Features include interactive map, in-depth stories, and more.Download now. »
The week's top five must-sees,
delivered to your inbox.
Syrian regime allows the formation of rival parties, EU security chief slams Europe's "silence" on xenophobia, thousands of Moroccans renew the demand for democratic constitution, and more.
BBC Arabic | Jan 17
The Israeli army has demolished an ad-hoc village called Bab Al-Shams, located near Jerusalem. Over two hundred Palestinians created the temporary ...
FAO holds emergency Somalia drought meeting [Al Jazeera, Qatar]
Presenter, Female #1
An urgent ministerial meeting is underway in the Italian capital Rome to address the drought crisis rocking the Horn of Africa region, especially Somalia.
Presenter, Male #1
The director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, said that the drought has created a catastrophic situation in the region. He stressed the importance of collecting 1.6 billion dollars in the upcoming year and 300 million dollars in the next two months.
Reporter, Male #2
Starvation is dimming the hope of a better life in countries across the Horn of African. As the number of children and seniors suffering from starvation and poverty is continuing to rise, millions across the globe are complaining about their overeating habits. Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Uganda are facing the most serious food crises witnessed in Africa in 20 years. The region is being hit by the worst wave of drought seen in 60 years. The number of people affected by the drought is estimated at 12 million. According to UN statistics, tens of thousands of people have died in the past few weeks. The effects are far worse in Somalia, where more than 3.75 million people, nearly half of the population, are suffering from starvation, with the young and the old dying in large numbers. Meanwhile, relief agencies are unable to reach more than two million Somalis. World Food Programme officials said they are considering the use of aircraft to drop food supplies in areas under the control of armed fighters from al-Shabab Mujahedin Movement. Thousands of Somalis are fleeing each day via the Kenyan and Ethiopian borders in search of food and to escape the conflict raging in the country. Nearly one quarter of the children in the Horn of Africa region are suffering from severe malnutrition. International groups are mobilizing efforts to counter the crisis. Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd visited some of the drought victims and urged the world to do more to help. The World Bank has pledged 500 million dollars as an initial aid package to the hardest-hit victims in the region. This news comes shortly before an urgent meeting on the Horn of Africa was called for by the FAO in response to a request by France to counter the growing crisis and rally efforts against starvation. The FAO director called for rapid and extensive international aid.
Guest, Male #3 (Jacques Diouf, FAO Director-General)
We must save lives and livelihoods and we must react to the emergency conditions to prevent them from growing. The combined forces of drought, inflation, and conflict have created a catastrophic situation.
Reporter, Male #2
The French Minister of Agriculture has painted a tragic picture of what he witnessed during his visit to Kenya.
Guest, Male #4, (Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Agriculture)
I retuned from Kenya yesterday. Tens of thousands of refugees are suffering from exhaustion. Children are dying of hunger. Families are arriving in Kenya after losing some of their members due to exhaustion during the journey.
Reporter, Male #2
They are merely efforts aimed at ending a tragic humanitarian crisis. Though they have come late, they will allow for better preparation to counter other disasters before they happen.
Syrian regime allows the formation of rival parties [BBC Arabic, UK]
Presenter, Male #1
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Syrian authorities arrested employees and workers in the Sahnaya and al-Hajar al-Aswad regions near Damascus yesterday. In Homs, tanks were deployed in a number of neighborhoods. Rights sources expected the authorities to conduct security operations in the city of Homs, which is considered one of the centers of the uprising in Syria.
Reporter, Female #1
This scene seems to repeat itself in Syrian cities. Protestors chant slogans calling for the downfall of the regime amid the heavy deployment of Syrian military forces. The protests were not mitigated by the Syrian cabinet's approval of a draft law that allows the formation of political parties. The authorities described the draft law as "activating the multi-party political system." Meanwhile, the opposition said that the law, which is still awaiting approval from parliament, will not help break the stalemate in the Syrian political scene in any real way because the Constitution's 8th Article stipulates that the Ba'ath Party is the country's ruling party.
Guest, Male #1 (Muhabi ad-Din al-Lathiqani, Syrian writer)
It is one of the misleading approaches that the Syrian regime practices in an attempt to provide a sham solution because it does not want any real change for democracy in the country. This law now requires you to comply with constitutional articles. And complying with the constitutional articles means accepting the Ba'ath Party as the ruling and leading party of the country and its society.
