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Turkey Denies Report of Plan to Kidnap Cleric Gulen from US

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 15:53
 Turkey on Sunday dismissed as ``ludicrous and groundless'' a report that Turkish officials may have discussed kidnapping a U.S.-based Muslim cleric in exchange for millions of dollars.   On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating an alleged plot involving former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his son to forcibly remove Fethullah Gulen and hand him over to Ankara for as much as $15...
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Emirates Airlines Orders 40 Boeing 787s in $15B Deal

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 13:36
Emirates Airlines agreed to buy 40 Boeing 787-10s in a deal worth more than $15 billion. The purchase was announced Sunday at the Dubai Air Show by the largest airline in the Middle East. Deliveries of the wide-body, twin-engine planes are set to begin in 2022. Boeing's website says the aircraft typically carries 330 passengers with a range of 11,900 kilometers.   The manufacturer says the 787 is 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the aircraft it replaces. Also,...
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Lebanon Asks Saudi Arabia for Explanation on PM's Absence

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 03:12
Lebanon's president urged Saudi Arabia on Saturday to explain why Saad Hariri had not returned to Beirut since his surprise resignation as prime minister a week ago. Hariri announced on November 4 in a televised statement from Riyadh that he would be stepping down from the post, sending shock waves through Lebanese politics. The premier has yet to return to Lebanon, and rumors have swirled that he is being held in Saudi Arabia against his will. President Michel Aoun on Saturday...
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Nuclear Deal 'Not Negotiable,' Iran Tells France

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 02:25
Iran's nuclear deal is "not negotiable," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bassam Ghassemi said Saturday in response to remarks by the French president. Emmanuel Macron called for vigilance toward Tehran over its ballistic missile program and regional activities, in an interview published Wednesday by the Emirati daily Al-Ittihad. "We have told French leaders on several occasions that the Iran nuclear deal is not negotiable and that no other issues can be included...
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Tens of Thousands Mark Arafat Death Anniversary in Gaza

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 19:37
Tens of thousands of Gaza Palestinians marked the 13th anniversary of the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's death on Saturday for the first time since the Islamic Hamas group seized the territory a decade ago. In the wake of a brewing reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah party Arafat founded, Fatah supporters flocked to al-Saraya Square in Gaza City from all over the coastal enclave to commemorate the event, waving their yellow flag, raising posters of Arafat and donning his...
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Israel: Military Shot Down Syrian Spy Drone

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 17:48
Israel shot down a Syrian military spy drone near the border on Saturday, the Israeli military said. The Israeli military shot down the reconnaissance drone with a Patriot interceptor missile as it crossed into the Golan demilitarized zone, headed toward Israel. "The State of Israel regards with utmost seriousness any violation of its sovereignty and will respond with force to any provocation," Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement. The military...
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'Elders' Call on Saudi Arabia, Allies to Lift Blockade of Yemen

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 15:59
An independent group of world leaders are calling on Saudi Arabia and its partners in a coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen to lift their blockade of the war-ravaged nation to avert a humanitarian disaster. In a Saturday statement, "The Elders" said the blockade was aggravating an already "dire" human situation in Yemen. The statement echoed concerns by the United Nations and aid groups that the blockade could bring millions of people closer to...
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White House Calls on 'All States and Parties to Respect Lebanon's Sovereignty'

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 14:56
The White House has called on "all states and parties to respect Lebanon's sovereignty,  independence, and constitutional processes."   A statement released Saturday said, "In this sensitive time, the United States also rejects any efforts by militias within Lebanon or by any foreign forces to threaten Lebanon's stability, undermine Lebanese government institutions, or use Lebanon as a base from which to threaten others in the region." The White...
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Equatorial Guinea Trial Casts Spotlight on Scrappy French Watchdog

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 13:41
For Sherpa, a scrappy French monitoring group that is thinly staffed, no multinational is too powerful, and no head of state untouchable as it seeks economic and social change through the courts. It accuses a major bank of complicity in Rwanda's genocide and a cement manufacturer of helping to finance terrorism in Syria. It has gone after African leaders, mining companies and even a supermarket chain for activities that allegedly impoverish communities and violate human...
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Iraqi Forces Look to Rout Last of IS Fighters From Town

