• Michelle Obama: First lady's final state dinner is 'bittersweet'

    It was described as a "bittersweet moment" as Barack and Michelle Obama appeared on Tuesday for the final state dinner of the US president's time in office. "We saved the best for last," Mr Obama said, as the couple welcomed Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini to the White House. The event, attended by guests from the worlds of politics, finance and fashion, was one of the largest of Mr Obama's eight years as president. It was Mrs Obama, however, who quickly became the focus of attention on social media after appearing in a rose gold Atelier Versace gown. Her choice of dress was likely to have been a deliberate nod to her Italian friends and a celebration of the close

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  • OPINION: US eases critical Iran sanctions

    The harsh rhetoric of Iran’s hardliners toward the United States and other “rivals” of Tehran has not moderated. Nevertheless, the Obama administration continues to soften its stance toward the Islamic Republic. Figures on sanction list are free The sanction relief against Iranian banks remove a robust mechanism that was in place to monitor the country’s compliance with UN resolutions in areas such as ballistic missiles and nuclear materials Dr. Majid Rafizadeh Iran can also use US currency Banks off the hook Last Update: Friday, 21 October 2016 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05

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  • Assad's wife: I turned down chance to 'run from Syria'

    (CNN)Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad is standing by her man, telling a Russian TV network that she refused offers to flee the war-torn country with her children. The British-born wife of President Bashar al-Assad said she turned down guarantees of protection and financial security in exchange for leaving Syria. "Yes I was offered the opportunity to leave Syria, or rather to run from Syria," said Asma in the interview published on the Syrian Presidency's site on Tuesday. "It doesn't take a genius to know what these people were really after," she continued. "It was never about my well-being or my children. It was a deliberate attempt to shatter people's confidence in their president." Syria's

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  • 'Cat-eyed' tea seller sparks soul searching

    ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani tea seller with velvet eyes saw his life changed this week when his portrait spread around the Internet, sparking ardent debates on class, objectification, and the place of ethnic Pashtuns in society. Arshad Khan had no idea he had set the Internet alight from Pakistan to India and beyond: He has no phone, and cannot read. “It was a real surprise,” the young “chaiwala”, or tea seller, told AFP. “I was aware that I am handsome but you can’t do anything when you are poor,” he said, adding that the image has “changed the way I think.” In the candid photograph, snapped by a passing photographer and posted on Instagram, Khan prepares Pakistan’s ubiquitous milk tea, his blue

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  • Phillippine President: 'America has lost'

    In a state visit aimed at cozying up to Beijing as he pushes away from Washington, the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, announced his military and economic "separation" from the United States. CNN's Jim Sciutto reports.

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  • Saudi Arabia executes member of royal family

    Report: 'Blood money' refused The Saudi Gazette, an English-language newspaper based in Jeddah, said the victim's family had refused offers of "blood money" and demanded justice be carried out. It is extremely uncommon for a member of the Saudi royal family to be put to death in Saudi Arabia. In 1975, Prince Faisal bin Musaid was beheaded for assassinating King Faisal. "The government ... is keen to keep order, stabilize security and bring about justice through implementing the rules prescribed by Allah ... on whoever violates the sanctity of civilians," the Interior Ministry said. King as 'enforcer' The execution was "very rare," said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East

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  • Which country really has the cleverest students?

    Higher education has a strong sense of hierarchy. And high-profile international league tables are a very public form of this pecking order. While these might measure a whole range of factors - from reputation and staff ratios to research output - what they do not compare is the ability of students who have been taught in these universities. But the OECD, in its annual Education at a Glance, has published test results comparing the ability of graduates in different countries. And it shows a very different map of higher education than the ranking tables, which are dominated by US and UK universities, such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge and UCL. The OECD tested literacy skills among

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  • Pakistani 'chai wala' turns model after finding fame

    A handsome "chai wala" (tea seller) in Pakistan has seen his life change overnight after a picture of him at work swept the internet. Arshad Khan, 18, was photographed pouring tea at Islamabad's Sunday Bazaar by photographer Javeria Ali. Thousands of lovestruck Twitter users quickly shared the picture, swooning over his piercing eyes, and #ChaiWala began trending across social media. Days later, Mr Khan shot his first modelling campaign. Fitin.pk, an online shopping site based in Islamabad, rushed to sign Mr Khan up and is already using pictures of him modelling menswear. A message on its website and Facebook page reads: "Chai wala is not more chai wala now he is fashion wala!" In an interview

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  • Donald Trump: Iran should write us a thank you letter

    During the third presidential debate, Donald Trump said that Iran should write us a thank you letter if we were to take control of Mosul.

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  • US flummoxed by Duterte's call for 'separation'

    Washington (CNN)Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's surprise announcement of a military and economic "separation" from the US during a visit to Beijing Thursday left the Obama administration scrambling, as it raised questions about the US role in the region and threatened a realignment of US relationships in Asia. Duterte's declaration is the latest indication that the Philippines' president, just five months into his six-year term, intends to reshape his country's ties to its closest ally by doubling down on his pivot away from the US and toward China. "America has lost now," Duterte said at a business forum Thursday during a four-day state visit to Beijing. "I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world -- China, Philippines and Russia.

