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More than two million Iranian pilgrims descend on Iraq


More than two million Iranian pilgrims have crossed the border into Iraq for the annual Arbaeen Shiite pilgrimage to be celebrated on Thursday, an Iranian official said on state television. “Some 2.32 million visas have been issued so far, and 2.2 million pilgrims are already in Iraq,” Shahriar Heydari, spokesman …

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US defence chief meets NATO to discuss IS, Afghanistan


– With the Islamic State group crumbling in Iraq and Syria, North Korea defiant over its nuclear ambitions and Russia looming large, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has plenty of pressing issues as he begins talks with NATO allies on Wednesday. NATO defence ministers are meeting over two days at …

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Putin-Trump bilateral in Vietnam ‘likely’: Kremlin


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump will likely meet at the sidelines of the APEC summit but Moscow and Washington have yet to agree details, the Kremlin said Wednesday. Both leaders are headed to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang this …

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Schools shut as toxic smog hits Delhi


Delhi shut all primary schools on Wednesday as pollution hit 70 times the World Health Organisation’s safe level, prompting doctors in the Indian capital to warn of a public health emergency. Dense grey smog shrouded the roads of the world’s most polluted capital, where many pedestrians and bikers wore masks …

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US defense chief heads to NATO for IS, Afghan talks


With the Islamic State crumbling in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan mired in crisis and Russia looming large, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has plenty of pressing issues to tackle with NATO allies this week. The Pentagon chief arrives at the alliance’s Brussels headquarters Wednesday for two days of talks with …

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Saudi banks freeze accounts of suspects detained in probe


– Saudi Arabian banks have begun freezing the accounts of suspects ensnared in an anti-corruption probe, banking and business sources told Reuters on Monday. Dozens of people including royals, ministers and businessmen have been detained in an investigation by a new anti-corruption body headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. …

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Of hidden wealth: The Arabs leaked in Paradise


– As a part of ICIJ’s latest investigation, offshore companies of Arab monarchs have also emerged in the Paradise Papers. While the Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz has also been named in the Paradise Papers, his role in Luxembourg Company is not yet clear. Muhammad Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, …

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China’s military ordered to pledge total loyalty to Xi


China’s military has been ordered to pledge absolute loyalty to President Xi Jinping while a paramilitary police force now literally sings his praises, further cementing his place as the country’s most powerful leader in decades. The world’s largest armed forces should be “absolutely loyal, honest and reliable to Xi”, said …

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