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  • In Lebanon, Syrian newborns risk statelessness 

    In this Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 photo, Hoda Barakat, right, a registered midwife, takes the blood pressure of Syrian Manal Allan, 24, at a natal clinic in Beirut, Lebanon. Nearly 30,000 Syrian children born as refugees in Lebanon are in a legal limbo, not registered with any government, exposing them to the risk of a life of statelessness deprived of basic rights. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)BEIRUT (AP) — Nearly 30,000 Syrian children born as refugees in Lebanon are in a legal limbo, not registered with any government, exposing them to the risk of a life of statelessness deprived of basic rights.


  • Rocket in French Guiana launches 4 satellites KOUROU, French Guiana (AP) — Arianespace has launched a rocket from French Guiana carrying four satellites that will expand telecommunications and Internet services in several continents.
  • U.N. launches 2015 Syria appeal, focuses on helping refugees' host nations 

    Syrian refugees play at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of MafraqBy Magdalena Mis LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United Nations called on Thursday for more than $8.4 billion to help nearly 18 million people in need in Syria, wrecked by civil war, and across the region in 2015. As well as calling for cash for essential humanitarian aid for millions of Syrians inside and outside their homeland, the annual appeal included for the first time development plans to help neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees. Launched at a donor meeting in Berlin, the 2015 appeal includes $2. ...


  • Swiss central bank imposes negative interest rates 

    FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2009 file photo the headquarters of the Swiss central bank is pictured in Bern, Switzerland. The bank has imposed negative interest rates on commercial bank deposits, with the aim of preventing the Swiss franc from gaining more strength against other currencies. In a statement Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, the central bank said it was introducing a rate of minus 0.25 percent on sight deposit account balances of more than 10 million Swiss francs ($12.5 million). (AP Photo/Keystone, Peter Klaunzer, File)BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Following the fallout of the slide in the Russian ruble, Switzerland sought Thursday to prevent the Swiss franc from breaching upper limits imposed on the currency by introducing negative interest rates on commercial bank deposits.


  • Two-speed labor system in Qatar for 2022 World Cup 

    In this Nov.9, 2014 photo, stadium builders from Southeast Asia collect food from their free canteen after a day’s work in Doha, Qatar. Following widespread criticism of labor abuses in Qatar, the World Cup host nation for 2022 is giving better treatment to those who work on projects directly linked to the football tournament. (AP Photo/John Leicester)DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Men crammed together, dozens to a room, on bunk beds so close they can reach over and shake hands.


  • Qatar: Building team to spring surprise in 2022 

    In this photo taken on Nov. 5, 2014, a man walks on the pitch as Qatar’s Aspire Academy plays against a visiting team, San Lorenzo, in Doha, Qatar. Qatar is relying on the academy to train what it hopes will be a competitive team at the World Cup it is hosting in 2022. (AP Photo/John Leicester)DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It's a cold, hard fact of football: Countries with tiny populations don't generally beat big ones with deep wells of talented players.


  • How revived ties with Cuba came to be 

    Alan Gross, accompanied by his wife, Judy, speaks during a news conference at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after five years in a Cuban prison. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory, President Barack Obama summoned senior advisers to a series of meetings, asking them to "think big" about a second-term agenda, including the possibilities of new starts with long-standing U.S. foes such as Iran and Cuba. Two years later, after painstaking secret diplomacy on separate but surprisingly similar tracks, efforts with Tehran and Havana are in full swing.


  • Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw 

    Alan Gross, accompanied by his wife, Judy, speaks during a news conference at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after five years in a Cuban prison. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory, President Barack Obama summoned senior advisers to a series of meetings, asking them to "think big" about a second-term agenda, including the possibilities of new starts with long-standing U.S. foes such as Iran and Cuba. Two years later, after painstaking secret diplomacy on separate but surprisingly similar tracks, efforts with Tehran and Havana are in full swing.


  • EU insists on Hamas terror status after blacklist removal 

    Palestinian members from the armed wing of Hamas take part in an anti-Israel rally in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 13, 2014The European Union scrambled to set the record straight on Hamas Wednesday after an EU court ordered the removal of the Palestinian Islamist group from its terror blacklist, infuriating Israel. The ruling threatened recent Brussels attempts to play a bigger role in reviving the moribund Middle East peace process, with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu saying it showed Europeans had learned nothing from the Holocaust. A vote by the European Parliament backing the recognition in principle of a Palestinian state just hours after the Hamas decision, following a series of such votes in European nations, added fuel to the fire. The EU insisted that it still viewed Hamas as a terrorist group, saying that the ruling by the General Court of the European Union was based on a technicality and that it might appeal the decision.


