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  • Rouhani says Iran's military strategy purely defensive 

    Iranian soldiers in camouflage march in the annual parade marking the anniversary of Iran's war with Iraq (1980-88) in Tehran, on September 22, 2014Iran's military is purely for defence and should not be seen as a threat in the Middle East, President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday amid rising tension with Saudi Arabia. With a Saudi-led air campaign against Huthi rebels in Yemen putting Tehran, the region's dominant Shiite power, at odds with its Sunni rival Riyadh, Russia this week moved to supply missiles to Iran. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming the Huthis, Yemen's Zaidi Shiite minority which has long complained of marginalisation and has fought several conflicts with central authorities.


  • Israel, Palestinians agree on tax revenue transfer RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that he has reached an agreement with Israel in which essential tax revenues it collects for the Palestinians will be transferred following a four-month freeze.
  • Rouhani says Saudis will harvest hatred in Yemen TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani harshly criticized Saudi Arabia Saturday, warning that the Saudi royal family in Riyadh will harvest the hatred it is sowing in Yemen through its airstrike campaign.
  • Australia foils alleged terror attack for Gallipoli centenary By Christopher McCall and Matt Siegel MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Hundreds of Australian police on Saturday arrested five teens planning an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack next week at an event to mark the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli during World War One, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. More than 200 police were involved in a series of raids in the southern city of Melbourne in the early hours of Saturday, police said, following a month-long sting operation. The run-up to this year's centenary - a major holiday in Australia and New Zealand - has been marked by numerous television programs and commemorations, sparking concerns that radicals may target the celebrations for a high-profile attack. Five people were arrested," Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters.
  • Israeli military networks breached by hackers: researchers 

    Illustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard in WarsawBy Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hackers have managed to penetrate computer networks associated with the Israeli military in an espionage campaign that skillfully packages existing attack software with trick emails, according to security researchers at Blue Coat Systems Inc. The four-month-old effort, most likely by Arabic-speaking programmers, shows how the Middle East continues to be a hotbed for cyber espionage and how widely the ability to carry off such attacks has spread, the researchers said. Waylon Grange, a researcher with the Blue Coat [PRJCBB.UL] who discovered the campaign, said the vast majority of the hackers' software was cobbled together from widely available tools, such as the remote-access Trojan called Poison Ivy. The hackers sent emails to various military addresses that purported to show breaking military news, or, in some cases, a clip featuring "Girls of the Israel Defense Forces." Some of the emails included attachments that established "back doors" for future access by the hackers and modules that could download and run additional programs, according to Blue Coat.


  • Iran presents Yemen peace plan to UN 

    Picture taken on April 17, 2015 shows the wreckage of a truck reportedly belonging to Huthi rebels which was destroyed the day before in an air strike by Saudi-led forces at a market in the Dar Saad suburb of the port city of AdenIran presented a four-point peace plan for Yemen to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, demanding international action to end the "senseless" Saudi-led air campaign against rebels backed by Tehran. Saudi Arabia, for its part, responded swiftly to a UN aid appeal for its impoverished neighbour. The Iranian call came as intense bombing by the regional coalition hit Yemen again and Al-Qaeda seized more ground in the chaos. "It is imperative for the international community to get more effectively involved in ending the senseless aerial attacks and establishing a ceasefire," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in a letter to Ban.


  • Amid growing migrant crisis, 20 burn victims rescued at sea 

    Injured women wait to be treated in the hospital of Lampedusa Island, Southern Italy, Friday, April 17, 2015. According to rescuers the women were injured in the explosion of a gas cylinder before leaving for Italy. An unprecedented wave of migrants has headed for the European Union's promised shores over the past week, with 10,000 people making the trip. (AP Photo/Mauro Buccarello)MILAN (AP) — The unabated flow of migrants fleeing instability in Libya brought a new horror on Friday: The discovery of 20 migrants adrift at sea who had suffered grave burn injuries in a cooking gas explosion before departing Libya, and then were forced onto a smuggler's boat without treatment.


  • Israel, Palestinians 'reach accord' on frozen taxes 

    A participant holds a banner reading 'Israel is bombing with our taxes' during a pro-Palestinian rally on July 21, 2014 in front of the Israeli Embassy in BerlinIsrael has agreed to transfer in full hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes collected for the Palestinian Authority but frozen in a row over the International Criminal Court, the Palestinian premier said. Rami Hamdallah, in a statement from his office late Friday, said Israel pledged at a meeting with Palestinian officials to hand over the taxes collected between December and March, amounting to almost half a billion dollars. The Palestinians had threatened to turn to the International Criminal Court over Israel's decision in early January to retain the taxes in retaliation for the Palestinians joining the ICC.


