- Facebook, Twitter blocked in Iran as election nears
TEHRAN: Iran is tightening control of the Internet ahead of next month’s presidential election, mindful of violent street protests that social networkers inspired last time around over claims of fraud, users and experts say.
- Iran electoral watchdog hints at Rafsanjani rejection
(Reuters) – Iran’s electoral watchdog said on Monday it would bar physically feeble candidates from running for president, in an apparent hint that it could disqualify 78-year-old former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the race.
- Syria pharmaceutical production slashed by war, says report
Syria’s pharmaceutical industry once catered to 90 percent of the population’s needs, but a shortage of foreign currency has brought production to a near halt, a pro-regime daily reported on Monday.
- Bahrain court slaps nine Shiites with jail terms over ‘terrorist’ cell
DUBAI – A Bahraini court sentenced nine Shiites to jail terms ranging between 10 and 15 years on Monday after convicting them of forming a “terrorist” group, a judicial source said.
- Syrian government troops push into rebel-held Qusair
Syrian government troops have pushed into the rebel-held town of Qusair near the Lebanese border.
- Iraq wave of attacks kills dozens in Shia, Sunni areas
A wave of attacks killed at least 95 people in Shia and Sunni areas of Iraq on Monday, officials said, pushing the death toll over the past week to more than 240 and extending one of the most sustained bouts of sectarian violence the country has seen in years.
- Iran pilgrims ‘killed in Iraq blasts’
AFP – A car bomb exploded near a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims north of Baghdad on Monday, killing eight people, Iraqi police and a local official said.
- 30 women teachers demonstrate in Saudi Arabia demanding full time jobs, benefits
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – About 30 Saudi women teachers have demonstrated outside the kingdom’s Education Ministry, demanding full time jobs.
- India aims to widen basket of exports to Iran
NEW DELHI(The Wall Street Journal) — India is looking to broaden its range of exports to Iran to help balance bilateral trade under an agreement that allows the countries to bypass Western sanctions, Indian industry and government officials said.
- Outlook dim as Syria diplomacy gathers force
The world’s diplomats will make a major new push in the coming days for negotiations to end Syria’s civil war, but their chances of achieving a peace deal look as remote as ever.