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US, Russia in bid to end fighting in Syria`s Aleppo

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GENEVA — US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Sunday in Geneva in a bid to restore an across the country truce in Syria, as Russia said it was attempting to stop fighting in Aleppo.

Kerry arrived Sunday night in Geneva, where he will hold talks with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and the Saudi and Jordanian foreign ministers on reviving the ceasefire.

Over a week of fighting in Syria`s second city has killed many civilians and left an UN-upheld peace process hanging by a string.

Concern has been growing that the fighting will lead to the complete collapse of a landmark ceasefire between President Bashar al-Assad`s regime and non-jihadist rebels that was brokered by Moscow and Washington.

On Saturday, Russia said it would not urge Assad`s forces to halt air raids on the war-ravaged city as they were targeting jihadist groups not covered by the truce, which took effect in late February.

But on Sunday, after Washington called on Russia to push its Syrian ally to end the strikes, the head of Moscow`s coordination centre in Syria said talks on a freeze had begun.

“Currently active negotiations are underway to establish a `regime of silence` in Aleppo province,” Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

He said that a freeze in fighting in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, had been extended by another 24 hours to the end of Sunday and that another freeze was holding in northern Latakia province.”We are calling on all sides interested in establishing peace in Syria to support the Russian-American initiative and not to allow a regime of silence to be disrupted,” Kuralenko said from Russia`s Hmeimim air base in Syria.

Before leaving Riyadh for Geneva, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused the Assad regime of committing “war crimes” in Aleppo.

At least 253 civilians — including 49 children — have died in shelling, rocket fire and air strikes in both sides of the divided city since April 22, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor says.

Early on Sunday the provincial capital`s rebel-held east was eerily quiet, an AFP correspondent said, with the last air strike there at around 1:00 am (2200 GMT Saturday) local time.

There were no reports of fighting in the regime-controlled west, the Observatory said.

Air strikes did hit several rebel areas on Aleppo`s northwestern outskirts, after rebel shelling of the west and regime bombing north of the city in the night, the Observatory said.

And a raid on Wednesday hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross as well as nearby housing, killing 30 people and sparking an international outcry.

On Saturday, many terrified residents fled a new wave of air strikes on the city`s east, saying the violence had become unbearable.

Syria`s conflict erupted in 2011 after the brutal repression of anti-government protests and has since escalated into a complex, multi-faceted war.

AFP

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Man divorces wife just 15 minutes after Islamic marriage in Dubai

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A man in Dubai divorced his bride just 15 minutes after their Islamic marriage as he felt ‘insulted’ by her father’s bride price demands.

The man agreed to pay his new father-in-law Dh100,000 for their wedding but the older man became impatient to get the cash, DailyMail reported.

According to Gulf News, family members and friends accompanied the couple to a Sharia judge’s office to witness the marriage contract being signed. The groom then gave Dh 50,000 on the spot as agreed, with the rest to come after the party left the court building, according to Gulf News.

But, the bride’s father demanded the remaining cash as soon as the signing was over, even though the groom didn’t have it on him.

He said it would only take five minutes to walk to his car, which was parked outside, and get the rest of the bride price.

Instead of letting him retrieve it, the father insisted him to pay either right then or send a friend or relative to get the money while he stayed inside.

The groom felt insulted and demeaned by the series of demands and called off the marriage immediately, a lawyer handling the case said.

‘He told the bride’s father that he did not want his daughter as his wife and divorced her in less than 15 minutes from signing the marriage contract,’ he said.

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