Al Jazeera pulling out of Syria

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28 Apr 2011
Al Jazeera pulling out of Syria

Qatar-based satellite channel Al Jazeera announced on Thursday that it was suspending some operations in Syria after members of its staff were attacked while covering anti-government demonstrations. The Arabic language network, whose coverage has helped define the "Arab Spring" uprisings to the world, is one of the few networks still operating in Syria. But network officials complained that authorities in Syria have tried to use their journalists to tell their side of the story while attempting to force them to ignore protesters and even threatening them with violence if they did not cooperate.

Internal power struggle rocks Iran
Speculation of a political crisis in Iran was rampant on Wednesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's missed his second Cabinet meeting in a week and extending his absence from the public eye which began last Friday, shortly after his failed attempt to get Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi to resign. Moslehi had submitted his resignation and Ahmadinejad accepted it, but the move was blocked by supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Iranian blogsphere was brewing with speculation as to what might be going on behind the scenes, with the emerging consensus being that Ahmadinejad has simply gone on strike until Khamenei agrees to be more flexible. The power struggle between the two has blown hot and cold for years and this latest episode has the potential to boil over into other areas of Iranian governance as supporters and enemies of the two men stake out their own positions.

Civilians will receive SMS during civil defense drill
The IDF Home Front Command will held its annual defense drill June 19-23, simulating hundreds of rocket attacks on Israel from multiple fronts. Air raid sirens will sound on June 22 and the Home Front Command will use the new cellphone alert system to send text messages to civilians warning them of an incoming rocket attack, as well as testing other systems. In related news, a Syrian official recently boasted that in the event of war between Israel, Syria and the Shi'ite terror militia Hizbullah, there would be a competition on who would be able to launch its first missile on Tel Aviv.

Yad Vashem collects personal items from Holocaust
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, has launched a campaign called 'Gathering the Fragments' to collect personal artifacts related to the Holocaust in anticipation of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday. The campaign encourages people to donate letters, photographs, art or anything else related to the period before, during and directly after the Holocaust. The campaign represents an effort to collect the pieces of the puzzle before the story is lost to the passage of time 'because these are the details that tell the story in depth' said the director of the Archives Division at Yad Vashem, Dr. Haim Gertner. Yad Vashem has collected around 100 items in the past two weeks since the campaign was officially announced.

PM prepares for another Gaza-bound flotilla
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his inner cabinet on Wednesday to prepare for the expected launch of another Gaza-bound flotilla after the Turkish elections on June 12. Netanyahu told the Foreign Ministry to continue its diplomatic efforts to stop the flotilla, and instructed the IDF to prepare the plans to implement the naval blockade on the Gaza strip that is intended to "prevent arms smuggling to terrorist elements in Gaza and prevent attacks on Israeli communities and residents." Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged Israel on Monday "not to repeat the same mistake" it made last year when the IDF intercepted the Mavi Marmara flotilla in an event which became a major public relations debacle for the Jewish State.


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