  • Palestinians seek UN resolution to end Israeli occupation 

    US Secretary of State John Kerry talks before meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at Villa Taverna, on December 14, 2014 in RomeThe Palestinians are to push on Wednesday with a draft UN resolution demanding an end to Israeli occupation despite what they call warnings the United States is ready to veto the measure. An Arab-backed text setting November 2016 as the deadline for an Israeli withdrawal was to be formally submitted to the UN Security Council. "We will submit our project to the UN Security Council tomorrow," Nimr Hammad, an adviser to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, told AFP on Tuesday.


  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi stocks close at lowest of year 

    FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 file photo, Emirati traders check the stocks of Emaar Malls on the screen at the Dubai Financial Market in United Arab Emirates. Dubai's main stock market and Abu Dhabi's index have closed at their lowest points of the year amid mounting anxiety over plunging oil prices. Dubai's stock market lost 7.3 percent on Tuesday, while Abu Dhabi's slid 6.9 percent. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai's main stock market and Abu Dhabi's index closed on Tuesday at their lowest points of the year amid mounting anxiety over plunging oil prices.


  • Russia 'optimistic' on Syria peace talks early next year: Lavrov 

    Russia's FM Lavrov speaks to media in a news conference during the OSCE meeting in BaselPARIS (Reuters) - Russia is optimistic at the prospect of renewed talks between opposition figures and the Syrian government early next year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. Moscow, an ally of the Syrian government, has pushed to restart talks that collapsed in Geneva in February, inviting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem to visit Moscow after a similar visit by a former Syrian opposition chief in November. ...


  • Qatar: Small country the big new player in sport 

    FILE - This is file image released on Tuesday Dec. 2, 2014 by Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy of an artist's impression of the Qatar Foundation Stadium . The 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the wealthy oil- and gas-producing Gulf nation with giant look-at-me ambitions that belie its small size, is shaping up as a unique experience. There will be eight to 12 venues, but the exact number hasn’t been disclosed yet (AP Photo/Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, File)DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Leaders of Qatar seem to have a simple formula for their plans over the next decade: money + sports = global fame.


  • 66 journalists killed in past year as attacks grow more barbaric: report 

    AFP journalists duck for cover while covering heavy shelling between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian army in the vicinity of Donetsk's International Airport, on September 14, 2014Attacks on journalists have grown more barbaric and kidnappings have soared, Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday, after a year when violence against the media took centre stage and 66 reporters were killed. "Rarely have reporters been murdered with such a barbaric sense of propaganda, shocking the entire world," said Reporters Without Borders in their annual report released Tuesday. There was a slight drop in the number of murdered journalists -- down from 71 last year -- thanks largely to fewer deaths in countries "at peace". "Local journalists pay the highest price, representing 90 percent of those abducted," the report emphasised.


  • Qatar's World Cup: Not what you might expect 

    FILE - In this Thursday Jan. 6, 2011 file photo, a traditional dhow floats in the Corniche Bay area with tall buildings of the financial district in the background. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the wealthy oil- and gas-producing Gulf nation with giant look-at-me ambitions that belie its small size, is shaping up as a unique experience. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das, File)DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Cooled, modern stadiums. Fans traveling from the Middle East and beyond, to a region anxious to prove it can put on a show and have its own brand of fun.


  • France seeking support for Mideast plan 

    Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki, left, shakes hand with Arab League secretary general Nabil Al-Arabi, right, prior to a meeting with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, Tuesday Dec. 16, 2014. France is trying to overcome resistance and rally international support for a draft U.N. plan seeking a two-year deadline for peace talks on Palestinian statehood. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)PARIS (AP) — France on Tuesday tried to overcome resistance and rally international support for a draft U.N. plan setting a two-year deadline for peace talks on Palestinian statehood.


  • 'Deluded' hostage-taker saw himself as a martyr 

    In this April 18, 2011 file photo of Man Haron Monis, believed to be the gunman inside the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, speaks to the media as he leaves the Downing Centre in Sydney after a pre-trial hearing where he is accused of sending offending letters to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Police decided to storm the Lindt Cafe early Tuesday Dec. 16, 2014 when they heard a number of gunshots from inside, and ended with a barrage of gunfire that left two hostages and the gunman dead, and four others wounded. (AP Photo/AAP Image, Dean Lewins) AUSTRALIA OUT, NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVE, NO SALESSYDNEY (AP) — He wrote letters to grieving families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan that likened them to "Hitler's soldiers." He was accused of being an accomplice in the murder of his ex-wife, who was stabbed and set on fire.


