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US military convoy arrives in Syria from Iraq

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US military convoy arrives in Syria from Iraq

Another US military convoy, including 60 trucks, was transported to Syria through Iraq’s Al-Waleed border crossing, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

Local sources in the village of Al-Suwaidiyah told SANA that a US military convoy arrived in Syria illegally from Iraq’s Al-Waleed Border Crossing.

This military convoy includes 60 trucks carrying military equipment and logistics that entered al-Hasakah in northern Syria through Iraq’s Al-Waleed border crossing.

The occupying US military, which is collaborating with Qassad forces to plunder Syria’s oil resources, has brought in several trucks carrying weapons and fuel tankers to its military bases in northern Syria in recent months.

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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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131 arrested on ‘calmer’ night during virus curfew in Netherlands

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Dutch police have said the fourth night of the Netherlands’ coronavirus curfew passed more peacefully than the previous three nights, which were marred by rioting.

Even so, officers arrested 131 people, mainly for public order offences and incitement.

“It was calmer around the curfew on Tuesday night than the days before,” police said in a statement.

Underscoring the role of young people, who have been forced to stay home from school for weeks due to the country’s tough lockdown, police said that most suspects arrested for inciting riots using social media were aged under 18.

A man cleans up broken glass from the smashed windows in a fast-food restaurant in Rotterdam (Peter Dejong/AP)

The rioting has rocked the Netherlands, which has a caretaker government after Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling coalition resigned earlier this month over a scandal involving child welfare benefit fraud investigations. The pandemic is expected to be a key campaign issue before a general election scheduled for March 17.

Neighbouring Belgium has expressed fears that the unrest could spread, with calls for protests against the country’s tough lockdown and its 9pm curfew mounting on social media. The Dutch curfew, which began on Saturday, also begins at 9pm.

“The violent demonstrations that degenerated in the Netherlands have apparently incited certain people to call, also in our country, for demonstrations against the health measures,” Belgian interior minister Annelies Verlinden’s office said.

Belgium, host of the headquarters for the 27-nation EU, has had one of Europe’s worst outbreaks. The nation of 11 million has seen more than 20,800 confirmed virus deaths. The Dutch confirmed death toll is approaching 14,000.

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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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