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  • Holy month of Ramadan is a big boon for retailers 

    In this July 12, 2014 photo, Lebanese shoppers are seen reflected, at left, by a shop window that is decorated with the Islamic crescent symbol representing the season of Ramadan, with the words, "Happy Ramadan," bottom, at the Beirut Mall, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon. Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month, is a boon for retailers in the Middle East, South Asia and beyond. And while some Muslims welcome it as a positive sign, others see it as commercialization of a sacred time of year, threatening to subvert its very nature. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Glitzy billboards in the Middle East and postage stamps in the U.S. Advertisements for lingerie and sales on modest skirts. Lavish buffets and cellphone apps.


  • Oil rises just above $102 a barrel The price of oil traded around $102 a barrel on Friday, nearly unchanged, as worries over supplies and geopolitical tensions eased.
  • France to host meeting on Gaza cease-fire talks PARIS (AP) — More than a half-dozen foreign ministers including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will hold a meeting in France to press for a cease-fire in Gaza.
  • AP ANALYSIS: Old story, new twists in Gaza war 

    FILE - In this Tuesday, July 22, 2014, file photo, Israeli police officers secure a destroyed house that was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinians militants from Gaza, in Yahud, a Tel Aviv suburb near the airport, central Israel. The third Gaza war is playing out very much like the first one some five years ago: We are now at the stage where the harrowing civilian toll in Gaza is at the center of the discourse, eclipsing the rocket attacks by Hamas militants which are the reason for the Israeli assault. In 2009, Hamas was firing relatively small projectiles with minimal range, mostly aimed at border communities surrounding the blockaded Gaza Strip. Now Hamas is firing at Tel Aviv, which is 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the strip, and even at some cities beyond. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File)CAIRO (AP) — The third Gaza war is playing out much like the first one more than five years ago: The harrowing civilian toll in Gaza is now at the center of the discourse, eclipsing the rocket attacks by Hamas militants that were the stated reason for the Israeli assault.


  • Erdogan to be 'active' Turkish president: deputy PM 

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling Justice and Development party during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on July 22, 2014Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be an "active" head of state if he wins presidential elections in August and will play a particularly strong role in foreign policy, one of his government's most senior ministers said. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc signalled that Erdogan would be a stronger president than previous holders of the hitherto ceremonial post but insisted he would always act within the framework of the law. Arinc said Turkey's ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) wanted to change Turkey's constitution to potentially enshrine the presidency with more powers, describing the current version as a "no longer valid" relic of a military coup. Erdogan is the hot favourite to win the August 10 elections, the first time a Turkish president will be elected by popular vote, and continue his over-decade-long domination of Turkey which has already transformed the country.


  • Iran detains four journalists, three of them Iranian-American, says CPJ 

    The Washington Post's Jason Rezaian is shown in this Washington Post photoBy Parisa Hafezi ANKARA (Reuters) - (This story corrects name of UAE-based newspaper in para 2 to the National (not the Nation)) The Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday called on the Iranian government to immediately release four detained journalists, three of whom it said had U.S.-Iranian nationality. Two of the detainees are Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent for the Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper the National, the CPJ said in a statement. "We call on Iranian authorities to immediately explain why Jason Rezaian, Yeganeh Salehi, and two other journalists have been detained, and we call for their immediate release," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour.


  • London shares slide on weak German confidence data 

    The benchmark FTSE 100 index slipped 0.44 percent to 6,791.55 pointsLondon's leading share index slipped on Friday as a fall in German business confidence overshadowed positive British growth data, dealers said. The benchmark FTSE 100 index slipped 0.44 percent to 6,791.55 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 dropped 1.82 percent at 4,330.55. The crises in Ukraine and the Middle East are eroding business confidence in Germany, which could in turn derail European recovery. Back on the trading floors, Royal Bank of Scotland was the star performer after the lender saw its share price soar 10.77 percent after it announced net profits almost tripled to Β£1.425 billion in the six months to the end of June.


