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Nurse Kidnapped by IS Five Years Ago May Be Alive, Red Cross

A New Zealand nurse believed abducted with two drivers by Islamic State militants in Syria in 2013 may still be alive, the International Committee of the Red Cross has revealed for the first time in an appeal for news of her whereabouts.

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U.S., France, Britain Hold Mine Drill off Bahrain

The US, French and British navies have launched anti-mine exercises off Bahrain in support of the free movement of trade in Gulf waters, a military spokeswoman said Monday. 

"As mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately, the US, France and United Kingdom are dedicated to conducting tactical training to counter the risk of mines in order to support the continued free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation in this critical region," said the US Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain. 

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Algeria Activists Fear Tougher Police Tactics after Friday Clashes

Algerian civil society groups warned Saturday of toughening police tactics and reaffirmed their commitment to peaceful pro-democracy rallies, a day after officers in riot gear clashed with protesters.

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Israeli President Starts Process of Selecting Next PM

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin began a series of meetings Monday with representatives of political parties voted into parliament in last week's elections ahead of choosing who will form the next government.

Rivlin would appear to have little choice but to pick incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his party won the most seats in the April 9 vote leaving it best placed to form a coalition government.

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U.S. Congratulates New Palestinian Government

The United States congratulated the new Palestinian government Sunday, a day after incoming prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced his new cabinet alongside president Mahmud Abbas -- leaving out the Islamist movement Hamas.

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Study Says U.S. Should Help Saudis Find Way Out of Yemen

Saudi Arabia is looking to find a way out of its devastating war in Yemen and the United States, the kingdom's stalwart ally, can play a critical role, the International Crisis Group said Sunday.

The group, which researches ways to end conflicts, said the United States should appoint a special envoy and suspend most arms shipments to the Saudis with a promise to resume them once the kingdom ends its four-year offensive against Huthi rebels who control much of their southern neighbor.

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Saudi, UAE Fear for Sudan Interests Post-Bashir, Say Analysts

With Sudan in turmoil following the ouster of their ally Omar al-Bashir, Gulf powerhouses Saudi Arabia and the UAE are following events closely as they seek to protect their interests, analysts say.

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Egypt's Sisi Meets Libyan Strongman Haftar in Cairo

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Sunday with Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are fighting for control of the capital Tripoli, the presidency said.

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Syria Kurds Return 25 Yazidis Freed from IS to Iraq

Syrian Kurds on Saturday repatriated 25 women and children from Iraq's Yazidi minority after freeing them during the final push against the Islamic State group, a local official said.

The US-backed fighters say they rescued some 300 Yazidi women and children during the fight to take the jihadists' last scrap of territory in eastern Syria.

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UN 'Gravely Concerned' over Tunisia Detention of Libya Expert

The United Nations has expressed its "grave concern" over the detention in Tunisia of a UN expert tasked with investigating violations of a Libya arms embargo.

"The arrest and detention by the Tunisian authorities of Moncef Kartas... while he was performing his official duties is a matter of very grave concern," the spokesman for the UN secretary-general said in a statement Friday. 

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