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For years, Karar Hussein has sold sweets in his shop near the entrance to one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, accepting whatever currency was offered to him by his clients, many of them religious tourists from neighboring Iran. But lately, when Iranian pilgrims ask about prices, he tells them he can only sell if they pay in Iraqi currency. They often walk out, disappointed.

Hussein and many other shop owners in Baghdad’s northern Shiite holy neighborhood of Kadhimiya have seen sales drop sharply over the past year since President Donald Trump began re-imposing sanctions on Iran, home to the largest number of Shiite Muslims around the world.

The value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has decreased almost fourfold, pushing the price of nearly everything beyond the reach of ordinary Iranian consumers in Iran and abroad.

Standing in his shop wearing jeans and a T-shirt, 27-year-old Hussein said his sales have dropped 30% since last year, but he still prefers not to be paid in Iranian rials because the currency’s value keeps depreciating. “Their currency is crashing,” he said.

Millions of Shiites from around the world come to Iraq every year to visit its many Shiite shrines and holy places, including the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in southern Iraq and the central city of Samarra, home to the revered golden-domed al-Askari shrine. They bring large amounts of money into the country, where tourism is the second biggest source of income for state coffers after oil exports.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003, Iranians have made up the majority of religious tourists to Iraq, although tens of thousands come from other countries.

But tensions have been rising recently in the Middle East between the United States and Iran and there have been concerns that Iraq, whose government is allied with both Tehran and Washington, would become caught in the middle, likely increasing pressures on Iraq’s tourism sector.

A favorite tourist destination is the Kadhimiya district in north Baghdad, typically bustling with Iranians shopping for clothes, sweets and trinkets. The area is home to the al-Kadhimayn shrine, known for its two domes and four minarets draped with gold and contains the tombs of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim and his grandson Mohammed al-Jawad, two of Shiite Islam’s most revered figures.

On a recent afternoon in Kadhimiya, hundreds of Iranian pilgrims entered and left the shrine, passing by scores of shops on both sides of a pedestrian street leading to the holy site without buying anything.

“Money is a big problem for us. This is really hurting us,” said Iranian citizen Hussein Fazeli, as he left the shrine. Fazeli, who brings pilgrims from Iran to Iraq, said the number of Iranian visitors has dropped because many cannot afford to travel now.

Speaking in broken Arabic, Fazeli said Iran will end up victorious no matter how long the crisis takes, adding that “Trump will go, and Iran will stay.”

Iran’s currency has been declining steadily for years but the drop has accelerated in recent months after Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and re-impose sanctions.

Mohammed Saadi Hadi, who inherited his tiny clothes stand outside the al-Kadhimayn shrine from his father, says sales have dropped by 70%. Prayer gowns for women now cost four times what they cost last year in Iranian currency. He used to sell 60 gowns a day but today he sells less than 10.

Thamer Jabbar, owner of a perfume store, said Iranian tourists now not only abstain from buying, but some of them bring with them items such as saffron spice and stone rings to sell in Iraq, hoping to make up for some of their trip’s cost.

Jabbar, 38, said his best days were after Iran and world powers signed the nuclear deal in 2015, which led to the lifting of sanctions on Iran and the release of billions of dollars of frozen assets. On a good day then, Jabbar would sell $700 worth of perfume.

“Today I barely sell anything to an Iranian tourist. Perfumes in Iran have become cheaper,” he said.

Source: Fox News World

For years, Karar Hussein has sold sweets in his shop near the entrance to one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, accepting whatever currency was offered to him by his clients, many of them religious tourists from neighboring Iran. But lately, when Iranian pilgrims ask about prices, he tells them he can only sell if they pay in Iraqi currency. They often walk out, disappointed.

Hussein and many other shop owners in Baghdad’s northern Shiite holy neighborhood of Kadhimiya have seen sales drop sharply over the past year since President Donald Trump began re-imposing sanctions on Iran, home to the largest number of Shiite Muslims around the world.

The value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has decreased almost fourfold, pushing the price of nearly everything beyond the reach of ordinary Iranian consumers in Iran and abroad.

Standing in his shop wearing jeans and a T-shirt, 27-year-old Hussein said his sales have dropped 30% since last year, but he still prefers not to be paid in Iranian rials because the currency’s value keeps depreciating. “Their currency is crashing,” he said.

