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Saudi Arabia Reshuffles Military, Promotes Woman at Labor Ministry

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 19:13
Saudi Arabia has replaced some of its top military officers in a series of personnel changes that elevate a younger generation, bring a woman into a senior government job and tighten Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sal man’s grip on power. In a reshuffle announced late on Monday, the military chief of staff, air defense and land forces heads and senior defense and interior ministry officials were removed. Tamadur bint Youssef al-Ramah became deputy labor minister, a rare high-level job for a...
Categories: Iraq

Turkey Says Czech Release of Former PYD Leader is 'Support for Terror'

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 17:20
The Turkish government said Tuesday the release of the former leader of a Syrian Kurdish political party by a Czech court was "a clear support for terror." Prague's Municipal Court decided Tuesday to release former Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party leader Salih Muslim despite Turkey's request for his extradition. Turkey has accused the former PYD leader with disrupting the state and aggravated murder. He was detained in the Czech capital of Prague Saturday...
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Russia’s ‘Humanitarian Pause’ Has No Effect on Syria Fighting

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 16:56
Russia started its “humanitarian pause” in Syria’s eastern region of Ghouta on Tuesday, but new fighting erupted and there were no signs of civilians leaving the besieged area or aid deliveries arriving. At least six civilians were killed during the first day with a five-hour window ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to call off Moscow’s air bombardment of the rebel-held enclave and allow civilians a chance to escape the violence near the Syrian capital, Damascus. No civilians...
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Dubai Police Close Investigation Into Death of Bollywood Icon

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 15:46
Dubai police say they have closed their investigation into the death of famed Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor, confirming she died from an "accidental drowning." Authorities said the death of the 54-year old actress was due to drowning in her hotel apartment’s bathtub following a loss of consciousness. Dubai officials said they approved the release of her body to her family. Sridevi died Saturday night in Dubai while attending her nephew's wedding. Initial reports...
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Britain May Join US Strikes Against Syria if Chemical Weapon Use Proven

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 13:37
Britain would consider joining U.S. military strikes against the Syrian government if there is evidence chemical weapons are being used against civilians, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Tuesday. Johnson said he hoped Britain and other Western nations would not stand by in the event of a chemical attack, voicing support for limited strikes if there is "incontrovertible evidence" of the Syrian's government involvement. "If we know that it has happened, and we...
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'Humanitarian Pause' in Fighting Goes into Effect in Syria

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 11:44
A daily "humanitarian pause" announced by Russia went into effect Tuesday in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying the five-hour window was meant to let civilians escape fighting near Damascus. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Russian stand-down would run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The order comes days after the United Nations Security Council ordered a 30-day cease-fire across Syria.That plan got off to a shaky start with activists...
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Saudi Military Leaders Replaced Amid Stalemated War in Yemen

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 10:33
Saudi Arabia replaced its military chief of staff and other defense officials early on Tuesday morning in a shake-up apparently aimed at overhauling its Defense Ministry during the stalemated and ruinous war in Yemen. The kingdom also announced a new female deputy minister of labor and social development as it tries to broaden the role of women in the workplace. Saudi Arabia made the announcement in a flurry of royal decrees carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. As with many...
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Iran Leader Calls Labor Unrest 'Enemy Plot' as Workers Protest Unpaid Wages

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:20
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reacted to an upsurge in labor unrest by labeling it a plot backed by the country’s enemies, echoing his response to anti-government protests last month. In recent weeks, Iranian workers protesting labor conditions have gone on strike at a steel-making company in Ahvaz and at the Haft Tapeh sugar cane plantation in Shush, two cities located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. Workers for the Tehran Metro rapid transit system also...
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US Opens Tough Saudi Nuclear Talks, in Shadow of Iran Deal

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 06:15
The Trump administration is opening talks with Saudi Arabia on a potentially lucrative atomic energy agreement that's inextricably linked to an Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran. At stake: Billions of dollars in contracts for U.S. companies and bigger questions about America's ability to keep friend and foe alike from reaching nuclear weapons capability.   Energy Secretary Rick Perry will lead an inter-agency U.S. delegation to talks with the Saudis in London on Friday, two...
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Saudi Reshuffles Top Military Posts, Adds a Female Deputy Minister

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 05:03
Saudi Arabia's King Salman reshuffled some of the kingdom's top military officers and several deputy ministers on Monday in a broad shakeup seen as elevating younger officials in key economic and security areas. The chief of staff was retired and replaced by First Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwayli while new chiefs were appointed to the country's air defense and land forces, according to royal decrees published by state media. Several new deputies in economic...
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WHO: Yemen's Cholera Epidemic Likely to Intensify