  • Iraq government combats 'ghost soldier' corruption 

    FILE - In this Thursday, June 12, 2014 file photo, an Iraqi army armored vehicle is seen burned on a street of the northern city of Mosul, Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced last month that at least 50,000 ghost soldiers had been identified in four different divisions of the military and cut from the military payroll. “We were paying salaries while we lack the money,” he said in a televised address. “We have started blowing some big fish out of the water and we’ll go after them until the end, even if it costs me my life and regardless of the campaigns I will be subjected to, because corruption is just as significant as terrorism."(AP Photo, File)BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi government has identified and stopped payment of tens of millions of dollars in salaries previously disbursed to nonexistent troops, known here as "ghost soldiers," as part of the prime minister's vow to tackle corruption in the military and regain a foothold in the battle against the Islamic State group, two senior government officials said.


  • Journalist murders in Syria a shocking new trend: press freedom report 

    A man holds up a sign supporting American journalist James Foley during a protest against the Assad regime in Syria in Times Square in New YorkPARIS (Reuters) - The beheading of journalists by Islamist militants in Syria this year showed that reporters face a dangerous new threat, media freedom organization Reporters Without Borders said on Tuesday. While the overall number of journalists killed around the world was down 7 percent on 2013, to 66, the nature of some of the killings was of great concern, the Paris-based group said in an annual report. ...


  • Female fighters battle for freedom and equality in Syria: TRFN By Benedetta Argentieri TIL KOCHER, Syria (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every night before 27-year-old Arin goes to bed, she hangs her Makarov, a Russian semi-automatic pistol, from a steel coat rack by the entrance to her one-bedroom apartment in a small, dusty town on the Syrian border with Iraq. The pistol was an award for her success on the front line in the battle to protect Kurdish areas of northeastern Syria and is a far cry from her life a year ago when she was working as a nurse in Cologne in Germany. ...
  • Why oil is down by half, what it means for you 

    FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2014 file photo, an oil pump works at sunset in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. The price of oil has fallen by nearly half in just six months, a surprising and steep plunge that has consumers cheering, producers howling and economists wringing their hands over whether this is a good or bad thing. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil has fallen by nearly half in just six months, a surprising and steep plunge that has consumers cheering, producers howling and economists wringing their hands over whether this is a good or bad thing.


  • European help for Palestinians 'endangers Israel': Netanyahu 

    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (R) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Palazzo Chigi on December 15, 2014 in RomeIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that European support for a Palestinian bid at the UN to force an Israeli military withdrawal could harm his country as the US sought to head of a diplomatic crisis. "I said that the attempts of the Palestinians and of several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation and will endanger Israel," he said in a statement. The comments followed almost three hours of talks in Rome between Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry, who jetted across Europe on Monday for a hectic round of meetings. A State Department official said Kerry and Netanyahu "had a long and thorough discussion about Israel's security and developments at the United Nations".


  • Police storm Sydney cafe to end hostage siege, three dead By Lincoln Feast and Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney cafe early on Tuesday morning and freed a number of hostages being held there at gunpoint, in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which three people including the attacker were killed. Police have not publicly identified the gunman but a police source named him as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheikh known for sending hate mail to the families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan. He was charged last year with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. ...
  • Israel seeks U.S. block of Palestinian statehood drive 

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in RomeBy Lesley Wroughton ROME (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday sought assurances from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington would block efforts by Palestinians and Europeans on Palestinian statehood. "Our expectation is that the United States will stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution to the conflict will be achieved through negotiations, and I do not see a reason for this policy to change," Netanyahu told reporters after a meeting in Rome that lasted some three hours. ...


  • EU backs UN drive for Aleppo ceasefire 

    A rebel fighter monitors a street in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, on December 6, 2014The EU backed UN efforts Monday to arrange a ceasefire in Syria's second city Aleppo as one of the few options left to help end a conflict which has claimed more than 200,000 lives. EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said the UN's planned "freeze" on the ground would ease the desperate plight of civilians caught up in the fighting and offer some way forward after repeated efforts to end the war had failed. The bloc's 28 foreign ministers accordingly endorsed efforts by UN Syria special envoy Staffan de Mistura to bring about a "strategic de-escalation" in Aleppo and possibly other areas, she said after chairing a regular meeting in Brussels.


