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Jordan justice minister resigns

By AFP AMMAN: Jordan said on Wednesday that Justice Minister Salim Zubi has resigned for health reasons, but local media reported he quit in protest over a new electoral law. State news agency Petra said Zubi stepped down leading to a minor cabinet reshuffle as King Abdullah II replaced him with legal affairs minister, Ibrahim …

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Iran to offer new proposals at nuclear talks: Press TV

By Marcus George / Reuters DUBAI: Iran will present new proposals at talks on Saturday aimed at easing concerns about its nuclear activity, state television said, but it was unclear if Tehran was willing to address its disputed uranium enrichment drive as six world powers want. It was the latest apparent attempt to strengthen Iran’s position …

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EU urges Gaza’s Hamas rulers to end executions

By AFP JERUSALEM: EU officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Wednesday condemned Gaza’s Hamas rulers for executing three prisoners and urged the Islamist movement to give up the practice of capital punishment. The Hamas-run interior ministry on Saturday said three prisoners had been executed, one of whom was convicted of “collaborating” with Israel and two …

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Saudi Arabia denies activist on hunger strike

By Asma Alsharif / Reuters JEDDAH: A prominent Saudi rights campaigner, who has been detained for a year, is not on hunger strike, an Interior Ministry spokesman said in response to activists saying he was in deteriorating health and Saudi authorities were to blame. Mohamad Al-Bajadi was detained in March 2011 after voicing support for families …

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Yemen army kills 25 militants in fresh clashes: officials

By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Isabel Coles / Reuters ADEN: At least 25 suspected al Qaeda-linked militants were killed on Wednesday in a third day of fighting with Yemeni troops in the south of the country, residents and local officials said. Officials said the clashes took place at Jebel Yasuf, some 10 km (6 miles) from the …

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Battles raging on disputed border, 2 Sudans say

By Michael Onyiego / AP JUBA: Battles raged Wednesday along the disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan, officials from both countries said, and a South Sudan official said the fighting is “spreading all over.” The two sides fought a civil war that lasted decades, and any increase in sporadic border clashes raises the risk …

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Syrian military on offensive before truce deadline

By Oliver Holmes and Douglas Hamilton / Reuters BEIRUT: Syria has assured the United Nations it will respect a ceasefire with rebels due to take effect in less than 24 hours, peace envoy Kofi Annan said on Wednesday, but President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces kept up attacks in several cities. Western powers have scorned Assad’s pledges, but …

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Start-up firms bloom in wake of Arab Spring

By Mirna Sleiman / Reuters DUBAI: Jordanian entrepreneur Majied Qasem waited three years before arranging outside funding for his start-up company, d1g.com, an Arabic social media and content-sharing platform. He finally succeeded in September 2011, eight months after Arab Spring uprisings erupted in the region. The company now has over 35 million page views per month, …

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Aker Solutions wins surface wellhead contract in Egypt

CAIRO: International oil services group Aker Solutions has signed a two-year frame agreement with Egyptian oil giant Badr Petroleum Company (Bapetco), according to a company statement published by Reuters. Aker Solutions will be the sole supplier for all of the oil company’s surface wellhead equipment, installation and lifecycle services operations in the Western Desert of …

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New mobile rules would only affect new entrants: official

By Reuters CAIRO: Proposed amendments to an Egyptian law requiring mobile telecom operators to give a percentage of their shares to Egyptians would apply only to new license operators, a communications ministry official said on Tuesday. Orascom Telecom Media and Technology said in February it had reached a preliminary accord to sell most of its …

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Sudan halts talks with South after ‘most serious’ attack

By AFP KHARTOUM: Sudan’s parliament on Wednesday called a halt to negotiations with South Sudan, official radio reported, as the foreign ministry accused Juba of the worst violation of its territory since independence. “Parliament decided to stop negotiations and withdraw the delegation immediately from Addis Ababa,” Radio Omdurman reported after a second day of renewed …

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Clashes near Egypt-Libya border leave two dead

By AFP CAIRO: Two people were killed during clashes between residents of an Egyptian town close to the Libyan border and security forces, security officials told AFP on Wednesday. Residents of Salloum in western Egypt on Tuesday night blocked the main motorway heading to Libya to protest security restrictions on cross-border traffic and increased tariffs …

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Will the tragedy in Toulouse unite France?

By Rabbi François Garai GENEVA, Switzerland: The assassination of French Muslim and Christian military personnel and French Jewish civilians two weeks ago in Toulouse and Montauban has rocked France. Yet beyond the fears that this act has stirred among both French Jews and their Muslim compatriots, the desire for co-existence prevails. Many of us European …

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Why ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ J Street still matters

By Moriel Rothman JERUSALEM: Recently, the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” American organization J Street held its third annual conference in Washington, DC. Many on the American Jewish left have been increasingly critical of J Street, either for shifting to the right, or for failing to bring about any meaningful developments in terms of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Some of …

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Disarmament wars

By Jonathan Schell NEW YORK: On April 13, Iran is scheduled to meet with representatives of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States — the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — plus Germany (the so-called “P5+1”) in an effort to decide the fate of Iran’s nuclear program. Meanwhile, North Korea …

