Pentagon welcomes Saudi anti-IS troop proposal
Pentagon welcomes Saudi anti-IS troop proposal

The Pentagon on Friday welcomed Saudi Arabia's pledge to commit ground forces to fight Islamic State jihadists in Syria, should the US-led coalition ever send in combat troops. Saudi Arabia has been part of the coalition since late 2014. "We welcome the announcement by Saudi Arabia that they

4 days agoAFP
  • Ex-model can seek divorce payout from Saudi sheikh in UK: court

    A former model who was married to a wealthy Saudi sheikh won the right to seek a payout from him in London, after a court rejected Monday his claim to have diplomatic immunity. Christina Estrada, 53, who has appeared in the Pirelli calendar and was once linked to Britain's Prince Andrew, will be able to seek a share of Sheikh Walid Juffali's estimated £4 billion (five billion euro, $5.7 billion) fortune. Juffali had argued that his status since 2014 as permanent representative for Saint Lucia to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meant he was immune from a claim.

    • AFP
  • Passenger accused of smuggling 1.7kg cocaine in his intestines

    A passenger has been accused of smuggling nearly 1.7kg of cocaine capsules in his intestines via Dubai in transit. Law enforcement officers at Dubai International Airport were said to have discovered that the 40-year-old Nigerian passenger, C.J., had been carrying drugs in his intestines when they had him checked at the special detecting device at the airport’s transit terminal in November. The passenger was referred to Dubai Police’s anti-narcotics department immediately after the scanning device exposed tens of capsules in C.J.’s intestines.

    • Gulf News
  • Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

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  • Sania Mirza back in Dubai, cheers Kings and Shoaib Malik

    Sania Mirza was seen cheering Karachi Kings which her husband Shoaib Malik leads in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL). Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, taking a short break in Dubai after her recent Australian Open women's doubles crown along with Martina Hingis of Switzerland, was present at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, on Sunday.

    • Khaleej Times
  • Don't harass innocent Muslims, Bukhari tells Modi

    New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) Prominent Muslim leader Syed Ahmed Bukhari on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said innocent Muslims must not be harassed in the name of fighting the Islamic State terror group. Security agencies must be more transparent while detaining terror suspects, the Shahi Imam of the 17th-century Jama Masjid here told Modi during their half-hour meeting at the prime minister's residence. "I urged the prime minister that while detaining people for terrorist activities or suspected links with the Islamic State, special care must be taken to ensure that the lives of innocent Muslim youth and their families are not ruined," Bukhari told IANS.

    • IANS
  • US missile shield spotlights divisions on handling N. Korea

    Official moves towards the deployment -- fiercely opposed by China -- of a US missile defence system in South Korea highlight the inherent dangers of disunity in dealing with North Korea's growing military threat, analysts say. Hours after North Korea's long-range rocket launch on Sunday, South Korean and US military officials announced they would begin formal discussions on placing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD) on the North's doorstep. The rationale was a clear necessity to upgrade the defence posture of the South Korea-US military alliance "against North Korea's advancing threats," said Yoo Jeh-Seung, Seoul's deputy defence minister for policy.

    • AFP
  • Legal consultant admits raping hairdresser in Dubai

    A legal consultant, currently serving life imprisonment for raping a hairdresser, stunned the Dubai Appeal Court on Sunday as he entered a guilty plea. In December, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted him of raping the woman at knifepoint in the building’s stairway although he had pleaded not guilty. The Egyptian legal consultant parked his motorbike upon spotting the Moroccan hairdresser walking into a building in Al Nahda.

    • Gulf News
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  • Kremlin rebukes Merkel over Syria criticism

    The Kremlin on Tuesday issued a rare rebuke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel a day after she criticised Russian air strikes in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Merkel should carefully watch what she said on the Syrian crisis. "We once again call on everyone to be very careful and responsible in their choice of words, given the already delicate situation in Syria now and the Syrian settlement," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    • AFP
  • Nobody liked me in school: Katrina Kaif

    Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) She enjoys immense popularity as a Hindi film celebrity today, but Katrina Kaif says nobody liked her when she was in school. While she has been in the limelight for her rumoured relationships with actors like Salman Khan and Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina said that if she has to date a person, one thing she would notice would be his persona and the vibe around him.

