02092016Tue
Last update: Tue, 09 Feb 2016 02pm

Middle East

World - Middle East

Israeli parliament takes first step to pass controversial NGO law JERUSALEM: The Israeli parliament voted early on Tuesday to pass a controversial bill in its first reading that would compel NGOs that receive most of their funding from foreign governments to declare it in official reports.The proposal -- denounced by critics as likely to encourage a \ witch-hunt against leftist groups that campaign for the defence of Palestinian rights -- passed with 50 votes in favour and 43 against following a tense debate.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016 ...

World - Middle East

Kerry hopes for talks in weeks on ending Yemen conflict WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday it may be possible to hold talks over the next few weeks on ending the conflict in Yemen."Over the course of the next week it may become possible to try to engage in some productive conversations about how to bring that conflict to a close," Kerry told reporters after talks at the State Department with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. He did not elaborate, saying ...

World - Middle East

Egypt flooded Gaza tunnels at Israel's request: minister JERUSALEM: An Israel minister said Egypt flooded tunnels on its border with the besieged Gaza Strip at the Jewish state's request, before a spokeswoman on Sunday said the remarks were misinterpreted.Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the ruling Likud party, said on Saturday that Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi "did flood a large part of the tunnels between Gaza and Sinai", calling it a "good solution".The Palestinian coastal enclave's southern border with Egypt's Sinai ...

World - Middle East

Iraqi PM rejects idea of building security wall around Baghdad BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday dismissed plans announced by the military this week to build a concrete wall around Baghdad in a bid to prevent attacks by Islamic State militants."Baghdad is the capital of all Iraqis," he said in a statement. "There can be no wall or fence to isolate it or prevent other civilians from entering it."Baghdad Operations Command said on Wednesday that preparatory work for a security barrier was underway ...

World - Middle East

Syrian President Assad's mother dies aged 86: state media BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's mother, Anisa Makhlouf, has died at the age of 86, Syrian state media said on Saturday.Makhlouf was married to the late president Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria from 1971 until his death in 2000.They married in 1957 and had five children: Bushra, Basil, Bashar, Majed and Maher.Copyright Reuters, 2016 ...

World - Middle East

Thousands brave freeze at Turkey border as Syria warns Riyadh, Ankara BEIRUT: Thousands of Syrians braved the freezing cold at Turkey's border Saturday after fleeing a regime assault that threatens a new humanitarian disaster, as Damascus warned Riyadh and Ankara not to send in troops.The government said any uninvited foreign soldiers who enter Syria would go home "in a wooden coffin", following reports that Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which support rebel forces, could deploy troops.Tens of thousands of people have fled fierce fighting as government forces ...

World - Middle East

Iranian FM hopes Syria peace talks halt only temporary LONDON: Iran hopes the break in the Syria peace talks is only temporary, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday, as he warned outside actors should not seek to dictate the agenda.Speaking at a Syria donors' conference in London, Zarif insisted Tehran believed that intra-Syrian talks were the "only way out" of the bloody civil war tearing the country apart.Zarif's was the first visit to Britain by an Iranian foreign minister to Britain in 16 ...