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U.S. and Turkey make plans for Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees sit in front of a derelict building in Haci Bayram neighborhood in Ankara, Turkey, July 27, 2015 (Credit: AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)While the deal hasn't been finalized and only tentative parameters are currently known, reports emerged Monday that the United States and Turkey are on the path to a deal that, as Karen DeYoung and Liz Sly describe, "is expected to significantly increase the scope and pace of the U.S.-led air war against the Islamic State in northern Syria." The goal is to clear out a roughly 68-mile-long area on Syria's northern border, just west of the Euphrates River and extending into the province of Aleppo. Once established, it would be controlled by Syrian opposition forces, though the two nations have yet to agree on which of the groups is best suited for the job.

The ultimate goal is for the land to become a safe zone for Syrian refugees, though the U.S. has not gone so far as to promise that level of protection. There have been in excess of 2 million people that have sought refuge from Syria's civil war and ISIS attacks in Turkey. The new region would allow many of them to return to their homeland and, as a result, would greatly reduce the burden Turkey has faced due to the flood of refugees that have crossed its borders.

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U.S. reopens embassy in Cuba

Cuban Lazaro Cudilleiro holds a banner in front of the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba, July 20, 2015 (Credit: AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)The U.S. Embassy in Havana re-opened for the first time since 1961 on Monday, though the official celebration will not happen until Secretary of State John Kerry visits towards the end of the summer. Negotiations between the two countries have been ongoing for nearly two years now and many think that several more years will need to pass before the United States and Cuba truly begin to trust each other once again. However, the presence of an American embassy in the once closed island nation gives both sides hope that the progress can continue.

That said, there are still many questions to be answered. The United States trade embargo on Cuba is still in effect and economic healing cannot begin in earnest until it's lifted. Even when the embargo stops, many wonder what practical impact it will have in the lives of ordinary Cubans.

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El Chapo escapes prison: a problem fueled by addiction

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican navy marines at a navy hanger in Mexico City, February 22, 2014 (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, understood kings to be slaves of history. Confined to tradition and limited because of circumstances, Tolstoy believed these leaders can learn from the historical past or painfully repeat it. Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán escaped from a maximum-security prison on Saturday night, leaving officials scrambling, his family rejoicing, and tragically repeating history.

Albeit in a different fashion this go round, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel allegedly stepped into a shower, crawled through a hole, and vanished through a mile-long tunnel built just for him. In his previous escape in 2001, "El Chapo," which translates as 'Shorty', hid in a laundry cart and was transported out of the prison into freedom. That is, until officials caught up with him in 2013 while he was lounging at a beach resort.

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