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Only Farsi should be used in schools, says Iranian Minister of Education

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Last updated on September 24th, 2018

Iran: Education in languages other than Farsi should be discarded because of its dangerous Connotations, said the Iranian minister of Education. However, the belief was dismissed as unethical and silly by Iranian members of parliament. The education minister of Iran, Mohammed Bathaei stated that, “In some areas, we have seen teaching in local languages, which is a very dangerous matter. Children learn their local language at home. So they have to learn the formal language – Persian – at school. Schools are the only place that can promote the Persian language as a red line of the unity of Iran.”

The nation already being an extremely strict regime severely limits the freedom to express allotted to women and it looks like education is also being driven in to the same agendas.

Though the nation’s national language is Farsi, a lot of citizens do not speak it as their first language. Minister of Parliament Hadi Bahadori responded to bathaei’s comments by noting that, “We have three languages in Iran: Farsi, Turkish, and Arabic,” majorly spoken around the country based on the communal groups the people belong to. Further adding and focusing on the fact that, Iran mainly has Turkish and Farsi as the two languages with majority speakers.

Another Parliament Minister Jalal Mahmodzadeh, mocked the issue by saying, “What the minister of Education said is baseless,” and not feasible in any means. He added that, “the minister of education and the president have no practical plan for promoting Article 15 of the constitution.” The act states that languages other than Farsi should be utilized as languages other than educational study.

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Al-Shabab Claims Deadly Suicide Car Bombing in Somalia

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Al-Shabab Claims Deadly Suicide Car Bombing in Somalia

In a matter of 20 days, the country in East Africa witnessed another attack that took lives of civilians and wounded several others. According to authorities, the suicide car bombing in Somalia wounded 15 others, on Saturday. Local police officer Abdirahman Adan informed that at least four people were killed.

“A speeding suicide car bomb rammed into a place where the Turkish engineers and Somali police were having lunch,” stated another police officer Nur Ali.

“So far, we know three Turkish engineers and their translator were injured,” he said. “Two other policemen were injured in the blast.”

Officials confirmed that people injured in the Somalia bombing near the town of Afgoye in southwest of Mogadishu, included Somali nationals and Turkish engineers working on a road in the area.

Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca stated that six Turkish employees of a construction firm and nine Somali citizens were wounded. Two of the wounded Turkish citizens were in critical condition and undergoing surgery at the Mogadishu Recep Tayyip Erdogan hospital. “Four of the nine Somali wounded are in a serious condition. We are in contact with our embassy,” he added.

Residents described that it was a massive explosion followed by “clouds of smoke”. A witness stated that “several Turkish engineers and well-armed convoy of Somali police” were present at the scene before the blast.

Another said, “The blast was huge, it destroyed a container used by the Turkish engineers who work on the Afgoye road construction.”

The Turkish Ministry of National Defense decried the Somalia bombing attack, and wrote on Twitter, “We curse and condemn in the strongest terms the bomb terror attack which targeted innocent civilians in Somalia.”

Somalia bombing on Saturday was claimed by the Somali insurgents linked to al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, on their media outlet Radio Andalus. “We are behind the martyrdom of the suicide car bomb in Afgoye,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for the group. “We targeted the Turkish men and the Somali forces with them. There are casualties of death and injuries.”

Al-Shabab has been battling for supremacy in the Horn of Africa country for years. Saturday’s car bombing attack in Somalia is the latest in a string of attacks by the armed group, which in recent weeks has increased activity in Somalia and neighboring Kenya.

On December 28, al-Shabab’s massive car bombing attack killed at least 78 people and wounded 149 more at a checkpoint in Mogadishu. In another attack on January 5, the group stormed a military base used by US forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region and killed three Americans.

Last week, the al-Shabab group also warned that Kenya will “never be safe”, threatening tourists and calling for more attacks on US interests. Both Kenya and the US forces have been assisting the Somali government in its fight against al-Shabab.

With al-Shabab’s activity speeding up in the two countries, no relief is in sight to the civilian deaths.

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Russian President Putin Talks About Political Affairs amid Flaring War Tensions

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Besides playing an important role in global policies, Russian government has some of its internal ambitions that it could never avoid perceiving in a long run. Occupying an unusual position on the world stage, while maintaining an internal balance, portraying its capabilities has also brought global attention to Russia’s day-to-day doings.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed some constitutional changes, which would give him a scope to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency in 2024. The ruling government of Russia, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, resigned to fulfil this purpose.

As known, Vladimir Putin has the status of the most powerful leader in Russia. It has been 20 years since; Putin has been ruling in the country, either being at the presidential or the prime ministerial posts. But the problem here is that, the Russian president will have to step down when his term expires in 2024.

So, to avoid such situations, a reform of powers of parliament and the cabinet were proposed by Putin that would allow him to remain in power even after his current term. The 67-year-old Russian president even thanked his counterpart and close ally for contributing in his bigger motives. Putin even asked the prime minister and his cabinet to keep working until a new one is formed.

