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AP Top International News At 11:37 a.m. EST

INSIDE KOBANI: Devastation mixed with optimism
KOBANI, Syria (AP) -- Blocks of low-rise buildings with hollow facades, shattered concrete, streets strewn with rubble and overturned, crumpled remains of cars and trucks. Such is the landscape in Kobani, where the sounds of rifle and mortar fire resonate all day long in fighting between Islamic State extremists and the Syrian town's Kurdish defenders....

Rebels push forward in southern Syria
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian rebels backed by the United States are making their biggest gains yet south of the capital Damascus, capturing a string of towns from government forces and aiming to carve out a swath of territory leading to the doorstep of President Bashar Assad's seat of power...

Pope urges more Muslim opposition to IS in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Pope Francis condemned the Islamic State group's assault on Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, as he arrived Friday in Turkey to encourage Muslim leaders to take a stronger stand against extremists who twist religion to justify terrorism....

Russian doctor rebellion causes headache for Putin
MOSCOW (AP) -- Dr. Semyon Galperin spent a decade in medical research in Russia and as much time in the United States, working at top hospitals and research companies. Despite his expertise, Galperin was recently given a stark ultimatum from the Moscow hospital where he works: Leave or stay on as a lowly hospital attendant....

Sarkozy's back _ but can he regain the presidency?
PARIS (AP) -- Nicolas Sarkozy tried to quit politics after losing the French presidency, and instead followed his wife's international singing tours and traveled the speakers' circuit....

Islamists hold small protests in Egypt, 5 killed
CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian security forces quickly put down scattered protests Friday as an attempt by Islamists to hold the first major anti-government rallies in months fizzled, with at least two protesters and three army and navy officers killed in separate incidents....

Italian man seriously wounded at West Bank protest
JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Italian man marching in support of Palestinians in the northern West Bank on Friday was shot and seriously wounded by Israeli forces, a Palestinian hospital official said....

Families of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers protest
BEIRUT (AP) -- Police used water cannons to break up a protest Friday by relatives of several kidnapped Lebanese soldiers, after the protesters blocked a main highway in the capital....

Hong Kong protest movement's unlikely teen leader
HONG KONG (AP) -- At age 14, he stepped into the spotlight to take on - and ultimately help defeat - Hong Kong authorities' plans to launch a "national education" curriculum, calling it a ploy to brainwash the city's youth with unquestioned support for the Chinese Communist Party....

Oil plunge a panacea for much of world economy
A renewed plunge in oil prices is a worrying sign of weakness in the global economy that could shake governments dependent on oil revenues. Yet it is also a bonus for consumers as prices fall at the pump, giving individuals more spending money and lowering costs for many businesses....

AP Photo
AP Photo/Jake Simkin
World Video
Up to the Minute
Africa
Nigeria camps struggle with aid for the displaced

Asia
Animals sacrificed in Nepal to bring good luck

Europe
Flooding kills at least 4 in French Riviera towns

Latin America/Caribbean
Brazil's GDP grows slightly in third quarter

Middle East
Italian man seriously wounded at West Bank protest


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