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Netanyahu: UN's Palestinian Refugee Agency Should Be 'Thing of the Past'

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 08:38
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday the U.N. agency that aids Palestinian refugees perpetuates the problem and should be shut down. Netanyahu complained that the U.N. Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) is focused solely on Palestinian refugees and that its funding should instead be shifted to the U.N.’s blanket refugee agency. WATCH: A call to U.N. aid "It also perpetuates the right of return narrative in order to eliminate the state of...
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Former Egyptian PM Shafiq Will Not Run for President

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 22:35
Former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq announced Sunday that he would not be running for president in the country's 2018 elections, reversing a former promise to challenge Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who is widely expected to win. "I have seen that I will not be the ideal person to lead the state's affairs during the coming period. Thus I have decided not to run in the upcoming 2018 presidential elections," Shafiq said in a statement posted on Twitter, adding that his...
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Iran Bans English in Primary Schools After Leaders' Warning

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 19:08
Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official said, after Islamic leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a Western "cultural invasion." "Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations," Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television late on Saturday. "This is because the...
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Israel Bars Members From 20 Activist Groups Who Called for a Boycott of Israel

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 18:59
Israel is barring members of 20 global activist groups over their calls for a boycott of the Jewish state because of its Palestinian policies. The 20 groups come from Chile, Europe, South Africa, and the United States. They include the Nobel Peace Prize winning Quaker activist group American Friends Service Committee. "We have moved from defense to attack," Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Sunday."The boycott organizations need to know that the state of...
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Car Bomb in Idlib Kills 23

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 18:55
At least 23 people, some of them civilians, were killed by a car bomb in the rebel held Syrian city of Idlib Sunday. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the capital. Earlier Sunday, Syrian regime forces seized a key town in the province, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Government forces backed by Russian air power captured Sinjar, the biggest town in the southeast part of Idlib province, according to the Observatory. Syrian...
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Israeli PM Backs Trump Critique of Palestinian UN Aid Agency

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 17:13
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he "completely agrees" with President Donald Trump's critique of the U.N. agency aiding Palestinian refugees. Netanyahu at his Sunday weekly Cabinet meeting also reiterated support for Trump's threat to cut aid to Palestinians. The development comes after Israeli media indicated that despite public declarations, Israel is concerned about the ramifications of such a move.   Netanyahu says the organization...
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Syrian Forces Eye Rebel-Held Province after Defeat of IS

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 16:34
Syrian government forces and allied militiamen are advancing on the largest remaining rebel-held territory in the country's north, forcing thousands of civilians to flee toward the border with Turkey in freezing winter temperatures. The offensive on Idlib - a large province in northwestern Syria packed with civilians and dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants - was expected after the defeat of the Islamic State group late last year. Last week, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey...
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Historic Iron Church in Istanbul Reopens After Restoration

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 15:29
Turkey's president and the Bulgarian prime minister have unveiled the historic Iron Church in Istanbul after a seven-year restoration project.   In Sunday's opening ceremony, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the 120-year-old Sveti Stefan Church remains the "single example" of a church built on an iron skeleton.   The cross-shaped Bulgarian church was built on the banks of Istanbul's Golden Horn in 1898 with 500-tons of prefabricated iron...
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Arab League to Lobby UN to Recognize Palestinian State

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 14:42
Arab states will soon embark on a diplomatic drive to persuade the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said. Six Arab foreign ministers met in Amman on Saturday to follow up on earlier decisions taken by the Arab League to counter U.S. President Donald Trump's move in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a decision that...
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Iran's Revolutionary Guard: People, Security Forces 'Have Broken the Chain' of Unrest

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 14:26
Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) said in a statement Sunday that the Iranian people and the country's security forces played a role in ending the recent wave of unrest that the IRGC says was fomented by foreign enemies. The group said in a statement, "The new epic of the proud, conscious, pious, and revolutionary Iranian people, along with the distinguished presence of tens of thousands of loyal Basij volunteer forces in calming the riots and the sincere endeavors of the...
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32 Missing, Tanker Ablaze After Collision off China

