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Turkey's Key Media Group to be Sold to pro-Erdogan Business

1 hour 56 min ago
Turkey's largest media group said Thursday it is in talks with a business group close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the sale of its outlets, a development that further curtails independent journalism in the country that has taken an increasingly authoritarian turn under his leadership.   In a notice to Turkey's capital markets board, Dogan Holding said it was negotiating the sale of outlets — including flagship Hurriyet newspaper, the mass-circulation daily Posta,...
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Syrian Rebels to Leave Key Town in Eastern Ghouta

4 hours 8 min ago
Syrian rebels and their families were expected to leave a besieged town in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus on Thursday, in an evacuation deal that will see the town handed over to the government following years of siege.   Rebels released 13 prisoners of war ahead of the evacuation.   The deal is the first such arrangement made for a town inside the beleaguered eastern Ghouta enclave, which has endured one month of relentless shelling and bombardment as the government,...
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Piece of Dead Sea Scroll on Public Display for First Time in Jerusalem

9 hours 13 min ago
Several pieces of the ancient Dead Sea scrolls are on public display for the first time. Two of them are at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as part of an exhibit on life in biblical times. Another small fragment is being highlighted at Jerusalem's Israel Museum, as we hear from VOA's Deborah Block.
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Palestinian Teen Who Slapped Israeli Soldiers Gets 8-Month Prison Term

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:10
A Palestinian teen who grabbed the world’s attention when she slapped and kicked Israeli soldiers, was sentenced to eight months in prison Wednesday by an Israeli military court. Ahed Tamimi, 17, became an instant hero to Palestinians after the December assault that was posted on social media. Under the terms of a plea bargain, Tamimi was also fined $1,400, and was given credit for the three months she’d already served in jail, according to her lawyer. She had been facing 12 counts,...
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US: Plans Being Made in Case Iran Nuclear Talks With Europeans Fail

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 01:05
The U.S. says it had constructive talks with its European partners last week on changes to the Iran nuclear agreement, but it is making contingency plans in case the talks fail and President Donald Trump decides to pull out of the landmark 2015 deal. Lead negotiator and State Department Policy Planning Director Brian Hook told reporters Wednesday he cannot predict whether U.S. talks with Britain, France and Germany on forging a supplemental agreement to address what Trump sees as...
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UN: Credible, Inclusive Elections in Libya This Year a 'Top Priority'

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 22:34
The United Nations' top official in Libya said holding credible and inclusive elections there by the end of this year is a top priority. "It is vital that before elections take place, we are certain they will be inclusive and their results accepted," Ghassan Salame told Security Council members Wednesday. "For this reason, I'm pleased the voter registration, which ended 10 days ago, proceeded with great success." Saleme said 1 million new voters have...
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Detained African Migrants Stuck in Limbo in Wartime Yemen

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 20:22
Anxious and hungry, hundreds of African migrants lie cramped together on the ground of a open-air warehouse in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden. Most are from desperately poor Horn of Africa countries and like tens of thousands each year, were willing to risk the treacherous journey through war-torn and impoverished Yemen in the hope of finding work in Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf Arab states. But their plan was not to be. Caught and detained by the Yemeni authorities, the...
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Early Election Fever Grows With Turkish Military Victory in Syria

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 18:43
With Turkish led military forces scoring a decisive victory in Syria against the YPG Kurdish militia, speculation is rife in Turkey of early general and presidential elections. Sunday's capture of the key Syrian town of Afrin from the YPG was perfectly choreographed to coincide with Turkey's Martyrs Day.  The symbolism was not lost on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has linked his fortunes to the military incursion, declaring the Syrian campaign the most important...
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In Symbolic Victory, Iran Conquers Iraq's Dates Market

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 17:20
It isn't hard to find signs that Iran is winning a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Iraq. There are the Iraqi Shi'ite militia who have sworn allegiance to Iran and the politicians beholden to Tehran. There are the Iranian companies that make everything from Baghdad's yellow taxis to the refrigerators and air conditioners that flood street markets. And then there are the dates. Iraq was once the world's biggest producer of the sweet fruit. But decimated by years of...
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Executions, Torture and Slave Markets Persist in Libya: UN

