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  • Potential successors to UK's Cameron position themselves before close election 

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Downing Street for the House of Commons, in central LondonBy Andrew Osborn BIRMINGHAM England (Reuters) - Eight months before a tight election, the three main contenders to succeed British Prime Minister David Cameron as leader of the Conservatives wooed potential supporters at the party's annual conference with starkly different pitches. Cameron, 47, has repeatedly said he wants to lead his right-leaning party to victory in May 2015 and to secure a majority, so it can rule alone and not in a coalition as is now the case. ...

  • Egypt's Sisi delivers economic reforms but hurdles remain 

    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi acknowledges applause as he takes the stage before his address to the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New YorkBy Stephen Kalin CAIRO (Reuters) - In his first 100 days in office, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has made a fast start on economic reform: slashing costly fuel subsidies, raising taxes and devising infrastructure projects to secure long-term revenues and ease unemployment. Those are moves that have long been sought by foreign investors. But winning their full confidence will require pushing ahead with further politically-sensitive reforms and sealing an elusive deal with the International Monetary Fund. ...

  • Special Report: Islamic State uses grain to tighten grip in Iraq 

    File photo of a woman from minority Yazidi sect, who fled violence in Iraqi town of Sinjar, making bread at Bajed Kadal refugee camp, southwest of Dohuk provinceBy Maggie Fick SHEKHAN Iraq (Reuters) - For Salah Paulis, it came down to a choice between his faith and his crop. A wheat farmer from outside Mosul, Paulis and his family fled the militant group Islamic State early last month. The group overran the family farm as part of its offensive that captured vast swathes of territory in northern Iraq. Two weeks later, Paulis, who is a Christian, received a phone call from a man who said he was an Islamic State fighter. “We are in your warehouse. Why are you not here working and taking care of your business?” the man asked in formal Arabic. ...

  • Syria raids show Saudi, UAE ambition to extend regional authority By William Maclean and Angus McDowall DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) - The decision by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to join air strikes in Syria reflects an increasingly muscular foreign policy by the Gulf Arab heavyweights that has already started to reshape the balance of power in the Middle East. With Egypt, Syria and Iraq - where the Arab world's armed might has usually rested - all now immersed in civil wars or internal political turmoil, the emergence of Gulf states as military players asserting an unremitting hostility to Islamists could alter the region's political equation. ...
  • Australian police charge man over funding 'terrorist organization' after raids By Lincoln Feast SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian police raided homes in Melbourne on Tuesday and charged one man with funding a terrorist organization in a crackdown on radical Islamists who authorities believe are supporting Middle East militants or planning attacks at home. The operation, following information from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, was much smaller than raids earlier this month that authorities say thwarted a plan for a random beheading. ...
  • Israel PM tries to shift focus from Islamic State to Iran at U.N 

    Israel's PM Netanyahu addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday tried to shift the spotlight away from the Islamic State militant group and back to Iran, warning the United Nations that a nuclear-armed Tehran would pose a far greater threat than "militant Islamists on pickup trucks." Islamic State's seizure of large swaths of Syria and Iraq and its killings of civilians and soldiers have dominated discussions during five days of speeches at the United Nations General Assembly podium and on the sidelines. ...

  • Qatar's foreign minister denies paying ransoms to militant groups By Daniel Bases PRINCETON N.J. (Reuters) - Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya defended on Monday his government's connections with armed militant groups in the Middle East and its involvement in negotiating the release of hostages but denied ever paying ransoms to secure their freedom. "No, Qatar does not pay ransoms. Again, Qatar will not apologize for any soul or life we saved in Syria. ...
  • Man arrested in Australia 'over funding US fighter in Syria' 

    Police patrol the waterfront in Sydney harbour on September 24, 2014Sydney (AFP) - A man was arrested in counterterror raids in Australia on Tuesday, with police alleging he was sending money to a US national fighting with a "terrorist" group in Syria.

