Top Stories


  • WWE wrestlers in Saudi Arabia for live matches

    Yesterday

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Pro wrestlers with the WWE, including John Cena and former champion Randy Orton, are in Saudi Arabia for three days of matches in the capital, Riyadh. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. says it is the first time its franchise has held matches in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom, home to Islam's holiest sites. WWE is wildly popular across the Middle East. WWE has an Arabic website and debuted live in the region in Egypt in 2012. Matches also have been held in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates since. Ticketmaster says on its website the matches in Saudi Arabia are "for males only." The state-run Saudi Press Agency says 35 U.S. wrestlers in total from WWE are in the kingdom for the

  • Mubadala posts strong profits for Abu Dhabi

    Yesterday

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Abu Dhabi's Mubadala state investment company says profits last year tripled to roughly $395 million on the back of a strong performance from international investments. The company said Thursday in its 2013 financial earnings report that profits jumped more than three-fold from 470 million dirham ($128 million) in 2012 to 1.45 billion dirham. Revenues also rose from 30.8 billion dirham ($8.38 billion) in 2012 to 31.1 billion dirham ($8.47 billion) last year. Mubadala's mandate is to diversify Abu Dhabi's oil-rich economy. It has stakes in General Electric, Carlyle Group and semiconductor manufacturer Global Foundries. It also has aerospace partnerships with defense giant Lockheed Mar

  • Israel arrests Arab journalist over Lebanon visit

    Yesterday

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service says it has detained a young Israeli Arab journalist for traveling to Lebanon, which Israel considers an enemy country. Majd Kayyal, a 23-year-old journalist for the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, traveled to Beirut last month for a conference. Although Lebanon bars Israeli citizens from entering, the Shin Bet says Palestinian officials in the West Bank gave Kayyal Palestinian travel documents. Kayyal was arrested last Saturday at the Israeli border on suspicion of being recruited by a militant organization. The Shin Bet says it dropped that suspicion, and is considering indicting him for traveling to Lebanon. Kayyal has been held since his arrest without acc

  • Key things to know as Algeria votes for president

    Yesterday

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algerians went to the polls Thursday to elect the president of their oil-rich country, a key U.S. ally in the fight against terror and a major natural gas provider to Europe. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is expected to win, despite suffering a stroke that left him unable to campaign for a fourth term in office. Here are key things to know about Algeria. _____ ENERGY WEALTH: Algeria has large hydrocarbon resources which it has used to keep the country quiet amid pro-democracy uprisings across the region during 2011.

  • Iraqi officials: Gunmen attack military base in the country's north, kill at least 10 soldiers

    Yesterday

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials: Gunmen attack military base in the country's north, kill at least 10 soldiers.

  • Jordanian fighter jet crashes; pilot killed

    Yesterday

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A Jordanian military official says one of its fighter jets has crashed during a training flight, killing the pilot. The official says the crash took place on Thursday morning near the town of Safawi, in the northeastern desert region of Jordan toward the Iraqi border. He says the crash was due to a technical failure on the F-5 fighter jet. At the time, several fighter jets were taking part in the training flight. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran

    Yesterday

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's state TV says a magnitude 5.3 earthquake has jolted a sparsely populated district in the south of the country. The quake was moderate and no injuries were reported. The TV says the quake struck in Shonbeh on Thursday morning, at 04:01 a.m. local time (Wednesday 23:31 GMT). Last April, a magnitude 6.1 quake killed dozens and injured hundreds in the same district but authorities said it did not damage the nearby nuclear reactor in Bushehr, about 96 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Shonbeh. Iran sits on a series of seismic fault lines and experiences one slight earthquake quake a day on average. In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic

  • Iraq: Abu Ghraib prison closure not permanent

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi Justice Ministry official said Wednesday that this week's closure of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad is temporary and that it will be reopened once the security situation in the surrounding area is stable. The closure is the latest chapter in the history of the prison, which during Saddam Hussein's rule was one of the main facilities for jailing and executing his opponents. After the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam, Abu Ghraib became notorious once again, for a 2004 scandal over abuses of detainees by American guards.

  • Egypt Islamist sentenced to 7 years for forgery

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court convicted an ultraconservative Islamist and ally of ousted President Mohammed Morsi of forging official documents to conceal that his mother was a U.S. citizen, and sentenced him Wednesday to seven years in prison. The case against Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, a lawyer turned TV preacher, dates back to his failed 2012 presidential bid. Abu-Ismail was at one point seen as a strong contender in the race, riding in part on his popularity as a preacher. Allegations about his mother's citizenship ultimately derailed his campaign hopes, although he remained a popular figure, particularly among young Islamists.

  • Algerian election faces disaffected populace

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The college students playing pick-up soccer along the faded grandeur of Algiers' sweeping waterfront say they won't be voting in Thursday's presidential elections, echoing the sentiments of many young Algerians. They want jobs and housing when they graduate and lack loyalty to a political system run by an aging man too frail to show up for a single campaign event. Boycotting is the main form of protest against an election that 77-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is expected to win despite his glaring absence, because powerful institutions of the state are firmly wedded to maintaining Algeria's status quo. But dissatisfaction is growing in this key energy producer and U.S.

