Jordanian parliament expels MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh for inciting riots

Jordanian parliament expels MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh for inciting riots
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Osama Al-Ajarmeh was seen in a video insulting King Abdullah II while carrying a sword and a gun in a shoulder holster. (Ammon news website)
Jordanian parliament expels MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh for inciting riots
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MPs voted on Sunday to expel Osama Al-Ajarmeh from parliament for inciting riots. (Supplied)
Jordanian parliament expels MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh for inciting riots
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Osama Al-Ajarmeh previously accused the government of deliberately plunging the country into darkness. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 June 2021

Jordanian parliament expels MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh for inciting riots

Jordanian parliament expels MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh for inciting riots
  • Clashes resume on Sunday after four police injured a day earlier
  • Al-Ajarmeh caught on video insulting the king

AMMAN: Jordanian MPs voted on Sunday to expel Osama Al-Ajarmeh from parliament after he was accused of sparking riots over the weekend.

The emergency session was held after violence erupted in the suburb of Naour, a stronghold of the Ajarmeh tribe in southwest Amman.

Four police officers were wounded in clashes with supporters of the dismissed MP, the Public Security Department (PSD) said.

Of the 130-member lower chamber, 108 MPs voted in favor of expelling Al-Ajarmeh.

The MP was seen in a video insulting King Abdullah II while carrying a sword and a gun in a shoulder holster. 

The injured police officers were taken to hospital after being hit by stones, the PSD said.

During Sunday’s session, the house speaker, Abdulmunim Oddat, and several other MPs denounced Al-Ajarmeh’s “perverted utterances” and “devious, slanderous” allegations aimed at the king.

“I hereby declare the parliament’s support to the king against all attempts targeting his prestige, and rejects any tampering with the kingdom’s social fabric, its tribal and family harmony, and social peace, which form the basis for Jordan’s security and stability,” the Jordan news agency, Petra, reported Oddat as saying.

Last week, MPs voted to freeze Al-Ajarmeh’s membership of parliament for a year after he was caught on video cursing the chamber during an emergency session to discuss nationwide power outages.

The outspoken MP had accused the the government of deliberately plunging the country into darkness to prevent a march on Amman organized by Jordan’s tribes seeking to have the Israeli ambassador expelled for the recent bombing campaign in Gaza.

With his membership frozen, Al-Ajarmeh submitted a resignation letter to the house in which he expressed dismay over the constitutional provision that gives the king the power to dissolve parliament.

Al-Ajarmeh was then seen in many videos making bold statements while surrounded by his supporters, threatening to establish a “radical Jordanian right wing” of tribes and ex-army figures to “purify Amman of the liberal elite” whom he accused of being behind the country’s woes.

The government said on Sunday it would not tolerate any acts threatening the country’s stability and security, adding that no one is above the law.

A security source told Arab News that the security agencies were dealing with renewed rioting in suburban Naour involving protests over Al-Ajarmeh’s dismissal.


