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uk: leaders, academics raise alarm over saudi 'crisis' | saudi arabia news

london, england - saudi arabia is a country in crisis, from the kingdom's contribution to more bloodshed in yemen to its growing rivalry with iran, as it attempts to convince the rest of the world that liberalism is expanding at home, delegates at a conference in the uk capital have heard.as the kingdom reels from a rapid succession of developments, politicians and academics gathered in london to speak on saturday at the "crisis in saudi arabia: war, succession and the future" summit, attended by around 200 people and organised by the non-profit press monitoring organisation middle east monitor.paddy ashdown, the former leader of britain's liberal democratic party who once mediated in the bosnian conflict, warned that it was crucial for countries such as the uk and us not take sides in a stand-off unfolding between saudi arabia and iran."now we are in a really dangerous situation where if a war breaks out, you have the great powers supporting opposite sides," he said, referring to russian support of iran and the west's backing of saudi-led initiatives, such as the coalition in yemen."i have long been warning that if we didn't help to build bridges and the west simply supported the sunnis, in this case saudi arabia, that it would be inevitable that russia would support the shia," he said.ashdown also described the sale of british arms to riyadh for use in the war in yemen and the uk's "tacit support" for the saudis as "shameful"."it is shameful that britain is ...





does the new bible museum have an evangelical agenda? | usa

washington, dc - it took four years and half a billion dollars to build, a mammoth initiative focused on highlighting and exploring a single book.the museum of the bible finally opened on saturday - 430,000 square feet spanning eight floors, with exhibits on the history, narrative and the impact of the holy book.but since its inception, the washington, dc-based space has been dogged with controversy, stemming mainly from the family bankrolling it.the museum of interactive state-of-the-art exhibits is largely funded by steve green, a businessman with deep evangelical christian roots, which have raised questions about the museum's agenda.museum officials insist the institution is non-sectarian and inclusive of all faiths - and that it does not have an evangelical agenda reflective of the greens' own interpretation of the bible."we're not about evangelising," said tony ziess, the museum's executive director.museum of the bible opens in washington, dc"we're about piquing people's curiosity. we'll just encourage people to come and take a look at the history of this amazing book and what they do after that is entirely up to them."but the green family's involvement in promoting their religious beliefs in the public sphere has not silenced growing criticism of the project.in 2015, the greens - who own hobby lobby, a craft store chain - won a us supreme court case to halt their employees' contraceptive coverage mandated under the affordable care act, citing violations o...





what is mohammed bin salman's next move? | mohammed bin salman

he's stoking huge tension in an already volatile region.saudi arabia's crown prince mohammed bin salman has made a number of controversial decisions that many believe could forever change the kingdom and the entire region.the developments in saudi arabia and what they mean for the rest of the world have been the focus of a conference in london on saturday. that's where former diplomats and middle east analysts have been meeting to discuss the crisis and saudi arabia's future.so, how far will saudi arabia's young crown prince go to achieve his goals?presenter: laura kyleguests:pierre conesa - lecturer at the paris institute for political studiessami hamdi - editor-in-chief of the international interestafshin shahi - senior lecturer in international relations and middle east politics at the university of bradfordsource: al jazeera news





entire bedouin village faced with forced displacement | israeli–palestinian conflict news

an entire village consisting of dozens of palestinian bedouin families is threatened with imminent forced displacement, after israel issued a rare evacuation order for the whole community. jabal al-baba, which lies to the east of jerusalem in the occupied west bank, is home to more than 300 people."residents are becoming paranoid of the future because it is unknown," atalah jahalen, a local community leader, told al jazeera on saturday."all their lives, they have lived and built in this area, and now all of it can be destroyed at any moment."according to jahalen, israel's civil administration and police entered jabal al-baba on thursday. they hung a poster in a central location detailing the evacuation decision and displaying a map of the area.the order informed residents that they had eight days to collect their belongings and leave, or else israeli authorities would return to force them out. israeli officials also scattered copies of the map on the ground and took pictures of it before leaving.israel's new strategyjabal al-baba is situated in the heart of israel's contentious e1 plan, which aims to connect the illegal mega settlement of maale adumim to jerusalem - settlements are considered illegal under international law.the plan would further isolate occupied east jerusalem from the rest of the west bank and sever the palestinian territory from north to south.israel to demolish bedouin homes in palestinian villageresidents of jabal al-baba arrived in the area...





