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Iraqi lawmaker escapes assassination attempt

By Sameer N. Yacoub / AP BAGHDAD: A Sunni lawmaker says he escaped an assassination attempt when gunmen ambushed his convoy north of the Iraqi capital. Falah Al-Naqeeb, a member the Sunni-backed Iraqiya parliament bloc, said over the phone on Tuesday that gunmen sprayed the cars with bullets in the Sunni-dominated area of Taji, about …

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‘US drone strike’ kills 5 Qaeda militants in Yemen

By AFP ADEN: A suspected US drone strike in Yemen’s southeastern Shabwa province has killed five Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants, a local government official said on Tuesday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said a “US drone” targeted the five men late on Monday in Shabwa, a mostly lawless region of Yemen where the extremist group …

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‘Masters of Chaos’ rule over Paris tribal art museum

By Pascale Mollard-Chenebenoit  /AFP Chaos and man’s attempts to tame it are at the heart of a spectacular new show at Paris’ museum of tribal arts that pits voodoo and shamanic artifacts alongside the work of contemporary artists. By the entrance to the show stands a voodoo talisman meant to ward off evil spirits — …

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Activists: Syrian troops widen shelling attacks

By Karin Laub / AP BEIRUT: The Syrian regime widened shelling attacks on opposition strongholds Tuesday, activists said, targeting a second town in a new sign that a UN-brokered cease-fire is quickly unraveling despite the presence of foreign observers. The truce is part of an international plan to launch talks between President Bashar Assad’s regime …

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World Bank picks American health expert Kim as president

By Lesley Wroughton /Reuters WASHINGTON: The World Bank on Monday chose Korean-born American health expert Jim Yong Kim as its new president, maintaining Washington’s grip on the job and leaving developing countries questioning the selection process. Kim, 52, won the job over Nigeria’s widely respected finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, with the support of Washington’s allies …

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Port Said football deaths trial disrupted by protest

By AP CAIRO: The opening trial of those charged in connection to the deaths of 75 people killed in Egypt’s worst football violence was briefly adjourned when defendants erupted in protest to proclaim their innocence. The 73 defendants, among them nine senior police officers, face charges relating to the riot after a football match in …

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US backs ‘free and fair’ Egypt election

By AFP WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday voiced support for “free and fair” elections in Egypt but declined to wade into a debate over the disqualification of leading presidential candidates. The election commission on Saturday barred 10 of the 23 registered candidates from the May 23-24 election, throwing into turmoil Egypt’s first presidential vote …

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One killed in Suez oil fire

By AP CAIRO: One person died and 24 were injured in Suez during a fire that raged for nearly 20 hours in the storage facilities of an oil company, local police chief Adel Refaat said. Bashir Saad Bashir, 32, was driving a fire truck to help with putting out the fire when he was caught …

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Politicians wary of SCAF’s talk about constitution before presidential election

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: Egypt’s politicians were concerned over what they perceived as intentions to postpone the long-awaited presidential election, after the head of the ruling military council insisted Sunday that a new constitution be drafted first. The presidential election is slated for May 23-24, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has promised …

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How much should sex matter?

By Agata Sagan and Peter Singer WARSAW/MELBOURNE: Jenna Talackova reached the finals of Miss Universe Canada last month, before being disqualified because she was not a “natural born” female. The tall, beautiful blonde told the media that she had considered herself a female since she was four years old, had begun hormone treatment at 14, …

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The problem of priorities

By Bjørn Lomborg COPENHAGEN: This decade has seen remarkable progress against humanity’s greatest challenges. Consider the declaration of victory over polio in India, which seemed impossible 10 years ago. January marked one year since the country’s last reported case. Or look at the strides made against malaria: over the past decade, the number of cases …

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Being Abu Ismail

By Marie-Jeanne Berger CAIRO: Hazem Abu Ismail was there, in downtown Cairo on Friday April 6. Protests were held on this day over concerns that two of his family members held different citizenships, causing Abu Ismail’s presidential candidacy nomination to be rescinded. After Friday prayers, supporters of the presidential hopeful flocked to Tahrir to fight …

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Fed policy and inflation fisk

By Martin Feldstein CAMBRIDGE: During the past four years, the United States Federal Reserve has added enormous liquidity to the US commercial banking system, and thus to the American economy. Many observers worry that this liquidity will lead in the future to a rapid increase in the volume of bank credit, causing a brisk rise …

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Mediterranean states mull ways to draw tourists back

By AFP DJERBA: Mediterranean states opened a conference Monday on the future of tourism in the region, in a bid to claw back market share lost because of the Arab Spring uprisings and the European debt crisis. “Besides the economic crisis in the origin countries, the ongoing political changes in North African and Middle East …

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Suleiman wants balancing role as president

By Marwa Awad and Dina Zayed / Reuters CAIRO: Omar Suleiman, the former spy chief now trying to run for the Egyptian presidency, says he wants the job to stop it going to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood – but sees the Brotherhood playing a vital role in Egyptian politics. A powerful but shadowy figure during …

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Palestinian Authority blames Gaza for deficit mess