Millions of Shiites from around the world come to Iraq every year to visit its many Shiite shrines and holy places, including the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in southern Iraq and the central city of Samarra, home to the revered golden-domed al-Askari shrine. They bring large amounts of money into the country, where tourism is the second biggest source of income for state coffers after oil exports.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003, Iranians have made up the majority of religious tourists to Iraq, although tens of thousands come from other countries.

But tensions have been rising recently in the Middle East between the United States and Iran and there have been concerns that Iraq, whose government is allied with both Tehran and Washington, would become caught in the middle, likely increasing pressures on Iraq’s tourism sector.

A favorite tourist destination is the Kadhimiya district in north Baghdad, typically bustling with Iranians shopping for clothes, sweets and trinkets. The area is home to the al-Kadhimayn shrine, known for its two domes and four minarets draped with gold and contains the tombs of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim and his grandson Mohammed al-Jawad, two of Shiite Islam’s most revered figures.

On a recent afternoon in Kadhimiya, hundreds of Iranian pilgrims entered and left the shrine, passing by scores of shops on both sides of a pedestrian street leading to the holy site without buying anything.

“Money is a big problem for us. This is really hurting us,” said Iranian citizen Hussein Fazeli, as he left the shrine. Fazeli, who brings pilgrims from Iran to Iraq, said the number of Iranian visitors has dropped because many cannot afford to travel now.

Speaking in broken Arabic, Fazeli said Iran will end up victorious no matter how long the crisis takes, adding that “Trump will go, and Iran will stay.”

Iran’s currency has been declining steadily for years but the drop has accelerated in recent months after Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and re-impose sanctions.

Mohammed Saadi Hadi, who inherited his tiny clothes stand outside the al-Kadhimayn shrine from his father, says sales have dropped by 70%. Prayer gowns for women now cost four times what they cost last year in Iranian currency. He used to sell 60 gowns a day but today he sells less than 10.

Thamer Jabbar, owner of a perfume store, said Iranian tourists now not only abstain from buying, but some of them bring with them items such as saffron spice and stone rings to sell in Iraq, hoping to make up for some of their trip’s cost.

Jabbar, 38, said his best days were after Iran and world powers signed the nuclear deal in 2015, which led to the lifting of sanctions on Iran and the release of billions of dollars of frozen assets. On a good day then, Jabbar would sell $700 worth of perfume.

“Today I barely sell anything to an Iranian tourist. Perfumes in Iran have become cheaper,” he said.

Source: Fox News World

Iran’s president is suggesting the Islamic Republic could hold a public referendum over the country’s nuclear program amid tensions with the United States.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported Hassan Rouhani made the comment late on Saturday.

Rouhani says he previously suggested a referendum to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2004, when he was a senior nuclear negotiator.

Such a referendum could provide political cover for the Iranian government if it chooses to increase its enrichment of uranium, prohibited under the 2015 deal with world powers.

President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal last year. In recent weeks, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.

Source: Fox News World

Iran’s president is suggesting the Islamic Republic could hold a public referendum over the country’s nuclear program amid tensions with the United States.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported Hassan Rouhani made the comment late on Saturday.

Rouhani says he previously suggested a referendum to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2004, when he was a senior nuclear negotiator.

Such a referendum could provide political cover for the Iranian government if it chooses to increase its enrichment of uranium, prohibited under the 2015 deal with world powers.

President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal last year. In recent weeks, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.

Source: Fox News World

In an apparent contradiction of his national security adviser, President Donald Trump on Sunday downplayed recent North Korean missile tests, tweeting from Tokyo that they’re not a concern for him — even though they are for Japan.

Trump also said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s attacks on one of his Democratic rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, had made him smile.

The remarks were the latest example of Trump’s willingness to publicly undermine senior advisers, flout Democratic norms and side with totalitarian leaders, even on the world stage. He did so this time during a four-day state visit to Japan where he’ll become the first leader to meet with the country’s new emperor.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump tweeted in one of a flurry of early morning messages that suggested he’d spent little time sleeping after the lengthy flight to Asia.

“Some” of his “people” appear to include national security adviser John Bolton, who told reporters at a briefing Saturday ahead of Trump’s arrival that a series of short-range missile tests by North Korea earlier this month were a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that,” said Bolton, responding to the May 4 and 9 tests that ended a pause in launches that began in late 2017. Trump ignored a shouted question Sunday about whether he agreed with Bolton’s assessment.

Trump and other administration officials have sought to downplay the significance of the tests, insisting they do not violate an agreement Trump reached with Kim for a moratorium on launches.

