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July 26, 2018

Palestine elected as G-77’s presiding country, ambassador Riyad Mansour confirms

Palestine elected as G-77’s presiding country, ambassador Riyad Mansour confirms

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

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On Tuesday, Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s ambassador to the United Nations, confirmed Palestine would preside next year over the UN’s G-77 bloc of developing countries.

While speaking to The New York Times, Mansour said, “We will be negotiating on behalf of 135 countries”. Formed in 1964, Group of 77 now represents about 80% of the world population. Palestine is expected to take over presiding for 2019 in January. Currently, the presiding nation is Egypt.

Palestine is an observer non-member state of the UN. In 2012, Israel and its ally the United States opposed promoting Palestine to “observer” status, and in 2015 both countries also opposed allowing Palestine to fly their flag at the UN.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon criticised Palestine’s presiding, saying, “The goal of the Group of 77 originally was to facilitate the economic advancement of underdeveloped nations […] It is unfortunate that it will now become a platform for spreading lies and incitement. This will not promote the G-77’s goals, and encourages the Palestinians to not engage in negotiations for peace.”



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July 23, 2018

United States kills 14 civilians in Afghanistan airstrikes

Filed under: Afghanistan,Disputed,Middle East — admin @ 5:00 am

United States kills 14 civilians in Afghanistan airstrikes

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Monday, July 23, 2018

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July 22, 2018

Israeli Knesset passes ‘Jewish nation-state’ bill

Israeli Knesset passes ‘Jewish nation-state’ bill

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

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On Thursday, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed the “Jewish nation-state” bill granting Israel the status of “national home of the Jewish people”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel”.

The bill was passed at 3 AM with 62–55 majority. Two lawmakers abstained. The bill declared Hebrew as the only official language and demoted Arabic from national language to a “special status” language. Netanyahu said, “An absolute majority wants to ensure our state’s Jewish characters for generations to come.” Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein said this bill, which received just 51.66% votes in favour out of the full Knesset of 120, was “one of the most important laws ever to be passed by the Knesset”.

The Knesset began the voting on Wednesday. Previously, the bill had clauses declaring the state as a Jewish-only community as well as direction for judiciary courts to consider Jewish values over democratic values. Both of the clauses were challenged by the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the Attorney General. The latter clause about Jewish values for courts was dropped in May; the other clause was eventually dropped, and the final draft of the bill was approved on Monday. The bill was first introduced in 2011 by the right-wing Likud party.

The latest draft of the bill said the Hebrew calendar is to be the official calendar of the state. It also read, “Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established” and “the state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.” Israel is home to about 1.8 million Palestinians, who account for roughly 20% of the national population. The bill also declared Jerusalem, in its entirety, as the capital of Israel.

The bill received negative reception from a number of people. The Arab Joint List multi-party alliance called it “anti-democratic, colonialist, racist, and with clear characteristics of apartheid.” Calling it a “shameful night”, Meretz Party’s Tamar Zandberg said it was a “debased and tainted law”. The Joint List’s Ahmad Tibi questioned, “Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?”.

Last week, Netanyahu said, “We will keep ensuring civil rights in Israel’s democracy but the majority also has the rights and the majority decides”. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a US-based Jewish Organisation, said the bill “was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel ‘will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.’ Today Netanyahu’s government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent.”



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August 30, 2016

Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation \’Euphrates Shield\’

Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation ‘Euphrates Shield’

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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On Monday, special presidential envoy for the coalition against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Brett McGurk, urged for the “unacceptable” clashes between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Turkish troops, who are allied with theFree Syrian Army (FSA) to end.

Over the weekend Turkey targeted the PYD in Jeb el-Kussaa, near the border of Turkey in Northern Syria. Reports state at least 20 civilians died, and 50 were wounded due to Turkish air-strikes and artillery fire. On Sunday, another 15 civilians died, many of which are reported to be Kurdish civilians. So far, 35 civilians have died due to the operation, however on Monday, Turkey refuted this and claims only 25 Kurdish militants died in the strikes.

Turkish forces in allegiance with the (FSA) and backed by the U.S, launched operation “Euphrates Shield” on August 24, and quickly captured the ISIL held city of Jarabulus, where ISIL fighters seem to have fled without a fight. Approximately 40 Turkish tanks and 2,000 FSA troops entered Jarabulus via the Turkish border that day. In support of the operation, U.S. A-10 and F-16 warplanes also hit targets within Syria.

Turkish President, Recap Tayyip Erdogan said operation “Euphrates Shield” targets “terrorist groups” such as ISIL and the PYD, who Erdogan claims have been threatening and attacking Turkey from Syria. However analysts have said the operation is really to prevent the PYD, who had been marching towards Jarabulus, from gaining territory in Northern Syria and creating an independent state.

Ankara considers the PYD and its military wing (YPG) to be a faction of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who are regarded as enemies of the Turkish government for starting an insurgency within Turkey. Earlier this month, the YPG helped regain control of the formerly ISIL held city of Manjib, and have been deemed as one of the strongest U.S. backed forces in Syria.

