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Updated: 11 weeks 3 days ago

No date set for rebel pullout from Syria's Homs: governor

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:54

Homs Governor al-Barazi visits civilians from besieged areas of Homs living in a shelter in al-Andalus schoolThe timing of an evacuation of rebels from the central Syrian city of Homs under a deal with government forces has not been set and could still take days to arrange, the provincial governor said on Tuesday. The withdrawal of the insurgents from Homs - a city once called "the capital of the revolution" - would amount to a major symbolic victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but has been delayed since a ceasefire was agreed on Friday. Homs governor Talal Barazi said arrangements for any withdrawal would take time and declined to say when it would likely happen.


Iran admiral: US ships are a target in case of war

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:36

FILE- In this file photo taken on April 3, 2006, members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard attend maneuvers in the Persian Gulf. Iran will target American aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf should a war between the two countries ever break out, the naval chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Tuesday as the country completes work on a large-scale mock-up of a U.S. carrier. (AP Photo/IRNA, File)TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will target American aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf should a war between the two countries ever break out, the naval chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Tuesday as the country completes work on a large-scale mock-up of a U.S. carrier.


Russia expects progress in Iran nuclear talks next week

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 05:15

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov looks on at the start of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in GenevaIran and six world powers could agree parts of a text of an agreement on Tehran's nuclear program when they meet for a new round of negotiations in Vienna next week, Russia's chief negotiator said in comments published on Tuesday. Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia are working to reach a long-term accord on ending the decade-old dispute over Tehran's atomic activities by a self-imposed July 20 deadline. The West suspects Iran may be seeking a nuclear weapons capability.


Iran's hard-line lawmakers grill FM on Holocaust

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 04:52
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Hard-line lawmakers have grilled Iran's foreign minister on the official Tehran's step-back from past policies of denying the Holocaust.

Pakistan's Hindus, other minorities face surge of violence

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 17:12

A security official and members of the Hindu community stand inside a temple that was attacked in LarkanaBy Syed Raza Hassan RAHIM YAR KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - The mob arrived at around midnight, brandishing clubs. They smashed statues, looted gold artifacts and then set the Hindu temple in Pakistan ablaze. An accusation of blasphemy sparked the attack in the town of Larkana, human rights activists said, part of a spike in violence against Hindus in predominately Muslim Pakistan. All of Pakistan's minorities - Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis and even Shi'ite Muslims - feel that the state fails to protect them, and even tolerates violence against them.


Turkish parliament commission to probe alleged corruption

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 14:58

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in AnkaraBy Gulsen Solaker ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish lawmakers on Monday voted to set up a commission to investigate alleged corruption by former ministers, but critics warned the ruling party would use its parliamentary majority to dictate the outcome of the probe. The government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has been dogged by graft allegations for months after scores of people - including government officials and the sons of three then-ministers - were detained by police in December. Erdogan has rejected accusations of wrongdoing, framing the graft probe as an attempt to unseat him by members of the police and judiciary loyal to his one-time ally and now bitter rival, U.S.-based Islamic cleric, Fetullah Gulen. During a lengthy parliamentary debate, members of the ruling AK Party said parliament would get to the bottom of allegations, including that government officials accepted bribes and had links with a criminal ring smuggling gold into Iran.


Heartbleed: What it told us about US stockpiling of potential cyber-weapons

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 14:57
Heartbleed, the recently divulged cyber-vulnerability that exposed websites to a gaping hole in computer security across half the Internet, exposed something else: a shift in US policy over when to keep such vulnerabilities secret – to be exploited by government spies only – and when to disclose and fix them. Just hours after the National Security Agency was accused in a news report on April 11 of knowing all about Heartbleed two years earlier – and using it to spy while leaving US businesses on the Internet vulnerable – the Obama administration struck back in a statement denying that the NSA knew about it or used it. What’s become clear, cyber-experts say, is that the NSA and other US spy agencies have long stockpiled cyber-vulnerabilities – identifying, purchasing, or otherwise acquiring obscure flaws in computer code. Those vulnerabilities are then used to craft “exploits” – cyber-weapons or spying tools used to sneak into and spy on, or damage, computer networks worldwide, cyber-security experts say.

Nuclear experts to meet on Iran this week

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 12:14
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Nuclear experts from Iran and six world powers are meeting in New York this week amid rising hopes that an agreement can be reached to limit Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons before a July 20 deadline.

Iran moves to meet May 15 deadline in U.N. nuclear deal

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 09:54

The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA flies in front of its headquarters during a board of governors meeting in ViennaBy Mehrdad Balali and Fredrik Dahl DUBAI/VIENNA (Reuters) - U.N. atomic agency officials held talks in Tehran on Monday before visits to two uranium sites, as Iran acts to implement a series of steps aimed at providing transparency on its nuclear research by a mid-May deadline, official Iranian media reported. Iran and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed late last year on a step-by-step process to help allay international concerns that Tehran may be developing nuclear weapons capability, a charge the Islamic Republic denies. The IAEA's discussions with Iran are separate from Tehran's negotiations with six world powers on a broader settlement of the decade-old nuclear dispute. Iran wants an end to sanctions that are hurting its oil-dependent economy.