    • IANS
  • Oil prices slide as output cut hopes fade

    Oil fell on Monday, with New York prices briefly ducking underneath $30 amid a broader selloff on global stock markets, as hopes of an output cut faded. Prices had rebounded in Asian trading hours after OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and Venezuela held talks on the beleaguered market, raising hopes of production cutbacks. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery sank to $29.57 per barrel, before pulling back slightly to stand at $30.21, down 68 cents from Friday's closing level.

    • AFP
  • 'Middle East situation like pre-Independence India'

    New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) The current turmoil in the Middle East is due as much to sectarianism as the legacies of colonial rule, and the situation is quite like the Indian subcontinent in the decade prior to Independence, says regional expert Vali Nasr. "Colonialism not only decided maps of the modern Middle East, but also fostered sectarianism in the internal structures it set up - the Alawites in Syria, the Christians in Lebanon under the French, and so on. "Colonialism and sectarianism conflicted with secular nationalism... sectarianism in the Middle East was like communalism in India during its freedom struggle and can be understood the same way... the issue of majority and minority rights," Nasr, the dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at US' Johns Hopkins University, spoke to IANS in an interview during his India visit for the Jaipur Literature Festival.

    • IANS
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  • Mumbai plans grand reception for CP

    Unveiling the details of Mohammed bin Zayed's three-day visit, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, on Sunday said that a high-level delegation of UAE ministers, government officials and businessmen representing different sectors of the economy will accompany the Crown Prince. Replying to a question posed by Khaleej Times in a media briefing at the headquarters of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Gargash said that the Indian business community will host a grand reception for the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in the financial capital of India.

    • Khaleej Times
  • Majid Al Futtaim to invest $3.7 bln building two malls in Riyadh

    (Adds CEO comments, details) By Katie Paul RIYADH, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Majid Al Futtaim will invest 14 billion riyals ($3.7 billion) building two malls in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh, the Dubai-based company said on Monday. The 300,000-square metre Mall of Saudi, which privately-held Majid Al Futtaim said would be the kingdom's largest, will include shops, restaurants, entertainment, offices, hotels and residential units, plus Saudi's first indoor ski slope. The plans mark a major retail expansion into Saudi Arabia, despite reduced expectations for economic growth in the world's top oil exporter due to a prolonged oil price slump.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Iraq deploying thousands of troops to retake Mosul

    The Iraqi army is deploying thousands of soldiers to a northern base in preparation for operations to retake the Islamic State group's hub of Mosul, officials said on Monday. IS seized Mosul in June 2014 and except for air strikes has held Iraq's second city largely unopposed for more than 18 months as the country's security forces battled the jihadists in other areas. "Units from the Iraqi army have begun arriving to a military base near the Makhmur district to start launching initial military operations toward Mosul," a staff brigadier general told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    • AFP
  • Prominent reformists back in Iran election: official

    Prominent but as yet unnamed reformists are among more than 1,400 initially rejected candidates now eligible to contest Iran's parliamentary elections on February 26, a government official said Tuesday. The new approvals raise the potential for a change in the balance of power in Iran's parliament, a prospect that looked impossible after thousands of contenders were barred in a first round of vetting. Anyone seeking to become one of Iran's 290 MPs must satisfy the Guardian Council, a conservative-dominated constitutional watchdog of clerics and jurists, of their suitability for public office.

    • AFP
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  • Obama urges Arab world to set up inclusive governments

    US President Barack Obama urged Arab countries on Monday to establish inclusive governments to ensure security in a region rocked by turmoil. "When governments truly invest in their citizens, their education, skills, and health, and universal human rights are upheld, countries are more peaceful, more prosperous and more successful," he told the opening day of the World Government Summit in Dubai. "As we have seen in the tumult across the Middle East and North Africa, when governments do not lift up their citizens, it's a recipe for instability and strife," he said in a video address to the conference.

    • AFP
  • Dubai visitors jailed for Dh766,000 villa break-in

    Five visitors have been jailed for five years each for breaking into a villa and stealing Dh766,000 worth of gold jewellery and cash after damaging the surveillance camera system. The five Colombian men, G.A., F.S., J.A., J.B. and C.K., had broken into an Emirati man’s villa from where they stole the valuables in Nad Al Hammar area in June.

