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Iraq

Kurdish-backed SDC to Work With Syria to End War

Voice of America - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 15:00
The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) says after meeting with Syrian government officials that it will work with the government to end seven years of violence in the country. The SDC said Saturday that both sides, after meeting in Damascus, had agreed to work together to plot a "roadmap leading to a democratic and decentralized Syria." This was the SDC's first declared visit to Syria's capital, indicating the interest of Kurdish authorities to open...
Categories: Iraq

Lunar Eclipse, Blood Moon Delight Skywatchers in Cairo

Voice of America - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 06:00
Astronomers and local residents gathered to gaze in awe at the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century: 1 hour, 43 minutes. During eclipses, the moon turns a red or brownish color because the light that reaches it passes through the earth's atmosphere. In Cairo, astronomers with their telescopes volunteered to wow stargazers
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Rights Groups: Iran Confirms Prison Terms for 8 Baha'is

Voice of America - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 04:43
Human rights groups say Iranian courts have confirmed prison terms for eight Baha’is, members of a religious minority that has experienced decades of discrimination in the Shiite Muslim-majority nation. In a report published Thursday, Iran’s Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) said an appeals court in the central city of Yazd confirmed prison terms for six Baha’i men and one Baha’i woman. The report did not specify the charges against the seven or when the court confirmed their...
Categories: Iraq

Media Rights Group Condemns Israel for Arrest of Palestinian Writer

Voice of America - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 03:56
A media rights group is expressing concern after Israeli security forces arrested a prominent Palestinian writer in the West Bank. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Friday that Israel should immediately explain why they have Lama Khater in custody or let her go. Israeli officials arrested Khater, 32, Tuesday for alleged involvement in Hamas terror activities. CPJ said Khater, a prominent blogger, is also a contributing opinion writer to several media outlets, including...
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US Bottom Line on North Korea, Iran: Complete Denuclearization

Voice of America - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 03:14
Iran will likely have to agree to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization in any future deal with the United States, just like North Korea, a top diplomatic official signaled Friday. "Nothing in the conduct of foreign policy is ever done in a vacuum," Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Dr. Yleem D.S. Poblete, told an audience in Washington. "The end state we must seek for the successful conclusion of any future deal...
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Mattis: Training for Joint Patrols with Turkey in Syria to Start Soon

Voice of America - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 01:43
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says equipment has landed at a base in Turkey to prepare Turkish troops for joint patrols with U.S. forces in northern Syria. "Training equipment has landed in Incirlik," Mattis told reporters Friday at the Pentagon, referring to a strategic air base in southern Turkey used by American forces. Mattis said the training should start within weeks. "I don’t think we’re talking months," he said. It is unclear when U.S. and Turkish...
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Israeli Forces Raid Al-Aqsa Mosque After Clashes

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 23:43
Israeli troopers entered Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest shrine in Islam, and carried out arrests Friday in what police described as a pursuit of youths who had lobbed rocks and fireworks during clashes with its forces outside. The rare raid, on a site that is an icon of Palestinians' statehood hopes and a frequent catalyst of their conflict with Israel, came as medics in Islamist-ruled Gaza said Israeli army gunfire killed a man taking part in weekly border...
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Lebanon's Druze Leader Attacks Syrian Government Over Massacre

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 23:22
The main leader of the Druze sect in Lebanon on Friday attacked the Syrian government for failing to stop an Islamic State massacre of Druze in Syria, saying it should have noticed the militants gathering to attack. "No one can tell me that the squadrons of many American, Russian and foreign planes did not see this gathering which suddenly took the regime by surprise and raided Jebel al-Arab," said Walid Jumblatt. Islamic State's assault on...
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Iraq Cleric Sistani Urges Action on Corruption as Protests Continue

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 21:45
Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for a government to be formed as soon as possible to tackle corruption and poor services as further protests took place in the south of the country on Friday. In a sermon delivered by a representative, Sistani — who is revered by millions of Shiites in Iraq and elsewhere — told the incumbent caretaker administration of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to respond to protesters' complaints. "The current...
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Tens of Thousands Displaced in Southern Syria in Urgent Need of Aid

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 20:20
The United Nations says nearly 200,000 people displaced by five weeks of fighting in southern Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, but access to them is severely limited. An assault by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies has succeeded in dislodging rebels from most of the territory they controlled in southwest Syria. Five weeks of airstrikes and barrel bombings have caused more than 182,000 people in the governorates of Dara'a, Quneitra and Sweida to flee their...
Categories: Iraq

