بایگانی‌های اخبار - 6 بلاگ

Two Afghan youths get 30 years’ jail for killing of young girl | News

An Afghan court has sentenced two teenage boys to 30 years in prison for the abduction and killing of a young girl whose brutal murder provoked a national outcry.

Six-year-old Mahsa Ahmadi was snatched from a Kabul street in March and was killed after her parents were unable to pay a ransom of $300,000.

Police eventually arrested two boys and released a video clip showing them confessing. They said they had picked up Mahsa, driven her away on a motorcycle, taken her to a house and then strangled her after the ransom wasn’t paid.

In a televised court hearing, a judge sentenced the two youths to 30 years each in prison on Sunday. Their ages were not released, but the judge said they were under 18.

For Mahsa’s father, the sentence was too lenient.

“I want the severest punishment for them, they should be hanged,” he said.

“They should feel what we are feeling.”

But the judge said since they were minors they could not be executed. They have the right to appeal the sentence.

Mahsa’s death drew broad condemnation and angry Afghans took to social media demanding justice.

Kidnappings for ransom are increasing in Kabul, as are a host of other crimes, adding yet more worries for the war-stricken country.

Overwhelmed police are already pushed to their limits attempting to prevent attacks by the Taliban and other groups.

Crime in Kabul came under scrutiny again this month when former journalist Mena Mangal was murdered in broad daylight on a busy street.

Her killing appears tied to a domestic dispute, but many observers viewed the brutal and public slaying as a bellwether demonstrating just how cheap life has become in Afghanistan.

Rare all-white panda spotted in China reserve: State media | News

A rare all-white panda has been caught on camera at a nature reserve in southwest China, showing albinism exists among wild pandas in the region, state media reported.

The bear was photographed while trekking through the forest in mid-April in southwest Sichuan province, said official news agency Xinhua on Saturday.

The panda is an albino between one to two years old, said Li Sheng, a researcher specialising in bears at Peking University, who was quoted in Xinhua’s report.

The Wolong National Nature Reserve – where the animal was spotted – told AFP it had no further details about the albino panda.

More than 80 percent of the world’s wild pandas live in Sichuan, with the rest in Shaanxi and Gansu province.

Giant panda park

There were about 548 giant pandas in captivity globally as of November, reported Xinhua.

The number living in the wild has dwindled to fewer than 2,000, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Famed for its “panda diplomacy”, in which China dispatches the rare animals to other countries as a symbol of close relations, Beijing has invested in different programmes to protect its furry ambassadors in recent years.

In 2018, China announced plans to create a bastion for giant pandas three times the size of Yellowstone National Park to link up existing wild populations and encourage breeding of the notoriously slow-reproducing animal.

At least 10 billion yuan ($1.45bn) had been budgeted for the Giant Panda National Park in mountainous southwestern China the state-run China Daily reported.

Pandas are currently listed as a vulnerable species, which means that while their survival is still threatened, conservation efforts have helped reduce their danger of extinction.

Libya’s Haftar vows to fight until Tripoli ‘militias’ defeated | News

Libyan renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, who is leading a military offensive against the government in Tripoli, said in an interview published on Sunday he will continue fighting until militias in the city laid down their arms.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) began an offensive in early April to take the capital from fighters loyal to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognised by the United Nations.

The LNA, which is allied to a parallel government in the east, has not been able to breach the southern defences of Tripoli.

Haftar justified the offensive last month by saying he was fighting against “private militias and extremist groups” who he said were gaining influence under al-Sarraj.

“Of course a political solution is the objective,” Haftar told the Journal de Dimanche newspaper in France. “But to return to politics, we need to finish with the militias. The problem in Tripoli is a security one.”

READ MORE: What’s at stake for Libya?

He offered an amnesty to fighters in Tripoli who laid down their arms, saying they would be allowed to “return home safe and sound”.

French President Emmanual Macron asked Haftar in a meeting held in Paris last week to take a public step towards a ceasefire without much luck, a French official told Reuters news agency.

‘Biased’ mediator

Haftar also took aim at UN mediator Ghassan Salame who has warned that the country is “committing suicide” because of the conflict that six to 10 foreign states are involved in.

“Salame is making irresponsible statements,” Haftar said. “He wasn’t like that before. He has changed from an impartial and honest mediator, he has become a biased one.”

Salame warned Haftar’s offensive is “just the start of a long and bloody war”.

More than 75,000 people have been driven from their homes in the latest fighting and 510 have been killed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than 2,400 people have also been wounded, while 100,000 people are feared trapped by the clashes raging on the outskirts of Tripoli.

Syrian forces pound rebel targets in the besieged northwest | Syria News

Syrian government forces pounded positions in the northwest of the country on Sunday as troops on the ground seized a town retaken by rebels days before. 

The bombardment helped Russian-backed Syrian soldiers capture the small town of Kafr Nabuda in the north of Hama province, the third time it has changed hands in the latest offensive, sources on both sides said.

