Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria

Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria
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Syria’s health minister says several people have been killed from a boat that sank migrants from Lebanon off Syria’s coast. (AP)
Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria
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the Syrian red Crescent crew carry the body of a victim in tartous after a boat transporting illegal migrants from Lebanon sank off the Syrian coast. (AFP)
Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria
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A handout picture released by the Syrian Red Crescent on Friday shows rescuers pulling out the body of a drowning victim on the coast of Syria’s southern port City of Tartus, after a boat transporting migrants from Lebanon sank off the Syrian coast. (AFP)
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Updated 24 September 2022

Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria

Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria
  • Lebanon has become a starting point for illegal migration
  • ‘Death boats’ set off every day from the northern coast of Lebanon

BEIRUT: Eighty-nine bodies have been recovered since a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon sunk off Syria’s coast, Syrian state media said Saturday, as the Lebanese army said it arrested a suspected smuggler behind one of the deadliest recent shipwrecks in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Syrian Observatory meanwhile reported the casualties were at 88, with 50 passengers still unaccounted for.
Around 150 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, were on board the small vessel that went down on Thursday off the Syrian city of Tartous.
Lebanon has become a starting point for illegal migration, with its citizens joining Syrian and Palestinian refugees clamoring to leave their homeland.
Illegal “death boats” set off every day from the northern coast of Lebanon. Some succeed in reaching their destination, a few are rescued by the coast guards of the countries in whose territorial waters their boats capsize, and the rest are swallowed up by the sea.

Former Tripoli MP Mustafa Alloush told Arab News: “People have completely lost hope that the situation in Lebanon could improve and there are mafias exploiting this.”
He said 95 percent of such illegal trips succeed in reaching their destinations, and those people who make it to Europe encourage their relatives and acquaintances to make the same journey.
He added: “The Lebanese authorities know who these smugglers organizing such trips are. They get huge sums of money. Security officers are paid off to facilitate such journeys or turn a blind eye.
“Why did this boat head toward Syria? Is it not to escape UNIFIL (the UN Interim Force in Lebanon), which patrols Lebanese waters?
“Drug trafficking is illegal, but remains active given the amounts of money paid to dealers and distributors.
“The same goes for human trafficking and smuggling. Money is paid, specifically to those who are supposed to protect people in this country.”
Caretaker Minister of Public Works Ali Hamieh said: “This type of boat was not made for such trips and cannot carry that many people. It turned out that it was recently imported and arrived in Lebanon two months ago.”
Most passengers were residents of northern Lebanon, some were Palestinian refugees from the Nahr Al-Bared camp, but the majority were Syrians, from Idlib, Aleppo and Latakia.
These Syrians had illegally made their way into Lebanon to escape by sea through the north of the country.
Among the victims were two girls who were buried in Akkar, north Lebanon, after being transported there by car from Tartous.
The mayor of Qarqaf, in Akkar, said: “The mother of the two girls drowned, as did her two sons. The father is still alive, but he is in a hospital in Syria.”
The boat had embarked from Lebanon’s northern Minyeh region, with passengers paying $3,000 for children and $7,000 per adult for the trip.
Lebanon’s Secretary-General of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party Ali Hijazi, who traveled to Tartous on Friday, said survivors had informed him the boat “left from Minyeh on Tuesday morning and experienced a technical malfunction. It capsized due to the waves on Thursday morning.”
The Lebanese Army announced it has arrested eight suspected smugglers. The tragedy coincided with the announcement on social media of another boat that left the northern coast of Lebanon bound for Italy and broke down between Greece and Turkey. Its passengers were rescued and are currently in Turkey.

with AFP


Iranian girls heckle member of feared paramilitary force

Iranian girls heckle member of feared paramilitary force
Updated 12 sec ago

Iranian girls heckle member of feared paramilitary force

Iranian girls heckle member of feared paramilitary force
  • Basij militia used to suppress widespread protests in Iran

RIYADH: Iranian teenage girls have heckled a member of the regime’s feared Basij paramilitary force, in a protest stemming from the death of a young woman at the hands of Iran’s morality police.

A video shared on social media shows the girls waving their headscarves in the air and chanting “get lost, Basiji” at the man who was meant to address a crowd of demonstrators. Unconfirmed reports said the video was taken in Shiraz on Tuesday.