Kurdish-Backed SDC Holds Talks With Syrian Government

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:21
A delegation of the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forced (SDF) is in Syria for talks with Syrian government officials, an alliance official said on Friday. The delegation arrived in Damascus two days ago, SDC co-chair Riad Darar said, adding that Kurdish authorities are working towards a settlement for northern Syria. This is the first SDC’s declared visit to Syria’s capital, which indicates the interest of Kurdish authorities to open...
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Lebanon Considering Legalization of Cannabis 

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 11:24
A Lebanese lawmaker has introduced a draft bill in parliament that would legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Speaking to the Associated Press, Antoine Habchi said he is proposing using the plant as alternative medicine to fight addiction and at the same time as a way to help Lebanon's Bekaa Valley restore its economy and generate much needed income. Habchi said that under the bill, cultivation would be tightly controlled. However, it will likely take months of...
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Palestinian Stabber Kills 1, Wounds 2 Inside Israeli Settlement 

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 02:10
A Palestinian sneaked into an Israeli settlement Thursday and stabbed three people, one fatally.  One Israeli report says other settlers shot and killed the Palestinian who the army calls a terrorist.  One of the victims later died at a hospital. One other was seriously wounded and a third was slightly injured. The Israeli army said the incident took place in the Adam settlement, between Jerusalem and the Palestinian town of Ramallah in the West Bank. Violence between...
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Coalition Admits 1K-plus Civilian Deaths From Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria  

Voice of America - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 01:40
The U.S.-led coalition Thursday acknowledged the deaths of 1,059 civilians from its aerial bombings against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The coalition, which has run a military campaign against IS's self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria through Operation Inherent Resolve, said its jet fighters conducted 29,826 strikes between August 2014 and June of this year. The statement said the anti-IS coalition took necessary precautions to ensure its strikes followed the...
Categories: Iraq

Pentagon: Coalition Airstrikes in Afghanistan on Record Pace in '18

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 23:52
The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan is on pace this year to drop a record number of bombs, according to Pentagon data. Through the first six months of 2018, the U.S. and its allies dropped 2,911 weapons on Afghanistan, according to data from the U.S. Air Force Central Command.  ​That is nearly twice the number of bombs dropped on Afghanistan in the same period last year, and over 700 more than the previous high set in 2011 at the height of the war.  The expanded...
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US Releases Aid to Egypt Withheld Because of Rights Record

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 23:00
The Trump administration has released $195 million in military aid to Egypt that had been withheld because of concerns about the country's human rights record. A State Department spokesman said Wednesday that the move recognized steps Egypt had taken over the last year in response to U.S. concerns and sought to further strengthen the countries' partnership. He did not specify what steps Egypt took. One day before the release of the suspended aid, members of the House...
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Some Syrian Refugees Oppose Russian Repatriation Push

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 22:45
Even as Russia pushes to repatriate Syrians who fled their country amid civil war, many of the refugees in Jordan said Thursday they will not return before the war has ended and their safety is assured. Some Syrians interviewed in Amman also said they don’t trust Russia as a mediator because it helped President Bashar Assad retake large swaths of territory from fighters who revolted against him. “As a free, honest Syrian citizen, I consider Russia as a state occupying Syria,” said...
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Egypt President Ratifies Law Protecting Military Officers

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 22:21
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Thursday ratified a bill that could immunize senior military officers from future prosecution related to violence after the 2013 military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president. The law, published in the official gazette Thursday, grants senior military officers selected by Sissi rewards including immunity from investigation for alleged offenses after the suspension of Egypt's former constitution in July 3, 2013 until...
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As Temperatures Rise, Egyptians Cope

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 22:15
Researchers say Egypt, with its arid, sun-scorched landscape and its limited sources of water, is one of the countries potentially most at risk of suffering dramatic effects of climate change.At no time of year is climate change more on the minds of Egyptians than summer, when many try to escape temperatures that have historically reached as high as 47 degrees Celsius. Photojournalist Hamada Elrasam shows how Egyptians, are coping. ​About the photographer: Photojournalist and...
Categories: Iraq

As Temperatures Rise, Egyptians Cope

Voice of America - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 22:07
Researchers say Egypt, with its arid, sun-scorched landscape and its limited sources of water, is one of the countries potentially most at risk of suffering dramatic effects of climate change.  At no time of year is climate change more on the minds of Egyptians than summer, when many try to escape temperatures that have historically reached as high as 47 degrees Celsius.  Photojournalist Hamada Elrasam shows how Egyptians, are coping.
Categories: Iraq