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Syria's Assad says Russia's support changes balance on the ground PRAGUE: Russia's entry into the war in Syria has changed the balance on the ground, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview on Czech Television, and he predicted that support from his main international ally would remain strong.In the interview, conducted in Damascus on Sunday and aired on Tuesday, Assad said the downing of a Russian warplane by regional foe Turkey on Nov. 24 showed Ankara's dissatisfaction with developments on the ground in Syria, which he said had been moving in the government's favour."I think it (the plane incident) has shown the real intention of (Turkish President Tayyip) Erdogan, how he lost his nerve just because the Russian intervention has changed the balance on the ground," Assad said."The war against terrorism is continuing. The Russian support or participation is going to be stronger. It is stronger anyway. There is no way back in that regard," he said.Turkey, which says ...

Greek PM hopes capital controls can be lifted in H1 2016 ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday he hoped capital controls imposed at the height of the country's debt crisis in July can be lifted in the first half of next year.Addressing a conference of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, Tsipras said his leftist government had taken the first steps to address non-performing loans and recapitalise banks so they could start lending again to the economy.Tsipras said the Greek economy was doing better ...

PM Abadi says Iraq does not need foreign ground troops BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday his country did not need foreign ground troops, after the United States said it was sending an elite special unit to help combat Islamic State."The Iraqi government stresses that any military operation or the deployment of any foreign forces - special or not - in any place in Iraq cannot happen without its approval and coordination and full respect of Iraqi sovereignty," Abadi said in a ...

Libyan air strikes hit IS forces pushing eastward: govt BENGHAZI: Warplanes from Libya's internationally recognised government have hit positions of the Islamic State group pushing eastward from their stronghold in Sirte toward the oil hub of Ajdabiya, a senior officer said Tuesday.IS, which already controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, has exploited the chaos that spread across Libya after veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising.The jihadists control Sirte, Kadhafi's hometown 450 kilometres (280 miles) east ...

French jobless rate above euro zone's for first time since 2007 PARIS: France's unemployment rate is now above the euro zone average for the first time since 2007, according to Eurostat data, offering a stark reminder of the Socialist government's struggle to turn a shaky recovery into jobs.The French unemployment rate stood at 10.8 percent in October, the third consecutive month at that level and up from 10.7 percent in July, while the jobless rate in the wider euro area dropped 0.1 point to 10.7 percent ...

No US combat troops to fight Islamic State: Hillary Clinton WASHINGTON: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rejected the idea of sending thousands of U.S. ground troops to fight Islamic State in the Middle East, saying such a move would give the militant group a recruitment tool to boost its ranks.In her first television interview since the Paris attacks last month, Clinton largely backed President Barack Obama's strategy, pledging to defeat the militant group and engage Russia in the process if she wins the November 2016 ...

Merkel signals delay in tighter asylum rules amid coalition fight BERLIN: New rules that would make it easier for Germany to expel migrants who have no hope of being granted asylum will not come into force this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, amid a fight within her coalition over details of the package.The delay in implementing the so-called "Asylum Package II" is a blow to the German leader, who is under mounting pressure from her own party and the broader electorate to reduce ...


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