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Updated: 1 year 19 weeks ago

Syria Says Insurgent Shelling Kills 6 Civilians in Northwest

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 17:54
Insurgents fired rockets into a government-held Christian town in northwestern Syria on Sunday, killing six people, including five children who were playing near a monastery and wounding several others, state media and a local priest said. State TV said the shelling just before noon caused widespread material damage to the town of Suqailabiyah. It said the dead also included a 35-year-old woman. State news agency SANA said Syrian troops had retaliated by firing shells toward...
Categories: Iraq

Iranian Media Say Reformist Magazine Closed by Authorities

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 15:00
Iranian authorities shut down a reformist magazine that had urged negotiations with the United States, local media reported Sunday. The weekly magazine Seda was handed a suspension order Saturday by a court in Tehran, the reformist newspaper Arman reported. Seda's most recent front page had shown a U.S. aircraft carrier fleet and the caption "At the crossroads between war and peace." The magazine called for "high-level engagement" between the U.S. and Iran,...
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Pompeo to Meet With Putin, Lavrov Amid Tensions

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 13:06
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week, as the two countries clash over a number of issues including Venezuela, Iran, and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.   Pompeo heads to Moscow Sunday, in his first visit to Russia as chief U.S. diplomat.   Top U.S. officials, including Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, have accused Russia of working against Venezuela’s...
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Lebanon’s Former Maronite Patriarch Sfeir Dies

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:20
Lebanon’s former Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, who wielded considerable political influence during the country’s civil war and was an ardent advocate of a Syrian troop withdrawal, died Sunday, the church said.  Sfeir, who would have turned 99 on May 15, died about 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) “after days of intensive medical care,” said a statement by the Maronite church.  He became the leader of the church in 1986 until he resigned in 2011, because of his declining...
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Generic Drug Companies Accused of Price Gouging

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 09:42
Forty U.S. states have filed a lawsuit against 20 pharmaceutical companies that make generic drugs, accusing the companies of participating in a scheme to inflate drug prices, sometimes by as much as 1,000%. "We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multibillion dollar fraud on the American people," said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. "We all wonder why our health care and specifically the prices for generic prescription drugs,...
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Saudi Forces Kill 8 in Shiite Area, Agency Says

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 02:45
Saudi Arabia’s security forces killed eight alleged terrorists in a shootout in the predominantly Shiite eastern region of Qatif, a government statement issued late Saturday said. The Interior Ministry said security forces launched a raid against a suspected militant hideout on the island of Tarot off the coast of the kingdom’s Eastern Province, a restive region on the Persian Gulf where most of the country’s oil reserves are located. The statement described the group as a “terrorist...
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Netanyahu to Ask for More Time to Form Government

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 02:05
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask Israel's president for more time to form a new government, a spokesman said Saturday.  In office for a decade, Netanyahu won a record fifth term in an April 9 parliamentary election, largely seen as a de facto referendum on his leadership as he faces possible indictment in three corruption cases. He denies the charges.  Netanyahu is negotiating terms with nearly all the right-wing, nationalist and...
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Iran's Rouhani Calls for Unity in Face of US Pressure

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 01:14
President Hassan Rouhani called Saturday for unity among Iran's political factions to overcome conditions that he said might be harder than those during the 1980s war with Iraq, state media reported as the country faces tightening U.S. sanctions.  U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Iran's leaders talk with him about giving up their nuclear program and said he could not rule out a military confrontation. Trump made the offer as he...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Troops Expand Offensive Despite Calls for Calm

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 20:00
Syrian government forces expanded their ground offensive in northwestern Syria, pushing Saturday into the last rebel stronghold and regaining control of a number of villages along its southern corner, activists and media said, despite calls for honoring a cease-fire put in place in September. The pro-government Military Media Center said that troops battled insurgent led by an al-Qaida-linked militant group out of Midan Ghazal village, which falls inside Idlib province. The government...
Categories: Iraq

Yemen's Houthis Begin Withdrawal Under UN Peace Deal

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 15:01
Yemen's Houthi rebels started withdrawing Saturday from the ports of Hodeida, Salif, and Ras-Issa, under a United Nations peace deal. Michael Lollesgaard, the chair of the U.N.'s Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), announced Friday that the redeployment would start Saturday and conclude by Tuesday. The head of the rebels' Supreme Revolutionary Committee said the withdrawal from the ports started at 10 a.m. local time. Lollesgaard said the pullout amounts to a...
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In Syria, Iraq, Foreign Fighters Lurk in Shadows