Once a new prime minister is elected, Dmitry Medvedev will be appointed as Deputy Head of the Presidential Security Council. Meanwhile, the sources have claimed that Tax Chief Mikhail Mishustin was nominated as the new Prime Minister of Russia by Putin.

It appears that Vladimir is playing a mind-game here by nominating Mishustin. Since, the latter lacks any political weight, it is obvious that he would not play an independent role and Putin and his regime will have an upper hand on the policies and conflicts.

Ensuring that the government officials were not allowed to have a foreign citizenship or residence permit was another area which needed changes, according to the Russian president.

Putin also spoke upon the need to boost Russia’s birth rate and proposed payments for low-income families with small children, allowances for first-time mothers, higher payments for families with more children and the creation of extra nursery places.

The further amendments in the constitution would also allow the politicians to name prime ministers and cabinet members, a right that at present belongs only to the president. By bringing such vast changes, the Russian president has demonstrated how the constitution and politics in the country is influenced by his massive role and growing power.

While suggesting to diminish the powers of the presidency and beefing up those of the prime minister, Putin also argued that the president should also hold the right to dismiss the PM and their cabinet ministers – along with the power to name top defence and security officials.

Likewise, he even stated that the constitutional changes must be put to a national vote.

As known, the presidents are only limited to serving two consecutive terms, but if Putin switched his role with the prime minister like he did earlier in 2008, it would once again give way to him to return to the presidential power. If that is not possible, he would consecutively opt for the prime ministerial post.

The critics have argued that the Russian president even after the end of his presidency plans to influence the entire country through his goals, while staying on the top job forever. At a time, when the world countries are at potential risks of war due to flaring tensions in the Middle East, Russia is more focussed upon dealing with its internal political affairs, while maintaining strong defences through its unique weaponries.  

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Iran Nuclear Deal: European Countries Join Hands to Form Dispute Mechanism

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Iran Nuclear Deal

Lately, Iran nuclear deal of 2015 has attracted much attention from the global leaders, many of whom have been favouring Iran for the same aspect, while others are actively triggering a dispute mechanism to confront the country.

Not only that, the confirmation of the countering move initiated by Britain, France, and Germany on Tuesday, has brought in the collapsing concerns of the deal. The decision from three countries being the European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, came hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a new “Trump deal” if the JCPOA no longer worked.

For a long time, Iran nuclear deal also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has disputed Iran’s relations with many first world countries, with top involvement from the US. The US President, Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” sanctions on Iran, was although ignored by the three European countries.

While negotiating the nuclear deal alongside the US, China, and Russia, the aim of the three European countries has long been to halt Iran’s growing nuclear programme without pressurising and pushing the country towards sanctions.

JCPOA, thereby was one good setup framed to limit Iran’s quantity and degree to enrich uranium. However, the sanctions on Iran that the European countries tried to disburden, have always remained, weakening its economy.  

Recently, Iran pulled away from its commitments under the deal and ignored all the attempts to bring it back. The European countries saw the move as a counter attack to the US’ withdrawal from the deal in 2018.

On many occasions, Iran has refused to return to the agreement, as the US promised to impose more sanctions to put an end to the future threats of nuclear war. With tensions continuing to escalate, the European countries are left with the only option of registering their concerns under the JCPOA norms so that the matter gets referred to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

The negotiating signatory countries will then have 15 days to resolve the triggering dispute of the Iran nuclear deal. If the proposed plan fails, then any of the participating country could refer the issue to the countries’ foreign affairs ministers, who would again have 15 days to discuss and find a resolution.

If the issue persists after the given 30 days, it will then be elevated to the JCPOA Advisory Board, which would have five days to negotiate. If not solved through this means, complaining signatory country can treat the issue as “grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part,” and/or refer it to the UN Security Council.

The US, Russia, China, Britain, and France will sit on the council to find a resolution within 30 days to continue with sanctions relief on Iran. If no resolution is adopted, then all previous sanctions on Iran would be re-imposed.

It appears that the attempts made to comply the Iranian government to follow the footprints and demands of the US have largely brought in the situations against them. The question is whether or not the signatory European countries would be able to rebuke the sanctions strategy, while limiting the nuclear programs of Iran.

If not, could the initiative of a constructive diplomatic dialogue amongst the signatories save the Iran nuclear deal. Amid the ongoing conflicts, Iran is now liable to choose one of the two paths, either it would take steps to de-escalate tensions and adhere to the basic rules of international law, or become politically and economically isolated.  

Considering the tensions, the Royal Navy also directed a nuclear-powered submarine in the international waters earlier, as a necessary precaution to strike Iran if needed.

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Two Years of WWE in Saudi Arabia and Growing Resistance of Superstars

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The World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE is going to Saudi Arabia for another international pay-per-view event, and the drama around it has sprung up already.

This year, the show is likely to take place on February 20— a stop gap between the Royal Rumble this month and the Elimination Chamber in March. However, The Observer stated that it could be on February 27, and that the information could have been kept low-key in wake of the issues of last event and the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.

