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Ultra-Orthodox Jews stage mass protest against Israeli draft law

Ultra-Orthodox Jews stage mass protest against Israeli draft law

Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews held a mass prayer in Jerusalem on Sunday in protest at a bill that would cut their community's military exemptions and end a tradition upheld since Israel's foundation. Ultra-Orthodox leaders had called on their men, women and children...

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Turkish opposition challenges law tightening judicial control

Turkish opposition challenges law tightening judicial control

Turkey's main opposition party asked the top court on Friday to overturn a law tightening government control of the judiciary, which it sees as a bid by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to snuff out a corruption scandal. Hours after the law was enacted late on Thursday, Justice...

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Islamic group slams anti-polio vaccine fatwas

Islamic group slams anti-polio vaccine fatwas

An Islamic group met Wednesday to quash fatwas (religious edicts) ruling that polio vaccines cause infertility, Al Arabiya News Channel reported “The whole world rejects such fatwas that polio vaccines cause infertility,” Abbas Chouman, a senior official at Cairo’s al-Azhar...

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Amnesty says some Israeli West Bank killings may be war crimes

Amnesty says some Israeli West Bank killings may be war crimes

Israeli forces are using excessive, reckless violence in the occupied West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians over the past three years in what might constitute a war crime, Amnesty International said on Thursday. In a report entitled "Trigger Happy", the human rights group...

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Iraqi leaders give conflicting answers on reported Iran arms deal

Iraqi leaders give conflicting answers on reported Iran arms deal

Iraqi officials gave contradictory accounts on Tuesday about whether or not Baghdad had agreed to buy $195 million worth of arms and ammunition from  Iran  as reported by Reuters, a deal that if confirmed could damage Iraqi-U.S. relations. The Defence Ministry denied any such...

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Lebanese village faces 'existential' battle

Lebanese village faces 'existential' battle

Jerd Arsal, Lebanese-Syrian border  - On the blurry border line between Syria and Lebanon lies a small stone building hidden in the rugged, mountainous terrain. It is a "surveillance centre" set up by rebels to monitor the "potential infiltration" of Shia Hezbollah fighters...

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Egypt government resigns, paving way for Sisi to seek presidency

Egypt government resigns, paving way for Sisi to seek presidency

Egypt's government resigned on Monday, paving the way for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare his candidacy for president of a strategic U.S. ally gripped by political strife. After the July overthrow of elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and subsequent crackdown...

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Exclusive: Testing detente, U.S. firms move to sell jet parts to Iran

Exclusive: Testing detente, U.S. firms move to sell jet parts to Iran

 U.S. aerospace companies are seeking permission to sell airliner parts to  Iran  for the first time in three decades, in a key test of the temporary relief on sanctions given under talks to curtail Iran's nuclear activities. At least two leading manufacturers, ...

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Egypt puts three Al Jazeera journalists on trial

Egypt puts three Al Jazeera journalists on trial

Egypt put three Al Jazeera journalists on trial on Thursday on charges of aiding members of a "terrorist organization", in a case that human rights groups say shows the authorities are trampling on freedom of expression. The journalists, wearing white prison outfits, appeared in...

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 Activists who backed Mursi's fall turn against military

Activists who backed Mursi's fall turn against military

Their campaign against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi helped the army topple Egypt's first freely elected leader, but some leaders of the Tamarud movement have broken away, saying the military threatens democracy. The split in Tamarud (Rebellion) is a sign of growing public anger...

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Pro-Assad official killed in n.Lebanon, unrest ensues

Pro-Assad official killed in n.Lebanon, unrest ensues

An official with the pro-Syrian   Arab Democratic Party   was assassinated by masked gunmen in the northern city of   Tripoli   Thursday, triggering violence that left two people killed and five wounded. Unknown assailants on a small motorcycle...

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Iraq's Sadr Slams Government after Political Exit

Iraq's Sadr Slams Government after Political Exit

Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday slammed Iraq's government as corrupt and headed by a "tyrant" while calling on citizens to vote, days after announcing his exit from politics. The televised speech seem aimed at establishing the cleric, whose political career began in...

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Two dozen killed in several Baghdad bomb blasts

Two dozen killed in several Baghdad bomb blasts

There is devastation in several parts of Baghdad after a series of bomb attacks that killed at least two dozen people on Monday night. Nine people died in car bomb explosions that targeted mosques in the Iraqi capital’s predominantly Shi’ite districts of Amil and Karrada. In the...

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 Iran says Russia could build nuclear reactor in exchange for oil

Iran says Russia could build nuclear reactor in exchange for oil

Russia could build a second reactor at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant in exchange for Iranian oil, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow said in remarks published on Monday. Russia  could also supply  Iran  with trucks, railroad tracks, mini-refineries or other...

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Lebanon's Hariri vows to confront Sunni radicals

Lebanon's Hariri vows to confront Sunni radicals

Leading Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri vowed on Friday to tackle sectarian radicalism in his Sunni sect but said Shi'ite Hezbollah must end its involvement in  Syria  if Lebanon is to avoid being drawn into a "sectarian holocaust". Citing the example set by his...

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Obama to meet Jordan’s king in California desert

Obama to meet Jordan’s king in California desert

President Barack Obama will launch a new round of Middle East diplomacy Friday in a plush oasis in the arid California desert, hosting a Valentine’s Day summit with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Obama and the king will swap the piles of snow in Washington for the Sunnylands retreat at...

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Hamas objects to U.N. human rights book in schools

Hamas objects to U.N. human rights book in schools

    Gaza's Hamas authorities have blocked a U.N. refugee agency from introducing textbooks promoting human rights into local schools, saying it ignores Palestinian cultural mores and focuses too heavily on "peaceful" means of conflict resolution....

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Militants seize part of north Iraq town, villages

Militants seize part of north Iraq town, villages

Gunmen seized part of Sulaiman Bek town and nearby villages in northern Iraq on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported local officials as saying. This is considered to be the latest instance of authorities losing ground to militants, who have held all of the city of Fallujah and parts...

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Shells hit Swaida city for first time in three years      Daraa: Regime forces, Hezbollah attack al-Lajat region      Daraa: régime se mobilise pour une offensive majeure      Jerusalem churches protest Israeli property tax bill      'Turkish patrols in Manbij give hope for homecoming'      Meeting eyeing Syrian constitution starts in Geneva      28 troops from Latakia killed in Ramadan      Iraq slams US raid on Hashd al-Shaabi near Syria border