Al-Khalifa regime to withdraw the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qasim
European religious figures in a statement on Thursday deplored the al-Khalifa regime for revoking senior Bahraini Shiite cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim of citizenship, urging the international community to prevent the Bahraini regime's continued clampdown on popular demands.
"The Islamic European Union of Shiite Scholars and Theologians condemns this obscene move," the statement said.
It called the al-Khalifa regime's decision to strip Sheikh Qassim of citizenship as a flagrant violation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and said as the UN human rights office has announced, "the Bahraini government's decision is certainly unjustified based on the international laws".
The statement called on all the world Muslims and the international and human rights organizations, specially the EU parliament, to endeavor to restore the citizenship rights of Sheikh Qassim and prevent the Manama regime's continued unwise moves.
Meantime, Bahrain's political parties and religious figures called on people to continue their sit-in in front of Sheikh Qassim's house in protest at the Manama regime’s revocation of his citizenship.
The Bahraini political and religious figures, including February 14 Revolution Coalition and Haq Movement leaders as well as Majid Abdullah, a politician, and Ali al-Aswad, a former Bahraini MP, demanded the country's people to gather in front of Sheikh Qassim's house in the village of Diraz near the capital Manama.
Bahrain's Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Monday the country's top Shiite cleric was stripped of his citizenship.
"Issa Ahmed Qassim has been stripped of his Bahraini citizenship," Bahrain state news agency cited the ministry’s statement, referring to the country's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric in Bahrain.
Bahraini people began protests outside the house of cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim in Diraz on Monday in reaction to the Bahraini regime decision to strip the prominent religious scholar of the country’s citizenship.
Also on Tuesday, large numbers of people continued their gathering outside Sheikh Qassim's house in protest at the Manama regime’s move over revoking of his citizenship.
Following the initial protests in the village of Diraz, Bahraini security forces banned any manner of gathering in the village and sealed off the area around the cleric’s house, however thousands of protesters performed prayer outside the house of the senior cleric.
The latest move by the Bahrain regime against the country’s main opposition figures came as the Al-Kahlifeh regime is exerting mounting pressure on the opposition.
Opposition members feel the government is willing to accelerate its crackdown on dissent because it believes it will only face minimal censure through statements of concern in the US and Europe. Both the US and UK have large naval bases in Bahrain.
Last week, the government suspended the main Shia opposition party, al-Wefaq, accusing it of having links to foreign terrorists and inciting hatred. Sheikh Ali Salman, al-Wefaq’s secretary-general, was arrested in 2014 on charges of inciting violence. His sentence was doubled to nine years on appeal last month.
The cabinet decided to revoke the citizenship of Sheikh Isa, an indigenous Bahraini who applied for nationality to get a passport in the 1960s, after a presentation by the interior ministry. The lack of judicial oversight raised concerns among rights groups.
Stripping the nationality of dissidents has become a popular tool for Persian Gulf Arab littoral states battling domestic dissent, such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where nationality is perceived by many as a privilege not a right.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says more than 250 Bahrainis have been stripped of their nationality for alleged disloyalty.
 Obama:Muhammad Ali shook up the world And the world is better for it
Muhammad Ali, one of the most influential sports figures in the 20th century, has passed away at the age of 74 in Phoenix, Arizona, a family spokesman has confirmed to the media.
Boxing legend Ali won the heavyweight title three times and was known for his unorthodox fighting style, merging power and agility. Off the ring, he was famous throughout the globe for his charismatic personality, as well as social and political activism.
"After a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening," family spokesman Bob Gunnell told NBC News Saturday.
Ali died from septic shock due to unspecified natural causes, Gunnell said during a press conference later in the day.
The family will gather for a private ceremony on Thursday.
On Friday, there will be a large funeral procession that will take Ali's body through the streets of Louisville, passing by the Muhammad Ali Center before winding through his childhood neighborhood on the way to Cave Hill Ceremony where he will be interred, according to Gunnell.
There will be an interfaith memorial service for Ali at the Yum! Center. Eulogies for the fighter will be led by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, journalist Bryant Gumbel and actor Billy Crystal. Other speakers may be added to the list, Gunnell said.
