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  • Key players in Iran nuke deal aim message at Trump: It works UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations, the European Union and key players in the Iran nuclear agreement delivered a united message Wednesday aimed at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump: The deal is working and must be maintained to keep Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.
  • Outgoing U.S. envoy says U.N. needs to 'push' Iran on arms embargo 

    United States Ambassador to the United Nations Power addresses media following a United Nations Security Council vote, aimed at ensuring that U.N. officials can monitor evacuations from besieged parts of Aleppo, at the United Nations in New York CityBy Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council needs to push Iran to abide by an arms embargo, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said on Wednesday amid U.N. concerns that Tehran has supplied weapons and missiles to Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah. Most U.N. sanctions were lifted a year ago under a deal Iran made with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, the United States and the European Union to curb its nuclear program.


  • US commander warns of more IS attacks in Asia-Pacific 

    Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, called for a concerted effort by the global community to deal with the Islamic State threat in the regionA top US military commander warned Wednesday that the Asia-Pacific region is at risk of attacks by Islamic State group fighters returning to their home countries. As the group loses territory in the Middle East, radicalised fighters from Bangladesh, Indonesia and elsewhere are likely to target their native countries, Commander of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris said. In the past year alone, ISIL has made its murderous intentions clear in places like Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and the United States," he said at an geo-political conference in New Delhi.


  • Iraq announces 'liberation' of east Mosul 

    Iraqi elite forces have in recent days entered the last neighbourhoods on the eastern side of Mosul, on the left bank of the Tigris River that runs through the cityIraqi forces have retaken control of east Mosul from the Islamic State group, commanders said on Wednesday, three months after a huge offensive against the jihadist bastion was launched. Elite forces have in recent days entered the last neighbourhoods on the eastern side of Mosul, on the left bank of the Tigris River that runs through the city. Speaking at a news conference in Bartalla, a town east of Mosul, Staff General Talib al-Sheghati, who heads the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), announced "the liberation... of the left bank".


  • Popular Sufi leader in Morocco dies aged 95 

    Sidi Hamza al-Qadiri al-Boutchichi was believed to be descended from the Prophet Mohammed and belonged to a long line of Sufi leadersThe head of one of Morocco's biggest Sufi orders, with tens of thousands of followers at home and abroad, died Wednesday aged 95, an official and local media said. Sheikh Sidi Hamza al-Qadiri al-Boutchichi had been the spiritual leader of the Qadiriya Boutchichiya order since 1972. Seen as a "living master" by his followers and famed for his wisdom and kindness, he was believed to be descended from the Prophet Mohammed and belonged to a long line of Sufi leaders.


  • US congresswoman Gabbard makes secret Syria trip 

    US Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who often clashes with her own party on issues related to Syria, has long opposed a US policy of regime change thereA US congresswoman made a rare secret visit to Syria as part of her effort toward ending the years-long conflict in the Middle Eastern nation, her office said Wednesday. House Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, made a fact-finding mission to the capital Damascus despite continued fighting in the war-torn country in contravention of a frail ceasefire. "As an individual committed to doing all she can to promote and work for peace, she felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders," said Gabbard spokeswoman Emily Latimer.


  • Security issues sow divisions as Cyprus talks resume 

    An woman pushes a baby stroller in front of an abandoned building, in the UN-controlled buffer zone in NicosiaBy Michele Kambas ATHENS (Reuters) - The vexed issue of security arrangements in a post-settlement Cyprus took center stage on Wednesday in talks on the island's future, as officials played down chances of swift progress in a push towards reunification by its Greek and Turkish authorities. Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said last week it should retain troops on the divided island to protect the minority Turkish Cypriot community, a comment that raised hackles in Athens. "We will try to ... maybe offer some alternatives for the political level to consider," the source - who is close to the Turkish Cypriot delegation - told Reuters on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.


