Coronavirus claims over 20,000 lives across Mideast, half in Iran

The novel coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 20,000 people across the Middle East, half of them in Iran, according to an AFP tally at 1000 GMT Sunday based on official tolls.But despite having 907,736 reported infections and 20,005 deaths from the COVID-19 illness, the Middle East has been re

Hagia Sophia verdict seen as Erdogan’s attempt to ‘mask economic failure’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree on Friday to reopen Hagia Sophia, the UNESCO world heritage site that was the Roman Empire’s first Christian cathedral, constructed in the sixth century CE, as a mosque. UNESCO had previously urged Turkish authorities “to engage in

Coronavirus-hit Afghanistan gets $200 million World Bank grant

The World Bank has approved $200 million in aid to help Afghanistan tackle economic losses from the coronavirus pandemic, as confirmed cases top more than 34,000 in the conflict zone.The country’s war-ravaged economy has been severely impacted due to a months-long lockdown, with thousands of p

$8bn blow to Erdogan as investors flee Turkey

Foreign capital is flooding out of Turkey in a massive vote of no confidence in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic competence.Overseas investors have withdrawn nearly $8 billion from Turkish stocks since January, according to Central Bank statistics, reducing foreign investment in the I

Taliban violence poses 'serious challenges' to peace: Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has warned that violence by the Taliban is threatening the country's peace process, as he briefed the international community on Kabul's preparations for peace talks with the armed group. Afghan authorities and the Taliban are preparing to engage in the so-called intra

Seven killed in Nigeria oil facility blast

Seven people have been killed in an explosion at the Gbetiokun oilfield in southern Nigeria's Niger Delta region during the installation of a ladder on a platform, the state oil company said on Wednesday 7-8-2020. "Detailed investigation of the cause of the explosion has commenced, while the Depart

Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly dies

Ivory Coast's prime minister and the governing party's candidate for the October presidential election, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, has died just days after returning from two months of medical treatment in France. The 61-year-old, who had heart surgery in 2012, became unwell during a weekly cabinet meet

Coronavirus: Pakistan’s daily COVID-19 drops, experts blame fewer tests

 Islamabad - Pakistan’s daily infection rate dropped below 3,000 for the second straight day, though medical experts caution it may be due to less testing. Barely 21,000 tests for the coronavirus are carried out each day, compared to a peak of nearly 33,000. Still some medical professio

MP Shahid’s seat to be vacant if dual citizenship proved: PM

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told the parliament that the seat of Lakshmipur-2 independent lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam should be declared vacant if it is proven that he is also a citizen of Kuwait. ‘I don’t know whether he [Shahid] is a national of Kuwait or not, if he i

'What choice do I have?': coronavirus fallout sending Afghan children into work or marriage

Stefanie Glinski The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is pushing Afghan children into early marriage or labour work and away from education. Few children in Afghanistan have suffered severe coronavirus-related health issues, but pandemic-induced economic hardships expose families to

BNP asks EC to defer by-polls or drop its symbol from ballot

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Tuesday 7-7-2020 asked the Election Commission to defer the by-polls to Bogura-1 and Jashore-6 parliamentary constituencies considering the coronavirus pandemic or remove its electoral symbol form the ballot paper. The by-polls to the two constituencies ar

Malaysia to reinstate pilots once Pakistani licenses OK’d

 The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) will reinstate Pakistani pilots as soon as Pakistani authorities verify their permits, an official told Arab News on Monday, after their temporary suspension due to a fake license scandal.  Pakistan grounded almost 30 percent of its pilots

Imran Khan inaugurates Pakistan's first indigenous ventilator manufacturing facility

Waheed Abbas - Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday inaugurated the production facility of the first indigenously developed ventilators in the country at the National Radio & Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) in Haripur. Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Science and Technology; Omar Ayub,

Iran blasts: What is behind mysterious 'attacks' at key sites?

Just after midnight on 30 June, an email dropped into my inbox. It claimed to be from an unknown group calling itself the Homeland Cheetahs. The group said it had attacked the major Iranian nuclear site at Natanz some two hours earlier, at 02:00 local time. In the detailed message, it claimed it ha

Turkey defers decision on turning Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque

Refugees and dissidents from Turkey living in Germany have witnessed a surge in harassment from the estimated 8,000 Turkish intelligence agents active on German soil, an investigation has claimed. In the fallout from the failed 2016 coup in Turkey there has been an unprecedented rise in asylum appl

Ahmad Massoud: 'decentralisation is the solution', son of Afghan national hero says

If he was given the choice, Ahmad Massoud says he would have liked to work in astrophysics, pursue a doctorate degree and travel the world, occasionally finding a television screen to watch his favourite football team, Real Madrid. Instead, the 30-year-old dove into politics, admitting that he actu

Tech-savvy Indonesians go off-grid to help to remote villages fight virus

JAKARTA- A group of tech-savvy young locals in Indonesia’s northern North Halmahera regency is spreading awareness about the dangers of COVID-19 in remote corners of the archipelago at a time when bureaucracy has impeded a rapid response to the pandemic. The Relawan Merah Putih, or Red and Wh

Fire flares at Iranian power plant, latest in series of incidents

A fire broke out at a power station in southwestern Iran on Saturday, Iranian media reported, the latest of several recent fires and explosions some of which have hit sensitive sites.The blaze, which affected a transformer in the power station in the city of Ahvaz, was put out by fire fighters and e

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