The Independent

How the Saudi Plot to Topple the Lebanese Government Backfired

The Saudis may be holding the Lebanese Prime Minister hostage but their apparent plan to topple the Beirut government has gloriously backfired. Far from breaking up the cabinet and throwing Hezbollah’s ministers to the wolves, the Lebanese nation has suddenly woken up to what it’s like to be united – against the Saudis. The Lebanese government has announced that it does not accept the resignation statement which Saad Hariri was obliged to make in Riyadh, and overnight hashtags have appeared on several Beirut streets saying “kul na Saad” – “We are all Saad”. Even the Sunni Muslims of Lebanon are furious at their Sunni counterparts in Saudi Arabia.

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Why the Kurds Have a Long Way to Go After Voting for Independence

The overwhelming vote for Kurdish independence in the referendum in northern Iraq is re-energising Kurdish nationalism and the demand for a separate Kurdish state.

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How Depressed Are the People of Europe? You Would Be Surprised Which Country Tops the List

British people are among the most depressed people in the Western world, according to new data. 

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The Syrian War Is Ending and Assad Is the Victor

A message came through from Syria on my mobile phone last week. “General Khadour kept his promise,” it read. I knew what it meant.

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Noam Chomsky: Antifa Is a 'Major Gift' to the Right

Noam Chomsky has criticised the anti-fascist movement and argued its actions are wrong in principle and it is a “major gift to the right”.

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Three Out of Four Democrats Would Give Up Drinking for Life in Return for Trump's Impeachment, Poll Finds

Donald Trump famously doesn’t drink. And almost three-quarters of Democrats would he happy to join him - if he were to be impeached.

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Trump's Mad Dash to the Middle East Is a Preview of the Chaos He Is Unleashing There

Not since Ibn Batuta, travelled the Middle East in the 14th century has anyone set out with higher ambitions that Donald Trump. Batuta, a Moroccan Muslim traveller and scholar, had a few things in common with Trump. He reached what is now Saudi Arabia. He went to Jerusalem. He even had a keen eye for nubile ladies – there were a few wives, not to mention a Greek slave girl to be groped. But there the parallels end. For Ibn Batuta was sane.

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Mother of All Hypocrisies: Trump Cares for Some Syrian Babies, Not Others

Do they feel no sense of shame? What callousness. What disgrace. How outrageous that our compassion should dry up the moment we realised that this latest massacre of the innocents wasn’t quite worth the same amount of tears and fury that the early massacre had produced. It fact it wasn’t worth a single tear. For the 126 Syrians – almost all of them civilians – who have just been killed outside Aleppo, were Shia Muslims being evacuated from two government-held (ie Bashar-held) villages in the north of Syria. And their killer was obviously from al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) or one of the Sunni “rebel” groups we in the West have armed – or quite possibly from Isis itself – and thus didn’t qualify for our sorrow.

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Even in Canada, a Dark - and Trump-Like - Politics Is Rising

Funny how another nation’s sectarian hatred comes seeping over the national frontier of its neighbours. Mexico is now fighting off the US President’s wall mania. Justin Trudeau’s Canada looks squeaky clean compared to America. You can forgive the Prime Minister’s vanity – Trudeau is now posing Tom Cruise style, eyes narrowed in love towards his wife in her cringe-making Women’s Day photo-op with her husband. Not long ago, the same couple blessed the cover of Vanity Fair. But he’s the guy who walks talk on immigration, welcomes Syrian refugees with affection, tells them they’re “home” and generally makes Trump look like a scumbag.

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How ISIS Could End Up Leading to Saudi Arabia's Demise

How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them."

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Hard to Know What to Believe in the News from Aleppo

It has just become more dangerous to be a foreign correspondent reporting on the civil war in Syria. This is because the jihadis holding power in east Aleppo were able to exclude Western journalists, who would be abducted and very likely killed if they went there, and replace them as news sources with highly partisan “local activists” who cannot escape being under jihadi control.

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Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could Be Wrong

The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there are reportedly some 600 civilian dead over a month.

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How the Sea Gets Its Smell - and Why It's Important

Scientists have discovered just how the “smell of the sea” is produced by a tiny marine organism that is playing a major role in the fight against climate change.

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5 South Pacific Islands Have Been Swallowed Up by Rising Sea Levels

Rising sea levels and erosion have caused five islands in the South Pacific to completely disappear, researchers have said.

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Saudi Arabia and 9/11: The Kingdom May Be in for a Nasty Shock

Foreign leaders visiting King Salman of Saudi Arabia have noticed that there is a large flower display positioned just in front of where the 80-year-old monarch sits. On closer investigation, the visitors realised that the purpose of the flowers is to conceal a computer which acts as a teleprompter, enabling the King to appear capable of carrying on a coherent conversation about important issues.

