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Ceasefire Takes Effect after Spike in Israel-Gaza Violence

A Gaza Strip ceasefire came into effect early Thursday, an Egyptian source and a senior Islamic Jihad official told AFP, following a spike in violence and bloodshed in the Palestinian enclave.

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Iraq’s Protests Raise Question: Where Does the Oil Money Go?

Waves of violent protests have engulfed Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces, with demonstrators chanting for the downfall of a political establishment that they say doesn’t prioritize them.

Fueling the unrest is anger over an economy flush with oil money that has failed to bring jobs or improvements to the lives of young people, who are the majority of those taking to the streets. They say they have had enough of blatant government corruption and subpar basic services.

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Islamist-Inspired Party Leader Elected Tunisia House Speaker

The leader of Tunisia's Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, Rached Ghannouchi, was elected parliament speaker on Wednesday, a month after it came top in legislative polls. 

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U.N. Envoy Says Iraq Officials Must 'Step Up' to Enact Reforms

Iraqi officials must ramp up their response to mass demonstrations demanding an overhaul of the political system, the U.N. representative in Baghdad told AFP in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

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Iraq Demonstrations Flare as Baghdad Faces Renewed Pressure

Anti-government rallies swelled in Iraq's capital and south Wednesday as Baghdad faced new pressure from both the street and the United Nations to respond seriously to weeks of demonstrations. 

Protests demanding a new leadership have rocked the capital and Shiite-majority south for weeks, the crowds undeterred by government pledges of reform and the deaths of more than 300 people.

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Pentagon Chief Tries to Keep Asia in Focus with Second Trip

Barely four months into his tenure, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is making his second trek across the Pacific. And yet it is the Middle East - most recently a near-war with Iran and an actual war in Syria - that in Washington commands more attention and demands more American troops.

Esper's Asia visits illustrate the central feature of a revamped U.S. defense strategy: Focus first on China as a threat to U.S. global predominance, rather than remain bogged down in a generation-long fight against extremist groups.

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Saudi, UAE, Bahrain to Play in Qatar, Signalling Thaw

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have said they will participate in this month's Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament in Qatar, signalling a thaw in their bitter two-year feud.

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Two Palestinians Killed in Israeli Strikes, Gaza Ministry Says

Two Palestinians were killed in Israeli air and missile strikes on Gaza early Wednesday, the territory's health ministry said, taking the death toll from a two-day flare-up to 12.

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Algeria Jails 28 Protesters over Berber Flags

Twenty-eight Algerian demonstrators were handed one-year jail sentences Tuesday for "undermining national unity" by bearing the Berber minority's flag during anti-regime protests, a prisoners' rights group said.

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Fear and Sorrow in Gaza and Israel after Another Escalation

Sirens wailed, residents ran to bomb shelters and both sides feared yet another war as an Israeli targeted strike killing an Islamic Jihad commander in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday sparked exchanges of fire.

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