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Bouteflika Will Not Seek 5th Term as Algeria's President

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 21:00
Algeria's presidency said Monday that longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika will not seek a fifth term as president, despite filing the paperwork to do so last week. The presidency also announced that elections, initially scheduled for April 18, will be postponed. Algerian media also reported that Bouteflika has named Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui as the country's new prime minister and charged him with forming a new government. Bedoui will replace Prime Minister Ahmed...
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Syria Camp in Crisis as Forces Attack Last IS Stronghold

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 19:46
“I pray my children will follow their father’s path,” said Intesar Mohammed, surrounded by three of her four children in a muddy, trash-strewn tent in northern Syria.   Her husband was an Islamic State militant who was killed in 2018. Her fourth child is being held by security forces, accused of being a militant himself.   Internationally-backed Syrian forces are in the throes of what they believe is their last battle to take back IS territories in Syria, declaring on...
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Israeli Court Sentences Soldiers for Abusing Palestinians

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 18:01
Three Israeli soldiers charged with abusing Palestinian detainees have been sentenced to six and a half months in prison under a plea deal with a military court. The court approved the plea bargain late Sunday after the soldiers confessed to severely abusing two Palestinian suspects. The agreement, which avoided more serious assault charges, calls for the soldiers to serve 190 days in prison followed by probation, and demotes the soldiers in rank. The defense welcomed the plea deal,...
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Restive Algeria Awaits Decisive Move From Returned President

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 17:27
Algerian teenagers and lawyers held protests Monday, and workers held scattered walkouts, as their tense nation waits to see whether ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offers any concessions in the face of unprecedented protests. Algerian media and protest leaders expect it could be a decisive day for the gas-rich North African country, after Bouteflika returned home Sunday from two weeks in a Swiss hospital. His absence saw growing demonstrations demanding that he withdraw his...
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Syria Camp in Crisis as IS Families Flood In

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 13:16
As Internationally backed Syrian forces continue what they believe is their final battle for Islamic State-controlled territory, more than 65,000 people — almost all women and children — have evacuated to camps in northern Syria. No one expected or planned for these massive crowds and many of those displaced are defiant, vowing that IS will rise again. From the al-Hol camp in northern Syria, VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
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Iran's Rouhani Meets Top Iraqi Officials on Day One of Three-day State Visit

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 01:33
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began a three-day state visit to Iraq Monday by meeting host President Barham Salih, amid hopes of increasing the volume of trade between the two countries, despite U.S. economic sanctions that were imposed on Tehran in August and November of last year. It's not clear how far Iraq will go to strengthen economic ties with Tehran, but Iraq has been Iran's most important trading partner in recent years. An Iraqi military band played bagpipes as an...
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Organization in Iraq's Kurdish Region Helps College Graduates Start Businesses

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 01:13
One of the biggest concerns for university graduates in Iraq is finding a job. Young graduates often seek the government’s help to find employment, but in the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraq's Kurdish region there's another alternative. An organization called 5-1 Labs helps train and fund young graduates who want to start a small business. VOA’s Rebaz Majeed attended the organization’s first seminar and filed this report narrated by Bezhan Hamdard.
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Erdogan Slams Women's Day Rally Over 'Rude' Behavior

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 00:25
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday accused International Women's Day protesters of being led by political rivals and of "disrespect" during the Islamic call to prayer, after Friday's march was broken up by police firing tear gas.          Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul on Friday in defiance of a ban by authorities, crowding the famous Istiklal avenue, before a police crackdown brought the...
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UN: Teacher Salaries Paid to Keep Yemeni Children in School

Voice of America - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 22:41
The United Nations children's agency says it has started paying over 136,000 teachers and school-based staff in Yemen who haven't received their salaries in over two years. UNICEF says Sunday its scheme covers staff in over 10,300 schools and will benefit an estimated 3.7 million children. It says over 2 million children are already out of school, out of seven million school-aged children. Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Mideast and North Africa, says...
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US-Backed Forces in Final Assault to Wipe Out IS Enclave

Voice of America - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 20:40
Clashes and fierce fighting continued in northeastern Syria Monday, where U.S.-backed forces say their final assault on the Islamic State terror group enclave of Baghuz is underway. A spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mustafa Bali, said IS militants are fighting back with suicide bombers and damaged an SDF minesweeper.  Writing on Twitter, he said the fighting has killed one SDF member and wounded four others.  He added that U.S-led coalition airstrikes are destroying...
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Bouteflika Returns to Algeria Amid Protests

Voice of America - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 19:54
Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika landed in Algeria Sunday amid protests against his bid for a fifth term as president. Bouteflika, 82, has been in Geneva for two weeks, receiving what his office called routine medical checks. But many have speculated that the health of the longtime president, who has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, is far more serious. An Algerian government plane, hidden from view in a hangar, was reported to have left Geneva...
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First Time in Baghdad: Iran's President to Visit Iraq

Voice of America - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 14:33
Iran's president is making his first official visit to Iraq this week as he faces mounting pressure from hard-liners at home in the wake of the Trump administration's unraveling of the nuclear deal. Hassan Rouhani's trip — billed as "historic and noble" by his foreign minister — is meant to solidify ties between Shi'ite power Iran and Iraq's Shiite led-government, a strong Tehran ally. It is also Iran's response to President Donald Trump's...
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Clashes Break out in Yemen's Key Port City after Cease-Fire

Voice of America - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 14:26
Yemeni security officials and eyewitnesses say that fighting has erupted in the key port city of Hodeida, the first significant clashes since warring sides agreed to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire deal in December.   They say the combat began overnight into Sunday, leaving fires burning on the main front lines in the city's east and south, while exchanges of artillery fire shook the beleaguered city.   The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized...
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US Shutters Its Consulate in Jerusalem, Angering Palestinians

Voice of America - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 03:18
The United States is shutting down its consulate in Jerusalem, which served the Palestinians, and will merge its entire diplomatic mission to the new embassy starting Monday. "It does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip," the State Department said in a statement released Sunday. "This decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and...
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US: Diplomats Have Visited With Detainee in Saudi Arabia

Voice of America - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 00:12
U.S. diplomats have visited with a dual U.S.-Saudi national believed to have been tortured during his detention in Riyadh, National Security Advisor John Bolton said Sunday. Walid Fitaihi, a Harvard-trained doctor who opened a hospital in Saudi Arabia in 2006, was detained in November 2017 along with other prominent Saudis as part of what the government said was a corruption crackdown. After being held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh for a week, Fitaihi later told a friend he was...
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Dutch Husband of Shamima Begum Wants to Take her Home

Voice of America - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 20:15
The Dutch man who married a British teenager after she ran away to join the Islamic State group says he wants to return home to the Netherlands with Shamima Begum and their newborn son. Yago Riedijk, 27, told the BBC from a Kurdish-run detention center that he met Begum within days of her arrival in Syria when she was 15. He said in an interview aired Sunday that the marriage was "her own choice."   When asked if marrying a 15-year-old was appropriate, he said: "To...
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Russia-Israel Team to Eye Foreign Forces' Pullout from Syria

Voice of America - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 19:24
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel and Russia are to form a joint team to examine the withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria. Israel is seeking the removal of Iranian forces and has vowed to keep its main enemy from entrenching itself militarily in the neighboring country. Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Moscow to discuss Iran's presence in Syria. "I made it unequivocally clear that Israel will not allow the military...
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Israel Bans Senior Islamic Clerk from Entering Aqsa Mosque

Voice of America - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 16:59
Israeli police have banned several Islamic officials appointed by Jordan from entering a Jerusalem holy site following clashes between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli authorities in recent weeks. Abdel Azem Salhab, the highest-ranking official in the Jordanian-run council overseeing the site, said that police handed him and two other Palestinian officials the order on Sunday. The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the...
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Egypt's Top Cleric Calls Polygamy 'Injustice,' Draws Debate

Voice of America - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 16:57
Egypt's top Muslim cleric has stirred up controversy after saying that polygamy is an "injustice" for women, but stopped short of calling for a ban on the practice. "Those who say that marriage must be polygamous are all wrong. We have to read the [Quranic] verse in full," said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Al-Azhar's Grand Imam.   He said that monogamy was the rule and polygamy a restricted exception. It is restricted in Islam and requires fairness and ``if...
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Algeria's Bouteflika Seeks Fifth Term as President Amid Protests

Voice of America - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 16:46
Longtime Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said Sunday that he would not serve a full term if elected again in April, as protests against his intention to run for another fifth term continued. Bouteflika's campaign manager Abdelghani Zaalane said the president would call for new elections within a year if he won a fifth term, in televised remarks after he submitted the 82-year-old president's papers to confirm his bid for April's elections. Anti-government...
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