Egyptian economy: Hit by security situation

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CAIRO -- Almost a week after the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, protests are ongoing here and in several cities across Egypt, further threatening to destabilize an already shaky economy.

In the capital, the security situation spiraled out of control this week as separate groups of protesters tried to attack government buildings, block the 6 October and Qasr al-Nil bridges, and surround embassies in downtown Cairo.

Read more at International Business Times

US Embassy: Suicide bomber from Turkish left

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ISTANBUL, Turkey — The suicide bomber who attacked the U.S. Embassy on Friday in the Turkish capital of Ankara, killing one Turkish security guard along with the bomber, was a member of an outlawed leftist group, the Turkish government said.

The explosion went off at the entrance used by embassy personnel and their visitors, after a lone suicide bomber passed through the X-ray machine, Turkish news media reported.

Read more at USA Today

Missing American: Family holding out hope

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ISTANBUL, Turkey — Family and friends of a missing New York mother say she was definitely planning on coming home and deny lurid stories in the Turkish press that she may have decided to disappear on her own.

"Nothing while she was over there showed anything other than the same Sarai that we know, who loves her family, loves her husband, loves her children," said Maggie Rodriguez, Sarai Sierra's close friend who had planned to travel to Istanbul with her but canceled.

Read more at USA Today

Missing American: Spotted by a security camera

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ISTANBUL — The New York City woman who vanished in Turkey was spotted on security cameras walking alone two days before she was due to depart for home, police said Tuesday.

The camera footage shows Sarai Sierra eating alone in the food court of a shopping mall near the room she had rented in a downscale part of Istanbul, police told the Turkish newspaper Zaman. She was dressed in jeans, a brown leather jacket and a winter hat, with her hands in her pockets.

Read more at USA Today

Egyptian opposition: Leader calls for national dialogue

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CAIRO –Two people were killed in the Egyptian capital Wednesday amid ongoing political turmoil that has rocked the nation for days after anger boiled over into widespread unrest.

One man died after he was shot by unidentified assailants on Qasr El-Nil Bridge, which leads from an upscale Cairo neighborhood to Tahrir Square, the heart of the nation's 2011 revolt. Another man died near the Egyptian Museum in Abdel-Moneim Riad Square, Egyptian media reported citing police.

Read more at USA Today

Egypt's rulers: In peril with growing violence

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CAIRO — Egypt's security deteriorated sharply Tuesday as violent clashes in Cairo and elsewhere raised questions about the ruling Islamist party's control of the country, which the army chief said is in danger of collapse.

In Cairo, a mob ransacked the five-star Semiramis Hotel, while thousands of mourners in a funeral procession for six slain protesters in Port Said called for the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.

Read more at The Washington Times

Egypt state: 'Collapse a threat', says army chief

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CAIRO – Amid spiraling unrest that has left around 60 dead, Egypt's army chief, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, said on the armed forces' Facebook page that the state could collapse if political catastrophe in Egypt continues.

"The continuation of the conflict between the different political forces and their differences over how the country should be run could lead to the collapse of the state and threaten future generations," he said.

Read more at USA Today

Missing American: Gone from sketchy Turkish neighborhood

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ISTANBUL - An American woman who vanished while on a photography vacation alone was staying in one of the more dangerous parts of the city.

Sarai Sierra, the mother of two young children, had a room in a small basement apartment with bars on the windows and weak lighting. She was the only tourist in the building in a district where drug dealing is not uncommon.

Read more at USA Today

Egyptian clashes: One protester killed

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CAIRO - At least one person was killed as violence erupted Monday near Tahrir Square, following several days of unrest that has cascaded across the country and left more than 50 people dead.

In the latest clashes, riot police fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters in central Cairo, and one protester died of gunshot wounds, health and security officials told the Associated Press.

Read more at USA Today

Istanbul safety: Viewed as safe but with its dangers

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ISTANBUL - With its gleaming domes and elegant spires, Istanbul has beckoned travelers for centuries, but the modern city is a bustling hub with all the trappings that come with a major metropolis, including crime.

Rape and murder, especially of foreigners and tourists is rare, say police officials and other nationals living here.. More common crimes include robbery, muggings, scams and the harassment, mostly verbal, of lone women walking the streets in this predominantly Muslim country.

Read more at USA Today

Algeria attack: Government seeks to salvage energy trade

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LONDON - Until a few days ago, workers at the In Amenas gas plant in the Algerian Sahara lived a simple, if confined life. Working 12-hour shifts and seven-day weeks offered little opportunity for leisure.

But when there was down time, they had at their disposal state-of-the art training and sports facilities, including a football pitch, swimming pool and fitness rooms.

Read more at The Independent

Egypt riots: 37 dead after soccer fans verdict

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CAIRO -The death toll climbed to 37 in Saturday's riots in the northern city of Port Said after an Egyptian court handed down 21 death sentences in connection with last year's deadly soccer melee.

At least 300 have been injured, local media reported, in ongoing clashes between security forces and protesters who are angered by the verdicts related to a February brawl in which 74 soccer fans were killed.

