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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been described as a Byzantine Emperor in style, positioning Russia as the “third Rome.” In western history books, on the other hand, the Bzyantine Empire is all but ignored, pointing as it does to the east. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The Byzantine history of Putin’s Russian empire

Russian president Vladimir Putin draws upon the imperial symbols of the Byzantine Empire to position Russia as the "third Rome." Meanwhile, Byzantium is erased by western history books.
Until the jihadist rebel groups are wiped out, there will be more civilian casualties, like this man and young boy in Eastern Ghouta. Reuters/Bassam Khabieh

The Syrian ‘hell on earth’ is a tangle of power plays unlikely to end soon

Despite a devastating toll in the seven-year conflict, which has seen 400,000 people killed and six million displaced, there is no end in sight for the people of Syria.
The number of Guatemalan children adopted by foreign parents dropped from 4,100 in 2008 to 58 in 2010, after the country drastically curtailed the practice. Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez

International adoptions have dropped 72 percent since 2005 – here’s why

In 2005, almost 46,000 children were adopted across borders. Ten years later, just 12,000 were. The foreign adoption system is imploding, potentially putting children's lives in danger.

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