In 1967, three years after he won his first title, Ali refused to be drafted in the Vietnam War even though he registered for military service, presenting himself as a conscientious objector. Ali was stripped of his title, had his boxing license suspended, and a court found him guilty of draft evasion. His conviction was eventually reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the tide turned and public opinion shifted on the war, Ali became a spokesman for the anti-war sentiment, giving speeches at universities across the United States, even as he became increasingly active in the civil rights movement.
Hailing the fighter as "The Greatest. Period." -- a reference to Ali's now famous claim – U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized Ali’s role as a social justice champion.
"He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t," Obama said in a statement, referencing the American and South African rights leaders.
"His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today," Obama added. "Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it."
 searching in some of the deepest waters of the Mediterranean
The crash of an EgyptAir jet has strengthened the case for ejectable “black boxes” that are launched out of an aircraft in an accident, making them easier to find, the most senior engineer at Airbus has said.
Investigators are searching in some of the deepest waters of the Mediterranean for flight recorders from an EgyptAir Airbus A320, which crashed on 19 May, killing 66 people.
The jet’s flight recorders or “black boxes” are designed to emit acoustic signals for 30 days after a crash, giving search teams less than five weeks to pinpoint the sound in waters up to 3,000 metres deep. Rules that would extend the duration and range of acoustic pingers do not take effect until 2018.
“If we have a deployable recorder it will be much easier to find,” said Charles Champion, the Airbus executive vice-president for engineering.
“We have been working on that and this only reinforces our overall approach.”
Ejectable or “deployable” recorders would separate from the tail during a crash and float in the water while emitting a distress signal.
Recommended by investigators after an Air France A330 jet crashed in 2009, the idea was again discussed after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 in March 2014.
The United Nations’ aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, has called for key data to be recoverable in a “timely manner” from aeroplanes delivered after 2021
It will be left to airlines and manufacturers to decide how to meet the goal – whether through deployable recorders or other technology such as new homing methods or data streaming.
Deployable recorders have long beenused in the military. But some in the industry have expressed doubts about their safe use on civil airliners, saying they could be ejected accidentally and introduce new risks.
Airbus has said in the past it was talking to regulators about adding deployable devices to its two largest models of jets.
Boeing has been more sceptical, citing instances where they have failed on warplanes.
A series of accidents over water including the EgyptAir disaster and wider safety issues are likely to be discussed at a meeting of global airlines in Dublin this week.
With Reuters
 The pilot gave no distress call before the flight vanished from the radarAn EgyptAir aircraft traveling from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to Cairo “crashed” over the Mediterranean sea with 66 people on board on Thursday, French President Francois Hollande has confirmed.
"We must ensure that we know everything on the causes of what happened. No hypothesis is ruled out or favoured," he said in a televised address.
EgyptAir Flight MS804 went missing at 2:45 am local time with 56 passengers and 10 cabin crew on board, at an altitude of 37,000 feet, the airline said. The Airbus A320 disappeared 10 miles (16 kilometers) after entering Egyptian airspace, some 280 kilometers north of the Egyptian coast. Egyptian military aircraft are searching for the aircraft and Greece has joined the search and rescue operation, dispatching two aircraft.
Egyptian civil aviation spokesman Ihab Raslan had earlier said that the plane had likely crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, while EgyptAir said the cause of the disappearance remained unclear as the search efforts continued. “The cause of the airplane’s disappearance is not yet known,” the airline said.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos told a news conference that the plane fell 22,000 feet and made two sharp swerves before it disappeared from aviation radars.
"The plane carried out a 90-degree turn to the left and a 360-degree turn to the right, falling from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and the signal was lost at around 10,000 feet," Panos Kammenos told a news conference.
"It appears the plane is lost. There are no clear results (from the search) so far," he said.
Both the Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that no theory could be ruled out in the investigation into the plane’s disappearance. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the crash.
Ismail said that there was no “distress call” from the plane but a “signal.” EgyptAir confirmed that a “distress signal” had been received from the flight before its disappearance but it is unclear if this was sent to aviation authorities or the Egyptian military. The Egyptian military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said in a Facebook statement that the army did not receive a distress call.
The head of Greece’s civil aviation department, Kostas Litzerakis, said that the plane disappeared from radars two minutes after leaving Greek airspace, and reported “no problems.”
The passengers on the flight included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one Briton, one Belgian, one Canadian, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese and one Algerian, EgyptAir confirmed. It was also carrying 10 cabin crew.
