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Saudi Arabia says king’s contact with US helped ease Al-Aqsa mosque tensions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Thursday King Salman had been in contact with the United States and other world powers to try to prevent Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City being closed to Muslims and to defuse political and religious tensions. Israel overnight removed all security infrastructure it had put in place this month at Muslim entrances to the al-Aqsa mosque compound and on Thursday Muslim elders urged worshippers to return there to pray. "The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman…

Trump could play role to defuse Pak-India tension: US envoy

UNITED NATIONS:  The United States will try to de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan without waiting till “something happens”, says US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. In an interaction with reporters, Haley said President Donald Trump could play a role in such endeavours. "It's absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward," he said, signalling an apparent…

Iran holds naval war games amid rising tensions with US

TEHRAN: Iran launched naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean on Sunday, a naval commander said, as tensions with the United States escalated after U.S President Donald Trump put Tehran "on notice". Since taking office last month, Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table. Iran's annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab…

Indian film festival drops ‘Pakistani movie’ after threat

MUMBAI, INDIA: An Indian film festival dropped a Pakistani drama from its programme on Monday after protesters threatened to disrupt the screening - the latest movie to fall foul of heightened tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Organisers of the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival said they would not show the 1959 classic ‘Jago Hua Savera’ (The Day Shall Dawn) following a complaint from an Indian NGO called Sangharsh, which means struggle in Hindi. Sangharsh had said it was inappropriate to show the film, which was…

India wants to limit tensions with Pakistan, focus on economy: officials

NEW DELHI: India wants to contain tensions with Pakistan after what it claimed was a successful cross-border strike on militants sheltered there, according to two top officials, who sought to allay fears of a broader conflict between the nuclear-armed nations. One of the officials, who are both part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government shaping a new, more robust strategy toward Pakistan, said India remained focused on rapid economic growth, and any conflict would deflect it from that path. "War is not in India's…

Indian cotton exports to Pakistan slump amid tensions

MUMBAI/KARACHI: Rising hostilities between India and Pakistan have brought their $822 million-a-year trade in cotton to a juddering halt, as traders who are worried about uncertainty over supplies and driven by patriotism hold off signing new deals. The nuclear-armed rivals have seen tensions ratchet up in the past few months over the disputed territory of Kashmir, and cotton traders in both countries said they were watching developments along the de facto border with alarm. Pakistan, the world's third-largest cotton…