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As 5-Year Anniversary of Rabaa Massacre Looms, Egypt Comes Under Fire

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 05:45
As the five-year anniversary of Egypt’s Rabaa massacre comes Tuesday, some human rights groups say the country has not done enough to address the human rights issues demonstrated in the killing. The Rabaa massacre was an attack in Cairo on supporters of ex-President Mohamed Morsi who were conducting a sit-in in the nation’s capital. A month earlier, Morsi had been ousted in a military coup. On July 3, 2013, current general-turned-president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi led the coup against...
Categories: Iraq

Far From Dead: Tens of Thousands of IS Fighters Linger in Iraq, Syria    

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 04:15
The Islamic State terror group may be far more resilient, stronger and dangerous than U.S. officials have been willing to let on, boasting a fighting force in Iraq and Syria that comes close to what it fielded at its peak. After four years of bombings, the elimination of key IS leaders, and other U.S. and coalition backed efforts, there are still anywhere from 28,600 to 31,600 IS fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to information given by the Defense Department to the lead inspector...
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Iran Jails One Civic Activist, Frees Another Held for 10 Years

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 03:15
Iranian rights groups say authorities have jailed a civil society activist in central Iran while releasing another activist who completed a 10-year prison term for photographing an alleged mass grave. In the case of the newly jailed civic activist, the Iran-based Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) and the U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) published reports Monday saying intelligence agents arrested Mohammad Davari last Friday in the west-central Iranian city of...
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US Adds Iran-based Bahraini Militant Leader to Global Terrorist List

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 02:50
The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on the Iran-based leader of the Bahraini al-Ashtar Brigades militant group for allegedly engaging in plots to overthrow the U.S.-backed government of Bahrain. Qassim Abdullah Ali Ahmed, leader of al-Ashtar Brigades who is commonly known as Qassim al-Muamen, has recruited terrorists in Bahrain and provided al-Ashtar Brigades members with funding, weapons and explosives to carry out attacks against the Bahraini government, the U.S. State...
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Netanyahu Calls Detention of US Journalist a Mistake

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 02:45
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling the detention of an American journalist at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday an "administrative mistake." Peter Beinart, a columnist for the liberal Jewish newspaper Forward and a critic of the Israeli government, was held and questioned about his politics for about an hour. He was in Israel to visit family. Beinart said he was asked if he was involved with groups that advocate violence in Israel or threaten Israeli...
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Syria Vows to Help Refugees Return, Wants Sanctions Lifted

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 02:19
Syrian government officials vowed Monday to ensure the safe return of refugees and urged Western countries to encourage the process by lifting sanctions. Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the refugees' return is a top priority for Damascus, adding that "the Syrian government will facilitate their return by all means." He added that the country would welcome any foreign assistance, provided it comes with no preconditions. Public Administration Minister Hussein...
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Iraq to Respect Dollar Ban But Not All US Sanctions on Iran

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 23:45
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stepped back from his commitment to abide by new U.S. sanctions on Iran on Monday, saying his government would only respect the dollar ban in transactions with Iran. “I did not say we abide by the sanctions, I said we abide by not using dollars in transactions. We have no other choice,” Abadi told a news conference in Baghdad. Last week he said Iraq disagreed with the U.S. sanctions on Iran but would abide by them to safeguard its own interests,...
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Aid Worker Killings Rise, Fueled by Conflict in South Sudan, Syria

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 23:36
Nearly 140 aid workers were killed last year, a 23 percent rise on 2016, according to data released Monday that showed South Sudan was the most dangerous country in which to deliver aid for the third year running. The figures revealed a dramatic increase in aid worker kidnappings and fatal shootings in South Sudan — the world's youngest country — and a trebling of attacks in Central African Republic (CAR). South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and CAR accounted for two-thirds of 158...
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Egypt Voices Concern Over Red Sea Security After Houthi Attack

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 23:29
Egypt's president said on Monday Cairo was deeply concerned about security in the Red Sea following an attack by Yemen's Houthis on two oil tankers that forced Saudi Arabia to suspend crude shipments temporarily through the strait of Bab al-Mandab. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Yemeni counterpart, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi also said Cairo was committed to helping Yemen regain its security after more than three years of war that has killed thousands of...
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US Journalist Questioned by Israeli Security Authorities

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 22:47
A leading U.S. Jewish columnist said Monday that he was detained by Israeli authorities at Tel Aviv's airport and questioned about his political activity, the latest in a series of such incidents. Peter Beinart, a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a columnist at the liberal Jewish Forward daily, said on Twitter that he had been detained at Israel's Ben Gurion airport when he arrived for a family visit Sunday. In an article in The Forward, Beinart said he was taken into a...
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Turks Fear for Future as Currency Rout Continues

