Middle East

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  • In Lebanon, Syrian newborns risk statelessness

    BEIRUT (AP) — Nearly 30,000 Syrian children born as refugees in Lebanon are in a legal limbo, not registered with any government, exposing them to the risk of a life of statelessness deprived of basic rights. It is a problem that is replicated, to varying degrees, in nations across the Middle East where more than…

  • Iraqi Kurdish troops open corridor to Sinjar

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants managed on Thursday to open up a corridor to Sinjar Mountain so that thousands of people from the country’s Yazidi minority who have been trapped there can flee, said a senior Kurdish official. The development was an incremental step in the battle to retake…

  • Video says Tunisia assassinations by Islamic State

    TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A new video has surfaced claiming responsibility for the 2013 assassinations of two Tunisian politicians in the name of the Islamic State group. The video comes on the eve of the presidential runoff on Sunday in a campaign that has focused heavily on the terrorist threat to the country. Mohammed Brahmi…

  • Saudi says oil decisions not linked to politics

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s oil chief said in comments published Thursday that there are no links between the kingdom’s decision to oppose production cuts and political objectives — an apparent response to accusations last week from Shiite powerhouse Iran. Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as…

  • Yemen’s parliament approves new Cabinet

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s parliament on Thursday approved a new government despite months of violence and political wrangling that has shaken the country. Parliament’s approval should help ease tensions somewhat but it is unlikely to resolve the power struggle between President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who in September…

  • Palestinian leader supports more talks on UN bid

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he supports further negotiations over a draft resolution on ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands that was submitted to the U.N. Security Council for a possible vote. The Palestinians have been pressing for some sort of action in the U.N.’s most powerful body. Council…

  • Iraq PM drops lawsuits against journalists

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday ordered the withdrawal of all government lawsuits against journalists and media outlets, marking a departure from his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki, who was widely accused of using state institutions to target his political enemies. The move reflects al-Abadi’s “keenness to ensure freedom of expression…and his desire…

  • Iran to hold military drill near strategic passage

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state TV says the military will hold a massive drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf next week. The report Thursday says the weeklong exercise will be carried out over 2.2 million square kilometers (0.85 million square miles) including the eastern part of…

  • Palestinians set deadline for Israeli occupation

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israel suffered back-to-back diplomatic setbacks in Europe on Wednesday, while the Palestinians at the United Nations set a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured nearly 50 years ago by the end of 2017. In Geneva, the international community delivered a stinging rebuke to Israel’s settlement construction in the West…

  • Kurdish Iraqi forces launch operation in Sinjar

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Kurdish Iraqi forces launched a major operation Wednesday to retake the militant-held town of Sinjar in northern Iraq, part of a push to secure the road that leads directly to the Syrian border. Peshmerga forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, moved into the town, which has been under the control of the…

  • Israeli PM slams EU taking Hamas off terror list

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the European Union Wednesday for removing Hamas from its terrorist list, calling it a staggering example of European hypocrisy and an indication that many on the continent have learned nothing from the Holocaust. The European Union court order to remove Hamas from the EU terrorist list…

  • Egypt refers to trial 26 suspected homosexual men

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian prosecutors swiftly referred 26 men to trial Wednesday on charges connected to their suspected homosexuality after they were arrested in a much publicized raid on a Cairo bathhouse, an official said. The official from the prosecutors’ office said the trial will begin Sunday, only two weeks after the raid. It is…

  • Britain’s message for UAE visit: Nice, not naughty

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Britain wants to make sure its citizens are more nice than naughty while soaking up the Persian Gulf sun this holiday season. A social media campaign by British Embassy staff in the United Arab Emirates running this week is a play on the classic poem “‘Twas the Night Before…

  • Yemen’s Shiite rebels close port, storm newspaper

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s powerful Shiite rebels shut down a strategic Red Sea port on Wednesday, and stormed the offices of the country’s main state newspaper, officials said. The rebels, known as Houthis, closed Hodeida port, the second largest in Yemen, and prevented its director from entering his office, a port official said. The…

  • Under Abbas, majority say they can’t speak freely

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Two-thirds of Palestinians say they are afraid to criticize Mahmoud Abbas, according to a poll, and some of the Palestinian president’s recent actions only seem to confirm claims that dissent comes at a price. Last month, Abbas outlawed the West Bank’s largest labor union and briefly jailed its two leaders…