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 11:50
This is part four of a four-part series. By late February and early March, it had become a common scene on the far outskirts of the northeastern Syrian town of Baghuz: evacuees from the Islamic State terror group's final scrap of territory huddled on the desert floor, empty water bottles littering the ground as they waited to be vetted and taken to a displaced persons camp. Only something had changed. These huddled masses were no longer civilians trapped by the terror group's...
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US Sending More Military Power to Counter Iranian Threat

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 08:22
The United States military is once again ramping up its arsenal in the Middle East to counter a potential attack from Iran. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has more on the Iranian threat and the American military response.
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Iran Sees Oil Exports Falter, Trade Slump with Germany, US

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 07:52
U.S. sanctions are biting harder into the Iranian economy, with new signs that Iran’s key oil exports are faltering, while its trade figures with Europe’s biggest economy and with the United States are shrinking. U.S. news service Bloomberg said it has compiled tanker tracking data showing that no oil tankers had been seen leaving Iran’s oil terminals for foreign ports in the first nine days of May. Crude oil is Iran’s main revenue source. Washington tightened its unilateral sanctions...
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US Sending More Military Power to Counter Iranian Threat

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 06:54
The United States military is once again increasing its arsenal in the Middle East to counter Iranian threats, announcing Friday the movement of a Patriot missile battery and the USS Arlington landing platform dock ship used in amphibious assaults. The move comes a day after The USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers arrived in the Middle East in response to concerns Iran may be planning an attack against American targets. “It’s important that Iran...
Categories: Iraq

Houthis in Yemen Say They Will Redeploy Starting Saturday

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 02:14
The United Nations said Friday that the Ansar Allah, or Houthis, in Yemen had offered to redeploy away from the ports of Al-Hudaydah, Salif and Ras-Issa.   Michael Lollesgaard, chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, announced that the redeployment would start Saturday and conclude by May 14. He said the RCC welcomed the offer by the Houthis to begin redeployment.   Lollesgaard said this move amounted to a "first practical...
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UN Security Council Pushes for Libya Cease-Fire

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 22:34
As the fight for the Libyan capital enters its sixth week, the U.N. Security Council Friday urged the parties to stop shooting and rejoin U.N.-led political negotiations. “The U.N. Security Council is deeply concerned about the instability in Tripoli and worsening humanitarian situation, which is endangering the lives of innocent civilians and threatens prospects for a political solution,” Council President Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani of Indonesia told reporters after an emergency...
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Palestinian Killed at Israel-Gaza Border During Weekly Demonstration

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 22:05
A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire at a weekly demonstration along the Gaza-Israeli border fence, according to Palestinian officials. Gaza's health ministry said Friday that a 24-year old Palestinian was killed during the border protest and 30 others were wounded by gunfire. An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops opened fire when some of the protesters approached the fortified fence. The violence was the first escalation after a cease-fire deal ended last...
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Libya Rescues More Than 200 Europe-Bound Migrants Off Coast

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 21:33
Libya's navy says it has rescued 213 Europe-bound African and Arab migrants off the Mediterranean coast.    The navy released a statement online Friday saying its coast guard came to the aid of two rubber boats that had sailed separately on May 8. One of the two boats was carrying 88 men, 12 women and seven children. The second boat carried the remaining 106. The statement says the migrants — nationals of several Arab and African countries — were handed over to Libya's...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Rejects Trump's 'Call Me' Invitation

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 21:12
Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency has quoted a top commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard as saying Tehran will not negotiate with the United States. The statement follows U.S. President Donald Trump's indirect invitation to Iranian leaders to give him a call. Trump called for negotiations with Iran several times on Thursday. He told reporters, "What I'd like to see with Iran, I'd like to see them call me." But Tasnim on Friday quoted General...
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Trump's Foreign Policy Challenges Mounting Around the World

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 19:02
New North Korea missile tests. A trade standoff with China. Fresh nuclear tensions with Iran. President Donald Trump's foreign policy challenges are mounting around the world, showing the limits of his self-touted ability to make a deal and perhaps the difficulty of focusing primarily on domestic concerns for his “America first” administration. They're also forcing him into some contorted positions, for example, backing regime change in Venezuela without any displays of force...
Categories: Iraq