    • Gulf News
  • Saudi's Sipchem says pays $100 mln to raise stakes in two units

    Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) said on Monday it has paid 375.3 million riyals ($100.1 million) to raise its stake in two subsidiaries. The firm will buy stakes owned by Kuwait's Ikarus Petroleum Industries in International Acetyl Company and International Vinyl Acetate Company after receiving regulatory approval, Sipchem said in a bourse statement. Sipchem, which already owns 76 percent of both subsidiaries, said the deals would raise its holdings in each to 87 percent.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Islamabad score nail-biting win over Karachi

    Islamabad United scored a nail-biting two-run win over Karachi Kings in the sixth match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Dubai International Stadium. Shane Watson, who became the costliest player in the Indian Premier League auction on Saturday, showed his worth by bowling a tight last over when Karachi needed 16 runs to win. Ravi Bopara’s valiant effort through an unbeaten 32 with two fours and as many sixes went in vain.

    • Gulf News
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  • Sidhu shadow haunts BJP ahead of Punjab elections

    Chandigarh, Feb 8 (IANS) Having sidelined its most popular political face, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, the BJP in Punjab seems undecided on its own future political course as the state heads for crucial assembly polls in about a year's time. Having been piggy-back in power with the Shiromani Akali Dal since 2007, the BJP, fresh from its triumph from the May 2014 general elections, had started showing signs in Punjab of breaking its shackles with the Akalis and even going all on its own in the next assembly elections.

    • IANS
  • Brexit could mean migrant camps in UK: Cameron's office

    Prime Minister David Cameron's office on Monday warned that Britain leaving the European Union could mean migrant camps being set up on British shores if UK border checks are removed from Calais in France. "Should Britain leave the EU there's no guarantee those controls would remain in place," Cameron's spokesman said at a daily briefing. Cameron's spokesman said Britain and France had "positive working relations" on border issues.

    • AFP
  • Warehouse robbers arrested in Sharjah

    Sharjah Police have busted a four-member gang, who allegedly broke into a number of warehouses and stole electrical wires and copper pipes. The Industrial Area police station received information about the robbery and formed a team to arrest the gang. During interrogation, the suspects confessed to having broken into the warehouses.

    • Gulf News
  • Iraqi military advance reconnects Ramadi to key army base

    Iraqi forces recaptured territory from Islamic State militants on Tuesday which links the recently recaptured city of Ramadi to a major army base in western Iraq, the military said. A statement broadcast on state television said the army, police and counter-terrorism forces had retaken several areas including the town of Husaiba al-Sharqiya, about 10 km (6 miles) east of Ramadi. "(Our forces) also managed to open the road from Ramadi to Baghdad which passes through al-Khaldiya," the statement added, referring to a highway that links the city to the Habbaniya base where U.S.-led coalition forces are located.

    • Reuters Middle East
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  • Italy demands answers as anger mounts over student slain in Egypt

    Italy on Monday warned Egypt it would not allow the fate of Giulio Regeni to be brushed under the carpet as anger mounted over the Cambridge University student's torture and killing in Cairo. With the media publishing gruesome details of Regeni's treatment and pointing the finger at Egyptian security services, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was under pressure to authorise a state funeral for the slain 28-year-old. Regeni disappeared on January 25 and was found dead on February 3.

    • AFP
  • Yemeni forces clash with Qaeda gunmen in Aden

    Yemeni forces clashed Tuesday with Al-Qaeda militants in Aden as the Saudi-led coalition provided air cover, in a bid to drive the jihadists out of the city, security officials said. Al-Qaeda controls part of the southern port city which has become the temporary headquarters of the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi as it battles to retake large parts of Yemen from Shiite Huthi rebels. Forces loyal to Hadi laid siege early Tuesday to Aden's central Mansura district and clashed with militants, while coalition Apache helicopters provided air cover, security officials in the city said.

    • AFP
  • New luminous creatures discovered in the Red Sea

    Moscow, Feb 8 (IANS) An international team of biologists has discovered a new species of luminous fauna in the Red Sea. The research also showed that the localisation of glow in certain parts of the body can help to distinguish different species of organisms that have identical structure. During the investigations of the biodiversity of coral reefs of the archipelago Farasan (Saudi Arabia, south of the Red Sea), biologists found what they have termed "fluorescent lanterns," that were very similar to hydrae.