Reporter, Female #1
The situation is becoming more complicated in light of the absence of any sign that the street is convinced by the measures taken by the authority. These tanks deployed in Homs, one of the most enflamed Syrian cities, reinforces speculation by some human rights organizations that the authorities are preparing to launch a military operation in the city which has recently been violently shelled. The city announced a state of civil disobedience after more than ten people were killed on what was known as the "Friday of the Grandson of Khaled Ibn al-Waleed." Life in the streets appeared to be almost completely stopped at the time. The crisis continues as protestors and rights activists accuse the regime of excessive use of violence and of relying on the security forces as the only solution to confront the protests. On the other hand, the authorities reiterate their persistent efforts to conduct reforms that satisfy the Syrian people's aspirations. Sali Nabil, BBC.
Gaddafi regime accuses NATO of causing civilain casualties [Al-Alam, Iran]
Presenter, Female # 1
Libyan revolutionaries confirmed they managed to repel an attack launched by Gaddafi's battalions on the town of Gualish, located south of the capital Tripoli. They said dozens of fighters came from the city of Zintan on vehicles equipped with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers to support the revolutionaries in Gualish. Meanwhile, NATO forces launched night raids on central Tripoli and its eastern suburbs.
Presenter, Male # 1
Only 100 kilometers from the Libyan capital Tripoli, yet another scene of the raging battles between Gaddafi forces and the revolutionaries was witnessed. Gaddafi's battalions launched an attack to regain control of the town of Gualish, located south of Tripoli. Fierce clashes erupted between these battalions and the revolutionaries, who had seized control of the town after a fierce battle was waged at the beginning of the month. The revolutionaries said they managed to repel the forces loyal to Gaddafi only two kilometers from Gualish after dozens of their fellow fighters arrived to support them from the city of Zintan, the revolutionaries' largest base in western Libya. The reinforcement included heavy machine guns and rocket launchers. In a revenge attack, pro-Libyan regime forces heavily shelled Gualish with a number of missiles. Eyewitnesses inside the town confirmed hearing numerous explosions, which were met with a series of additional explosions that shook the capital Tripoli. In what has become a near-daily scene, NATO warplanes launched night raids on central Tripoli and its eastern suburbs. A NATO official said the raids targeted the walls of Bab al-Azziziyah, the headquarters of Colonel Gaddafi, injuring some of his security men who were near the command and control center. Amid the recurring violent NATO strikes on Tripoli and the Libyan government's announcement that the raids are causing a heavy civilian death toll, British authorities said NATO shelling damaged Gadddafi's compound but did not mention the civilian victims who died as a result of these operations.
Thousands of Moroccans renew the demand for a 'democratic constitution' [Al-Alam, Iran]
Presenter, Female # 1
Morocco's February 20 Movement condemned what it described as the policy of "deaf ears" adopted by the authorities in relation to the demands of the movement. In a popular demonstration, the movement reiterated its rejection of the new constitution, which it views as an attempt to thwart the masses' demand for change. The movement organized the largest protest yet in the cities of Tangier and Casablanca. Security forces surrounded protestors in Rabat and other cities, preventing them from marching. The movement also said similar marches were held in a number of Moroccan cities to demand a "democratic constitution" devoted to the sovereignty of the people.
Court to try Mubarak and former interior minister together [Press TV, Iran]
A court in Cairo has decided to put ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his ex-Interior Minister Habib al-Adly on trial together. The two are accused of ordering the killing of protestors during the revolution that finally toppled the Mubarak regime. The two sons of Mubarak will also be facing the court along with their father on the same charges. Earlier a judge had postponed the trial until at least August 3. The decision came as former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif was being questioned by prosecutors for alleged fraud.
Yemeni anti-regime protestors shout slogans against US, Saudi Arabia [Press TV, Iran]
In Yemen, anti-regime protestors have taken to the streets chanting slogans against the US and Saudi Arabia. Tens of thousands have come out to the protests in the cities of Taiz and Saada chanting slogans against the regime. They also voiced support for the new transitional council set up several days ago to represent the ongoing revolution. Demonstrators in Yemen have been coming out to the streets as part of a popular uprising that was triggered in late February. Since that time, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured.