  • Iran confirms it is holding 4 journalists WASHINGTON (AP) — Iran confirmed on Friday that it has detained four journalists, including a reporter for The Washington Post and two freelance photographers, but did not disclose details about why they were being held.
  • Israeli team's soccer match in Austria moved on security grounds A soccer match to be played in Austria on Saturday by Maccabi Haifa and Paderborn has been moved to a new venue due to security concerns after a violent anti-Israel protest disrupted the Israeli team's last game in the Alpine republic. The match will now take place in the town of Leogang in Salzburg province, where Maccabi Haifa's training camp is located, after the town of Kirchbichl, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) away, refused to host the game for security reasons. Protesters against Israel's military offensive in Gaza invaded the pitch and attacked Maccabi Haifa players at a friendly game against Lille on Wednesday in the Austrian town of Bischofshofen, causing play to be abandoned. Hannes Empl, head of the SLFC organization that hosts soccer training camps in the Salzburg region, said on Friday the players were slightly tense but ready for the match to go ahead as normal.
  • Israel rallies behind army in Gaza war By Crispian Balmer KFAR AZAR Israel (Reuters) - When 20-year-old Israeli soldier Daniel Pomerantz died in a Hamas ambush in the Gaza Strip, his small village near Tel Aviv decided they finally needed a cemetery to bury their dead. "When a war ends, we always hope it will be the last one," said Sara Mozes, who was born in a refugee camps in Germany after the Holocaust horrors of World War Two and moved to Israel as a baby in 1948, the year the country was founded. Pomerantz was one of 33 soldiers who have died so far in the offensive launched by Israel on July 8 in an effort to halt repeated rocket fire by Hamas Islamists, who are battling to end an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip.
  • Oil price slips below $102 a barrel The price of oil slipped below $102 a barrel on Friday, falling for a second day after spiking on lower U.S. inventories and tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.
  • German business confidence drops for 3rd month BERLIN (AP) — German business confidence fell for a third consecutive month amid ongoing concerns about the economic impact of the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, though consumer confidence in Europe's largest economy remained robust, surveys showed Friday.
  • Peres steps down as Israeli president, sees peace 'one day' By Allyn Fisher-Ilan JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's elder statesman Shimon Peres bowed out of active political life on Thursday with an ardent defense of the war in Gaza against Hamas militants and a defiant prediction that peace will "one day" come to the Middle East. At a ceremony overshadowed by the 17-day Gaza conflict in which nearly 800 people have died, Peres, 90, relinquished his largely ceremonial post as Israeli president to Reuven Rivlin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party. In his farewell speech, Peres invoked the biblical prophets he said had taught Israel to see "social justice and world peace as guiding principles" and he urged the Jewish state to "practise equality for all its citizens".
  • Beaten Sudan editor out of hospital 

    Osman Mirghani, chief editor of the Al-Tayar daily, lies on his bed after he was severely beaten by armed men who raided the offices of the Sudanese newspaper earlier this week, on July 24, 2014 in Khartoum's twin city of OmdurmanWith his arm in a sling and a deep gash on the bridge of his nose, a Sudanese newspaper editor has left hospital five days after an unusual physical attack. Several men stormed the offices of the Al-Tayar daily on Saturday evening, seized reporters' equipment and severed computer connections before turning on chief editor Osman Mirghani. "I can recognise them," because only one attacker had covered his face during the beating, Mirghani said at his home on Thursday. It was a rare assault on a journalist in Sudan, although reporters regularly complain of censorship by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).


