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  • Australia warns children of foreign fighters risk charges CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian boy who was photographed holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier could reportedly return to Australia with his mother and siblings, prompting the prime minister to warn Wednesday that children as well as adults who break terrorism laws face prosecution.
  • Hamas executed Palestinians during Israel war: Amnesty 

    Palestinian men sit amid the rubble of houses which were destroyed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014, in the Eastern Gaza City Shujaiya neighbourhood, on May 23, 2015The Islamist group Hamas used its 2014 Gaza war with Israel to "settle scores" with rival Palestinians, executing at least 23 in possible war crimes, Amnesty International said Wednesday. A report by the London-based rights group detailed the "brutal campaign of abductions, torture and unlawful killings against Palestinians accused of 'collaborating' with Israel" by Hamas, de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip enclave.


  • Gunmen try to kill Libya's recognized prime minister 

    FILE - In this Wednesday, April 15, 2015 file photo, Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their meeting in Moscow, Russia. A spokesman for Libya's internationally recognized government said Tuesday, May 26, 2015, that gunmen tried to assassinate al-Thinni on his way to the airport in the eastern city of Tobruk, Libya. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Gunmen tried to assassinate Libya's internationally recognized prime minister on his way to the airport in the eastern city of Tobruk on Tuesday, a spokesman for his government said.


  • Pentagon chief's take on Iraqis undercuts Obama's strategy 

    FILE - In this May 6, 2015 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Carter’s blunt assessment that Iraqi forces lack the “will to fight” undermines a central premise of President Barack Obama’s strategy for defeating the Islamic State: that Iraq’s military can effectively handle ground operations so American forces don’t have to. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter's blunt assessment that Iraqi forces lack the "will to fight" undermines a central premise of President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating the Islamic State: that Iraq's military can effectively handle ground operations so Americans don't have to.


  • Facing closure of refugee camp, Christmas Island grasps for economic future By Byron Kaye SYDNEY (Reuters) - If the remote Australian outpost of Christmas Island had its way, it would have reopened a local casino that once raked in billions of dollars instead of renting hotel rooms at an ageing resort to refugee camp workers. The tiny island in the Indian Ocean is often the first port of call on Australian territory for asylum seekers en route from South Asia and the Middle East. In 2001, it made international headlines when Australia in a controversial move refused to let a Norwegian freighter disembark 438 asylum seekers rescued from a 20-metre (66-foot) fishing boat.
  • 14-year-old planned to blow up Austrian train station VIENNA (AP) — An Austrian court has found a 14-year-old boy guilty of planning to blow up Vienna's main railway station after being radicalized by Islamic extremists.
  • Nuclear Iran 1,000 times worse than IS: Netanyahu 

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, May 26, 2015Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Tuesday that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "a thousand times more dangerous and more destructive" than the Islamic State group, his office said. "As horrific as ISIS is, once Iran, the preeminent terrorist state of our time, acquires nuclear weapons, it will be a hundred times more dangerous, a thousand times more dangerous and more destructive than ISIS," Netanyahu said, referring to IS. "As we are meeting, the P5+1 talks are reconvening, and I'm afraid they're rushing to what I consider is a very bad deal," Netanyahu told US Senator Bill Cassidy, in remarks relayed by the Israeli premier's office.


  • Obama: US must examine how assets are being used in IS fight 

    President Barack Obama meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies need to examine whether they are deploying military assets effectively against Islamic State militants as Iraq mounts a new offensive to recapture critical territory west of Baghdad.


  • Erdogan opens 'Saladin' airport in Turkey's restive southeast 

    Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a Koran as he speaks during the opening ceremony for the Selahaddin Eyyubi airport on May 26, 2015, in Hakkari provincePresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday opened a new airport in a restive eastern province dogged by a Kurdish separatist insurgency, naming the facility for a celebrated Muslim medieval leader of Kurdish origin. Erdogan inaugurated the airport in Yuksekova in Hakkari province, close to the border with Iran and Iraq, alongside Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a joint appearance ahead of June 7 elections. Of Kurdish origin, he is known simply as Saladin and in Arabic as Salah ad-Din.


