UN Security Council to discuss Syria on Monday

Syrian government forces gather at the Abu Duhur military airport area in Idlib province, on January 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2018
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UN Security Council to discuss Syria on Monday

PARIS: The UN Security Council will hold talks about the situation in Syria on Monday, French Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on his Twitter feed on Sunday.
He added that France would press for humanitarian access.
Le Drian said earlier on Sunday that France had called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council over Syria following a Turkish incursion into northern Syria’s Afrin province.
He also condemned indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian regime in Idlib province and asked for immediate access for humanitarian aid to eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 citizens face a critical situation.
However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has criticized France over its decision.
Cavusoglu told reporters in Baghdad on Sunday that Turkey expected France to stand by an ally country and not with a "terror organization."
Cavusoglu said if France does "not act like ally... then it would be treated as a country that sides with terrorists." Turkey considers Syrian Kurdish militia group that controls the enclave of Afrin to be terrorists because of their affiliation with Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.
The minister's comments were televised live on Turkish television.
Earlier, France in a statement urged Turkish authorities "to act with restraint in a context where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating in several regions of Syria."


Former Dubai and Qatar teacher admits child sex offenses

Updated 35 min 50 sec ago
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Former Dubai and Qatar teacher admits child sex offenses

  • American, William Brinson Ball, 39, pleaded guilty to attempting to solicit sex with a minor and possession of child pornography
  • On his arrest on Feb. 15, he was found to have items for the child, as well as condoms and lubricant

DUBAI: A former Dubai and Qatar teacher has admitted child sex offenses at a US court in Florida.
American, William Brinson Ball, 39, pleaded guilty to attempting to solicit sex with a minor and possession of child pornography at a hearing at the US District Court in Tampa on Thursday, May 17.
Ball, who taught music at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai and previously at the Qatar Academy in Doha, paid $5,000 to fly to the US in February, where he planned to meet a seven-year-old.
On his arrest on Feb. 15, he was found to have items for the child, as well as condoms and lubricant, an earlier court hearing was told.
Ball, originally from Mississippi, had used the Internet and a mobile phone to lure his victim, prosecutors told the court at an earlier hearing.
When Arab News spoke to his Dubai employer in February, a spokesman for the school said the expat teacher had been recruited through a “reputable [recruitment] agency” and “stringent background checks” had been carried out.
Both schools also told Arab News at the time that there was no reason to believe Ball had committed similar offenses while in their employment in the Gulf.
Ball will return to court on Aug. 3, 2018 for sentencing.