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

3 days agoAFP
  • 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
  • UAE says in favour of US-led ground troops in Syria

    An international campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria should include a US-led ground intervention, said Sunday the United Arab Emirates' state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash. "Our position throughout is that a real campaign against Daesh (Arabic acronym for IS) has to include ground elements," Gargash told reporters in Abu Dhabi. "And of course, an American leadership in this effort is a prerequisite." In November, Gargash said that the UAE, a member of the US-led coalition against IS, would "participate in any international effort demanding a ground intervention to fight terrorism".

    • AFP
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  • 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
  • Czech govt paid $6 mn ransom for two women held in Pakistan: report

    The Czech government paid a $6-million (5.4-million-euro) ransom to secure the release last year of two women kidnapped Pakistan, the Respekt weekly reports in its Monday edition. Czech psychology students Hana Humpalova and Antonie Chrastecka, both 24 at the time, were seized by armed men in March 2013 in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, near the borders with Afghanistan and Iran. The pair had entered from Iran as tourists and were escorted into Pakistan by a tribal policeman.

    • AFP
  • 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
  • Big-time investor Abu Dhabi crown prince to visit India

    New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) In an upshot of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UAE, home to 2.6 million expatriate Indians, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will arrive in New Delhi on February 10 on a three-day visit. "India and the UAE have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations anchored on mutually beneficial commercial exchanges and extensive people to people contacts," the external affairs ministry statement said.

    • IANS
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  • Iran carmaker reveals 427m euros in Peugeot perks

    French carmaker Peugeot is to provide Iran Khodro with 427 million euros in debt waivers, bonuses and discounts under their first post-sanctions deal, the Iranian manufacturer said Sunday. Iran Khodro signed a deal with Peugeot during President Hassan Rouhani's trip to France last month to form a joint venture that is expected to invest up to 400 million euros ($436 million) over five years. Peugeot is the first Western carmaker to announce a return to Iran since many economic sanctions against it were lifted last month upon implementation of a landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

    • AFP
  • 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
  • Over 2,000 Pakistanis stranded in Jeddah as PIA strike continues

    Over 2,000 Pakistanis were stranded in Jeddah due to the suspension of flights, and neither the government nor PIA itself has approached them since lodging them at a local hotel in the city, Dawn online reported. Many of these passengers were particularly worried because their visas expire in two days' time. "We fear that the Saudi police will arrest us on charges of visa expiry, as most people's visas will expire in a week, or three or four days," Usman Qureshi, a Pakistani stranded in Jeddah, said over phone.

    • IANS
  • Second member of IS execution cell identified as Briton -report

    A second member of a British group of Islamic State militants dubbed "the Beatles" has been identified as 32-year-old Londoner Alexanda Kotey, according to a Washington Post and BuzzFeed investigation published on Sunday. The group, whose leader Mohammed Emwazi gained notoriety for appearing in videos showing the murders of Western hostages, are said by former hostages of Islamic State to have been assigned to guard foreign prisoners, and were nicknamed "the Beatles" due to their English accents. Londoner Emwazi, referred to by British media as "Jihadi John", is believed to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike last year.

    • Reuters Middle East
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  • Saudi power projects will need $133 bln investment over 10 years - minister

    (Corrects to $133 billion in headline) RIYADH, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will need investment of 500 billion riyals ($133.3 billion) in electricity projects over the next ten years to cope with rising power demand, its electricity and water minister said on Sunday. Minister Abdullah al-Hussayen told an industry conference the country expects peak electricity to hit 90,000 megawatts (MW) in 2022. Saudi Electricity, the largest power producer in the kingdom said in September peak electricity load hit its highest level ever in August driven by local demand for power during the summer.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Syrian army advances towards Turkish border: monitor

    Syrian government troops advanced Sunday toward a rebel town near the Turkish border as they pressed a Russian-backed offensive that has prompted tens of thousands to flee, a monitor said. The town of Tal Rifaat is around 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) from the Turkish frontier, where Syrians who have fled fighting near Aleppo city have been gathering since the assault was launched Monday. It is one of the last rebel strongholds in the north of Aleppo province and government troops are just seven kilometres away, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    • AFP
  • 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
  • Saudi Cement halts production at clinker kiln, scraps mill upgrade

    Saudi Cement will halt production at a clinker kiln that manufactures 3,500 tonnes daily and has scrapped plans to install two new cement mills, the company said on Sunday. It cited a cement export ban and market conditions for its decisions. Saudi Cement's clinker inventory has risen to around 4 million tonnes so it does not expect the production halt at the clinker kiln to impact its financial results.

