<![CDATA[rss-International news]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[International news]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Wall Street Journal sacks top reporter over ethics violations]]>
Jay Solomon, the newspaper's chief foreign affairs correspondent and author of a book on secret deals involving Iran, "is no longer employed by The Wall Street Journal," said a statement by the newspaper's parent Dow Jones, a unit of News Corp.

"We are dismayed by the actions and poor judgment of Jay Solomon. The allegations raised by this reporting are serious. While our own investigation continues, we have concluded that Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards."

Solomon's dismissal comes after the Associated Press reported he was offered a stake in a company by Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born magnate who has been linked to deals involving the CIA, according to the report.

AP said that during its investigation of Azima, it obtained emails and text messages between Azima and Solomon, as well as other documents. The news agency said it asked the Journal about the documents appearing to link Solomon and Azima, which led to his firing.

Solomon told AP in a statement he never engaged in any business dealings with Azima.
The initial AP report was on a web of Azima's business dealings which appeared to include federal contracts and possible CIA links. Azima is an Iranian-born US citizen, according to the report.

Solomon, according to his website, has reported for nearly two decades from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, including stints in Jakarta, Seoul, New Delhi and Washington, and has been nominated three times for Pulitzer Prizes.

He was, according to his website, the first American journalist to uncover secret meetings between the United States and Iran that paved the way for a 2015 deal to ease sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.]]>
6/22/2017 6:46:22 AM
<![CDATA[Brussels bomber 'had IS sympathies']]>
Police found explosive materials in a raid on the home of the suspect in Molenbeek, a Brussels district which has been linked to recent deadly terror plots in France and Belgium.

Belgian authorities identified the man, who was shot dead by a soldier, as a 36-year-old Moroccan national with the initials O.Z., while local media named him as Oussama Zariouh.

Prosecutors said police have taken into custody four people who were in "regular contact" with the suspect.

No one was injured in Tuesday's foiled attack at Brussels Central station, but officials said the consequences could have been severe had the bomb full of nails and gas canisters detonated properly.

"It could have been much worse," Belgian federal prosecutor's spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference.

"It is clear that he wanted to cause more damage than he did."
The man shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) during the attack, he said, confirming witness reports.

Van Der Sypt later said a statement that a search of the man's home "showed that he probably made the bomb there".

"Both possible chemical substances and materials were found that could serve to make explosives," he said.

"There are also indications that the suspect had sympathies for the terrorist organisation IS."

Molenbeek Mayor Francoise Schepmans told Le Soir newspaper the bomber was an "isolated individual" who had recently got divorced.

He had been linked to a drugs offence, but not for radicalism. RTL radio said he ran a telecoms shop in Molenbeek.

The blast came a day after a man mowed down Muslims near a mosque in London, and a suspected Islamist on a terror watchlist rammed a car laden with weapons into a police vehicle in Paris.

Brussels was already on high alert since suicide bombers struck Zaventem Airport and the Maalbeek metro station near the EU quarter in March 2016, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds more.

Islamic State claimed the attacks, which were carried out by the same Brussels-based cell behind the November 2015 suicide bombings and shootings in Paris which left 130 people dead.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said a "terrorist attack has been prevented" on Tuesday in Brussels, which is home to the headquarters of the European Union and NATO alliance.
But Michel said that while security would be stepped up, the country's terror alert level would be kept unchanged at its second highest level.

"We are not allowing ourselves to be intimidated by terrorists," he added.

Events in Brussels including a concert by rock band Coldplay were set to continue, although authorities said there would be extra security and warned people not to bring backpacks.

The busy Central Station in the heart of Brussels, which sits just beside the Grand Place tourist attraction, reopened around 8:00 am (0600 GMT) Wednesday, railway authorities said.

In Tuesday's incident, the suspect entered the station and twice approached a group of around 10 passengers, the second time standing in the middle of them, prosecutors said.

"He grabbed his suitcase while shouting and causing a partial explosion. Fortunately nobody was hurt," Van Der Sypt said.

He said the "suitcase immediately caught fire" before the bomber went down to a platform in pursuit of a station master.

The bag, which contained nails and gas bottles, exploded a second time more violently, he added.

The man came back upstairs, shouting "Allahu Akbar" as he rushed a soldier who shot him several times and killed him instantly.

Belgian rail company spokeswoman Elisa Roux said "there were people crying, there were people shouting" after the explosion.

Witness Nicolas Van Herrewegen, a railway employee, said he had gone down to the station's mezzanine level on Tuesday night after hearing somebody shouting.

"Then he yelled 'Allahu Akbar', and he blew up a wheeled suitcase," Van Herrewegen told reporters.

"It wasn't exactly a big explosion but the impact was pretty big. People were running away."

Soldiers have been deployed at railway stations and landmark buildings in Belgium since the Paris terror attacks, when a link to Brussels was first established.]]>
6/22/2017 6:41:17 AM
<![CDATA[Australia's military resumes air operations over Syria]]>
Canberra temporarily halted flights on Tuesday after a spike in tensions between the US and Russia, which warned it would track coalition aircraft in Syria as potential "targets".

Moscow also halted a military hotline with Washington over the incident, intended to prevent confrontations in Syria's crowded air space.

Australia defence ministry said in a statement the suspension was "a precautionary measure to allow the coalition to assess the operational risk".
"The suspension has since been lifted," it added.

The United States moved quickly to contain an escalation of the situation after the jet was downed on Sunday evening when regime forces targeted the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters battling IS.

A top US general said the country would work to relaunch the "deconfliction" hotline established in 2015, after Russia said Washington had failed to use the line -- a vital incident-prevention tool -- before targeting the plane near Raqa.

Australia is part of the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and in late 2015 extended air operations into Syria, with a total of 780 defence personnel based in the Middle East.

The staunch US ally in September said it would widen the scope of targets in the air war against IS by allowing its pilots to strike jihadist support and logistics resources in Iraq and Syria.

Australia's Air Task Group consists of 300 personnel, six F/A-18 Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker and Transport plane.]]>
6/22/2017 6:25:41 AM
<![CDATA[The Vatican: Pope’s visit to Egypt under consideration]]>
"A trip by the Holy Father to Egypt is under study but neither dates nor a program has been finalized," his spokesman, Greg Burke, said in a statement.

The statement came after Italy’s state-run broadcaster RAI claimed the pope would be visiting Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo May 20-21.

The Vatican and Al-Azhar have been seeking to restore relations after a series of problems that ignited the situation between Muslims and Christians in Egypt in the era of Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI. Following an attack on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria that killed 21 people, Benedict called for greater protection for Christians in Egypt.

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb made a visit to the Vatican last May and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with Pope Francis in 2014, where he extended a long-standing invitation to the Argentina-born pope to visit Egypt, France 24 reported.
3/12/2017 10:51:00 AM