Weekly News 30 April – 4 May 2018 | Mediterranean Affairs
Weekly News 30 April – 4 May 2018
Monday 30 April 2018
Afghanistan: At least 25 people have been killed in two bombings in the Afghan capital Kabul, including several journalists documenting the scene. AFP chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, is among the victims.
The first explosion was carried out by an attacker on a motorbike. A second followed about 15 minutes later after a crowd, including several reporters, had gathered at the scene.
The Islamic State group (IS) said it had carried out the attack. It was one of several fatal incidents on Monday. (BBC)
Israel: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said 55,000 pages of material obtained by Israel showed Iran had deceived the world since signing a deal in 2015 to curb its nuclear programme. It agreed to the deal in return for the lifting of sanctions. Tweeting earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif appeared to accuse Mr Netanyahu of “fooling people”. (BBC)
Tuesday 1 May 2018
France: Police in Paris have arrested nearly 200 masked demonstrators who smashed shop windows and torched cars during annual May Day protests.
Far-left anarchist groups, known as Black Blocs, hijacked a peaceful rally against President Emmanuel Macron’s public sector labour reforms. There is widespread discontent in labour unions over Mr Macron’s reforms. Rail staff have begun three months of nationwide strikes over a planned overhaul of state-run railway SNCF.
Tens of thousands of teachers, nurses and other workers joined the rail staff on strike in March. The president has said he will not back down on his agenda. (BBC)
Iran: Iran has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “liar” after he accused the country of deceiving the world about its nuclear intentions.
Mr Netanyahu produced what he said were copies of Iranian files detailing a project to build nuclear weapons, which was reportedly mothballed 15 years ago.
Iran said it had never sought to build a bomb when it signed an international deal to curb nuclear activity in 2015. (BBC)
Palestine: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told a meeting in the West Bank the Nazi mass murder of European Jews was the result of their financial activities, not anti-Semitism.
He described their “social function” as “usury and banking and such”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman said the remarks were “anti-Semitic and pathetic”. (BBC)
Wednesday 02 May
Armenia: Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan has suspended nationwide protests after the governing Republican Party indicated it would support his bid to be interim prime minister.
The demonstrations brought much of Armenia to a standstill on Wednesday.
Mr Pashinyan told supporters that the party’s position needed clarifying but protests would be suspended for a day. In a statement on Wednesday, the party did not mention Mr Pashinyan by name but said they would back a candidate nominated by a third of MPs at next week’s vote in parliament. It said it would not put forward its own candidate, leaving Mr Pashinyan as the only nominee. (BBC)
Iraq: The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former US President George W Bush is running for parliament.
Muntader al-Zaidi is standing in next week’s elections as a candidate for a list founded by the influential Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.
Mr Zaidi said he wanted to fight the corruption that plagues Iraq.
His protest during a visit by Mr Bush to Baghdad in 2008 made him a hero for many Iraqis. But he was convicted of assaulting a foreign leader.
He served nine months of a 12-month prison sentence. After his release, he alleged that he had been tortured by Iraqi officials and guards, and that he needed treatment for broken teeth, bone fractures and other injuries. (BBC)
Libya: At least 12 people have been killed and several injured in an attack on Libya’s electoral commission headquarters by the Islamic State group (IS).
At least one suicide bomber blew himself up while other armed assailants stormed the building in the capital, Tripoli, and set it on fire.
Voters have been registering for elections expected later this year.
IS offered no proof to back its claim of carrying out the attack – the first of its kind in recent years. (BBC)
Thursday 3 May 2018
Syria: Syrian rebels have agreed to surrender an enclave north of the country’s third largest city after relenting to intense government bombardment and a debilitating siege.
After withstanding seven years of bombing, rebels agreed evacuate the towns of Houla, Rastan, and Talbiseh in the countryside north of Homs, and allow government forces to re-establish state institutions. the rebels agreed to the Russian-sponsored deal that will allow their exile to northern Syria. (Al Jazeera)
Friday 04 May 2018
Nobel Prize: The Swedish Academy has announced that no Nobel Prize for literature will be awarded this year, in the wake of a financial and sexual scandal that has engulfed the body responsible for selecting the winner.
The Academy said on Friday that it aimed to award two prizes, including for this year, in 2019. (Al Jazeera)
Israel: Israel withdrew on Friday from a race against Germany and Belgium for two seats on the United Nations Security Council in 2019/2020 due to its low chances of winning, a U.N. source told Reuters. (Reuters)
Palestine: Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip are protesting for the sixth Friday in a row as part of the Great March of Return movement.
The rallies are part of a six-week protest that will culminate on May 15 to mark what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba” or “catastrophe” – a reference to Israel’s establishment in 1948 and when 750,000 Arabs were forcibly removed from Palestine. (All the latest updates from Al Jazeera)
Israeli troops fired live rounds and tear gas at Palestinians who thronged the Gaza-Israel frontier and rampaged at a border terminal on Friday as part of a long-running protest, injuring about 1,100 people. (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday offered an apology after he was accused of anti-Semitism for suggesting that historic persecution of European Jews had been caused by their conduct, not by their religion. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman swiftly rejected Abbas’ apology. (Reuters)