Middle East & North Africa

Libya's UN-backed PM welcomes int'l calls to unite central bank

TRIPOLI, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The UN-backed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj on Tuesday welcomed international calls to unite the divided Central Bank of Libya.

"The Head of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord welcomes the calls of international parties, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, and the U.S. Embassy to Libya to unite the Central Bank of Libya, end the division, and convene the Bank's Board of Directors again to carry out its tasks that are defined by law," the UN-backed government said in a statement.

Syria's air defenses respond to Israeli missile strike in Homs province

DAMASCUS, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian air defenses responded to an Israeli missile strike in the central province of Homs on Tuesday evening, state TV reported.

The Israeli warplanes fired missiles from inside the Lebanese airspace, said the report, adding that a number of missiles were intercepted.

The missiles were targeting military positions, said the report, adding that the Syrian air defenses used big fire power to intercept the missiles.

G20 finance ministers agree on delivering roadmap in response to COVID-19

RIYADH, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors agreed Tuesday on delivering a roadmap in response to the novel coronavirus.

The ministers met on Tuesday through a virtual meeting following the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit held on March 26, a statement by the G20 Saudi secretariat said.

Israel renews administrative detention for female Palestinian journalist

31 Mar 2020; MEMO: Israeli authorities renewed on Sunday the administrative detention of the female Palestinian prisoner Bushra Al-Tawil, 27, from the occupied West Bank city of Al-Bireh, Quds Press reported.

According to the Prisoners’ Media Office, Quds Press said this was the second round of administrative detention for Al-Tawil and it has been renewed for four months.

Al-Tawil has spent several terms inside Israeli jails in 2011, 2014 and 2017.

Egypt billionaire threatens suicide if coronavirus curfew continues

31 Mar 2020; MEMO: Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has threatened to commit suicide if measures to combat the spread of coronavirus are not rescinded after two weeks.

In an interview with local television channel Al-Hadath, Sawiris said “let me tell you something, I will commit suicide if they extend the [curfew] period.”

China mulls sending medical convoy to Palestine

31 Mar 2020; MEMO: China is considering sending a medical convoy to Palestine, Chinese ambassador to the State of Palestine, Guo Wei, said yesterday, stressing that his country is doing its best to help the Palestinians overcome the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking to Palestine TV, the Chinese ambassador said that China is supporting the state of Palestine in its battle against the coronavirus.

UAE-backed militants in Aden steal medical aid sent by WHO

31 Mar 2020; MEMO: Militants loyal to the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Yemen are reported to have stormed into the southern port of Aden and stolen medical aid donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as part of a package to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic. A source in the Yemeni Ministry of Health said that gunmen stole nine ambulances provided by the WHO.

Saudi to raise oil exports to 10.6mn barrels per day despite coronavirus crisis

31 Mar 2020; MEMO: Saudi Arabia announced yesterday it will increase its crude oil exports starting from May, despite the coronavirus pandemic, a Saudi Arabia Energy Ministry official said yesterday.

This decision comes amid an escalating price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia after the coronavirus pandemic has lowered demand for oil all over the world.

Crude oil is at its lowest price since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991.

US presence in Iraq is illegal and people have the right to confront it

31 Mar 2020; MEMO: Mohammad Mohi, a spokesman for the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq (Kata’ib Hezbollah), has said that the US withdrawal from some of its military bases in Iraq is not real, and it is rather a “repositioning act after being subjected to strong blows from the Iraqi people’s factions.”

Mohi stressed that the Iraqi people have the right to confront US presence.

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