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Iraq

IAEA Chief: Iran Living Up to Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 03:41
The head of the United Nations atomic agency on Sunday said Iran was carrying out its commitments made under a landmark nuclear deal with world powers. "As of today, I can state that the nuclear-related commitments made by Iran under the JCPOA (nuclear deal) are being implemented," Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said at a Tehran press conference broadcast by state television. The announcement comes on the heels of a dispute between...
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Mass Grave Uncovered Near Libya’s Benghazi

Voice of America - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 02:57
A mass grave with at least 36 bodies has been uncovered near Benghazi in Libya. The victims appear to have been executed, but it is unclear who they are. One report says some of the bodies were dressed in business suits while others were wearing athletic clothes. Ghassan Salame, the head of United Nations mission in Libya, said in a statement he was "appalled by this heinous crime" and called for an investigation and greater accountability for cases of this nature. Both of...
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Saudi Arabia to Open Sports Stadiums to Women in Reform Push

Voice of America - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 02:37
Starting next year, Saudi women will be able to attend sports events at three stadiums across the country, as part of the kingdom's efforts to improve women's rights. Last month hundreds of women were allowed to enter a sports stadium in Riyadh, used mostly for football matches, in a one-off event to celebrate Saudi Arabia's national day. On Sunday, the General Sports Authority announced on social media that it was "starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh,...
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Saudi FM Says Iran Major Obstacle to Peace Efforts in Yemen

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 22:14
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says Iran’s hostile policy is the major obstacle to solving the crisis in Yemen, where Riyadh is leading a military alliance against Iran-aligned Houthi militant forces. Adel al-Jubeir accused Iran of interfering in Yemen and providing arms to the Shi’ite Houthi rebels. “Iran provides weapons to Houthi and [supporters of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah] Saleh,” al-Jubeir said Sunday at the opening of a conference of foreign ministers and chiefs...
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Iraqi Kurds Storm Parliament After Leader Steps Down

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 18:34
Protesters in Irbil stormed the parliament building Sunday after Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani announced he is stepping down as president of the self-ruled northern Kurdish region. Angry Kurds attacked members of parliament and journalists inside the building, while a crowd outside waved Kurdish flags in support of Barzani. In a televised speech, Barzani announced his resignation as of November 1. He asked parliament to dissolve the position of the president and distribute its...
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Aid Group Says Iraq Fighting Threatens Access to Syria

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 16:19
Doctors Without Borders said Sunday that fighting between Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters near the border threatens the delivery of humanitarian aid to half a million newly displaced civilians in northeastern Syria. The medical charity, also known as MSF, said it is "extremely concerned" because the fighting threatens its only cross-border supply routes between the two countries.   Scattered clashes have erupted in recent weeks as Iraqi forces have retaken...
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Iran Says It Foils Plot Involving Tomb of Cyrus the Great

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 15:14
Iran said Sunday it has foiled an online plot led by foreigners to spark dissent involving the tomb of Cyrus the Great on the day that many mark the birth of the Persian king by gathering at his grave.   The Iranian judiciary's news agency Mizan reported that the Intelligence Ministry disrupted plans for an "illegal gathering" in Pasargad, some 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Tehran.   Roads to the area have been shut down over what authorities earlier...
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Under US Pressure, Israel Delays Move to Expand Jerusalem

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 14:24
Under pressure from the United States, Israel has delayed a bill that would connect a number of West Bank settlements to Jerusalem, officials said Sunday.   The bill aims to solidify the city's Jewish majority, but stops short of formal annexation, making the practical implications unclear. The bill says the communities would be considered "daughter municipalities" of Jerusalem.   The Palestinians claim both east Jerusalem and the West Bank, territories captured...
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Analysis: For Economic Reforms, Saudi Prince Needs ‘Moderate Islam’

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 09:46
The man who may soon be king of Saudi Arabia is charting a new, more modern course for a country so conservative that for decades there were no concerts or film screenings and women who attempted to drive were arrested. Since catapulting to power with the support of his father, the king, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed changes that could usher in a new era for one of the United States’ most important allies and swing the kingdom away from decades of ultraconservative dogma and...
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Egypt Triggers Major Security Shake-up a Week After Ambush

