Middle East News

  • Singapore kicks out Swiss bank linked to Malaysia's 1MDB

    Singapore's central bank on Tuesday said it was kicking out Switzerland's BSI Bank, which has been linked to a global money-laundering scandal that has embroiled neighbouring Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. In the toughest legal action so far in the crisis rocking Malaysian state fund 1MDB,…

    AFP
  • Greece starts evacuating squalid Idomeni migrant camp

    Hundreds of Greek police on Tuesday began clearing the squalid Idomeni camp, a migrant flashpoint on the Macedonia border where thousands of people have been camped out for more than three months. The overcrowded camp packed with desperate refugees and migrants has become a potent symbol of the…

    AFP
  • Oil riches help keep alive bedouin poetry

    The Middle East's poetry equivalent of "Pop Idol" is helping to keep alive an age-old tradition using bedouin dialect, which is barely understood outside the Arabian Gulf. Apart from the glory, a Kuwaiti student took home five million dirhams ($1.36 million), the top prize in a television show…

    AFP
  • IS blasts in Syria regime heartland kill more than 148

    More than 148 people were killed in bombings claimed by the Islamic State group in northwestern Syria, the deadliest attacks to date in the regime's coastal heartland. Seven near-simultaneous explosions targeted bus stations, hospitals and other civilian sites in the seaside cities of Jableh and…

    AFP
  • The Latest: UN says 50,000 civilians in Fallujah at risk

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on a violent day in the Middle East, with deadly bombings in Syria and Yemen and the start of an Iraqi government offensive to retake the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State group (all times local):

    Associated Press
  • Gaza cement deliveries resume after Israel lifts ban

    Private cement deliveries to the Gaza Strip resumed on Monday after Israel lifted a six-week ban it imposed over the alleged diversion of materials by an official in the Palestinian territory. Israel imposed the ban in early April in the territory run by Islamist movement Hamas which is still…

    AFP
  • Greece to intensify evacuation of squalid migrant border camp

    Greece said Monday it will step up efforts to clear the squalid camp of Idomeni where over 8,400 migrants remain on the border with Macedonia after braving a winter in vain hope of being allowed through to Europe. "The transfer of refugees trapped at Idomeni to hospitality areas probably begins…

    AFP
  • Pope and top imam embrace in historic Vatican meeting

    Pope Francis embraced the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican on Monday in a historic encounter both sides hope will lead to greater understanding and dialogue between the two faiths. The first Vatican meeting between the leader of the world's Catholics and the highest authority…

    AFP
  • Could UAE solar push lead a trend for the Gulf?

    By Saket S. DUBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As the Gulf states take steps to expand their use of clean energy, a bold plan by the United Arab Emirates to boost its use of renewable electricity from less than 1 percent to 24 percent in the next five years could be a game-changer for the…

    Reuters
  • Pope meets top Egyptian cleric, ending five-year freeze in relations

    Pope Francis met on Monday the grand imam of Egypt's highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, looking to heal Vatican relations with the influential center of Sunni Muslim learning after dialogue was frozen five years ago. The 1,000-year-old mosque and university center cut contacts with the Vatican…

    Reuters
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  • Official: Iran to try to 'speed up' held Lebanese man's case

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran "will try to speed up" the case involving a detained U.S. permanent resident who advocates Internet freedom, an official said Monday, making the first government acknowledgement of the man's detention.

    Associated Press
  • Greece 'eyes evacuation of Idomeni border camp Tuesday'

    Greece is planning a police operation early Tuesday to evacuate the squalid migrant camp of Idomeni on its border with Macedonia, a report said Monday. Citing police sources, Greek TV station Mega said police reinforcements had been dispatched from Athens to help relocate 8,500 people from the…

    AFP
  • Hospitals a deadly target in Middle East conflicts

    BEIRUT (AP) — As one of the few pediatricians remaining in the Syrian city of Aleppo, Dr. Mohammed Wassim Maaz offered hope to tens of thousands of children and their parents trapped in the horror and misery of the five-year civil war. But last month, an airstrike widely believed to have been…

    Associated Press
  • Austria sends more police to patrol Brenner border area

    Austria is sending 80 more police and support staff to boost patrols around the Alpine Brenner pass and catch rising numbers of unregistered migrants coming in from Italy, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said on Sunday. "It appears that here and there migrants are getting through at the…

    Reuters
  • The Latest: Pakistan informed of drone hit on Taliban leader

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike (all times local):

    Associated Press
  • Mansour's brief reign as chief marked by turmoil

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour's brief rule, which ended with his death in a drone strike, was marked by mistrust and strife.

    Associated Press
  • Islamic State group leader urges attacks in Europe and US

    CAIRO (AP) — An Islamic State group spokesman has urged sympathizers in Europe and the U.S. to launch attacks on civilians there if they are unable to travel to the group's self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

    Associated Press
  • Merkel to discuss Turkish parliament immunity vote with Erdogan

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would raise the Turkish parliament's vote to strip its members of immunity when she meets President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, voicing disquiet at a measure likely meant to sideline the pro-Kurdish opposition. Merkel is facing accusations at home that she…

    Reuters
  • Green hopes as Australia legalises medical cannabis

    Jai Whitelaw was 10 when he first took medical cannabis, given to him by his mother in a bid to treat the debilitating epilepsy that saw him endure up to 500 seizures a day. Faced with the stark choice of breaking the law in the hope of soothing his chronic pain, or denying him possible relief,…

    AFP