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

6 days agoAFP
  • Planned ‘North Thunder’ a clear message to Tehran

    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.

    • Arab News
  • Halep gets wildcard for Dubai

    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.

    • Gulf News
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  • Saudi man struggles to fly home his brain dead wife

    A Saudi woman studying in the US has been brain dead for the past 12 days.

    • Saudi Gazette
  • Damascus expects tough but short battle for Aleppo

    * Syria says Saudis cannot bear costs of intervening * Government forces aim to open highway south * Idlib's time will come, says minister By Laila Bassam and Tom Perry DAMASCUS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The Syrian government expects a tough battle for Aleppo, the city that has become the focal point of the country's long civil war, but is confident of victory and says it won't be a long fight. Damascus aims to seal the border with Turkey, a major sponsor of the insurgents fighting President Bashar al-Assad, and to retake rebel-held areas of what was Syria's biggest city and industrial hub before the conflict began in 2011. "These battles are not easy, but the day will come, God willing, when all Aleppo - its rural areas and the occupied part of the city - will return to state authority," Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said in an interview on Wednesday.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Saudi's three mobile operators in talks to create tower company -report

    By Katie Paul RIYADH, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's three telecom operators are in talks to create a company to own and manage their mobile transmitter towers in a move that could cut costs and lower tariffs in the kingdom, a Saudi financial news website reported on Wednesday. Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) in November said it was considering selling its towers, most likely to a tower company which would lease these back to the seller.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • West's advantage in military tech 'eroding': think-tank

    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".

    • AFP
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  • India, UAE energy ties to grow as Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed visits India

    The cooperation between India and the UAE in the energy sector is expected to grow following the three-day visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India on Wednesday. The visit comes six months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the UAE to strengthen bilateral ties and increase investments between the two countries.

    • Gulf News
  • OPEC points to larger oil surplus in 2016 as it pumps more

    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.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Qatar says six workers hurt building World Cup venues

    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.

    • AFP
  • Sidharth Malhotra to spend Valentine's Day with Katrina Kaif

    Mumbai, Feb 10 (IANS) Actor Sidharth Malhotra says he doesn't have any special plans for Valentine's Day and will be working on his film "Baar Baar Dekho" with Katrina Kaif. At the trailer launch of his film "Kapoor and Sons", Sidharth was asked how he intended to celebrate Valentine's Day. "As of now, I'll be travelling and shooting for 'Baar Baar Dekho', so sadly with the whole crew," he said.

    • IANS
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  • Israel plans to encircle itself with security fences

    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.

    • IANS
  • Syrian Kurds open Moscow office, amid Kremlin push

    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.

    • AFP
  • UAE-aided Mangaluru strategic oil storage to be ready soon

    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.

    • IANS
  • Sting operation: BJP seeks Kejriwal's resignation

    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.

    • IANS
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  • Attacks keep millions away from famed Egypt tourist sites

    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.

    • AFP
  • In 'zeal for unity', Indian, Pakistani filmmakers to bridge divide

    New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) In the midst of political controversies between India and Pakistan, six Indian directors including Aparna Sen, Tanuja Chandra and Ketan Mehta and six Pakistani directors of the likes of Mehreen Jabbar, Sabiha Sumar and Meenu Farjad are coming together on a common platform for an apolitical exchange to mark the onset of the 70th year of the country's Partition. After the launch of Zindagi channel which brought Pakistan's TV content closer to Indians in 2014, Zeal For Unity (ZFU) is the second initiative by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) to use the strength of creative thought leadership from both the countries to bridge the divide between the two.

    • IANS
  • US, allies target North Korea finances after rocket test

    The United States and its Asian allies tightened the economic screws on North Korea Thursday with the US Senate adopting fresh sanctions and South Korean firms abandoning a joint industrial park that helped fund Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme. The unilateral moves, which also included Japanese sanctions, came with UN Security Council members still stalled on how far to go in punishing the North for its latest nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. Following Seoul's surprise decision to shut down the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea, hundreds of South Korean trucks crossed the border Thursday morning to retrieve finished goods and equipment from the factories there.

    • AFP
  • Iraqi forces recapture eastern part of Ramadi

    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.

