Kazakh central bank cuts oil output forecast for 2018-19

Author:  Reuters ID:  1544207956943613500 Fri, 2018-12-07 10:49 ALMATY: Kazakhstan’s central bank has trimmed its forecast for the country’s oil output in 2019 and said it expects Brent crude oil to average $60 a barrel next year. The bank said in a statement that it expects the country to produce 91 million tons of oil next year, down from
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US prosecutor drops appeal to extend Turkish banker’s sentence

Author:  Reuters Ankara ID:  1544195622102654500 Fri, 2018-12-07 10:13 ANKARA: New York prosecutors have withdrawn an appeal to extend the sentence of a former executive at Turkey’s state-owned lender Halkbank, said Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency. Halkbank shares rose nearly 4 percent after the report as market participants saw the move as further indication of an improvement in diplomatic
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Why the arrest of a Huawei boss puts US-China relations in jeopardy

The chief financial officer of the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment was arrested in Canada at the apparent request of US prosecutors. On Saturday night, Chinese president Xi Jinping and Donald Trump sat down in Buenos Aires for dinner as part of the G20 summit in Argentina. Despite the US president’s aggressive campaign language, the two have always seemed to have
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On Christmas Day, the Church makes a stand against privatised spirituality

There can be the assumption that everyone has a safe family to withdraw to at Christmas. In April this year I was walking through acres of destroyed buildings in the bombed-out city of Aleppo in northern Syria. As part of a delegation visiting churches and humanitarian projects in Homs, Damascus and Aleppo itself, one of the more poignant moments of the trip came as
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Tory Brexiteers are deluded to believe they have a better option than Theresa May’s deal

There is no parliamentary majority for a harder Brexit -  Leavers’ true quarrel is with reality, not the Prime Minister. The denouement of the Brexit epic finds Remainers and Leavers joined in strange unity. Both have vowed to defeat Theresa May’s deal next Tuesday; both insist that this will serve their interests. Leavers hope to advance an
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Saladin and Syrian actor Abbas al-Noury’s criticism

Syrian actor Abbas al-Noury did not say anything new when he criticized the sultan of Egypt and Syria Saladin, who is of Kurdish ethnicity. Several groups of people such as orientalists and those who
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Jordan cabinet approves $13bn budget for 2019

Author:  Reuters ID:  1543486382399926200 Wed, 2018-11-28 19:48 AMMAN: Jordan’s cabinet approved on Wednesday a 9.25 billion dinar ($13 billion) budget for 2019 as part of a reform of public finances to ease the country’s record debt burden and spur economic growth hit by conflict in the region, officials said. Finance Minister Izzedin Kanakrieh said the budget, which will be
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​11th round of Syria peace talks kicks off in Astana

The 11th round of Syria peace talks in the Astana format started on Wednesday with a meeting between the representatives of Russia and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime in the Kazakh capital.
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Gulf states $50bn largesse supports Mideast sovereign ratings as geopolitical risk rises

Author:  ARAB NEWS ID:  1543425495114107900 Wed, 2018-11-28 15:29 LONDON: The sovereign ratings of countries such as Bahrain, Oman and Jordan have been boosted by expectations of support from oil-rich Gulf donor states, according to a new report from S&P. But actual disbursements may fall short of the promised amounts while budget grants are becoming less prevalent as deposits in
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Rojava survives for now

The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria has had talks with the Damascus government on its de facto autonomy, without success. But tensions between Arab and Kurdish populations are decreasing. Ilham Ahmed is a Kurd from Afrin and executive chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control all of Syria's northeast. This Arab-Kurdish alliance is defending an experiment in self-rule, the Democratic Federation of Northern (...) - 2018/12 / article
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Out of Africa

How many African migrants will come to Europe this century? There's a huge dispute about projected figures for migration and the economic factors that push people to leave. Migration to the EU is now at its lowest level since the start of the refugee crisis provoked by the war in Syria, and the number of people crossing EU borders illegally has fallen from 1.8 million in 2015 to 204,219 in 2017. But the issue could still dominate the 2019 European elections, if France's
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America’s proxy in Syria