The protest came in the third week of unrest over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, days after she was arrested by morality police, the Gasht-e Ershad, in Tehran for allegedly wearing an incorrect headscarf. Her family say she was beaten in custody. Authorities claim she had a heart attack.

The Basij is a wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that has been designated as a terrorist organization by several states, including Saudi Arabia. Its members have been used against the ongoing protests, in which scores of people have died.

Many of the demonstrations are being led by women and girls, who have been flouting the law on compulsory headscarves in a symbolic show of their opposition to the regime.

A second video posted online this week showed a man yelling “death to the dictator” as girls, who had removed their headscarves, walked through traffic in the northwestern city of Sanandaj. An elderly woman was seen clapping in solidarity as the girls chanted “freedom.”

In a third clip, a teacher appeared to threaten students with expulsion if they did not cover their heads as they took part in a sit-down protest in a schoolyard.

Footage reportedly shot in Karaj meanwhile showed girls chasing a man, believed to be a member of the security forces, as he rode a motorcycle.


Jordan, Oman deepen ties as ministers agree education, science, tourism programs

Jordan, Oman deepen ties as ministers agree education, science, tourism programs
Updated 12 min 9 sec ago

Jordan, Oman deepen ties as ministers agree education, science, tourism programs

Jordan, Oman deepen ties as ministers agree education, science, tourism programs
  • Ministers agreed on programs for higher education, scientific research, and innovation between next year and 2025

MUSCAT: Jordan and Oman’s foreign ministers have signed agreements to deepen ties in education, science, and tourism.

Jordan’s Ayman Safadi on Wednesday met his Omani counterpart Badr Albusaidi in Muscat to follow up on recent talks between King Abdullah II and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, the Jordan News Agency reported.

The ministers signed executive programs for higher education, scientific research, and innovation between next year and 2025, and another on tourism cooperation up to 2026.

Safadi and Albusaidi also discussed preparations for Jordanian-Omani Joint Higher Committee meetings in Amman next year, as well as a business forum to be held on the sidelines.

King Abdullah, accompanied by Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, visited the National Museum of Oman and the House of Musical Arts at the Royal Opera House in Muscat.

The royals were given an overview of the museum’s collections and artifacts and also attended a performance by the Royal Guard of Oman band.

 


How Egypt’s army saved injured girl abandoned by her terrorist father

How Egypt’s army saved injured girl abandoned by her terrorist father
Updated 05 October 2022

How Egypt’s army saved injured girl abandoned by her terrorist father

How Egypt’s army saved injured girl abandoned by her terrorist father
  • Film of Yaqeen’s ordeal shown at military celebrations in Cairo
  • Child used as human shield, left to die in North Sinai, says rights official

CAIRO: The Egyptian Armed Forces screened a special documentary Tuesday about a young girl who was saved by soldiers after being left to die by her terrorist father in the North Sinai region.

The documentary titled “Yaqeen” was shown at the 49th anniversary of the Oct. 6 Arab-Israeli War victory, in the presence of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

The film tells the story of how Yaqeen was used by her “takfiri” father as a human shield during recent army raids in the North Sinai region.

Takfiri is an Arabic term denoting a Muslim who accuses a fellow believer of being an apostate, often accompanied by calls for the accused person to be killed.

The documentary presented an overview of the Egyptian army’s efforts to save the girl.

“My name is Yaqeen. I went to the nursery. I love to draw and color. I want to become a doctor and I love pizza.

“In the past, we didn’t have much to eat. We used to eat cacti only. I am happy in the place where I am based now and I feel safe,” Yaqeen said in the documentary.

The army had acted on a military intelligence report that a Bedouin had seen a group of terrorists seeking to escape detection with a wounded girl and then leaving her behind.

When the soldiers arrived at the coordinates, they found Yaqeen in a poor state. Medical staff initially assisted Yaqeen, transferred her to El-Arish Military Hospital, and then later to a nursery.

The documentary showed actress Amina Khalil visiting the girl in the hospital.

Moushira Khattab, head of the National Council for Human Rights, praised the army for the role it had played in saving Yaqeen, and its commitment to protect the nation.

She said Yaqeen was not “the property of her terrorist father, who used her as a human shield,” and that she would no longer be living in an atmosphere of violence and hatred.