  • Israel swears in new president amid Gaza war 

    Outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) hugs Newly sworn-in President Reuven Rivlin during a ceremony at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres ended his term as president of Israel on Thursday — a man who symbolizes hopes for peace capping a seven-decade public career amid the brutal reality of war. Peres handed the ceremonial but high-profile presidency over to Reuven Rivlin, a legislator from the hawkish Likud Party. (AP Photo/Ronen Zvulun, Pool)JERUSALEM (AP) — Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres ended his term as president of Israel on Thursday — a man who symbolizes hopes for peace capping a seven-decade public career amid the brutal reality of war. Peres handed the ceremonial but high-profile presidency over to Reuven Rivlin, a legislator from the hawkish Likud Party.


  • Turkey's Erdogan says Israel should face trial over Gaza assault By Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Turkey would push for Israel to be tried at an international criminal court if it kept up its assault on Gaza and he accused the Jewish state of "spitting blood". Turkey, a member of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, was once Israel's closest regional ally but has become one of its most vitriolic critics, with Erdogan last weekend accusing it of "surpassing Hitler in barbarism" with its Gaza offensive. "If Israel continues with this attitude, it will definitely be tried at international courts," Erdogan, who is campaigning for a presidential election on Aug. 10, told a rally of supporters in the southern port city of Mersin.
  • US lifts ban on flights to Tel Aviv airport WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban Wednesday on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.
  • US Marines probe corporal who vanished in Iraq CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina (AP) — U.S. Marine Corps officers have launched a formal investigation into whether a Lebanese-American Marine deserted his unit in Iraq or months later after returning to the United States, a military spokesman said Thursday.
  • U.S. Jewish group wants its award back from Turkey's Erdogan An association of Jewish Americans said Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has become the world's "most virulent anti-Israeli leader" and demanded he return an award it gave him a decade ago, partly for his efforts to broker peace between Israel and Palestinians. The New York-based American Jewish Congress awarded Erdogan its "Profile of Courage" award in 2004 for what it said was his stance on fighting terrorism and working towards a peace. "Now, we want it back," the association's president, Jack Rosen, said in an open letter to Erdogan dated July 23 and made public on Thursday. He cited the Turkish leader's comments last weekend that Israel had "surpassed Hitler in barbarism" through its attacks on Gaza.
  • FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel.
  • Marines investigate corporal who vanished in Iraq CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) — Marine Corps officers have launched a formal investigation into whether a Lebanese-American Marine deserted his unit in Iraq or months later after returning to the United States, a military spokesman said Thursday.
  • Militants order female genital mutilation in Iraq: U.N. 

    This Tuesday, July 22, 2014 photo shows a motorist passing by a flag of the Islamic State group in central Rawah, 175 miles (281 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, nearly six weeks since a Sunni militant blitz led by the Islamic State extremist group seized large swaths of northern and western Iraq. (AP Photo)The United Nations, expressing deep concern, said on Thursday that militant group Islamic State had ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation. One document posted on Twitter suggested it may be a year old and have been issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, the group's previous name. Such a "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil. There was no immediate comment from Islamic State which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq.


  • Oil drifts down despite China manufacturing bounce The price of oil fell below $103 a barrel Thursday, giving back part of its gains from the day before, despite improvements in Chinese manufacturing.
  • French Jews living in fear, minister says Many members of France's Jewish community are living in fear after pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks were marred by violence and use of anti-Semitic language, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday. France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe and flare-ups in the Middle East have often in the past added to tensions between the two communities. "Jews in France should not be afraid but many of them are afraid," Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio after one listener called in to share her experiences of hearing anti-Semitic comments in public. France's Jewish population has grown by nearly half since World War Two to total some 550,000 Jews according to the community's umbrella group CRIF.
  • Philippines deports Australian Islamic preacher MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities said Thursday they deported an Australian Islamic preacher suspected of links to terrorists based on YouTube videos allegedly showing him advocating jihad and urging local Muslims to support militants in the Middle East.
  • US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages 

    A International Red Cross employee runs for cover after an Israeli strike during a two-hour temporary ceasefire in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reported progress in efforts to broker a truce in a war that has so far killed more than 650 Palestinians and at least 30 Israelis. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.