zimbabwe: what's happening? | zimbabwe news

thousands of zimbabweans are protesting on saturday against president robert mugabe to seek his resignation, days after military seized power from the 93-year-old leader.soldiers on wednesday took control of the headquarters of the state broadcaster zbc and blocked access to government offices, but the army says this is not a military takeover.mugabe, who leads the ruling zanu-pf party, is safe, an army spokesman said. the leader appeared in public for the first time on friday, at a graduation ceremony.the unfolding crisis comes amid an apparent bid to expand the mugabe dynasty.first lady grace mugabe is said to be eyeing the vice presidency after president mugabe sacked emmerson mnangagwa, an ally of the army, on november 6. opinion: mugabe - between the wife and the loyal lieutenanthave mugabe's own words come back to haunt him?could mnangagwa be zimbabwe's comeback crocodile?who are the key players in the zimbabwe crisis?how are people in zimbabwe and the world reacting? profile: who is robert mugabe?read the military's statement in fullrobert mugabe's most famous quotessaturday, november 18: the latestmugabe to meet army chiefs on sunday: state tvzimbabwe's embattled president will hold talks with military commanders on sunday, state broadcaster ztv said, quoting catholic priest fidelis mukonori who has been acting as a mediator.mugabe will meet with the army chiefs who seized power in a bid to end the crisis that has gripped the country, state tv said.the ann...





concerns grow as argentina intensifies submarine search | argentina news

a nasa research plane has joined the search for a missing argentine submarine, as concern is growing over the fate of its 44 crew members.no contact has been made with the vessel, the ara san juan, since wednesday,  prompting authorities to launch a major air and sea search operation."we will do what is necessary to find the submarine as soon as possible," president mauricio macri said on his twitter account on saturday.the tr-1700 class diesel-electric vessel had been returning from a routine mission to ushuaia, near the southernmost tip of south america, to its base at mar del plata, around 400km south of the capital, buenos aires.argentina accepted an offer from the united states for a nasa p-3 explorer aircraft, which had been stationed in ushuaia and was preparing to depart to antarctica, to make an exploratory flight over the search area.al jazeera's daniel schweimler, reporting from mar del plata, said "tension is mounting" with "each hour that goes by"."the families of those crew members are gathering at the naval base here in mar del plata," said schweimler, adding that pope francis - an argentine - had said he was praying for the missing crew members.the german-made ara san juan is one of three submarines in the argentine fleet."it is a very old submarine," said schweimler."the argentines bought it second-hand from its german manufacturers back in 1985. it had a big overhaul in 2008 with the idea of it staying in service for another 30 years."





palestinians to suspend us ties if plo office closed | news

palestinian officials have warned that they will freeze all communication with the us, following steps by the trump administration to close the palestine liberation organisation's (plo) office in washington, dc.senior palestinian negotiator saeb erekat said on saturday the plo had been informed by the us state department of a decision not to renew the operating permission for the organisation's diplomatic office in the american capital.the state department's move was in response due to the palestinians' decision to join the international criminal court (icc), and to submit files for investigation of several israeli war crimes, including settlements, against palestinians, according to erekat.the senior plo official said the organisation had sent a letter to the us government officially informing it that all communication lines with the trump administration would be cut off if it followed through with the plan to shutter the office."this is very unfortunate and unacceptable. this is the pressure being exerted on this [us] administration by the [benjamin] netanyahu government while we are trying to achieve the ultimate deal," said erekat, adding such steps will "undermine the whole peace process".'ninety days'the plo is seen by the international community, including the united nations, as the representative of the palestinian people.every six months, the state department signs a waiver that allows the plo office to remain open in washington. the certification period ...





saudi arabia 'swaps assets for freedom' after arrests | news

saudi authorities are striking agreements with some of those held in an alleged anti-corruption crackdown, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom, according to sources familiar with the matter.the deals involve separating cash from assets, such as property and shares, and looking at bank accounts to assess cash values, one of the sources told the reuters news agency.dozens of princes, senior officials and businessmen, including cabinet ministers and billionaires, have been arrested in this month's sweeping crackdown, which is being seen as an attempt to strengthen the power of crown prince mohammed bin salman.among those arrested was billionaire prince alwaleed bin talal, one of the kingdom's most prominent businessmen.one businessman reportedly had tens of millions of saudi riyals withdrawn from his account after he signed the deal. in another case, a former senior official consented to hand over ownership of four billion riyals (roughly $1.06bn) worth of shares, the source said.the saudi government earlier this week moved from freezing accounts to issuing instructions for "expropriation of unencumbered assets" or seizure of assets, said a second source familiar with the situation.{articleguid}there was no immediate comment from the saudi government on the deals, and the sources declined to be identified because the agreements are not public.analysts say the deals could help to end uncertainty about the crackdown, but they could also have an...





eritrean diaspora stages protest in the swedish capital | news

stockholm, sweden - hundreds of eritreans gathered outside the embassy of the east african nation in the swedish capital stockholm on friday to protest against the recent arrest of teachers and the director of an islamic school.the arrest of hajji musa mohammednur, president of the board of the al diaa islamic school, and several other teachers triggered a rare protest in the capital asmara on october 31.thousands marched towards the president's office, demanding the release of mohammednur and the other detainees.mohammednur has opposed the government's school nationalisation policy that among other strictures bans the use of hijab, a headscarf worn by many muslim women who feel it is part of their religion, and religious education in the school based in asmara. the policy also affects christian schools.the arrest of mohammednur "was the spark which unleashed the people's anger" in eritrea and among the diaspora, zein shawkai, a political dissident who participated in the protest, told al jazeera.the protest marked a first in eritrea since the country gained independence in 1991 from ethiopia following a 30-year war. the eritrean state forbids any associations and gatherings.the protesters in stockholm included young and old eritreans, muslim and christian, and a few syrians who came to express solidarity. they chanted anti-government slogans demanding the removal of eritrean president isayas afowerki: "down, down isayas" and "the people want to get rid of the regime...





five things you need to know about zimbabwe | news

president robert mugabe is fast losing his grip on the country and pressure is building on him to quit. here's what you need to know:what is happening?mugabe, 93, has ruled zimbabwe for 37 years and many claim his leadership has been repressive. he heads the zanu-pf party and is the world's oldest head of state.in a dramatic turn, the army placed mugabe under house arrest on november 15 and there are now increasing calls for him to quit.on saturday, thousands are gathering in the capital harare and the second city of bulawayo to demand mugabe's resignation in scenes that would have been unthinkable one week ago.why did the army target mugabe?the army insists it is not launching a coup, but on november 15, as well as placing mugabe under house arrest, the military seized the state broadcaster and blocked access to government sites.the takeover unfolded after mugabe sacked vice president emmerson mnangagwa on november 6 for showing "traits of disloyalty".the ex-vice president is an ally of army chief general constantino chiwenga and a veteran of the country's struggle for independence.many believe mugabe sacked mnangagwa to make way for his wife grace to become vice president and eventually rule the country. army commander chiwenga had warned that the military would act if purges against former war liberation fighters did not cease.who are the war veterans?war veterans, who fought alongside mugabe during the 1970s struggle for liberation from britain and spearheaded the ...





newsgrid - al jazeera's interactive news hour | news

live every day at 15:00 gmt, newsgrid, al jazeera's first interactive news bulletin, gives you the opportunity to engage with the world's news stories on and off the grid.main topics for saturday, november 18:lebanon's prime minister saad hariri is in france for talks on a crisis sparked by his sudden resignation two weeks ago. he has had to deny widespread allegations that he was forced to quit and held in saudi arabia against his will. we go live to paris and beirut.thousands in zimbabwe have marched to demand president robert mugabe's resignation, days after the army seized power and placed the long-time leader under house arrest. it's a watershed moment for a country where, for so many years, fear has stopped people from speaking out. but is change on the way?some 400,000 syrians living in the damascus suburb of ghouta are completely cut off from food, medicine and help. they have been surrounded by government forces for the past four years because their town sided with the opposition. as the siege conditions worsen, doctors warn, many could die if they are not immediately evacuated.- connect with us on twitter using #ajnewsgrid - whatsapp our news team directly via 974 501 111 49- comment on our live broadcast via facebook #ajnewsgrid tweets





venezuela in default: what next? | venezuela

oil-rich venezuela has always paid its debts - even at the expense of its citizens.but this week, everything changed: venezuela is now officially in default, which means it's officially bankrupt.rating agency standard & poor's declared the nation in 'selective default' on monday after it failed to make $200m in repayments for global bonds due in october.as more payments are due, venezuela is facing what could be a messy financial unravelling. and that's not a good situation for its starving population as state assets may have to be sold off to pay credit holders.president nicolas maduro is acutely aware that he is running out of money, and he wants to restructure the billions owed to china, russia and oil service providers.one of the key hurdles for the [venezuela] restructuring is us financial sanctions which prevent us investors from participating in any restructuring or refinancing deal.edward glossop, emerging markets economist, capital economics russia has already agreed to restructure $3bn worth of debt held by moscow. but us sanctions mean that other credit holders can't even be in the same room as those negotiating the restructuring. and it's not clear what's going to happen next."where we go from here is anyone's guess," explains edward glossop, an emerging markets economist at capital economics in london. venezuela's debt "restructure talks look doomed to fail and it's only a matter of time before the government and state-owned oil company outright de...





saad hariri will be in lebanon 'by wednesday' | news

saad hariri has confirmed he will return home to lebanon in the coming days to take part in independence day celebrations."i will return to beirut in the coming days," hariri said in paris, where he met french president emmanuel macron on saturday in a bid to solve the political turmoil surrounding his sudden resignation as prime minister two weeks ago."i will participate in the celebrations for our independence and it is there that i will make known my position on all the issues."lebanon will mark its independence day on wednesday, november 22.earlier on saturday, lebanese president michel aoun and speaker of parliament nabih berri both posted statements saying hariri would return for the occasion.a statement on aoun's official facebook page said the president received a phone call from hariri after his arrival in france's capital, in which the lebanese prime minister confirmed his participation in the independence day celebrations. {articleguid}berri posted a similarly worded statement on his own facebook page.hariri announced his resignation as lebanese prime minister in a televised speech on november 4, shortly after landing in the saudi capital, riyadh.he has not returned to lebanon since and his trip to france's capital, paris, on saturday was his first outside of saudi arabia since he made the announcement.politicians within his own future movement, as well his rivals, have demanded he return home to formalise his resignation.on wednesday, aoun accused saudi ...