  • Only new refugees to benefit from EU quotas in migrant crisis: draft 

    Syrian refugees arrive at the coast of the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, after reaching the country by its sea borders with TurkeyBy Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will consider new refugees reaching Italy and Greece in its migrant quotas, not those already in camps, according to a proposal seen by Reuters to be presented on Wednesday, a concession to EU governments against the plan. Seeking to share out asylum-seekers fleeing chronic conflict in Africa and the Middle East, the EU executive's proposals have been met with scepticism from governments that are facing rising anti-immigrant sentiment at a time of economic austerity. In a 23-page draft proposal to EU governments, the European Commission says the plan to resettle 24,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and 16,000 from Greece "shall apply only to persons arriving on the territory of Italy and Greece as from the exact date of entry into force" of the decision.


  • Warring parties trap civilians in Libya's Benghazi: HRW 

    A member of the Libyan army stands on a tank as heavy black smoke rises from Benghazi port on December 23, 2014Militias in Benghazi are trapping civilians in the strife-torn eastern Libyan city, leaving them in dire conditions without food, medical care and electricity, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday. The New York-based watchdog appealed to warring factions in Benghazi to give residents safe passage out of the city and to permit aid agencies access to deliver crucial supplies. It reported that people it had interviewed on the phone last week said Libyan families and foreign civilians were among those stuck in several neighbourhoods.


  • Ford expands presence in Morocco RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Ford Motor Company is expanding its presence in North Africa with a new Moroccan sales office and plans to double the amount of car parts purchased in the country, it announced Tuesday.
  • Palestinians dismiss reported Netanyahu initiative 

    A Palestinian protester gestures holding a rock near an Israeli police vehicle during clashes outside the compound of the Israeli Ofer Military Prison, near the West Bank town of BetuniaPalestinians on Tuesday angrily dismissed reported remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would like to negotiate the future annexation of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Haaretz newspaper on Tuesday quoted "an Israeli source" briefed on last week's meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini as saying that Netanyahu wants to resume talks with the Palestinians, with his goal being to reach understandings on the borders of settlement blocs that Israel would annex under any peace agreement.


  • Teenager in Austrian 'Playstation' terrorism case gets two years 

    A 14-year-old terror suspect is led into court by prison guards in St. PoeltenA 14-year-old boy from Austria who downloaded bomb-making plans onto his Playstation games console was sentenced to a two-year jail term on Tuesday after pleading guilty to terrorism charges, a court spokeswoman said. As well as researching how to build a bomb, the boy made contact with militants supporting the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, prosecutors said ahead of the trial. The boy, a Turkish national, will serve what remains of the eight-month custodial term in a juvenile detention center, the spokeswoman for the regional court in Sankt Poelten said.


  • Erdogan's ambition heralds turbulence after Turks vote 

    Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan looks on during a news conference in SarajevoBy Nick Tattersall and Orhan Coskun ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's general election looks likely to push Tayyip Erdogan's dream of an all-powerful presidency further from his reach, and usher in a period of turbulence as its most divisive modern leader jockeys to maintain his dominance. Barred by the constitution from party politics as head of state, Erdogan has nonetheless campaigned across Turkey before the June 7 parliamentary vote in a sign of how much he has riding on the outcome. Constitutionally, most authority has lain with the Turkish prime minister, an office Erdogan held from 2003 to 2014.


  • Australia rejects Vietnamese refugee claims in 40 minutes CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia secretly held a group of 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers on a warship at sea for almost a month and rejected their refugee claims during interviews that took as little as 40 minutes before returning them all to Vietnam last month, officials said.
  • IT chief at Bangladesh Coca-Cola unit arrested as Islamic State suspect By Ruma Paul and Serajul Quadir DHAKA (Reuters) - An IT manager at a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co was one of two men arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of planning to fight for Islamic State in Syria, police and company sources said on Monday. The pair were detained during a raid in the capital, Dhaka, on Sunday night, said Sheikh Nazmul Alam, a senior official of the police detective branch. One man, Aminul Islam, was the information technology head of a multinational company, and worked as a regional coordinator for Islamic State, while the other, Sakib Bin Kamal, was a teacher at a school in Dhaka, he added.
  • Islamic State faces battle in Iraq, U.S. reassures Abadi 

    Members of the Iraqi army and Shi'ite fighters launch a mortar toward Islamic State militants outskirt the city of FallujaBAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Islamic State poured more fighters into Ramadi as security forces and Shi'ite paramilitaries prepared to try to retake the Iraqi city, while Washington scrambled on Monday to reassure Baghdad after a U.S. official's sharp criticism of Iraqi forces. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi after Defense Secretary Ash Carter questioned Iraqi troops' will to fight when Ramadi fell.


