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WASHINGTON, Aug 23- The United States on Friday was repositioning naval forces in the Mediterranean to give President Barack Obama the option for an armed strike on Syria, although officials cautioned that Obama had made no decision on military action.
BEIRUT, Aug 23- President Barack Obama called the apparent gassing of hundreds of Syrian civilians a "big event of grave concern" but stressed on Friday he was in no rush to embroil Americans in a costly new war. A White House spokesman reiterated Obama's position that he did not expect to have "boots on the ground" in Syria.
*Russia urges Assad to cooperate with inspectors. BEIRUT, Aug 23- President Barack Obama called the apparent gassing of hundreds of Syrian civilians a "big event of grave concern" but stressed on Friday that he would not rush to embroil Americans in a costly new war.
*U.N. inspectors sit in Damascus, despite calls for access to scene. BEIRUT/ PARIS, Aug 22- The United Nations demanded Syria give its chemical weapons experts immediate access on Thursday to rebel-held Damascus suburbs where poison gas appears to have killed hundreds just a few miles from the U.N. team's hotel.
*Security Council calls for "clarity" over alleged attack. BEIRUT/ AMMAN, Aug 22- Syria's opposition demanded on Thursday that United Nations chemical weapons inspectors immediately investigate a besieged rebel-held region hit by an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people a day earlier.
BEIRUT/ AMMAN, Aug 22- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces bombarded rebel-held suburbs of Damascus on Thursday, activists said, keeping up pressure on the besieged region a day after the opposition accused the army of gassing hundreds in a chemical weapons attack.
BEIRUT/ AMMAN, Aug 21- Syria's opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people on Wednesday by firing rockets that released deadly fumes over rebel-held Damascus suburbs, killing men, women and children as they slept.
*Assad ally Russia says looks like "provocation". BEIRUT/ AMMAN, Aug 21- Syria's opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people near Damascus on Wednesday after rockets released deadly fumes over rebel-held suburbs, killing men, women and children as they slept.
BEIRUT, Aug 21- The men, women and children lying undisturbed in their beds had looked so peaceful they might have been just sleeping, Abu Nidal thought, as he and other rescuers dragged their bodies into the street. His was one of many accounts of a massive assault on the eastern suburbs of Damascus that activists say killed more than 500 people on Wednesday morning.
BEIRUT/ AMMAN, Aug 21- Syria's opposition accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of gassing many hundreds of people- by one report as many as 1,300- on Wednesday in what would, if confirmed, be the world's worst chemical weapons attack in decades.
*Muslim Brotherhood downfall in Egypt a regional setback for Islamists. BEIRUT, Aug 18- As the army ruthlessly crushes the Muslim Brotherhood on the streets of Cairo, having swept away its elected president, Egypt is being painted as the graveyard of the Arab Spring and of Islamist hopes of shaping the region's future.
AMMAN/ BEIRUT, Aug 6- Syrian Islamist rebels have killed around 200 people in a three-day offensive in the mountain stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect and driven hundreds of villagers to seek refuge on the Mediterranean coast, activists said on Tuesday.
DUBAI- Iran and the United States signalled a fresh will on Sunday to seek to end the dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme after Hassan Rouhani was sworn in as president and called for dialogue to reduce "antagonism and aggression".
*Capital inflows to Lebanon falling sharply. DUBAI, Aug 1- Lebanon's politics are descending into sectarian conflict and its economy is starved of investment.
BAGHDAD, July 31- HSBC Holdings is struggling to exit its Iraqi operations, having had two proposals to sell its stake in Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank rejected by the country's regulator, according to the Iraq Securities Commission.
*Trader calls SEC view "oversimplified and unsophisticated". Dhia Jafar and Omar Nabulsi, both of Dubai, said a court-ordered freeze should be lifted on the $2.53 million profit that they made lawfully from buying Onyx call options in the last week of June, according to filings late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
*Traders call SEC view "oversimplified and unsophisticated". NEW YORK, July 24- Two previously unnamed defendants have come forward in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil lawsuit over alleged insider trading in Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc while the company was mulling a takeover bid, and said they did nothing wrong.
CAIRO, July 23- Egypt's revolutions have been kind to Ahmed El-Kerdany. In 2010, he and several friends in the city of Alexandria launched Mashaweer, a service which helps customers avoid the traffic in Egypt's gridlocked cities by running errands for them. In December that year, the firm began operating in Cairo.
*Hezbollah suspected of being behind 2012 Bulgaria bombing. BRUSSELS, July 22- The European Union agreed on Monday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist, a move driven by concerns over the Lebanese militant group's involvement in a deadly bus bombing in Bulgaria and the Syrian war.
BEIRUT, July 17- Suspected rebel gunmen assassinated a well-known supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Lebanon on Wednesday, the latest sign that Syria's civil war is spreading to its smaller neighbour.