  • Luxury goods maker Burberry sales up over Christmas period LONDON (AP) — Luxury goods maker Burberry says retail sales rose in the three months including the critical Christmas season, as improved results in Asia helped reverse recent declines.
  • Germany set for federal election on Sept 24, Merkel seeks fourth term 

    German Chancellor Merkel delivers a speech during the yearly DBB union meeting in CologneGermany looks set to hold its federal election on Sunday Sept. 24, with Chancellor Angela Merkel seeking a fourth term in office and the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party expected to enter the national parliament for the first time. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter that the cabinet had suggested that date to the president, who has the final decision but tends to agree with the government's proposal. Concerns about integration and security have pushed her popularity down and fueled the rise of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is expected to win enough votes to clear the 5 percent threshold to enter the federal parliament.


  • Arab Israeli and policeman killed in suspected car ramming attack in southern Israel 

    A car which Israeli police said was used to ram into a group of policemen is towed by Israeli police in Umm Al-HiranPolice in Israel said an Arab Israeli on Wednesday rammed his car into a group of policemen in the southern Negev region, killing one before being shot dead, though a rights activist who was present disputed it was an attack. Police said the violence sparked a riot in the village of Umm al-Hiran, where an operation was underway to demolish Bedouin dwellings deemed by a court as having been built illegally on state-owned land. Police spokeswoman Merav Lapidot said the suspect was a local teacher who "surged towards the forces intending to kill" and that riots erupted after he was shot.


  • Biden hits Putin's Russia in final address as VP 

    Outgoing US vice president Joe Biden addresses the assembly on the second day of the World Economic Forum, on January 18, 2017 in DavosRussia is the main threat to the "liberal" world order, US Vice President Joe Biden told the Davos elite on Wednesday, in his final speech before leaving office. Biden used the big stage of the World Economic Forum in the posh Swiss resort to warn of threats posed by the Kremlin two days before Donald Trump's administration takes over in Washington. "The greatest threat ... springs from the external actors who equate their success on fracturing the liberal international order," Biden said.


  • Egypt keen to save Saudi ties after islands ruling 

    The deal to hand over the Red Sea islands of Tiran (foreground) and Sanafir (background) to Saudi Arabia provoked accusations that Cairo had "sold" the strategic islandsCairo will do all it can to preserve crucial ties with Saudi Arabia, experts say, after an Egyptian court ruled against government plans to transfer control of two islands to Riyadh. Monday's ruling -- which saw Egypt's top administrative court block the transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia -- is likely to fuel concerns in Riyadh. "The government will not spare any effort to implement the (islands) agreement," says Mostafa Kamel el-Sayed, a political science professor at Cairo University.


  • UN takes aim at calls for Israeli annexation of West Bank 

    David Friedman -- US President-elect Donald Trump's pick for ambassador to Israel -- backs moving the US embassy to JerusalemCalls for Israel to annex parts or all of the Palestinian West Bank risk destroying prospects for peace, the UN envoy for the Middle East warned Tuesday. Some Israeli ministers have called for an annexation of land earmarked to be part of a future Palestinian state and US President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has voiced support for such a move. UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov delivered the warning to the Security Council, which met for the first time since the adoption of a contentious resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements.


  • Putin: Obama administration trying to undermine Trump 

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a joint news conference with Moldovan President Igor Dodon in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the outgoing U.S. administration of trying to undermine President-elect Donald Trump by spreading fake allegations. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin took a parting shot at the Obama administration Tuesday, accusing it of trying to undermine Donald Trump's legitimacy with fake allegations and "binding the president-elect hand and foot to prevent him from fulfilling his election promises."


  • Turkey: Istanbul nightclub attacker confessed after capture 

    Reina club attacker after being caught by Turkish police in Istanbul, late Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. Turkish media reports say police have caught the gunman who killed 39 people at an attack on a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's celebrations, detained during a police operation. (Depo Photos via AP)ISTANBUL (AP) — The accused perpetrator of a New Year's nightclub attack in Istanbul has confessed and his fingerprints are a match, Turkish authorities said Tuesday. They identified him as an Uzbek national who trained in Afghanistan and staged the attack for the Islamic State group.


