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The Levant

Yerba Mate: The Un-Tea

By: Ibrahim AL Alou*   What do say about a drink that has the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoria of chocolate all combined in one drink? Seems strange a bit but there is such a drink that delivers all these benefits at once. It …

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US forces to stay in Syria, even after ISIS defeat

The Trump administration hopes that the U.S.-backed fight against Islamic State in its last foothold in northeastern Syria will end within months but American forces will remain to ensure the “enduring defeat” of the militant group, a top U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday. Ambassador James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative …

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The Oldest Olive Trees

By: Ibrahim AL Alou*   The sisters of Noah, Lebanon. They witnessed the rise and fall of civilizations, stood against plagues and epidemics, greeted the sun rising and setting down over thousands of days, yet stood defiant in glory and glamour. These are the oldest olive trees alive bearing their soulful …

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Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference opens

Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, today opened the Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference, attended by more than 300 high-profile personalities, thought leaders and practitioners from the fields of international politics, diplomacy and academia as well as the private sector. Held under the patronage of H.H. …

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The Syrian Truffles

By: Ibrahim AL Alou*   I took this picture yesterday at the market showing fresh raw Syrian truffles. Truffles are rare. Since they are wild and could not be commercially cultivated people pick them with passion and eventually demand premium prices. The French gourmet Jean Anthelme Briallat-Savarin called it “The …

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Iran sanctions to be tightened, Bolton

The United States will step up enforcement of sanctions on Iran, national security adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday, as Tehran tries to find ways to evade the restrictions in oil trade and in banking. “The objective has been from the beginning to get oil exports from Iran down to zero,” Bolton said. “It is our …

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Tunisia to face wage crunch at IMF’s insistence

Tunisia must keep its public sector wage bill under control to avoid severe debt problems, a senior International Monetary Fund official warned after the government agreed to raise wages of about 150,000 employees of state companies. Late last month, Tunisia’s UGTT union canceled a nationwide strike by public sector workers …

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Israeli colonel killed in botched Gaza raid

The Israel-Gaza border fell quiet on Monday after a botched Israeli undercover operation in the Gaza Strip led to fighting that killed a Hamas commander, six other Palestinian militants and an Israeli colonel. Palestinians fired 17 rockets into southern Israel late on Sunday in response to the incursion and air …

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Saudi Aramco IPO should go according to plan

Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said the initial public offering of the state-oil producer will “certainly” happen when the conditions are right. Saudi Aramco said it is still in discussions to buy a stake in petrochemicals company Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) from the kingdom’s sovereigh wealth fund, …

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