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Who was Omar Sharif? Google honors 'Lawrence of Arabia' actor

In honor of what would have been famed Egyptian actor Omar Sharif’s 86th birthdayGoogle featured a dashing illustration of “The Noble” on its home page.

>> Read more trending news

On this day in 1932, Sharif was born Michel Demitri Shalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt, to a Lebanese family of Melkite Catholic descent.

It wasn’t until 1955, when he converted to Islam, that he changed his name to Omar Sharif, a surname that translates to “noble” or “nobleman” in Arabic. 

Before becoming an Egyptian and Hollywood actor and playing the iconic role of Arab warrior Sherif Ali in the 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” Sharif worked for his father’s lumber company. 

According to Al Jazeera, Sharif also attended Cairo University and graduated with a degree in mathematics and physics. He left the family lumber business to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

He married Egyptian actress Faten Hamama in 1955, soon after converting to Islam, but the pair divorced in 1974.

After being nominated for an Oscar for his role in the Hollywood hit “Lawrence of Arabia,” Sharif went on to gain international fame, scoring roles as a king of Armenia in “The Fall of the Roman Empire” (1964), a Mongol leader in “Genghis Khan” (1965) and a Russian doctor in “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) among others.

He also earned two Golden Globes and a UNESCO Einstein medal, an acknowledgement of his contributions to cultural diversity, Google wrote in its doodle blog.

At one point, Sharif even ranked among the world's top contract bridge players and co-wrote a syndicated column on the game for the Chicago Tribune.

But according to Al Jazeera, “international recognition came at a hefty personal price.” In an interview with The Associated Press in 2003, he said the global fame “separated me from my wife, from my family ... We didn't see each other any more and that was it, the end of our wedding. I might have been happier having stayed an Egyptian film star."

Sharif, 83, died of a heart attack in Cairo, Egypt, on July 10, 2015. His ex-wife, Hamama, had died six months earlier.

More at

Arizona couple killed in Ireland when horse-drawn carriage crashes

An Arizona couple was killed on a historic road in Ireland on Monday when a horse pulling their carriage bolted and the vehicle fell into a rocky ravine, The Irish Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

Rosalyn Few, 64, of Phoenix, and Norman Larose, also in his 60s, were riding in the horse-drawn carriage along the scenic Gap of Dunloe near Killarney, the Irish Examiner reported. 

“It’s a very sad tragedy, we don’t know why the horse and car went off the road at that point, but all aspects will be looked at to determine that,” Killarney Garda Superintendent Flor Murphy told Kerry Today.

The driver of the carriage survived the fall into the ravine, which has been reported to have been a drop between 12 and 20 feet. The horse, which was injured, was euthanized, the New York Daily News reported.

The company that runs the carriage services was closed Tuesday, the Irish Examiner reported.

Gerry Christie, of Kerry Mountain Rescue, told Kerry Today it took an hour to retrieve the bodies of the two tourists.

“We’re used to watching happy tourists. This was a tough one. It is tough on the whole community,” Christie said. “This casts a huge cloud over things.

“It does cast a shadow in the Gap, but it casts a big shadow somewhere else in the world today.”

Trump vowing to ‘forcefully’ respond to chemical attack in Syria: 5 things to know

Update Apr 9, 2018 7:30 PM EDT: President Donald Trump is vowing to “forcefully” respond to the chemical attack in Syria that left at least 40 people dead.

“It will be met and it will be met forcefully,” Trump said.

“We are getting clarity on that, on who was responsible, Trump said at a press availability at the White House late Monday afternoon ahead of a meeting with his military leaders.

“We have a lot of options militarily,” the president said.

(Previous story)

A missile strike on a Syrian air base left at least 14 dead Monday, just days after a suspected chemical attack on Douma, a rebel-held town, killed at least 40 people.

>> What is a Tomahawk cruise missile and what does it do?

Here's what we know so far:

1. President Donald Trump has not ruled out the possibility of U.S. military action in response to Saturday’s suspected chemical attack.

Trump said Monday that that he will decide how to respond within the next "24 to 48 hours.”

“Nothing is off the table,” he said. “We’re talking about humanity, and it can’t be allowed to happen.”

The president took to Twitter on Sunday to blame Syrian President Bashar Assad for the alleged chemical attack. Trump also pointed fingers at Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran and former U.S. President Barack Obama. 

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria," Trump tweeted Sunday morning. "Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

Trump later added: "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

>> What is sarin nerve gas?

2. The Syrian and Russian governments denied the claims. According to The New York Times, "state news media in Syria denied that government forces had used chemical weapons and accused the Islamist rebel group that controls Douma, the Army of Islam, of fabricating the videos to solicit international support as defeat loomed."

The Russian government shared that position.

"Information attacks about the use of chlorine or other poisonous substances by the Syrian government troops are continuing. Another such hoax about the chemical attack that supposedly took place in Douma emerged yesterday," the statement said, according to CNN.

"We have warned of such dangerous provocations many times before. The purpose of these false conjectures, which are without any basis, is to shield the terrorists and the irreconcilable radical opposition, which reject a political settlement while trying to justify possible military strikes from outside."

>> Read more trending news 

3. The U.S. said it was not behind the deadly missile strike on Syria's T4 air base. "At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria. However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable," the Pentagon said in a statement, according to CNN

The statement came as Syrian state media said the airstrike was probably "an American aggression," The Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that Israel had fired the missiles.

