Deborah Amos

For the Aldabaans, a Syrian refugee family, the path to the American Dream has begun with mortgage on a house in suburban Connecticut — one with a grassy backyard and room for bikes and birds.

Adeebah and Ibrahim, parents of five school-aged children, work while their kids — who now speak English — attend school. The oldest two, Naji, 19, and Ammal, 18, are seniors in high school and making plans for college.

Their travels to this reality, though, have not been easy ones.

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It is remembered as one of the great atrocities of El Salvador's 12-year civil war. In 1989, a Salvadoran military battalion raided a private Jesuit university before dawn and executed six priests, their cook and her teenage daughter.

One of those killed, university rector Ignacio Ellacuría, had promoted dialogue between the U.S.-backed right-wing government and leftist guerrillas in the country's civil war. He and four of the other slain priests were Spanish citizens.

A divided United Nations Security Council approved a resolution on Saturday to allow just one border crossing — instead of the current two — to remain open for U.N. aid convoys into Syria, dealing another blow to a humanitarian assistance program for millions of displaced people.

The outcome alarmed aid groups struggling to help those trapped and in danger in the nine-year civil war.

Editor's note: This story contains a graphic description of an alleged sexual assault.

It was a chilling description of torture in an infamous Syrian prison: "There were screams, they weren't normal," Syrian witness Feras Fayyad said in court. "I was very afraid."

Fayyad, 35, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, was the first witness to testify in a trial in Germany against a Syrian intelligence officer whom he alleges nearly killed him in a Damascus detention center in 2011.

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One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the coronavirus is that many patients die alone. Hospice is designed to provide gentle end-of-life care, so the hospice field is working to adjust to the pandemic. NPR's Deborah Amos reports.

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An unprecedented trial begins in Germany on Thursday. A former high-ranking Syrian intelligence officer, charged with crimes against humanity, will face Syrian torture survivors in a courtroom in the western German city of Koblenz.

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A "talking" dog, a wiry 13-year-old Schnauzer, has become a pandemic hero since the canine made her first appearance on Facebook last week. She's very funny.

Pluto and her human, Nancie Wight, have been churning out viral videos with advice on hair trims, how to do without toilet paper, how to find snacks and how to stay cheery at home.

The dog looks straight into the camera and her mouth seems to move (with the help of a video program) and a high voice appears to come out of it.

Canada is conducting a massive airlift, bringing thousands home at no cost in cooperation with Canada's commercial airlines. As domestic routes are cut back, repatriation flights are increasing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a live broadcast on Monday.

Earlier this week, President Trump tweeted that the U.S. "will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic."

In Lebanon, cyberspace is the new battle ground between protesters and the security services that have increased measures to curb dissent, intimidating and arresting government critics for online speech.

Since October, Lebanese citizens have gathered to protest around the country, uniting across party and sectarian lines against an entrenched political oligarchy that protesters say has made fortunes mostly from government funds at the expense of the country.

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Like many Lebanese, Jesuit priest Gabriel Khairallah has been on the front lines of anti-government protests for more than three months.

"I mean, what am I doing on the front? I am against corruption and seeking social justice, and the same for the doctors," he says.

He's done much more than protest on the streets — in recent weeks, he also opened a low-cost medical clinic in the annex of Beirut's St. Joseph Church.

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Omar Alshogre can remember every detail of his torture in Syrian jails: the electric shocks, the brutal beatings, the rancid food and open wounds, the days he was suspended by his wrists from the ceiling for hours, then returned to a crammed cell where sleep was only possible in shifts.

Sometimes the torture consisted of forcing him to listen. "They put us in the corridor just to hear the torture, and this guy is saying, 'Please kill me. I can tell you whatever you want. Stop or kill me,' " he recalls.

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Germany's government has been headed by a woman, Chancellor Angela Merkel, for 14 years. Another German woman, Ursula von der Leyen, recently was chosen to lead the European Commission, the first woman to hold the job. But there is a gap when it comes to women in powerful positions in the German workplace.

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The assassination last month in Germany of a popular pro-migrant politician has raised alarm about a growing threat of right-wing terrorism. It was the first political assassination by the extreme right since the Nazi regime, and it has shaken the country.

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