GOD cursed the Satanists out of Jerusalem for life. Jesus focused on Jerusalem because it was the most unholy, evil, place on earth... still is today.

The nomadic Turks (Jews) have been behind all the Evil in the world since Cain's children... using their News networks to create the news, and set the stage, to blame their opponents, for everything evil they do, across the globe.

Jewish Communist Dictum:- "Accuse the enemy of those crimes you are guilty of"


The Elite Jews create the illness, then sell the Cure. They create Chaos & Terrorism, then sell the solution... for more control and power.

Islam and Christianity have become servants of the Jews. Acting as physical and spiritual cattle for the Jews to harvest in building their Global Satanic Kingdom.

If I converted to Buddhism, does that make me Chinese? If I converted to Hinduism, does that make me Indian? When Khazarians (Turks) converted to Judaism in 740 BC and stole the true Semite Israelite Aegean identity, did that make the counterfeit Jews Hebrew? Well, the Jew World Order seems to think so. They crucified Jesus Christ for exposing them.

The invention of the Muslim Terrorist by our Jewish Governments... to keep us in fear, and to justify raping the World, and slaughtering billions of innocent families in every country for power and control...for their 2 horned God Lucifer... which the Jews named him "Morning Star."

Every Religion Church and Mosque has been infiltrated by the Jews. How do you know? ... if your Church has not discussed the below phrases by Christ... then it has been compromised.

Rabbi admits: Islam is Israel’s broom.

Rabbi admits: Islam is Israel’s broom.

“I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Rev. 2.9

“I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.” Rev 3.9

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. – John 8.44

ST. JUSTIN, martyr stated in 116 A. D. “The Jews were behind all the persecutions of the Christians. They wandered through the country everywhere hating and undermining the Christian faith.”

DIO CASSIUS. Second century Roman historian. Describing the savage Jewish uprising against the Roman empire that has been acknowledged as the turning point downward in the course of that great state-form: “The Jews were destroying both Greeks and Romans. They ate the flesh of their victims, made belts for themselves out of their entrails, and daubed themselves with their blood… In all, 220,000 men perished in Cyrene and 240,000 in Cyprus
H. H. BEAMISH, N.Y. speech, 1937 “Communism is Judaism. The Jewish Revolution in Russia was in 1918.”
HILARY COTTER, author of Cardinal Minszenty, The Truth About His Real “Crime,” page 6 “Communism and Judaism are one and the same.”
GREGORY XIII. Declared that Jews “continue to plot horrible crimes” against Christians “with daily increasing audacity.”
GREGORY VIII. Forbade Jews to have power over Christians, in a letter to Alfonso VI of Castile. GREGORY IX. Condemned the TALMUD as containing “every kind of vileness and blasphemy against Christian doctrine.”
GREGORY I (‘The Great’). Protested wholesale circumcision of Christian slaves by Jewish traders, who monopolized the slave trade in Europe and the Middle East and were widely suspected of supplying white girls to Oriental and African buyers.
SYLVESTER I. Condemned Jewish anti-Christian activity.
CARDINAL MINDSZENTY, of Hungary quoted in B’nai B’rith Messenger, January 28, 1949 “The troublemakers in Hungary are the Jews… they demoralize our country and they are the leaders of the revolutionary gang that is torturing Hungary.”
A. N. FIELD, in Today’s Greatest Problem “Once the Jewishness of Bolshevism is understood, its otherwise puzzling features become understandable. Hatred of Christianity, for instance, is not a Russian characteristic; it is a Jewish one.”
HENRY FORD in (The Dearborn Independent, 12-19 February 1921 “Jews have always controlled the business . . . The motion picture influence of the United States and Canada . . . is exclusively under the control, moral and financial, of the Jewish manipulators of the public mind.”

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Rouhani says Iran has succeeded to neutralize sanctions

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani says his administration has succeeded to neutralize sanctions by supplying essential goods for the people, according to Iran Press.

Speaking at a meeting of the government’s economic coordination headquarters on Sunday, Rouhani stressed the need to increase non-oil exports in efforts to reduce dependence on oil revenues.

“The development of non-oil exports is crucial as one of the powerful tools of a resistance economy to counter oppressive and illegal U.S. sanctions,” he noted.

He emphasized that Iran had been able to neutralize the sanctions imposed on the people during the economic war, which were meant to create famine and economic insecurity in the country.

Donald Trump, the former president, unilaterally withdrew the U.S. in 2018 from the JCPOA, which required Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of economic and financial sanctions. The Trump administration imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Iran in order to strangulate the Iranian economy. 

Biden has said he will seek to revive the agreement but insisted that Iran must first reverse its nuclear steps. Iran has said it is still a party to the JCPOA and it has only taken remedial measures based on paragraph 36 of the JCPOA which has provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.

Biden’s demand that Iran first returns to full compliance does not seem politically, legally, and rationally acceptable. From the very first day that Iran stated to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA, it stated that it will immediately reverse its decision if sanctions are lifted.

Iran started to reduce its commitments exactly one year after the U.S. abrogated the deal and imposed sanctions on Iran.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution, has said the U.S. must lift all sanctions in a verifiable manner if it wants Iran to meet its commitments under the nuclear agreement. 

“If (the U.S.) wants Iran to return to its commitments, it must lift all sanctions in practice, then we will do verification then we will return to our commitments,” the Leader asserted in his first comments on the matter after Biden took office.



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EU’s draft vaccine passport law to come this month

Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday that the planned “digital green passes” would “facilitate Europeans‘ lives” as the continent battles Covid-19.

Following a conference with German politicians, Ms Von der Leyen tweeted that a pass would prove someone had been inoculated – or give test result data if its owner had not had a jab – and provide information on coronavirus recovery.

The certificates would “respect data protection, security & privacy”, she claimed in the post.

Ms Von der Leyen added: “The aim is to gradually enable [people] to move safely in the European Union or abroad, for work or tourism.”

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said it was important to unify standards. “None of us will accept that to attract tourists, one country would have looser rules than others and would be taking risks by making people come from the other side of the world to fill up its hotels,” he said.

The EU’s update on its plan came after Britain announced it had given out 20 million first doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, hailed it as a “magnificent achievement”.

Employers could be blocked from imposing “no jab, no job” rules and businesses prevented from excluding customers based on their inoculation status, following a review led by Michael Gove.


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Defying Deadly Crackdown, Crowds Again Protest Myanmar Coup

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Police in Myanmar’s biggest city fired tear gas Monday at defiant crowds who returned to the streets to protest last month’s coup, despite reports that security forces had killed at least 18 people a day earlier.

The protesters in Yangon were chased as they tried to gather at their usual meeting spot at the Hledan Center intersection. Demonstrators scattered and sought in vain to rinse the irritating gas from their eyes, but later regrouped.

The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came Feb. 1, the same day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party would have led that government, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials.

The army has leveled several charges against Suu Kyi — an apparent effort by the military to provide a legal veneer for her detention and potentially to bar her from running in the election the junta has promised to hold in one year. On Monday, Suu Kyi made a court appearance via videoconference and was charged with two more offenses, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told reporters.

Accused of inciting unrest, she was charged under a law that dates from British colonial days and has long been criticized as a vaguely defined catch-all law that inhibits freedom of expression. That charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The other charge from Monday carries a one-year sentence.

This combination of pictures created on March 1, 2021, shows protesters wearing basic protective gear during a demonstration

This combination of pictures created on March 1, 2021, shows protesters wearing basic protective gear during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon.

Following her detention on the day of the coup, the 75-year-old Suu Kyi was initially held at her residence in the capital of Naypyitaw, but members of her National League for Democracy party now say they don’t know where she is.

Since the takeover, a movement of protests in cities across the country has been growing — and the junta’s response has become increasingly violent.

The U.N. said it had “credible information” that at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded across Myanmar on Sunday. Counts from other sources, such the Democratic Voice of Burma, an independent television and online news outlet, put the death toll in the 20s.

Any of the reports would make it the highest single-day death toll since the military takeover. The junta has also made mass arrests, and the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reported that as many as 1,000 people were detained Sunday, though it has only confirmed 270 of those. Several journalists have been among those detained, including one for The Associated Press.

At least five people are believed to have been killed Sunday in Yangon when police shot at protesters, who have remained non-violent despite provocation from the security forces and pro-military counter-demonstrators.

People erected makeshift sidewalk shrines Monday at the spots where several of the victims were shot and also paid their respects by standing outside the hospitals where the bodies were being released to families.