    • IANS
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  • 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
  • Mauritius backs Kingdom’s tough action against Iran

    The Kingdom’s decision to sever ties with Iran following attacks on its diplomatic missions in Tehran and other cities is a sovereign act aimed at preserving its security and stability, Vice-Prime Minister of Mauritius Showkutally Soodhun has said. Talking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette during his recent visit to the Kingdom, Soodhun said Saudi Arabia’s decisive action was aimed at stopping Iran’s intervention in the internal affairs of other countries and putting an end to its aggressive policies. “Iran is known for its intervention in the affairs of the Arab and Islamic countries.

    • Saudi Gazette
  • Minorities panel seeks action against BJP leader for 'hate speech'

    Lucknow, Feb 10 (IANS) Following a complaint and an internal probe, the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has held the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for Deoband assembly by-polls in Uttar Pradesh guilty of making a hate speech with the aim of dividing the voters on religious lines. Social activist Shehzaad Poonawalla had made a complaint before the minorities panel seeking action against Rampal Singh Pundir for his inflammatory speech. The panel will now contact Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, vide a letter seeking action against Pundir, an official said.

    • IANS
  • Duo accused of swindling man of Dh130,000 for visas

    The complainant paid them Dh85,000 on that day and it was the last time he ever heard from them. A businessman and his friend, both Pakistanis, have been charged with fraud for allegedly swindling a compatriot man of Dh130,000 after assuring him that they could process 25 residence visas for him. The 39-year-old businessman, M.S., allegedly claimed to the complainant that he owned a company.

    • Khaleej Times
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  • Warning of Islamic State's tentacles spreading to South Asia

    United Nations, Feb 10 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned of the danger of the Islamic State spreading its tentacles to South Asia through organisations like the Tehreek-e-Khilafat in Pakistan and called for international action against the grave threat. The Islamic State now controls swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, but Ban said, "The recent expansion of the ISIL sphere of influence across West and North Africa, the Middle East and South and South-East Asia demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months." "In Afghanistan and Pakistan, ISIL continues to develop a network of contacts and sympathisers who carry out attacks in its name," Ban said.

    • IANS
  • OPEC points to larger oil surplus in 2016, says low prices hurting economy

    * 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.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Sushma calls on Abu Dhabi crown prince

    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.

    • IANS
  • Kurds, allies seize most of key air base in north Syria: monitor

    Kurdish forces backed by Arab rebel groups on Wednesday seized most of a key military airport and the adjacent town in northern Syria from rival anti-government factions, a monitoring group said. The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and its Arab allies expelled Islamist and other rebel fighters from the town of Minnigh and overran "more than half" of the nearby air base, north of Syria's second city Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Clashes were ongoing inside the airport, where Islamist rebels were trying to maintain a grip on the last military air base they hold in Aleppo province, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

    • AFP
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  • Syrians recount 'hell' of Aleppo life under air strikes

    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.

    • AFP
  • Turkey's Erdogan chastises U.S. over support for Syrian Kurds

    * 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.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Banners and selfies as Iranians mark revolution anniversary

    Iranians waved "Death to America" banners and took selfies with a ballistic missile Thursday as they marked 37 years since the Islamic revolution, weeks after Iran finalised a nuclear deal with world powers. In the capital, hundreds of thousands converged on the historic Azadi (Freedom) Square, where President Hassan Rouhani was set to make a speech. Many demonstrators carried the traditional placards reading "Death to America" ​​and "Death to Israel" while others carried the Iranian flag.

    • AFP
  • Khomeini's grandson fails with Iran election appeal

    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.

    • AFP
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  • India, UAE energy ties to grow following Sheikh Mohamed's visit

    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.

    • IANS
  • Kerry: Russian bombs hurting Syria peace talks

    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.

    • AFP
  • U.S.-Iranian businessman's jailing sends chilling message to investors

    (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.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Erdogan lambasts US over support for Syrian Kurds

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday launched a bitter attack on NATO ally the United States over its support of Syrian Kurdish groups, saying it was creating a "pool of blood" in the region. In an impassioned and sometimes angry address, Erdogan asked whether the United States was an ally or was working with groups Ankara lists as terror organisations. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia to be terror groups allied to Kurdish rebels inside Turkey, a position not shared by Washington.