  • What does Ireland vote say about US debate on gay marriage? 

    Two men kiss as first results start to filter through in the referendum, Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, May 23, 2015. Ireland has voted resoundingly to legalize gay marriage in the world's first national vote on the issue, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday even as official ballot counting continued. Senior figures from the "no" campaign, who sought to prevent Ireland's constitution from being amended to permit same-sex marriages, say the only question is how large the "yes" side's margin of victory will be from Friday's vote. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)NEW YORK (AP) — Ireland's national referendum on same-sex marriage, which was approved by 62 percent of the voters, comes just weeks ahead of an expected ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether to legalize gay marriage throughout the United States. A look at some of the parallels and contrasts in the two countries' situations:


  • Iran will need to spend most of any post-sanctions windfall at home By Lesley Wroughton and Sam Wilkin WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranians will demand their government spend a windfall from the lifting of economic sanctions on improving the quality of life at home, limiting the degree to which a future nuclear deal could fund Tehran's allies on Middle East battlefields. Since 2012, Iran has given support worth billions of dollars to regional allies, funding and arming mainly fellow Shi'ite Muslims in conflicts that have taken on a sectarian dimension. Within months of financial sanctions being lifted, Iran will be able to collect debts from overseas banks that may exceed $100 billion, mostly from oil importers whose payments have been blocked, diplomats and analysts said.
  • US defense chief's criticism of Iraqis raises questions 

    In this May 1, 2015 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington. The Islamic State group’s takeover of Ramadi is evidence that Iraqi forces do not have the “will to fight,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that aired Sunday, May 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Islamic State group's takeover of the Iraqi provincial capital Ramadi has prompted criticism from Defense Secretary Ash Carter and raised new questions about the Obama administration's strategy to defeat the extremist group.


  • U.N. urges Lebanon to pick president, end political vacuum A United Nations envoy urged Lebanon's feuding political leaders to pick a new president, warning on Monday that the country's year-long power vacuum had undermined its ability to deal with the impact of the Syrian crisis and a host of other problems. Lebanese politics has long been dogged by sectarian divisions and personal rivalries but the war next door has exacerbated divisions even further. "I urge Lebanon's leaders ... to put national interests above partisan politics for the sake of Lebanon's stability, and to show the flexibility and sense of urgency needed to resolve this issue," U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag said in a statement marking one year without a president.
  • Only Iran is confronting Islamic State, paramilitary chief says The general in charge of Iran's paramilitary activities in the Middle East said the United States and other powers were failing to confront Islamic State, and only Iran was committed to the task, a news agency on Monday reported. Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force responsible for protecting the Islamic Republic's interests abroad, has become a familiar face on the battlefields of Iraq, where he often outranks local commanders. "Today, in the fight against this dangerous phenomenon, nobody is present except Iran," the Tasnim news agency quoted Soleimani as saying on Sunday in reference to Islamic State.
  • Israel ex-PM Olmert sentenced to 8 months for corruption 

    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, at his trial on May 25, 2015 at Jerusalem's District CourtFormer Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to eight months in prison for corruption on Monday, the latest legal blow in a spectacular fall from grace. Lawyers for Olmert, who was premier from 2006 to 2009, crowning a political career spanning decades, immediately announced they would appeal. The Jerusalem district court convicted Olmert of fraud and corruption in March following a retrial over allegations that he had received envelopes of cash from a US businessman while trade and industry minister in the early 2000s.


