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 they6 days agoAFP
The planned “North Thunder” military exercise is a clear message to Iran and the countries in the region it supports that any hostile intentions and actions will be firmly dealt with, an expert has said. The military drill is scheduled to be held in the northern region of Saudi Arabia in the next few days and a number of countries will be participating in it, local media reported on Tuesday. Military experts have warned that the next probable threat to the Gulf states is likely to come from the northern areas, after Iran demographically occupies Iraq and uses that country as its military arm to meddle in the affairs of neighboring countries and drain Gulf states’ resources.
A Saudi woman studying in the US has been brain dead for the past 12 days.
A stunning four of the world’s top five and six of the top 10 will compete in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA event next week after defending champion and world number three Simona Halep, 2015 Dubai finalist Karolina Pliskova and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova accepted wild cards into the tournament. “We are thrilled that once again so many of the very best players in the world have chosen to compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free. Halep had announced that she would have to miss the event in order to undergo surgery, but the temptation to defend her trophy at one of her favourite stops on the WTA Tour proved too much to resist.
* Saudi labour ministry issues statement on unpaid wages * Industry sources say several firms face this problem * Government spending cuts hitting construction sector most * Some firms face shortages of working capital * Banks' bad loan provisions rising, may affect wider economy By Tom Arnold and Andrew Torchia DUBAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Some Saudi Arabian construction companies are struggling to pay their staff on time in a sign of growing pressure on the economy from low oil prices, which are causing the government to slow spending on building projects. One executive at a large Saudi construction firm, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters it had been having problems paying its employees for a few months.
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.
Mumbai, Feb 9 (IANS) "Bigg Boss Nau" contestant Nora Fatehi says she has Moroccan roots and she was raised in Canada, but at heart she is an Indian. "My family is from Morocco, and I was born and raised in Canada, but I'm an Indian at heart, for sure.
A major focus of the three-day visit by Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed, which comes around six months after Modi's trip to UAE, will be on stepping up economic ties. At least 16 pacts in a range of sectors like nuclear energy, oil, IT, aerospace and railways, facilitating billions of dollars of investment by the UAE in India, are likely to be inked here during the visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, beginning Wednesday. Ways to contain radicalism, stepping up counter-terrorism cooperation and dealing with Daesh will figure prominently in talks Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed will have with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, UAE Ambassador Ahmed Al Banna said.
Western superiority in military technology is "eroding", notably at the hands of China and Russia, a leading think-tank said Tuesday in its annual report on the state of militaries around the world. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London said in its Military Balance report that increasingly easy access to technology by non-state groups means the world faces "an increasingly complex balance of military power". It also highlighted that Russia and China are pushing to modernise their militaries and are "increasingly active in the development and deployment of advanced military capabilities".
Public debt of the oil-rich Gulf states is expected to double and assets decline by a third by 2020 as they seek to finance budget deficits due to sliding prices, a report said Tuesday. After having posted massive deficits of $160 billion last year and faced with a $159 billion deficit in 2016, the six Arab states of the Gulf will have to borrow and tap into their huge fiscal reserves to finance the budget shortfall, said the report released by the head of research at Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz), M.R. Raghu. In 2012, in contrast, the Gulf states posted a combined surplus of $220 billion.
Syrian farmer Mahmud Turki was sitting on his couch at sunset watching the news with his family after eating supper. Then an air strike hit his home and turned his life upside down. "The moment of the air strike... nobody can describe it," Turki -- stitches still in his head and his body covered in bruises -- said from his hospital bed in neighbouring Turkey, where he was among just a few allowed across for treatment.
Indian expatriates in the UAE can now expect financial security after retirement with the Government of India’s National Pension Scheme expanding its ambit to include overseas Indians as well. Beginning November 2015, the Reserve Bank of India allowed all Non Resident Indians (NRIs) around the world, including those in the UAE, to subscribe to the existing National Pension Scheme (NPS) overseen by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in India.
