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Iraq

Abbas: Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem Could Threaten Peace Process

Voice of America - Sun, 12/03/2017 - 17:41
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is warning a U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy from Tel Aviv could destroy the Middle East peace process. Reports say President Donald Trump may make an announcement as early as Monday. He could declare that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital but put off physically moving the embassy. “He’s still looking at a lot of different facts, and when he makes his  decision, he’ll be the one...
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Diphtheria Cases Soaring in Yemen as Blockade Creates Shortage of Vaccines

Voice of America - Sun, 12/03/2017 - 16:44
The World Health Organization reports the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen’s sea ports is hampering efforts to contain a diphtheria outbreak that, so far, has caused 197 cases of the disease, including 22 deaths. Diphtheria has spread to 13 of Yemen’s 22 governorates, including the capital Sana’a, since the first case was detected less than two weeks ago.  World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier, says the Saudi blockade is hindering WHO’s ability to import the vaccines...
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Iran Inaugurates New Extension to its Main Arabian Sea Port

Voice of America - Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:01
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated on Sunday a newly built extension to the country's main Arabian Sea outlet, the strategic Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman, which more than triples its capacity and poses a challenge for a port under construction in neighboring Pakistan. The $340 million project was constructed by a Revolutionary Guard-affiliated company, Khatam al-Anbia, the largest Iranian contractor of government construction projects. It involved several...
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Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest Against Netanyahu, Corruption

Voice of America - Sun, 12/03/2017 - 12:18
About 20,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday against government corruption and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is under criminal investigation over allegations of abuse of office. The demonstration was by far the largest of weekly anti-corruption protests sparked by corruption allegations against Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing. The four-term leader is suspected of involvement in two cases. The first involves receiving gifts from wealthy businessmen and the...
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Palestinians to US: Don't Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital

Voice of America - Sun, 12/03/2017 - 02:20
The Palestinians are warning the United States against recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Mahmoud Habash, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Saturday that if President Donald Trump were to do so, it would amount to a "complete destruction of the peace process.'' Speaking in Abbas' presence, Habash said "the world will pay the price'' for any change in Jerusalem's status. Officials in Washington say Trump...
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Former Yemeni President Breaks with Houthis, Calls for New Page with Saudis

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 21:52
Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh officially broke with his Houthi militia allies, calling on his supporters to rise up against them across the country. Arab media is reporting that the former president's supporters have gained control of key government installations in the capital, including the defense ministry, the interior ministry and Sana'a Airport. In a televised interview, Salah also called for resuming relations with Saudi Arabia, if the Saudi-led coalition lifts...
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Officials: Presidential Hopeful Arrives in Egypt From UAE

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 19:08
An Egyptian presidential hopeful living in the United Arab Emirates arrived in Cairo on Saturday, airport officials said, just days after he announced his plans to run for president in the country's 2018 elections. Egypt's former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq landed in Cairo airport amid tightened security. Some of Shafiq's relatives were allowed to receive him at the airport. It wasn't clear where he would head afterward. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity...
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AP FACT CHECK: Trump's Tax Fiction and Embrace of Propaganda

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 16:57
President Donald Trump's rally in Missouri this past week was a set-piece of distortion about taxes and the economy. He compounded his growing legacy of false tales on Twitter, where he spread a British fringe group's factually twisted propaganda aimed at stirring hate and fear of Muslims. A look at statements from his rally Wednesday, the anti-Muslim propaganda he retweeted and more: TRUMP describes the tax overhaul as "the biggest tax cut in the history of our country -...
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Syrian State Media: Israeli Missiles Strike Near Damascus

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 16:26
Israel fired several surface-to-surface missiles at a military post near the Syrian capital of Damascus early on Saturday, causing material damage but no casualties, Syria's state-run news agency reported. The airstrike came as violence resumed in the Damascus suburbs after days of calm while the government and opposition delegations attended peace talks in Geneva. The Israeli military did not comment on the missile attack, which occurred shortly after midnight on Friday, targeting...
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Wife of Princeton Scholar Held in Iran Implores Trump to Intervene