Gaza to begin rebuilding homes destroyed in May conflict

Gaza to begin rebuilding homes destroyed in May conflict
Updated 9 sec ago

Gaza to begin rebuilding homes destroyed in May conflict

Gaza to begin rebuilding homes destroyed in May conflict
GAZA: The reconstruction of homes in Gaza that were destroyed or damaged in the May conflict between Israel and Hamas will begin in the first week of October using aid from Qatar, a senior Palestinian housing official said on Sunday.
Gaza’s Hamas-run government says Israeli air strikes destroyed about 2,200 homes in the enclave during the 11-day conflict and damaged 37,000 others. Some homes in Israel were damaged by rockets launched by Hamas and other Gaza militant groups.
About 1,800 destroyed or damaged homes will be rebuilt in the first phase of work, according to Naji Sarhan, Gaza’s deputy minister for housing and public works.
He said that Israel had lifted some restrictions on steel and cement entering the territory in recent days. Last week, Egypt began repairing Gaza’s main coastal road, part of a broader plan to revamp Gaza infrastructure.
Palestinian officials say 250 people, including 66 children, were killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Israeli officials says 13 people, including two children, were killed in Israel by militant rockets.
Following a May 21 cease-fire, mediated by Egypt, access to reconstruction funds and materials has been a key Hamas demand . Israel limits construction materials entering the territory, saying Hamas uses them to build weapons to wage attacks.
But following an agreement with the United Nations and Qatar, Israel allowed about $20 million in aid from the Gulf state to enter Gaza this month. That disbursement will be followed by $50 million of Qatari funds earmarked for rebuilding homes, Sarhan said.
Gaza officials estimate it will take $479 million to rebuild homes and infrastructure damaged in the May fighting. Qatar and Egypt have each pledged $500 million for Gaza reconstruction.

Egypt stresses need for binding deal on Renaissance Dam

Egypt stresses need for binding deal on Renaissance Dam
Updated 26 September 2021

Egypt stresses need for binding deal on Renaissance Dam

Egypt stresses need for binding deal on Renaissance Dam
  • Egypt describes the dam as an existential threat because it suffers from water scarcity
  • The country fears that the process of filling the dam will affect its share of the river’s water

CAIRO: During a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reiterated the need to reach a binding legal agreement on the operation and filling of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam in a manner that takes into account the interests of all parties.

Egypt describes the dam as an existential threat because it suffers from water scarcity and receives 95 percent of its water needs from the Nile. Egypt fears that the process of filling the dam will affect its share of the river’s water. 

Since 2011, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have been negotiating an agreement on filling and operating the dam, which is intended to be the largest source of hydroelectric power generation in Africa. However, all negotiating attempts have failed.

Shoukry said there is no specific date for the resumption of talks, and the three countries are waiting to hear proposals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the current chair of the African Union.

He added that during his meetings in New York, he was keen to highlight Ethiopia’s “stubborn” position on the crisis.

 

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Sudan ruling body chief pledges reforms to army after coup attempt

Sudan ruling body chief pledges reforms to army after coup attempt
Updated 9 min 51 sec ago

Sudan ruling body chief pledges reforms to army after coup attempt

Sudan ruling body chief pledges reforms to army after coup attempt
  • Al-Burhan said the armed forces are committed to holding elections on the date fixed for ending the transition

KHARTOUM: The general who heads Sudan’s ruling transitional authority on Sunday pledged to reform the army, days after a failed coup.
“We are going to reorganize the armed forces... Partisan activities are banned in the army,” Sovereign Council chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan said at the opening of a military hospital in Khartoum.
“The armed forces are committed to holding elections on the date fixed for ending the transition” in 2023, he said.
“After that, the army will leave the political scene and its role will be limited to protecting the country.”
Sudan is led by a civilian-military administration under an August 2019 power-sharing deal signed after president Omar Bashir’s ouster by the military in April that year following mass protests against his iron-fisted rule.
Sudan’s government said it thwarted a September 21 coup attempt involving military officers and civilians linked to the regime of imprisoned Bashir. At least 11 officers were among those arrested.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has since called for reforms within the army, a highly sensitive issue in Sudan.
A transition to full civilian rule has remained shaky, reeling from deep fragmentation among political factions, economic woes and a receding role for civilian leaders.
Paramilitary leader and Burhan’s deputy in the Sovereign Council, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has pointed a finger of blame at politicians after the failed coup.
“Politicians are the main cause behind coups because they have neglected the average citizen... and are more concerned fighting over how they can stay in power,” Daglo said.


