Sudan police fire tear gas at Khartoum rally

Sudanese protesters take part in an anti-government demonstration in Khartoum on February 14, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Sudan police fire tear gas at Khartoum rally

  • Protesters pressed on with their campaign against the rule of President Omar Al-Bashir
  • Witnesses said small demonstrations also took place in other districts of the capital

KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday at an anti-government rally in the capital, witnesses said, as protesters pressed on with their campaign against the rule of President Omar Al-Bashir.
Scores of protesters took to the streets in Khartoum’s northern suburb of Bahari chanting anti-government slogans, but they were quickly confronted by riot police.
“We will not give up. We will continue protesting,” said Afra, a female protester who gave only her first name for security reasons.
“When we keep on demonstrating, more and more people will join us.”
Witnesses said small demonstrations also took place in other districts of the capital, and that police arrested several protesters.
Deadly clashes during protests have rocked the east African country since December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.
The protests quickly escalated into nationwide rallies against Bashir’s iron-fisted rule, with protesters calling for him to resign after three decades in power.
Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights Watch says at least 51 have been killed.
Bashir has remained defiant, insisting that the only way to change the government is through the ballot box.
Sudan is to hold a presidential election in 2020, and Bashir is considering running for a third elected term.


Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

A firefighting aircraft flies over a forest near Kibbutz Harel, which was damaged by wildfires during a record heatwave, in Israel May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

  • Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes on Thursday as fires raged
  • The fires were fueled by high temperatures and dry condition

JERUSALEM: Egypt and four European countries sent aircraft to help Israel battle wildfires that have forced the evacuation of some small towns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, as a record heatwave looked set to worsen conditions.
At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that firefighting planes were coming in from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus.
Egypt, on the orders of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, had also sent two helicopters to assist Israel, Netanyahu told reporters.
The Palestinian Authority and Russia had also offered help, Netanyahu said.
Israel braced for wildfires on Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.
Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out El-Sisi for sending aid.
“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said blazes in a key corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were mostly under control but difficult weather remained a conflagration risk.
“As of this moment, this (containment) is being done in the best possible way, but the challenge is yet ahead of us given the weather conditions, the winds and the extreme heat,” Netanyahu said.
Some 3,500 residents of small towns in the path of the fires were evacuated on Thursday, officials said. Dozens of homes have burned down.

Evacuations
Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were burned on Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.
Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”
The cause of the fires remains unclear, but they erupted following the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which observers mark with bonfires.
A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.