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(MENAFN - AFP) Columns are blackened with soot and vaults have crumbled in one of the courtyards of Syria's the Krak des Chevaliers, a Crusader castle that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and victim of the country's three-year civil war.

The army seized the medieval fortress on Thursday after fierce fighting in the nearby village of Al-Hosn in central Syria, routing rebels ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) Whatever you're doing this Sunday, wherever you might be, take a moment to reflect on the most popular word in the English language, OK?

It will be 175 years since OK -- or, as some prefer, okay -- first appeared in print, on page two of The Boston Morning Post, then one of the most popular newspapers in the United States.

"I think OK should be celebrated ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) A US federal judge struck down a gay marriage ban in the Midwestern state of Michigan and found there was no "credible" evidence that heterosexual couples make better parents Friday.

The decision is the latest in a number of court rulings to find gay marriage bans unconstitutional.

The challenge to Michigan's prohibition was brought forward by two ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier faces $3.4 billion in lost potential sales to Russia as Canada and its allies impose sanctions over the former Soviet state's move to annex Crimea, reports said Friday.

A senior executive told an investor conference in New York this week that the clash between the West and Russia has created a snag in its negotiations ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world's worst city.

That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) A French man has claimed responsibility for the theft of a Rembrandt painting worth millions that was stolen from a French museum in 1999 and recovered this week, a source close to the investigation said on Friday.

The 43-year-old from Lot-et-Garonne in southwest France told police he had stolen the Dutch master's "Child with a Soap Bubble" from a municipal ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) Cuba's doctors got a big pay raise Friday -- to 64 dollars a month, the official Communist Party newspaper Granma said.

The hike in pay from $25 a month was to reward health professionals for being the country's top source of hard currency export earnings.

President Raul Castro last month rejected pay increases for other state workers, but said they ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) Twelve top Russian politicians, members of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, and Black Sea and Crimea commanders feature on a new EU sanctions blacklist agreed Friday.

Topping the latest European Union sanctions list -- which brings the total number of Russians and Ukrainians targeted to 33 -- is deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin.

Key Putin aides ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) The S&P 500 hit a new intraday record Friday but stocks then pulled back ahead of the weekend amid profit taking and caution over the Ukraine crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 28.28 points (0.17 percent) at 16,302.77.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 5.49 (0.29 percent) at 1,866.52, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slid ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) US broadcaster Media General said Friday it will buy LIN Media in a $2.6 billion deal that creates the nation's second-largest television broadcasting company and a digital media powerhouse.

The merged company will own and operate or service 74 television stations across 46 markets, and serve some 26.5 million households, or 23 percent of the US market, ...

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