in Iraq


IS Leaves Trail of Land Mines in Northern Syria

Voice of America - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 00:37
Several months after Islamic State was routed from the Shahba region in northern Aleppo, most residents are unable to return home because of the thousands of explosive devices IS left behind. VOA's Nawroz Rasho reports.
Categories: Iraq

Lebanon Cabinet Approves Electoral Law, Expects May Election

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 23:46
Lebanon is likely to hold long-delayed elections in May 2018, ministers said on Wednesday, after the Cabinet approved a new law for a legislative vote that has spared the country a major political crisis. Recent disputes over an election law that is at the heart of the nation's sectarian political system had pushed Lebanon to the brink of crisis, threatening to leave it without a parliament for the first time. The new law will extend parliament's term by almost a year until...
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UN: US Airstrikes in Raqqa Cause 'Staggering' Civilian Deaths

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 22:50
Airstrikes carried out by a U.S.-led coalition have killed a "staggering" number of civilians in Raqqa, Syria, a United Nations investigator said Wednesday. With the help of coalition airstrikes, U.S.-backed ground forces entered the city, Islamic State's stronghold in Syria, last week. “We note in particular that the intensification of airstrikes, which have paved the ground for an SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] advance in Raqqa, has resulted not only in staggering loss...
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War Crimes Prosecutor Calls for Arrest of Gadhafi's Son

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 22:30
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday called for the arrest and surrender of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who is wanted on war crimes charges for allegedly suppressing opposition to the rule of his father, former Libya ruler Moammar Gadhafi. On Sunday, Saif al-Islam's lawyer said his client had been released under an amnesty law passed by parliament from prison in the eastern Libyan town of Zintan, where he had been held since 2011. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda...
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Egypt MPs Approve Deal Transferring Islands to Saudi Arabia

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 21:57
In defiance of a court ruling, Egypt's parliament voted on Wednesday to ratify a disputed 2016 agreement that would transfer two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.   The vote, in which lawmakers in favor were asked to stand up, came shortly after the 596-seat chamber opened a debate on the pact earlier in the day. The outcome was a foregone conclusion since the legislature is packed with supporters of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, whose government signed the deal when...
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Syrian Civilians, Infrastructure Targeted by Warring Parties

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:29
The Commission of Inquiry on Syria finds civilians and civilian infrastructure continue to be deliberately targeted by the warring factions, with complete disregard for international law that calls for the protection of civilians in conflict. The commission calls the establishment of de-escalation zones a step in the right direction. It says these zones agreed to by Russia, Iran and Turkey have resulted in a reduction in violence around Idlib and western Aleppo. But, it adds,...
Categories: Iraq

Why Islamic State Chose Raqqa as Its Syrian Capital

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:27
U.S.-backed forces are continuing their assault on the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa.  Here’s a look at Raqqa and how IS turned the city into its de facto capital in Syria. Raqqa is a remote oil-rich provincial city in northern Syria on the north bank of the Euphrates River. Dating back to the Hellenistic period, the city was an important trading post between the Sassanid and Byzantine empires.  Between the years 796 and 809 - during a period generally seen as the...
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Qatar Pulls All its Troops from Djibouti-Eritrea Border

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 18:10
Qatar said Wednesday it has pulled all of its troops from the border of Djibouti and Eritrea, east African nations that have a long-running territorial dispute which Doha had helped mediate.   Qatar offered no explanation for the move, though it comes amid a diplomatic dispute with other Arab nations that have cut diplomatic ties and now are trying to isolate Qatar from the rest of the world.   While the dispute hasn't escalated to a military confrontation, Qatar's...
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Twins Collect 28 Hits on Way to 20 Runs Against Mariners

NY Times Iraq - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 08:36
Left fielder Eddie Rosario’s three home runs were just a part of Minnesota’s franchise-record-setting hit performance.
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More US Colleges Seek International Students

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 07:52
Efforts to bring international students to U.S. campuses and send American students overseas has accelerated in the past five years, according to an American Council on Education (ACE) survey of U.S. colleges. International engagement was “high” or “very high,” ACE said of the more than 70 percent of 1,100 American colleges and universities it polled in 2016. Schools have stepped up efforts to “internationalize” campuses in the face of globalization, the report said, but “efforts are...
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Pakistan Stays Neutral in Qatar-Saudi Dispute, But Mediation Role Unlikely