  • Venezuela's President: Trump won't be worse than Obama 

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores wave to supporters upon arrival to the Supreme Court where Maduro will give his annual state of the nation report in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. For more than half a century, Congress had been the body responsible for receiving the president's annual report, as established by the constitution, but the legislature lost that power by decision of the court, which authorized last week for Maduro to present his speech to magistrates. At left is Vice President Tareck El Aissami. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has received a backhanded compliment from the United States' arch nemesis in Latin America.


  • India's Modi urges Chinese restraint as Trump handover nears 

    India's PM Modi delivers a speech after he inaugurated the country's first international exchange - India INX in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) in GandhinagarBy Douglas Busvine NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Growing military ambitions in the Asia-Pacific are creating security risks, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday in a coded message to China to exercise strategic restraint. Although couched in diplomatic language and not mentioning China by name, Modi's remarks in a keynote foreign policy speech aligned New Delhi with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's intent to curb Beijing's regional clout. "Rising ambition and rivalries are generally visible stress points," Modi told an audience of politicians and top military brass from 65 nations at a security conference in New Delhi.


  • Russia hopes for pragmatic dialogue with US under Trump 

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens to a question during his annual roundup news conference summing up his ministry's work in 2016, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Lavrov said Russia hopes new U.S. administration will be represented at the Syria talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)MOSCOW (AP) — Moscow hopes for better relations with the United States based on respect for mutual interests once Donald Trump takes office, in contrast with the "messianic" approach of the outgoing administration that has ravaged ties, Russia's foreign minister said Tuesday.


  • Tobacco giant BAT buys out US firm Reynolds in mega-deal 

    British American Tobacco has agreed to pay almost $50 billion for control of US firm Reynolds American, whose brands include Camel and NewportBritish American Tobacco agreed Tuesday to pay almost $50 billion for control of US peer Reynolds American in a move which targets the lucrative United States market and the fast-growing e-cigarette sector. BAT will purchase the 57.8-percent of Reynolds American that it does not already own, the group said, unveiling an improved cash-and-shares offer after Reynolds had rejected its previous $47-billion bid. The deal brings together a raft of global brands, including BAT products Lucky Strike, Rothmans and Kent, and Reynolds' brands such as Newport, Camel and Pall Mall.


  • Russia turns to Libya with show of support for eastern commander 

    FILE PHOTO: Libyan General Haftar leaves after meeting in MoscowBy Aidan Lewis TUNIS (Reuters) - A visit to a Russian aircraft carrier by Libya's Khalifa Haftar has given the eastern–based commander a symbolic boost while also signaling Moscow's interest in a greater role in the region following its intervention in Syria. Haftar is a figurehead for east Libyan factions who harbors national ambitions, and his renewed engagement with Russia comes at a time when the U.N.-supported government in Tripoli that he has shunned is once more in crisis. Russian support could embolden Haftar in making a play for power in Tripoli, a move likely to fuel conflict and represent a major setback for genuine unity government in Libya.


  • Obama warns Trump not to jettison Iran nuclear deal 

    The latest poll by CNN/ORC, found that 60 percent of Americans approve of Barack Obama's performance in office, his best score since June 2009US President Barack Obama marked the first anniversary of the nuclear deal with Iran by emphasizing its "significant and concrete results" and warning against undoing a pact supported by the world's major powers.


  • Reports: Istanbul nightclub attacker who killed 39 captured ISTANBUL (AP) — A gunman suspected of killing 39 people during a New Year's attack on an Istanbul nightclub has been caught in a police operation, Turkish media reports said early Tuesday.
  • EU opposes shift of US Embassy site in Israel 

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, left, talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during an EU foreign ministers meeting at the EU Council in Brussels on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union foreign ministers on Monday opposed any plan by President-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and warned that it could ratchet up tensions with the Arab world.