Five children injured in British Apache helicopter strike [Press TV, Iran]
Four Afghan civilians have been killed in a bomb and shooting incident in Afghanistan. NATO says one civilian died when coalition patrol struck a roadside bomb in the Wardak province. Three more civilians were killed in an exchange of fire between the US-led NATO forces and the militants that followed the bomb blast. Earlier, NATO confirmed that five Afghan children had been injured on Saturday in a strike by British Apache helicopter. The British Defense Ministry says that the children were working in a field in Helmand province when they were caught up in an assault on militants.
Political, ethnic clashes in Pakistan claim 27 lives since Friday [Press TV, Iran]
A fresh wave of violence has claimed at least 27 lives since Friday in Pakistan's main financial center Karachi. Police say at least 16 people have died in the past 24 hours alone. Last week, authorities deployed hundred of additional police and paramilitary troops to quell the political and ethnic unrest. The violence has left scores dead so far this month. Violence erupted in the city when a statement by a senior official in the ruling party, the Pakistan People's Party, angered the country's most powerful opposition group.
EU security chief slams Europe's 'silence' on xenophobia [Press TV, Iran]
EU Security Chief Cecilia Malmstroem has criticized European leaders in action on racial intolerance sweeping through the continent. Malmstroem says there are few leaders who would stand up for the importance of having open and tolerant societies where everybody is welcome. Her comments came after reports emerged that the man behind the Norway massacre was linked to anti-Islamist extremist groups. She called the attacker a "very disturbed man" and expressed regret that some in Europe have similar sentiments to him
Doctors step up protest with vows of hunger strike [IBA, Israel]
We open with the ongoing crisis in the healthcare system. Chairman of the Israel Medical Association, Leonid Eidelman has vowed to launch a hunger strike if the prime minister does not immediate intervene to bring an end to the dispute with the treasury. Eidelman strongly criticized Netanyahu, who is the de facto health minister. His announcement followed some 19 hours of talks, which wrapped up at the break of dawn. At the end of the marathon negotiations, the court ruled that the doctors' strike is within the legal parameters, allowing the doctors to continue their work sanctions nationwide.
Housing protestors block Knesset entrance before planned vote [IBA, Israel]
The protests for affordable housing continue. Activist today blocked the entrance to the Knesset. This, following a huge rally here in Jerusalem last night. Dozens of protestors blocked the road to the Knesset this morning. They attempted to build a fake brick wall to prevent legislators from attending the planned vote on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial National Housing Committee's bill. Five demonstrators were arrested and one police officer was injured.
Israel's expedites development of new missile interceptor [IBA, Israel]
Israel is expediting the development of the Arrow 3 missile. That is the latest from a senior official in the Israel aerospace industries. Speaking at an international conference on defense against missile attacks, he said that the Arrow 3 system, which intercepts long range missiles, will be deployed alongside the Arrow 2, which targets missiles that have already entered the atmosphere. Initial tests are expected to begin at the start of next year.
Iran accuses Israel of assassinating scientist [New TV, Lebanon]
Presenter, Male #1
Iranian security institutions exchanged accusations of dereliction after an Iranian nuclear scientist, Dariush Rezaei, was assassinated. President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's opponents used this case to launch new attacks on him after an Iranian newspaper published details of the case.
Reporter, Female #1
Merely hours after the funeral for Iranian scientist Dariush Rezaei-Nejad, who was murdered in Tehran, a new round of internal disputes began in Iran. These controversies were triggered by the publishing of the names of 83 nuclear scientists on the president's official website, as a way to honor them. However, Rezaei's assassination sparked discussions on the protection of nuclear scientists and the institutions responsible for their safety. Iranian security institutions accused one another of shortcomings, especially after the leader of the Revolutionary Guard warned last month that nuclear scientists could be assassinated. Iranian media criticized what it described as the "deviant movement," in reference to President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's party. It quoted the deputy commander of the Basij forces saying that the party will be seriously dealt with. Iranian newspapers uncovered the arrest of a figure close to the president who is also influential in the Central Bank. The media said he disrupted Iran's currency reserve funds in order to secure monetary resources for Ahmedinejad's movement. Reformists are using this internal dispute to raise again the issue of a cell whose members were arrested over six months ago and who are being held without a trial. At the time of the arrest, the cell was said to be working for Israel and responsible for assassinating nuclear scientist Masoud Alimohammadi. Parallel to the internal crisis, Iran continued its economic activities. Ahmedinejad inaugurated a cement project in the Galikesh region and a power plant in the city of Aliabad-e Katool. At the same time, Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide Syria with 110 million cubic meters of gas everyday through the Iraqi territories. The cost of building the gas pipeline is estimated at ten billion dollars and its construction is expected to be completed within three to five years. On the other hand, The Financial Times newspaper unveiled that Iran and China are discussing using a barter system to exchange Iranian oil for Chinese commodities and services. Meanwhile, US sanctions have blocked Beijing from paying the 30 billion dollars it owes Iran for oil bills that it has accumulated in the last two years.
