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Record 68.5m displaced worldwide: UN
GENEVA: A record 68.5 million people have been forced flee their homes due to war, violence and persecution, notably in places like Myanmar and Syria, the UN said on Tuesday. By the end of 2017, the number was nearly three million higher than the previous year and showed a 50-percent increase from the 42.7 million uprooted from their homes a decade ago, according to a report by the UN refugee agency. The current figure is equival
 
 
Five migrants die, over 100 rescued off Libya
TRIPOLI: The bodies of five migrants were recovered while more than 100 were rescued after their boat sank off the coast of Libya late on Monday, an officer from the country’s navy told reporters. Libyan rescuers took three hours to reach the sinking rubber dinghy, officer Rami Ghommeidh said. A survivor said they had been close to an Italian vessel which had refused to save them. “When we got closer to the Italian rescuers, the
   
Abdullah meets Kushner, discusses Middle East peace
WASHINGTON: White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, who is also President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, met on Tuesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the Trump administration’s efforts on creating peace between Israel and the Palestinian territories, the White House said on Tuesday. The meeting, which also included Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, came
 
 
Lebanon minister calls for quick formation of govt
BEIRUT: Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said on Tuesday that Lebanon was not forming a new government fast enough and he had not seen serious headway made on the matter. Political leaders and foreign donors have said Lebanon, which held a parliamentary election on May 6, needs to establish a government quickly to maintain confidence in the country and get to work on reforms to help an ailing economy. “It is important for
   
Talks on Syria constitution take shape
GENEVA: Senior officials from Iran, Russia and Turkey held “substantive” talks on Tuesday on how Syria’s constitutional committee will be set up and will function, and more such talks are planned within weeks, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said. The discussions in Geneva were the first visible diplomacy in months between countries involved in the Syrian war, and the effort to form a constitutional committee follows two years
 
 
Israel court strikes down confessions of baby ‘murderers’
LOD: An Israeli court has struck down some of the confessions of two Jewish suspects in the arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents, ruling that interrogators obtained them by duress. The decision of the court in Lod, central Israel, could cast doubt on the strength of the prosecution’s case against the accused − Amiram Ben-Uliel from the northern West Bank settlement of Shilo and a minor who cannot be named
   
S.Sudan’s warring leaders to meet in Ethiopia today
ADDIS ABABA: Nearly two years after fleeing South Sudan’s capital amid deadly fighting, rebel leader Riek Machar will meet face-to-face on Wednesday with the country’s president, Salva Kiir. The rendezvous in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa represents the latest international effort to end more than four years of civil war in the world’s youngest nation. Tens of thousands have been killed and millions have been driven out of their
 
 
UN chief warns of risk of war in Gaza
UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that Gaza is close to the brink of war and expressed shock over the number of Palestinians killed and wounded by Israeli live fire during protests, in a report obtained by media on Monday. Guterres told the Security Council that he “unequivocally condemns the steps by all parties that have brought us to this dangerous and fragile place” in the Israeli-Palestinian
   
Iran says no plans to raise missile range
LONDON: Iran has no plans to extend the range of its missiles since their 2,000-km reach is enough to protect the country, the Revolutionary Guards commander said on Tuesday, amid mounting US pressure over Tehran’s missile programme. Iran’s government again ruled out negotiations with US President Donald Trump over Tehran’s military capabilities and regional influence, saying that such talks would be against the values of the
 
 
Saudi Arabia sacks entertainment chief after circus outrage
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday sacked the head of its entertainment authority, state media said, following a backlash against a circus featuring women wearing figure-hugging costumes. “Ahmad Al Khatib, chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority has been removed from his position,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said citing a royal decree, without giving a reason. The pro-government Sabq news website said Khatib
   
7 shepherds killed in Iraqi desert
BAGHDAD: Seven shepherds and farmers have been found murdered after the Daesh extremist group kidnapped dozens of people in the desert region of central Iraq, a local official said on Tuesday. In a renewed threat to the region, Daesh attacked several remote villages and seized 30 locals from their homes, Ali Al Nawaf, a municipal council chief, told reporters. “The bodies of seven of them have been found and security forces are
 
 
Shells hit south Syria city for first time in three years
DAMASCUS: Rebel shellfire slammed into the southern Syrian city of Sweida on Tuesday for the first time in three years, a monitor said, as fresh regime reinforcements arrived in the area. The government holds most of Sweida province but rebels still control much of the nearby Daraa and Quneitra governorates. On Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said opposition forces fired shells into Sweida city, “which led to
   
Displaced Syrians find relief in tent-side World Cup screenings
AIN ISSA: At a camp for the displaced in northern Syria, men and boys huddled near a projector to watch some of the world’s best footballers play on the side of a tent. For these football enthusiasts uprooted by Syria’s seven-year war, World Cup games such as these offer brief respite from their woes and the daily grind at the camp. Throughout the championship, a local charity is screening all matches for free at the Ain Issa
 
 
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