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U.S. Man who Killed Lebanese Neighbor Dies in Prison

An American man serving a life sentence for the hate-crime killing of his Lebanese neighbor has died, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said on Thursday.

Department spokesman Matt Elliott said 63-year-old Stanley Majors was found dead Wednesday in his bed at Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Majors was in the prison infirmary. No information about his condition has been made available.

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Singer Rachid Taha, who Fused Arabic Music and Rock, Dies

France-based Algerian singer Rachid Taha has died. His record label, Naïve, announced his death at age 59 in a statement on its Facebook page.

Naïve said Wednesday that the singer who thrillingly blended Arabic music with rock and techno died overnight after suffering a heart attack at his home in the Paris suburbs.

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UN: Syria War Displacement this Year Worst Ever

The U.N. Commission of Inquiry says Syria this year has witnessed levels of internal displacement not seen before in the seven-year conflict.

The agency said in a report released Wednesday that over 1 million Syrian men, women and children have been displaced so far this year "with most now living in dire conditions."

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Lebanon-Born Man Dies after Being Shot in Berlin

A Lebanese-born man has died after being shot in Berlin, German police said.

There was no immediate word on who was responsible.

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Egypt Hands Lebanese Woman 1 Year Sentence for Insults Video

An Egyptian court has approved an appeal by a Lebanese woman who was sentenced to eight years in prison over insulting Egyptians in a video she posted online and handed her a suspended one-year sentence.

The Heliopolis Appeals court on Sunday fined Mona el-Mazbouh 10,700 Egyptian pounds (around $598) and ordered her deportation.

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NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity Snaps Dusty Selfie

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has snapped a dusty but cool selfie.

NASA released the panorama this week. A thin layer of dust is visible on Curiosity , the result of a storm that enveloped Mars this summer. The darkish sky indicates dust still clogging the atmosphere in August, when the panorama was shot by Curiosity's mast camera. The rover had just drilled for a new rock sample.

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Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma to Retire

The New York Times is reporting that Jack Ma, the co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group, is retiring.

The Times said that in an interview, Ma said he planned to step down as executive chairman on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education. He will remain on Alibaba's board of directors.

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Russia, Turkey, Iran Discuss 'Phased Stabilization' in Syria's Idlib

The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran on Friday discussed a step-by-step "stabilization" in Syria's Idlib, with a possibility of peace with some rebel groups, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after the talks.

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Back to School, But Not for All of Syria's Children

Standing in line in the courtyard of their school in the capital Damascus, scores of Syrian girls in pink and blue uniforms saluted the flag and sang the country's national anthem. A few miles away in a suburb, children played in the courtyard of a rehabilitated school, where shattered windows were replaced but charred walls and pockmarks from bullets remained on the building facades.

With fewer areas in active combat in Syria, more children are going back to school this year, the Syrian government said, putting the number at 4 million.

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U.S. Plays Down Talk of Imminent Pullout of Forces from Syria

The Trump administration is now pledging the U.S. will remain in Syria until the "enduring defeat" of the Islamic State group, a move that could signal open-ended American involvement in the war-torn country.

The announcement "means we're not in a hurry to pull out," the U.S. special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, told journalists in Washington Thursday, although he added that didn't necessarily mean a long-term American military presence in the country.

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