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Report: Saudi Arabia Shoots Down Yemeni Missile

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 22:49
A ballistic missile fired by Yemen's armed Houthi group toward Saudi Arabia's southern Jizan region was shot down Tuesday by Saudi forces, Saudi state TV Ekhbariya reported. The station gave no further details. There were no reports of casualties or damage. The Iranian-aligned Houthis have fired several missiles at the kingdom, and while these have not caused any serious damage they have served to deepen tensions between Riyadh and its arch rival Tehran. Saudi Arabia accuses...
Categories: Iraq

Infants in War-torn Yemen Dying at Alarmingly High Rate

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 22:30
A report by the U.N. children’s fund finds babies born in war-torn Yemen are dying at an alarmingly high rate because of the collapsing health system, lack of food and clean water.  The U.N. children’s fund reports more than three million children have been born in Yemen since the country’s civil war escalated in March 2015.  The agency’s report, called "Born into War", describes the violent, hopeless situation of displacement, disease, poverty and hunger into which...
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Jordan Shuts Down Illegal Drug Factory

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 20:56
Police in Jordan say they've shut down a large factory making an illegal amphetamine-based drug said to be popular in the Middle East, including among Syrian militants. Authorities seized enough material to make more than 100 million pills.   The official news agency Petra described the raid as a first for not only disrupting trafficking of pills, but also their production in the kingdom.   On Tuesday, the confiscated drugs and chemicals were on display at the...
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Iran's Leader Accuses Saudis of 'Treason' Against Muslims

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 19:38
Iran's supreme leader has accused Saudi Arabia of "treason" against Muslims because of its alleged ties to Israel. Addressing representatives from the Muslim-majority countries in Tehran on Tuesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "governments that help the United States and cooperate with the Zionist regime to fight Muslim brothers are committing treason, like what Saudis are doing." However, he also said Iran is ready to adopt a "brotherly attitude"...
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Netanyahu: Israel, India Both Face Threat From Radical Islam

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 18:34
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he was discussing with India ways to strengthen security cooperation against the menace of from Islamist extremism that both democracies faced. Netanyahu spoke while on a six-day tour of India, the first by an Israeli premier for 15 years, and is being feted by Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, whose Hindu nationalist party has long admired Israel for its tough posture against terrorism. India, wary of upsetting Arab nations...
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Cyprus, Greece and Jordan Aim to Bolster Region's Security

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 18:19
Cyprus' president says the fight against extremism necessitates even closer cooperation with Greece and Jordan. Nicos Anastasiades was speaking Tuesday during talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that were billed as the cornerstone of a new partnership. Abdullah said his country is working with others to close off all routes for extremists. He said despite successes in Iraq and Syria, they can't be allowed to regroup and establish...
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Ex-President: Iran Authorities Should Listen to Popular Demands

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:53
Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami on Tuesday called on authorities to listen to popular demands after a wave of deadly unrest over economic woes. Authorities "should try to identify people's problems and hardships" instead of "humiliating" them, the reformist said in a statement published online. He called for "an environment in which people could express their wishes and demands in all security without feeling intimidated" and without...
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Turkish President Steps Up Threats on US-backed Militia in Syria

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:35
Turkish President Recep Erdogan on Tuesday stepped up threats to launch a cross-border operation against the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG, which the U.S. backs in the war against Islamic State militants. Ankara sees the YPG as a terrorist organization linked to an ongoing Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. Erdogan used his weekly parliamentary address to his ruling AK Party supporters to say the operation could be imminent. "Tomorrow, or the day after, or within a short...
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Reports: Turkey's Erdogan to Visit Pope Francis Next Month

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:15
Turkish media reports say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican next month. Hurriyet newspaper and other media said Erdogan would travel to the Vatican on Feb. 5. for talks that are expected to focus on the status of Jerusalem.   Erdogan, a vocal critic of a U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, had praised Francis for taking a similar stance.   There was no immediate confirmation of the planned visit from...
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Bahrain: Radar Tracks Show Qatari Jets Flying by UAE Planes

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 16:47
Bahrain released radar tracks on Tuesday it said showed Qatari fighter jets passing by Emirati commercial airliners on their way to the island nation, encounters which started a new dispute between the Gulf nations amid the diplomatic crisis gripping Doha. The two alleged fly-bys on Monday morning could further escalate tensions between Qatar and the four Arab nations that have been boycotting it for months, among them the UAE, home to the world's busiest international airport. They...
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Lebanon Bans 'The Post' Over Spielberg's Support for Israel

