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Iran's FM says talks with Saudis could restore relations

Talks between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia are continuing and could eventually restore diplomatic relations that were severed years ago, Iran's foreign minister said Friday.

Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in Beirut Friday that he met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud during a conference in Jordan last month that was attended by Middle Eastern and European officials. The meeting between Amirabdollahian and Prince Faisal was the highest-level encounter between the two countries since they cut relations seven years ago.

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Tunisia jails all-women jihadist group

Tunisia has jailed nine members of an all-women "terrorist" gang accused of plotting to assassinate a government minister, media reported Thursday.

In the North African nation's first known case of an all-woman jihadist group, two of the ringleaders were jailed for 25 years, while the other seven were handed sentences ranging between three and 14 years. One woman was acquitted.

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Pakistan's premier visits UAE as his nation seeks flood aid

Pakistan's prime minister traveled Thursday to the United Arab Emirates as his nation seeks international aid to recover from devastating floods.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif's visit to the UAE marks his third since becoming premier last April. The seven sheikhdoms of the Emirates are home to some 1.7 million Pakistanis, many manual laborers that power its economy and send money back to their nation.

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Former top Israeli legal officials oppose judicial reforms

Former Israeli top legal officials spoke out Thursday against sweeping reforms to the country's justice system planned by the new conservative government, lending their voices to a growing outcry against the proposed overhaul.

Seven former attorneys general who have served in the post throughout the last five decades — including two appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose justice minister is spearheading the reforms — signed a letter of protest, along with four other former senior legal officials. The letter, published in Israeli media, denounced the proposed changes, saying they are destructive to the country's legal system.

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Israeli army kills Palestinian man in West Bank raid

The Israeli military shot and killed a Palestinian man early Thursday during a raid in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest bloodshed in months of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

The military, which has been carrying out nightly raids in the territory since early last year, said soldiers operating in the Qalandiya refugee camp were being struck by rocks and cement blocks from rooftops above and responded with live fire. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man killed as Samir Aslan, 41.

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UAE names technocrat to lead upcoming UN COP28 climate talks

The United Arab Emirates on Thursday named a veteran technocrat with experience in both renewable energies and the oil business to be the president of the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations in Dubai, highlighting the balancing act ahead for this crude-producing nation.

Authorities nominated Sultan al-Jaber, a trusted confidant of UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who now serves as CEO of the state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. That firm pumps some 4 million barrels of crude a day and hopes to expand to 5 million daily.

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Egypt pound halves in value since March under IMF loan deal

The Egyptian pound was trading Wednesday at half its value from March after the central bank intervened for a third time as part of an International Monetary Fund loan agreement.

The devaluation, representing a drop of around 50 percent against the dollar over the 10-month period, comes as the price of imported food and other goods is soaring in the country of 104 million.

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UAE to ban single-use plastic shopping bags starting in 2024

The United Arab Emirates has announced a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags to take effect next year, the latest initiative aimed at reducing pollution in the oil-rich nation.

The law would prohibit the import, production and circulation of such bags from Jan. 1, 2024, according to an announcement carried by the state-run WAM news agency.

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Report says UK, US supplied arms, killed civilians, in Yemen

Weapons supplied by the United Kingdom and the United States and used by a Saudi-led coalition fighting in war-torn Yemen killed at least 87 civilians and wounded 136 others in just over a year, a new report said Wednesday.

The report by the Oxfam charity found that the Saudi-led coalition used weapons supplied solely by the U.K. and the U.S. in hundreds of attacks on civilians in Yemen between January 2021 to the end of February 2022. Britain is the second-biggest supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia, after the U.S.

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Iran protests to Iraq over Gulf football cup name

Iran has protested to Iraq over the use of the name "Arabian Gulf" for a regional football competition held in the neighboring country, state media reported Wednesday.

The Islamic republic insists the body of water should be called the "Persian Gulf" and has repeatedly raised the issue with countries and organisations that refer to it otherwise.

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