Breaking News - Arab Today breaking newsarab today Thu, 16 Jan 2014 05:15:51 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev ( Turkey targets military over alleged Gulen links turkey targets military over alleged gulen links

Turkish authorities on Friday ordered the arrest of over 200 military personnel in new raids against suspects linked to the attempted coup in 2016, state media reported.

The Istanbul public prosecutor ordered arrest warrants for 219 soldiers on active duty including four colonels and five lieutenant colonels, state news agency Anadolu said.

Istanbul police launched an operation to capture the suspects on Friday morning.

They are believed to have ties to the group led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally turned foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ankara accuses Gulen of being behind the failed coup but he strongly denies any links.
In Ankara, the capital’s public prosecutor issued arrest warrants on Friday for 48 people, mainly working in the arms industry, also over alleged links to Gulen.
Turkey refers to the group as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” but followers insist they have peaceful goals of promoting Islam and secular education

Over 50,000 people have been arrested since the failed putsch in a purge lambasted by human rights activists and Ankara’s Western allies.
Nearly 130,000 public sector workers have been sacked.

Last week, dozens of people including airforce personnel were detained for suspected links to coup-plotters in nationwide operations.

Turkish officials insist the raids are necessary to cleanse state institutions of the “virus” of infiltration by the Gulen movement.

From :Arabnews


Fri, 14 Dec 2018 13:29:03 GMT
Huawei CFO gets bail; China detains ex-Canadian diplomat huawei cfo gets bail china detains excanadian diplomat

A Canadian court granted bail on Tuesday to a top Chinese executive arrested at the United States’ request in a case that has set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries and complicated high-stakes US-China trade talks.

Hours before the bail hearing in Vancouver, China detained a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in apparent retaliation for the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of the company’s founder.

After three days of hearings, a British Columbia justice granted bail of $10 million Canadian ($7.5 million) to Meng, but required her to wear an ankle bracelet, surrender her passports, stay in Vancouver and its suburbs and confine herself to one of her two Vancouver homes from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The decision was met with applause in the packed courtroom, where members of Vancouver’s Chinese community had turned out to show support for Meng.
Amid rising tension between China and Canada, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed Tuesday that a former Canadian diplomat had been detained in Beijing. The detention came after China warned Canada of consequences for Meng’s arrest.

“We’re deeply concerned,” Goodale said. “A Canadian is obviously in difficulty in China. ... We are sparing no effort to do everything we possibly can to look after his safety.”

Michael Kovrig, who previously worked as a diplomat in China and elsewhere, was taken into custody by the Beijing Bureau of Chinese State Security on Monday night during one of his regular visits to Beijing, said the International Crisis Group, for which Kovrig works as North East Asia adviser. His employer said it had received no information about him since his detention.

Canada had been bracing for retaliation for Meng’ arrest. The Canadian province of British Columbia canceled a trade mission to China amid fears China could detain Canadians to put pressure on Ottawa over Meng’s detention.

 “In China there is no coincidence,” Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said of Kovrig’s detention. “Unfortunately Canada is caught in the middle of this dispute between the USand China. Because China cannot kick the US they turn to the next target.”

Earlier in the day, China vowed to “spare no effort” to protect against “any bullying that infringes the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi didn’t mention Meng by name. But ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Wang was referring to cases of all Chinese abroad, including Meng’s.

Washington accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions. It says Meng and Huawei misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters in Washington “the charges against Meng pertain to alleged lies to United States financial institutions” about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.

“It is clear from the filings that were unsealed in Canada, Meng and others are alleged to have put financial institutions at risk of criminal and civil liability in the United States by deceiving those institutions as to the nature and extent of Huawei’s business in Iran,” Palladino said.

Meng has denied the US allegations through her lawyer in court, promising to fight them if she is extradited to face charges in the United States.

“We have every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach a just conclusion in the following proceedings,” Huawei said in a statement.

“As we have stressed all along, Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including export control and sanction laws of the UN, US, and EU. We look forward to a timely resolution to this matter.”

Huawei, the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and Internet companies, is the target of US security concerns. Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

The US and China have tried to keep Meng’s case separate from their wider trade dispute and suggested Tuesday that talks to resolve their differences may resume

But President Donald Trump undercut efforts to distinguish between trade talks and the Huawei case. In an interview with Reuters, he said Tuesday that he would consider intervening in the Justice Department’s case against Meng if it would be in the interest of US national security or help forge a trade deal with Beijing.

Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, called Trump’s comments troubling.
“Canada is acting in good faith, according to the law, in response to a US extradition request,” Paris tweeted.

The Chinese government said its economy czar had discussed plans with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer for talks aimed at settling the two countries’ differences. Lighthizer’s office confirmed he had spoken by phone with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
The news that trade negotiations may resume lifted stock markets around the world.

The United States has slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports in response to complaints Beijing steals American technology and forces US companies to turn over trade secrets.

Tariffs on $200 billion of those imports were scheduled to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent on Jan. 1. But Trump agreed to postpone those by 90 days while the two sides negotiate.

From :Arabnews


Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:32:09 GMT
LuLu supports KFUPM Rectors Cup marathon lulu supports kfupm rectors cup marathon

LuLu, together with King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), kicked off a 5-kilometer marathon on the occasion of KFUPM 32nd Rectors Cup on Dec. 8. More than 2,000 participants attended the event, which was held at the KFUPM compound. 

Established in 1963, KFUPM has been providing high-level education about petroleum and minerals, two of the most valuable natural resources in the Kingdom. It is a public university highly regarded for its science and engineering programs. 

Speaking about the occasion, LuLu Regional Director for the Eastern Province Basheer said: “We are honored to have the privilege of supporting KFUPM not only in its goal to promote unity and camaraderie, but also in ensuring the youth will have access to high-quality education.

“LuLu has always been a key promoter of sustainability and environment protection, and has especially extended help to less fortunate people,” a press release said.


From :Arabnews

Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:24:06 GMT
Ford trains 1,600 motorists in Mideast, Africa in 2018 ford trains 1600 motorists in mideast africa in 2018

Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) has wrapped up a successful 2018 having added programs in two new markets — Morocco and Madagascar — as well as having launched a women-only program in Saudi Arabia. The training program reached more than 1,600 inexperienced motorists in 10 cities around the Middle East and Africa.

Providing free training and instilling safe driving practices, the DSFL program offered an opportunity to gain experience in the four main primary driving skills: Hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management, and space management.

This year, Ford DSFL was run in the UAE (Dubai), Kenya (Nairobi), Uganda (Gulu Town), and four cities in South Africa (Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, and Pretoria), while Casablanca welcomed Morocco’s first-ever DSFL for three days of training in October. 

Antananarivo in Madagascar also joined the DSFL family when it played host to 50 members of the media, and a train-the-trainer for distributor staff, in September, becoming the eighth market in sub-Saharan Africa alone to benefit from the introduction of Ford’s program.

In addition, on its return to Jeddah, Ford hosted the global debut of its DSFL for Her, a new customized version of Ford’s award-winning safe-driving initiative, helping to build confidence behind the wheel as participants in the Kingdom prepared to be among the first-ever women to be issued a driving license in the country.

The DSFL for Her course followed the landmark decision last year, as decreed by King Salman to lift the ban on females driving in Saudi Arabia.

“Safety continues to be a key priority for Ford, and providing campaigns such as DSFL can only help reduce the number of road accidents, and increase young drivers’ knowledge and confidence on the road,” said Jim Graham, global manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. 

“Ford also made history in 2018 when it hosted the first-ever practical hands-on driving training for women in Saudi Arabia — DSFL for Her — specifically designed to accommodate Saudi females embarking on their first journey behind the wheel of a car. These are the kinds of occasions that make Ford exceptionally proud of the success DSFL has enjoyed this year, as the program continues its rapid expansion, and evolves to adapt to the needs of the markets in which it operates,” Graham added.

Ford Driving Skills for Life was established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly licensed drivers necessary skills beyond standard driver education programs. In 2008, the program expanded to Asia Pacific, and in 2013, Ford DSFL branched out into both Europe and the Middle East.

