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World Bank Warns Some Lebanon Projects May be Canceled

A senior World Bank official has said that the Lebanese economy is "not doing great" and urged the country's leaders to approve some $1.1 billion worth of projects put forward by the international lender, saying otherwise they could be canceled.

Ferid Belhaj, the bank's vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, told reporters in Beirut that the economy is "in a state of fragility."

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Morocco King Urges 'Urgent Action' on Social Problems

Morocco's King Mohammed VI Sunday urged the government to take "urgent action" to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.

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Hundreds of Syrian Refugees Return Home from Lebanon

Hundreds of Syrian refugees started crossing the border from Lebanon on Saturday, the latest group to return to Syria from its western neighbor.

Three buses carrying scores of people crossed the border into Syria in the early afternoon and more than 30 other buses carried more refugees later in the day.

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Bobby Brown Says He's No 'Bad Guy'; Denies Hitting Houston

Bobby Brown says he made some bad choices in his life but denied that his marriage to Whitney Houston ever turned violent, a reversal of a past admission.

Brown, speaking with reporters Friday about BET's new miniseries "The Bobby Brown Story," said such allegations involving his late ex-wife were "completely wrong."

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Trump and Putin Raise Possibilities of another Meeting

Rarely has an RSVP been so complicated.

President Donald Trump is open to visiting Moscow — if he gets a formal invitation from Vladimir Putin, the White House said. Russian President Putin said he's game for a trip to Washington — but his answer came only after Trump retracted his invitation for a fall sit-down.

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Return of Possible Remains by North Korea Boosts Diplomacy

President Donald Trump thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for "fulfilling a promise" to return the remains of U.S. soldiers missing from the Korean War, as a U.S. military plane made a rare trip into North Korea to retrieve 55 cases said to contain remains.

Close to 7,700 U.S. soldiers remain unaccounted for from the 1950-53 Korean War, and about 5,300 of those were lost in North Korea.

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On Trade Policy, Trump is Turning GOP Orthodoxy on Its Head

President Donald Trump's trade policies are turning long-established Republican orthodoxy on its head, marked by tariff fights and now $12 billion in farm aid that represents the type of government intervention GOP voters railed against a decade ago.

President George W. Bush increased the number of countries partnering with the United States on free trade agreements from three to 16. President Ronald Reagan signed a landmark trade deal with Canada that was later transformed into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and expanded to include Mexico. Both those Republican presidents also enacted tariffs, but their comments on trade were overwhelmingly positive.

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Taliban Official Says Group Spoke with US Official

The Taliban held their first direct contact with a U.S. official in a preliminary discussion about future peace talks on Afghanistan, a senior official with the insurgent group said Saturday. It marked one of the most significant developments amid efforts to find a negotiated end to the country's protracted war.

The official described as "useful" a meeting with Alice Wells, the U.S.'s top diplomat for South Asia, earlier this week. He said the meeting was held in the small Middle Eastern country of Qatar, where the Taliban have maintained a political office since 2013.

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Lebanon's Cannabis Heartland, Bekaa, Hopes for Legalization

In the fields of this quiet village surrounded by mountains, men and women work clearing dirt and dry leaves from around cannabis plants, a major source of livelihoods in this impoverished corner of Lebanon,

The fertile Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon has long been notorious as one of the world's major narcotics-growing regions, producing some of the finest quality cannabis, mostly processed into hashish. Today, the country is the third biggest producer in the world after Morocco and Afghanistan, according to the U.N.

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IS Leaves Syria Druze Reeling from Heaviest Losses of War

The death toll in coordinated Islamic State group attacks in Syria's Sweida neared 250 on Thursday, the Druze-majority province's heaviest loss of life of the seven-year civil war.

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