Protester killed, 8 injured in southeastern Turkey clashes

A protester has been killed and at least eight others injured in clashes with Turkish security forces in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, according to Press TV.

The clashes broke out on Friday between Turkish police and demonstrators protesting the construction work to expand a military station in the town of Lice, situated about 691 kilometers (429 miles) east of the capital, Ankara.

Police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse protesters who responded with Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and stones.

The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.


Man shot dead ,dozens injured during clashes in Egypt's Alexandria

 A man has been shot and killed and dozens  have been injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in the port city of Alexandria, according to Press TV.

The clashes erupted on Friday after thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets in Alexandria, in the Nile Delta city of Mansura, and in the canal city of Port Said.

A large number of opposition protesters and supporters of the ruling "Muslim Brotherhood" were also gathering in Cairo and other towns and cities.

The fresh clashes come as spiraling violence has left at least five people dead across the country.

The government has deployed thousands of troops in Cairo and other tense cities.

The opposition groups have urged President Morsi to step down and hold snap elections. They accuse him of consolidating his power instead of addressing the country’s social and economic problems.

Supporters and opponents of the president have been clashing with each other during recent demonstrations across the country.

On Thursday, Amr Moussa, a top opposition leader, strongly criticized President Morsi for his failure to offer a detailed roadmap for national reconciliation and economic recovery.

The opposition accuses the government of being dominated by the "Muslim Brotherhood".

In a separate development, Egyptian clerics and some religious circles have warned against a civil war and called on both sides to be calm.


Five people killed and dozens injured in Egypt

Five people were killed and dozens injured in street fighting on Wednesday north of Cairo between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president, hours before Mohamed Mursi was to address the nation, according to REUTERS.

With Egypt gripped by fears of a showdown between "Islamists" and their opponents, security sources said 90 people wounded in the city of Mansoura after hundreds of men were involved in rock-throwing street skirmishes. Witnesses also heard gunfire.

There was also fighting in the nearby Nile Delta city of Tanta, though casualties appeared to have been less severe.

Similar outbursts of violence, often prompted by one side or the other staging rallies, have hit towns across the country in recent days. At least two men died last weekend. The opposition plans mass protests this weekend, calling for Mursi to resign.

He shows no sign of doing that and is expected to blame the deadlock that has aggravated an economic crisis on resistance from those loyal to his ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Fears of a violent stand-off in the streets between Mursi's supporters and a broad coalition of the disaffected have led people to stock up on food. Long lines of cars outside fuel stations have snarled roads in Cairo and other cities.


Palestine drops bid to register new UNESCO heritage site

Palestine is backing down from plans to ask UNESCO to place an ancient West Bank village on its World Heritage in Danger list, a year after the UN scientific and cultural agency voted to include Bethlehem’s Nativity Church. 

Residents of Battir, southwest of Jerusalem, which is home to an ancient Roman irrigation network in continuous use for centuries, expected the Palestinian delegation to nominate the farming village for inclusion on UNESCO’s rosters during its annual convention, which opens Sunday in Cambodia.

Experts in Battir and Bethlehem who helped draft the application told Ma’an that the Palestinian delegation in Paris received a completed file in January. It should have submitted it by a February deadline but did not.

'Missing a great chance'

The decision to put off the nomination angered Palestinian experts and local officials who had selected Battir based on imminent threats they said its cultural sites faced from"Israel".

The Battir municipality is locked in a court battle with the Israeli occupation army to re-route the barrier, and they hoped the global attention from a successful vote might even the playing field.

“Palestine is missing a great chance by not submitting the file,” according to Battir mayor Akram Bader. “We are in court against the wall.”

Bader said the Palestinian leadership neglected an opportunity to offer "protection against Israeli violations" as well as boost the economic, cultural and historical value of the village.

UNESCO's 21-member World Heritage committee meets once a year to discuss the management of existing heritage sites and to consider nominations for new ones. It was at this conference in June 2012 that the agency narrowly voted to accept Palestine's first submission, the Nativity Church, over the objections of Israel and the United States. Palestinian officials said they would submit Battir in 2013.

The village sits upon the slopes of two rocky, green hills where its farmers still use a 2,000-year-old Roman irrigation system that runs down the sides of both hills.

Giovanni Fontana Antonelli, a cultural programs specialist for UNESCO, called the Palestinian Authority's decision "very inexplicable" and charged that it could "jeopardize the site forever."

Antonelli, who helped prepare the application in December and January, said that UNESCO's recognition would have made it "more difficult for Israel to grab that land."

He also said it would have become a natural tourism destination. "People in Battir (could) start to have small businesses there instead of migrating," he said.

Nada Atrash, head of research and development at the Cultural Heritage Preservation Center in Bethlehem, agreed that the nomination "would help Palestine but at the same time add to its responsibilities."

Atrash, who was also involved in preparing the application, says the nomination "will not stop vandalism" because UNESCO can only issue statements and condemnations.

She said it was up to the Palestinian people to protect their land, but she hoped the Palestinian leadership would reconsider the application.



Iran Cautions against Doha Meeting's Repercussions

Iran on Tuesday warned the participants in the so-called 'Friends of Syria' meeting in Doha that their decision to send arms to the "rebels" in Syria would further deteriorate the crisis in the country, according to FNA.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi made the remarks in Tehran on Tuesday when asked by reporters about Iran's position on the Geneva II conference on Syria due to be co-hosted by the US and Russia in Switzerland.

Araqchi welcomed any political discussion in pursuit of a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Syria, but said there are some obstacles to the success of the Geneva II conference, including the decisions made in the recent 'Friends of Syria' meeting in Doha to further arm the rebel groups in Syria.

"Certain attempts are made alongside this idea (of holding the Geneva II conference) which run counter to the goals pursued by the Geneva meeting, including the recent meetings which were held and the efforts which were made to arm the "dissident groups" and these (moves) would provoke tension and conflict in Syria," he added.

"We are surprised that those who claim to be advocates of a peaceful settlement of the issue (in Syria) move towards arming the Takfiri and "dissident groups"," Araqchi underlined.

The foreign ministers of the so-called 'Friends of Syria' countries held a meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday to discuss the volume and recipients of arms supplies to the rebels in Syria. The US and other western states allege that they intend to funnel arms into the hands of the Free Syrian Army to avoid equipment of terrorist groups with advanced weapons.

But, diplomatic sources present at the meeting told FNA on Sunday that both the 'FSA' and the al-Nusrah Front had sent separate letters to the meeting to warn the participants about the destination of the arms supplies.

"The commander of the al-Nusrah Front in a letter to the Doha conference called on the countries which took part in the meeting to supply the group with 50% of the weapons decided to be sent to the rebel groups in Syria," a diplomat present at the meeting said on the condition of anonymity for fear of his life.

According to the diplomat the letter warned the participants that "they should wait for dire consequences if they refrain from complying with the al-Nusrah request".

"Also, the ringleader of the 'Free Syrian Army' Salim Idriss in a separate letter to the conference demanded that FSA be the only recipient of any future arms supplies to be sent by the participants to Syria," added the diplomat.