    • Reuters Middle East
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  • S. Korea, US to discuss deployment of US missile system

    South Korean and US defence officials said Sunday they would begin formal talks on the deployment on the Korean peninsula of a US missile defence system to counter the growing threat from North Korea. The announcement followed a North Korean rocket launch which the US and its allies condemned as a covert ballistic missile test. "It has been decided to formally start talks on the possibility of deploying the THAAD system to South Korea as part of steps to bolster the missile defence of the Korea-US alliance," said Yoo Jeh-Seung, the South's deputy defence minister for policy.

    • AFP
  • 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
  • Qatar will act to maintain liquidity if chief quoted

    Authorities in Qatar will use fiscal policy and money market operations if needed to prevent low oil and gas prices from causing a liquidity crunch in the banking system, the governor of the central bank (QCB) was quoted as saying. Money market rates have risen sharply as flows of new oil and gas revenue into the system have decreased over the past year, and as the Qatari government has borrowed to fund an emerging budget deficit. The three-month Qatar interbank offered rate is at 1.37 percent, up from around 1.07 percent a year ago.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Tunisia completes barrier with conflict-hit Libya

    Tunisia on Saturday completed the construction of a barrier along its border with Libya, months after attacks on its national museum and a beach resort that killed dozens of tourists. Defence Minister Farhat Horchani told reporters that the construction of berms and water-filled trenches marks "an important day" for Tunisia in its struggle against "terrorism". Two attacks claimed by the Islamic State group last year killed 59 foreign tourists, with Tunisian officials saying the assailants had trained in conflict-ridden Libya where IS is active.

    • AFP
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  • Iranian-British ex-BBC journalist is in Evin prison, relatives say

    By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin DUBAI, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The family of an Iranian-British former BBC journalist who was detained last week in Tehran were told on Saturday that he was in the capital's Evin prison, a friend told Reuters. Bahman Daroshafaei, 34, a translator and former BBC Persian service reporter, was detained on Wednesday at his home, according to the opposition website "His family went to Evin prison today.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Egypt's Palm Hills doubles profit as wealthy Egyptians flee crowded Cairo

    * Suburban migration, summer homes lead to record pre-sales * Company plans to sell some or all of Saudi land bank * Plans bonus share issue, cash dividend (Recasts, adds Co-CEO interview) By Ahmed Aboulenein CAIRO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Palm Hills, Egypt's second-largest listed property developer, more than doubled its fourth-quarter net profits in 2015 as Egyptians fleeing the congested capital for newer suburbs and coastal summer homes drive up demand for housing. As projects come to market, Palm Hills is also proposing to offer its first cash dividend, 0.15 pounds per share, and issue one bonus share for each 20 shares held. Pre-sales for the year have broken the 6 billion Egyptian pounds mark for the first time, growing 61 percent to 6.3 billion.

    • 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
  • Tabu had fun looking beautiful, glamorous in 'Fitoor'

    Mumbai, Feb 6 (IANS) Versatile actress Tabu, who will be seen playing the character of a Begum in her next film "Fitoor", says she had fun looking beautiful and glamorous in this film. "Fitoor" is Abhishek Kapoor's Indian adaptation of the popular Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations. Gattu (Abhishek Kapoor's nick name) is very particular about the look with all his actors," she said.

    • IANS
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  • Economy, security woes dent popularity of Canada's Trudeau

    One hundred days after Justin Trudeau's Liberal government was sworn in, the still-popular Canadian prime minister faces mounting criticism, against the backdrop of a floundering economy and terror fears. The 44-year-old Trudeau -- a former schoolteacher and the son of a popular prime minister -- immediately saw his international profile rise upon taking office on November 4, and he still enjoys strong support at home. "Canada is back!" the youthful-looking prime minister with a broad smile, a twinkle in his eye and a thick mop of curls told world leaders at summits, looking to recast the image of the world's fifth-largest oil producer from climate laggard to environmental champion.