  • Obama issues warning on 1st anniversary of Iran nuclear deal 

    In this Nov. 10, 2016 photo, President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump shake hands following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is marking the first anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal by warning the Trump administration that the accord can't easily be undone and is preferable to war.


  • Saudi carrier flynas signs deal for 80 Airbus planes 

    Low-cost Saudi carrier flynas has signed an $8.6 billion deal with Airbus to purchase 80 A320neo single-aisle jetsLow-cost Saudi carrier flynas on Monday signed an $8.6-billion deal with European plane manufacturer Airbus to purchase 80 A320neo single-aisle jets. Flynas chairman Ayed al-Jeaid said at a ceremony in Riyadh that the deal includes an option for 40 more of the short to medium-haul planes, to cater for what airline executives described as a growing domestic market. Bander al-Mohanna, the chief executive of NAS Holding, of which flynas is a division, signed the agreement with Fouad Attar, Middle East director for France-based Airbus.


  • Trump's offer to Russia: an end to sanctions for nuclear arms cut - London Times 

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York CityBy Guy Faulconbridge and William James LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will propose offering to end sanctions imposed on Russia over its annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Moscow, he told The Times of London. Criticizing previous U.S. foreign policy in an interview published on Monday, he described the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 as possibly the gravest error in the history of the United States and akin to "throwing rocks into a beehive".


  • Israel, Palestinians warned against solo steps harmful to peace 

    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives for the Mideast peace conference in ParisBy John Irish, Lesley Wroughton and Marine Pennetier PARIS (Reuters) - Some 70 countries reaffirmed on Sunday that only a two-state solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and warned against any unilateral steps by either side that could prejudge negotiations. The final communique of a one-day international Middle East peace conference in Paris shied away from explicitly criticizing plans by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem, although diplomats said the wording sent a "subliminal" message. Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel's capital despite international objections.


  • Settlements must not undermine Mideast peace: Germany's Steinmeier Israeli settlement building must not undermine efforts to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Monday, adding that Israel's security was also important. "It has to be the will of the parties to create results which mean that Israel and Palestine can coexist peacefully in the Middle East," Steinmeier told reporters ahead of a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels. "Everybody knows that the security situation in Israel is part of that, in the same way as the fact that the basis of such negotiations cannot be undermined by the construction of settlements.
  • 'Yes we can': Obama's complex legacy 

    With his temples a bit grayer, Barack Obama leaves the Oval Office aged 55 with high popularity ratingsAfter winning the White House with a call to embrace "the audacity of hope," Barack Obama knows his place in the history books will be measured against the outsized hopes his 2008 election sparked in the United States and abroad. Will the son of an absent Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, who split his childhood years between the Aloha State and Indonesia, be lauded for bringing down unemployment, the raid that killed Obama bin Laden, or reforming the health care system? Whatever the historians write, Obama -- America's first black president -- can certainly claim some bona fide successes.


  • Key points from Trump interview 

    Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th US president on January 20London (AFP) - US President-elect Donald Trump has given a joint interview to The Times and Bild newspapers, discussing a range of topics that will hit his inbox following Friday's inauguration.


  • Saudi carrier flynas signs deal for 80 Airbus planes 

    A Airbus A320neo takes off for its first test flight in Blagnac near Toulouse on September 25, 2014Low-cost Saudi carrier flynas on Monday signed an $8.6 billion deal with European plane manufacturer Airbus to purchase 80 A320neo single-aisle jets. Flynas chairman Ayed al-Jeaid said at the signing ceremony in Riyadh that the deal includes an option for 40 more of the short to medium-haul planes in what airline executives said is a growing domestic market. Bander al-Mohanna, the chief executive of NAS Holding, signed the agreement with Fouad Attar, Middle East director for the European Aerospace company.


  • Trump offers to end some Russian sanctions for nuclear arms cut 

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York CityU.S. President-elect Donald Trump said he will offer to end sanctions against Russia in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, The Times newspaper reported. In an interview with The Times of London, Trump said he wanted nuclear weapons arsenals of the world's two biggest nuclear powers -- the United States and Russia -- to be "reduced very substantially". “They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia.