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 13:52
The wife of Princeton student Xiyue Wang, imprisoned in Tehran on spying charges while conducting dissertation research in Iran, is imploring U.S. President Donald Trump to intervene in her husband’s case, saying the White House is the focus of “all my hope.” In an interview from Beijing with VOA’s Mandarin Service, Wang’s wife, Hua Qu, said, “I have tried all kinds of avenues in the past but at the end of the day, the White House must step [in] to push Iran to release him. “Really,...
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Suspected Israeli Missiles Target Syrian Base

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 13:24
Syrian state television said Syria intercepted at least two Israeli missiles early Saturday that targeted a “military position.” Israel launched “several surface-to-surface missiles,” state television said, adding that there were “material losses at the site. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missiles were probably Israeli and the attack caused loud explosions. Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said it was not immediately clear whether the depot was...
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Fighting Enters 4th Day Between Yemen Allies

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 12:25
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters battled Iran-aligned Houthis for a fourth day Saturday in the capital Sanaa, residents said, in a widening rift that could affect the course of a more than 2½ year civil war. The two groups have been allies in fighting a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 aiming to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into...
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Mattis Suggests Change in Posture Toward Kurdish YPG 

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 11:54
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis suggested the United States will move away from arming Syrian Kurdish fighters, as part of a wider shift from a military-led to a diplomatic-led approach in Syria. Mattis’ comments help clarify the status of the U.S. relationship with Kurdish YPG fighters, who have been a crucial U.S. partner in the Syrian war. Turkey last week said President Donald Trump vowed to stop arming the YPG, during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip...
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Mattis Meets with Egyptian President to Discuss Terrorism, Middle East Challenges

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 11:01
U.S. defense chief Jim Mattis met with Egypt's President Abdul Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, ahead of a counter-extremism conference focused on West Africa on Sunday. During the meeting, Secretary Mattis offered condolences for the recent terrorist attack on a mosque in Bir al-Abed, Egypt, and recognized Egypt as a strategic defense partner with the United States. Mattis noted Egypt's importance to the stability of the Middle East as well as Egypt's ongoing fight against...
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Unwrapping Mummy Mysteries Goes High-Tech

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 10:26
More than a century after being unearthed in Egypt, a nearly 2000-year-old mummy is giving scientists, museum curators and medical researchers a unique look at the ancient world. Faith Lapidus reports.
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Kurds in Northern Syria Vote in Municipal Elections   

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 05:15
Residents of Kurdish areas in northern Syria have voted in local elections, selecting representatives they hope will help boost their political power in a quest for regional autonomy. About 5,700 candidates vied for seats in municipal councils, in the second of a three-stage plan to establish a Kurdish federal system of government in northern Syria. The first election, held in September, selected members of community-level governing bodies. The third, set for January, will be for...
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Mattis Signals Military Shift in Syria to Reflect IS Defeat

Voice of America - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 04:15
The U.S. military is shifting its stance in Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday, as the program to arm the Kurdish opposition comes to a close and is replaced by increased support to local police and security forces. Mattis said the Pentagon is “changing the composition of our forces” in Syria to reflect the collapse of the Islamic State group there and a renewed emphasis on finding a diplomatic path to peace. Speaking to reporters on his plane at the start of a five-day...
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Russia, Egypt Finalizing Military Cooperation Agreement

Voice of America - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 23:50
Arab media is reporting that Egypt and Russia are on the verge of signing a military cooperation agreement that would allow each side to use the other's air space and air bases for a period of five years. Russian media reported that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has endorsed the draft agreement crafted by the defense ministry. Egypt's red carpet welcome Wednesday for visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has set in motion a military rapprochement between Cairo and...
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UN Launches Biggest-ever Humanitarian Appeal

Voice of America - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 21:20
The United Nations is appealing for a record $22.5 billion to provide humanitarian assistance to 91 million victims of conflict and natural disasters in 2018. The money is to be used to give tens of millions of the world's most vulnerable people food, shelter, health care, emergency education, protection and other essential relief next year, according to Mark Lowcock, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. "The big drivers of...
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Under Pressure, Turkey's President Slams Testimony at Sanctions Trial

Voice of America - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 21:15
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reacting angrily after testimony in a New York trial implicated him in an alleged multi-million-dollar scam to evade U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran. His reaction is adding to concerns Ankara is on a collision course with U.S. courts that could have financial and political repercussions. “We have trade and energy ties with Iran. We did not breach the sanctions (on Iran). Whatever the verdict is, we did the right things,” Erdogan was reported...
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