Syrian state news agency SANA said Kafr Nabuda town was taken from fighters led by the Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group.

A spokesman for one of the rebel formations in the area, the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front, confirmed government forces had recaptured Kafr Nabuda after eight-hours of heavy bombardment, Reuters news agency said.

Hundreds of air strikes

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported the number of casualties at six, quoting the White Helmets civil defence agency active in the area. 

Overnight attacks also targeted the towns of Kafr Nabl and Khan Sheikhun in the province of Idlib, as well as the villages of Armanaya, Fatterah, Tramla, Deir Sunbul, Hass and Hobait, it added.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said air and ground operations killed 12 people in several areas, including the town of Maarat al-Numan.

Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory, said government aircraft and helicopters launched more than 280 strikes on Sunday and Russian jets had carried out 15.

Syria war: Rebels make gains against Syrian army

A reporter with the AFP news agency in Maaret al-Numan said he saw a young man carry the arched body of what appeared to be a young girl out of the rubble after one air strike.

Another man retrieved a distressed, dust-covered young girl and slung her over his shoulder. 

Witness Hamdu Mustafa said he was out shopping when the air strike hit. Everybody was “in the street selling and buying”, he said.    

“The planes targeted civilians who were buying food for their children,” Mustafa added.

Intense bombardment

The onslaught by Syrian government forces supported by Russian air power has been going on since late April, and is focused mostly on southern parts of Idlib and adjacent parts of Hama and Latakia provinces.

It marks the most intense conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and his rebel enemies since last summer.

Bombardment has killed 229 civilians, wounded 727 others and forced more than 300,000 people to flee since April 28, according to The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), which provides assistance to health facilities.

Saudi King invites Qatar’s Emir to GCC summit in Mecca | News

Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has received an invitation from Saudi King Salman to attend the emergency Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on May 30, Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, received the message while meeting with the GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Doha on Sunday.

Earlier this month King Salman had proposed holding two summits in Mecca at the end of May 30 to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

The announcement followed drone attacks on oil installations in the kingdom and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Riyadh accused Tehran of ordering the recent drone attacks on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen’s Houthi group.

Iran denied it was behind the attacks and a senior Iranian military commander was quoted as saying his country is not looking for war.

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it shot down a bomb-laden drone deployed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack an airport in the kingdom, the latest in a series of attacks targeting the kingdom.

The Saudi air force intercepted and destroyed the drone that targeted Jizan airport, close to the southern border with Yemen, the Saudi-UAE-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

A Houthi leader said on Sunday the group resumed drone attacks deep inside Saudi Arabia this month in response to what he called the coalition’s spurning of “peace initiatives” by the rebels.

Tensions in the Gulf have escalated since the US decision in early May to send an aircraft carrier strike force and B-52 bombers in a show of force against what Washington’s leaders said was an imminent Iranian plan to attack US assets.

No evidence was given on the alleged plan.

Washington says the latest reinforcements were in response to a “campaign” of recent attacks including a rocket launched into the Green Zone in Baghdad, the explosive devices that damaged four tankers near the entrance to the Gulf, and the  drone attacks by Yemeni rebels on the Saudi oil pipeline.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut off ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on the Gulf state. 

The quartet accuses Doha of supporting “terrorism” and proscribed opposition political movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations as baseless.

Four killed in new church attack in Burkina Faso | News

Four people were killed in an attack on a Catholic church in northern Burkina Faso, the latest in a string of assaults on Christian places of worship in the region.

“The Christian community of Toulfe was the target of a terrorist attack gathered for Sunday prayers,” the bishop of Ouahigouya, Justin Kientega, said in a statement on Sunday. “The attack left four of the faithful dead.”

A security source told AFP news agency “heavily armed individuals attacked the church … as the faithful were celebrating Sunday mass” in the town of Toulfe, 240km northwest of the capital Ouagadougou.

“[The attack] caused panic in the village and many residents sought cover in their homes or in the bush,” a local resident said.

Last week, gunmen killed four Catholics in a religious procession, days after a priest and five others were murdered at mass.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks that threaten to upend traditionally peaceful relations between majority Muslims and Christians who make up one-quarter of the country.

The government has blamed unnamed armed groups operating in the country and Africa’s surrounding Sahel region.

Raids began in 2015 in the north before targeting Ouagadougou and other regions, notably in the east.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since 2015 – mainly in hit-and-run raids, according to an AFP tally.

Armed groups target Christian clergy as well as Muslim clerics they do not consider sufficiently conservative in a country where traditionally both religions have co-existed peaceably.

France has deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces flush out fighters.

French special forces this month freed four foreign hostages in the former French colony during an overnight raid that killed two soldiers.

Saudi Arabia shoots down Houthi drone targeting Jizan airport | Yemen News

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it shot down a bomb-laden drone deployed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack an airport in the kingdom, the latest in a series of attacks targeting the kingdom.

