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  • Venezuela's Maduro calls in Iran for oil price cooperation 

    Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) to discuss way to stabilise the prices of oil on October 22, 2016Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on Saturday for increased cooperation between oil-rich nations to stabilise prices as he met with the supreme leader and president of Iran. "To stabilise the price of oil, new mechanisms should be taken and consultation among oil-producing countries, be they members or non-members of the OPEC, should increase," Maduro said, according to the website of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Venezuela's economic and political crisis has been compounded by the collapsing price of oil, and Maduro hopes that other oil-rich countries will agree to cap production in order to boost global prices.

  • Angry Venezuela opposition vows rallies, alleges coup 

    Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles speaks next to the president of the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, during a press conference in Caracas on October 21, 2016A furious Venezuelan opposition vowed mass street protests next week, accusing the Socialist government Friday of staging a coup by blocking efforts for a recall referendum against unpopular President Nicolas Maduro. With Maduro vowing to hold onto power, his opponents cranked up the heat in a stand-off that is destabilizing the volatile, oil-rich South American state, stricken by food shortages and violent crime. The opposition MUD coalition called for nationwide demonstrations from next Wednesday against the decision to annul a key stage in the referendum process.

  • Venezuela opposition resists as recall vote nixed 

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to hold on to power in the South American oil exporter, where an economic crisis has prompted food shortages and lootingVenezuela's opposition Friday urged "resistance" after the government blocked its efforts to force a recall vote on President Nicolas Maduro, but vowed peaceful action to keep a political crisis from erupting into violence. "The government wants violence or submission," said Jesus Torrealba, spokesman of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the center right-dominated opposition coalition. The National Electoral Council (CNE) said it had indefinitely suspended the recall referendum process, after criminal courts in five states ruled the opposition had committed fraud in an initial petition drive.

  • U.S. hopeful it can win Russia's agreement on Antarctic Ocean deal 

    Penguins can be seen next to the heritage-listed Mawson's Hut at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, East AntarcticaBy Ben Gruber PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) - After repeated failed attempts to establish an Antarctic Ocean sanctuary, the United States is hopeful it can sway Russia to agree to a plan that would protect a vast swath of what marine scientists call the most pristine body of water left on Earth. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is meeting in Hobart, Australia, in a bid to find consensus for a deal to conserve and manage the marine ecosystems in the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean. “We hope to bring Russia on board,” Evan Bloom, the head of the U.S. delegation, said in an interview on Friday.

  • IMF warns of slow growth in Central Asia, Caucasus WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund warned Friday of weak growth prospects in Central Asia and the Caucasus and called for active reforms to energize the post-Soviet economies.
  • The 'Jungle' camp in France: What is it? 

    Migrants and migrant-supporting association members look out from a watchtower at the "Jungle" migrant and refugee encampment in CalaisFrance plans to demolish the so-called "Jungle" camp in Calais, with work set to start next week. What is the 'Jungle'? It's a collection of tents and shelters on a muddy, windswept patch of land near Calais, northern France, that has become a magnet for migrants seeking to cross the Channel to reach Britain.

  • $47 billion offer to create world's biggest tobacco company 

    FILE - In this Friday, July 17, 2015 file photo, Camel and Newport cigarettes, both Reynolds American brands, are on display at a Smoker Friendly shop in Pittsburgh. British American Tobacco offered Friday, Oct. 21 2016 to buy Reynolds American Inc. in a $47 billion cash-and-stock deal that would create the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company and bring together brands like Camel, Dunhill, and Newport. The logic of the deal, analysts say, is to make up for a decline in the number of smokers in their home markets of the U.S. and Britain as they look to developing markets and new products, such as electronic cigarettes. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, file)LONDON (AP) — British American Tobacco is offering to buy Reynolds American Inc. in a $47 billion deal that would create the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company and attempt to make up for a decline in smoking in the U.S. and Europe.

  • Israel seeking three new submarines from Germany: report 

    Israel has five of the state-of-the-art German submarines, with a sixth due for delivery in 2017Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), an Israeli newspaper reported Friday. The Maariv daily said that a deal due to be signed on November 7 aims to replace the oldest vessels in its existing Dolphin fleet, which began entering service in 1999. Israel already has five of the state-of-the-art German submarines, with a sixth due for delivery in 2017, Maariv said.

