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Arab diva Umm Kalthoum helps Arabs, Jews to heal war wounds

Love songs of Egyptian diva Umm Kalthoum boom across the Tel Aviv theatre where Arabs and Jews seek solace from the deadly Hamas-Israel war raging only miles away.

"On stage three Jews and three Arabs deliver their lines in Hebrew and sing in Arabic," said play director Igal Ezraty.

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Crowds bundle up to take snowy photos of Beijing's imperial-era architecture

Throngs of people in down parkas and boots climbed a hill that overlooks the Forbidden City this week to jostle with others trying to get a shot of the snow-covered roofs of the former imperial palace.

For many people in Beijing, a snowfall means it's time to bundle up and head out to take photos of a city dotted with traditional architecture from the Ming and Qing dynasties that ruled the country for more than five centuries.

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Lebanon crises have 'devastating' effect on children, UNICEF says

Lebanon's compounding crises are having a "devastating" impact on children and their education, a United Nations agency said, warning of additional pressure as the Israel-Hamas war spills over into the country.

U.N. children's agency UNICEF said more than a quarter of households surveyed last month reported children not attending school, compared to 18 percent in April.

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Zara drops clothing ad after Gaza war uproar

ZFacing mounting calls for a boycott, Spanish fashion brand Zara has withdrawn a controversial advertising campaign featuring body bags after it sparked online fury over its similarity to war-torn Gaza.

Addressing the controversy, Zara -- which is owned by Spain's Inditex, the world's biggest fashion retailer -- denied the claims but nonetheless removed the controversial images from its website.

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EU remembers Mahsa Amini at awarding of Sakharov human rights prize

The European Parliament on Tuesday remembered a young woman who died in police custody in Iran last year, during a ceremony at which she and a Iranian human rights group were officially awarded the EU's top human rights prize.

Parliament President Roberta Metsola deplored that even part of Mahsa Amini's family was not allowed to attend the event for the awarding of the Sakharov Prize at the EU legislature's plenary.

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Children of imprisoned Iranian activist accept Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf

The teenage children of imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi accepted this year's Nobel Peace Prize in the Norwegian capital on Sunday on behalf of the mother they haven't seen in years, reading out a speech she penned from a Tehran prison as her medal rested on an empty chair.

Mohammadi, 51, was awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize in October for her decades of activism despite numerous arrests by Iranian authorities and spending years behind bars. She is renowned for campaigning for women's rights and democracy in her country, as well as fighting against the death penalty.

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1 year until Notre Dame reopens to public after devastating fire

When flames tore into Notre Dame in 2019, people who worked in the cathedral felt orphaned. But as the world-famous Paris landmark's reopening draws closer, they are beginning to picture their return to the place they call home and are impatient to breathe life back into its repaired stonework and vast spaces.

The restoration of Notre Dame hits a milestone Friday: one year until the cathedral reopens its huge doors to the public, on Dec. 8, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron will don a hard hat and tour the fenced-off reconstruction site where stonemasons, carpenters and hundreds of other artisans are hammering away to meet the 12-month deadline.

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When is St. Nicholas Day? And how did he inspire the Santa Claus legend?

The white-bearded Christian saint whose acts of generosity inspired America's secular Santa Claus figure is known worldwide — but Saint Nicholas' origin story is not.

The legends surrounding jolly old St. Nicholas — celebrated annually on Dec. 6 — go way beyond delivering candy and toys to children.

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Lebanon's Christians feel heat of climate change in sacred forest and valley

Majestic cedar trees towered over dozens of Lebanese Christians gathered outside a small mid-19th century chapel hidden in a mountain forest to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, the miracle where Jesus Christ, on a mountaintop, shined with light before his disciples.

The sunset's yellow light coming through the cedar branches bathed the leader of Lebanon's Maronite Church, Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, as he stood at a wooden podium and delivered a sermon. Then the gathering sang hymns in Arabic and the Aramaic language.

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Pope has acute bronchitis, doctors recommended against travel

Pope Francis said on Thursday that he is suffering from acute, infectious bronchitis and that doctors recommended he cancel his planned visit to Dubai this weekend to avoid the quick changes in temperature that would be involved.

"As you can see, I'm alive," Francis quipped at the start of an audience with participants of a symposium on health care ethics.

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