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 04:40
The World Health Organization warned on Monday that a cholera epidemic in Yemen that killed more than 2,000 people could flare up again in the rainy season. WHO Deputy Director General for Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama said the number of cholera infections had been in decline in Yemen over the past 20 weeks after it hit the 1 million mark of suspected cases. "However, the real problem is we're entering another phase of rainy seasons," Salama told...
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Statement: New US Sanctions Aim to Block Libyan Oil Smuggling

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 03:06
The United States has issued a new round of sanctions targeting oil smugglers in Libya aimed at blocking exploitation of natural resources that is driving instability, the U.S. Treasury Department said Monday. In a statement, Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it was sanctioning six people, 24 companies and seven vessels in a move that prohibits Americans from engaging with those targeted and freezes any related property under U.S. jurisdictions. The sanctions...
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Saudi Envoy Invites Lebanon’s PM Hariri to Kingdom

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 02:55
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has been invited to Saudi Arabia, his office said on Monday, setting the stage for his first visit since he abruptly resigned there in November. Hariri received the invitation from Saudi envoy Nizar al-Aloula on Monday and would go as soon as possible, the press office said without elaborating. The premier last travelled to the kingdom on Nov. 3 and resigned in a televised statement a day later. Lebanese officials accused Saudi Arabia of forcing...
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UN Security Council Renews Yemen Sanctions

Voice of America - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 02:15
Russia has blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have called out Iran for violating an arms embargo against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.   During a vote Monday, Russia wielded its veto against the British-drafted text. Bolivia joined Russia in voting against the measure, and China and Kazakhstan abstained.   The council instead unanimously adopted a Russian-written resolution that called for a simple one-year extension of the sanctions regime against Yemen and a...
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EU, Arab League Affirm Jerusalem Must Be Joint Capital

Voice of America - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 23:51
European Union and Arab League countries insist that Jerusalem must be the joint capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state, as the U.S. prepares to move its embassy there in a step angering the Arab world. Speaking after talks Monday between EU and Arab League foreign ministers, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the "special status and character of the city must be preserved." She said the two blocs also "see eye to eye" that there can only...
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Tunisia, Spain Vow Cooperation on Security, Women's Rights

Voice of America - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 23:42
Spain and Tunisia are reviving ties after a decade-long freeze, pledging notably to work together on security and women's rights. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Tunisian counterpart Youssef Chahed signed eight accords Monday in Tunis. Rajoy announced a 25-million-euro ($30.8 million) credit line for small and medium businesses in Tunisia, and urged Spanish businesses to invest in Tunisia. Rajoy pledged cooperation in fighting organized crime and support for Tunisia's...
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Turkish President Heads to Africa in Bid to Extend Regional Influence

Voice of America - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 17:12
On Monday,Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan starts a five-day visit to northern and West Africa. The tour is the latest effort by Turkey to project its influence across the continent and enhance its global presence. Observers are voicing concerns that the Turkish leader, with his emphasis on Islamist themes, could be stoking regional rivalries and even tensions. Erdogan is scheduled to visit Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal and Mali in his tour of the region.  Since ...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Starts Rebuilding Even as More Destruction Wreaked

Voice of America - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 17:04
In the Syrian city of Homs' landmark Clock Square, where some of the first anti-government protests erupted in 2011, stands a giant poster of a smiling President Bashar Assad waving his right arm, with a caption that reads: "Together we will rebuild." Four years after the military brought most of the city back under Assad's control, the government is launching its first big reconstruction effort in Homs, planning to erect hundreds of apartment buildings in three...
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UN Chief Guterres Calls for End to Fighting in Syria

Voice of America - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 16:40
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is criticizing the failure of governments to implement a Security Council resolution for a 30-day cease-fire in war-torn Syria. Addressing the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s four-week session, Guterres called for an immediate end to the fighting. Syrian government forces began bombing the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, only hours after the Security Council adopted a cease-fire agreement. Security...
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Putin Orders 'Daily Humanitarian Pause' in Airstrikes on Syrian Rebels

Voice of America - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 13:45
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered a "daily humanitarian pause" in Moscow's airstrikes on Syrian rebels, a five-hour window to let civilians escape from clashes near Damascus. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said starting Tuesday the Russian stand-down would run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, "with the goal of avoiding civilian casualties." He said a humanitarian corridor is being created so civilians can leave the city and said Syrian...
Categories: Iraq