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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As I said in my State of the Union address ensuring the security of the United States and the safety of our people demands a smart, patient and disciplined approach to the world. That includes our diplomacy...

Iran is open for business again as ten years of punishing international sanctions are lifted.

President Hassan Rouhani declared the nuclear deal a "golden page" in Iran's history as he presented a new budget to parliament on Sunday. Economists call it the biggest windfall in history, with as much as an estimated $150 billion of Iran's frozen assets being unlocked from banks across the globe.

Palestinian security officials have arrested an aide to the Palestinian peace negotiating team, accusing him of spying for Israel.

The arrest occurred two weeks ago, and the precise nature of the allegations aren't yet clear, NPR's Emily Harris reports:

"The man is suspected of passing information to the Israelis. The head of the Palestinian negotiating office, Saeb Erekat, confirmed that the arrest happened a couple weeks ago but wouldn't detail the man's job or assess how much damage may have been done.

A day after many sanctions on Iran were lifted under the international nuclear pact, the U.S. Treasury department has imposed new sanctions — over Iran's ballistic, not nuclear, weapons.

The sanctions target 11 companies and individuals who have been involved in procuring goods for Iran's weapons program, the Treasury Department says.

"This action is consistent with the U.S. government's commitment to continue targeting those who assist in Iran's efforts to procure items for its ballistic missile program," the department said in a statement.

In the wake of this weekend's prisoner exchange with Iran, a Twitter hashtag supporting Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian underwent a jubilant change: #FreeJason became #JasonIsFree.

The family of Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran in 2007 and whose whereabouts remain unknown, started a frustrated hashtag of their own: #WhatAboutBob.

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Aid Groups Witness Starving Syrians

Jan 17, 2016
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They were scenes that haunt the soul.

That was how U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described what aid workers saw when they went into Syria this past week.

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The View From Tehran

Jan 16, 2016
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We wanted to get a sense of how this is playing out in Tehran, so we've called Arthur MacMillan. He's the deputy bureau chief for Agence France-Presse in Tehran. Arthur MacMillain, thanks so much for speaking with us.

ARTHUR MACMILLAN: You're welcome.

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Today marks a major milestone in the Iran nuclear deal.

It's known as Implementation Day, the day when the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, says that Iran has curbed its nuclear program enough to begin receiving relief on sanctions. The terms were laid out last July by Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers.

On Saturday, Iran released four detained Iranian-Americans and the U.S. released or pardoned seven Iranians, and dropped extradition requests for 14 more, in a highly choreographed prisoner exchange. Iran also simultaneously released a fifth American detainee.

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Iran is releasing four Iranian-American prisoners Saturday, as part of a prisoner swap with the U.S.

The release, originally reported by Iranian state media, has been confirmed by U.S. officials. Iran is also releasing a fifth American detainee, separate from the exchange.

Mexico's president was jubilant over the recapture of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the world's most wanted drug lord. President Enrique Peña Nieto broke the news when he tweeted, "Mission accomplished: we got him," on January 8.

"El Chapo" humiliated the government when he escaped from a Mexican prison last summer through an elaborate, mile-long tunnel. It was the second time the drug kingpin escaped from a Mexican prison.

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Check Out Every Single One Of The U.N.'s Special Days

Jan 16, 2016

If you thought your 2016 was looking busy, just be glad you're not the United Nations. The organization will be marking 129 "International Days" — not to mention assorted weeks, decades and a year.

This year, prepare to have your awareness raised. And raised. And raised. And then raised some more.

When the Nobel for Medicine goes to two scientists who discovered a drug used to fight a variety of neglected diseases, how do you tell the story?

Following the rapid outbreak of a malarial virus called Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women against traveling to those regions. The tropical illness has been linked to birth defects.

"Out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women advised to consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing," the CDC said Friday.

Militants have struck an upscale hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso in West Africa. They also attacked a nearby cafe. Wire services quote a hospital official as estimating that 20 people may have been killed. He got that figure from talking to survivors.

Reuters reports the gunmen stormed the five-story Splendid Hotel, burning cars outside and firing in the air to drive back crowds before security forces arrived, prompting an intense exchange of gunfire.

On Friday, Wall Street traders got the same treatment as the main character in The Revenant: A big fearsome bear attacked again and again.

By the close, stock prices were badly mauled. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.4 percent of its value, tumbling 391 points to close at 15,988.

The S&P 500 index dropped 2.16 percent to 1,880 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 2.7 percent to 4,488.

On a cold desert morning full of birdsong and smokers' coughs, the head of Iraq's special forces is holding court in the master bedroom of a commandeered family home, perched on the edge of a rumpled pink bed and lighting his first cigarettes of the day.

"In Ramadi city, and Ramadi's suburbs, ISIS is broken, they no longer exist," declares Maj. Gen. Fadhil Barwari, blowing smoke over curlicued bedroom furniture.

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Imagine Cinderella's glass slipper scaled to about 100 times its original size and dropped on the coast of Taiwan.

That's the new church in Ocean View Park in Budai township.

Looking like it was plucked from a distorted fairy tale, the glittering, shoe-shaped building is made up of about 320 tinted glass panels and stands 55 feet tall by 36 feet wide. It was reportedly constructed by the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area in an effort to attract female worshippers and tourists to the site.

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