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Jdeidet Yabus (Syria) (AFP) - A group of nuns kidnapped by Islamist rebels in Syria were freed on Monday in a rare prisoner swap in a three-year war whose brutality was highlighted in a new Amnesty report. Jihadists seized the 13 nuns and three maids on December 3 from the Christian village of Maalula, north of Damascus, where residents still speak a version of the Aramaic language of Jesus Christ. The women, who arrived in the early hours at the government-held town of Jdeidet Yabus near the border with Lebanon, were exhausted but praised those who negotiated their release. She thanked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, a leading supporter of the opposition, as well as Lebanon's General Security agency director Abbas Ibrahim, who mediated the exchange.
BRUSSELS (AP) — European finance ministers tried Monday to agree on how to set up a joint authority that can restructure or shut down failing banks. A deal, they say, would be the final step in their effort to create a banking union that would stabilize the financial system.