United Arab Emirates
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Downpour Shuts UAE Schools, Disrupts Flights

Schools were ordered shut, flights suspended and the stock market was closed down in the United Arab Emirates as rare heavy rain hit the desert Gulf state on Wednesday.

Education authorities said schools will stay closed Thursday as more thundery weather is forecast.

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UAE Soldier Dies in Yemen Operations

The United Arab Emirates said Saturday that one of its soldiers has died in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is helping government forces against Iran-backed rebels.

Soldier Mohammed al-Dhahnani died "in an accident when his military vehicle overturned while performing his national duty" during coalition operations, the armed forces said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM.

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Jordan Journalist Held Incommunicado in UAE, Says Rights Group

A Jordanian journalist has been detained for nearly two months in the United Arab Emirates without access to his family or a lawyer, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

The watchdog said Tayseer al-Najjar, 42, was arrested late last year in Abu Dhabi while attempting to board a flight home, and has not been heard from since he appeared in court on December 13.

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Report: UAE Sending Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen

The United Arab Emirates has secretly sent some 300 Colombian mercenaries to fight for it in Yemen, paying handsomely to recruit a private army of well-trained, battle-hardened South American soldiers, sources told AFP.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Colombians' experience fighting leftist guerrillas and drug traffickers in their home country made them attractive recruits for the UAE, whose relatively inexperienced army is part of an Arab coalition helping Yemen's government fight a war against Huthi rebels.

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Kerry Rallies Gulf Arabs behind Renewed Anti-IS Push

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the Gulf on Monday to stress the urgent need to unite a region riven by conflict against the threat from the jihadist Islamic State group.

Kerry believes his ambitious plan to bring Syria's other warring parties to the negotiating table is the key to isolating and ultimately defeating the extremists.

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U.S. Transfers Five Guantanamo Detainees to UAE

The United States has transferred five detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said Sunday, another step in a long-delayed plan to close the controversial military prison.

The move means that 107 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon said in a statement, adding that it was "grateful to the government of the United Arab Emirates for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility."

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Report: UAE Armed Libya Factions, Wooed Envoy with Job Offer

The United Arab Emirates shipped weapons to Libyan factions fighting Islamists while offering a $50,000-month job to the U.N. envoy negotiating a peace deal for Libya, according to leaked emails reported by the New York Times on Thursday.

The latest revelations again raised questions about allegations of conflict of interest targeting the envoy, Bernardino Leon, that may compromise the preliminary deal for Libya that he has negotiated.

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Dubai Police Deny Links to UAE National Held in Libya

An Emirati arrested in Tripoli on suspicion of spying on Libyan authorities in charge of the capital was an ex-sergeant dismissed by Dubai police five years ago, the force said on Twitter.

The unnamed suspect was arrested on November 5 and is being questioned, Siddick al-Sour, the head of the prosecutor general's office in Tripoli told AFP.

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Iran Summons UAE Diplomat over Teachers' Arrest

Iran's foreign ministry summoned the United Arab Emirates charge d'affaires in Tehran after nine Iranian teachers were detained over work permit problems in the Gulf nation, state media said.

A UAE official has reportedly said work permits for the teachers were valid only for Dubai and were invalid in Abu Dhabi.

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UAE Goes to Polls with some Citizens still Denied Vote

Emiratis went to polls on Saturday to fill the elected seats on a government advisory body but despite a broadening of the franchise some citizens were still denied the vote.

The electoral roll is drawn up by the rulers of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates who also appoint the remaining members of the Federal National Council.

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