zimbabwe

Major security partners: US hails Bahrain, UAE after Israel deal

White House statement ties designation to normalisation deal with Israel, saying it reflected ‘extraordinary courage’. The United States called Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates “major security partners” on Saturday, a previously unheard of designation for the two countries home to major American military operations. Separately, President Donald Trump received Morocco’s highest honour on Friday for his work in advancing a normalisation deal between the kingdom and Israel. A White House statement tied the “major security partners” designation of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to normalising ties with Israel, saying it “reflects their extraordinary courage, determination and leadership”. It also noted the two countries have long taken part in US military exercises. It was uncl...

Trump administration carries out 13th, final federal execution

US President Donald Trump’s administration carried out its 13th federal execution since July, an unprecedented run that concluded just five days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden – an opponent of the federal death penalty. Dustin Higgs, convicted in the killings of three women in a Maryland wildlife refuge in 1996, was the third to receive a lethal injection this week at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Trump’s Justice Department resumed federal executions last year following a 17-year hiatus. No president in more than 120 years has overseen as many federal executions. Higgs, 48, was pronounced dead at 1:23am local time on Saturday (20:23 GMT on Friday). The number of federal death sentences carried out under Trump since 2020 is more than in the previous 56 ye...

Syria sanctions inflict suffering as al-Assad regime marches on

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is going nowhere. He withstood the military threat posed by a decade-long war and even as the country faced its worst food and economic crisis over the last few months he has managed to cling to power. Some in the West had hoped the economic pressure, exacerbated by sanctions, would force his own Alawite community to overthrow him, but the discontent has not culminated in a second uprising. The lives of Syrians in regime-controlled territory, however, have worsened immeasurably. Queues outside bakeries and fuel stations have become the new normal while a shortage of electricity has adversely affected local businesses and exacerbated unemployment. Ahmad and his brother take turns to queue outside a bakery in Damascus to buy subsidised bread. “Today was my tu...

Recovery concerns push Asian shares lower despite US boost

Asian shares stumbled lower in afternoon trade on Friday, reversing earlier gains as rising COVID-19 cases in China reinforced investor concerns over the prospects for a global economic recovery. European bourses were set to open lower. Pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures dropped 0.66 percent in early trade, while German DAX futures lost 0.65 percent and FTSE futures dipped 0.35 percent. Earlier on Friday, an Asian regional share index had edged near record highs after United States President-elect Joe Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to jump-start the world’s largest economy and accelerate its response to COVID-19. In prime-time remarks, Biden outlined a proposal that includes $415bn aimed at the COVID-19 response, some $1 trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440...

Uganda: Bobi Wine says election marred by ‘fraud, violence’

The opposition leader did not give details about the accusations, as government says vote was peaceful. Bobi Wine, the main challenger of incumbent Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in the election, said early on Friday that Thursday’s vote had seen “widespread fraud and violence” but the opposition leader remained positive as ballots are being counted under an internet blackout. “Despite the widespread fraud and violence experienced across the country earlier today, the picture still looks good. Thank you Uganda for turning up and voting in record numbers,” Wine tweeted shortly after midnight (21:00 GMT), managing to bypass the blockage. The 38-year-old former pop star-turned-legislator did not give details about his accusations, which contradicted the government’s account that Thursday’s...

Pakistan fires 12 police officers for not protecting Hindu temple

Policemen fired over acts of ‘cowardice, irresponsibility and negligence’ for not trying to stop the mob as it attacked the temple in Karak district. Pakistani authorities have sacked a local police chief and 11 other policemen for failing to protect a Hindu temple that was set on fire and demolished last month by a mob led by hundreds of supporters of a religious party, police said. The 12 policemen were fired on Thursday over acts of “cowardice, irresponsibility and negligence” for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple, with some having fled the scene. The regional government in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also suspended 33 other police officers for a year as punishment, provincial police chief Sanaullah Abbasi said. The punishments come amid government assurances th...

Indonesia’s struggle to identify the Sriwijaya plane crash dead

Jakarta, Indonesia – Yudi Qurbani has spent the last few days in an unexpected and unwanted role. He has become the family representative at the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) centre at Kramat Jati Police Hospital in Jakarta, coordinating with the team trying to locate the five members of his family who were on the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 that crashed into the Java Sea en route from Jakarta to Pontianak in Kalimantan on 9 January. “We know that there is a very small chance they will be found alive now, so our final hope is that we can get their bodies or body parts back for burial,” he told Al Jazeera. The authorities have identified four victims from the crash including a member of the cabin crew but the identification process has been hampered by the condition of many of the bod...

Olympic swimming medallist Keller charged over Capitol riot

Klete Keller was charged with illegally entering the Capitol, violent conduct, and obstructing law enforcement. US Olympic swimming gold medallist Klete Keller was charged by the Justice Department on Wednesday with participating in the January 6 attack on Congress by supporters of President Donald Trump. Keller was filmed as part of the crowd that illegally entered the huge Rotunda hall of the Capitol after violent protesters broke through police lines and forced their way in. A statement accompanying formal charges unveiled on Wednesday said police identified the three-time Olympian first by what appears to be an official team jacket bearing the large logo “USA” on the back and an arm patch that read “United States Olympic team”. He was charged with illegally entering the Capitol, violen...

The Arab world must avoid another lost decade

Ten years ago, the Tunisian people revolted against President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and toppled him. They denounced his regime, his policies and his corrupt practices and called for jobs, freedom and dignity. This was the cry of millions of young people frustrated with the arrogance of cronyism, the widening gap in economic opportunity and the stifling of free speech. Soon, the desire for change in North Africa and the Middle East triggered protest waves across the region. Those early waves of hope – which some labelled the “Arab Spring” – led to the fall of governments in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. But as we now know, the wave crashed into a maelstrom of disillusionment, political opportunism, authoritarianism, violence and civil war. A decade after those dramatic events, what happened to ...

Top US generals condemn Capitol assault in rare message to troops

US Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff warn any act that disrupts the constitutional process is against the law. The US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the uniformed leaders of the military branches, have put out a rare message to service members saying the violent riots last week were an assault on America’s constitutional process and against the law. The joint message on Tuesday broke nearly a week of silence by the military leaders after the assault on the Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump sent legislators into hiding and left five people dead. While a number of Trump’s cabinet members including acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller condemned the storming, the top US general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, was silent until now. “The violent riot … wa...

US gov’t carries out first execution of female inmate since 1953

A Kansas woman was executed for strangling an expectant mother and cutting the baby from her womb, the first time in nearly 70 years that the US government has put to death a female inmate. Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31am (06:31 GMT) on Wednesday after receiving a lethal injection of pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate, at a federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was the 11th prisoner to receive a lethal injection there since July when President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one. “The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” Montgomery’s lawyer Kelley Henry said in a statement. “Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery shou...

Casualties from Israeli air raids in Syria: War monitor

More than 18 attacks by Israel on multiple targets near Syrian-Iraq border took place, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Israeli night raids targeting arms depots and military positions in eastern Syria have killed at least seven Syrian soldiers and 16 allied fighters, in the deadliest raids since 2018, a war monitor said Wednesday. The Israeli air force carried out more than 18 attacks against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Az Zor to the al-Bukamal desert at the Syrian-Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The raids killed seven Syrian soldiers and 16 non-Syrian militia fighters whose nationalities were not immediately known, the Britain-based monitoring group said. Paramilitaries belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah ...

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