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Iraq

Kurdish Forces Withdraw From Edges of Disputed Iraqi Region

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 14:27
Kurdish forces have withdrawn from the edges of a disputed region in northern Iraq, a commander said Friday, amid tensions with Iraq's central government over the administration of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Lt. Gen Wasta Rasul said Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga evacuated positions southwest of city, while an officer in the Iraqi Army's 9th Armored Division said federal forces had moved into positions left by the Kurdish forces in the same area, near the village of...
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Trump Unveils New, Tougher Iran Strategy

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:00
U.S. President Donald Trump, following impassioned appeals from some of America’s closest allies and members of his own administration, is likely to stop short Friday of calling for the abandonment of a 2-year-old nuclear deal with Iran while unveiling a more confrontational overall strategy towards Tehran. The White House, early Friday, announced that the president, in consultation with his national security team, “has approved a new strategy for Iran.” Lawmakers say that while Trump...
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What’s Next for Iran Nuclear Deal?

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:00
What is the Iran Nuclear Deal?  The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is an agreement reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, along with the European Union and Germany in October 2015. The deal requires Iran to: Eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium Reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 89 percent Reduce by two-thirds the number of centrifuges capable of enriching...
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Amnesty Marks 100 Days of Detention for Turkey Staffers

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:15
Human rights group Amnesty International held events Thursday to mark 100 days since several of its Turkish staffers were detained in Istanbul. This week, Turkish prosecutors officially filed an indictment against 10 of the human rights activists detained in July, along with Amnesty’s Turkey chairman Taner Kilic, and demanded jail sentences of up to 15 years on charges of supporting terrorist organizations. Amnesty labeled the indictment “trumped-up and absurd.” WATCH: Amnesty...
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Trump Expected to Decertify Iran Accord, Lay Out New Strategy

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:11
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw his support for the Iran nuclear agreement Friday, but stop short of completely scrapping the deal. The U.S. leader is expected to outline a new strategy. Trump will likely declare that it is not in the U.S. national security interests to certify the 2015 deal that Washington reached with Iran and five other countries. The move would start a 60-day period during which Congress must decide whether to re-impose some or all of the...
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Drones Steal the Show at Dubai Technology Week

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 08:46
Bigger and more powerful flying drones are slowly entering everyday life. At this year's international technology show in Dubai, a number of drone manufacturers displayed machines that could substantially increase the mobility of various public services, from police and firefighters to taxis. VOA's George Putic has more.
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US, Israel Withdraw from UNESCO

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 08:18
Following the U.S. decision Thursday to quit the United Nations organization for education, science and culture, Israel announced it too will withdraw. The United States stopped funding UNESCO after the Palestinian Authority was accepted into the agency as a full member. As a member subject to membership dues, the United States accumulated a $600 million debt over the years. But as VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the Trump administration also cited anti-Israel bias as a reason for withdrawal.
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Israeli-Palestinian Issue Back in Spotlight After US Leaves UNESCO

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:03
State Department officials on Thursday defended the U.S. decision to withdraw from UNESCO, citing the need to see real reform at the United Nations cultural agency. "We would like to see the politics kept out of it," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters. "And we see with this anti-Israeli bias that is long documented on the part of UNESCO, that that needs to come to an end."   WATCH: US, Israel Withdraw from...
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Kurdish Red Crescent: IS Attacks Kill at Least 50 in East Syria

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 02:44
Islamic State suicide attackers killed at least 50 people in a triple car bomb attack on Thursday among a group of refugees in northeast Syria, a medical source in the Kurdish Red Crescent said. A large number of people were also injured by the three car bombs, the source said. The attack took place at Abu Fas, near the border of Deir el-Zour and Hasaka provinces, said a war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said earlier that at least 18 people had...
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US Calls for Evidence in Turkey's Detention of US Citizens, US-hired Staff

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 01:15
The United States is asking the Turkish government to present evidence to back up its accusations used to justify the detention of locally-employed U.S. consulate members and several American citizens, including jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson. "We would call upon the government of Turkey to please provide us that evidence, if there is evidence, that they were involved in what Turkey alleges, and that is terrorism," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on...
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Chile Welcomes More Than 60 Syrian Refugees

