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    Kerry: Syria Used Sarin Gas Against Civilians

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says independent testing confirms the Syrian military used deadly sarin nerve gas on civilians in Damascus last month.

    Kerry told U.S. media Sunday he is confident that Congress "will do what is right," as President Barack Obama seeks approval for a military strike against Syria. Kerry calls the case against Syria "overwhelming." He said the president has the power to act, no matter what Congress decides.

    Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Maqdad says Mr. Obama's decision to seek approval from Congress shows he is hesitant and confused.

    Arab League foreign ministers ended a meeting Sunday by calling on the world to take what they call the "necessary deterrent" steps against Syria. A resolution issued after the meeting calls those responsible for the chemical weapons strike "war criminals."

    Syria's state news agency quotes President Bashar al-Assad as saying Syria is capable of confronting any "external aggression."



    U.S. intelligence says more than 1,000 civilians, including entire families, were killed when Syrian forces dropped poison gas on four Damascus suburbs August 21. United Nations inspectors plan to deliver samples collected in Syria to laboratories on Monday.

    The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons and says the rebels have used poison gas against Syrian troops.

    President Obama says the United States should take military action against Syria but thinks it is important for the country to have a debate on the issue. He has formally asked Congress to let him use military force in Syria to "deter, disrupt, prevent and degrade" the potential for more chemical attacks. He says no U.S. troops would go to Syria.

    Congress is not expected to take up the Syrian issue before lawmakers return from vacation next week.

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    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
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    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
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    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
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    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
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    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
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    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

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    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
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    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
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    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

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