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  • Saudi minister: Oil-price downturn coming to an end

    Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday that the oil-price downturn was coming to an end. Speaking at the Oil & Money conference in London, Falih called for new investments to avert a supply shortage in the future, a Saudi Gazette report said. “We are now at the end of a considerable downturn,” he told an audience that included top executives from oil firms such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Total SA. Falih said the oil industry was starved of financing during a downturn over the past two years in which crude prices fell to less than $28 a barrel this year from $114 a barrel in 2014.

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  • US warship challenges China’s claims in South China Sea-officials

    WASHINGTON: A US navy warship sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Friday, the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, US officials said. The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur challenged “excessive maritime claims” near the Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The latest US patrol, first reported by Reuters, is expected to anger Beijing and could further escalate tensions over the South China Sea. The destroyer sailed within waters claimed by China, close to but not within the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands, the officials said.

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  • 'The Biles' and other famous moves named after Olympic athletes and footballers

    Even if you don't consider yourself a gymnastics "fan" you've probably heard of Simone Biles. At Rio 2016 the 19-year-old won the individual all-round gold by a larger margin than 1980 to 2012 combined. The American is credited by many for turning the artistic gymnastics world upside down and even has a move named after her. Here's her move and some of the other famous sporting moves you may, or may not, know are named after an athlete. In gymnastics, if you do a double layout with half turn then you're doing a 'Biles' No idea what we're talking about? Us neither... It was officially recognised in 2013 at the Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp. Simone isn't the first gymnast to have her

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  • Love Island will return for a third series

    Good news for fans of Love Island - ITV has announced it will be back next year. Bosses have ordered a third season of one of the summer's most talked about shows. Its second run is thought to have doubled last year's viewing figures, with an average of 1.3 million people watching each episode. "We can't wait to do it all again next year," said ITV Studios creative director Richard Cowles. Although the series officially finished last night with Nathan Massey and Cara De La Hoyde crowned champions, it will return for a special episode on Sunday 17 July. Love Island: Heading Home will follow the islanders as they're reunited at the wrap party. Which will no doubt mean clashes as exes come face-to-face

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  • Malala calls on Muslims to respect Islam’s true message

    SHARJAH: Pakistan’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, giving a speech Wednesday in the UAE, urged Muslims to respect the “true message of Islam” and unite against wars in their countries.The 19-year-old, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 after she had publicly advocated education for girls, urged the world’s Muslims to “come together... and follow the true message of Islam as they join hands in the struggle for peace.” “We cannot talk about investing in our future in this region without calling for an end to these bombings and these attacks,” she told a conference in the southern Gulf emirate of Sharjah on the future of women in the Middle East. “We must not forget that

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  • Russian warships pass through English Channel

    A flotilla of Russian warships is passing through the English Channel en route to Syria. Two British naval ships are shadowing the vessels. The Ministry of Defence said they would be "man-marked every step of the way" while near UK waters. A Russian tug, believed to be in convoy with the taskforce, entered the channel first off the coast near Ramsgate. EU leaders have strongly condemned Russia's involvement in bombing the Syrian city of Aleppo. The ships are within international waters but Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK would "be watching as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe". You might also like: The UK's Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan, escorted by the Type 23

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  • Pakistan bans Bollywood as tension with India rises

    Rising military tension between India and Pakistan has claimed an unlikely casualty: Bollywood. Pakistan's media regulator on Wednesday ordered satellite TV channels and radio stations to stop carrying any Indian movies or shows. The ban will take effect on Friday. "Channels violating this will have their license suspended immediately," the regulator said in a statement. The ban comes amid a period of heightened hostility between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir, with the two countries trading gunfire at the border and verbal barbs. The war of words has escalated into a war of screens. The Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association voted in late September "not to work with

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  • 85% of Businesses in UAE and Saudi Arabia Feel Threatened by Digital Start-ups - Digital start-ups Business Obsolete Within 3-5 Years

    DUBAI: 85% of businesses believe digital start-ups will pose a threat to their organization, either now or in the future, according to new research from Dell Technologies. This phenomenon is propelling innovative companies forward and accelerating the demise of others. Almost half (45%) of businesses surveyed fear they may become obsolete in the next three to five years due to competition from digital-born start-ups. Some companies are feeling badly bruised by the pace of change. More than half (54%) of business leaders have experienced significant disruption in their industries over the past three years as a result of digital technologies and the Internet of Everything, and 44% of businesses

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  • Is Kim Jong Un an assassination target?

    Is Kim Jong Un's life in danger? The defense minister of South Korea says there is an elite team on standby to take Un out if there is an imminent nuclear threat.

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  • 23 Absurdly Fab Photos from Karim El Chiaty & Victoria's Secret Model Ana Beatriz Barros' Wedding

    You might have noticed people making the move to Sahel, Gouna, and other such dreamy beachy lands during the Eid weekend, but what about the mysterious case of Mykonos? Why were our social media feeds suddenly flooded with images of the Greek tropical island? A coincidence? We think not. Everyone in the country (or world) has been buzzing – about what can only be described as the biggest, most glam wedding of the year where Brazilian Victoria’s Secret supermodel Ana Beatriz Barros tied the knot with Egyptian-Greek billionaire Karim El Chiati. You could say a few celebrities made an appearance. Nothing special. A slew of luxurious villas held over 400 guests who flew from all over the world for

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