    • AFP
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  • Abu Dhabi crown prince pays tribute at Rajghat

    New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS/WAM) Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is on a three-day visit to India, on Thursday visited Rajghat and laid a wreath at the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Sheikh Mohamed, who observed a minute's silence in respect, also planted a sapling at the site and watered a tree that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had planted on a visit to India. "The world is in much need today for the principles and values that Gandhi lived by," Sheikh Mohamed wrote in the guestbook.

    • IANS
  • Iran hopes high turn-out in parliamentary elections

    Tehran, Feb 10 (IANS) Iran's high legislative body has reversed disqualification of hundreds of candidates for imminent parliamentary elections and expects a large number of people would participate in the parliamentary elections later this month, an Iranian Interior Ministry official announced here on Tuesday. The qualification of more than 1,500 candidates, already rejected by the Guardian Council of Constitution, was reconsidered and now they can run for parliamentary elections slated for February 26, the deputy Interior Minister, Hossein-Ali Amiri said, Xinhua reported.

    • IANS
  • UAE, India pacts to boost partnership in new areas

    The UAE and India are set to unveil a series of new agreements which will strengthen their strategic partnership in new areas, a top Indian official said, as His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, began a three-day official visit to India on Wednesday. The memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that will be signed between the two countries range from infrastructure investment, cooperation between financial and insurance agencies and renewable energy to cyber security, forging stronger cultural links and exchange of skill sets, Anil Wadhwa, Secretary East, Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said on Wednesday.

    • Gulf News
  • Iran seeks tourism millions as nuclear chill ends

    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.

    • AFP
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  • Russia, pressed to end Syria bombing, proposes March truce

    (Releads with Security Council meeting, Syrian minister, reports from aid workers) * Kerry seeking ceasefire, access for aid * Major powers meeting in Munich on Thursday * Little hope of breakthrough * Source says Russia pushing for battlefield victory * Syria says no halt to offensive By Michelle Nichols, Tom Perry and Humeyra Pamuk UNITED NATIONS/DAMASCUS/ONCUPINAR, Turkey, Feb 10 (Reuters) - W orld powers pressed Russia on Wednesday to stop bombing around Aleppo in support of a Syrian government offensive to recapture the city and a Western official said Moscow had presented a proposal envisaging a truce in three weeks' time. Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing for a ceasefire and more aid access to Aleppo, where rebel-held areas are being cut off and the United Nations has warned a new humanitarian disaster could be on the way.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • UN fears for hundreds of thousands if Syria troops encircle Aleppo

    (Adds details of Damascus suicide attack) * Government assault on Aleppo could cut off civilians-U.N. * Estimates 300,000 civilians still live in city * Urges Turkey to let in more refugees * Turkey says up to a million could flee if fighting goes on * Suicide bombing in Damascus kills three - SANA By Stephanie Nebehay, Tom Perry and Humeyra Pamuk GENEVA/DAMASCUS/ONCUPINAR, Turkey, Feb 9 (Reuters) - H undreds of thousands of civilians could be cut off from food if Syrian government forces encircle rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the United Nations said on Tuesday, warning of a new exodus of refugees fleeing a Russian-backed assault. The army aims to secure the border with Turkey and recover control of Aleppo, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters, adding that she did not expect diplomacy to succeed while foreign states maintain support for insurgents.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • President greets Iran on 37th anniversary of Islamic revolution

    New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday greeted the Iranian government and its people on the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in their country. "On behalf of the government and the people of India and on my own behalf, it is with great pleasure that I convey warm greetings and best wishes to Your Excellency and to the government and people of Iran on the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran," the president said. The president extended his greetings in a message to his Iranian counterpart Dr Hassan Rouhani.

    • IANS
  • US climate change ruling raises doubts in India, China: NYT

    Washington, Feb 11 (IANS) The US Supreme Court's surprise decision to halt President Barack Obama's climate change regulation could imperil the Paris accord and raise doubts in India and China about US commitments, according to the New York Times. The Paris Agreement committing every country to combating climate change, had as a cornerstone Obama's assurance that the US would carry out strong, legally sound policies to significantly cut carbon emissions, the influential US daily noted. "But in the capitals of India and China, two of the world's largest polluters, climate change policy experts said the Supreme Court decision threw the American commitment into question, and possibly New Delhi's and Beijing's, too," it said.