    • IANS
  • Palestinian government says willing to step down for unity

    The Palestinian government said on Tuesday it was ready to step down to enable a new national unity government, as rivals Fatah and Hamas engaged in a new reconciliation effort. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was "ready to resign to support the formation of a national unity government and to take every effort to achieve genuine reconciliation", a statement read. The government is the remnant of the cabinet of independent technocrats that the West Bank-based Fatah and Gaza rulers Hamas agreed on in 2014 when they announced their reconciliation.

    • AFP
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  • Nida Fazli, renowned Bollywood lyricist, Urdu poet dead

    Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) Renowned Urdu poet and Bollywood lyricist Muqtida Hasan Nida Fazli, died here on Monday after suffering a bout of breathlessness followed by a massive heart attack, a family source said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Fazli's verses and his contribution to cinema and writing will endure in the times to come. "Nida Fazli Sahab is no longer with us but his verses will live on and so will his contribution to writing and cinema," Modi tweeted.

    • IANS
  • DIARY-Islamic Finance to December 31

    Items marked ** denote new or amended listings TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9 (until February 10) SUDAN - International Forum on Islamic Finance Details: https://megaevents.net/ifif/registration_secure.php TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23 (until February 24) LONDON - The International Takaful Summit Details: http://www.takafulsummit.com/2016/ TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23 (until February 26) NIGERIA - IFSB-FIS Workshop Series - Banking Details: http://www.ifsb.org/event_detail. ...

    • Reuters Middle East
  • 2016 growth in Saudi oil sector to remain positive

    Annual growth in the Saudi oil sector will remain positive in 2016 with average oil output expected to increase slightly, as the Kingdom continues to protect its share in the oil market, according to a report. The current period of low prices is set to remain throughout 2016 pulled down primarily by persistently high oil supply, stated the report from Jadwa Investment. “Saudi crude production averaged 10.2 million barrels per day in 2015 and we do not see any cuts in production to support upward movement in prices going forward.

    • Arab News
  • India dominates Wushu as Meitei wins gold in SAG

    Shillong, Feb 8 (IANS) Punshiva Meitei clinched gold and Swachaha Jatav got the silver for India in the men's and women's Wushu competition respectively at the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) at the Rising Sun Sports Complex here on Monday. India now have two gold, one silver and one bronze in their basket from Wushu. Meitei scored 18.60 points in the Wushu Taolu Nanquan and Nangun all-round to emerge as the winner while the silver went to Yubaraj Thapa of Nepal who had a score of 17.66.

    • IANS
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  • Ivanovic bids for first Dubai crown

    One of the most glamorous tennis players in the world is preparing to make another bid to claim the coveted Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown when play gets underway next week. Ana Ivanovic first played in Dubai as a qualifier in 2005 and she has since gone on to reach the quarter-finals three times, but all too often her path has been blocked by formidable opposition. Last season she fell to eventual runner-up Karolina Pliskova and in 2014 she was beaten by Venus Williams who went on to win the title for the third time.

    • Gulf News
  • Chechen forces in Syria helping Russia pick bomb targets: state TV

    By Andrew Osborn MOSCOW, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Chechen forces loyal to the Kremlin are on the ground in Syria gathering military intelligence deep inside Islamic State-controlled territory which the Russian air force is using to identify bombing targets, Russian state TV has said. Chechen intelligence agents have also infiltrated the ranks of the militant group, according to Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, who said he had sent undercover agents to train alongside its fighters at the start of the Syrian war. "According to Ramzan Kadyrov, an extensive spy network has been set up inside Islamic State," said Russian state TV, whose coverage usually reflects the Kremlin line.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Iran considers stakes in refineries in other countries - Shana

    Iran holds a stake in a refinery project in Malaysia and is considering taking stakes in projects in five other countries, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company (NIOEC) was quoted as saying on Monday. Hamid Sharif Razi said the NIOEC holds a 30 percent stake in a 250,000 barrel a day refinery project in Malaysia, and was planning to take a 40 percent stake in a 300,000 barrel a day refinery in Indonesia, according to the Shana news agency.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • 40,000 starving to death as S.Sudan teeters on famine: UN

    At least 40,000 people are being starved to death in South Sudan war zones on the brink of famine, the United Nations said Monday, in a plea to rival forces to let aid in. The figures released in a UN report describe some of the worst conditions yet in more than two years of a civil war marked by atrocities and accusations of war crimes, including the blockading of food supplies. "Nearly 25 percent of the country's population remain in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 people are on the brink of catastrophe," the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN children's agency UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a joint statement.

