Middle East
Latest stories
Iraq Minister Outlines Problems behind Electricity Woes

Iraq's electricity minister outlined to parliament Saturday a slew of problems that have contributed to abysmal power services, which have sparked widespread public anger and protests.

Qassem al-Fahdawi, who was being quizzed in parliament on Iraq's electricity woes since he took office last year, criticized his predecessors for "focusing almost exclusively on production" at the expense of developing the distribution network to raise output.

W140 Full Story
Coalition Pounds Yemen Rebels, Sets Sights on Capital

Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition hit Yemen rebel positions Saturday as reinforcements reached pro-government forces preparing for an anticipated advance towards the capital, military sources said.

Apache helicopters struck a base occupied by rebel forces near Bayhan, in the southern province of Shabwa, hours after fighter jets targeted a convoy of the Iran-backed Huthi rebels in the area, a military source said.

W140 Full Story
Libya Shipwreck Toll Rises to 111, Dozens Missing

Rescuers have retrieved from the sea the bodies of 111 migrants whose boat sank off the coat of Libya, the Red Crescent said on Saturday in a new toll.

A spokesman for the Libyan relief organisation said dozens are still missing after Thursday's tragedy.

W140 Full Story
Policeman Killed and Seven People Injured in Bahrain Blast

A policeman was killed and seven people, including a child, injured in an explosion Friday evening in a predominantly Shiite district of Bahrain's capital Manama, authorities said.

Four police officers were among the injured, one of them seriously, Information Minister Isa Abdulrahman Al Hammadi told Agence France Presse. Two parents and their child were also hurt in the blast in Karanah suburb, he said.

W140 Full Story
Local Ceasefire between Syria Regime, Rebels Ends

A brief truce between Syrian regime forces and rebel groups in three key towns ended early Saturday as the warring parties resumed clashes and shelling, a monitoring group and a mediator said.

Pro-regime forces, including Hizbullah, had agreed on a 48-hour ceasefire, until dawn on Saturday, in the rebel bastion of Zabadani and the government-held villages of Fuaa and Kafraya. 

W140 Full Story
Egypt Court Hands Al-Jazeera Reporters Three Years in Jail

An Egyptian court sentenced three Al-Jazeera reporters to three years in prison on Saturday, in a shock ruling that sparked international condemnation.

Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were in court for the verdict, while Australian journalist Peter Greste was tried in absentia after his deportation early this year.

W140 Full Story
Thousands Protest against Corruption in Iraq Capital

Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated against corruption in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Friday, including supporters of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Protesters have taken to the streets of Baghdad and cities in the Shiite south for weeks, railing against rampant corruption and abysmal services, especially power outages that leave just a few hours of government-supplied electricity per day during the scorching summer heat.

W140 Full Story
U.N. Envoy Urges Speedy Libya Talks to Curb Migrant Crisis

A U.N. envoy urged Libya's warring factions Friday to speed up peace talks to help curb accidents in which hundreds of migrants have drowned off its shore as well as persistent bloodshed at home.

Bernardino Leon told a news conference in Skhirat near the Moroccan capital that the target was to sign an agreement on the formation of a unity government by September 20.

W140 Full Story
Syria Refugee Numbers Approach 20% of Pre-War Population

Syria's four-and-a-half year conflict has driven half of the country's people to flee their homes, with the number of those who have left the country approaching 20 percent of the pre-war population.

At least 7.6 million people are displaced within Syria, which counted 23 million inhabitants at the start of the civil war.

W140 Full Story
Nine Hours Battling Death At Sea Off the Libyan Coast

Pakistani teenager Shefaz Hamza spent nine hours at sea clinging to the wreckage of a migrant boat that sank off Libya. By the time the coast guard arrived his mother and young sister were dead.

They were among at least 76 people to die when their boat went down Thursday off the western Libyan port of Zuwara, Red Crescent spokesman Mohamad al-Misrati told AFP.

W140 Full Story