SYRIA

Heritage sites damaged by war

Syria has seen damage to hundreds of historically significant cultural heritage sites since the outbreak of war three years ago, according to a new report released this week by the United Nations. The study finds that 290 culturally important areas in the Middle Eastern country have sustained damage or have been destroyed.

The U.N. said that the report was based on satellite analysis that started in June and that the city of Aleppo could be "one of the worst affected metropolitan areas nationwide." The study team also relied on a large number of reports and media from inside Syria, as well as videos on YouTube, to help pinpoint exact locations.

"It is very difficult . . . to gather evidence and information through traditional means," the report said, citing terrorist control. - L.A. Times
HONG KONG

Spilled cash returned

Hong Kongers who thought Christmas came a day early have returned about half the $15 million that rained down on a city street from a passing security van. About $6 million ($773,186 U.S.) of the cash has been returned by people who picked it up, a police spokeswoman said Friday. Taxi drivers, passengers, and pedestrians can be seen in footage posted to YouTube snatching up bills. - Bloomberg
HAITI

Premier nominee

President Michel Martelly nominated a former mayor of Port-Au-Prince to be the next prime minister as he sought to break an impasse over a new election law. Evans Paul, who was elected mayor in 1990 and ran for president in 2006, was tapped to replace Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, who resigned this month amid a dispute over a law that opponents say would give the president excessive influence over elections. - Bloomberg