U.S. couple stuck in Qatar after acquittal on charges linked to daughter’s death

November 30, 2014

A California couple who spent nearly year in a Qatar jail on child-endangerment charges remained in limbo Sunday after Qatari officials blocked their departure from the country — hours after their acquittal in the 2013 death of their adopted daughter.

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Investigation finds 50,000 ‘ghost’ soldiers in Iraqi army, prime minister says

November 30, 2014

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi army has been paying salaries to at least 50,000 soldiers who don’t exist, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sunday, an indication of the level of corruption that permeates an institution that the United States has spent billions equipping and arming.

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Arsonists torch an Arabic-Hebrew bilingual school in Jerusalem

November 30, 2014

JERUSALEM — Arsonists who police suspect are Jewish extremists torched a first-grade classroom and scrawled racist graffiti on the walls of one of the few Arabic-Hebrew bilingual schools in Israel.

Suspects hopped a fence and entered the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education in West Jerusalem sometime late Saturday night. They spray-painted the stone walls outside the classrooms with slogans such as “Death to Arabs” and “There is no coexistence with cancer.”

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Taliban brings war to Afghan capital, threatening stability and endangering foreigners

November 30, 2014

KABUL — Taliban insurgents have intensified their attacks on this besieged capital with a flurry of brazen bombings and afternoon raids targeting foreigners and Afghans, bringing the war into this city in a way not seen in any other year since the radical Islamists were ousted from power.

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Crimean Tatars say Russian annexation has brought fear and repression all over again

November 30, 2014

BELOGORSK, Crimea — Crimea’s Tatars have bitter memories of the 1944 deportation that tore them from their native peninsula. With Russia again in control, some here say pressure is building once more.

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In France, former president Sarkozy wins party leadership vote with shift to the right

November 30, 2014

BOULOGNE-BILLANCOURT, France — Two years after losing the Élysée Palace to the Socialists, Nicolas Sarkozy is hoping to stage a historic comeback by swinging further to the political right.

In the United States, the tea party revolution may be cooling. But in Europe, Sarkozy’s shift is a sign of the times. He and other European conservatives have found themselves caught in a political no man’s land, between their traditional opponents on the left and the rising fortunes of the far right.

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Kurds blame Turkey as suicide bombers hit Kobani

November 30, 2014

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s main Kurdish party accused the government Saturday of turning a blind eye to Islamic State militants on its soil, claiming that a suicide bomber crossed over the border into Syria before carrying out a deadly attack.

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In Japan’s Okinawa, saving indigenous languages is about more than words

November 29, 2014

NISHIHARA, Japan — Rising in turn at their wooden desks, the students giggled, squirmed or shuffled as they introduced themselves, some practically in a whisper.

“Waa naamee ya — yaibiin . . . (My name is . . . ).” One by one, the classmates at Okinawa Christian University managed to get out their names, a few confidently, but most of them sheepishly.

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A highway through hell for the truckers who haul vital goods into Islamic State territory

November 29, 2014

RUWAISHED, Jordan — It might be the most hairy truck route in the world — a nail-biting, long-haul, “Mad Max”-style endurance race from the Jordan border through the black heart of Islamic State territory.

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Syria’s Assad regime cuts subsidies, focuses ailing economy on war effort

November 29, 2014

BEIRUT — Syria’s economy is in a tailspin, and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly struggling to find resources to quash the four-year-old rebellion, analysts say.

The government has had to scale back subsidies for citizens for goods ranging from water to heating oil over the last six months. That has angered Syrians, who already face crippling inflation, 50-percent unemployment and wide-scale damage to industry caused by the civil war. In addition, power outages have worsened recently and food shortages loom.

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Cairo court drops case against Mubarak for protester deaths

November 29, 2014

CAIRO — A court in Cairo dropped its case Saturday against former president Hosni Mubarak on charges that he ordered police to kill hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising, in a ruling that rights activists said demonstrates the impunity ­enjoyed by ex-regime figures years after the pro-democracy revolt.

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WorldViews: London mayor’s unpaid tax bill shows why some people don’t want to be Americans anymore

November 29, 2014

Boris Johnson’s has the unique ability to be ridiculous and charming at the same time. The London mayor and his inexplicable haircut can offend entire cities, get stuck on zip lines in front of crowds of journalists and be sacked from government for lying about an affair (“an inverted pyramid of piffle,” he claimed), yet still somehow end up one of Britain’s most important and beloved politicians. Many think he will be prime minister sooner or later.

