middle east

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Qatar World Cup construction workers to get ‘cooling’ hats

“Cooling” hard hats are to be distributed to construction workers who are building football stadiums ahead of the World Cup games in Qatar. Scientists at Qatar University designed the solar-powered hard hats to improve conditions for 2022 World Cup labourers and reduce the risk of heat stroke and lower their body temperature during the summer heat. A fan in the top of the helmet blows air over a cold pack onto the person’s face reducing skin temperature by up to 10 degrees centigrade, said Saud Ghani, an engineering professor at Qatar University. “Our objective was to reduce heat stress and heat strokes for workers in Qatar and the region,” said Ghani. 5,100 Construction workers are building the stadiums Summer temperatures […]


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Israeli map erases prominent Palestinian village in Jerusalem

A new tourist map of Jerusalem’s Old City has erased the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan. The new publication is, however, believed to be a significant improvement from the old version of the map, which was heavily criticised for promoting an Israeli-settler narrative of the Old City and its environs and failed to locate important holy sites for Christian and Muslim visitors, including Al-Aqsa Mosque. Instead most of the labelled sites were of little interest to tourists, including yeshivas, or centres for the study of the Torah, and buildings managed by radical Jewish settler organisations. The new version recently released by Israel’s tourism ministry, enlarges some of the key holy sites that are a major attraction to millions visiting the city […]


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What’s behind John Kerry’s speech?

A eulogy for the two-state solution? Maybe – but Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Wednesday sounded suspiciously like yet another desperate attempt to sustain the so-called ‘peace process’. It is only possible to understand the Security Council resolution and Kerry’s speech, how to view them – their weaknesses, and the opportunities they represent – by beginning with a reality check about the two-decade old, US and internationally-led peace process. The peace process imposed a false symmetry on occupier and occupied, transforming coloniser and colonised into ‘two parties’ with mutual obligations and responsibilities. The peace process has also served to further immunise Israel from accountability for systematic and serial human rights abuse and international law violations. Attempts to secure justice […]


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What’s behind John Kerry’s speech?

A eulogy for the two-state solution? Maybe – but Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Wednesday sounded suspiciously like yet another desperate attempt to sustain the so-called ‘peace process’. It is only possible to understand the Security Council resolution and Kerry’s speech, how to view them – their weaknesses, and the opportunities they represent – by beginning with a reality check about the two-decade old, US and internationally-led peace process. The peace process imposed a false symmetry on occupier and occupied, transforming coloniser and colonised into ‘two parties’ with mutual obligations and responsibilities. The peace process has also served to further immunise Israel from accountability for systematic and serial human rights abuse and international law violations. Attempts to secure justice […]


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American imprisoned in Egypt hopes for her release

An American imprisoned in Egypt for nearly three years is hoping her custody may end soon. Aya Hijazi, 29, is a dual citizen of the United States and Egypt who returned to Egypt with her husband to start a foundation to help homeless children called Belady. However, under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s crackdown on civil society, Hijazi and her husband, Mohammad Hassanein, were arrested in 2014 along with six others on the accusation they were involved in child abuse and that the foundation was linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. However, Hijazi’s family’s optimism of her release grows as her case draws further international condemnation and the lack of evidence exposed. The case against Hijazi has been blasted by human […]


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Yemen launches major offensive in Shabwa province

The Yemeni army began a massive offensive yesterday to retake areas in Bayhan and Asilan districts in the southern province of Shabwa, as fighting continue in the mountainous region of Naham northeast of Sana’a continued. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led Arab Coalition intensified its attacks on Houthi positions and forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The head of relief work at the King Salman Relief Centre, Abdullah Ruwaili, told the Saudi Al-Hayat newspaper that the aid sent by Saudi Arabia to Yemen’s needy has been attacked by different parties, especially in Yemen’s north. “The centre faces difficulties in its work including security threats in conflict areas and the prevention of the delivery of aid by certain parties for political purposes,” […]


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Morocco gets $3 billion offer to purchase its sole oil refinery

Morocco’s only oil refiner, Samir, has received a $3 billion offer from an Italian law firm operating on behalf of an unnamed bidder, Reuters has reported. Samir’s management said however, that they would press ahead with plans to seek expressions of interest from other potential buyers. A company official, who declined to be named, told Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency that the offer exceeded the company’s value. A union official in Samir, Al-Hussein Al-Yamani, said that his union was “waiting for the court’s official announcement of liquidating the company and the beginning of submitting offers [for us to make an offer to] purchase it. We emphasise the need to guarantee our rights and privileges as employees in Samir.” Samir which is […]


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Russia opposes UNSC sanctions on Syria for chemical weapons use

Russia has again announced its firm objection to a UN Security Council resolution that sanctions the Syrian Assad regime and Daesh for their use of chemical weapons, Quds Press reported yesterday. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by state news as saying the resolution “is categorically unacceptable to us.” Ryabkov added: “We warn them against attempts to fan tensions in the UN Security Council.” He also accused France and Britain, who drafted the resolution, of renewing tension inside the UN Security Council, noting that their attempts to do this would not succeed. According to AP, which obtained a copy of the draft resolution, Britain and France would impose sanctions on a number of Syrian individuals, organisations and companies allegedly […]


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Iranian investments in Egyptian media likely to anger Saudi Arabia

The Egyptian authorities will allow Iranian investments in local media projects, it has been reported. The move is likely to put a further strain on relations between Cairo and Riyadh. The government is initiating moves for Iranian investments in a bid “to pressure Saudi Arabia and improve relations with Tehran,” according to The New Arab. Iranian funding will apparently be driven into anti-Saudi media projects and led by well-known media figures. Though the investments will not be used to generate hostility towards Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries that is likely to strain relations even more, they will be used to influence public opinion in accordance with government regulations. An Egyptian official met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif […]


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Russia, Turkey, Iran discuss dividing Syria into zones of influence

Russia, Turkey and Iran have been discussing a draft plan that would see Syria being divided into informal zones of regional influence, Reuters reported sources as saying. According to the deal, the Syrian regime led by President Bashar Al-Assad would remain in his post until the next presidential election in 2021 when he will be replaced with a less polarising candidate from his own Alawite minority. The sources said that “such a deal, which would allow regional autonomy within a federal structure controlled by Al-Assad’s Alawite sect, is in its infancy, subject to change and would need the buy-in of Al-Assad and the rebels and, eventually, the Gulf states and the United States”. Under the deal, Al-Assad’s power and control […]