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March 22nd, 2013
05:53 AM ET

President Obama spends final day of historic Mideast journey at holy sites in Israel before last stop in Jordan

FROM CNN WIRES:

After putting himself in the middle of the historic tensions between Israelis and Palestinians this week, U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday wraps up his first trip to Israel since becoming president. He then moves on to another of America's closest allies in the region - Jordan, a military and intelligence partner, which has been facing trying times.

Obama is devoting his last hours in Israel and the Palestinian territories to cultural endeavors.

With Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the president and Secretary of State John Kerry visited the grave of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, where Obama placed a stone on top of the tomb.

From there, the delegation went to the grave of Yitzhak Rabin, the former Israeli Prime Minister who was assassinated in 1995. Obama also laid a wreath and a stone there. The stone for Rabin's grave came from the grounds of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington.

Obama and the Israeli leaders also visited the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, where the president turned up the "eternal flame" of remembrance of the 6,000,000 Jewish victims of Nazi death camps in World War II.

Before continuing on to the last stop of his trip, Obama with visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which is on the West Bank, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Obama then travels to Jordan, where he will meet with King Abdullah II, who has faced harsh criticism lately from his country's people.

READ MORE: Obama travels from Israel and Palestinian lands to Jordan


Filed under: Israel • Israel-Gaza conflict • Jordan • Palestine • Refugees • Relief • Syria • World
March 6th, 2013
06:30 AM ET

Syrian refugee count reaches 1 million – Nick Paton Walsh reports

FROM CNN WIRES:

One million lives uprooted. One million desperate souls trying to start anew with nothing, far away from home.

The number of Syrians who fled the country since the civil war began almost two years ago reached 1 million on Wednesday, the U.N. refugee agency said.

That number represents about 5% of Syria's total population, with an average of almost 1,400 refugees spilling across the border daily.

It's like the entire population of Prague, Czech Republic, walking away.

"With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said. "This tragedy has to be stopped."

CNN's Nick Paton Wals reports more on the refugee crisis on "Early Start" today.

READ MORE: U.N.: Syrian exodus reaches 1 million

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Filed under: Refugees • Syria