Iran's foreign minister on Friday sharply rejected an Israeli allegation that Tehran tried to ship missiles to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, calling it a "lie". Israel has said it captured a Gaza-bound ship Wednesday carrying dozens of Syrian-made rockets "capable of striking anywhere in Israel". The raid coincided with a high-profile US trip by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with President Barack Obama for discussions on a Middle East peace deal. "Netanyahu is in Washington… and all of a sudden as a godsend, they capture a ship from Iran with missiles.
Not only did Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika appear in public when registering to run for a fourth term, but now Algerian television has shown him actually speaking to the official, declaring his intention to run.
It is the first time his voice has been publicly heard since his stroke. He is shown seated and his voice is thin and low, barely a whisper, but he does speak. Twelve candidates have now registered for the April 17 elections. The field may be reduced in vetting.
By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, plans to visit western and eastern Ukraine soon, including the pro-Russian Crimea region, where another U.N. envoy was forced out earlier this week, the United Nations said on Thursday. The announcement comes after U.N. representative Robert Serry had to abandon a mission to Crimea on Wednesday.
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The US military faces a chronic shortage of surveillance aircraft in Africa needed to track extremists on the continent, particularly in the Sahel region, a top general said Thursday. Only seven percent of the military's requirements for reconnaissance and surveillance planes — including drones and other aircraft — were met last year in Africa, said General David Rodriguez, head of US Africa Command. "It's up to 11 percent now," the four-star general told the Senate Armed Services Committee. US troops and hardware are not permanently assigned to AFRICOM, which must request aircraft and resources from other regional commands, such as US Central Command, which oversees forces in the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of North Africa and South Asia.
You know those annoying quizzes: Well, how about “Which Ousted Arab Spring Leader Are You?”
By Thomas Escritt AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court passes judgment on alleged Congo warlord Germain Katanga on Friday in a key test of the prosecutors' ability to bring solid cases and win convictions at the Hague-based tribunal. The court, launched in 2002 to try crimes against humanity, has handed down only two verdicts so far – a conviction and an acquittal — while at least five cases have collapsed for lack of sufficient evidence before or during trial proceedings. Friday's case stems from a bloody conflict in the resource-rich Ituri region of northeast Congo in the early 2000s. Katanga was charged with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for an attack on a village there called Bogoro by a militia group he allegedly commanded, the Patriotic Resistance Force.
Human Rights Watch urged Niger to explain its decision to extradite a son of late Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi on Thursday. "The authorities in Niger should explain why they were convinced that Saadi Kadhafi would not be mistreated and would get a fair trial," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East and North Africa director. The New York-based group also pointed to the responsibilities of the Libyan authorities. "Libya has the responsibility to see that Saadi Khadafi gets his full due process rights.
BEIRUT (AP) — Iraqi authorities on Thursday denied permission to a plane belonging to Lebanon’s national carrier to land in Baghdad after a son of an Iraqi minister missed the flight, Middle East Airline said in a statement.
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By Amena Bakr DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar will not bow to demands from three Gulf states to alter its foreign policy, sources close to its government said, suggesting Doha is unlikely to abandon support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian Islamists. In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday, saying Doha had failed to abide by an accord not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs. Hours later Qatar’s cabinet voiced “regret and surprise” at the decision by the fellow-members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but said Doha would not pull out its own envoys and that it remained committed to GCC security.
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Saudi health authorities said Thursday a man has died from the MERS coronavirus, bringing the death toll from the respiratory disease in the worst-hit country to 62. The 55-year-old national, who died in Riyadh from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, was suffering from "chronic illness," the health ministry website said. The ministry also announced a new case in the province of Riyadh, bringing the total number of cases in Saudi Arabia to 150 people since the virus first appeared in September 2012. MERS is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.