The Saudi air force intercepted and destroyed the drone that targeted Jizan airport, close to the southern border with Yemen, the Saudi-UAE-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

“While we confirm our right to defend our country, we stress that the terrorist Houthis will pay a dear price,” said alliance spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malaki, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Saudi announcement came hours after the Houthis said they used an armed drone to attack warplane runways at Jizan airport. The airport is used by thousands of civilians every day, but the coalition reported no casualties.

The attack comes after the Houthis on Thursday targeted Najran airport, also near the Yemeni border, with an explosives-laden drone.

That attack – the third against Najran airport in 72 hours – targeted a Patriot air defence system, rebel-run Al Masirah TV reported. Civilian airports throughout the Middle East often host military bases.

The kingdom said the last Najran attempted drone attack was also intercepted by its air defences and destroyed.

‘Aggressor countries’

A Houthi leader said on Sunday the group resumed drone attacks deep inside Saudi Arabia this month in response to what he called the coalition’s spurning of “peace initiatives” by the rebels.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi also dismissed Saudi accusations the attacks had been carried out on the orders on Iran – at a time of growing tension between Tehran and Riyadh alongside its Western and regional allies.

“We are independent in our decisions and … we are not subordinated to anyone,” Houthi told Reuters news agency by phone.

He said the rebels had agreed to halt air raids last year “in good faith” and had been ready to take more steps.

“But unfortunately the aggressor countries misinterpreted these efforts [as weakness] and regarded them with contempt and indifference,” Houthi, the head of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, added.

He said the Houthis had unilaterally withdrawn from three Red Sea ports and he accused the Saudi-led coalition of failing to reciprocate.

There was no immediate reaction to his statement from Riyadh, which has not yet recognised the port pullout.

Worst humanitarian crisis

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back an advance by the Houthis, who still hold the capital Sanaa, and to restore to power President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Since then, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, relief agencies say.

The war triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with 24.1 million – more than two-thirds of the population – in need of aid.

Earlier this month, the Houthis attacked an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia with a series of drone attacks.

The Houthis have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities in the past two weeks.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Four killed in three explosions in Nepal’s Kathmandu | News

Four people were killed and seven others injured in three separate explosions in the Nepali capital Kathmandu, police sources said.

“Three people were killed on the spot and the fourth one died while undergoing treatment at a hospital,” police official Shyam Lal Gyawali said on Sunday, adding that the nature of the blasts was still being investigated.

One person was killed in an explosion inside a house in the Ghattekulo residential area in the heart of the city.

“I heard a big noise and rushed to the spot to find the wall of a house had developed cracks due to the impact of the blast,” 17-year-old student Govinda Bhandari told Reuters news agency at the site of the first blast.

The second blast took place near a hairdresser in the Sukedhara area on the outskirts of the city, where three people were killed.

The third blast, a crude device, went off near a brick kiln in the Thankot area of Kathmandu, injuring two people, police said. All seven injured people were taken to hospital.

‘Stepped up security’

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but police said they suspect the involvement of a Maoist splinter group whose pamphlets were found in a house where one of the explosions took place.

Gyawali said that “a pamphlet from the group had been found at the site of the first blast”.

“We are investigating all incidents and have stepped up the security,” police spokesman Bishwa Raj Pokharel told the AFP news agency.

The incidents come on the eve of a nationwide strike called by the same Maoist splinter group, protesting the death of their cadre in a police encounter over a week ago.

Nepal has enjoyed a relatively peaceful environment since the end of a decade-long civil war which concluded with a peace deal in 2006. The main group of the former rebels has joined the party that runs the government.

But some former fighters have broken away, accusing their previous leaders of betraying their original revolutionary ideals.

In February, the breakaway group was implicated in an explosion that killed one person outside the office of a telecom company Ncell, part of Malaysia-based Axiata Group Berhad.

The government outlawed the group following the incident, banning their activities.

Could Iraq be pulled into a conflict between the US and Iran? | Iran

The United States is raising the stakes against what it calls threats from Iran.

President Donald Trump is sending an extra 1,500 troops to the Middle East.

He’s also bypassing the US Congress to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Iran’s rivals, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Iran’s neighbour, Iraq, is vowing support and offering to mediate.

At the same time, Iraq is wary of straining relations with the Americans. How should leaders in Baghdad handle this balancing act?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra


Andreas Kreig – assistant professor, defence studies department, King’s College London

Sami Nader – director, The Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs

Robert Gutsche – associate professor, Lancaster University

Source: Al Jazeera News

Zimbabwe opposition MDC party elects Nelson Chamisa as leader | Zimbabwe News

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has elected Nelson Chamisa as its leader.

It is the first Congress held by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party since its founder, Morgan Tsvangirai, died last year.

The party has been plagued by infighting since his death.

Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa reports from Gweru.

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