Connect with us

Latest News

Syria pro-government forces enter Kurdish-held Afrin

Published

on

Pro-Syrian regime forces have entered Afrin to help fend off a Turkish assault on the region, as the threat of worsening violence continues.

A convoy of militia fighters, waving weapons and flags and chanting “one Syria, one Syria” drove into the enclave on Tuesday and were immediately met with shellfire.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the convoy was made up of “terrorists” and repeated earlier reports that shellfire from the Turkish forces led to a pro-Syrian retreat.

Turkey, with the support of some Syrian rebels, has waged the campaign against Kurdish militants, whom Ankara regards as terrorists. Turkey wants to drive the Kurdish YPG militia from Afrin because it considers it a big security threat on its border.

The campaign pits the Turkish army directly against the military alliance backing the government of President Bashar al Assad, further complicating Syria’s already messy battlefield.

According to Turkish state media, the pro-government forces retreated by 10km (6m), from Afrin city.

But Syrian television showed them passing through a checkpoint with the insignia of the Kurdish security force.

:: UN Syria envoy warns Ghouta could become ‘second Aleppo’
:: Turkey on a collision course with Syria over Kurdish support in Afrin

The troops cross a checkpoint in Afrin
Image:
The troops cross a checkpoint in Afrin

Syrian state media reported that Turkey fired at its forces on Tuesday as they entered Afrin.

SANA said: “Turkish regime forces targeted the locations of popular forces with artillery fire as they arrived to the Afrin region.”

Turkey said these were “warning shots”. The Kurdish militia denied the retreat.

The forces had arrived in Afrin to take a stand against a Turkish-led offensive on the region.

Meanwhile, in rebel-held areas near Damascus, nearly 130 people have died in the last two days, according to paramedics, amid heavy Syrian government shelling and airstrikes.

Some of the troops were shouting one Syria as they crossed
Image:
Some of the troops were shouting one Syria as they crossed

Eight people died in Damascus when retaliatory shells rained down, and panic spread among residents of the Syrian capital.

The bombardment has been some of the deadliest in the region in three years.

Source link

Latest News

Tokyo Olympics: Opening ceremony was ‘respectful, hopeful but sombre night’ | World News

Published

on

Olympic opening ceremonies are something of a unique art form. Playing to a global audience but with the host nation wanting to make the night their own.

Japan chose sombre. It was a respectful, hopeful but above all sombre night. They didn’t want to show off when everyone has lived through such hardship – and while so many people continue to do so.

Their display using 1,824 flying drones combining like a swarm of giant worker bees to create a giant globe stood out.

Naomi Osaka of Japan holds the Olympic torch after lighting the Olympic cauldron
Image:
Naomi Osaka of Japan holds the Olympic torch after lighting the cauldron

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

There were no Team GB fans at the 2021 summer olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo due to COVID-19 but Japan put on a stunning visual show regardless

So too Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka who was given the honour of firing up the hydrogen-fuelled Olympic cauldron.

But it was their courteous bow towards the pain of the pandemic that defined the evening.

Video montages of empty cities during lockdowns, and athletes cobbling together training regimes in their back gardens – it all made for an understated opening ceremony.

Outside, the protests in the streets continued among those still vehemently against the Games taking place while Tokyo remains in a state of COVID emergency.

More on Tokyo 2020 Olympics

There were also people outside who just felt drawn to the Olympic stadium – to come and wave to the very select numbers of VIPs and media going inside. It was as close as they could get to the Games that they had waited almost a decade for.

While these Olympics will feel unusual there were reminders too of the magic they can create.

There was a towering Tongan taekwondo player who strode into the stadium with his bare oiled chest puffed out as he carried his island nation’s flag like a warrior on a mission.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Protests held outside Olympic stadium

The Olympics can still produce special moments like that and there will be plenty more over the coming weeks.

There will be more COVID-19 disruption too but the Games of 2020 are finally open, just one year late.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

Business leaders have ‘obligation to speak up’, ex-Unilever boss says amid Ben & Jerry’s row | Business News

Published

on

Unilever’s ex-boss has said business leaders have an “obligation to speak up” after his former company became embroiled in a row with Israel over its Ben & Jerry’s business.

Paul Polman mounted a defence of the need to “fight for what is right” in remarks to Sky News after the ice cream brand said it would stop selling its products in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Ben & Jerry’s is owned by consumer goods giant Unilever – whose array of brands ranges from Marmite spread to Dove soap – but has an independent board to take such decisions.

Alan Jope, Unilever chief executive
Image:
Current boss Alan Jope has spoken to Israel’s prime minister about the matter

Its announcement is one of the strongest steps taken by a well-known company over Israel’s settlements, which are widely seen as illegal by the international community.

The move drew condemnation from the Israeli government, whose new prime minister Naftali Bennett said this week that Israel would “use the tools at its disposal – including legal – on this issue” and that those taking such action “need to know that there will be a price to pay”.

Mr Polman, speaking to Sky’s Ian King Live, said it would be inappropriate to say how he would have handled the issue had he still been in charge of Unilever.

But he added: “What is very important is if we want humanity to function for the long term we need to be sure that we fight for the basic values, the basic values of dignity, respect, equity, compassion.

“If we see these values being violated anywhere in the world I think we have an obligation to speak up.

“What we’ve seen in the US in the last few years – too few people, also from the business side, spoke up against things that then bit by bit moved the boundaries and put us in a very difficult situation.

Naftali Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years
Image:
Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said there would be a “price to pay”

“So, fight for what is right and one of the few things we should fight for always is, these basic human rights.”

Mr Polman was speaking a day after current Unilever boss Alan Jope, in a conference call to discuss latest results, said the company remains “fully committed” to doing business in Israel but gave no indication that Unilever would press Ben & Jerry’s to reverse the decision.

Mr Jope, who has spoken to Mr Bennett on the phone to discuss the matter, said that it was a “complex and sensitive matter”.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine withdraws to avoid facing Israeli competitor Tohar Butbul | World News

Published

on

An Algerian judo competitor has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics after learning he could have faced an Israeli opponent.

Fethi Nourine said his political support for the Palestinian cause made it impossible to compete against Tohar Butbul.

He told Algerian TV he would not “get his hands dirty” and his “decision was final”.

“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, and the news came as a shock, a thunder”, he added.

Tohar Butbul of Israel
Image:
Tohar Butbul of Israel

The 30-year-old was drawn against Sudan’s Mohamed Asdalrasool on Monday for his first match in the men’s 73kg class. If he had won that match, he would have faced Butbul, who has a first-round bye, in the next round.

Nourine also withdrew from the world championships in 2019 for the same reason.

At the time, his coach Amar Ben Yaklif was quoted in Algerian media saying: “We were unlucky with the draw. We got an Israeli opponent and that’s why we had to retire. We made the right decision.”

More on Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tensions between Israel and Palestinians flared in Jerusalem earlier this year causing the worst violence in the region since 2014.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Judo - Training Sessions - Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - July 22, 2021. Technicians work on the mat in Nippon Budokan Arena, during training sessions. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Image:
Judo training sessions take place at the Tokyo Games

The conflict between the two sides has been going on for decades and has seen athletes from Iran and Egypt also previously refuse to compete against Israeli opponents.

Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

The opening ceremony for this year’s Olympic games took place on Friday, with fans not allowed in the national stadium for the event due to COVID-19 concerns.

Instead, around 1,000 dignitaries and members of the media were allowed the witness the spectacular event.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending