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Women Register to Run for Election in Saudi First

Saudi Arabia allowed women to register to stand in local elections on Sunday, in a historic first for the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.

In a country where women face a host of restrictions including a driving ban, the move was welcomed as an important step forward.

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Saudi Executes Pakistani for Drug Trafficking

Saudi authorities executed a Pakistani man on Sunday for attempting to smuggle drugs into the ultra-conservative kingdom, the interior ministry said.

Up to 129 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia so far this year, including the latest execution, compared with 87 for the whole of 2014, according to AFP tallies.

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IS in Syria Executes over 90 People in Month

The Islamic State jihadist group has executed more than 90 people, a third of them civilians, over the past month in areas of war-torn Syria under its control, a monitoring group said Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 32 civilians were among 91 people executed for "crimes" in the jihadist group's self-proclaimed caliphate between July 29 and August 29.

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Report: Algeria Detains Former Counter-Terror Chief

A retired Algerian intelligence chief, formerly in charge of counter-terrorism, is being held in a military prison after his arrest in Algiers, the daily El-Watan reported Sunday.

After being forcibly retired at the end of 2013, "General Hassan", born Abdelkader Ait-Ouarab, was arrested at his home on Thursday and is being held in Blida military prison 50 km (31 miles) south of Algiers, the newspaper said.

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11 Dead, 219 Hurt in Fire at Saudi Oil Giant Housing Complex

At least 11 people were killed and 219 injured in Saudi Arabia Sunday when a fire broke out at a residential complex housing employees of oil giant Saudi Aramco, authorities said.

The fire started in the basement of a tower in the eastern city of Khobar, the kingdom's civil defense said on Twitter.

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Greste Calls for Sisi Pardon after Egypt Jails Al-Jazeera Journalists

Australian Al-Jazeera reporter Peter Greste called Sunday for Egypt's president to pardon him and two colleagues handed prison sentences in a shock ruling that sparked international condemnation and which he described as "politically motivated".

The Cairo court said Greste, along with Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, had broadcast "false" news that had harmed Egypt and sentenced them to three years in jail.

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Iran Nuclear Deal Will 'Fuel Terrorism', Warns Netanyahu

The deal to curb Iran's nuclear program will bolster Tehran's ability to fund global terrorism by providing the Islamic state with "billions of dollars" in sanctions relief, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Saturday.

"Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars from sanctions relief and investments to fuel its aggression and terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond," Netanyahu -- who is bitterly opposed to the deal agreed by Iran and world powers in July -- said during a visit to the Italian city of Florence.

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Exiled Yemen President Says Fighting Huthis to Stop 'Iran Expansion'

Yemen's exiled President Abedrabbo Mansur Hadi said on Saturday that his forces were battling Shiite Huthi rebels across the country to check "Iranian expansion" in the region.

Hadi was speaking as he made a short visit to Sudan, which was seen as being close to Iran before it joined a Saudi-led coalition against the Yemeni rebels in April.

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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.

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Turkish Planes Join Anti-IS Coalition in Syria Raid for First Time

Turkish warplanes have for the first time joined raids by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State positions in Syria, the foreign ministry said Saturday, after Washington urged Ankara to play a full role in the battle against the jihadists.

"Our fighter planes ... along with planes from the coalition yesterday (Friday) evening began joint operations against (IS) targets which pose a threat to the security of our country," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

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