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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..

New York Met museum returns stolen ancient Egyptian coffin

Media playback is unsupported on your device US authorities have returned a stolen coffin to Egypt, two years after it was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The 2,100-year-old coffin of a priest called Nedjemankh was featured in an exhibit housing artefacts from Egypt. The stolen antique was sold to the museum by a global art trafficking network, which used fraudulent documents, officials said. The gilded coffin was lo..

Deadly earthquake hits Iran and Turkey

Media playback is unsupported on your device At least nine people including three children are dead in eastern Turkey after an earthquake with its epicentre in neighbouring Iran. At least 37 people were injured after houses collapsed, Turkey's interior minister said. The magnitude-5.7 quake centred on the Iranian border village of Habash-e Olya. At least 75 were injured and houses damaged in 43 villages in Iran's West Azerbaijan provin..

Iran tanker: US issues warrant to seize Grace 1 supertanker

The US justice department has issued a warrant to seize a detained Iranian oil tanker, a day after a judge in Gibraltar ordered it to be released. The Grace 1 supertanker, which is carrying 2.1m barrels of oil, was detained on 4 July on suspicion of illegally transporting oil to Syria. A last-minute legal attempt by the US to keep the tanker detained was rejected by Gibraltar on Thursday. Iran previously called the detention of Grace 1 an "illega..

Twelve Israeli teens in court over Briton’s ‘rape’

Twelve Israeli teenagers have appeared in court in Cyprus over the alleged rape of a 19-year-old British woman. The alleged attack was said to have taken place in a hotel in the popular holiday resort of Ayia Napa. The boys - who are aged between 16 and 18 except one, who is 15 - have not yet entered any pleas. They have been remanded in custody and police have been given a further eight days to investigate. The British woman contacted police i..

Saudi Arabia: Just how deep are its troubles?

Once famous for being tax-free, Saudi Arabia has announced it is trebling its Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5% to 15% and cancelling the monthly living subsidy from next month. The moves come as global oil prices have crashed down to less than half what they were a year ago, slashing government revenues by 22% and putting major projects on hold. Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, has already seen its net profit fall by 25% in the first quarter o..

Yemen civil war: 128 detainees sent home from Saudi Arabia

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has helped repatriate 128 rebels from Saudi Arabia to Yemen. It comes two days after the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels said they would release 200 Houthi prisoners and allow medical cases to be flown out of Yemen's rebel-held capital. Sanaa's airport has been closed for years amidst Yemen's ongoing civil war. At least 7,000 people have died since the conflict began in 20..

Iraq war: All but one war crimes claim against British soldiers dropped

British soldiers who have been accused of committing war crimes in Iraq are unlikely to face criminal prosecution. Independent investigators were asked to look at thousands of allegations made against the British military after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But the director of the Service Prosecution Authority (SPA) said just one remaining case was being examined. Andrew Cayley said the "low level" of offending and lack of credible evidence had l..

US stops sending sniffer dogs to Jordan and Egypt

The US says it has stopped sending explosive-detecting dogs to Jordan and Egypt after the deaths of a number of animals due to negligence. "Any death of a canine in the field is an extremely sad event," a US state department spokesman said. In September, a US report highlighted cases of negligence in the care of more than 100 dogs sent to Jordan, Egypt and eight other countries in recent years. The US-trained dogs were provided as part of anti-te..

Coronavirus: Yemen reports first deaths amid fears of undetected spread

Yemen has recorded its first two deaths linked to the new coronavirus disease, raising fears of a devastating outbreak in the war-ravaged country. The pair were reported to be brothers who died at a hospital in the southern port city of Aden. Officials had confirmed five infections there on Wednesday. Previously, only one case had been detected nationwide. The UN has warned there is a "very real probability" Covid-19 is circulating undetected wit..

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