  • Baghdad in political, diplomatic push amid battlefield stalemate 

    Iraqi lawmakers attend their first parliamentary session in Baghdad, on July 1, 2014Iraq was closer to breaking months of political limbo Thursday after a deal on the post of president paved the way for the formation of a new government. The breakthrough came hours before a meeting in Baghdad between UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose government has complained it was not receiving adequate foreign support to battle jihadist-led insurgents.


  • Iraq MPs stall presidential vote as violence rages 

    Iraqi lawmakers attend their first parliamentary session in Baghdad, on July 1, 2014Iraqi lawmakers on Wednesday postponed choosing a new president for their ailing country while air strikes, suicide car bombs and summary executions yielded their daily grim crop of bodies. In a sign of deepening crisis in Iraq, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit Baghdad on Thursday and is likely to address the political infighting that has paralysed a country sorely in need of strong leadership. A government air raid on the jihadist-held town of Sharqat northwest of Baghdad killed at least three women and a child, a senior army official told AFP. Also in Sharqat, IS gunmen killed a woman former candidate for parliament and wounded a women's rights activist, tribal and military sources said.


  • Thousands attend tense pro-Gaza march in Paris 

    Pro-Palestinian demonstrators hold a banner and shout slogans, in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 23, 2014 during a demonstration to protest against the Israeli army's shelling in the Gaza strip. Protesters marched through Paris against the Israel-Gaza war under the watch of hundreds of police in an authorized demonstration days after two banned protests degenerated into urban violence.(AP Photo/Francois Mori )PARIS (AP) — Days after two banned pro-Gaza protests degenerated into violence, several thousands of demonstrators marched Wednesday through Paris under the eye of hundreds of riot police, this time in a legal protest.


  • Iraq postpones vote for president, delaying power-sharing deal 

    Salim al-Jabouri, new speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, and deputy speakers address a news conference in BaghdadBy Isra' al-Rubei'i and Maggie Fick BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament, which had been due to elect the country's president on Wednesday, postponed the vote by a day, delaying the formation of a power-sharing government urgently needed to confront a Sunni Muslim insurgency. The advance by Sunni Islamist militants who seized swathes of northern Iraq last month has put the OPEC oil producer's survival in jeopardy. Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that is leading the insurgency, claimed responsibility for an overnight suicide bombing in a Shi'ite district of Baghdad that killed 33 people, one of the deadliest recent attacks in the capital. The bloodshed highlighted the need for Iraq's politicians to form a united front against the militants, who want to march on the capital.


  • Gaza church opens doors to war refugees 

    Displaced Palestinian women walk in the courtyard of a Greek Orthodox church where they are taking shelter in Gaza City, on July 23, 2014For the first time in years, Gaza City's Greek Orthodox church is packed to overflowing, having offered refuge to hundreds of Palestinians who fled their homes under Israeli bombardment. Around 600 people, mostly women and children, are sheltering in the church compound in the old sector of Gaza City, after escaping the inferno of neighbouring areas like Shejaiya. "A big number of women and kids, babies, they don't have homes," Archbishop Alexios told AFP. The eastern district of Gaza City was pummelled by Israeli shelling, in one of the deadliest days of the more than two-week conflict between Israel and Hamas militants who control the coastal strip.


  • Germany promises change as arms sales draw scrutiny 

    File photo of German Chancellor Merkel looking at Heckler & Koch MP7 submachine gun during a visit to the German army's Camp Marmal in Mazar-e-SharifBy Alexandra Hudson and Sabine Siebold BERLIN (Reuters) - For lawmaker Jan van Aken, little symbolizes more potently all that he finds indefensible about Germany's arms exports than the German and French-made anti-tank missile that he was shown in northern Syria. From its serial number, he believes the 1970s MILAN rocket was sold legitimately by France to then Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad. After decades in a depot, it fell into the hands of al Qaeda-linked militants in the uprising against Assad's son Bashar. ...


