- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2008

AL-RAI (KUWAIT)

Members’ questions could cause deadlock

Just as Kuwaiti political life on Monday witnessed a race between escalation and calm, many expected a decisive day Tuesday in regard to three Parliament members who appeared insistent on grilling Prime Minister Sheik Nasser al-Mohammed (on allowing an Iranian cleric to enter the emirate despite a legal ban).

The intense efforts to defuse the potential crisis by persuading the three MPs to abandon their bid for the grilling failed as the lawmakers postponed their request until today, a matter that could lead to a political deadlock and perhaps the dissolution of Parliament.

AL-BAYAN (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)

VP criticized for insulting Koran

A vice president to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came under sharp criticism for attending a celebration that entailed acts deemed as insulting to the Koran.

Conservatives and religious leaders blasted Esfandyar Rahim Mashaie, the vice president for tourism, and called for his firing after he attended a ceremony of dancing women where the Koran was recited to music.

AL-MESRYOON (EGYPT)

Court bans coverage of Tamim case

The Cairo criminal court has imposed a media blackout on the trial of Egyptian businessman Hisham Talaat Mustafa and former state security officer Mohsen al-Sukkari, accused of murdering Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai last summer.

The court said the media will not be allowed to cover the court proceedings until the verdict is issued and also decided to seize three books published on the crime.

AKHBAR AL-KHALEEJ (BAHRAIN)

Diplomat kidnapped and guard killed

Pakistani police said that unknown gunmen kidnapped an Iranian diplomat on Nov. 13 and killed his guard in Peshawar in an ambush just minutes after he left his house to go to the Iranian consulate in the morning.

Iran strongly condemned the attack as a “terrorist act” and stressed that Pakistan is fully responsible for the security of its diplomats in the country.

AL-SEYASSAH (KUWAIT)

Court order closes market

In a completely unexpected move, a Kuwaiti court on Friday issued an unprecedented verdict to shut down the Kuwaiti financial market until Monday in an apparent attempt to slow down the losses.

The market closed its doors after receiving the order, but the government and Parliament described the decision as “very dangerous” and warned it would have adverse repercussions on the emirate’s stock market.

AKHER SAA (ALGERIA)

Bouteflika allowed to seek third term

The Algerian Parliament on Wednesday endorsed a law to amend the constitution that would allow President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika to seek a third term, a demand he has been seeking since he embarked on his second term.

The vote in the two chambers, in which 500 lawmakers voted in favor of the amendment, 21 against and eight abstained, did not come as a surprise.

AN-NAHAR (LEBANON)

Syria says uranium a remnant of strike

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said last week that reports about traces of uranium found at al-Kibar could be remnants from the Israeli air strike that destroyed the site in September 2007.

He said leaked reports that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency had found traces of uranium there were aimed at pressuring Syria, “and thus it is not a technical issue but a political one.”

AL-HAYAT (LONDON)

Declaration calls for tolerance

The two-day interfaith and intercultural conference at the U.N. General Assembly, initiated by Saudi King Abdullah and attended by dozens of world leaders, concluded on Nov. 13 with an agreement for dialogue, tolerance and renouncing extremism and terrorism.

A communique, the New York Declaration, said the participants pledged to promote human rights and freedoms, including the freedom of belief and expression, without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, language or religion.

cCompiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times

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