Middle East News

  • Tests rule out MERS in Czech tour guide

    Tests have ruled out the potentially fatal MERS virus in a Czech tour guide hospitalised in Prague, the health minister said Friday. "Based on laboratory tests on the patient... I can definitely confirm the disease was not MERS," Svatopluk Nemecek told reporters without elaborating. The…

    AFP
  • Thailand's only known MERS patient is virus-free

    BANGKOK (AP) — A 75-year-old Omani man who became Thailand's only known case of the often-deadly MERS virus was declared free of the illness by the Health Ministry on Friday.

    Associated Press
  • A year after Gaza war, southern Israel slowly recovers

    NIRIM, Israel (AP) — On the last day of last summer's Israel-Hamas war, Gadi Yarkoni and two of his closest friends were fixing an electricity line next to the cowshed in their kibbutz in southern Israel that had been damaged by rocket fire from neighboring Gaza.

    Associated Press
  • Report: Saudi king censors TV host, pro-Brotherhood scholar

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A government-linked Saudi news website reported Thursday that King Salman ordered an investigation and trial of a pro-Muslim Brotherhood scholar and a television host after an episode that was critical of his predecessor King Abdullah's policies toward the…

    Associated Press
  • Disillusioned ex-Israeli peace negotiator finds hope online

    TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Four years ago, disillusioned former peace negotiator Uri Savir launched a Facebook group aimed at bringing together moderate voices from Israel and across the Arab world. Now he's celebrating his vision with a near million-strong online movement stretching across the Middle…

    Associated Press
  • S. Korea reports new MERS case after four days of hiatus

    South Korea on Thursday reported two new cases of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, after four days in which no cases were spotted. It brought to 184 the total number of people diagnosed with MERS in the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia. The latest cases…

    AFP
  • A year after war, head of U.N. in Gaza says rebuilding to begin

    By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Robert Turner has no quick and easy answer when asked to name the worst of times in his three years running the United Nation's relief effort in Gaza. It will be hard to rank the worst day," the Canadian diplomat told Reuters as he prepares to leave Gaza,…

    Reuters
  • U.N. refugee agency urges Hungary not to tighten asylum rules

    The U.N. refugee agency urged Hungary on Thursday not to pass a bill aimed at tightening asylum rules, saying the move would make it impossible for Budapest to give sanctuary to anyone fleeing war-stricken countries. Hungary's right-wing government wants to shorten the time frame for screening…

    Reuters
  • UN watchdog chief to Iran as nuclear talks extended

    Talks between Iran and major powers towards a historic nuclear deal are set to intensify Thursday with the head of the UN atomic watchdog due in Tehran, seeking to resolve an impasse over inspecting suspect military sites. "We are working very, very hard and we have some very difficult issues," US…

    AFP
  • The Latest: Cuba embassy plan riles Republican hopefuls

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Cuba will open embassies in their capital cities after more than 50 years of hostilities between the two countries. The latest developments (all times local):

    Associated Press
  • U.S., Cuba restoring diplomatic ties after 54 years

    By Daniel Trotta and Lesley Wroughton HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba formally agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations on July 20, setting up a trip to Havana by John Kerry, who would become the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the country in 70 years. …

    Reuters
  • Syria's Kurds warn Turkey not to intervene militarily

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's main Kurdish party warned Turkey on Wednesday that any military intervention would threaten international peace and said the country's main Kurdish militia is ready to face any "aggression."

    Associated Press
  • After Hungary's fence plan, Serbia says to step up migrant controls

    Serbia will step up efforts to halt illegal immigrants crossing its border from Macedonia, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday, after Hungary announced it would erect a fence on its border with Serbia to stop the migrant flow. Hungary has registered more than 67,000 illegal…

    Reuters
  • Short of cash, U.N. cuts Syria refugees' rations again

    The World Food Programme, running short of cash, will halve the value of food vouchers given to Syrian refugees in Lebanon this month and may cut all help for 440,000 Syrians in Jordan next month, the U.N. agency said on Wednesday. "Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, we are forced yet…

    Reuters
  • HRW urges Gulf states to follow Kuwait on maid rights

    Kuwait's first-ever legislation on the rights of domestic helpers is a "major step" that other Gulf states should follow, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. Kuwaiti authorities should rigorously implement the law, passed last week, and address remaining legal and policy gaps that discriminate…

    AFP
  • Year into Sisi's power, Egyptians lament persistent hardships

    By Yara Bayoumy CAIRO (Reuters) - After a year in power, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's aura of invincibility may be fading as he comes under closer scrutiny from a public growing impatient with the same social inequalities that triggered a mass uprising in 2011. To be sure, Sisi is…

    Reuters
  • Russia-US ties alive and well at Iran nuclear talks

    VIENNA (AP) — Russia-U.S. relations are at a post-Cold War low just about everywhere, except at the Iran nuclear talks.

    Associated Press
  • Islamic State threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza

    Islamic State insurgents threatened on Tuesday to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organization that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement. The video statement, issued from an Islamic State…

    Reuters
  • Yemen fighting allows 1,200 prisoners to flee

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Some 1,200 inmates fled a prison in Yemen on Tuesday after guards deserted their posts amid fierce fighting between Shiite rebels and their opponents, officials said.

    Associated Press