The Daily Star : International (611)

U.S. backs Saudi 'first step' in addressing Yemen crisis

The United States Friday welcomed a first step by Saudi Arabia to allow humanitarian aid to reach Yemen and called for negotiations on the country's conflict.

'Wiping out' extremist ideology is my mission: Issa

The head of a Saudi-based organization that for decades was charged with spreading the Wahhabi school of Islam around the world has said those times were over and his focus now was aimed at annihilating extremist ideology.

Moroccans pray for rain as 'mercy from God'

We beg for God's mercy, said 10-year-old Hasan, wearing a long white tunic, as Moroccans across the parched country Friday held prayers for rain under a royal decree.

Ruling parties keep majority in Algeria elections

Algeria's ruling parties retained their majority in local elections, taking more than 50 percent of the vote, Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui said Friday.

Syria war has killed more than 340,000: new toll

Syria's grinding war has killed over 340,000 people since it broke out in 2011, including more than 100,000 civilians, an activist group said Friday.

Russia says winding down presence in Syria, again

The Russian military says it has begun scaling back its deployment to Syria more than two years after Moscow's intervention in the conflict on the side of the Damascus regime.

Attacks on IDF soldier-turned-whistleblower get personal

A former Israeli combat officer turned whistleblower has found himself in the fight of his lifetime, leading a campaign against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and drawing relentless criticism from the country's leaders who have labeled him a traitor.

Libya slave auctions: 'Everybody knew'

World leaders may have been quick to voice outrage over video footage of Libyan slave auctions, but activists raised the alarm months ago – and their warnings fell on deaf ears.

Over 40 million modern-day slaves globally

The revelation that migrants are being sold as slaves in Libya is not an isolated case: More than 40 million people were estimated to be victims of modern slavery in 2016.

U.S. trial of gold trader sparks worry, anger in Turkey

A court case in the United States against a leading gold trader and a top Turkish banking executive has sparked anger and anxiety in Ankara, with both U.S.-Turkey ties and the economy at risk of damage.

Pope heads into Rohingya diplomatic minefield

Pope Francis plunges into a diplomatic minefield next week with visits to under-fire Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh amid mounting outrage over the plight of persecuted Rohingya Muslims.

Scope of Beijing's foreign interest extends, China's global footprint grows

China has traditionally rejected U.S.-style interventionism, but its deepening economic involvement in volatile countries is thrusting Beijing toward a more assertive global role.

London Oxford Street panic after shooting reports

Panic erupted among Christmas shopping crowds on London's Oxford Street Friday evening as armed officers raced to respond to reports of shots being fired in the area but police said later they had found no evidence of gunfire or casualties.

Cuba marks first anniversary of Fidel's death

Cuba marks the first anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro Saturday with a week of vigils nationwide, as the island embarks on a political cycle that will end 60 years of the Castro brothers' rule.

'Hostiles' attempts the progressive Western

Before superhero movies, filmmakers who wanted to employ action-hero tropes in the service of noble messages turned to the Western.

Russia decries Japan-U.S. defense alliance

Russia is concerned that Japan is allowing Washington to use its territory as a base for a U.S. military buildup in north Asia under the pretext of countering North Korea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday.

Can new Zimbabwe leader bring change?

Zimbabwe's new president Emmerson Mnangagwa – widely known as the Crocodile – is seen as a smart and ruthless politician, but many question if he will be able to bring the change the country craves.

Pacquiao calls out McGregor for #realboxingmatch

Manny Pacquiao threw down the gauntlet to Conor McGregor – and took a dig at Floyd Mayweather – as he promised to give the mixed martial arts star a real boxing match.

Hamilton fastest in Abu Dhabi practice run

Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton kept Mercedes on top in the last Friday practice of the Formula One season with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel close behind.

Davis Cup final opening day: France and Belgium level

David Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are each on top of their games. Both were up to the task in Friday's opening singles matches of the Davis Cup final, delivering lopsided wins to leave France and Belgium tied at 1-1.

Gaza's Egypt border to stay shut after Sinai massacre

The Gaza Strip's border crossing with Egypt that was due to reopen Saturday will remain closed until further notice following the bloody attack in neighbouring Sinai, an official told AFP

Mediterranean "by far world's deadliest border" for migrants: IOM

More than 33,000 migrants have died at sea trying to reach European shores since 2000, making the Mediterranean "by far the world's deadliest border," the United Nations migration agency said on Friday

'Kalam Ennas' host charged with insulting the president

Mount Lebanon Attorney General Judge Ghada Aoun Friday charged Lebanese television presenter Marcel Ghanem of insulting the president on his weekly talk show - a crime punishable by six months to two years in prison.

Ireland set for December election if crisis not averted by Tuesday: PM

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday he would not seek the resignation of his deputy prime minister, as sought by the party propping up his government, and would be forced to call an election if that demand was not withdrawn by Tuesday.

