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AP Top International News at 5:27 p.m. EST

Amid Syria's civil war, a James Bond-style rescue operation
BEIRUT (AP) -- In the whirlwind of Syria's civil war, two Russian pilots parachuted from their aircraft into a chaotic front-line mountainous region near the border with Turkey after their aircraft was hit by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet....

Putin sends air-defense missiles to Syria to deter Turkey
MOSCOW (AP) -- In a move raising the potential threat of a Russia-NATO conflict, Russia said Wednesday it will deploy long-range air defense missiles to its base in Syria and destroy any target that may threaten its warplanes following the downing of a Russian military jet by Turkey....

From lashes to death: Artist caught in tangles of Saudi law
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- When Palestinian artist Ashraf Fayadh was tried last year on blasphemy-related charges, the Saudi judges overseeing the case rejected the prosecution's request for a death sentence for apostasy. Instead, he was sentenced to 800 lashes and four years in prison over a book of poetry he wrote and for allegedly having illicit relations with women....

AP EXPLAINS: Turkmen minority caught up in Syrian civil war
The shooting down of a Russian military plane by Turkey in Syria's Latakia province and the killing of one of the Russian pilots by a rebel group that includes local Turkmen fighters has brought the Syrian minority into focus. Here is a brief explanation on who the Syrian Turkmens are and how they have been affected by the civil war, now in its fifth year....

French lawmakers vote to extend airstrikes against IS
PARIS (AP) -- French lawmakers voted Wednesday to continue airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State group that claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, while Germany's chancellor said her country would do more in the international fight against the group....

Stories of those who died in the Paris attacks
Among the 130 victims killed in attacks in Paris were students, a filmmaker, a doctor, artists, music lovers and beloved parents and children. They had varied backgrounds and interests. Here are some of their stories:...

Ukraine s
MOSCOW (AP) -- Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated Wednesday as Ukraine decided to stop buying Russian natural gas - hoping to rely on supplies from other countries - and closed its airspace to its eastern neighbor....

Pope urges Kenyans to work for peace
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Brushing aside security concerns, Pope Francis arrived in Kenya on Wednesday on his first-ever trip to Africa and urged Kenyans to work for peace and forgiveness amid a wave of extremist violence on the continent that threatens to disrupt his trip....

The Latest: Paris hotel business hit hard by attacks
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The latest on the attacks in Paris and security alert in Brussels. All times local:...

Brussels schools reopen, maximum threat alert still in place
BRUSSELS (AP) -- When Annelaure Leger dropped off her two children at school on Wednesday, it was like nearly every other day - except for the machine gun-toting policeman....

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Latin America/Caribbean
Mexico rights body: Police used excessive force in 6 deaths

Middle East
Death of man in police custody sparks riots in Egypt