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Shock as 'Embarrased' Saudi Targets Mighty Binladin Group

Saudi Arabia's decision to sanction the Binladin Group over the deadly Mecca crane collapse has come as a shock and could have serious consequences for one of the kingdom's most powerful firms.

After decades of thriving on lucrative government contracts, the Saudi Binladin Group is facing unprecedented scrutiny over the accident, which saw one of its cranes topple during a major expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site.

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Wave of Crises Puts European Dream at Risk

The EU's founding father Jean Monnet wrote in his memoirs that "Europe will be forged in crises" -- but a recent storm of troubles risks tearing the continent apart instead of bringing it together. 

From a flood of refugees, to the near-collapse of the euro and the war in Ukraine, the continent's divided leaders have struggled to deal with wave after wave of problems that strike at the heart of the European dream.

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Russia Moves in Syria to Boost Assad, Send Signal to West

Russia's recent military build-up in Syria aims not only to boost the embattled regime of crucial ally Bashar Assad but also to send a strong signal to the West, experts say.

With President Vladimir Putin set to make Syria a key issue of his address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month, Moscow is making it clear that it will not be ignored in the Middle East.

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Analysis: Russia Gambles in Syria, Ramping up Involvement

In ramping up its military involvement in Syria's civil war, Russia appears to be betting that the West, horrified by the Islamic State group's spread and an escalating migrants crisis, may be willing to quietly tolerate President Bashar Assad for a while, perhaps as part of a transition.

The logic is that prioritizing the fight with the jihadis means accepting Assad as the less bad option despite his own brutal acts, and might produce a more effective and coordinated fight in the air and on the ground.

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After Iran Deal, Obama Struggles to Gain Israel's Trust

Seeking to sell his nuclear deal with Iran to a skeptical Israeli public, President Barack Obama has repeatedly declared his deep affection for the Jewish state. But the feelings do not appear to be mutual.

Wide swaths of the Israeli public, particularly supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have little trust in the American leader, considering him naive and even hostile. One recent poll showed less than a tenth considered him "pro-Israel."

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Analysts: Germany to See Seismic Shifts over Record Refugee Influx

This year's record refugee influx will bring sweeping social, demographic and economic change to Germany, which was long uncomfortable about being known as a country of migrants, analysts say.

Europe's top economy is expecting to welcome 800,000 asylum seekers this year, almost double the previous high in 1992, when it took in 438,000 refugees from the war-torn former Yugoslavia.

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Analysts: Global Powers in Disarray over Syria Conflict

A flood of desperate refugees and images of a toddler lying dead on a beach have thrown Syria's chaos into stark relief, but global powers are still far from seeing eye-to-eye on a solution to the conflict.

Despite a renewed sense of urgency, major players in the West, Gulf, Russia and Iran are pursuing vastly different military and diplomatic tactics on the Syrian crisis.

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Coalition Readies for Battle in Yemen's North

The Yemen war is entering a new and potentially decisive phase as Gulf nations build up ground forces to battle rebels in the country's north and rebel-held capital, analysts say.

After five months of air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition and ground combat between Iran-backed rebels and coalition-supported fighters, Yemen "is bracing for a new and more deadly phase of violence in the north", said April Longley Alley of the International Crisis Group.

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Wealthy Gulf Nations Face Questions over Syria Refugees

As hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees languish in camps or risk their lives to reach Europe, questions are being asked about why wealthy Gulf states have accepted so few.

By the end of August, more than four million Syrians had fled their country but very few if any refugees have been officially accepted by the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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German Industries Make Economic Case to Welcome Refugees

As thousands of refugees arrive every day in Germany, calls are growing louder from business leaders in Europe's biggest economy to offer them jobs.

"If we can integrate them quickly into the jobs market, we'll be helping the refugees, but also helping ourselves as well," the head of the powerful BDI industry federation, Ulrich Grillo, said this week.

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