Middle East News

  • Kerry, Zarif in crucial nuclear talks ahead of deadline

    Tehran rejected a key Western demand for site inspections Saturday just as US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart launched crunch talks to secure a nuclear deal ahead of a looming deadline. The Geneva talks between Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the run-up…

    AFP
  • More than 4,200 migrants rescued in Mediterranean as crisis grows

    By Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) - More than 4,200 migrants trying to reach Europe have been rescued from boats in the Mediterranean in last 24 hours, the Italian coastguard said on Saturday. In some of the most intense Mediterranean migrant traffic of the year, a total of 4,243 people have been…

    Reuters
  • Barrel bombs kill 71 civilians after Syria army retreats

    Barrel bombs dropped from regime helicopters Saturday killed more than 70 civilians in Syria's Aleppo, while government forces in neighbouring Iraq retook an area west of the jihadist-controlled city of Ramadi. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "at least 71 civilians were killed, and…

    AFP11 mins ago
  • Islamic State not significant threat in Saudi Arabia: U.S. military

    Islamic State is not a significant threat in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. military said on Friday, as it declined to speculate on the Sunni militant group's claim of responsibility for a deadly bombing at Shi'ite Muslim mosque. "In terms of Saudi Arabia and (Islamic State), we have no indication that…

    Reuters
  • Migrants hide under trucks to board Italy-bound ferries

    PATRAS, Greece (AP) — For hundreds of migrants hoping to build a new life, access to Europe's richest countries lies on the other side of a metal fence surrounding the western Greek port of Patras.

    Associated Press
  • Top Asian News at 3:00 p.m. GMT

    BANGKOK (AP) — A regional conference called to address the swelling tide of boat people in Southeast Asia ended Friday with no major breakthroughs, with Myanmar criticizing those blaming it for fueling the crisis and warning that "finger pointing" would not help. But delegates agreed on one thing…

    Associated Press
  • S. Korea confirms 12 MERS cases

    South Korea confirmed five MERS cases Friday, bringing the total number of patients infected with the potentially deadly virus to 12, including a man who defied a quarantine protocol and travelled to China, health officials said. The infections were all traced to the original case of a 68-year-old…

    AFP
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  • Spain makes US rapid force at Moron base permanent

    MADRID (AP) — The Spanish government approved an accord Friday permanently granting the U.S. military a presence at a southwestern base as a center for a rapid reaction force to deal with crises in Africa and elsewhere.

    Associated Press
  • FGM campaigners: Nigeria ban welcome, but work not over

    By Joseph D'Urso LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Activists on Friday welcomed Nigeria's new law banning female genital mutilation (FGM), but warned that legislation alone will not be enough to eradicate the practice. According to 2014 U.N. data, a quarter of Nigerian women have undergone…

    Reuters
  • Belgium launches investigation into German and U.S. spying

    Belgium has begun an investigation into reports that German and U.S. intelligence agencies spied on Belgian targets, the Belgian Justice Ministry said on Friday. Belgian media said on Friday Germany's BND intelligence agency and the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had intercepted…

    Reuters
  • Cyprus police probe Israel link in ammonium nitrate haul: media

    Cypriot police suspect a man arrested on Wednesday was planning an attack on Israeli interests on the island after they found almost two tonnes of ammonium nitrate in his basement, newspapers reported on Friday. Authorities are investigating possible links to Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah…

    Reuters
  • China confirms first case of MERS, a South Korean man

    BEIJING (AP) — China on Friday confirmed its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in a South Korean businessman who ignored instructions to stay home after his father was diagnosed with the disease.

    Associated Press
  • UN nations agree to action to save Iraqi cultural sites

    UN member-states on Thursday declared that the destruction by jihadists of Iraqi cultural sites may amount to war crimes and agreed to take steps to curb the trade of stolen ancient artifacts. The General Assembly adopted a resolution on saving Iraq's cultural sites as international concern…

    AFP
  • Few regrets in Mideast over Blair resignation

    Tony's Blair resignation as Middle East peace envoy has been widely welcomed by Palestinians who say his term was useless, and even some Israelis agree he failed to accomplish much. The Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- had appointed him to support…

    AFP
  • Iran defends spy trial of US journalist

    Iran hit back Thursday at US claims that the trial of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian on spying charges lacked transparency, insisting its judiciary is independent. Washington has called for the release of Rezaian, who went on trial behind closed doors on Tuesday, and National Security…

    AFP
  • Corruption is leading indicator for political unrest, study finds

    By Stella Dawson WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Corruption is a leading indicator for political instability and 64 countries where fraud and bribery are widespread risk falling into violent upheaval, a global think tank said in a new report. While anti-corruption researchers long have…

    Reuters
  • Al-Qaeda's Syria branch seeks image makeover in West

    Al-Qaeda's Syria franchise is striving to reinvent itself as a legitimate opposition force that is more acceptable to the West, but it is unlikely to succeed, analysts said Thursday. In a rare television interview, Al-Nusra Front chief Abu Mohamed al-Jolani vowed not to use Syria as a springboard…

    AFP