News Column

Tuesday briefing

May 13, 2014

Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia



May 13--Foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said Riyadh has invited Iran's Foreign minister to the Kingdom. Talking to press Prince Saud said "any time he sees fit to come, we are ready to receive him". Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel touched down in Jeddah ahead of talks with GCC defense ministers on Wednesday.

After exit polls in India predicted a BJP victory, the stock market and currency rallied as Washington set out to mend some fences with Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi who is expected to be the countries next prime minister.

With election in Syria only a few weeks away, New-York based Human Rights Watch has said it has strong evidence that the Syrian army used chlorine gas on three rebel-held towns last month. Denmark's foreign minister urged the country to give up the last of its chemical weapons to meet a June 30 deadline.

Across the border, Jordan welcomed back its ambassador to Libya Fawaz Aitan a month after being kidnapped. In another African kidnapping, one that has truly shocked the world the 200 Nigerian girls' whereabouts are still unknown with US surveillance aircraft joining the search particularly over remote areas as Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan asked the parliament for a six-month extension to the state of emergency in 3 states riven by militant violence.

Meanwhile, the Australian government has earmarked 90 million AUD for the search of the missing Malaysian plane. Government documents release today put no limit on what Australia is prepared to spend.

In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party took the lead in two opinion polls ahead of European elections on 22nd May.

In an amazing fall from grace, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to 6 years in prison for his role in a wide-ranging bribery case. "A public servant who accepts bribes is akin to a traitor," said the judge in the case.

Turkey said it will defy a European court order to pay 90 million euros in compensation to Greek Cypriots over its 1974 invasion of the island. "it is a country that Turkey does not recognize, we do not find it necessary to make this payment," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific off the coast of Panama and there were no initial reports of major damage or casualties.

Europe's top court has ruled in favor of those who want the "right to be forgotten" -- meaning that they should be able to remove their digital traces from the Internet.

French scientists say using your phone for long periods of time could lead to higher risk of developing certain types of brain cancer.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling went from apologizing for recent racist remarks to slamming Magic Johnson saying loudly at one point "He's got AIDS!" cutting off the interviewer who was attempting to cite Johnson's accomplishments after Sterling asked, "What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?" His team take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (Wednesday 4:30am KSA time) in the NBA Playoffs series, which is tied 2-2.

It's all coming down to the final 30 days in preparations for the World Cup, there are three stadiums still under construction, one of which is Itaquerao, where the high-profile opener between Brazil and Croatia will be played. "For the World Cup it will all be 100 percent ready," said Andres Sanchez, who is in charge of the stadium's construction.

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(c)2014 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

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Source: Arab News (Saudi Arabia)