Tunisian protesters try to march on suspended parliament

Tunisian protesters try to march on suspended parliament
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Demonstrators protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers, in front of the parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia, November 14, 2021. (Reuters)
Tunisian protesters try to march on suspended parliament
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Demonstrators try to remove the barricades during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers, in front of the parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia, November 14, 2021. (Reuters)
Tunisian protesters try to march on suspended parliament
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Demonstrators gather in front of police during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers, in front of the parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia, November 14, 2021. (Reuters)
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Updated 14 November 2021

Tunisian protesters try to march on suspended parliament

Tunisian protesters try to march on suspended parliament

TUNIS: Tunisian police clashed with protesters near the chamber of the suspended parliament on Sunday as demonstrators marched against President Kais Saied’s seizure of political power four months ago.
Hundreds of police had blocked off the area where thousands of protesters were gathering to demand that Saied restore parliament and normal democratic rule.
Increasingly vocal opposition, along with a looming crisis in public finances, may pose a new test of how Saied and the new government he has appointed will tackle threats to their authority.
“Shut down Kais Saied” and “Freedom! Freedom! End the police state!” protesters chanted as they pulled down barriers obstructing the roads leading to the parliament building at the capital’s Bardo palace, leading to clashes.
“We are under one-man rule since July 25... we will stay here until they open the roads and end the siege,” said Jawher Ben Mbarek, a protest leader.
Saied seized nearly all powers in July, suspending the parliament and dismissing the government in a move his critics called a coup, before installing a new prime minister and announcing he could rule by decree.
The president said his actions were needed to end governmental paralysis after years of political squabbling and economic stagnation, and has promised to uphold rights and freedoms won in the 2011 revolution that brought democracy.
His moves appeared to have widespread popularity and thousands of his supporters gathered for a rally to back him last month.
However, several prominent politicians have been arrested and hundreds have faced travel bans, while a former president living outside Tunisia, Moncef Marzouki, faces prosecution for his verbal attacks on Saied.
Sunday’s protest followed clashes last week between police and protesters in the southern town of Agareb in which one person was killed.
“Tunisia is isolated internationally now with the closing of parliament and the coup... we want to restore democracy,” said Abderrouf Betbaib, a former Saied adviser who was at the front of the protest.


Egypt not to blame for failure of Renaissance Dam talks: FM

Egypt not to blame for failure of Renaissance Dam talks: FM
Updated 12 sec ago

Egypt not to blame for failure of Renaissance Dam talks: FM

Egypt not to blame for failure of Renaissance Dam talks: FM
  • Sameh Shoukry: Egypt is always ready to resume negotiations with Ethiopia if there is a political will to reach an agreement
  • Egypt and Sudan reject Ethiopia’s insistence on filling the dam before reaching a binding agreement

CAIRO: Cairo is not to blame for the failure of negotiations over the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said.

“Egypt is always ready to resume negotiations with Ethiopia if there is a political will to reach an agreement,” he added.

“Egypt is always keen to reach consensus between the three countries — Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia — and to reach a binding legal agreement in accordance with the rules of international law and international practices, in a manner that meets the needs of all parties, which is Ethiopia’s right to development, and the right of Egypt and Sudan to their share of the Nile waters.”

Negotiations between the three countries failed in April 2021 and have not resumed since. Egypt and Sudan reject Ethiopia’s insistence on filling the dam before reaching a binding agreement.


Egypt approves Merck COVID-19 pill, says to be produced locally

Egypt approves Merck COVID-19 pill, says to be produced locally
Updated 24 January 2022

Egypt approves Merck COVID-19 pill, says to be produced locally

Egypt approves Merck COVID-19 pill, says to be produced locally

CAIRO: Egypt approved Merck & Co’s COVID-19 pill Molnupiravir for emergency use, the country’s drug authority said on Monday, adding that the pill would be locally produced.
The drug will initially be manufactured by five local companies, to be joined later by several other firms, the Egyptian Drug Authority said in a statement.


Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group

Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group
Updated 24 January 2022

Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group

Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group
  • The league affirmed its support for “the UAE’s right to self-defense and to respond to aggression under international law”
  • The league also welcomed the UN Security Council’s “unified position” in condemning the Houthi attacks

CAIRO: The Arab League has urged the international community to classify Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist organization after last week’s missile and drone attacks on the UAE.

The call followed an emergency meeting of the Arab League on Sunday to discuss the “brutal and vicious terrorist attack on civilians and civilian targets.”

It said the attacks “constitute a violation of international law and international humanitarian law, and a real threat to vital civilian facilities, energy supplies and the stability of the global economy.

“They also constitute a threat to regional peace and security, undermine Arab national security, harm international peace and security, and pose a threat to international commercial shipping lines.”

The meeting welcomed the solidarity of countries, as well as regional and international organizations, with the UAE.

The Arab League also welcomed the UN Security Council’s “unified position” in condemning the Houthi attacks.

The meeting affirmed the league’s support for “the UAE’s right to self-defense and to respond to aggression under international law.”

It stressed “the need for the international community to stand united in the face of this terrorist act that threatens regional and international peace and stability, and to take immediate and decisive measures to deter the Houthi militias, in order to stop their repeated criminal acts in Yemen and the region.”


Lebanon’s Hariri suspends role in politics, won't run in vote

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends role in politics, won't run in vote
Updated 24 January 2022

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends role in politics, won't run in vote

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends role in politics, won't run in vote
  • Hariri, 51, inherited the political mantle of his father, Rafik, after his assassination in 2005
  • Three times Lebanon's prime minister, Hariri called on his Future Movement not to run any candidates in the election

BEIRUT: Leading Lebanese Sunni Muslim politician Saad Al-Hariri said on Monday he would not run in a forthcoming parliamentary election and was suspending his role in political life, calling on his political party to do the same.
“We will continue to serve our people, but our decision is to suspend any role in power, politics and parliament,” Hariri said in a live televised address.
Three times Lebanon's prime minister, Hariri called on his Future Movement not to run any candidates in the election.

Hariri, 51, inherited the political mantle of his father, Rafik, after his assassination in 2005, becoming the leading Sunni Muslim in Lebanon's sectarian politics.

In 2020, a UN-backed tribunal convicted a member of the heavily armed, Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah of conspiring to kill Rafik Al-Hariri. Hezbollah denies any involvement.

Lebanon's leading Druze politician said Hariri's decision “means a free hand for Hezbollah and the Iranians.”
Walid Jumblatt told Reuters that he was very saddened by the decision of Hariri, Lebanon's leading Sunni Muslim politician: “We're losing a pillar of independence and moderation.”


UAE confirms 2,629 new COVID-19 cases

UAE confirms 2,629 new COVID-19 cases
Updated 24 January 2022

UAE confirms 2,629 new COVID-19 cases

UAE confirms 2,629 new COVID-19 cases
  • There has been a marked reduction in daily infection numbers since last week when they topped 3,000

DUBAI: The UAE on Monday confirmed 2,629 new coronavirus infections while five more people died from COVID-19 complications. 

An additional 1,115 individuals have recovered.

The country’s caseload stands at 828,328 known confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 2,219 deaths since the pandemic started.

The UAE has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, at 233.98 doses administered per 100 people, with over 23 million vaccines provided so far.
And there has been a marked reduction in daily infection numbers since last week when they topped 3,000.

Despite this, health authorities continue the call for residents to adhere to basic health and prevention protocols, including social distancing and wearing masks.

The World Health Organization earlier said new infections globally have increased by 20 percent over the past week, with nearly 19 million total reported cases, mostly attributed to the omicron variant.