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Soul sustenance: Swedish opera singers make house calls

By Igor Gedilaghine / AFP Are you lonely? Do you miss a loved one? Is your marriage on the rocks? Just place a call to a Stockholm opera and a singer will make a house call with an aria specially chosen to fit your state of mind. “I’ve had the experience of singing for a couple …

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Reconciliation the path to Egypt peace

By Philip Whitfield CAIRO: Rattled, the Muslim Brothers packed parliament to amend a law that would ban former regime figures from running after Omar Suleiman threw his hat into the ring. That’ll get tossed into the courts, unlikely to see the light of day again. Suleiman is the Brothers’ nemesis. The intelligence chief rose to become …

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Nermine Hammam’s voluble cry of freedom

By Mariam Hamdy I didn’t used to be a fan of Nermine Hammam’s earlier work, but recently I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s time to pay it its dues. To those who have not yet been to her exhibit at Safar Khan Gallery in Zamalek, rush to it now. Hammam has always been a controversial …

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Bahrain violence grows with mob attacks

By Reem Khalifa MANAMA, Bahrain: Mobs with iron rods and sticks ransacked a supermarket belonging to a major Shia-owned business group Wednesday, a company official said, as part of a spike in violence in the Gulf nation in retaliation for a bomb attack on police. The attack appeared linked to a wave of reprisals and intimidation …

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Ukraine blocks film on soccer match against Nazis

By Maria Danilova / AP It’s a game that every Ukrainian knows about: The “Death Match” of 1942, when top Kiev soccer players trounced a team of Nazi occupiers and reportedly paid for it with their lives. But Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday froze the release of a movie depicting that Soviet defiance of Nazi Germany because …

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IMF says Egypt needs to agree on new budget

By AFP WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that Egypt’s divided politicians needed to agree on a new budget before it can offer financial support for the country. In a statement following a staff mission to Cairo, the IMF said Egyptian authorities had made progress on their economic program, which it said “appropriately aims …

DNE

Court adjourns hearings of 3 presidential hopefuls’ qualification

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: An Administrative Court adjourned Tuesday appeals related to the validity of three presidential nominees’ candidacy to an exceptional session Wednesday morning to submit the required documents. Ultraconservative Islamist hopeful Hazem Salah Abu Ismail filed a lawsuit to oblige the interior ministry to provide documents proving his mother does not hold the US …

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Parliament to discuss political exclusion draft law Wednesday

By Safaa Abdoun CAIRO: The People’s Assembly’s (PA) legislation and constitution committee gave initial approval ahead of the discussion of the political exclusion draft law at the PA’s late session on Tuesday. Lawmaker Essam Sultan from Al-Wasat Party presented a political exclusion draft law, barring officials of the former regime from practicing politics. Last Sunday as …

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MB criticizes court’s ruling against Constituent Assembly formation

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: The Administrative Court of the State Council issued a ruling Tuesday invalidating parliament’s decision regarding the makeup of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting Egypt’s new constitution. The court accepted the case filed by a number of legal experts and public figures against PA Speaker, as well as halting the implementation of …

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Egypt stocks at 9-week low; profit-taking weighs on Saudi

By Nadia Saleem and Patrick Werr/Reuters DUBAI/CAIRO: Egypt’s main index fell 0.8 percent on Tuesday to its lowest close since Feb. 6, on its sixth day of decline. An Egyptian court halted on Tuesday a move to create a new constitutional assembly pending a ruling on its legality, a move that could delay a constitution needed …

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Presidential rivals share secretive past

By Tom Perry / Reuters CAIRO: They sit at opposite ends of Egypt’s political spectrum and one of them was jailed by a government in which the other was chief of intelligence. Now they both want to be president. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Khairat Al-Shater and Hosni Mubarak’s head spy Omar Suleiman have moved firmly into the …

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In Egypt’s military, a march for change

By Marwa Awad / Reuters CAIRO: On a warm Wednesday morning last October, around 500 Egyptian army officers based at the Air Defense Institute on the outskirts of Alexandria staged a mini revolt. According to a lieutenant colonel with direct knowledge of the protest, the men were angry about the punishment given to a fellow …

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Lebanon delays gas tenders, sets up administrator

By Laila Bassam / Reuters BEIRUT: Lebanon is delaying tenders for offshore exploratory drilling as it sets up an oil and gas oversight committee, but seismic tests suggest increasingly large potential gas reserves, Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil said. Interest in drilling in the eastern Mediterranean has grown since two natural gas fields were discovered …

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Dubai’s Shuaa names Colin Macdonald as new CEO

By Mirna Sleiman / Reuters DUBAI: Shuaa Capital, the struggling Dubai-based investment bank, on Tuesday named a former ABN Amro banker as its new chief executive, replacing Michael Philipp who stepped down after just six months in the job. Shuaa said Colin MacDonald, who was previously ABN’s group managing director and regional head for the Middle …

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Brotherhood holds Egyptian army to ransom on aid

By Una Galani / Reuters Breakingviews DUBAI: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is holding the army to ransom. The moderate Islamist movement, which won almost half the seats in recent parliamentary elections, says it won’t support a $3.2 billion aid deal with the International Monetary Fund. It has demanded new terms, or asked the army to step aside …

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