An EgyptAir pilot, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, says he has to “sadly agree” with Egyptian aviation officials that the flight has crashed but he hopes “they find them alive in the water.”
“No, according to what I know,” he says when asked if an aircraft can disappear from the radar but still be safe. “But I wish I’m wrong. There is not enough fuel to make it fly that long.”
He adds that the “Airbus is a good plane” when asked about its safety record but said it was unlikely that an extremist act was the cause of its disappearance.
The flight was on its fifth flight of the day and EgyptAir said that the captain of the flight had 6,275 hours of flying experience, with 2,101 on the A320 model.
French President Francois Hollande called his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and both “agreed to cooperate closely” to find out what happened to the aircraft. Valls said that French authorities were “ready” to join the search operation to find the missing aircraft.
The disappearance of the flight comes just weeks after a passenger hijacked an EgyptAir flight, and the same model of aircraft, as it flew to Cairo, forcing it to divert to Cyprus.
Hezbollah says top commander Mustafa Badreddine killed
Top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine has been killed, the Shiite party said on Friday, the biggest blow since its military chief was killed in 2008.
Badreddine, 55, was one of the highest ranking officials in the group, and assessed by the US government to be responsible for Hezbollah's military operations in Syria, where it is fighting alongside the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A Hezbollah statement said Badreddine was killed in an attack targeting one of its bases near Damascus airport.
The group added that it was working to "define the nature of the explosion and its cause, and whether it was the result of an air strike, or missile (attack) or artillery".
It did not say when the attack happened.
The Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen earlier reported Badreddine had been killed in an Israeli air strike in Syria.
There was no immediate confirmation from Israel which has struck Hezbollah targets inside Syria several times during the country's five-year conflict.
A US Department of the Treasury statement detailing sanctions against Badreddine last year said he was assessed to be responsible for the group's military operations in Syria since 2011, and he had accompanied Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during strategic coordination meetings with Assad in Damascus.
Badreddine, a brother-in-law of the late Hezbollah military commander, Imad Moughniyah, was indicted by the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2005 killing of statesman Rafik al-Hariri.
He was sentenced to death in Kuwait for his role in bomb attacks there in 1983. He escaped from prison in Kuwait after Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, invaded the country in 1990.
For years, Badreddine masterminded military operations against Israel from Lebanon and overseas and managed to escape capture by Arab and Western governments by operating clandestinely.
The US Treasury statement also said he had led Hezbollah ground offensives in the Syrian town of al-Qusayr in February 2013, a critical battle in the war when Hezbollah fighters defeated Syrian rebels in an area near the Syrian-Lebanese border.
Around 1,200 Hezbollah fighters are estimated to have been killed in the Syrian conflict.
Hezbollah accuses Israel of carrying out the 2008 killing of Moughniyah, who was killed by a bomb in Damascus.
REUTERS
SAUDI ARABIA TO GIVE WOMEN RIGHT TO POSSESS COPY OF MARRIAGE CONTRACT
BY JACK MOORE
Saudi Arabia is to give brides a copy of their marriage contracts for the first time in a bid to boost the rights of women, the country’s justice ministry has announced.
Justice Minister Walid al-Samaani has ordered that clerics in the ultra-conservative country must now provide brides with a copy of the marriage contract when they register a marriage.
The move is to “ensure her awareness of her rights and the terms of the contact,” AFP news agency reported on Tuesday. The justice ministry announced the order in a statement published by the Saudi state news agency SPA.
The handing of marriage contracts had only been permitted for men previously but the change seeks to “protect the rights of the woman and to facilitate procedures for her,” the ministry said.
It said that the woman must have a copy of the contract in the event that there is a legal dispute between herself and her husband at a later date.
Women in Saudi Arabia require permission from their male guardians to carry out many tasks, such as opening a bank account, traveling and working.
Saudi women must adhere to the country’s strict version of Islamic law, which forbids them from doing many things permitted for females in the Western world.
Women are prohibited from driving a car by religious norms despite no official law stopping them from commandeering a vehicle. Women must not wear any clothing or makeup that reveals or enhances their beauty, therefore many wear long black Islamic dress.
Some aspects of Saudi life are opening up to women, however. In December 2015, voters elected 17 women into public office in municipal elections after they were allowed to stand for the first time in the country’s history.

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