UN agency vows to maintain Jerusalem services

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is vowing to continue operations in Jerusalem despite Israeli plans to remove it. (AFP)
Updated 06 October 2018
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UN agency vows to maintain Jerusalem services

JERUSALEM: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is vowing to continue operations in Jerusalem despite Israeli plans to remove it.
The Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, said Saturday that education, health care and other services to Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem are “important work.”
On Thursday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Israeli authorities will take over UNRWA’s services, most notably schooling for 1,800 students, without giving an exact timeline.
UNRWA has operated in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians demand as a future capital, since Israel occupied it in 1967. The Trump administration, however, cut $300 million in annual aid to the agency, demanding reforms.
The agency was established following the 1948 Mideast war that led to Israel’s creation. Today, it aids 5 million Palestinians, mostly refugee descendants. Israel says this perpetuates conflict with the Palestinians.


Iraq says more than $60 mn stolen from Mosul after governor sacked

Updated 48 min 41 sec ago
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Iraq says more than $60 mn stolen from Mosul after governor sacked

  • Officials from the Nineveh province had embezzled a total of $64 million in public funds

BAGHDAD: More than $60 million dollars in public funds were embezzled by Mosul officials close to the province’s sacked governor in the wake of last month’s ferry sinking, Iraqi officials said Monday.
Iraq’s anti-corruption Integrity Commission said officials from the Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, had embezzled a total of $64 million in public funds.
They included nearly $40 million set aside to rebuild the city, which was ravaged by three years of Daesh group rule followed by months of fierce fighting to oust the jihadists.
The money was stolen in the aftermath of a tragic ferry sinking in March that left more than 100 people dead and prompted parliament to unanimously fire governor Nawfel Akoub, who has since gone on the run.
In its Monday statement, the Integrity Commission said officials “close to Akoub” had stolen the funds but did not accuse him personally.
It said 14 officials were detained earlier this month after its probe found that “cheques and wire transfers of public funds had been made out to the personal accounts of senior officials.”
Of the missing money, “just six million dollars” were recovered by the government, a commission member told AFP.
Parliament had been investigating accusations of profound corruption among Nineveh officials, and their results came to light amid outrage over the Mother’s Day ferry sinking.
Some officials have been arrested but Akoub remains at large, thought to be hiding out in Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.
Graft is endemic across Iraq, which ranks among the world’s worst offenders in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index.
Since 2004, a year after the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, a total of $228 billion has vanished into the pockets of shady politicians and businessmen, according to parliament.