    • IANS
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  • Kuwait backs alliances against Islamic State, but no troops

    * Kuwait says constitution limits armed role * Saudi Arabia, UAE ready to offer troops * IS claimed bombing of Kuwait mosque * Internal security has been tightened (Adds quote from constitution, context) By Sylvia Westall DUBAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Kuwait backs international efforts against hardline Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria although the Gulf Arab state's constitution prevents it from fighting in anything but defensive wars, a senior Kuwaiti official said. Kuwait, a U.S. ally and neighbour of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, is part of a 34-nation alliance announced by Riyadh in December aimed at countering Islamic State and al Qaeda in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • BJP seeks Kejriwal's resignation over HC's raid order

    New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) The BJP on Wednesday sought Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's resignation after the Delhi High Court set aside a trial court order to the CBI to release documents seized during a raid at the state secretariat. In an order on Wednesday, Justice P.S. Teji said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will retain the documents seized by it during a raid at the office of Rajendra Kumar, principal secretary to Kejriwal, on December 15, last year. "The Bharatiya Janata Party welcomes the high court decision.

    • IANS
  • Kerry lauds KSA fight against terror

    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.

    • Arab News
  • COLUMN-Saudi reform efforts wax and wane with oil revenues: Kemp

    "The upcoming period needs the private sector to assume part of the responsibility which has up until now been carried by the state," he told his fellow leaders from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The words could have come from Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who spoke about the need for economic reform in a lengthy interview with the Economist newspaper on Jan. 4, 2016. In fact they were spoken almost two decades earlier by Crown Prince Abdullah, the kingdom's de facto regent, at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit held in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 8, 1998.

    • Reuters Middle East
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  • Obama proposes $4.1 trillion spending plan in final budget

    Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) US President Barack Obama on Tuesday laid out his final budget proposal, seeking $4.1 trillion of spending plan for the fiscal year 2017. The budget proposal highlights Obama's priorities for fighting climate change, helping the poor, increasing taxes for the wealthy, and strengthening national security, Xinhua reported. The budget plan envisions a deficit of $503 billion in fiscal year 2017, lower than the $616 billion of budget gap for current fiscal year which ends on September 30.

    • IANS
  • Pakistan airline workers end strike

    Islamabad, Feb 10 (IANS) Workers of the Pakistan's state-owned airlines announced that they have called off strike against a government privatisation plan after they were invited for talks to listen to their demands. The nearly one-week strike brought the flight operation of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to a complete standstill, affecting thousands of passengers. The government was involved in talks with the leaders of the employees that led to the end of the strike, chairman of employees' Joint Action Committee, Sohail Baloch said in Karachi Tuesday evening.

    • IANS
  • EU's founding members back two-speed Europe

    The six founding members of the European Union on Tuesday reiterated their commitment to "ever closer union", even if it means leaving less enthusiastic partners like Britain behind. London has demanded an opt-out from the "ever closer union" principle enshrined in the EU's treaties as part of reforms it wants to agree before holding a referendum on its membership of the bloc. At informal talks in Rome, the foreign ministers of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands issued a joint communique in which they admitted to being "concerned about the state of the European project".

    • AFP
  • Obama announces action plan to boost US cybersecurity

    Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) US President Barack Obama on Tuesday rolled out a national action plan aimed at taking near-term actions and putting in place a long-term strategy to strengthen the country's cybersecurity. Under Obama's plan, a commission will be created to make recommendations on actions "that can be taken over the next decade to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections throughout the private sector and at all levels of government," the White House said in a statement, Xinhua reported. The commission, comprised of top strategic, business, and technical thinkers from outside of government, including members to be designated by the bi-partisan Congressional leadership, will present a roadmap for future cybersecurity actions to Obama before the end of 2016, just before Obama leaves office.

