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Updated: 58 min 41 sec ago

President Rouhani: Iran Deal Not Renegotiable

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:57
The future of the 2015 Iran deal is being widely discussed by leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from the gathering that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is adamant that it is not renegotiable, while President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has decided whether to pull the U.S. out of the multilateral agreement.
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Governments Paying Terror Kidnap Ransoms Put All Citizens At Risk, Warns Report

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:42
The lack of a unified approach by world governments to paying kidnap ransoms is putting the lives of citizens of all nationalities at greater risk and is providing terror groups with a big source of finance, warns a new report by a prominent British defense policy institute. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
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‘I’ll Let You Know’ Trump Says About Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 05:34
U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has decided whether to pull the United States out of the 2015 international pact curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons development. “I have decided,” he told reporters while on a photo call in New York with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “I’ll let you know.” On Tuesday, Trump disparaged the deal at the U.N. General Assembly, calling it one of the worst transactions the U.S. has ever entered into. It was negotiated during the...
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Report: Governments Paying Terror Kidnap Ransoms ‘Put All Citizens at Risk’

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 02:30
The lack of a unified approach by world governments to paying kidnap ransoms is putting the lives of citizens of all nationalities at greater risk and providing terror groups with a big source of finance, warns a new report from British analyst group the Royal United Services Institute. The authors call for a global, rigorously applied and scrupulously monitored commitment to prevent any concessions to terrorist organizations. A series of high profile kidnappings by Islamic State in...
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Trump: US to Consider Resuming Halted Military Aid to Egypt

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 01:07
The United States will consider resuming some suspended military assistance to Egypt, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday. The U.S. government last month decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million over human rights concerns. Asked if he would restart military to aid to Egypt, Trump told reporters as he began a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi: "We're going to certainly consider it." On August 27,...
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Unveiling New Libya Plan, UN Sees Opportunity for Peace

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 01:00
The United Nations launched a road map on Wednesday for a renewed international effort to break a political stalemate in Libya and end the turmoil that followed the country's 2011 uprising. The world body's Libya envoy, Ghassan Salame, set out an "action plan" on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York that proposes amending a 2015 peace deal that quickly stalled. The U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) established under the December 2015...
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Battle Against IS in Raqqa Is in 'Final Stages,' Force Says

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 22:47
The battle for the Islamic State group's de facto Syria capital, Raqqa, has reached its "final stages," the Syrian Democratic Forces said Wednesday, almost four months after the U.S.-backed force launched an assault on the self-proclaimed capital of the militant group. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said it captured Raqqa's last grain silos from the militants in a surprise offensive on the city's northern neighborhoods, mounted five days ago. Less than 300...
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Security Firm Links Iranian Hackers to Malware Attacks

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 20:04
A private U.S.-based security firm is linking an Iranian government-sponsored hacking group to cyber-attacks targeted at organizations across the world. The security firm FireEye said Wednesday the Iranian hackers used malware to attack aerospace and petrochemical firms in the United States, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The hacking group, dubbed APT33 (advanced persistent threat) by the FireEye researchers, used phishing emails and fake domain names to gain access to computer systems...
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Trump Says He's Decided Whether US Should Stay in Iran Nuclear Deal

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 18:54
U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has made a decision on whether to pull the United States out of the 2015 international pact curbing Iran's nuclear weapons development. Trump declined to say what his decision is, but the U.S. rift with Iran took center stage at the United Nations General Assembly, a day after he denounced Tehran as "an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos." Iranian President Hassan Rouhani,...
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Trump Call for Keeping Refugees Close to Home Angers Lebanon

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:27
President Donald Trump's suggestion that refugees be resettled closer to home instead of brought to the United States has angered many in Lebanon, a tiny country hosting more than 1.5 million refugees. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said "everyone knows Lebanon rejects resettling Palestinians or any other nationalities."   The country of just 4 million is officially hosting more than 1 million Syrian refugees and some 500,000 Palestinians. The real numbers...
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Moody's: Egypt Economy Still Recovering From 2011 Uprising

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:17
Egypt's economy has started to improve but has yet to recover from the country's 2011 uprising and the years of unrest that followed, an international credit rating agency said. Moody's hailed recent economic and fiscal reforms in its annual report released Tuesday, saying they point to "improved government effectiveness and policy predictability." Weak finances, however, remain a "key challenge" for the government, it added. Egypt embarked on an...
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Will Kurdish Vote Trigger Yet Another War in Iraq?