In 2017, the free program celebrated reaching the one-millionth newly licensed driver trained.

From :Arabnews

Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:12:55 GMT
May tours Europe in desperate bid to save Brexit deal may tours europe in desperate bid to save brexit deal

Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May was met with sympathy but firm refusals on a desperate tour of European capitals on Tuesday, with EU leaders ruling out any renegotiation of the Brexit deal.

A day after she postponed a crucial vote on the deal in the British parliament, May said she was meeting EU counterparts in an attempt to receive “reassurances.”

May had breakfast with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague before heading to Berlin for lunch with Chancellor Angela Merkel, and then traveled on to Brussels.

After meeting May, Merkel told lawmakers of her CDU/CSU bloc that she saw “no way to change” the agreement, said sources at the MPs’ meeting.
May faced criticism from all sides in parliament over provisions in the EU withdrawal agreement concerning Northern Ireland, which she hopes could persuade her rebellious Conservative party to support it.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said ahead of meeting May that he was “surprised” at being asked for more talks since EU leaders had given their approval to the deal at an extraordinary summit on November 25.

“The deal we have achieved is the best deal possible, it’s the only deal possible,” he told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation but of course there is room, if used intelligently, to give further clarification and further interpretations.”
MPs in the House of Commons were due to vote on the deal on Tuesday night, but May deferred it on Monday, admitting she expected to lose by a “significant margin.”

Her spokesman said Tuesday the vote would be rescheduled before January 21 — just months before Britain leaves the EU on March 29.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is now facing calls to table a no-confidence vote in the prime minister, but is holding off as the party believes May is likely to win.

This hesitation has caused tensions with the Scottish National Party (SNP), which has said it wants Labour to table a no-confidence motion on Tuesday.

Euroskeptic MPs in May’s Conservative party have also repeated calls for her to be replaced, with one warning it was time to “govern or quit.”
EU President Donald Tusk, who met May in Brussels, has called a meeting of the other 27 EU leaders on Thursday to discuss the latest Brexit developments.

They were already due to attend a European Council summit with May on Thursday and Friday, which the British prime minister is expected to use to further press her case.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said his government ruled out changes to the wording of the withdrawal agreement, but said there could be “a political declaration coming from a European Council.”

“The Irish government doesn’t have an issue with providing reassurance if that’s helpful,” he told national broadcaster RTE.

May faces strong opposition over a clause in the Brexit deal designed to keep open the border with Ireland.

The so-called backstop risks tying Britain into a customs union with the EU for years after it leaves the bloc — far from the clean break that euroskeptics want.

But it is far from clear what she can achieve.

One of her ministers, Martin Callanan, said in Brussels on Tuesday that Britain is seeking “additional legal reassurances that UK cannot be permanently trapped in the Irish backstop.”

Many Britons have been left scratching their heads after the latest political developments.

In Keighley, a town in Yorkshire in northern England that voted in favor of Brexit in a 2016 referendum, residents expressed skepticism about May’s latest moves.

“Ridiculous, absolutely,” one resident, Tony Finney, said when asked about the delay, calling it a “fiasco.”

Mary Wilson said: “I believe that we should come out. I think she’s just wasting her time running backwards and forward to Europe because she’ll not get what she wants.”

Even if no deal is secured, Britain is still on course to leave the EU on March 29 — a scenario the government has warned will be hugely damaging to the economy.

The decision to defer the vote sent the pound plunging.

Tusk said Thursday’s EU meeting would cover no-deal plans, while May’s cabinet was also due to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

France’s minister for European affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, said the possibility of no deal was “not unlikely,” adding: “I’m very worried.”

From :Arabnews


Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:00:59 GMT
Australian government discusses moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem australian government discusses moving israel embassy to jerusalem

Australia's government met on Tuesday to discuss whether to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, two sources familiar with the matter said, a decision that would break with decades of policy and risk angering Asian neighbours.

"Cabinet met today and the issue of moving the Israeli embassy was discussed. The decision is still pending," said one of the sources who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Prime Minster Scott Morrison in October said he was "open" to moving the embassy to Jerusalem, following the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The United States opened a new embassy in Jerusalem in May, a move that delighted Israel, infuriated Palestinians and upset the wider Arab world and Western allies.

The Australian newspaper reported several senior cabinet members were leaning towards recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital while stopping short of moving the embassy.

Jerusalem's status is a major obstacle to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector that it annexed after a 1967 war, as its capital.

The Australian newspaper said a decision could be announced this week.

By recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Morrison would be hoping to keep his conservative backbench happy but it would likely anger neighbours, including Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority country.

The Palestinian question is sensitive in Indonesia and it has refused to sign a free trade agreement with Australia until it confirms its plans towards Israel.

Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.


From :Arabnews

Wed, 12 Dec 2018 08:26:12 GMT
Trump’s troubled White House in search of new chief of staff trump’s troubled white house in search of new chief of staff

US President Donald Trump is considering at least four people to serve as his next chief of staff, after plans for an orderly succession for departing John Kelly fell through.

The high-profile hiring search comes at a pivotal time as the Republican president looks to prepare his White House for the twin challenges of securing his re-election and fending off expected congressional investigations once Democrats gain control of the House next year.

Trump’s top pick for the job, Nick Ayers, announced Sunday that he would instead be leaving the White House, surprising even senior staffers who believed the move was a done deal. Trump is now soliciting input on at least four people, including Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Ayers, who is chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, was seen as the favorite for the job when Trump announced Saturday that Kelly would leave around year’s end. But a White House official said Sunday that Trump and Ayers could not reach agreement on Ayers’ length of service and that he would instead assist the president from outside the administration. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive personnel matters.

Ayers confirmed the decision in a tweet Sunday, thanking Trump and Pence for giving him the opportunity to work in the White House.

“I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause,” he said.

Trump offered his own take on the development: “I am in the process of interviewing some really great people for the position of White House Chief of Staff. Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers, a spectacular person who will always be with our #MAGA agenda. I will be making a decision soon!“

Even senior White House officials were caught off guard Sunday by the news of Ayers’ departure. No obvious successor to Kelly was in sight, and there was some fretting that Trump may not be able to fill the job by the time Kelly leaves.

Ayers and Trump had discussed the job for months, making the breakdown Sunday all the more surprising. Trump said Saturday that he expected to announce a replacement for Kelly in a day or two. But with Ayers no longer waiting in the wings, Trump may now take until the end of the year, according to a person close to the president.

And it remains unclear who wants the job.

Mulvaney, the budget director, was not interested in becoming chief of staff, according to a person close to him who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Mulvaney has been saying for almost two months now that he would be more interested in becoming commerce or treasury secretary if that would be helpful to the president, the person said.

Also among those thought to be in the mix were Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who said in a CBS interview that he hadn’t spoken to anyone at the White House about the job and was “entirely focused” on his position.
The White House official said that, while the president likes Lighthizer, he is reluctant to move him from his current post because of the ongoing high-stakes trade negotiations with China and others.

And a person familiar with Mnuchin’s thinking said he, too, was happy with his work at Treasury and had not sought the job of chief of staff.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Trump’s former deputy campaign manager David Bossie were also among the names being floated by some close to the White House Sunday.

Trump’s administration has set records for staff turnover, and he has often struggled to attract experienced political professionals, a challenge that has grown more difficult by the upcoming threat of costly Democratic oversight investigations and an uncertain political environment.

Democrats, who will be assuming control of the House of Representatives next year, are expected to take full advantage of their new subpoena power to investigate everything from the actions of Trump administration officials to the president’s business dealings, flooding the White House with inquiries.

In any administration, the role of White House chief of staff is split between the responsibilities of supervising the White House and managing the man sitting in the Oval Office. Striking that balance in the turbulent times of Trump has bedeviled Kelly and his predecessor, Reince Priebus, and will be the defining challenge for whoever is selected next.