  • Defense chief: After Ramadi, Iraq's 'will to fight' at issue 

    In this May 1, 2015 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington. The Islamic State group’s takeover of Ramadi is evidence that Iraqi forces do not have the “will to fight,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that aired Sunday, May 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Islamic State group's takeover of the provincial capital of Ramadi is stark evidence that Iraqi forces lack the "will to fight," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a TV interview that aired Sunday. The harsh assessment raised new questions about the Obama administration's strategy to defeat the extremist group that has seized a strategically important swath of the Middle East.


  • Top Muslim body urges protection of Syria's Palmyra 

    An aerial view taken on January 13, 2009 shows a part of the ancient city of PalmyraLeading Sunni Muslim body Al-Azhar said Sunday the world must unite in a "battle of all humanity" to prevent the Islamic State group from destroying Syria's ancient city of Palmyra. The appeal came a day after Syria's antiquities director said that IS fighters had entered the museum in Palmyra and raised their black flag over the ancient citadel that overlooks the archaeological site. "Protecting archeological sites from destruction and plundering is the battle of all of humanity," the Cairo-based Al-Azhar, a prestigious seat of Islamic learning, said in a statement.


  • As Russia growls, EU goes cool on eastern promises It might have been the mantra recited by the Europeans to six ex-Soviet neighbors at the so-called Eastern Partnership Summit, who went away with EU pledges of aid and trade. For the first partnership summit since the flare-up of the Ukraine conflict last year was dominated by Russia.
  • Italy coast guard rescues 70 Afghan, Iraqi migrants from crowded boat Seventy Afghan and Iraqi migrants were rescued from a packed boat off the southeastern coast of Italy and brought to shore on Sunday, Italy's coast guard said. Italy closed down a specialized naval mission to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean last year, but continues to bear the brunt of the rescues as the European Union and member states conduct talks on how to deal with the influx. Two Italian coast guard cutters brought the group to the port of Santa Maria di Leuca in Puglia.
  • Official: Israel thanked US for blocking nuclear document JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked the U.S. for blocking a global document at the United Nations aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, a rare bright spot amid strained relations between the two countries.
  • Thousands worldwide march against Monsanto and GM crops 

    A woman holds a sign during a march against US agrochemical giant Monsanto on May 23, 2015, in Santiago, ChileThousands of people hit the streets in cities across the world Saturday to protest against the American biotechnology giant Monsanto and its genetically modified crops and pesticides. The third annual March Against Monsanto -- begun by the Occupy movement -- was held in upwards of 400 cities in more than 40 countries from the Americas to Africa and Europe. The controversial product's main ingredient was recently classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the World Health Organization.


  • At Mideast forum, officials seek world's help 

    Iraq's Vice President Iyad Allawi takes part in the "Addressing Violent Extremism" session of the World Economic Forum, at the King Hussein convention center, Dead Sea resort of Southern Shuneh, Jordan, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/ Nasser Nasser)SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Mideast-weary though it may be, the international community has a duty and an interest in helping the countries of the region both rebuff violent extremists and fix the refugee crisis that in part has resulted from the fight with them — that was the message coming from the regional World Economic Forum Saturday.


  • Israel thanks U.S. for stand on Mideast nuclear arms ban at U.N. 

    Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks before a group photo with the new Israeli government in JerusalemBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the United States for blocking an Egyptian-led drive on a possible Middle East nuclear weapons ban at a major United Nations conference, an Israeli official said on Saturday. It was a rare expression of diplomatic harmony with the United States from Netanyahu, whose relations with President Barack Obama have been strained over U.S.-led nuclear talks with Iran and differences over Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. A month-long conference on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended in failure on Friday over disagreements on how to achieve a Middle East atomic weapons ban.


  • AP Interview: Leader says Mideast pays price for gender gap 

    Omar Alghanim, co-chair of this week’s regional World Economic Forum conference and a leader of private sector efforts to tackle youth unemployment, speaks at the World Economic Forum at the King Hussein convention center, South Shuneh, Jordan, Friday, May 22, 2015. Bring more Arab women into the work force, invest in "bite-sized" infrastructure projects and get the private sector more involved in training young job seekers - these are the prescriptions put forward by Alghanim, a leading Gulf entrepreneur, for growing Middle Eastern economies and combating rampant youth unemployment. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Bring more Arab women into the workforce, invest in "bite-sized" infrastructure projects and get the private sector more involved in training young job seekers — these are the prescriptions of a leading Gulf entrepreneur for growing Middle Eastern economies and combating rampant youth unemployment.


