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Australia to play Egypt, UAE ahead of Asian Cup

Australia will play Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in international friendlies ahead of next January’s AFC Asian Cup, Football Federation Australia said on Friday. The Socceroos will face Egypt in Cairo on November 17 and the UAE in Abu Dhabi on January 5, the FFA said. Australian head coach Holger Osieck said the internationals …

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Pod hotels in a bid to take New York by storm

Size doesn’t matter. At least that’s what a handful of hotels in New York hope lodgers will think when they stay in their small, yet functional and affordable rooms. At The Jane, a tiny red-brick hotel overlooking the Hudson River in West Village, Manhattan’s ultra-bohemian neighborhood, space is at a premium. "In my room, I …

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Smell, close your eyes, remember: chefs teach kids to taste

Chef Frederic Simonin dangles a fragrant green bunch of dill in front of a classroom of schoolkids in a multi-ethnic corner of Paris: "And what about this? Any idea what it is?" "Parsley! Rosemary! Basil! Thyme! I know — it’s coriander," yell the excited eight and nine year olds who were treated to a sensory …

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Japanese fashion icons on display in London

Rarely seen outfits by some of Japan’s most influential designers, from Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto to the fashion labels dressing Tokyo’s coolest kids, go on display at a new exhibition Friday. "Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion" at the Barbican looks at the design culture which took Paris by storm in 1981 and …

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Troubled Rooney takes centre-stage against Albion

MANCHESTER: All eyes will be on Wayne Rooney in the wake of another controversial week as Manchester United face West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday. After a disappointing World Cup, the start to Rooney’s season has been dogged by poor form as well as lurid allegations about his private life. He was left …

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Melzer defeats Nadal in Shanghai surprise

SHANGHAI: World number one Rafael Nadal was on Thursday dumped out of the 3.24-million-dollar Shanghai Masters in the third round by Austrian 13th seed Jurgen Melzer. It was only the ninth defeat of the season for the Spaniard, who came into this tournament on the heels of victory in the Japan Open last week. It …

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Ahmadinejad sends message to US through Lebanon visit: press

BEIRUT: Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon this week sends a message to Washington that Tehran is a key player in the region and cannot be isolated, Lebanese newspapers said on Friday. "The Americans are being told: ‘If you isolate Iran, Iran will corner you in Lebanon and elsewhere’," said an editorial in the …

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Nasrallah offers Israeli weapon to visiting Iran leader

BEIRUT: Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met late Thursday with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah who offered him a weapon that had been seized from an Israeli soldier, the Shiite militant group said. The two men met at the Iranian embassy in Beirut at the end of Ahmadinejad’s controversial two-day visit to Lebanon during which he toured …

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Afghan war, unpopular, missing in US election

WASHINGTON: The war in Afghanistan is increasingly unpopular with the US public, but upcoming elections may hand new power to lawmakers who are pressing for a robust, long-term military commitment. Despite intense debate in Washington over Afghanistan, the nine-year-old war has barely figured in the campaign for the November 2 congressional elections as voters and …

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Germans arrested in Iran over Ashtiani case ‘admit offence’

  TEHRAN: Two Germans arrested in Iran this week for interviewing the son of a woman facing execution by stoning have confessed to committing an offence, the public prosecutor said in reports on Friday.   "These two defendants who came to Tabriz in cooperation with hostile groups based abroad are currently detained and have admitted …

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UN troops to be moved to Sudan border: official

UNITED NATIONS: UN troops are to be moved to the tense north-south Sudan frontier to head off violence ahead of a referendum that could break up Africa’s biggest nation, a top UN official has said. But international unity over Sudan took a blow Thursday when China objected to a UN Security Council resolution on monitoring …

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Resumption of stalled Iran nuclear talks on horizon

BRUSSELS: A resumption of long-stalled talks between world powers and Iran over its controversial nuclear program was back on the horizon Friday after Iran welcomed an offer to break the stalemate. Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki flew into Brussels for a Pakistan aid meeting saying an offer of dialogue delivered the previous day was "good …

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Israel eyes new Jerusalem settler homes to Palestinian fury

JERUSALEM: Israel is planning to build 238 new settler homes in Arab east Jerusalem, reports said on Friday, prompting Palestinian accusations the Jewish state was bent on "killing" peace talks. The plans for new housing units in the settlement neighborhoods of Pisgat Zeev and Ramot were approved on Thursday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, …

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Frenzied welcome for Iranian leader in south Lebanon

BINT JBEIL: Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived to a hero’s welcome in southern Lebanon on Thursday as he attended a rally in Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah stronghold close to the border with Israel. A frenzied crowd of more than 15,000 men, women and children crammed into an outdoor stadium in the village waving Iranian, Lebanese …

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Hitler exhibition breaks taboos in Berlin

Almost every aspect of the Nazis has been covered by German museums, but a chilling new exhibition in Berlin from this week explores for the first time the personality cult of Adolf Hitler. "Hitler and the Germans," at the German Historical Museum (DHM) from Friday until February 6, explores how the Fuehrer managed not only …

