian regime forces advanced in Aleppo, backed by a deadly Russian air campaign, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) decried the "bloodbath," saying the battleground city's eastern rebel-held portion had become "a giant kill box". Syria's army was advancing on two Aleppo fronts, as talks between key players Washington and Moscow -- which back opposing sides in the war -- appeared close to collapse. Damascus's bid to recapture all of the divided northern city has prompted the UN to warn of "a humanitarian catastrophe" and Aleppo is the focus of a new French-led UN draft resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities.