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Yemen Conflict: Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s airport injures 26

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Yemen Conflict: Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s airport injures 26

Houthi rebels in Yemen have attacked Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport with a missile, causing 26 casualties, according to the reports.

The Saudi coalition confirmed that the victims—including women and children—were of different nationalities, and were rushed to a nearby medical facility.

Model of missile used in the attack was not identified yet, but the coalition speculated Iran’s hand in arming the Houthis in the backdrop.

This was the second attack by Houthis within two days. A day before, the Saudi authorities claimed it intercepted two drones launched by the Houthis, who have expropriated major cities of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

As stated by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Saudi air defence forces successfully prevented the drone attack that targeted Khamis Mushait on Monday. No damage to property or casualties were reported.

Houthi rebels said the drones were launched to hit King Khalid airbase, neighboring Khamis Mushait.

The rebels now seem to be on an attacking spree, after forces backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have increased air raids on Houthi-controlled regions of Hajjah.

In may, a drone loaded with bomb was shot down by the Saudi forces. Reports confirmed its deployment by Houthi rebels, who targeted Jizan airport, based on Yemen’s southern border.

Another attack was carried out by rebels during the same month, in which two Saudi oil pumping stations were hit by Houthi drones, leading to supply minor obstructions.

The Saudi-led coalition has been meddling in Yemen since March 2015, supporting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, ousted by the Houthi rebels.

Houthis have claimed that such attacks are a part of revenge against Saudi Arabia’s intervention and undiscriminated air raids on civilian areas during all these years of tension. The Saudi coalition has been accused of killing thousands of innocent civilians, including children by bombing on weddings, funerals, markets and hospitals.


Athletes Hit-Hard by Russian Doping Ban Ahead of Global Sport Events

Mirror News Desk



Russian Doping

Once again Russia, known for its deception and cunning nature, appears to have been surrounded while fulfilling its geopolitical ambitions. From a smaller to that of an international level, Russian doping violations have affected the entire system, as the country has been stripped off from its 43 Olympic medals.

A similar incident disclosing the doping violations took place on Monday, where the executive committee of World Anti-Doping Agency, while its meeting in Lausanne, banned Russia for four years from major global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The ban prompted an angry response from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called it a politically motivated move to harm the interests of the country at an international level.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also supported Putin’s school of thought saying, “The ban is the continuation of this anti-Russian hysteria that has already become chronic.”

One of the major reasons of the angry response from the Russian state authorities is that under the ban, not only will the country lose its rights to host or bid for tournaments but also the government officials will be barred from attending any major events.

The sanctions imposed on Russian doping violations appears to be one of the toughest for the country, which has for a long time detracted from clean sport.

Doping in Russia notably gained significance between 2011 and 2015 and was revealed by Sports Lawyer Richard McLaren in an independent report, released in 2016. The report led to suspension of Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for nearly three years.

Over the time, Russia has approved many anti-doping law targeting coaches, without offending the superpower of communism, while maintaining its influencing dominance over other nations. But failed in achieving its goals.

In the same context, WADA President Craig Reedie said, “Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

As a result of Russian doping violations, the sportsmen and women will only be allowed to compete as neutrals at the Olympics next year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics if they can demonstrate that they were not part of a state-sponsored system of doping.

The Russians will be allowed to compete in qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as WADA Director General Olivier Niggli stated that if the team progresses to the finals in Qatar, “it will not be representing the Russian federation”. Since these events are major for anti-doping purposes, it appears that Russia has no way out but to prove itself innocent.

Meanwhile, Russia’s participation in Euro 2020 and Saint Petersburg’s hosting of four matches will remain unaffected by the imposed ban.  

Though the head of RUSADA Yury Ganus is skeptical about the ban, saying “This is a tragedy. Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited”, the sport officials are positive that RUSADA’s supervisory board meeting, scheduled for December 19 would bring good results.

