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Iran's Protesting Railway Workers Get Pledges of Help But No Salaries  

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 02:15
An Iranian news agency says railway workers protesting unpaid salaries in northwestern Iran have received pledges of assistance from local authorities but no apparent timeline for getting their wages.  The state-run Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) said the governor of the city of Tabriz met with the protesting railway workers at his office on Monday and promised to address their concerns. ILNA said a group of contractors for a railway development company had spent the previous night...
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Italy's PM Plans to Organize Conference on Stabilizing Libya

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 01:55
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday he was organizing a conference to look for ways to stabilize Libya, a main departure point for migrants from North Africa trying to reach Europe. "In agreement with President (Donald) Trump, I'm going to organize a conference on Libya," Conte told reporters at the White House after meeting with the U.S. president. "We would like to deal (with) and discuss all of the issues related to the Libyan people, involving...
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Syrian Government Forces and Allies Close to Capturing Entire Southwest

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 01:14
Government forces are on the brink of seizing the last part of southwestern Syria still in rebel hands, having taken control of the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a war monitor and a media outlet close to Damascus said Monday. A military media unit run by Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fights alongside Damascus, said the Syrian army had secured the entire border with the Golan Heights. Advancing government forces have seized all but a few villages held by an Islamic...
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Trump Says Ready to Talk Directly with Iran’s President

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 00:50
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday made his most explicit statement yet that he is open to direct talks with Iran. Trump, in the White House East Room during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, was asked by a reporter if he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “I believe in meeting,” Trump responded. “Speaking to other people, especially when you’re talking about potentials of war and death and famine and lots of other...
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Lawyer: US Pastor Appeals for Release, Lifting of Travel Ban

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 19:05
A Christian American pastor standing trial in Turkey on terrorism charges has appealed to a Turkish court to release him from house arrest and lift his travel ban, his lawyer told Reuters on Monday. Relations between Turkey and the United States have spiraled into a full-blown crisis over the trial of pastor Andrew Brunson, who was in custody for 21 months in a Turkish prison until he was transferred to house arrest last week. President Donald Trump last week threatened to impose...
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Iran Currency Hits New Lows Before New US Sanctions Take Effect

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 18:42
Iran's currency hit new lows with just less than a week before new U.S. economic sanctions are due to take effect on August 4, despite the appointment of a new central bank governor and a new economic team. Arab and Iranian media reported the Iranian rial hit a new low of 111,000 to the U.S. dollar on Sunday in unofficial trading, a bad omen for newly appointed Central Bank head Abdolnasser Hemmati. Vice President Ishaq Jahangiri announced the new economic team Sunday as the newly...
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Syrian Forces Press Offensive Despite IS Threats to Hostages

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 16:35
 Syrian government forces pressed ahead with their offensive in the country's south on Monday despite threats by the Islamic State group to kill civilians it recently captured there.   Syrian state TV and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked war monitoring group, both reported government attacks on the Yarmouk basin region in southern Syria.   The area is controlled by a group linked to IS that has been in retreat in recent weeks...
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Meet Trump’s Envoy-at-Large: Benjamin Netanyahu

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 11:53
A couple of years ago Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was shunned by the White House. During a conversation believed to be off-record with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the 2011 G-20 summit, President Barack Obama didn't disagree when Sarkozy called Netanyahu a "liar." And on the occasions Obama and Netanyahu did meet, the strained body language paid testimony to the mutual hostility. The two clashed over the peace process, Netanyahu’s Jewish settlements...
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Witnesses: Heavy Fighting Near Yemen's Hodeida Kills Dozens

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 03:45
Heavy fighting along Yemen's west coast between pro-government forces and Shiite rebels in recent days has left dozens dead from both sides, Yemeni officials and witnesses said Sunday. Government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have been advancing in the area in recent weeks as they battle Iran-allied rebels known as Houthis. The fighting has escalated as government forces try to retake the port city of Hodeida, the main entry point for food in a country teetering on the...
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Palestinian Protest Icon Released from Israeli Prison

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 12:15
A Palestinian teenager who was videotaped last year slapping two Israeli soldiers has been released from prison. For Israelis she's a provocateur, for Palestinians a protest icon. Seventeen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi got a hero's welcome in the West Bank after she was released from an Israeli prison. Tamimi served eight months for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier. A video of the assault went viral on social media and turned her into a protest icon. Addressing the...
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Detained Syrian Women Face Stigma Upon Release