Read more at USA Today

Middle East: New hope for peace process?

Israeli flag, CC Ishai ParasolThough it is much too early for optimism, groundbreaking developments related to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process are expected in the weeks following Israel's January 22 elections. A surprise already took place during the poll: right-wing parties were deprived of the sweeping victory that analysts had predicted—in large part due to high voter turnout, particularly from members of the center-left. And though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to return for a third term, he will face considerable domestic and international pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians.

Read more at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Israeli security: New government's first priority

Benjamin NetanyahuJERUSALEM — The Israeli government to be cobbled together following Tuesday's election will face problems such as a rising budget deficit, high housing costs and food prices.

But security and how to achieve it will remain No. 1, and for that, likely Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to decide how best to deal with the other leader who recently won a four-year term: President Obama.

Read more at USA Today

Algerian hostages: American killed

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Three Americans were among 38 workers killed in the siege of an Algerian gas plant in which Islamic terrorists used hostages as human shields after their attempted mass kidnapping for ransom went awry, U.S. and Algerian officials said Monday.

The State Department on Monday said Americans Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan and Frederick Buttaccio died in the four-day standoff between a Muslim jihadist group and the Algerian military.

Read more at PNJ

Algerian attack: Militant leader links Al-Qaeda to attack

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The leader of the group that carried out an attackon an Algerian gas plant released a video dated Jan. 17 in which he took responsibility for the operation and admitted his affiliation with al-Qaeda, according to media reports.

In the tape obtained by Mauritania's Sahara Media Agency, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who created "Signers in Blood" in December, said "We at al-Qaeda are responsible for this operation, which we bless."

Read more at USA Today

Israeli electorate: In line with Netanyahu's hard line

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JERUSALEM -- It's no secret that President Obama doesn't see eye to eye with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama and Netanyahu, who is up for re-election for a second term Tuesday, disagree on major issues such as Jewish settlements and how to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Read more at USA Today

Hostage crisis: 23 killed at Algerian plant

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Fourteen of BP's 18 employees at the In Amenas plant were safe after Algerian special forces stormed a natural gas complex in a final assault Saturday that ended a four-day-old hostage crisis, BP said.

The fate of the four missing BP employees appears bleak, BP CEO Bob Dudley told reporters.

Read more at USA Today

Algerian crisis: One American confirmed dead

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An American is among at least 12 Algerians and foreigners who are known dead from the terrorist takeover at a natural gas facility in eastern Algeria, the state Algerian Press Service and U.S. officials said Friday.

Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists continued to hold as many as seven hostages, according to API. U.S. officials told the Associated Press that an American died in the hostage standoff: Texas resident Frederick Buttaccio. It is unclear how he died.

Read more at Daily Record

Crisis ends: Hostages freed, death toll unclear

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Algerian special forces completed an operation to free hostages from a natural gas complex deep in the Sahara Desert, but the army provided no information on the death toll, Algeria's state news agency reported Thursday.

Reports on the crisis have been conflicting.

Read more at USA Today

Hostage crisis: Americans held in Algeria

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Islamic terrorists linked to al-Qaeda attacked an Algerian natural gas facility Wednesday, killing one British and one French worker and taking numerous hostages, possibly including seven Americans.

A spokesman for the group, Qatiba, which translates as Those Who Sign with Their Blood, told Mauritanian news website Sahara Media Agency that jihadists seized the gas facility at In Mounas in eastern Algeria and took hostages.

Read more at USA Today

Libyan militia: Taking over post-Gadhafi

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BANI WALID, Libya — The bakery in this burnt-out bazaar is one of the few stores that wasn't destroyed by militias that have attacked this former stronghold of Moammar Gadhafi following the civil war.

Sheep slaughterer Abu Salem waits for his turn in line, standing near walls scrawled with curses against the people of the town for siding with the dead dictator.

Read more at USA Today

Turkish strongman: Erdogan's threat to secularism

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_tur130301AA001.jpegISTANBUL — Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, barred from seeking a fourth term, is exploring ways to create a strongman presidency and run for the powerful new office next year, but critics fear his political engineering could undermine the country’s secular democratic tradition.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister since 2003, has rejected the American constitutional blueprint of checks and balances between the White House and Congress, and instead has called for a “Turkish-style presidential system.”

Read more at The Washington Times

Turkey's leader: Erdogan vies for role of strongman

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ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, barred from seeking a fourth term, is exploring ways to create a strongman presidency and run for the powerful new office next year, but critics fear his political engineering could undermine the country’s secular democratic tradition.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister since 2003, has rejected the American constitutional blueprint of checks and balances between the White House and Congress, and instead has called for a “Turkish-style presidential system.”

Read more at The Washington Times

Egyptian constitution: Majority in favour in first round

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CAIRO — A majority of Egyptians voted in favor of a final draft constitution in the first round of a referendum, according to unofficial results published in state-run media Sunday.

But a large portion of Egyptians voted against the draft, underscoring deep political divisions and threatening to leave Egypt unsettled in what has been a tempestuous transition.

Read more at USA Today

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