Middle East and North Africa

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Armenian leader says Ankara denies 'genocide' but Turks not enemy

YEREVAN - Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan accused Turkey of "utter denial" of what Armenia sees as the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire 99 years ago, but said his country does not consider Turks its enemy.

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

GAZA/RAMALLAH, West Bank - The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) announced a unity pact on Wednesday, deepening a crisis in U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel.

World, Israel 4:04pm EDT

U.S. says 'disappointed' by Palestinian unity deal

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Wednesday it was let down by a unity pact agreed to between the Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and said it could make peace efforts difficult.

3:10pm EDT

Three charged in plot to ship chemical lab equipment from U.S. to Syria

WASHINGTON - Three men have been charged in a conspiracy to export chemical laboratory equipment from the United States to Syria, according to an unsealed indictment released on Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

World, Syria 2:53pm EDT

Iran prison chief replaced after alleged beatings

DUBAI - Iran said on Wednesday it had replaced the country's prisons chief amid an uproar over alleged beating of political prisoners last week in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison

World, Davos 2:12pm EDT

Two policemen, militant killed in Egypt

CAIRO - An Egyptian policeman and a militant were killed when security forces raided a hideout used by radical Islamists near Alexandria on Wednesday, and a senior officer was killed near Cairo when a bomb blew up his car, the Interior Ministry said.

World, Egypt 1:52pm EDT

Bahrain says expels representative of Shi'ite Ayatollah Sistani

MANAMA - Bahrain expelled a prominent Shi'ite religious figure on Wednesday, accusing him of acting as a representative of influential Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani without permission.

World, Davos, Bahrain, Iraq 1:25pm EDT

Hole in Afghan budget stirs unease as West starts packing bags

KABUL - A $375 million hole in the Afghan budget is threatening public projects and civil servants' salaries, officials say, putting the aid-dependent economy under stress just as Afghanistan awaits a new leader and foreign troops prepare to go home.

Afghanistan, World 1:19pm EDT

First candidate for Syria's presidential election steps forward

BEIRUT - A Syrian lawmaker has nominated himself for president, state media said on Wednesday, the first candidate in an election likely to cement President Bashar al-Assad's rule over a country devastated by civil war.

World, Syria 12:04pm EDT

Militants returning from Syria pose threat to Europe: Dutch minister

AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands warned on Wednesday militants returning from Syria posed a security threat to Europe and said two Dutch citizens had carried out suicide attacks in Syria and Iraq in the past six months and about 100 had fought in Syria in 2013.

World, Syria, Iraq 11:59am EDT

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