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US Carrier in Persian Gulf Region Seen as Clear Signal to Iran

Sat, 06/08/2019 - 22:46
Under a starry sky, U.S. Navy fighter jets catapulted off the aircraft carrier's deck and flew north over the darkened waters of the northern Arabian Sea, a unmistaken signal to Iran that the foremost symbol of the American military's global reach is back in its neighborhood, perhaps to stay.  The USS Abraham Lincoln, with its contingent of Navy destroyers and cruisers and a fighting force of about 70 aircraft, is the centerpiece of the Pentagon's response to...
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Libyan Coast Guard Intercepts 22 Migrants 

Sat, 06/08/2019 - 21:29
Libya's coast guard said Saturday that it had intercepted nearly two dozen Europe-bound migrants off the country's Mediterranean coast.    Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said a wooden boat carrying at least 22 African migrants, all men, was intercepted Friday north of the Bouri offshore oil field, around 105 kilometers (65 miles) from Tripoli.    He said the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid and then were taken to a refugee camp in...
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Thousands Flee Devastating Floods in Southwest Libya

Sat, 06/08/2019 - 13:55
The U.N. refugee agency reports heavy flooding has devastated whole neighborhoods in the city of Ghat in south-west Libya forcing thousands of people to flee for their lives.  The U.N. refugee agency reports heavy flooding has forced more than 2,500 people to flee their homes.  It says the torrential rains, which began nearly two weeks ago have ravaged the town of Ghat, killing four people, including three children and injuring more than 30 others. The UNHCR reports the...
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About 8,000 Ethiopian Jews Waiting to Immigrate to Israel

Sat, 06/08/2019 - 08:46
About 8,000 Ethiopian Jews want to move to Israel and join their families already living there. But they accuse the Israeli government of delaying their immigration for racist reasons, accusations the government denies. Linda Gradstein has more from Jerusalem.
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Five Countries to Join UN Security Council Ranks in January 

Sat, 06/08/2019 - 02:55
Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam were elected Friday to two-year terms on the U.N. Security Council. The five will join the 15-nation body responsible for maintaining international peace and security on Jan. 1, 2020. There is usually little suspense in the General Assembly for the vote, as regional groups typically pre-select a candidate from within their bloc to run uncontested. This year, Tunisia, Niger and Vietnam ran unopposed. So did Saint...
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Attacks on Civilians, Infrastructure in Syria Might Be War Crimes

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 20:00
The United Nations is demanding an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria, warning the warring parties their actions might amount to war crimes.  U.N. agencies say an intense military escalation by Russian-backed Syrian forces and armed rebels in northwest Syria is having a catastrophic impact on the civilian population. Agencies confirm at least 160 civilians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in fighting over...
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New US Sanctions Target Iran's Petrochemical Industry

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 20:00
The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country's petrochemical industry, including its largest petrochemical holding group, over its financial support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Treasury Department said. Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program and for waging proxy wars in other Middle Eastern countries. The new measures follow a round of sanctions imposed last month that targeted the...
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Northwest Syria Battles Rage After Rebel Counterattack

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 19:24
Battles intensified in northwest Syria on Friday after insurgents mounted an attack to repel an army offensive that has pounded the country's last major rebel stronghold for weeks. State news agency SANA said the army absorbed the new attack and reinforced its frontline positions after fierce clashes with militants overnight. It said insurgents fired shells at a village in the northern Hama countryside. Insurgent factions said they seized three key villages in the Hama countryside...
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Syria Uses Familiar Tactic in Rebel Idlib: Bombing Civilians

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 16:53
The father could hardly bear seeing his 18-month-old daughter's panic every time the Syrian government warplanes flew over their home. Every day for a month, she ran to him to hide in his arms, tearful and breathless. Abdurrahim had refused to flee his hometown throughout years of violence, and he was determined to hold out through the new, intensified government offensive launched in April against Idlib province, the last significant territory held by Syria's rebels. But now...
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US Commander Says Mideast Buildup Prompted Iran 'Step Back'

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 15:22
Iran has chosen to "step back and recalculate" after making preparations for an apparent attack against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, but it is too early to conclude the threat is gone, the top commander of American forces in the Mideast said Thursday. In an interview with three reporters accompanying him to the Gulf, Gen. Frank McKenzie said he remains concerned by Iran's potential for aggression, and he would not rule out requesting additional U.S. forces to...
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Seaweed Could Help Produce Biodegradable Plastic