In Dawei, a small city in southeastern Myanmar where an estimated five people were killed Sunday, the number of protesters on the streets Monday was lower than usual. Marchers there split into smaller groups, parading through the city to the applause of bystanders who also made the three-finger salutes adopted by the resistance movement to show their support.

Confirming the deaths of protesters has been difficult amid the chaos and general lack of news from official sources, especially in areas outside Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw. But in many cases, there was evidence posted online such as videos of shootings, photos of bullet casings collected afterwards and gruesome pictures of bodies.

In a statement published Monday in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper, Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry declared that the junta “is exercising utmost restraint to avoid the use of force in managing the violent protests systematically, in accordance with domestic and international laws in order to keep minimum casualties.”

But U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the crackdown, calling the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” and expressed serious concern at the increase in deaths and serious injuries, said U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

“What the world is watching in Myanmar is outrageous and unacceptable,” the U.N.’s independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said in a separate statement. “Words of condemnation are necessary and welcome but insufficient. The world must act. We must all act.”

He proposed that countries could institute a global embargo on the sale of arms to Myanmar, “tough targeted and coordinated sanctions” against those responsible for the coup, the crackdown and other rights abuses, and sanctions against the business interests of the military.

Social media posts from Myanmar have increasingly urged the international community to invoke the doctrine of the “responsibility to protect” to intervene directly to restrain the junta.

Any kind of coordinated measures, however, would be difficult to implement as two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto them on the basis of being opposed to interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

Protesters react during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 1, 2021. 

Protesters react during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 1, 2021. 

In Washington, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying the U.S. is “alarmed” by the violence and stands in solidarity with Myanmar’s people, “who continue to bravely voice their aspirations for democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.”

Washington has imposed sanctions on Myanmar because of the coup, and Sullivan said it would “impose further costs on those responsible,” promising details “in the coming days.”

Security forces began employing rougher tactics on Saturday, taking preemptive action to break up protests and make mass arrests. Many of those detained were taken to Insein Prison in Yangon’s northern outskirts, historically notorious for holding political prisoners.

Among the arrests made Sunday, the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners was able to identify about 270 people, bringing to 1,132 the total number of people the group has confirmed being arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup.

An AP journalist was taken into police custody on Saturday morning while providing news coverage of the protests. The journalist, Thein Zaw, remains in police custody.

The AP called for his immediate release.

“Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution. AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw,” said Ian Phillips, the AP’s vice president for international news. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Myanmar also condemned the arrest.


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Australian PM Scott Morrison stands by minister accused of raping woman in 1980s

The woman, who has not been publicly named, took her own life in June at the age of 49 after reporting the allegation to police.

The claims have cast a dark cloud over the 16 men in Mr Morrison’s 22-minister cabinet. But the PM dismissed the possibility of firing the unnamed minister, whom he said “vigorously and completely denied the allegations”.

“We can’t have a situation where the mere making of an allegation and that being publicised through the media is grounds for … governments to stand people down,” he said.

Mr Morrison added that he forwarded the letter to police and discussed the allegation with the federal police commissioner and that he does not intend to take any further action.

Australian Labor Party senator Penny Wong, who also received anonymous letters about the 1988 allegation, said she met the complainant in 2019 and listened to her account.

“I facilitated her referral to rape support services and confirmed she was being supported in reporting the matter to NSW Police,” she said.

She added that the minister was not in parliament in 1988.

Greens Party senator Sarah Hanson-Young, another of the letter’s recipients, and Michael Bradley, who represented the complainant when she reported her allegation to the police, both called for an independent investigation into the alleged incident and for the minister to step down.

An official police investigation, which would require the minister to “stand aside” for its duration according to Australia’s ministerial code, is unlikely because the complainant is dead.

The allegation comes just two weeks after Mr Morrison apologised to a former government staffer who alleges she was raped by a senior colleague two years ago.

Three other women have since joined Brittany Higgins in making sexual misconduct allegations against the man, who was fired for a security breach.


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Join ToI Community for celeb chef Michael Solomonov, and taste Israel’s flavors

This week on Behind the Headlines, celebrity chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov joins us to discuss his role in the Israeli and Jewish culinary worlds, the pivoting he and his team have done throughout COVID-19, and his new digital live-at-home cooking series, “Bringing Israel Home.” He also gives a quick tutorial on how to make the Israeli-Palestinian classic, knafeh: halloumi cheese wrapped in shredded filo pastry with a honey-orange blossom syrup and pistachio garnish.

The episode is already live for Times of Israel Community members, but it’s not too late to join ToI Community now and access this week’s segment, along with past episodes and the rest of our wide-ranging library of exclusive content.

The Philadelphia-based Solomonov is a well-known champion of Israel’s diverse and vibrant culinary landscape, and Times of Israel Culture and Lifestyle Editor Jessica Steinberg makes the perfect host for this week’s segment with her firsthand knowledge of Israel’s culinary scene.

Together, the two trade insights on Israeli cultural icons, how Israel and the US are each dealing with the current health crisis, and how Solomonov has rediscovered his love for cooking in his own home kitchen – something professional chefs often don’t have the time to do.

The latter has been doubly fulfilling for Solomonov, as he uses his kitchen as the staging ground of his new free online web series, “Bringing Israel Home,” which also helps him cope with being unable to visit the Holy Land under the current circumstances.

Illustrative: Chef Michael Solomonov samples spices at the Levinsky Market in Tel Aviv. (Florentine Films)

“For over a decade, I’ve said that if there was a way we could just bring everybody over to Israel, I would do that,” Solomonov says about pep talks he would give staff at his flagship restaurant Zahav before service. “The kitchen, all of my team members, all of our guests — if we could bring them all to Israel it would be great, but we can’t, so we’re going to cook dinner for them.”

“And I feel like this is just another extension of that, another way to do it, and for me to do it without losing my mind, because I haven’t been to Israel in over a year, which is long for me,” he says.

Chef Michael Solomonov (left) tastes cheeses made by Shai Seltzer in the Judaean Hills. Seltzer ages his cheeses in a cave that dates back to Second Temple times. (Florentine Films)

Solomonov co-owns and operates numerous restaurants in the Philadelphia area together with hospitality entrepreneur Steve Cook — including Zahav, Dizengoff, Goldie, K’far, and Merkaz, to name just a few of their Sabra-themed establishments. He’s also the co-author of three cookbooks and the recipient of four James Beard culinary awards.

Join The Times of Israel Community now to access this week’s episode for the full discussion with Solomonov, plus his knafeh recipe for the home chef.

To see this and future episodes of Behind the Headlines, join the Times of Israel Community today. You’ll also gain access to all of our exclusive online content, an ad-free experience of the ToI site and apps, and a weekly insider letter from David Horovitz.

If you are already a ToI Community member, you’ll receive a link to all Behind the Headlines sessions by email.


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Israel Tech Challenge

Plan your Future in Israeli High-tech

Israel Tech Challenge, a nonprofit coding academy invites you to our upcoming Info Sessions on Sunday March 7th, 2021 starting from 6pm (18:00 Israel time). Learn about how we help you launch careers in Israel high-tech.


18:00 SOC Analyst and Cyber Security

19:00 Data Science & Machine Learning

20:00 Full Stack Development

21:00 Programs for Olim (Front-end Development & Data Analytics).

Israel Tech Challenge  2020


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Biden news – live: Trump hints at 2024 run as he asks for more money and tears into successor

Trump asks supporters for money in his CPAC speech

Donald Trump took to the stage for his hotly anticipated speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday and mocked trans people, slammed Democrats, and continued insisting he won the 2020 election.

“I won the first one. We won the second,” the former president said. “What a disgrace to our country.”

Mr Trump also played down speculation that he would start a new political party, but hinted that he might run again in 2024.

“Who knows, who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time, OK?” the ex-president said to the crowd.

On the new presidency, he said: “We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us even imagined just how bad they would be and how far left they would go.”

And he asked for money, appealing to his supporters for more funds if they want to “take back the future” of the US even though he has reportedly raised about $250m (£179m) since the November 2020 elections.


Kamala Harris favourite to win 2024 election – bookmaker

Kamala Harris remains favourite to win the 2024 US presidential election despite Donald Trump hinting at a possible run, Ladbrokes said.

The vice president has an implied probability of 22.2 per cent, while Joe Biden has 20 per cent chance and Mr Trump has 14.3 per cent probability, Ladbrokes said.

