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World - Sistani calls on Iraqis to confront Islamic State insurgents

(Reuters) - Iraq`s most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said on Friday that all sides agreed on the need to form a `proper` government in Baghdad and repeated his call on compatriots to fight Islamic State insurgents. Speaking through an aide after Friday prayer sermons in the sacred Shi`ite Muslim city of Kerbala, Sistani expressed concern over the plight of about 18,000 Shi`ites in the town of Amerli who are surrounded by Islamic State militants. (Reporting by Raheem Salman; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Friday, August 22, 2014  11:29


World - Dubai property giant repays debt four years early

Nakheel, the real estate giant at the heart of Dubai`s financial crisis, confirmed Wednesday that it would repay all of its 7.9 billion dirhams ($2.15 billion) bank debt almost four years ahead of schedule. Nakheel, which built high-profile projects including a palm-shaped island in the Gulf and a cluster of isles in the form of a world map, also said it would pay interest of 129 million dirhams owed. Nakheel`s final instalment had been due in March 2018 but in June chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said the entire sum would be paid this summer. He said then that the cash was being `generated from Nakheel`s own income, not from the support fund of the government`.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014  19:16


World - Saudi Arabia executes four for drug possession

Saudi Arabia has executed four men for possession of hashish, domestic media reported, taking to 17 the number of people put to death in the conservative Islamic kingdom in two weeks and prompting disquiet from international rights groups. Saudi Arabia`s Sharia Islamic legal code is not codified and gives extensive powers to individual judges to base verdicts and sentences on their own interpretation of Muslim law. Hadi bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, Mufreh bin Jaber Zayed al-Yami, Ali bin Jaber Zayed al-Yami and Awadh bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, who were executed on Monday, were from Najran on the kingdom`s southern border with Yemen, official media reported. Saudi Arabia denies it practices torture.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014  07:02


World - Yazidis haunted by cries for help as militants bury victims alive

By Humeyra Pamuk DAYRABUN Iraq (Reuters) - Refugee Samo Ilyas Ali has nine children to feed but he can`t focus on the future because the sounds of women and children crying out for help while being buried alive by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq often consume his mind. The refugees sit idle in camps in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Traumatized by Islamic State militants notorious for beheadings and mass executions, they have simply given up on Iraq and want to go as far away as possible; U.S. air strikes against Islamic State positions and vows by Kurdish commanders to recapture Yazidi villages provided no reassurances.

Monday, August 18, 2014  19:26


World - Tens of thousands in Yemen Shiite protest

Tens of thousands of people joined an anti-government rally in Sanaa on Monday in response to a call by Shiite rebel commander Abdulmalik al-Huthi, an AFP journalist reported. The protesters assembled in Change Square then paraded in the centre of the capital, where supporters of the rebels, who are known as Huthis or Ansarullah, had converged during the morning after travelling from outside the capital. A tight security cordon was thrown up around Sanaa, with increased security along the main roads, though no incidents had been reported by the middle of the day. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the government, which has struggled to manage the political transition since the ouster in 2012 of veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Monday, August 18, 2014  13:09


Asia-Pacific - VIDEO: Singapore`s `orchid kaleidoscope`

Ali Moore reports from the Singapore Garden Festival, where designers, horticulturists and thousands of orchids have created new ideas for Asia`s gardens.

Monday, August 18, 2014  05:57


World - Iraqi Kurds retake country`s main dam from jihadists: officials

Al-Qosh (Iraq) (AFP) - Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces backed by US air strikes on Sunday retook the country`s largest dam from jihadist militants who seized it the previous week, officials said. `Mosul Dam was liberated completely,` Ali Awni, an official from Iraq`s main Kurdish party, told AFP, adding that fighting was now taking place in the nearby Tal Kayf area. A peshmerga officer and another political party official also confirmed that Kurdish forces were in control of Mosul Dam, which provides electricity and irrigation water for farming to large areas of Iraq`s northern Nineveh province. The recapture of the dam marks the biggest major prize won back from the Islamic State jihadists since they launched their sweeping offensive in northern Iraq in early June.

Sunday, August 17, 2014  18:16


World - Drone kills three suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen: official

A drone attack killed three suspected al Qaeda militants on Saturday in Yemen`s eastern Hadramout province, a local official told Reuters. `The three armed men were traveling in a vehicle along a desert stretch between Yemen and Saudi Arabia`s border when the drone shot two rockets at them. Earlier this month, the Yemeni army sent extra troops to the Wadi Hadramout region in northeastern Yemen to counter attempts by militant group Ansar al Sharia to declare an Islamic emirate in the city of Seiyoun. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) exploited a power vacuum wrought by the 2011 uprising that eventually ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh to carve out areas of dominance in south and east Yemen.

Saturday, August 16, 2014  19:30


World - India strike but England still on top in fifth Test

India fought back in the fifth and final Test to check England`s progress at The Oval in London on Saturday. England, who had been 191 for one, were 246 for five at tea on the second day -- still 98 runs ahead after skittling India out for 148 on Friday. Joe Root was 11 not out and Jos Buttler 12 not out, with England, 2-1 up, looking to seal the five-match series. India took four wickets in quick succession, with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claiming two for three runs in eight balls, as England captain Alastair Cook (79), Gary Ballance (64), Ian Bell (seven) and Moeen Ali (14) were dismissed.

Saturday, August 16, 2014  16:42


World - Iraqi Sunnis say could join new government, fight Islamic State

By Raheem Salman and Michael Georgy BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Tribal leaders and clerics from Iraq`s Sunni heartland offered their conditional backing on Friday for a new government that hopes to contain sectarian bloodshed and an offensive by Islamic State militants that threatens tear the country apart. One of the most influential tribal leaders said he was willing to work with Shi`ite prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi provided a new administration respected the rights of the Sunni Muslim minority that dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Ali Hatem Suleiman left open a possibility that Sunnis would take up arms against the Islamic State fighters in the same way as he and others joined U.S. and Shi`ite-led government forces to thwart an al Qaeda insurgency in Iraq between 2006 and 2009. It forms much of the border with Syria, where the Islamist fighters also control swathes of territory.

Friday, August 15, 2014  20:08

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