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UN Elects Judges to International Court of Justice

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:26
The United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council elected four judges Thursday to the International Court of Justice, the main judicial organization of the world body. In separate, but simultaneous voting, the Assembly and the Council re-elected Ronny Abraham of France and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia. Two new justices, Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil and Nawaf Salam of Lebanon, were also elected. All were elected to nine-year terms, starting in February next...
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Growing Fears Over Spillover From Saudi Corruption Crackdown

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 10:59
The crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has extended to several members of the Royal Family and engulfed some of the richest and most powerful men in the Middle East. Many of them are big investors, leading to global concerns over the economic fallout. The purge comes at a tumultuous time for the region, and there are also fears it could worsen long-standing tensions. Henry Ridgwell reports.
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US Urges De-escalation of Tensions Between Saudi Arabia, Lebanon

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:55
The United States is calling for a de-escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, following the resignation of Saad al-Hariri as Lebanon's prime minister while in Saudi Arabia. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia asked its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible. The U.S. State Department said it was "monitoring the situation very closely." State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday: "We would call for no kind of escalation...
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VP Pence: ‘Deep Concern' About Americans Held in Turkey

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 05:00
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday expressed "deep concern" to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim about the arrest of U.S. citizens and Turkish staff members at U.S. consulates in Turkey.   But Pence and Yildirim also expressed hope that their meeting would help usher in a new chapter in U.S.-Turkey relations and agreed on the need for constructive dialogue, as friends and allies, on bilateral challenges.   The Turkish prime minister arrived in Washington...
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Fears Grow About Fallout From Saudi Corruption Crackdown

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:20
The crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has expanded to several members of the royal family, engulfing some of the richest and most powerful men in the Middle East. Many of them are major global investors and the economic fallout could extend well beyond the shifting political sands of Saudi Arabia. Diplomats and global investors flocked to Riyadh's Ritz Carlton hotel a fortnight ago to hear the crown prince sell his dream of a new...
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UN, Aid Groups Warn of 'Starvation and Death' in Yemen

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 23:40
The United Nations and more than 20 aid groups said Thursday that the Saudi-led coalition's tightening of a blockade on war-torn Yemen could bring millions of people closer to "starvation and death." The U.N.'s humanitarian chief warned a day earlier that unless the coalition lifts its blockade, Yemen will face "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims." The coalition closed all ports and halted aid shipments after...
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Syrian Government Forces Recapture Key Border Crossing

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 20:57
Syrian government forces say they have recaptured the border town of Albu Kamal, the last major Islamic State stronghold in eastern Syria. Iraqi government forces recaptured the town of al Qaim, their side of the border crossing with Syria, several days ago. A Syrian military spokesman said the army and its allies, including Lebanon's pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia, were involved in the effort to drive IS out of Albu Kamal. He said Islamic State militants fled the town after bitter...
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Saudi Arabia Tells its Citizens in Lebanon to Return

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 19:30
Saudi Arabia has asked its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible. A foreign ministry source quoted Thursday by the Kingdom's official news agency said, "Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing" there to leave as soon as possible. Riyadh has also discouraged its citizens from traveling to the neighbor country in the wake of Lebanon's prime minister announcing his resignation...
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Billionaire With Deep Investments in Ethiopia Arrested in Saudi Anti-corruption Sweep

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 19:20
Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi is a billionaire, and by most estimates, one of the richest African-born people in the world. He travels the globe managing his businesses and meeting with heads of state. But he now finds himself in the midst of an anti-corruption sweep in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested in the Saudi kingdom last Saturday, and he is one of dozens of elite detainees sleeping on mattresses on the floor of a well-guarded ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, awaiting the next...
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Saudi Arabia Detains 208 People in Wide-ranging Corruption Probe

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 18:27
Saudi Arabia’s attorney general confirmed the country has detained 208 people in a wide corruption probe and estimates more than $100 billion had been embezzled over many years. In a statement Thursday, Saud al-Mojeb said seven of the people detained had been released without charge, but the other 201 remain in custody. Around 1,700 bank accounts also were frozen by the government. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he spoke with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on...
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Macron Tours French Naval Base in Abu Dhabi Near New Louvre

