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Indonesian president Joko Widodo visits island in waters disputed by China

MOGADISHU: At least four people were killed, including a senior government official, and 10 wounded when a car bomb exploded close to a checkpoint near Somalia’s parliament in the capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, police said.A plume of thick black smoke was seen over the city and witnesses said a number of vehicles were on fire.Militant…

Indonesian president Joko Widodo visits island in waters disputed by China

MOGADISHU: At least four people were killed, including a senior government official, and 10 wounded when a car bomb exploded close to a checkpoint near Somalia’s parliament in the capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, police said.A plume of thick black smoke was seen over the city and witnesses said a number of vehicles were on fire.Militant group Al-Shabab claimed the attack, after a rise in activity in recent days by the Al-Qaeda linked group which has seen it inflict mass casualties in Somalia and attack a US military base in Kenya.“Explosives were packed in a vehicle which the security forces think was trying to pass through the checkpoint, but because he could not do that, the suicide bomber detonated it,” said police officer Adan Abdullahi.“Initial reports we have received indicate four people were killed and more than 10 others were wounded in the blast.”Bile Ismail, the manager of finances at the ministry for women and human rights, was among those killed, relatives and colleagues told AFP.“We have indeed lost a brother and good friend in the blast this morning,” Abdiqani Omar, the ministry’s former director general, told AFP.“He was sitting in the car waiting in line at the checkpoint when the blast occurred and his body (was) badly burned inside the car,” he added.Abdirahman Mohamed, who was at a nearby grocery store when the blast occurred, said he saw several corpses.“I saw the dead bodies of several people, some of them killed by shrapnel inside their vehicles. There was chaos… and ambulances reached the scene soon after the blast,” he said.Shamso Ali, another witness, described “smoke and chaos along the road, the blast was very heavy.”“Thanks to God I was a distance away but I saw the smoke and several vehicles caught on fire,” he said.Mogadishu is regularly hit by attacks by the Al-Shabab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.The powerful blast comes after the Shabab claimed a car bombing in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed 81 people.That attack, which hit a busy checkpoint in the southwest of the city, was Somalia’s deadliest assault in two years. Scores were wounded.The Al-Shabab has also managed to expand its network in the region, especially in Kenya which has suffered several devastating attacks in retaliation for sending troops into Somalia in 2011.On Sunday, three US citizens died and several aircraft and military vehicles were destroyed when Al-Shabab stormed a military base in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region.Also Sunday, just hours after the attack, police arrested three men who tried to force their way into a British military training camp in the central Kenyan town of Nanyuki.The Al-Qaeda-linked group has in the past carried out bloody sieges against civilians in Kenya, such as the upmarket Westgate Mall in 2013 and Garissa University in 2015.The uptick in attacks comes almost a year since the January 15 siege on an upscale Nairobi hotel which left 21 people dead.In recent statements, Al-Shabab has referred to an increase in US military air strikes under President Donald Trump, accusing Washington of killing innocent civilians.AFRICOM said in April it had killed more than 800 people in 110 strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

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Bangladesh starts Pfizer vaccination program for workers bound for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

Draghi confirms Italy’s support for Iraqi government’s fight against terrorism ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed his country’s “commitment and support” to the Iraqi government, which he called a “key ally” in the fight against international terrorism. Draghi had a long meeting in Rome with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, which was attended also…

Bangladesh starts Pfizer vaccination program for workers bound for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

Draghi confirms Italy’s support for Iraqi government’s fight against terrorism

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed his country’s “commitment and support” to the Iraqi government, which he called a “key ally” in the fight against international terrorism.

Draghi had a long meeting in Rome with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, which was attended also by several ministers of both government.

The meeting was a “fruitful discussion focused on strengthening the historic bilateral partnership and on the main regional challenges,” an Italian diplomatic source told Arab news.

“Italy’s commitment … to ensure the stabilization and socioeconomic development of the country and the Middle East was reaffirmed, starting with the fight against international terrorism and crisis resolution processes,” the source added.

