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Former Assad aide: Syrian president plans secret flight to Russia

Abdullah al-Omar, a former propaganda aide to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, said on an Al Jazeera English broadcast Sunday that Assad knows the end of his rule is drawing closer, and has already prepared plans to escape into Russia. “I know the escorts of Bashar al-Assad, we used to sit…

Tibetan man self-immolates inside Chinese monastery

A Tibetan has burned himself to death inside a Buddhist monastery in China as part of a grisly series of protests against Beijing’s hardline rule of the region, Radio Free Asia reported. Saturday’s self-immolation by Sangay Gyatso meant that 44 ethnic Tibetans have now burned themselves to death since the…

U.S. lets South Korea expand missile range to cover North

South Korea announced a deal with the United States on Sunday to almost triple the range of its missile systems to cover the whole of North Korea — a move likely to infuriate Pyongyang. The agreement will allow the South to deploy missiles with a range of 800 kilometres (500…

U.S. officers in Israel for military exercise: report

US army officers have begun arriving in Israel ahead of joint military manoeuvres between the countries’ armed forces, an Israeli newspaper said on Sunday. The officers will supervise the arrival of hundreds of US troops on October 14 for joint manoeuvres that will take place the following week and last…

Global oil refining industry shifts to Middle East

As high oil prices and improved efficiency force refineries in the US and Europe towards closure, the industry is shifting toward the Middle East and Asia in a move fuelled by a thirst for energy among emerging economies. China and India in particular are driving the demand, with multiple refineries…

Libya PM proposes ‘crisis cabinet’ to assembly

Libya’s Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur on Sunday proposed to the General National Congress a “crisis government” of just 10 ministers, after the GNC rejected outright his first proposed line-up. “In face of the dangers threatening the country, I present to you a crisis government restricted to 10 ministers, rejecting…

Rothko painting vandalised in London

London’s Tate Modern was temporarily closed on Sunday after a mural by US modern artist Mark Rothko was defaced by black paint, the gallery said. The gallery shut for a short time at around 3.25pm (1425 GMT) after the damage was found on the corner of one of the Rothko’s…

Libyan assembly dismisses prime minister

TRIPOLI — Libyan premier Mustafa Abu Shagur was dismissed on Sunday after the General National Congress rejected his proposed “crisis” cabinet of just 10 ministers, days after his first line-up was also turned down. The embattled Abu Shagur, who had been given 72 hours to come up with a new…

Syrian shell again strikes Turkish village

ANKARA — The Turkish military returned fire Sunday after a shell launched from Syria struck the southeastern Turkish border village of Akcakale, where five civilians were killed last week, the local mayor said. The Syrian shell landed in the grounds of a public building and there were no casualties, Mayor…

Thousands protest austerity in Madrid march

MADRID — Thousands joined a protest march in the Spanish capital Sunday against the conservative government’s austerity policies amid growing uncertainty over whether the country will need a financial bailout. “No more unemployment, no more cuts…. They will ruin the country, we must stop this,” read a large banner as…

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