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Heavy rains collapse 10 historic buildings in Yemeni capital

Heavy rains lashing Yemen's capital of Sanaa, which dates back to ancient times, have in recent days collapsed 10 buildings in the Old City, the country's Houthi rebels said Wednesday.

At least 80 other buildings have been heavily damaged in the rains and are in need of urgent repairs, said the rebels, who have controlled Sanaa since the outbreak of Yemen's civil war more than eight years ago.

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Tehran unveils Western art masterpieces hidden for decades

Some of the world's most prized works of contemporary Western art have been unveiled for the first time in decades — in Tehran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric, rails against the influence of the West. Authorities have lashed out at "deviant" artists for "attacking Iran's revolutionary culture." And the Islamic Republic has plunged further into confrontation with the United States and Europe as it rapidly accelerates its nuclear program and diplomatic efforts stall.

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Health of Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike worsens

A Palestinian prisoner on a protracted hunger strike was moved Thursday from an Israeli jail to a hospital because of his worsening condition, the prisoner's wife said.

Khalil Awawdeh has refused food for just over 160 days in a bid to draw attention to his detention by Israel without trial or charge. His case was thrust into the spotlight after a flare-up of violence last weekend between Israel and Gaza militants, who demanded that he be released as part of a cease-fire that ended the fighting. The death toll in the violence has since risen to 47.

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North Korea claims disputed victory over virus, blames Seoul

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared victory over COVID-19 and ordered preventive measures eased just three months after acknowledging an outbreak, claiming the country's widely disputed success would be recognized as a global health miracle.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency also reported Thursday that Kim's sister said her brother had suffered a fever and blamed the North Korean outbreak on leaflets flown from across the border from South Korea, while warning of deadly retaliation.

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US: Syrian government is holding American journalist Tice

President Joe Biden said Wednesday the U.S. is certain that the Syrian government is holding American journalist Austin Tice, who went missing in the war-torn country a decade ago. He urged Damascus to help bring Tice back home.

Biden's comments came in a statement released by the White House to mark the 10th anniversary of Tice's abduction, which took place when he was in Syria covering its now lengthy conflict. They were the clearest indication so far that the U.S. is certain Tice is being held by the government of President Bashar Assad.

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Muqtada al-Sadr steps up demands, issues veiled threat of renewed violence

An influential Shiite cleric in Iraq whose supporters earlier this month stormed the parliament in Baghdad and have since held a sit-in outside the building, has stepped up his demands and issued a veiled threat of renewed violence.

The cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, said on Twitter that the judiciary has one week to dissolve the legislature. Al-Sadr has previously demanded that the parliament be dissolved and that early elections are held but this time, he set a deadline.

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Russia struggles to replenish its troops in Ukraine

The prisoners at the penal colony in St. Petersburg were expecting a visit by officials, thinking it would be some sort of inspection. Instead, men in uniform arrived and offered them amnesty — if they agreed to fight alongside the Russian army in Ukraine.

Over the following days, about a dozen or so left the prison, according to a woman whose boyfriend is serving a sentence there. Speaking on condition of anonymity because she feared reprisals, she said her boyfriend wasn't among the volunteers, although with years left on his sentence, he "couldn't not think about it."

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Iranian operative charged in plot to murder John Bolton

An Iranian operative has been charged in a plot to murder former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton in presumed retaliation for a U.S. airstrike that killed the country's most powerful general, offering $300,000 to "eliminate" the Trump administration official, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

Shahram Poursafi, identified by U.S. officials as a member of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, is currently wanted by the FBI on charges related to the murder-for-hire plot.

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Jill Biden helps National Geographic promote national parks

Jill Biden is helping National Geographic promote its upcoming documentary series on U.S. national parks.

The first lady introduces each installment of "America's National Parks," a five-night series scheduled for broadcast on consecutive nights beginning Aug. 29.

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As Spider-Man turns 60, fans reflect on diverse appeal

Spider-Man fandom is in Tyler Scott Hoover's blood — but not because he was bitten by an irradiated arachnid. His father had collected Marvel comic books featuring the character since the 1970s.

"He passed down a ton of comics to me," says Hoover, 32, of Glen Burnie, Maryland. "It kind of makes it almost like a religion. It would have been hard for me not to become a fan of Spider-Man."

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