  • Swedish asylum center burns down in suspected arson attack 

    A fireman walks outside an asylum centre that burned down overnight in a suspected attack by arsonists, police said, in Sigtuna, north of StockholmA Swedish asylum center burned down overnight in a suspected attack by arsonists, police said on Friday, the second incident of its kind in a week in the Stockholm region. Staff alerted police in the early hours of Friday after hearing noises and seeing lights outside the building, Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said. "Things do not just catch fire outside (a house) for no reason." Two staff and nine residents were at the center at the time of the blaze, during which no one was hurt, Lindgren said.

  • Britain accuses Russia of 'making the situation worse' in Syria Britain sought to shame Russia on Friday for its deadly air strikes on the Syrian city of Aleppo, during a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council called by London to set up a special inquiry into violations. "Russia, you are making the situation worse, not solving it," Tobias Ellwood, the British government minister for Africa and the Middle East said in a speech to the Geneva forum. "This is shameful and it is not the action or leadership that we expect from a P5 nation," he said, referring to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
  • E-Class sedan, SUVs boost earnings at Germany's Daimler FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Daimler AG said Friday that stronger sales of its technology-loaded Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and SUVs helped third-quarter earnings swell by 13 percent.
  • Egypt's fight against Islamic militancy makes enemies 

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi wait for their delegations during their meeting in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia. Egypt has made fighting Islamic militants its overriding foreign policy objective, a decision that led to a series of regional realignments that have puzzled Western backers, antagonized traditional Arab allies like Saudi Arabia and brought Cairo closer to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russia and Iran. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File)CAIRO (AP) — Egypt has made fighting Islamic militants its overriding foreign policy objective, a decision that has brought it closer to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russia and Iran, in turn antagonizing its chief financial backer, Saudi Arabia.

  • ICRC steps up aid for Iraq amid fears of post-Mosul sectarian strife By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - As Iraqi families begin streaming out of villages in the path of an army offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State, some fear that the onslaught may stoke future sectarian strife in the volatile region, a senior Red Cross official said on Thursday. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is prepared to provide aid to 800,000 people who could flee the looming battle for Mosul, including against any use of chemical weapons, said Patrick Hamilton, the ICRC's deputy director for the Near and Middle East. Islamic State militants have used banned chemical agents previously against Iraqi Kurdish forces.
  • EU pushes for 'leverage' with Africa to curb migrants 

    Refugees and migrants wait to be rescued by members of Proactiva Open Arms NGO in the Mediterranean Sea, some 12 nautical miles north of LibyaEU leaders called Thursday for greater efforts to apply the "leverage" of trade and development with Africa in order to curb migrant departures to Europe and speed up the return of those who arrive. The European Union has been turning its sights on the central Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy since a March aid-for-cooperation deal with Turkey dramatically slowed the number of migrants landing in Greece, the main entry point for Europe last year. Adopting a statement at their Brussels summit, the leaders urged EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to present a report at the next summit in December on how much progress has been made with five African countries toward reducing migrant arrivals and increasing returns.

  • Palestinians give glimpse of Jericho mosaic 

    Dating from the eighth century AD, the floor covers about 820 square metres at the desert castle known as Hisham's PalaceThe Palestinians on Thursday gave a rare glimpse of one of the Middle East's finest mosaic floors near the occupied West Bank city of Jericho, AFP journalists said. It is made up of 38 panels bearing delicate floral and geometric designs and is one of the oldest and largest in the region to have never been moved, senior Palestinian Authority conservation official Ihab Daoud told AFP. Hisham's Palace was built during the Umayyad dynasty, which lasted from 660 to 750 AD.

  • UK sends warships to watch Russian ships in English Channel 

    FILE - In this 2004 file photo, Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is seen in the Barents Sea. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, that the U.K. military will monitor Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its task group as the vessels sail through the North Sea and the English Channel. (AP Photo, File)LONDON (AP) — Britain has deployed warships to monitor a Russian aircraft carrier group and other vessels Thursday as they sailed through the North Sea and the English Channel reportedly en route to Syria's coast.

