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World News
KABUL, Afghanistan | Progress in Afghanistan has been faster than expected in some respects, and not as far along in others, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said here on Friday. (Full Story)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has launched the first direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in nearly two years. Both sides agreed to a second round of talks to be held in the Middle East later this month.
  (Full Story)

Iran has released one of the three American hikers detained in the country for more than a year. A U.S. official says freed American Sarah Shourd's flight has taken off from Iran following her release from prison. She is expected to land in Oman, where Shourd's mother is waiting for her. (Full Story)
U.S. pastor Terry Jones  says he is reconsidering plans to burn Qurans on Saturday, amid concerns the event could spark violence by Islamic extremists around the world. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and religious leaders have reached out to the pastor, asking him to stop the event. (Full Story)
Sarajevo/Brussels - Mostar, the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a Croat majority will face new and potentially dangerous strains if its leaders do not break a deadlock that has paralysed its government for nine months. (Full Story)
After more than six years, Egypt and the United States have resumed their formal strategic dialogue. (Full Story)
Indonesia has offered to spearhead U.N. peacekeeping in fellow Muslim country Somalia, but a mission is too risky for now as the Somali government battles Islamist rebels, a U.N. official said on Wednesday. (Full Story)
 Russia is deep in the summer doldrums. But it's only a month until children return to school, and in some cases, to a new subject: "The Foundations of Orthodox Culture." "I want to know about God," says Lyuda, a 6-year-old girl living in Kirov Oblast. "It's interesting for me." (Full Story)
By Kathleen Ridolfo

Leaders of Iraq's Christian community estimate that over two-thirds of the country's Christian population has fled the country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. While exact numbers are unknown, reports suggest that whole neighborhoods of Christians have cleared out in the cities of Baghdad and Al-Basrah, and that both Sunni and Shi'ite insurgent groups and militias have threatened Christians. (Full Story)

By Raanan Eliaz

In an interview Nicolas Sarkozy gave in 2004, he expressed an extraordinary understanding of the plight of the Jewish people for a home: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.” (From the book “La République, les religions, l’espérance”, interviews with Thibaud Collin and Philippe Verdin.) (Full Story)

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