Yazidis rebuild destroyed shrine in Iraqi city

Workers rebuild a Yazidi shrine, after is was destroyed by Daesh in Bashiqa, a town near Mosul, Iraq August 8, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 09 August 2017

Yazidis rebuild destroyed shrine in Iraqi city

BASHIQA: Yazidi men and boys in the town of Bashiqa north east of Mosul are rebuilding a shrine destroyed by Daesh as they wait for the return of women from their community taken captive years ago by the terrorists.
They are hoping to celebrate their first festival for three years in the Malak Miran shrine next month but the big celebration will happen after the release of Yazidi women, taken by Daesh when it overran the plain of Nineveh in 2014.
More than 3,000 Yazidis, mostly from Sinjar to the west of Bashiqa, were killed — with more than half shot, beheaded or burnt alive — and about 6,800 taken for sex slaves or fighters.
Daesh fighters are now reportedly selling captive women and girls before they make their escape from their beseigned Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, according to the UN.
“The real festival will come when all our captives are freed,” said shrine’s supervisor Shaker Haidar Al-Mujewar.
Volunteers come every day to help with the rebuilding and they gather from time to time in the unfinished shrine.
Residents and other Yazidi families are funding the reconstruction, Mujewar said.
Yazidis in Bashiqa were able to escape before Daesh seized the town and the militants were driven out in November 2016, about a month after the start of the offensive to retake Mosul, the northern city used by the militants as their capital.
Many of Bashiqa’s families are still living in camps.


Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

Updated 42 min 20 sec ago

Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

  • The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new PM unraveled
  • Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29

BEIRUT/PARIS: Lebanon does not expect new aid pledges at conference which France is hosting on Wednesday to press for the quick formation of a new government that can tackle an acute financial crisis.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Lebanon to create a new government swiftly or risk the crisis worsening and threatening the country’s stability.
The economic crisis is the worst since the 1975-90 civil war: a liquidity crunch has led banks to enforce capital controls and the Lebanese pound to slump by one third.
Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29, prompted by protests against the ruling elite, with no agreement on a new government.
Nadim Munla, senior adviser to Hariri, who is running the government as caretaker, told Reuters the Paris meeting would probably signal a readiness to offer support once a government is formed that commits to reforms.
“They will recognize that there is a short-term problem and that if and when a government (is formed) that basically responds to the aspirations of people, most probably the international community will be ready to step in and provide support to Lebanon, or additional support,” he said.
“It is not a pledging conference.”
Lebanon won pledges of over $11 billion at a conference last year conditional on reforms that it has failed to implement. The economic crisis is rooted in years of corruption and waste that have generated one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.
The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new prime minister unraveled.
Hariri is now seen as the only candidate for the post.
He has said he would only lead a cabinet of specialist ministers, believing this is the way to address the economic crisis, attract aid, and satisfy protesters who have been in the streets since Oct. 17 seeking the removal of a political class blamed for corruption and misrule.
But Hezbollah and its allies including President Michel Aoun say the government must include politicians.
“Let’s see the coming few days and if there will be an agreement among the political parties on a formation ... otherwise we might take longer,” Munla said. Hariri would be willing to have politicians in cabinet but they should not be “the regular known faces of previous governments.”