Neil Nitin Mukesh is afraid of being alone -- it is such fears and more that a string of Bollywood stars have shared ahead of the release of "Neerja" -- a biopic on a fearless woman. The celebrities shared their fears as part of a unique social media campaign made for the Sonam Kapoor starrer "Neerja", which encourages unleashing one's fears and exhibiting courage. Produced by Atul Kasbekar under the banner of Fox Star Studios, the film, which is slated to release on February 19, revolves around the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in Pakistan and how a flight attendant named Neerja Bhanot saved the lives of 360 people on board the air craft.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) The construction of India's strategic petroleum storage in Karnataka's Mangaluru with the assistance of the UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is proceeding on schedule and will be completed soon, the government said on Wednesday. According to an Indian petroleum ministry release here, this was mentioned by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in his meeting here with United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, ahead of the India visit of Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Jerusalem, Feb 10 (IANS) Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he has plans to encircle Israel with fences because the Mideast is filled with "wild beasts" that imperil the Jewish country. "We are preparing a multi-year plan to surround the entire State of Israel with security fences to protect ourselves in the current Middle East," Netanyahu said during a tour to the construction site of a new fence along its eastern border with Jordan, Xinhua reported. "In the place where we live, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts," Netanyahu said, apparently referring to Islamist militants.
Qatar's World Cup organisers said on Wednesday that six labourers building stadiums for the 2022 tournament suffered work-related injuries last year but there were no fatalities. Qatar has been widely condemned for its treatment of almost two million foreign workers. Critics have estimated that several thousand workers could die in the run-up to the World Cup because of labour conditions in Qatar on direct or indirect tournament projects.
Said Ramadan has lost count of how much he's borrowed just to stay afloat while other vendors at Giza's pyramids have already lost hope, as jihadist attacks bring Egypt's tourist industry to its knees. Since Egypt's then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013, a deadly insurgency led by the Islamic State jihadist group has kept away millions of tourists. Tourism in Egypt was dealt a body blow when a Russian airliner blew up mid-air over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, killing all 224 people on board, mostly Russian tourists.
The defeat on Tuesday in the Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka brought the Indian players down to earth after the auction euphoria of the Indian Premier League (IPL) barely two days before the game. None of the new-found IPL millionaires was playing at Pune, though the highest-paid Indian, Pawan Negi, was in the squad. Dominated by the IPL rejects -- Secuge Prasanna, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Dishamantha Chameera and Sanchitha Senanayake - the islanders nearly bowled the Indians out for less than a hundred before coasting to a five-wicket victory.
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.
Beijing, Feb 9 (IANS) The US is leading a drive to exert military pressure on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's satellite launch which could escalate regional tension. US defence officials on Monday said Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would meet his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Hawaii this week to discuss Pyongyang's launch, Xinhua reported. Lee Sun-jin, South Korean Army General and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Katsutoshi Kawano, head of Japan's Self-Defence Forces, would participate in the meeting, which was scheduled after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on January 6.
New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Actress Yami Gautam, who will star alongside Hrithik Roshan in upcoming film "Kaabil", says she is nervous yet excited to share the screen space with the actor whose work has inspired her a lot. "I am very excited to get such a huge opportunity to star with him (Hrithik). The film will be produced by Hrithik's father, filmmaker Rakesh Roshan and directed by Sanjay Gupta.
Pune, Feb 9 (IANS) The following is the scoreboard of the India innings in their first T20 international here on Tuesday against Sri Lanka.
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.
* Sees larger drop in 2016 non-OPEC supply of 700,000 bpd * OPEC output rises in January, increasing supply glut * Says low oil prices hurting world economy (Adds details from report, quotes) By Alex Lawler LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - OPEC pointed to a larger oil supply surplus on the world market this year than previously thought as Saudi Arabia and other members pump more oil, helping to make up for losses in non-member producers hurt by the collapse in prices. OPEC's 2014 strategy shift to defend market share and not prices helped deepen the decline. OPEC also cut its forecast for world economic growth in 2016 to 3.2 percent from 3.4 percent and said low oil prices were hurting the economy, in contrast to previous price slides that were supportive of global growth.
A Hamas militant was killed on Tuesday when a tunnel collapsed in the Gaza Strip, the group said, in the fourth such incident over the past few weeks. The death brings to 11 the number of Gazans killed in four separate collapses since January 26, and comes with Israeli concern building over the reconstruction of tunnels it says could be used for attacks. Israel's military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot said Tuesday that militant tunnels in Gaza were now the army's main priority.
Syrian Kurdish separatists on Wednesday opened a representation in Moscow amid a push by the Kremlin to have them included in Syria peace talks despite Turkey's objections. "This is a historical moment for the Kurdish people," Merab Shamoyev, chairman of the International Union of Kurdish Public Associations, said at the ceremony in an industrial neighbourhood in southeast Moscow. "Russia is a great power and an important actor in the Middle East.
