Rebel rocket fire kills 35 in Damascus suburb: state TV

A picture taken on Mar 20, 2018 shows smoke plumes rising during regime bombardment in the rebel-held town of Arbin in the Eastern Ghouta enclave, outside the capital Damascus, as Syrian pro-government troops push in an offensive against it. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2018
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Rebel rocket fire kills 35 in Damascus suburb: state TV

DAMASCUS: Rebel rocket fire on a market in a Damascus suburb killed 35 people Tuesday, Syrian state television said.
The rocket fire by “terrorists” hit the Jaramana area east of Damascus, state television cited a police official as saying, using an expression usually used for rebels.
Initially it reported that 20 people had been killed in the attack.


Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

Updated 19 April 2018
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Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

  • Iran arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad
  • The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd

TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, the judiciary said.
“The head of the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance in Mashhad was arrested for undermining public decency and disrespecting the laws,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency said quoting a deputy prosecutor.
Islamic law in Iran prohibits public dancing.
The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd. The event took place on Tuesday.
Mohsen Afshar, a spokesman for the shopping center, told the ISNA news agency that a monthly draw is organized and a car given away to the lucky winner to attract customers.
According to Afshar the singer had the necessary “official permits to perform.”
The performance can attract 10,000-12,000 people, he said, including “some individuals whose behavior is contrary to the norms of the Islamic republic.”
But Heydari told Tasnim news agency that the mall was not authorized to organize such events.
Mashhad is a holy and conservative city where in 2016 concerts were banned by the Friday prayer leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Allamolhoda, who also told music-lovers to “Go somewhere else.”
Thursday’s arrest comes days after Tehran’s reformist mayor, Mohammad Ali Najafi, resigned after claims he was threatened with arrest.
Najafi had attracted criticism from hard-liners last month after attending in March a show at City Hall for Iranian Women’s Day in which schoolgirls performed a traditional dance.