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Al Qaeda established, backed by US: Damascus

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Al Qaeda established, backed by US: Damascus

The Syrian Arab Republic expresses strong disapproval and astonishment at the US administration’s accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its false allegations about Iran’s support for the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, which come in the context of the US hysterical campaign against Iran, a source told SANA.

The source added that such accusations are part of the ‘miserable’ efforts of Washington to divert attention from its role in backing terrorism.

“The whole world is realizing that Al-Qaeda and many other terrorist organizations are made by America and are one of the tools to terrorize people and destabilize the security of other countries,” the source added.

The ministry vehemently condemned the anti-Iranian accusation, expressing full solidarity with Tehran. Damascus also called on countries that are under American pressure to unite and confront US ‘recklessness’.

Mike Pompeo claimed on Tuesday, without providing solid evidence, that al Qaeda had established a new home base in Iran.

Tehran has strongly rejected the allegation, terming Pompeo’s remarks “sign of desperation and helplessness and the failure of their policy of maximum pressure on Iran”.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that resorting to these old and baseless tricks and claims can in no way help the wrong path of American terrorist regime and restore the unjustified image of its officials.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been a victim of US state terrorism and its affiliated groups for many years, has a clear and defensible record in the fight against al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorism.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also reacted to the allegations, writing “From designating Cuba to fictitious Iran “declassifications” and AQ claims, Mr. “we lie, cheat, steal” is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies. No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo’s favorite ME destinations; NONE from Iran.”

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Welsh health minister heard calling colleague’s question ‘ridiculous’ over Zoom

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Wales’s health minister was caught dismissing a colleague’s question as “ridiculous” during a virtual Welsh Parliament committee meeting.

Vaughan Gething’s remarks in response to fellow Welsh Labour MS David Rees were picked up by a microphone and come after he was overheard swearing about Labour’s Jenny Rathbone during a virtual sitting of the Senedd last April.

On Wednesday, Health, Social Care and Sport Committee chairman and Plaid Cymru MS Dai Lloyd started the Zoom session by warning participants that microphones are “being controlled behind the scenes, as it were, and they will be managed automatically, hopefully”.

But technology seemingly caught Mr Gething out for a second time after Mr Rees asked how many care homes in Wales are currently allowing visits for relatives due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Rees asked: “How many care homes across Wales are you aware of that are allowing visits, and how many are not? Do you have those numbers?”

Mr Gething was seen raising his eyebrows and shaking his head before muttering: “Ridiculous question.”

The question was answered by deputy health minister Julie Morgan, who told Mr Rees: “No, we don’t have those numbers.”

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies, claimed the remarks showed that Mr Gething and the Welsh Government want to stamp down on scrutiny.

Dismissing

Mr Davies told the PA news agency: “This is not the first time that the health minister has been caught dismissing serious questions and concerns from his Labour colleagues.

“It’s not a ‘ridiculous question’ to ask Vaughan Gething for specific numbers on those care homes allowing visits – far from it. These policies are a light at the end of the tunnel for residents and their families.

“The Welsh Labour Government’s arrogance and consistent attempts to shut down scrutiny has to stop. Wales is not a dictatorship.”

Wales is not a dictatorship

Plaid Cymru health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “The care home crisis has been well documented.

“We’re talking about the most vulnerable of people, extremely concerned friends and relatives, and under-pressure care workers, and yet here we have the health minister, on record, dismissing legitimate concerns.

“Apart from being just plain rude, the health minister appears all too often to be keen to evade scrutiny on very important matters.”

In April, first minister Mark Drakeford dismissed calls to sack Mr Gething after he accidentally left his microphone on and swore during a virtual Senedd session.

Following a question from Cardiff Central MS Ms Rathbone, Mr Gething was heard saying to an unknown person: “What the f*** is the matter with her?”

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Envoy urges setting up a joint bank between Iran, Kazakhstan

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Envoy urges setting up a joint bank between Iran, Kazakhstan

Speaking in a Conference of Economic Diplomacy between Iran and EAEU on Wed., Askhat Orazbay stated that unjust and unilateral sanctions imposed against Iran should be lifted.

Setting up a joint bank between Iran and Kazakhstan as well as launching a bartering system between the two countries is mandatory, he added.

As long as sanctions are not lifted, the two countries should focus on the products that are not subject to sanctions, the envoy stipulated.

Turning to the adverse effects of sanctions, he said that sanctions have reduced volume of trade and business between the two countries extremely, he said, adding, “Under such circumstances, customs duties o the products that are not subject to sanctions should first be reduced and secondly, a bilateral trade agreement should be inked between the two countries regarding free trade zone, so that Kazakhstan welcomes the two options wholeheartedly.”

He lashed out at the lack of a banking system between Iran and Kazakhstan and reiterated, “Lack of an integrated banking system was one of the main problems between the two countries, so that it is proposed to set up a joint bank between Iran and Kazakhstan.”

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European aviation agency clears Boeing 737 Max to fly again

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A modified version of the Boeing 737 Max, incorporating multiple safety upgrades, has been approved to resume flights in Europe, the European aviation safety agency said.

The decision follows nearly two years of reviews after the aircraft was involved in two deadly crashes that saw the planes grounded worldwide.

Changes mandated by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) include a package of software upgrades, a reworking of the electrical system, maintenance checks, operations manual updates and new crew training.

“We have reached a significant milestone on a long road,” said EASA executive director Patrick Ky.

“Following extensive analysis by EASA, we have determined that the 737 MAX can safely return to service. This assessment was carried out in full independence of Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration and without any economic or political pressure – we asked difficult questions until we got answers and pushed for solutions which satisfied our exacting safety requirements.

“We carried out our own flight tests and simulator sessions and did not rely on others to do this for us.”

The planes were grounded in March 2019 following the crashes of a Lion Air flight near Jakarta on October 29 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines flight on March 10 2019, killing a total of 346 people.

Investigators determined that the cause of the crashes was a faulty computer system that pushed the plane’s nose downward in flight and could not be overridden by pilots.

Changes mandated by the EASA, based in Cologne, Germany, include a recertification of the plane’s flight-control system, which was not a part of previous 737 models.

Mr Ky said the EASA will continue to monitor 737 Max operations closely as the aircraft resumes service.

“Let me be quite clear that this journey does not end here,” he said.

The planes were grounded in March 2019 (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Despite the green-light from the EASA, the actual return of the aircraft to the skies of Europe may still take some time.

Airlines will still need to ensure their pilots have received the training needed to fly the plane, and that the maintenance and changes necessary have been carried out after the long grounding.

Some EU states will have to lift their own individual grounding notices as well.

The pandemic, meanwhile, has caused severe travel restrictions. Many airlines are flying a fraction of their usual routes, which the EASA said could affect the pace of the aircraft’s return to commercial operations.

The 737 Max returned to the skies in the United States last month, after the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made to the automated flight control system.

It has also been allowed by Brazil to resume flights, and has been cleared by Transport Canada.

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