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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The children inside Syria and the children who've escaped are still suffering, yet aid groups say they continue to try desperately to give some of the children a bit of their lives back.Nearly four years ago, ABC News anchor David Muir and "World News Tonight" arrived at the Syrian-Lebanon border, boarding the back of a pickup truck and heading to the fields, where children worked.Even after seven hours of hard labor, some of those children then attended class in a tiny school run by UNICEF.At the time, UNICEF's Sarah Shouman said that although she and others were trying to save at least part of the students' childhood, there was a fear that the children had become the lost generation."This is the big fear with everyone, including with UNICEF -- the fear of the lost generation," Shouman told Muir. "It exceeds boundaries. It's not only in Lebanon. It's in Syria. It's in Jordan. It's in Iraq."Now, four years later, many of those same children remain in refugee camps. UNICEF said there are more than 300 schools in Lebanon, teaching children from Syria.According to UNICEF, as of March 8, there were 546,536 registered Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. The organization estimates that around 180,000 Syrian refugee children are currently out of school.With UNICEF support, the 2017 to 2018 school year witnessed an increase in student enrollment rates of 14 percent among non-Lebanese children -- Syrian and Palestinian refugees.And, in 2017, UNICEF and partners completed the rehabilitation of 123 schools, benefiting more than 43,000 children a year.Yet, just last weekend, photographs and footage were released of a suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, Syria, that killed and injured civilians, including children.Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, said the organization is "heartbroken and horrified" by what children are facing in parts of Syria."These children are now trapped in the eighth year of a war whose tactics are growing increasingly inhumane. After years of living under siege and dodging bullets and bombs, this past weekend children were once again killed and injured in indiscriminate attacks," she said.Miles said Save the Children was working through local partners to help, delivering food and hygiene kits to families who remain in Eastern Ghouta, and providing those who have fled with household items, food and cash grants."We are also building upon our existing programs in the country, including running medical clinics, schools, livelihood projects and a maternity clinic," she said.UNICEF said that $14 could provide exercise books and pencils for children, including 40 exercise books and 40 slates for children to practice writing and arithmetic and a box of 80 pencils; $18 could provide schoolbags to five children; and $200 could provide a school box for 40 children.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The international monitoring agency on chemical weapons has backed the British government's assessment on the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter by means of a nerve agent in an attack in March.The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released a report on the suspected nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.While the OPCW did not specifically name the chemical involved, its report supported British findings.The U.K. investigation by chemical weapons experts at the nearby military research center of Porton Down, along with evidence collected by British security services, found the chemical used in the attack was a type of Soviet-era nerve agent called a Novichok agent.British assessments have concluded the Russian state was responsible for the attack -- a charge that Russia fiercely denies.Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, said that the OPCW report vindicated the British investigation that lays blame with the Russian state."There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible -- only Russia has the means, motive and record," Johnson said.Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry hit back, accusing the U.K. of spreading false information.“There are no grounds to believe that all this is not a continuation of the crude provocation against the Russian Federation by the security services of Britain," said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.The Skripals were found slumped on a park bench in the city center, unconscious. Yulia was discharged from Salisbury District Hospital this Monday, while her father is in a stable condition and recovering slowly.It is not clear whether he has regained consciousness, but until last Friday, he was described by the hospital treating him as being in a "critical" condition since the day of the attack.The team from the OPCW arrived in the U.K. on March 19 to begin a separate investigation at the invitation of the British government.As part of their examination into the incident, the team tested samples of the chemical traces and blood samples from the Skripals, who were both receiving treatment in hospital at the time.Following the OPCW report published Thursday, the U.K. called for a United Nations Security Council meeting over the results, which will most likely be set for next week.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For residents living in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan running for their lives as planes dropped bombs on them was part of daily life.Ravaged by civil war for decades, this is one of the world's most isolated and dangerous countries. Its president continues to be wanted for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.And, as the death toll mounted, the injured and sick had only one place to go: Mother of Mercy Hospital. It's the only hospital in the entire region and it has only one doctor: Tom Catena.Ten years ago, Catena, who is from upstate New York, left his friends and family and moved to Africa. He first trained in Kenya, before landing in the Nuba Mountains, where he remains the only doctor.For three weeks in 2014 and again in 2015, filmmaker Kenneth Carlson documented Catena's daily heroics for his newly released documentary, "The Heart of Nuba."ABC News' "Nightline" spoke to Catena and Carlson about the reign of terror in the region, what drives the doctor and how he and the people of Nuba turned the hospital into a symbol of their survival.'As close to a saint'"I think I take my, my role model as Jesus Christ. I think Christ is really calling us to give up our baggage -- whatever it is," Catena told "Nightline."Catena is always on call. Even when he has worked all night, he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. without an alarm clock."Dr. Tom is as close to a saint that I've met on the face of this Earth," Carlson told “Nightline.”The two go back a long way. They were classmates who graduated from Brown University in 1986. Catena walked away with a degree in mechanical engineering, but despite some high-paying job offers, he found his calling elsewhere."I turn to my brother Felix and I'm like, 'Felix, I should go to medical school.' He's like, 'Tom, what are you talking about? You're an engineer. What are you talking about?' And I said, 'No, I think I should do it,'" Catena said in the film.Instead of asking his family for money to go to medical school, Catena enlisted in the military. He earned his medical degree at Duke University, then served five years in the Navy before combining his real passions: medicine and mission work.Few regions