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Syria army retains grip on border gate with Iraq  RABIA: Syrian truck driver Abu Sara used to feel scared when he crossed the border into Iraq, fearing attacks in a country gripped by sectarian violence. Now, as he exits a Syria in even greater turmoil, he feels a sense of relief. "Us drivers, we feel the danger of the road as we enter the Syrian territories, but we feel safe when we are near the crossings between the two sides," he said at the northern Iraqi border crossing in Rabia, 100 km (62 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Mosul. Rabia was still in the hands of government forces, he said on Friday night. The Syrian flag fluttered above the border crossing and a huge mural of Hafez al-Assad, the late father of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was on display. Other crossings with Iraq and Turkey have fallen in the hands of the rebels, the first time they have held ...

NATO says it MUSCAT: The threat from Somali pirates is receding but the international community must continue to work together to eliminate the menace, a NATO official said on Saturday. "We are getting more successful in reducing the Somali piracy threats with our constant patrolling but the international community must continue to exchange ideas and increase efforts to completely eradicate the problem," Commodore Ben Bekkering, NATO's counter-piracy commander, said at a news conference on Dutch war vessel HNLMS Evertsen ...
Attack on Turkey, Iraq pipeline knocks out oil flows ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities are blaming sabotage for a fire on a pipeline carrying petroleum from Iraq to Turkey's Mediterranean coast that cut oil flows late on Friday, NTV television said. The fire on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline erupted near the town of Midyat in southeastern Turkey, it said, citing the provincial governor. No on was immediately available at the governor's office or at the state pipeline operator Botas to confirm the report. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish ...
Liberian Senate votes to ban gay marriage in constitution  MONROVIA: Members of the Liberian Senate on Friday voted unanimously to approve a constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage between gay couples. While homosexuality is extremely taboo in Liberia, and voluntary sodomy considered a criminal offence, the question of gay marriage had not been expressly addressed in law. The amendment was made to section 2.3 of the constitution, which bans marriage between those who are already married and close family members. It adds "or persons of the same sex" ...
Syrian rebels say withdrew from central Damascus district  AMMAN: Syrian rebels withdrew overnight from the central Damascus district of Midan after coming under heavy bombardment, opposition activists and rebel sources said on Friday. "It is a tactical withdrawal. We are still in Damascus," Abu Omar, a rebel commander, said by phone, adding that President Bashar al-Assad's forces backed by armoured vehicles subsequently entered deep into the district and are now in control of its main market area. Copyright Reuters, 2012 ...
Russia backs unconditional UN Syria mandate MOSCOW: Russia said on Friday it backed an unconditional 45-day extension of the UN monitors mission in Syria proposed by Pakistan, rather than Britain's idea to add 30 days to their mandate one last time. "We will support it since we were involved in drawing up the draft resolution together with our Pakistani colleagues," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said one day after Russia used its veto together with China to block possible UN Security Council ...
Syria rebels seize Iraq border as UN action blocked  DAMASCUS: Rebels seized control of all of Syria's border crossings with Iraq on Thursday, dealing a new blow to President Bashar al-Assad, as China and Russia dismayed the West by blocking UN action against his regime. The rebel offensive on Syria's eastern border came as the army focussed its resources on Damascus, resorting to tank fire in the capital for the first time in its efforts to root out rebel fighters a day after a bomb ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
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WeeklySeptember 15, 2014
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