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Lebanese Prime Minister Arrives in France After Mysterious Saudi Stay

The New York Times + 12 other

PARIS — Lebanon’s absent prime minister arrived in Paris on Saturday morning after two weeks in Saudi Arabia, a mysterious stay that touched off intense speculation that he was being held against his will. The prime minister, Saad Hariri, who has dismissed the speculation but has not publicly explained the nature or length of his stay in Saudi Arabia, is scheduled to meet with France’s president on Saturday. From Riyadh, the Saudi capital, Mr. Hariri announced on Nov. 4 that he was stepping down as Lebanon’s prime minister, but officials in Lebanon have said that his departure would not take effect until he delivered his resignation in person in Beirut. The unexpected trip and resignation unsettled the Middle East, sparking a political crisis in Lebanon and even raising fears of war. Saudi Arabia was widely seen as pressuring Mr. Hariri to resign as part of its escalating regional feud with Iran and its effort to isolate Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia and political party that is part of Mr. Hariri’s coalition government. Mr. Hariri, for his part, said he feared for his safety in Lebanon. Advertisement Continue reading the main story With European diplomats scrambling to defuse the crisis, France seized the role of mediator. France has strong ties to Lebanon, dating to the early 20th century, and to the Hariri family. Mr. Hariri’s father, Rafik, was close to forme…

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North Korea rules out negotiations on nuclear weapons

CNBC + 7 other

KCNA | Reuters North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 15, 2017. North Korea on Friday ruled out negotiations with Washington as long as joint U.S-South Korea military exercises continue, and said that Pyongyang's atomic weapons program would remain as a deterrent against a U.S. nuclear threat. In an interview with Reuters, Han Tae Song, North Korea's ambassador to the Unite…

Ecstatic Zimbabweans flood Harare to celebrate expected Mugabe downfall

CNBC + 14 other

JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images People react and wave Zimbabwean national flags during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Zimbabwe's president on November 18, 2017 in Harare. Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans flooded the streets of Harare on Saturday, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an extraordinary outpouring of elation at the expected fall of President Robert Mugabe, their leader of the last 37 years. Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980, has been holed up in his lavish 'Blue Roof' compound, from where he h…

Navy: Argentine Submarine Missing with 44 Crew Members on Board

Voice of America + 4 other

Voice of America, Navy: Argentine Submarine Missing with 44 Crew Members on Board An Argentine military submarine with 44 crew members on board was missing at sea Friday, prompting a massive search to locate the vessel which may have suffered a communication error, a navy spokesman said. The vessel was in the southern Argentine Sea when it gave its last location two days ago. "We are investigating the reasons for the lack of communication," Argentine naval spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters. "If there was a communication problem, the boat would have to come to the surface." Balbi said the submarine, which left the southern city of Ushuaia for Mar del Plata, both i…

Palestinians threaten to suspend talks if U.S. closes PLO mission

NBC News + 2 other

WASHINGTON — The Palestinians threatened on Saturday to suspend all communication with the United States if the Trump administration follows through with plans to close their diplomatic office in Washington. The potential rupture in relations threatens to undermine President Donald Trump's bid for Mideast peace — a mission he has handed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the U.S. decision was "very unfortunate and unacceptable," and accused Washington of bowing to pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government "at a time whe…

Sinn Fein's divisive leader Gerry Adams to step down

NBC News + 2 other

LONDON — Gerry Adams, the divisive politician known around the world as the face of the Irish republican movement as it shifted from violence to peace, announced Saturday that he was stepping down as leader of Sinn Fein next year after heading the party for over 30 years. The 69-year-old veteran politician — who has been president of Northern Ireland's second-largest party since 1983 — told the party's annual conference in Dublin he would not run in the next Irish parliamentary elections. "Leadership means knowing when it is time for change and that time is now," he said, adding the mo…