    • AFP
  • EU calls on Israel to halt demolition of Palestinian housing

    The European Union on Saturday called on Israel to halt the demolition of Palestinian housing, some of which was EU-funded, and reiterated its opposition to expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. "In the past weeks there have been a number of developments in Area C of the West Bank, which risk undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and driving the parties yet further apart," the EU diplomatic service said in a statement. It referred to Israel's decision on January 25 to declare 154 hectares (380 acres) of land near Jericho in the West Bank as state land, with reported plans to build around 150 new residences for settlers.

    • AFP
  • 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
  • Turkey to open its border to Syrian refugees 'if necessary': Erdogan

    Turkey is ready "if necessary" to let in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees trapped on its border after fleeing a regime assault, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. Thousands of Syrians, mostly women and children, have fled toward the Turkish border since Friday from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo to escape a major regime offensive backed by Russian air strikes. "The regime has now blocked a part of Aleppo... Turkey is under threat," Erdogan told reporters on his plane returning from Senegal on Saturday.

    • AFP
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  • Air Arabia profit slips 6 pct in 2015

    Sharjah-based budget carrier Air Arabia said on Sunday its 2015 net profit fell six percent to 531 million dirhams ($144.69 million) although turnover rose slightly. The Middle East's first and largest low-cost airline said its turnover was 3.8 billion dirhams ($1.04 billion) in 2015, three percent up on the previous year, while passenger numbers rose 12 percent to 7.6 million. In the fourth quarter, net profit was 13 percent lower than in 2014, standing at 59 million dirhams ($16.08 million).

    • AFP
  • Iraq builds security wall around Baghdad to protect civilians

    Baghdad, Feb 7 (IANS) Iraqi security forces have begun building a concrete wall surrounding the capital Baghdad in an attempt to protect citizens from possible attacks by Islamic State (IS) terrorists, Iraqi prime minister said on Saturday. "It is our duty to protect all citizens inside the capital from criminal acts of terrorist groups by reorganising checkpoints and block all the gaps (in front of terrorists) to facilitate peaceful entry and exit of citizens into and out of Baghdad," Xinhua quoted a statement by Haider al-Abadi's office as saying. Earlier, the Iraqi authorities decided to build a three-meter-high security wall and trench around Baghdad to prevent the infiltration of IS terrorists or smuggling explosives and car bombs into the Iraqi capital to target innocent civilians.

    • IANS
  • Rise in number of suspected jihadists blocked from leaving Australia

    The rate at which suspected jihadists are being blocked from departing Australia has doubled in the past year, a report said Sunday, amid a government crackdown of its nationals travelling to Iraq or Syria to fight. The immigration department confirmed the figures to AFP but it was not clear how many of the suspected jihadists stopped from leaving the island continent were actually heading to the Middle East to fight, and some were eventually allowed to resume their journey. Canberra has been increasingly concerned about its citizens fighting with jihadist organisations such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, saying some 120 Australians had left the country to join such groups.

    • AFP
  • BUZZ-Industries Qatar sinks more than 3 pct on Q4 earnings

    ** Shares in petrochemicals, metals and fertiliser producer Industries Qatar drop 3.8 percent to 99.10 riyals ** Company posted net profit of 570 million riyals ($157 million) for fourth quarter, down from 1.62 billion riyals a year earlier; SICO Bahrain and QNB Financial Services had forecast 1.16 billion and 1.11 billion riyals ** Sales volumes hit all-time high but company blamed lower product prices ** Company has now posted falling profits in nine of past 11 quarters ** Qatar stock index drops 1.0 percent (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

    • Reuters Middle East
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  • 'Baahubali: The Conclusion' is going on track: Rajamouli

    Chennai, Feb 7 (IANS) Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli has clarified that the shoot of the second part of "Baahubali" franchise is going on as planned. Everything is going on as planned," Rajamouli told IANS. The second part will also be distributed by filmmaker Karan Johar in Hindi.

