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The Yemen conflict will require more U.N. involvement

In recent interviews and press conferences, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Yemen, the Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed, has explained the U.N.-brokered plan to bring Yemen’s warrying parties to the negotiating table. It involves a step-by-step diplomatic process with various rounds of separate preparatory meetings to take place in Muscat and Riyadh. Only then will Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the leadership of the northern Houthi rebels meet face to face in Geneva. Technicalities aside (although quite important…
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October 30, 2015
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Egypt runoffs saw 21 percent turnout in half of provinces

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s election authority said Friday that the turnout in election runoffs held in half of the country’s provinces earlier this week was just under 22 percent. Almost half of the parliament’s 596 seats were up for grabs in first round, which took place in 14 provinces, including Cairo’s twin city of Giza and the port city of Alexandria. The High Elections Committee said that the “For the Love of Egypt” pro-government candidates won all 60 seats designated…
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October 30, 2015
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Rockets near Baghdad airport kill soldiers, Iranian refugees

BAGHDAD — A barrage of rockets slammed late Thursday into a former military base near the Baghdad International Airport that houses an Iranian refugee group, killing three Iraqi soldiers, officials said. The Iranian exiles said at least 20 of their people died in the attack. Iraqi police said 16 rockets hit Camp Liberty, a former U.S. base that now houses the exiled Iranian opposition group known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq. They said at least 16 soldiers guarding the camp were also…
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October 29, 2015
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PM: no second chances in EU referendum

DAVID CAMERON will lead Britain out of the European Union if the public votes no in the referendum, the prime minister will announce this week, when he will declare that “leave means leave”. In an attempt to shore up his position, Cameron will signal that he has no intention of resigning even if he has backed a “yes” vote but the public supports withdrawal. Senior Tories have argued that the best way of securing a new deal for Britain would…
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October 25, 2015
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Vladimir Putin accuses US of backing terrorism in Middle East

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has launched a stinging attack on US policy in the Middle East, accusing Washington of backing terrorism and playing a “double game”. In a speech on Thursday at the annual gathering of the Valdai Club, a group of Russian and international analysts and politicians, Putin said the US had attempted to use terrorist groups as “a battering ram to overthrow regimes they don’t like”. He said: “It’s always hard to play a double game –…
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October 22, 2015
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Four seafarers kidnapped in Nigeria

Yesterday the Lithuanian government revealed that four seafarers were abducted at Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria. Two Lithuanians and two Ukranians were taken from a Comoro Island-registered ship, authorities in Vilnius said, without identifying the ship’s name. Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius has formed a working group to investigate the abduction circumstances and take care of the sailors’ release. Gunmen are believed to have stormed the ship, likely to be a tanker, and kidnapped the four sailors. Kidnappings in the…
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October 21, 2015