• Foreign toll in Saudi hajj stampede

    01/Oct/2015 // 183 Viewers

    AFP | Iranian protesters outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran on September 27, 2015
    RIYADH (AFP) - 
    Saudi authorities have yet to provide a breakdown of the nationalities of the 769 Muslim pilgrims killed in the hajj stampede, but several countries have announced the deaths of their citizens.

    Here is the toll given by foreign officials and media so far:

    - Iran: 464 dead

    - Egypt: 75 dead, 94 missing

    - Nigeria: 64 dead, 244 missing

    - Mali: 60 dead

    - Indonesia: 57 dead, 78 missing

    - India: 45 dead

    - Pakistan: 40 dead, more than 60 missing

    - Niger: 22 dead

    - Cameroon: 20 dead

    - Ivory Coast: 14 dead, 77 missing

    - Chad: 11 dead

    - Algeria: 11 dead

    - Senegal: 10 dead

    - Morocco: 10 dead, 29 missing

    - Somalia: 8 dead (media reports)

    - Libya: 4 dead, 16 missing

    - Tanzania: 4 dead

    - Kenya: 3 dead

    - Tunisia: 2 dead

    - Burkina Faso: 1 dead

    - Burundi: 1 dead

    - Netherlands: 1 dead

    - Benin: unspecified number of deaths

    DailyGlobeWatch with  AFP


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  • Yemen loyalists retake coastal areas near key strait

    01/Oct/2015 // 183 Viewers

    ADEN (AFP) - 

    Yemeni loyalists retook coastal areas near the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait from Shiite rebels Thursday and were besieging a city further north, officials said.

    The troops, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, seized Bab al-Mandab and Dhubab in the southern province of Taez near the strait at the entrance to the Red Sea, loyalist military official Abedrabbo al-Mihwali told AFP.

    "We managed today to take back Bab al-Mandab and Dhubab with heavy fighting after having received reinforcements from Aden," Yemen's second city 150 kilometres (90 miles) to the south, he said.

    Up to 23 rebels and 15 loyalists died in the fighting, Mihwali said.

    President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his government returned to Aden last month following six months in exile, after loyalists regained control of the city and four other southern provinces from the rebels.

    The rebels still control the capital and northern provinces near the border with Saudi Arabia.

    Loyalists and coalition forces then pursued the rebels and their allies, soldiers who remain loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, north to the Red Sea port city of Mokha, he said.

    Fighting broke out Thursday afternoon as loyalists and coalition forces surrounded the city, he added.

    Loyalist military sources, including an officer, confirmed that the areas of Bab Al-Mandab and Dhubab had been retaken.

    "The Yemeni army and coalition forces are now seeking to retake Mokha and the rest of the Taez province to better secure Aden," another military source said.

    Last month, loyalist forces began a major ground offensive in the central Marib province east of the capital.

    Meanwhile, the Emirati army announced Thursday that one of its soldiers died in a German hospital after he was wounded in Yemen.

    He had been fighting in Marib, news agency WAM quoted the army as saying.

    So far, the United Arab Emirates have lost 62 soldiers fighting as part of the coalition, including 53 who died after a single missile attack in Marib early last month.

    ? 2015 AFP


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  • France opens probe into Assad regime for crimes against humanity

    01/Oct/2015 // 184 Viewers

     SANA, HO, AFP | A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on April 17, 2015 shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an interview in Damascus

    France has launched a probe into Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime for alleged crimes against humanity, a judicial source said Wednesday, after world powers sparred at the United Nations over the embattled leader's fate.

    Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry on September 15 into alleged crimes committed by the Syrian government between 2011 and 2013, the source told AFP.

    The French investigation is largely based on evidence from a former Syrian army photographer known by the codename "Caesar," who defected and fled the country in 2013, bringing with him some 55,000 graphic photographs.

    Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France had a "responsibility" to take action.

    "Faced with these crimes that offend the human conscience, this bureaucracy of horror, faced with this denial of the values of humanity, it is our responsibility to act against the impunity of the assassins," Fabius said in a statement sent to AFP.

    While Assad is unlikely to ever take the stand in a French court, the inquiry could add to political pressure on the Syrian leader in the midst of a diplomatic row between the West and Russia and Iran over his fate.

    The Syrian conflict has taken centre stage at the UN General Assembly, where US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have clashed over how to bring an end to Syria's civil war.

    'Assad's secret killings'

    On Tuesday, Obama said removing Assad was a vital step to defeating Islamic State jihadists, who have taken advantage of the chaos in Syria to bring large parts of the country and neighbouring Iraq under its rule.

    Syria's four-year war has killed more than 240,000 people and Western diplomats have accused Damascus of killing more Syrians than IS by dropping barrel bombs – charges the government denies.

    The brutal conflict has also displaced millions of people, a key driver behind Europe's refugee crisis.

    The photographs that Caesar brought out of Syria show people with their eyes gouged out, emaciated bodies, people with wounds on the back or stomach, and also a picture of hundreds of corpses lying in a shed surrounded by plastic bags used for burials.

    Entitled "Assad's secret killings," the dossier is being used by international bodies including the UN as part of an investigation into the regime's role in "mass torture".