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At least 81 people killed in Nigerian mosque attack; Boko Haram militants suspected

November 28, 2014

KANO, Nigeria — Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshipers Friday at the main mosque in north Nigeria’s biggest city, Kano, killing at least 81 people in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants, officials and witnesses said. No group, however, has taken credit for the attack.

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WorldViews: In 2004, I met an Afghan girl sold into an abusive marriage at age 9. This month, I set out to find her.

November 28, 2014

Pekay was small, with a puffy nose and an infectious smile. That was the last memory I had of her, 10 years ago.

She was 13 back then, but she had already suffered a lifetime of misery.

When Pekay was 9, her impoverished family sold her into marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather. They needed to pay their rent — $80, a princely sum at the time — and so their landlord became Pekay’s husband. He brutalized her, so severely that she contemplated suicide.

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WorldViews: Watch: What Chernobyl looks like now — from a drone

November 28, 2014

The area around Ukraine’s Chernobyl power plant, site of one of the world’s most horrifying nuclear disasters, is the subject of endless fascination. Increasingly, adventurous tourists and scientists have come to the site, which was abandoned after a reactor in the Soviet facility exploded in 1986. Cloaked in both the trauma and the poison of the disaster, Chernobyl’s surreal isolation has spurred the return of once imperiled species and the imagination of filmmakers.

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Russian warships pass through English Channel, anchor off the coast of France

November 28, 2014

MOSCOW — Four Russian military ships sailed through the English Channel on Friday and dropped anchor alongside the coast of France, an occurrence that NATO called routine but still had resonance at a time of Cold War-level tensions between Russia and the West.

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Afghanistan on edge as stepped-up Taliban attacks kill at least 6

November 28, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents struck targets across Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least six people and wounding scores more, extending a string of attacks in recent weeks that have put Afghans on edge, two months into the term of the new U.S.-backed government.

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WorldViews: Watch: The world’s largest Christmas lights display

November 28, 2014

Australia is definitely beaming with holiday spirit.

The country’s capital, Canberra, has a tradition of stringing Christmas lights at a shopping center, but this year, the city managed to set a world record with a display of about 1.2 million LED lights, beating out Uzbekistan’s 2012 record by almost 200,000 bulbs.

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WorldViews: Spain’s Real Madrid drops cross from logo to appease Gulf sponsors

November 28, 2014

Spanish soccer heavyweight Real Madrid dropped the Christian cross affixed at the top of its  official crest after signing a lucrative sponsorship deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. At an unveiling ceremony in the Gulf emirate earlier this week, the club’s president, Florentino Perez, revealed a new credit card sponsored by the bank, which doubles as a Real Madrid club membership card. On the card, the club’s iconic “Los Blancos” badge is missing the cross atop its royal crown.

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WorldViews: Saudi Arabia says 12 percent of its ‘rehabilitated’ terrorists have returned to terror

November 28, 2014

It’s often argued that the people who commit acts of terrorism are troubled and vulnerable individuals. In Saudi Arabia, the government takes that thinking further: In 2004, it set up a high profile “rehabilitation” system for terrorists which hoped to deradicalize them through religious education and psychological counseling.

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WorldViews: Bargains and brawls: Britain embraces Black Friday

November 28, 2014

LONDON — Britons are famously experts at queuing, but scenes on Friday proved they are also very good at stampeding into stores and trampling all over each other in the rush for a good deal.

Of all the American traditions to gain traction in Britain in recent years — many celebrated Thanksgiving this year as my colleague Daniela Deane pointed out — British retailers are probably most grateful for “Black Friday.”

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Syria, U.S. attack same Syrian city, then trade barbs

November 28, 2014

BEIRUT — Damascus and Washington traded public jabs after warplanes from both countries carried out independent and lethal air raids this week on a city in eastern Syria that is under the control of the Islamic State.

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WorldViews: Why do nearly 40 percent of Germans endorse Russia’s annexation of Crimea?

November 28, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea has found supporters in an unlikely country: Last Sunday, an opinion poll in Germany found that nearly 40 percent of the country’s population accept the move.

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WorldViews: North Korea response to ‘plot-breeding’ U.N. report gets even weirder

November 28, 2014

The official statements coming out of North Korea’s incomparable, state-run Korean Central News Agency are often so over-the-top and use such florid turns of phrase that they sometimes seem like they’re straight out of The Onion.