Kelly, whose last day on the job is set to be Jan. 2, had been credited with imposing order on a chaotic West Wing after his arrival in June 2017 from his post as homeland security secretary. But his iron fist also alienated some longtime Trump allies, and over time he grew increasingly isolated.

Trump wants his next chief of staff to hold the job through the 2020 election, the officials said. Ayers, who has young triplets, had long planned to leave the administration at the end of the year and had only agreed to serve in an interim basis through next spring.

Ayers had earned the backing of the president’s influential daughter and son-in-law, White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, but was viewed warily by other aides.

Ayers will run a pro-Trump super PAC, according to a person familiar with his plans but not authorized to discuss them by name.

Pence’s deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, is expected to assume Ayers’ role for the vice president.

From :Arabnews


Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:32:40 GMT
23 Palestinians arrested in West Bank 23 palestinians arrested in west bank

Israeli occupation forces early Monday detained 23 Palestinians from various West Bank cities and transferred them to detention centers, according to a Palestinian source.

A statement by the Palestinian Prisoners Society said that Israeli army stormed the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus and a number of neighborhoods in the occupied Jerusalem and arrested the 23 citizens.

The Israeli army launches arrest campaigns on a daily basis against dozens of Palestinians in various cities and villages of the West Bank under unjustified various pretexts.

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:03:46 GMT
Russian ex-policeman convicted over 56 murders russian expoliceman convicted over 56 murders

A Russian court on Monday found a former policeman guilty of 56 murders, while he is already serving a life sentence for killing 22 women, making him one of Russia’s most prolific serial killers.

The court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk found Mikhail Popkov “guilty of killing 56 people between 1992 and 2007,” Irkutsk regional prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Popkov “has a pathological attraction to killing people.” He was also found guilty of raping 10 of the victims.

He received a second life sentence on top of the one he is already serving and was also formally deprived of his pension as an ex-policeman.

Popkov in 2015 was found guilty of killing 22 women. He later confessed to 59 further murders but was convicted only of 56 on Monday because the investigators had not managed to prove three of the crimes took place, Interfax news agency reported citing the court’s press service.

He killed his victims after offering them rides late at night, sometimes in a police car, while he was off-duty around his home city of Angarsk near Irkutsk.

The number of killings for which he has been convicted exceeds the total of several notorious murderers in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union.

“Chessboard killer” Alexander Pichushkin was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for 48 murders and Andrei Chikatilo was convicted of 52 Soviet-era murders.


From :Arabnews

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 09:47:07 GMT
Lebanon’s property market ‘on the brink of collapse’ lebanon’s property market ‘on the brink of collapse’

Lebanon’s once soaring property market is on the brink of collapse amid plunging prices and a construction standstill.

A boom that began in 2008 fueled by sales to Gulf state citizens and Lebanese expatriates was halted by war in Syria in 2011 and the oil-price slump in 2014, and has since gone into reverse.

Property prices outside Beirut have fallen by nearly 20 percent. In the capital, buyers are few and high-profile construction projects have ground to a halt.

“Some 3,600 unsold apartments exist today in Beirut alone,” says Guillaume Boudisseau of the property consultants Ramco.

Bank and property companies launched a $250 million scheme in October to buy more than 200 flats and sell them to Lebanese expatriates. But Jihad Hokayem, a property investment expert at the Lebanese American University, said such initiatives were temporary fixes.

“These measures only cover up existing or potential bankruptcies. It’s the beginning of a total collapse,” he said.

Economic expert Louis Hobeika told Arab News apartments in Beirut still commanded prices above $700,000, and what was happening was a correction.

“There is no demand,” he said. “Those who want to buy are going after real estate outside Lebanon, with incentives such as residency. The Lebanese are starting to buy in Cyprus, Portugal and Malta.”

Another economist, Essam Al-Jardi, said: “Developers invested billions of dollars in luxury buildings during the boom, but the economy has declined and growth is only 1 percent.

“I am afraid of any mistake that may push the country into the unknown.”

From :Arabnews


Mon, 10 Dec 2018 08:09:16 GMT
Britain’s May says Brexit deal defeat could topple government britain’s may says brexit deal defeat could topple government

Prime Minister Theresa May warned on Sunday if parliament rejects her Brexit deal, it could leave Britain in the European Union and bring the opposition Labour Party to power.

The embattled leader’s message came with her government fearing a heavy defeat in Tuesday’s parliamentary vote on the draft withdrawal agreement she signed with Brussels last month.

Media reports said May is under pressure from her cabinet to delay the vote and fly to Brussels to secure more concessions ahead of a planned summit with the other 27 EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.

But Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the BBC: “The vote is going ahead.”

May said Britain “would truly be in uncharted waters” if the text agreed after nearly two years of tortuous negotiations is voted down less than four months before the March 29 Brexit date.

“It would mean grave uncertainty for the nation with a very real risk of no Brexit,” she told the Mail on Sunday.

“We have a leader of the opposition who thinks of nothing but attempting to bring about a general election... I believe Jeremy Corbyn getting his hands on power is a risk we cannot afford to take.”

May is facing her biggest crisis since coming to power a month after the nation voted by a 52-48 percent margin in June 2016 to leave the world’s largest single market after 46 years.

She is under attack from more strident Brexit backers in her party as well as europhiles who want either a second referendum or a pact that maintains stronger EU-UK ties than the one offered by May.

Her comments on Sunday were aimed at tamping down the hard-line Conservative Party revolt led by the likes of her former foreign minister Boris Johnson.

May’s team insists that her vision offers the cleanest break between the UK and EU that Brexit supporters can hope for at this late stage.

But Johnson used a column in the Sun on Sunday to argue that “the best way to get a great deal is to prepare for no deal” by rejecting May’s draft.

Corbyn’s party is hoping that failure in parliament on Tuesday will trigger a broader revolt that leads to early elections and returns Labour to power for the first time since 2010.

“I think time is really running out for her and if you can tell me if she will still be prime minister on Tuesday evening then perhaps I can tell you what we do next,” Labour MP John Trickett told Sky News.

He added that Labour was “ready to form a minority government should that be necessary — and it could happen on Wednesday morning.”
Newspapers have identified more than six current and former ministers in May’s cabinet who are also ready to run for her job should she falter over the coming days.

The febrile political atmosphere was reinforced by rival pro- and anti-Brexit rallies that drew thousands in different parts of London.

Brexit’s outright reversal is still a longshot that would probably require a second Brexit referendum that May has repeatedly ruled out.

EU supporters will be pinning their hopes on a European Court of Justice ruling on Monday on Britain’s right to unilaterally halt Brexit in its tracks.

May faces a tough time convincing EU leaders to offer better divorce terms that could appease the mutinous Northern Irish party that propped up her government for more than a year.

EU President Donald Tusk signalled no concession after speaking to May by phone on Sunday.

“It will be an important week for the fate of #Brexit,” Tusk said on Twitter.

Yet Brussels also wants to see May succeed and avert the economic nightmare that could unfold should Britain break away without any arrangements underpinning future trade.

European officials said they might be able to find a way to offer a token concession in Brussels that May could take back to London.
But they added that such tinkering cannot alter the basis of the withdrawal agreement itself.

The two sides might “work on the (accompanying) protocol or clarify a point that is deemed important so that she can take it back to parliament,” an informed European source told AFP on condition on anonymity.

May would then be expected to submit the touched-up version for a second vote at an unspecified date.

From :Arabnews


Mon, 10 Dec 2018 07:42:45 GMT
Syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire

Syrian state media said Sunday that air defenses had opened fire near Damascus airport, before withdrawing the report after what appeared to be a false alarm.

“Our air defenses engaged hostile aerial targets in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport,” the official SANA news agency said, without providing more details

But the report was later withdrawn by both SANA and state television without explanation.

SANA then quoted sources at the airport as saying that “there was no aggression” and that “traffic was normal.

A well-informed source told AFP that “there was evidently a false alarm.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the sound of explosions rocked an area close to the airport and fire from air defenses was also heard.
The latest incident comes just over a week after Syria accused Israel of striking south of the capital.

