Talabani gets better

Updated 24 February 2013
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Talabani gets better

KIRKUK: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is now able to talk, his doctor said, adding he was hopeful the Kurdish statesman would soon be fit to return to Iraq from Germany, where he has been receiving medical treatment for a stroke.
A peace-maker who often mediated among Iraq’s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions, 79-year-old Talabani was flown abroad in December in critical condition.
“I am in continuous contact with the German team treating President Talabani,” said Najmaldin Karim, who is also governor of the city of Kirkuk. “He can talk now with the people around him and started to think in a good way. I and the German team are optimistic that he will get much better and can return back to Iraq soon.”
During Talabani’s absence, Iraq’s political crisis has intensified, with thousands of Sunnis taking to the streets in protest against the Shiite-led government
The politician often worked to ease tensions in the country’s fragile power-sharing government and negotiated between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region.


UAE: Qatari fighter jets intercepted civilian plane

Updated 12 sec ago
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UAE: Qatari fighter jets intercepted civilian plane

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday that Qatari fighter planes had intercepted a civilian aircraft carrying 86 passengers aboard a flight bound for Bahrain, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The airliner involved has not been identified.
The agency added that the Emirati civilian craft had to take evasive manoeuvres to avoid a collision.

Sunday’s incident is not the first time the UAE has accused Qatar’s military of intercepting its civilian aircraft.

In March two Qatari jets flew dangerously close to two civilian aircraft traveling from the UAE while they were in Bahraini airspace, the Emirates civil aviation authority said.

According to state news agency WAM the General Civil Aviation Authority condemned “provocative action,” at the time, which it said followed two similar incidents had been reported by the UAE to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation agency.

Qatar denied the claim in a statement by its civil aviation authority saying the UAE was trying to cover up for its own violations of Qatari airspace.

(Developing)