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Beach offers rare respite for war-weary Gazans

Hundreds of Gazans found rare respite at the beach this week from more than six months of traumatizing Israeli bombardments in the Palestinian territory.

After temperatures suddenly soared, children paddled in the sea and their friends played ball games on the sand around Deir el-Balah in the center of the coastal strip -- but the war was never far away.

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Father of boy accused of stabbing 2 Sydney clerics saw no signs of extremism, Muslim leader says

The father of a boy accused of stabbing two Christian clerics in Australia saw no signs of his son's extremism, a Muslim community leader said on Wednesday as police began arresting suspected rioters who besieged a Sydney church demanding revenge.

The 16-year-old boy spoke in Arabic about the Prophet Muhammad after he stabbed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and the Rev. Isaac Royel during a church service on Monday night that was being streamed online. Neither cleric sustained life-threatening injuries.

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California university cancels speech by pro-Palestinian valedictorian

The University of Southern California canceled a commencement speech by its 2024 valedictorian who has publicly supported Palestinians, citing security concerns, a rare decision that was praised by several pro-Israel groups and lambasted by free speech advocates and the country's largest Muslim civil rights organization.

Andrew T. Guzman, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs for the private university in Los Angeles, said in a statement Monday that debate over the selection of valedictorian Asna Tabassum to give the May 10 commencement speech took on an "alarming tenor." Her speaking would have presented "substantial" security risks for the event, which draws 65,000 people to campus, he said.

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Salman Rushdie recounts stabbing in new memoir 'Knife'

In Salman Rushdie's first book since the 2022 stabbing that hospitalized him and left him blind in one eye, the author wastes no time reliving the day he thought might be his last.

"At a quarter to eleven on August 12, 2022, on a sunny Friday morning in upstate New York, I was attacked and almost killed by a young man with a knife just after I came out on stage at the amphitheater in Chautauqua to talk about the importance of keeping writers safe from harm," Rushdie writes in the opening paragraph of the memoir "Knife," published Tuesday.

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Artist refuses to open Israeli pavilion at Venice Biennale until cease-fire, hostage release

The artist and curators representing Israel at this year's Venice Biennale announced Tuesday they won't open the Israeli pavilion exhibition until there is a cease-fire in Gaza and an agreement to release hostages.

Their decision was posted on a sign in the window of the Israeli national pavilion on the first day of media previews, just days before the Biennale contemporary art fair opens Saturday.

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What to know about the flame-lighting ceremony in Greece for the Paris Olympics

A priestess prays to a dead sun god in front of a fallen Greek temple. If the sky is clear, a flame spurts that will burn in Paris throughout the world's top sporting event. Speeches ensue.

Here's a look at the workings and meaning of the elaborate ceremony held among the ruins of Ancient Olympia ahead of each modern Olympiad.

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Paris Olympics flame lit at Greek cradle of ancient games despite weather glitch

Even without the help of Apollo, the flame that is to burn at the Paris Olympics was kindled Tuesday at the site of the ancient games in southern Greece.

Cloudy skies prevented the traditional lighting, when an actress dressed as an ancient Greek priestess uses the sun to ignite a silver torch — after offering up a symbolic prayer to Apollo, the ancient Greek sun god.

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AUB among the world’s top in medicine

The American University of Beirut has achieved its highest-ever rank in the subject of medicine, tying for 135 in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2024.

"This placement is notable among 720 published institutions and 1,398 analyzed institutions," AUB said in a statement.

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Salman Rushdie to release 'Knife' memoir recounting stabbing

British-American author Salman Rushdie releases his memoir "Knife" on Tuesday, recounting the harrowing experience of being stabbed at a public event in 2022 and how he overcame the near-fatal ordeal.

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Vatican's top diplomat begins 6-day visit to Vietnam

The Vatican's top diplomat began a six-day visit to Vietnam on Tuesday as part of ongoing efforts to normalize relations between the two sides.

Richard Gallagher, the Holy See's foreign minister, will meet with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and visit a children's hospital in the capital, Hanoi, state media Vietnam News Agency reported.

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