  • Kerry meets European ministers on Palestinian UN bid 

    A Palestinian protester holds up his national flag in front of a member of the Israeli security forces during a demonstration on the highway between Jerusalem and Jericho on November 28, 2014US Secretary of State John Kerry jetted into Paris Monday for late night talks with European counterparts seeking to head off a UN crisis over a Palestinian bid for statehood. His US Air Force plane touched down at Orly airport, south of the French capital, after he spent almost three hours locked in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome. Kerry was meeting over dinner with the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany inside the airport on a short stopover on his way to London, seeking clarification on a French-led bid to bring a resolution about the Palestinians to the UN Security Council. "What we are hoping for is a resolution which everyone can get behind," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told AFP.


  • 'We must negotiate with Islamic State': senior mediator By Alex Whiting LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Padraig O'Malley says we must talk to Islamic State, he's speaking from experience. A seasoned mediator, O'Malley brought together warring parties in Iraq at the height of the sectarian conflict in 2007 and 2008, resulting in an agreement that formed the basis for political reconciliation in Iraq and helped curb the violence. He did this with the aid of negotiators from South Africa, and from Northern Ireland, where he helped pave the way for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended 30 years of sectarian conflict. ...
  • AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from the Middle East 

    In this Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 aerial photo, Shiite faithful pilgrims gather between the holy shrine of Imam Hussein, top, and the holy shrine of Imam Abbas, bottom, for Arbaeen in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. The holiday marks the end of the forty day mourning period after the anniversary of the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)In the Middle East this week, millions of Shiites marked a holy commemoration in Iraq despite the threat of attacks from the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State group.


  • Australian police arrest one on terrorism financing charges By Matt Siegel SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian police arrested a Sydney man on Monday as part of operations to disrupt the flow of money and fighters to conflict zones such as those in Iraq and Syria, where dozens of Australians are said to have joined Islamist militant groups. The arrest of the 25-year-old man was part of investigations into the planning of an attack on Australian soil and the facilitation of travel of Australian citizens to Syria to engage in armed combat", the Australian Federal Police said in a statement. ...
  • Hostages held in Sydney cafe, Islamic flag seen in window: local TV 

    Police Hostage Situation Developing In SydneySYDNEY (Reuters) - Hostages were being held inside a central Sydney cafe where a black flag with white Arabic writing could be seen in the window, local television showed on Monday, raising fears of an attack linked to Islamic militants. Australia, which is backing the United States and its escalating action against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by radicalized Muslims or by home-grown fighters returning from fighting in the Middle East. ...


  • Palestinians push UN bid as Kerry begins European talks 

    US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) arrives at Ciampino International Airport, on December 14, 2014, in RomeThe Palestinian leadership on Sunday said it planned to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council setting a two-year deadline for Israel to end its occupation, as US Secretary of State John Kerry launched a flurry of European meetings to revive the stalled peace process. Washington's diplomatic manoeuvring comes amid a European-led drive towards a recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. In the past, the US has consistently used its power of veto at the UN to block moves it sees as anti-Israel, but US officials said Kerry was now seeking to learn more about the European position. Seizing the momentum, a senior Palestinian official said they would present a draft UN resolution in coming days on ending the Israeli occupation by late 2016.


  • EU's Russia debate a challenge for top diplomat Mogherini 

    European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini speaks during a news conference after meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the government palace in BeirutBy Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Italy's Federica Mogherini pledged as European Union foreign policy chief that the EU would play a stronger role in tackling world crises. Her resolve is about to be tested as the bloc debates whether it is time to mend its relationship with Russia. A year after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovich backed out of an EU trade deal and lit the ongoing crisis, the EU's new top diplomat must steer senior officials to a decision whether to keep up strong pressure on Moscow or "re-engage." Mogherini travels to Kiev on Tuesday for talks with President Petro Poroshenko, then attends Thursday's EU summit - new European Council President Donald Tusk's first - where Ukraine will be high on the agenda.