Ex-UK soldier in Turkey released from jail pending trial

A lawyer says a Turkish court has released a former British soldier from jail pending the outcome of his trial for alleged membership of a terrorist organization

Nasr Hariri to head Syrian opposition at Geneva talks: Spokesman

Syrian opposition representatives selected Nasr Hariri to head a negotiating team at an upcoming round of UN-backed peace talks in Geneva, spokesman Ahmad Ramadan told Reuters on Friday

Lebanon questions actor over alleged Israeli contact

Lebanese authorities are interrogating writer and actor Ziad Itani on suspicions that he broke the law by "communicating" with Israelis, a judicial source told AFP on Friday

DR Congo court suspends trial over mass rape of children

The trial of 18 suspected militiamen over the kidnapping and rape of some 40 girls in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has been suspended after a defendant demanded the recusal of two judges, a judicial source said Friday

Russia opens commission into 'nuclear incident' report

A Russian scientific commission will investigate reports of radioactive pollution almost 1,000 times above normal levels in the southern Urals, state nuclear company Rosatom said Friday

London's Oxford Circus incident over: police

London's police force said on Friday that they had stood down after an incident in the heart of London's shopping district that they initially responded to as if it could have been terrorist-related.

Klopp's undefeated record vs. Chelsea on the line

Liverpool will host Chelsea at Anfield Saturday with only three points separating the two teams. The Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has never lost a game against the Blues since taking over the Merseyside club, winning two and drawing another two.

Britain has 10 days to deliver on all key Brexit issues: Tusk

Britain has only 10 days left to deliver on all three areas of its divorce terms with the European Union if London wants to start talks on a transition period after Brexit and a future relationship, the chairman of EU leaders Donald Tusk said

Egypt militants attack mosque in Sinai, casualties reported

Egyptian security officials say militants have attacked a mosque in the volatile Sinai Peninsula, leaving dozens of casualties.

ISF arrests women for prostitution and theft

Internal Security Forces Information Branch Friday arrested two women on charges of prostitution and theft, according to a statement from the directorate.

Irish government looks set to fall over policing scandal

Ireland's government looked set to collapse Friday after the party propping it up submitted a motion of no confidence in the deputy prime minister in violation of a three-year support agreement.

Russia takes Tokyo to task over defense alliance with Washington

Russia is concerned that Japan is allowing Washington to use its territory as a base for a U.S. military build-up in north Asia under the pretext of countering North Korea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

Dozens killed in attack on mosque in Egypt's Sinai during prayers: security officials

Dozens killed in attack on mosque in Egypt's Sinai during prayers: security officials

Hariri calls for cut of wasteful power use at public buildings

Prime Minister Saad Hariri Friday requested state administrations monitor and cut down on wasteful electricity use.

Three UN peacekeepers, one Malian soldier killed during joint operation

Three United Nations peacekeepers and one Malian soldier were killed and several others were wounded Friday in an attack by unidentified assailants in northeastern Mali, the U.N. mission there said in a statement.

Mine clearance specialist injured in explosion

A demining specialist was injured Friday when an unexploded landmine left by Israel in south Lebanon exploded, a security source told The Daily Star.

'Grand coalition' again up for discussion in Germany

Germany's president is inviting Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc and the center-left Social Democrats for joint talks on the possibility on the forming a new government.

Turkey does not rule out possible contact with Assad

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not ruled out possible contact with President Bashar Assad in a sign that his stance may be softening toward the Syrian leader.

IMF credit to Chad delayed over Glencore oil debt

Chad's stalled talks with Glencore on restructuring more than $1 billion in debt due to the trading firm has delayed the release of IMF funds for the struggling central African country until at least early next year, sources familiar with the matter said.

UN says aid workers to return to Yemen on Saturday but no aid yet

The Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting in Yemen has given the United Nations permission to resume flights of aid workers to areas controlled by the Houthi movement Saturday, but not to dock ships with wheat and medical supplies, a U.N. spokesman said.

Afghan air strike kills about 20 Taliban at religious school: officials

A rocket attack on an Afghan religious school killed about 20 Taliban insurgents exchanging fire with security forces, officials said Friday, adding that no children were among the victims.

China says it will make efforts on Syria reconstruction

China hopes Syria can show "flexibility" in promoting peace talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday in a meeting with an adviser to Syria's president, adding that China would help with its reconstruction.

'Fake data,' a relative of 'fake news,' is threat to economic stability: ECB

"Fake data" is as much of a threat to economic and financial stability as "fake news" is to politics, a leading European central banker said on Friday.

Mnangagwa, the 'Crocodile,' sworn in as Zimbabwe president

Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in Friday as President of Zimbabwe in front of thousands of cheering supporters at Harare's national stadium, bringing the final curtain down on the 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe.

UNHCR decries PNG police removal of refugees, demands protection

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR on Friday denounced the use of force by Papua New Guinean police to remove refugees and asylum seekers from a center on Manus island and called for them to be protected.

Syrian opposition agrees to send united delegation to Geneva talks

Syria's disparate opposition groups announced an agreement early Friday to send a united delegation to next week's UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva, as international diplomatic efforts intensify to end the six-year conflict.