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Russia’s Putin to visit Iran in late November

The Levant News– Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to pay an official one-day visit to Iran later this month, the Kremlin says. President Putin will set off for Tehran on November 23 to attend a meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), the Kremlin’s top foreign policy aide Yury …

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Kerry: Uncertainty hangs over Syria talks

The Levant News– Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that prospects are uncertain at best for this weekend’s Syria peace talks. But he says the diplomatic effort to end the war cannot be abandoned. Kerry said that although the elements necessary to forge peace may not exist, “time and …

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Saudi king has ‘full confidence’ in Egypt security

The Levant News– Saudi King Salman has expressed “full confidence” in Egyptian security measures, ordering Riyadh’s national airline to continue flights to Sharm el-Sheikh despite suspicions a bomb downed a Russian jet flying from the resort. An ally of Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the king “directed Saudi Arabian Airlines to …

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As ties thaw, Rouhani in historic visit to Europe

The Levant News– Hassan Rouhani heads to Italy and France from Saturday for the first visit of an Iranian leader to Europe in a decade, as ties thaw after Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. In Rome Saturday and Sunday, Rouhani will meet Italian officials and Pope Francis, while Monday …

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Obama rejects Netanyahu’s plea to recognize Israeli rule over occupied Golan Heights: White House

The Levant News– US President Barack Obama has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s suggestion to discuss Washington’s recognition of Israeli rule over the occupied Golan Heights, according to the white House. A senior White House official said the US position, which objects to Israel annex in the Golan Heights, …

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Iraq Kurds make gains against Daesh in Sinjar battle

The Levant News– Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have managed to retake some positions from the Daesh Takfiri group in northwestern Iraq as a fresh offensive is under way for taking back the strategic town of Sinjar. “The attack began at 7:00 am (0400 GMT), and the Peshmerga forces advanced on several axes to …

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US flies B-52 bombers near Chinese islands

The Levant News– The United States has flown two B-52 bombers very close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea, a move apparently designed to increase tensions with Beijing. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Hill newspaper on Thursday that the bombers made one pass …

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Blasts hit Beirut suburb, 23 killed, 105 wounded

The Levant News — At least 23 people have reportedly been killed and 105 wounded after two large explosions rocked a street of al-hussaynieh in the Borj al-Barajaneh area in a southern suburb of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, a Lebanese Interior Ministry source says. The Lebanese al-Manar television cited some media …

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Iranian deputy foreign minister meets Nasrallah in Beirut

THE LEVANT NEWS — A senior Iranian diplomat has met with the head of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called on Nasrallah to discuss the latest developments in the region. Amir-Abdollahian, who is on a regional tour, arrived …

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ISIS video threatens attacks in Russia ‘very soon’

THE LEVANT NEWS — Islamic State(ISIS) has released a video threatening attacks in Russia “very soon”, the SITE monitoring group said on Thursday. Al-Hayat Media Center, Islamic State’s foreign language media division, released a Russian language video with chants of “Soon, very soon, the blood will spill like an ocean”, …

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U.N. warns against cuts in development aid due to refugee crisis

The Levant News– U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday warned against proposed reductions in development aid by wealthy countries struggling to cope with Europe’s refugee and migration crisis, saying such cuts would be counter-productive. “With the world facing the largest crisis of forced displacement since the Second World War, (Ban) …

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Israel warplanes strike near Syria airport: Report

The Levant News– Israeli warplanes have struck targets near the international airport in the Syrian capital, Damascus, Syrian media says. The reports said the attack happened Wednesday morning. There were no immediate comments from the Syrian government on the issue. In October, the Israeli military launched a number of artillery attacks against …

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Hezbollah wants case against Al-Mayadeen dropped

THE LEVANT NEWS — Hezbollah Wednesday urged Information Minister Ramzi Joreige to drop a libel case brought forward by Arabsat satellite communications operator against the pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen television channel. “Al-Mayadeen channel did not violate any legal terms of the contract signed between them and the Lebanese government,” Hezbollah MP Hasan …

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German intelligence spied on Fabius, FBI, UN bodies

THE LEVANT NEWS — BERLIN: Germany’s foreign intelligence service spied on targets including French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the FBI and the U.N. children’s fund, a media report said Wednesday. The latest news report on the BND spy service fuels a debate in Germany about state surveillance that was kicked …

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FPM, Future to attend legislative session

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT –Free Patriotic Movement and Future Movement lawmakers will attend Thursday’s legislative session after an apparent deal had been reached between them regarding a contentious nationality draft law on the agenda. FPM’s participation was announced by the head of the party’s Change and Reform Bloc Michel …

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Iran renews push for Lebanon presidential election

THE LEVANT NEWS– Iran Wednesday reiterated its support for the election of a new president as hope faded for Lebanon after 18 months of a power vacuum. “We strongly support the continuation of the political process and the election of a president,” Iran’s deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told …

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Israeli minister accuses EU of ‘anti-Semitism’

The Levant News– An Israeli minister has accused the European Union of “disguised anti-Semitism” in response to a decision by the EU to start labeling products made in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The EU’s proposal to order the labeling comes as it is dissatisfied with …

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Will Lebanon face a further downgrade?

The Levant News — By Osama Habib for The Daily Star — BEIRUT: Lack of reforms, political instability and slow economic growth is leaving the embattled government with very few options to finance its current expenditure needs, economists and bankers said Wednesday. One of these options, if not the only …

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Turkey and the Kurds

The Levant News — By Graham Fuller — Turkey and the Kurds —The Question Mark at the Heart of the Region Predictions among Turkey-watchers about the outcome of Turkey’s 1 November elections were mostly wrong—including my own— as Erdoğan managed to regain majority control of Parliament. Anxiety over potential political …

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Nonreligious children are more generous

The Levant News — By Warren Cornwall Religious doctrines typically urge the faithful to treat others with compassion and to put the greater good before selfish interests. But when it comes to generosity, nonreligious kids seem to be more giving, according to a new study of 1170 children from around the …

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The Uyghurs’ Role With ISIS

THE LEVANT NEWS EXCLUSIVE — by Dr. Geoffrey Cook*– The Uyghurs are a non-Han (Sinic) Islamic people who reside in the northwest of China (in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region) next to the (also restive) Tibetans.   Within Xinjiang, they are forty-five percent of the population, but they are spread over a …

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Syrian Army recaptures key Aleppo supply route

The Aleppo region has seen battles between the Syrian army, rebel forces and ISIS – Image AFP   The Syrian army has retaken control of a road that was the only route into the government-held side of the second city of Aleppo, state media report. Soldiers had driven back Islamic …

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U.S. jobless claims rise

THE LEVANT NEWS — New U.S. applications for unemployment benefits last week recorded their largest increase in eight months, but remained at levels consistent with a fairly healthy labor market. Other data on Thursday showed a surprise gain in productivity in the third quarter after a drop in self-employment contributed …

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Omani jailed for posting private pictures of girlfriend

THE LEVANT NEWS — Muscat: An Omani found guilty of posting revealing pictures of his girlfriend on Instagram was sentenced on Thursday to one month in jail and fined 2,000 Omani riyals, half of of which his ex-girlfriend would receive for compensation. The man posted the pictures to hurt his …

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