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What’s next for Germany after coalition green light?

BERLIN: Germany cleared a major obstacle on the road to a new government Sunday after the centre-left Social Democrats gave a cautious thumbs-up to starting formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. The make-or-break vote by some 600 SPD delegates -- won by a narrow 56-percent majority -- has averted the threat of fresh elections for now, but a renewed Merkel-led "grand coalition" is far from guaranteed. Here's a look at what's next as Europe's top economy seeks to emerge from months of…

US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria acknowledges more civilian deaths

WASHINGTON: The US-led coalition fighting the IS group in Syria and Iraq acknowledged on Thursday the deaths of 16 more civilians in air strikes, increasing the toll of civilians killed in three years to at least 817. The coalition said in a statement that it had completed a review in November of 101 reports of potential civilian casualties, of which 92 were deemed non-credible. The remaining nine, relating to strikes between March 20 and October 17, were considered credible and resulted in 11 civilian casualties.…

Merkel struggles to avert coalition talks collapse

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel was struggling on Sunday to prevent a collapse in high stakes coalition talks, which could force new elections and destabilise Germany and Europe. Elections in September left the veteran leader weakened and without a majority as some of her party's voters turned to the far-right AfD, angered by her liberal refugee policy. The disputed decision to let in more than a million asylum seekers since 2015 is also proving to be a stumbling block as she seeks an alliance with an unlikely group…

UN urges Saudi Arabian coalition to end ‘catastrophic’ Yemen aid blockade

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations on Tuesday demanded the Saudi Arabia-led coalition lift a blockade that has prevented aid deliveries from reaching Yemen where some seven million people are at risk of famine. "The blockade of ports, airports, of land routes has had a tremendously negative impact on a situation that is already catastrophic," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. "All parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate safe, rapid, unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need, through all ports…

No ToRs finalized for Saudi-led alliance, says Sartaj

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has assured the Senate that Pakistan would adopt a balanced policy in line with the recommendations of the Parliament with regards its participation in Islamic Military Coalition. In response to a Calling Attention Notice, the advisor said the 34 members countries alliance was announced in December 2015 but later it was redefined as Islamic Military Coalition as clarified by the Saudi Foreign Minister. Sartaj Aziz said it was also clarified during…

Oman joins Saudi ‘anti-terror’ coalition

SANA'A: Oman, which generally stays neutral in the face of regional disputes, has joined a Saudi-led military coalition aimed at "fighting terrorism," official media in Riyadh said Thursday. The Gulf sultanate, which maintains good ties with rival powerhouses Iran and Saudi Arabia, becomes the 41st nation in the alliance announced last year by the Saudi defence minister, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The official SPA agency said Mohammed received a message from his Omani counterpart praising Saudi efforts in…

Arab coalition declares 48-hour Yemen truce

RIYADH: A Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen's government against Iran-backed rebels declared a 48-hour ceasefire to begin in Yemen Saturday, it said in a statement on the kingdom's SPA news agency website. "It has been decided to begin a 48-hour ceasefire from 12:00 noon in Yemen's timing (0900 GMT) on Saturday," the coalition statement said, adding that the truce could be renewed if the Huthi rebels and their allies abide by the deal and allow aid deliveries to besieged cities. The coalition announcement followed a…

Saudi-led coalition strikes on Yemen detention centre kill 60

ADEN: Saudi-led coalition air strikes on rebel-held security buildings in western Yemen have killed at least 60 people, many of them inmates buried under the rubble of their detention centre. The strikes late Saturday came just hours after other coalition raids hit three residential buildings in the southwest of the country, killing 17 civilians. Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi on Saturday rejected a UN peace proposal aimed at ending his country's 19-months conflict against the Shiite Huthi rebels and their…