On Thursday, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. sided with Turkey’s demands and asked the Kurdish troops to withdraw over the Euphrates River or risk losing U.S. support. Later that day, US State Secretary John Kerry said the Syrian Kurdistan forces had retreated east from Euphrates.

The Syrian regime condemned Turkey’s actions claiming their invasion violates Syria’s sovereignty and added that Turkey was merely “replacing one terrorist group with another.” Following a complaint from Syria to the United Nations (UN), a spokesman from Secretary General Stephane Dujarric de la Rivière, confirmed Turkey’s actions were considered an invasion.


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August 14, 2016

Turkey and Iran pledge to cooperate for Syria

Turkey and Iran pledge to cooperate for Syria

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

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Turkey‘s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Iran‘s career diplomat Javad Zarif have decided to join forces in resolving the civil war in Syria, regardless of being on opposite sides of the crisis.

File photo of Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, 2015.
Image: Mohammad Hassanzadeh.

Diplomat’s, Çavuşoğlu and Zarif have both pledged greater cooperation on the conflict in Syria at a joint news conference in Ankara on Friday. The coming together of these two neighbouring nations has come as a surprise to many as both Cavusoglu and Zarif have held opposing positions on Syria, with Iran supporting President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Turkey, backing his political departure. However, despite their differences on this matter, the two nations are prepared and are now willing to strengthen their relationship together, so that they can work together in fighting extremism in Syria and allow it to once again become a nation that is without threats and danger.

File photo of Javad Zarif, 2014.
Image: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres (flickr).

Since Turkeys failed coup just last month, Iran has been expressing great praise to the nation. Iran has supported Turkeys choice of defying the coup and not going ahead with force as was planned. Zarif has stated that he no longer supports the decisions of overthrows and that they hold no place in Iran. Since the failed coup attempt by Turkey on July 15, Zarif had not visited Turkey again until recently at the joint news conference in Ankara. This meeting between the Iranian and Turkish officials is said to be the first step in bringing forward a calm and tranquil Syria.

The union of Çavuşoğlu and Zarif in their mutual goal to bring Syria back into a positive strife, follows a similar agreement that was made between the Turkish government and Russia over Syria, directing thoughts that the Erdoğan government is radically rethinking their position on the Syrian Civil War conflict.

It has been stated by the Turkish foreign ministry that Javad Zarif will also be meeting with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.



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August 12, 2016

Syrian Arab Army counters Jaysh Al-Fateh with help of Russian air strikes in Aleppo

Syrian Arab Army counters Jaysh Al-Fateh with help of Russian air strikes in Aleppo

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Friday, August 12, 2016

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On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), backed by Hezbollah and the Russian Air Force (RuAF), went on the offensive after ten days of defense against jihadists, whom are mostly members of Jaysh Al-Fateh (the Army of Conquest), in Aleppo, Syria.

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This offensive allowed the SAA to regain full control over five building blocks in the 1070 residential area in Southern Aleppo. Field sources reported the SAA were also able to recover more territory near the military academy and the 1070 residential area.

Over the last week, 1,000 enemy combatants were killed in the battle in and around Aleppo, according to the Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy.

A member of the elite Tiger Forces, from the Syrian Armed Forces, told Al-Masdar News on Thursday morning, that the Syrian Armed Forces were engaged in intense combat with the Jaysh al-Fateh jihadists on the ground near the Al-Ramouseh District.

A large number of Jaysh al-Fateh casualties were inflicted after the SAA and their allies, launched their counter-attack on Jaysh-al Fateh militants in the south and west of Aleppo. A military source reported this counter attack caused the militants to lose forces, weapons and armored vehicles with attached machine guns and artillery, a long with suicide vehicles.

These developments occurred after the SAA, supported by air strikes and artillery fire from Hezbollah and Russian allies, opened heavy fire on Jaysh al-Fateh positions and gatherings in al-Ramouseh, al-Shorfa al-Moqla and al-Jabs Market in the Eastern parts of al-Rashedeen and the Southern parts of 1070 residential area.

On Wednesday, the Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff, Sergei Rudskoy, said about 7,000 armed jihadist militants had gathered on the south-western access points to the City of Aleppo, Syria. The militants have been garnering reinforcements by pulling their troops from the controlled areas in neighbouring regions of Idlib, Homs and Hama, Rudskoy continued.

Intense combat has been ongoing since the jihadist militants launched a series of attacks in Aleppo last weekend, in an attempt to reconnect an SAA besieged area in east Aleppo with the insurgent territory in the west.



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August 8, 2016

Turkish president shows suport for reintroduction of death penalty at cross-party anti-coup rally

Turkish president shows suport for reintroduction of death penalty at cross-party anti-coup rally

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Monday, August 8, 2016

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Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday told a crowd of at least a million people he would approve the re-instigation of the death penalty if the parliament voted for it.

File photo of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 2016.
Image: Cancillería del Ecuador.

Opposition leaders and religious figures joined Erdogan at the mass rally, in which the president blamed the coup on the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen and called for his network to be destroyed within the laws of Turkey. However the HDP party, which favors the Kurdish minority in Turkey and has been accused of connections to Kurdish terrorists, was not invited. Massive flags were held by cranes as crowds held banners of the Erdogan and Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The Turkish media reported five million people turned up to the rally, and the event was broadcast on large screens in all the provinces across Turkey.