    • IANS
  • Seoul to begin negotiation on US missile defence deployment

    Seoul, Feb 7 (IANS) South Korea's defence ministry on Sunday said Seoul and Washington have agreed to launch official negotiations on the deployment of an advanced US missile defence system, called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), on the Korean peninsula. Yoo Jeh-Seung, South Korea's deputy defence minister for policy, said Seoul and Washington have shared a view that Pyongyang's recent nuclear test and long-range missile launch show serious threats of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile to peace and stability in South Korea and the entire Asia-Pacific region.

    • IANS
  • Dubai Aerospace sees 30-35 aircraft deals in 2016, mostly from Iran

    By Nadia Saleem DUBAI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), one of the few Gulf aircraft leasing firms, expects to add 30-35 planes to its current portfolio of 97 with significant demand seen coming from Iran, the company's chief executive said on Sunday. Iran, which has emerged from years of sanctions that prevented it from legitimately buying aircraft, agreed with European manufacturers last month to purchase up to 158 aircraft but these could take a few years to be delivered. Iranian airlines will be looking to lease aircraft that are immediately available while they await the European deliveries, DAE chief executive Firoz Tarapore said in an interview with Reuters.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Pyongyang announces successful satellite launch

    Pyongyang, Feb 7 (IANS) North Korea on Sunday successfully launched a Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite, the Korean Central Television (KCTV) reported.

    • IANS
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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
  • UAE says ready to send ground troops to Syria

    ABU DHABI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Sunday it was ready to send ground troops to Syria as part of an international coalition to fight against Islamic State. "Our position throughout has been that a real campaign against Daesh has to include a ground force," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi, referring to Islamic State by its Arabic acronym. "We are not talking about thousands of troops." Gargash added that "U.S. leadership on this" would be a prerequisite for the UAE. ...

    • Reuters Middle East
  • MIDEAST STOCKS-Major bourses dragged lower by weaker oil, global equities

    * Saudi erases Thursday's gains; petchem stocks main drag * Egypt retreats as non-Egyptian Arab, foreign traders cash out * Orascom Telecom tumbles 5.0 pct; Palm Hills erases early gains * Dubai slides in weakest volume since Jan. 10 * Blue chip Industries Qatar drops on disappointing earnings By Celine Aswad DUBAI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Middle East fell on Sunday after oil prices pulled back and global bourses sold off at the end of last week. ...

    • 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
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  • Chronology of North Korean missile development

    North Korea on Sunday launched a long-range rocket seen by much of the outside world as a covert test of ballistic missile technology for a future weapons system capable of striking the US mainland.

    • AFP
  • Canada's Justin Trudeau: Key dates in his first 100 days

    In his first three months as Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, 44, has traveled abroad extensively and has made symbolic changes in the way the government serves its citizens. November 4: Trudeau, his wife and their three children arrive on foot at the swearing in of his Liberal government, and his cabinet composed of 15 women and 15 men is unveiled. November 13: After the deadly Paris attacks left Trudeau "disturbed and saddened," he is criticized for showing a lack of compassion before embarking on a series of summits (G20 in Turkey, APEC in the Philippines, Commonwealth in Malta and climate talks in Paris).

    • AFP
  • Iran-backed militia warns against sending Arab forces to Syria, Iraq

    One of Iraq's most powerful Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias on Sunday warned that Arab forces sent to Syria or Iraq would "open the gates of hell", in comments clearly aimed at Sunni Arab countries that have said they might join such an operation. "The Arab kingdoms tried Daesh mercenaries to implement their malicious plans in Iraq and Syria, and they failed," a statement from Kataib Hezbollah said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. Kataib Hezbollah, whose leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes heads the Baghdad-sanctioned coalition of mainly Shi'ite militias battling the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim militants of Islamic State alongside Iraq's regular forces, has sent fighters to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad's troops in that country's five-year-old civil war.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • '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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  • In Aleppo, underground schools face bombardments and burnout

    (Repeats to additional subscribers) * Group runs seven unofficial schools teaching 3,000 children * Schools are in rebel-held areas under heavy government attack * They are sited in basements with some shelter from bombardment By Estelle Shirbon LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - At the unofficial schools run by Syrian activist group Kesh Malek in opposition-held districts of Aleppo, the children don't go outside to play during breaks in case a barrel bomb should drop from the sky. Syria's largest city before the civil war, Aleppo is the scene of heavy bombardment as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, tries to encircle it and wrest control of the rebel-held areas that are home to around 350,000 people.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • N. Korea rocket launch 'direct violation' of five UN resolutions: NATO chief

    NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday condemned North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket as a blatant breach of five UN resolutions and demanded Pyongyang comply with international law. In a statement, Stoltenberg said he strongly condemned the launch, which entailed the use of ballistic missile technology and came after a widely-condemned nuclear test on January 6.