“The former POTUS is just 6-1 in the betting to win the 2024 U.S. Election, while he’s the 3-1 favourite to be the 2024 GOP nominee,” Ladbrokes said.

“Donald Trump’s time in politics is far from over if the latest odds are anything to go by, and while Kamala Harris currently heads the next election winner betting, Trump isn’t far behind.”

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 12:59


Biden supports right of workers to unionise

Joe Biden offered his support for Amazon workers in Alabama to decide whether they wished to form a union in a tweet on Sunday.

“America wasn’t built by Wall Street. It was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class,” he said.

His comments come as some Amazon workers are organising the biggest unionisation push at the company since it was founded (in 1995) in Bessemer, Alabama – a state with laws that don’t favour unions. 

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 12:40


Only two-thirds of CPAC guests back Trump for 2024 – poll

CPAC’s annual unscientific straw poll of just over 1,000 attendees found that 97 per cent approved of the job Donald Trump did as president.

But they were much more ambiguous when asked whether he should run again, with only 68 per cent saying he should.  If the 2024 primary were held today and Trump were in the race, just 55 per cent said they would vote for him, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 21 per cent.

Without Mr Trump in the field, Mr DeSantis garnered 43 per cent support, followed by 8 per cent for South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and 7 per cent each for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. 

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 12:22


Trump’s speech at CPAC was enough to haunt your most surreal fever dreams | Opinion

It was Sunday night at CPAC and everyone was waiting for the big star, recent election loser and twice-impeached former president Donald J Trump, writes Holly Baxter.

The loyalists with their Confederate flags were perched outside by the palm trees; trucks with “JANUARY 6TH REUNION!” stamped on the side sped past the conference doors; scaremongering videos about “Antifa going international” were playing on the big screen.

Everyone was getting a little antsy. It was over an hour since Don had been due onstage — was everything OK? Had he been hit by a Jewish space laser? Had Melania turned him to stone with a particularly withering look?

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 12:03


Sacha Baron Cohen mocks ‘comedy genius’ Rudy Giuliani in Golden Globes acceptance speech

Sacha Baron Cohen ripped into Rudy Giuliani in his Golden Globe acceptance speech.

The British comedian and writer collected the Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical award for sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and joked that the movie “couldn’t have been possible” without Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

“This movie couldn’t have been possible without my co-star,” Cohen began. “A fresh new talent who came from nowhere, and turned out to be a comedy genius. I’m talking, of course, about Rudy Giuliani.”

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 11:42


Biden to meet with Mexican president amid migration issues

Joe Biden is planning a virtual meeting today with his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in an effort to address issues around migration, coronavirus, the economy and national security.

Mexico’s president has said he intends during the meeting to propose a new immigrant labour programme that could bring 600,000 to 800,000 Mexican and Central American immigrants a year to work legally in the United States.

A senior Biden administration official declined to say whether the US president would back or oppose the proposal, saying only that both countries agree on the need to expand legal pathways for migration. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 11:21


MyPillow CEO has mic muted for spouting vaccine conspiracies

MyPillow’s outspoken Trump-supporting chief executive was censored during an interview at CPAC – an event branded “America Uncanceled” – after he launched into conspiracy theories linking the coronavirus vaccine with the devil.

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 11:00


CPAC hotel host calls hate symbols ‘abhorrent’ after stage compared to sign used by Nazis

Hyatt Hotels was forced to release a statement on Sunday after the design of a stage at CPAC hosted at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during World War Two.

A photo of the CPAC stage went viral on social media on Saturday, with thousands of Twitter users sharing posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune, one of many ancient European symbols that Nazis adopted to “reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The ceiling of the conference room featured a lighting display in the same shape as the stage, according to Reuters photographs.

Hyatt said the stage design was managed by the American Conservative Union, which organised the conference.

The comparisons were “outrageous and slanderous,” Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union chair, said in a Twitter post on Saturday.

“With CPAC’s denial of any intentional connection to hate symbols and our concerns over the safety of guests and colleagues in what could have been a disruptive situation, we allowed the event to continue”, Hyatt said late on Sunday.

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 10:36


US wasted billions in Afghanistan, finds report

The US wasted billions of dollars in war-torn Afghanistan on buildings and vehicles that were either abandoned or destroyed, according to a report released on Monday by a government watchdog. 

The agency said it reviewed $7.8bn (£5.6bn) spent since 2008 on buildings and vehicles. Only $343m worth of buildings and vehicles “were maintained in good condition”, said the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), which oversees American taxpayer money spent on the protracted conflict. 

The report said that just $1.2bn of the $7.8bn went to pay for buildings and vehicles that were used as intended. “

The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects,” John F Sopko, the special inspector general, said in his report. 

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 10:12


Global shares rise on hopes for US stimulus package

Expectation that Joe Biden‘s stimulus package will be enacted helped push shares on exchanges worldwide to rise on Monday.

The US House of Representatives approved Mr Biden‘s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill on Friday and it now goes to the Senate for approval.

The bill offers cash for struggling individuals, businesses, schools, states and cities battered by Covid. The US stimulus bill would include another round of payments to most Americans and additional aid to state and local governments to combat the pandemic. 

London’s FTSE climbed 1.6 per cent in early trading, France’s CAC 40 added 1.5 per cent and Germany’s DAX edged up 1.3 per cent.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished up 2.4 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.7 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite rose 1.2 per cent.

Tom Batchelor1 March 2021 09:54


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Court extends remand of suspect in rape of 13-year-old at state-run COVID hotel

Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended the remand by four days of a man suspected of raping a 13-year-old girl last week as the two of them were staying in a special quarantine hotel operated by the state’s welfare system.

During the hearing, which Yarin Sherf, 21, attended via video link due to the pandemic, the girl’s mother told the judge her daughter’s life “has been completely wiped out.”

“This is a despicable act,” she said. “With my legs trembling and a broken heart I ask to punish the cruel criminal. He has finished off the girl’s life with a cruel act.”

“The criminal should not see the light of day, a beastly man who has no control of his urges,” she said and lamented that her daughter will “forever be scarred” by what happened.

A sign outside the District Court in Tel Aviv saying Yarin Sherf is suspect in the alleged rape of 13-year-old girl, March 1, 2021 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Police had asked that Sherf be held for another 10 days as the investigation continues, citing his “very high danger” to the public.

In extending his arrest, the court found that there is a reasonable suspicion that Sherf committed the alleged crimes.

Sherf admits that he had sex with the girl but claims it was consensual and that she had told him she was 16.

Police say Sherf raped the girl twice in her room at the hotel on two separate occasions during the same day and that he beat and choked his victim.

Since Sherf’s arrest evidence has mounted in support of the victim’s version of events, police told the court.

After the hearing, Sherf’s attorney Nir David told reporters that the investigation is still ongoing and will determine the question of consent.

Additionally, Sherf’s TikTok account has been suspended due to “repeated violations of our community rules which included hurtful content against other users and women,” the company said in a statement.

The social media giant’s Israeli division told Channel 12 news that the app has “zero tolerance against the distribution of harmful content on the platform.”

Police arrested Sherf on Wednesday night after receiving a report of sexual assault at the facility, located in the city of Jaffa, which is used to quarantine confirmed COVID-19 patients from state welfare dormitories for young people unable to live at home.

The hotel has comprehensive security cameras installed, according to Hebrew media reports. Male and female guests are kept on separate floors and are forbidden from straying between the two.


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Germany adds over one thousand new words to pandemic lexicon

If you go out in Germany during the pandemic, don’t forget your Alltagsmaske (everyday mask) or Spuckschutzschirm (spit protection umbrella). If it’s a bit frigid outside, maybe don a Schnutenpulli (literally, snout sweater, a cosier word for mask).

Heading out on a date? Be sure to check the latest Mundschutzmode (mouth protection fashion) before selecting your Gesichtskondom (face condom, as a mask is sometimes known).

Germany’s nearly four-month-long lockdown has entailed no restrictions on the language’s propensity for multi-syllabic, often tongue-twisting words. Germans have coined more than 1,200 of them to describe the rules and realities of life in the time of the coronavirus.

They’re not alone, of course. Over the past year, languages all over the world have had to expand and adapt to address the pandemic and the lives it has upended. The French appropriated quatorzaine for a 14-day isolation period, and the Dutch use hamsteren to describe a frantic, hamster-paced stockpiling of supplies.

But in German – which has a grammar that lends itself to the forming of long, composite words and which borrows heavily from English – the rate and number of words added during the pandemic have no precedents in recent times.