    The Syrian government has branded the report "political".

    These "thousands of unbearable photos, authenticated by many experts, which show corpses tortured and starved to death in the prisons of the regime, demonstrate the systematic cruelty of the Assad regime," Fabius told AFP.

    The inquiry will be led by France's war crimes body but Fabius also called on the UN and particularly its International Commission of Inquiry on Syria to press on with their investigations.

    (AFP)


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  • 'TRUMP's Muslim travel ban not anti-Islam' - UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh bin Zayed al-Nayan, tells Muslim world

    02/Feb/2017 // 3293 Viewers

    Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister

    US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations is not anti-Islam, the United Arab Emirates foreign minister said on Wednesday.

    Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, whose country like neighbouring Saudi Arabia is a close ally of Washington, said it was “wrong to say” that the decision by the new US administration was “directed against a particular religion”.

    “The United States has made… a sovereign decision,” he said at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, pointing out that it was “provisional” and did not apply to “the large majority” of the world’s Muslims.

    In his defence of the ban which has stirred widespread protests across the globe, Sheikh Abdullah also said that some of the countries on the blacklist had “structural challenges” on the security front that they still had to overcome.
    Trump’s controversial executive order on Friday singled out citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to prevent “radical Islamic terrorists” from entering the United States.

    But the 90-day ban, which could still extend to other states, has exempted Muslim-majority nations associated with major attacks in the West.

    Out of the 19 hijackers of planes used in the September 11, 2011 attacks on the Unites States, 15 came from Saudi Arabia, also the birthplace of Al-Qaeda founder and attack mastermind Osama bin Laden.

    The other four included the Egyptian plot leader, two Emiratis and a Lebanese.


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  • Iran must dictate might to US in Persian Gulf - Leader

    02/May/2016 // 236 Viewers

     

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran must show off its military power to the US in the Persian Gulf waters.

    “The Persian Gulf coast and much of the coasts of the Sea of Oman belong to this powerful [Iranian] nation, therefore we have to be present in this region, [stage] maneuvers and show off our power,” the Leader said on Monday addressing a group of teachers.

    Ayatollah Khamenei rebuffed the US government’s demands that Iran should not hold military drills in the Persian Gulf.

    “It is the Americans who should explain why they have come here from that corner of the world to mount exercises,” the Leader said.
    “This is how bullying powers must be countered,” added Ayatollah Khamenei.

    The Leader noted that the enemy will have to “back down” in the face of the strength of the Iranian nation.

    “But when we hesitate and refrain from showing off the principles and elements of our power to the enemy or if we are scared, the enemy will grow brazen,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.
    The Leader also said some governments in the Middle East are implementing the US schemes for the region without getting any quid pro quo.

    Ayatollah Khamenei said the US, Zionist capitalists and some arrogant governments are the manifestation of “international system of dominance” that is seeking to sway the future generations of countries in its own favor. - Press TV


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  • Palestinian killed after knife attack on Israeli soldier

    02/Nov/2015 // 232 Viewers

    A Palestinian attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a border crossing in the northern West Bank on Monday and was shot dead by the army, Israeli police said.

    A second Palestinian, allegedly an accomplice, was arrested, according to police.

    The attempted attack took place on the Palestinian side of a crossing between Israel and the occupied West Bank, Israel's defence ministry said.

    Nine Israelis, 69 Palestinians -- around half of them alleged attackers -- and an Arab Israeli have been killed in a wave of violence since the beginning of October, raising fears of another Palestinian intifada or uprising.

    (AFP)


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  • US-backed Syrian rebels launch offensive against IS group

    02/Nov/2015 // 329 Viewers

    A newly formed U.S.-backed Syrian rebel alliance on Saturday launched an offensive against Islamic State in the northeast province of Hasaka, a day after the United States said it would send special forces to advise insurgents fighting the jihadists.

    It was the first declared operation by the Democratic Forces of Syria, which joins together a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia and several Syrian Arab rebel groups, since it announced its formation earlier this month.

    World powers and regional rivals are convening in Vienna to seek a solution to thewww.france24.com/en/tag/syria/four-year conflict in Syria that has escalated since Russia intervened a month ago with an intense air campaign.

    Fighting in Hasaka had begun after midnight, a spokesman for the alliance said. A group monitoring the war reported fighting and coalition air strikes in the area.
    A video posted earlier on Youtube announced the offensive in southern Hasaka, and showed several dozen men in fatigues standing outdoors with yellow flags and banners carrying the name of the Democratic Forces of Syria in Arabic and Kurdish.
    The campaign would "continue until all occupied areas in Hasaka are freed from Daesh," a spokesman for the alliance’s general command said in the video, using an Arabic name for IS. He urged residents to stay away from IS-controlled areas of Hasaka.

    Another spokesman later said alliance forces had already attacked Islamic State fighters.

    "The battle began after midnight," Talal Salu told Reuters via internet messaging service. "They were flanked by our forces... (who) thwarted a counter attack."

    United States’ support

    The United States’ decision to station ground troops in Syria comes after it dropped ammunition to rebel groups in northern Syria several weeks ago.

