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Foreign Report: Visits to Syria's World Heritage sites limited

Also: Philippines, Costa Concordia, Mexico, Peru, the Netherlands' Eleven Cities race.

February 12, 2012

1. The closure of the U.S. Embassyin Syria and ongoing violence will limit visits to and may endanger the country's six UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Damascus and Bosra. Poland "will serve as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Syria," the State Department said.

2. The State Department's renewed travel warning for the Philippines cites Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago as special danger spots but says any gathering place, such as an airport or mall, could be a terrorist target.

3. Authorities are so concerned that looters will try to recover some of the jewels and art from the Costa Concordia, which ran aground last month off Giglio, Italy, that a decree now states no unauthorized person can come within a nautical mile of the wrecked ship.

4. A missionary couple was strangled in their home in Santiago, Nuevo Leon. They were originally from Amarillo, Texas, but had spent about three decades in Mexico. He was a Baptist preacher. They are the second pair of missionaries to have been killed in Mexico in the last 13 months.

5. Peruvians are trying to keep the Mashco-Piro Amazonian Indians away from outsiders, including environmental tourists. The tribe, which lives in Manu National Park, is one of about 100 "uncontacted" groups in the world.

6. If the weather cooperates, the Dutch may be able to hold the Eleven Cities speedskating race along 125 miles of canals. Thousands participate, and more than a million people watch. The race has been staged only 15 times, the last in 1997.

Source: State Department, Associated Press and Los Angeles Times

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