Gunmen kidnap Iraqi female journalist

Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi. (Social Media)
Updated 27 December 2016

Gunmen kidnap Iraqi female journalist

BAGHDAD: Gunmen have kidnapped an Iraqi female journalist Afrah Shawqi after posing as members of the security forces and bursting into her home in Baghdad, authorities said on Tuesday. 
Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi condemned her abduction and ordered the security services to do their utmost find her and track down those responsible.
Shawqi was abducted on Monday at around 10:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) from her home in a southern neighborhood of the capital, said Ziad Al-Ajili, head of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory.
“Eight armed men burst into her house in Saidiya dressed in plain clothes and entered by pretending to belong to the security forces,” he told AFP.
“They tied up her son and stole mobile phones, computers and cash before kidnapping Afrah and fleeing.”
Shawqi, 43, was a former freelance contributor to Asharq Al-Awsat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, and stopped working for the publication six months ago. Shawqi also worked at a number of news websites, including Aklaam.
Iraq is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
Seven journalists have been killed in the country in 2016, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said last week.


Hard-hit Turkey’s easing of lockdown criticized

Updated 30 May 2020

Hard-hit Turkey’s easing of lockdown criticized

ANKARA: Turkey is easing its coronavirus lockdown from June 1, despite the World Health Organization saying it is one of the leading European countries for coronavirus infections. 

The virus has killed 4,461 people in Turkey, and there were 160,979 infections as of May 28. It ranks 10th worldwide in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen from Monday while intercity travel restrictions will be lifted the same day.

Many professional organizations, especially the Turkish Medical Association, find the abrupt restart of business activity to be premature and have called for increased testing, claiming that mass gatherings may trigger further contagion as the first wave of the outbreak is not yet over.

Lebanese security forces began handing out fines to enforce the wearing of face masks, as the country recorded four new cases to bring its tally to 1,172.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia recorded 17 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total to 458. There were 1,581 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 81,766 people have now contracted the disease. There are 24,295 active cases.

France’s national health agency reported a sudden jump in new infections — just an hour after the prime minister announced a sweeping national reopening plan. The agency clarified that the new figures were the result of a new accounting method, and not linked to a much-feared second wave of the virus.