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Algeria ranked lowest in MENA for economic freedom

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Algeria is one of the worst countries in the world for economic freedom according the latest ranking issued in the Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report. The figures, compiled by Canadian think tank the Fraser Institute, rank countries according to access to a free market, free trade and entrepreneurial freedom. These criteria are grouped into five main groups: size of government (expenditure, size of state controlled enterprises, taxation, etc.), legal system and property rights, inflation, freedom of trade at the international level and regulation of credit, labour and business. The five criteria have a total of 42 distinct variables, each scored on a scale from 0 to 10 points. Algeria ranked 156 out of 159 countries in the list […]

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Suspected US airstrikes pound southern Somalia

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

A suspected United States aircraft targeted Somalia yesterday, Somali Press Online reported. The airstrikes targeted a key Al-Shabaab controlled town in Somalia’s southern Lower Shabelle region, residents told Somali Press Online. It is not confirmed whether it was a military aircraft or an unmanned drone. An Al-Shabaab convoy travelling in the outskirts of the region was targeted. The number of casualties as a result of the strike is unknown. The United States Department of Defence has not released an official statement however it regularly conducts drone strikes in Somalia, killing scores of people. President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency and the US Military broader authority to target inside Somalia, considering parts of the country “temporary battlefield”. The […]

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US politicians propose resolution against UNESCO

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Two Republican politicians have submitted a resolution to Congress condemning UNESCO, days after the US announced that it would be withdrawing from the organisation over its “anti-Israel bias”, according to the Times of Israel. Senator Ted Cruz and Republican Matt Gaetz authored the resolution last Friday which condemns UNESCO for trying to delegitimise the Jewish state and “recognises and affirms the historical connection of the Jewish people to the ancient and sacred city of Jerusalem”. Last year, UNESCO voted in favour of a resolution that denied any connection between Al-Aqsa Mosque and Judaism; Israel relies on such a claim in recognising the Muslim holy site as the “Temple Mount”. “The Jewish people, and the people of Israel, have a deep and ancient […]

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Israel telecoms giant warned over UN settlements database

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The CEO of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq has shared a letter from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), as the Geneva-based body prepares for the publication of a database of companies complicit in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Stella Handler published the letter on her Facebook account, along with an attack on the UNHRC and its mandate. The post was subsequently deleted, reportedly at the request of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The letter, dated 22 September, summarises the UNHRC’s findings regarding Bezeq’s involvement with settlements in the oPt, including “40 real estate properties in the West Bank used for telecommunication infrastructure”, as well as various antennas. Bezeq “provides landline, cellular, internet and cable TV […]

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Syria attacks Israel plane in its airspace

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The Syrian army said it had confronted an Israeli airplane after it had violated Syrian airspace near the Lebanese border. “At 08:51am, the Israeli enemy violated our airspace near the Lebanese border in the Baalbek area, and our air defences confronted it and directly hit one of its airplanes and forced it to flee,” a statement issued by the Syrian army said yesterday. According to the statement, at 11:38am Israel launched several rockets which fell in a Syrian military site in the countryside of Damascus causing material damages. The army’s General Command warned against the “serious repercussions of Israel’s repeated aggressive attempts” and stressed its determination to continue its war against terrorist groups, which it had described as “Israel’s arm […]

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Saudi student: ‘I tried to kill her… I was not aware of what I was doing’

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

A Saudi student charged with attempted murder in Canada has admitted that he tried to kill the victim adding that he didn’t know what he was doing at the time of the incident. “I tried to kill her,” he said. “I was not aware of what I was doing at the time.” Nineteen-year-old Thamer Hameed Almestadi has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the 2016 attack on a fellow student, Mary Hare, who was left with serious injuries including a five-inch-long cut to her throat. In an hours-long interview which was played in court during his trial last week, the University of British Columbia (UBC) student said: “Tell her I’m sorry… Tell her I made […]

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Israel starts work on ‘newest settlement to be built in East Jerusalem since 1997’

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Israeli authorities have reportedly begun work on the planned expansion of Givat Hamatos settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, in what observers have warned is a critical development in the separation of Bethlehem from Jerusalem. According to Israeli media reports, construction activity was spotted at the site on Sunday, with Jerusalem councillor and renowned settler supporter Arieh King posting a video on Facebook to celebrate the start of the work. “This is how a settlement starts,” King said. It is the first time since the plan was approved in September 2014 that heavy machinery and tools have been spotted at the site, reported Israel’s Channel 10 news. #Settlements Some 1,600 new settlement housing units are planned for Givat Hamatos, in what […]

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Israel refuses Sheikh Raed Salah’s appeal

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Israel’s Central Court in Haifa yesterday turned down Sheikh Raed Salah’s appeal demanding he remain in detention until the end of his trial, Safa reported. Salah, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was detained on 15 August from his house in Umm Al-Fahm. On 24 August, he was charged by an Israeli court on a total of six counts, including support for a banned organisation, the Islamic Movement that Israel outlawed in 2015. The court accused him of inciting “terror and violence” in his religious speeches, including Friday sermons. According to Safa, the Israeli court wrote in its reply to Salah’s defence team: “After studying the case, it decided not to interfere in the ruling of the Magistrate’s Court and to leave […]

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PA to pay Gaza employee salaries

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The Ministry of Finance in the Gaza Strip announced today that it will pay the salaries of employees for the month of September on Thursday. “The salaries of employees will be increased by 50 per cent for the month of September and at a minimum of 1,400 Israeli shekels [$399],” the ministry said in a statement. Some 40,000 Hamas-appointed employees receive salaries from Gaza’s Ministry of Finance several years ago however this was stopped by the Palestinian Authority. According to the Cairo reconciliation agreement, the salaries of September and October will be paid according to the old system, while Ramallah will pay salaries for the next four months at a rate not less than what is currently paid until the […]

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New Israel law to shield PM from corruption charges

October 17, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is to propose a bill for a law to give immunity to Knesset members from any corruption investigations, Safa reported yesterday. The bill was proposed for the first time in August last year, but it was not advanced by the Knesset. The Chairman of the Knesset’s Interior Committee, MK David Amsalem, asked: “Is it reasonable to investigate [the American President] Donald Trump over an allegation related to cigars?” hinting to the allegations that Netanyahu received cigars as a bribe. When he first suggested the law last year, Amsalem said it should only cover minor offences carrying a prison sentence of up to six months, but later proposed more serious crimes should also be […]

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