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Queen Elizabeth II to visit UAE and Oman

DUBAI: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, are to visit the United Arab Emirates in November, the British embassy said on Tuesday. "The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will pay a state visit to the United Arab Emirates, at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin …

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Muslim Brotherhood accuses police of new pre-election crackdown

CAIRO: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday accused the government of cracking down ahead of November’s parliamentary election, as police arrested at least 28 members of the Islamist group. The Brotherhood, which fields independent candidates to skirt a ban on religious parties, said on its website that police arrested 11 members of the group in the …

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Lebanon’s Hariri meets Mubarak in Cairo

CAIRO: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited Cairo on Monday for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak amid tensions back home, the official MENA news agency reported. Lebanon’s Shia group Hezbollah and Hariri’s camp are locked in a standoff over unconfirmed reports that a UN-backed tribunal is to indict members of the militant party for …

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Iraq PM to visit Syria after year-long spat

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is to visit Syria on Wednesday for talks with President Bashar al-Assad, after a year-long spat between the two Arab neighbours, his office said Tuesday. "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is to start on Wednesday, tomorrow, a visit to Syria, our friend country, where he will meet his Excellency, President …

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Three dead, 14 wounded in south Yemen bomb blasts

ADEN: Three people were killed and 14, including two policemen, were wounded in twin bomb blasts at a sports centre in Yemen’s port city of Aden, medical officials said Tuesday, updating an earlier toll. In total, 17 people wounded in Monday night’s explosions were admitted to Al-Jumhuriyya and Al-Naqib hospitals in Aden and three of …

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Arrested foreigners linked to anti-revolution groups, says Iran

TEHRAN: Iran said on Tuesday that two foreigners arrested for posing as journalists and interviewing the son of a woman facing execution by stoning are suspected of having links with anti-revolution groups. "Two people, who had tourist visas, went to the family of Ms. Sakineh Mohammadi posing as journalists to file a report," Iranian foreign …

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Israel PM’s freeze offer slammed as ploy to stall talks

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer of a freeze on settlement building in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel’s Jewish identity was widely seen on Tuesday as a ploy to complicate US-backed peace efforts. Netanyahu on Monday spelled out recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as his price for a renewal of a …

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Med Union summit depends on Israeli-Palestinian talks: Egypt

CAIRO: Egypt said on Monday that the holding of a Mediterranean Union summit, scheduled for November in Barcelona, depends on the progress of stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. "The holding of the summit hinges on realizing a breakthrough in the direct Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters after …

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Armless toe pianist wins ‘China’s Got Talent’

A musician who lost both arms in a childhood accident and plays the piano with his toes has won "China’s Got Talent," performing his version of James Blunt’s wistful love song "You’re Beautiful" to a packed audience at the Shanghai Stadium. All three judges on the show Sunday praised 23-year-old Liu Wei for his determination, …

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Chinese security minister inks cooperation pact with Saudis

RIYADH: China and Saudi Arabia have agreed to set up a joint security commission, in the latest sign of growing ties between the two countries, the kingdom’s official SPA news agency reported on Monday. Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu and his counterpart Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz signed a letter of intent late …

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Tuaregs ready to hunt down Al-Qaeda and hostages in Mali

KIDAL: Former Tuareg rebels say they are ready to join Malian troops to drive Al-Qaeda-linked fighters from the north African desert where they are believed to be holding seven foreign hostages. "We’re just waiting for the Malian government to give us the green light to chase Al-Qaeda from our desert," said a former Tuareg rebel, …

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4 killed execution-style in Iraq, police chief survives bomb

BAGHDAD: Four men were killed execution-style when gunmen swooped on their town south of Baghdad early Monday, while a top police chief survived a bomb attack in the Iraqi capital, officials said. In a pre-dawn attack in the town of Yusufiyah, gunmen wearing military uniforms hauled six men out of their homes and shot them. …

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Abbas told Arab summit Israel has ‘cancelled Oslo’, says aide

RAMALLAH: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told Arab leaders over the weekend that Israel has in effect scrapped the landmark 1993 Oslo autonomy accords, an aide said on Monday. "Abbas affirmed to the Arabs that Israel has effectively cancelled the Oslo agreement and the other agreements it has signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)," chief …

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Global study finds China and Middle East leading digital age

HONG KONG: China and the Middle East are racing ahead of the West in embracing the internet according to "the largest ever" global study of online habits. The Digital Life study by global research firm TNS also found Malaysians are the most sociable online with an average of 233 friends on social media websites, while …

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Pope calls for peace at Mideast religious talks

VATICAN CITY: Christianity, Islam and Judaism should work for Middle East peace, Pope Benedict XVI said on Sunday, opening a Vatican conference set to include senior Muslim and Jewish leaders for the first time. The three main religions in the Middle East should "promote spiritual and cultural values that unite people and exclude any form …

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Egypt to deport detained Tunisian fans