    • AFP
  • China regrets North Korea's satellite launch

    Beijing, Feb 7 (IANS) China has expressed regrets on the launch by North Korea of an earth observation satellite on Sunday morning, calling for calm on the Korean Peninsula. China regretted that North Korea insisted on the launch using the ballistic missile technology despite universal opposition of the international community, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. "The DPRK (North Korea) should be entitled to peaceful use of outer space, but this right is currently restricted by United Nations Security Council resolutions," Xinhua quoted the spokesperson as saying.

    • 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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  • South Korea, US to hold largest ever annual war games

    Seoul, Feb 7 (IANS) The military forces of South Korea and the US plan to stage their largest ever joint annual war games that are scheduled to kick off in early March, mobilising a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier.

    • IANS
  • Previous UN sanctions against Pyongyang over n-tests

    Beijing, Feb 7 (IANS) North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Sunday morning, the country announced. The launch, initially slated for February 8-25 window and later brought forward to between February 7 and February 14, may lead to the UN Security Council slapping fresh sanctions on Pyongyang, Xinhua reported. The following are previous UN resolutions containing sanction measures adopted after North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear tests: July 15, 2006 -- The UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1695 in response to North Korea's launching seven missiles into waters between Korean Peninsula and Japan, including long-range Taepodong-2 on July 5, 2006.

    • IANS
  • Japan gears up as North Korea brings forward satellite launch

    Tokyo, Feb 7 (IANS) The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will bring forward its planned rocket launch to as early as Sunday, Japanese officials said on Saturday, adding in a press briefing that necessary measures were being carried out. According to government sources here, Pyongyang, who has been strongly urged by Japan to refrain from launching what it has said is an earth observation satellite, will step up the launch date, initially slated for sometime between February 8 and February 25, to sometime between Sunday and February 14. Japan has maintained that such a launch would be in clear violation of UN resolutions, adding that it would continue to work closely with the United States to strongly demand that the DPRK refrains from its planned launch, Xinhua reported.

    • IANS
  • North Korea rocket launch window opens

    A one-week window opened Sunday for North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket -- widely-condemned by the international community as a disguised ballistic missile test linked to its nuclear weapons programme. Signs that a launch was imminent were confirmed when Pyongyang on Saturday shortened and brought forward the launch window it had declared to UN agencies. The rocket, carrying an earth observation satellite, will now blast off between February 7-14 -- instead of the previous schedule of February 8-25.

    • AFP
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  • Japanese prime minister condemns North Korea's long-range missile test

    Tokyo, Feb 7 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed on Sunday morning that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) had launched a rocket from a site in Pyongyang. Abe quickly condemned the launch stating that it was in clear violation of UN resolutions, Xinhua reported. Japan's top government spokesperson, Yoshihide Suga, confirmed however that while the long-range rocket may have flown over Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture, no damage had been reported.

    • IANS
  • MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt edge down in early trade after oil weakens

    Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt slipped in early trade on Sunday, erasing some of their gains in the previous session after oil prices reversed and global markets sold off at the end of last week. Saudi Arabia Fertilizer (SAFCO) and Yanbu National Petrochemical were each down more than 1.5 percent. Egypt's index slid 0.3 percent, erasing some of the previous session's 2.2 percent gain.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses fall as oil, global markets weigh

    DUBAI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Bourses in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar fell in early trade on Sunday after oil prices dropped back and global bourses tumbled. Abu Dhabi's index traded down 0.6 percent, erasing some of Thursday's 2.1 percent gain. Dana Gas, a natural gas explorer, fell 2.2 percent after adding 4.7 percent in the previous session. The banking sector was a mixed bag with First Gulf Bank retreating 0.9 percent but Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank adding 1.4 percent. Dubai's exchange was near flat in the first 45 minutes of trade. But Emaar Properties was up 1. ...

