Middle East & North Africa

Scholars call on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE to release prisoners of conscience

24 May 2019; MEMO: The International Union of Muslim Scholars has called on Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to immediately release all prisoners of conscience.

“We are increasingly concerned over media reports claiming that verdicts will soon be issued or may have been issued against three prominent moderate scholars namely Salman Al-Ouda, Awad Al-Qarni and Ali Al-Omari which Saudi Arabia did not deny,” the statement said, describing the planned execution as “a great crime”.

Turkey Security forces seize 1400-year-old book

DIYARBAKIR, 24 May 2019; AA: A religious motivational book believed to have been written 1,400 years ago was seized Friday by security forces in southeastern Turkey.

The 36-page book written on papyrus paper was seized in an operation carried out by local gendarmes in Diyarbakir province.

The anti-smuggling and organized crime unit of the gendarmerie received a tip off that three people were looking for customers for an an ancient book, the local governor's office said.

Turkish Cargo growing despite global shrinkage

ANKARA; 23 May 2019; AA: Turkish Cargo, a subsidiary company of Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines, continued its growth in the first quarter of this year, despite shrinkage in the global air cargo sector, the company said Thursday.

"Turkish Cargo managed to increase its sold cargo tonnage by 11.6% year-on-year, according to World Air Cargo Data (WACD)," it said in a statement, despite a global shrinkage of 3.1% across the air cargo sector in the first three months of 2019.

FIFA: 32 teams in Qatar World Cup 2022

23 May 2019; DW: World football's governing body was hoping to expand the competition to include 48 countries. However, that would have needed another Gulf country to host games along with Qatar, amid deteriorating ties in the region.

FIFA finally abandoned its hopes to fast-track its expansion of the World Cup on Wednesday, announcing that it had run out of time in its bid to find a way to accommodate 48 teams in Qatar and the wider region in 2022. 

Israel government admits journalists beaten by soldiers were not ‘rioters’

22 May 2019; MEMO: The Israeli government has retracted its claim that two journalists “led a riot” in Nabi Saleh in 2015, “and that their beating by soldiers was therefore justified”, reported Haaretz.

According to the article, “this is the gist of a compromise reached between the Jerusalem district attorney and the two photographers, Abbas Mumani and Haim Schwarczenberg”, who had sued the Israeli military over the assault.

Turkey cuts duties on some US goods by half

ANKARA; 22 May 2019; AA: Turkey decided to reduce by half the additional duties levied on 22 products originating in the U.S. in a reciprocal move, the trade minister said on Wednesday.

The move came after the U.S. government announced that it decreased tariffs on Turkish iron and steel imports to 25% from 50% last week.

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