Middle-east

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Former Egyptian presidential candidate detained at Cairo airport

Former Egyptian presidential candidate Khaled Ali was released on Tuesday after he was detained in Cairo Airport for 40 minutes, Egyptian human rights lawyer Gamal Eid said in a Twitter post. Earlier on Tuesday, several activists wrote on social media that Ali was held, along with a former senior member of an Egyptian opposition political party, upon their return from Tunisia where Ali was honored in a ceremony by a non-governmental civil society organisation for his anti-corruption efforts. The two activists’ brief detention was confirmed by an airport security source quoted by Anadolu Agency. “They will be asked some questions; this is a routine procedure” then they will be allowed to leave the airport free after the questioning is over, […]

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China sends troops to open first overseas military base in Djibouti

Ships carrying Chinese military personnel for Beijing’s first overseas military base, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, have left China to begin setting up the facility as China’s rapidly modernising military hones its global reach. Djibouti’s position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fuelled worries in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” of military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. China began construction of a logistics base in strategically located Djibouti last year that will resupply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular. This will be China’s first overseas naval base, although Beijing officially describes […]


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Free Syrian Army shoots down regime aircraft near ceasefire zone

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) announced yesterday that they downed a warplane that belongs to the Syrian army in the country’s southern province of Sweida. “Rebel groups shot down on Tuesday a Syrian regime aircraft in Sweida’s north-eastern desert village of Um Ramam,” media sources quoted the FSA’s Lions of the East Army faction. “We have no information on the pilot,” the sources added, noting that the FSA factions are currently looking for the aircraft’s pilot. On his part, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor has confirmed that the plane was dropped near a village on the administrative border between the provinces of Rural Damascus and Sweida. Since last Monday, Sweida has been experiencing fierce fighting between the FSA […]


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US to review remaining Middle East airlines under laptop ban

The US Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday it planned to review requests by three Middle Eastern airlines still under a laptop ban to have the restrictions lifted. The agency will assess airlines from Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt in coming weeks to see if they have introduced security measures to allow the ban to be removed at four airports, DHS spokesman David Lapan said. Saudi Arabian Airlines, also known as Saudia, said it expected the ban to be lifted on flights from Jeddah and Riyadh by July 19, while Royal Air Maroc believed it could get off the ban for flights out of Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport by 19 July. State-owned EgyptAir, which has also been covered […]


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US, Qatar sign agreement on combating terrorism financing

The United States and Qatar signed an agreement on Tuesday aimed at combating the financing of terrorism, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Doha to try to end a month-long rift between Western-allied Arab states. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar last month, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states’ arch-foe Iran, allegations Doha denies. Tillerson said the agreement signed with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, had been under discussion for weeks. “The agreement which we both have signed on behalf of our governments represents weeks of intensive discussions between experts and reinvigorates the spirit of the Riyadh summit,” Tillerson said at […]


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Saudi Arabia to introduce physical education for schoolgirls

Saudi public schools will begin offering physical education for girls in the coming academic year, the education ministry announced on Tuesday, in a long-awaited reform in the Islamic kingdom. Physical education for women is controversial in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives consider it immodest, and it is not mandatory. It has not been offered in most public schools. “Sports is empowerment,” said Lina Almaeena, a member of the advisory Shura Council who founded the kingdom’s first female sports club, basketball team Jeddah United. “It’s a historic announcement.” Saudi Arabia adheres to strict interpretations of Islamic law and tribal custom, requiring women to have male guardians and obey a modest dress code. They are barred from driving. However, the Saudi government has […]


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Qatar says more Turkish troops have arrived at military base

Qatar said on Tuesday more Turkish troops had arrived at a military base in Doha after Ankara fast-tracked legislation last month for more soldiers to be deployed there. Training has been ongoing since 19 June. The base in Qatar houses Turkish soldiers under an agreement signed in 2014. Ankara has backed Qatar after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut all economic and diplomatic ties this month, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, a charge it denies. “This defence cooperation between Doha and Ankara is part of their common defence vision to support anti terrorism efforts and maintain security and stability in the region,” a statement by Qatar’s Armed Forces said. The statement did not give the number […]


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US judge halts deportation of Iraqi immigrants

A US judge on Tuesday ruled that the government cannot immediately deport nearly 200 Iraqi immigrants arrested last month who argued they would face persecution if they were removed from the country. US District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Michigan said he had the authority to order the government to keep the Iraqis in the county while their deportation cases proceeded in immigration court. Many of 199 Iraqis detained – largely in the Detroit area and in Nashville – were Chaldean Catholics and Iraqi Kurds. Both groups say they could be targeted for attacks in Iraq because they are visible minorities. Those arrested by immigration authorities had outstanding deportation orders and many had been convicted of serious crimes, ranging from homicide […]


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US postpones decision on Sudan sanctions for three months

The United States on Tuesday postponed for three months a decision on whether to permanently lift certain sanctions on Sudan over its human rights record and other issues, the State Department said.
Former President Barack Obama lifted the sanctions fo…