• Syrian foreign ministry spokesman defects: regional diplomatic source

    Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi has defected from President Bashar al-Assad's government and has left the country, a regional diplomatic source said on Monday.

    "All I can say is that he is out of Syria," the source, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.

    Lebanon's al-Manar Television said earlier that Makdissi had been sacked for making statements which did not reflect official positions.

    (Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Pravin Char)
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Church can't be 'museum of memories', pope tells synod

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis told a key Roman Catholic meeting on family issues on Monday that the Church should not be a hidebound "museum of memories" but have the courage to change if that was what God wanted.