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 02:13
Egypt launched a major shake-up of its security services Saturday in an apparent reaction to an ambush by militants outside Cairo last week that killed at least 16 police troopers. President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi replaced his armed forces chief of staff, while the Interior Ministry, in charge of police, dismissed the head of national security, a handful of generals and a dozen senior leaders responsible for the area where the deadly shootout occurred. The move was not unexpected after...
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UN Nuclear Chief To Visit Iran

Voice of America - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 01:19
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog is due to visit Iran Sunday for talks with senior officials there, as opposition from the United States threatens to undermine a landmark international agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program. Yukiya Amano, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), "will focus on the IAEA's verification and monitoring of Iran's implementation" of the 2015 accord, the IAEA said Wednesday. The visit comes...
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Iraq's Kurdish Parliament to Redistribute Powers From Barzani

Voice of America - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 23:07
The Iraqi Kurdish parliament will meet Sunday to redistribute powers away from President Massoud Barzani, who is under pressure to step down following an independence referendum last month. The parliament had already decided to halt Barzani's governmental activities and, on Saturday, said it would read out a statement from Barzani during the upcoming meeting. Despite securing an overwhelming "yes" vote in the independence referendum, Barzani finds himself in a tough...
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Ankara Mayor Resigns as Turkish President Continues Purge

Voice of America - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 19:53
The long-serving mayor of the Turkish capital, Ankara, has resigned after pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the last few weeks, Erdogan has forced out of office six mayors belonging to his ruling AKP party as part of efforts to revitalize the party ahead of looming elections. Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek's resignation followed weeks of intense pressure by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, culminating in the president publicly warning the mayor of severe consequences if he...
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Syria Rejects Report Blaming it for Chemical Weapons Attack

Voice of America - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 16:56
Syria's government has categorically rejected a report by experts from the U.N. and the chemical weapons watchdog blaming its government for a sarin nerve gas attack that killed over 90 people last spring. In a statement Saturday, it says the report was a result of U.S. instructions to exert more political pressure on Syria, describing it as a "forgery." "This report and the one that preceded it are falsifications of the truth," said the statement. The attack...
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Deliberate Starvation of Civilians in Syria Could Be War Crime

Voice of America - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 14:25
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein accuses the Syrian government of denying food and medical supplies to hundreds of thousands of civilians besieged in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.  Eastern Ghouta has been under siege by Syrian Government forces for more than four years.  At least 350,000 civilians are trapped there without access to life-saving aid.   UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein calls the...
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Trump Administration Shifts Persecuted Minority Aid Away From United Nations

Voice of America - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 07:51
The Trump administration announced a shift Wednesday in foreign aid funding for persecuted minorities. Vice President Pence told a global assembly of Christians the U.S. would instruct the State Department to stop funding United Nations programs for persecuted minorities, instead providing funding through USAID and other faith-based NGOs. VOA's Katherine Gypson reports from Washington on the consequences of the administration's decision.
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Gulf Coalition, Media Accuse Qatar of Shuttling IS Militants to Libya

Voice of America - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 00:24
Arab media accused Qatar this week of helping to transport Islamic State militants from Syria and Iraq to the south of Libya. The allegations were the latest in a series made against the Gulf emirate by a coalition of countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The coalition imposed sanctions against Doha in June for allegedly supporting terrorists. Following the accusations, the emirate's relations with some of Libya's neighbors deteriorated....
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US Backtracks on Iraqi, Kurd Cease-fire Claim

Voice of America - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 20:35
The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State announced Friday morning a cease-fire between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Northern Iraq, but quickly backtracked on the claim, saying it is not an “official” cease-fire. Army spokesman Ryan Dillon posted a clarification on Twitter to say “both parties (are) talking with one another,” but that a “cease-fire” had not been reached. ​     The Iraqi military and the Kurdish minority have been clashing...
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12 Suspected Militants Killed in Egypt

Voice of America - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 15:38
Egypt's state news agency MENA says security forces have killed 12 armed militants in the country's western desert. No police were killed in the incident Friday. MENA reported that an anonymous security source said, "Security forces dealt a severe blow to the terrorist elements in revenge for the blood of the men who were martyred last week..." The shootout happened about 175 kilometers southwest of Cairo, near the location of last week's deadly attack on...
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Migrants Stranded on Greek Isles Facing Mental Health Crisis

Voice of America - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 09:43
More than 10,000 mainly Syrian refugees who escaped fighting in their country are living on five Greek islands. About 2,500 of them are crowded into camps on the island of Samos, even though there is only room for about 800. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports aid groups say there is a growing mental health crisis among those refugees.
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