CAIRO: Egypt’s public general on Saturday ordered the release and deportation of 14 Tunisian football fans arrested last week after clashes at the end of a continental club match in Cairo. The group would be deported to Tunisia on Sunday so that "Tunisian authorities take the necessary legal action against them," Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid …

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UAE warns Canada ties may be hit by lack of air deal

DUBAI: Canada’s ties with the United Arab Emirates will be "affected" by the lack of an agreement to expand aviation links between the two countries, the UAE’s ambassador to Canada was quoted as saying Sunday. "The UAE is disappointed that despite intensive negotiations over the last five years, the UAE and Canada have been unable …

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Iran’s other Neda finds political voice

DREUX: An Iranian woman mistaken for Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death in post-election protests last year became a symbol of Iran’s opposition movement, has found her own political voice after being forced into exile. "I have a personal link to her (the other Neda) because her death somehow caused a serious destruction of my life. Not …

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Sunni rebels say they kidnapped Iran nuclear worker

TEHRAN: A Sunni group in Iran has claimed it kidnapped a man working at a nuclear facility and has threatened to spill his secrets if members of the group held by Tehran are not released. Jundallah (Soldiers of God) said on its website junbish.blogspot.com late on Saturday that it was holding hostage Amir Hossein Shirani, …

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France ‘can’t rule out’ UN creation of Palestinian state

RAMALLAH: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the option of the UN Security Council creating a Palestinian state cannot be ruled out, in an interview published Sunday. Kouchner told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam that France preferred a two-state solution to be negotiated with Israel, but said appealing to the Security Council to resolve the conflict …

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Security Council visit leaves Sudan on track for division

KHARTOUM: Sudan remains on course to break up next year after the UN Security Council put new pressure on the government over a self-determination referendum, but the major powers are still fretting over how to avoid conflict. Council ambassadors spent four days testing independence fever on the red dust roads of South Sudan and the …

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Lawyers for Turkish victims on aid flotilla appeal to ICC

ANKARA: Lawyers representing the Turkish victims of Israel’s deadly storming of a Gaza-bound flotilla in May have called on the International Criminal Court to punish those responsible, the news agency Cihan reported Sunday. The agency quotes Ramazan Ariturk, one of the lawyers for the nine Turkish victims, as saying that a letter had been sent …

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Palestinian boys run down by settler car in east Jerusalem

JERUSALEM: Two stone-throwing Palestinian boys were on Friday run over and injured by a car driven by a Jewish settler leader in an east Jerusalem flashpoint, police and witnesses said. The incident occurred after Friday prayers in the run-down neighborhood of Silwan just south of Jerusalem’s Old City, raising tensions in the area that has …

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HRW tells Egypt to stop shooting migrants as it chairs UNHCR

CAIRO: Human Rights Watch urged Egypt on Friday to stop shooting foreign migrants who try to cross into Israel, as the African country began chairing the United Nations’ refugee agency. The New York-based rights group said Egyptian border police have killed at least 85 unarmed migrants trying to cross into Israel since July 2007. "Egypt …

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IAEA, Germany see ‘signals’ Iran ready to talk, says Berlin

BERLIN: The International Atomic Energy Agency and Germany have detected signs Iran is ready to talk about its nuclear program, Germany’s foreign minister said Friday after talks with the head of the UN watchdog. "We have not been able so far to detect any substantial changes in the Iranian government’s behavior. However we are detecting …

AFP

Sudan launches manhunt for UN staffer kidnapped in Darfur

EL FASHER: Sudanese forces were conducting a manhunt in the north Darfur state capital El Fasher on Friday after gunmen kidnapped a UN staffer during a visit by Security Council ambassadors. The abduction of the civilian working for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in the restive western region of Africa’s largest nation was the …

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Top IMF official sees little hope for quick currency deal

WASHINGTON: A deal to end the raging global currency dispute is unlikely to come when economic powers meet in Washington on Friday according to a top IMF official. Youssef Boutros-Ghali, who heads the International Monetary Fund’s steering committee, said he backed calls for leading economies to hammer out an accord on currency exchange rates, but …

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US raps Egypt-Iran resumption of flights

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday criticized an agreement between Egypt and Iran to resume direct flights between their capitals. "We’re aware of the reports that they’ve signed a memorandum of understanding to resume direct flights," Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, told reporters. "And we continue to urge all countries, including Egypt, not to …

AFP

Vatican invites Jewish and Muslim guests to Mideast synod

ROME: A senior Iranian cleric and a Jewish rabbi are among some of the guests invited by Pope Benedict XVI to attend the synod on the Middle East starting on Oct. 10, the news agency i.media said Tuesday. These "special guests" will attend a 200-strong synod held at the Vatican running from Oct. 10 to …

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Israel backs loyalty oath to ‘Jewish and democratic state’

JERUSALEM: Plans to introduce an oath of loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state" for anyone wanting to become a citizen were welcomed by rightwing ministers on Thursday. The controversial move would amend the current citizenship law and incorporate the phrase: "I swear to respect the laws of the state of Israel as …

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