A report by Asharq al-Awsat mentions in full detail that the new American step in Syria against Iran’s militias and forces is to establish local militias to fight them. Expanding the
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Regional influence in Syria and Arab retrogression

There is no doubt that terrorist organizations were one of the most important means of influence and expansion for regional and international forces in the Arab region. These organizations’
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Returning to your old house is an act of unspeakable sadness. The instinct is to avert one’s eyes

The life has gone from it. I imagine this must be what looking at the corpse of a lover is like Back in London, for a most melancholy duty: the Hovel is being cleared out and there are a few belongings left of mine that need to go, which missed the last sweep when I was ejected last August. My God, has
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Feminism in the wake of Isis

A new documentary profiles women’s rights advocates in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria In the documentary, I am the Revolution, the Iraqi women’s rights activist Yanar Mohammed explains that some of her political friends, particularly the leftists, used to dismiss her as “just a feminist”. “I am just a feminist in a part of the world where women are slaves!” she
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Iran returns to the world

Iran moderated its Islamic aims to secure a strong regional position: it needs to open up to the world and fix its economy so ordinary Iranians, and most especially the young, can realise their aspirations. The Revolutionary Guard interventions in Syria and Iraq were Iran's first military victory outside its own borders in modern history. President Hassan Rohani declared the end of ISIS (Islamic State) on 21 November 2017, and General Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Al-Quds special (...) - 2018/02
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Lebanon’s ‘lung’ to Arabian Gulf markets choked by politics

Author:  AP ID:  1542091484154642500 Tue, 2018-11-13 (All day) AL-MASNAA, Lebanon: Lebanese exporters rejoiced last month when the Syrian government opened a key land crossing with Jordan that had been closed by years of war, restoring a much-needed overland trade route to lucrative Arabian Gulf markets. But lingering disputes between Lebanon and Syria, and political gridlock in Beirut, mean that
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Iraq studying possibility of Russian wheat imports

Author:  Reuters ID:  1542088836664540000 Tue, 2018-11-13 05:13 BAGHDAD: Iraq, a major Middle East grain importer, said late on Monday it wanted to allow Russian origin wheat imports in its state buying tenders. Trade Minister Mohammed Hashim Al-Aani said he would send representatives to Russia to study its wheat quality and its suitability for use in Iraq’s massive food rationing
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The Debate: how significant is Trump banning CNN’s Jim Acosta from the White House briefing room?

The New Statesman America team chew it over. Hi everyone, and welcome to the NS Debate: an occasional series in which we discuss something that’s animating the public conversation. Today our New Statesman America team discusses Trump’s withdrawal of the credentials of CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta after a bitter exchange at a press conference
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Meet the volunteers saving thousands of refugees: “There’s not one day I don’t feel guilty”

Exiled from Syria by war, Nour felt helpless for years. Then she discovered a network of quiet humanitarians.  In April 2016, Nour entered the Birmingham airport arrivals hall. “That experience totally changed my life,” she says. “I will never forget that day, ever.” A slim, smartly-dressed lawyer, Nour came to the UK to study human rights in 2011, the same year
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Turkish gunfire wounds two Syrian Kurdish journalists in northeastern Syria

News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Turkish authorities to guarantee the safety of journalists during their military operations after shots fired by Turkish soldiers injured two Syrian Kurdish journalists in the border town of Tal Abyad, in northeastern Syria, on 2 November.
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The Banana Republic of Boris Johnson

Britain looks down on nations ruled by dictators and corrupt demagogues. But in Johnson we have a charlatan of our own who is perilously close to winning power. Like dictators and presidents of banana republics, Boris Johnson is eager to build monuments to his own greatness. Thus, when Thomas Heatherwick, designer of the Olympic cauldron at the 2012 London games, proposed spanning
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Revenge of the nation state

States such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and China are showing a brazen disregard for the rules-based international order. The gruesome killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the beginning of last month is but one symbol of the new era of realpolitik into which 21st century international relations is sinking like quicksand. The nation state is
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Japan: ex-hostage in Syria should not have to apologize for doing his job as journalist

News Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda, who was released on October 24th after three years as a hostage in Syria, is the target of harsh criticism in Japan. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) maintains that freedom of information cannot be restricted even in conflict zones. The return to Japan of journalist Jumpei Yasuda , released on October 24th aft
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US renews Iran sanctions, grants oil waivers to China, seven others

Author:  REUTERS ID:  1541445129999790700 Mon, 2018-11-05 17:42 WASHINGTON: The US snapped sanctions back in place on Monday to choke off Iran’s oil and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top customers such as China and India to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic. Having abandoned a 2015 Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump is trying to cripple Iran’s
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Refugees post-Pittsburgh, Rohingya trauma, and Pacific island storms: The Cheat Sheet

Here’s the IRIN team’s weekly take on humanitarian news, trends, and developments from around the globe. */ On our radar:   Peace overtures on Yemen   Yemen’s peace process, which has been going nowhere fast for quite some time, may have received a jump-start this week. First, US defence secretary James Mattis told an audience in Washington, DC that the warring sides were ready to come to the
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David Cameron’s desire to become foreign secretary shows a special arrogance

The former prime minister’s disastrous legacy demonstrates precisely why he is unfit for the job. David Cameron enjoys a rare distinction: the only prime minister to call a referendum – on a matter of supreme national importance – and then lose it. For this act of hubris, Cameron rightly resigned. But after more than two
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Syria's rival utopias

Arab like western countries have to deal with returnees from the fighting in Syria, but some of theirs are Arab nationalists who have fought for the Assad regime. Several hundred volunteers from North Africa and the Middle East have fought beside the Syrian army since May 2013 as part of the Arab Nationalist Guard (ANG). The exact numbers are undisclosed, but the fighters' spokesman in Aleppo said in February 2017 that 150 Arab Nationalist ‘martyrs' had been killed in four
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Guterres appoints Geir Pedersen of Norway as new UN Syria envoy

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday appointed Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen as the new UN special envoy for Syria, to replace Staffan de Mistura, who is stepping down at the end of November.
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Trump’s Iran sanctions resolve faces test from oil-thirsty China, India

Author:  Reuters ID:  1540790000711489200 Mon, 2018-10-29 05:00 WASHINGTON/SINGAPORE: Shortly after US President Donald Trump announced in May he would reimpose sanctions on Iran, the State Department began telling countries around the world the clock was ticking for them to cut oil purchases from the Islamic Republic to zero. The strategy is meant to cripple Iran’s oil-dependent economy and force
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Istanbul summit vows to end Syria bloodshed

Leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France on Saturday expressed their determination to end the bloodshed in war-torn Syria at the earliest, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
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UN says Damascus is blocking efforts to end civil war

The outgoing UN envoy to Syria is hopeful that high-level meetings will lead to a solution, but is facing resistance from Syria's government about the who will attend the meetings.
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Why American leaders persist in waging losing wars

As America enters the 18th year of its war in Afghanistan and its 16th in Iraq, the war on terror continues in Yemen, Syria, and parts of Africa, including Libya, Niger, and Somalia. Meanwhile, the Trump administration threatens yet more war, this time with Iran. (And given these last years, just how do you imagine that's likely to turn out?) Honestly, isn't it time Americans gave a little more thought to why their leaders persist in waging losing wars across
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What is a German alt-right organisation doing in Lebanon’s Syrian refugee camps?

Torfa was “relieved” when the Germans decided to give her money for rent. Now she feels humiliated. A few miles from the Syrian border in Lebanon, the Beqaa valley is lined with olive groves, vineyards and pomegranate trees. Amid the orchards lie large encampments of white canvas. Up close, these are the homes of tens of thousands of Syrians waiting to restart
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Anjem Choudary is free – but what is the Islamist preacher’s next move?

The homegrown extremists that Choudary has inspired in Britain have proved more difficult to confront than extremists from abroad. On the morning of 19 October, Anjem Choudary, the UK’s most  notorious Islamist preacher, was released from Belmarsh Prison, after serving half of a six-year sentence for “inviting support for Islamic State”. The relative triviality of the offence, however, and the accompanying sentence,
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The Brexit trap: is there any way out?