when algorithms discriminate: robotics, ai and ethics | uk

we live in an age of rapid technological advances where artificial intelligence (ai) is a reality, not a science fiction fantasy.every day we rely on algorithms to communicate, do our banking online, book a holiday - even introduce us to potential partners.driverless cars and robots may be the headline makers, but ai is being used for everything from diagnosing illnesses to helping police predict crime hot spots.as machines become more advanced, how does society keep pace when deciding the ethics and regulations governing technology?al jazeera talks to stephen roberts, professor of machine learning at the university of oxford, united kingdom, on the role machine learning plays in our lives today - and in the future."we're certainly nowhere near that particular point where there are going to be swarms of armies of robots that are taking over the world," he says. "we have to remember that automation and autonomy are something that is very deeply embedded within our world already. whether it's from algorithms that are trading on global financial markets, to smart algorithms that are scanning our emails ... predictive text on our mobile phones is another such intelligent algorithm. so i think these kind of things we're very familiar with but we're not afraid of."one question that's raised by the increase in applications of machine learning is who's to blame when an algorithm fails. "it becomes almost bizarre philosophical commentary but as a society we need to addre...





kashmir: seven killed in fierce gun battle | news

srinagar, indian-administered kashmir - six separatists and an indian air force commando have been killed in a fierce gun battle in indian-administered kashmir, according to police.security forces on saturday launched an operation in hajin village, 40km from the main city of srinagar, after receiving intelligence information about the presence of separatist fighters in the area. shesh paul vaid, state police chief, told al jazeera that security forces had killed six fighters linked to the pakistan-based lashkar-e-taiba group."the operation is over," vaid told al jazeera. "all the six terrorists killed today were pakistani," the state police chief told al jazeera. inspector general of police munir khan confirmed to al jazeera that one indian air force commando was killed and another one wounded in the fighting. as the news of the killings spread, protesting residents chanting anti-india slogans took to the streets in various parts of kashmir.in hajin, police attempted to disperse protesters and prevent them from reaching the site of the gun battle, according to a junior-ranking officer in the area.rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for the indian-administered portion to become independent or merge with pakistan.nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing indian military crackdown. india maintains roughly 500,000 soldiers in the territory.anti-india sentiment runs deep among kashmir's mostly muslim population and most support the rebe...





the elections in catalonia will not resolve the crisis | spain

catalonia has taken a big step back. it is currently in the position that it was prior to 1982, when the spanish autonomous communities system was established. we, the catalans, asked to solve our dispute with the central government through a referendum to democratically decide on the independence of catalonia. there was general discontent and demands that needed to be addressed. the response of the spanish government was not only to deny us this right, but also to crack down on catalonia and leave it in a much worse state. they have imprisoned half of the catalan government, while the other half is in brussels, embarrassing madrid and causing instability within the belgian government. what happened in the past month and a half has had an immensely polarising effect on the general population. on december 21, we catalans are called to the polls, for elections that were imposed by madrid and with candidates of pro-independence parties in jail or in exile. in this atmosphere, the election campaign will likely do no more than whip up more extreme sentiments on both sides and deepen the societal divide. and whatever the outcome of the vote, it will not resolve the crisis.dangerous polarisation ahead of the elections  the recent events have mobilised not only a huge part of the population that is unhappy about the central government's mismanagement of the crisis and mistreatment of catalans, but also the part that is ready to defend the unity of spain, fearing catalonia co...





zimbabweans demand mugabe's resignation at harare rally | news

harare, zimbabwe - thousands of zimbabweans have taken to the streets to demand president robert mugabe's resignation, a spectacle that would have been unthinkable just one week ago.saturday's rally in harare, the capital, is backed by the army, which seized power on wednesday.the mood at zimbabwe grounds, where speeches took place, was celebratory.the site is symbolic. in 1980, around 200,000 people gathered at zimbabwe grounds to welcome mugabe from exile after the liberation war from white-minority rule.crowds there on saturday cheered: "chiwenga, lead the war to remove mugabe", referring to general constantino chiwenga, who had warned of military intervention before the takeover.protesters are attempting to reach state house, but presidential guards have blocked access.al jazeera witnessed a general telling crowds to go home and not to proceed "because we will finish the job".{articleguid}"the operation we are doing together as a country is a journey," major general sibusiso moyo told those attending the rally."we cannot go around the mountain in one day, but through your support we have covered a great distance," he added in shona.marchers seemed confident their goal to remove mugabe would be achieved soon. "just the amount of people, the different backgrounds and races that came out, showed that we all agreed today," anesu dawa, a 26-year-old unemployed graduate, told al jazeera."everybody came out just to say it's not necessarily what we want to happ...





