Middle East & North Africa

UAE issues operating licence for first section of nuclear plant

18 Feb 2020; MEMO: The UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has issued an operating licence for the first section of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.

The permanent representative of the UAE to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hamad Al-Kaabi, said that the Board of Directors of FANR granted the licence to the Nawah Power Company in what is a “historic moment” for the UAE.

Israeli siege of Gaza pushes youth unemployment up to 70%

18 Feb 2020; MEMO: The Head of the Popular Committee against the Siege in the Gaza Strip said on Monday that the Israeli siege of the Palestinian territory has pushed the youth unemployment rate up to 70 per cent.

Jamal Al-Khudari, MP, pointed out in a media statement that the ongoing Israeli siege has entered its fourteenth year and resulted in the closure of dozens of factories, companies and workshops.

Polls In Israel Show Political Deadlock Might Continue After March Elections

JERUSALEM, Feb 18 (NNN-MA’AN) – Opinion polls, on Monday, showed that Israel’s political deadlock may continue, after the upcoming national elections.

A poll predicts the centrist Blue and White party, headed by Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival, Benny Gantz, will gain 36 seats. The Likud, Netanyahu’s right-wing party, is expected to gain 33 seats.

Libya faces financial crisis due to oil blockade: PM

TRIPOLI, Feb 17 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Libya will face a financial crisis and a budget deficit in 2020 because of a blockade of oil terminals and oil fields by groups loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar, the head of Libya’s internationally recognised government said.

The North African country’s oil output has fallen sharply since Jan 18 when the blockade started.

State-run National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Thursday crude output had dropped to 163,684 barrels per day.

Palestinians Seek Alternatives To U.S. 'Peace' Plan To Resolve Conflict With Israel

RAMALLAH, Palestine, Feb 18 (NNN-WAFA) – Palestinians are calling on the international community to help resolve their conflict with Israel, while rejecting the U.S. peace plan.

A senior Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) official, called for the establishment of an international assembly, based on rights and justice, so as to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Supports Lebanon In All Fields

BEIRUT, Feb 18 (NNN-XINHUA) – Iran’s Speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, said Monday that, his country is ready to help Lebanon in all fields, amid an absence of support by the international community, local Al Manar TV channel reported.

“We discussed today (yesterday), with Lebanese officials, the potential of offering support to Lebanon’s industry, economy and agriculture,” Larijani said, during a press conference held at the Iranian embassy in Lebanon.

Larijani added that, Lebanon can benefit from Iran’s expertise in the power, medical and educational sectors.

Syrian Army Completely Secures Aleppo City From Rebels

DAMASCUS, Feb 18 (NNN-SANA) – Following years of blind mortar shelling on its residential areas, Syrian northern city, Aleppo, becomes safe from shelling, after a wide-scale military operation.

After its liberation in 2016, the provincial capital of Aleppo remained subject to mortar shelling by the rebels in the western and northwestern countryside of Aleppo, which claimed the lives of many people.

'From bad to worse' - Dashed hopes may deter many Iranians from polls

DUBAI (Reuters) - Confrontation with America, economic hardship and an airline tragedy have battered Iranians’ confidence in their leaders, posing a potential problem for the authorities in a parliamentary election this week.

As the Feb. 21 vote nears, Iranians are in a gloomy mood, exhausted by a succession of crises that have helped to shred the hopes for a better life they harbored only four years ago.

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