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Egypt Says its Forces Kill 8 Suspected Militants in Sinai

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 17:51
Egypt says security forces have killed eight suspected militants in a shootout in the northern Sinai Peninsula. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday the firefight broke out when the forces raided a suspected hideout in el-Arish city. It said the militants were planning attacks targeting security forces, and were in possession of explosives, rifles and ammunition. Egypt has been battling militants in the northern part of Sinai Peninsula for years, but the insurgency became far more deadly...
Categories: Iraq

Iranian Oil Tanker Continues to Burn Three Days After Collision

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 13:22
An Iranian oil tanker continues to burn in the East China Sea Tuesday, three days after it collided with a Chinese cargo ship off the China's east coast. China's Ministry of Transport said Tuesday that efforts by emergency vessels to extinguish the fire on the Panamanian-registered tanker Sanchi and search for its missing crewmen were hampered by poor conditions at sea, including strong winds and choppy waves, along with toxic fumes from the wrecked tanker.  China, South...
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Syrian Military Reports Israeli Missile Strikes

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 12:25
Syria's military accused Israel of launching missiles targeting its outposts near Damascus in a wave of three pre-dawn attacks Tuesday and claimed that the Syrian air force hit one of the Israeli jets and shot down several of the missiles.   In a statement, the army said the Syrian air defense confronted the early morning attacks on military outposts in the area of Qutayfeh in the Damascus countryside.   Several missiles were first launched from Lebanese airspace at 2:40...
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UNRWA Spokesman Says Funding Cuts Would Hurt Half a Million Palestinian Children

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:49
The U.N. Relief Agency, which is focused solely on humanitarian relief to Palestinian refugees, now finds itself in an uncomfortable spotlight amid criticism from Israel and threats from the U.S. to cut its funding. VOA's Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from the State Department.
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Tunisian Protester Killed in Clashes with Police Over Price Hikes, Unemployment

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 04:56
One person was killed Monday during clashes between security forces and protesters in a Tunisian town, a security official and residents said, as demonstrations over rising prices and tax increases spread in the North African country. A man was killed during a demonstration against government austerity measures in Tebourba, 40 km (25 miles) west of Tunis, the security official said, without giving details. The protest had turned violent when security forces tried stopping some youths...
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Turkey's Nationalist Opposition to Back Erdogan in 2019 Election

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 01:47
Turkey's nationalist opposition said on Monday it would back President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the 2019 election, signaling continued right-wing support crucial to his narrow victory in a constitutional referendum last year. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the smallest of parliament's four factions, backed the vote to grant Erdogan sweeping executive powers, helping it squeak by with a margin of 51.4 percent. "The MHP will not submit a presidential candidate,"...
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Iran Protester Dies in Custody, Sparking Memories of 2009 Abuse

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 01:40
A 22-year-old Iranian protester has died in custody, according to two Iranian lawmakers, intensifying fears of a repeat of the prisoner abuse that followed similar protests in 2009.  A reformist member of parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, says he was told the detainee, identified as Sina Ghanbari, committed suicide.  Another lawmaker, Tayyebe Siavashi, said the detainee had been arrested in Tehran.  Details of the incident were not immediately clear, but it was thought to be...
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Pence to Visit Israel, Egypt, Jordan  

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 23:20
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Jordan, Egypt and Israel on behalf of President Donald Trump later this month, Pence's office said in a statement Monday. “The vice president is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the United States’ allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” said Alyssa Farah, Pence's press secretary. “The vice president is looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan...
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US Security Experts Back Iran Nuclear Deal, as Trump Faces Deadlines

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 22:54
Retired U.S. military officers, members of Congress and former U.S. ambassadors were among 52 U.S. national security experts who signed a letter released on Monday urging President Donald Trump’s administration not to jeopardize the international nuclear deal with Iran. Trump faces deadlines related to the deal starting late this week, including deciding whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the 2015 agreement. He will make the decision as Iran’s government deals with protests...
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Children of Terror Left Behind in Iraq

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 22:39
Both of Maya's parents were Islamic State suicide bombers. Her four siblings were among their victims. Plump, smiling and younger than two years old, Maya may never know anything of her past. "Maya" is not her real name. "She was skin and bones when we got her," says Sukaina Mohammed, director of the Department of Women and Children in the Nineveh province of Iraq, in the Mosul orphanage where Maya now lives. "That baby had six broken ribs when she...
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Egypt Sets March Date for Presidential Elections