Social distancing is Mindestabstandsregelung (minimum distance regulation). Or, to get more precise, Anderthalbmetergesellschaft (one-and-a-half-meter society) for a group abiding by distancing rules. You need ways to cope? How about a little Glühweinstandhopping (hopping between mulled-wine stands) while, of course, paying attention to Mindestabstandsregelungen?

“I can’t think of anything, at least since the Second World War, that would have changed the vocabulary as drastically, and at the same time as quickly, as the corona pandemic,” said Anatol Stefanowitsch, a professor of linguistics at the Free University of Berlin. “I can think of many other examples of a huge cultural shift that changed the German vocabulary. But they didn’t happen within a few months.”

Part of the need to find words so quickly is psychological, according to Christine Möhrs, a researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. “By being able to talk about the crisis, I think, we reduce fears,” she said. “We can share our insecurities. But that means we have to find many, many new words, because so many things happened during the last months.”

Ms Möhrs and her team have tracked more than 1,200 new coronavirus-related words as part of their ongoing effort to document changes to the language. Many of these words are borrowed from English, a habit Germans have practiced at least since the 1980s, when they started saying computer and email instead of Datenverarbeitungsanlage (data processing unit) and elektronischePost to describe some of their new digital activities.

But aside from such English borrowings as home office and lockdown, the list of coronavirus-related German neologisms mostly features the traits that German neologisms are generally known for: length and precision.

As in most places, though, their use and meaning are also political. At the start of the pandemic, for example, the prohibition on going outside was called Ausgangssperre (going-out curfew). But German politicians soon realised that was a misnomer, because people could still go outside to exercise, shop for essentials or meet up with another person to go for a walk. The word changed to Ausgangsbeschränkung (going-out restriction) before later being subsumed by the more general English term, lockdown.

But even lockdown was contested, according to Mr Stefanowitsch, the linguist.

“People were saying it’s not really a lockdown, because we’re not actually locked into our homes,” he said. “It sort of became the one word where you could argue about whether or not it accurately describes all the changes that we’ve had to deal with.”

After some restrictions to slow the spread of the virus were eased in the fall, German media started using the term “lockdown light,” while critics of the lockdown’s multiple extensions dubbed the new regimen Salamilockdown, meaning a lockdown that happens in slices rather than at a single stroke. The list of new words that Ms Möhrs and her colleagues compiled includes more than 30 versions of the term.

In recent months especially, with debates over vaccines flaring, words such as Coronadiktatur (corona dictatorship) and Impfzwang (forced vaccination) have been shared widely on social media and at anti-government demonstrations.

“By using such words, a meaning is suggested that was never intended,” Ms Möhrs said. “Even if a politician says, ‘Vaccines are not mandatory, and there is no Impfzwang,’ the sentence still contains the word,” she said. “When you think about a sentence like, ‘Don’t think about the blue elephant,’ well, the blue elephant is in your mind.”

Ms Möhrs and her team are evaluating hundreds of new words for their list, with frequency of use among the criteria. It will take at least another year or two to determine whether any of them will make it into a dictionary. But Ms Möhrs has some favorites already. The rhyming word Fussgruss (foot greeting), for example.

“It shows that we humans want to be connected to each other,” she said. “You put your feet together and say hello.”

The Washington Post


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Final post of slain Myanmar protester asked ‘how many dead bodies’ it would take for UN to act

A day before he was killed in the military’s brutal crackdown on Myanmar’s protests, IT engineer Nyi Nyi Aung Htet Naing posted on Facebook asking “how many dead bodies” were needed before the world would stand up and take action.

The 23-year-old protester, who lost his life on Sunday, was part of the demonstrations which have been ongoing since 1 February when Myanmar’s military displaced a democratically-elected government and arrested its leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

On 28 February, the bloodiest day since the protests started, at least 18 people were killed and 30 injured while hundreds were arrested as the security forces intensified their attempts to make people disperse.

Nyi Nyi Aung Htet Naing had shared a post on Saturday with the hashtag “How_Many_Dead_Bodies_UN_Need_To_Take_Action”. He was shot on Sunday a few hundred metres from the Hledan Junction, a regular protest gathering point in Yangon.

A video showed him lying outside the gate of a high school as several protesters run past him. Five others are seen carrying his body away, reported Reuters news agency.

One other video on social media showed a protester clad in jeans and flip flops lying motionless as the crowd scatter and soldiers walking past begin to beat another protester.

The United Nations’ human rights office condemned the violence and asked the military to “immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters”.

“The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy. These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression. Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms,” UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasan said in a statement.

Ms Shamdasan emphasised that many people have been “arrested– some of whom remain unaccounted for – mostly without any form of due process, simply for exercising their human rights to freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly.”

She said that the international community must stand in solidarity with the protesters and all those seeking a return to democracy in Myanmar.

Despite Sunday’s deadly crackdown, defiant protesters were back on the streets on Monday and videos showed them setting up roadblocks, singing songs or raising a three-finger salute to protest against the coup.

The police fired tear gas at the protesters to disperse them, but demonstrations continued into the afternoon.

In Myanmar’s capital, Ms Suu Kyi appeared in court for the first time since the coup via video conference, and during the hearing the charge of inciting unrest was reportedly added to those already lodged against her.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of a group of Southeast Asian nations are expected to hold a video conference on Myanmar to discuss the situation.

Additional reporting by agencies


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India’s Modi receives first dose of homegrown Covid vaccine in bid to dispel concerns over lack of data

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday took the first dose of the homegrown Covid-19 vaccine to dispel concerns over lack of efficacy data.

“Took my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against Covid-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India Covid-19 free!” tweeted Mr Modi.

India started the world’s largest coronavirus vaccination drive on 16 January with emergency approvals to two vaccines, Covishield, developed by the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and produced in India by the Serum Institute of India (SII), and Covaxin, made by homegrown vaccine maker Bharat Biotech.

However, since the vaccination started, many people have been sceptical about Covaxin as its efficacy data has not been made public. 

India has administered about 13.7 million Covid-19 vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers till 26 February. Over 11 million cases of Covid-19 including at least 157,000 deaths have been recorded in India so far since the start of the pandemic.

The prime minister’s vaccination has now started the second phase of India’s immunisation drive under which citizens over 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with co-morbidities will be administered the coronavirus vaccine.

On prime minister Modi expressing confidence in the Covaxin, Bharat Biotech tweeted that it is “inspired and humbled by PM’s remarkable commitment to build an aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) Bharat.”

“Yes, we all shall fight #Covid-19 together and emerge victorious,” said the company which last week announced signing of a deal with Brazil to supply 20 million doses of Covaxin.

After Mr Modi took the first dose of the vaccine, India’s health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan tweeted that Mr Modi has led by example and sent a message, especially to those who were doubting the capability of Indian scientists.

“With every jab of #COVID19Vaccine administered, we are indeed moving closer to ending this #pandemic! Urge all those eligible, to get inoculated at the earliest. #LargestVaccineDrive,” he said.

Later in the day, local Indian news media at first reported that the judges of India’s supreme court will get a choice between the two vaccines but redacted in a few hours to suggest that they won’t.


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11 days after start of coastal disaster, Environment Ministry calls for help

Eleven days after tar began to wash up on Israel’s Mediterranean shore, apparently as a result of a marine oil spill, the Environmental Protection Ministry on Monday  called on companies specializing in mapping and cleaning up of the marine environment to help local authorities find ways of getting the tar off hard, rocky surfaces, under the supervision of marine ecology inspectors.

The call came as reports came in of more tar washing up onto beaches at Tel Dor, north Netanya, Emek Hefer, Gador, Michmoret, Nachsholim and Beit Yannai in the north and Nitzanim in the south.

The ministry said it was looking, together with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, at all potential solutions for getting the tar off rocky surfaces without damaging marine wildlife.

Specifically, the ministry wants help with mapping the contaminated areas along the coast and determining policy and priorities for treatment (together with a marine ecologist), as well as identifying the right equipment, personnel and materials with which to clean the rocks. Further details are available (in Hebrew) on the ministry website.

Removing tar from the Atlit beach in northern Israel, March 1, 2021, (Elad Yaakov, Government Press Office)

It has proven far harder to clean the rocks than the sand.

Even so, on Sunday, the INPA said it had reached the conclusion that it would not be possible to completely rid the sand of tar either.

The ministry is cooperating with the Israel Defense Forces and various international organizations to try to pinpoint the ship or ships responsible for the spill.

