Syrian rivals were to resume UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva on Thursday, with escalating violence and deadlock on key issues dimming hopes of a breakthrough.
Travellers across the Middle East expressed frustration Wednesday at a ban on large electronic devices for flights to the United States and Britain that has sparked confusion and speculation.
A fifth round of UN-backed Syria peace talks begins Thursday in Geneva with scant hope of a breakthrough against a backdrop of fighting in Damascus and no sign of compromise.
Iraqi forces gained ground from the Islamic State group in Mosul and have deployed snipers in the Old City to target the jihadists, officers said on Tuesday.
Iraqi forces battled Islamic State group fighters on Monday to push into Mosul's Old City where thousands of civilians remain trapped under jihadist rule.
In the north of the country, meanwhile, a Kurdish militia said the Russian military is to train Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State group.
A Canadian who teaches at a school in a fly-in only village in the Arctic won a $1-million Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony in Dubai on Sunday.
Heavy clashes rocked eastern districts of the Syrian capital on Sunday as rebels and jihadists tried to fight their way into the city centre in a surprise assault on government forces.