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Barak Slams Netanyahu for Breaking Israel Ambiguity on Syria

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is attacking the country's current leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, for breaking with Israel's ambiguity over its strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

Barak's comments on Monday came a day after Netanyahu's abrupt confession that Israel had struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria in recent years, including a weapons facility over the weekend.

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Indonesia Recovers Lion Air Jet's Cockpit Voice Recorder

Navy divers have recovered the cockpit voice recorder of a Lion Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October, Indonesian officials said Monday, in a possible boost to the accident investigation.

Ridwan Djamaluddin, a deputy maritime minister, told reporters that remains of some of the 189 people who died in the crash were also discovered at the seabed location.

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Several Injured in Bakery Gas Explosion

A powerful explosion and fire apparently caused by a gas leak at a Paris bakery Saturday injured several people, blasted out windows and overturned cars, police said.

Firefighters pulled injured victims out of windows and evacuated residents as smoke billowed out of the building on Rue de Trevise in the 9th arrondissement of north-central Paris. Witnesses described on French television the overwhelmingly sound of the blast and people trapped inside nearby buildings.

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Syria Says Israeli Warplanes Hit Damascus Airport Warehouse

Missiles fired by Israeli warplanes struck a warehouse at Damascus International Airport late Friday, causing damage but no casualties, a Syrian military official said.

The unidentified official was quoted by Syrian state media as saying Israeli aircraft coming from the south fired several missiles at areas near Damascus about 45 minutes before midnight. He said Syrian air defense units shot down most of the missiles, but gave no details on other sites targeted.

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Catalan Separatists Threaten to Nix Spanish Govt. Budget

The Spanish government's bid to pass a national budget is doomed unless it bends to the demands of Catalonia's separatists for a referendum on secession, the leader of the wealthy northeastern region says.

Catalan regional president Quim Torra told The Associated Press in a recent interview that the representatives of Catalonia's separatist parties in Madrid's national parliament "have made it very clear that they will vote against the budget because there has been no movement by the Spanish national government toward what we are demanding."

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Pompeo Takes U.S. Anti-Iran Message to Gulf Arab States

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the Trump administration's anti-Iran message to Gulf Arab states on Friday as he continued a nine-nation tour of the Middle East aimed at reassuring America's partners that withdrawing troops from Syria does not mean Washington is abandoning the region.

Pompeo was traveling to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates where he will call for increasing pressure on Iran and push for unity among Gulf neighbors still embroiled in a festering dispute with Qatar. He'll also be promoting a U.S.-backed initiative to form what some have termed an "Arab NATO" that would bring the region together in a military alliance to counter threats from Iran.

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Lebanon Storm Worsens Syrian Refugees' Miserable Conditions

A storm that battered Lebanon for five days has displaced many Syrian refugees after their tents were flooded with water or destroyed by snow.

On Thursday, volunteers were pumping water from a refugee settlement in the eastern town of Bar Elias and distributed rubber boots, blankets and winter clothes to Syrian refugees needing help.

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Officials Meet at Center House to Discuss Plans after Storm

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri chaired an "expanded" ministerial meeting at the Center House on Thursday to discuss the damages and compensation following a storm that pummeled Lebanon for five consecutive days.

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Syrian Girl Confirmed Dead as Storm Causes Widespread Damage

A storm packing snow and rain that has battered Lebanon for five days has left an 8-year-old Syrian girl dead, flooded neighborhoods and paralyzed major mountain roads.

Residents in the Antelias area north of Beirut awoke Wednesday to find their cars immersed with water as rivers overflowed, inundating streets with muddy water.

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Kurds' Ambitions Caught in Power Games

They always anticipated U.S. support would run out, but President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to rapidly pull U.S. forces out of northeast Syria has nevertheless stunned the Kurds there, who for the past three years have been America's partner in fighting the Islamic State group.

A withdrawal will leave Syrian Kurds exposed to Turkish threats of an invasion from one side and Syrian government troops on the other.

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