Middle-east

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Saudi cabinet approves GCC selective tax

The Saudi cabinet approved on Monday the selective tax agreement which was given the go-ahead by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) last year to be imposed uniformly across its six member states. The cabinet has also decided to delegate Finance Minister Mohammed Jadaan to set the date for the introduction of the tax in the kingdom, the SPA state news agency has reported. Last month, the ministry of finance suggested that the tax will be introduced in April. A selective tax of 100 per cent will be imposed on tobacco and its by-products, as well as high energy drinks. Ordinary soft drinks, meanwhile, will carry a 50 per cent tax. The GCC countries are introducing such taxes to boost government […]


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Cairo airport security scrutinised by US, British experts

Four aviation security experts from the US Department of Transportation (TSA) and a delegation from the British Department of Transport inspected security measures at Cairo International Airport yesterday, informed sources at the airport said.
The sour…


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Refugee claimants from US head to Canada

Canadian police said yesterday they had bolstered their presence at the Quebec border and that border authorities had created a temporary refugee centre to process a growing number of asylum seekers crossing from the United States. The Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, said at a news conference that it had converted an unused basement into a refugee claimant processing centre. Both the border agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reassigning staff from other locations in the province, as needed, to accommodate rising demand. The CBSA said the number of people making refugee claims at the Quebec-US border crossings more than doubled from 2015 to 2016. Last month, 452 people made claims in Quebec compared with 137 in […]


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France’s Le Pen cancels meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti

Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate for France’s far-right National Front party, cancelled a meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti today after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter. “You can pass on my respects to the Grand Mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” Le Pen told reporters. The press office for the Grand Mufti said that Le Pen’s aides had been informed beforehand of their requirement for her to wear head covering for the meeting. Le Pen has been visiting Lebanon as she seeks to bolster her presidential credentials. Opinion polls say Le Pen is likely to get the highest score in the first round of voting in April, but then lose to a mainstream candidate in the […]


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War on Daesh will be long, says US secretary of defence during surprise Iraq visit

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said on Monday that the war against Daesh will be long “[T]his is not a threat that’s going to go away overnight, so it’s going — we all recognize that it’s going to be a long-fought battle,” Mattis told reporters in a press conference that he held in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during a surprise visit to the country. Mattis praised the Iraqi army’s capabilities. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the US commander of the US-led anti-Daesh coalition in Iraq attended the press conference with Mattis. During the press conference, Townsend ruled out that the US military will be asked to leave the country soon after the battle to kick Daesh out of Mosul has […]


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Two rockets fired from Egypt’s Sinai explode in Israel’s south

Israeli sources said on Monday morning that two rockets were fired from the direction of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and hit Israel’s Eshkol Regional Council, located in southern Israel, to the east of the Gaza Strip. The Hebrew website 0404 reported that the rockets landed in an open area and did not cause injuries. The website cited sources in the Israeli army as saying that the warning sirens did not go off in the area in which the rockets exploded. 0404 added that the incident comes one day after Daesh announced that an Israeli drone killed four of its members in Sinai as they were preparing to launch rockets at Israel.


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Trump’s new National Security Advisor made his name in Iraq war

US President Donald Trump on Monday named Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster as his new national security adviser, choosing a military officer known for speaking his mind and challenging his superiors. McMaster is a highly regarded military tactician and strategic thinker, but his selection surprised some observers who wondered how the officer, whose Army career stalled at times for his questioning of authority, would deal with a White House that has not welcomed criticism. “He is highly respected by everybody in the military and we’re very honoured to have him,” Trump told reporters in West Palm Beach where he spent the weekend. “He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.” Congratulations to our new National Security Advisor, General H.R. […]


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Daesh linked group expands foothold in southern Syria

Daesh-linked Syrian militant groups on Monday launched a surprise attack on moderate opposition forces in southwestern Syria near the Golan Heights near where the Jordanian and de-facto Israeli borders converge, seizing several villages and a large town, opposition forces and witnesses said. Opposition forces said the militants were able to extend their area of control in territory that forms a natural barrier between Syria and Israel where the Yarmouk River flows after they overran the towns of Tseel, Sahem al Golan, Adwan and Tel Jamoua. “In a surprise attack Daesh made an attack on positions held by the Free Syrian Army FSA groups which no one expected to happen so fast,” said Colonel Ismail Ayoub, a Syrian opposition army defector. […]



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The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, no one can save Israel from itself

The President of the United States can hardly be taken seriously, saying much but doing little. His words, often offensive, carry no substance, and it is impossible to summarise his complex political outlook about important issues. This is precisely the type of American presidency that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers. However, Donald Trump is not just a raving man, but a dangerous one as well. His unpredictability must worry Israel, which expects from its American benefactors complete clarity and consistency in terms of its political support. At the age of 70, Trump is incapable of being the stalwart, pro-Zionist ideologue in a way that suits Israeli interests well. Take, for example, the White House press conference following the much anticipated visit […]