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Tunisian Revolution and the Middle East

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  • 2 weeks later...

Turkey’s leader met two E.U. presidents. The woman among them didn’t get a chair.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Tuesday with the European Union’s two presidents, but an awkward moment when the woman among them was left standing caused a bit of a diplomatic stir.


A video of the leaders assembled in an ornate meeting room in Ankara showed Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel settling themselves into gilded chairs, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen appeared unsure of where she was expected to sit.


Von der Leyen stood staring at them, gestured with her right hand and appeared to say “um” or “ehm.”


She was ultimately offered a beige couch about 12 feet away, opposite Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who occupies a lower-status rank in typical diplomatic protocol.


Von der Leyen “was clearly surprised, and that is something which you can see from the video,” her spokesman Eric Mamer said Wednesday, confirming the displeasure of the leader who is the first woman to hold her position. She “should have been seated in exactly the same manner as the president of the European Council and the Turkish president.”


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Yes, there's war, doom, brutality, and misogynist cruelty ahead...just like there would if we had withdrawn 10 years earlier, or twenty years from now. The last chance for a decent society died with Massoud, and W's administration probably made things worse by pouring in millions with no real oversight causing predictable corruption.

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Pakistan PM calls for West to criminalise blasphemy against Islam


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for Muslim-majority countries to band together to lobby Western governments to criminalise the insulting of Islam’s prophet, as negotiations between his government and a far-right anti-blasphemy religious group continue.


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Good luck with that.  



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Turkey: More than 100 on trial over 2014 Kobane protests


More than 100 people linked to a pro-Kurdish party have gone on trial in the Turkish capital Ankara for their alleged involvement in violent protests in 2014.


In January, prosecutors charged the 108 defendants with 29 crimes, including the murders of 37 people and “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state”, and are seeking multiple life sentences and thousands of years in prison.


The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) says the trial is politically motivated and is the latest in a severe government crackdown against them.


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Ever Given crew could be stuck on Suez Canal vessel for years


Crew onboard the cargo ship that got jammed in Egypt's Suez Canal last month could be stuck on the vessel for years as authorities argue over costs and damages.

Egyptian authorities and the Ever Given's owner are working through a financial dispute and there is a chance its crew members could be held on the ship until the issue resolves, the canal chief and a judicial official said.

Lieutenant General Osama Rabie said the hulking Ever Given would not be allowed to leave the country until a compensation amount is settled on with the vessel's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd.


"The vessel is now officially impounded," he told Egypt's state-run television earlier this month.

"They do not want to pay anything."

There was no immediate comment from the vessel's owner.

General Rabei did not say how much money the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) was seeking.

However, a judicial official said it demanded at least $1.17 billion (US$916 million) for salvage costs and damages before the vessel is released.

The state-run Ahram daily also reported the US$900 million figure.


"We are also disappointed at comments by the SCA that the ship will be held in Egypt until compensation is paid and that her crew will be unable to leave the vessel during this time," they said.

The 26 Ever Given crew are relaxed but apprehensive, according to Abdulgani Y Serang, the head of the National Union of Seafarers of India, which represents the crew. 


"These are professionals who had nothing to do with this incident and should not be held to ransom," Mr Serang said.


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  • 2 weeks later...

The weapons seizure so big it covered the rear deck of a 567-foot US warship


A joint US Navy and Coast Guard team seized thousands of illicit weapons last week after stopping a small ship in the North Arabian Sea, the Navy said in a statement.


The cruiser USS Monterey stopped the stateless dhow on May 6 during a routine operation to verify its registry, the Navy said.

A US Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team deployed on the Navy ship then boarded the dhow and found the weapons stash.



Thousands of illicit weapons seized from a stateless dhow are displayed on the rear deck of the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey on May 8, 2021.


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Hamas fires rockets into Israel after Jerusalem clashes leave at least 300 Palestinians injured


The militant group Hamas fired seven rockets at Jerusalem and dozens more at southern Israel on Monday evening after violent clashes near the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Arab protesters left more than 300 Palestinians injured.


Israel retaliated for the rocket attacks with airstrikes against the Gaza Strip, which killed nine people, including three Hamas operatives, according to the Israeli military. Gaza's Ministry of Health said three children were also killed. One Israeli civilian in the southern city of Sderot suffered a light injury after his car was hit by a Hamas antitank missile.


The Hamas rocket attacks, which included the first strikes against Jerusalem in several years, came after running clashes among Israeli police, Palestinian protesters and far-right Jewish Israelis around the Old City. Among the hundreds injured were seven who were hospitalized in serious condition, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Video footage circulated on social media of Israeli police officers brutally beating a detained Palestinian man. 


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