The Britain-based Observatory said those were the first missiles to hit Syria since an air defense upgrade after the downing of a Russian plane in September.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighboring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets, many of them in the area south of Damascus.

Iran and Russia are the government’s key allies in the civil war that has raged Syria since 2011, and Moscow’s intervention in 2015 dramatically turned the tables against the rebels

The accidental downing of a Russian transport aircraft by Syrian ground batteries during an Israel air strike on September 17 killed 15 service personnel.

Moscow pinned responsibility for the downing on Israel, saying its fighter jet used the larger Russian one for cover, an allegation Israel disputed.
Russia subsequently upgraded Syrian air defenses with the delivery of the advanced S-300 system, which Damascus insisted would make Israel “think carefully” before carrying out further air raids.

The move raised fears in Israel that its ability to rein in its arch foe Iran’s military presence in Syria would be sharply reduced.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia that Israel would continue to hit hostile targets, while also maintaining “security coordination” with Moscow.


From :Arabnews

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 07:37:54 GMT
Ex-Nissan chief Ghosn charged, may face new allegations exnissan chief ghosn charged may face new allegations

Japanese prosecutors have formally charged Carlos Ghosn with financial misconduct for under-reporting his salary, local media reported on Monday, three weeks after the auto tycoon’s arrest stunned the business world.

Former Nissan chairman Ghosn, 64, has been in detention since his November 19 arrest on suspicion of under-declaring his income by some five billion yen ($44 million) between 2010 and 2015.

Authorities are also widely expected to re-arrest him later Monday over separate allegations that he also under-reported his income by a further four billion over the past three years.

Under Japanese law, suspects can be re-arrested several times for different allegations, allowing prosecutors to question them for prolonged periods — a system that has drawn criticism internationally.

Monday was the final day prosecutors can hold Ghosn and close aide Greg Kelly before either charging or re-arresting them, and a further arrest would allow them another 22 days of questioning.

In addition to charges against Ghosn, prosecutors also indicted Kelly and Nissan itself, according to local media, as the company submitted the official documents that under-reported the income.

Ghosn denies the charges and is in a “combative” frame of mind, according to sources at Renault, the company he still formally leads — even if the French car giant has appointed an interim chairman.

The Japanese firms in the three-way alliance with Renault — Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors — have both sacked the Franco-Lebanese-Brazilian as chairman.
The millionaire auto sector star, who attracted some criticism for a perceived lavish lifestyle, is now alone in a spartan cell in a Tokyo detention center, in a tiny room measuring just three tatami mats — around five square meters.

He has reportedly told embassy visitors he is being well treated but has complained of the cold, with Monday’s temperature in the Japanese capital hovering around five degrees Celsius.

He spends his time reading books and news reports and is said to be unhappy about the rice-based food.

According to local news agency Kyodo, he has admitted signing documents to defer part of his salary until after retirement but said this amount did not need to be declared as it has not yet been definitively fixed.

A source close to the investigation has said Ghosn and Kelly allegedly put the system in place after a new law came in obliging the highest-paid members of the firm to declare their salary.

Ghosn is suspected of deferring part of his pay to avoid criticism from staff and shareholders that his salary was too generous.

Nissan is appealing to a court in Rio de Janeiro to block access by Ghosn’s representatives to a luxury apartment on Copacabana Beach

“We are closely watching if he is actually indicted and then found guilty,” said Satoru Takada, an analyst at TIW, a Tokyo-based research and consulting firm.
“If he is exempted from prosecution or found innocent, it is going to create huge confusion in Nissan’s management,” Takada told AFP.
It is unclear if Ghosn can be bailed before a potential trial.

In Japan, prosecutors and defendants begin a trial at a district court and can appeal to a high court and the Supreme Court. It may take several years before reaching a final judgment.

If found guilty, Ghosn could face a 10-year prison sentence.

The affair represents a staggering turnaround for a figure celebrated for saving Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy and rebuilding it as a money-making subsidiary of Renault.

Nissan has begun a process of choosing Ghosn’s successor, with the final decision expected on December 17.

His arrest has sparked incredulity at Renault, which owns 43 percent of Nissan and says it has not seen a detailed account of the charges against Ghosn.

It has also fueled anger in Lebanon, with digital billboards around Beirut proclaiming “We are all Carlos Ghosn” under a picture of the magnate.
“A Lebanese phoenix will not be scorched by a Japanese sun,” Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk has declared.

From :Arabnews


Mon, 10 Dec 2018 07:31:16 GMT
Abu Dhabi opens world’s first digital courtroom abu dhabi opens world’s first digital courtroom

An online platform where both plaintiffs and respondents can settle disputes without going to an actual court has been launched in Abu Dhabi, UAE state-news agency WAM reported.

The digital platform was launched by the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts (ADGM courts). which are independent courts that handle civil and commercial disputes, to streamline the judiciary process.

“Technology and innovation have been disrupting every aspect of our lives and the judiciary sector is no exception. The best innovations to come out of this sector are those that allow us to creatively manage the growing demand for transparency, information, speed and effectiveness,” said Ahmad Al Sayegh, Minister of State and Chairman of the ADGM Courts.

In the new system, both plaintiffs and respondents will be able to upload documents through an online portal, wherein all involved parties, as well as the judges and lawyers will have access to.

The digital courtroom, which will not make use of paper in the entire process, is seen to save all parties time and money.

Linda Fitz Alan, registrar and chief executive of ADGM Courts said the parties would not be required to be physically present during a hearing.

“We can do the court hearing by video conferencing, not every party has to be present in the courtroom. In fact, everybody can be on a screen if that’s the most efficient way,” she said.

Alan said only the judge needs to be present in the courtroom, “for anyone else — the lawyer, plaintiff and respondent — if there’s no particular need for it, they can all be on screen in different places,” she added.

From :Arabnews

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 07:25:15 GMT
Canada’s detention of Huawei exec ‘vile in nature’ canada’s detention of huawei exec ‘vile in nature’

China has summoned the Canadian ambassador to protest the detention of a top executive of leading Chinese tech giant Huawei, calling it “unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature” and warning of “grave consequences” if she is not released.

A report by the official Xinhua News Agency carried on the Foreign Ministry’s website says Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had called in Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over the holding of Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who is reportedly suspected of trying to evade US trade curbs on Iran.

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and Internet companies and has been the target of deepening US security concerns. The US has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology.

From :Arabnews


Sun, 09 Dec 2018 09:10:27 GMT
KSA, Tunisia seek ways to bolster ties ksa tunisia seek ways to bolster ties

Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia Mohamed bin Mahmoud Al-Ali separately called on Tunisian Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation Ziad Al-Athari and Tunisian Secretary of State for Internal Trade Samir Beshawal.

In the meetings with Tunisian officials, the Saudi envoy discussed ways to enhance bilateral ties and issues of mutual interest.

Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Tunisia where he was received by President Beji Caid Essebsi.

“It is impossible that I embark on a tour in North Africa without touching down in Tunisia,” the crown prince told Al Arabiya News Channel. He said both countries would work together on boosting ties in the interests of their people.

The visit was the fourth stop on the Crown Prince’s tour of Arab nations, which has so far taken in Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt.

Talks were also held between the delegations from both countries on developing relations in various fields, and on regional and international issues.
The visit lasted several hours, before Prince Mohammed left the country.

From :Arabnews

Sun, 09 Dec 2018 08:59:52 GMT
Gazans defy violent response to their attempts to end Israeli blockade gazans defy violent response to their attempts to end israeli blockade

For eight months in a row, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been taking part in weekly protests along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel and sustaining serious injuries in lopsided confrontations with Israeli army soldiers. Doctors Without Borders now says the extremely large number of people in need of treatment for bullet wounds has overwhelmed the territory’s healthcare system.

The international humanitarian organization said this week that most of the 3,000 people it has treated since March were shot in the legs, with about a quarter suffering from infections that, if left untreated, could lead to lifelong disabilities or limb amputations.