  • Saudi vows to cover UN aid call for Yemen, keeps up air raids 

    A Tribal gunman loyal to the Shiite Huthi movement holds his weapon on April 16, 2015 in the capital SanaaSaudi Arabia pledged Saturday to cover the entire $274 million in humanitarian aid sought by the UN for conflict-torn Yemen, which has also been the target of Saudi-led air strikes against Shiite rebels. The United Nations says hundreds of people have died and thousands of families fled their homes in the war, which has also killed six Saudi security personnel in border skirmishes. Saudi King Salman ordered the humanitarian pledge following a United Nations appeal on Friday for $274 million (253 million euros) in emergency assistance for the millions affected by Yemen's war. The kingdom "stands with its Yemeni brothers" and hopes for "the restoration of security and stability," the state Saudi Press Agency said, quoting an official statement.


  • Obama, Renzi pledge to focus on threats from Libya 

    President Barack Obama listens as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 17, 2015. The president hosted the prime minister to discuss issues including Ukraine, Libya and Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama pledged Friday to work more intensely with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on threats coming from instability in Libya that have led to an influx of migrants across the Mediterranean.


  • Obama urges Gulf nations to help with chaos in Libya 

    Obama and Renzi chat as reporters enter the room before their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in WashingtonPresident Barack Obama on Friday urged Gulf nations to help calm the chaotic political situation in Libya, saying that outside military action would not be enough to help reduce tensions in the war-ravaged North African country. After a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House, Obama said a political solution was needed in the oil-rich Mediterranean state, where two rival governments are fighting for control. "We're going to have to encourage some of the countries inside of the Gulf who have, I think, influence over the various factions inside of Libya to be more cooperative themselves," Obama told reporters. "In some cases, you've seen them fan the flames of military conflict, rather than try to reduce them." Obama is set to meet with leaders from Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Washington on May 13 and 14 to discuss a host of crises in the Middle East.


  • Greece seeks more EU aid to cope with soaring immigration PIRAEUS, Greece (AP) — Greece appealed to its European Union partners Friday for more help in policing its sea borders as immigrants increasingly make dangerous journeys to escape war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Libya stability key to migrant crisis: Renzi 

    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during a joint press conference with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC, April 17, 2015Restoring stability in Libya is the only way to solve the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Friday, as President Barack Obama warned re-establishing peace could not be achieved by military force. Speaking at a joint White House press conference after authorities in Italy confirmed more than 11,000 migrants had been rescued in the past six days alone, Renzi said the problem would only be solved by peace in Libya. The increasingly violent and chaotic situation in Libya has prompted a hike in the number of migrants trying to reach Europe, a tide that has not abated despite the tragic ending suffered by many attempting the crossing. On Sunday, some 400 migrants dreaming of a better life died after their crowded boat capsized off the coast of Libya, with bedraggled survivors later being taken to Italy.


  • Intense Yemen bombing, Qaeda attack after UN peace call 

    Smoke rises above the Alhva camp, east of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on April 17, 2015, following an alleged air strike by the Saudi-led alliance on Huthi rebel campsIntense bombing by a Saudi-led coalition hit Yemen again Friday, three weeks into an air war against Iranian-backed rebels, as Al-Qaeda seized more ground in the chaos amid UN calls for peace. The facility belonged to the elite Republican Guard, which remains loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Renegade troops loyal to Saleh are allied with the Huthi rebels, whose sweeping advance forced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to Riyadh last month. Speaking in Riyadh, he added that there had been 100 sorties in Yemen on Thursday, indicating that there is no end in sight to the operation.


  • Former president defiant as humanitarian toll mounts in Yemen war 

    Smoke billows during an air strike on the Republican Palace in Yemen's southwestern city of TaizBy Mohamed Mokashaf ADEN (Reuters) - Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Friday he would not leave the country, dismissing reports in the Gulf Arab media that he was seeking a safe exit as Saudi Arabian war planes bomb troops loyal to him and their Houthi militia allies. The United Nations, meanwhile, said about 150,000 people had been driven from their homes by three weeks of air strikes and ground fighting and more than 750 people killed. The Iran-allied Houthis, a Shi'ite Muslim movement from northern Yemen, have formed an alliance of convenience with Saleh, who is widely believed to be plotting behind the scenes to make a comeback on Yemen's tumultuous political scene. The person who can say to Ali Abdullah Saleh 'leave your country' has not been and will not be born," he wrote on his Facebook page.