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 07:45
Efforts to recycle discarded plastic have not reduced piles of single-use products from landfills, and China will no longer import plastic waste for recycling. The United Nations says more than 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. Plastics are increasingly killing marine life and birds, threatening ecosystems and harming humans. Researchers are working to develop biodegradable materials to replace the durable plastic. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports on one such project in...
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UAE, Norway, Saudi Arabia: ‘State Actor’ Likely Attacked Oil Tankers

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 05:25
The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Norway said Thursday that a preliminary investigation into a coordinated attack on four of their oil tankers in an Emirati port last month was likely carried out by a state actor. In a joint statement, they said limpet mines were used in the May 12 coordinated attacks, which left large holes in the hulls of the four tankers, but did not cause more extensive damage or oil spills. Limpets are a type of naval mine that attach to their target with...
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Trump Calls for Iran Talks as Allies Announce Rare Tehran Visits

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 05:19
This article originated in VOA's Persian service. Katherine Ahn contributed from Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump has called for U.S.-Iran talks for a second day to resolve mutual tensions — a prospect two U.S. allies hope to promote as they send senior envoys to Tehran for the first time in years. "I understand they want to talk, and we want to talk. That's fine. We'll talk," Trump said Thursday, referring to Iran as he sat for a bilateral meeting with...
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US Commander Says Mideast Buildup Prompted Iran 'Step Back'

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:30
The top commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast says Iran appears to have decided to "step back and recalculate" in response to a U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf area. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie says it's too early to conclude Iran has abandoned plans for potential attacks against American interests that prompted the buildup last month. McKenzie told reporters Thursday that he is assessing Iran's stance. He says he would not rule out requesting more forces...
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State News Reports Iran's Education Minister Has Resigned

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:11
The state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that Iran's minister of education has resigned to run for a seat in parliament in February 2020.    IRNA said Thursday that President Hassan Rouhani approved Mohammad Bathaei's resignation.    Earlier, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported that Bathaei handed in his resignation to the president at a Cabinet meeting.      The resignation comes after Iranian...
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Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Draws Revelers, Police

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:07
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Jerusalem on Thursday in the city's annual gay pride parade, a festival that exposes deep divisions between Israel's secular and Jewish ultra-Orthodox camps. Some 10,000 revelers waving rainbow flags joined the carnival-like procession, as over 2,500 police officers in plain clothes, in uniform and on horseback patrolled the crowd. "Homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders. Jerusalem is mine too," marchers chanted. The...
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Russia, China Voice Support for Iran After Xi Visit to Kremlin

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 19:13
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for Kremlin talks that reflected increasingly close ties between the two countries that were communist rivals during the Cold War. At the conclusion of the meetings a joint statement by Russia and China voiced support for Iran and commended Iran’s implementation of the requirements of the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, reported Russia’s Interfax news...
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Jerusalem Pride Draws Thousands of Gay Revelers and Police

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 19:01
Thousands of people are marching through the streets of Jerusalem in the city's annual gay pride parade, a festival that exposes deep divisions between Israel's secular and Jewish ultra-Orthodox camps.   Some 10,000 revelers waving rainbow and Israeli flags joined the procession Thursday, as thousands of police officers in plain clothes and uniform patrolled the crowd.   The gay community's visibility in conservative Jerusalem tends to draw protest from the...
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Burning Trash and Factories Belching Smoke Choke Iraqis

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 05:00
As if life was not bad enough for Adnan Kadhim - he lives in a slum where municipal authorities dump Baghdad's rubbish - now someone is setting the waste on fire, making his children sick. As the United Nations marks World Environment Day on Wednesday, Iraq is suffering a pollution crisis, with trash piling up across the country and thick clouds of smoke produced by inefficient factories hovering above Baghdad. "The dirt, our children are sick, our families are sick. My...
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World Bank: Iran Likely to Suffer Worse Recession Than Previously Thought

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 02:40
This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. WASHINGTON —The World Bank says Iran is likely to experience an even worse recession this year than previously thought, as U.S. sanctions largely choke off oil exports that have been Tehran’s main revenue source. In its latest Global Economic Prospects report published Wednesday, the Washington-based institution that provides loans to countries said it expects Iran’s Gross Domestic Product to shrink by 4.5% this year, a steeper...
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