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Earth Day 2016: 5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Global Event

Earth Day is being commemorated on April 22. Held around the world, it’s intended as a moment to reflect on and help preserve the health of the planet – but here are five things that you might not have known about the annual event.

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The U.S. Military Is Back on the Battlefield in Iraq

It was suddenly announced last week that the Iraqi army was taking territory from Islamic State forces in what was presented as the first steps in an offensive to recapture the city of Mosul. It sounded as if the self-declared Caliphate was crumbling and was particularly welcome news since it coincided with the Isis suicide bombings in Brussels. The message was that Isis might be able to slaughter civilians in Europe, but was being defeated on its home turf in Iraq and Syria.

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The West’s Flawed Desire to “Liberate” the Middle East

As General de Gaulle set out for the Middle East in April of 1941, he famously wrote that “towards the complicated Orient, I flew with simple ideas”.  They all did. Napoleon was going to “liberate” Cairo, and Bush and Blair were going to “liberate” Iraq; and Obama, briefly, was going to “liberate” Syria.

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Here's a Glimpse at What President Trump's First 100 Minutes in Office Might Look Like

Super Tuesday. The day when a huge chunk of votes were cast for the U.S. presidential hopefuls and delegates selected in the race to become the next President of the United States. The day the selection process goes from crazy-golf to pro-course. And this year the course belongs to Donald J. Trump. Crazy has gone pro.

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Can Teflon Don Deflect Sexual Assault Allegations That Have Resurfaced Ahead of Super Tuesday?

Allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump have resurfaced as the Republican prepares to face a series of primaries on March 1, otherwise known as Super Tuesday.

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Yelp Employee Speaks Out After Being 'Fired for Posting Open Letter About Living Wage to CEO'

A Yelp customer service employee has spoken out after she was allegedly fired for posting an open letter about the living wage.

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Two-Thirds of the Globe Face Water Shortages, Major Study Finds

Four billion people live under conditions of severe water shortages at least one month of the year, according to new research.

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The Scary Truth About McDonald's New Kale Salad

McDonald's has introduced kale salad to its US menu - but the fast food giant's health kick may not be quite as virtuous as you think it is.

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Too Much Trump? Brilliant Filter Rids the Entire Web of the Donald

Donald Trump can be entirely banned from the internet using a Chrome extension.

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Not Even a Global Catastrophe Can Stop the Growth of Human Population?

The global human population is “locked in” to an inexorable rise this century and will not be easily shifted, even by apocalyptic events such as a third world war or lethal pandemic, a study has found.

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Is the Mighty McDonald's Empire Facing Its Final Days?

McDonald's is facing a "deep depression" and could be in its "final days," according to some US franchise owners who were surveyed about the restaurant chain's recent performance.

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Why a Looming Fight for Syrian Border Town Could Be Game Changer for ISIS's Grip on Power

Syrian Kurdish leaders plan to capture the last border crossing point between Syria and Turkey held by Isis, making it impossible for jihadist volunteers from Europe and elsewhere to reach Isis-held territories.

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Fracking Linked to Heart Conditions and Neurological Illness

People who live in fracking zones appear to suffer a higher rate of heart conditions and neurological illnesses, according to new research.

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Who Is Bombing Whom in the Middle East?

Let me try to get this right. The Saudis are bombing Yemen because they fear the Shia Houthis are working for the Iranians. The Saudis are also bombing Isis in Iraq and the Isis in Syria. So are the United Arab Emirates. The Syrian government is bombing its enemies in Syria and the Iraqi government is also bombing its enemies in Iraq. America, France, Britain, Denmark, Holland, Australia and – believe it or not – Canada are bombing Isis in Syria and Isis in Iraq, partly on behalf of the Iraqi government (for which read Shia militias) but absolutely not on behalf of the Syrian government.

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Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen Fuel the Fire in the Gulf

Foreign states that go to war in Yemen usually come to regret it. The Saudi-led military intervention so far involves only air strikes, but a ground assault may follow. The code name for the action is Operation Decisive Storm, which is probably an indication of what Saudi Arabia and its allies would like to happen in Yemen, rather than what will actually occur.

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Penn State Shuts Down Fraternity After Images of Unconscious Women and Hazing Rituals Emerge

Pennsylvania State University has shuttered one of its fraternities after frat members were accused of creating private Facebook pages to share pictures of sleeping or otherwise incapacitated barely clothed women.

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