Yemen’s warring parties accuse each other of violating ceasefire

Yemen’s warring parties accuse each other of violating ceasefire

Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the Yemeni government have accused each other of violating a ceasefire in the western city of Hodeidah, less than 24-hours after the UN-brokered agreement came into effect. Residents reported shelling for nearly one hour on the eastern and southern outskirts of the Houthi-held city on Tuesday, whose strategic docks…
Christmas in Bethlehem: Controlling the narrative through tourism

Christmas in Bethlehem: Controlling the narrative through tourism

Bethlehem, occupied West Bank - The town of Bethlehem is geared up for the Christmas season. A net of lights strings from building to building, creating a canopy over the town's famous Manger Square. An adorned Christmas tree with a life-sized nativity scene lies at the centre of the plaza. Groups of tourists and pilgrims…
Nigeria’s former defence chief killed amid growing insecurity

Nigeria’s former defence chief killed amid growing insecurity

Nigeria’s former chief of defence, who was facing trial for alleged fraud, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, has been killed by unknown gunmen. Air Marshall Alex Badeh was shot dead on Tuesday on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja, further highlighting worsening security problems in the country. Badeh died "from gunshot wounds sustained…
Forty years of China’s ‘reform and opening up’, a personal tale

Forty years of China’s ‘reform and opening up’, a personal tale

Beijing, China - In October 1978, China's late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping paid his first official visit to Japan. After being shown around the steel, automobile and electronic factories, Deng was apparently so mesmerised by the modern Japanese technology that once he returned home he convened the third plenary session of the Communist Party's 11th…
Sri Lanka’s prime minister returns, but crisis is ‘far from over’

Sri Lanka’s prime minister returns, but crisis is ‘far from over’

At the time of his stunning election victory in 2015, Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena claimed he would have been buried "six feet under the earth" had he lost that vote to incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. Yet, almost four years later, Sirisena was administering the prime minister's oath to his predecessor. The October 26 move plunged the…

Will the ceasefire in Yemen hold?

It is hoped to be the starting point to ending nearly four years of civil war in Yemen. A ceasefire has begun in Hodeidah, the port city that is the main gateway for the bulk of much-needed food and aid. Millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation could be saved if the truce is…
Fatah and Hamas will face Trump’s deal disunited

Fatah and Hamas will face Trump’s deal disunited

It's been more than a year now that the Trump administration has been talking about the "deal of the century" to bring some form of settlement to the Palestinian question in the Middle East. Bits and pieces of the deal have been leaking: the siege on Gaza is to be lifted, its residents provided with…
Saudi king extends allowances as biggest budget ever is announced

Saudi king extends allowances as biggest budget ever is announced

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Tuesday ordered the continuation of public sector cost-of-living allowances and then announced a $295bn budget for 2019, the kingdom's biggest ever. The budget announcement projected a $35bn shortfall, amounting to a deficit for the sixth year in a row because of low oil prices. "We are determined to go ahead with…
Saudi rights commission interviews detainees over alleged torture

Saudi rights commission interviews detainees over alleged torture

Saudi Arabia's human rights commission is investigating the alleged torture of women's rights activists including accusations of electrocution and waterboarding, the Wall Street Journal reported. Citing government officials and other people familiar with the activists' situation, the US publication said Saudi al-Qahtani, a close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), had overseen "some aspects of the…
UK government steps up no-deal Brexit planning

UK government steps up no-deal Brexit planning

London, United Kingdom - The UK government has ramped up preparations for a no-deal departure from the European Union amid widespread criticism of British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal. In a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, ministers approved £2bn ($2.5bn) worth of funding for government departments to help them prepare for the United Kingdom leaving the…
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