It identified indications of an oil spill on February 11, 44 kilometers (28 miles) west of Israel’s coast. The satellite image showing this slick was published Sunday by the environmental organization Greenpeace.

However, no information has been made public regarding the substance that was leaked, or the ships that have come under suspicion. On Sunday, a Greek tanker, the Minerva Helen, was eliminated after inspectors boarded the vessel in the Greek port of Piraeus.

The ministry has said that it is looking at dozens of vessels that were in the area during the period that the suspected leak occurred.

On Saturday, the Financial Times published two graphics showing the paths of 210 vessels that passed within 50 kilometers of the coasts of Israel and Lebanon between February 10 and 12.

The graphics illustrate the high volume of traffic that crisscrosses the Eastern Mediterranean.

On Sunday, the ministry also announced that following aerial surveys carried out by the army, nothing had been found of a suspected spill identified Thursday some 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Israel’s shores.

“It must be remembered that most of the identifications coming from satellite images are false-positive,” the ministry said. “The satellite picks up disturbances but in most cases the cause isn’t oil. The satellite picks up anomalies of various types that can resemble an oil slick, such as temperature difference, water discharged by passing ships that is not against any law, hovercraft, seaweed mixed with particles floating in the water, algae blooms and differences of depth.”


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Europeans push Iran resolution by UN nuclear watchdog despite warnings by Russia, Tehran

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Yemen faces a famine as deadly as Ethiopia’s during the 1980s, says refugee council head

Yemen faces a famine on the scale of Ethiopia’s during the early 1980s that left 1.2 million people dead, according to the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland.

Speaking ahead of an International Donors Conference on Yemen designed to address a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation, Egeland warned that 16 million people currently need aid in the country at a cost of more than $4 billion (€3.3 billion).

“I am shocked [by] what I have seen in Yemen,” Egeland told Euronews from Hajjah, one of the areas of the country worst hit by the conflict between the Houthi government and a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

“I met mothers with skeleton children. They told me that since food rations were cut by 50 per cent last year they could not breastfeed them anymore,” he said.

“I met a mother that said that she had [lost] five children. She had 14 children and there were nine left. One of them could not walk, she was nine years old and she looked four.”

Egeland said that if the conference did not raise the funds needed to address the crisis, “we will see a famine here like the world has not seen since the 1980s in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia’s famine, which lasted from 1983 to 1985, saw 1.2 million die, 2.5 million internally displaced and over 200,000 children lose both their parents.

Humanitarian response

He called on the nations that had fought in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, to join Europe and the United States in funding the humanitarian response.

“I will say that unless we get a doubling of the aid from last year we will all have the fingerprints of this famine that will come,” he said.

“We cannot allow millions and millions of people to die in famine in 2021. And the war has to end. “

US President Joe Biden recently ended American support for the war in Yemen, removing powerful backing for Riyadh and raising hopes that the conflict will soon be ended.

Saudi Arabia rejects the Houthi government of Yemen, which seized power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2015, who was forced to seek exile in Riyadh.


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UK urged not to cut life-saving aid to Yemen

The UK government has been warned against cutting aid to Yemen, amid fears tens of millions of pounds will be slashed from Britain’s contribution to humanitarian relief efforts.

Millions of people in the war-torn country will go hungry this year and hundreds of thousands are already facing famine, the UN says.

Ahead of a UN donor conference on Monday, at which secretary-general Antonio Guterres will ask the world for $3.85bn (£2.76bn) in aid for Yemen, former Tory minister Andrew Mitchell said UK funding might fall by as much as half from 2020 levels, when £214m was sent.

Mr Mitchell said reducing help for Yemen would have dire consequences and damage Britain’s global standing, given its backing for Saudi Arabia’s coalition, which is battling Houthi rebels there in a conflict that has caused widespread civilian casualties.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Mitchell said that while he was yet to see firm figures, there could be a cut of as high as 50 per cent in Britain’s support for Yemen. He said: “The effect of a 50-per-cent cut would be very serious indeed.

“Sir Mark Lowcock, the senior British official at the UN, has made it clear that were a cut like that to take place, four million Yemenis, mainly children, will continue the slow, agonising and obscene process of starving to death.

“Britain holds the pen on Yemen. We are the senior country at the UN which addresses the issues of Yemen. And it’s happening during the British presidency of the UN Security Council.”

Mr Mitchell added that the UK was “complicit” in the disaster gripping Yemen and that cutting aid would set “a very bad example”.

He said: “We cannot wash our hands of that. The military campaign in Yemen has led to the destruction of infrastructure. It’s led to the famine conditions which exist there now.

“And the UN says with authority that this could be the worst famine the world has ever seen.”

Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chair of the Commons defence committee, also warned against cutting aid.

He told the Evening Standard: “It is not just the largest humanitarian challenge in the world, it is also the fact that Al Qaeda is taking full advantage of the absence of any government.

“It is an unwise step. This is our first big test with an invigorated White House wanting to rejuvenate western resolve. It is not the message we should be sending.”

Kevin Watkins, its UK chief executive, said: “The UN is already warning that 400,000 children under five might die if more is not done to help.

“To slash food and medicine to these children as they stand on the brink of famine and a second Covid-19 wave risks many thousands of deaths and flies in the face of Britain’s proud tradition of coming to the aid of people in need.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office declined to deny it was planning an aid cut when contacted by The Independent.

A spokesperson said Monday’s donor conference would be attended by James Cleverly, the Middle East minister. They added that in September last year, Dominic Raab announced a £119m fund to combat both famine and coronavirus in Yemen, Somalia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sahel, Sudan and South Sudan.

The UK has committed more than £1bn to ease the Yemen crisis since 2015, and the foreign secretary has previously warned of the risk of famine. In a press release last December he also called on other countries to help.

He said: “The UK cannot solve this crisis alone. Other donors must now release their funding and contribute more support to prevent this becoming an even bigger tragedy.”

Yemen’s war began in 2014 when Houthi rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, and the Saudi-led, US- and UK-backed coalition later intervened in an attempt to restore the internationally recognised government. The conflict has killed some 130,000 people and led to the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

Westminster has been criticised for supplying arms to Saudi Arabia for use in its bombing campaigns. Following a pause, last July it was announced that arms sales would resume despite fears UK weapons had been used in war-crime incidents.


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Swiss newspaper apologises for ‘inappropriate’ headline about new WTO Director-General

A Swiss newspaper has apologised for publishing an offensive headline about new World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Okonjo-Iweala was the first woman and first African woman to be appointed as the Director-General of the WTO.

But the regional daily Aargauer Zeitung caused outrage by headlining that “this grandmother will be the new chief of the WTO”.

The controversial report was published on February 9, as well as in two other newspapers of the same group, CH Media, and on their websites.

On Friday, the newspaper apologised for the “inappropriate and unsuitable” headline.

“The title sparked [an] angry reaction from readers,” read a statement, signed by the editor in charge of international news. “We apologise for this editorial mistake,” they added.

The newspaper also stated that the author of the article, based in Geneva, did not write the headline and was “not in any way responsible”.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala thanked those who had petitioned against the headline in a tweet, just a few hours before she officially took up her new post.

“I’m thankful to all my sisters, UN Women Leaders, and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist and sexist remarks in this newspaper.”

“It is important and timely that they’ve apologised,” she added.

“We need to call out this behaviour when it happens,” she also tweeted, stressing that it was precisely this kind of stereotyping that she denounces in a recent book.

Okonjo-Iweala was the former Nigerian minister of finance and said her first priority as WTO Director-General will be addressing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and to “implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.”


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‘Why is this election different to all others?’ jokes Baron Cohen

Following his double win at the prestigious Golden Globes award show on Sunday, Sacha Baron Cohen was asked by an Israeli television outlet if he knew Israel is headed for another election.

“You’re voting again?! Enough already!” Baron Cohen exclaimed.

Channel 13 news asked Baron Cohen why it was important for him to get his latest “Borat” movie out before the US elections last year, and what he thinks about Israel heading into its 4th election in two years.

“It’s like Passover: Why is this election different to all others?” he joked.

Baron Cohen explained that the timing of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” was to expose the “conspiracy theories and lies” US president Donald Trump was spreading in the months leading up to the election.

“I made this movie because of Donald Trump, because I felt democracy was really in danger,” Baron Cohen said.

On Sunday, Baron Cohen’s portrayal of the journalist Borat earned two Golden Globes — for best comedy movie and best comedy movie actor.

Israel is preparing to hold elections on March 23.


