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Lebanon approves first budget in a decade

Lebanon’s parliament approved the country’s first budget in more than a decade, restoring control over state finances and easing a long-standing political deadlock that has stifled development. After three days of deliberations, 61 members of parliament voted to pass the budget while four voted against and eight abstained, state-run National …

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Catalonia vote: Spain expected to impose direct rule

The Spanish government is set to hold a special cabinet meeting to approve measures to take direct control over Catalonia. The meeting comes almost three weeks after the region held an independence referendum, which was ruled illegal by the country’s supreme court. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has refused to abandon …

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Kuwait, Qatar hold talks in Doha

Qatari Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah discussed in Doha the latest developments regarding the Kuwaiti mediation to resolve the Gulf crisis, the official news agencies of both countries said. …

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US takes aim at Daesh in Yemen for first time

The United States said it launched its first attack on Daesh’s deadly Yemen branch on Monday with a series of nighttime air strikes that residents said targeted two villages and killed several people. Unmanned US drones launched around 12 missiles at militant positions in Yakla and Al Abl in southern …

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Saudi Arabia to Launch Coordination Council with Iraq

Riyadh- Saudi Arabia and Iraq will be cosigning the establishment of a joint Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Council in Riyadh next week, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. The body is said to cover various political, economic, security and cultural fields. Abdul Aziz al-Shammari, charge d’affaires of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques …

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After defending Harvey Weinstein, director Oliver Stone accused of sexual assault by Playboy model

Another media mogul, director Oliver Stone, is facing allegations of sexual assault following the New York Times investigation of decades of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Former Playboy model Carrie Stevens came forward after Stone, unlike other high-profile industry members, defended Weinstein at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, according …

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Kirkuk: Iraqi forces capture key sites from Kurds

Iraqi government forces have captured key installations outside the disputed city of Kirkuk from Kurdish fighters. A military statement said units had taken control of the K1 military base, the Baba Gurgur oil and gas field, and a state-owned oil company’s offices. Baghdad said the Peshmerga had withdrawn “without fighting”, …

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Venezuela vote dispute risks rekindling unrest, sanctions

Venezuela’s opposition refused on Monday to recognize a surprise win for the ruling socialists in a weekend regional election, potentially rekindling protests and fresh foreign sanctions on the oil-rich country’s moribund economy. Venezuela’s pro-government electoral board said President Nicolas Maduro’s candidates took 17 governorships, versus six for the opposition, in …

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