Palestinian Presidency condemns the Israeli occupation authorities’ decision to construct 2,500 new colonial settler units

Palestinian Presidency today condemned the Israeli occupation authorities’ decision to construct 2,500 new colonial settler units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Presidency Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the Israeli government is “racing against time to eliminate any remaining possibility to achieve the two-state solution and place more obstacles in the way of the new US administration and obstruct any effort on part of the administration to resume the long-stymied peace process.”

British business owners urge more help for Coronavirus-hit firms

British business owners on Tuesday urged the government of Boris Johnson to issue urgent economic measures to assist the companies, which are threatened by bankruptcy because of the Coronavirus, in confronting their crisis.

AFP reported citing the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) that if the government intends to provide assistance, it should act urgently before the annual budget which will be issued in more than six weeks.

The CBI warned that thousands of small businesses could collapse, calling on the British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak to act urgently, claiming firms could not afford to wait until his annual budget on March 3 for new measures.

France wants suspension of 'poisonous' US-Europe trade spat

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday suggested that trade spat between the United States and the European Union should be suspended.

“The issue that’s poisoning everyone is that of the price escalation and taxes on steel, digital technology, Airbus and more particularly our wine sector,” Le Drian told Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview, according to Reuters.

He hoped that the two sides can find a way to settle the dispute, though it may take time.

Vienna expels Turkish spy who planned to kill Turkish opposition figures in Austria

The Austrian authorities have expelled a Turkish spy who was tasked with assassinating Turkish opposition figures in Austria. 

According to the Austrian Interior Ministry, the spy is an Italian national of Turkish origin who has been ordered by the Turkish regime to kill opposition figures who express views critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

The Turkish regime operates spies in several European and Western countries to chase its opponents who fled Turkey to escape its repressive practices. 

Turkish judicial documents have previously revealed that Erdogan is using the security personnel, who are tasked with guarding diplomatic missions in dozens of European countries, in order to spy on his opponents and fabricate accusations against them. 

UN experts urge new US administration to close Guantanamo prison

A group of United Nations (UN) human rights experts on Monday appealed to the new U.S. administration to immediately close the disgraceful Guantanamo Bay detention center.

In a joint statement issued on Monday marking the 19th anniversary of the center’s establishment, the experts said that the remaining detainees risk death from rapidly deteriorating health by old age and mental and physical harm suffered in cruel and inhuman conditions of imprisonment.

"Guantanamo is a place of arbitrariness and abuse, a site where torture and ill-treatment was rampant and remains institutionalized, where the rule of law is effectively suspended, and where justice is denied," the experts clarified.

"The very existence of this facility is a disgrace for the United States and the international community as a whole. Guantanamo should have been closed a long time ago," they said.

Al-Kazemi: More than half of the American forces will leave Iraq in coming days

The Prime Minister of Iraq, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, announced the withdrawal of more than half of the American forces from the country in the coming days, stressing that Iraq "will not be a stadium for regional or international conflicts after today."

In a speech on the occasion of the centenary of the founding of the Iraqi army, Al-Kazemi said "It is truly regrettable that Iraq has turned into an arena for liquidations and challenges of a global and regional war on its soil," adding: "We will not allow the lands of Iraq to be used to settle scores between countries."

Al-Kazemi indicated that batches of American forces have been withdrawn from Iraq within technical times during the past months, and continued: "As a fruit of the continuous strategic dialogue (with the United States), the withdrawal of more than half of these forces will be completed in the coming days, and only hundreds of them will remain to cooperate in the fields of training, rehabilitation, armament and technical support. "

US Congress certifies Biden win

On January 7th, the US Congress officially certified the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States of America.

Reuters reported that US Vice President Mike Pence announced the congressional approval of the results of the electoral college votes, paving the way for Biden to take over the presidency on January 20.

O. al-Mohammad