Britain’s fate has become a cautionary tale to others. As Theresa May struggles to reach a deal with the EU, Nick Clegg, Yanis Varoufakis and Keir Starmer ask if the deadlock can be broken.  On the morning of 19 October, Nick Clegg returned to his old constituency in Sheffield for a farewell visit. “You peaked too early, mate,” one voter told the former deputy
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The teetotal Ottoman sultan who gave French monks free rein to plant vines on his land

Only fair, as France’s grapes are partly in debt to the Lebanese. Lebanon is a beautiful country but its story is complicated and so, therefore, is its wine. It is generally agreed that a French connection is helpful to a wine region while rule by teetotal Islam is not, but if history were that straightforward then war would surely be obsolete by
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How Britain’s fate has become a warning to the rest of Europe

As the UK struggles to reach a Brexit deal, Nick Clegg, Yanis Varoufakis and others ask if there is any way out.  On the morning of 19 October, Nick Clegg returned to his old constituency in Sheffield for a farewell visit. “You peaked too early, mate,” one voter told the former deputy prime minister who has been appointed as the head of
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RSF relieved by Japanese reporter’s release after three years as hostage in Syria

News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved to learn that Japanese freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda has been released after being held hostage by an armed group in Syria for more than three years. Yasuda’s release, which apparently took place on 19 October, was announced yesterday by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet.
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At Jordan border, Damascus seeks to revive trade

Author:  daniel fountain ID:  1540152033728886100 Sun, 2018-10-21 23:08 BEIRUT: By reopening a key land crossing with Jordan this month, the Syrian regime is inching toward a return to trade with the wider region as it looks to boost its war-ravaged economy. The government of President Bashar Assad took back control of the Nassib border post in July from rebels
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​Turkey to host Syria summit in Istanbul next week

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host a summit on the Syria conflict with the leaders of Russia, Germany and France on Oct. 27 in Istanbul, his spokesman said on Friday, the first such gathering with key EU leaders
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Jared Kushner says the Khashoggi 'scandal will pass'. The worst thing is he might be right

A recurring pattern during the Trump administration has been that while public outrage can be effective in the short-term, it rarely brings about long-term policy changes. “The scandal will pass,” President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is alleged to have said of the gruesome murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Under mounting pressure, Donald Trump is finally taking
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Kushner says the Khashoggi “scandal will pass”. Worse still, he might be right

A recurring pattern during the Trump administration has been that while public outrage can be effective in the short-term, it rarely brings about long-term policy changes. “The scandal will pass,” President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is alleged to have said of the gruesome murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Under mounting pressure, Donald Trump is finally taking
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Afghan voting, Ugandan mudslides and Burundi’s rusty old signs: The Cheat Sheet

Here’s the IRIN team’s weekly take on humanitarian news, trends, and developments from around the globe. */ On our radar A vote for stability in Afghanistan   This weekend, analysts will be keeping an eye on voter turnout for parliamentary elections – seen as a harbinger of public confidence ahead of presidential elections scheduled for next April – as well as signs of voter fraud, which has
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UN Syria Envoy de Mistura to step down next month

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday he would step down at the end of next month for personal reasons, after four years and four months on the job.
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Drinking whisky in the ruins of Idlib, Syria’s last bastion of resistance

When the city falls to the regime, through blood or by negotiation, the war against Assad will, finally, be lost. Many people in the Middle East like to grab a few moments of peace by listening to the songs of the great Lebanese diva Fayrouz. Her quavering voice induces an air of calm. In the mornings, especially, you can hear her songs
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Jamal Khashoggi, MBS and the myth of the youthful reformer

The brutal killing of a Saudi journalist has exposed so many Western observers as fools for buying into the Saudi crown prince's own hype. This much we know for sure: on 2 October, the Saudi journalist and Washington Post op-ed writer Jamal Khashoggi left his fiancée waiting outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul while he picked up some documents. He
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It would be a big mistake for May to rely on Labour MPs to push through her Brexit deal

A Brexit that is too soft to secure the support of Tory ultra-Brexiteers will also struggle to retain the support of Labour’s band of Leavers.  In December 2015, when David Cameron wanted parliamentary approval to join air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, he knew that he would be unable to win the vote with the support of Conservative MPs alone. So
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