Israel has administered a 4th vaccine dose to more than 500,000 people.

Israel was among the first countries to roll out vaccines a year ago and began widely offering third doses last summer in a bid to contain the delta variant. Nearly half the population has received at least one booster shot.

The country of nearly 9.5 million has reported 8,298 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

China signed a deal with Syria months after a phone call between President Xi Jinping and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to China’s Global Times, Syria’s admission into China’s BRI took place at a ceremony in Damascus as both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The BRI is President Xi’s initiative which was kicked off in 2013 seeking to link land roads to build the trade network throughout the world. Nicaragua had also recently signed the BRI deal with China.

A German court has sentenced a Syrian colonel to life in prison for crimes against humanity in a landmark case.

The trial in Koblenz is the world’s first criminal case brought over state-led torture in Syria.

The ruling is significant, especially for those who survived Al-Khatib and gave evidence during the trial. A criminal court has now formally acknowledged that crimes against humanity were perpetrated by the Assad regime against its own citizens.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi yesterday claimed that all human rights violations in the country highlighted by national and international rights groups are “lies”.

Egypt, he continued, maintains human rights in light of the religions and ideologies that it believes in and without pressure from anyone. It respects human rights, mainly freedom of expression, and rejects any national and international criticism in this regard, he added.

Vaccination is not compulsory in Lebanon, but in recent days authorities have cracked down on people who are not inoculated or don’t carry a negative PCR test.

Saturday’s protest by nearly 300 people in downtown Beirut came a day after the daily number of new coronavirus cases hit a record 7,974.

The protest came days after authorities imposed fresh restrictions — including the requirement of a vaccination certificate or negative PCR test for entry into restaurants, hotels and similar venues.

Lebanon, with has a population of six million including a million Syrian refugees, has registered more than 760,000 cases and 9,250 deaths since discovering its first COVID-19 case in February 2020.

The stealing of archaeological ruins has become a lucrative source of income for pro-Iran militias deployed in the Deir Ezzor region in eastern Syria, revealed the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The ruins have suffered from neglect and have been vandalized over the years by all forces that have swept through the region during Syria’s decade-long conflict. At times the area was under the control of the regime, the Iranian militias and previously the ISIS group that was guilty of looting and destroying much of the ruins.

Qatar has provided billions of dollars to Muslim Brotherhood regimes and affiliates, such as Hamas, and to Islamists who have fueled civil war in Libya and Syria, such as Ahrar al-Sham, which executed attacks alongside the successor of Jabhat al-Nusra, an offshoot of al Qaeda.

Receipts uncovered from Qatar’s state-run Eid charity — perhaps the world’s largest “Salafi-controlled relief organization” — by the Middle East Forum, a US-based think-tank, suggest that the black hole of Qatari Islamist financing plunges deeper than previously thought. The receipts indicate that Qatar has provided 45,000 grants worth billions of dollars to charities in more than 70 countries — over a third of the world.

Israel’s health minister said Tuesday that same-sex couples will be able to have children through surrogate mothers in Israel starting next week, following a Supreme Court decision made last year.

The court said last year that the change in the law would take six months to come into effect, on Jan. 11, to allow the formation of professional guidelines.

In contrast with much of the conservative Middle East, Israel is generally tolerant of its LGBTQ community. Gay and lesbian citizens serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament, and many popular artists and entertainers are open about their sexual orientation

Russian warplanes have bombed a pumping station that provides water to Idlib in north-western Syria, left 300,000 civilians without water, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

According to the report, Ibrahim Zeer, an Idlib resident, said that Russian warplanes have increased their attacks on infrastructure facilities.

The Idlib region is home to nearly 3 million people, two-thirds of them displaced from other parts of the country.

Some 300 foreign mercenaries have left eastern Libya, France’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday, hailing the start of a phased withdrawal of thousands of foreign forces that have fought on both sides of the conflict in the North African country.

The move, initially announced in November by Libya’s eastern-based forces loyal to the putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar, was intended to stimulate a United Nations-backed agreement struck between the warring sides in the conflict through a joint military commission.

Joie Cooper

May your coffee be strong and your Monday be short. Coffee connoisseur. Part time writer, photographer and full time adventurer. Loves to travel and eat.

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