  • Another North Korea missile fails after launch: U.S., South Korea By Ju-min Park and Eric Walsh SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea test-fired a missile that failed immediately after launch early on Thursday, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said, hours after the two countries agreed to step up efforts to counter the North's nuclear and missile threats. The missile was believed to be an intermediate-range Musudan and was launched from the western city of Kusong, where the isolated state attempted but failed to launch the same type of missile on Saturday, the U.S. Strategic Command and South Korea's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The launch came shortly after the United States and South Korea agreed in Washington to bolster military and diplomatic efforts to counter the North's nuclear and missile programs, which it is pursuing in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
  • Headscarves worn in first Middle East FIFA women's tourney A youth tournament in Jordan has quietly ushered in some advances in women's soccer.
  • US imposes sanctions on Hezbollah commander, financiers WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government on Thursday sanctioned a Hezbollah commander and a number of other operatives and financiers linked to the militant group who it said were working to destabilize the Middle East.
  • Arms deals with Europe, Israel fuel South Sudan war: UN 

    South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coupA UN panel of experts has found evidence of "well-established networks" of arms suppliers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East that are fueling the war in South Sudan. In a confidential report to the Security Council obtained by AFP on Thursday, the panel described the arms deals that are not recent and involve Israeli and Bulgarian firms. The council has threatened to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan to try to end the fighting that has killed tens of thousands of people and driven 2.5 million from their homes.

  • Massive carpet mosaic briefly uncovered in Palestinian town 

    A portion of a 7th century, 827 square meter (8900 square ft) mosaic is on diosplay ahead of the opening ceremony at the Islamic archaeological site of Hisham Palace, in the West Bank city of Jericho, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. The unique mosaic was displayed for the first time in its entirety to the public Thursday before it undergoes a US $13 million Japanese funded project to protect it and exhibit it to visitors. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)JERICHO, West Bank (AP) — Archaeologists have removed the protective cover from one of the Middle East's largest carpet mosaics — but only for a day.

  • Nepal lifts ban on allowing migrant workers to Afghanistan By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nepal will allow its nationals to go to war-torn Afghanistan for work, a labor ministry official said on Thursday, ending an almost four-month ban imposed after 13 Nepali security guards were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber in the Afghan capital. Labor Ministry Spokesman Govinda Mani Bhurtel said employers would have to make adequate security arrangements for their stay, travel and work before Nepali nationals were given a work permit by the government to leave Nepal. "We'll allow our people to go to Afghanistan to work only with foreign missions and international companies located inside the Green Zone which is considered safe," Bhurtel told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
  • Saudi Arabia raises $17.5 bn in first global bond issue 

    The Saudi economy has been crippled by the falling oil priceSaudi Arabia raised $17.5 billion in its first international bond offering, HSBC said Thursday, reflecting strong interest as the kingdom seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy. The bond issue -- the first time Saudi Arabia has turned to international markets for financing -- was hailed as historic by investors and according to official media was nearly four times oversubscribed. "It was the biggest syndicated issue ever by any country," said Jean-Marc Mercier, co-director of the debt capital markets division at HSBC, which took part in the transaction and confirmed the figure.

  • Indonesia militant gets 10 years prison for Jakarta attack 

    Islamic militant Dodi Suridi gestures as he enters the court room prior to the start of his sentencing hearing at West Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. The court sentenced Suridi to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a suicide bombing and gun attack in the capital Jakarta earlier this year. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian court on Thursday sentenced an Islamic militant to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a suicide bombing and gun attack in the capital Jakarta earlier this year.

  • Militant in Jakarta attack dies from gun shot wounds 

    A member of police bomb squad inspects the site where police officers were attacked earlier, in Tangerang, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. A man with an Islamic State group symbol was shot Thursday after attacking the officers with a machete, police said. (AP Photo)JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A suspected militant who attacked police on the outskirts of the Indonesian capital Jakarta with a machete and pipe bombs has died from gunshot wounds, police said Thursday.

  • IS leaders 'abandon' Mosul as Iraq forces close in 

    Iraqi forces fire a self-propelled howitzer towards the village of Al-Muftuya during an operation against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, on October 19, 2016Jihadist leaders are fleeing Mosul, a top US general in the coalition battling the Islamic State group said Wednesday as Iraqi forces closed in on the northern city. Mosul was where IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his "caliphate" two years ago but is now the group's last major stronghold in Iraq. In the biggest Iraqi military operation in years, forces have retaken dozens of villages, mostly south and east of Mosul, and are planning multiple assaults for Thursday.