For 28-year-old Mohammed Yassin, the casualties are not mere numbers. As someone who was shot in the arm while taking part in protests in eastern Gaza’s Al-Zaytoun, a neighbourhood adjoining the security fence separating the Hamas- ruled territory from Israel, he stands to bene t personally if medical-aid groups tend to those local hospitals cannot adequately treat.

On a recent morning, Yassin stood in a queue outside a medical centre in Gaza operated by an international humanitarian organization waiting for his turn to consult doctors. He said he feared his arm may have to be amputated due to the lack of specialised treatment in the territory, which has been continuously under an Israeli blockade since 2007 when Hamas seized control after a violent power struggle with Fatah.

The Great March of Return movement, as the weekly protests are called, was born when tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza began confronting Israeli soldiers on March 30, called Land Day by Palestinians, which coincided with the annual commemoration of the founding of the state of Israel.

Since that day, Palestinians from across the social spectrum, living in poverty and isolation in the besieged coastal enclave, have been marching after prayers every Friday towards the heavily fortied border, braving the Israeli army’s live rounds, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear-gas salvos. Along the way, women and children started joining the young men, who are often armed with slings and stones.

Israel has responded with an iron fist, but the confrontations have continued unabated. In November, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, agreed to a transfer of Qatari cash totalling $15 million into Gaza as part of a deal apparently aimed at persuading Hamas to end the protests in exchange for Israel easing its blockade.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has given warning time and again of its inability to cope with the high number of casualties owing to a shortage of medicine and supplies.

The latest figures provided by the ministry put the total number of Palestinian deaths since March 30 at more than 200, including 37 children, and the number of wounded at 22,267. Of the latter, 46.3 percent have suffered injuries caused by live rounds red by Israel.

Yassin, the man with the injured arm, says his condition could improve with treatment abroad, but he is unable to travel through the Rafah crossing, the only connection for Gaza’s two million inhabitants to the outside world via Egypt. He told Arab News he rejected an opportunity for amputation at the local facility of the international organization where he is currently being treated.

Looking to the future, Yassin hopes to save his injured arm, take care of his family and live a full life. But that will take a great deal of effort and determination given that he has lost his job, which earned him about 30 shekels ($8) a day and was enabling him and his wife to raise a family of four little children.

Still, Yassin is fortunate compared with hundreds of other young men, one of them being Mohammed Al-Issawi. The 23-year-old has been injured four times in course of the border protests: shot in various places on his body - once in the leg while taking part in protests east of Al-Bureij refugee camp, in central Gaza - and struck by a tear-gas canister.

Even so, Al-Issawi, who shares his home with 13 other family members, says he has no regrets about taking part in the protests that have taken such a high toll on his health. “God has not written martyrdom for me yet,” he told Arab News, his words reflecting resilience and resignation in equal measure. Protest movements in Palestine usually start o as spontaneous uprisings but tend to get co-opted by political factions with the passage of time. For what is presumably a mix of self-interest and cost control, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, dominated by the secular Fatah, has ruled that the casualties of the Great March clashes will not come under the purview of a body called Institution of the Martyrs and the Wounded, making their families ineligible for monthly cash assistance.

However, other Palestinian factions have not shied away from using financial incentives to ensure wide participation in the protests. For instance, Hamas, Fatah’s Islamist rival, has been giving $500 to the family of each victim of Israeli shooting and $200 to each of the wounded. But Al-Issawi, who is unemployed, dismisses the idea that his participation in the protests is motivated by pecuniary advantage. “I will wait for my treatment to be completed so that I can go back to join my friends at the border until the siege is broken,” he told Arab News.

Al-Issawi’s denial is echoed by Youssef Barakat, who has injuries in his left leg. The 23-year-old Palestinian, who is single and lives with his family of 10, says he has not received any compensation since he suffered a gunshot wound while taking part in the Nakba Day demonstrations of May 14 in an area east of Gaza’s Al-Bureij refugee camp.

“We see no option of getting rid of the siege and the impoverishment,” Barakat says stoically, “other than by continuing to confront the enemy.” But more patients with bullet wounds would spell trouble for Gaza’s authorities when the existing caseload of injuries and trauma is already far larger than its network of hospitals, eld medical units and primary health-carecentres can handle. Suheir Zaqout, ICRC spokesperson in Gaza, told Arab News that although doctors in Gaza try their best to save lives and minimise loss of limbs, the waiting list of people seeking treatment for serious injuries keeps getting longer.
For his part, Munir Al-Bursh, who heads the Gaza health ministry’s pharmacy department, said gunshot injuries caused by Israeli snipers are complicated because of their severity. The snipers have killed about 170 people and wounded thousands more, according to reports. The survivors require a large number of surgeries, which tax the skills of even the best medical specialists in the territory, Al-Bursh told Arab News.

The low-intensity border conflict has left many residents of Gaza stuck between despair and hope. Many dream of leaving Gaza and starting life anew somewhere else. At age 24, Mahmoud Quzat has been left with permanent disability since being struck in his right leg by live rounds during protests in Shajaiya, a neighbourhood east of Gaza City, on August 3. “If I had the money, I would migrate to find a secure and stable place,” he told Arab News.

Anxiety and fear of being condemned to a life of unending tension or being reduced to just a statistic in a struggle that has de ed a lasting solution, that, too, in a region rife with brutal wars and humanitarian crises, has yet to dampen Palestinians’ determination to end the Israeli blockade.

Even as he contemplates a better future that looks elusive to most Gazans, Quzat expresses no remorse about his continued involvement in the weekly protests near the border fence. “What do we have to lose?” he says philosophically. “We have already lost half of our lives to 12 years of siege and division.

From :Arabnews


Sun, 09 Dec 2018 08:49:59 GMT
Bloody rivalry erupts between Al-Shabab and Daesh in Somalia bloody rivalry erupts between alshabab and daesh in somalia

A bloody rivalry has emerged between extremist groups in Somalia as the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab hunts upstart fighters allied to Daesh, who have begun demanding protection payments from major businesses, officials tell The Associated Press.

The rivalry supports some observers’ suspicions that Al-Shabab, now scrambling to defend its monopoly on the mafia-style extortion racket that funds its high-profile attacks, is drifting from its long-declared goal of establishing a strict Islamic state.

The manhunt began in October with the killing of a top leader of the Daesh-linked group by a suspected Al-Shabab death squad in the capital, Mogadishu, according to several Somali intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

When the body of Mahad Maalin, deputy leader of the Daesh-affiliated group, was found near a beach in Mogadishu, it set off a hunt for suspected Daesh sympathizers within Al-Shabab’s ranks, officials said. Maalin had been suspected of trying to extend his group’s reach into the capital.

Last month, the Daesh group’s Al-Naba newsletter noted deadly attacks on its fighters in Somalia and warned that “when the time of response comes from Daesh, with God’s will, we will be excused.”

The Daesh-affiliated group in Somalia, largely made up of Al-Shabab defectors, first announced its presence in 2016 with attacks in the far north, far from Mogadishu and most Al-Shabab strongholds. Though estimated at a few hundred fighters at most, their emergence in one of the world’s most unstable countries has been alarming enough that the US military began targeting it with airstrikes a year ago.

While Al-Shabab and its thousands of fighters have hunted down suspected Daesh sympathizers before, they had not taken the young group’s expansion seriously until now, observers say.

“Al-Shabab miscalculated Daesh’s organizational capability and ambitions to extend its reach beyond the north, having judged it by its handful of fighters there, and thus missed the bigger picture,” said Mohamed Sheikh Abdi, a Mogadishu-based political analyst.

The revelation by businessmen that Daesh-linked operatives had begun making extortion demands took A-Shabab’s leadership by surprise, prompting the manhunt that has led to assassinations and the detention of over 50 suspected Daesh-linked extremists, including foreign fighters, two Somali intelligence officials told AP. One suspected Daesh-linked fighter from Egypt was shot dead on Nov. 18 in Jilib.

As members of the Daesh flee shrinking strongholds in Iraq and Syria, fears have grown that the terrorists will find a new and welcome home in parts of Africa.