    • AFP
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  • Oil down, Japan stocks pare losses as dollar strengthens

    Oil prices ticked lower in Asia while Japanese stocks pared early losses as the dollar strengthened in thin trade Monday, with most markets across the region closed for the Chinese New Year holiday. A report Friday showing the US jobless rate had fallen to an eight-year low and wage growth picked up fuelled speculation of another hike in the Federal Reserve's borrowing costs next month, despite the chaos on global stock exchanges. Crude swung in and out of positive territory after major exporter Saudi Arabia said its oil minister Ali al-Naimi had met his Venezuelan opposite Sunday to discuss talks with other producers to boost prices.

    • AFP
  • Iran hopes for agricultural boom post-sanctions

    (Repeats with no changes) * 5 million tonnes of wheat carried over from 2015 * Foreign investment set to boost production after sanctions * Extra production and easier trade open the door to exports By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin DUBAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Iran plans to turn itself into a major food exporter, hoping the lifting of sanctions will boost international trade and allow investment in the agricultural sector, an official in Iran's state grain buying agency said. Foreign business delegations have flocked to Tehran since the United States, European Union and United Nations lifted international sanctions last month after reaching a deal to curb and monitor Iran's disputed nuclear program.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • 75 IS men killed, as forces regain areas in Iraq's Ramadi

    Ramadi (Iraq), Feb 9 (IANS) At least 75 Islamic State militants were killed on Monday as the Iraqi security forces recaptured two areas from the extremist militants in eastern and east of the flashpoint city of Ramadi, the capital city of Iraq's western Anbar province, a provincial security source said. The troops and allied paramilitary Sunni tribal fighters rushed into Huseiba al-Sharqiya area, some 10 km east of Ramadi, and retook control of the area after heavy clashes with IS militants, leaving some 43 IS militants killed, including five suicide bombers, and capturing seven of the extremist militants, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

    • IANS
  • Syria rebels lose new ground to Kurds, regime: monitor

    Syrian rebels have withdrawn from three villages threatened by Russian strikes in the northern province of Aleppo that borders Turkey, allowing Kurdish fighters to overrun them, a monitor said Monday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels abandoned the villages of Aqlamiyah, Deir Jamal and Mareanar on Sunday at the insistence of residents who feared their homes would be bombed. Opposition factions north of Syria's second city Aleppo have been increasingly stuck "between the pincers" of YPG forces on one side and pro-government fighters on the other, a military source told AFP.

    • AFP
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  • Saudi Arabia, Venezuela focus on measures to stabilize oil prices

    Saudi Arabia and Venezuela discussed on Sunday ways to stabilize the crude market. Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi and Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino discussed the latter’s recent talks with other crude producers and the results of those meetings that seek cooperation among suppliers to bring stability to the market. “I’m very happy to meet and consult with my colleague from Venezuela,” Al-Naimi said in the statement.

    • Arab News
  • UN fears for hundreds of thousands if Syria troops encircle Aleppo

    By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of civilians could be cut off from food supplies if Syrian government forces succeed in their offensive to encircle rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the United Nations said on Tuesday, warning of a massive new flight of refugees. Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, have launched a major offensive in the countryside around Aleppo, which has been divided between government and rebel control for years. The assault to surround Aleppo, once Syria's biggest city with 2 million people, amounts to one of the most important shifts of momentum in the five year civil war that has killed 250,000 people and already driven 11 million from their homes.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Moscow slams UN chief for Syria comments

    The Russian foreign ministry on Monday criticised UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over his claim that Russian air strikes in Syria had undermined last week's peace talks to end the country's five-year war. Ban had "practically" accused Russia of leading to the collapse of the talks, it added. UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura last week suspended attempts to begin a dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the opposition, as Russia pressed its bombing campaign in the war-torn country.

    • AFP
  • MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi firms on oil, property firms support Egypt

    DUBAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose in early trade on Monday after oil prices firmed, while real estate shares supported Egypt's market. The Saudi index climbed 0.7 percent in the first 15 minutes of trade as petrochemical blue chip Saudi Basic Industries gained 1.1 percent. Most activity focused on second- or third-tier stocks, however, with property developer Al Andalus jumping 5.0 percent. AlTayyar Travel rose 2.1 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved a small capital increase by the company which aims to finance an acquisition. Egypt's index added 0. ...