The actions of sanctioning Russian doping violations have been manipulated as an attack on sport by many. Since one third of the 145 athletes are still active, RUSADA has a bigger responsibility of improving the future of the athletes, by deciding whether or not to appeal against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Ring Girls Sacked Ahead of Joshua and Ruiz Bout in Saudi Arabia

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saudi arabia

Billed as “Clash on the Dunes,” the matchup between two of the greatest boxers in the world, Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz, will take centre stage in Saudi Arabia tonight. However, there will be no ring girls involved in the heavyweight world title bout, due to Saudi’s ultra conservative dress policy.

The reports affirm that the tradition of women holding up the board before each round has been scrapped for Saturday night’s rematch in Diriyah, keeping in mind the strict laws.

While the move has been praised by critics who believe women’s inclusion in the match is only wise to do away with, regardless of the location, some have criticized Saudi Arabia for its code of conduct.

Reforms in Saudi Arabia have been centric to the nation and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s progress, who has opened cinema halls, lifted ban on women’s driving, staged world class events to entertain the local public and removed the male guardianship system.

However, each reform has its own upper limit, failing to comply with, which can pose really bigger problems. For example, the Saudi’s dress policy for women states wearing an abaya in public at all the times.

Other than the ring girls, there will also be no female fighters taking part in the event. This is despite Irishwoman Katie Taylor being included on the undercard last June in her victory against Delfine Persoon.

Earlier this year, the WWE staged a pay-per-view event Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. The event grabbed headlines for hosting the first ever women’s wrestling match between Lacey Evans and two-time women’s champion in WWE, Natalya.

However, questions were raised over the match suit that both women wore at the event. Rather than carrying the usually low-cut bikini tops, the two wrestlers were seen fighting in black leggings and baggy t-shirts over bodysuits.

Taking nothing away from the efforts made to modernize by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it still remains more of a fact that despite touting equality, women remain inferior to men in Saudi Arabia.

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Saudi Air Force Member Shot Down Following the U.S. Navy Base Attack

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Saudi Air Force

The Saudi Air Force member, who visited the United States to receive military training, was identified as a prime suspect of the shooting that killed four people and wounded eight at a U.S. Navy base in Florida on December 6.

The shooter had possession of a handgun after which he was shot dead by sheriff’s deputies, following the Naval Air Station Pensacola attack. It was the second major attack on the U.S. military installation base in a week that has put the military officials in jeopardy.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed the suspect’s identity as Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, Saudi Arabia’s national who was in the U.S. to attend training under the Navy programme run for U.S. allies.

The arms and military equipment sold by the U.S. to Saudi Arabia require a trained handling, which the country provides to vetted Saudi army officials.

DeSantis said, “The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims. They are going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals.”

U.S. President Donald Trump quickly came in a defensive mode saying Saudi Arabia’s King Salman offered condolences and sympathy to the victims and their families over the phone call.

Responding to the incident, King Salman said Saudi security services were working closely with U.S. agencies to find the motive behind the attack. “The perpetrator of this heinous crime does not represent the Saudi people, who count the American people as friends and allies,” he said.

Where both the countries, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are bonding over oil and military equipment, their citizens seem unhappy with the deepening ties. Moreover, such attacks are alarming for the U.S. as they are apparently risking the lives of their own personnel, while training the external actors. The deed of Saudi Air Force shooter is still not clear but his enmity could be one of the motives.

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French Protests for Pension Reforms Escalate on Second Day

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french protests

As France continues to protest for a second day consecutively, the capital city has to deal with disrupted services in the transport system. More than 800,000 people came out on the streets yesterday, resulting in violent clashes with the police.

The main reason behind the French protests is the increasing dissatisfaction in people who are against the modifications in pension reforms put forth by President Emmanuel Macron. Since most of the transport system of the capital is halted, railways and flights are sure to witness widespread disruption.

The bus and metro operators of Paris claim the strikes to last until Monday at least. Sources claim that the other unions might decide their future plans about the strike today.

Receiving mixed reaction from the public, the new point based pension system by Macron would reward employees for each day worked. The points would later be transferred to future pension benefits. Macron claims the system to be fairer than the existing one.

