Jordanian education and tourism ministers resign over Dead Sea disaster

Updated 01 November 2018
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Jordanian education and tourism ministers resign over Dead Sea disaster

  • 21 people died in flash floods last week, many of them school children on a field trip.
  • Many of those killed were children under 14.

AMMAN: Jordan's tourism and education ministers resigned Thursday in response to flash floods near the Dead Sea that killed 21 people- mostly children.

The government has come under increasing pressure for the disaster last Thursday after it emerged that a school trip had gone ahead despite warnings of bad weather. 

The Minister of Tourism Lina Annab and Minister of Education Azmi Mahafzah submitted their resignation to Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz after several members of parliament called for their dismissal earlier this week. 

Annab said that she had resigned from her post as Minister of Tourism and Antiquities “in light of the general political climate and the painful situation that our beloved country experienced and is experiencing.”

It has not yet been announced whether the Jordanian prime minister had accepted the resignations or not.

Pupils on the school trip, their teachers and minders had stepped out of their bus in a tourist area called Al-Miyah Al-Sakhina when they were hit by a flash flood that washed them towards the nearby Dead Sea.

Twenty-one people died in the floods and many of them were children under 14. Families picnicking in the popular destination were also among the dead and injured.

Jordanian political scientist Philip Madant told Arab News that the decision helped preserve Prime Minister Omar Razzaz's government. 

MP Nabil Gheishan told Arab News that the resignation avoids a major confrontation that could have brought down the government. “This was the least that they can do to ensure the government stays.”

 

 

 

 


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.