Monday, 15th December 2014

TURKEY Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan defended weekend raids on media outlets close to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric as a necessary response to “dirty operations” by the government’s political enemies, and told a critical European Union to mind its own business. (Reuters)

ISRAEL Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought assurances from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington would block efforts by Palestinians and Europeans on Palestinian statehood. (Reuters)

Tuesday, 16th December 2014

ITALY Giorgio Napolitano, Italy’s 89-year-old president who helped to guarantee the country’s political stability during a period of upheaval, hinted he might retire early next year. (Reuters)

LIBYA Forces allied to Libya’s conflict parties clashed with heavy weapons over control of the country’s biggest oil ports in the east as the European Union was considering sanctions on people obstructing U.N.-brokered peace talks. (Reuters)

FRANCEFrance will step in to help coordinate a regional taskforce against Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram, amid signs of mistrust among West African neighbors, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. (Reuters)

 

Wednesday, 17th December 2014

PALESTINE The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas should be removed from the European Union’s terrorist list, an EU court ruled, saying the decision to include it was based on media reports not considered analysis. In its ruling, however, the bloc’s second highest tribunal said member states could keep Hamas’s assets frozen for three months to give time for further review or for an appeal. (Reuters)

SYRIA Iran will always be “at the Syrian population’s side against terrorism”, President Hassan Rouhani said. Rouhani’s remark came during a visit to the Iranian capital by Syrian Prime Minister Wael Al-Halqi. (ANSAmed)

GREECEThe Greek parliament failed to elect a new Greek president in the first round of voting. The conservative-led government’s candidate, former European Commissioner and member of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy party Stavros Dimas, 73, received 160 votes, short of the 200 needed for an outright win. (ANSAmed)

 

Thursday, 18th December 2014

TUNISIA The Economist has elected Tunisia “country of the year”. The Economist selected two countries for the title: Indonesia and Tunisia, chosen for their political maturity and progress made by political leaders and civil society. The article says that idealism generated by the Arab Spring has in most cases ended in blood and extremism, except for a “shining exception” – Tunisia, which in 2014 adopted a new constitution, held two elections, a parliamentary and a presidential vote (the second round of voting is scheduled on December 21). (ANSAmed)

YEMEN Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah’s government, formed on November 9, won a parliamentary vote of confidence. The vote ensures a substantial majority to the government after months of violence in the country. (ANSAmed)

EGYPTEgypt cleared a final hurdle to long-awaited parliamentary elections seen as decisive in cementing the rule of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted President Mohamed Mursi, and excluding the banned Muslim Brotherhood from politics. (Reuters)

 

Friday, 19th December 2014

TURKEY A Turkish court issued an arrest warrant for U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen whose followers are accused by President Tayyip Erdogan of leading a terrorist plot to seize power, according to media. (Reuters)

IRAQ Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq’s Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighters, a Kurdish leader said. (Reuters)