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Egyptian Prosecutor Orders Criminal Probe Into New York Times' Report

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:26
Egypt's chief prosecutor has ordered an "urgent" investigation into a New York Times' report about recordings purportedly of an intelligence officer instructing TV talk show hosts and a famous actress to downplay President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. A statement by chief prosecutor Nabil Sadeq's office, carried by the official MENA news agency, said the Times' report, published over the weekend, "undermines...
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UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Escalation of Fighting in Syria

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 15:47
U.N. Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein has condemned the recent escalation of fighting in Eastern Ghouta in Syria, causing scores of civilian deaths and injuries. The U.N. Human Rights office says 85 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed and at least 183 injured in the besieged city of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus. These mass casualties have occurred since December 31 over a 10-day period. The UN office blames them on an...
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European Diplomats Urge Sticking With Iran Nuclear Deal

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 15:33
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program is working, and that while there are concerns about Iran's development of ballistic missiles and other activities in the Middle East, those should be dealt with as a separate issue. She spoke after a meeting Thursday in Brussels with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Iran to discuss the 2015 agreement, which limited Iran's nuclear program amid...
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Six Quakes in One Hour Hit Iran-Iraq Border

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:28
A series of six earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 5 hit along the Iran-Iraq border and rattled even Baghdad and parts of the Iraqi countryside Thursday, striking in the same area that saw a temblor in November that killed more than 530 people. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The U.S. Geological Survey said five of the quakes struck near the Iraqi city of Mandali, followed by one that struck near Mehran in western Iran. All struck within an hour of each other...
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Israelis Call for Revenge After Fatal Drive-by Shooting of Settler

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 03:20
Israelis are calling for revenge after the drive-by slaying of a Jewish settler by a suspected Palestinian gunman in the West Bank. The victim, Raziel Shevah, died in a hospital after he was hit by multiple bullets Tuesday night near Havat Gilad, an unauthorized Jewish settlement near Nablus. Israeli soldiers set up roadblocks and sealed off Palestinian villages surrounding the city on Wednesday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to do "everything...
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White House 'Disturbed' by Reported Torture, Killings of Jailed Iranian Protesters

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 02:30
The White House is calling reports of Iranian protesters tortured or killed in prison "disturbing" and demands freedom for all political prisoners reportedly held in Iran. "We will not remain silent as the Iranian dictatorship represses the basic rights of its citizens and will hold Iran's leaders accountable for any violations," a White House statement said Wednesday. It says the Iranian people are expressing legitimate grievances over government oppression,...
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Syrian Offensive Threatens Turkish Cooperation with Russia, Iran

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 23:40
Turkey on Wednesday assailed Russia and Iran for failing to stop the Syrian government's ongoing military offensive in Syria's rebel enclave of Idlib, threatening the prospects of Ankara's continued cooperation with Tehran and Moscow in the Syrian conflict.  Reflecting Ankara's growing alarm, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu lashed out, saying, "Russia and Iran must stop the Syrian regime. They should realize their duties as guarantor...
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Saudi Prince Who Criticized Arrest of Relatives Sacked

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:56
Saudi news websites are reporting that a prince who headed the kingdom's Maritime Sports Federation has been sacked from his post and replaced by a military officer. The move comes after he purportedly made an audio recording calling the government's publicly stated reasons for arresting 11 princes "false" and "illogical."   The nearly six-minute-long audio has been posted online and published on Arabic media websites this week. The Associated Press...
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Libyan Navy: Some 100 Migrants Believed Missing at Sea

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:44
Libya's navy says some 100 migrants are believed missing at sea and that at least 279 others have been rescued off the Libyan coast. Wednesday's statement says the migrants, mostly Africans, had embarked on the perilous trip across the Mediterranean in several vessels. Those missing were all from one single rubber boat that got ruptured while at sea.   The navy says the survivors, who were found on Tuesday, were taken a naval base in the capital, Tripoli.   On...
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US House of Representatives Condemn Iran Protest Crackdowns

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:26
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution Tuesday condemning Iran's leadership for crackdowns on recent protests. The vote comes just days ahead of the beginning of a 60-day window for Congress to address President Trump's decision to not re-certify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. VOA's Congressional reporter Katherine Gypson has more on Capitol Hill's political debate over Iran.
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Egypt's President Sissi Wins Huge Parliamentary Support for 2nd Term

