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Monday, December 09, 2019

Hamas says three members shot dead at Palestinian camp in Le

Three members of Hamas died Sunday when shooting erupted at the funeral procession for a member of the Islamist movement in a south Lebanon Palestinian refugee camp, the group said. Hamas official Raafat al-Murra said militants from the rival Fatah movement "shot at the funeral procession" of a Palestinian killed in a blast Friday at the Burj al-Shemali camp, outside the port city of Tyre. Six people were wounded, he added. Hamas and Fatah, the secular party led by Mahmoud Abbas, have been at odds since 2007 when the Islamists seized Gaza after a week of deadly clashes. One camp resident told ...

UK raises Covid alert level due to Omicron surge

The UK on Sunday raised its Covid Alert Level due to the "rapid increase" in cases of the Omicron variant, as the government announced new measures to control its spread. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, under pressure because of claims he and staff flouted Covid restrictions last Christmas, was due to make an address to the nation at 2000 GMT. He is expected to talk about the country's booster programme. The decision to increase the five-stage public health risk assessment from level three to four comes after a further 1,239 confirmed cases of the variant were recorded on Sunday. That brings the...

Melbourne LGBTQ film fest accused of 'pinkwashing' Israel

Pro-Palestine activists protested against the Melbourne Queer Film Festival's (MQFF) decision on Friday to go ahead with the screening of the Israeli film 'The Swimmer', despite calls for its removal from the festival's programme. Activists accused the film of "pinkwashing" Israel's image by promoting the Jewish state as queer-friendly, while portraying Palestinians as "intolerant" to distract attention from Israel's human rights record and its occupation of Palestinian land. MQFF, who queer BDS activists also say have not promoted "one film from the Arabic-speaking world", said The Swimmer wo...

Thousands protest dried-up river in Iran's Isfahan: state TV

Thousands of protesters converged on Isfahan in central Iran on Friday to voice their anger after the city's lifeblood river dried up due to drought and diversion, state television said. The massive protest, that drew in farmers and other people from across Isfahan province, was the biggest since demonstrations over the water crisis started on November 9. "Thousands of people from Isfahan, farmers from the east and west of the province, have gathered in the dry Zayandeh Rood riverbed with one key demand: let the river run," a state television journalist in Isfahan reported, broadcasting live i...

50 migrant workers died in Qatar in 2020: report

Fifty migrant workers died in Qatar last year and over 500 were seriously injured, the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) said Friday, as the Gulf nation readies for the 2022 World Cup. The report comes amid criticism of working conditions for hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers -- including those who built the stadiums for the World Cup. The ILO report, entitled "One is too many", said that the top cause of fatalities were falls -- with most happening at the workplace. Qatar, which has made a series of labour reforms since being selected to host the football tournament, welco...

The Sacred Journey: Exhibiting the Ottoman Hajj route

Hajj, the last of the five pillars of Islam, is a sacred pilgrimage that Muslims around the world perform. It takes place during the 12th month of the Islamic Calendar (Dhul-Hijjah) at one of the holiest sites in Islam, Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Hajjis a spiritual journey that Muslims believe that God has commanded for every believer so long as they are physically, financially, and emotionally able. Thus, understanding hajj, its tenets as performed by early Muslims, and its history is an exciting learning process for adherents of the faith (and curious non-adherents alike). The Y...

British firm denies involvement in alleged Israeli abuses

A British heavy machinery company has denied allegations by an international rights group that it is complicit in alleged Israeli abuses in the occupied West Bank. Amnesty International says J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited's diggers and excavators have been used to demolish Palestinian homes and in the construction of Jewish settlements, both of which are widely seen as violations of international law. JCB is among more than 100 businesses listed in a U.N. database of companies that operate in West Bank settlements. In a statement issued late Thursday, JCB said it “does not contribute to, or i...

Seven migrants killed, eight injured in Greece road accident

Seven migrants were killed and eight others injured early on Friday when their vehicle crashed into a toll station on a highway in northern Greece, police said. A preliminary investigation indicated that the driver, who was being treated in hospital, was transporting the 14 migrants inland, police said. The nationalities of the passengers were not immediately known. Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union for asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Africa and Asia who cross into the country either by taking a dangerous boat journey from the Turkish coast to Greek islands, or by c...

Huda’s Salon: A female-led Palestinian spy thriller

Billed as a “feminist spy thriller,” Hany Abu-Assad’s Huda’s Salon was one of the titles world-premiered in the Platform strand of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (9-18 September). The film was later screened at the Nashville fest (30 September-6 October) and Valladolid’s Seminci (23-30 October). Over the last few years, Abu-Assad, nominated twice for an Academy Award and winner of a Golden Globe, worked on features such as The Mountain Between Us (2017), The Idol (2015), Omar (2013) and The Courier (2012). "The characters complex morality and motives – well rendered through go...

Azeem Rafiq apologises for 2011 antisemitic FB conversation

Former professional cricketer Azeem Rafiq has said he is “deeply ashamed” for using antisemitic language in recently resurfaced Facebook messages from 2011, days after sharing his own experience of “institutional racism” to the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport parliamentary committee. Rafiq wept as he recounted racist abuse and bullying that he suffered at England’s most successful cricket club with his testimony sending shockwaves through British sport. On Thursday, however, The Times revealed a private Facebook exchange between fellow cricketer Ateeq Javid, and the then 19-year-old Rafiq, ...

UK plans to ban Hamas as terror group

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel is set announce plans to designate Hamas’ political wing a terrorist organisation after lambasting it as “fundamentally and rabidly antisemitic”. Currently, the only the Palestinian faction’s military wing is proscribed as such, but in a speech later today at the right-wing Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, Patel will announce a ban on the entire organisation and aims to push through the change in Parliament next week. The ban means supporters of the group can face up to 14 years in prison under the UK Terrorism Act. According to UK Law, supporting Hamas may i...

Malala Yousafzai urges world leaders to take urgent action on Afghanistan

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai said she was deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the safety of women and girls, and called on Monday for world leaders to take urgent action. Yousafzai said Biden "has a lot to do" and must "take a bold step" to protect the Afghan people, adding she had been trying to reach out to several global leaders. "This is actually an urgent humanitarian crisis right now that we need to provide our help and support," Yousafzai told BBC Newsnight. Yousafzai, 23, survived being shot in the head by a Pakistani Taliban gunman in 2012, a...