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Hundreds of Golan Druze Rally for Assad

Some 500 Druze living on the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on Friday held a rally of support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, an AFP photographer said.

Waving Syrian flags and portraits of Assad, the demonstrators marched through Majdal Shams. "We love you, Bashar ... We are with the Syrian army," they chanted.

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U.S. Calls on Assad 'to Step Down Now'

The White House on Friday called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to "step down now," warning he was taking his country down a "very dangerous path."

In a statement, spokesman Jay Carney condemned the killing of Kurdish opposition leader Meshaal Tamo as well as the beating of a prominent Syrian activist, saying it showed "again that the Assad regime's promises for dialogue and reform are hollow."

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Chinese Automaker Confirms Brazil Factory Plan

Chinese automaker JAC Motors said Friday it will invest $500 million to build a factory in Brazil's northeastern Bahia state, its first outside China.

The factory, slated to open in 2014, will have the capacity to produce 100,000 units, Jianghuai Automobile Co. said in a statement. A total of 3,500 jobs are expected to be created.

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U.S. Business Leaders Call for More Foreign Investment

U.S. officials and business leaders stressed the need Friday to encourage China, India, Brazil and other countries to increase their investments in the United States as a means to create U.S. jobs.

"In 2009 the United States attracted 12 percent of total global investment, down from 25 percent over a decade ago," Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank told President Barack Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

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YouTube Launches Online Movie Rentals in Britain

YouTube on Friday began letting people in Britain rent movies for viewing online at the Google-owned video-sharing website.

"We've got some cracking films to keep everyone entertained through the upcoming winter months and beyond," YouTube business product manager Matteo Vallone said in a blog post announcing the launch in Britain.

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Stars Must Align to Win a Place on Walk of Fame

Engelbert Humperdink has one. Clint Eastwood does not. John, George and Ringo — yes. Paul McCartney? Not yet. And George Clooney would be in the club if only someone could convince him to show up for the ceremony.

When it comes to receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the sidewalk tourist attraction that encompasses 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of intersecting Vine Street, it's not so much who you know, but whether you're willing to play by the rules.

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Among Crickets, Chivalry is Not Dead

Male crickets prioritize the life of their female partners ahead of their own, even though it means a dramatic rise for the former in the risk of being eaten, research published Thursday said.

In perhaps the insect equivalent of holding the door open, infrared video pictures of a wild population of field crickets (Gryllus campestris) in Spain showed males giving females priority access to the safety of a burrow.

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France: We are Very Worried about Safety of Syrians in Lebanon

The French Foreign Minister voiced on Friday its “deep concern” over the safety of Syrians in Lebanon in light of reports that the Syrian army had infiltrated Lebanese territory on Thursday where it killed a Syrian national living near the border.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero stressed during a press conference that France is committed to an independent, sovereign, and secure Lebanon.

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Solidarity March in Tripoli: Lebanon, Arab Countries Should Withdraw Ambassadors from Syria

A number of Lebanese citizens living in the North demanded the Lebanese and Arab governments Friday to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus in a protest against the repression of demonstrations which had started in the Middle of last March.

According to National News Agency, a number of people from the North took part in a march in Tripoli “in solidarity with the Syrian people at an invitation from the Secular Gathering in Lebanon amidst strict security measures taken by the army and internal security forces.”

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Buy a Greek Island for Tourists, Lithuanian Mayor Says

Controversial Lithuanian mayor Arturas Zuokas on Friday said his nation should buy an island from debt-ravaged Greece and convert it into a holiday resort for tourists from the Baltic state.

Zuokas, who is mayor of the capital Vilnius, urged Lithuanian businesses to come up with some seven million euros ($9.3 million), saying it would be enough to acquire the rights to an island.

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