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French climbers fall to death in Jordan

Three French nationals fell to their death on Saturday as they tried to climb a mountain in southern Jordan, the civil defence department said. "Three French people, two women and a man, fell off a cliff as they attempted to climb a mountain in the Wadi Rum area," an official from the department told AFP. "A Jordanian citizen found their bodies this morning and informed us. At this mommet we have no other details." The French embassy in Amman was not immediately available for comment.

Jordan radical cleric Abu Qatada denies guilt as trial begins

Radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, deported by Britain in July after a near decade-long legal battle, pleaded not guilty as his trial in Jordan on terrorism charges opened on Tuesday. "You know full well I am not guilty and that this accusation is false," Abu Qatada, in prison overalls, told the judge of the state security court in Amman. The judge adjourned the case until December 24 after a brief hearing which was open to the media but with cameras banned.

Jordan court postpones decision on Abu Qatada's bail

A military court on Wednesday postponed until next week a bail application by Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, who faces terror charges in Jordan following his deportation from Britain, his lawyer said. "The state security court today postponed until next week its decision to look into my request to release Abu Qatada on bail," Taysir Diab told AFP. "It said it needs to examine the case further. It did not set an exact date for the decision."

Obama tours ancient Jordanian town of Petra

US President Barack Obama was touring the ancient Jordanian ruins at Petra on Saturday, on the final leg of a four-day Middle East tour dominated by his vow to defend Israel. Obama flew by helicopter to view the rose-coloured stone ruins of the ancient Nabataean city, after winds from a sandstorm abated and allowed him to make the 55-minute trip across the plains and mountains of Jordan.
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