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Page One: Headlines for 1/7/15 Posted: Jan 7 2015 12:38PM

Snow blankets the tents of Syrian refugees on the road between Riyaq and Baalbek in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley, near the border with Syria, on 7 January. (photo: -/AFP/Getty Images)

Three Syrian refugees freeze to death as brutal storm hits Lebanon (Al Akhbar) Three Syrian refugees, including a 5-year-old child, have reportedly frozen to death in Lebanon as a major storm dumped snow and rain on the country, sources told Al Akhbar on Wednesday. Three refugees, 5-year-old Majd Kheir al Badawi, 33-year-old Ammar Ahmed Kammal and Mohammed Ibrahim Abou Daher, were found stuck in the snow and frozen on early Wednesday in Ain al Joz in the mountains by Shebaa…

5.5 million displaced by war in first half of 2014, signaling record (U.N. News Center) War across large swathes of the Middle East and Africa in the first six months of 2014 forcibly displaced some 5.5 million people, signaling yet another record, the United Nations reported today. The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) in its new Mid-Year Trends 2014 Report showcases that of the 5.5 million who were newly displaced, 1.4 million fled across international borders becoming refugees, while the rest were displaced within their own countries…

President Sisi attends Coptic Christmas liturgy in Cairo (Fides) Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi attended Christmas mass at Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, where he greeted Coptic Christians in a speech on Tuesday, 6 January. “The Egyptian President’s attendance at the religious service is a new event in the history of Egypt: in the past, the presidents sent their representatives…”

Palestinians escalate campaign for sovereign statehood (Los Angeles Times) After a disastrous 2014, Palestinians are embarking on a risky new gambit for 2015: seeking to internationalize the Middle East peace process. After decades of American-led mediation efforts, the Palestinian leadership is moving aggressively to court world support for sovereign statehood, despite warnings from within and without that such a strategy could backfire and strengthen Israel’s hand…