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:38
It is rare for the United States and Iran to agree on anything but this week both Washington and Tehran have been scrambling to try to dissuade the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, from holding a referendum on independence. Their vehement opposition to an independence vote partly stems from their concerns about each other. Tehran worries that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan will cleave ever closer to America and the West, while Washington is anxious that the referendum will...
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As ISIS Threat Recedes, Mental and Physical Barriers Prevent Iraqis from Returning Home

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:00
As Iraqi forces continue to push back Islamic State militants from their strongholds, many civilians who fled the violence are seeking to return home. For some ethnic and religious groups, such as the Yazidis, the trauma of their ordeal under IS continues to present barriers to their return. A recent conference in Britain looked at what steps are needed to enable the Yazidis to go back to their homeland in northern Iraq. Henry Ridgwell reports.
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Critics of Iran Nuclear Deal Debate the Way Forward

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 05:40
During his speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. President Donald Trump made his disdain for the nuclear agreement with Iran absolutely clear. "The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into," Trump said. "Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me." On the sidelines of the UNGA, some prominent critics of the...
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As ISIS Threat Recedes, Mental and Physical Barriers Keep Iraqis From Returning Home

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 05:30
As Iraqi forces continue to push back Islamic State militants from their strongholds, many civilians who fled the violence are seeking to return home. Close to 5 million Iraqis fled the 2014 advance by IS and the ensuing violence that engulfed parts of the country. Since Iraqi and coalition forces began to retake territory from the militants, the United Nations estimates that around 1.7 million people have returned home. Over 3 million, however, remain displaced with some housed in...
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UN Seeks to Rally Foreign Backing for New Libyan Peace Plan

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 04:04
The United Nations is seeking to marshal international support this week for a new push to break a political stalemate in Libya and end the turmoil that followed the country's 2011 uprising. The world body's Libya envoy, Ghassan Salame, is expected to set out an "action plan" on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday that will propose amending a 2015 peace deal that quickly stalled. The U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) set...
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US Confirms Syrian Army Crossed Deconfliction Zone in Deir el-Zour

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 03:15
U.S.-led coalition forces say the Russian-backed Syrian army has crossed the Euphrates River in Deir el-Zour in its bid to regain control of the Syrian city, a move that could result in a faceoff with U.S.-backed fighters in the city's east. "We confirm Russian and Syrian regime forces have moved east of the Euphrates River," Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, told VOA on Tuesday. "The Russians are providing air support to Syrian regime...
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Ankara Increases Pressure on Iraqi Kurds Before Independence Vote

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:40
Around 100 Turkish tanks and armored vehicles are massed on the Iraqi-Kurdish border, ostensibly for military exercises, that coincide with a hardening of Ankara’s political rhetoric against the independence referendum by Iraqi Kurds. Government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said Tuesday the vote is being driven by a sick mentality and warned it threatened to spark regional chaos. Bozdag said these kinds of steps in the region will ruin regional security and shatter comfort, peace and...
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Hamas Invites Abbas to Resume Control of Gaza

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:34
Hamas on Tuesday invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to send officials to Gaza to resume control of the coastal enclave the Islamic militant group seized a decade ago. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said his group is serious about returning power to the Western-backed Palestinian leader and called on him to respond with "practical steps." Hamas has said it will dismantle a contentious committee that has governed Gaza in recent months - answering a key Abbas demand. It...
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Egypt Says it Will Host 'Reorganization' of Libyan Army

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 18:33
Egypt said Tuesday it will host the reorganization of Libya's army, currently an eastern-based force led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.   A statement signed by the Egyptian Committee on Libya said that Libyan military officers who met in Cairo recently chose Egypt as a starting point for plans to unify the army.   The group, chaired by Egypt's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Hegazy, didn't say which officials took part in the meeting, or provide further...
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