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 19:16
Egypt will hold its presidential election over three days in March, officials said Monday, with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi virtually guaranteed to run for and win a second four-year term amid a heavy clampdown on dissent.   Sissi has yet to formally announce his candidacy, but with less than three months to go before the vote, no candidate who could pose a serious challenge to him has emerged. Nearly all prominent critics of the government have been jailed, left the country or...
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Jordan State Media: Intelligence Foiled 'Massive' IS Plot

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 17:59
Jordan's intelligence service has foiled an Islamic State plan to carry out a "massive" scheme of simultaneous attacks, the country's state news agency said Monday. State news agency Petra said the country had arrested 17 people and seized other weapons from a cell that intended to carry out attacks against moderate religious figures, security installations, and others last November. The group had planned to rob banks and steal cars to finance the attacks, and had...
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Syrian Troops Capture 14 Villages From Rebels

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 17:21
Syrian government forces captured 14 villages on Monday as they advance on the largest rebel-held enclave in the country's north amid a wave of airstrikes.   Syrian government forces and their allies have been on the offensive since late October in Hama and Idlib provinces, capturing nearly 100 villages from insurgent groups, including the al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee. The offensive intensified on Christmas Day after reinforcements were brought in from other parts...
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Israel's Central Bank: Bitcoin Is an Asset, Not a Currency

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 17:08
Israel’s central bank said on Monday it would not recognize virtual currencies such as bitcoin as actual currency and that it was difficult to devise regulations to monitor the risks of such activity to the country’s banks and their clients. Deputy Governor Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg said there had been public complaints Israeli banks were making it difficult for some customers to transfer money from their accounts to buy bitcoin. But this was something the central bank would not be able...
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Pope Urges Efforts to Rebuild Trust in North Korea, Syria

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 15:45
Pope Francis urged concerted international efforts Monday to rebuild trust on the Korean peninsula and in Syria, using his annual foreign policy address to demand that political leaders put the dignity of their people before war, profit or power. In a wide-ranging speech to ambassadors from some 185 nations, Francis reaffirmed the need to respect the status quo of Jerusalem and refrain from any initiative that exacerbates hostilities. Francis didn't cite the United States by name,...
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Rouhani: All Officials Can Be Criticized

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 15:36
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday all officials can be criticized and that protesters in Iran are upset about more than economic issues. Rouhani also called for the lifting of bans on social media. As protests broke out nearly two weeks ago, the government instituted restrictions on messaging apps, including Instagram and Telegram.  Authorities lifted the Instagram ban on Sunday, but Telegram remained blocked. Hamid Shahriari, Iran's deputy judiciary head, said...
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California Protest Against Iranian Regime

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 15:10
Hundreds of members of the Iranian diaspora protested in Los Angeles, California Sunday, in support of the anti-government protesters in Iran.
Categories: Iraq

One Body Recovered Near Wreckage of Iranian Oil Tanker

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 14:53
China’s transport ministry said rescue workers recovered one unidentified body near the wreckage of an Iranian oil tanker Monday, two days after it collided with a Chinese cargo ship off China's east coast and caught fire. The tanker's crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis has been missing since the collision late Saturday. China’s official Xinhua news agency quoted the transport ministry as saying the body found near the wreckage is believed to be one of the missing 32 crew...
Categories: Iraq

Greek Court Temporarily Freezes Asylum to Turkish Soldier

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 14:53
Greece won on Monday a temporary injunction freezing asylum granted to a Turkish soldier who fled with seven others to the country after a botched coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in 2016. An appeals court in Athens upheld a request by the Greek government to freeze the asylum status granted by an independent asylum council on Dec. 29. The same council had rejected asylum requests filed by the seven other soldiers. The court said it was granting the order "for...
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Netanyahu Calls for Closure of UN Aid Agency for Palestinians

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 09:02
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the closure of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, saying it perpetuates the Palestinian problem. Netanyahu also told his Cabinet meeting Sunday that the agency’s ultimate goal is to terminate the state of Israel and therefore must go. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports.
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