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The Levant

Iraqi forces retake last town under Islamic State control

Government forces wrested back the final piece of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq, the country’s military said Friday, reclaiming the small town of Rawah near the border with Syria. The Islamic State extremist group, which at its peak in 2014 held about a third of Iraq, including large …

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NEW COLD WAR? NORTH KOREA STRENGTHENS TIES WITH CUBA AFTER THREATENING NUCLEAR ATTACK ON U.S.

Pyongyang hopes to rekindle a Cold War-era friendship. Korean Central News Agency announced Friday that North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and his delegation will be traveling to Cuba, in hopes of revamping international support amid sanctions and widespread condemnation of Pyongyang’s nuclear missile tests. The Washington Post reported that …

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20,000 sexual assault allegations in US military

US troops have reported more than 20,000 allegations of sexual assault at military installations over the past four years, the Pentagon said in a report Friday. The report, by the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, details allegations by service branch for the fiscal years 2013-2016, with the …

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Lebanon’s Hariri lands in Paris

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived Saturday in France from Saudi Arabia, where his resignation announcement two weeks ago sparked accusations that he was being held there against his will. A source close to Hariri confirmed he had landed after flying in overnight from Riyadh, while Lebanese TV station LBCI showed …

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Israel in no hurry to enter Saudi-Lebanese fray

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation Nov. 4 caught even Israeli intelligence by surprise. His disappearance in Saudi Arabia made the incident all the more mysterious. Embarrassingly, no one in Israel’s intelligence community had a precise explanation in real time for this series of remarkable events, which caught the entire Middle East …

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Senate Judiciary panel: Kushner had contacts about WikiLeaks, Russian overtures he did not disclose

President Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner received and forwarded emails about WikiLeaks and a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” that he kept from Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, according to panel leaders demanding that he produce the missing records. Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne …

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Japan bolstering defenses against North Korea threat, Abe says

As tensions continue to escalate in East Asia, Japan is bolstering defense measures in response to what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called his nation’s most serious security threat since World War II. Abe outlined his plan Friday during a policy speech in parliament. His agenda included strengthening Japan’s missile defense …

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Coalition rescues French journalists in Yemen

The Saudi-led coalition rescued two French journalists on Thursday who had gone missing in an area of Yemen held by the Iran-aligned Al Houthi group, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported. The channel said the two women had been “kidnapped” by the Al Houthis on November 2 while travelling with a …

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Israeli Military Chief Gives Unprecedented Interview to Saudi Media: ‘Ready to Share Intel on Iran’

A Saudi newspaper published an unprecedented interview on Thursday with the Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. It marks the first time any senior Israel Defense Forces officer, let alone the chief of staff, has been interviewed by a media organization in Saudi Arabia, which does not have diplomatic ties with …

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First gene-editing in human body attempt

Gene-editing has been attempted on cells inside a patient, in a world first by doctors in California. Brian Madeux, 44 from Arizona, was given the experimental treatment to try to correct a defect in his DNA that causes Hunter’s syndrome. Mr Madeux says he was prepared to take part in …

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Israeli right’s anti-democratic laws penetrate everywhere

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged recently 800 million shekels ($226 million) for security measures along West Bank roads used only by settlers, bypassing Arab villages. Pocketing that significant pledge in public funds, head of the Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan declared, “It’s not a question of who won — …

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Yemeni troops oust Al Qaida from southern town

Yemeni forces, trained and armed by the UAE, have booted Al Qaida militants out of a town in the southern province of Shabwa, local military officers said. A large convoy of military vehicles carrying at least two hundreds soldiers, locally known Shabwani Elite Forces, stormed the town of Houta, forcing …

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Aden security chief praises UAE support

Aden’s Security Department yesterday inaugurated ‘Section 1’ and correctional centre at the Mansoura Central Prison. Many human rights and civil society organisations attended the event. Brigadier General Shalal Shaya, Aden’s Security Director thanked the UAE for its support, which was involved in the rebuilding and maintenance of the prison. Aden …

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First football tournament for Saudi women

Jeddah is once more leading the way in empowering Saudi women through sports by holding the first formal football tournament for women on Wednesday. The competition will feature six teams and will be held in a private school four days after the Red Sea city hosted the first basketball tournament …

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