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 16:45
Armed groups execute and torture civilians in Libya in almost complete impunity seven years after the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, the United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday. Libyans and migrants are often held incommunicado in arbitrary detention in appalling conditions, and reports persist of captured migrants being bought and sold on “open slave markets”, it said in a report to the Human Rights Council. Libya is split between rival governments in the east...
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Saudi Arabia Says Revamping Education to Combat 'Extremist Ideologies'

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 15:41
Saudi Arabia is revamping its education curriculum to eradicate any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence and will dismiss anyone working in the sector who sympathizes with the banned group, the education minister said. " Promoting a more moderate form of Islam is one of the promises made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under plans to modernize the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom. The education ministry is working to “combat extremist ideologies by reviewing school...
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Egypt Prepares for Presidential Election

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 13:35
Egypt’s incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi is seeking a new mandate in a contest that is generating little suspense. To most observers, it appears clear that Sissi will win. But the main question is, by how much?
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Israel Admits to 2007 Strike on Suspected Syrian Nuclear Site

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 09:34
The Israeli military admitted Wednesday it was responsible for a 2007 airstrike that destroyed a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor. Israel said the facility in the Deir al-Zour region was close to becoming active when it sent a group of fighter jets on a top-secret mission. Wednesday’s disclosure included the release of declassified cockpit video said to show the airstrike as well as photos connected to the operation. Syria has denied it was building a nuclear reactor at the...
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UN Gives Strong Backing to Lebanon's Political Independence

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 06:45
The U.N. Security Council reaffirmed its strong support Tuesday for Lebanon's political independence following a report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who said "crises in the region continue to pose a risk to the stability" of the country.   In a report circulated this week, Guterres pointed to the sudden resignation — later rescinded — of Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri late last year while he was in Saudi Arabia as one crisis. It was widely seen as...
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Foreign Wives of Islamic State Fighters Sentenced to Death in Iraq 

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 05:30
Some of the women smiled as the judge read his rulings in a staccato, rapid-fire rhythm. “Hanged by the neck until dead,” he said 17 times in a Baghdad court last Monday and Tuesday. At least six more wives of dead or captured foreign Islamic State fighters were sentenced to life in prison. For some IS supporters, a death sentence can be interpreted as a good thing, according to Judge Abdul Satar Bayraqdar, spokesperson for the High Court in Baghdad. “They think if they are killed,...
Categories: Iraq

Egypt Prepares for Presidential Election, and Few Surprises

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 04:15
Four years after Egypt’s last presidential election, incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi is seeking a new mandate in a contest that is generating little suspense. To most observers, it appears clear that Sissi will win. But the main question is, by what margin? The president's re-election bid comes after a four-year term that has been marked by a number of successes, including a Suez Canal expansion and the discovery of major offshore natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean...
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Trump Hints He May Break With His Generals on Iran

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 02:45
U.S. President Donald Trump appears increasingly willing to defy some of his top generals, as his administration grapples with how best to deal with Iran. Trump is facing a May deadline to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, and signaled again Tuesday that he is not afraid to pull the U.S. out of the agreement unless other signatories are willing to make major changes. "A lot of bad things are happening in Iran," the president said during a visit to the White House by Saudi...
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‘Women’s Army' Vows to Fight On in Syria After Briton’s Death

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 02:28
An all-female Kurdish militia vowed to fight on after the death of a 26-year-old British woman during a major assault on a region in northern Syria where it has boosted women’s rights. Anna Campbell died on March 15 during an attack by the Turkish military, the YPJ brigade said on its website, the latest Western fighter to die alongside Kurdish forces in Syria’s seven-year-old civil war. “Together with three of her comrades, she joined the immortal martyrs,” the group said. “We give...
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US Senate Rejects Bid to End US Support for Saudi Campaign in Yemen

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 02:15
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday killed a resolution seeking an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen's civil war, the same day President Donald Trump was due to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House. The Senate voted 55-44 to dismiss the resolution, which sought for the first time to take advantage of a provision in the 1973 War Powers Act that allows any senator to introduce a resolution on whether to withdraw U.S. armed forces from a...
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Yemeni Man Seeks Guantanamo Release After 16 Years

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 00:55
Lawyers for a longtime Guantanamo Bay detainee asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to intervene after the Trump administration disregarded a review board's decision clearing him for release.   Moath al-Alwi has been held in Guantanamo for more than 16 years without charges. The Yemeni native was captured in Pakistan and originally believed to have been a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. Authorities later concluded he was a low-level cadre and may not have engaged in combat. A...
Categories: Iraq