Tunisians protest against president’s power grab as opposition deepens

Tunisians protest against president’s power grab as opposition deepens
Updated 26 September 2021

Tunisians protest against president’s power grab as opposition deepens

Tunisians protest against president’s power grab as opposition deepens
  • President Kais Saied gives himself power to rule by decree two months after he sacked the prime minister

TUNIS: About 3,000 demonstrators gathered in Tunis on Sunday under a heavy police presence to protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied’s seizure of governing powers in July and called on him to step down.
Saied this week brushed aside much of the 2014 constitution, giving himself power to rule by decree two months after he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority.
“The people want the fall of the coup,” they chanted in the center of Tunis along Habib Bourguiba Avenue, a focal point of the demonstrations that ended the rule of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, 2011. “Step down.”
The crisis has endangered the democratic gains that Tunisians won in a 2011 revolution that triggered the “Arab spring” protests and has also slowed efforts to tackle an urgent threat to public finances, worrying investors.
Saied has said his actions, which his opponents have called a coup, are needed to address a crisis of political paralysis, economic stagnation and a poor response to the coronavirus pandemic. He has promised to uphold rights and not become a dictator.
Nadia Ben Salem said she traveled 500 kilometers from the south to express her anger in the protest.
“We will protect democracy... the constitution is a red line,” she said, holding up a copy of the constitution.
Saied still has wide support among Tunisians, who are tired of corruption and poor public services and say his hands are clean.
He has not put any time limit on his seizure of power, but said he would appoint a committee to help draft amendments to the 2014 constitution and establish “a true democracy in which the people are truly sovereign.” Tunisia’s largest political party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, has called Saied’s moves “a flagrant coup against democratic legitimacy” and called for people to unite and defend democracy in “a tireless, peaceful struggle.”
Ennahda has been the most powerful party in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution that led to the ousting of its long-time president, playing a role in backing successive coalition governments.
But Saied’s coup has left it facing a severe split: More than 100 prominent officials of Ennahda, including lawmakers and former ministers, resigned on Saturday in protest at the leadership’s performance.
Tunisia’s influential labor union on Friday rejected key elements of Saied’s action and warned of a threat to democracy as opposition widened against a move his foes call a coup.
A first protest against Saied since his intervention on July 25 took place last week. It consisted of several hundred people.
“The language of dialogue has been disrupted with Saied...He does not like dialogue,” said independent lawmaker Iyadh Loumi.
“He wanted to isolate everyone and he is taking all power...Saied must be sacked and put on trial.”
Four other political parties issued a joint statement condemning Saied on Wednesday and another large party, Heart of Tunisia, has also done so.


Syria coronavirus spike sees hospitals reach capacity

Syria coronavirus spike sees hospitals reach capacity
Updated 26 September 2021

Syria coronavirus spike sees hospitals reach capacity

Syria coronavirus spike sees hospitals reach capacity
  • Around 70 percent of the country’s pre-war medical staff have left since the start of the war

DAMASCUS: Hospitals in the Syrian capital Damascus and the coastal province of Latakia have reached capacity due to rising coronavirus admissions, a health official said Sunday.
“We have started transferring Covid-19 patients from the province of Damascus to the (central) province of Homs, and from Latakia to the province of Tartus,” Tawfiq Hasaba, a health ministry official, was quoted as saying by Syrian state TV.
The move came after “hospitals in these areas reached capacity because of a large spike in coronavirus cases,” he added.
Syria on Saturday logged 442 new coronavirus infections in government-held areas — a new daily record for a conflict-hit country that has documented more than 32,580 cases, including 2,198 deaths in regime controlled territory, since the start of its outbreak last year.
“It is the first time the number of cases reaches 400” in one day, Hasaba said, adding that the number of new infections was highest in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia.
Coronavirus cases have been on the rise across Syria since mid-August, including in the northwest and northeast, large parts of which fall beyond government control.
According to the World Health Organization, only two percent of Syria’s population has been at least partially vaccinated.
Syria’s conflict has since 2011 killed nearly half a million people and ravaged a health care sector struggling to cope with a mass outflux of professionals.
Around 70 percent of the country’s pre-war medical staff have left since the start of the war.