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Regional Conflicts Impeding Presidential Elections

Every few weeks for the past year, Lebanon's parliament has met, exchanged pleasantries, and made the same announcement: that it has again been unable to elect a president.

Pluralistic but divided Lebanon has now been without a head of state for 12 months, the longest time the post has been vacant since the devastating civil war ended in 1990.

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Iraq's Sunni Tribes Feel Deserted after Ramadi Fall

They were always seen as the key to defeating the jihadists in their bastions but the fall of Ramadi has deepened the distrust that Iraq's Sunni tribes feel towards the government.

Many tribal leaders in Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital, said they would continue to fight the Islamic State group, not for the sake of a government they say never offered the adequate support, but because they have no other choice.

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Palmyra, the Ancient Pearl of Syria's Desert

Palmyra, the ancient Syrian city that has fallen to the Islamic State jihadist group, has withstood the last 2,000 years with its immaculate temples and colonnaded streets.

Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the "pearl of the desert" is a well-preserved oasis 210 kilometers (130 miles) northeast of Damascus.

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Syrian Refugees Struggle amid Aid Cuts, Lack of Labor Rights

A Syrian refugee couple and their baby boy were recently dropped from a U.N. food voucher program and live on $9-a-day jobs on a peach farm in northern Jordan. In a town nearby, a 16-year-old boy quit school to work as a mechanic's helper because his refugee family needs the extra $21 a week.

With the Syria conflict in its fifth year, the struggle for survival is getting tougher for many of the close to 4 million Syrians who fled to neighboring countries, particularly those in Jordan and Lebanon, where the highest number of refugees have settled.

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For Displaced Pakistanis to Return Home: Fight the Taliban

Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis displaced by anti-Taliban military operations in tribal areas wish only to return home -- but first they have to agree to fight the extremists themselves.

It's "social engineering" unheard of in the recent war on terror: displace an entire population, fight the insurgents who remain, then bring back those uprooted and charge them with keeping the militants at bay.

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Migrant Crisis Tests Southeast Asia's Timid Diplomacy

Southeast Asia's timid diplomacy and a see-no-evil approach to human-trafficking is to blame for its boatpeople influx, and overcoming the crisis will pose a severe test for a region loathe to address divisive issues, diplomats and analysts said.

In particular, the region has allowed the problem to fester by failing to curb Myanmar's systematic abuse of its unwanted Rohingya people, which has sent masses of the Muslim ethnic minority fleeing abroad, they said.

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Burundi Coup Defeated, but Troubles Far from over

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza was in a confident, defiant mood as his motorcade rolled back into the capital Bujumbura following a failed coup, cheered by supporters and safely under the watch of loyalist troops who fought off the uprising.

With the plotters in detention or on the run, state radio still broadcasting the government message and independent media silenced, there was little doubt of who was in charge after two days of uncertainty.

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Netanyahu over the Line but Faces Testing Fourth Term

After weeks of coalition wrangling, Benjamin Netanyahu started his fourth term as Israeli premier Friday, but he faces an even tougher task to mend fences with the United States and Europe.

Soon after its narrow approval by parliament late Thursday, the new rightwing government was warned by Washington that it must forge a deal with the Palestinians for its own good.

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Experts: Syria War Crimes Justice Unlikely Despite Evidence

The chances of anyone being prosecuted for Syrian war crimes are today smaller than ever, experts say, as realpolitik smothers an increasingly solid mountain of evidence accumulated during the often barbaric four-year conflict.

Rights groups have steadfastly documented atrocities committed on the ground, and on Wednesday a committee of renowned investigators said it had enough evidence to prosecute up the chain of command to President Bashar Assad himself.

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Myanmar's Abandoned Rohingya: Asia's Pariah People

Poverty-stricken and loathed at home, Myanmar's Rohingya are one of the world's most persecuted minorities -- yet their dire situation has long been ignored in Southeast Asia. 

The Muslim community's friendless status angers activists, who say that regional negligence can now be counted in lives lost as a wave of migrants find themselves in desperate straits at sea.

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