• Israel reimposes Covid restrictions to avoid lockdown

      Israel reimposes Covid restrictions to avoid lockdown

      Israeli PM Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday that vaccinations and renewed restrictions could spare another lockdown, even as coronavirus infections soar, AFP reported. "Our goal is to keep Israel open but not reach a situation where hospitals will say we're full," he said on a tour of a new vaccination centre in Jerusalem. "We're seeking to avoid that, and know when to hit the brakes," Bennett said. "To refrain from harsher restrictions, we'll get vaccinated, wear masks and maintain distancing."

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    • A year after Beirut blast Lebanon is gripped with grief and outrage

      A year after Beirut blast Lebanon is gripped with grief and outrage

      Public anger in Lebanon is mounting a year after the deadly Beirut blast on 4 August 2020, with a stalled investigation and deepening economic and political crisis, news wires reported. Lebanon has declared a national day of mourning to commemorate the first anniversary of the disaster that killed more than 190 people, wounded some 6,000 others and displaced 300,000 more. Shops, banks and businesses are to close, and governmental buildings will fly their flags at half mast.

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    • Israel starts offering 3rd Covid shot to older citizens

      Israel starts offering 3rd Covid shot to older citizens

      Israel’s PM Naftali Bennett on Thursday announced that the country would offer a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who have already been vaccinated, news wires reported. The decision makes Israel, which launched one of the world’s most successful vaccination drives earlier this year, the first country to offer a third dose of a Western vaccine to its citizens on a wide scale. The move comes at a time of rising infections and signs that the vaccine’s efficacy dwindles over time.

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    • Tunisia Islamist party counters president

      Tunisia Islamist party counters president

      The leader of Tunisia’s Islamist party and speaker of parliament that his party is working to form a “national front” to counter President Kais Saied’s decision to suspend the legislature, fire top government officials and take control of the fragile democracy amid the country’s multi-layered crisis.

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    • Lebanon names billionaire businessman as PM-designate

      Lebanon names billionaire businessman as PM-designate

      Leading Lebanese businessman Najib Mikati secured enough votes in parliamentary consultations on Monday to be designated the next prime minister, raising hopes for an urgently needed viable government to tackle a crippling financial crisis, news wires reported. Mikati said he would work to form a government and implement a French plan to save the country from its crippling financial crisis.

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    • Tunisia's president suspends parliament, fires PM, tensions rise

      Tunisia's president suspends parliament, fires PM, tensions rise

      Tunisia's President Kais Saied dismissed the government and suspended parliament on Sunday, following violent nationwide protests over the country’s economic troubles and virus crisis, news wires reported. Saied said he would assume executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister, in the biggest challenge yet to a 2014 democratic constitution that split powers between president, prime minister and parliament.

      Thousands of people defied virus restrictions and scorching heat to demonstrate Sunday in the capital, Tunis, and other cities. The largely young crowds shouted “Get out!” and slogans calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections. Clashes erupted in many places.

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    • Bashar al-Assad sworn in for a fourth seven-year term as Syria’s president

      Bashar al-Assad sworn in for a fourth seven-year term as Syria’s president

      Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday was sworn in for a fourth seven-year term, after a controversial May election dismissed by Europe and the US as "neither free nor fair", news wires reported. In May he won 95.1% of valid votes that were cast in the election held in government-controlled areas, according to official figures. Assad's father Hafez al-Assad led Syria for some 30 years.

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    • EU, US call for quick government formation in Lebanon as tension rises

      EU, US call for quick government formation in Lebanon as tension rises

      Tension intensified in Lebanon on Friday, with riots leaving more than two dozen people injured in the northern city of Tripoli, including five soldiers who were attacked with a hand grenade, news wires reported. Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri stepped down on Thursday over disagreements with the president on the shape of the Cabinet. Hariri did not endorse anyone else to take the post. Hundreds of his supporters rioted in the streets, blocked major roads and hurled stones.

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