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Obama to Take Last Shot at Closing Gitmo

After embarrassing false starts, Barack Obama is making a final push to close Guantanamo prison, but to fulfill that glaringly incomplete campaign promise he faces unpalatable compromises and internal resistance.

When Congress returns from recess in September, Obama's top counterterror advisor Lisa Monaco and Defense Secretary Ash Carter will submit a fresh plan to shutter the infamous 13-year-old facility. 

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Syrians Use Facebook to Plan, Document Journey to Europe

When Wael and his relatives from Syria climbed into an inflatable boat in the dead of night to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece, they abandoned all their belongings -- except their smartphones.

"Our phones and power banks are more important for our journey than anything, even more important than food," said Wael, a 32-year-old from the devastated Syrian city Homs who reached the Greek resort island of Kos on Thursday morning.

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No Usual Suspects in Thai Blasts that Defy Easy Explanation

Thailand's conflict-wracked society is inured to violence, but the scale and ruthless targeting of Monday's Bangkok bombing has no historical precedent and analysts say it is far from the usual modus operandi of the nation's armed agitators.

Opaque armed elements often try to press home an advantage by stoking insecurity in a nation that has hosted endless -- and often well-rehearsed -- rounds of protest and coups, as well as a festering Muslim insurgency.

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China's Disaster Playbook Falls Short in Tianjin Blasts

Chinese authorities' handling of the Tianjin explosions bears many of the hallmarks of their standard approach to the litany of disasters in the country -- a clampdown on discussion, official obfuscation, and carefully targeted media condemnation.

But it has been unusually ineffective, analysts say, with a lack of transparency compared to previous disasters that has created an image of indecision or even possible infighting at the highest levels of power.

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Syrians Risk Lives to Reach Europe 'for their Children'

Five nights ago, Nada and her children braved a perilous journey in an inflatable dinghy to the Greek island of Kos less than a month after fleeing the devastated Syrian city of Aleppo.

"Had it not been for the girls, I would have never taken that boat," said Nada as she watched her three daughters play on the beach of the resort island.

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Exodus Grows as Afghans Escape Quagmire of Violence

Fingers nervously skittering over his cellphone, one Afghan man calls a people-smuggler in a third desperate attempt to claim asylum abroad, as a record number of people escape escalating violence.

The toppling of the repressive Taliban regime in 2001 had ignited new hope about the future of Afghanistan, bringing waves of Afghan refugees home, but recent years have witnessed a stark reversal of that trend.

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Palestinian Hunger Strike Tests Israel Force-Feeding Law

A nearly two-month hunger strike by a Palestinian detainee now in a coma may test a controversial new Israeli law on force-feeding, with doctors vowing to refuse to carry it out.

Mohammed Allan, 31, slipped into a coma on Friday after ingesting only water since June 18 in protest at his detention without charge by Israeli authorities.

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On Prison Island, Kurdish Leader Sidelined as Peace Unravels

With a ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in tatters, the man who could hold the key to restarting the peace process is sidelined and increasingly isolated on a heavily fortified prison island.

Abdullah Ocalan, the iconic leader of the PKK, has only the most limited access to the outside world from his top security jail on the island of Imrali on the Sea of Marmara following his sensational arrest by Turkish agents in Kenya in 1999.

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'Neocons' Re-Emerge amid U.S. Election Race

Once thought dead and buried on the battlefields of Iraq, a muscular and militaristic "neoconservative" approach to U.S. foreign policy is making a comeback.

For most of the last decade, the "neocons" -- personified by former vice president Dick Cheney and ex-Pentagon boss Donald Rumsfeld -- have been out of office and out of fashion.

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Anger, Debate 10 Years after Israel Quit Gaza

A synagogue now stocks fertilizers and a kindergarten has become offices: 10 years after Israel left Gaza, little remains of its former Jewish settlements bar the anger of those evicted and a still-heated debate.

As for Gazans themselves, they have other things on their minds besides the anniversary of what Israel calls its historic "disengagement" from the coastal Palestinian territory.

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