Yemen conflict: Southern separatists seize control of Aden

Yemeni separatists have taken effective control of the port city of Aden after days of fighting with troops loyal to the internationally backed government. Forces aligned with the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) - which wants an independent south - said they had seized control of military camps and the presidential palace. The opposing Saudi-led coalition said it had responded with military action. The government itself characteris..

Canadian Kristian Lee Baxter released from Syria detention

A Canadian tourist held in Syrian detention since 2018 has been released. Kristian Lee Baxter arrived in the country on 26 November and stopped contacting his family about a week later. His mother, Andrea Leclair, previously described her son as a "world traveller" and "adventurer". "I thought I would be there forever," Mr Baxter said during an emotional appearance at a news conference in Beirut on Friday. "I didn't know if anyone knew if ..

Israel hunts killer of off-duty soldier in West Bank

Media playback is unsupported on your device Israeli forces are hunting for the killer of a 19-year-old off-duty soldier, found stabbed to death in an apparent failed kidnap attempt. Cpl Dvir Sorek's body was found outside the Jewish settlement of Migdal Oz in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He is believed to have been abducted elsewhere before being stabbed and left at a roadside, Israeli media report. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neta..

Franz Kafka papers lost in Europe but reunited in Jerusalem

A "Kafkaesque" 11-year fight to bring together acclaimed Czech author Franz Kafka's papers has come to an end after the last batch arrived in Israel. The National Library unveiled the documents after years of international searches and legal disputes. It was left the collection in 1968 by Max Brod, the friend who Kafka had trusted to burn his writings after his death in the 1920s. But Brod refused, later going on to publish them instead. Bro..

The ancient Egyptian yeast being used to bake bread

The yeast microbes had been asleep for more than 5,000 years, buried deep in the pores of Egyptian ceramics, by the time Seamus Blackley came along and used them to bake a loaf of bread. An amateur Egyptologist and one of the inventors of the Xbox game console, he's also a keen hobby baker who routinely posts pictures of his breadmaking projects on social media. He has, he admits, made his fair share of "horrible, rock-like loaves". But th..

Ayia Napa: ‘False rape claim’ case adjourned after lawyer resigns

The lawyer for a British woman in Cyprus accused of making a false allegation of rape has resigned from the case. A court heard that Andreas Pittadjis had an unspecified "serious" disagreement with his client. The case was adjourned and the 19-year-old woman returned to custody. In July the woman said she had been gang-raped by 12 Israeli tourists in Ayia Napa, but later withdrew the allegation. She was said to have made the rape claim in anger a..

Saudi Arabia allows women to travel independently

Women in Saudi Arabia can now travel abroad without a male guardian's permission, royal decrees say. The new rule announced on Friday allows women over the age of 21 to apply for a passport without authorisation, putting them on an equal footing to men. Women are also being given the right to register births, marriage or divorce. The kingdom has recently eased other long-standing social restrictions on women, though campaigners say more re..

Facebook bans ‘Saudi Arabia-linked propaganda accounts’

Facebook says it has discovered that people linked to the Saudi authorities have been using its platforms to spread propaganda through fake accounts. It says the operation mainly targeted the Middle East and North Africa, and most of the content was in Arabic. More than 350 accounts and pages have been removed. It is rare for the social media giant to publicly link such activities to a government. Saudi Arabia has so far made no public comments o..

Hamza Bin Laden ‘killed in air strike’

Hamza Bin Laden, the son of al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden, died in an air strike, US media outlets report, citing intelligence officials. The place and date of death were unclear. The Pentagon did not comment. Bin Laden, thought to be aged about 30, had released audio and video messages calling for attacks on the US and other countries. As recently as February, the US government offered $1m (£825,000) for information leading to his capture. W..

Talks held in Vienna to salvage Iran nuclear deal

Talks to try to save the Iran nuclear deal have been held amid rising tensions over tankers in the Gulf. After meeting officials from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China in Vienna, a senior Iranian official said the atmosphere had been "constructive". Tensions have soared since the United States withdrew from the 2015 accord last year and reimposed sanctions. In recent weeks, Iran and Britain have seized a tanker each - putting further pre..

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