Multiple changes in the pension reforms in the last decade, placed 60 to 62 as the ideal age of official retirement. Even then it is one of the lowest among the OECD group of rich nations – in the UK.

As 8000,000+ demonstrators participate actively in the French protests, the railway workers, teachers and hospital staff of the city are soon to replicate the largest strike in decades.

With the agenda to force Macron to revoke his idea of abandoning the pension reforms, the French protests have forced Paris authorities to barricade the presidential palace and deploy some 6,000 policemen. Inability to deal with the situation forced officers to use tear gas to disperse rioters who set fire to a vehicle and smashed windows as situation worsened near the Place de la Republique square.

Union members and people against the idea pose that some of them will have to work longer for a lower pension. A number of jobs ranging from sailors to lawyers and even opera workers will face major backlash.

Though Macron hasn’t immediately increased the age of retirement from 62, people retiring prior to 64 would get a lower pension based on the earned points.

As per reports by the OECD, after Denmark, France is second on the list of European nations with most working days affected by strike action.

The French protests come after Macron mocked US President Donald Trump in a hot mic incident with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the NATO summit in London. Speaking at a press conference, Trump retaliated by calling Trudeau “two-faced”.

Jumping out of the blunder, Macron told reporters, “I am not going to comment on stolen videos. That video wasn’t supposed to be filmed in that room.”

If the French protests continue to have existing support, it is quite possible that schools might be shut for several days and hospitals might have to remain understaffed. It remains to be seen if Macron will be able to control the situation or the 1995 protests will be replicated.

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European Nations Aim to End Iranian Missiles Program, Fearing War

Mirror News Desk



The increased development of Iranian missiles poses a serious security challenge to the European countries, including the US and the UK. Since, Iran is secretly moving its missiles and forces in Iraq, the strategic partners have warned that it could endanger the lives of the foreign troops present in the region.

Recently, ambassadors from three European nations – France, Germany and the UK – circulated a letter citing footage released on social media in April, which observed the flight test of the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile. The Iranian missile, based on North Korean Nodong-1 has a range of 1,000 kilometers and can easily hit targets in Israel, Egypt, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.  

The International Atomic Energy Agency in 2015 reported that Iran in the early 2000s may have explored various fusing, arming and firing systems to make the Shahab-3 more capable of reliably delivering a nuclear warhead, a fact which brought concerns amongst the world leaders about how it can be used against other countries.

On Wednesday, the ambassadors urged the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to inform the Security Council that Iran’s ballistic missile activity is “inconsistent”. The information, ahead of the scheduled Security Council meeting on December 13, might play a huge role in minimising the development of new Iranian missiles.

The calls contrasted with Iranian nuclear deal of 2015, wherein Iran promised to limit its nuclear program in exchange of sanctions relief.  

In the letter, all three countries urged Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”, calling for missile provisions in the council resolution to support the nuclear deal. The Iranians have denied knowledge of any such act.

Recently, the US intelligence agencies have tracked the movement of the short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq. The analysts believe that the Iranian-backed militias, who have previously threatened and acted to destabilize Iraq on various occasions, could use the Iranian missiles to attack the foreign troops present in Iraq.

In the recent weeks, both Iran and Iraq have been gripped with violent public protests that could aggravate the need of greater use of missiles in Iraq.

Observing the continued movement of Iranian forces and weapons, the intelligence agencies have raised potential Iranian threats against the US forces and interests in the Middle East with a warning that Iran is planning something big.

It appears that the continued pressure campaign against Iran to abandon its nuclear program followed with sanctions might not lead to productive results if Iran chooses to act out in the military domain.  

The letter also stated that Iran has continued its “proliferation of ballistic missile technology in the region” in violation of Security Council resolution, and has advanced in short-range Iranian missiles technology. It is expected that the upcoming Security Council meeting would become an active platform to discuss implementation of the 2015 resolution on the Iran nuclear deal.

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