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Israel Approves More Settlement Homes in East Jerusalem

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 19:35
Israel on Wednesday approved construction of nearly 200 new homes in a Jewish housing development of east Jerusalem, pushing ahead with a recent spike of settlement construction. The decision by Jerusalem city officials followed last week's approval to move forward with roughly 3,000 new homes in the West Bank. A senior Cabinet minister meanwhile said government officials are set to advance a plan that would make a group of West Bank settlements part of greater Jerusalem. The spate...
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Austerity to Hit Jordan as Debt Spikes, Economy Slows

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 19:29
Jordan's high and rising public debt has worried the International Monetary Fund and prompted a downgrade from Standard & Poor's. So the government is planning a blast of austerity by year-end. Tax hikes and subsidy cuts —- likely to be highly unpopular —- are on the agenda as the country's debt to GDP ratio has reached a record 95 percent, from 71 percent in 2011. "Postponing problems might increase the popularity of the government but would be a crime against the...
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Libyan Soldiers Killed in Suspected Islamist Militant Attack

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 18:32
Suspected Islamist militants attacked a military checkpoint in northeastern Libya on Wednesday, killing two soldiers and wounding three, residents and officials said. A witness said that about a dozen armed vehicles had been used in the dawn assault ont a checkpoint, 60 km (37 miles) south of the city of Ajdabiya, run by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA). The attackers set fire to the checkpoint and one of the victims was burned inside his car, said Mustafa Boufjara, a...
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Qatari Exec Set to Meet Investigators in FIFA Bribery Case

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 13:48
Qatari soccer and television executive Nasser al-Khelaifi was scheduled to be questioned by Swiss investigators who allege he bribed a top FIFA official in World Cup broadcasting rights deal.   Al-Khelaifi, the Paris Saint-Germain president, was set to meet with Switzerland's federal prosecutors on Wednesday, two weeks after they revealed criminal proceedings against him.   He denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.   As CEO of BeIN Media Group — formerly Al...
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Iraqi Kurds Propose Setting Aside Referendum, Starting Dialogue

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:23
The government in Iraq's Kurdistan region offered Wednesday to freeze the results of an independence referendum and start dialogue with the central government in Baghdad in order to prevent any further violence between the two sides. Last week, Iraqi forces seized the city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas held by the Kurds in response to the referendum, which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government declared illegal. The Kurdistan Regional Government's statement said...
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Trump Resumes Refugee Admissions into US, but with Greater Restrictions

Voice of America - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 07:55
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order resuming the admission of refugees into the country, but imposed tougher scrutiny on nationals from 11 countries identified as posing a high risk to national security. The new order was issued Tuesday as an earlier order that imposed a 120-day ban on refugee admissions expired. All refugees hoping to enter the United States will face additional, enhanced vetting measures, such as providing additional biographical information than...
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John McCain: We Need a Strategy for the Middle East

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 03:15
We can start by supporting our allies.
Categories: Iraq

Enmity Between Baghdad and Kurds Erupts in Deadly Clashes

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 02:50
Both sides claim that they were attacked, and the Kurdish regional government says it expects a fresh Iraqi assault.
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US to Intensify Refugee Screening, as Partial Ban Expires

Voice of America - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 22:00
A four-month review of the U.S. refugee program mandated by President Donald Trump ends Tuesday, but with new vetting measures on the horizon. The State Department and Department of Homeland Security have yet to announce the details of the new screening measures. However, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the government will require additional biographical data and a more extensive review of refugees' social media accounts prior to their acceptance. Reuters reports...
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Russia Vetoes UN Resolution to Extend Syria Gas Attacks Probe

Voice of America - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 21:30
Russia used its U.N. veto Tuesday to block a resolution extending the mandate of the investigators probing chemical weapons attacks in Syria. In a Security Council vote, 11 countries supported extending the mission for another year, while Russia and Bolivia voted against the measure, and China and Kazakhstan abstained. The investigating team, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism or JIM, is expected to make public a report on Thursday that could identify the party responsible for...
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Aid Group Halts Sea Rescues in Mediterranean

