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World - Nobel writer Vargas Llosa backs Islam critic Hirsi Ali

Nobel-winning writer Mario Vargas Llosa on Sunday praised Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women`s rights advocate and leading critic of Islam, calling her `one of the most valuable` adversaries of `Islamic fanatics`. In a column in top-selling Spanish daily El Pais, the Peruvian hailed Hirsi Ali`s latest book `Heretic` in which she argues for a major overhaul of Islam, akin to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. `Islamic fanatics wanted to bring her to an end and they have not managed to do so, it is not impossible that they will keep trying as she is one of the most articulate, influential and valuable adversaries which they have in the world,` Vargas Llosa wrote. Hirsi Ali left the Netherlands for the United States in May 2006 following a bitter row which broke out when she admitted lying about her age and name in her Dutch asylum request.

Sunday, April 19, 2015  16:53


Business - Oil falls on strong dollar and as Saudi output remains near record high

By Himanshu Ojha LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices fell towards $62 a barrel on Monday on a strong dollar and as Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said production would stay around 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in April. Brent crude was trading down $1.20 at $62.25 by 1147 GMT, down from an intraday peak of $64.34. The dollar was up 0.47 percent against a basket of currencies , denting the price of crude oil. Production in the world`s biggest crude exporter would stay near record peaks around 10 million bpd in April, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told Reuters on Monday in Seoul, where he is due to attend a board meeting of the state oil firm Saudi Aramco [SDABO.UL].

Monday, April 20, 2015  13:12


World - Australia brokers intelligence-sharing deal with Iran

Australia and Iran will share intelligence to track foreign fighters working with the Islamic State group in Iraq, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday, as lawmakers urged caution. In the first trip to Iran by an Australian minister in more than a decade, Bishop said it would be an informal arrangement. Her comments came after a meeting with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, President Hassan Rouhani and Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign affairs adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Monday, April 20, 2015  06:55


World - Former president defiant as humanitarian toll mounts in Yemen war

By Mohamed Mokashaf ADEN (Reuters) - Yemen`s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Friday he would not leave the country, dismissing reports in the Gulf Arab media that he was seeking a safe exit as Saudi Arabian war planes bomb troops loyal to him and their Houthi militia allies. The United Nations, meanwhile, said about 150,000 people had been driven from their homes by three weeks of air strikes and ground fighting and more than 750 people killed. The Iran-allied Houthis, a Shi`ite Muslim movement from northern Yemen, have formed an alliance of convenience with Saleh, who is widely believed to be plotting behind the scenes to make a comeback on Yemen`s tumultuous political scene. The person who can say to Ali Abdullah Saleh `leave your country` has not been and will not be born,` he wrote on his Facebook page.

Friday, April 17, 2015  14:32


World - Former Yemen president Saleh says will not leave country

Former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh said he would not leave the country in a post on his official Facebook page on Friday, contradicting reports in the Gulf Arab media that he sought a safe exit. The person who can say to Ali Abdullah Saleh `leave your country` has not been and will not be born,` he wrote. A Saudi-led alliance has been bombing Yemen`s Iran-allied Houthi rebels and army units loyal to Saleh for three weeks, fuelling speculation that he might seek a political settlement that protects him and his powerful family.

Friday, April 17, 2015  12:25


World - Air strike on missile base in Yemen capital kills 25, wounds hundreds

An air strike on a Scud missile base in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa triggered a big explosion that killed 25 people and wounded almost 400 on Monday, state news agency Saba said. Saudi Arabia has led an alliance of Sunni Arab countries in air strikes against the Iran-allied Shi`ite Houthi group and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Monday, April 20, 2015  20:06


World - Robertson races into second round of worlds

Australia`s Neil Robertson eased past Jamie Jones with a 10-2 win in the first round of the World Championship on Monday and then said his emphatic victory was reward for sustained hard work on the practice tables. The 33-year-old, world champion in 2010, led 7-2 overnight and made clear his determination to avoid being dragged into a lengthy encounter with a break of 133 in Monday`s first frame at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, northern England. Robertson took the next two frames as well to complete a comfortable victory over his Welsh opponent. The Melbourne-born left-hander, who will face either one of the experienced duo of Ali Carter or Alan McManus in the last 16, said he had spent more time at practice in a bid to get the most out of his natural talent and add to a tally of 10 ranking titles.

Monday, April 20, 2015  18:53


World - Air strike on missile base in Yemen capital kills at least fifteen

An air strike on a Scud missile base in the Houthi rebel controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa triggered a big explosion that blew out windows in homes, killing at least fifteen people and wounding dozens on Monday, medical sources said. Saudi Arabia has led an alliance of Sunni Arab countries in air strikes against the Iran-allied Shi`ite Houthi group and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Yemen`s state news agency Saba, run by the Houthi movement, said the bombing resulted in `dozens of martyrs and hundreds of wounded`, citing a city official. Resident Adel Mansour said it was the largest explosion in more than three weeks of bombing by the Saudi-led coalition.

Monday, April 20, 2015  18:35


World - 18 dead, 300 hurt as raids on Yemen capital spark blasts

Saudi-led air strikes on a missile depot in Yemen`s rebel-held capital Monday sparked explosions that left at least 18 people dead and 300 wounded, flattening houses and shaking faraway neighbourhoods. Many more people were feared to have been killed after the two strikes that hit the depot in the Fajj Attan area of Sanaa, which was covered in thick black clouds of smoke. The hilltop base belongs to the missile brigade of the elite Republican Guard, which remained loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been accused of siding with the Huthi rebels in their fight against the government. The Shiite rebels have seized control of large parts of the Arabian Peninsula nation, including Sanaa, and fought fierce battles with pro-government forces.

Monday, April 20, 2015  16:29


World - Russia says kills head of North Caucasus Islamist insurgency

By Gabriela Baczynska MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian security forces killed the leader of an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus during a raid on a house in the Dagestan region, the national Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK) said on Monday. Dagestan, from which convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev emigrated with his family to the United States in 2002, has become a hub of militant Islam in the North Caucasus. Four other suspected militants were also killed with Aliaskhab Kebekov, also known as Ali Abu Mukhammad, after special forces surrounded the house in a suburb of the town of Buynaksk in southern Russia on Sunday, NAK said. Kebekov, born in 1972, became the leader of the Caucasus Emirate group in early 2014 after Russian security forces killed his predecessor, Doku Umarov, who had been Russia`s most-wanted man.

Monday, April 20, 2015  15:54

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