in Iraq


US Deplores Turkey's Re-arrest of Amnesty International Official

Voice of America - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 05:42
The United States said on Tuesday it was “deeply troubled” by Turkey's re-arrest of the chairman of the local arm of Amnesty International, and called on its NATO ally to end its state of emergency and safeguard the rule of law. U.S.-Turkish relations have been strained recently by a series of disagreements, especially over the Syria crisis. Taner Kilic was one of 11 human rights activists arrested last year on what Amnesty International has said were “bogus terrorism charges.” He...
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UN: Refugees in Syria's Raqqa Face ‘Extreme’ IS Landmine Threat

Voice of America - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 02:31
Unexploded landmines left by Islamic State fighters cover every inch of their former Syrian capital of Raqqa, a U.N. official said on Tuesday, advising civilians against returning to their homes there. About 60,000 Syrians have returned to the ruins of Raqqa since Islamic State left, Panos Moumtzis, U.N. assistant secretary general and regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria Crisis, told reporters in Beirut. “The number of unexploded ordnance in Raqqa is something that we have...
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UN: Gaza Health Facilities Face Closure Due to Fuel Shortage

Voice of America - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 00:44
Fuel for emergency generators that keep Gaza's hospitals and sanitation services operating will run out within 10 days, the United Nations said Tuesday in an appeal for immediate donor support. The shortage stems from a dispute between Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamist group and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA). Both signed a unity deal in October but have failed to finalize the details of political power-sharing. So far generators have stopped at three of Gaza's...
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UN Calls for Cease-Fire in Syria to Deliver Life-Saving Aid

Voice of America - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 00:15
The United Nations is calling for an immediate cease-fire in Syria to allow for the delivery of life-saving aid to millions of civilians who are without food, medicine and other essential needs. The U.N. says it needs at least a one-month humanitarian pause in the fighting throughout Syria to organize the delivery of aid and services and to evacuate critically ill and wounded people from besieged and hard-to-reach areas. Aid workers warn that people in certain parts of the country are...
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Rouhani: Iranian Government Must Listen to Demands of the People

Voice of America - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 23:31
Iranians have political, economic and social demands that must be heard, President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday, one of his clearest statements of the right to air grievances since demonstrations were put down violently in December and January. "People have criticism and objections on the economic issue and they have a right. But the objections aren't only economic. They also have something to say about political and social issues and foreign relations," Rouhani said at...
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Love of Korean Pop Links UK Teenagers With Palestinian Refugees

Voice of America - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 22:31
The sugary pop songs of South Korean groups BTS, EXO and BlackPink might be sung in Korean but it has not stopped Palestinian refugee teenager Tasnim from being an avid fan from her home in war-torn Syria. To Tasnim's surprise, it is a love shared by students at London's Connaught School for Girls with whom her school in Damascus holds Skype calls as part of a project to connect refugee students in the Middle East with European and U.S. pupils. "My favorite kind of music...
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Iran Accuses US of Aiding IS in Afghanistan

Voice of America - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 19:42
Iran has joined Russia in accusing the United States of aiding Islamic State extremists in Afghanistan, charges Washington vehemently denies. "After witnessing Daesh and other organized terrorist groups losing their ground in Iraq and Syria, they are now relocating them to Afghanistan," Iranian media quoted the country's top military commander as alleging Tuesday. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS. The chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, General Mohammad Hossein...
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US Continues Ramped Up Yemen Air Campaign with 18 New Strikes

Voice of America - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 19:04
U.S. forces have continued a dramatically ramped up air campaign against al-Qaida and Islamic State in Yemen, conducting 18 airstrikes in Yemen in December and January.   Most of these strikes targeted al-Qaida, but about five targeted Islamic State in Yemen, a U.S. military official confirmed to VOA. One December airstrike killed al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) deputy arms facilitator Habib al-Sana’ani in Marib governorate, the U.S. military said Tuesday. Al-Sana’ani...
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NY Court Considers Cold War Secrecy Over Muslim Surveillance

Voice of America - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 17:13
New York's highest court will consider on Tuesday whether the New York Police Department can use a Cold War-era legal tactic to conceal information about whether it put Muslims under surveillance. The Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the cases of two Muslims who say the NYPD overstepped its reach by responding to a 2012 public records request related to the surveillance by saying it could "neither confirm nor deny" the records even existed. The lawsuits over that...
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Lebanon Tells Israel Its Border Wall Violates Sovereignty