Egypt at a crossroads between January 25 and July 23 revolutions [Future TV, Lebanon]
Presenter, Male #1
Egypt's Tahrir Square once again rejected the appointment of the former regime's symbols to ministerial positions. And in the midst of their current revolution, Egypt celebrated the anniversary of the July 23 Revolution. My colleague Mona Ashmawi reports.
Reporter, Female #1
Today is very different from yesterday. There is a world of difference between the two most important revolutions in Egypt's modern history. The January 25 Revolution was a popular revolution par excellence: leaderless and still insistent on attaining its demands even though almost seven months have passed since its birth. The demand for just legal trials of corrupt symbols of the former regime is supported by the military and army. As for the Revolution of the Free Officers, also known as the July 23 Revolution that Egyptians celebrate every year, it was a revolution with a leader. It forced the king to immediately step down and prosecuted all corrupt officials under revolutionary law. It also confiscated their properties and the military took over the administration of the state since its establishment.
Guest, Male #2 (Mohamed Hassan, member of the Youth of the Revolution coalition)
The January 25 Revolution began with the people. The most marvelous thing about the January 25 Revolution is that it took place spontaneously with the participation of the people. It was a revolution that began with the people and was a completely peaceful revolution. It succeeded in overthrowing a police state that had one of the world's most difficult regimes. The downfall of the head of the regime ended the dictatorship but we still haven't managed to overthrow the rest of the regime's symbols. We are now seeking that goal.
Reporter, Female #1
New faces appeared in Essam Sharaf's government and the faces that have caused conflict for the past several months vanished. That change was visible in 18 ministries, including the ministry of communications, finance, religious endowments, health, foreign affairs, higher education, electricity, local development, antiquities, and military production. Dr. Hasim al-Biblawi and Ali el-Silmi from the Wafd Party became deputy prime ministers to replace Yehya al-Jamal, who aroused anger among protestors and revolutionaries in the last several months. In addition, the military council announced a new election law for the parliament and Shura council; its articles indicate no real change. A law was also drafted to publicly try corrupt officials. All these measures were taken to appease the horrific scene on the Egyptian street, but did they succeed?
Guest, Female #2 (Coptic protestor)
When we said we want change, we didn't mean we want to change one person and replace him with another. We want to change the corruption within the ousted government of the former regime. We need to change the regime and not simply change some figures.
Guest, Male #3 (Dr. Jamal Zahrani, Professor of Political Science)
We are betting on Essam Sharaf since he received his legitimacy from Tahrir Square. We will give him one last chance. We give him one last chance. If Essam Sharaf is incapable of achieving our demands then we will ask for his dismissal and we will replace him. We will give him a chance since he proved his good intentions. He changed the cabinet, so we'll give him a chance.
Guest, Male #4
Some of the symbols of the former regime are still in the National Party's leadership. We opposed these people but it was claimed that they were not members of the National Party and were not involved in corruption. But of course we have an issue with opening the door to the National Party dominating the political scene again.
Reporter, Female #1
The people of the Arab world stood with the military revolutions in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, the people are standing together against the military government. They want a civilian government after their experience over the past several decades. But the question remains: will the military council simply step down, or is it secretly planning to have its own candidates run in the upcoming presidential elections? For the first time in over 60 years, the commemoration of the July 23 Revolution celebrates the recollection of a revolution whose remnants a new-born popular revolution wishes to dismantle. While the revolutionaries confirm that this is a revolution, the regime's advocates believe that it is only an uprising. They want to subdue or kill it. However, the people hope to achieve their revolution. Mona Ashmawi, New TV, from Cairo.