Middle East News

  • Pope urges 'tenderness' as millions celebrate Christmas

    Pope Francis led Christmas Eve mass in the Vatican calling for "tenderness" and "warmth" after a violence-plagued year as millions of Christians began marking the holiday. The Argentine pontiff's brief homily was replete with Gospel references in his Christmas Eve mass, broadcast live in 3D for…

    AFP9 mins ago
  • International 'tragedy' on Europe's brutal African borders

    Just across the sea from the sunny tourist beaches of southern Spain where many Europeans spend their Christmas holidays, a violent crisis is intensifying on Europe's borders with Africa. Every week, hundreds of Africans try to scramble over the high fences that encircle Ceuta and Melilla, two…

    AFP11 mins ago
  • Faithful flock to Bethlehem for Christmas

    BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Several thousand Christian pilgrims on Wednesday flocked to the biblical town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, lifting spirits after a year of conflict and failed peace efforts.

    Associated Press
  • Oman promises 'true' Arabia as it looks to boost tourism

    From desert camping to luxury hotels, turtle-watching, and even the Arabian Peninsula's first Italian-style opera house, Oman is hoping to carve out a place on the global tourist track. "Oman reflects the true Arabian history and culture," said Amina al-Balushi, an assistant director with the…

  • Search is on for diplomatic solution to Syria war

    BEIRUT (AP) — The search for a negotiated settlement to the Syrian civil war is gaining steam, as President Bashar Assad's forces feel increasingly squeezed on the battlefield and Islamic extremist groups proliferate across the region.

    Associated Press
  • OPEC will not cut output even at $20 a barrel: Saudi

    OPEC will not cut oil production even if the price drops to $20 a barrel and it is unfair to expect the cartel to reduce output if non-members do not, Saudi Arabia said. "Whether it goes down to $20 a barrel, $40, $50, $60, it is irrelevant," the kingdom's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said in an…

  • France steps up patrols after spate of lone-wolf attacks

    PARIS (Reuters) - French security forces stepped up security in public places for the Christmas season on Tuesday after three acts of violence in three days left one dead and 30 wounded, reigniting fears of attacks by Islamist radicals. Late on Monday, a man rammed a van into a crowded Christmas…

  • For gay Syrians, jihadist threat adds new fear

    Since jihadists from the Islamic State group seized control of two northeastern Syrian provinces, Jad has lost all contact with friends there from the country's tight-knit gay community. The 32-year-old, part of a community that has long suffered from persecution in socially conservative Syria,…

  • Build greener to tackle climate change, Arab cities urged

    By Dina Zayed CAIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Cities in the Arab region should introduce stronger standards for green building and promote sustainable communities if they are to have a chance of tackling climate change, experts say. The United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT)…

  • Pope pens letter to comfort, encourage Mideast Christians

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is urging Mideast Christians to remain in the land of Christ's birth, despite the "previously unimaginable" attacks against them by Muslim extremists.

    Associated Press
  • International journalist deaths soar in 2014: press watchdog

    The gruesome murders of foreign journalists by the Islamic State group contributed to 2014 being a particularly deadly year for international correspondents, an annual review by the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Tuesday. The CPJ study found that an "unusually high proportion" of the 60…

  • Veteran Essebsi wins Tunisia's first free presidential vote

    By Patrick Markey and Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - Veteran Tunisian politician Beji Caid Essebsi won the country's first free presidential election in the final step of a transition to democracy after an uprising that ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. Essebsi, a former Ben Ali…

  • Oil markets face uncertain future as OPEC targets competitors

    Abu Dhabi (AFP) - The determination of powerful Gulf OPEC members to stifle competition from new oil producers has left the global energy market reeling and sparked unprecedented uncertainty, officials and experts say.

  • AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from the Middle East

    In the Middle East and the wider region this past week, Taliban gunmen attacked a school in Peshawer, Pakistan, killing 148 people —most of them children — in what was one of the country's deadliest attacks in years. In the days that followed, families buried the victims of the massacre, residents…

    Associated Press
  • Morocco's transgender dancer courts acceptance

    CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — It was a slow night on the red carpet at the opening of the Marrakech film festival for the photographers and everyone was complaining over the lack of celebrities.

    Associated Press
  • Jordan hangs 11 men after eight-year death penalty moratorium

    Human rights groups took Jordan to task on Sunday as the country ended an eight-year moratorium on the death penalty by hanging 11 men convicted of murder. Jordan's last previous executions were in June 2006, and 122 people have since been sentenced to death. Interior Minister Hussein Majali had…

  • Jordan hangs 11 after eight-year death penalty freeze

    AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan executed 11 citizens on Sunday, ending an eight-year moratorium on capital punishment, judicial sources said. The hanged men were among 120 Jordanians convicted of capital crimes in the last 10 years, according to the sources. Jordan halted executions in 2006, but a recent…