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K-pop star, 20, suspended for being a bully at school

A South Korean pop star has been suspended from all promotional activities by his management after an allegation of bullying emerged from his time at school.

The episode comes amid a broader debate about bullying in South Korea after a string of celebrities faced accusations from former classmates.

The management agency representing 20-year-old Hyunjin from the boy band Stray Kids said he apologised and “sincerely regrets” bullying a classmate from middle school.

JYP Entertainment said in a statement quoted by The Strait Times that the star will take time to reflect upon his actions during the work hiatus.

“Hyunjin will take the time to self-reflect after halting all of his activities as a celebrity. He sincerely regrets and is self-reflecting on the fact that he hurt various people in middle school with his rough and unsuitable words.”

The bullying claim first emerged a week ago on 22 February, after which the pop star’s management conducted an investigation involving the complainant, former teachers and fellow students.

After these meetings, Hyunjin apologised in person and also wrote a handwritten apology that he posted on his official Instagram handle.

“First of all, I sincerely apologise to those who were hurt by my improper actions during my school years. Looking back on times when I was more lacking, I am embarrassed and have no excuse,” said Hyunjin in the post.

“I have realised that my actions and words that did not know how to be considerate of others have hurt others. It is too late, but I will deeply reflect on myself.”

He added, “I am deeply reflecting on myself as I know well that just because I apologised and they accepted the apology doesn’t mean that the pain I gave in the past will be erased entirely.”

A spate of bullying accusations has surfaced against South Korean celebrities in the past few weeks with The Uncanny Counter actor Jo Byung-gyu and singer Soojin, a member of the girl group (G)I-dle, accused of bullying their schoolmates.

Boy band Seventeen’s Mingyu has faced accusations of both bullying and sexual harassment from his early teens. All of them have denied the allegations.


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Myanmar’s ousted leader Suu Kyi is seen for first time in weeks & now faces new charges, as anti-coup protests rage on

A Myanmar court has slapped the country’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi with additional charges, as mass-protests against the military coup that toppled her refuse to die down, even after a deadly weekend.

The ousted politician appeared before the court via videolink on Monday, and was seen in public for the first time since the February 1 coup.

Suu Kyi was slapped with two additional charges, one stemming from the colonial-era penal code over alleged publication of information that may “cause fear or alarm” or disrupt “public tranquility.” The other one was brought under a telecommunications law stipulating licenses for equipment.

Earlier, Suu Kyi had been accused of illegally smuggling six walkie-talkies into the country, and of violating a natural-disaster law by breaching coronavirus rules. The politician’s supporters believe the charges have been made up.

Also on rt.com At least 18 killed on bloodiest day of Myanmar protests as UN demands military stop using force

Protests in her support and against the actions of the military are still rampant across the country. In the largest city, Yangon, police have reportedly used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds.

The court hearings follow a weekend of violent police crackdowns on protesters, with law enforcement widely using stun grenades, gas and live fire against the crowds. Sunday turned out to be the bloodiest day of the month-long unrest, with at least 18 people killed.

The violence has already been condemned by the UN human rights office, which urged world leaders to act and put pressure on Myanmar’s military to stop the bloodshed.

“Police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force that – according to credible information… has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded,” the human rights office said in a statement.

Also on rt.com At least two reported dead, multiple injured as Myanmar continues crackdown on anti-coup protests (VIDEOS)

Myanmar was plunged into chaos a month ago, when the country’s military seized power accusing Suu Kyi and her ruling party of having grossly falsified the November elections. The coup ended a nine-year period of civilian rule in the county, which has been controlled by the military from the early 1960s until 2011.

Suu Kyi and her fellow party leaders have been detained, while the military has imposed a state of emergency that, it says, will remain in place for one year. The coup triggered mass protests across the country, with thousands demanding the release of the detained politicians and a return to civilian rule.

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Austria has failed in fight against corruption, says Council of Europe

Austria has made “overall insufficient” progress in the fight against corruption, according to a new report by the Council of Europe.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) says Austria has failed to implement its recommendations to tackle judicial and political misconduct.

Four years ago, the Council of Europe body had issued recommendations to the EU member state to prevent corruption among members of parliament, judges, and prosecutors.

“[But] Austria has implemented satisfactorily or dealt with in a satisfactory manner only two of 19 recommendations made in 2017,” GRECO said on Monday.

After the 2019 parliamentary elections, Austria was urged to “seriously deal” with political corruption by establishing a code of conduct on conflicts of interest or asset declarations. The country was also urged to make its legislative process more transparent.

But the new report says that Austria’s “very low level of compliance” with the recommendations “has not evolved”.

“[We] regret the persistent lack of progress” that Austria has made in implementing anti-corruption measures relating to MPs, GRECO said.

Meanwhile, regarding judges and prosecutors, the body was also concerned that a “considerable number of measures” envisaged since 2018 “have still not been finalised”.

Overall the body said that Austria’s level of compliance with the recommendations was “globally unsatisfactory”.

However, the report did note that Austrian magistrates are now prohibited from holding political or ethical positions at the same time.

GRECO has asked Austria to submit a progress report on the implementation of its outstanding recommendations “as soon as possible and no later than 30 September this year”.

The findings come just two weeks after the home of the Austrian Finance Minister, Gernot Blümel, was searched by authorities.

Courts had suspected Blümel – a close ally of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz – of being involved in the secret financing of the conservative party by the global gambling giant Novomatic. Blümel has denied any wrongdoing.

The Chancellor has also defended his finance minister, accusing prosecutors of politicising the judicial process.

Meanwhile, Kurz’s first government, a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, collapsed in May 2019 after the corruption scandal known as ‘Ibizagate’.

Austria’s then-Vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, was filmed in Ibiza in 2017 soliciting support from a Russian oligarch in return for political favours and resigned after the recordings were released.

GRECO – which brings together the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, as well as Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the United States – says that Austria ranks below Turkey, and just above Serbia in implementing its anti-corruption recommendations.

Euronews has contacted the Austrian government for a response to the report.


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Israel hands Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar two-year prison term for PFLP membership

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Ivory Coast citizens become first in world to receive Covid vaccines under Covax initiative

People in the Ivory Coast will be the first in the world to receive coronavirus vaccines under the Covax initiative.

The roll-out began in the West African nation on Monday under the international initiative to vaccine some of the most vulnerable people.

Some 504,000 of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the commercial capital of Abidjan on Friday as part of the scheme, which the UK has committed to giving £548m in aid funding.

The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “Today, with UK aid support, people in Cote D’Ivoire are the first to receive vaccinations through Covax – the biggest ever global vaccine campaign to end the pandemic.

“We’re proud to be one of the biggest donors to Covax, securing over one billion doses for the most vulnerable around the world. We do it because we want to be a force for good in the world, and because we need a global solution to a global pandemic.”

Although the UK government is among the biggest donors to Covax, it has come under criticism for slashing the aid budget from to 0.5 per cent of gross national income, despite the Conservative manifesto pledging to keep it at 0.7 per cent.

Richard Mihigo, immunization and vaccine development manager at World Health Organisation’s regional office for Africa, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was a “really big day” because “many countries in Africa have been waiting for this for quite some time”.

He added: “For the Covax facility itself it’s really a new beginning and it promises to deliver a vaccine equitably to all countries.”

Asked if there were concerns about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after South Africa suspended its use and several European countries questioned its efficacy in older people, Dr Mihigo said: “Absolutely not.

“The WHO has issued a recommendation after looking carefully at all the data, including for people beyond 65 years of age and has recommended this vaccine to be used widely, even in places where we have new variants. So we are confident this is a tool that will help countries.”

Pressed on the situation in South Africa, he said the country made the decision following the results from a “small study” that he said “did not include people who were at risk and [those with] severe diseases”.

Dr Mihigo urged countries selling their extra vaccines to developing nations to instead pool their supplies through Covax to allow them to be distributed through the initiative.

“The vaccines procured through Covax are being given to countries without cost and that will be to cover up to 20 per cent of their population.

“Now some countries have tried to look for additional doses to go beyond that 20 per cent and we are seeing bilateral deals with other vaccine manufacturers and that is of concern because if those vaccines are being charged a lot this is money that could be used for the development of the country and other public health needs.

“To force this global solidarity we are calling on the countries that are making these bilateral deals and sometimes very small donations that really will not necessarily make a big difference to pool all of these supplies through Covax so they can be equally distributed across poor countries.

“That way we can make a difference in the countries.”