4. The United Nations Security Council is meeting Monday about the suspected chemical attack. “The Security Council has to come together and demand immediate access for first responders, support an independent investigation into what happened, and hold accountable those responsible for this atrocious act,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said in a statement.

>> ONE YEAR AGO: US fires more than 50 cruise missiles into Syria

5. The latest developments in Syria come about a year after a chemical attack there reportedly killed at least 80 people in Khan Sheikhun. According to CNN, the U.S. launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles at Syria's Shayrat air base in response to the April 4 attack.

German police foil knife attack plan at Berlin half-marathon

German police said they thwarted a plan to attack participants and spectators at Sunday’s half-marathon in Berlin, the BBC reported Sunday.

>> Read more trending news

Police said six men were arrested for planning to carry out “a violent crime.” Die Welt newspaper reported that one man who was detained planned to mount a deadly knife attack during the race in the German capital.

The men had suspected links to Anis Amri, a Tunisian man who killed 12 people in Berlin during a truck attack in December 2016, the newspaper reported. Amri was shot to death several days later in Milan, Italy.

Sunday, German police said the men detained ranged in age from 18 to 21, but declined to provide further details.

More than 30,000 athletes participated in Sunday’s Berlin Half Marathon. Kenya’s Erick Kiptanui won the men’s race in 58 minuted, 42 seconds, while Ethiopia’s Melat Kejeta won the women’s race in 69:04.

>> German van attack: 2 killed, 20 hurt before driver kills self

Sunday’s arrests come a day after two people were killed and 20 were injured when a van was driven into an outdoor seating area of a restaurant in Muenster, Germany.

Germany van attack: 2 dead, 20 hurt before driver kills self, police say

A vehicle struck a crowd of people in the German town of Muenster Saturday afternoon, killing at least two people and injuring others.

The driver involved in the incident killed himself, according to local law enforcement officials. 

>> Read more trending news 

Former South Korean president Park gets 24-year sentence

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was found guilty of multiple counts of abuse of power and corruption Friday and was sentenced to 24 years in prison, Reuters reported. 

>> Read more trending news

“The president abused the power which was given to her by the citizens," the judge said.

Park was found guilty of 16 of the 18 charges against her and also was fined $18 billion Won ($16.9 million), CNN reported. She became the first democratically elected leader ousted from office and then was arrested in March 2017 when the Constitutional Court ruled against her in a scandal that also sent the leaders of two conglomerates to prison, Reuters reported.

Prosecutors sought a 30-year sentence for Park, CNN reported.

Park was South Korea's first female president and the daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee.

Parents find long-lost daughter after 24-year search

A couple in southwest China recently found their missing daughter after searching for 24 years.

>> Watch the video here

According to the BBC, Wang Mingqing and Liu Dengying of Chengdu lost their 3-year-old daughter, Qifeng, in 1994 after Wang left the family's fruit stand to get some change. Although the parents launched what would become a decades-long search, buying newspaper ads, posting descriptions online and scouring the city, police could not find the girl.

>> Read more trending news 

But things started to change in 2015, when Wang started working as a taxi driver to expand his search. He put a sign on his car and handed out flyers to his passengers. Chinese media outlets learned of his efforts and shared his story. 

Two years later, a police sketch artist who had heard about Wang's search drew an age-progressed picture of Qifeng. Last month, 27-year-old Kang Ying, who lives 1,700 miles away in the northeastern province of Jilin, saw the image and thought it looked a lot like her, the Global Times reported. Kang, who was adopted and grew up just 12 miles from Chengdu, tracked down Wang on social media and took a DNA test, which confirmed that she was his missing daughter.

>> Read more trending news 

The family had an emotional reunion Tuesday in Chengdu.

"The whole world told me I didn't have a mother, but I do," Kang told thecover.cnaccording to the BBC.

And Wang was finally able to give his daughter a hug again.

"Daddy loves you," he said.

French mayor's April Fools' Day joke about Ikea backfires 

The mayor of a French city apologized after posting an April Fools’ Day joke on social media about furniture giant Ikea coming to her town, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news

Beauvais Mayor Caroline Cayeux posted on Facebook and Twitter to announce the arrival of a new superstore that would create 4,000 new jobs, and many of the city’s residents believed her "great news.”

Hours later, Cayeux confessed that the news was untrue and apologized for a “not very wise joke,” the BBC reported.

Cayeux told French media she regretted that her sense of humor “was not shared by everyone.” She wrote on her Facebook page that her message had been intended to "attract the attention of potential investors, including Ikea," adding that she had "too much respect" to mock people out of work.

Social media users did not buy the apology. One Twitter user wrote, "We will all vote for you in the next election ... April Fool's," the BBC reported.

Pippa Middleton's father-in-law arrested, charged with raping a minor

The millionaire father-in-law of "almost royal" Pippa Middleton, sister of Britain's Duchess Catherine, has been charged with raping a minor.

>> Pippa Middleton marries James Matthews in 'almost royal' wedding

According to the Daily Beast, 74-year-old David Matthews — whose son, James, is married to Middleton — was arrested in Paris last week and charged with "rape of a minor by a person having authority over her." He was questioned and released but is "under formal investigation by a magistrate," the Telegraph reported.

The alleged victim reported the incident, which reportedly occurred in 1998 or 1999, last year, according to the Telegraph.

>> Read more trending news 

Matthews has denied the allegations, the Telegraph reported. Representatives for the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, have not commented.

Read more here or here.

Photos: Pope Francis leads Easter Mass at the Vatican

Tens of thousands of faithful entered St. Peter’s Square to participate in Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on April 1, 2018.

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