Pakistan forces kill 10 separatist militants in Baluchistan

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 09:03
Pakistani forces killed at least 10 separatist militants in the volatile province of Baluchistan on Monday, paramilitary officials said. Baluch rebels have waged a decades-long insurgency in the remote, sparsely populated and mineral rich southwest province, bordering Iran. The Frontier Corps, the main state security force in Baluchistan, said it launched an operation against militant hideouts in the mountainous Panjgur district on Monday morning. "Ten militants were killed in heavy exchange of fire this morning," said Frontier Corps spokesman Wasay Khan.

Pakistan's Sharif set to visit Iran amid strained ties

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 05:59

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, seen in London on April 30, 2014Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will travel to Iran on Sunday in a visit seen as an attempt to improve relations frayed by the kidnapping of Iranian border guards. The conflict in Syria will also be on the agenda, along with other regional issues. "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will pay a two-day official visit to Iran from May 11 to 12," a foreign office official told AFP on Monday. He said Sharif would hold talks with President Hassan Rouhani on May 11 and was also expected to pay a call on spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the following day.


China aims to boost military relations with Iran

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 05:58
China wants deeper defense ties with Iran, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told his Iranian counterpart on Monday, according to Chinese state media, as Beijing moves to cement already close ties with a major oil supplier. Chang told Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan the development of bilateral relations has "remained positive and steady, featuring frequent high-level exchanges and deepened political mutual trust", the official Xinhua news agency said. China has exported arms to Iran, and last month expressed anger after Washington laid charges against a Chinese businessman accused of allegedly procuring missile parts for Iran. China and Iran have close energy and trade ties, and Beijing has repeatedly resisted U.S.-led demands to impose tougher economic sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions.

UN nuclear inspectors arrive in Iran

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 02:32

A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency has arrived in Iran to visit two nuclear sites ahead of the next round of political talks with world powers next weekA delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency has arrived in Iran to visit two nuclear sites ahead of the next round of political talks with world powers next week. After meeting officials from the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran on Monday the IAEA team will travel to Saghand uranium mine and the Ardakan yellow-cake production site, the official IRNA news agency said. The trip is in line with a seven-step plan agreed between Iran and the IAEA in February to increase transparency over Tehran's nuclear activities.


Iran triples trade envoys abroad to boost commerce

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 02:05
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A senior Iranian trade official says Tehran will almost triple the number of commercial attaches in its embassies abroad to boost trade ties.

High stakes in Asian Champion League 2nd round

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 23:12

FILE - In this March 4, 2014 file photo, South Korea's coach Hong Myung-bo watches his players during a training session at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus port, near Athens. The second round of the Asian Champions League takes on extra emphasis for some World Cup hopefuls this week, with South Korea’s Hong Myong-bo among the national team coaches carefully watching the continental club competition before announcing his squad for Brazil 2014.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The second round of the Asian Champions League takes on extra emphasis for some World Cup hopefuls this week, with South Korea's Hong Myung-bo among the national team coaches carefully watching the continental club competition before announcing his squad for Brazil 2014.


Report: Nuclear inspectors to visit Iranian sites

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 15:09

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2011 file photo, Iran's heavy water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran. International nuclear inspectors will visit two sites in Iran in the coming days, the country's official news agency reported Sunday, as an official said that would fulfill a series of demands made by the United Nations nuclear watchdog. (AP Photo/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — International nuclear inspectors will visit two sites in Iran in the coming days, the country's official news agency reported Sunday, as an official said that would fulfill a series of demands made by the United Nations nuclear watchdog.


Assad to face 2 others in Syrian presidential poll

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 14:49

People walk through the Damascus General Hospital past a portrait of the President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, May 4, 2014. An official with Syria's Supreme constitutional Court said Assad and two others will be candidates in coming June presidential elections. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)BEIRUT (AP) — Embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad will face two other candidates in the coming June presidential election, the country's Supreme Constitutional Court announced Sunday, a vote he's widely expected to win amid the country's raging civil war.


Homs accord on rebel pullout as Syria army advances

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 12:02

Rebel fighters walk past damaged buildings in Mleiha on July 25, 2013Rebels said Sunday they struck a deal to withdraw from the army-besieged heart of Hos city, as government forces advanced on a strategic town near the Syrian capital, a month before elections. The deal over the Old City of Homs, under total blockade since June 2012, will see some 2,250 people, mostly fighters, evacuate the flashpoint city in central Syria. Rebels will head to opposition-held areas in the north of Homs province, handing over control to the army, opposition sources told AFP. The deal brought together -- for the first time -- representatives of President Bashar al-Assad's security forces, the rebels and Damascus backer Iran.


Iran has briefed U.N. nuclear agency on detonators: ISNA

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 09:54

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an event to mark Nawroz, the Persian New Year, in KabulDUBAI/VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has provided the U.N. nuclear watchdog with information about detonators with possible military applications, under an accord intended to allay concerns about Tehran's atomic activities, an Iranian news agency said on Sunday. There was no immediate comment from the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which for years has been trying to investigate suspicions that Iran may have researched how to make an atomic bomb. Iran, which is seeking an end to sanctions hurting its oil-dependent economy, denies any such work. Diplomats in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, last week told Reuters they did not know whether Iran had so far given the U.N. body the requested information about fast-functioning Exploding Bridge Wire (EBW) detonators, which can be used to help set off an atomic explosive device but also has civilian applications.


Report: Iran detains Spaniards for illegal hunting

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 09:38
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's official news agency is reporting that authorities have detained two Spaniards for alleged illegal hunting after they were found with a captured alligator.