  • Australian counter-terrorism police raid Melbourne properties SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian police said they had raided a number of properties around the southern city of Melbourne on Tuesday, part of a security crackdown on radical Islamists authorities believe are planning attacks in the country. 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 radicalised Muslims or by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East. ...
  • Israel's Netanyahu: Iran poses greater threat than Islamic State 

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuA nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat to the world than Islamic State militants who have seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. "Make no mistake, ISIS (Islamic State) must be defeated," Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly. "But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war."

  • Turkey deploys tanks to border as lawmakers to consider anti-IS action 

    Turkish army tanks take position near the Syrian borderMursitpinar (Turkey) (AFP) - Turkey on Monday deployed tanks and armoured vehicles to reinforce its border with Syria amid escalating violence by the Islamic State group, as parliament was set to consider whether to authorise military action against the jihadists.

  • Obama efforts to oust Assad pushed to back burner 

    FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. By President Barack Obama’s own admission, the U.S. bombing campaign against militants in Syria could help President Bashar Assad cling to power. Critics say Obama’s strategy does little to address the conditions that have allowed the Islamic State group to thrive and could leave Syria a hotbed for extremism. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — By President Barack Obama's own admission, U.S. efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad have been pushed to the back burner by a bombing campaign against Islamic State militants that could ultimately help him stay in power.

  • U.S., Kurds strike at Islamic State in Syria By Mariam Karouny and Jonny Hogg BEIRUT/MURSITPINAR Turkey (Reuters) - U.S. warplanes attacked Islamic State targets in Syria overnight, in raids that a group monitoring the war said killed civilians as well as jihadist fighters. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, in an area controlled by Islamic State, killing at least two civilian workers. ...
  • Battle against Islamic State creates new alliances 

    In this Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 photo, radical al-Qaida-linked preacher Abu Qatada, first left, receives a friend, on the day he was released from Jordanian prison after an acquittal on security charges, in Amman, Jordan. Abu Qatada and Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, two of Jordan's top pro-al-Qaida ideologues held court on the rooftop of a villa whispering to each other and rising occasionally from plastic chairs to greet supporters. The two have denounced some of the Islamic State group's practices as un-Islamic - comments some analysts say have turned the preachers into assets in Jordan's campaign to contain the Islamic State, which is believed to have attracted thousands of followers in Jordan. (AP photo/Mohammad Hannon)AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — On a recent evening, two of Jordan's top pro-al-Qaida ideologues held court on the rooftop of a villa decorated with strings of lights. Sporting shaggy beards and robes, the Muslim preachers whispered to each other and rose occasionally from plastic chairs to greet supporters.

  • With wheelchairs, walking sticks, pilgrims throng Mecca for hajj 

    Muslim pilgrims arrive for a prayer at Mecca's Grand Mosque on September 29, 2014 in Saudi ArabiaMecca (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - Their backs hunched, elderly Muslim pilgrims lean on walking sticks as others in wheelchairs nudge their way into Mecca's Grand Mosque where scores of people are encircling the holy Kaaba.

  • Man United exploring friendlies during season 

    Manchester United's Robin van Persie, second right, celebrates with teammates after scoring against West Ham United during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is looking at playing lucrative friendlies overseas to fill the midweek void left by the absence of European football this season and the early League Cup exit.

  • Obama: US 'underestimated' Islamic State threat 

    In this Saturday, Sept. 27 2014 photo, provided by the anti-government activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians walking amid the rubble of damaged houses following a Syrian government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is acknowledging that U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated the threat from Islamic State militants in the Middle East and overestimated the ability and will of Iraq's army to fight such extremists.

  • Israel's shadowy Mossad looks to recruit online 

    Screen grab from the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service websiteTEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — It used to be that if you wanted to join one of the world's most secretive espionage organizations you had to sneak into a foreign embassy, answer a cryptic newspaper ad or show up in a nondescript building in Tel Aviv to meet a shadowy recruiter. Now all it takes to apply for a job at Israel's Mossad spy agency is a click of the mouse.

