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Top Egypt censor quits after 'adults only' film pulled

The head of Egypt's censorship board has resigned in protest at a decision to pull Lebanese star Haifa Wehbe's latest movie, which has been criticised for scenes deemed sexually provocative. On Wednesday evening, prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab ordered "Halawet Rooh" (Beauty of the Soul) not to be screened until the censorship board reviews it again. Revealing clothes worn by the pop and film star in the movie, sexually explicit movements and scenes featuring a young boy fascinated by her have stirred harsh criticism.

Top Egypt censor quits after 'adults only' film pulled

The head of Egypt's censorship board has resigned in protest at a decision to pull Lebanese star Haifa Wehbe's latest movie, which has been criticised for scenes deemed sexually provocative. On Wednesday evening, prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab ordered "Halawet Rooh" (Beauty of the Soul) not to be screened until the censorship board reviews it again. Revealing clothes worn by the pop and film star in the movie, sexually explicit movements and scenes featuring a young boy fascinated by her have stirred harsh criticism.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73. The 55-year-old woman, whose nationality was not disclosed, was suffering from chronic illnesses, a statement said. The health ministry said five other people living in Riyadh were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, two of them foreigners. Late on Thursday, the ministry reported the death of a 70-year-old Saudi woman in the western city of Jeddah where the virus has spread in recent weeks.

Gulf deal leaves the ball in Qatar's court

Wealthy Gulf Arab states have reached a "vague" compromise to thaw tensions over the Muslim Brotherhood with Qatar which has yet to prove its good intentions, analysts say. Thursday's deal between the six Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers did not, however, mention the return of Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini ambassadors withdrawn from Doha in an unprecedented move on March 5. "The ball is now in Qatar's camp," Saudi former diplomat Abdullah al-Shammari told AFP.

Gulf deal leaves the ball in Qatar's court

Wealthy Gulf Arab states have reached a "vague" compromise to thaw tensions over the Muslim Brotherhood with Qatar which has yet to prove its good intentions, analysts say. Thursday's deal between the six Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers did not, however, mention the return of Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini ambassadors withdrawn from Doha in an unprecedented move on March 5. "The ball is now in Qatar's camp," Saudi former diplomat Abdullah al-Shammari told AFP.

Gulf states agree deal to end Qatar tensions

Gulf foreign ministers agreed a deal Thursday to end months of unprecedented tension between Qatar and other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council over the Muslim Brotherhood. At an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh, the ministers agreed that the policies of GCC member states should not undermine the "interests, security and stability" of each other, a statement said. Such policies must also not affect the "sovereignty" of a member state.

Saudi spy chief ousted under US pressure

The exit of Saudi's spy chief was the result of US pressure over his stance on Syria but does not signal a shift in Riyadh's goal of toppling the Damascus regime, experts say. Riyadh, as is usual, did not elaborate on its statement this week that Prince Bandar bin Sultan was being replaced, saying only that the veteran diplomat had asked to step down. But a Saudi expert said that Washington -- irritated for some time by Prince Bandar's handling of the Syria dossier -- had in December demanded his removal.

Football: Row over plan to merge Asia's top posts

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein has savaged plans to hand his current role as FIFA vice-president to Asia's football boss in a row which threatens to plunge regional soccer into a fresh round of infighting. In an open letter, the Jordanian royal "strongly opposed" the proposal backed by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, which will be put to the vote in June.

Displaced Syrian Christians dream of return to Maalula

In the Bab Tuma district of Syria's capital Damascus, Fadi Mayal dreams of returning home to the ancient Christian town of Maalula which was retaken by government forces this week. But he and many other residents chased out when rebel forces including jihadists entered the town in September fear it may still be too early to go back. The Syrian army recaptured Maalula on Monday, saying it had restored "security and stability" to the picturesque hamlet where 5,000 people lived before the war began in March 2011.

Syrian opposition accuses Assad's forces of new poison gas attack

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Opposition activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of a new poison gas attack in the Syrian capital on Wednesday, posting footage of four men being treated by medics. They said the chemical attack, the fourth the opposition has reported this month, was in the Harasta neighborhood. Reuters could not independently verify the footage or the allegation due to restrictions on reporting in Syria.
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