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 13:33
Iraqi forces launched an offensive Saturday to capture Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic-State control, leaving the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate on the verge of complete defeat. The capture of the town would mark the end of Islamic State’s era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swaths of Iraq and Syria. Syria’s army declared victory over the militants Thursday, after seizing the last substantial town on the border with...
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Hariri Resignation Sends Lebanon’s Economy Back Into Crisis

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 12:40
Just when things were starting to look up for Lebanon’s economy, a new political crisis threatens to send it crashing down again. Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s abrupt resignation Nov. 4 could unravel the first steps in years toward injecting some cash and confidence into Lebanon’s anemic economy. Already, the crisis is putting at risk multibillion-dollar plans to rebuild decaying road and electrical and communication networks and get the oil and gas sector moving.  Since then,...
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Trump Speaks on Putin, US Presidential Election and Joint Syrian Statement

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:07
U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin "feels that he and Russia did not meddle" in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But Trump, speaking in Hanoi at a press conference with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang, also said he also believes the conflicting information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies that indicated Russia did interfere in the presidential vote.  Trump said ". . . I believe in our intel agencies,...
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Finding a Life, Purpose and Success Through Pizza

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 09:29
Kurdish refugee Hakki Akdeniz left Turkey in 1999 and came to New York City. At times he was homeless and often wondered where his next meal would come from. But as Saleh Damiger reports, he has more than turned his life around.
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US Military: Annual Gulf Exercise at Risk Over Qatar Crisis

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 20:52
A U.S. Air Force general warned Friday that a major annual military exercise between Gulf Arab countries and America is at risk over the ongoing diplomatic crisis engulfing Qatar. Eagle Resolve, which sees countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council send forces alongside Americans to simulate working as a multinational force in battle, is being examined in light of the crisis, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian said. This year's Eagle Resolve exercise, held in Kuwait in March, involved...
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Tillerson: US Opposes Action Causing Instability in Lebanon

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 20:31
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that the U.S. opposes action that would threaten the stability of Lebanon, and he warned other countries against using Lebanon "as a venue for proxy conflicts." In a statement, Tillerson said, "There is no legitimate place or role in Lebanon for any foreign forces, militias or armed elements other than the legitimate security forces of the Lebanese state." Tillerson also called Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri a...
Categories: Iraq

After IS Collapse, Syria Government Faces US-backed Kurds

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 18:37
With the fall of the Islamic State group's last significant stronghold in Syria, Iranian and Russian-backed Syrian troops now turn to face off with their main rival, the U.S.-backed forces holding large oil fields and strategic territory in the country's north and east. The complicated map puts U.S. and Iranian forces at close proximity, standing just across the Euphrates River from each other, amid multiple hotspots that could turn violent, particularly in the absence of a clear...
Categories: Iraq

US Military Official: Missile Targeting Riyadh Was Iranian-made

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 17:45
The missile fired at an airport in Saudi Arabia last Saturday by Houthi rebels came from Iran and showed “Iranian markings,” according to the top U.S. Air Force commander in the Middle East. Speaking at a news conference Friday in Dubai, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian said authorities are currently investigating how the missile was smuggled into Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of committing a “direct military aggression” after the rebels launched the...
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Report: IS Leader May Be in Eastern Syrian City of Boukamal

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 17:03
A media outlet linked to the Syrian military said Friday that the Islamic State group's leader may be holed up in an IS pocket in the eastern town of Boukamal, which government forces and their allies recaptured this week before losing parts of it later. The claim was denied by Syrian opposition activists who said the government is trying to make up for losses it suffered in Boukamal when large parts were retaken by the extremists again on Friday. The whereabouts of al-Baghdadi are...
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Tillerson: ‘No Indication’ Resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Detained in Riyadh

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 12:41
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday there is “no indication” that resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has been detained by the Saudis against his will. Hariri announced he would step down as Lebanese prime minister while in Saudi Arabia last Saturday. While en route from Beijing to Danang Friday, Tillerson told the traveling press that he was assured by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir that Hariri’s decision to step down was solely “on his own.” The two top...
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Syrian Refugee Uses Art Therapy to Help Others in Egypt

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 12:11
Egypt remains a destination and transit point for refugees and asylum seekers.  While most of them have come from Syria, the numbers fleeing conflict and persecution in sub-Saharan Africa have also grown in recent years.  A Somali woman uses art therapy to help herself and other refugees move on.
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