    Washington’s strategy in Syria has shifted from trying to train fighters outside the country to supplying groups headed by U.S.-vetted commanders.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors developments on the ground, said fighting was raging on Saturday near al Hawl, a town close to the Iraqi border, accompanied by coalition air strikes.

    Hasaka province borders Iraq and territory there that is a crucial stronghold for Islamic State.

    One member of alliance, the Kurdish YPG has to date proved Washington’s most effective partner on the ground against IS in Syria. It had pushed towards the border in previous fighting this year.

    The Raqqa Revolutionaries Front, one of the Arab groups in the allliance, on Thursday declared an imminent offensive against Islamic State in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa province, which borders Hasaka.

    (REUTERS)


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  • More than 500 children killed since start of Yemen conflict: UN

    02/Oct/2015 // 243 Viewers

     AFP | A Yemeni boy stands next to a damaged building in the southern city of Aden, on September 27, 2015

     

    GENEVA (AFP) - 

    More than 500 children have been killed since the upsurge in violence in Yemen in March, while some 1.7 million youths are at risk of malnutrition, the United Nations said Friday.

    During the six months since Saudi-led airstrikes targeting Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels began in March to defend embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, at least 505 children have died and 702 have been injured, said Christophe Boulierac, spokesman for the UN children's agency.

    "These are conservative figures," he told reporters in Geneva.

    He said the children were being killed in the bombing campaigns but also amid street fighting.

    "The situation for children is deteriorating every single day, and it is horrific," Boulierac said, urging all parties with influence to bring an urgent end to the violence.

    He also lamented a sharp increase in the recruitment of children as fighters in the war-ravaged country, with 606 verified cases so far this year.

    That is four times the 156 cases verified in 2014, he said.

    "Children in Yemen are being used by armed groups, manning checkpoints or carrying arms," he said, adding that "the recruitment is happening on both sides."

    In the impoverished country, where 80 percent of the population is under 18, some 10 million children are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, Boulierac said.

    The dire humanitarian situation, along with underfunding of aid organisations and difficulty accessing those in need could prove deadlier for Yemen's children and the violence, he warned.

    "We know that more children (could) die from preventable disease than from bullets and bombs," he said.

    The nutrition situation, which already before the conflict was dire in Yemen, has meanwhile worsened significantly, he said, pointing out that 1.7 million children were at risk of malnutrition.

    The number of children under five at risk of severe acute malnutrition has tripled this year to 537,000, up from 160,000 before the conflict, Boulierac warned.

    The United Nations says at least 2,355 civilians have been killed in Yemen's conflict since late March, and another 4,862 injured, Colville said.

    Some 1.4 million people have meanwhile been forced to flee their homes.

    Meanwhile, a European-backed resolution calling for a UN investigation into rights abuses committed during the conflict was withdrawn this week due to pressure from Saudi Arabia.

    The Dutch-drafted UN rights council proposal had called for a full inquiry into violations in Yemen since September 2014.

    Saudi Arabia, which was totally opposed so such a probe, introduced its own watered-down proposal on Yemen, which instead supported a domestic probe.

    After securing the support of the US and Britain, the Saudi resolution was adopted by the UN's top rights body on Friday by consensus.

    DailyGlobeWatch with AFP


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  • Saudi Arabia shocks the world, drops the Islamic calendar for Western Christian Calendar

    02/Oct/2016 // 11601 Viewers

     

    As part of austerity measure, Saudi Arabia on Sunday announced that it was adopting the Gregorian or Western calendar as a basis for paying civil servants.

    The kingdom had adopted the lunar Islamic calendar when it was founded in 1932.

    The new development brings the birthplace of Islam in line with many of its energy customers.

    The Islamic lunar calendar is actually 11 days shorter than the 365-day solar year, which will actually save the kingdom money by cutting salary days for many public servants.

    It is part of a larger series of cost-cutting measures recently imposed that includes cancelling some bonuses offered to state employees and hiking fees for entry visas for foreign visitors and residents.

    Millions of Muslims from around the globe visit Saudi Arabia annually as part of the hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites.

    Saudi King Salman has also ordered a 20-percent cut in salaries for civil servants and a 15-percent reduction in financial perks for the kingdom’s advisory Shura council as part of far-reaching economic reforms.

    The world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has seen decreasing revenues since oil prices have been in decline since 2014 as OPEC nations maintain robust output amidst static demand.


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  • India-UAE bound Emirates' passenger plane crash-landed @ Dubai Int. Airport [See photo]

    03/Aug/2016 // 3929 Viewers

     

    PARIS, AUGUST 3, 2016: (DGW) Reports coming in from the United Arab Emirates say an Indian-Dubai bound Emirates' passenger plane has crash-landed at the ever busy Dubai International Airport.

    Confirming the incident, the Dubai Media Office wrote on their website that, '' “Emirate can confirm that an incident at Dubai International Airport on August 3, 2016 at about 12;45 local time.”

    Meanwhile, all departure flights have been suspended until further notice.

     It, however, did not state if there were casualties following the incident as of the time of filing this report.






     


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