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Lion Cubs Relocated from Impoverished Gaza to Jordan

Two lions cubs were on Sunday taken from a Gaza Strip refugee camp to Jordan, their former owner said, after their maintenance became too great a financial burden.

"We're very sad. The two lions were like children to us," Saadi Jamal said of the five-month old male and female big cats named Max and Mona.

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Salam: I Won't Allow Anyone to Challenge the Cabinet

Prime Minister Tammam Salam has rejected claims that he is suppressing some parties in the government, warning them not to challenge him.

“I am practicing my constitutional authorities and neither challenging nor quelling anyone,” Salam told al-Liwaa daily published on Friday.

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Agencies Say Syrian Children as Young as Six Working in Lebanon

The number of Syrian children being forced to work is increasing with those as young as six reportedly working in some parts of Lebanon, the U.N. children's agency and Save the Children warned on Thursday.

One 13-year-old Syrian refugee, who harvests potatoes in Lebanon, reported having to carry a bag weighing more than 10 kilograms when full and getting beaten with a plastic hose if he left any potato behind, said UNICEF and Save the Children.

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Food Aid to Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Cut in Half amid Funding Crisis

The World Food Program said Wednesday it had to cut food aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon in half because of a funding crisis and may soon have to halt all food support for most refugees in Jordan.

Lebanon and Jordan are among five countries that host some 4 million Syrian war refugees. The U.N. refugee agency warned last week that with the Syria conflict in its fifth year, funding levels for refugee aid programs dropped to a dangerous low in 2015.

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Israel Approves Extending Security Fence to Jordan Border

Israel has approved extending a security barrier to part of its eastern border with Jordan in a bid to keep out militants and illegal migrants, the prime minister's office said Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the new barrier was a continuation of the one built along the Egyptian border, which "blocked the entry of illegal migrants into Israel and the various terrorist movements."

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Rocket Fired from Syria Kills One in Jordan

A rocket fired from Syria hit a city in northern Jordan Thursday, killing one person and wounding four, a government source said, without indicating who may have been responsible.

"A rocket fired from Syrian territory struck the city of Al-Ramtha, near the Syrian border, killing a young man of 20 and wounding four others," the source said.

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French FM Calls for Renewed Mideast Peace Talks

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday urged the resumption of Middle East peace talks, while warning that continued Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank damaged chances of a final deal. 

"What's important is that negotiations restart," Fabius told reporters during a visit to Cairo, where he held what he said were intensive talks with Egyptian officials on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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Syria Pro-Regime Tribes Reject Jordanian King's Support

Representatives of some of Syria's leading pro-government tribes on Friday rejected support from Jordan's King Abdullah II against the Islamic State group, accusing him of backing "terrorists."

Their comments came after the Jordanian monarch, in a meeting with tribal leaders in his country, pledged to support tribes in areas of Syria and Iraq where the jihadists are operating.

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Derbas Says Refugee Crisis Requires 'Political State of Emergency'

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas has said that the crisis of Syrian refugees is a national cause that requires a political state of emergency to overcome its repercussions.

“The issue of the displaced Syrians should not cause political tension,” Derbas told An Nahar daily on Friday, a day after he referred a detailed report on the refugees to Prime Minister Tammam Salam and several cabinet ministers.

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U.S. Struggling to Train Moderate Syrian Rebels

The U.S. is struggling to implement its training program for moderate Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group, according to figures released Thursday by the Pentagon.

Only "100 to 200" fighters have actively begun training at U.S. sites in Jordan and Turkey, according to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, of the 5,000 forces the military says it wants to train over the year.

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