Alarmed by Al-Shabab’s deadly attacks, the Daesh-linked group has expanded its own assassination campaign. Daesh’s Amaq news agency, turning its attention to the young affiliate, has released videos showing what it called killings by the group’s death squad.

Daesh-linked fighters already had claimed responsibility for 50 assassinations in southern Somalia between October 2017 and August, often against federal government officials, according to a report released last month by the UN panel of experts monitoring sanctions on the country.
Source of funding

While extortion is the fighters’ latest tactic it is nothing new in Somalia, where Al-Shabab has long used death threats and other intimidation to pressure businesses to pay what is called “zakah,” or charity. The money is their main source of funding. “Indeed, Al-Shabab is likely generating a significant budgetary surplus,” the UN panel of experts said, noting that one of its checkpoints brought in about $10 million a year.

With no strong government to protect them, businessmen often say they have no choice but to pay in exchange for protection.

Among the companies targeted by suspected extremists is Somalia’s telecom giant, Hormuud, which intelligence officials say has lost up to 10 employees in attacks in recent weeks. Hormuud officials did not respond to requests for comment

Businesses worry that the rise of another extremist group seeking cash, as well as a new effort by Somalia’s central government to impose taxes, will bleed them dry.

“At this point, (businesses) are faced with two equally undesirable alternatives,” said Abdisamad Barre, a professor of business management in Mogadishu. “Rejection to the demands for extortion will pave way for attacks by Daesh, and paying them to evade danger will anger Al-Shabab.”

Somali intelligence officials say Al-Shabab’s new manhunt is aimed at preventing the Daesh-linked extremists from expanding their extortion demands into southern Somalia, where Al-Shabab levies millions of dollars in taxes per year on travelers and cargo meant for the lucrative port of Kismayo.

Another Al-Shabab tactic against its young rival is pressuring religious leaders to issue a fatwa, or edict, declaring Daesh “un-Islamic,” thus legitimizing a war against them, according to sources close to Al-Shabab who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Security experts, however, say Al-Shabab will find it difficult to unearth Daesh supporters even within its own ranks.

“That will be a major challenge,” one official said, noting that IS-linked loyalists could be waiting quietly even in Al-Shabab’s leadership to make a move. “But that will probably take a long time given Al-Shabab’s vigilance.”

From :Arabnews


Fri, 07 Dec 2018 13:06:59 GMT
Turkey targets ex-airforce staff over alleged coup links turkey targets exairforce staff over alleged coup links

Turkish police on Friday arrested dozens of military personnel in another round of nationwide raids against people with alleged links to the group blamed for the 2016 failed coup, state media reported.

Forty-one suspects had been detained by late Friday morning, according to state news agency Anadolu, after the Ankara public prosecutor ordered arrest warrants for 87 former non-commissioned officers in the Turkish airforce.

The police operations were launched in 16 provinces across the country including Ankara, Istanbul and the Aegean city of Izmir.

Turkish authorities have detained more than 50,000 people over the last two years as part of an investigation into followers of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, while nearly 130,000 public sector workers have been dismissed from their jobs.

In a separate series of raids, 40 police in Istanbul were detained after the public prosecutor issued 41 arrest warrants over alleged links to Gulen.
Ankara accuses Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, of ordering the failed overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gulen strongly denies the claims.

The latest detentions come after Turkishpolice detained nearly 140 people across the country on Tuesday over suspected links to Gulen after nearly 300 arrest warrants had been issued by different prosecutors.

Turkey refers to the movement as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation" but the group insists it is a peaceful organisation, promoting Islam and secular education.
Earlier this week, Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant for journalist Can Dundar as part of an investigation into protests in Istanbul in 2013 against President Tayyip Erdogan’s rule, state-run Anadolu agency said.

Prosecutors said he played an active role in the protests and provoked public unrest through social media.

They also said he supported members of a terrorist organization against the police, the news agency said.
It is not clear how the warrant can be served because Dundar has left the country.

Dundar, a former editor of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, was sentenced in 2016 to five years for publishing a video purporting to show Turkey’s intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria. He was released pending appeal and went abroad.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in 2013 to protest a plan to build a replica of an Ottoman barracks on Gezi Park in the center of the city. The protests turned into a direct challenge to Erdogan’s government.

“#HepmizGezideydik We feel proud,” Dundar wrote on his Twitter on Wednesday, sharing Anadolu’s story about his arrest warrant. The hashtag translates to: “We were all at Gezi.”
Two weeks ago 13 people were arrested as part of the Gezi investigation.

Erdogan says the protests were organized and financed by Osman Kavala, a businessman and rights activists. Kavala was detained more than a year ago in connection with the investigation.

He has not been charged over the protests and denies the claim against him.

The prosecutor also said Dundar was in contact with Kavala during the protests in a written arrest request to the court, Anadolu reported

Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern over the crackdown on journalists, academics, rights activists and criticized Erdogan for using it to muzzle dissent and increase his own power.

From :Arabnews


Fri, 07 Dec 2018 12:53:51 GMT
Migrant rescue ship Aquarius to end operations migrant rescue ship aquarius to end operations

Search and rescue ship Aquarius, which has saved tens of thousands of migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean, has ended its operations, the charity that runs the ship, Doctors without Borders (MSF), said on Thursday.

MSF and its partner SOS Mediterranee said they were forced to terminate its operations due to a “smear campaign” by European governments.
The ship has been blocked at the French port of Marseilles since it lost its Panamanian registration at the end of September.

The Aquarius was the last charity rescue ship operating off of Libya. Last year there were five groups running rescue ships.

“This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide dedicated search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives,” said Vickie Hawkins, head of MSF UK, in a statement.

“The end of Aquarius means more lives lost at sea; more avoidable deaths that will go unwitnessed and unrecorded. It really is a case of ‘out of sight out of mind’ for UK and European leaders as men, women and children perish,” she said.

Nearly 5,000 migrants died in 2016 while trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa and the Middle East to flee war and poverty, according to the UN agency International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The number of migrants reaching Italy has fallen sharply since last year as smuggling networks inside Libya, a key departure point for mainly sub-Saharan Africans, have been disrupted and the European Union has stepped up efforts to increase Libyan coast guard patrols.

Data by IOM showed that more than 2,000 people have drowned so far this year.

Italian magistrates in November accused MSF of illegally dumping toxic waste at ports in southern Italy and ordered Aquarius to be impounded.
The charity denied any wrongdoing and accused Italy of seeking to criminalize humanitarian search and rescue missions.

The public prosecutor’s office in Catania, Sicily, said it believed crew on the Aquarius, and its sister ship VOS Prudence, had illegally dumped potentially dangerous medical waste among ordinary rubbish between January 2017 and May 2018.

The Aquarius, which was launched in 2015, at the peak of the migrant crisis in Europe. (Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Jason Fields; . Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking and slavery, property rights, social innovation, resilience and climate change. Visit

From :Arabnews


Fri, 07 Dec 2018 12:44:37 GMT
All clear after bomb threat forces evacuation of CNN offices all clear after bomb threat forces evacuation of cnn offices

Police have given the all-clear after a phoned in bomb threat forced the evacuation of CNN's offices in New York.

Fire alarm bells rang inside the newsroom to signal an evacuation shortly after 10:30 pm, CNN said on its website, as the network went to pre-taped programing.

An hour later the network was broadcasting from Skype.

“People just tuning in wondering why you’re seeing me on Skype, why there’s such technical difficulties, it’s because we have been taken off the air because a bomb threat was called in to CNN,” said host Don Lemon.

“We were evacuated and we know as much as you do.”

“Due to a police investigation at Columbus Circle, West 58th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue is closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” the New York Police Department tweeted, referring to the address of the news organization’s offices. 

The bureau was previously evacuated in October after a package with an explosive device was discovered.

From :Arabnews


Fri, 07 Dec 2018 12:37:55 GMT
Houthi militia shell commercial center in Hodeidah houthi militia shell commercial center in hodeidah

As peace talks between Yemeni government representatives and a Houthi delegation began on Thursday in Sweden, local reports from Yemen said that a group of Houthi militias shelled a commercial center in Hodeidah.  