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Yomiuri, Japan’s biggest newspaper, apologizes for using term ‘sex slaves’

November 28, 2014

TOKYO — Japan’s biggest newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, has apologized to its readers for using the term “sex slaves” and “other inappropriate expressions” to describe the women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

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U.S. seeks to build lean Iraqi force to fight the Islamic State

November 28, 2014

After learning hard lessons rebuilding foreign militaries over the past dozen years, the U.S. military is shifting its strategy against the Islamic State, choosing to train a smaller number of Iraqi soldiers rather than trying to stand up an entire army anew.

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Eight months after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, a complicated transition

November 27, 2014

SIMFEROPOL, Crimea — Eight months into the Russian annexation of the Black Sea resort region of Crimea, traces of Ukraine’s 60-year rule here are rapidly being wiped away. Now Ukrainians themselves worry that they are next.

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WorldViews: The Syrian Electronic Army has returned, and they look less threatening than ever

November 27, 2014

On Thursday morning, some visitors to a diverse array of news and entertainment Web sites, including The Guardian, CNBC, NHL.com and Forbes, were greeted with an unusual pop-up message. “You’ve been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army(SEA),” the message read.

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Suicide bomber in Kabul targets British; 6 dead

November 27, 2014

KABUL — A suicide bomber attacked a British Embassy ­vehicle in the eastern part of the Afghan capital Thursday morning, killing six, including a ­British citizen, and injuring more than 30, according to law enforcement officials.

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Sierra Leone physician who treated doctor with Maryland ties is diagnosed with Ebola

November 27, 2014

The doctor who treated Martin Salia, the Sierra Leonean physican who died of Ebola last week after being transported to Omaha, has contracted the disease himself.

Komba Songu M’Briwa cared for Salia, his colleague and former professor, at Freetown’s Hastings Ebola Treatment Center before Salia, whose family lives in New Carrollton, was transported to the United States.

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WorldViews: Heavy rains flood out the ruins of Gaza

November 27, 2014

GAZA CITY — It has been raining hard for a week in the coastal enclave — a blessing for farmers and parched aquifers, but a curse for those who lost their homes in the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

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WorldViews: British anti-immigration party mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral for a mosque

November 27, 2014

Over the past few years, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has become a big deal in British politics. Their anti-immigration policies and opposition to the European Union have won them two seats in the House of Parliament and may get them a few more if right-wing Conservative party members defect before next year’s election. However, the party’s critics say that the populism the UKIP espouses can lend itself to xenophobia or racism.

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WorldViews: In North Korea, another Kim rises to the top

November 27, 2014

Buried at the bottom of an official North Korean report published Thursday about Kim Jong Un’s visit to an animation studio, after the praise for the artists and the insight that cartoons are popular worldwide, was a rare kernel of real information.

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Forget the Mayflower issues. Britain embraces Thanksgiving.

November 27, 2014

LONDON — If you can’t be at home this Thanksgiving Day, stuffing your face with turkey and then collapsing onto the sofa in front of football, the next best place to be in the world might be Britain. Kinda, sorta.

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WorldViews: Hong Kong student protest leader says police struck him repeatedly

November 27, 2014

BEIJING — Eighteen-year-old Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong said on Thursday he had been hit several times by police during his arrest at pro-democracy protests the previous day, taking aim below the belt at his private parts.

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WorldViews: The mystery of Kim Jong Un’s missing aunt

November 27, 2014

Early this year, the world was appalled by a particularly garish headline from the Hermit Kingdom: North Korea’s young despot Kim Jong Un had his traitorous uncle fed to a pack of wild dogs. That report, as WorldViews reported, was likely not true.

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WorldViews: Swiss under pressure to ban the eating of dogs and cats

November 27, 2014

Outside the Swiss parliament in Bern on Tuesday, activists handed leaflets to politicians as they passed. Reflecting the linguistic nature of the 8-million-strong country, the leaflets read either “Wir fordern ein neues “Gesetz gegen den Handel und Verzehr von Hunde- und Katzenfleisch in der Schweiz” or “Nous demandons une nouvelle loi contre le commerce et la consommation de viande de chiens et chats en Suisse.”

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Lebanese Sunnis who fought in Syria’s war are returning home radicalized

November 27, 2014

TRIPOLI, Lebanon — The black-and-white flags of al-
Qaeda’s wing in Syria still flutter over this impoverished city in northern Lebanon. And the anger that fueled a major clash last month involving Sunni extremists still simmers underneath a shaky calm.

