Report: Libyan coast guard shot at and boarded rescue ship

Libyan coast guards fired shots and boarded a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean today demanding that the refugees and migrants on board be handed over to them, a spokesman for the Mission Lifeline charity said. “The Libyan man said: ‘This is our territory’,” said Axel Steier, a spokesman for the German-based charity that performed its first rescues today. “After a while, they fired shots,” he said. No one was wounded. Afterward two Libyans boarded the ship to try to persuade them to hand over some 70 refugees and migrants they had just taken off a wooden boat in international waters. “We told them we don’t return migrants to Libya. After a while, they gave up,” Steier said. The two men […]

Settlers hurl rocks at Palestinian cars

Israeli settlers pelted rocks at Palestinian cars in the occupied district of Hebron today, while others levelled land near occupied Bethlehem in order to allegedly construct a sewage system servicing surrounding illegal settlements. Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that dozens of settlers, some of whom were armed, congregated on Road 60 near the Palestinian villages of Bani Naim and Yatta, outside the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, and pelted rocks and empty bottles at Palestinian vehicles. Wafa noted that several vehicles were damaged as a result but no one was hurt. In a separate incident, Wafa reported that Israeli settlers from the illegal Hitmar settlement levelled Palestinian-owned agricultural lands in the Bethlehem-area village of Al-Khader in the southern West Bank. […]

Saudi allows women to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia are now legally allowed to obtain driving licences following a decree issued by King Salman today. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that the King had issued the order after “we looked into what the negative consequences of not allowing women to drive, and the positive aspects of allowing them to do so, taking into consideration the application of the necessary Shari’ah regulations and compliance with them.” It added that the majority of scholars “do not see a reason why women should not be allowed to drive a car.” Read: British officials harbour doubts about Saudi-led investigations into alleged war crimes in Yemen The new ruling will take effect in June next year. Scores of women in […]

Kurds vote ‘yes’ to independence

Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani said today the “yes” vote had won in the independence referendum the KRG held in northern Iraq yesterday. In a televised address he called on Iraq’s central government in Baghdad to engage in “serious dialogue (…) instead of threatening” the KRG with sanctions. Iraq’s prime minister has ruled out holding talks on Kurdish independence. “We may face hardship but we will overcome,” Barzani said, calling on world powers “to respect the will of millions of people” who voted in the referendum. Read: Iraq deploys troops in areas disputed with Kurds The controversial vote has been met with uneasy by regional and global powers with Turkey and Iran both declaring their plans to close their borders […]

Half tonne Egyptian woman dies in UAE

The fattest woman in the world has died in a medical centre in the UAE. The Burjeel Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi announced the death of Egyptian Iman Abdullatif yesterday due to organ failure. “Iman was under the supervision of a medical team of more than 20 doctors from various disciplines who have successfully improved her health status since she arrived in the UAE but she succumbed to her fight against obesity and breathed her last breath early this morning.” Read: Egypt, UAE to build industrial zone at Suez Canal Abdullatif arrived in Abu Dhabi from Mumbai, India, on a private plane belonging to Egypt Air after a dispute between her family and the medical team tasked with taking care of […]

How Israel benefitted from terrorism

In September of every year, the attacks on New York and Washington and the wave of terror that the world witnessed after that date are brought back to the forefront of our minds. Israel was the only beneficiary from the 9/11 attacks. It is also the biggest beneficiary from the wave of terrorism that hits the world from time to time, as no one is as good as the Israelis when it comes to exploiting opportunities and events. On September 11 2001, when civilian planes hit New York and Washington in the United States, the Palestinians were getting ready to commemorate the first anniversary of the Al-Aqsa Intifada which broke out on 28 September 2000. They were also preparing to […]

Qatar reiterates support for Kuwait mediation in Gulf crisis

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has reiterated his country’s support for Kuwaiti efforts to resolve the dispute between Doha and a number of Arab countries. Speaking at a seminar organised by the French Institute for International Relations in Paris the minister said the blockade aims to “impose dictates on Doha and damage its economy”, however Qatar has diversified its economy and established one of the biggest ports in the Middle East. “What is happening is not boycotting, it is a siege. The aim of this crisis is to impose policies and dictates on Qatar because of its independent foreign policy, its success and its booming economy, which has aroused the resentment of some of its neighbours,” […]

Iraq demands troops in areas disputed with Kurdistan

The Iraqi parliament yesterday unanimously adopted a resolution demanding Prime Minister and General Commander of the Armed Forces Haider Al-Abadi to re-deploy federal forces in all areas disputed with Kurdistan including Kirkuk. The resolution also demands Parliament implement its earlier decision to remove Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim. Head of the Parliament’s Security and Defence Committee Hakim Al-Zamili told reporters that “the resolution stresses the unconstitutionality of the referendum in the Kurdish region and requires the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Haider Al-Abadi, to issue orders to the military forces to redeploy in the disputed areas, including Kirkuk, and maintain national ties with the Kurds as a key component.” Read: Turkey threatens to close Kurdish oil pipeline in response to referendum The […]

Israel settlers call for Palestinian prisoners’ families to be punished

A group of Israeli settlers are expected to establish a committee to pressure the government into enacting harsher punishments on the families of Palestinian prisoners, Ynet News reported yesterday. More than 40 Israeli families whose relatives were allegedly killed by Palestinians, believe that Palestinian resistance fighters and their families must face tougher sanctions, including denying them employment, increasing house demolitions and deportation. After meeting senior Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the settlers concluded that there was insufficient deterrence against Palestinian resistance fighters. “We as a society and as a government don’t do enough,” said Rian Ariel, a member of the committee. “We must increase deterrence, deny citizenship to terrorist families and carry out more house demolitions.” Read: Palestinians […]

Somalia’s first female pilot returns home

Somalia is celebrating the return of Africa’s first female pilot, Africa News reported. Asli Hassan Abade, 59, returned to her country of birth Somalia after spending two decades away. Abade left Somalia in 1970 to learn to fly in Italy, then moved to the United States where she married an aeroplane engineer. Having served in the Somali Air Force for ten years, Abade is back in Somalia permanently. Abade last visited Somali in 2011 to airdrop essential medical supplies to famine stricken patients in a children’s hospital in Mogadishu. Amid a civil war, weakened government and political tensions across federal states in Somalia, Abade provides a fresh perspective on success for women in the African continent.