Italian Business and Enterprise Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti told Arab News: “We will soon organize a joint Italian-Iraqi forum with firms from both countries. We are ready to offer our expertise to Iraq in every possible field, and we know that cooperation is possible.”

Italian diplomatic sources said that Draghi confirmed a “significant contingent” of the Italian military will remain in Iraq “in respect of Iraqi sovereignty and in full agreement with the local government,” in order to help the country deal with terrorism.

Al-Kadhimi was also received by Pope Francis in the Vatican. During the meeting, the first following his historic visit to Iraq last March, Pope Francis evoked “the moments of unity experienced by the Iraqi people.” 

The pair went on to highlight the importance of protecting the historical presence of Christians in the country with adequate legal measures, and the significant contribution they can make to the common good, highlighting the need to guarantee them the same rights and duties as other citizens.

According to Vatican sources, the pope also noted “the efforts made by Iraq, with the support of the international community, to re-establish a climate of trust and peaceful coexistence.”

Al-Kadhimi gave the pontiff a leather reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper,” made by a female victim of Daesh during her imprisonment, and a wooden cross from the church of Mar Addai in Karemlash. He then had a bilateral meeting with the Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister.

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Prince Harry’s wife Meghan returns to Canada amid royal storm

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the…

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan returns to Canada amid royal storm

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal family.
“I can confirm reports that the duchess is in Canada,” the couple’s spokeswoman told AFP, without providing further details.
The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the royals left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny in Canada when they flew to Britain earlier this week.
It said Meghan, a former US television actress, headed back to rejoin him on Thursday and “she may stay there for the foreseeable future.”
An unnamed source was quoted as saying by the domestic Press Association news agency the duchess had traveled to the UK “to attend some meetings” before returning to Canada
Senior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the couple wanted to “step back” from their roles.
Queen Elizabeth II reportedly held crisis calls on Thursday involving Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.
William, Harry and their wives have been viewed as the modern face of the royal family, hailed for bringing fresh energy into the institution.
But Harry and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.
The couple have lashed out at negative news coverage — Harry calling some of it racist — and taken several papers to court.
The prince also confirmed he was growing apart from his brother, who is second in line to the throne.
The couple said they wanted to forge “a progressive new role,” split their time between Britain and North America and become financially independent.
A palace source on Thursday said the queen had instructed aides to work “at pace” with Meghan and Harry and the government “to find workable solutions.”
Key questions include whether they will keep their royal titles and how much of their funding — mostly from Prince Charles — they will maintain.
The couple’s decision follows a turbulent year for the wider royal family.
Prince Andrew announced he was retiring from public duties after a disastrous TV interview about his friendship with the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
 

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Deadlock over Nile dam as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan look to Washington for talks

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal…

Deadlock over Nile dam as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan look to Washington for talks

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal family.“I can confirm reports that the duchess is in Canada,” the couple’s spokeswoman told AFP, without providing further details.The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the royals left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny in Canada when they flew to Britain earlier this week.It said Meghan, a former US television actress, headed back to rejoin him on Thursday and “she may stay there for the foreseeable future.”An unnamed source was quoted as saying by the domestic Press Association news agency the duchess had traveled to the UK “to attend some meetings” before returning to CanadaSenior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the couple wanted to “step back” from their roles.Queen Elizabeth II reportedly held crisis calls on Thursday involving Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.William, Harry and their wives have been viewed as the modern face of the royal family, hailed for bringing fresh energy into the institution.But Harry and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.The couple have lashed out at negative news coverage — Harry calling some of it racist — and taken several papers to court.The prince also confirmed he was growing apart from his brother, who is second in line to the throne.The couple said they wanted to forge “a progressive new role,” split their time between Britain and North America and become financially independent.A palace source on Thursday said the queen had instructed aides to work “at pace” with Meghan and Harry and the government “to find workable solutions.”Key questions include whether they will keep their royal titles and how much of their funding — mostly from Prince Charles — they will maintain.The couple’s decision follows a turbulent year for the wider royal family.Prince Andrew announced he was retiring from public duties after a disastrous TV interview about his friendship with the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

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