Palestinian PM resigns
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has handed in his resignation on Apr 13.
President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation asked Fayyad to head the caretaker government, said officials after a meeting in Ramallah.
Earlier senior Palestinian officials said Fayyad would not remain in his position.
Rumours that Fayyad would either resign or be told to step down by Abbas have been rife in recent weeks after longstanding differences between the two men came to a head over the finance portfolio.
Mubarak retrial collapses as judge steps aside
The retrial of ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak collapsed minutes after it started on Apr 14, as the judge withdrew himself and referred the case to another court.
Mubarak was sentenced to life last June on charges of corruption and complicity in the murder of protesters during the 2011 uprising. But he was granted a retrial in January after a court agreed the prosecution’s case had been poorly prepared.
Judge Moustafa Hassan Abdallah resigned on the grounds that his judgment would be viewed suspiciously because of his involvement in controversial trials of Mubarak-era officials.
Abdallah had adjudicated in the prosecution of 24 officials accused of coordinating a clash between revolutionaries and the regime in 2011. He acquitted them all, prompting concerns that he was a Mubarak sympathiser.
Many dead in Iraq serial blasts
A wave of bombings across Iraq have killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 100 others, officials said, just days before the country’s first elections since US troops withdrew.
Most of the deadly attacks on April 15 morning reported were bombings, which killed several people in Baghdad, in the western city of Fallujah, the contested northern city of Kirkuk and towns south of the capital.
A total of 14 car bombs and three roadside bombs struck seven cities including Baghdad, security and medical officials said.
30 killed in Somali bombings
At least 30 people died in a wave of bombings and shootings in the Somali capital, increasing estimates of the toll from the attacks on April 14.
African troops searched houses early the following days for suspected members of al Shabaab which claimed responsibility for the strikes.
A car bomb exploded and several suicide bombers blew themselves up in front of law courts. Gunmen also stormed the court compound. Hours later a car bomb was detonated near the airport.
Al Shabaab staged a series of guerrilla-style attacks in the capital nearly two years after they were driven out of their positions there by African and government soldiers.
Afghans hold anti-US demo in Jalalabad
Afghan protesters have held an anti-US demo in Jalalabad to condemn the US-led airstrikes that kill civilians.
The protesters, including hundreds of university students, took to streets of the capital city of Nangarhar Province on Apr 15. They carried an effigy of US President Barack Obama and burnt a US flag.
Protesters have been outraged over the killing of civilians in the recent US airstrike on a village in of Kunar, which killed 17 civilians including a dozen children and four women.
The Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement that the foreign forces should stop airstrikes on residential areas.
Turkey warns Israel against dirty bargaining
Turkish officials are warning Israel that they should prepare to pay substantial compensation to the families of victims who were killed on the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, and should avoid “horse trading or dirty bargaining,” Turkish Hurriyet Daily reported on Apr 15.
An anonymous Turkish diplomat said, “Israel should perfectly know that this is not a process of bargaining. Compensation talks should not be turned into horse trading or dirty bargaining.” The source added that he hoped the issue would be solved in coming weeks.
“We want to close this issue in one session. Discussing human life for money is not a pleasant thing. This should be concluded in a most appropriate way,” the source reportedly said.
Unconfirmed reports have stated that Israel is willing to pay $100,000 per victim, however Turkish officials say that “it should be a substantial amount,” although they have not stated an exact figure.
Turkish pianist Fazil Say convicted of insulting Islam
World-renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say has been given a suspended 10-month jail sentence for insulting Islam on Apr 15. An Istanbul court found Say guilty over a series of posts on Twitter.
Say denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.
Prosecutors had brought the charges against Say last June. He could have faced a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.
The indictment against him cited some tweets, including a retweet by Say which says: “I am not sure if you have also realised it, but if there’s a louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, a thief or a fool, it’s always an Allah-ist.”
Kuwait opposition leader jailed for Emir insult
A prominent Kuwaiti opposition leader has been jailed for 5 years for insulting the Emir on Apr 15.
Mussallam al-Barrak, a former MP, had first been detained in Oct on suspicion of “undermining the status of the emir”.
He had warned the Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah that he would not be allowed to “take Kuwait into the abyss of autocracy”.
Several former MPs and tweeters have been jailed for insulting the emir.
There has been growing tension between former MPs and the govt, which is dominated by the al-Sabah family.
Last December, the opposition boycotted elections in protest against a new electoral system which it said favoured pro-govt candidates.
Iran refutes reports of leakage in nuclear plant
Iran has dismissed as baseless the media reports suggesting possible radiation leakage at Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant due to the earthquake earlier this month.
Speaking on Apr 14 Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Deputy, Mohammad Ahmadian said, “Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant has been constructed to withstand an eight Richter magnitude earthquake.”
He said the “Bushehr NPP has been designed based on the most advanced and strict international regulations,” Ahmadian said.
Top officials and experts from all Gulf Cooperation Council member countries held an urgent meeting in Riyadh to discuss the repercussions of the recent magnitude-6.1 temblor in Iran’s Bushehr province, which left 37 people dead.
GCC officials urged Iran to ensure the safety of its nuclear establishments and called on the IAEA to examine possible radiation leaks.
Al-Bashir orders South Sudan border to be opened
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has ordered the border with South Sudan to be opened.
He announced the move on a first visit to the South since its independence.
Speaking alongside his southern counterpart, Salva Kiir, Bashir also called for normal relations.
Tensions between the two countries, strained after they came to the brink of war last year, have eased recently.
“I have instructed Sudan’s authorities and civil society to open up to their brothers in the Republic of South Sudan,” Bashir said in a speech in the southern capital, Juba.
Sudan’s President invited Kiir to Khartoum for further talks and he also addressed worshippers at a mosque in Juba.