“The moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a recent television interview. That raised alarm bells in Japan, where short-range missiles pose a serious threat because of the country’s proximity to North Korea.

Trump in his tweet said he had “confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” while at the same time embracing Kim’s recent attacks on Biden, whose name he misspelled.

Trump said he “smiled” when Kim “called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse.”

“Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump asked.

North Korea this week labeled Biden a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being” after the U.S. presidential hopeful accused Trump of cozying up to “dictators and tyrants” like Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin during his campaign launch speech.

Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday, but a spokesman for his campaign, Andrew Bates said Wednesday that, “Given Vice President Biden’s record of standing up for American values and interests, it’s no surprise that North Korea would prefer that Donald Trump remain in the White House.”

The tweet came early Sunday before Trump left his hotel for a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He’ll also be attending a sumo wrestling match and handing out a “President’s Cup” to the winner as part of a visit meant to showcase the close ties between the nations.

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Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

A 102-year-old woman facing eviction from her California home of nearly 30 years is getting help from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Los Angeles Times reports Thelma Smith was given until June 30 to move out by landlords who say their daughter needs a place to live.

Los Angeles’ rent control law provides relocation assistance for elderly and disabled.

But Smith, a retired secretary for the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, lives in an unincorporated section of Los Angeles County, just outside the city limits. The law doesn’t apply there.

Schwarzenegger, who knew Smith through his involvement with the charity, called the eviction “heartless.” He tweeted: “Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life.”

A spokesman says Schwarzenegger’s staff has met with Smith to find a solution.

Source: Fox News National

Police on Long Island say they have recovered the body of a MS-13 gang victim who was buried in a shallow grave over two years ago.

Newsday reports that detectives unearthed the body in the heavily wooded Massapequa Preserve on Friday.

The body has not been identified, but police say the victim is one of 11 people killed by MS-13 gang members in 2016.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says authorities have combed the park more than a dozen times searching for human remains.

Ryder says the detectives found the unidentified body Friday after police dogs pointed to an indentation in the ground.

The body was found near where police found the remains of 18-year-old Julio Espantzay-Gonzalez in 2017. Three reputed MS-13 members have been charged in Espantzay-Gonzalez’s death.

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Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on President Donald Trump’s state visit to Japan. (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

A relatively strong earthquake rattled Tokyo just before President Donald Trump’s arrival Saturday but there was no danger of a tsunami.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake, registering magnitude 5.1, struck in Chiba, just south of Tokyo, at 3:20 p.m., about 40 kilometers (24 miles) underground. Trump was to arrive two hours later.

The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the inland quake.

The earthquake rattled dozens of cities, including Tokyo, where many reporters who arrived before the president’s visit felt the movement.

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1:30 p.m.

Japan is ready to roll out the newest phase of its charm offensive targeting President Donald Trump as it welcomes him on a state visit tailor-made to his whims and ego. This comes as Japan remains under the threat of potentially devastating U.S. tariffs on autos

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is offering high honors, golf and the chance to present a “Trump Cup” at a sumo wrestling championship. Abe, arguably Trump’s closest friend on the world stage, will continue a years-long campaign that experts say so far appears to have spared Japan from far more debilitating U.S. actions.

The stakes are high. U.S. tariffs could cripple Japan’s auto industry, while North Korea remains a destabilizing threat in the region.

Source: Fox News World

Japan is ready to roll out the newest phase of its charm offensive targeting President Donald Trump as it welcomes him on a state visit tailor-made to his whims and ego. This comes as Japan remains under the threat of potentially devastating U.S. tariffs on autos

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is offering high honors, golf and the chance to present a “Trump Cup” at a sumo wrestling championship. Abe, arguably Trump’s closest friend on the world stage, will continue a years-long campaign that so far appears to have spared Japan from far more debilitating U.S. actions.

The stakes are high. U.S. tariffs could cripple Japan’s auto industry, while North Korea remains a destabilizing threat in the region.

Source: Fox News World

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton has called a series of short-range missile tests by North Korea last month a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and says sanctions must be kept in place.

Bolton said Saturday in Tokyo that the U.S. position on the North’s denuclearization is consistent and that a repeated pattern of failures to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons should be stopped.

His comment comes a day after North Korea’s official media said nuclear negotiations with Washington won’t resume unless the US. abandons what Pyongyang describes as unilateral disarmament demands.

President Donald Trump arrives in Tokyo later Saturday for a four-day visit largely highlighting close ties with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Source: Fox News World


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