Syrian strike on rebel area kills 23 civilians
BEIRUT • Syrian regime air strikes and artillery fire killed 23 civilians yesterday across the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region outside the capital Damascus, a monitor said.
The deaths come despite the area falling within a so-called "de-escalation zone" put in place under a deal between government allies Russia and Iran and rebel backer Turkey.
Eastern Ghouta is already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis caused by a crushing regime siege of the area since 2013 that has caused severe food and medical shortages.
Islamic summit on counter-terrorism
RIYADH • Saudi Arabia yesterday gathered officials from 40 Muslim countries in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance, a move Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared a "clear signal" to extremism.
"In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries... with no coordination" among them, he said in his keynote speech. "This ends today, with this alliance."
The summit is the first meeting of defence ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 members.
Glee star charged over hitting husband
LONDON • Naya Rivera, star of American musical-drama TV series Glee, has been charged with domestic violence against her husband.
The 30-year-old, who played Santana in the show, was arrested at a house in Kanawha County, West Virginia, BBC reported.
Her husband, Mr Ryan Dorsey, 34, told police Naya had hit him in the head and face, and he had video evidence on his cellphone.
Israeli minister quits over Sabbath row
JERUSALEM • An ultra-Orthodox minister in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government quit yesterday in a dispute over work on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest.
But a spokesman for health minister Yaakov Litzman said that his United Torah Judaism party would remain in the ruling alliance "at this stage", preserving Mr Netanyahu's slim parliamentary majority at least for the time being.
The dispute is over the national rail company's decision to carry out railway maintenance work on Sabbath, a period which begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday, during which work is forbidden under Jewish law.
EU slams Russian 'foreign agents' law
BRUSSELS • The Russian law classing international media organisations operating in the country as "foreign agents" is a "threat to free and independent media", the European Union said yesterday.
President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed into law the new rules which allow any international media outlet to be classified under the controversial "foreign agent" label by the Ministry of Justice.
The "foreign agents" law is in retaliation to the United States registering Moscow-controlled RT Television by the same term.