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Iraq's water minister judges only tiny danger of Mosul dam collapse

    Iraq's minister of water resources on Saturday played down warnings that Mosul dam will collapse, estimating only a "one in a thousand" chance of failure and saying the solution was to build a new dam or install a deep concrete support wall. The U.S. military has warned that a collapse of the 3.6 km-long (2.2 mile) hydroelectric dam located near Islamic State-held territory in the country's north would be catastrophic. "The looming danger to Mosul dam is one in a thousand.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Ever Googled Someone? Do A "Deep Search" Instead

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  • Dutch to probe 'civilian deaths' in Iraq air strikes

    The Netherlands is probing two incidents in which civilians may have been killed or injured in air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq, the government has said. "Two incidents in which there may have been possible civilian casualties are being investigated in around 1,300 missions carried out by the Netherlands," The Hague-based government said in a letter to parliament late on Saturday. Citing "operational reasons", the Defence Ministry said neither details of the incidents nor the probe are being made public.

    • AFP
  • Seven arrested in Spain over suspected jihad links

    Spanish police said they arrested seven people on Sunday with suspected links to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State groups and uncovered an operation to smuggle arms to jihadists under the guise of humanitarian aid. The arrests were made in the context of an investigation launched in 2014 into "foreign structures" providing logistical support for Islamic State -- also called ISIL, ISIS or Daesh -- and the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, police said. One of those arrested was a man who dispatched "military material, money, electronic and transmission material, firearms and precursors for making explosives" to Syria and Iraq via a company, it said.

    • AFP
  • Somali, AU troops retake key port from Shebab: army, witnesses

    Somali government troops backed by African Union peacekeepers on Saturday recaptured the key port of Merka from Shebab insurgents, just one day after the Islamists swept into the city, the army and residents said. "The Somali forces and AMISOM peacekeepers secured control of Merka again and now the situation has returned to normal," a Somali military official, Abdirisak Mohamed, told AFP by telephone from Mogadishu. A resident reached by telephone said the AU force, known by its acronym AMISOM, used tanks to recapture the port, and four civilians were killed after they were caught in the fighting.

    • AFP
  • Anti-Islam movement PEGIDA stages protests across Europe

    * Rallies held in number of European cities * PEGIDA supporters are opposed to immigration * Supporters of migrants attacked in Prague (Adds Czech attack) DRESDEN, Germany, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Germany's anti-Islam PEGIDA movement staged rallies in several cities across Europe on Saturday to protest against the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa. The movement, whose name stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, originated in the eastern German city of Dresden in 2014, with supporters seizing on a surge in asylum seekers to warn that Germany risks being overrun by Muslims.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Banks "Outraged" by Brilliant Home Payoff Method

    Before you pay your next mortgage you should see this. Millions of homeowners are already amazed. If your bank knew you did this, they'd freak!

  • Security beefed up in Mogadishu airport as new police facility opens

    Mogadishu, Feb 7 (IANS) Security has been beefed up at Mogadishu's Aden Adde Airport barely days after a flight with the country's Daallo airlines made emergency landing following a suspected bomb inside the plane. In a move aimed at enhancing security of the airport, the African Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) on Saturday handed over a newly built police station at the airport to the Somali government, Xinhua news agency reported. Speaking during the handing-over ceremony, Special Representative to Somalia Ambassador Francisco Madeira reiterated the need to reinforce security of the airport, noting that it was a possible terrorist target.

    • IANS
  • Guernsey cannot take in Syrians due to 'Islamophobia': minister

    The Channel Island of Guernsey could not take in any of the Syrian refugees flooding Europe due to "Islamophobia" in the British dependency, its chief minister said. "Negativity" would make it difficult to provide them with security, Jonathan Le Tocq said, according to the BBC. "There's certainly a lot of Islamophobia and negativity that's been around and that would entail that it would be difficult for us to ensure that [the refugees] would find the sorts of security and stability here in Guernsey, were they to be resettled here, in the same way as they are, say, in other parts of the UK." Guernsey's policy council -- part of its executive -- announced Thursday that following a review of the island's infrastructure, it could not take part in Britain's relocation scheme for Syrians fleeing the five-year war in their homeland.

    • AFP