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 03:24
Sundus Filfleh, a schoolteacher and a mother from Latakia city in western Syria, struggles to support her two girls and overcome the stigma of serving time in prison for her civil activism. "After I was released from prison, the first question people asked me was whether I was raped," Filfleh told VOA. "Society looks at a released woman in a suspicious way. There is a social rejection of the women who are released from prison." Syrian government forces arrested...
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Third Palestinian Dies After Friday Border Protests

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 01:19
A Palestinian teenager died Saturday of wounds suffered in border protests in Gaza, according to Gaza medical authorities. Muamen Fathi al-Hams was the third fatality of Friday's border protests. The two killed Friday were Razi Abu Mustafa, 43, and Majdi al-Satri, 12. Earlier Saturday, the U.N. Middle East enjoy, Nickolay Mladenov, posted on Twitter: On Friday, Israeli police closed Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque for several hours after a number of people barricaded...
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West Bank Village Prepares for Protester's Homecoming

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 23:38
On the eve of Ahed Tamimi's release from prison, the father of the Palestinian protest icon said Saturday that he expected her to take a lead in the struggle against Israeli occupation but that the 17-year-old was also weighing college options. In Tamimi's village of Nabi Saleh, supporters prepared for Sunday's homecoming, planting Palestinian flags on the roof of her family home and setting up hundreds of chairs for well-wishers in the courtyard. Ahed and her mother,...
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Egyptian Court Refers 75 Death Sentences for Review to Top Islamic Leader

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 15:45
Arab media reports that an Egyptian court has asked the country's mufti to review death sentences handed down to 75 people involved in a 2013 Muslim Brotherhood sit-in camp outside the Rabah Adawiya mosque in northern Cairo. The sit-in was stormed by the Egyptian military, after the brotherhood refused to evacuate the camp. Official reports put the death toll at close to 700 people. It was not immediately clear why the case was remanded to the mufti, although some commentators suggest...
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Kurdish-backed SDC to Work With Syria to End War

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 15:00
The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) says after meeting with Syrian government officials that it will work with the government to end seven years of violence in the country. The SDC said Saturday that both sides, after meeting in Damascus, had agreed to work together to plot a "roadmap leading to a democratic and decentralized Syria." This was the SDC's first declared visit to Syria's capital, indicating the interest of Kurdish authorities to open...
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Lunar Eclipse, Blood Moon Delight Skywatchers in Cairo

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 06:00
Astronomers and local residents gathered to gaze in awe at the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century: 1 hour, 43 minutes. During eclipses, the moon turns a red or brownish color because the light that reaches it passes through the earth's atmosphere. In Cairo, astronomers with their telescopes volunteered to wow stargazers
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Rights Groups: Iran Confirms Prison Terms for 8 Baha'is

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 04:43
Human rights groups say Iranian courts have confirmed prison terms for eight Baha’is, members of a religious minority that has experienced decades of discrimination in the Shiite Muslim-majority nation. In a report published Thursday, Iran’s Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) said an appeals court in the central city of Yazd confirmed prison terms for six Baha’i men and one Baha’i woman. The report did not specify the charges against the seven or when the court confirmed their...
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Media Rights Group Condemns Israel for Arrest of Palestinian Writer

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 03:56
A media rights group is expressing concern after Israeli security forces arrested a prominent Palestinian writer in the West Bank. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Friday that Israel should immediately explain why they have Lama Khater in custody or let her go. Israeli officials arrested Khater, 32, Tuesday for alleged involvement in Hamas terror activities. CPJ said Khater, a prominent blogger, is also a contributing opinion writer to several media outlets, including...
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US Bottom Line on North Korea, Iran: Complete Denuclearization

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 03:14
Iran will likely have to agree to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization in any future deal with the United States, just like North Korea, a top diplomatic official signaled Friday. "Nothing in the conduct of foreign policy is ever done in a vacuum," Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Dr. Yleem D.S. Poblete, told an audience in Washington. "The end state we must seek for the successful conclusion of any future deal...
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Mattis: Training for Joint Patrols with Turkey in Syria to Start Soon

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 01:43
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says equipment has landed at a base in Turkey to prepare Turkish troops for joint patrols with U.S. forces in northern Syria. "Training equipment has landed in Incirlik," Mattis told reporters Friday at the Pentagon, referring to a strategic air base in southern Turkey used by American forces. Mattis said the training should start within weeks. "I don’t think we’re talking months," he said. It is unclear when U.S. and Turkish...
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