Security was tight, 15,000 police guarded the rally where supporters had to pass through one of 165 metal detectors. Two helicopters circled the air over the rally and there were anti-aircraft batteries at the event. More than 200 boats and thousands of buses were payed for by the government in order to make attendance to the rally easier. The authorities also provided attenders with hats and flags, and the wounded and family of the dead were given special passes for seated areas.

This comes after a bloody coup attempt from a faction within Turkey’s army in which 270 people were killed after Erdogan called for unarmed civilians to fight back against the coup. Since the coup was put down tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs working for the government and nearly 18,000 people have been detained. Local branches of the ruling AKP party have been told remove of supporters of ex-Erdogan ally cleric Fethullah Gülen from their ranks. The response of the Turkish government to the coup has received international criticism from human rights organisations that have urged restraint on the part of Erdogan’s government; and politicians, with some like leader of the small German liberal party the free democrats comparing the coup to the burning down of the reichstag in 1933.

Turkish officials have said those criticising them do not understand the threat to the Turkish state and seemed to care more about the coup plotters than their dead victims.


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August 5, 2016

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai – Wikinews, the free news source

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai

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Friday, August 5, 2016

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On Wednesday, an Emirates Boeing 777 crash-landed in Dubai with 282 passengers and 18 crew on board, according to the airline. This resulted in the death of a firefighter, Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan, who died fighting the fire at the crash. The Director-General of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, Saif Al Suwaidi, praised Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan’s sacrifice in saving hundreds of passengers.

File photo of the aircraft involved, 2013.
Image: Aeroprints.com (flickr).

According to passenger accounts, the pilot announced an emergency landing minutes before the crash. Then the airliner, flight EK52, was engulfed in smoke at landing and soon after burst into flames. Passengers spoke of their fear.

The airport was shut down for four hours after the incident and all crew members and passengers on the flight from India were accounted for and safe, with fourteen reported hospitalised with minor injuries.

The cause of the crash has not been officially announced, however reports indicate the plane’s landing gear may not have deployed as the plane landed. An aviation safety consultant, in remarks to Australia’s ABC News, noted safely and efficiently evacuating all the passengers was a significant achievement, considering the size of the aircraft.

The airline said two people on the flight were Australian, eleven from the United Arab Emirates, 24 from the the UK, and 226 from India. The co-pilot of the crashed plane was an Australian with approximately 7,000 hours flying experience, according to Emirates chairman Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who also said the crash was not due to any fault in security.



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US president Barrack Obama questions US relationship with Russia at press conference

US president Barrack Obama questions US relationship with Russia at press conference

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Friday, August 5, 2016

During a Pentagon news conference, U.S. President Barack Obama has stated his doubts in regards to the U.S.’s new linking relationship with Russia and it’s aim to end the violence on Syria‘s ongoing civil war.

President Obama and his administration are planning to broaden their military forces and cooperation with Russia through this new allegience. The two Presidents have also decided to take part in intelligence sharing together. However, many U.S. defence officials fear that this trust should not be extended to Russia and have publicly expressed their concerns that Russia will only take advantage of the U.S. intelligence sharing and continue their support with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

President Obama has stated that the only way to determine Russia and President Putin‘s trust and loyalty to reducing the violence and focusing solely on the fight on the Islamic state group and other extremists, is by putting it to the test.



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August 4, 2016

United States air strikes hit 7 Islamic State militant targets in Libya.

United States air strikes hit 7 Islamic State militant targets in Libya.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

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On Monday and Tuesday, seven ISIL militant targets were struck in Sirte, Libya following the United States’ (U.S.) launch of warplanes and armed drones against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on August 1, 2016.

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Pentagon spokesman, Captain Jeff Davis, confirmed the targets which were struck in Sirte included: two T-72 tanks; military, construction and transport vehicles; a rocket launcher and an ISIL fighting position.

According to U.S. officials, Libyan militia fighters have been providing ISIL targets to American special operation forces, who are located on the ground near the ISIL stronghold in Sirte. These targets are then analysed and passed on to U.S. warplanes and drones flying overhead.

The air strikes are being conducted by Harrier jets which were deployed from the U.S. assault ship Wasp, located in the Mediterranean. The armed Reaper drones came from a base in Jordan.

This new Libyan operation, which the Pentagon has dubbed “Operation Odyssey Lightning,” also marks the first time coordinated armed drone missions from Jordan have been carried out by the U.S.

Ivan Molotkov, Moscow’s ambassador in Libya criticized the U.S. air strikes, claiming they “lack legal grounds,” as a required decision from the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council never occurred. The U.S. State Department rejected this claim.

U.S. President, Obama said the strikes are necessary in helping the U.N. backed government in Libya, to drive ISIL militants out of Sirte, who have had a stronghold on the region since July 2015.

Obama promised that the airstrikes will continue until ISIL no longer has a stronghold in Libya.


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