Tag Archives: Middle East

Beirut Explosives Were Abandoned By Russian Owner

The Moscow Times reports: Nearly 3,000 tons of a highly explosive fertilizer that caused Tuesday’s devastating blast in Beirut came from a ship owned by a Russian businessman, the Mediazona news website reported Wednesday, citing Lebanese television and members of the ship’s crew. Lebanese authorities in 2014 confiscated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate from a Moldovan ship called the Rhosus, …

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Officials: Up To 300K Left Homeless In Beirut Explosion

Al Jazeera reports: Lebanese President Michel Aoun called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared following a massive explosion in Beirut that killed at least 100 people and injured 4,000 others. The explosion on Tuesday sent shockwaves across the city, causing widespread damage as far as the outskirts of the …

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Officials: Thousands Hurt, Dozens Dead In Beirut Blast

The BBC reports: A large blast in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has killed at least 50 people and injured more than 2,700 others, the health minister says. It is not yet clear what caused the explosion. Videos show smoke billowing from a fire before the blast, which is followed by a mushroom cloud. Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and …

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Massive Explosion Rocks Central Beirut [VIDEO]

The Guardian reports: A massive explosion has rocked central Beirut that shattered windows, knocked down doors and shook buildings several hundred feet away. The source of the blast, which appeared to occur around the Lebanese capital’s port, is unclear. An enormous cloud of smoke could be seen from across the city and witnesses said there were reports of a fire …

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Iran Issues Arrest Warrant For Trump Over Drone Strike

The Sydney Morning Herald reports: Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol to help detain US President Donald Trump and others it believes carried out a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly says. While Trump faces no danger of arrest, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the …

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Iraqi Leaders Call For Expelling Diplomats Over Rainbow Flag Flown By Embassies On Day Against Homophobia

UK-based Muslim news outlet 5 Pillars reports: The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has said homosexuality goes against “the noble morals of all divine religions” and that all missions in Iraq had to “adhere to the laws of the country,” after foreign embassies flew the rainbow LGBT flag in honour of the International Day Against Homophobia. The European Union, the World Bank …

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Saudi Arabia Abolishes Flogging As A Punishment

Agence France-Presse reports: Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment, the state human rights commission said Saturday, hailing a “major step forward” in the reform programme launched by the king and his powerful son. Court-ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia — sometimes extending to hundreds of lashes — have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups. But they say the …

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Netanyahu Averts Election With “Emergency” Coalition

Axios reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz signed a deal on Monday to form a “national emergency government,” ending more than a year of political deadlock in which Israel was forced to hold three elections. Facing corruption charges and protests, Netanyahu will remain in office as prime minister — just weeks after it seemed …

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Israel Heads For 4th Election After Coalition Bid Fails

NBC News reports: The deadline for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief political rival to form a government elapsed Wednesday, increasing the chances the nation will be headed toward an unprecedented fourth election in little over a year. Last-minute talks between Netanyahu and the Blue and White alliance’s leader Benny Gantz failed to form a coalition for Israel’s next government, …

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REPORT: 150 Saudi Royals Are Sick With Coronavirus

The New York Times reports: The senior Saudi prince who is governor of Riyadh [photo] is in intensive care with the coronavirus. Several dozen other members of the royal family have been sickened as well. And doctors at the elite hospital that treats Al-Saud clan members are preparing as many as 500 beds for an expected influx of other royals …

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IRAN: Seventh Member Of Govt Succumbs To Virus

The Middle East Eye reports: A recently elected Iranian member of parliament died on Saturday from the novel coronavirus, state news agency IRNA has reported. Fatemeh Rahbar, 55, was a conservative MP from the capital Tehran who was elected in last month’s general election. Her party won the most seats in a vote that was marred by the lowest turnout …

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Saudi Crown Prince Has Family Members Arrested

The New York Times reports: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has detained three members of the royal family, including a brother of the king and a former crown prince, a sign of how fully Crown Prince Mohammed has consolidated power, and that he may have seen a potential threat to it. The detentions were disclosed Friday by a member of …

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Iran Frees 54,000 Prisoners To Combat Virus In Jails

The BBC reports: Iran has temporarily released more than 54,000 prisoners in an effort to combat the spread of the new coronavirus disease in crowded jails. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told reporters that the inmates were granted furlough after testing negative for Covid-19 and posting bail. “Security prisoners” sentenced to more than five years will not be let out. The …

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IRAN: 200+ Virus Deaths, Schools And Mosques Closed

The BBC reports: At least 210 people in Iran have died as a result of the new coronavirus disease, sources in the country’s health system have told BBC Persian. Most of the victims are from the capital, Tehran, and the city of Qom, where cases of Covid-19 first emerged. The figure is six times higher than the official death toll …

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IRAN: 1979 Hostage Crisis Spox Contracts Coronavirus

The New York Post reports: Masoumeh Ebtekar, an Iranian vice president who is better known as the infamous “Screaming Mary” during the 1979 US hostage crisis, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to reports. Reports about her illness come two days after Iraj Harirchi, the official who was tasked with tackling the outbreak in Iran, also tested positive. He …

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Iranian Health Minister Takes Ill On Camera, Has Virus

The New York Times reports: Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, who has spearheaded the country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, has contracted the illness, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, renewing concerns about the spread of the virus in the country. In an interview with the state-run news outlet IRNA, a spokesman for the ministry said that Mr. Harirchi …

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Pope Rejects Trump’s Middle East Peace Proposal

Reuters reports: Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal. It was believed to be the first time the pope, who has often defended both Palestinian rights and Israel’s need for security, has …

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US Claims New Truce Agreement With The Taliban

The Associated Press reports: A senior U.S. official said Friday the United States and the Taliban have reached a truce agreement that will take effect “very soon” and could lead to withdrawals of American troops from Afghanistan. The official said the agreement for a seven-day “reduction in violence” to be followed by the start of all-Afghan peace talks within 10 …

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Pentagon: 100+ Brain Injuries From Iran Missile Strike

Reuters reports: The U.S. military is preparing to report a more than 50% jump in cases of traumatic brain injury stemming from Iran’s missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement, said there were over 100 cases of TBI, up from …

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Iranian Security Forces Fire On Protesters [VIDEO]

The Associated Press reports: Online videos appeared to show Iranian security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protests as popular anger swelled Monday over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian jetliner and Iran’s failed attempt to conceal its role in the tragedy. The unrest comes amid soaring tensions between Washington and Tehran that have raised fears of …

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