Local sources told Yemen’s official news agency Saba New that “the Houthi militia shelled the CityMax center with a mortar and artillery, which destroyed the center and burnt the building completely.”

“The commercial center contained commercial goods worth tens of billions of riyals,” the source said.

Local reports also claimed that Houthi militia targeted a number of civilian houses with mortars on Wednesday. The shells fell on a number of houses, causing total destruction and damage to other houses. One family was believed to haven been killed in the attack, however Arab News cannot independently conform this report.

Meanwhile, during the Stockholm peace talks, the warring parties agreed to a prisoner swap that will allow thousands of families to be reunited, United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths said.

The talks mark the first meeting between Yemen’s legitimate government and Houthi militants, backed by Iran, since 2016, when 106 days of negotiations yielded no breakthrough in a war that has pushed 14 million people to the brink of famine.

From :Arabnews

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 10:59:25 GMT
Erdogan says Turkey will hold Kanal Istanbul tender next year erdogan says turkey will hold kanal istanbul tender next year

Turkey will hold a tender for the construction of a 45-km shipping canal running parallel to the Bosphorus, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, despite a government freeze on new investments as it reins in spending.

“The Kanal Istanbul has been delayed too much. We will hold a tender for it in 2019 and start the process,” Erdogan told a meeting of his AK Party in Ankara.

Earlier this year, Erdogan had said his government would not consider news investments, casting doubt on the $16 billion plan.

From :Arabnews


Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:48:23 GMT
Pakistan military wants US to leave as a 'friend' pakistan military wants us to leave as a friend

In an unusual turn of events, the United States has not pushed Pakistan to “do more” for peace in Afghanistan.

Instead, on Thursday, it sought Islamabad’s support to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table to end the decades-old conflict.
“All countries in the region will benefit from peace in Afghanistan,” the US embassy said on Thursday, quoting the US-appointed special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad.

It added that Khalilzad had reiterated the sentiment during his visit to Islamabad from December 4-6.

Commenting on Khalilzad's visit to Islamabad, Pakistan military's spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday that "war has not been successful in Afghanistan as it has been in Pakistan” to eliminate terrorism. 

He stressed, that “political reconciliation must succeed” to bring peace in Afghanistan. 

“We wish United States leaves Afghanistan as a friend to the region [and] not as a failure”, Ghafoor, the Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, pointing to a catastrophic fallout that could follow and impact the country’s socio-economic sector -- a fate Afghanistan has endured after the Russian invasion. 

The US special envoy, along with his delegation, held meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua to discuss the way forward for the Afghan peace strategy.
“In his meetings, Ambassador Khalilzad stressed the United States’ commitment to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” the US embassy in Islamabad said in a statement.

The US hoped the political settlement in the war-ravaged country will ensure that “Afghanistan never again serve as a platform for international terrorism and ends the 40-years-long war in the country.”

Khalilzad’s visit came a day after US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to PM Khan seeking Islamabad’s “assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war.”

PM Khan on Thursday reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue its positive role in seeking a political settlement in Afghanistan to bring peace and stability in the region.
“We have been saying for the last 15 years that there is political solution of Afghan conflict, not the military...and a delegation led by Zalmay Khalilzad has accepted it,” the premier said while addressing a federal cabinet meeting here.

“Pakistan is playing its role for peace in Afghanistan,” he added.

Earlier, while addressing a weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson, Dr. Mohammad Faisal said that Pakistan was ready to extend its unconditional support to the US for peace in Afghanistan.

“All stakeholders agree on resolution of Afghan conflict through negotiations,” he said, adding that “peaceful solution of the conflict was discussed in detail with the US delegation led by Khalilzad.”

To a question about what Pakistan’s stand was regarding the suspension of a coalition fund by the US in January, the spokesperson said: “Talks with the US have resumed, so let’s see.”

Washington has been pushing Islamabad for long to play its role in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table for a peaceful end to the war.
The relations of both the allies, however, soured when President Trump accused Pakistan of providing a “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt” when he posted a series of tweets on January 1.

In a bid to end the frosty hiatus in diplomatic relations, Khalilzad held a series of meetings with the Pakistani leadership, in Islamabad, in October. The move was part of Washington’s renewed push to arrive at a political solution to the Afghan conflict with assistance from Pakistan.

Political and security analysts, however, view the change in US’ attitude toward Pakistan as a genuine move on part of Washington to resolve the Afghan conflict.
“The US is changing its tactics to seek meaningful cooperation from Pakistan as they think Pakistan can play a critical role for peace in Afghanistan,” General (retd.) Talat Masood, a security analyst, told Arab News.

“It is definite now that they (the US) can’t win (in Afghanistan). Taliban are gaining ground, casualties are reaching a point that they can’t sustain them anymore,” he said, adding that “Pakistan has quite a considerable influence over the Afghan Taliban … this is not possible that Taliban can survive with Pakistan also opposing them.”

Professor Tahir Malik, an international affairs analyst, saidthat Pakistan was always willing to play its role for peace in Afghanistan, provided “the US agrees to curtail the role of India in Kabul.”

“Pakistan wants to see a favorable government in Kabul, a government which doesn’t become compliant to India,” he told Arab News.
“If Washington addresses some genuine concerns of Islamabad, both can make a significant headway in bringing Taliban to the negotiating table,” he said.


From :Arabnews

Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:36:59 GMT
EU’s Barnier says UK future at stake in Brexit vote eu’s barnier says uk future at stake in brexit vote

The British parliament’s vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal will determine the future of the country, the chief EU Brexit negotiator said on Thursday, insisting that the deal was the only route to secure an orderly withdrawal from the EU.

“If there is no withdrawal treaty, there is no transition, no basis of confidence that we need with the British regarding the future relationship,” Michel Barnier told representatives from cities and regions in the European Union

Barnier told the gathering of the European Committee of the Regions that it was key now that the withdrawal treaty agreed between Brussels and London be ratified.

“Now is now the moment for everyone to bear their responsibilities. You know the British parliament will give its verdict on this text and on the future relationship in the coming days. It is a vote in which the future of their country is at stake.”

The British parliament is due to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal next Tuesday, with the odds looking stacked against May’s government winning that vote.

Many of May’s Conservatives are particularly skeptical about the fallback arrangement, or “backstop,” to guarantee that there is no return to a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, seen as essential to preserving peace.

Supporters of a clean break with the EU say the backstop could leave Britain forced to accept EU regulations indefinitely, or Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of Britain.

“This backstop,” said Barnier. “We will do everything we can to avoid using it.”

Barnier repeated his view that the Brexit deal that May wants the British parliament to back is the best Britain will get to arrange its orderly withdrawal from the EU.

“The agreement that is on the table — the withdrawal agreement and the agreement on the future relationship — are, in our view, the only and best possible to organize an orderly withdrawal,” he said.

From :Arabnews


Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:31:56 GMT
Art of Azerbaijan carpets fascinates South Koreans art of azerbaijan carpets fascinates south koreans

Artisan carpets woven across Azerbaijan are on display in South Korea’s capital, evoking the curiosity of many Korean visitors.

The “Carpets, Pearls of Azerbaijan” exhibition kicked off on Nov. 26 at a gallery in central Seoul.

The exhibition was a joint effort between Azeri Embassy and the Korea Foundation, a non-profit public diplomacy organization that promotes better understanding of the Far East country, as well as the Azerkhalcha Open Joint Stock Company, which oversees the production, development, sales, import and export of carpets within Azerbaijan.

It is the first exhibition of Azerbaijan carpets, which were added to the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010, in South Korea, which established diplomatic ties with the Muslim nation in 1992.

On display were 18 carpets woven by nine carpet-weaving schools in Baku, Karabakh, Gazakh, Guba, Ganja, Yerevan, Nakhchivan, Shirvan and Tabriz regions.

“The purpose of the exhibition is to introduce the rich and centuries-old Azerbaijani carpet-weaving tradition here, as most Koreans are not aware of the Eurasia country being a carpet-producing country,” Ramzi Teymurov, the Azerbaijani ambassador to South Korea, told Arab News.