  • Montenegrin police arrest 16 for smuggling migrants PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Police in Montenegro say they have arrested 16 people suspected of smuggling into Serbia 138 Syrian migrants who were trying to flee their war-ravaged country and reach Western Europe
  • Obama invites Mideast leaders to White House, Camp David WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has invited the heads of Gulf Cooperation Council countries to the White House and then to Camp David. Negotiations over Iran's nuclear capabilities and the turmoil in Yemen are topics high on the agenda.
  • Americans with illegal Iraq War souvenirs go unprosecuted 

    This undated photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows an Iraq government seal, representing Saddam Hussein’s initials in Arabic, that was recovered by federal investigators and formally repatriated to Iraq in a March 16, 2015, ceremony at the Iraqi consulate in Washington. Officials traced the seal to a civilian U.S. employee, who had it shipped to a residence in Maryland in 2004. Laws prohibit the export and sale of antiquities that belong to foreign governments. The case was presented to federal prosecutors, but they declined to file charges. (AP Photo/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) — American military members, contractors and others caught with culturally significant artifacts they brought home from the Iraq war are going largely unprosecuted, even as swords, artifacts and other items looted from Saddam Hussein's palaces are still turning up for sale online and at auctions.


  • Spate of attacks shake Pakistan's dwindling Sikh community 

    Pakistani and Indian Sikh devotees gather at the Gurdwara Panja Sahib during the annual Vaisakhi festival in Hasan Abdal, on April 14, 2015Pilgrims descended from all over the world on a small town in Pakistan that is home to one of Sikhism's holiest sites this week, dipping into holy spring water and solemnly offering prayers. They have come from India, Britain and the Middle East to the Panja Sahib Gurdwara in Hasan Abdal, 55 kilometres (35 miles) from Islamabad, where Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, is said to have imprinted his hand. The 500-year-old religion was founded in what is now part of Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country of nearly 200 million people. Most Sikhs left Pakistan for India after both countries gained independence from Britain in 1947.


  • U.N. chief urges immediate ceasefire by 'all parties' in Yemen war By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for an immediate halt to the fighting in Yemen, the first time he has made such an appeal since Saudi-led air strikes against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels began three weeks ago. "That is why I am calling for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen by all the parties," Ban said in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington. Ban did not mention the decision by his outgoing special adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, to resign his post in frustration at the failure of the U.N.-brokered peace talks. Ban has chosen Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to replace Benomar, diplomatic sources said.
  • UN chief calls for immediate cease-fire in Yemen WASHINGTON (AP) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Thursday for an immediate cease-fire in Yemen to spur peace talks and get lifesaving aid into the impoverished Middle East nation.
  • Migrants 'thrown overboard' in religious row as toll climbs 

    Italian Red Cross personnel prepare to give first aid to shipwrecked migrants as they arrive in the Italian port of Augusta, in Sicily on April 16, 2015Italian police on Thursday said 12 African migrants had died after being thrown overboard by fellow passengers in the latest high-seas tragedy in the Mediterranean, as another 41 boat migrants were feared drowned in a separate incident. Police in the Sicilian port of Palermo said they had arrested 15 Muslim migrants suspected of attacking Christian passengers after a religious row on a boat headed for Italy, which is struggling to cope with a huge spike in illegal migrants arriving on its shores. They were charged with "multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate," according to a police statement. Distraught survivors, who set off from Libya on Tuesday before being rescued by an Italian vessel on Wednesday, told a "dreadful" story of "forcefully resisting attempts to drown them, forming a veritable human chain in some cases," police said.