    • Reuters Middle East
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  • UN urges Turkey to open borders to fleeing Syrians

    The United Nations on Tuesday urged Turkey to open its borders to tens of thousands of Syrians who have overwhelmed nearby emergency camps after fleeing a major government offensive. The main border crossing north of Syria's second city Aleppo remained closed, forcing huge crowds including women and children to sleep in tents or in the open. "There are no longer enough places for families to sleep," said Ahmad al-Mohammad, a field worker with medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

    • AFP
  • Russian air strikes in Syria 'good thing': Del Ponte

    Former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is currently probing rights abuses in Syria, on Monday backed Russia's air strikes on "terrorist groups" in the war-torn country. "Overall, I think the Russian intervention is a good thing, because finally someone is attacking these terrorist groups," Del Ponte told Swiss public broadcaster RTS, listing the Islamic State group and Al-Nusra among the groups targeted.

    • AFP
  • Syria rebels under pressure as displaced mass on the border

    Beleaguered rebels in northern Syria faced double defeat on Monday by both the Russian-backed regime and advancing Kurdish militia, as tens of thousands of displaced amassed on the Turkish border. The worsening refugee crisis has pushed Germany and Turkey to ask NATO for help policing Turkey's shores, after two dozen more migrants drowned there en route to Greece. In Ankara, German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks with Turkish leaders, saying the two countries would ask a meeting of NATO defence ministers whether and how NATO could support coastguards.

    • AFP
  • US welcomes Saudi troop offer for Syria: FM

    The United States welcomes a Saudi offer to deploy special forces to support a coalition ground operation against the Islamic State group inside Syria, the kingdom's foreign minister said Monday. Speaking after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said any operation would be US-led but that Saudi Arabia would play a leading role. "The United States government was very supportive and very positive about the kingdom's readiness to provide special forces to the operation in Syria, should the international coalition make a decision to do so," he told reporters.

    • AFP
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  • Turkish border town fears fresh Syrian refugee influx

    "I already feel I am not in Turkey," says Tugba Kaya. Every step you take in Kilis you come across a Syrian." As Turkey ponders whether to let in tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing a major Russian-backed regime offensive around Aleppo, Kaya said she feared the consequences of yet another influx. The town is the only major urban centre in Turkey with a majority of Syrians, and the feeling among many locals is that it can take no more.

    • AFP
  • Russian bombing in Syria increasing refugee flow: EU's Tusk

    EU president Donald Tusk warned Tuesday that Russian air strikes in Syria are worsening the conflict and increasing the number of refugees trying to get to an already overburdened Europe. Tusk's comments come a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "horrified" by the suffering caused by Russian airstrikes. "Let me add a comment on Russia, whose actions in Syria are making an already very bad situation even worse," Tusk said after meeting Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in Brussels.

    • AFP
  • MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may edge up as oil rises; earnings may aid Dubai

    Stock markets in the Middle East may edge up on Monday as oil prices have firmed in early Asian trade, while Dubai's bourse may be supported by positive corporate earnings. The correlation between oil prices and Gulf equity markets has strengthened in recent months with the majority of investors in the region believing markets will continue to trade in almost lockstep with crude prices in the near term. Dubai's index erased some of Thursday's gains on Sunday but it remains over the psychologically important level of 3,000 points for a second straight session.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • German firms share innovations to drive Saudi Arabia’s economy

    German companies are sharing best practices in innovation to drive the Kingdom’s growth and youth development, exhibitors announced at the Janadriyah Festival. At this year’s Janadriyah Festival, Germany is the country of honor under the theme of the “Land of Ideas: Innovation Has Tradition”. Germany and the Kingdom enjoy strong trade ties, with 10 billion euros in 2014, according to the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs.

    • Saudi Gazette
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  • Turkey - Factors to Watch on Feb 8

    ISTANBUL, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Here are news, reports and events that may affect Turkish financial markets on Monday. The lira closed at 2.9150 against the dollar on Friday. The main share index fell 0.41 percent to 74,203.54 points on Friday. The benchmark 10-year government bond yield stood at 10.66 percent at the spot close on Friday and was at 10.64 percent in Monday-dated trade. GLOBAL MARKETS Asian shares got off to a rocky start on Monday after mixed U.S. jobs data helped sink shares on Wall Street, but trade was thin with many regional markets closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. ...