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WorldViews: ‘Tomorrow my life will change, and all of this will be a bad memory’

November 27, 2014

CALAIS, France — Arriving in this French port city aboard a sleek Eurostar train from London, I worried that I might have trouble finding the migrants whose presence was the reason for my visit.

They are in Calais, after all, to do something illicit: to sneak into Britain, land of their dreams. Perhaps they would be difficult to track down, or wary of discussing their intentions with a reporter asking prying questions.

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In heart of Europe, migrants offer a one-stop tour of worldwide misery

November 27, 2014

CALAIS, France — Ibrahim’s odyssey has taken him over the hot sands of the Sahara and across the vast Mediterranean in a death-defying, thousands-of-miles-long quest.

Now the 21-year-old from the Sudanese region of Darfur is so close to his destination that he can see it shimmering on the horizon — his dream, his salvation, his England.

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Sabah, actress and entertainer who thrilled and scandalized the Arab world, dies at 87

November 26, 2014

Lebanese singer, actress and entertainer Sabah, who was known for her powerful voice and was notorious in the conservative Arab world for her garish outfits, multiple marriages and flings with younger men, died Nov. 26 at her home in Beirut. She was 87.

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WorldViews: 8 harsh ways to deal with Arab violence, as proposed by Israel’s ruling party

November 26, 2014

JERUSALEM — At the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his political allies in the Israeli parliament are preparing a sweeping legislative package designed to deter terror attacks.

The measures are aimed both at preventing assaults against Israeli citizens, like the one that took place last week in a Jerusalem synagogue, leaving five people dead, and at allaying the feelings of insecurity felt by Israelis over the past few months.

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Japan vows to resume Antarctic whale hunt for ‘science’ next year

November 26, 2014

TOKYO — Critics of Japan’s whaling practices are guilty of “eco-imperialism” for trying to impose their beliefs on countries that hunt and eat whales, Japan’s pointman on the issue said Wednesday.

Japan is now embarking on a campaign to demonstrate the scientific merits of its controversial Antarctic whaling missions, after the International Court of Justice this year declared its purported research program was just a cover for commercial hunting.

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WorldViews: There might be more than 200 female foreign militants in Syria. Are they victims or criminals?

November 26, 2014

In February, 18-year old Aicha traveled from the Netherlands to Syria to marry a Dutch-Turkish Islamic State militant named Omar Yilmaz. She was born under the name Sterlina, but she changed her name after she became increasingly radicalized. Her love affair with the jihadist would end, as many relationships do. But what happened afterward is far more remarkable, according to several news reports: Aicha’s mother tried to cross the border into Syria to rescue her daughter. She failed, and then tried again.

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WorldViews: What is Tony Blair’s ‘global legacy?’

November 26, 2014

Last week, Tony Blair, former prime minister of Britain, was in New York to accept the Global Legacy Award from Save the Children, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ben Affleck and Samantha Power at the high profile Illumination Gala.

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WorldViews: Study: 3 years after Gaddafi’s death, nearly a third of all Libyans suffer mental problems

November 26, 2014

A study conducted by a Danish human rights organization has found that perhaps as much as a third of the entire population of Libya is experiencing anxiety or depression in the wake of the 2011 collapse of the dictatorship of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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WorldViews: A small village in Nepal is set to make the largest animal sacrifice in the world

November 26, 2014

More than 1 million people have descended upon a remote temple in southern Nepal in recent days, where thousands of animals are set to slaughtered starting Friday as part of a ritual sacrifice to honor the Hindu goddess Gadhimai held every five years.

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WorldViews: North Korea says the U.S. is doomed just like the Roman Empire

November 26, 2014

On Nov. 15, President Obama was speaking at the University of Queensland in Australia when he began to talk about the present day’s place in history. “I often tell young people in America that, even with today’s challenges, this is the best time in history to be alive,” the president said. The president’s speech was then followed by one by then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who explained how the U.S. military would need to reform to keep this place in history.

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Hong Kong police clear pro-democracy demonstrators’ protest site

November 26, 2014

HONG KONG — Police cleared the remaining barricades from one of Hong Kong’s largest protest sites Wednesday and arrested two pro-democracy leaders as authorities stepped up their efforts to end the two-month-long civil disobedience campaign.

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World Digest: Nov. 25, 2014

November 26, 2014

IRAN

Khamenei approves further nuclear talks

Iran’s supreme leader gave his indirect approval Tuesday for a continuation of talks over the country’s disputed nuclear program, criticizing world powers that many frustrated Iranians believe could have worked harder to reach a deal.

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