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 04:58
Pakistan would like to help mediate an end to the rift between Persian Gulf allies because it has a lot to lose if the dispute drags on or turns violent, but analysts say it doesn’t have enough clout. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5 and cut land, air and sea links, alleging it has ties to terrorists, a claim that the country strongly denies. Increasingly isolated due to its own disputes with Afghanistan and...
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Emirati Ambassador: US Should Rethink Qatar Air Base

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 03:56
The United States should consider moving its air base out of Qatar, the Emirati ambassador to the U.S. said Tuesday, encouraging the Trump administration to use its leverage to further pressure Qatar over alleged support for extremism. As the Persian Gulf crisis enters its second week, Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba of the United Arab Emirates said Qatar's neighbors would “fairly soon” give the U.S. a list of specific actions Qatar must take before punitive steps are lifted. He said the...
Categories: Iraq

Lebanese Parties Agree on Electoral Law, Foreign Minister Says

Voice of America - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 02:41
Lebanon's rival parties reached agreement on Tuesday on an electoral law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said, staving off a political crisis and paving the way for a parliamentary election. The agreement still needs the approval of the cabinet in a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and will then be sent to parliament. “Today we have reached a political agreement between the political sides,” said Bassil, an ally of President Michel Aoun. Election months away It will take at...
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Ankara Backs Qatar in Saudi-led Showdown

Voice of America - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 23:55
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has placed himself at the forefront of the defense of Qatar, in the face of Saudi Arabia-led economic and diplomatic sanctions. “A very grave mistake is being made in Qatar; isolating a nation in all areas is inhumane and against Islamic values,” Erdogan said in his weekly Tuesday address to his parliamentary deputies. “It's as if a death-penalty decision has been taken for Qatar,” said Erdogan. Erdogan is backing his increasingly tough...
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Israel Considering Shutdown of Al Jazeera Offices

Voice of America - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 22:50
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering shutting down the local offices of Arab satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera, an official said Tuesday, following a crackdown against Qatar by Sunni countries across the region. Saudi Arabia has been leading an effort to isolate Qatar, accusing the energy-rich Gulf state, and the Qatari-backed channel, of supporting violent Islamic groups across the Middle East. Jordan and Saudi Arabia have closed Al Jazeera's local offices, while the...
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Red Cross Warns of 'Unprecedented' Cholera Cases in Yemen

Voice of America - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 20:02
The International Committee of the Red Cross is warning of unprecedented rates of cholera cases in war-torn Yemen, one of many similar warnings from international health organizations in the past few months. "More than 5,000 suspected new cases have been reported daily during the past week," said Maria del Pilar Bauza Moreno, ICRC health coordinator in Yemen. "The spread of the disease, which started just over a month ago, is accelerating." Two years of armed...
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Israel Returns Ambassador to New Zealand, Ending Diplomatic Rift

Voice of America - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 19:25
Israel said on Tuesday its ambassador to New Zealand will return to his post, ending a six-month rift in relations over a United Nations resolution against Israeli settlements on occupied territory which Palestinians seek for a state. Israel recalled the ambassador in December after New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal sponsored a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement activity. New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English sent a letter to Israeli...
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Egyptian Watchdog Says Authorities Blocking More Websites

Voice of America - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 17:36
Egyptian authorities are tightening internet censorship at home as President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi seeks investment abroad, in what could be an attempt to tamp down dissent over an agreement to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.   Watchdogs and human rights groups say news portals and other websites are being blocked at an unprecedented rate inside Egypt, with a new focus on so-called VPN providers that help users bypass the restrictions.   Two additional websites...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi Arabia: Airspace Ban on Qatari Flights to Protect Citizens

Voice of America - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 16:48
Saudi Arabia's civil aviation authority said on Tuesday that the closure of its airspace to flights from Qatar was within the kingdom's sovereign right to its citizens from any threat. The agency was commenting in reaction to remarks made by Qatar Airways' chief executive that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were violating international law by shutting out Qatari flights. The airspace closure was to protect the country and its citizens from anything it...
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UN Agency Seeks Access to Civilians in IS-Held Syrian City

Voice of America - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 15:41
The U.N.'s refugee agency on Tuesday called for better access to northern Syria's Raqqa province, where U.S.-backed forces are trying to drive the Islamic State group out of its self-styled capital, saying close to half a million people are in need of assistance. Kurdish-led forces attacked the provincial capital, also called Raqqa, a week ago, hoping to drive the militants out with the aid of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.   Clearing operations around the city have been...
Categories: Iraq