For years, the Egyptian army and police have been engaged in large-scale operations in the Sinai to combat terrorists, including Daesh elements.

Last August, the Egyptian military, in cooperation with the federation of Sinai tribes, killed a Daesh leader in the village of Gelbana in North Sinai.

Hamza Adel Al-Zamili, a Palestinian, was considered one of the most prominent leaders of Daesh’s Sinai branch.


No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients

No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients
Updated 05 October 2022

No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients

No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients
  • Patients who cannot get treatment in Gaza need a medical referral from the Ministry of Health and an Israeli permit to travel to hospitals in the West Bank or Israel
  • According to the MoH in Gaza, the travel bans and the delay in implementing treatment protocols for cancer patients led to the death of more than 3,000 people in the past five years

GAZA CITY: Ensaf Abu Jajouh’s suffering began in 2014 when she discovered that she had breast cancer.

Her treatment in Gaza was not easy, and the disease came back three times as she battled to get the medicine she needed, leading her to travel to Jordan for care in 2021.

“I was shocked when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no knowledge of its nature or how to treat it. I didn’t know if I would survive it or if it was the way to the end,” Abu Jajouh, 45, a mother of two daughters, told Arab News.

“There was a shortage of medicine in the Gaza Strip, and after the disease emerged for the second time, I was unable to get treatment for four months, which brought the disease back again, the doctors in Jordan told me.”

Her story is similar to many others in Gaza, which suffers severe shortages of cancer medicines due to the Israeli blockade, and the political division between Hamas and Fatah.

Abu Jajouh was able to get help at the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan with the assistance of local institutions. But many others facing the same disease do not share her fortune.

She said: “A cancer patient suffers from physical pain, in addition to the hardships of the treatment journey, the fear of not being fully cured, and the agony in society. I separated from my husband because he did not accept my illness in the first year.

“I may be a little lucky in my latest treatment journey, but most women are not,” she added.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health recorded 363 cases of breast cancer in Gaza last year, which is 18.5 percent of the total number of cancer patients.

The disease is on the rise, with 300 cases in 2018, 309 in 2019, and 324 in 2020. The death rate has also risen, to 13 percent.

Iman Shanan, director of the Aid and Hope Foundation for Cancer Patients, told Arab News that the Gaza Strip lacked a comprehensive national program for breast cancer screening.

“Breast cancer patients in Gaza suffer from many problems, the most important of which is the lack of complete and regular treatment, and there is no radiation therapy in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the lack of plastic surgery.

“Awareness may increase among women, but there are no fixed campaigns and a clear program for all official and private institutions to educate women about early detection, not to mention the suffering of patients in obtaining treatment permits in hospitals in the West Bank or abroad,” Shanan said.

Patients who cannot get treatment in Gaza need a medical referral from the Ministry of Health and an Israeli permit to travel to hospitals in the West Bank or Israel. Less than half of those permits are granted, however, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories.

In a statement, the UN office said: “Patients referred for medical treatment in the West Bank or Israel and their companions accounted for approximately 7 percent of departures. A total of 2,067 applications for exit permits were submitted to attend medical appointments in August, but only 42 percent were approved in time.”

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the travel bans and the delay in implementing treatment protocols for cancer patients led to the death of more than 3,000 people in the past five years, including cases that were treatable and showing recovery signs.


Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women

Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women
Updated 05 October 2022

Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women

Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women
  • "Until the women of Iran are free we are going to stand with you," Iraqi-born Abir Al-Sahlani said in the parliament in Strasbourg

BRUSSELS: A Swedish member of the European Parliament lopped off her hair during a speech in the EU assembly in solidarity with anti-government demonstrations in Iran ignited by the death in morality police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
“Until Iran is free, our fury will be bigger than the oppressors. Until the women of Iran are free we are going to stand with you,” Iraqi-born Abir Al-Sahlani said in the parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday evening.
Then, taking a pair of scissors, she said “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” — Kurdish for “Woman, Life, Freedom” — as she snipped off her ponytail.
Leading French actresses including Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert have also cut locks of hair in protest over Amini’s death after she was arrested in Tehran on Sept. 13 for “inappropriate attire.”
Iran’s clerical rulers have been grappling with the biggest nationwide unrest in years since her death and protests have spread abroad including London, Paris, Rome and Madrid in solidarity with Iranian demonstrators.