Salim al-Jubouri warns of dangers of Iran-backed Shia militias

The Washingon Times + 3 other

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi must disband the majority of the Iran-linked Shia paramilitary groups that fought alongside the army against the Islamic State or risk sparking an outbreak of sectarian violence following the terror group’s looming defeat, one of Iraq’s leading Sunni politicians warned Thursday. With the Islamic State nearly pushed out of the country, senior lawmakers and top leaders in the Abadi government face the task of knitting the often-feuding segments of Iraqi society back into a cohesive state, Salim al-Jubouri, speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, said on …

Russia Again Vetoes Chemical Weapons Resolutions on Syria

Voice of America + 5 other

Voice of America, Russia Again Vetoes Chemical Weapons Resolutions on Syria Russia has again vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have extended an international probe into chemical weapons use in Syria, one day after it rejected a similar resolution. Japan had put forward a resolution that would have extended the investigation to identify who is behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria by 30 days to allow time for negotiations on a wider compromise. On Thursday, the United States sponsored a similar resolution with a yearlong extension that was also vetoed by Russia. Russian proposal fails A separate Russian draft resolution Thursday that calle…

Notorious Mob Boss Salvatore 'Toto' Riina Dies at Age 87

The Wall Street Journal + 4 other

MILAN—Italian media say Mafia “boss of bosses” Salvatore “Toto” Riina died while serving multiple life sentences. He was 87 years old. On Thursday, Italy’s justice ministry allowed his family a bedside visit at a hospital in Parma shortly before his death. The reports said he died Friday morning, but the government had no immediate comment. He... …

Kenya Court to Rule on Presidential Election Cases on Monday

Voice of America + 2 other

Voice of America, Kenya Court to Rule on Presidential Election Cases on Monday Kenya's Supreme Court will rule on Monday on cases that seek to nullify the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta last month and the judges could order a fresh vote or clear the way for the incumbent to be sworn in for a second term. The two cases appear to represent a final chance for legal scrutiny of the Oct. 26 election and the ruling could end a protracted political crisis in which more than 60 people have been killed. Kenya is a hub for trade, diplomacy and security in East Africa. "We will deliver judgment on the 20th," Chief Justice David Maraga told lawyers at the end of a heari…

Venezuela's Ex-prosecutor Wants Maduro Tried at Hague

Voice of America + 2 other

Voice of America, Venezuela's Ex-prosecutor Wants Maduro Tried at Hague Venezuela’s sacked former chief prosecutor on Thursday asked the International Criminal Court to capture and try President Nicolas Maduro and other top officials for crimes against humanity over murders by police and military officers. Luisa Ortega, who broke with Maduro this year after working closely with the ruling Socialist Party for a decade, was fired in August after she opposed Maduro’s plan to create an all-powerful legislature called the Constituent Assembly. She fled the country and has traveled the world denouncing alleged acts of corruption and violations of human rights. Orteg…

Aid Group: Saudis Blocking Help From Yemen Capital

Voice of America + 2 other

Voice of America, Aid Group: Saudis Blocking Help From Yemen Capital International aid group Doctors Without Borders says it has not been able to deliver live-saving medical and humanitarian assistance to the people in dire need in the Yemeni capital because of a blockade by a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels.   The group, known by its French acronym MSF, says in a statement Saturday it hasn't received authorization from the coalition to fly from Djibouti to Sanaa.   The group welcomes the reopening of the port in the city of Aden; however it says this is “far from sufficient to deliver timely and urgent medical humanitarian aid across Yem…

Saudis expand crackdown with arrest of military officials and businessmen, WSJ reports

CNBC + 2 other

Getty Images Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman (2nd L) on April 19, 2017 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities have reportedly detained about two dozen military officials and several businessmen, widening a crackdown that has already ensnared princes, ministers and other wealthy elites. Commanders in Saudi Arabia's armed forces are among those authorities have swept up as part of a corruption investigation in recent days, The Wall Street Journal reported. It was not clear whether they are accused of wrongdoing or were being called as witnesses, the Journal said. The …