Voice of America - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 20:37
The international aid group Save the Children is suspending its efforts to rescue migrants making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing from Libya. Tuesday, the organization said the combination of falling numbers of crossings and worsening security forced it to stop sending its ship, the Vos Hestia, out from its port in Italy. Save the Children said the ship rescued as many as 10,000 migrants over the past year after the smugglers’ vessels they were in foundered at sea. The...
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More Than 130 Somali Refugees Repatriated from Yemen

Voice of America - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 19:58
In a joint operation funded by the United States, the U.N. migration and refugee agencies have repatriated 134 Somali refugees from war-torn Yemen. A refugee boat carrying 73 men and women and 61 children left the Yemeni port of Aden on Monday and is to arrive Tuesday at the Somali port of Berbera. It is the third voluntary return of Somalis organized by the International Organization for Migration and U.N. refugee agency since September. IOM spokesman Joel Millman said some previous...
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Iraqi Kurd Elections Postponed for 8 Months

Voice of America - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 19:37
Elections for president and parliament in Iraq’s Kurdistan will be delayed for eight months after political parties failed to present candidates, the regional parliament said Tuesday. The vote was previously set to take place November 1, following a September independence referendum in which a vast majority of Kurds voted “yes.” The Iraqi government strongly opposed the referendum vote and sent troops last week into several Kurdish-held territories to seize back control for the central...
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Maryland Bans State Business with Companies Boycotting Israel

Voice of America - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 03:49
Maryland is the latest state to prohibit official business with companies boycotting Israel. Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order Monday after the Democratic-led state legislature filed to pass a bill spelling out the policy. "Boycotts based on religion, national origin, place of residence or ethnicity are discriminatory," Hogan said. "Contracting with businesses that practice discrimination would make the state a passive participant in...
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IS Assassinates 128 Civilians Before Leaving Strategic Town in Central Syria

Voice of America - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 02:06
Dozens of civilians were found dead in the streets of Al-Qaryatayn town after IS withdrew from the town on Saturday, after 22 days of fighting with the Syrian regime. Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on its official webpage that at least 128 civilians were assassinated mainly by Islamic State — 83 were killed in the last 48 hours of IS taking control of the town. The Observatory added that 12 civilians were killed by the Syrian regime...
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Iraqi Shi'ite Leader Meets with Jordan King in Rare Visit

Voice of America - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 23:28
Jordan's king met Monday with an influential Iraqi Shi'ite leader, as the United States stepped up efforts to contain the influence of Shi'ite-led Iran in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally and leader of the region's camp of Sunni Muslim states that also includes Jordan, is concerned about the influence of its regional rival Iran in Iraq.   Iran has backed Shiite militias fighting against the Islamic State group in Iraq.   On Monday, Jordan's King...
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Pence Honors Memory of Marines Killed in 1983 Beirut Bombing

Voice of America - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 23:12
Vice President Mike Pence is honoring the memory of 241 U.S. service members who were killed in the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. Pence and White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster paid tribute Monday to the service members, including 220 Marines, on the anniversary of the truck bombing.   The vice president pledged that under President Donald Trump's leadership, "we will drive the cancer of terrorism from the face of the earth."...
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Turkish Sources: Iraq PM to Visit Turkey on Wednesday

Voice of America - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 18:41
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will visit Turkey on Wednesday to discuss potential joint steps against northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government following last month's independence referendum, Turkish prime ministry sources said. Abadi and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim would also discuss issues of regional security, stability and peace, the sources said on Monday. Last week, Turkey said it would close its air space to Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region...
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Israel's Water Worries Return After 4 Years of Drought

Voice of America - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 18:22
It was a source of national pride — technology and discipline besting a crippling lack of water. But four years of drought have overtaxed Israel's unmatched array of desalination and wastewater treatment plants, choking its most fertile regions and catching the government off-guard. "No one imagined we would face a sequence of arid years like this, because it never happened before," said Uri Schor, spokesman for Israel's Water Authority. The Sea of Galilee,...
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Tillerson Makes Unannounced Visit to Iraq, Afghanistan

Voice of America - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 15:58
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting Pakistan on Tuesday to meet with leaders and reinforce the Trump administration's message that they need to take more action against the Taliban and other militant groups based in the country. "Pakistan needs to, I think, take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they're confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organizations that find safe have inside of Pakistan," Tillerson said during an earlier stop in...
Categories: Iraq