Mumbai, Feb 9 (IANS) Filmmaker Divya Khosla Kumar, who feels that her marriage to T-Series head honcho Bhushan Kumar was part of her destiny and a matter of "soul connection", says her new directorial "Sanam Re" has many elements which she has picked from her personal life. "I believe in soul connection and was meant to marry Bhushan (Kumar). My destiny got me here, not my work and that's what I call soul connection," Divya said in an interview.
Mumbai, Feb 10 (IANS) Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan are praying for the recovery of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, the soldier who was rescued from under an avalanche on the Siachen glacier, in what many have called a 'miracle'.
Baghdad, Feb 10 (IANS) The Iraqi security forces fought fierce clashes with Islamic State militants and retook control of the eastern part of the city of Ramadi, while the troops seized a road linking the city to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the military said on Tuesday. The troops and allied paramilitary Sunni tribal fighters recaptured several areas in eastern Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's western province of Anbar, including the districts of Sajjariyah and Juwaiba, and rushed into Huseiba al-Sharqiya area, the military said in a statement, Xinhua reported. "Our forces are advancing firmly to chase the enemy, and have opened the highway between Ramadi and Baghdad which passes through the town of Khaldiyah, the statement said, referring to the road that also links Ramadi with the military airbase of Habbaniyah where US troops and allied coalition military personnel stationed.
Jakarta, Feb 9 (IANS) An Indonesian court on Tuesday began handing down sentences for seven men accused of supporting the Islamic State (IS) terror group. Another defendant, Aprimul Hendry, was handed a three-year jail term for facilitating the travel of Indonesians to Syria, while Ahmad Junaedi also received three-year imprisonment for conspiracy and joining military training camps in Syria. Helmi Muhammad Almudi was sentenced to three-and-half years in jail for training at a military camp in Syria for two weeks.
Mumbai, Feb 9 (IANS) Continuing his expose on the role of Pakistan-based terror organisations, its army, the ISI and others, LeT terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley on Tuesday described how he was assigned to gather military intelligence in India and recruit spies from the Indian army. On the second day of his deposition through videoconferencing from a US jail before the special TADA court here, he said he was tasked with luring spies from the Indian Army to work for Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). In his response to questions posed by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, Headley admitted to working both for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the ISI.
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9 (IANS) The Kerala assembly was adjourned for the day on Tuesday following some remarks made by leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan about the family members of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy with regard to the 'solar scam'. The senior CPI-M leader made the remarks, leading to protests from the treasury benches, after Speaker N. Sakthan disallowed an adjournment motion moved by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, another legislator from CPI-M, to discuss the latest revelations in the scam. Trouble started after Achuthanandan linked Saritha Nair, the second accused in the solar scam, with the family members of Chandy.
Separate trials have opened in the United Arab Emirates of three men accused of links to Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement and 23 others for ties to Al-Qaeda, newspapers reported Tuesday. The three Lebanese men charged with "forming and managing a group linked to Hezbollah without obtaining a permit" appeared Monday before Abu Dhabi's state security, Emarat al-Youm newspaper said. Al-Ittihad daily said one of the men is a Canadian citizen and that representatives of his country's consulate attended the hearing, during which all three defendants denied the charges.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party's Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, following a video clip that showed his minister's involvement in a bribe demand. "Kejriwal should resign on moral grounds. Seven MLAs of AAP have gone to the jail and approximately 32 (AAP) people have criminal cases against them, what kind of government is this," Upadhyay said, talking to IANS.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for the efforts the Kingdom has exerted in assisting coalition forces against Daesh. Speaking to reporters following talks with Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir held at the headquarters of the State Department in Washington, Kerry said: “Let me thank King Salman and Saudi Arabia for the strenuous efforts they have made in assisting coalition forces against Daesh and their being prepared to include their troops as part of the coalition.
Lucknow, Feb 9 (IANS) The BJP on Tuesday demanded that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sack his minister Azam Khan for his "baseless allegations" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi met underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan. Azam Khan, the state parliamentary affairs minister, has alleged that during his brief stopover in Pakistan in December last year, Modi held a closed door meeting with Dawood Ibrahim at the residence of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore.
Rabat, Feb 11 (IANS) Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar said on Wednesday that his country supports Saudi Arabia against any interference in its internal affairs. "We reiterate our full support of Saudi Arabia against any interference in its internal affairs," Xinhua quoted Mezouar as saying during a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel bin Ahmad Al-Jubeir. Mezouar said Morocco also stands with Saudi Arabia against the growing threats that undermine peace and stability in the Gulf region, and "firmly rejects any use of sectarianism as a tactic to interfere in Gulf countries' affairs".