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 16:27
Lebanon's censorship authorities are recommending a ban on Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama "The Post" ahead of its planned opening this week in movie theaters in Beirut.   The recommendation still needs to be signed by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk to enter into effect but that is considered a formality that's unlikely to stop the ban.   It remains unclear why "The Post" is being banned — recent Spielberg movies have been shown in...
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Iran: Planned US-Backed Force Inside Syria Would Fan War

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:38
Iran said on Tuesday a new U.S.-backed, 30,000-strong force inside Syria would "fan the flames of war", echoing the vehement response of Syria, Turkey and Russia to the plan. On Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition said it was working with its Syrian militia allies, the mainly Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to set up a force that would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded by vowing to crush...
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Freedom House: Democracy Scores for Most Countries Weaken for 12th Consecutive Year

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:17
Two thousand-seventeen was the 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, according to Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World Report. While experts say China, Russia, and North Korea, among other countries, put global stability at increased risk, there are signs of progress and global development across other regions, including Latin America and Africa. VOA’s Elizabeth Cherneff reports.
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Freedom House: Democracy Scores for Most Countries Decline for 12th Consecutive Year

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:01
A new report released by the independent watchdog organization Freedom House says that democratic principles such as election integrity and freedom of the press are weakening globally for the 12th consecutive year. "There are more countries — in the case of 2017, many more countries — that showed declines in freedom than showed improvements," says Arch Puddington, Freedom House Distinguished Scholar for Democracy Studies, who spoke with VOA...
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Across the Mideast, Palestinians Brace for Trump Aid Cuts

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 06:15
Mahmoud al-Qouqa can't imagine life without the three sacks of flour, cooking oil and other staples he receives from the United Nations every three months.   Living with 25 relatives in a crowded home in this teeming Gaza Strip slum, the meager rations provided by UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugee families, are the last thing keeping his family afloat in the territory hard hit by years of poverty and conflict. But that could be in danger as the U.S., UNRWA's...
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Gunbattle in Libya's Capital Kills 20, Closes Airport

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 00:44
Heavily armed Libyan militias clashed in Tripoli on Monday, killing at least 20 people and forcing the capital's only airport to close, officials said. The Health Ministry said another 63 people were wounded in the fighting between two militias that are ostensibly allied with the internationally-backed government, underscoring the lingering instability in the country seven years after a popular uprising toppled long-ruling dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Civilians were among the dead,...
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Israel Slams Palestinian Leader Over Anti-Trump Speech

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 00:23
Israeli leaders slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday for a fiery, invective-filled speech against President Donald Trump, in which he proclaimed the U.S. role as arbiter of the Mideast conflict over, attacked the administration's envoys and described Israel as a colonial conspiracy. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Abbas had "lost his senses" and had given up on the prospect of peace negotiations in favor of open confrontation with both Israel...
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Report: Engine Speed Surge Caused Turkish Plane to Skid

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:50
A Turkish media report says the pilots of a plane that skidded off the runway and down a slope toward the sea have told investigators that the plane's right engine experienced a sudden surge of speed that forced it to swerve to the left. The Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800, with 168 people on board, went off the runway at Trabzon Airport, northern Turkey, late on Saturday, stopping at an acute angle only a few meters away from the Black Sea. All passengers and crew were evacuated and...
Categories: Iraq

Urgently Needed Cranes Reach Yemen Port

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:30
The United Nations says four mobile cranes urgently needed to unload cargo and humanitarian aid have arrived at a central seaport in hunger-wracked Yemen. "Hodeidah Port is a humanitarian lifeline for millions who are on the brink of famine," World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley said in a statement Monday. "We are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure a consistent flow of life-saving food and supplies to the country." The U.S. Agency for...
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Turkey Threatens Military Action Against Syrian Kurds Allied With US

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 23:00
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is warning of an imminent attack on a U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia. "We have finished our preparations. The operation can start any time," Erdogan declared to supporters at a rally Monday. Turkish forces are massed along the border with Syria's Idlib enclave, which is controlled by the YPG, a Kurdish militia Ankara accuses of being linked to an insurgency in Turkey. Erdogan has repeatedly warned the YPG presence in Idlib...
Categories: Iraq