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World news briefs — Compiled March 19

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ISRAEL

Strikes unleashed on Syrian posts

Israeli warplanes unleashed a series of airstrikes on Syrian military posts early Wednesday, killing one soldier and wounding seven in one of the most serious clashes between the countries in the past four decades. The airstrikes came in retaliation for a roadside bombing a day earlier in the Golan Heights that wounded four Israeli soldiers on patrol along the tense frontier with Syria. The overnight raids marked a sharp escalation of activity for Israel, which largely has stayed on the sidelines during Syrian President Bashar Assad’s battle against rebels trying to topple him.

VATICAN CITY

‘Noah’ actor denied papal meeting

Actor Russell Crowe and the makers of the big-budget film Noah attended Pope Francis’ general audience Wednesday but didn’t get what they most wanted: a papal meeting and photo-op. Crowe had lobbied hard for a papal thumbs up for his film and the ensuing publicity a Francis blessing would bring. The film has been banned in much of the Muslim world because of its depiction of the prophet, while U.S. conservatives have complained it took liberties with the Biblical account of the flood.

KENYA

2 countries on alert for terrorism

Authorities in Kenya and Uganda said the two East African countries are on alert for possible terror attacks from Somali militants who have vowed to avenge the presence of African Union troops in Somalia. Kenyan authorities said police foiled a planned terrorist attack in the coastal city of Mombasa. In Uganda, police said Somali militants may be planning to launch attacks on fuel trucks.

ENGLAND

Pound coin to receive makeover

After 30 years of work, Britain’s pound coin is ready for a makeover. The Royal Mint announced plans Wednesday to replace the weighty flat piece with a 12-sided coin made with two metals. It resembles a “threepenny bit” — a coin that circulated from 1937-1971.

Compiled from wire reports.


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