Islamic State bans the pill in Mosul

Updated 01 December 2014
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Islamic State bans the pill in Mosul

BAGHDAD: Islamic State militants in Mosul have shut down family planning departments at public hospitals in order to prevent women from using contraceptive pills, the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry said on Monday.
The terror group has also ordered hospital administrators to direct the use of medicine and medical equipment to their wounded members after losses suffered in recent battles, the ministry added.
According to the ministry, IS militants recently lashed a female doctor in the courtyard of one hospital because she wasn't wearing the niqab, a veil covering most of the face.
Meanwhile, the IS attacked a checkpoint along the highly volatile Iraqi-Syria border on Monday, killing at least 15 Iraqi border policemen, officials said.
The attack took place in the town of Al-Walid on the Iraqi side of the border, according to a senior army official. At least five officers were also wounded in the attack, he said.
Separately, IS militants beheaded a Tunisian policeman after he was kidnapped near the Algerian border late on Sunday, officials said on Monday.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Laroui said the policeman was seized along with his brother by 10 militants who attacked the car they were traveling in.
The brother was released.
The government has tightened security as it prepares for a presidential election runoff this month between incumbent Moncef Marzouki and veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi, the leader of secular Party Nida Tounes.


Holy Land churches cry foul over Israeli legislation on lands

Updated 48 min 2 sec ago
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Holy Land churches cry foul over Israeli legislation on lands

  • In their letter to Netanyahu, the Christian leaders slammed the “scandalous bill,” accusing its backers of an “unprecedented attack against the Christians of the Land.”
  • Large swathes of Jerusalem are owned by various churches, which in many cases reached long-term leasing agreements with the state.

JERUSALEM: Three major Holy Land churches implored Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to prevent the advancement of a draft bill they said was aimed at expropriating their lands.
Heads of the Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches in Jerusalem also accused the Israeli authorities of failing to keep a committment made just a few months ago that brought an end to a major crisis between the sides.
In February, the Jerusalem municipality began enforcing tax collection on church property, while separately lawmakers in the parliament worked on advancing a law that would allow expropriation of church property.
The church leaders in protest closed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site in Jerusalem where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and buried, following which Israeli authorities froze both the tax measures and the legislation, committing to a dialogue with the Christians over the issues.
Rachel Azaria, a lawmaker with the centrist coalition party Kulanu, recently renewed work on a slightly revised bill that does not mention churches but would let the state expropriate the rights over lands sold by such bodies in Jerusalem, while offering compensation.
In their Monday letter to Netanyahu, the Christian leaders slammed the “scandalous bill,” accusing its backers of an “unprecedented attack against the Christians of the Land.”
“Certain elements in the government of Israel are still attempting to promote divisive, racist and subversive agendas, thereby undermining the Status Quo and targeting the Christian community on the basis of extraneous and populist considerations,” they said.
The church leaders also said that despite the Israeli committment to communicate on these issues via a specially appointed committee headed by Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, “no dialogue whatsoever has taken place with us” since the end of February.
“We view such conduct, from those who promote the bill, as a flagrant violation and undermining of Your Excellency’s commitment and of the basic and fundamental freedom of worship,” the church leaders said.
They urged Netanyahu to swiftly “block the bill whose unilateral promotion will compel the Churches to reciprocate.”
Large swathes of Jerusalem are owned by various churches, which in many cases reached long-term leasing agreements with the state.
Residents living in homes on such lands fear the churches could sell the lands to private developers, who would be free to do as they wish with their property, including raising rents or razing existing structures.
Azaria said her bill did not single out churches, and was aimed at solving the problem of “thousands of Jerusalem residents who could lose their homes due to the demands of developers.”
There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu’s office while Hanegbi refused to comment.
A spokeswoman for Azaria told AFP the bill was coordinated with Netanyahu and Hanegbi.