Middle Orient

Sharon, Abbas make little progress

AN UNPRECEDENTED SUMMIT between the Palestinian and Israeli leaders broke up in Jerusalem on Tuesday amid bitter arguments and recriminations over continuing violence, yielding few tangible results. Palestinian officials at the meeting said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began the two-hour summit with a humiliating 20-minute lecture to Palestinian President …

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Justice minister says Saddam’s trial will be over by year-end

BRUSSELS (AP) — Iraq’s justice minister said Tuesday that Saddam Hussein’s trial on war crimes charges will be over by the end of the year and accused the United States of trying to delay interrogations of Saddam. Abdel Hussein Shandal’s comments underlined the Iraqi government’s determination to bring the ousted …

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UNHCR head urges global action to stem refugee flow

PALORINYA RECEPTION CENTRE, Uganda (AFP) — The new head of the UN refugee agency Tuesday urged concerted global action to improve conditions in war-ravaged southern Sudan in a bid to stem a flow of refugees, still fleeing despite a landmark peace deal. On a tour of camps in northwestern Uganda, …

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Iraq seeks support to move out of ‘critical’ phase

BRUSSELS (AFP) — More than 80 foreign ministers and officials gathered in Brussels Tuesday for a conference aimed at showing solidarity with violence-wracked Iraq, and to hear Baghdad’s plans for how to rebuild it. While organisers admitted the Brussels talks may be short on major new initiatives, they played up …

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Rice criticises Saudis on rights, gets firm rebuff

RIYADH (AFP) — US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticised Saudi Arabia’s record on democratic reform and the jailing of three activists but was firmly rebuffed Tuesday by Washington’s staunch Middle East ally. “The row is really meaningless,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal told a post-midnight news conference …

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Spectre of Ahmadinejad victory haunts women

TEHRAN — Left in a state of shock by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s surprise election success, young professional women in Tehran fear they could lose all their hard-won new freedoms if the ultra-conservative wins the presidency. “We are always worried. We have never been working at ease. But now, with Ahmadinejad as …

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Voter manipulation threat in poll — ministry

TEHRAN (Reuters) — Electoral officials said on Tuesday they were guarding against fresh attempts to manipulate voters in Iran’s presidential election run-off after charges that military bodies rallied support for a hardline candidate. Friday’s run-off, after an inconclusive first round, pits pragmatic cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani against ultra-conservative Tehran Mayor …

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Beirut car bomb kills veteran politician

A bomb killed an anti-Syrian politician Tuesday in the second such assassination in three weeks, fuelling opposition fears that Damascus and its Lebanese allies are hitting their enemies in a bid to restore their fading authority. Former Communist Party leader George Hawi, 67, was killed by an explosion under his …

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Rafsanjani faces run-off vote against Ahmadinejad as reformers cry foul

TEHRAN (AP) — Tehran’s arch-conservative mayor capped a stunning political rise Saturday to claim second place in Iran’s presidential race and face one of the nation’s most famous statesmen in a head-to-head vote. Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — a 49-year-old former student radical backed by Iran’s ruling clerics and their military …

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Baghdad museum director gets used to returning fire

BAGHDAD — Donny George of the Iraq Museum is more concerned about security than most museum directors. Books on George’s shelves summarise his struggle: “Institutional Trauma: Major Change in Museums and its Effect on Staff,” “Museum Security and Protection” and “Moving the Mountain: A Guide to Moving Collections.”

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