  • Prominent human rights lawyer detained in Saudi

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi activists say authorities have detained a prominent human rights lawyer in the capital. Activists say Waleed Abu al-Khair was taken into custody Tuesday after attending a court hearing in Riyadh where he faces charges that include inciting public opinion. The case is related to the work of Abu al-Khair's organization, Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. His wife, Samar Badawi, told The Associated Press Wednesday that court officials told her Abu al-Khair has been sent to al-Hayer prison. She said guards have barred her from seeing him and did not say why he is being held.

  • Detained Berlusconi ally taken ill in Lebanon

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese security official says a longtime ally of former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi detained in Lebanon has been moved to a Beirut hospital after falling ill. The official said Marcello Dell'Utri is in stable condition. A former executive in Berlusconi's media empire, Dell'Utri faces a final appeal of his conviction of Mafia association in Italy. He was declared a fugitive in Italy and detained in Lebanon. Italy said Saturday it was preparing to seek his extradition. Dell'Utri denies any ties to the Sicilian Mafia, and any link between the crime syndicate and Berlusconi. The Lebanese official said he was taken from a central prison to a Beirut hospital for treatment.

  • Watchdog: Rise in targeted media killings in Syria

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — A spike in targeted murders of journalists in Syria landed the war-shattered country for the first time on the Committee to Protect Journalists' annual Impunity Index, joining a list of countries where journalists' killings are most likely to go unpunished, the international watchdog said Wednesday. CPJ said the murders add a new threat to the mix in Syria, already deemed the most dangerous place in the world for journalists to do their jobs with unprecedented numbers of abductions and high rates of fatalities in combat and crossfire. Iraq, another Middle Eastern country racked by unrest and sectarian violence, remains along with Somalia and the Philippines the worst places on the 2014 Index.

  • Israel police disperse riot at Jerusalem holy site

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police stormed a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem on Wednesday, firing tear gas to disperse a protest by Palestinian Muslim worshippers, officials said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the crowd hurled stones and firecrackers from atop the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Rosenfeld said police then entered the site and dispersed the group with tear gas and other non-lethal means. The compound is known to Muslims as the "Noble Sanctuary" and is Islam's third-holiest site. Israel captured the area along with the rest of east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war. Clashes often erupt at the site.

  • Jordanian jets strike vehicles on Syrian border

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordanian military warplanes struck a convoy of vehicles as they were trying to enter Jordan from Syria, the army said in a statement Wednesday, in an unusual move at a time of tensions between the desert kingdom and Damascus. A Syrian military official said the vehicles did not belong to the Syrian army. The Jordanian military statement said the attack happened at 10:30 a.m. (0730 GMT) after "camouflaged" vehicles driving in a rugged area near the border ignored demands to stop from security forces. The statement said Jordanian aircraft fired warning shots at the vehicles, but they did not stop. The warplanes then destroyed the vehicles. The statement did not say how many vehicles were in the con

  • Session to elect Lebanon president on April 23

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's parliament speaker on Wednesday called for a meeting to elect a new president on April 23, kicking off what is expected to be a lengthy and fiercely contested vote for the country's top Christian post amid regional unrest. The meeting next Wednesday is expected to be the first in several attempts to elect a president before President Michel Suleiman's six-year term expires on May 25. A new Lebanese president faces massive security and economic challenges, most of them related to the spillover from the civil war raging in neighboring Syria. But the country's leaders are deeply split along sectarian and ideological lines.

  • Egypt clamps hold over mosques to control message

    Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — In his weekly sermon, Muslim cleric Ali Abdel-Moati preached to his congregation in a southern Egyptian city about the evils of making hasty judgments. That prompted a complaint to authorities from a judge, who accused him of criticizing a recent mass death sentence issued against supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Days later, Abdel-Moati was suspended from the mosque in Assiut, replaced by a new preacher, and put under investigation by the Religious Endowments Ministry. Egyptian authorities are tightening control on mosques around the country, purging preachers and seeking to control the message, as the military-backed government cracks down on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood following his oust

  • Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

    Updated: Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday praised a shooting that killed an Israeli and wounded his wife and son as they drove through the West Bank the previous evening en route to a Seder, the traditional Passover meal that starts the weeklong Jewish holiday. Speaking in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh said the attack outside the city of Hebron "brought back life to the path of resistance" against Israel and warned of more attacks in the territory. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest incident to threaten peace talks with the Palestinians. Hamas and Israel are bitter enemies.

  • Syrian forces try seize rebel-held areas of Homs

    Updated: Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian forces tried to seize rebel-held areas of Homs on Tuesday, with fighters weakened by defections and cut supply lines, in some of the fiercest fighting in the central city for months, activists said. Homs is the last chief stronghold for rebels in central Syria, and the fight to take it underscores how emboldened Syrian forces have methodically taken back opposition-held areas, bolstered by fighters from the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad used heavy machine gun fire, tank fire and aircraft shelling to pound rebels holed up in the old city of Homs, said an activist who uses the name Abu Bilal. The assault began five days ago, but Tuesday was the hea

  • Saudi king replaces intelligence chief Bandar

    Updated: Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's king has appointed a new intelligence chief, Youssef al-Idrisi, replacing Bandar bin Sultan in the key post, which oversees the kingdom's support for Syrian rebels. The Saudi Press Agency carried the royal decree Tuesday saying Bandar had requested to be relieved of the post. Al-Idrisi was Bandar's deputy. The news comes after security officials told The Associated Press that 65-year-old Bandar was returning to the kingdom after around two months abroad for surgery on his shoulder. Bandar's responsibilities as head of intelligence included executing Saudi policy in the Levant, including policies toward Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad. Bandar was amb