With five more people charged with spying for Iran, the number of the alleged espionage network members has gone up to 32, Makkah daily reported on Monday. According to informed sources, the Criminal Court in Riyadh has received the list of charges against the accused from the Bureau of Investigations and Public Prosecution.
OPEC pointed to a larger oil supply surplus on the world market this year than previously thought as Saudi Arabia and other members pump more oil, making up for losses in non-member producers hurt by the collapse in prices. OPEC's extra barrels come as the group expects the pace of oil demand growth to slow down in 2016, and more than offset a forecast of a slightly larger than expected supply contraction from non-OPEC producers.
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period isn't the only time to buy Medigap coverage. You can actually buy at any time of the year.
Devastated by 20 months of combat between regime forces and rebel fighters, the haunting ruins of the Old City of Homs now serve as inspiration for some Syrian artists. In summer 2014, director Joud Said decided to set his film "It's Raining in Homs" in the ruins, just three months after the last rebels left the area under a truce deal following a lengthy siege. "But when the agreement (with the rebels) happened, we moved everything to Homs, with the real backdrop and real tragedy," said the 35-year-old director.
The United Arab Emirates is likely to ratify a law by the end of this year that will allow the federal government to issue bonds, after which the UAE would issue about 80 billion to 100 billion dirhams ($22 billion to $27 billion) worth of debt, a senior finance ministry official said. "I expect the law to be ratified in six to nine months," Younis al-Khouri, under-secretary at the ministry, told Al Arabiya television on Tuesday. The seven individual emirates in the UAE issue bonds, but the federal government has not done so in the absence of such a law, which has been in preparation for years.
New Delhi/Kathmandu, Feb 9 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will lead an all-party delegation from India for the funeral of former Nepal prime minister Sushil Koirala who died early on Tuesday in Kathmandu, an official said. EAM @SushmaSwaraj to lead all party delegation for funeral of former PM Sushil Koirala," external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a tweet. In Kathmandu, officials told IANS that Sushma Swaraj will land at 5 p.m. (Nepali time) and will fly back to New Delhi later in the evening.
(Adds quote, details) ABU DHABI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Egypt's state grain buyer GASC said government statements made on Sunday should be enough to end the confusion over its import policy on the wheat fungus ergot, but traders said they would need to see written documents before bidding in any new tender. Egypt, the world's largest wheat buyer, has in recent weeks sent contradictory messages about whether or not it would accept wheat shipments with any presence of ergot. In a bid to win back confidence, the ministries of supply and agriculture held a joint press conference on Sunday assuring suppliers their wheat shipments can contain up to 0.05 percent of ergot, a common global standard GASC traditionally used in its import tender specifications.
Abu Dhabi, Feb 10 (IANS/WAM) The cooperation between India and the UAE in the energy sector is expected to grow following the visit to India of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, beginning Wednesday. The visit comes six months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to strengthen bilateral ties and increase investments between the two countries.
South Korea announced on Wednesday it would completely shut down all operations at a jointly run industrial park in North Korea to punish Pyongyang for its latest rocket launch and nuclear test. WHAT IS KAESONG? Kaesong is formally labelled as a special administrative industrial region of North Korea.
Last Friday was a glorious day for cricket in the UAE. At the Dubai International stadium, cricket fans witnessed a brilliant exhibition of left-arm pace bowling from Mohammad Amir who produced the first hat-trick in the Pakistan Super League. Not far away at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Virender Sehwag was at his aggressive best and cracked a breezy century in the Masters Champions League (MCL).
(Repeats Tuesday item) * Namazi was left behind in U.S.-Iran prisoner swap * Prisoner advocated U.S.-Iran rapprochement through business * Dubai-based executive may be pawn in Iran power struggle By Paul Taylor BRUSSELS, Feb 9 (Reuters) - When Iran and the United States sealed the implementation of a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme with a prisoner exchange last month, Siamak Namazi was among the detainees some expected to be freed by the Iranian authorities. The businessman with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship was on a list of four prisoners to be released published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency and the Tabnak website on the day of the swap, Jan. 16. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters the following day he had commitments from Iran that Namazi's case would be resolved.
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.
