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Syrian Filmmaker Missing, Lawyer Held

A Syrian filmmaker has gone missing and is believed abducted by the security services, while a lawyer is among a number of women rounded up in Damascus, a rights groups said on Saturday.

Film director Nidal Hassan went missing on Thursday, with his associates believing he has been "abducted by the security services due to his support" of anti-government protests, the Syrian League for the Defense of Human Rights said in a statement.

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Iran Says U.S. Plot Suspect Belongs to Exile Group

Iran has affirmed to the U.N. chief that one of the suspects in an assassination plot on U.S. soil belongs to an Iranian exile group that is seeking to overthrow its Islamic regime, media reports said Saturday.

A police probe into one of the suspects, following an Interpol request, suggested the individual "is a member of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization," the Tehran mission in the United Nations said in a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

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Saudi King Names Prince Salman to Defense Post

King Abdullah on Saturday named his half-brother Prince Salman, who is governor of Riyadh, as Saudi Arabia's defense minister to succeed the late Crown Prince Sultan, state television al-Ekhbariya said.

Although Prince Salman served as governor for more than half a century, he has not previously held a ministerial post.

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Loulou de La Falaise, Creator for Yves Saint Laurent, Dies

Loulou de la Falaise, who created jewelry and hats for fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, died Saturday at the age of 63, the Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Berge Foundation announced.

Born in Britain, Louise Vava Lucia Henriette de la Falaise was the daughter of an Irish mother, Maxime Birley, who modeled for Elsa Schiaparelli, and a French father, Alain de la Falaise.

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Barzani Criticizes Turkey's Fight against Kurd Rebels

Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani said Saturday he opposes Turkey's military campaign against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as it will fail to permanently end the conflict.

Barzani arrived in Ankara Thursday for talks focused on Turkey's ongoing operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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Sudan Lodges Juba 'Border War' Complaint with U.N.

Sudan has lodged a fresh complaint with the U.N. Security Council detailing South Sudan's alleged support for rebels in its war-torn border states, just four months after partition, state media reported Saturday.

Sudan's U.N. ambassador, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, provided "detailed, confirmed information explaining the support of the government of the south for the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile," the SUNA news agency reported.

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Israel Frees 6 of 27 Detained on Flotilla

Israel has freed six of 27 passengers and crew who were aboard two ships intercepted by its navy while trying to run the Jewish state's blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, an official said on Saturday.

Commandos boarded the Irish-flagged Saoirse (Freedom) and the Canadian ship Tahrir (Arabic for Liberation) in international waters off Gaza on Friday before the navy escorted them to the port of Ashdod, the military said.

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New Wristband Harnesses Apple Gadgets for Fitness

Wireless earpiece maker Jawbone is once again blending fashion and technology to help people make healthier choices with a little help from their beloved Apple gadgets.

The company this week unveiled UP, a smartly engineered wristband that synchs with software for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices to steer users toward better habits when it comes to eating, sleeping, and being active.

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Syria Frees 553 Detainees on Occasion of Adha

Syria released on Saturday 553 people arrested during anti-regime protests to honor Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast that marks the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, state news agency SANA said.

"On the occasion of (Eid) al-Adha, 553 people arrested during the events in Syria and whose hands are not stained by blood, have been freed," it said.

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Over 1 Million People Visit Iraqi Kurdistan

More than one million people have visited the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq -- a haven of relative stability -- in the past nine months, a tourism official said on Saturday.

"The number of tourists who visited Kurdistan during the last nine months reached 1.15 million tourists," Mawlawi Jabbar, the head of the General Committee for Tourism in the Kurdistan tourism and municipalities ministry, told Agence France Presse.

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