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Entries in Reuters (39)


Iran Feature: Non-News Nuclear Scare Story Of The Day (Reuters)

With the Iranian Presidential election and Syria dominating the news, there has been little space in the news cycle lately for a good, old-fashioned Iran nuclear scare story.

Yet, lest readers despair, Reuters' Dan Williams and --- of course --- Fredrik Dahl "man up", stepping up to the plate with this gem: Iran's Arak reactor looms into Israeli, Western view.

What news of Arak, Iran's heavy-water research reactor that has yet to become operational?

Oh. None.

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Syria Analysis: How The Media is Expanding the Simplistic Narrative of "Al Qa'eda"

Video Showing Execution In Raqqa Last Week

Scott Lucas and Joanna Paraszczuk write:

For weeks, we have noted how the media and "experts" have used one paragraph from the statement of a leader of the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra --- ripping it out of context of the rest of the statement, let alone developments on the ground or an understanding of the Syria conflict --- reducing the group with the simplistic tag of "Al Qa'eda-linked" or "Al Qa'eda affiliate".

For weeks, we have tried to knock down that too-easy and misleading narrative, offering a full translation of Jabhat al-Nusra's statement and evaluating the complex political and social situation in Syria, especially in the north, and discussing how the media has created a misleading myth of "Al Qaeda" that precludes any deeper understanding of the nuanced reality on the ground in Syria and elsewhere.

However, the simplistic story that Al Qa'eda is "taking over Jabhat al-Nusra" persists.

Indeed, for some journalists, that easy narrative is no longer enough.

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Iran Feature: Newsflash --- Tehran Does (Not) Shoot Down An Enemy Drone

One of the US drones that Iran did not shoot down on Saturday

A tale of how Iranian propaganda went a bit too far --- and how the Western media, always on the look-out for a story of Tehran's threat, went along for the ride....

Press TV, the regime's English-language outlet, put up the Breaking headline on Saturday night, Iran Cyber-Warriors Take Control of Drone". As in December 2011 and January of this year, Tehran was going to parade another Western surveillance aircraft before the Iranian press, demonstrating how the Islamic Republic could not only defy the enemy but --- by reverse-engineering the drone --- turn the foe's weapons against it.

CNN quickly picked up the newsflash, and the Associated Press put out a fuller story.

The only problem was that none of this was true.

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Syria 1st-Hand: A Month on the Front Line of "Bloody Stalemate" in Damascus (Tomasevic)

One of Goran Tomasevic's photos of the fighting at the Ain Tarma checkpoint, 30 January 2013

Rebel fighters in Damascus are disciplined, skilled and brave.

In a month on the frontline, I saw them defend a swathe of suburbs in the Syrian capital, mount complex mass attacks, manage logistics, treat their wounded --- and die before my eyes.

But as constant, punishingly accurate, mortar, tank and sniper fire attested, President Bashar al-Assad's soldiers on the other side, often just a room or a grenade toss away, are also well-drilled, courageous --- and much better armed.

So while the troops were unable to dislodge brigades of the Free Syrian Army from devastated and depopulated neighborhoods just east of the city centre --- and indeed made little effort to do so --- there seems little immediate prospect of the rebels overrunning Assad's stronghold. The result is bloody stalemate.

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Iran Feature: A New Crisis for the Currency and the Economy? (George)

"Ahmadinejad's critics are looking to erase all vestiges of his power, [Central Bank head Mahmoud] Bahmani is a firewall for Ahmadinejad. If he is forced out, then the President may be next in line to take the blame for the economic situation."

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Pakistan News: 114 Killed in Thursday Bombings (Houreld)

(Photo: Dawn)

The death toll from a series of bombings in two Pakistani cities on Thursday, one of the bloodiest days in the country's history, has reached 114, police said Friday.

The majority of deaths were caused by a sectarian double bombing in the western provincial capital of Quetta.

Police officer Mir Zubair Mehmood said 82 people were killed and 121 injured in Quetta when a suicide bomber targeted a snooker club and a car bomb blew up nearby 10 minutes later. Nine police and 20 rescue workers were among those killed in the second blast.

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Iran Live Coverage: Cheerleading for Sanctions

Al Jazeera English reports on the effect of US sanctions on Iranian air travel

2115 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has reportedly predicted that Syrian President Assad will leave or be forced from power.

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Iran Feature: The Regime's Food Problems (Saul/George)

Queuing for Chicken, July 2012Iran's food distribution system is in crisis even though Western sanctions do not directly target the market, badly hurting the poor and turning some staples into luxuries.

Private importers are shrinking away from deals made risky by turmoil in the rial currency, and many foreign banks are reluctant to finance even trade exempt from the sanctions for fear of drawing fire simply for doing business with Iran.

The result is that the Iranian state is under growing pressure to import and allocate more goods as it tries to avoid any social unrest due to shortages and soaring prices.

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Sudan Feature: Tensions Rise after South Breaks Away (Laessing)

President Omar Hassan al-BashirSudan was unstable even before the south seceded. Now Khartoum has lost three-quarters of its oil, and inflation at 45 percent is causing pain for ordinary Sudanese. Activists encouraged by revolutions in neighboring Libya and Egypt have staged small but regular protests against the government, though Sudanese security forces have so far kept them down.

More crucially, the loss of the south has exacerbated political splits within the government of Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who came to power in a coup in 1989. The country's rulers, who ushered in a hardline religious state, are struggling to keep competing factions happy. Religious preachers feel Bashir, 68, has abandoned the soul of his coup, citing as evidence the secession of the Christian-dominated south. Mid-level and youth activists in Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) want a louder voice. And army officers feel the president is still making too many concessions to the south.

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Iran Feature: Which Tehran Officials Are Buying Up Turkish Gold? (Pamuk)

Couriers carrying millions of dollars worth of gold bullion in their luggage have been flying from Istanbul to Dubai, where the gold is shipped on to Iran, according to industry sources with knowledge of the business.

The sums involved are enormous. Official Turkish trade data suggests nearly $2 billion worth of gold was sent to Dubai on behalf of Iranian buyers in August. The shipments help Tehran manage its finances in the face of Western financial sanctions.

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