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Iranian Parkour athlete arrested over a rooftop kiss

Alireza Japalaghy, a popular Iranian parkour athlete and his stunt accomplice have been arrested by Tehran's cyber police for "vulgar acts" after a photo of the pair kissing on rooftops was posted on social media. Tehran police said their "unconventional moves, which were contrary to custom and Sharia" law led to their arrest, which has prompted other social media users to criticise Iran's strict laws. Other users pointed out Alireza J..

Jamal Khashoggi: Fiancée rejects family forgiveness offer to killers

Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée has said "no-one has the right to pardon his killers" after his son said he forgave them. Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen, tweeted that the "heinous murder does not have a statue of limitations". Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018. Saudi officials say this was a "rogue operation" not sanctioned by the state. This..

Venezuela’s military to escort Iranian tankers bringing petrol

The Venezuelan military will escort Iranian tankers delivering much-needed petrol to the country to prevent any attempt by the US to stop them. Five vessels are on the high seas and are due to arrive in the coming days. Venezuela's defence minister said they would be "welcomed" into its exclusive economic zone, which extends 370km (200 nautical miles) from its shores. The US, which has imposed sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, is reportedly c..

Coronavirus crisis ‘could help ease Gulf tensions’ – UAE

Countries in the Gulf region - Iran and the six Gulf Arab states - will emerge "weaker, poorer and damaged" from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the UAE's Minister of State, Dr Anwar Gargash. Speaking to the BBC from Abu Dhabi, he said the answer was for the whole region to try to de-escalate its tensions. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the wealthiest countries in the world, made early preparations for the onset of the pandem..

Israeli convicted of West Bank arson attack that killed three Palestinians

An Israeli court has convicted a Jewish settler of murdering three members of a Palestinian family in a 2015 arson attack in the occupied West Bank. Judges found Amiram Ben Uliel threw a firebomb into a home in the village of Duma, killing Saad and Riham Dawabsha and their 18-month-old son Ali. Ali's brother Ahmed, who was then four, suffered severe injuries but survived. Ben Uliel was also found guilty of attempted murder, but was acquitte..

Israel swears in unity government after long political crisis

Israel has sworn in a unity government after the longest political crisis in the country's history, and amid the coronavirus pandemic. Under a power-sharing deal agreed in April, right-wing PM Benjamin Netanyahu will serve for another 18 months. His centrist rival Benny Gantz will serve as deputy PM, before taking over. The two men have agreed to press ahead with a controversial plan to annex part of the occupied West Bank - a process that ..

Coronavirus: Lebanon begins ‘total’ shutdown as cases increase

Media playback is unsupported on your device Lebanon has begun a "total" lockdown for four days, following a rise in the number of coronavirus cases. The government had been easing restrictions imposed two months ago to try to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Shops, restaurants and hair salons had been allowed to re-open. But they now have to close again. The efforts to fight the coronavirus have had a crushing impact on the economy, which was ..

Saudi Arabia: Just how deep are its troubles?

Once famous for being tax-free, Saudi Arabia has announced it is trebling its Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5% to 15% and cancelling the monthly living subsidy from next month. The moves come as global oil prices have crashed down to less than half what they were a year ago, slashing government revenues by 22% and putting major projects on hold. Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, has already seen its net profit fall by 25% in the first quarter o..

Iran navy ‘friendly fire’ incident kills 19 sailors in Gulf of Oman

Media playback is unsupported on your device Nineteen sailors have been killed and 15 others injured in an accident involving Iranian naval vessels in the Gulf of Oman, Iran's navy has said. Iranian media reported that the support ship Konarak was hit by a new anti-ship missile being tested by the frigate Jamaran during an exercise on Sunday. The Konarak had been putting targets out in the water and remained too close to one, according to t..

New Iraq prime minister after five months of deadlock

Iraq's parliament has approved a new government, ending months of deadlock as the country battles an economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. Former intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the third man to be nominated to replace Adel Abdul Mahdi since November, was sworn in as prime minister after Wednesday night's vote. "The security, stability and blossoming of Iraq is our path," he tweeted. However, Mr Kadhimi will not start his..

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