Voice of America - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 00:54
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet welcomed more than 60 Syrian refugees to the country's capital Thursday, as her country joined other Latin American nations in offering safe harbor to families fleeing Syria's civil war. At an airport ceremony in Santiago, Bachelet greeted 14 newly arrived Syrian families, who will be resettled in furnished homes with social benefits, including monthly stipends, schooling, health care and language classes. "We know you have struggled and...
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Israeli Defense Experts Warn Against Dropping Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 23:15
If President Donald Trump moves to scuttle the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Israel's nationalist government can be expected to be the loudest — and perhaps only — major player to applaud. But the true picture is more complicated than what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might portray: There is a strong sense among his own security establishment that there are few good alternatives, that the deal has benefited Israel, and that U.S. credibility could be squandered in the...
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Officials: Attack in Egypt's Sinai Kills 6 Police

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 22:19
Egyptian officials say an attack on a checkpoint in the northern Sinai Peninsula has killed six police.   Security and hospital officials confirmed the toll from Thursday's attack on the outskirts of the city of el-Arish and said another four people were wounded. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. Egypt has been battling an insurgency in the northern Sinai that has been led by an Islamic State affiliate since...
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Congress Bracing for Trump Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 22:00
Some members of president's own party say it's best to work with the agreement already in place.
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UAE to Stop Issuing Visas to North Koreans

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 21:23
The United Arab Emirates announced Thursday it would halt the issuance of visas to North Korean workers, as tensions surrounding the country's nuclear ambitions continue to build. The move by the UAE follows similar policy changes from Kuwait and Qatar, which already have blocked visas to the country, limiting North Korea's ability to evade sanctions and make money off the laborers it sends to work in Middle Eastern nations. The UAE statement said it also would block North...
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Families Fleeing Syria's Raqqa Say Airstrikes Bring Heavy Toll

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:33
Air raids by U.S. coalition warplanes have intensified in recent days as Kurdish and Arab militias seek to drive surrounded Islamic State militants from their last strongholds in Syria's Raqqa - but the toll on civilians has been severe. Hundreds of civilians fled the city on Thursday, many wounded and malnourished after being trapped for months by fighting between Islamic State and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Those who fled said the sheer intensity of the...
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Iraqi Government: Kurds Must Back Country's 'Unity' Before Talks

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:00
The Iraqi government has a series of conditions that the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) must meet before agreeing to hold talks on the crisis triggered by last month's independence referendum, a government spokesman said on Thursday. The KRG must first "commit to Iraq's unity," the spokesman told Reuters, reacting to an offer for dialogue made Wednesday overnight by the Kurdish authorities. "The local authorities in the [Kurdistan] region must accept the...
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World Cup Bribery Case Opened Against PSG President, Valcke

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 17:51
The Qatari president of one of Europe's most glamorous soccer clubs, Paris Saint-Germain, is under investigation by Swiss prosecutors for suspected bribery of a top FIFA executive to get World Cup broadcasting rights.   Criminal proceedings against Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG president and CEO of Qatar-owned BeIN Media Group, former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, and an unnamed “businessman in the sports rights sector” was announced by the office of Switzerland's attorney...
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Syrian Child Refugees Turn Film Producers to Remind World Leaders of Education Pledge

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 15:39
Four Syrian children have offered a glimpse into the hardship and heartbreak of life as a refugee, by filming their everyday lives over six months. The charity ‘Theirworld’, which commissioned the films, hopes to remind world leaders of their promise of an education for all Syrian children, as Henry Ridgwell reports.
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Young Syrian Refugees Film Lives to Remind World Leaders of Education Pledge

Voice of America - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 15:36
Four Syrian children offered a glimpse into the hardship and heartbreak of life as a refugee by making videos about their everyday lives over six months, hoping to remind world leaders of their promise to educate Syrian children. "I studied until the 8th grade, whilst I was in Palmyra, which is three hours away from our hometown of Homs," says 15-year-old Asmah in her self-narrated film titled ‘Too Young to Wed’. "At that point, my family got me engaged, which I agreed to...
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