Arab states risk backlash by joining Syria strikes

Mideast Islamid State Arabs Role

In this image released Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 by the official Saudi Press Agency, a Saudi pilot sits in the cockpit of a fighter jet as part of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on Islamic State militants and other targets in Syria that began early Tuesday. Arab countries’ prominent role in initial airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria shatters the notion of what a typical American-led military operation looks like and won the Mideast allies’ praise from U.S. President Barack Obama for their willingness to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder.

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Terrorists ‘aim to hit Israeli, Jewish targets worldwide’ in coming weeks

Counter-Terror Bureau issues strident warning, citing ‘concrete, very high’ threats in numerous countries

Suspected Hezbollah weapons cache uncovered May 2013 in Kano, Nigeria. (screen capture: Youtube/Euronews)

Suspected Hezbollah weapons cache uncovered May 2013 in Kano, Nigeria. (screen capture: Youtube/Euronews)

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Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world are likely to be sought out by terrorist organizations in the coming weeks, the Israeli government’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned in strikingly strident tones on Monday, listing dozens of countries where it said it had “concrete” indications of a terrorist threat.

It cited concerns about terrorist acts timed to coincide with the forthcoming Rosh Hashana (New Year), Yom Kippur and Succot festivals, and also said that the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US was likely to be “a favored period” for al-Qaeda and other global jihadist groups to attempt to carry out acts of terrorism.

Norwegian woman who reported being raped in Dubai is jailed for 16 months

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A young Norwegian woman has been sentenced to 16 months in jail after she reported a rape in Dubai.

The 25-year-old was in the United Arab Emirates on a business trip when she was raped and reported the assault to the local police.

Dubai police did not believe her, and instead took her passport and jailed her on suspicion of having had sex outside marriage.

 
Sentenced: The 25 year old Norwegian woman was raped on a business trip and thrown in a Dubai jail

Sentenced: The 25 year old Norwegian woman was raped on a business trip and thrown in a Dubai jail

The Norwegian woman reported the sexual assault in March this year, after which she had to spend days in a cell before she was allowed to use a telephone.

With the help of family members, the Norwegian consulate was able to negotiate a release and she has been living under the protection of the Norwegian Sailor’s Church until her sentencing this week.

 ‘I received the harshest sentence for sex outside marriage, harshest sentence for drinking alcohol and on top of that I was found guilty of perjury,’ the woman told Verdens Gang.

‘It is a terrible situation she is in,’ said Gisle Meling, the priest at the Norwegian Sailor’s Church.

‘We are very surprised and had hoped it would go another way, but we live in a country which has a justice system which draws its conclusions with the help of Sharia law.’

‘I received the harshest sentence for sex outside marriage, harshest sentence for drinking alcohol and on top of that I was found guilty of perjury,’ the woman told Verdens Gang.

‘It is a terrible situation she is in,’ said Gisle Meling, the priest at the Norwegian Sailor’s Church.

‘We are very surprised and had hoped it would go another way, but we live in a country which has a justice system which draws its conclusions with the help of Sharia law.’

Dark side: Having been detained in Dubai since the assault in March, the woman has now been found guilty of sex outside marriage, drinking alcohol without a licence and perjury and was jailed for 16 months

Dark side: Having been detained in Dubai since the assault in March, the woman has now been found guilty of sex outside marriage, drinking alcohol without a licence and perjury and was jailed for 16 months

She was sentenced to one year and four months in jail but as Norway has no extradition treaty with Dubai, her future is uncertain.

The young Norwegian woman’s story is not unique.

Earlier this year Australian Alicia Gali, 27, spoke of how she was thrown in a Dubai jail for eight months after she reported a rape.

Miss Gali was working at hotel chain Starwood when her drink was spiked in the staff bar.

She awoke to find that three colleagues had raped her, but when she went to a hospital for help, they turned her over to the police and she was charged with illicit sex outside marriage.

Under UAE law, rapists can only be convicted if either the perpetrator confesses or if four adult Muslim males witness the crime.

Under the Sharia-influenced laws, sex before marriage is completely forbidden and an unmarried couple holding hands in public can be jailed.

Foreigners jailed in Dubai are deported immediately after completing their sentences.

WHO calls Middle Eastern virus, MERS, ‘threat to the entire world’ as death toll rises

The SARS-like virus has so far killed 24 people, more than half of those diagnosed.

 China's Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, WHO, delivers a speech during the 66th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, May 20, 2013.

China’s Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health  Organization, WHO, delivers a speech during the 66th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United  Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, May 20, 2013.            AP Photo/Health Protection Agency

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Calling it a “threat to the entire world,” the head of the World Health Organization sounded the alarm over the Middle Eastern virus that has so far killed 24 people.

Speaking on Monday in Geneva at the global health monitor’s annual conference, Dr. Margaret Chan did not mince words about the SARS-like novel coronavirus that researchers call MERS.

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United Arab Emirates signs $1.42 billion defence deals

UAE signs $1.42 billion defence deals

 ABU DHABI – The United Arab Emirates said on Monday it signed 17 defence contracts to purchase military equipment worth $1.4 billion including US manufactured Predator drones. The contracts were signed during the ongoing International Defence Exhibition & Conference, IDEX. “The total value of today’s contracts has reached 5.2 billion dirhams” ($1.42 billion), said Staff Major General Obaid al-Ketbi, chairman of IDEX, which is held every two years in Abu Dhabi. Speaking to reporters on the second day of Middle East’s biggest defence show, Ketabi said the deals include a 722 million-dirham ($196-million) contract agreed with US firm General Atomics for the purchase of Predator drones with complete integrated logistic support systems.He said the UAE armed forces also signed an agreement with the US-based Oshkosh firm worth 1.4 billion dirhams ($381.5 million) to purchase all-terrain military vehicles. Another deal to purchase Turkish CIRIT laser-guided rockets worth 720 million dirhams ($196.2 million) was also signed, he added. Meanwhile, the UAE on Monday signed an agreement with Bahrain under which it will donate $2.5 billion to its protest-hit neighbour as part of a Gulf aid programme to it and Oman, the BNA state news agency said. Under the memorandum of understanding signed in Manama by the government of Bahrain and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the oil-rich state will release the aid package over a period of 10 years, “$250 million annually,” BNA said.The grant will be directly managed by the Abu Dhabi fund, BNA said. It is earmarked for development projects in the kingdom that continues to face daily protests by members of its Shiite majority, nearly two years after a deadly crackdown on demonstrations against the Sunni al-Khalifa ruling dynasty. The six Gulf Cooperation Council states decided at a meeting in March 2011 to establish a $20-billion fund to finance development projects in Bahrain and Oman, which has also seen protests calling for reform. In addition to Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, the GCC includes Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The aid package was pledged days before Saudi-dominated Gulf troops rolled into the island kingdom to boost its security forces which went on to quell protests in mid-March 2011. The total amount of the grant to Bahrain and Oman is to be divided equally between the four other GCC states.Bahrain signed similar framework agreements with the Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development in September and the Saudi Fund for Development in December, BNA said.

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