Middle East & North Africa

Arab League Welcomes Kuwait’s Efforts To “Heal Arab Rifts”

CAIRO, Dec 5 (NNN-MENA) – The Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, praised Kuwait’s efforts to “heal Arab rifts.”

In a statement, Aboul-Gheit said, he is following the current efforts and good offices of Kuwait, to “heal the Arab rift and eliminate causes of disagreement among a number of Arab countries.”

The Arab League chief stressed that, restoring confidence among Arab countries and removing the roots of the problems that led to disputes are the only ways to end the differences.

Israeli Forces Shot, Killed Palestinian Child Near Ramallah

RAMALLAH, Dec 5 (NNN-WAFA) – A 13-year-old Palestinian boy on Friday (yesterday), died of his wounds, sustained in clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank, medical sources said.

Ali Abu Alia was critically wounded in the abdomen, by an Israeli soldier’s gunfire and died several hours later in a hospital in Ramallah, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a press statement.

Jewish Settler Tries To Burn Gethsemane Church In Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, Dec 5 (NNN-WAFA) – A Jewish settler attempted today, to burn down the Gethsemane Church, in the Mount of Olives area, in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.

Witnesses reported that an illegal Jewish settler, sneaked into the premises of the church, before he was seen pouring some flammable liquid there.

The settler then tried to set some of the seats on fire but was thwarted by local Palestinian citizens, who handed him over to a police force that had just arrived at the scene.

U.S. considering blacklist for Yemen's Houthis - Oman foreign minister

DUBAI (Reuters) - Oman’s foreign minister said on Saturday the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East had discussed with his country the possibility of Washington designating Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement as a terrorist group.

“Yes, that was raised,” Sayyed Badr Al Busaidi told a Bahrain summit in response to a question on whether the potential blacklisting had been broached by David Schenker during a recent visit to Muscat.

Turkey in weekend lockdown as coronavirus cases hit record highs

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey has entered its first full weekend lockdown since May after coronavirus infections and deaths hit record highs in recent days.

The country of 83 million people on Friday recorded 32,736 new cases, including asymptomatic ones, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic in March.

The total death toll rose by 193 on Friday, touching a daily record level seen earlier this week, to 14,509.

Bahrain says it won't allow imports from Israeli settlements

DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahrain will not allow the import of Israeli goods produced in settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, state news agency BNA reported, disavowing comments made by the Gulf state’s trade minister earlier this week.

Bahrain’s Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani had voiced openness to settlement imports, adding that Manama would make no distinction between products produced in Israel or in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

Egyptian rights group head hopes release will help other prisoners

CAIRO (Reuters) - The head of a leading Egyptian human rights group who was held for two weeks on terrorism charges said on Saturday he hoped that the campaign to secure his release would help others still jailed on similar allegations.

Activists saw the detention last month of Gasser Abdel Razek, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), and two of the group’s other staff, as the latest escalation of a broad crackdown on political dissent under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Lebanon says to resort to int'l arbitration if border demarcation talks with Israel fail

BEIRUT, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that Lebanon does not mind resorting to international arbitration if the country fails to reach a fair agreement with Israel on maritime border demarcation, al-Akhbar local newspaper reported on Saturday.

The indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel started on Oct. 14.

The next round of indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel over the maritime border demarcation has been postponed following Israel's rejection of Lebanon's demands. 

UAE: Bahrain now 2nd nation to grant Pfizer shot emergency use

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The island kingdom of Bahrain said it has become the second nation in the world to grant an emergency-use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency made the announcement on Friday night, following an earlier announcement by the United Kingdom on Wednesday, making Britain the first in the world.

Kuwait votes for parliament amid economic, virus challenges

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait voted Saturday for its National Assembly, the first election since the death of its longtime ruling emir and as the oil-rich nation faces serious economic problems under the coronavirus pandemic.

This tiny country’s hundreds of thousands of voters selected lawmakers for 50 seats in the parliament, the freest and most-rambunctious assembly in the Gulf Arab countries. However, Kuwait’s parliament has tamped down on opposition to its ruling Al Sabah family since the 2011 Arab Spring protests that saw demonstrators storm the chamber.

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