are as challenging and dangerous as the one he chose. Thousands of people living in the Nuba Mountains have been victims of the carnage unleashed by the country's government since 2011, after the government's split and the formation of South Sudan.In the face of sanctions for many years, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government banned journalists and international aid from reaching its own population. Meanwhile, many said, al-Bashir has engaged in wide-scale attempted genocide to gain total control of the naturally resource-rich country."Omar Hassan al-Bashir is a genocider," Carlson said. "This is all a program to discourage, to oppress these people and to push them out of this region."Targeted by the Sudanese governmentCatena learned how to perform many surgeries on the job. He worked alongside different surgeons in Kenya, where he performed more than 2,000 operations. He read about other surgeries in books.As a woman in the film pointed out, he is "the physician, the gynecologist, the surgeon."From cancer to war wounds, Catena treats everything without power or running water. He even treats a community of lepers, who he believes can and should be touched just like other human beings.Some of his toughest cases have involved children, like 2-year-old Rita who was diagnosed with pediatric tumors of the kidneys.It was a difficult operation that required taking out one entire kidney and part of the other. The grueling -– and miraculously successful -– operation was caught on camera by Carlson.In the film, Catena acknowledged the role he plays in people's lives in Nuba. Catena said he felt like if he were to leave, he would be implying that his life was more important than those he served. But sticking it out has meant facing the very real
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  • Chesnot/Getty Images(PARIS) -- The legendary Ritz Hotel in Paris is auctioning off some of its iconic items.According to Artcurial, the auction house in charge of the event, about 10,000 glitzy objects organized into 3,500 lots will be sold during an auction taking place from April 17-21. Every piece is stamped with the coveted "Ritz Paris" insignia.The auction items range from decorative chairs, opulent tables, wooden dressers, fabric-draped beds, detailed curtains, highly revered paintings, and even a fancy dog bed.A gold sofa featured in the salon named after the novelist Marcel Proust may fetch up to $1,800.Before the auction begins, a staged exhibition will open which transforms the rooms of Artcurial's headquarters into Ritz Hotel rooms. That exhibit lasts through the auction.The Ritz was founded in 1898 and reopened in June 2016 after a four-year-long renovation. The objects up for grabs will not gel with the new decor, the Ritz said.“We, Artcurial, the company that organizes the auction, estimates the sale will fetch about $1.7 million," Stéphane Aubert, the Artcurial auctioneer in charge of the Ritz event, said.After the auction was announced, Artcurial received interest from all over the world."The first call I received after I announced we [would] be auctioning some items from the Ritz Hotel was from an American from Texas," Aubert said. "He said he was very much looking forward to buy some items on sale."The Ritz was the first hotel to install telephone lines in all their rooms as well as feature private bathrooms.Many famous people have stayed at this hotel, including American writer Ernest Hemingway and fashion icon Coco Chanel. It was also the last place Princess Diana stayed in before she died in a car crash in 1997 while driving through a Paris tunnel.
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  • Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday in a Tweet told Russia to "get ready" for U.S. missile strikes in Syria, seeming to confirm that the United States will launch punitive strikes against the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad over the suspected chemical attack his forces are accused of carrying out.Trump’s Tweet appeared to have been prompted by comments from Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, which were widely reported Wednesday morning, that warned Russia would fire not only on any U.S. missiles targeting Syria, but also the units launching them. Trump in his Tweet responded to what he said was Russia’s “vow” to shoot down “any and all” U.S. missiles targeting Syria.Those comments set off some alarmed reactions that the looming strikes could spark a military clash between Russia and the U.S.In reality though, how Russia will respond to the strikes on its ally in Syria is a subject of uneasy speculation in Moscow. Few believe the Kremlin is willing to engage in a military clash with the U.S., but years of aggressive bluster between the two countries and complex dynamics of Syria's civil war seems to have created the discomforting sense that, now, it's impossible to entirely rule it out."I believe that, of course, we’re not now in the position that we were at the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis. We are still far from that," said Andrey Kortunov, director of the Russian International Affairs Council, which has ties to the government. “But within that, I believe that now the situation is more dangerous than it has been since any moment the Trump administration came to power.”Russia has previously threatened to shoot down U.S. missiles and aircraft that threaten the lives of Russian personnel in Syria, but since the crisis began it has been largely silent on how it will respond.In mid-March, weeks before this current crisis began, the chief of Russia's General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, warned publicly that any U.S. strikes that threatened the lives of Russian servicemen in Syria would prompt Russia to fire on not only the missiles, but also their launchers —- implying Russia would potentially open fire on a U.S. warship that had launched cruise missiles.That statement attracted notice at the time, seeming to impose a dangerous “red line” for Moscow itself. However, neither Russia’s military nor the Kremlin have repeated the warning since missile strikes have become a real possibility. That was, until Wednesday when the Russian ambassador to Lebanon referred to the warning again in an interview to Hezbollah TV."If there is a strike by the Americans, then ... the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired," Alexander Zasypkin told Hezbollah's al-Manar TV Tuesday evening in Arabic, according to Reuters -- the comment that some believe prompted Trump’s tweet.But the Kremlin itself has avoided repeating the shoot-down warning, when asked repeatedly about it Wednesday. Nor has Russia's Defense ministry, which has not said what its response to U.S. strikes would be.   So far, the Kremlin has seemed to avoid sabre-rattling. The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov called for "all countries" to stay away from "destabilizing steps" around Syria, on Wednesday.Following Trump’s Tweet, Russia’s defense ministry released a statement saying only that the U.S. should rebuild the city of Raqqa, that it helped re-take from the Islamic State, before launching new strikes. The ministry made no reference to its earlier warning that it would target U.S. missiles threatening its forces.However, the danger of a clash still exists, as Russia’s foreign ministry has warned repeatedly that strikes can lead to “the most grave consequences.” The danger of hitting Russian forces in Syria is also real -- Russian military advisors are embedded in man
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