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 17:39
French President Emmanuel Macron promised on Thursday that the West and its partners will "completely win" over the so-called Islamic State group in the coming weeks, applauding the help offered by the United Arab Emirates in the battle against extremism. After focusing the day before on cultural ties between France and the UAE with the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Macron on Thursday toured a nearby French naval base and discussed the military cooperation between the two...
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Egyptian Lawmaker to Propose Anti-Gay Bill as Part of Crackdown

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 16:21
An Egyptian lawmaker is introducing a draft bill that would imprison those engaging in or promoting same-sex relations, a copy of the draft seen by Reuters on Thursday showed. Amnesty International said the bill is “another nail in the coffin for sexual rights in Egypt” and should be scrapped. It would introduce sentences of to up to 10 years in prison for people engaging in or promoting same-sex relations. The law is part of a wider crackdown against homosexuality that started in...
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IS Militants Evacuate Last Stronghold in Syria to Government

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 13:40
A Syrian war monitor says Islamic State militants have withdrawn from their last stronghold following a government offensive.  The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces and allied troops, including Iraqi fighters, are combing Boukamal, a strategic town on the border with Iraq, on Thursday after IS militants withdrew.  Syrian pro-government media say Syrian troops had clashed with remnants of IS militants in the town after they entered it...
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ICC Vows New Libya Charges If Crimes Continue

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:52
The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court warned Wednesday that the situation in Libya “remains dire” and promised to seek new arrest warrants if serious crimes don’t stop. Fatou Bensouda also demanded the arrest and transfer of suspects already subject to arrest warrants, including the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the former head of Libya’s Internal Security Agency and a Libyan military officer alleged to have been involved in the killing of 33 captives “in...
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UN: Saudi Blockade Could Drive Yemen to Massive Famine

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:15
The United Nations has warned that unless a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition allows humanitarian aid access into Yemen, it will lead to “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.” Since Monday, all humanitarian operations to Yemen, including U.N. aid flights, have been blocked after Saudi Arabia forced every single air, land and sea port in the country closed. The move came in response to the interception of a missile fired toward the Saudi...
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Egypt’s el-Sissi Warns Iran to Stop ‘Meddling’ in Region

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 01:30
Egypt's president said Wednesday that Iran must stop "meddling'' in the Middle East and the security of Arab Gulf countries must not be threatened, but he underscored that he does not want war and believes dialogue can resolve the region's crises.   With his comments, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi threw his support behind Egypt's Gulf ally Saudi Arabia amid the kingdom's mounting tensions with Iran. But he avoided the increasingly aggressive rhetoric...
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Saudi Arabia Steps Up Yemen, Iran Campaigns

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 00:30
The war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia is escalating in the media and on the ground after the weekend launch of a ballistic missile from Yemen which hit near the airport in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.  The Saudis accuse Iran of arming Yemen's Houthi rebels, who fired the missile.   Saudi state TV announced a fresh round of attacks by by the Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen as tensions continued to escalate following the weekend ballistic missile launch.  Saudi...
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US, 3 Allies Urge UN to Maintain Syria Chemical Experts

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 00:25
The top U.S., British, French and German diplomats urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to renew the mandate of experts charged with determining who was responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.   They also said it's “essential” to seek justice for the victims and hold those responsible accountable.   The statement was initially circulated in the names of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and French Foreign...
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Rights Group Calls for Release of Detained Turkish Chairman

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 00:05
As Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim prepares to meet with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington Thursday, Amnesty International has called on the U.S. to demand that Turkey release the group's country chairman who has been jailed for months. “The Prime Minister’s visit to Washington takes place during an unprecedented crackdown on human rights in Turkey," Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA, said in a statement. "Although...
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Palestinians Resume Security Ties With Israel, Eye Gaza Enforcement

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 23:23
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s administration said on Wednesday it had resumed security coordination with Israel in the occupied West Bank, frozen in July, and sought sole security control of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas Islamist forces dominate. The remarks, by the Palestinian police chief, left open the question of how Abbas might bring his former rivals in Hamas to heel given their refusal to disarm as demanded by Israel and the United States. An Egyptian-brokered...
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