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I have just seen an article in FT with the title

Iran’s Mahan airline defies sanctions in shadowy aircraft deal

It seems to me that an article is missing in this sentence. Namely, it should be "in a shadowy deal". Is this correct? If yes, why the article is missing here?

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You're correct that the article a is missing. This is because newspaper headlines are often written in Headlinese. Dropping articles to save space is very common in Headlinese.

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