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Fitch Ratings Downgrades Lebanon, S&P Maintains its Ratings

Fitch Ratings downgraded Lebanon's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to CCC from B- Friday, while Standard & Poor's Global Ratings affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for Beirut at B-/B, saying the country's outlook remains negative.

The international rating agency's downgrade for Lebanon is another blow to the struggling economy of the small Arab country that is suffering from one of the world's highest debt ratios, high unemployment and little growth.

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Major Issues, Minimal Expectations for G-7 Summit in France

The world economy is getting shakier by the day, the Amazon has burned its way to the center of the climate change debate, and the leaders of the world's leading democracies will sit around a single table, theoretically charged with coming up with solutions for the biggest problems of the day.

Except that U.S. President Donald Trump is largely uninterested in international agreements, and other G-7 leaders are seriously hobbled at home by political scandal, low poll numbers or lame duck status. Welcome to the annual Group of Seven summit, which begins Saturday in the southern French resort town of Biarritz.

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Syrian Activists: Airstrikes Hit Hospital in Rebel Village

Airstrikes hit a hospital in a rebel-held village in northwestern Syria, knocking it out of service early on Wednesday, opposition activists said as government forces pressed their offensive on the last major rebel stronghold in the war-torn country.

There was no immediate word on casualties from the airstrike on the Rahma hospital in Tel Mannas, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Thiqa news agency, an activist collective.

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New Mysterious Blast Rocks Militia Arms Depot in Iraq

A large explosion hit an arms depot belonging to an Iranian-backed militia faction north of Baghdad on Tuesday, the latest in a series of mysterious blasts at military bases and munitions depots around the country in the past few weeks.

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Huawei Expects No Relief from US Sanctions but is Confident

The founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei said Tuesday he expects no relief from U.S. export curbs due to the political climate in Washington but expressed confidence the company will thrive because it is developing its own technology.

Ren Zhengfei also said he doesn't want relief from U.S. sanctions if it requires China to make concessions in a tariff war, even if that means his daughter, who is under house arrest in Canada on U.S. criminal charges, faces a longer legal struggle.

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Hong Kong's Leader Vows to Narrow Rifts, but No Specifics

Facing pressure to end months of antigovernment protests, Hong Kong's leader pledged Tuesday to open up dialogue with city residents in an effort to narrow differences.

However, Chief Executive Carrie Lam offered no concessions to the protest movement and a key organizer of the mass rallies dismissed her plan to immediately set up a "communication platform," underlining the challenge in resolving the semiautonomous Chinese city's political crisis.

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Hong Kong Teachers' Rally Starts another Weekend of Protests

Thousands of schoolteachers in Hong Kong marched to the official residence of the city's leader on Saturday as another weekend of protests got underway in the Chinese territory.

An overflow crowd rallied at a nearby public square before setting off on streets that had been closed to traffic, carrying signs that read "Protect the next generation" and umbrellas to ward off intermittent downpours.

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UN Expert: Executions in Iran among the World's Highest

The U.N. expert on human rights in Iran says last year saw increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and continuing violations of the right to life, liberty and a fair trial in the Islamic Republic, including 253 reported executions of adults and children.

Javaid Rehman said in a report to the General Assembly circulated Friday that while the number of executions was the lowest since 2007, "the number of executions remains one of the highest in the world."

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N. Korea Fires Missiles, Rejects Further Talks with South

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles into the sea on Friday and launched a scathing attack on "foolish" calls for dialogue from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, rejecting further peace talks with Seoul.

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Gunman Wounds at Least 6 Philadelphia Police; 2 Others Freed

At least one gunman opened fire on police Wednesday as they were serving a drug warrant in Philadelphia, wounding six officers and triggering a standoff that extended into the night, authorities said.

Two other officers were trapped inside the house for about five hours after the shooting broke out but were freed by a SWAT team well after darkness fell on the residential neighborhood.

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