Iran’s Former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad Writes Open Letter To Donald Trump On Visa Ban And Women

TEHRAN, IRAN, (AFP): Iran's ex-president Mahmud Ahmadinejad published Sunday an open letter to Donald Trump, welcoming his criticism of the US political system but taking issue with his visa ban and attitude to women. Many Iranians see the new US president as cut from the same cloth as Ahmadinejad, who shocked the establishment with his sudden rise to power in 2005, combining hardline rhetoric and populist economic policies to win a powerful following among Iran's lower classes. At times in..

Iran ready to give U.S. ‘slap in the face’: Commander

(REUTERS): The United States should expect a "strong slap in the face" if it underestimates Iran's defensive capabilities, a commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday, as Tehran concluded war games. Since taking office last month, U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table. "The enemy should not be mistaken in..

350,000 Children Trapped In West Mosul: Save The Children

LONDON, (AFP): Around 350,000 children are trapped in western Mosul, Save the Children warned on Sunday as Iraqi forces launched a fresh offensive on jihadists defending the strategic city. "Iraqi forces and their allies, including the US and UK, must do everything in their power to protect children and their families from harm, and avoid civilian buildings like schools and hospitals as they push deeper into the city," said the London-based charity's Iraq country director, Maurizio..

Iran urges Gulf states to ‘seize the opportunity’ of Rouhani visit

DUBAI, (REUTERS): A top Iranian official called on the Gulf Arab states on Tuesday to seize the opportunity of a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait to improve ties, warning that a chance like this would "pass like a cloud". Rouhani will visit Oman and Kuwait on Wednesday on his first visit to the Gulf states since taking power in 2013. The six Arab members of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of using sectarianism to interfere in..

Iran Bans Entry Of US Wrestlers

TEHRAN, (AP): Iran on Friday banned US wrestlers from participating in the Freestyle World Cup competition this month in response to President Donald Trump's executive order forbidding visas for Iranians, the official IRNA news agency reported. A senior Iranian cleric vowed, meanwhile, that his country would continue its missile programme, despite threats from the Trump administration that it was preparing to levy new sanctions. IRNA quoted Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Mr Bahram Ghasemi..

Donald Trump Puts Iran ‘On Notice,’ Denounces Nuclear Deal

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES, (AFP): President Donald Trump on Thursday said Iran was now formally "on notice" after a recent missile test, while also claiming the Islamic Republic was on the brink of collapse when it signed an international nuclear deal. "Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!" Trump tweeted, echoing similar comments by National Security Advisor Michael Flynn the day..

5 Iraqis, A Yemeni Barred From Cairo-New York Flight After Donald Trump’s Ban

CAIRO, (REUTERS): Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday after President Donald Trump halted the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, sources at Cairo airport said. The passengers, arriving in transit to Cairo airport, were stopped and re-directed to flights headed for their home countries despite holding valid visas, the sources said. Trump on Friday put a four-month hold on allowing refugees..

Saudi Court Drops Case Over Crane Collapse That Killed 111

CAIRO, (AFP): A Saudi court on Thursday dropped its case against 13 defendants who were on trial over a crane collapse in Mecca in September 2015 that killed 111 pilgrims. The Mecca Criminal Court said in its ruling that it has no jurisdiction to rule on the case, which opened last August. Fourteen people had initially gone on trial, accused of negligence, damaging public property and ignoring safety guidelines. The court did not mention the discrepancy in the number of defendants, and it was..

Dubai Toughens Laws To Minimise Tower Fire Incidents

DUBAI, (AFP): Dubai on Sunday announced tougher fire rules in a bid to minimise risks after several spectacular blazes that have ripped through skyscrapers in the modern Gulf emirate. Major fires have hit Dubai high-rises in recent years and spread quickly, mostly due to flammable material used in cladding, a covering or coating used on the side of the buildings. Civil Defence Lieutenant Taher Hassan al-Taher announced the new regulations at a security exhibition during which authorities also..

Nepal and Qatar sign Activation Plan of MoU on Migration

KATHMANDU: Nepal Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) of Qatar have signed the 11-point Activation Plan of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on migration amid a programme here Sunday. NHRC Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma and Qatar's Committee Chairperson Dr Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri signed the agreement, coinciding with the International Migrants Day. A 10-point bilateral MoU was signed on November 16th in 2015 in view of securing the welfare of the Nepalis..