WWE and Saudi’s General Sports Authority sealed the controversial deal in 2018, where the Kingdom received opportunity to host the pay-per-views for 10 years on their soil. In last two years, the wrestling firm hosted the Greatest Royal Rumble, Super Showdown and a pair of Crown Jewel events in Riyadh.

There still remains eight years of the contract, but with only two years and more shows passing, an increasing number of the WWE stars are denied to fly to Saudi Arabia. Superstars John Cena, Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan, refused to visit the Kingdom for previous shows in 2018, citing the country’s human rights issues.

Moreover, the last fall’s trip to Saudi further brought down the country’s reputation before the WWE superstars. In November, a number of superstars were stranded after “mechanical problems” with the plane that was bound to return to the United States, during the 2019 Crown Jewel. Besides, the country also refused to turn down its ultra-conservative laws, due to which the women wrestlers were seen battling in full-covered dress code of bodysuits and baggy t-shirts.

The failures of Saudi Arabia’s last event forced more wrestlers to put a red cross on the country. According to the reports, many informed the WWE that they are already planning to not attend the event in the Kingdom next month.

The WrestlingNews.co reported, “Now, with the heightened tensions in the Middle East, specifically the recent issues in Iran, there are more wrestlers questioning whether they should fly out for the next show. I was told that at least two more wrestlers have decided against going to the next Saudi Arabia show.”

It was estimated that WWE in Saudi Arabia possibly earns close to $50 million per year. The annual revenue from such deals explain the firm’s elongated contracts and its capability of handing out lucrative contracts even to the midcard players.

Besides, some of the recent events of the professional wrestling organizers have been “paid shows”, which are conducted on a deal where the host country pays for the show. This enabled the WWE to grace the overseas events with tons of star powers, despite them being not more that the glorified house shows.

Consequently, Saudi Arabia emerged a perfect example, where the pay-per-views have not just been a public relations misfortune for WWE, while the shows also didn’t receive laudable reviews from the viewers. Besides, the WWE-Saudi relationship has long been under the fire of criticism on several issues, where the Kingdom also prohibited superstars like Aleister Black and Sami Zayn from wrestling on the show for some absurd reasons.

Despite the cold fan reception, the WWE-Saudi relationship continue, as the Kingdom is one of the biggest moneymaking options for the wrestling firm. However, while the company is keeping the knot tied, a considerable majority of fans and now even more wrestlers decided to turn their faces to Saudi Arabia.

With still eight years remaining to the deal, it is to be seen if the growing resistance of players and fans towards Saudi Arabia will persuade WWE to break the contract or not.

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Saudi Spanish Super Cup: Amnesty Calls for Release of Rights Activists

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Saudi Spanish Super Cup: Amnesty Calls for Release of Rights Activists

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has hailed the Saudi Super Cup as the revamped version of football tournament that has boosted the Spanish Super Cup. Besides, being billed as the tournament that brings in a lot money by Barcelona’s Manager Ernesto Valverde, the Spanish Cup in Saudi Arabia has made ground breaking headlines since its inception on Wednesday.

The completion that is now into its final stage will see Real Madrid face on Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s final, after Barcelona and Valencia came short in their respective semi-finals. However, on the sidelines of the tournament, Amnesty International activists protested outside the Saudi Embassy in Madrid, Wednesday.

The group of people lined up like a football team while holding scarves of each of the four clubs. They wore yellow t-shirts that called for the release of Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who has been detained for more than 600 days now. The protestants also urged people to “join our (their) team.”

On the route to become self-reliant, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has stated ideas to host major sporting events as part of Saudi Vision 2030, but they have often been labeled as attempts of ‘sportswashing’ – an activity that uses sports to refurbish a nation’s image.

As it turns out, some have stepped back from their decision to contest in the kingdom, while others have turned a blind eye to the issue.

“For decades in Saudi Arabia, women have been subjected to repressive laws that have imposed restrictions on their rights to travel independently, work or study, which limits various aspects of their lives,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

“Faced with this situation, many activists have raised their voices. One of them is Loujain al-Hathloul … one of 11 activists who are currently at risk of being sentenced to up to 20 all of them to be released immediately and their charges removed.”

The Spanish Super Cup’s move to Saudi Arabia also infuriated people in Spain, both because of the human rights abuse in the nation, and for overlooking the convenience of local fans to attend the matches.

The deal struck last year by Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) chief Luis Rubiales, reportedly gives them €120 million ($133M), to host the tournament for three years. While Barcelona and Real Madrid earn $7.8m each.

“We are not the ones organizing the competition, it’s organized by the Spanish Football Federation,” a Barcelona official told CNN when questioned on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. “We are the Copa del Rey finalist and winner of the Spanish League, so we have to participate along with the other three. We are aware there have been previous (human rights) incidents,” the official added.

Consequently, even if the presumed intentions of Saudi Arabia behind hosting global events is to become self-reliant, why does it still keep ignoring and abusing human rights?

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