  • Saudi's first global bonds worth $17.5 bn: official media 

    Saudi Arabia plans to raise up to $17.5 billion from its first international bond issue, as analysts expect strong buyer interestSaudi Arabia's first international bond offering totalled $17.5 billion and was nearly four times oversubscribed, official media said early Thursday, confirming the strong buyer interest which analysts expected. "The total sum of the first offering was $17.5 billion," the Saudi Press Agency reported. A source involved in the operation on Wednesday confirmed that "the terms have been launched,", and Saudi has divided the total into three tranches with maturities of five, ten and thirty years, respectively, tailor-made for the American market.

  • Palestinians tell UN Israel must face consequences for settlements 

    Arab governments are discussing a proposed draft Security Council resolution demanding a halt to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank (pictured)Israel must face consequences for its failure to heed international appeals to stop building Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, the Palestinian envoy to the UN told the Security Council on Wednesday. Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour accused Israel of eroding prospects for a future Palestinian state and creating a "one-state reality" that was tantamount to apartheid. "The global calls for cessation of Israeli settlement activities and crimes against the Palestinian people must be backed with serious, practical measures to compel Israeli compliance with the law," Mansour told a council debate on the Middle East.

  • Palestinians urge UN to adopt resolution against settlements UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Palestinians urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to adopt a resolution with serious measures to compel Israel to halt all settlement activities and threatening "consequences" if it continues to violate international law.
  • Haitians vulnerable on Mexico-U.S. border as migrant crisis escalates 

    Haitian migrants line up outside Padre Chava shelter after leaving Brazil, where they sought refuge after Haiti's 2010 earthquake, but are now attempting to enter the U.S., in TijuanaBy Lizbeth Diaz MEXICALI, Mexico (Reuters) - Camped in migrant centers, broken-down rooms of a dingy, semi-derelict hotel and on church floors, thousands of Haitians desperate to enter the United States are in limbo and exposed to crime in dangerous border neighborhoods of Mexico. The hard-bitten fringes of Tijuana and Mexicali are currently believed to house some 5,000 Haitians, and about 300 more are arriving daily after an arduous journey from Brazil, Mexican official numbers show. The Haitians are not yet trying to slip illegally through the desert brush into the United States.

  • US general said Mosul battle could last months 

    A helicopter belonging to the international coalition forces takes off from a base outside Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. The U.S. has just as much to gain from the operation to recapture Mosul as the Iraqis themselves. Since 2014, the U.S. has provided airstrikes and advise-and-assist operations to put the beleaguered Iraqi military back on its feet after the Islamic State group gutted it of weapons, supplies and soldiers during its blitzkrieg across Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo)WASHINGTON (AP) — The fight for Mosul, launched this week by Iraqi security forces supported by U.S. air power and advisers, could take months and is likely to feature periods of fierce combat, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Wednesday.

  • Russia opens new cathedral complex in Paris, without Putin 

    More than 100-million euro ($110 million) was spent on the Saint-Trinite complex in ParisRussia unveiled a new state-financed Orthodox cathedral complex in a prime position near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Wednesday without the intended guest of honour, President Vladimir Putin. In a statement from Moscow, Putin said the more than 100-million euro ($110 million) complex, built around the cathedral which has five golden domes, was a "visible testament to the cultural and human ties between France and Russia".

  • France says ready to keep troops in West Africa for as long as needed 

    Children sit in front of the Place de La Nation arch in N?DjamenaBy John Irish PARIS (Reuters) - France appeared on Wednesday to accept that it would need to keep thousands of troops in Africa's Sahel region for an indefinite period given the ongoing instability and preponderance of Islamist militants. The region, a politically fragile area whose remote desert spaces spanning from Mauritania in the west to Sudan in the east host a medley of jihadist groups, is seen as vulnerable to further attacks after strikes on soft targets in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast earlier this year. Speaking to lawmakers, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault sought to reassure regional allies that Paris would not abandon them despite pressure on its military that has seen it increase operations in the Middle East, but also on home soil after a series of Islamist attacks.

