An Important News

Hezbollah said Syria ‘will kill’ Hariri, STL hears

Just weeks before Rafik Hariri was assassinated, two high-ranking Hezbollah officials expressed shock that the former prime minister had refused requests made by the Syrian government, Hani Hammoud told the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Wednesday. Hammoud, who served as a media adviser to Hariri, said in early January 2005 that veteran journalist Nassir al-Asaad approached him saying he wanted to ...

Damascus cedes Palmyra to ISIS

ISIS militants stormed the Syrian city of Palmyra Wednesday, seizing it from government forces in fierce fighting as Syria’s antiquities chief called on the world to save its ancient monuments. Syrian state television said late Wednesday that the jihadis were entering the famous antiquities area to the southwest of the modern city of Tadmur. The capture of Palmyra is the ...

Yemeni Houthis back U.N. peace talks

The leader of Yemen’s rebels has backed U.N.-hosted peace talks on the conflict roiling the country, hours after the world body announced they would start in Geneva next week. The talks are aimed at defusing the deepening crisis in the southern Arabian Peninsula, where Saudi-led forces killed at least 15 Houthis in the latest airstrikes of a campaign to restore ...

Aoun’s presidential initiative hits dead end

MP Michel Aoun’s latest initiative to resolve the yearlong presidential crisis appeared Wednesday to have reached a dead end, with the Future Movement, backed by its March 14 allies, opposing any constitutional amendment to allow for the president to be elected directly by the people. The development comes as MPs from Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc met Wednesday with lawmakers ...

Malaysian PM orders rescue of migrant boats

Kuala Lumpur: Prime Minister Najib Razak said Thursday he had ordered the Malaysian navy and coastguard to conduct search and rescue operations for boats carrying stricken migrants including ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar. “I have further ordered (the) Royal Malaysian Navy and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to conduct search and rescue efforts for Rohingya boats. We have to prevent loss of ...

Syria’s Assad praises Iran’s support as ‘key pillar’

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday praised Iran’s support as a “key pillar” in his fight against rebels, as a third Iranian official visited Damascus in less than a week. The visits come after several military losses for the Syrian government and as Tehran negotiates a key nuclear deal with the United States, which backs the rebels fighting Assad. “The ...

Despite US strikes, IS advances in Syria, Iraq

The Islamic State jihadist group has made several high-profile advances in recent days, despite a US-led air campaign against the movement in Syria and Iraq. Here are answers to some key questions about the group’s progress and the international effort to stop them: A: On Sunday, Islamic State group fighters seized Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province of Anbar, ...

Egypt resumes trial of ABM defendants, without executed six

An Egyptian civilian court on Tuesday resumed the trial of 213 alleged members of the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM) militant group, in the absence of six of the defendants, executed two days earlier in a different case. During Tuesday’s session, the judge received a note from the prison authorities, officially informing the court of the execution. Tuesday’s case is related ...

Egypt’s justice ministry rejects foreign comments on Morsi death sentence

Egyptian justice ministry strongly rejects foreign comments concerning the court verdict issued for ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and 105 others Egypt’s justice ministry strongly rejected comments made by foreign governments that criticised the court decision to sentence ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and 105 other defendants to death, a statement released by the ministry read on Tuesday. “The ministry ...

Renewable Energy Taget bipartisan deal finally agreed

A bipartisan deal on a pared-back renewable energy target has been struck after the Abbott government ditched plans for two-yearly reviews. The government on Monday backed down on plans to impose the reviews that had threatened to derail an in-principle agreement to slash the 2020 target from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000GWh. The government-funded Clean Energy Regulator will monitor progress ...