Middle East

Climate and weather related disasters surge five-fold over 50 years, but early warnings save lives – WMO report

  Climate change and increasingly extreme weather events, have caused a surge in natural disasters over the past 50 years disproportionately impacting poorer countries, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) said on Wednesday. According to the agencies’ Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes, from 1970 to 2019, these natural hazards accounted for 50 per cent of all disasters, 45 per cent of […]

Israel registers record daily coronavirus cases

  JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel on Tuesday recorded its highly daily coronavirus case tally of nearly 11,000 new infections, amid a surge caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant as schools prepare to re-open. The previous high came on January 18, with 10,118 cases. Despite Tuesday’s 10,947 confirmed cases, Israel is pressing ahead with plans to fully open its school system on Wednesday as it tries to boost vaccination rates. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a […]

Israel strikes Gaza after border clashes

Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza Saturday after clashes between its troops and Palestinian protesters left dozens injured, including an Israeli border policeman and a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who were both critically wounded. The Israeli military said it carried out air strikes against four weapons sites and that it had reinforced its Gaza division with additional troops. The escalation came exactly three months since Israel and the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas reached a truce following their deadliest […]

People dying in wait outside Kabul airport: report

The bodies of at least three people were seen in the sweltering crush outside Kabul airport, television news footage showed on Saturday, as thousands try desperately to flee Taliban rule in a chaotic evacuation. The footage from Britain’s Sky News showed soldiers covering three bodies in white tarpaulins. It was not clear how they died. Sky reporter Stuart Ramsay, who was at the airport, said that people at the front of the crowd were being “crushed” […]

US tells citizens to avoid Kabul airport due to ‘security threats’

The United States on Saturday urged its citizens in Afghanistan to avoid traveling to the Kabul airport, citing “potential security threats” near its gates. The warning from the US embassy in Kabul provided no detail on the danger, but a White House official later confirmed that aides had briefed President Joe Biden on “counterterrorism operations” in Afghanistan, including against the Islamic State group. Conditions outside Hamid Karzai International Airport have been chaotic amid the crush […]

At least 20 killed in Lebanon fuel tanker explosion

At least 20 people were killed and nearly 80 others wounded when a fuel tanker exploded in Lebanon’s northern region of Akkar, the Red Cross and state media said on Sunday. The tragedy heaped new misery on a country already suffering from an economic crisis and severe fuel shortages that have crippled hospitals and caused long power cuts. “Our teams have transported 20 dead bodies … from the fuel tanker explosion in #AKKAR to hospitals […]

Saudi compensates families of Covid health worker victims

Saudi Arabia has begun compensating the families of health workers who died because of the coronavirus, state media reported on Sunday, after announcing last year that each will receive $133,000. The kingdom said in October it would distribute “500,000 Saudi riyals to the families of those who died as a result of Covid-19 working in the health sectors, be it government or private, civilian or military, Saudi or non-Saudi”. The oil-rich Gulf country said the […]

Health passes spread around the world

Passes and vaccine passports are increasingly being used across the world to limit entry to public places to those who have been vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or tested negative. Here’s an overview: – European pioneers – From March, Denmark, Austria and Hungary were among the first countries to introduce health passes, either on paper or in digital form. You still need a pass to go into restaurants, hotels and sports centres in Austria. In Denmark […]

Dolgopyat wins Israel’s first Olympics gymnastics gold

Ukraine-born Artem Dolgopyat won the men’s floor exercise on Sunday for Israel’s first-ever Olympic gymnastics gold. He finished level on points with Spain’s Rayderley Zapata but won the tiebreak with a higher difficulty score. China’s Xiao Ruoteng took the bronze. Dolgopyat, who moved from Ukraine to Tel Aviv when he was 12, won only Israel’s second ever Olympic title in any sport after Gal Friedman’s 2004 windsurfing win in Athens. The 24-year-old came into the […]

Israel resumes indoor mask requirement amid virus spike

  TEL AVIV, Israel (AFP) — The Israeli health ministry reimposed a requirement Friday for masks to be worn in enclosed public places following a surge in Covid cases since it was dropped 10 days ago. The spike in new infections is a blow for a country which has prided itself on one of the world’s most successful vaccine rollouts. The head of Israel’s pandemic response taskforce, Nachman Ash, told public radio the requirement came […]

Israel to allow Gaza ‘limited’ export of farm produce

  JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel said Sunday it will allow the “limited export” of farm produce from Gaza, one month after a ceasefire with the enclave’s Hamas rulers to end an 11-day conflict. The crowded Mediterranean territory, home to around two million Palestinians, has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007. Extra restrictions since intense violence last month has meant Gaza’s farmers have been unable to export goods as usual, creating a glut of produce […]