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Finland foreign minister visits Gaza

GAZA CITY: Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb called for the further lifting of movement restrictions on the Gaza Strip during a visit to the territory on Thursday. Stubb joined a small group of envoys who have visited the Hamas-ruled territory this year, including UN chief Ban Ki-Moon and the European Union’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton. …

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UN troops could police Sudan border ‘hotspots’, says US official

UNITED NATIONS: United Nations troops could police "hotspots" on the tense border between North and South Sudan before an independence referendum in the south, a senior US official said. The international community can also step up sanctions against Sudan if the vote is seriously delayed, the official added late Wednesday. South Sudan president Salva Kiir …

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Lawyers for Turkish aid flotilla victims ask ICC to act

THE HAGUE: Lawyers representing the Turkish victims of Israel’s deadly storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May urged the International Criminal Court in The Hague Thursday to pursue those responsible. "We believe war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed," Ugur Sevgili, one of the lawyers, told journalists after presenting a dossier with evidence …

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Danish FM meets top Muslim cleric to defuse cartoon tension

CAIRO: Denmark’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that the hurt caused to Muslims from cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohamed was "very regrettable," after she met Egypt’s top cleric to defuse tensions caused by the re-publication of the caricatures. Lene Espersen said she and the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, discussed "how to make sure …

AFP

China plans to expand investment in Africa

BEIJING: China said Thursday it would continue to invest Africa, despite criticism over its willingness to ignore human rights abuses, and environment and corruption issues in some countries. "We believe there is still large room for the investment cooperation between China and Africa," Zhong Manying, head of the West Asian and African affairs department of …

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Bosnia revokes filming permission for Jolie film

Bosnian authorities on Wednesday revoked permission for US star Angelina Jolie to shoot part of her directorial debut film there after complaints from a women war victims group, Bosnian radio reported. Gavrilo Grahovac, the Culture Minister of the Muslim-Croat federation — one of the two entities in post-war Bosnia — revoked permission to shoot scenes …

AFP

NZealand filmmakers, unions keep mum on ‘Hobbit’ boycott

New Zealand unions and filmmakers reported "productive" talks Thursday on a row threatening Peter Jackson’s "Hobbit" movies, but would not say if a global boycott of the film had been lifted. International actors’ unions slapped the ban on the production after Jackson refused to negotiate with NZ Actors Equity over minimum standards on the set, …

AFP

Iran exports first petrochemicals to Egypt

TEHRAN: An Iranian official said on Wednesday that Tehran has exported its petrochemicals to Egypt, a country with which it has still not restored diplomatic ties broken more than 30 years ago. "The first shipment of 25,000 tons of petrochemicals was sent to Egypt," Iran’s Mehr news agency quoted Reza Hamzelou, director of Petrochemicals Commercial …

AFP

Iraq PM visits Syria in bid to stay in power

DAMASCUS: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki held talks Wednesday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus after a year-long row as he seeks to win support for his bid to remain in power. The meeting between the two leaders got under way soon after Maliki arrived in the Syrian capital in the morning, the official …

AFP

Egypt charges Shias, including Australian, with blasphemy

CAIRO: Egyptian police have arrested and charged at least four Shia Muslims, including a visiting Australian, with insulting and denying tenets of religion, a judicial source said on Tuesday. The Shias, who also include two Iraqis, were among two dozen men rounded up last week in a Cairo suburb, a security official said, adding that …

AFP

Jordanian government faces little challenge in November poll

AMMAN: More than 800 candidates have registered to stand in a Jordanian general election next month, the interior ministry said on Wednesday, but the government faces little challenge after the Islamist opposition pulled out. A total of 853 candidates, 142 of them women, are to contest the 120 seats in parliament, of which 12 are …

AFP

World can prevent violence in Sudan, says Clooney

WASHINGTON: Actor and activist George Clooney said after meeting President Barack Obama Tuesday the world can prevent violence around southern Sudan’s independence vote, without any cost in money or lives. "We have got 90 days to do this, it doesn’t cost a dime and it doesn’t cost any lives and no American troops. This is …

AFP

Egypt media needs permit for SMS news: report

CAIRO: The telecommunications regulator is asking Egyptian news services to obtain a license before sending news alerts in cell phone text messages, newspapers reported on Tuesday. The National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) told companies which provide such services that they must first have authorization from the press council and information ministry to send SMSs, according …

AFP

EU says Israel must guarantee equality for all

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Tuesday urged Israel to guarantee the equality of all its citizens after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Palestinians to recognize Israel’s Jewish identity. Asked to comment on Netanyahu’s call for the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, a spokeswoman for EU diplomatic chief …

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Iran blames EU’s Ashton for deadlock over nuclear talks

TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday blamed European Union Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton for the deadlock over nuclear talks with world powers, urging her to be "more active" in pursuing the dialogue. "Basically, it seems that the volume of Ms. Ashton’s activity is lower," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters, targeting Ashton for the stalemate …

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