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Arab countries ban 'Noah' citing Islamic concerns

Three Arab countries have banned the biblical epic movie "Noah" because it contradicts Islam, while three more are expected to follow suit, a studio spokesman said Wednesday. Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates told Hollywood giant Paramount last week that the film, starring Russell Crowe, will not be released in their countries. Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait are expected to follow suit. The movie was due to open in Egypt on March 26 and the UAE on March 27, just before the movie comes out in the United States and a swath of other countries.

Saudi jails anti-regime Tweeter for 10 years

A Saudi court has jailed a Tweeter for 10 years after convicting him of insulting the kingdom's political and religious leaders and urging anti-regime protests, official SPA news agency reported. The Riyadh court also sentenced another defendant to eight years in jail after finding him guilty of taking part in protests and publishing anti-regime posts online, SPA said in a report late Monday. SPA did not identify the defendants who it said have 30 days to file their appeals.

Obama urged to press Saudis to help end Bahrain crisis

A group of rights activists and analysts called on US President Barack Obama Monday to press Saudi Arabia to help end the political crisis in its neighbor Bahrain. The oil-rich Gulf kingdom has "significant influence" in Bahrain where "lasting stability can only be achieved by genuine reform," the group of almost 30 people wrote in a letter to the American leader.

Obama urged to press Saudis to help end Bahrain crisis

A group of rights activists and analysts called on US President Barack Obama Monday to press Saudi Arabia to help end the political crisis in its neighbor Bahrain. The oil-rich Gulf kingdom has "significant influence" in Bahrain where "lasting stability can only be achieved by genuine reform," the group of almost 30 people wrote in a letter to the American leader.

Qatar-backed bloc says to rejoin Syrian opposition coalition

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis AMMAN (Reuters) - A large Qatar-backed bloc that left Syria's opposition National Coalition has reversed its decision and wants to rejoin, setting the scene for a clash with the group's Saudi-backed president, opposition sources said on Sunday. The 40-member bloc, which quit the 120-member coalition before Syrian peace talks began in Geneva in January, said it had returned to confront what it saw as its unfair exclusion from decision-making.

Shiite Saudi clerics warn against violence

Shiite Saudi clerics warned Sunday against taking up arms against the authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, in the wake of sporadic violence that has rocked the country's Shiite-dominate east. Demonstrations in Eastern Province, where most of the kingdom's two million Shiites live, erupted simultaneously with a protest movement in neighbouring Bahrain in 2011. They took a violent turn in 2012 and clashes between police and protesters have so far killed 24 people, including at least four policemen, according to activists.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar declared 'war on Iraq'

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are destabilising Iraq by supporting militant groups and have effectively declared war on the country, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in an interview broadcast on Saturday. "They are attacking Iraq, through Syria, and in a direct way, and they announced the war on Iraq," the premier said in an interview with France 24, in a rare direct attack on the Sunni Gulf powers. mah/psr/wd/hkb

Saudi Arabia designates Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group: Interior Ministry

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, official Saudi television reported citing a statement by the Interior Ministry. The kingdom has also designated Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, whose fighters are battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as terrorist organizations. The decree was earlier reported on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television. (Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Alison Williams)

Saudi lists Muslim Brotherhood as 'terror' group

Saudi Arabia listed Friday the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi as a terrorist organisation, along with Syria's two main jihadist groups, according to Al-Arabiya television network. The jihadists listed are Al-Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda's official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a rogue group fighting in both Syria and Iraq. bur-jk/al

Saudi airs 'confessions' of jihadist on return from Syria

Saudi state television has for the first time broadcast the "confessions" of a jihadist who returned from Syria, as the Muslim kingdom distances itself from Islamist radicals in that country's conflict. Sulaiman al-Subaie, 25, who grew popular in his homeland for his posts on video-sharing app Keek, reportedly joined the most radical group fighting in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), last August. "The situation in Syria is not as portrayed in the media," Subaie said in a rare interview aired on Saudi television late Wednesday.
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