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Beirut car bomb kills adviser to former premier: news agency

A car bomb ripped through the Beirut city centre on Friday killing an adviser to former anti-Syria coalition prime ministers Saad Hariri and Fuad Siniora, the state news agency said. Mohammad Chatah, a prominent economist who was also an ex-minister of finance and Lebanon's envoy to Washington was assassinated when a car bomb targeted his convoy in the city centre, the sources said.

Kuwait ministers submit resignations to PM: parliament speaker

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait's cabinet ministers submitted their resignations on Monday to the prime minister, the parliament speaker said, a move that could pave the way for a cabinet reshuffle. Parliament speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim said he had received "a formal letter from the government that it will not attend Tuesday's parliament session and that the ministers have resigned," state news agency KUNA reported.

Difficult to have Iran at Syria peace talks: U.S. official

GENEVA (Reuters) - A senior U.S. official said on Friday that it was "difficult to imagine" Iran attending Syrian peace talks next month as it had not endorsed the June 2012 communiqué calling for a transitional government and was providing military support to Damascus. The official said talks would continue with mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and other states on Iran's participation in the peace talks, but there were many ways for Tehran to take part and this was only the beginning of the process.

Brahimi says he could work around Iranian absence from Syria talks

By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran remains a sticking point in plans for a conference to end the conflict in Syria, international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Friday, with the United States still refusing to agree to Iran's presence when talks begin on Jan 22. "On Iran, we haven't agreed yet. But it is no secret that we in the United Nations welcome the participation of Iran," Brahimi told a news conference in Geneva.

Syria's top diplomat to head peace talks delegation

Russia's pointman on the Syria crisis said Friday that President Bashar al-Assad's regime will be represented by the foreign minister at a historic round of peace talks due to be held in Geneva next month. "It will be headed by Foreign Minister Walid Muallem," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies following talks in Geneva with UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and a US negotiating team.

Penguins' Engelland banned five games for hit to head

(Reuters) - Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland was suspended five games for an illegal hit to the head of Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, the National Hockey League (NHL) said on Wednesday. As both players reached for a loose puck late in the first period of Saturday's game, Engelland's shoulder landed high on Abdelkader and was ejected with a match penalty. Abdelkader was helped off the ice and has not played since.

Syria peace talks to open in Montreux

The long-delayed "Geneva II" peace conference for Syria will open in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux because of a lack of hotel space in Geneva, the United Nations said Tuesday. "The international conference on Syria... will be held due to logistical reasons... in Montreux," said Khawal Mattar, spokeswoman for UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is trying to organise the conference. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finally set a date last month for the talks, which have been repeatedly postponed since June and are now set to kick off on January 22.

Years later, kidnapped Iraqi's family finds no closure

It took several years after his father's kidnapping in Baghdad, but at a certain point -- he cannot remember precisely when -- Ali al-Saffar began referring to him in the past tense. He says he no longer craves justice, and that the anger has largely faded. All he wants is his father's body, to give him a proper burial, to have some closure. "Is it 'My dad is' or 'My dad was?'" asked Ali, speaking by telephone from London. "I honestly don't know. Now, I've started to say 'was'. But it took a long time to get to that point."

Arafat widow says convinced his death not natural

The widow of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said on Wednesday she was still convinced he was poisoned, after French experts ruled out the theory that he had been assassinated. "I'm still completely convinced that the martyr Arafat did not die a natural death, and I will keep trying to get to the truth," she told AFP. na-jad/srm

Arafat's widow 'shattered' by experts' disagreement on death

Yasser Arafat's widow said Tuesday she was "shattered" by contradictory findings by French and Swiss experts over the cause of the former Palestinian leader's death. "I am so shattered by these contradictions. What are we supposed to think?" said Souha Arafat after French experts ruled out a theory her husband had been poisoned. She added that she did not blame anyone for his death. sde/at/fb/cc
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