* Says U.S. stance turning region into "sea of blood" * Says Turkey should respond with own proposed solution * U.S. envoy summoned over support for Syrian Kurds * Turkish army says soldier killed in clash with Kurds (Adds Erdogan comments on safe zone) By Daren Butler ISTANBUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan upbraided the United States for its support of Syrian Kurdish rebels on Wednesday, saying Washington's inability to grasp their true nature had turned the region into a "sea of blood". Turkey should respond by implementing its own solution, he said, alluding to the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria - something Ankara has long wanted but a proposal that has failed to resonate with the United States and other NATO allies.
Egypt's stock market fell more than 2 percent in early trade on Tuesday, following global shares lower, while Riyadh's index slipped as local traders cashed out of speculative shares. Egypt's main index tumbled 2.1 percent. Palm Hills Development was down 3.0 percent and was the most heavily traded stock, after the real estate developer posted strong quarterly earnings early this week.
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the leftist ideology was obsolete and Kerala's development was not possible with an ideology that belonged to the last century. Kerala cannot be built by a vision of the previous century," Rahul Gandhi said at a function held at the conclusion of a statewide yatra of Congress state unit president V.M. Sudheeran at Shangumukham beach here. Launching the election campaign of Kerala's ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front, Rahul Gandhi attacked both the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party and praised the Oommen Chandy government in the state.
Pune, Feb 9 (IANS) The following is the scoreboard of the first T20 International between India and Sri Lanka which was played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Tuesday.
Long seen as a destination strewn with shortcomings, Iran is making a fresh pitch for tourists, with the recent lifting of economic sanctions providing an opportunity to cash in. The tourism industry has been overlooked by successive governments in Tehran but the deal Iran struck with world powers over its nuclear programme last summer could change that. Along with nine companions including Americans and Germans, China-based Frenchman Yannick Lequelenec said he aims to make "one unique journey" every year.
Five years after being ousted after a mass uprising, Egypt's ex-president Hosni Mubarak is in a military hospital suite and his clan has been nearly rehabilitated under an even more repressive regime. Mubarak stepped down on February 11, 2011 after 18 days of street protests against the police abuses and corruption that marred the Arab world's largest country during 30 years of Mubarak rule. The groups say that Sisi, who as then army chief ousted freely elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, has installed a regime which is more repressive than Mubarak's, crushing all opposition.
Pro-Kremlin Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has claimed spies from his region of Russia are being sent to infiltrate the Islamic State group and assist Moscow in its bombing campaign in Syria. Kadyrov, who has led the North Caucasus region of Chechnya since 2007, made the claims in a preview of a documentary set to air on state television on Wednesday. The documentary claims that "agents from special forces from Chechnya were embedded" in IS training camps to collect intelligence and help identify targets for Russian air strikes.
(Repeats to add reporting credit) LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have banned Iranian-flagged vessels from entering their waters and imposed other shipping restrictions, according to ship insurers citing local reports, potentially escalating tensions between Tehran and Riyadh. Iran has been struggling to ramp up oil exports and still faces insurance and financing hurdles despite the lifting of international curbs on its banking, insurance and shipping sectors last month as part of a nuclear deal with world powers. A ban on Iranian ships in those ports is unlikely to affect international trade, although the uncertainty will add to trade hiccups for Iran.
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).
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday called on Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, soon after he arrived here on a three-day visit. EAM @SushamSwaraj calls on Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Al Nahyan," external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted with pictures of the two leaders. Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke protocol as he received the crown prince on his arrival here.
The deal between world powers and Iran has delayed Tehran's acquisition of nuclear weapons by 10 to 15 years, the head of a top defence think-tank told AFP on Tuesday. The agreement struck in Vienna in July between Iran and the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5 plus one) sees sanctions progressively lifted in return for Tehran ensuring its nuclear programme remains for civilian use. "2015 was by and large a decent year for news on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," said John Chipman, the director-general and chief executive of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said Wednesday he had lost an appeal against his exclusion from elections for the powerful Assembly of Experts. "Based on news we have received, Sayyad Hassan Khomeini's qualification for candidacy for the Assembly of Experts has once again not been approved by the Guardian Council," he wrote on instant messaging service Telegram. The Guardian Council, a conservative-dominated committee that decides who can run for public office, has barred hundreds of candidates from standing for the assembly on February 26, the same day as parliamentary polls.
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday that Russia's aerial bombardment of Syrian opposition targets could derail efforts to re-start talks to end the country's brutal civil war. Kerry and his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are due in Munich on Thursday to host a meeting of a 17-nation contact group designed to get the talks back on track. "There is no question, and I have said this before publicly, that Russia's activities in Aleppo and in the region right now are making it much more difficult to be able to come to the table and to be able to have a serious conversation," Kerry said.