  • OPEC says market fundamentals don't justify oil plunge 

    Salem El-Badri, pictured in Vienna on November 27, 2014, says the rise in oil supplies on global markets does not justify the sharp drop in crude pricesThe rise in oil supplies on global markets does not justify the sharp drop in crude prices, a top OPEC official said Sunday, arguing speculation might be a contributor. "We want to know the main reasons that have led to such a drop in oil prices," said Abdalla Salem el-Badri, secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC decided last month to maintain its production level despite pleas by some producers to cut output in order to curb the price drop. Badri said OPEC had kept oil production at about 30 million barrels per day for the past decade, while countries outside the cartel had pumped an extra six million bpd.


  • Syrian wins Arab song contest, keeps clear of politics 

    A handout picture released by the Press office of the Middle East Broadcasting Center on December 14, 2014, shows 21-year-old Syrian contest Hazem Sherif (2nd-R) awaiting the declaration of the winner in this year's "Arab Idol" singing contestA Syrian from war-torn Aleppo was declared the winner of this year's "Arab Idol" singing contest at the grand finale of the gruelling four-month television competition in Beirut this weekend. The audience at Saturday's finale broke into applause and cheers, chanting "Syria! Syria!" and "Hazem!" when the jury of the pan-Arab song contest announced Hazem Sherif as the winner.


  • Israel PM rejects withdrawal talk ahead of Kerry meet 

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during the weekly cabinet meeting on June 29, 2014, in JerusalemPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected talk of Israel withdrawing from east Jerusalem and the West Bank within two years, on the eve of a meeting with the top US diplomat. The Jewish state seized east Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank during the 1967 Six-Day War. Speaking ahead of the weekly meeting of his cabinet, he said he would raise the issue in Rome with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday. "I will tell them that Israel, to a large degree, stands as a solitary island against the waves of Islamic extremism that are washing over the entire Middle East," the Israeli premier said.


  • Netanyahu to tell Kerry that Israel will rebuff U.N. moves towards Palestinian state 

    Israel's PM Netanyahu attends cabinet meeting in JerusalemBy Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would tell U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel will rebuff any moves at the United Nations to set a timeframe for a withdrawal from territory Palestinians seek for state. The State Department has said the two men will meet in Rome on Monday to discuss various proposals for a Palestinian state that are circulating at the United Nations. ...


  • Egypt denies entry to U.S. analyst, with no reason given CAIRO (Reuters) - A U.S. think tank analyst and former diplomat who has written articles critical of Egypt's government said she was blocked from entering the country to attend a conference on Saturday. Michele Dunne, a former diplomat once posted to Cairo and a senior associate at the Washington, D.C.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said she was given no reason when she was turned back at Cairo International Airport. ...
  • Pope discusses Italy's economic, social woes with PM 

    This picture released on December 13, 2014 by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis (R) and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during a private audience at the VaticanPope Francis met Saturday with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, whose "economic and social" problems topped the agenda, the Vatican said. "Attention focused on, among other issues, the current context of persistent difficulties of an economic and social nature, with negative consequences especially in relation to youth employment," the Holy See said in a statement. Youth unemployment in Italy reached 43.3 percent in October.


  • Russia threatens response if US sets new sanctions over Ukraine 

    Moscow is enraged by US moves to impose further sanctions over Ukraine and supply Kiev with lethal military aidRussia responded angrily on Saturday to news that US senators had passed a bill calling for fresh sanctions against Moscow and the supply of lethal military aid to Ukraine. "Undoubtedly, we will not be able to leave this without a response," deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency ahead of a meeting between the Russian and US foreign ministers. The Senate bill -- dubbed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act -- must still be approved by the White House, which has so far been reluctant to provide direct military assistance to Ukraine for fear of being drawn into a proxy war with Russia. Ryabkov blamed "anti-Russian moods" in the United States for the bill passed on Friday, which calls for additional sanctions against Russia and the delivery of up to $350 million (280 million euros') worth of US military hardware to Ukraine.


  • Egypt bars entry of US scholar critical of government 

    Scholar and former US diplomat Michele Dunne was denied entry to EgyptUS scholar and former diplomat Michele Dunne, known for her staunch criticism of Egypt's authorities, said she was barred from entering Egypt Saturday. Dunne told AFP in an email she had been invited to be a panelist at a conference organised by the pro-government Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA). She arrived overnight at Cairo airport but her name was on a list of people banned by the department of state security, and she was put on a plane to Frankfurt, an airport official said. An interior ministry spokesman was unable to comment on why Dunne, who once served at the US embassy in Cairo, was turned back.


 

 

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