Tragedy in Lod: Baby dies in house fire

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Storm claims another victim: Electric heater left running throughout the night likely caused fire in residential building that killed year-old baby. Man, 36, died Friday while trying to repair roof leak. Storm begins to wind down; 30,000 still without power

U.S. sanctions move angers Iran, Russia sees threat to nuclear deal

Kerry arrives to brief members of the U.S. Senate on talks with Iran during a closed-door meeting at the Capitol in WashingtonBy Fredrik Dahl and Steve Gutterman VIENNA/MOSCOW (Reuters) – A breakthrough agreement to end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program appeared to face its first major difficulty on Friday with Russia warning that expanding a U.S. sanctions blacklist could seriously complicate the deal's implementation. Russia, which, along with the United States, is among the six world powers that negotiated the November 24 interim accord with Tehran, echoed Iranian criticism that it violated the spirit of the deal and could "block things". The United States on Thursday blacklisted additional companies and people under existing sanctions intended to prevent Iran from obtaining the capability to make nuclear weapons.

Jerusalem buried in snow as rare storm pounds Mideast

A fierce winter storm shut down much of the Middle East Friday, burying Jerusalem in snow, flooding parts of Gaza and bringing frigid, wet weather to war-ravaged Syria. The hilltop city of Jerusalem was paralysed by its fiercest snowstorm in years, with its mayor calling out the army to help stranded motorists and authorities urging residents to stay indoors. “We are battling a storm of rare ferocity,” Mayor Nir Barkat said as snow in the Holy City piled up to around 37 centimetres (15 inches) and thousands of homes lost power. He said about 1,000 stranded travellers were given shelter at the Jerusalem International Conference Centre while hundreds more were taken to a nearby military base.

Syria children suffer ‘sharpest’ decline in education

Syrian children attend a class at a school in the Masai Hanano district in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on September 23, 2013Syrian children have suffered the "sharpest and most rapid" decline in education standards in the history of the region, UN and aid agencies said in a report published Friday. "Nearly three years of brutal conflict in Syria have reversed more than a decade of progress in children's education," said the children's fund UNICEF, refugee agency UNHCR, and the World Vision and Save the Children charities. While Syria once had one of the Middle East's best education indicators, the decline has been "the sharpest and most rapid … of anywhere in the region," it said. "More than 4,000 Syrian schools have been destroyed, damaged or turned into shelters for displaced people," said the report, adding that nearly half of Syria's 4.8 million Syrian children of school age are not in school.