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IS ‘chemical weapons expert killed’

January 30th, 2015 No comments

A chemical weapons expert working with Islamic State in Iraq has been killed in a coalition air strike. the US military says.
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The Scale of Yesterday’s Coordinated Attacks in Sinai

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Yesterday’s wave of terror attacks across northern Sinai  increasingly appear unprecedented in their scope and coordination. As many as 30 separate attacks took place against police and military positions, while there were also civilian casualties. The death toll is officially past 30, with unofficial estimates of over 490, and many wounded.

The attackers were presumably from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the insurgent group that late last year proclaimed its loyalty to the Islamic State (ISIS). The coordinated attacks took place during a match between Egypt’s arch-rival soccer teams Ahly and Zamalek, presumably because security forces might be distracted by the game.
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Former MEI President Robert V. Keeley, 1929-2015

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Image result for robert v. keeleyAmbassador Robert V. Keeley, a former President of The Middle East Institute, died earlier this month in Washington at the age of 85. Born in Beirut and the son of an American diplomat, Keeley spent 34 years in the US Foreign Service. He served as Ambassador to Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and Greece, and is also remembered for his role as Deputy Chief of Mission in Cambodia in 1974-75, at the time of the fall of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge.

Ambassador Keeley served as President of MEI from 1990 to 1995.
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Saudi postpones flogging of blogger for third week

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Saudi blogger Raef Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine for "insulting Islam"Saudi Arabia postponed Friday for a third week in a row the flogging of a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, his wife said. Raef Badawi "was not flogged" on Friday, Ensaf Haidar told AFP, adding that the reason was unclear. Badawi's case has already prompted worldwide outrage and criticism from the UN, US, the EU and others. Badawi co-founded the now-banned Saudi Liberal Network along with women's rights campaigner Suad al-Shammari, who was also accused of insulting Islam and arrested last October.

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Curfew in Kirkuk amid IS attacks

January 30th, 2015 No comments

A curfew is imposed in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk following fierce overnight fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Islamic State militants.
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New Saudi king in major government shake-up

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Saudi Arabia's new King Salman (centre) speaks with Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef (left) at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, on January 27, 2015Saudi Arabia's new King Salman has tightened his hold on power, firing two sons of his predecessor and replacing the heads of intelligence and other key agencies in a sweeping shakeup. The appointments, which analysts said supported signs the kingdom will chart a steady course on foreign and oil policy, came a week after Salman, 79, took the throne following the death of King Abdullah. Top officials from the Ports Authority, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the conservative Islamic kingdom's religious police were among those let go late Thursday. One of his more than 30 decrees ordered "two months' basic salary to all Saudi government civil and military employees," the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

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Myanmar opens deep sea port for Chinese oil pipeline

January 30th, 2015 No comments

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar has officially opened a deep sea port off its western coast, part of a $2.45 billion port and pipeline project that will carry crude oil from the Middle East to China.
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Sisi cuts short visit over Sinai

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi cuts short a visit to an African Union summit to deal with attacks that killed at least 26 in the Sinai peninsula.
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Islamic State group silent as deadline passes with no swap

January 30th, 2015 No comments

Safi al-Kaseasbeh, center, father of Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who is held by the Islamic State group militants, receives tribal members offering solidarity and comfort for his son, at the captured pilot's tribal gathering divan, in Amman, Jordan, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Jordan on Thursday demanded proof from Islamic State militants that a Jordanian pilot they are holding is still alive, despite purported threats by the group to kill the airman at sunset unless an al-Qaida prisoner is freed from death row in Jordan. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)TOKYO (AP) — The fates of a Japanese journalist and Jordanian military pilot were unknown Friday, a day after the latest purported deadline for a possible prisoner swap passed with no further word from the Islamic State group holding them captive.

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Deadly attacks hit Egypt’s Sinai

January 30th, 2015 No comments

At least 26 people, mostly soldiers, are killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
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