Greek Orthodox Church to challenge settler land sale

A controversial land sale in Jerusalem’s Old City between the Greek Orthodox Church and Israeli settlers, that angered Palestinians but was upheld by an Israeli court recently, will be challenged by the church. Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch for Jerusalem, Palestine and Jordan, said at a press conference in Amman on Saturday night that they “reject publicly and clearly” the Jerusalem District Court’s decision two weeks ago. The ruling reignited the anger of Palestinian Christians about the secretive sale of two famous hotels and surrounding buildings near the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, by the former Patriarch Irenios I in 2005, which led him being stripped of his role and demoted to monk. Read: Those who sell our property do […]

Yemen central bank complains to Saudi-led coalition about cash deliveries

Yemen’s central bank has complained to its allies in a Saudi-led military coalition about a lack of cash deliveries needed to pay salaries, in a sign of the government’s struggle to keep the war-torn country’s economy afloat. There are two opposing central banks in Yemen – an internationally recognised one in the southern city of Aden and another in the capital Sanaa in territory run by the government’s foes in the armed Houthi movement. Both suffer from depleted reserves but play a key role in mitigating widespread famine and disease, after two years of fighting, by paying some public sector salaries. But the Aden bank said in a statement late on Saturday that the Saudi-led coalition had not given landing […]

Turkey to focus on improving climate for investors

Turkey aims to cut red tape to boost investment in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said in an interview with Anadolu Agency. Among the innovations planned are one-stop contact points across Turkey’s provinces to provide better coordination for investors, the minister said. The government is focused on improving the investment climate to boost economic growth, he added. “Reducing bureaucracy is the main issue,” Akdag said Saturday. “We, as policymakers, will be more in the field.” A monitoring system will also be put in place to follow up on the benefits of policies to investors. Read: Turkey assures safety of German business investments In its latest Doing Business report, published last October, Turkey was ranked 69th globally for its beneficial investment environment […]

4 policemen killed in Daesh ambush in eastern Iraq

Four Iraqi policemen were killed in a Daesh ambush in eastern Iraq on Sunday, according to a local police officer. Daesh militants opened fire on a police patrol in eastern Diyala province and escaped unscathed, captain Habib al-Shemari told Anadolu Agency. Sunday’s attack came as Iraqi forces were preparing to launch an offensive to recapture the northwestern city of Tal Afar, which the terrorist group overran in 2014. Last month, Iraqi forces dislodged Daesh from their last stronghold in Mosul, once Iraq’s second largest city. Read: Iraq’s Kurds stick to independence vote despite US request to postpone it

Bahrain FM arrives in Iraq amid Gulf crisis

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa arrived Sunday in the Iraqi capital Baghdad for an unscheduled visit. He will meet Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi during his visit, a source with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorised to speak to media. The reason for the visit remains unclear. The visit comes amid a Gulf crisis after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic relations with Qatar. Read: Arab bloc won’t discriminate against US firms in Qatar rift The four countries accuse Qatar of meddling in their affairs and supporting terrorism, a claim denied by Doha. The four have imposed a sea, land and air embargo […]

Violence kills 11 in southern Yemen

At least 11 people were killed in deadly clashes between Houthi rebels and government forces in Yemen’s southern Shabwa province, according to a pro-government commander. Government forces repelled three attacks by Houthi rebels and allied forces in Asilan district in the province, triggering clashes in which eight rebels were killed and 11 others injured, Ahmad al-Musabi told Anadolu Agency. Three government forces were killed and nine others injured in the violence, he said. Houthi leaders could not be reached for comment. Read: Up to 50 teen migrants ‘deliberately drowned’ off Yemen Impoverished Yemen has remained in the throes of a bloody civil war since 2014, when the Shia Houthi group overran much of the country, including Sanaa, forcing President Abdrabbuh […]

Kuwait arrests 12 fugitives in terror case

Kuwaiti security forces on Saturday arrested 12 fugitives convicted of terrorism, according to the interior ministry. The ministry said in a statement that two more fugitives were being hunted down. The case dates back to August of 2015 when Kuwaiti security forces raided a farm in Al Abdali near Iraqi border, arresting a number of people in possession of weapons. Prosecutors had accused the suspects of plotting to carry out hostile acts in Kuwait. Kuwaiti authorities say that the cell belonged to an Iranian militant group which wanted to destabilise the oil-rich Gulf country. Iran denies the charges. Last month, Kuwait asked Iran to reduce the number of Iranian diplomats in its embassy and closed down the Iranian cultural mission […]

Arab bloc won’t discriminate against US firms in Qatar rift

Four Arab countries that imposed sanctions on Qatar have told the United States that US companies doing business with them would not be punished for also working with Doha, four sources with knowledge of the matter said. Foreign firms have become increasingly cautious on their cross border dealings over concerns they could fall foul of the region’s biggest diplomatic crisis in years. UAE Ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash said to Britain’s Guardian newspaper on June 28 that companies could be made to choose as part of a new round of sanctions on Qatar. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain sent a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in July reassuring him that US companies […]