  • Top Asian News at 10:30 p.m. GMT WASHINGTON (AP) — China should not be concerned if the U.S. deploys an advanced missile defense system in South Korea to counter the threat from a nuclear North Korea, a U.S. military commander said Thursday. Commander of U.S. forces in Korea, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, told a congressional hearing that if employed, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system would be focused on the defense of the Korean Peninsula and would not have "any influence beyond that."
  • UN chief set to nominate new special envoy to Yemen 

    FILE - Assistant UN Secretary-General, Special Adviser to Secretary-General on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, speaks to a reporter during an interview with The Associated Press in Sanaa, Yemen, in this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo. The U.N.'s special envoy to Yemen has stepped down after four years of efforts at a peaceful political transition in the Arab world's poorest country fell apart amid a Shiite rebel uprising and Saudi-led airstrikes. A U.N. statement late Wednesday April 15, 2015 said Jamal Benomar "has expressed an interest in moving on to another assignment" and that his successor will be named "in due course." (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday is expected to nominate the head of the U.N. Ebola mission as the new special envoy to Yemen, the country's U.N. ambassador said Thursday.


  • EU urged to label Israeli West bank produce: report, sources 

    A view of an Israeli settlement in the West Bank is seen on September 5, 2014Sixteen out of the 28 EU countries want the bloc to label products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, diplomatic sources told AFP Thursday, confirming a Haaretz report. The plan was first mooted in 2012, angering Israel, but the 16 member states told EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini it was now time to press ahead as part of efforts to realise a two-state peace deal. "We would welcome you taking the lead in the (European) Commission in order to complete this important work on labelling settlement produce/products," the foreign ministers said in the letter, reproduced by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Continued Israeli settlement building "threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement," they wrote, adding that labelling would make it clear to consumers what they were buying as endorsed by EU leaders at a summit in 2012.


  • Police: Muslims threw Christians overboard during Med voyage MILAN (AP) — The International Organization for Migrants says 41 migrants are feared drowned in a new Mediterranean shipwreck.
  • Abuse rampant in F1 host Bahrain despite promises: Amnesty 

    Bahraini protestors take cover during clashes with police following a demonstration to mark the fourth anniversary of the Saudi-led Gulf coalition that helped the Bahraini government crush the Arab Spring-inspired uprising, on March 13, 2015, in DaihBahrain, host of a Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, is carrying out rampant human rights abuses against opposition activists despite promises of reform, Amnesty International said Thursday. Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa deputy head Said Boumedouha said "four years on from the uprising, repression is widespread and rampant abuses by the security forces continues. Bahrain's authorities must prove that the promises of reform they have made are more than empty rhetoric. A government statement said Amnesty "misreported" Manama's "respect of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to peaceful assembly" which are "protected by Bahrain’s constitution".


  • Putin says S-300 sale to Iran prompted by progress in nuclear talks By Denis Pinchuk and Gabriela Baczynska MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Iran's drive to find a solution in talks over its disputed nuclear program had spurred his decision to renew a contract to deliver S-300 missile defense systems to Tehran. Moscow's move to provide the advanced surface-to-air missile system to Tehran, which irked the West and drew protests from Israel, followed an initial agreement with world powers under which Tehran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of international economic sanctions. A final deal on Tehran's nuclear program is due by end-June but Moscow has moved quickly to try to secure contracts in Iran before sanctions are lifted and has urged engaging Tehran more in attempts to solve regional crises.
  • 'US national' shot, wounded in Pakistan's Karachi 

    Pakistani policeman are picutred in Karachi on January 19, 2015A woman identified by police as a US national was shot and wounded in Karachi Thursday, officials said, with leaflets found at the scene claiming the attack on behalf of the Islamic State group. The victim, in a stable condition after being shot once in the head and once in the arm, was identified by police as Debra Lobo, a member of faculty at the city's Jinnah Medical and Dental College. "Lobo was on her way to the college when her car came under attack by two armed assailants riding on a motorbike on Shaheed-e-Millat Road in the eastern part of the city," a police official told AFP requesting anonymity. The incident was confirmed by senior police official Pir Mohammad Shah, who said she was a US national.


  • Philip Morris 1Q results top Street's view; raises outlook NEW YORK (AP) — Philip Morris International Inc.'s first-quarter profit fell, pressured by a strong dollar. Still, its performance beat analysts' expectations as it shipped more cigarette.
  • Lebanese broadcaster on trial at UN tribunal LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands (AP) — A Lebanese television network went on trial Thursday at a special U.N. tribunal, accused of obstructing justice by releasing identities of confidential witnesses in the long-running probe into the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
  • Bible stories and thrillers make Morocco filming choice 

    In this photo dated Sept. 25, 2014 actor Tom Cruise drives a BMW covered with cameras during the shooting of a scene for Mission Impossible filmed in Rabat, Morocco. It has been a banner year for filming in Morocco with more money spent by foreign film productions in the country in 2014 than in the past five years put together, as it rides on its reputation for stability and exotic locales. (AP Photo/ Paul Schemm)OUARZAZATE, Morocco (AP) — "QUIET!" The cry rings out in English, French and Arabic across the cobblestoned streets of Jerusalem, as filming begins for a scene in the series "A.D. The Bible Continues."


