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Assad says Russian air campaign vital to save Middle East

BEIRUT/AMMAN - President Bashar al-Assad said the success of a military campaign by Russia, Syria and its allies was vital to save the Middle East from destruction, a day after Moscow said it would step up air strikes against Islamic State targets across Syria. | Video

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Pope opens synod; calls for welcoming Church but no gay marriage

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis on Sunday reaffirmed Catholic opposition to gay marriage as he opened a three-week gathering of bishops from around the world but said the Church had to show love and understanding towards all. | Video

Pope, Subjects, Gay Marriage 3:01pm EDT

Iraqi PM opens Baghdad's fortified 'Green Zone' to public

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad open to all citizens on Sunday, part of a reform drive prompted by protests demanding greater transparency and openness.

Iraq, 4:33pm EDT

Venezuela's Maduro chides Obama over delay approving ambassador

CARACAS - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro complained on Sunday that U.S. leader Barack Obama's government was delaying its consent for Caracas' proposed new ambassador in Washington.

4:22pm EDT

Iranian parliamentary panel gives conditional nod to nuclear deal

DUBAI - - An committee of Iran's conservative-dominated parliament gave its support on Sunday to Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers on condition there would be no foreign inspections of military sites and no curbs on developing its missile program.

United Nations, Davos 8:48am EDT

Ruling Portugal coalition heads for win, may lose majority

LISBON - Portugal's center-right government headed for victory in an election on Sunday that was a vote test of its tough austerity stance, but exit polls showed it was likely to lose its majority in parliament. | Video

7:01pm EDT

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