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Iraq PM Sees Power Clipped by Rivals amid Pro-Iran Pressure

As anti-government protests sweep his country, Iraq's embattled premier has found his decision-making powers clipped by rivals and his entourage subject to increasing pressure from Iran, Iraqi officials told AFP.

Adel Abdel Mahdi, 77, came to power last year as the product of a tenuous alliance between populist cleric Moqtada Sadr and pro-Iran paramilitary chief Hadi al-Ameri, with the required blessing of Iraq's Shiite religious leadership.

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Head of UN Palestinian Agency Steps Aside amid Probe

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has stepped aside temporarily as an internal probe into alleged mismanagement at the organisation proceeds, it said on Wednesday.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner general of the agency known as UNRWA, will be replaced on an interim basis by the agency's acting deputy chief Christian Saunders, it said.

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Riyadh Has 'Open Channel' with Yemen Rebels, Saudi Official Says

Riyadh has an "open channel" with Yemen's Iran-backed rebels with the goal of ending the country's civil war, a Saudi official said Wednesday, weeks after the rebels offered to halt attacks on the kingdom.

The comment comes after Saudi Arabia separately brokered a power sharing agreement between Yemen's internationally recognized government and southern separatists, which observers say could pave the way for a wider peace deal.

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Lebanon Pupils Skip Schools to Join Demos against Political Elite

In a first since the beginning of the demonstrations on October 17, Lebanon’s school students flocked to the streets on Wednesday joining the country’s revolution against the political class.

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15 Killed in Suspected Rebel Attacks in Thailand's South

At least fifteen people were killed in attacks by suspected Muslim militants in Thailand's violence-wracked south, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, the latest incident in the 15-year bloody insurgency.

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Xi, Macron Back 'Irreversible' Paris Climate Pact

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron declared on Wednesday that the Paris climate pact is "irreversible", after the United States formally withdrew from the accord this week.

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Pompeo Faces Fire over Ambassador Targeted by Trump

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had achieved the seemingly impossible in Donald Trump's Washington -- pleasing the mercurial president while casting himself as a defender of his institution.

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Olympic Chief Urges Focus on Cheating Athletes' 'Entourage'

Olympic chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday urged governments to do more to help "drain the doping swamp" by going after the entourage of a cheating athlete.

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Federer and Djokovic Drawn in Same ATP Finals Group

Spectators will be hoping for a mini repeat of this year's epic Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after the two tennis legends were drawn in the same group for next week's climax to the season, the ATP Finals.

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Trump Jr Releases Provocative Book Defending Father

Donald Trump Jr. released a book Tuesday that rails against the left as he admitted he had caught the political bug and may consider running for office in the future.

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