  • Oil stays above $102 amid Gaza peace efforts 

    A arrivals flight board displays various canceled and delayed flights in Ben Gurion International airport a day after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration imposed a 24-hour restriction on flights after a Hamas rocket landed Tuesday within a mile of the airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Israel's main airport Wednesday despite a Federal Aviation Administration ban in an apparent sign of his determination to achieve a cease-fire agreement in the warring Gaza Strip despite little evidence of progress in ongoing negotiations. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)The price of oil inched further above $102 a barrel Wednesday amid a new push for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine and after Europe imposed additional sanctions on Russia that fell short of a heavy hit.


  • Syria says hopes new peace mediator will be fair 

    Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister de Mistura speaks during a news conference at the Italian embassy in New DelhiSyria urged a newly appointed international mediator to be "objective and honest" as he seeks an end to the country's civil war, Syrian state television reported on Wednesday. It was Damascus's first reaction to the appointment of Staffan de Mistura by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon two weeks ago, shortly after President Bashar al-Assad was re-elected in a June 3 poll. A U.N. official for 30 years, he replaces Lakhdar Brahimi, who stepped down in May, frustrated by global deadlock over how to resolve the more than three-year conflict. Citing a letter sent to the United Nations by the foreign ministry, it said Syria had also called on Mistura to have "respect for the choices of the Syrian people".


  • Oil falls to near $102 amid Gaza peace efforts The price of oil retreated to near $102 per barrel on Wednesday amid a new push for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine and after Europe imposed additional sanctions on Russia that fell short of a heavy hit.
  • Worldwide FGM ban sought at 'Girl Summit' 

    Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai speaks at the 'Girl Summit 2014' at Walworth Academy, on July 22, 2014 in LondonPrime Minister David Cameron called on Tuesday for a worldwide ban on female genital mutilation and child marriage as he launched the first UN-backed "Girl Summit" on issues that affect millions around the globe. Cameron announced that parents in Britain would face prosecution for failing to prevent their daughters from being subjected to FGM, while setting out steps to tackle both practices in developing nations. "Our aim is to outlaw FGM and child marriage everywhere for everyone," Cameron told the summit in London, to applause from an audience of experts and campaigners from around the world. FGM, which affects tens of millions of women, particularly in the Horn of Africa, ranges from removal of the clitoris to the mutilation and removal of other female genitalia.


  • Obama tells fundraiser Russia is financing Ukraine rebels U.S. President Barack Obama accused Russia on Tuesday of financing Ukraine rebels and said challenges overseas were causing anxiety among Americans at home. Obama made his remarks during a fundraiser for Democrats in Seattle. The president been criticized for proceeding with a series of fundraisers outside Washington despite the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East. While high-dollar donors sipped wine and ate finger food, Obama noted conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Gaza had created a sense of anxiety.
  • UN chief believes Gaza fighting will end soon 

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, shakes hands with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The two men were set to hold a joint news conference regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday it is his "hope and belief" that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel "in the very near future."


  • Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike 

    Israeli police officers secure a destroyed house that was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinians militants from Gaza, in Yahud, a Tel Aviv suburb near the airport, central Israel, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. As a result, Delta Air Lines and U.S. Airlines decided to cancel their scheduled flights to Israel.(AP Photo/Dan Balilty)JERUSALEM (AP) — A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel's main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.


  • U.N. Security Council considers Gaza ceasefire resolution By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Jordan circulated to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Hamas-dominated coastal enclave. It welcomes an Egyptian-led bid to end fighting between Israel and Hamas militants and "condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism," according to a draft obtained by Reuters. A similar resolution was adopted by the 15-member Security Council in 2009, with 14 votes in favor. The United States, a close ally of Israel, abstained because Washington first wanted to see the outcome of Egyptian mediation efforts at the time.

 

 

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