By Jihan Abdalla / Reuters RAMALLAH: Paying for the upkeep of the Gaza Strip while its political rival actively blocks revenues flowing back is taking its toll on the deficit-racked Palestinian Authority. The Western-backed PA, many of whose top leaders belong to the mainstream Fatah movement, says it has poured around $7 billion into the …

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NGOs denounce ‘nationalizing’ draft bill

By Amir Makar CAIRO: Several prominent civil society organizations jointly condemned a draft bill proposed by the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, which “nationalizes the entire civil sector and integrates it into the state administration.” “This proposal is the worst deterioration of civil society law since 1956,” said Baheyeddin Hassan, director of the Cairo …

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Gold falls 1 pct as worries over Spain intensify

By Jan Harvey / Reuters LONDON: Gold prices fell 1 percent on Monday, extending the previous session’s losses, as concerns intensified over the outlook for Spain ahead of a bond auction this week, denting appetite for assets seen as higher risk and hurting the euro. Fears about Spain’s ability to keep its finances under control sent …

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Egypt’s self-counter-revolution

By Khalil al-Anani DURHAM: When I left Egypt two weeks before the revolution, Egyptians were not allowed to discuss three issues publicly: politics, religion and sex. However, after two weeks in post-Jan. 25 Cairo, I realized that these taboos have become obsolete. A sense of unfettered freedom is inescapable, albeit in a chaotic pattern. Apart from …

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Iran warns Gulf states not to ‘complicate’ island dispute

By AFP TEHRAN: Tehran on Monday warned Arab states in the Gulf that things could become “very complicated” if they do not act cautiously over a simmering island dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi made the declaration to Iran’s ISNA news agency on the eve of talks in …

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Sudanese warplanes bomb UN camp in South Sudan

By Waakhe Wudu / AFP JUBA: Sudanese warplanes bombed a UN peacekeepers’ base, damaging it but causing no casualties in the first such attack since a recent escalation of fighting with South Sudan, officials said Monday. Bombing raids on Sunday also killed nine civilians elsewhere in South Sudan’s Unity border state, said the area’s information minister, …

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ANALYSIS: Arab revolts fail to stir divided Palestinians

By Noah Browning / Reuters RAMALLAH: Popular uprisings have transformed the Middle East and North Africa in the past year, unseating four veteran autocrats and capturing the imagination of a generation of youths. But the protests have left Palestinians – long at the centre of the Arab world’s main political conflict – unmoved. Dejected by lingering …

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Shelling in Syria as UN monitors begin mission

By Zeina Karam / AP BEIRUT: An advance team of UN observers was negotiating the ground rules with Syrian authorities Monday for monitoring the country’s 5-day-old cease-fire, which appeared to be rapidly unraveling as regime forces pounded the opposition stronghold of Homs with artillery shells and mortars, activists said. Even though the overall level of violence …

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IMF funds drive caught in global power shift

Lesley Wroughton / Reuters WASHINGTON: Tensions among some of the world’s leading economies have boiled up over a plan to raise new resources for the International Monetary Fund to contain the euro zone debt crisis, and a quest by emerging economies to win more say in the global lender. World financial leaders gathering in Washington …

DNE

Egyptian street art alongside the pharaoh in Frankfurt

By Chitra Kalyani In September 2011, Khaled Said made an appearance on the famous Berlin Wall. This month, Egypt is once again taking its walls to Germany, this time alongside the Tutankhamun Exhibit in Frankfurt. April 13 marked the “First Friday” in Frankfurt, where a workshop and gallery entitled “Egyptian Street Art and Arabic Graffiti” were …

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Disney making ‘Iron Man 3’ with Chinese partner

By AP Walt Disney Co. said Monday it will co-produce its next “Iron Man” movie with a Chinese partner in Hollywood’s latest effort to forge closer ties with China’s fast-growing film industry. “Iron Man 3,” starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, will begin filming this year, Walt Disney and its Chinese partner …

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Nearly 40% of Egyptians undecided ahead of vote, says poll

By Agencies CAIRO: Nearly 40 percent of Egyptian voters are undecided less than six weeks before the first presidential election since the ouster of veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, a poll published on Saturday found. A full 38 percent of respondents said they had yet to make up their minds which of the 23 candidates to …

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Arab nudes defy taboos in Paris show

By Pascale Mollard-Chenebenoit / AFP The naked body in Arab art is the theme of a new Paris exhibit meant to broaden views of Arab culture, spotlighting the many artists willing to break taboos and depict nudity in all its forms. “The Body Uncovered” at Paris’ Arab World Institute aims to “challenge the stereotypes usually …

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Gunmen kill 2 policemen in Sinai

By Agencies EL-ARISH: Gunmen opened fire on a police checkpoint in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, killing two policemen and injuring a third in a daring attack early Sunday, security officials said. The gunmen opened fire on the checkpoint near the town of Al-Arish, instantly killing policemen Mohammed Fawzi and Mohammed Mosleh, both 21. The policemen opened …

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380 to face trial for November violence

By AFP CAIRO: A police officer nicknamed the “eye sniper” and 379 other people are to face trial over the deadly anti-military clashes in Cairo last November, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported on Sunday. Lieutenant Mahmoud Al-Shinnawi, who earned the nickname after having allegedly aimed rubber bullets at protesters’ heads, is among those referred …

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