    • IANS
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  • 34 militants killed in airstrikes in Iraq

    Baghdad, Feb 10 (IANS) At lest 34 Islamic State militants were killed in air strikes by Iraqi and US-led coalition aircraft and artillery shelling in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a provincial security source told Xinhua. The international aircraft carried out an air strike on IS positions in a village near the town of Baghdadi leaving 22 IS militants killed and three of their vehicles destroyed, the source said on condition of anonymity. Separately, 12 IS militants were killed by the army artillery and helicopter gunships bombarded IS positions in Saqlawiyah area, just north of the IS-held city of Fallujah, the source said.

    • IANS
  • Qatar and Pakistan sign '$16 billion' gas deal

    Qatar signed a long-term deal with Pakistan on Wednesday to export liquefied natural gas, according to state media in the Gulf. The deal will see Qatar export up to 3.75 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year, according to Pakistan's petroleum minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The Qatar News Agency (QNA) confirmed the deal had been signed in a statement posted on its website.

    • AFP
  • France, Germany press Brussels on terror funding crackdown

    France and Germany pressed the European Union on Tuesday to speed up plans designed to crack down on the funding of terrorist groups. Paris -- left reeling by two major terror attacks last year -- and Berlin want the plans implemented by June, according to a source at talks between the two governments in the French capital. "We have to accelerate the process," said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin at a press conference with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble.

    • AFP
  • MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets may weaken after fresh oil price plunge

    Stock markets in the Gulf may weaken further on Wednesday after oil prices plunged 8 percent overnight on a gloomy outlook for U.S. and global demand. Brent crude has recovered modestly in early Asian trading on Wednesday, but at just above $31 a barrel it is still uncomfortably low for Gulf stock markets, which have been closely correlated to oil in the last couple of months. United Arab Emirates markets have been outperforming the region because the UAE economy is seen as more diversified and able to withstand a prolonged period of low oil prices.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

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  • Facts about Kaesong joint industrial estate in North Korea

    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.

    • AFP
  • Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation falls to 10.1 pct in Jan

    (Adds analyst, background) CAIRO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Egypt's annual urban consumer inflation fell to 10.1 percent in January from 11.1 percent the previous month, the statistics agency CAMPAS said on Wednesday, after the country raised interest rates and moved to control prices of essential food. The central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points in December, citing inflationary pressure. In November, Egypt's government said it would control prices of 10 essential goods, and the army rolled out trucks to distribute subsidised food.

    • Reuters Middle East
  • Only Congress can defeat Congress in Kerala: Rahul

    Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 10 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday urged party leaders in Kerala to stop fighting among themselves ahead of the assembly polls, saying only "the Congress can defeat the Congress". "The Congress is like a family and can fight (within), but it should not be done (now) as elections are around the corner," he said here. "Only the Congress can defeat the Congress in Kerala.

    • IANS
  • Bulgaria's Irina Bokova enters race for UN leadership

    Bulgaria's foreign ministry on Tuesday formally announced its nomination of UNESCO chief Irina Bokova for UN secretary-general. "The ministry of foreign affairs sent a letter, nominating Mrs Irina Georgieva Bokova for the post of secretary-general of the United Nations," the ministry said in a statement. "Given her background and experience, Mrs Bokova may be one of the top candidates in the upcoming campaign for UN secretary-general," it added.

    • AFP
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  • Trump, Sanders win New Hampshire primaries

    Manchester (US), Feb 10 (IANS) Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders cruised to early victories in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, while Ohio Governor John Kasich is projected to finish second in the GOP race, CNN reported. Multiple Republicans, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, are now battling for a third-place finish. Trump, a brash billionaire reality TV star who has never run for office, and Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, were seen as long-shot outsiders when they launched their campaigns.

    • IANS
  • Iraqi PM calls for major cabinet reshuffle

    (Adds details, context) BAGHDAD, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday he would reshuffle his cabinet to replace ministers appointed on the basis of political affiliations with technocrats. "Out of my responsibility, the greater interest and the requirements of the current period to lead the country to safety, I call for a radical cabinet reshuffle to include professionals, technocrats and academics," Abadi said in a televised speech which focused mainly on economic challenges facing major OPEC oil exporter Iraq. Emboldened last summer by popular protests and a call for action by Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, he unilaterally moved at the time to dismantle the country's patronage system and root out corruption undermining the battle against Islamic State.

    • Reuters Middle East