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Gulf may arm rebels now Syria truce is dead - U.S. officials

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WASHINGTON The collapse of the latest Syria ceasefire has heightened the possibility that Gulf states might arm Syrian rebels with shoulder-fired missiles to defend themselves against Syrian and Russian warplanes, U.S. officials said on Monday.

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Jordanians protest writer's assassination, demand govt resignation 26 Sep 2016

AMMAN Protesters in Jordan demanded that the government resign on Monday for its failure to protect a Christian writer shot dead outside a court where he was to stand trial after sharing on social media a cartoon image seen as insulting Islam.

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EU launches programme to issue cash cards to migrants in Turkey 26 Sep 2016

ANKARA The European Union launched a programme on Monday to issue monthly electronic cash grants to benefit a million refugees in Turkey, as part of a deal under which Ankara will curb the numbers trying to enter Europe.

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Saudi Arabia slashes ministers' pay, cuts public sector bonuses 26 Sep 2016

RIYADH/DUBAI Saudi Arabia will cut ministers' salaries by 20 percent and scale back financial perks for public sector employees in one of the most drastic measures yet by the energy-rich kingdom to save money at a time of low oil prices.

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Kerry defends diplomacy as Russian-backed forces pound Aleppo 26 Sep 2016

CARTAGENA, Colombia/BEIRUT U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended his efforts to negotiate with Moscow over the war in Syria on Monday, despite the collapse of a ceasefire that has led to a massive Russian-backed assault on the besieged rebel-held sector of Aleppo.

Iran releases Canadian-Iranian academic held since June 26 Sep 2016

DUBAI Iran said on Monday it had freed a Canadian-Iranian academic detained since June, a week after the two nations began talks on a potential restoration of diplomatic relations broken in 2012.

Just 30 doctors struggle to treat wounded in eastern Aleppo 26 Sep 2016

GENEVA Only 30 doctors remain in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, where they are in dire need of medical and surgical supplies to treat hundreds of wounded people among a trapped population of 300,000, Syrian doctors said on Monday.

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Air strikes pound rebel-held Aleppo districts 26 Sep 2016

BEIRUT Dozens of air strikes hit rebel-held areas of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo overnight, a monitor and defence worker said, continuing a fierce air campaign by Syrian government and allied forces since a ceasefire broke down almost a week ago.

Kerry discounts Syrian suggestion of talks on unity government 26 Sep 2016

CARTAGENA, Colombia U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday dismissed a suggestion from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem that his government is prepared to take part in a unity government, given its continued bombing of the city of Aleppo.

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Still robust, Turkey looks set to weather downgrade to 'junk' 26 Sep 2016

ISTANBUL/ANKARA On the first trading day after Moody's downgraded Turkey's sovereign rating to "junk", the reaction in Istanbul and Ankara was swift and predictable -- stocks and the lira took a beating and policymakers accused the agency of playing politics.

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