Middle East & North Africa

Iran’s new Parliament Speaker rejects talks with US as ‘futile’

01 June 2020; MEMO: The new Speaker of the Iranian Shura Council, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday rejected negotiations with the United States, describing them as “futile”.

“The new Shura Council considers negotiating with America; the global axis of arrogance to be futile, even harmful,” Qalibaf said in his first major speech.

Coronavirus spreads in Egypt’s Tora Prison

01 June 2020; MEMO: Suspected coronavirus cases have been detected in two out of four blocks of Egypt’s notorious Tora Prison, human rights organisation We Record reports.

The cases cannot be confirmed to be the virus due to the regime’s refusal to conduct tests.

We Record has said they believe the infection came from Ministry of Interior employee Sayed Hijazi who died from the virus on 29 May.

Hijazi regularly came into contact with prisoners, officers and the police.

Israel policeman who killed disabled Palestinian released

01 June 2020; MEMO: Israeli occupation authorities yesterday released a policeman who shot a disabled Palestinian man in Jerusalem a day earlier, placing him under house arrest, Israeli media revealed.

On Saturday, Israeli police opened fire at disabled Palestinian Eyad Hallak, 32, near a special needs school in Jerusalem’s Old City, where he used to work.

SYRIA: Thousands face homelessness in Greek refugee relocation push

1 June 2020; AFP: Abdelkader Rahmoun hasn't slept in days.

The 44-year-old Syrian and his family are among thousands of recognised refugees about to lose the temporary homes they were given under Greece's asylum seeker housing scheme.

As of Monday, authorities will start moving more than 11,200 people out of flats, hotels and camps on the mainland, to make room for other asylum seekers currently living in dismal island camps.

Egypt says 19 suspected militants killed in restive Sinai

CAIRO, June 1 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Egypt’s military said it killed 19 suspected militants in targeted ground and air operations as part of its battle to quell a long-running insurgency in north Sinai.

In a video statement replete with a dramatic score released on its social media, the army said troops killed three “extremely dangerous” militants as well as 16 others in precision airstrikes on their “terrorist hideouts”.

Troops found troves of automatic rifles, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades in posession of the militants, the army added.

Two Iranian tankers sail back after delivering fuel to Venezuela

CARACAS, June 1 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Two Iranian tankers that delivered fuel to Venezuela as part of a five-vessel flotilla have begun to sail back, according to Refinitiv Eikon, as the government of the South American nation prepares stations to begin charging for the gasoline.

The supply is meant to ease fuel shortages that have plagued the country. After three months of fuel rationing, Venezuelans began lining up on Saturday to wait for the Iranian gasoline to be sold at stations from Monday under a new system combining subsidies and internationally-indexed prices.

Egypt sees daily record of 1,536 COVID-19 infections, tally nears 25,000

CAIRO, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Egypt reported on Sunday a new record of 1,536 COVID-19 daily infections, raising the total number of cases registered in the country to 24,985, the Egyptian Health Ministry said.

It is the fourth consecutive day for Egypt's COVID-19 daily infections to surpass 1,000.

Meanwhile, the most populous Arab country saw the highest-single day fatalities as 46 patients died from the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 959, the ministry's spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

Turkey inaugurates new hospital for COVID-19 patients in Istanbul

ISTANBUL, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Turkey on Friday inaugurated a new hospital specially built for COVID-19 patients in the country's biggest city Istanbul.

The hospital was constructed in the Sancaktepe district on the Asian side of the city and named after Feriha Oz, a Turkish doctor, who recently lost her life due to COVID-19.

The construction of the hospital with 1,008-bed capacity was completed in 45 days with the work of around 4,000 workers.

UAE: Long-haul carrier Emirates says it fires staff amid virus

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai’s long-haul carrier Emirates said Sunday it fired an undisclosed number of employees as the coronavirus pandemic has halted global aviation, becoming the latest Mideast airline to shed staff over the outbreak.

Emirates, the jewel of the sheikhdom’s vast array of state-linked enterprises known as “Dubai Inc.” to diplomats and investors, declined to offer figures on how many staff it fired.

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