Middle East

A 'happiness minister' - why not?

UAE prime minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum met with Prime Minister John Key back in 2011. Maybe New Zealand needs a Happiness Ministry.

Oil money can't buy happiness, so why not appoint a 'happiness minister'?

Car bomb in Syrian capital kills 10

Women walk past damaged vehicles at the site of a suicide bombing at a police officers' club in a residential district of Damascus.

Car bomb driven by a suicide attacker explodes near a police officers' club in Damascus, killing at least 10.

Govt heads to anti-Islamic State meeting

Kiwi trainers are already helping Iraqi troops at Camp Taji, but American officials are calling on all countries in the coalition to do more.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the meeting will help guide the fight against "barbaric organisation".

Wedding in a warzone gallery

Newly-wed Syrian couple Nada Merhi,18, and Hassan Youssef, 27, pose for a wedding picture in Homs.

The photographer wanted to show that life and love is stronger than death in Syria.

Pay cuts for Islamic State fighters

Islamic State fighters are feeling the pinch from pay cuts of up to 50 per cent.

Air strikes targeting terrorist group's oil and cash sites have hurt its income, forcing it to cut fighters' salaries.

Qatar considers special courts for World Cup boozers

Qatar is considering special courts to deal with drunken foreigners.

The conservative Muslim state will allow fans to drink alcohol in special zones - but what happens once they leave?

'Extermination' in Syrian jails

Thousands of prisoners have died - and many have been executed.

Government-sanctioned torture and mass deaths behind bars amount to crimes against humanity, United Nations says.

Second British IS cell member identified

A 32-year-old Londoner, Alexanda Kotey, is the second member of a IS cell according to reports.

A member of a British group of IS militants dubbed "the Beatles" is identified as a 32-year-old Londoner.

A chilling flight through Syria's streets video


Shattered buildings, overturned cars, empty streets - this drone footage shows reality of four years of war.

Boy burned alive: Teens jailed video

Abducted, bludgeoned, strangled and burned: Mohammed Abu Khudair.

The abduction, bludgeoning, strangling and burning alive of 16-year-old Palestinian helped trigger 2014 Gaza war.

Germany leads Syria aid effort

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop (left) arrives at the Supporting Syria Conference. Australia has promised an extra A$20 million for life-saving humanitarian assistance in Syria, and A$5 million to Iraq.

Australia hints at a bigger aid package to help Syrian refugees, after its planned contribution was dwarfed by others.

800 lashes instead of death

The sentence highlights what rights groups and others describe as a widening crackdown on perceived dissident amid increasing uncertainty for Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia to whip poet convicted of insulting Islam.

Australia pledges extra to Syria

A Jordanian police officer distributes sweets for Syrian refugee children at Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria.

Australia pledges $25 million in aid to Iraq and Syria, where millions are suffering a worsening humanitarian tragedy.

A man of conviction - and a love of chianti

John 'Lucky Jack' Knowles in his early life.

"Lucky Jack" was a military man for 30 years.

Kerry calls for more support

US Secretary of State John Kerry: "We are here to recommit, to re-evaluate, to make better judgments about things that we have started that we can do better."

The anti-Islamic State coalition needs to work faster to destroy the terrorist state, John Kerry says.

Syria peace talks to start video

People inspect a site hit by cluster bombs dropped by the Russian air force in the southern Idlib, Syria October 7, 2015.

UN pushes for cease fire in Syria following announcement of peace talks

Malala appeals for education funds

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is seeking to raise US$1.4b to give Syrian children access to education.

Alcohol smugglers gets inventive

This is certainly a creative way to try smuggle alcohol into Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's strict alcohol laws have brought out the inventive side of smugglers.

Dozens dead in Syria shrine blasts

Dozens were killed in the three blasts.

Islamic State claims responsibility for bombings, which hit as Syria's government and opposition began peace talks in Geneva.

Women drivers win lawsuit

A woman drives a vehicle in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2013, as seen in a video published by the driving campaign.

Women win court case after Saudi prince wanted men-only drivers.

Say it like this, Sonny Bill

Fatima, 12, schooled Sonny Bill Williams on several words.

It looks like All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has met his match - and it's a young girl.

'Spy vulture' held captive

Locals who spotted the vulture noticed it had a transmitter and a metal ring with Israeli makings.

Vulture accused of espionage after flying into Lebanon.

IS kills 24 in Homs bombing video

People inspect the site of a double bomb attack in the government-controlled city of Homs, Syria.

Islamic State claims bomb attack in the Syrian government-controlled city of Homs, killing at least 24 people.

Strikes on Syrian town kill 63

A girl carrying a baby inspects damage at a site hit by what activists said were airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force in the Syrian town of Douma.

At least 63 people, including nine children, have died in air strikes on a town in eastern Syria.

Girl shot after trying to stab guard

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks to the media in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

A 13-year-old Palestinian girl was shot dead on Saturday by an Israeli security guard she tried to stab.

Harvesting electricity from footsteps

Cashmere High student Nola Smart accepts a $100,000 sustainability prize from United Arab Emirates vice president Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Mexico president Enrique Pena Nieto and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.

Cashmere High School wins $100,000 to install solar panels, a wind turbine, and kinetic energy producing tiles.

Syria opposition rules out talks

A girl carrying a baby inspects damage at a site hit by what activists said were airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force in the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria.

The Saudi-backed Syrian opposition ruled out even indirect negotiations with Damascus.

At least 43 migrants drown

An Iraqi refugee is aided out of a dinghy, moments after arriving on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos. However, 43 migrants lost their lives trying to cross from Turkey.

At least 43, including 17 children, drown when their boats capsized off two Greek islands.

Common ground found in Iran deal

Jason Rezaian, one of the US citizens released from detention in Iran last week, waves to media. Rezaian was one of four American prisoners released by Iran ahead of the lifting of international sanctions on Iran as part of a deal between major powers and Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear program.

OPINION: Iranian pistachios in Kiwi supermarkets may not be the most significant consequence of the end of sanctions, but it may be the tastiest.

Syria talks to start - Russian diplomat

Displaced people have fled Islamic State-controlled areas in Syria, including Deir al-Zor.

Russia will back an alternative Syrian opposition delegation to negotiate with Syria's government at peace talks.

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