Iran Summons UK Envoy Over ‘Divisive’ Theresa May Remarks To Gulf Arabs

DUBAI, (REUTERS): Iran summoned the British ambassador on Saturday to protest against remarks by Prime Minister Theresa May who accused Tehran of "aggressive regional actions" in a speech to a Gulf Arab summit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said the move was prompted by May's "irresponsible, provocative and divisive remarks" at the summit in Bahrain on Wednesday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported. May told the Gulf Arab leaders that "we must also work together to push..

Trump And The Middle East: Challenges To Regaining US Supremacy – Analysis

The Arab world, like other parts of the globe, was surprised with the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election and is still trying to figure out how to deal with President-elect Donald Trump. It was no secret that many Arab leaders had hoped for a Hillary Clinton victory, not necessarily because they hated Trump or his policies, but because they did not and still do not know much about him. For them Clinton was a known figure they dealt with for years as a First Lady, then as a Senator and..

A Twice-Divorced Saudi Mother Of 6 Reinterprets Islamic Law

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA, (AP): When Souad al-Shammary posted a series of tweets about the thick beards worn by Saudi clerics, she never imagined she would land in jail. She put up images of several men with beards: An Orthodox Jew, a hipster, a communist, an Ottoman Caliph, a Sikh, and a Muslim. She wrote that having a beard was not what made a man holy or a Muslim. And she pointed out that one of Islam's staunchest critics during the time of Prophet Muhammad had an even longer beard than..

Israel suspends ties with UNESCO

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced today that Israel is suspending all of its joint activities with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) after the organisation adopted a resolution that disregards the connection between Judaism and Al-Aqsa Mosque and casts doubt over the link between the religion and the Western Wall. In a message to UNESCO member states, Bennett said: “Your decision denies history and encourages terror. Those who..

Russia: Mending Turkey ties ‘not a matter of few days’

ANKARA: It would take more than a few days to mend Russia’s relations with Ankara, the Kremlin said on Tuesday after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expressed regret over the downing of a Russian military plane last year. Russian President Vladimir Putin had said an apology from Erdogan was the condition for repairing relations between the two countries, which were poisoned when the Russian jet was shot down near the Syrian-Turkish border in November. After writing to Putin to voice his..

Boeing says it signs historic sales agreement with Iran Air

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, (AP): Boeing Co. said Tuesday it signed an agreement with Iran Air "expressing the airline's intent" to buy its aircraft, setting up the biggest business deal between the Islamic Republic and America since the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran — if it goes through. Already, one Iranian official has said the deal could involve 100 aircraft while another has suggested Iranian airlines may purchase airplanes worth $25 billion from Chicago-based Boeing, welcome..

Israel to withhold bodies of Palestinians

TEL AVIV: Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday ordered the bodies of Palestinians killed by security forces not be returned for burial, as Israel clamped down after a deadly shooting in Tel Aviv. A spokesman for Lieberman confirmed the order, his first major decision related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the hardliner took office on May 30. Israeli officials argue funerals for attackers often turn into rallies that promote further violence. Palestinians and rights..

Gulf Economic Slowdown Sees Foreign Workers Trapped by Debts

By JON GAMBRELL, DOHA, Qatar, (AP): The economic slowdown gripping countries across the Persian Gulf can be seen in layoffs, slowed construction projects and government cutbacks. For the millions of foreign workers drawn by brighter job prospects, it can have a far-darker side if they find themselves deep in debt. Gulf countries like Qatar largely don't have bankruptcy laws, leaving laid-off workers on the hook for huge outstanding sums while often banned from traveling outside of the country...

EgyptAir crash: Perfect security elusive at Paris airport

PARIS, (AP): Explosives in the form of paper, or concealed in a medicine-sized bottle and looking like salt. Tiny electric detonators. Security agents at the main airport in Paris are trained to detect all manner of increasingly sophisticated devices that could doom a flight. But the chilling reality is that security is ultimately fallible. “The infinitely perfect does not exist,” said Sylvain Prevost, who trains airport personnel seeking the coveted red badge that allows them access to..

“Bachelor ban” in Qatar tests relations with migrant workers

Workers banned from parks, malls on certain days Foreign residents outnumber Qataris Labour unions concerned over workers’ rights 2010 law ruled it illegal for workers to live in “family areas” Government says trying to improve conditions AL KHOR, (REUTERS): As Nami Hader, a 30-year-old gardener from Nepal, approached the entrance to a park outside Qatar’s second city Al Khor one day last month, a security guard blocked his way. “No bachelors,” the guard said. The..

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