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State Appeals Ehud Olmert’s Acquittals

If former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert thought his troubles had ended with acquittals in two corruption cases and a light sentence in a third, he will have to think again. The state has appealed in all three cases. In one case, in which Olmert was accused of receiving cash-filled envelopes from an American Jewish businessman, the state said the court made a “fundamental error”. The 103-page appeal accuse Olmert of “active fraud” and “clearly corrupt conduct” during his years as mayor of Jerusalem and the Minister of Interior and Trade. Another case, the “Holyland Affair” in which Olmert is accused of accepting bribes to ignore zoning requirements for a large apartment complex in Jerusalem is also faltering as one of the state’s chief witnesses is seriously ill. The state’s request for the Israeli Supreme Court to hear the case comes as Olmert is expected to declare whether he will run in January’s elections in Israel at the head of a centrist bloc against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who recently united his Likud party with the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu.

 

Turkey Will Ask for Nato Missile Defense on Its Borders

A senior Turkish foreign ministry official told the Reuters news agency that Turkey will ask NATO to station Patriot missiles along its 560-mile border with Syria. Turkey has already beefed up its own defenses along with border and has responded to gunfire and mortar shells hitting its territory from fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian government troops. Five Turkish citizens were killed in early October by a mortar fired from Syria. Turkey also ordered an Armenian aircraft flying to Syria to land and searched its cargo to make sure it was not carrying weapons for the Syrian army. Turkey and Syria were once close allies but Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has become a harsh critic of Syrian President Hafez Assad since Syria’s popular revolt began last year. Turkey is also helping more than 110,000 Syrian refugees in camps along the Turkish-Syrian border.

 

“Massive” Air Defense Drill Planned in Iran

General Farzad Esmaili, the head of Iran’s air defense headquarters, told the country’s official news agency that the drill will include Iranian jet fighters, drones, air defense systems and about 8000 troops. He said the area of the war games will cover almost half of the eastern half of Iran. The week-long exercise will start on Saturday and last a week. The drill comes amid tensions with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, which Iran insists is only for peaceful purposes. An Israeli TV investigative report this week said Israeli leaders ordered the army on high alert in 2010 to prepare for a military strike against Iran, but then backed down.

 

Stone Age Well with Two Skeletons Uncovered

Israeli archaeologists say they have discovered a well built approximately 8500 years ago, which was apparently used by farmers in the Jezreel Valley. It is one of the first revealed wells that dates to that period. During the excavations the skeletal remains of a woman believed to be 19 years old, and an older man, were uncovered deep inside the well. It was not clear if they died from an accident or were murdered.

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Obama will strike a Deal with Iran

Al Quds daily, Jerusalem, Nov 8 2012

An American official expects that Obama will launch a foreign policy initiative, in an early stage of his second term, to strike a deal with Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear bomb.

The anonymous source said that Obama will use a carrot and stick approach to finalize the deal in the first year of his term.

The Washington official also predicted that Obama will take a critical decision regarding Syria before his second term starts officially in Jan., 20th, adding that he will reach a detailed understanding with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

The source doesn’t expect any change in regards to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, adding that the US won’t show the same ambition it showed in the first term. He said that Obama is committed to reaching a peaceful solution through negotiations. 

Egyptian Salafis threaten to burn Copt’s Stores

Al Dustour daily, Amman, 8 Nov 2012

The Archbishop of Al-Khaima (North of Cairo) said that Salafis entered church-owned land and prayed on it Monday and Tuesday, threatening to burn Copt’s stores in the area if anyone tried to stop them. 

The bishop said that the church is planning to construct a building on this piece of land once the long procedure of building permits is finalized, and expressed his fears of expected clashes on Friday.

Salfis are rumored to want to come back to pray the Friday noon prayer on the land, where Coptic youth might try prevent them, although the bishop said his church asked Copts to stay away from the  area.

The bishop added that he informed all authorities and filed a complaint to the general attorney, explaining that the Salafis put a sign that read “Ibad Al-Rahman mosque” in the land.

Disagreements Postpone the Exhumation of Arafat’s grave

Palestine News Network agency, Bethlehem, 8 Nov 2012

Tawfiq Al-Tirawi, Head of the Palestinian Investigative Committee into the death of  Yasser Arafat said that disagreements with the French investigative committee will postpone the exhumation of Arafat’s body that had been expected this month.

Tirawi said that the Palestinian side agreed to open the grave but takes issue with the French committee’s decision not to share the test results with the Palestinian side.

The French committee also wants to investigate key Palestinian figures without the involvement of the Palestinian Authority (PA), a proposal the PA rejects, according to Tirawi

 A delegation from the Institute of Radiation Physics at Switzerland’s University of Lausanne visited Arafat’s grave in Ramallah on Monday in preparations for investigations on the reason behind Arafat’s death in 2004.

The Free Army takes control of a stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border

Al Ghad daily, Amman, Nov 8 2012

The Free Syrian Army announced that the Ras al-Ain crossing on the Turkish border came under the control of fighters from the armed opposition as the Syrian Media Center told Al Arabiya TV channel on Thursday.

Turkey Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country asked NATO to deploy Patriot missiles on the border areas between his country and Syria which is facing a long volatile revolution for 20 months to topple the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

Turkey has already increased its security measures at the borders with tanks and anti-aircraft batteries as refugees flee to Turkey in search of a safe environment.

 

Tweets react to the ban of porn websites in Egypt

Al Ahram daily, Cairo, Nov 8 2012

Social media websites criticized the Egyptian General Attorney’s decision on Wednesday to ban all pornographic sites on the internet.

The General Attorney asked the government to ban these websites under the basis of a 2009 court order.

Many tweets connected between the decision and the increase of sexual harassments in the Egyptian streets, “We started the first term the renaissance. The renaissance of harassment. Girls, cover up before going out”, a woman tweeted.

Some tweets linked the ban to the “Sharia Millinery”, expected to be held this Friday, as another cynical mocked the decision saying that banning these website will return our stolen money, and will bring the security in Sinai back to normal, “after the ban, all of our problems will be solved”.

However a tweet finalized the case, “Only new internet users will be angry. People with internet experience will not be affected”, suggesting the internet-savvy will know how to avoid the ban and open the banned websites.

 

Arab News Bites

The Media Line presents Arab News Bites:

A daily summary of articles appearing throughout the Middle East

Compiled by Amir Khalil, The Media Line

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