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Grammys Fashion Include Sparkles, Sequins and Statement Hats

Sparkly, studded and strutting in designer looks, the Grammys parade of often out-there fashion kicked off in a downpour Sunday, but that didn't dampen spirits as the music industry's best showed off their myriad outfits.

Cardi B had a spot of trouble walking in a sculpted look that evoked a mermaid in the half shell, pearls included. It was hatched in 1995 by Thierry Mugler. Michelle Obama popped up in a metallic trouser outfit onstage, Jennifer Lopez donned a huge white bejeweled hat and Lady Gaga chose a silver strapless sequin gown with a high slit and side ruffle, thanks to Celine.

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Iraqi Christians Fear Returning Home, Wary of Shiite Militia

In the main square in the northern Iraqi town of Bartella stands a large cross, one of the few overt signs the town was historically Christian.

Nearby, a massive billboard shows Shiite Muslim martyrs alongside a photo of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. Posters of Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen killed in fighting with the Islamic State group hang on streets all around the city, along with banners to revered historical Shiite saints.

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Top Pentagon Official in Afghanistan amid Push for Peace

The Pentagon's top official made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Monday to meet with U.S. commanders and Afghan leaders amid a push for peace with the Taliban.

Pat Shanahan, the recently installed acting secretary of defense, said he has no orders to reduce the U.S. troop presence, although officials say that is at the top of the Taliban's list of demands in exploratory peace negotiations.

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Nasrallah Appears on Israeli Billboard

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has invaded the Israeli city of Tel Aviv — as the face of an eye-catching, satirical new recycling campaign.

A gigantic poster featuring the Nasrallah overlooking Tel Aviv's Ayalon highway went up Thursday and encourages Israelis to recycle plastic bottles.

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Abul Gheit from Beirut: No Deal Yet on Syria's Return to Arab League

The head of the Arab League said Monday in Beirut that there has been no agreement so far for Syria's return to the group.

The league's secretary-general, Ahmed Abul Gheit, made the remarks after meeting President Michel Aoun.

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Female Acts, Rap Songs Win Big at the Grammy Awards

Women and rap triumphed at the Grammys on Sunday as female acts took home top prizes including album of the year and best new artist, and Childish Gambino made history when his hit "This Is America" became the first rap-based track to win record and song of the year.

Kacey Musgraves' country-pop release "Golden Hour" won album of the year, and British singer Dua Lipa won best new artist — a year after female voices were somewhat muted at the 2018 ceremony and the Grammys were criticized for the low number of female nominees.

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UN Urges Lebanon's Parties Not to Back Foreign Conflicts

The U.N. Security Council called on all Lebanese parties Friday to implement a policy disassociating themselves from any external conflicts "as an important priority," a statement that appears clearly aimed at Hezbollah which has sent fighters to Syria.

The council also reiterated its call for implementation of its resolutions which "require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon so that there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon" except those of the state. This is also aimed at Hizbullah fighters.

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Guantanamo Prison Looms as Option as IS Fight Ends

The Guantanamo Bay detention center would receive new prisoners for the first time in more than a decade under one option being considered as the U.S. withdraws its forces from Syria and works to resolve the fate of hundreds of captured suspected Islamic State fighters, officials say.

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have custody of nearly 1,000 suspected IS fighters who the State Department said should be sent back to their home countries and prosecuted. The Syrian fighters have warned they may not be able to continue to hold the IS fighters after the withdrawal of American forces from Syria ordered by President Donald Trump in December.

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5-Year-Old Girl Rescued from Collapsed Building in Turkey

A 5-year-old girl was rescued from the rubble of the eight-story apartment building in Istanbul on Thursday, raising the number of survivors of the collapsed structure to 13. At least three people have been found dead.

The girl, Havva Tekgoz, was pulled from the debris about 18 hours after the building in the mostly residential Kartal district, on the Asian side of the city, collapsed. She was carried to a waiting ambulance on a stretcher with her neck in a brace, as one person in a crowd of onlookers chanted "God is great!"

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Gucci Pulls 'Blackface Sweater' from Stores after Complaints

Gucci has apologized for a wool sweater that resembled a "blackface" and said the item had been pulled from its online and physical stores, the latest case of an Italian fashion house having to apologize for cultural or racial insensitivity.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Gucci said it was committed to diversity and considered it a "fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and at the forefront of every decision we make."

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