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 20:21
The Turkish lira has fallen more than 40 percent since the start of the year, 20 percent just last week, amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, and international investors' concerns over the economy.  For Turkey, the dramatic collapse of the currency signal fears for the future, as Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul. Fruit and vegetable sellers, along with fishmongers, try to drum up business in Istanbul’s old Kadikoy market.  But trade is slow. Most people just...
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Turkey's Currency Dips Again

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:43
Turkey's central bank failed to halt the slide of the country's lira currency on Monday as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States of purposely trying to damage his country's economy. "We are together in NATO and then you seek to stab your strategic partner in the back. Can such a thing be accepted?" Erdogan said in the capital, Ankara. The Turkish lira has plunged 40 percent this year, dropping 16 percent Friday and tumbling another seven...
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Diplomatic Feud Between Saudi Arabia, Canada Worsens

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:40
The diplomatic feud between Saudi Arabia and Canada, triggered by a tweet criticizing the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record, looks set to worsen this week with the suspension of direct Saudi flights to Canada. Neither side is showing signs of wanting to ease a quarrel that flared when Canada’s foreign minister criticized the recent arrests of 11 prominent rights activists in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia accused Canada of interfering in its internal affairs with the tweets that called on...
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Yemeni TPS Holders Have 60 Days to Re-Register

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:53
Yemeni TPS holders have 60 days to renew their Temporary Protected Status beginning Tuesday. The U.S. government had announced in early July that it would be extending TPS for Yemenis for 18 months until March 3, 2020. Without the extension, it would have expired Sept. 4. TPS allows status holders to live and work temporarily in the U.S. while their own nations recover from the effects of armed conflict or natural disasters. With the publication of a Federal Register notice expected...
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Tunisian Leader Backs Equal Inheritance Rights for Women

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:51
Tunisia's president promised Monday to submit a bill to parliament soon that aims to give women equal inheritance rights with men, as debate over the topic of inheritance reverberated around the Muslim world. In a speech marking Women's Day in Tunisia, President Beji Caid Essebsi said he wants to submit the proposal "as soon as possible," probably when parliament resumes in October.   The current system, which is based on Islamic Shariah law, generally grants...
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Musk: Saudi Fund Supports Tesla Buyout, Talks Continue

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:27
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Monday he was still in talks with potential backers of a possible buyout of the company, including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, but had not completed securing the funding. In a blog post, Musk said the Saudi fund had been pushing to take the electric carmaker private in talks dating back nearly two years and also backed the deal last week. The post fleshed out the Silicon Valley billionaire's shock announcement on Aug. 7 that he...
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China to UN Panel: No Arbitrary Detention in Uighur Region

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:47
China insisted Monday there is no “arbitrary detention” and there are no “re-education centers” in its western Xinjiang region, rejecting concerns raised by a U.N. human rights committee that more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs may be being held in camps. Beijing was responding to questions raised by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Geneva. A committee member last week cited estimates that over 1 million people in China from the country’s Uighur and other Muslim...
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Khamenei: Mismanagement More Harmful Than US Sanctions

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 14:07
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday government mismanagement has hurt Iran's economy more than U.S. sanctions. U.S. President Donald Trump last week reimposed a set of sanctions that had been lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers to limit the country's nuclear program in exchange for relief from measures that had badly hurt its economy. Those sanctions target Iran's automotive sector, its trade in gold and other precious...
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Turkey Announces 'Action Plan' to Ease Market Concerns

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 14:00
Asian and European markets were rattled by the Turkish lira's record low of 7.24 to the dollar overnight.The markets began to recover Monday, however, when Turkey's Central Bank said it was ready to take "all necessary measures" to help Turkish banks manage their liquidity. The bank's announcement followed the finance minister's disclosure that Turkey has prepared an "action plan" scheduled to roll out Monday that is intended to ease market concerns...
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Syrian Government Forces Continue to Surround Rebel-Held Idlib Enclave

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:46
An explosion at a fuel depot and electrical generation plant has left dozens of casualties Monday in the Syrian rebel-held town of Maarat al-Numan.  The explosion came as rescue workers in the rebel-held town of Sarmada continued to pull bodies from the rubble after an explosion there Saturday left more than 60 people dead.  Amateur video showed frightened residents cowering behind buildings as a massive explosion and fireball rocked the skyline over the Syrian opposition...
Categories: Iraq