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 09:13
An Iranian oil tanker collided with a bulk freighter and caught fire off China’s eastern coast, leaving its entire crew of 32 missing, most of them Iranians, authorities said Sunday.    The missing, 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, are all from the tanker Sanchi, which spilled oil and was floating while still burning early Sunday, said Chinese maritime authorities, which dispatched police vessels and three cleaning ships to the scene.    South Korean coast guard also...
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Iran Parliament to Discuss Anti-government Protests

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 08:09
Iran’s parliament is set to hold a special session as soon as Sunday to discuss the anti-government protests that began Dec. 28 and continued through this week. Iran’s ISNA news agency reported that Iran’s interior minister, head of intelligence and security council chief are all expected to attend. On the agenda are discussions of the root cause of the protests, as well as legal help for protesters jailed during the demonstrations. The session was called by a group of reformist...
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LIVE BLOG: Iran Protests

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 08:07
* Click here to read our story on the situation in Iran 1/8/2018 7:35 a.m. - 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. 1/8/2018 4:00 a.m. - Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed a security conference in Tehran on Monday, echoing the Iranian authorities' stance which alleges that foreign countries...
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Iran’s Working Class on Front Lines of Protests

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 08:07
The Iranian town of Doroud should be a prosperous place — nestled in a valley at the junction of two rivers in the Zagros Mountains, it’s in an area rich in metals to be mined and stone to be quarried. Last year, a military factory on the outskirts of town unveiled production of an advanced model of tanks. Yet local officials have been pleading for months for the government to rescue its stagnant economy. Unemployment is around 30 percent, far above the official national rate of more than...
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Coptic Christians Celebrate Christmas in New Cathedral, Tight Security

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 06:07
The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, led midnight mass in the cathedral of Egypt’s new administrative capital on Saturday, a service attended by President Abdel Fattah al Sisi. The mass, on the eve of Coptic Christmas, which is celebrated on Jan. 7, was the first to be held in the newly built cathedral and took place amid tight security. Sisi was cheered by worshippers as he entered the building. WATCH: Coptic Christmas in Egypt The new Egyptian capital,...
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Earthquake Rocks Western Iranian Region

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 04:55
A 5.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Iran's western province of Kermanshah on Saturday, injuring 21 people, media reports said. The semiofficial ISNA news agency said the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e Zahab, about 520 kilometers west of Tehran, was near the epicenter of the quake. Two of those injured had to be hospitalized, and the rest were released after receiving treatment, state television said. There were no reports of damage. The temblor struck near where a...
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11 Saudi Princes Detained Following Protest Over Utility Bills

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 02:58
Saudi Arabian authorities have detained 11 princes after they gathered at a royal palace in Riyadh in a rare protest against the government suspending payment of their utility bills, the public prosecutor said Saturday. Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has introduced reforms that include reducing energy subsidies, introducing value-added taxes and cutting some perks to royal family members to try to cope with a drop in crude prices that has caused a budget deficit estimated...
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Arab FMs Meet in Amman to Discuss US Jerusalem Recognition

Sat, 01/06/2018 - 20:39
Arab foreign ministers met in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Saturday to discuss the ongoing dispute over President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Arab news channels interrupted their usual coverage to focus on the Arab foreign ministers' press conference in the Jordanian capital, which is the latest development in the ongoing controversy over the Trump administration’s controversial move. Arab League head Ahmed Aboul Gheit told journalists...
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UN Denounces Execution of 20 Men in Egypt

Sat, 01/06/2018 - 16:02
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights deplores the recent execution in Egypt of 20 men on alleged terrorist-related charges. Five men were hanged in Alexandria on January 2.  One week earlier, on December 26, 15 men reportedly were hanged in two prisons in the restive Sinai region.  All were tried in military courts and found guilty of acts of terrorism.   U.N. human rights spokeswoman, Liz Throssell, says her office is deeply shocked by these...
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As Trump Administration Expresses Support for Iran Protests, Nuclear Deal Deadline Looms

Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:06
The Trump administration this week has not shied away from expressing support for the thousands of Iranians who have taken to the streets to protest government corruption and economic hardship. And while U.S. officials have threatened targeted sanctions against those who crack down on demonstrators, President Donald Trump is facing a Jan. 13 deadline on whether to reimpose economic sanctions against Iran that were suspended under the 2015 nuclear deal. VOA's Aru Pande has more from...
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