Iran drug law change could spare thousands on death row

Iran drug law change could spare thousands on death row

Image copyright AFP Image caption An Iranian policeman guards 3,000kg (6,600lb) of opium seized from drug smugglers Thousands of Iranians who have been sentenced to death for drug crimes could be spared following a softening in the country’s law. Capital punishment has been abolished for some drug offences, and the head of the judiciary has […]

Syria war: Assault on rebel stronghold of Idlib ‘displaces 100,000’

Syria war: Assault on rebel stronghold of Idlib ‘displaces 100,000’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Fighting in south-eastern areas of Idlib province has forced civilians from their homes Some 100,000 Syrian civilians have been displaced by a government offensive on the country’s largest remaining rebel stronghold, the United Nations says. Since the start of November, fighting and air strikes have intensified in the north-western province […]

Israel searches West Bank after settler killed in drive-by shooting

Israel searches West Bank after settler killed in drive-by shooting

Image copyright EPA Image caption The Israeli military said its focus was on locating a “terror cell” and preventing additional attacks Israeli security forces are searching for a suspected Palestinian gunman or gunmen who killed an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday. Raziel Shevach, a 35-year-old rabbi and father of six, was […]

Saudi Arabia police arrest men over ‘gay wedding’ video

Saudi Arabia police arrest men over ‘gay wedding’ video

Image copyright Twitter Image caption Police said the incident had “surprised” people at a festival in a Mecca resort Police in Saudi Arabia say they have arrested several young men who last week appeared in a video of what was described as a “gay wedding scene”. In the video, the men are sprayed with confetti […]

Turkey renames UAE embassy street after minister row

Turkey renames UAE embassy street after minister row

Image copyright AFP/getty Image caption Turkish television carried footage of the street signs being changed Turkey has symbolically renamed a street where the United Arab Emirates’ embassy is located in Ankara, following a diplomatic spat between the nations. The street has been named Fahreddin Pasha Road, after an Ottoman military commander the UAE foreign minister […]

Imad al-Alami: Hamas official shot in head in Gaza ‘accident’

Imad al-Alami: Hamas official shot in head in Gaza ‘accident’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Imad al-Alami – pictured here in Beirut in 1999 – lived in exile for more than 20 years A senior Hamas figure in Gaza has been shot in the head in what the militant Palestinian group says was an accident. Imad al-Alami shot himself while “inspecting his personal weapon in […]

Israeli PM’s son sorry over secret tape

Israeli PM’s son sorry over secret tape

Image copyright AFP Image caption Benjamin Netanyahu said his son Yair had “no input” in the gas deal involving Kobi Maimon The son of Israel’s prime minister has apologised after an audiotape of him bragging about his father’s role in a controversial gas deal was broadcast. In the tape – said to be from 2015 […]

Iranian tanker still burning off China coast

Iranian tanker still burning off China coast

Media captionHuge plumes of smoke were seen rising from the tanker No large oil spill has been detected so far from a tanker that has been burning since Saturday evening off the coast of China, Chinese officials say. The Sanchi is still alight and bad weather – with waves of up to 4m (13ft) – […]

Egypt police detained after custody death triggers protests

Egypt police detained after custody death triggers protests

Image copyright AFP Image caption Egyptian security forces have been accused of routinely torturing and mistreating detainees Prosecutors in Egypt’s capital Cairo have ordered the detention of two police officers after the death of a prisoner triggered violent protests. On Saturday, people tried to storm a police station in the Moqattam district where 22-year-old Mohammed […]

Iran bans English from being taught in primary schools

Iran bans English from being taught in primary schools

Image copyright AFP Image caption Iran’s supreme leader has criticised foreign influence through languages in the past Iran has banned teaching the English language in primary schools, calling the subject a “cultural invasion”. The education ministry “envisages strengthening Persian language skills and Iranian Islamic culture of pupils at the primary school stage”, its secretary told […]