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Iraq

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...
Categories: Iraq

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...
Categories: Iraq

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...
Categories: Iraq

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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Israeli Leader Condemns Attack on French Synagogue Memorial

Voice of America - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 15:31
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned an attack on a Holocaust memorial in the French city of Strasbourg. Netanyahu on Sunday condemned the "horrific, anti-Semitic" defacing of a monument marking the site of a synagogue destroyed by the Nazis in 1940. French police on Saturday launched an investigation the incident, in which a heavy memorial stone was moved off its base in the eastern city. The incident comes amid a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in France in...
Categories: Iraq

Major Challenges Loom Amid IS 'Last Stand' 

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 23:27
Heavy fighting continued throughout the first full day of the final assault on the Islamic State militant group's last bit of land, according to Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustafa Bali.      Victory may be near, with the militants surrounded and all civilian "human shields" believed to be safe in camps beyond the fighting in Baghuz, soldiers say. But some local leaders warn that with this victory will come a new set of problems....
Categories: Iraq

Former Yazidi Captives of IS Reunite With Families in Iraq

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 21:41
A group of Yazidi women and children reunited with their families in Iraq Saturday after five years of captivity at the hands of the Islamic State group, hugging and kissing relatives in emotional scenes that underscored their years-long ordeal and that of their devastated community. Elated families met their loved ones at a rural truck stop on the road between Sinjar and Dohuk, tossing candy in the air like confetti, the women ululating with joy. The 18 returning children, aged 10 to...
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UN: Nearly 2 in 3 Syrians in Need of Humanitarian Aid

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 16:30
The United Nations reports 11.7 million people or nearly two-thirds of Syria’s population is dependent on international humanitarian assistance for survival.  The U.N. has drawn up a so-called humanitarian response plan detailing the staggering needs in advance of an international pledging conference for Syria in Brussels March 12 to 14. The U.N. has not yet come up with a dollar amount for its humanitarian plan for Syria.  But based on last year’s $3.36 billion-dollar appeal,...
Categories: Iraq

US-Backed Forces Slow Assault on Last Shred of IS Caliphate

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 13:25
The assault on the last patch of land claimed by the Islamic State terror group's caliphate in Syria slowed as it entered its third full day, with U.S.-backed forces announcing a delay due to the presence of additional civilians, many of whom were being used as human shields. "We're slowing down the offensive in #Baghouz due to a small number of civilians held as human shields by Daesh," Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, announced on Twitter...
Categories: Iraq

Corals Thrive in Red Sea as Reefs Worldwide Are Devastated

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 09:31
Scientists estimate half of the world's corals have been devastated as climate change has led to warmer oceans. When water temperatures get too high, corals become stressed and expel the algae that coats their tissues and provides the corals' primary food source. The corals gradually lose their color, known as bleaching, and many of them die. But surprisingly, there are corals in one sea in the Middle East that are resistance to the rising temperatures. VOAs Deborah Block explains why.
Categories: Iraq

Iranians Say Apple Is Blocking Made-in-Iran Apps in Crackdown

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 03:59
U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. appears to have started blocking Iranian iPhone users from using Iranian-developed apps as part of a global crackdown by the company on developers who misuse its technology.    Iranian state media, tech executives and rights activists all have reported via social media that Apple began revoking enterprise certificates from Iranian app developers on Tuesday, resulting in Iranian iPhone users being unable to use apps for daily activities such as...
Categories: Iraq

Protests Grow in Algeria as Aging Leader Eyes 5th Term

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 03:12
Algeria is facing its biggest demonstrations in years, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to protest another re-election bid by ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. For the moment, Boutelika is expected to formally present his candidacy by Sunday’s deadline. He also announced he had selected Transport Minister Abdelghani Zaalane to replace former Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal as his campaign chief for the upcoming presidential poll, according to a statement...
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Chemical Weapons Watchdog Says Chlorine Was Used in Douma

Voice of America - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 01:24
The global chemical weapons watchdog said Friday it found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used as a weapon in a deadly attack on the Syrian town of Douma last year. The determination was contained in a detailed report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' fact finding mission that investigated the April 7, 2018 attack. Medical workers said at the time that the attack killed more than 40 people. The mission's mandate does not include laying...
Categories: Iraq

Erdogan Threatens to Reverse Local Election Results 

Voice of America - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 23:37
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose AK Party is facing major defeats this month in local elections, is being accused of behaving like a "dictator" after his threat to remove victorious pro-Kurdish mayoral candidates. Erdogan, addressing supporters this week, issued a stark threat to voters in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast: Candidates deemed sympathetic to the PKK Kurdish separatist group who are elected will be removed. "If you happen...
Categories: Iraq