zimbabwe: what's happening? | zimbabwe news

thousands of zimbabweans are protesting on saturday against president robert mugabe to seek his resignation, days after military seized power from the 93-year-old leader.soldiers on wednesday took control of the headquarters of the state broadcaster zbc and blocked access to government offices, but the army says this is not a military takeover.mugabe, who leads the ruling zanu-pf party, is safe, an army spokesman said. the leader appeared in public for the first time on friday, at a graduation ceremony.the unfolding crisis comes amid an apparent bid to expand the mugabe dynasty.first lady grace mugabe is said to be eyeing the vice presidency after president mugabe sacked emmerson mnangagwa, an ally of the army, on november 6. opinion: mugabe - between the wife and the loyal lieutenanthave mugabe's own words come back to haunt him?could mnangagwa be zimbabwe's comeback crocodile?who are the key players in the zimbabwe crisis?how are people in zimbabwe and the world reacting? profile: who is robert mugabe?read the military's statement in fullrobert mugabe's most famous quotessaturday, november 18: the latestarmy says mugabe removal a 'journey'the process to remove mugabe from power is a "journey" and will take more than "one day", an army general told thousands of protesters trying to march to the state house in harare.major general sibusiso moyo commended the protesters for taking part in the largest anti-mugabe demonstration the southern african country has e...





egypt opens rafah for first time under unity deal | news

egyptian authorities have temporarily opened the rafah border crossing with the besieged gaza strip for the first time since the signing of a power-sharing deal between palestinian political parties in cairo last month.rafah, the main crossing in gaza's south, is expected to remain open for three days, starting on saturday. hosam salem, a palestinian journalist at the crossing, said about 10 buses had left the strip by 15:00 gmt, while one bus had entered.he estimated that about 500 palestinians had been allowed to leave.the reasons for travel include medical and humanitarian ones, education purposes and the return of palestinians stuck outside. rafah is the main exit for the two million palestinians in the strip to the outside world since israel imposed an airtight land, sea and air blockade on the area more than a decade ago. but following president abdel fattah el-sisi's rise to power in 2014, egypt has kept the crossing largely closed. the last time that rafah was opened was on august 16 - about three months ago. over the past year, the crossing has been open for just 14 days in total, according to salem. "if the border crossing remains open for two weeks, then maybe there will be less congestion and things will be under control. but if it is open for three days only, then things aren't going to improve much," he said, estimating that more than 20,000 people had applied to leave the strip two months ago. "some people are leaving because they need medical care...





chile: outgoing leader bachelet leaves uncertain legacy | news

in turbulent latin america, chile is admired for its political and economic stability, with low unemployment and inflation even lower.forbes magazine named socialist president michelle bachelet the world's fourth most influential woman and the chilean leader has been invited to form part of a prestigious 18-person un crisis resolution task force after her term ends in march. {articleguid}so why is bachelet's domestic approval rating (26 percent) so low that according to polls her would be successor is unlikely to win sunday's general elections?though bachelet is ineligible to run, chileans have lost patience and respect for their institutions, especially their politicians.a series of corruption scandals, involving political parties and politicians from the far-right to the left, has infuriated the electorate, which is more likely to punish the coalition that's already in power.even president bachelet's son and daughter-in-law have been implicated.the government has been slow and clumsy in promoting and passing ambitious structural reforms, especially a long-awaited overhaul of the education system.but while these should contribute to more social equality in the long run, the reforms will take years to have an effect .in the meantime, a sluggish economy has made chileans uneasy."the political right was very, very effective in installing a discourse that the country was going to go down the drain, economic growth is slowing down, creating uncertainty ... when in actual ...