  • Solar energy could dominate electricity by 2050: IEA 

    An electricity pylon is seen above a solar power plant which is under construction on a hill in WuhuLONDON (Reuters) - Solar energy could be the top source of electricity by 2050, aided by plummeting costs of the equipment to generate it, a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the West's energy watchdog, said on Monday. IEA Reports said solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could generate up to 16 percent of the world's electricity by 2050, while solar thermal electricity (STE) - from "concentrating" solar power plants - could provide a further 11 percent. ...

  • Clooney father-in-law hails wedding as good news for Mideast 

    US actor George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin stand on a taxi boat on September 28, 2014 in Venice, ItalyBeirut (AFP) - George Clooney's Lebanese father-in-law said on Sunday that his daughter Amal Alamuddin's wedding to the Hollywood heartthrob was "very good news" for the turmoil-ridden Middle East.

  • Russian suspicions of U.S. motives in Syria make cooperation unlikely 

    Turkish soldiers stand guard as Syrian Kurdish refugees wait behind the border fences to cross into Turkey near Suruc in Sanliurfa provinceBy Lesley Wroughton and Matt Spetalnick NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Russia see Islamic State as a common enemy but are failing to overcome deep mutual distrust and agree on how to tackle the threat together, making any role for Moscow in the U.S.-led campaign unlikely, say U.S. Moscow suspects Washington's ulterior motive is removal of its ally, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Washington refuses to consider working together as long as Moscow insists that U.S.

  • Saudi foreign minister: War on terror needs years UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Saturday that the war against extremists in the Middle East may take years and must not stop before all terrorist organizations are eliminated.
  • World leaders give their annual speeches at the UN 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of India, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — World leaders gathered Saturday for the fourth day of the annual ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to address the state of their countries and the world. Here are highlights from some of the newsworthy speakers:

  • Far-right groups protest immigration at British port 

    A police officer walks past a flag following a demonstration calling for greater security to protect truck drivers from migrants trying to enter Britain illegally from France, September 27, 2014, in Dover, EnglandDover (United Kingdom) (AFP) - British far-right groups demonstrated against immigrants entering the country from France on Saturday, in a protest at the southern English port of Dover.

  • Top Asian News at 7:30 p.m. GMT HONG KONG (AP) — Leaders of a Hong Kong pro-democracy movement say they're kicking off a long threatened mass civil disobedience protest to challenge Beijing over its recent decision to rule out genuine democratic reforms for the former British colony. Organizers of "Occupy Central with Love and Peace" said early Sunday that an "occupation" of the streets outside government headquarters has officially begun.
  • Russia's Lavrov slams US 'military interference' 

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting in Moscow on September 4, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday accused the United States of resorting to "military interference" to defend its interests, in a veiled reference to the air campaign in Syria.

  • No breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks, sides agree to keep talking 

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replies to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers made little progress in overcoming significant disagreements in the most recent round of nuclear talks, including on uranium enrichment, Iranian and Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Friday. Officials from Iran and the six countries had cautioned ahead of the talks in New York that a breakthrough was unlikely to end sanctions on Tehran, although they had hoped substantial progress could be made in narrowing disagreements. ...

  • Palestinian leader in new UN bid to end occupation 

    President Mahmoud Abbas, of Palestine, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Facing pressure at home to come up with a new strategy for achieving Palestinian statehood, Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he would ask the U.N. Security Council to dictate the ground rules for any talks with Israel, including setting a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands.

  • Iran and six powers make little progress in nuclear talks 

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replies to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers made little progress in overcoming significant disagreements in the most recent round of nuclear talks, including on uranium enrichment, Iranian and Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Friday. Officials from Iran and the six countries had originally said a breakthrough in New York was unlikely on a nuclear deal to end sanctions on Tehran, although they had hoped substantial progress could be made in narrowing disagreements. ...

  • New wave of US air strikes in Syria 

    This US Air Forces Central Command photo released by the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System shows a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flying over northern Iraq early in the morning of September 23, 2014 after conducting airstrikes in SyriaWashington (AFP) - US aircraft have launched a fresh wave of bombing raids against Islamic State militants in Syria, in the fifth consecutive day of air strikes in the country, a defense official told AFP on Friday.

