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Kerry Appears To Signal Openness To Iran Role In Syria Talks

The U.S. has long opposed an Iranian role in the so-called Geneva II talks later this month, but Secretary of State John Kerry's comments in Jerusalem may be the first sign that opposition is softening. Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose forces are battling a range of rebel groups, some of them backed by the West.
NPR

Israel's Sharon Fights For Life, But Doctors 'Pessimistic'

The head of the hospital where Ariel Sharon is being treated says the former Israeli prime minister is "fighting like a lion," but his condition is still critical. The 85-year-old has been in a coma since suffering a stroke in 2006.
NPR

Pope Francis Says He'll Visit Holy Land In May

He made the announcement Sunday while giving his weekly blessing at the Vatican. The trip would be the pope's second foreign trip, following his visit to Brazil in July 2013.
NPR

U.S. Icebreaker On The Way To Rescue Ships Trapped In Antarctic

The Polar Star, a Coast Guard cutter, is expected to take seven days to reach the 123 crew members still stuck on the Russian and Chinese vessels. Meanwhile, the 52 scientists and paying passengers who were trapped aboard the Russian vessel are on their way home.
NPR

At Least 20 Dead In Baghdad Blasts; Fighting In Anbar Continues

A wave of blasts in the capital targeted Shiite areas. The attacks come as Sunni militants step up their campaign against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Al-Qaida-linked militants have taken over parts of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province.
NPR

Peace Talks Delayed As Conditions In South Sudan Worsen

After a short delay, peace talks between mediators and delegates for the warring parties in South Sudan have opened in Ethiopia. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with The New York Times' Nicholas Kulish about the violence there and prospects for the negotiations.
NPR

Iraq's Anbar Province Under Threat From Al-Qaida

Heavy fighting has been reported in the Anbar province of Iraq this week. NPR's Arun Rath speaks to Middle East specialist Kirk Sowell about what it means.
NPR

'No One Controls Fallujah,' Which U.S. Soldiers Fought To Free

Al-Qaida fighters are attacking police stations and local officials. Sunni militias, who have battled al-Qaida in the past, are exerting themselves in other parts of the city. Government forces have pulled back, allowing freedom of movement for fighters from all sides.
NPR

Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

After decades of war in Afghanistan, the country has thousands of orphans. One home for these children ended up with an improbable benefactor — an Iranian-American who came to Kabul to do rule of law development work, and stumbled into a side project working with disabled orphans.
NPR

Wait Is Over For Antarctic Explorers: They Can Head Home

One day after being told the ship they're now on might have to assist another stranded vessel, the explorers have been told their trip can continue. The stranded icebreaker says it is not in distress and can wait for conditions to improve.

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