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Feeling is indescribable, say Hajj pilgrims
MOUNT ARAFAT: A sea of pilgrims ascended Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia on Monday to pray and repent, the climax of the annual Hajj bringing together more than two million Muslims from around the world. Carrying brightly coloured umbrellas under the blazing sun, worshippers scaled the rocky hill southeast of the holy city of Makkah to atone for their sins. Arms raised, pilgrims repeated “There is no God but Allah” and “Allahu
 
 
UN ‘hampering’ Syria reconstruction
MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign minister on Monday accused the UN of hampering the reconstruction of war-torn Syria, as the Moscow-backed Syrian regime calls on refugees to return to the country. Sergei Lavrov said the United Nations’ political affairs department had last year sent out “a secret directive forbidding organisations belonging to (the UN) system from any project aimed at restoring the Syrian economy.” Such organisations would
   
Funding shortage threatens WHO’s response in Syria
GENEVA: As the conflict in northwest Syria escalates, WHO is appealing for $11 million to provide life-saving healthcare to people in parts of Aleppo, Hama, Idlib, and Lattakia governorates. Hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have been previously displaced, may be displaced yet again as they flee growing insecurity and violence. The situation in Idlib is particularly dire; more than half a million people have been
 
 
S.Sudan claims 5-year civil war is finally over
NYAL: South Sudan’s government claims a shattering five-year civil war is finally over, but scepticism soars. It wasn’t helped by the sight of President Salva Kiir refusing to shake the hand of rival Riek Machar after they signed a power-sharing deal this month, according to video footage seen by The Associated Press. This latest attempt at peace already shows cracks, with the armed opposition last week saying several key issues,
   
US-led coalition member killed in Iraq aircraft crash
BAGHDAD: The US-led anti-militant coalition said on Monday one of its members was killed in an apparently accidental aircraft crash in Iraq which left several others wounded. A statement said “there are no indications the crash was caused by hostile fire,” adding that an investigation is underway. “One coalition service member was killed and several injured when their aircraft crashed” in Iraq at around 2200 GMT on Sunday, the
 
 
America has addiction to sanctions, says Zarif
TEHRAN: The United States has an “addiction to sanctions,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said in an interview with CNN. “I believe there is a disease in the United States and that is the addiction to sanctions,” Zarif told the US broadcaster. “Even during the Obama administration the United States put more emphasis on keeping the sanctions it had not lifted rather than implementing its obligation on the
   
Libya urged to act against armed groups
TRIPOLI: The United Nations (UN) has called on Libya’s internationally recognised government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.” It called on the UN-backed Government
 
 
Avnery, first Israeli to meet Arafat, passes away
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Uri Avnery, a left-wing peace activist who in 1982 became the first prominent Israeli to meet in public with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died on Monday in a Tel Aviv hospital. He was 94. The encounter took place during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and war with Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), then designated a terrorist group by Israel. Avnery crossed into west Beirut from the Israeli-he
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