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Confident India face Sri Lanka in T20I opener

    Pune, Feb 8 (IANS) India will aim to hold on to their current form when they take on an injury-hit Sri Lanka in the opening game of their three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Tuesday. The confidence of the home team is sky high following a 3-0 hammering of Australia Down Under and the T20I series against the Island nation will be ideal for preparations for the upcoming Asia Cup in Bangladesh and World T20 in India in March-April. India, who vaulted seven places to first after sweeping aside Australia last week, need to win the series against Lanka to retain the coveted position in International Cricket Council (ICC) T20I rankings.

    • IANS
  • Rhea was judged because she is a woman: Sonam Kapoor

    Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) Actress Sonam Kapoor says her younger sister Rhea was judged when she started out as a producer because she was a woman.

    • IANS
  • KSA boosts health sector cooperation with S. Korea

    Saudi Arabia and South Korea are set to widen cooperation in the health care sector following a joint road show which underlined potential areas of cooperation and showcased world-class health facilities of that country. The event, titled “Korea-Saudi Health Care Cooperation Road Show,” also discussed ways and means to broaden the excellent working relationship. “The road show brought together people from the health care industry of the Kingdom and Korea, providing them with chances of finding collaboration opportunities and partners in the private sector,” said Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh.

    • Arab News
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  • Pakistan to sign 15-yr deal for 3.5 mln tonnes Qatari LNG per yr -govt official

    Pakistan is set to sign a 15-year import deal for 3.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year from Qatar, a Pakistan government official said on Monday. Previously the two governments had discussed a 15-year deal for 1.5 million tonnes per year with scope for the volume to increase over time. The official said details of the terms would be announced ha later this week, adding that Pakistan had secured the LNG at a competitive price.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • 'Return of jungle raj' is an opposition conspiracy: Lalu Prasad

    Patna, Feb 8 (IANS) The "return of Jungle Raj in Bihar" is a lie spread by the opposition parties in their attempt to defame the state, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad has said. "Opposition parties are talking and spreading falsehood of return of 'jungle raj' in Bihar as part of conspiracy to defame the state again," Lalu told reporters here on Sunday after his arrival from Delhi. Lalu also dismissed the demand made on Saturday by Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan that President's Rule be imposed in Bihar in view of the deteriorating law and order situation under the government of the 'Grand Alliance' of JD-U, RJD and the Congress.

    • IANS
  • Neymar happy at Barcelona, says club director

    Barcelona, Feb 8 (IANS) Barcelona director of football Robert Fernandez insists striker Neymar has the backing of the Catalan club and renewal of his contract is soon to be wrapped up. Arriving at Barcelona in 2013, the Brazilian superstar has been the centre of interest from clubs across Europe, with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City keeping tabs, prompting the European champions to look at securing his future. "Neymar and his management are very happy and we are very relaxed," Fernandez was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Monday.

    • IANS
  • Hat-trick for Nilmar in Al Nasr win

    Riding on a first-half hat-trick by Nilmar, Al Nasr stormed to a 4-1 win over Sharjah in Round 17 of the Arabian Gulf League on Saturday at the Al Maktoum Stadium. Jires Kembo-Ekoko completed the tally for the winners through a penalty while Nawaf Mubarak scored a spectacular consolation goal for Sharjah. Al Nasr, with this win, now have 32 points are are currently placed third in the standings while Sharjah, with 18 points remain one place above the relegation zone.

    • Gulf News
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  • Key Indian equity indices open flat

    Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) Key Indian equity indices opened flat on Monday amid little direction from the Asian peers. The Japanese and Australian shares were down while the markets in Singapore, Hong Kong and China were closed for the lunar New Year holiday. At the National Stock exchange, the Nifty was trading at 7,478.95 points, also with a small loss of 10.15 points, or 0.14 percent over Friday's close at 7,489.10 points.

    • IANS
  • The Super Bowl ads -- hits and misses

    Tens of millions of people tune in to watch the Super Bowl every year -- and the ad blitz during the breaks in play is part of the fun. Here's the rundown on the commercials that ran during Super Bowl 50 on Sunday -- hits and misses, stars and slogans. Matt Damon is back as amnesiac super-spy Jason Bourne, and Super Bowl viewers got the first glimpse at the highly-anticipated fifth movie in the blockbuster action franchise.

    • AFP