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China's Xi Gets Tougher on Trump after New Tariff Threat

Facing another U.S. tariff hike, Chinese President Xi Jinping is getting tougher with Washington instead of backing down.

Beijing fired what economists called a "warning shot" at Washington by letting its yuan currency weaken in response to President Donald Trump's latest threat of more punitive import duties on Sept. 1. Chinese buyers canceled multibillion-dollar purchases of U.S. soybeans. Regulators are threatening to place American companies on an "unreliable entities" list that might face curbs on their operations.

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New Airport Rally as HK Leader Warns of 'Path of No Return'

Hong Kong's leader warned pro-democracy protesters Tuesday against heading down "a path of no return", but they responded with a fresh rally at the city's airport a day after demonstrators triggered an unprecedented shutdown. 

The new gathering came as Beijing sent more ominous signals that the 10 weeks of unrest must end, with state-run media showing videos of security forces gathering across the border. 

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Syria's Aleppo Symbol of Assad's Wins _ and of Enduring War

Members of the al-Ali family were walking home from shopping when several shells slammed into the busy street on the western edges of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The blast tore through them, killing 2-year-old Salam and one of her cousins, and incinerated a car nearby with a woman and her infant daughter inside.

It was one of multiple attacks by rebels firing from Aleppo's outskirts that killed more than a dozen civilians last month.

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U.N.: Car Bomb Kills 3 U.N. Staff outside Mall in Libya

A bomb-laden vehicle exploded overnight outside a shopping mall in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, killing at least three U.N. staff members, a spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general said. The attack came even as the country's warring sides said they accepted a cease-fire proposed by the U.N. aimed at halting combat in the capital Tripoli during an upcoming Muslim holiday.

Health officials said the blast took place outside Arkan Mall in the Hawari neighborhood, where people were gathering for shopping a day before the Eid al-Adha holiday begins. The Benghazi municipal council said the attack targeted a convoy for the U.N. Support Mission in Libya.

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Aid Groups Urge Lebanese Army to Halt 'Punitive' Refugee Raids

Dozens of international aid groups are calling on Lebanese armed forces to put an end to a campaign of dismantling homes of Syrian refugees, calling it "punitive" and "traumatic."

The statement by 51 groups Friday comes following reports that Lebanese army personnel raided a community of 350 Syrian refugee homes in settlements in the northern town of Akkar around dawn a day earlier.

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New Zealand Police Arrest 2 British Men in Huge Meth Bust

New Zealand police said Friday they had arrested two British men after finding a huge stash of methamphetamine in an Auckland apartment that would have been worth tens of millions of dollars if sold on the street.

Police said they've been targeting a foreign criminal organization working in New Zealand as part of what they're calling Operation Essex. They say the bust was one of the largest of its type in New Zealand.

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Q&A: The Hajj Pilgrimage and Its Significance in Islam

Over 2 million Muslims from around the world are beginning the five-day hajj pilgrimage on Friday. They will circle Islam's most sacred site, the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, and take part in a series of rituals intended to bring about greater humility and unity among Muslims.

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Explosions at Turkish Ammunition Depot; No One Hurt

Turkey's state-run news agency says a series of explosions have occurred at a military ammunition depot near Turkey's border with Syria. No one was hurt.

Anadolu Agency says the cause of the explosions early Friday at the depot in the town of Reyhanli, in Hatay province, is not known. Fire broke out in some parts of the depot, the agency reported.

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Lebanese Daily Publishes Blank Edition to Protest Crisis

Lebanon's only English-language daily is protesting the country's deteriorating economic and political conditions by publishing a blank edition.

Each page of The Daily Star's Thursday edition bore a single phrase referring to one of the country's problems, including government deadlock, rising public debt, increasing sectarian rhetoric and unemployment. The back page had a photo of the cedar tree, a national symbol, with a caption reading: "Wake up before it's too late!"

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Gazans Struggle to Protect Antiquities from Neglect, Looting

Walid al-Aqqad's Gaza home would be the envy of many an antiquities collector.

Pieces of Corinthian columns greet visitors in the backyard. Inside, hundreds of ancient pots and other artifacts hang on the walls or are arranged helter-skelter on shelves.

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