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 05:34
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has won the backing of over three-quarters of parliamentarians for a second term as president, lawmakers said on Tuesday, a day after a timeline for the election was announced. Sissi has yet to announce his candidacy for the ballot, scheduled for March 26-28. But he is widely expected to run and win the election. The former general won a landslide victory in an election in 2014, one year after — as a military commander — he led the overthrow...
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Poverty for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Could Push Children to Marry and Work

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 05:30
Nearly seven years into Syria's civil war, Syrian refugees in neighboring Lebanon are becoming poorer, leaving children at risk of child labor and early marriage, aid organizations said on Tuesday. A recent survey by the United Nations children's agency UNICEF, U.N.'s World Food Program, and refugee agency, UNHCR showed that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are more vulnerable now than they have been since the beginning of the crisis. Struggling to survive, more than three...
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Russia's Troop Withdrawal From Syria Will Not Shorten Its Clout, Experts Say

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 04:45
During a surprise visit to Syria in early December, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the defeat of the Islamic State and ordered the withdrawal of a "significant" part of Russian troops from Syria. "In two years, the Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, have defeated the most lethal group of international terrorists," state news agency Tass quoted Putin as saying. "In this regard, I have decided that a significant part of the Russian...
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Tunisian Police Clash With Protesters in Capital as Unrest Continues

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 03:51
Tunisian police clashed with anti-government protesters in the capital Tunis and several other towns on Tuesday, residents said, as fresh demonstrations against austerity measures broke out a day after one person was killed in unrest. Protests erupted in at least 12 towns across Tunisia on Monday, among them the tourist towns of Sousse and Hammamet, against price and tax rises imposed by the government to reduce its ballooning deficit and satisfy international lenders. In Tunis on...
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US House Cheers Iran's Protests, Condemns Human Rights Violations

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 02:35
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution Tuesday supporting the Iranian people's right to free expression while condemning the country's leadership for crackdowns on recent protests. The 415-2 vote comes just days ahead of the beginning of a congressionally mandated 60-day window for lawmakers to address U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to not re-certify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. At least 21 people have been killed in nationwide...
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Khamenei: US Will Fail to Cause Unrest in Iran

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:45
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday said the United States would “fail miserably” if it attempted to interfere in Iranian affairs. Earlier this week, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said recent unrest in the country was caused by U.S. “interventionist” strategies, calling them  some of the nation’s most serious security challenges.  'We must listen, we must hear' Zarif also alleged that foreign powers —...
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Yemen's Houthis Threaten to Block Red Sea Shipping Lane

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:00
Yemen's armed Houthi movement threatened to block the strategic Red Sea shipping lane if the Saudi-led coalition it is fighting keeps pushing toward the port of Hodeidah it controls, the Houthi-run SABA news agency reported. Yemen lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers, which pass near Yemen's shores while heading from the Middle East through the Suez Canal to Europe. While SABA gave no details on how...
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Iranian Lawmaker: 3,700 Arrested in Anti-government Protests

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 23:55
An Iranian lawmaker says about 3,700 people have been arrested in anti-government protests across Iran, a much higher number than previously estimated. Tehran lawmaker Mahmoud Sadeghi announced the figure Tuesday in the state-run ICANA news agency. He said the fact that protesters were arrested by a number of different security services made it difficult to get an accurate tally of the detained. Rights group Amnesty International is calling on Iranian authorities to immediately...
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Israel to Approve Hundreds of New Settler Homes in West Bank

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 23:39
Israel will approve construction of hundreds of new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday. Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014. Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Most countries consider as illegal the Israeli settlements built in the territory which Israel captured in the 1967...
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UNHCR Urges Israel Not to Forcibly Deport African Refugees, Asylum Seekers

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 18:49
The U.N. refugee agency is appealing to the government of Israel not to forcibly send thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees or asylum seekers to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.N. refugee agency says Israel's policy has been in place since 2016, but Israel generally has not applied it; however, UNHCR spokesman William Spindler says Israel’s plans, announced January 1, to forcibly relocate Eritreans and Sudanese to countries in Africa or have them face indefinite...
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