Thousands of protesters have gathered in Isfahan in central Iran to demand the revival of a major river that has dried up.

The river’s dryness is thought to directly affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers in the province, state TV said, in addition to adversely affecting the environment.

The key river has faced water shortages and droughts for years, and farmers have intermittently protested the lack of attention given to the issue. But officials have yet to find a sustainable solution to the problem.

Two journalists from Norwegian state television were arrested and held for over 30 hours by security forces in Qatar before being freed. Qatar accused them of “trespassing on private property and filming without a permit.”

Ekeland works for the sports division of NRK, covering topics such as politics in sports and the Qatar regime’s treatment of migrant workers. Ghorbani is an experienced staff photographer for NRK.

The two were reportedly detained after reporting on the condition of migrant laborers during a live report. The journalists told NRK that they were not allowed to leave Qatar with their equipment or their footage.

An Iranian man who was arrested for murder at the age of 17 has been executed despite international appeals for his life to be spared.

Arman Abdolali, aged 25, was found guilty for the alleged murder of his girlfriend — who went missing in 2014. The body of the alleged murder victim has never been found.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) said Abdolali confessed to the murder at the time of his arrest, but later he withdrew the confession.

Amnesty International has called his trial “grossly unfair” by a court that “relied on torture-tainted ‘confessions.’”

Former ISIS fighters have claimed the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are charging $8,000 per person to free militants from prisons under a so-called ‘reconciliation’ scheme.

According to a report in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, former ISIS fighters, who fought for the militant group until it was defeated in 2019, secured their freedom from the Syrian al-Hawl prison facility through the scheme.

One individual, Abu Jafar, who claims he was released after his family sold some property, stated he paid $8,000 as a fine, as well as a further $22,000 in bribes to SDF officials. Similarly, Abu Muhammad, who says he fought alongside ISIS on the frontline, said he had paid the $8,000 figure and $14,000 in bribes.

Lewis Hamilton believes sportspeople are duty bound to speak out on human rights matters in the countries they visit. With Qatar hosting its first Formula One Grand Prix this weekend and facing new allegations of worker exploitation and abuse in its preparations for next year’s football World Cup, Hamilton insisted he would hold the sport to account for the places it chooses to race.

Hamilton has repeatedly spoken out on F1’s need to address such problems in the countries it visits and did so again in Qatar.

Lewis Hamilton has been praised for “an incredible act of allyship” after wearing a rainbow-coloured helmet in practice at the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.

The seven-time Formula One world champion’s helmet bore the colours of the Progress Pride flag — a banner which includes the traditional rainbow design with additional colours that recognise the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community.

Campaign groups have continued to highlight discriminatory laws against women and LGBTQ+ individuals in Qatar, which is hosting the 2022 men’s football World Cup.

The migrants who had been camping there in freezing conditions, hoping to cross into the EU, have been moved to a nearby warehouse.

The migrants are mainly from the Middle East and on Thursday more than 400 Iraqis were repatriated from Belarus on a flight to Irbil arranged by the Iraqi government.

Many migrants said they were still determined to try and get into the EU.

Migrants had been camped along the barbed-wire border fence with Polish guards on one side and Belarusian guards on the other.

Intisar al-Hammadi, 20, who denies the charges, was detained by the Houthi movement’s forces in Sanaa in February.

Her lawyer alleged she was physically and verbally abused by interrogators, subjected to racist insults, and forced to sign a document while blindfolded.

Prosecutors also allegedly threatened her with a forced “virginity test”.

The Houthi authorities’ unfair trial against Intisar al-Hammadi, on top of the arbitrary arrest and abuse against her in detention, is a stark reminder of the abuse that women face at the hands of authorities throughout Yemen.

Oman has maintained its neutrality in the Saudi-Lebanon row when the the Lebanese Information Minister George described the war in Yemen as “absurd” and “futile” and also stated that the Houthi rebels are “a resistance movement, defending themselves and not attacking anyone.”

True to form, the Sultanate of Oman is embracing a “neutral” stance on the latest diplomatic row between Arab states, refusing to align with one geopolitical bloc against another.

Analysts can read Oman’s reaction as further reason to reject assumptions that Sultan Haitham was likely to make fundamental foreign policy changes or abandon key principles that defined the country on the international stage from 1970 to 2020.

Due to the ongoing civil war between the Houthis and the country’s internationally recognized government, the United States moved most of the embassy staff and its operations to Saudi Arabia in 2015.

However, the Houthis’ breach of the compound and the taking of the compound’s Yemeni security personnel as hostages flies in the face of President Biden’s overtures. Most of the hostages have now been released.

The move by the Tehran-led Houthis has a two-fold purpose. First, it sends a message to Washington and the Saudis that the Houthis remain in firm control of Sanaa and the other areas they occupy despite their offensive against the oil-rich area of Marib, contrary to what some analysts had claimed.

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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