Voice of America - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 01:35
A wall Israel intends to build at the border marks a violation of Lebanese sovereignty, Lebanon said during a meeting of Lebanese and Israeli military officers chaired by U.N. peacekeepers Monday. Disagreement over the wall and Lebanon's plans to explore for offshore oil and gas in disputed maritime waters have elevated tensions between Israel and Lebanon, which is home to the powerful Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah. The Israeli army has previously said the construction work is...
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Haley: Evidence Shows Syrian Military Used Chlorine in Idlib

Voice of America - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 01:00
The U.N. Security Council met to discuss Syria Monday, amid new reports of possible chemical weapons use in that country. “We have reports that the (Bashar al) Assad regime has used chlorine gas against its people multiple times in recent weeks, including just yesterday,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told council members. “There is obvious evidence from dozens of victims.” Medical groups and first responders in Syria reported several civilians had signs consistent with chlorine gas,...
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Turkey Frees Members of Medical Association Who Criticized Syrian Military Offensive

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 22:45
Turkey has freed eight top members of the country's main medical association, who were detained for denouncing Ankara's military offensive in northern Syria. The Turkish Medical Association said Monday the eight members, including the head of the organization, were released under observation after giving statements to an Ankara prosecutor. It said three other members were released Friday. Turkish prosecutors ordered the members detained last week after the group criticized...
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UN Chief: Consensus for 2-State Israel-Palestinian Solution 'Could Be Eroding'

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 22:32
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday the global consensus for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel "could be eroding," even as the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza worsens and might make the Palestinian enclave "unlivable by 2020." Guterres criticized Israel for its construction of settlements and expansion in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, saying they are illegal under U.N. resolutions and...
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Israeli Minister: Poland Visit Cancelled Over Holocaust Bill

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 20:56
Israel's education minister said Monday that Poland cancelled his visit to the country amid uproar over proposed Polish legislation that would outlaw blaming Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust.   "The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it,'' Naftali Bennett said in a statement late Monday. "The government of Poland cancelled my visit, because I mentioned the crimes of its people. I am honored."   The...
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African Migrants Speak Out Against Israeli Deportation Orders

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 19:51
Israel has begun issuing deportation notices to thousands of African migrants. Almost 40,000 African migrants are facing an uncertain future after Israel began issuing deportation orders that amount to an ultimatum: The migrants can take an offer of $3,500 and a one-way plane ticket to Rwanda within 60 days, or face imprisonment. Most of the migrants came from war-torn Sudan and Eritrea over the past decade and entered Israel illegally. Many say that going back to Africa is not an...
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'Heartwrenching' Study Shows FGM Prevalent Among India's Bohra Sect

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 19:47
Three quarters of women among India’s Dawoodi Bohra sect have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), according to a study published on Monday which comes just weeks after government officials said there was no data to support its existence. Campaigners hope the survey - the largest of its kind - will bolster calls for a law to ban the secretive ritual which they say causes physical, emotional and sexual harm. One mother told how she feared her daughter would bleed to death after...
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Libya Condemns Militia Attacks Against Tawergha Minority

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 19:37
Libya's U.N.-backed government in Tripoli has condemned attacks against hundreds of displaced black Libyans known as Tawergha who were still stranded in a camp on Monday after militiamen prevented them from returning home.   In a statement late Sunday, it said it is still working to ensure that the hundreds of families taking refuge in a camp near the town of Bani Walid can return to their home city, also known as Tawergha.   Witnesses reported that the Tawergha, who were...
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Israeli Killed in Palestinian Stabbing Attack

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 17:54
A Palestinian stabbed and killed an Israeli man on Monday in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, Israeli officials said. The incident occurred in Ariel, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the territory. An army officer who spotted the assailant hit him with his vehicle, but the Palestinian escaped and troops launched a search, the military said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli had died of his wounds, making the announcement at a weekly meeting of...
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Iran Urges Turkey to Stop Army Offensive in Northern Syria

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 17:39
Iran urged Turkey on Monday to stop its military offensive in Syria, saying the operation in the northern Afrin region breached Syrian sovereignty and would increase tension in the war-damaged country. Turkey last month launched an air and ground campaign, dubbed Operation Olive Branch, against the Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin. "Turkey should stop its operation and respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was...
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Britain-based Syrian Activists: 2 Hospitals Hit Amid Intense Bombardment

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 17:00
Syrian activists say two hospitals have been hit amid a wave of airstrikes on opposition-held areas in the northwest province of Idlib, the largest remaining rebel stronghold in Syria. The bombardment comes after rebels shot down a Russian fighter jet on Saturday.   The activist-run Edlib Media Center and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say one of the bombed hospitals was in the town of Kafranbel. They say it was hit on Monday morning.   Also, a...
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