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Sri Lanka exorcism: Nine-year-old girl beaten to death by people ‘trying to drive away evil spirit’

The mother of a nine-year-old girl and a local exorcist have been arrested in Sri Lanka for caning to death the child in an exorcism ritual they believed would drive away the “evil spirit” possessing her.

The incident occurred in the small town of Delgoda, just outside the capital city of Colombo, where the child was brought by her parents for an exorcism to be performed on her, according to local media reports.

An unidentified woman allegedly beat the girl repeatedly in order to drive out the “spirit” which led to the death of the child.

Police have arrested two people — the mother of the child and the woman performing the exorcism — and booked them for the girl’s death.

According to police spokesperson Ajith Rohana, the mother, a resident of Kadaboda in Meegahawatta, believed her daughter had been possessed by a demon and took her to the home of the exorcist so a ritual could be performed to drive the spirit away.

Mr Rohana said the exorcist first put oil on the girl and then began to repeatedly hit her with a cane. When the girl lost consciousness, she was taken to a hospital, where she was declared dead on admission.

The police informed an autopsy has been scheduled for Monday, and the body was referred for a post-mortem examination.

The woman who performed the ritual on the girl was known in the area for offering such services in recent months and police were investigating whether anyone else had been abused, Mr Rohana said.

The police spokesperson also urged the public to be careful about such services as the girl was not the first to die during such a ritual.  There have been a number of such alleged exorcism attempts in the area in recent years, police added, with some causing physical harm – including death.

Additional reporting by agencies


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Tehran hosts conference on Iran-Syria trade opportunities

TEHRAN – Iran-Syria Joint Chamber of Commerce organized and held a conference on the business opportunities of the two countries in Tehran, the portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) reported on Monday.

The conference was attended by senior officials from the two sides including the Head of Iran-Syria Joint Chamber of Commerce Keyvan Kashefi and the head of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce Fahd Mahmoud Darwish, as well as the Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Hamid Zadboum.

The security situation in Syria, the political and economic relations between Iran and Syria, trade opportunities and the commodity and services needs of Syria, the ways of presence in the Syrian market, the Syrian trade structures, Iran-Syria credit lines and money transfer strategies, routes and methods of transportation between Iran and Syria, and the Syrian government tenders and procurements were the main subjects covered in this conference.

The attendees of this gathering especially stressed the need for focusing trade strategies on the development of the relations between the two countries’ private sectors.

Speaking in the event, Kashefi presented a report on the condition of the two countries’ trade and pointed to some of the major potentials and challenges in the way of expanding mutual economic ties.

He further announced that soon a database containing the main economic needs of Syria will be unveiled and provided for Iranian traders so that they would be able to prepare their business plans based on the demands of the destination market.

Elsewhere in this conference, Zadboum pointed to the conference as a prelude to the development of Iran-Syria relations in the upcoming Iranian calendar year 1400 (begins on March 21) and said: “Ideological and political commonalities have brought the two countries closer together, but the existing opportunities between Iran and Syria have not been used as they should be, and level of economic relations is not favorable.”

Darwish for his part noted that both Iran and Syria are under unjust sanctions and in an economic battle.

He also called for the implementation of a free trade agreement between Iran and Syria, which was signed in 2011 but has not yet been implemented.


Photo: Head of Iran-Syria Joint Chamber of Commerce Keyvan Kashefi delivers speech in Iran-Syria trade conference in Tehran on Monday.


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After Iran limits inspections, UN nuke watchdog convenes over possible censure

UN nuclear watchdog mulls censure of Iran

Iran’s recent decision to limit inspections by the UN’s nuclear watchdog will be at the heart of a meeting of its board of governors on Monday, with some members mulling a formal rebuke to Tehran.

Western countries will be trying to find a way of censuring Iran without jeopardizing fragile efforts to revive the 2015 deal between Tehran and major powers on its nuclear program.

The possibility of a resolution criticizing Iran being passed at the board attracts sharp diplomatic comment in the run-up to the meeting.

“The Europeans have started a wrong move by supporting the US in the board of governors,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif listens during the talks in Moscow, Russia, January 26, 2021. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

“We think this move will lead to the situation becoming disorganized,” he says, according to the official Irna agency.

While President Joe Biden has said he is willing to bring the United States back to the 2015 deal, on Sunday Iran said the time was “not suitable” to hold an informal meeting with the US and the remaining parties to the accord — France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia.

Diplomatic sources say that no decision has yet been taken by European states on whether or not to put forward a resolution as Iran will only be discussed later in the week at the meeting, being held via videoconference.

Russia has made clear its opposition to the prospect of a resolution criticizing Iran.

Russian ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov tweets that such a move would be an “unfortunate miscalculation.”

Earlier he had said that “the common responsibility of all 35 Governors is to ensure that the debates (even heated) do not negatively affect diplomatic efforts aimed at full restoration of #JCPOA,” using the formal name for the 2015 deal.

Iran’ Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi (R), in Tehran on February 21, 2021 (AFP)

Russia’s deputy foreign minister also blasted Washington for US strikes on Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria last week, saying the move threatened to scupper talks.

“There is no doubt that influential forces in Washington have taken steps in order to derail this meeting,” Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by Russian state news agency TASS as saying.

The JCPOA was sent into disarray when former US President Donald Trump dramatically withdrew from it in 2018 and went on to impose swingeing economic sanctions on Iran.

“We are running against time,” Ulyanov said.

Zarif said that Iran hoped “that reason will prevail” at this week’s meeting.

“If it does not we do have solutions,” he said, without specifying what these were.

In a document circulated to IAEA member states ahead of this week’s meeting, the Iranian mission to the organization says a critical resolution would be “counterproductive and destructive.”

The document also says the introduction of such a resolution would mark the “end” of the agreement reached with the IAEA last month to mitigate the impact of reduced inspections.

Under that temporary three-month arrangement, Iran has pledged to keep recordings “of some activities and monitoring equipment” and hand them over to the IAEA when US sanctions are lifted.

If a resolution censuring Iran is passed, it would be the first such resolution since June, which was itself the first in eight years


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TEDPIX loses nearly 4,000 points on Monday

TEHRAN- TEDPIX, the main index of Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE), fell 3,944 points on Monday.

Over 4.198 billion securities worth 54.947 trillion rials (about $1.308 billion) were traded at the TSE on Monday.

The first market’s index fell 2,957 points, and the second market’s index dropped 7,731 points.

TEDPIX dropped 2.7 percent during the past Iranian calendar week.

The index stood at 1.205 million points on Wednesday (the last working day of the week).

During the past week, the indices of Social Security Investment Company, Tamin Cement Company, Amin Investment Bank, Mobarakeh Steel Company, National Iranian Copper Industry Company, Tehran Oil Refining Company, and Bandar Abbas Oil Refining Company were the most widely followed indices.

Last week, market analyst Amir-Ali Amir-Baqeri told IRNA that Iranian stock market is moving in the right direction and will reach stability in the near future.

“Market authorities are currently using asymmetric fluctuations to improve the market situation, but we must move in a direction where there is no volatility in the market,” Amir-Baqeri said.

Criticizing the government’s interference in the capital market, Baqeri said the more the market moves away from ordained pricing, and government-set rules and regulations, toward a free market in which the pricing is set through supply and demand, the more realistic and competitive the economy will become in the mid and long term.

The expert noted that political factors including the U.S. sanctions and their impact on the domestic markets which led to the increase of inflation in the country led people to bring their assets into the stock market, and that caused a significant surge in the mentioned market.

However, several external factors, including the disputes between the oil and economy ministries over the offering of the second ETF (dubbed First Refinery, or Dara Second), increase in interest rates, and the ambiguities in the next year’s national budget bill resulted in a recession in the stock market.

According to Amir-Baqeri, the changing political atmosphere in the United States and the world, and also Iran’s economic resilience against the U.S. sanctions also impacted the market.

Consequently, Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE)’s main index (TEDPIX) which had surpassed two million points in early August 2020, suddenly started a downward trend in late August and has since slumped about 38 percent.

To support the market, the government has started passing new regulations and guidelines and has injected millions of dollars of resources into the market; however, these measures have been proven counterproductive, according to the expert.

The market is correcting itself and will reach stability in near future if the government stops interfering in it, Amir-Baqeri stressed.



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Major oil industry projects worth over €5.6b inaugurated

TEHRAN – Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh inaugurated three major oil industry projects worth €5.569 billion in Ilam and Boushehr provinces during a virtual ceremony on Monday, Shana reported.

