No guarantee of deal: Ashton
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton yesterday said there is “no guarantee” that talks with the country on its disputed nuclear program will lead to a comprehensive agreement. “This interim agreement is really important, but not as important as a comprehensive agreement [which is] ... difficult, challenging and there is no guarantee that we will succeed,” Ashton told a joint news conference in Tehran with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Javad Zarif. Negotiators are trying to reach a final accord in the coming months.
Domestic violence protested
Protesters took to the streets of Beirut on Saturday on International Women’s Day to demand better protection for women amid an uproar over husbands murdering their wives. The march by about 4,000 women, men and children from the National Museum to the Palace of Justice, was led by mothers and other relatives of women they said had been the victims of domestic violence. Urging parliament to adopt a bill that would set prison terms of up to 25 years with forced labor for men convicted of murdering a female relative, many women wept as they walked. The bill, which has languished after being approved by a parliamentary committee last year, would also create a specialized police agency to deal with abuse and permit women to seek civil damages in abuse cases. The country is viewed as one of the Middle East’s most liberal, but no law protects women from abuse or violence by their fathers, husbands or brothers. Women who do contact the police for help in domestic violence cases are often laughed at.
Tymoshenko treated in Berlin
Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has arrived in Berlin for medical treatment, a hospital official said on Saturday. The face of the pro-Western Orange Revolution in 2004, who suffers from herniated discs, started medical examinations on Saturday morning, said Karl-Max Einhaupl, director of the Charite University Hospital, Berlin. “We have confidence that she will be able to walk freely again,” he said. Tymoshenko, 53, was freed from prison on Feb. 23, having served three years of a seven-year sentence for abuse of power, charges she always denied. Immediately after her release, she appeared in a wheelchair in Kiev’s Independence Square to address protesters in Ukraine’s capital. Tymoshenko also met with Chancellor Angela Merkel over the weekend on the sidelines of the European People’s Party congress in Dublin.
‘Arab Jon Stewart’ jammed
A Saudi-owned satellite network says the signal of its affiliate in the country was deliberately jammed while it aired the country’s top satirical program. Middle East Broadcasting Center spokesman Mazen Hayek on Saturday said that the network’s satellite carrier identified small satellite transmitters in two Cairo locations as the cause of the jamming during satirist Bassem Youssef’s show, called The Program in Arabic. Hayek said it was not possible to identify who was behind the jamming. He called the jamming of “a form of terrorism.” Youssef, often compared to US comedian Jon Stewart, has faced legal challenges over his skewering of politicians. A private TV station suspended his show last fall. The Saudi broadcaster began airing his show last month.