Protesters across Beirut, Tripoli, Saida, and other cities closed highways and intersections on Monday morning with their vehicles, and put tyres and rubbish dumpsters on fire.

They called on the government to control the plunging Lebanese pound, which for the past week has hovered at about 25,000 to the US dollar. The pound has lost about 90 percent of its value in about two years.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government remains gridlocked and has not convened in almost two months, unable to resolve a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia and several Gulf countries and settle differences over Beirut blast investigator Judge Tarek Bitar.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has ordered an investigation into possible currency manipulation after the lira fell sharply to record lows against the dollar this week.

The lira plunged to record lows this week after Erdogan pledged to stick with a policy of easing interest rates. It has lost as much as 45 per cent of its value this year, with about half of those losses in the last two weeks.

Turkey’s currency fell as far as 13.45 to the dollar in a historic 15 per cent selloff on Tuesday that followed a speech in which Erdogan defended the central bank’s move to slash its policy rate to 15 per cent, despite inflation of 20 per cent.

Earlier this month, authorities at Mogadishu’s international airport seized six disassembled drones. Turkish pressure forced Somali authorities to release the Turkish engineers who accompanied the shipment. Those engineers said the drones were for agricultural purposes.

This seems unlikely. First, the drones cost $780,000, far out of range of any Somali…

It has been announced that 98 individuals, including two women, submitted their applications to contest Libya’s 24 December presidential election. The list included a militia-linked suspect, Libya’s top comedian, former and current parliamentary speakers and prime ministers, a former senior official from the Gaddafi era, a couple of businessmen and, of course, Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam.

The High National Election Commission (HNEC) explained why it decided to disqualify 25 applicants, including Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, a former prime minister and the former speaker of Libya’s first elected parliament in the post-Gaddafi era. All disqualified applicants have 12 days in which to appeal.

This is the first time that the presidency is being contested openly in Libya since its independence in 1951.

A big fall in Turkey’s lira is hardly rare these days, but the currency’s precipitous 20% plunge over the last week is ramping up risks of a balance of payments crisis unless authorities can somehow pull the brake.

Some warn the Turkish lira’s slump risks a balance of payments crisis — when a country no longer has the money or the ability to borrow it to pay for essentials

Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said on Monday it had arrested dozens of Islamist Hamas members in the occupied West Bank who were preparing anti-Israeli attacks.

The announcement came a day after a Hamas operative carried out a shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City that killed an Israeli and injured three others. The assailant was shot dead.

Islamist movement Hamas, considered by the European Union and United States a terror group, took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 and has ruled it since while Israel has imposed a blockade on the territory.

The Dan Bus Company announced Sunday it would take down an advertising campaign on its vehicles that discourages parents from vaccinating their children, following a backlash by health officials.

The campaign, organized by a group of physicians called the Israeli Public Emergency Council For The COVID-19 Crisis, was plastered on dozens of buses reading: “Would you vaccinate him just to go to the movies?” and “Only parents decide on coronavirus vaccines for children.”

The group has previously been vocal in decrying the policy of imposing virus restrictions, and its publications have gained traction among anti-vaccination activists.

The sponsor of the campaign said it was “proud of the thousands of activists that contributed and joined the bus campaign,” saying it was intended to “raise health awareness.”

Around 4,000 refugees have been holding out for several days on the Belarusian side of the border fence near the Polish village of Kuźnica. They set off on foot last Monday, walking for miles along the M6 road toward the EU.

For the past several months, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has been flying people in from Turkey and the Middle East. It appears that Lukashenko is retaliating against the EU and the tough sanctions imposed against his regime after the forced landing of a Ryanair passenger jet in May. And the refugees are the perfect tool. There’s nothing right now that creates a bigger panic in the EU than a few thousand asylum-seekers at a border crossing.

Dozens of people have been stripped of their British citizenship for the “public good” in recent years by the UK, which is now pushing for the power to do so without warning — a tactic that legal experts say would effectively cut off the chance of appeal.

This trend and proposed legal change have sparked alarm among activists, NGOs and British lawmakers who say that the UK should take responsibility for its citizens rather than leave them in limbo abroad.

Many of the people targeted had alleged connections to Isis as the government seeks to prevent radicalised individuals and jihadis returning from Syria.

Milaperetz

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