  • Australia will soon pay refugees to resettle in Cambodia CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Refugees from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia who are being held on the Pacific atoll of Nauru after being rejected by Australia could soon be paid to resettle in impoverished Cambodia in an arrangement by the Australian government that has been condemned by human rights activists as inhumane and potentially dangerous.
  • Amnesty says Bahrain reforms don't end rights violations 

    FILE - In this March 28, 2013 file photo, a Bahraini anti-government protester holds up a picture of jailed opposition human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja as she participates in a prayer for al-Khawaja's freedom after a march in Malkiya, Bahrain. Government reforms put in place by Bahraini authorities in the wake of widespread anti-government protests four years ago have failed to end serious violations of human rights in the strategically important Gulf nation, Amnesty International said in a report released Thursday, April 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Government reforms put in place by Bahraini authorities in the wake of widespread anti-government protests four years ago have failed to end serious violations of human rights in the strategically important Gulf nation, Amnesty International said in a report released Thursday.


  • 4 ways a surging dollar rattles world economies, markets 

    U.S. visitors Zach Branch,19, right, and Madison Franklin, 18, both from California, kiss in front of the Parthenon during their visit at the Acropolis hill in Athens, on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The strong U.S. dollar makes European vacations cheaper for American tourists. U.S. bookings to some European countries are up 20 percent so far, according to European tourism officials and American travel companies. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. dollar hasn't been on a roll like this since Ronald Reagan sat in the White House and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" ruled the box office.


  • Feared drowning of 400 migrants raises alarms in Europe 

    In this picture taken on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 a woman waits to disembark from an Italian Navy vessel in the harbor of Reggio Calabria, southern Italy. The precise number of migrants who have perished in the Mediterranean sea as they flee poverty, war and other conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Asia is unknown. Only the bodies that wash ashore or are found drowned in the sea or dead aboard, of thirst or exposure, by rescuers are counted. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)MILAN (AP) — The feared drowning of 400 migrants in a shipwreck this week in the Mediterranean Sea — one of the deadliest such tragedies in the last decade — raised alarms Wednesday amid an unprecedented wave of migration toward Europe from Africa and the Middle East.


  • Top Asian News at 9:30 p.m. GMT SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A year ago, as South Korea writhed in grief and fury after more than 300 people, most of them school kids, drowned in a ferry sinking, it seemed things would never be the same. Yet not much has really changed as the first anniversary of the Sewol disaster is marked Thursday. Experts believe it will be decades before any major shift is seen in widespread attitudes that make safety subservient to economic progress and convenience. Already there's growing fatigue and frustration among citizens who see their government sliding back to business as usual, and a lack of accountability at high levels.
  • More people worldwide are opening bank accounts 

    FILE - In this March 9, 2013 photo, a woman uses her phone as she walks by an advertisement for a 4G telecommunications network in Hangzhou, in eastern China's Zhejiang province. On Wednesday, April 15, 2015, the World Bank said the number of people opening their first bank accounts - either on mobile phones or at bank branches - jumped by 700 million between 2011 and 2014. (CHINATOPIX via AP)NEW YORK (AP) — Africans using cellphones, older Chinese, and Indians getting a push from their government have fueled an unprecedented surge of people opening their first bank accounts.


  • UN envoy on sexual violence heads to Mideast on first visit UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special representative on sexual violence said Wednesday she is making her first trip to the Middle East where extremist groups are increasingly using rape and sexual attacks as a "tactic of terror."
  • Israel premier likens Iran to Nazis at Holocaust remembrance 

    A man prays next to a wagon from WWII on display on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Netanya, Israel, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The wagon München 12 246 was built in Germany in the early 20th century to transport cattle. During World War II thousands of people were transported in it to the death camps. The wagon was bought in Germany and transported to Israel in 2014. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)JERUSALEM (AP) — As Israel marked its Holocaust memorial day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared Iran to the Nazis on Wednesday and warned the Islamic Republic must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons.


 

 

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