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Sudan police fire tear gas as civil disobedience campaign begins, Pope pleads for peace

Sudan police fire tear gas as civil disobedience campaign begins, Pope pleads for peace KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas Sunday at protesters taking part in the first day of a civil disobedience campaign, called in the wake of a deadly crackdown on demonstrators.Protesters gathered tires, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks in…

Sudan police fire tear gas as civil disobedience campaign begins, Pope pleads for peace

Sudan police fire tear gas as civil disobedience campaign begins, Pope pleads for peace

KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas Sunday at protesters taking part in the first day of a civil disobedience campaign, called in the wake of a deadly crackdown on demonstrators.Protesters gathered tires, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks in Khartoum’s northern Bahari district, a witness told AFP, but riot police swiftly moved in and fired tear gas at them.“Almost all internal roads of Bahari have roadblocks. Protesters are even stopping residents from going to work,” said the witness.The latest bid by demonstrators to close off streets in the capital comes nearly a week after a deadly raid on a sit-in outside army headquarters which left dozens dead.Meanwhile Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for peace in Sudan following last week’s violence in Khartoum last week.“The news coming from Sudan is giving rise to pain and concern. We pray for these people, so that the violence ceases and the common good is sought in the dialogue,” the pope said in his weekly address to crowds in St Peter’s Square.The bloody crackdown prompted the Sudanese Professionals Association, which first launched protests against longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir in December, to announce a nationwide civil disobedience campaign starting Sunday.The SPA said the movement will end only after the military rulers, who took over after Bashir’s ouster two months ago, transfer power to a civilian government.Khartoum residents have mostly remained indoors over the past few days and the downtown business district was largely shut on Sunday.Several vehicles of the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF), blamed by witnesses for Monday’s killings, were seen moving across some parts of the capital loaded with machine guns.Buses were not running in several districts, but private vehicles were ferrying passengers in some areas.Airlines have scrapped most of their Sudan flights since the deadly raid and several passengers were left queueing outside Khartoum airport’s departures terminal Sunday, although it was unclear whether any flights would take off.In Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, across the River Nile, many shops and markets remained closed but residents were seen buying staples in some grocery stores.“Troops were also seen removing roadblocks from some streets in Omdurman,” an onlooker said.Residents have remained on edge since the raid on the sit-in, which killed at least 115 people according to doctors close to the demonstrators.The health ministry says 61 people died nationwide in the crackdown, 49 of them by “live ammunition” in Khartoum.Witnesses say the assault was led by the RSF, who have their origins in the notorious Janjaweed militia, accused of abuses in the Darfur conflict between 2003 and 2004.Demonstrators had been camped out for weeks in Khartoum to pressure the ruling generals into transferring power, but talks between protest leaders and the military broke down mid-May.Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled to Sudan on Friday in a bid to revive negotiations, holding separate meetings with the two sides after which he called for a “quick” democratic transition.

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Middle East News

Britain says war with Iran would strengthen militants

BRUSSELS: The EU’s diplomatic chief on Tuesday condemned Turkish “interference” in Libya after Ankara sent troops to support the UN-backed Tripoli government, warning this complicates the crisis in the oil-rich state.After emergency talks on the situation with the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Germany and Italy, Josep Borrell said the Turkish intervention was “something that we…

Britain says war with Iran would strengthen militants

BRUSSELS: The EU’s diplomatic chief on Tuesday condemned Turkish “interference” in Libya after Ankara sent troops to support the UN-backed Tripoli government, warning this complicates the crisis in the oil-rich state.After emergency talks on the situation with the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Germany and Italy, Josep Borrell said the Turkish intervention was “something that we reject and which increases our worries about the situation in Libya”.

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Middle East News

US warns ships in Middle East waterways of possible Iran action

LONDON: Britain on Tuesday called for calm after the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and said a war with Iran would only benefit Islamist militants across the Middle East.“What we’re looking to do is to de-escalate the tensions with Iran and make sure in relation to Iraq that we don’t lose the…

US warns ships in Middle East waterways of possible Iran action

LONDON: Britain on Tuesday called for calm after the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and said a war with Iran would only benefit Islamist militants across the Middle East.“What we’re looking to do is to de-escalate the tensions with Iran and make sure in relation to Iraq that we don’t lose the hard-won gains that we secured against Daesh,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday said the US killing of Soleimani was state terrorism, and that Iran would ‘respond proportionately.’“We are concerned that if we see a full-blown war it would be very damaging and actually the terrorists, in particular Daesh, would be the only winners,” the British foreign secretary said.“We’re working with our US partners, our EU partners, that is why I’m travelling out to Brussels today, to make sure we send a very clear and consistent message on the need for de-escalation and to find a diplomatic route though.”

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Arab League reaffirms rejection of foreign interference, calls for Libya solution

CAIRO: Egypt’s recent decision to transport ancient Pharaonic artifacts to a traffic circle in the congested heart of Cairo has fueled fresh controversy over the government’s handling of its archaeological heritage.Cairo has some of the worst air pollution in the world, according to recent studies. Archaeologists and heritage experts fear vehicle exhaust will damage the…

Arab League reaffirms rejection of foreign interference, calls for Libya solution

CAIRO: Egypt’s recent decision to transport ancient Pharaonic artifacts to a traffic circle in the congested heart of Cairo has fueled fresh controversy over the government’s handling of its archaeological heritage.Cairo has some of the worst air pollution in the world, according to recent studies. Archaeologists and heritage experts fear vehicle exhaust will damage the four ram-headed sphinxes and an obelisk, currently en route to their new home in Tahrir Square.Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has weighed in to say that similar obelisks are displayed in Western cities, according to a statement late Monday.But Dr. Monica Hanna, a heritage expert, said Egyptian artifacts in cities like London, Paris and New York are themselves endangered by being outdoors.“The sphinxes are made of sandstone, they are part of the dry environment in Luxor, when they would be moved to Tahrir Square with all the pollution, they will deteriorate as a result of the reactions with the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the air,” Hanna told The Associated Press.She and a member of parliament are part of a lawsuit to block the artifacts’ move, filed recently by a local rights group.Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the government “will do everything” to protect the artifacts.Tahrir Square was the epicenter of Egypt’s so-called Arab Spring uprising in 2011. The square also contains the Egyptian Museum.The decision to move the artifacts as part of a larger renovation of Tahrir Square was taken without debate in parliament. The controversy only surfaced after archaeologists objected.Since coming to power in 2013, El-Sisi has touted a number of megaprojects aimed at rebuilding and expanding infrastructure. Those include an expansion of the Suez Canal and a new Egyptian museum near the Giza Pyramids.A centerpiece of the new museum is a towering statue of Ramses II. It once stood in a busy square near Cairo’s main railway station, but was removed in the 1990s due to preservation concerns.Waziri, the antiquities chief, said the four sphinxes are not part of the famed avenue of sphinxes in the city of Luxor. They were among several located behind the first edifice of the temple of Karnak.The obelisk was recently moved to Cairo from the San el-Haggar archaeological site in the Nile Delta, the ministry said.But Hanna, the heritage expert, stressed that the obelisks in Western capitals had been moved during the colonial era. “We really had no say in their shipment.”

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