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Aleppo bombed as Syrian army begins 'calm' plan elsewhere

Children look out from a balcony at a site hit by airstrikes, in the rebel-held area of Aleppo's Bustan al-QasrBy John Davison BEIRUT (Reuters) - Nearly 30 air strikes hit rebel-held areas of Aleppo on Saturday as a temporary "calm" declared by Syrias military took effect around Damascus and in the northwest. It was the ninth day of deadly bombardments in Aleppo, which has borne the brunt of increased fighting that has all but destroyed a February ceasefire and killed nearly 250 people in the northern city since April 22, a monitoring group said. The Syrian army announced a "regime of calm," or lull in fighting, late on Friday, which Damascus said was designed to salvage the wider ceasefire.

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 20:04:59 -0400
Two rockets hit Turkish town near Syria border, injuring two - sources

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters) - Two rockets from Islamic State controlled Syrian territory struck the Turkish town of Kilis on Sunday, injuring at least two people, security sources said. The town which is just across the border from Syria has come under repeated rocket fire in recent weeks. On Saturday, it was hit by three rockets but there were no casualties. (Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Alison Williams)

Sun, 01 May 2016 02:07:36 -0400
Three Turkish soldiers killed, 14 others wounded in PKK attack in the southeast: army

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Three Turkish soldiers were killed and 14 others were wounded on Sunday in an armed attack by Kurdish militants during a military operation in the southeastern town of Nusaybin, Turkey's army said in a statement. Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast has been hit by waves of violence in clashes between government security forces and members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) after a ceasefire fell apart last July. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Alison Williams)

Sun, 01 May 2016 02:22:31 -0400
Sadr followers dig in inside Baghdad's Green Zone, political crisis deepens

Followers of Iraq's Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building as they storm Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote on overhauling the government, in IraqBy Stephen Kalin and Ahmed Rasheed BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Hundreds of supporters of Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed parliament inside Baghdad's Green Zone on Saturday and camped out nearby after Sadr denounced politicians' failure to reform a political quota system blamed for rampant corruption. The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified central district housing government buildings and many foreign embassies, crossed a bridge over the Tigris River chanting: "The cowards ran away!" in apparent reference to departing lawmakers. The initial breach was mostly peaceful, but around sunset security forces fired teargas and bullets into the air in an effort to stop more protesters from entering.

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 15:53:57 -0400
U.S. says working on 'specific initiatives' to de-escalate Syrian violence

People inspect the damage at the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)-backed al-Quds hospital after it was hit by airstrikes, in a rebel-held area of Syria's AleppoThe United States is working on "specific initiatives" to reduce the violence in Syria and sees stopping the bloodshed in Aleppo as a top priority, a U.S. State Department spokesman said on Saturday. In a statement detailing calls Secretary of State John Kerry has made over the past two days with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and with Riyad Hijab, a negotiator for Syrian opposition groups, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Kerry had made clear the United States wanted Russia to apply pressure to the Assad government to get it to stop "indiscriminate aerial attacks" in Aleppo.

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 19:20:45 -0400
Egypt puts on trial 237 activists for protests against Sisi: sources

Egyptian protesters shout slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and government during a demonstration protesting the government's decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate in CairoEgypt put on trial 237 activists arrested for protesting against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, judicial sources said on Saturday, the first court cases after demonstrations this month. Thousands angered by Sisi's decision to hand over two islands to Saudi Arabia called on April 15 for his government to fall in the largest demonstration since the former army general took office in 2014. Security forces dispersed a second protest.

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:18:00 -0400
In London's mayoral race, candidate rejects 'extremism' barb

In this April 28, 2016 photo, Candidate for London Mayor Zac Goldsmith speaks during an assembly at the London Mayor election event of London Citizens in London. In the race to become Londons next mayor, one candidate is a bus driver's son who grew up in social housing, the other a billionaire's son raised in a mansion. They are two very different London success stories, and one is about to become mayor of Europe's largest city. The contrast between Labour's Sadiq Khan and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith is resonant in a city where soaring property prices are increasing income disparities. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)LONDON (AP) One is a bus driver's son who grew up in social housing, the other a billionaire's son raised in a mansion. They are two very different London success stories, and one is about to become the city's next mayor.

Sun, 01 May 2016 03:49:15 -0400
At least one killed in bomb attack in Turkey's Gaziantep

A bomb blast outside police headquarters in the Turkish city of Gaziantep which killed one policeman comes with the country on edge after two deadly attacks in Istanbul this year and a pair of attacks in AnkaraA bomb exploded Sunday outside police headquarters in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep close to the Syrian border, killing one policeman and wounding 13 other people, the local governor said. Gaziantep regional governor Ali Yerlikaya was quoted by Turkish media as saying nine of those wounded were police. NTV television said the explosion was caused by a car bomb and had been followed by sounds of gunfire.

Sun, 01 May 2016 03:46:08 -0400
Explosion in southern Turkey kills policeman, 13 wounded

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) An explosion Sunday near a police station in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep has killed a policeman and injured 13 other people, an official said.

Sun, 01 May 2016 03:45:19 -0400
Iraq: PM orders arrest of protesters who attacked lawmakers

Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr storm parliament in Baghdad's Green Zone, Saturday, April 30, 2016. Dozens of protesters climbed over the blast walls and could be seen storming the Parliament building, carrying Iraqi flags and chanting against the government. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)BAGHDAD (AP) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered authorities to arrest and bring to justice protesters who attacked security forces, lawmakers and damaged properties of state institutions after breaking into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone to protest delays in reform plans.

Sun, 01 May 2016 03:43:08 -0400
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