  • Israel, Palestinians warned against solo steps harmful to peace 

    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives for the Mideast peace conference in ParisBy John Irish, Lesley Wroughton and Marine Pennetier PARIS (Reuters) - Some 70 countries reaffirmed on Sunday that only a two-state solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and warned against any unilateral steps by either side that could prejudge negotiations. The final communique of a one-day international Middle East peace conference in Paris shied away from explicitly criticizing plans by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem, although diplomats said the wording sent a "subliminal" message. Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel's capital despite international objections.


  • Paris summit warns against 'unilateral' steps in Mideast conflict 

    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault addresses delegates at the opening of the Middle East peace conference in Paris on January 15, 2017A conference for peace in the Middle East on Sunday warned Israel and the Palestinians against taking "unilateral steps" on Jerusalem and on borders that could imperil a negotiated solution to their seven-decade conflict. France organised the gathering to reaffirm global support for a Palestinian state existing alongside an Israeli state -- a scenario the Palestinians fear could be jeopardised by Donald Trump's incoming US administration.


  • UK voices 'reservations' over Mideast summit, refuses to sign statement 

    French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech at the Middle East peace conference in Paris on January 15, 2017Britain cited "reservations" over Sunday's Middle East peace conference and refused to sign a joint statement that called for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A Foreign Office spokesman said the British had "particular reservations" about the meeting in Paris taking place without Israeli or Palestinian representatives, "just days before the transition to a new American president". Britain had therefore attended the talks as an observer only, the spokesman said.


  • Jordan's king reshuffles cabinet amid growing security, economic challenges 

    Jordan's King Abdullah arrives for the ceremony of reopening the Martyrs' Memorial and Museum in AmmanBy Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan's King Abdullah reshuffled his cabinet on Sunday but retained Hani Mulki as prime minister with more scope to face Islamist militants and to press ahead with unpopular IMF-mandated reforms to cut rising public debt. The reshuffle, the second since the business-friendly Mulki was appointed last May, came at a time of sluggish economic growth, poor business sentiment and concerns over Jordan's political stability following a series of security lapses. Jordan has stepped up its role in the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State in the region and risks being drawn into a prolonged conflict with the militants.


  • Britain has 'reservations' about Paris Middle East peace talks Britain said on Sunday it had reservations about the outcome of a Middle East peace conference in Paris, saying it risked "hardening positions". "We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them  - indeed which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis - and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the U.S. will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement," a Foreign Office statement said. "There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace." Britain had observer status at the conference.
  • Kerry: US worked to ensure fair Paris Mideast statement 

    US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with the media following the Middle East peace conference in Paris on January 15, 2017Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the United States had negotiated at the Paris Middle East peace conference to prevent Israel being treated unfairly. Kerry thanked France for hosting the international conference and welcomed its final statement in favour of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Speaking to reporters after the talks, Kerry confirmed that he had spoken to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Paris meeting to reassure him.


  • Spain's Felipe meets Saudi king as warship sale mooted 

    Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) meets with Spanish King Felipe VI in Riyadh on January 15, 2017Spain's King Felipe VI met Sunday with Saudi King Salman, official media said, during a visit coinciding with talks to sell Spanish warships. Felipe, 48, was guest of honour at a lunch hosted by Salman, 81, who decorated him with the cordon of King Abdul Aziz, the highest Saudi honour for a foreigner, the Saudi Press Agency said.


  • Uganda detects bird flu in wild, domestic birds Uganda's ministry for agriculture said on Sunday it had detected bird flu in two locations, one affecting wild birds and another hitting domestic birds, but it did not say whether it was a strain that has spread across Europe and the Middle East. The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread in Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of farmed birds and the confinement of flocks indoors. Uganda's Agriculture, Industry and Fisheries Ministry said in a statement that in-country tests had identified "the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), that affects both humans and animals and which causes (a) high number of deaths in both species." But the statement did not indentify the strain.

 

 

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