  • US official says Khorasan Group threat to aviation WASHINGTON (AP) — An al-Qaida cell in Syria known as the Khorasan Group, which was targeted by U.S. airstrikes this week, represents "a clear and present danger" to commercial flights to Europe and the United States, the Obama administration's top aviation security official said Friday.
  • Russia's Lavrov questions legality of U.S. airstrikes on Syria By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia questioned on Friday the legality of U.S. and Arab air strikes in Syria to target Islamic State militants because the action was taken without the approval and cooperation of Moscow's ally Damascus. The United States, which has long called for the dismissal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, began air and missile strikes on strongholds of Islamic State in Syria this week, backed up by some Gulf Arab allies. Washington forewarned Damascus of the action, but did not seek approval for it. ...
  • Denmark, Britain join U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State (Reuters) - Denmark announced on Friday it will send seven F-16 fighter jets to take part in a U.S.-led military coalition attacking Islamic State militants in Iraq, and parliament in Britain approved British participation. Danish and British jets will join a growing international force arrayed against the radical Sunni group which controls oilfields, farmland and military bases in a wide, cross-border region straddling east Syria and north Iraq. The pledges came on a fourth day of U.S. and Arab air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria. ...
  • Man returning from Mideast 'combat zones' held at French airport 

    The international airport of Nice, southeastern France, on September 14, 2011Nice (France) (AFP) - A young man was detained Friday at an airport in southern France as he returned from Iraqi or Syrian "combat zones" via Turkey, a source close to the case said.

  • Germany plans tougher controls on would-be jihadists BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government plans tougher controls on would-be jihadists such as marking personal identity cards to alert border guards that the traveler may be en route to join the Islamic State militant group. An interior ministry spokeswoman said some kind of marking on identity cards could identify suspected jihadists so border guards in Germany or other Schengen countries such as Belgium or the Netherlands could prevent them from leaving. ...
  • Top Asian News at 6:30 p.m. GMT PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — High heels, with sequins. Brightly colored, tight-fitting dresses. Hairstyles and makeup that are almost like what you would expect on streets of Beijing or Seoul. Something is definitely afoot in the style scene of North Korea's capital.
  • Why China stays out of Islamic State fight, for now 

    Heavily armed Chinese paramilitary policeOne might expect China to be heavily invested in the international fight to stop Islamic State jihadists from taking over Iraq and Syria: For starters, China is the number one investor in Iraq's oil industry. Yet, Beijing is almost nowhere to be seen in anti-IS coalition discussions. Why?

  • Syria refugees leave cruise liner after Cyprus standoff 

    Syrian refugees rescued off the coast of Cyprus sit in a bus at the port in Limassol on September 26, 2014 as they are transported to a camp on the outskirts of the capital NicosiaLimassol (Cyprus) (AFP) - Hundreds of mostly Syrian refugees rescued by a cruise liner in the Mediterranean agreed to disembark in Cyprus on Friday after a standoff triggered by their demand to go to Italy.

  • Cambodians protest Australia resettlement deal 

    Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, second from left, toasts with Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng, second from right, after a signing ceremony of a controversial deal on resettlement of refugees inside the Interior Ministry, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. Cambodia signed the deal with Australia to resettle an unspecified number of refugees currently held at an Australian-run detention camp on the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru. About 100 people, including Buddhist monks, demonstrated outside Australia's embassy in Cambodia against the deal. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Australia and Cambodia signed an agreement Friday for asylum-seekers who are refused residency in Australia to instead be resettled in the impoverished Southeast Asian country criticized for its deteriorating human rights record.

  • Nine Japanese said to have joined Islamic State TOKYO (Reuters) - Nine Japanese nationals have joined Islamic State, Japan's former air force chief, Toshio Tamogami, quoted a senior Israeli government official as saying, but the government's top spokesman said on Friday it had not confirmed the information. Tamogami, now a senior official of a tiny new political party, said on his blog that Nissim Ben Shitrit, the director-general of Israel's foreign ministry, told him this month that nine Japanese had taken part in Islamic State. ...



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