Al-Maliki thugs force top Saudi paper to halt Iraq operation

Updated 27 August 2015
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Al-Maliki thugs force top Saudi paper to halt Iraq operation

JEDDAH: Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, sister publication of Arab News, has announced that it is shutting down operations temporarily in Iraq because of repeated harassment by militias close to former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.
A militia known as Asa’ib Ahlul Haq, "League of the Righteous," has been raiding the printing presses of the paper in Baghdad and changing articles. The paper said the armed group was unlawfully censoring the paper’s reports exposing its violations, and others criticizing Iran’s policy in the region.
On Monday, in the most recent incident, members of the militia removed the headline from the front page and replaced a picture accompanying the article with two others from inside pages. This left the front page without a headline.
The article was about Iraqis demonstrating against Iran’s intervention in the country, and who had torn down pictures of Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.
Editor in Chief Salman Al-Dossary said the Iraqi government had failed to fulfill its duty to protect the newspaper from these unlawful actions. He said the newspaper stopped operations effective Tuesday and would only start operating once the government provided guarantees it would protect its right to freedom of expression.
In response, the Iraqi government has denied that it has anything to do with the incidents. Ibrahim Al-Abbadi, public relations director at the Iraqi interior ministry, in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, admitted that there were parties operating unlawfully in the country; and that the country’s legislation protected freedom of speech.
Ziyad Al-Ajili, director of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, has condemned the attacks and told Asharq Al-Awsat that there was a campaign targeting journalists and media organizations in Iraq along with the popular movements. He said the aim was to silence voices calling for an end to corruption and prosecution of those involved.


Saudi Arabia jumps 5 places in UN's World Happiness Report

Updated 8 min 30 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia jumps 5 places in UN's World Happiness Report

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has jumped up the rankings of the world's happiest countries, according to a new UN report.

The Kingdom is now 28th out of the 156 countries included in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2019 World Happiness Report, which was published on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia climbed five places compared to 2018 and is now the third happiest country in the Middle East and Africa, with just Israel and the UAE in front.

Finland topped the rankings for the second year in a row, with other Nordic countries taking the leading spots along with the Netherlands and Switzerland. The United States was ranked in 19th place.

South Sudan came last with Yemen and Syria the Arab countries making up the bottom 10.

The list ranks countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

*With Reuters

The top countries:

1. Finland

2. Denmark

3. Norway 

4. Iceland

5. Netherlands

6. Switzerland

7. Sweden

8. New Zealand

9. Canada

10. Austria

...

21. UAE

...

28. Saudi Arabia 

Bottom countries

147. Haiti 

148. Botswana

149. Syria

150. Malawi

151. Yemen 

152. Rwanda

153. Tanzania 

154. Afghanistan 

155. Central African Republic

156. South Sudan