China protests, 2 US jet fighters make emergency landing at Taiwan air base
China protested on Thursday after two American jet fighters landed at an air base in Taiwan, for the first time in 30 years, AFP said. Two US F-18 fighter jets made an emergency landing at an air force base in the southern city of Tainan on Wednesday. One of the planes had developed a mechanical failure, according to US authorities. “We require the US to abide by the ‘One-China Policy’ and the three joint communiqués between China and the US, and to prudently deal with the relevant issue,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said in Beijing.
Bahraini rights activist Rajab arrested – family
Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been arrested again and could face new charges as he appeals an earlier conviction, AP reported, citing family members. Defense lawyer Jalila al-Sayed confirmed Rajab’s arrest on Thursday. The activist’s wife, Sumaya Rajab, says the arrest was linked to comments Rajab made on Twitter about the treatment of inmates held at Jaw Prison, where unrest broke out last month. Rajab had been free on bail as he appeals a six-month jail sentence for insulting government ministries on Twitter.
Ukraine president signs law to ban films ‘glorifying’ Russian military, law enforcers
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed amendments to laws to ban films, audio or video products ‘glorifying’ Russian armed forces and law enforcement agencies. The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), passed a law in February banning films about Russia’s military and law enforcers. The legislation prohibits the screening of such films and series in Ukraine.
Second black box found from Alps plane crash
The second black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week has been found after a nine-day search, AFP reported, citing French police. Authorities are hoping to unearth more clues about the disaster. The first voice recorder suggested that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately locked the plane on a collision course with the mountains, according to investigators.
Palestinians, Syrian rebels retake control of Damascus refugee camp from ISIS
Palestinian fighters and Syrian rebels retook control of large parts of a refugee camp in Damascus on Thursday. It had been seized by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), AFP reported. A number of armed factions in the Yarmuk camp in south Damascus “were able to regain control over all of the areas that IS had taken over,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The jihadists overran the camp on Wednesday.
Planes to fly from Yemen to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals
Two Russian planes are preparing to fly to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals on board, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said on Thursday. “Two Russian planes are at Sanaa’s airport now. One of them has been loaded, there are 167 people aboard. In the next few minutes, it will take off through Cairo [to Moscow],” TASS quoted him as saying. The second plane will carry at least 150 people. At least three aircraft of Russia’s Defense Ministry will help evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen, a military-diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday. Clashes have intensified in Yemen between Shia rebels and the Arab military coalition.
Turkey detains 4 Russian citizens for trying to cross Syrian border illegally
Turkish police have detained four Russian citizens in the southeastern city of Gaziantep after they attempted to cross the border into Syria illegally, the Anadolu news agency reported. Gaziantep officials said the group was planning to enter the conflict zone in Syria. The suspects will reportedly be deported after questioning.
Heavy fighting between Houthi militants, gunmen in Yemen’s Aden Crater district
Houthi fighters and their allies battled gunmen in Aden’s Crater district on Thursday, Reuters reported. The clashes broke out in the heart of the southern Yemeni port city which is the last major foothold of forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Residents saw hundreds of Houthi and allied fighters in Crater, backed by tanks and armored vehicles. It was the first time fighting on the ground had reached so deeply into central Aden, after a week of airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition aimed at stemming the Houthi advances.
Plane flying from Cairo to Sanaa, Yemen, to evacuate Russian citizens
A Russian plane sent to evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen left Cairo Thursday for the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Sputnik reported, citing a source at Sanaa’s airport. Russian nationals are gathering in the airport waiting for the plane’s arrival, according to the source. The plane that was sent to evacuate them was earlier turned away by the Saudi-led Arab coalition. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Riyadh has guaranteed that it will let through to Sanaa two planes to evacuate 150 Russian citizens, TASS said.
Suicide bomber kills 16, wounds 40 in E. Afghanistan
A suicide bomber attacked an anti-corruption demonstration in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 16 people and wounding 40, AP said. The explosion in the eastern city of Khost wounded a local member of parliament, Hamayun Hamayoon, according to a governor’s spokesman. Earlier on Thursday, the police chief of a restive district in the country’s south was killed by a roadside bomb.
10 Egyptian troops killed in Sinai attacks
Two militant ambushes in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula have killed 10 soldiers, according to Egyptian security officials. The attacks also wounded 11 soldiers and several civilians, AP reported. Egypt battles a growing insurgency in the northern Sinai, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Al-Qaeda militants storm prison in SE Yemen, free 300 inmates
Al-Qaeda militants stormed a prison in southeastern Yemen’s Hadramawt province on Thursday. They freed more than 300 prisoners, AFP reported, citing a security official. Khalid Batarfi, a senior Al-Qaeda figure who had been held for more than four years, was among the escapees.
Israeli approve Palestinian neighborhood construction in E. Jerusalem
The East Jerusalem municipality has approved a plan to construct 2,200 units of housing, a commercial center and a school for Palestinians, Xinhua reports. The new neighborhood, called Arab al-Sawahra, under the plan would see the development of about 370 acres of land. The move hailed by Arab residents would mark the largest construction project for Palestinian families in East Jerusalem since the 1967 Mideast War.
9 UK nationals detained in Turkey trying to cross to Syria
Nine British nationals have been arrested by Turkey’s authorities after they tried to illegally cross the border into Syria, the army announced. The arrests took place in the Hatay region of southern Turkey. No more information has been offered. The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports and are on standby to offer consular assistance.