  • Evoking Ottoman past, Erdogan vows to tackle Turkey's enemies abroad 

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential Palace in AnkaraBy Orhan Coskun and Nick Tattersall ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Smarting over exclusion from an Iraqi-led offensive against Islamic State in Mosul and Kurdish militia gains in Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan warned on Wednesday Turkey "will not wait until the blade is against our bone" but could act alone in rooting out enemies. In a speech at his palace, Erdogan conjured up an image of Turkey constrained by foreign powers who "aim to make us forget our Ottoman and Selcuk history", when Turkey's forefathers held territory stretching across central Asia and the Middle East.

  • Malala Yousafzai urges Muslims to unite for peace 

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai speaks in Sharjah on October 19, 2016Pakistan's Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, giving a speech Wednesday in the Emirates, urged Muslims to respect the "true message of Islam" and unite against wars in their countries. The 19-year-old, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 after she had publicly advocated education for girls, urged the world's Muslims to "come together... and follow the true message of Islam as they join hands in the struggle for peace". "We must not forget that the majority of those suffering because of these conflicts and wars are Muslims," said Malala, referring to conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

  • Pakistan arrests two for spreading Islamic State propaganda By Jibran Ahmad PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Police arrested two men suspected of distributing pamphlets for Islamic State (IS) following a raid in the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said on Wednesday, amid lingering fears that the Middle East militant group was making inroads in Pakistan. Last month, the military said that it had stemmed Islamic State's attempts to expand in the country, having arrested more than 300 people suspected of plotting attacks against government, diplomatic and civilian targets. Following Tuesday's raid, however, police in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said militants were operating in parts of Peshawar, including some from Islamic State.
  • Bangladesh says attack investigation yielding results 

    FILE - In this July 3, 2016 file photo, Bangladeshi policemen walk past the Holey Artisan Bakery, the site of a militant attack, in Dhaka's Gulshan area, Bangladesh. In the three months since a band of youths tortured and killed 20 hostages in this Dhaka restaurant, intelligence officials say they're rooting out radicals and restoring security to the streets. Police raids that have killed about 40 suspected Islamist militants; hundreds of suspects detained in police dragnets; and new information on how the attack was financed by local sympathizers. (AP Photo/File)NEW DELHI (AP) — In the three months since a band of youths tortured and killed 20 hostages in a Dhaka restaurant, Bangladeshi intelligence officials say they're rooting out radicals and restoring security to the streets. Their evidence? Police raids that have killed about 40 suspected Islamist militants; hundreds of suspects detained in police dragnets; and new information on how the attack was financed by local sympathizers.

  • Spending cuts a must in Gulf despite oil recovery: IMF 

    The price of oil has partially rebounded and is hovering around $50 per barrel having hit a 10-year low of less than $30 in JanuaryA modest recovery in oil prices falls short of filling budgetary gaps in crude-exporting Gulf countries, the International Monetary Fund said, stressing the need to cut spending. The recovery "will definitely help in terms of the financial numbers for this year" for the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said Masood Ahmed, the IMF's director for the Middle East. "But it doesn't really change the fundamental outlook for GCC countries or the challenges that face them," he told AFP in an interview Tuesday.

  • Obama praises Italian leader for 'bold' leadership 

    President Barack Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi leave after their joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to boost a close ally, President Barack Obama threw his support Tuesday behind efforts that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is taking to overhaul that country's political system and enhance its economy, saying that Renzi's "bold" and "progressive" leadership was exactly what Europe needs at a time of crisis and soul-searching.

  • For IS jihadists, losing Mosul spells caliphate doom 

    A delegation of French members of parliament from the Franco-Syrian friendship group being accompanied by the governor of Homs Talal al-Barazi (2R) visit the damaged Grand Al-Nuri mosque in the old part of the central Syrian city of HomsIt was in Mosul's Great Mosque of al-Nuri that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the Islamic State group's "caliphate" and its recapture would finally end that dream of statehood. When the IS supremo publicly proclaimed the caliphate from the minbar of the mosque in Mosul in June 2014, the group was inviting Muslims globally to move to an expanding new "state". After losing several key cities in Iraq and also in Syria, the jihadists' "state" is already looking threadbare and the loss of Mosul would all but seal its disintegration.



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