As reported, the minister officially inaugurated Azar Oil field development project in the western Ilam province and Kangan Petro-refinery’s ethane recovery unit in southwestern Boushehr province, while commencing the project for the construction of a petrochemical complex in Assaluyeh.

According to Zanganeh, over €2.6 billion has been invested in the Azar oil field development project and the ethane recovery unit of Kangan Petro-refinery.

The other project, namely Kian Petrochemical Complex in Assaluyeh, in Bushehr Province, is also worth about €3 billion.

According to Shana, the mentioned projects are going to create direct job opportunities for 2,125 people.

Speaking in the opening ceremony, Zanganeh mentioned the desirable state of the development projects in joint oil and gas fields and said: “Fortunately, we are in a good situation in all joint fields compared to our neighbors,”

“The production capacity of crude oil in the joint fields of west Karun region has increased from 70,000 barrels per day to 400,000 barrels,” the official added.

Mentioning the development of the Azar oil field, the minister said: “Over €1.4 billion of the investment made in this project has been returned from the revenues earned by the field’s oil output.”

Zanganeh put the cumulative production of the field since it went operational in the Iranian calendar year 1392 (started in March 2013) up to the current year at 36 million barrels.

The official further mentioned Kangan Petro-refinery project and said: “We had plans to inaugurate 17 petrochemical projects worth $11.4 billion and with a total capacity of 25 million tons in the current year; Kanhgan project, with an investment of nearly $1 billion and a production capacity of 3.5 million tons per year, is one of the mentioned projects.”

Azar, one of the joint fields with Iraq, spans an overall area of 482 square kilometers in southeast of Mehran town in the western Iranian province of Ilam.

The field is estimated to hold 2.5 billion barrels of oil in place. The volume of possible oil reserves to be extracted from the Azar field is estimated to be around 400 million barrels.



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Several arrested after police enter FC Barcelona stadium in search operation

Several people were arrested by Spanish police on Monday as part of an investigation into FC Barcelona.

It comes shortly after officers entered Barcelona’s stadium in a search and seize operation.

Spanish media said the operation was related to last year’s “Barçagate,” in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the club and then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Some of the people supposedly targeted included Lionel Messi and Gerard Piqué, as well as former coach Pep Guardiola.

Barcelona had denied accusations that it hired — and overpaid — a company to make negative comments about its own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior club officials.

The club later released an independent audit report showing that there was no wrongdoing.

Police in Catalonia confirmed the arrests but declined to reveal who was detained. According to local media, Bartomeu is among those in custody.

Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned last year amid fallout from the controversy surrounding Lionel Messi. The club has been mired in political turmoil and debt prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The operation comes less than a week before presidential elections are to be held at the club.


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Japanese PM apologizes after spokesperson quits over expensive dinner scandal that breached ethics law

Japanese leader Yoshihide Suga has apologized after his spokeswoman, Makiko Yamada, resigned for “breaching the ethics law” by attending expensive dinners hosted by the prime minister’s TV executive son, Seigo Suga.

Yamada formally quit her position as the cabinet public relations secretary in the wake of the scandal around her attendance at the expensive dinners after being admitted to hospital due to ill health, according to a statement from the government.

Japanese officials are barred from accepting gifts, including dinners and entertainment from companies under the National Civil Service Ethics Law, making Yamada’s attendance at the dinners a breach of the government’s code.

“I’m very sorry that a member of my family was involved in behavior resulting in public servants breaching the ethics law,” the prime minister said in a statement to parliament.

I deeply regret that it has come to a situation where people’s trust in the administration has been damaged.

Due to her hospital admission, Yamada was absent from a parliamentary meeting that was due to take place on Monday, where she was set to face questions from members of parliament over her breach of the ethics code.

Also on rt.com Japanese PM apologizes after ruling coalition lawmakers visit nightclub in violation of Covid-19 restrictions

The resignation comes a month after Japanese magazine Shukan Bunshun reported that Suga had held dinners for numerous government officials in his role as an executive at the Tohokushinsha Film Corp.

As of Wednesday, the Japanese Communications Ministry had punished 11 officials for attending the dinners, with an investigation having found that 13 individuals were highly likely to have violated ethics codes. There were reportedly 39 dinners with the meals costing 74,203 yen ($696) per person, according to Japanese media.

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Majlis continues reviewing details of next year’s budget bill

TEHRAN – Every year after the government submits the draft of the national budget bill for the next year to the Iranian parliament (Majlis), the parliament’s budget review committee immediately begins assessing general outlines of the bill including the incomes and the expenses.

After the mentioned assessments, the details of the bill will be subject to review so that by the yearend a refined version of the bill would be prepared and approved to be used as the base guideline for the country’s monetary framework in the next fiscal year.

The budget bill

Considering the country’s special economic conditions in recent years, the Iranian parliament has mostly rejected the primary drafts of the budget bill and required the government to make some amendments. This year too, in early February, the parliament rejected the general outlines of the primary draft of the budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year 1400 (which begins on March 21).

The proposed bill, first submitted to Majlis in early December 2020, amounted to about 24.357 quadrillion rials (about $579.928 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials), with a 20-percent rise from the current year’s approved budget.

The bill estimated the government’s budget at 9.298 quadrillion rials (about $221.38 billion), with an increase of 47 percent from the figure of the current year. It envisaged 3.175 quadrillion rials (about $75.595 billion) of incomes, while 6.37 quadrillion rials (about $151.666 billion) of expenses.

Revenues from exporting oil, gas, and gas condensate were estimated at 1.99 quadrillion rials (about $47.3 billion), up 323 percent from 454.9 trillion rials (about $10.83 billion), approved in the current year’s budget.

The bill was mainly criticized for being unrealistic about the oil revenues and the government expenses. The budget review committee urged the government to reform the bill and submit it to the parliament again.

The amendments

Therefore, in the reformed bill the government proposed to reduce its expenses by 400 trillion rials (about $9.5 billion) to prevent the need for increasing tax incomes.

It also reduced the National Development Fund (NDF) resources and increased the ceiling of the incomes from publishing treasury bonds by 530 trillion rials (about $12.6 billion).

“The most important factor in the amendment was the discussion of the subsided foreign currency and the amount of oil revenues; the oil revenues in the amended bill were not changed, and the subsidized foreign currency would still be allocated for essential goods like medicine and crops” Mojgan Khanlou, spokeswoman of the Parliament Budget Committee said.

After making the necessary amendments, the government resubmitted the bill to the parliament, and this time Majlis approved the amendments of the national budget bill in mid-February.

After approval

After approving the general outlines, the budget review committee would hold several sessions for reviewing the details of the bill.

The first session of the budget review committee was held on February 20 in which the parliament determined the share of NDF from the country’s oil and gas export revenues in the newly amended budget bill.

Majlis continued to review the details of the national budget bill for the year 1400, in an open session on Sunday, February 28. This review session was mainly focused on the expense aspects of the national budget bill.

During the session, the MPs came up with some decisions regarding the various aspects of the bill including the resources allocated for the renovation of the country’s electricity network, the resources allocated for the Defense Ministry, and the obligations of the Oil Ministry regarding oil and gas condensate exports.

MPs instructed the Oil Ministry to submit a monthly report on the amount of exports of crude oil, gas condensate, and major oil and gas products to the parliament’s Planning, Budget, and Energy committees and also to the Supreme Audit Court of Iran.

The government is also obliged to deposit the surplus oil and gas revenues – from the exports of more than one million barrels per day (bpd) – to the country’s foreign exchange reserve account.

It was also agreed that the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics would be allowed to use up to 300 trillion rials (about $7.1 billion) equivalent of crude oil and gas condensate on the condition of processing it in the refineries run by the private sector.

The decision has been made to promote the contribution of the private sector in the country’s oil and gas sector.

The Defense Ministry is constructed to process the allocated share of crude oil and gas condensate only in those refineries which have increased their processing capacity in recent years.

As for the Energy Ministry, the MPs allocated the ministry 300 trillion rials (about $7.1 billion) for renovating the country’s electricity infrastructures. The mentioned funds are going to be mainly spent on renovating the country’s power plants and worn-out electricity network sections.

The allocated money, however, should be supplied only from the sale of government assets, bonds, and privatization of government-owned companies. This allocation is also considered as payment for a part of the government debts to the power plants owned by the private sector.

In the few weeks remaining to the end of the current Iranian calendar year, more sessions would probably be held for further assessing the details of the national budget bill to make sure that the country would begin the new year on solid economic ground.



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