“The display of Azerbaijani cultural heritage is a historically important event that will serve as a milestone in boosting cultural exchanges further between the two nations.”

Azerbaijan carpets typically feature a recurring set of images, including plants and abstract geometric forms.

“The delicacy and complexity of the patterns mean our carpets are heavier than most, and that makes them all the more precious and unique,” added Teymurov. “A single carpet can contain up to 5,000 threads per square decimeter.”

The event kicked off in commemoration of Azerbaijan’s Independence Day in October, which marked 100 years since the country’s establishment.
The president of the Korea Foundation, Lee Shi-hyung, echoed the sentiment, saying: “The foundation is very glad to have had the opportunity to introduce Azerbaijani art and culture, which the Korean public may be somewhat unfamiliar with.”

“The ancient art of carpet-weaving has survived and evolved to this present day, so this exhibition will be testimony of Azerbaijan’s artistic and cultural heritage,” he added.

Patterns, color and weaving techniques differ from region to region. For example, carpets made in Baku stand out through the inclusion of Buta, the symbol of fire in Azerbaijan’s Absheron region.

In the city of Ganja, carpets are produced for both trade and local use thanks to good sheep-breeding conditions in the region’s mountainous and foothill districts.
Carpets made in the Yerevan region, meanwhile, are woven out of camel, sheep and goat wool, dyed in several colors and embroidered with birds and animals that pertain to religious conviction.

“Azerbaijani carpets exemplify custom, tradition and national economic activity,” Kwon Jong-ok, an academic, told Arab News. “The patterns symbolize the country’s history and people’s beliefs, while also bringing artistic capabilities to life.”

“Many young Koreans seem to be taking a keen interest in these patterns, which resemble those used for tattoos,” he added. “A new type of cultural exchange that reconciles youth fashion here with ancient design from Azerbaijan seems to be taking place.”

“I’m simply fascinated by the intricate skills of Azerbaijani carpet-makers,” said Said Hwang Ye-eun, 22, a student of Sangmyung University in Seoul.

During a group tour, Lee Hye-won, 24, a student at the same university, said the exhibition has made her keen to visit Azerbaijan.

“I have little knowledge about the country, but after seeing these carpets, I am curious to getto know its culture,” Lee said.

The world’s first specialized carpet museum, formerly known as the State Museum of Azerbaijani Carpet and Applied Art, was opened in Baku in 1967.

The Seoul exhibition will be held until Dec. 19.


From :Arabnews

Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:43:39 GMT
Putin vows ‘support’ as Venezuela’s Maduro seeks financial aid putin vows ‘support’ as venezuela’s maduro seeks financial aid

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday voiced support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro as he visited Moscow seeking financial assistance for the socialist country’s collapsing economy.

Putin at a meeting at his residence outside Moscow told Maduro “we support your efforts to achieve mutual understanding in society and all your actions aimed at normalizing relations with the opposition.”

Putin added that “naturally we condemn any actions that are clearly terrorist in nature, any attempts to change the situation by force.”
Hit by low oil prices, mismanagement and the impact of US sanctions, Venezuela is in freefall and Maduro is seeking support from allies after winning a second presidential term this year.

Maduro, who took over following the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, has come under strong pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, which calls him a “dictator.”
While he won the May elections, most of the international community did not recognize the results. Formally, Maduro’s second mandate only begins in January next year.

Maduro told Putin he was sure their talks would bring “good news for cooperation between our countries and for the economies of our countries.”
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said ahead of the meeting that Maduro had traveled to Moscow specifically to ask Russia — itself the target of US sanctions — for financial assistance.

“The talks will focus on the help that the Venezuelan leadership needs,” Peskov told reporters, declining to be more specific on how much Russia could lend.

He said the economic situation in the Latin American country remained difficult but noted “signs of improving dynamics.”

Venezuela, which has been rocked by deadly protests and economic chaos, is counting on Russian support amid growing international isolation.
Food and medicine shortages have sparked an exodus of some two million people. The International Monetary Fund projects hyperinflation of 10 million percent next year.

After talks last year between Maduro and Putin, Russia, Venezuela’s major creditor, agreed to restructure $3.15 billion of debt from a loan taken out by Caracas in 2011 to finance the purchase of Russian arms.

Largely isolated from the international community, Maduro is now trying to shore up support from his allies.

He was visiting Moscow after hosting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Caracas.

Russia and Venezuela enjoy a long history of ties and Maduro’s predecessor Chavez, known for his passionate tirades against the United States, was a welcome guest at the Kremlin.

From :Arabnews


Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:35:32 GMT
Iran moves closer to adopting law against funding terrorism iran moves closer to adopting law against funding terrorism

Iran’s parliament approved a tweaked draft law against funding terrorism on Wednesday which officials hope will bring Tehran closer to global standards and help remove it from investment blacklists as it faces renewed US sanctions.

The official news agency IRNA said lawmakers had included amendments requested by a powerful clerical body, which must vet all legislation passed through parliament before it becomes actual law.

Supporters hope the legislation, once passed, will allow Iran to join an international convention against the funding of terrorism and comply with measures against money laundering set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Hard-liners in parliament have opposed parts of the legislation, saying it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the United States has classified as a terrorist group.

The Guardian Council clerical body had asked lawmakers to include clauses including a guarantee that the law would not clash with the constitution.
The Paris-based FATF said in October that Iran had until February to complete reforms that would bring it into line with global norms or face consequences.

Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment.

Many Western companies have already ceased cooperation with Iran after the United States pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran in May and reimposed sanctions.

From :Arabnews

Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:30:57 GMT
Vatican renews call for 2-state solution to Mideast conflict vatican renews call for 2state solution to mideast conflict

The Vatican expressed concern over the status of Jerusalem on Monday as Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held their first meeting since the United States stirred international anxiety by moving its embassy there.

The two embraced and kissed on the cheek as the pontiff welcomed Abbas to a library in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace for a private, 20-minute meeting.

“Particular attention was reserved for the status of Jerusalem, underlining the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the holy City for the three Abrahamic religions,” a Vatican statement said, referring to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

US President Donald Trump outraged the Arab world and the international community last year when he reversed decades of policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and put Washington’s embassy there. It was opened in May.

Palestinians, with broad international backing, want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, while Israel views the whole city its “united and eternal” capital.

The Vatican expressed concern last year at Trump’s move, saying the city’s “status quo” should be respected. Francis has called for all to honor UN resolutions on the city.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Abbas briefed the pope on “the implications of the US decision.”

As Abbas was leaving the library, he told the pope: “We are counting on you.” It was not clear what he was referring to

The Vatican backs a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with both sides agreeing on the status of Jerusalem as part of the peace process

o discussed efforts to reactivate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and hoped for “a renewed commitment on the part of the international community to meet the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.”

They also urged an end to “extremism and fundamentalism” in the Middle East, and called for reconciliation among Palestinian factions.

From :Arabnews


Tue, 04 Dec 2018 08:41:58 GMT
Egyptian court orders release of prominent blogger egyptian court orders release of prominent blogger

An Egyptian criminal court has ordered the conditional release of prominent blogger and journalist Wael Abbas, a judicial source said on Monday, rejecting an appeal by state security prosecutors to keep him in detention.

Abbas, an award-winning journalist and rights activist, was arrested in March on charges including involvement with an illegal organization and publishing false news.

The source said the precise conditions of his release were not yet known but could include him not being allowed to leave home without police permission, subjecting himself to police supervision and presenting himself every 45 days in court.

“The question is why was he arrested in the first place? He is a prisoner because of his opinions and he has lost seven months of his life,” his lawyer Gamal Eid said.

Eid said his client denied the charges presented by state security prosecutors.

Abbas first became known in activist circles after posting videos showing police brutality. One such video, published in 2006, caused such uproar that it prompted an investigation resulting in a rare conviction of two policemen.

From :Arabnews


Tue, 04 Dec 2018 08:27:28 GMT