Syrian Government, Foes Accused of Atrocities Against Children

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_5128bc76dc.jpgPawel Gaul/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- A new study on how the Syrian conflict affects children faults both sides for exploiting the most innocent victims of the three-year-long civil war. While estimates of war dead vary, the United Nations report claims that 10,000 children have died as a result of fighting between President Bashar al-Assad's government forces and opposition fighters.

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NATO Chief Predicts Karzai Will Sign Post-War Pact

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_682f8b4dd2.jpgSean Gallup/Getty Images (KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Despite Afghan President Hamid Karzai's words to the contrary, the head of NATO predicts that Kabul will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement that would keep a residual force of U.S. and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan past 2014.Karzai has been adamant about refusing to ink a post-war deal with Washington, saying it should be up to the new leaders of Afghanistan who will be elected in April.

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Real-Life Woman Behind "Philomena" Gets Audience with Pope

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_768771ad87.jpgABC News (ROME) -- Philomena Lee, the real-life woman behind the hit movie Philomena, got an ending to her story on Wednesday that even Hollywood could not write: a meeting with Pope Francis. Lee, 80, traveled to Rome at the invitation of the Vatican to meet the Pope, the head of the same Catholic Church that, six decades ago, forced her to give up her baby son for adoption to an American family because she was an unwed mother.

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POLL: Americans Are So-So on Sochi; Perceptions of Putin Don’t Help

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_04765a2467.jpg (NEW YORK) -- Half of Americans express a favorable view of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games -- plenty for a broad audience but far fewer than greeted the 2012 summer games in London. A range of factors may be at play, among them, dim views of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Fifty percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll hold a favorable opinion of the Winter Olympics starting this week in Sochi, Russia, while 40 percent see the games unfavorably.

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Al Qaeda Chief Disowns Militant Group in Syria

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_ae1fbf3f08.jpgcreisinger/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- The Syrian conflict has exposed a major rift between al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Last year, Zawahri ordered the ISIS to exit Syria so that its main al Qaeda group there, the Nusra Front, could do the bulk of the fighting for the terrorist group. However, the ISIS defied the al Qaeda head, leading Zawahri to cut ties this week with the renegade militant fighters.

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