  • Dispute over Mideast nuclear arms ban torpedoes U.N. conference 

    U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller poses for a photo next to flowers planted on top of a U.S. bomb shell during a visit to a mines and bombs museum in Vietnam's central Quang Tri provinceBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A month-long review conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ended in failure on Friday after its members were unable to overcome disagreements on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East, which the United States blamed on Egypt. After four weeks of negotiations at the United Nations on ways to improve compliance with the pact, there was no consensus among its 191 signatories. U.S. Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller announced there was "no agreement" and accused some countries of undermining the negotiations.


  • AP Analysis: At Mideast forum, hopes for future amid chaos 

    King Abdullah II of Jordan addresses the audience during the opening session of the World Economic Forum at the King Hussein convention center, Southern Shuneh, Jordan, Friday, May 22, 2015. Top political and business leaders are coming together in the Middle East at a regional World Economic Forum conference to search for solutions to widespread joblessness, which has created fertile ground for the recruitment of desperate youths by militants. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Against a backdrop of Iraq and Syria in flames, Middle Eastern political and business leaders sought to focus on a future of growth and investment for a region that for long has lagged behind. But present-day reality proved rather difficult to ignore, with the Islamic State group wreaking havoc not far from these Dead Sea shores.


  • US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns 

    FILE- In this March 30, 2012 file photo, Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, delivers a lecture to students in Moscow. Gottemoeller spoke for the U.S. delegation Friday, May 22, 2015, in blocking the final conference document during a landmark nuclear treaty review conference at the United Nations. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by setting a deadline for Israel and its neighbors to meet within months on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.


  • Morsi, secular camp in dock for 'insulting' Egypt judiciary 

    Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who was recently sentenced to death, gestures from inside the defendants' cage during his new trial in Cairo on May 23, 2015, with 25 other defendants including prominent Islamists and secular figuresOusted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi went on trial Saturday alongside several secular figures behind Egypt's 2011 uprising, underlining a crackdown on all forms of dissent. The trial for "insulting the judiciary" is the fifth for Morsi, who was sentenced to death last week on charges connected with a mass prison break during the uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Bringing together all forms of opposition for the first time, Morsi and other Islamist opponents of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi were back in the dock along with several liberal and secular opposition leaders.


  • Proliferation talks fail over Mideast nuke plan 

    A view of the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the UN General Assemby in New York on April 27, 2015Nuclear non-proliferation talks ended without agreement on Friday after the United States, Canada and Britain opposed a plan to set up a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. More than 150 countries took part in a month-long conference reviewing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology. Israel, which is not a member of the NPT but attended the conference as an observer, opposed the proposal backed by Egypt and Arab countries.


  • Analysis: At Mideast forum, hopes for future amid chaos 

    King Abdullah II of Jordan addresses the audience during the opening session of the World Economic Forum at the King Hussein convention center, Southern Shuneh, Jordan, Friday, May 22, 2015. Top political and business leaders are coming together in the Middle East at a regional World Economic Forum conference to search for solutions to widespread joblessness, which has created fertile ground for the recruitment of desperate youths by militants. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Against a backdrop of Iraq and Syria in flames, Middle Eastern political and business leaders sought to focus on a future of growth and investment for a region that for long has lagged behind. But present-day reality proved rather difficult to ignore, with the Islamic State group wreaking havoc not far from these Dead Sea shores.


  • Hundreds march in Sudan against Mursi death sentence 

    A man holds a poster and a sign with the rabaa hand gesture during a march with protesters from Islamic Movement and Egyptians against an Egyptian court's decision this week to seek the death penalty for Mursi, in KhartoumAround 800 protesters marched through Sudan's capital on Friday against a court's decision this week to seek the death penalty for Egypt's ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi. Sudan's government has up to now declined to comment on the sentence in neighboring Egypt, describing it as an internal matter.


 

 

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