Xi Jinping, 69, begins historic third term as China's president

News Network
March 10, 2023

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China's leader Xi Jinping has secured a historic third term as president from the country's rubber-stamp parliament.

It follows a consolidation of power that has made Mr Xi, 69, China's most dominant leader in generations.

In the Chinese system of governance, the functions of the president are largely ceremonial.

Mr Xi's power comes from him being General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).

Confirmation of his third term as president had been widely expected. The naming of a new premier and various ministers in the coming days is considered more important.

The new appointees are all expected to be Xi Jinping loyalists. This includes Li Qiang, who is tipped to serve as Mr Xi's number two.

Mr Xi has solidified his rule as China reopens from his bruising zero-Covid policy that has fuelled anti-government protests.

The so-called Two Sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) this week is closely watched as it provides a glimpse into China's direction in the coming years.

Since Mao Zedong, leaders in China had been limited to two terms in office. When Mr Xi had this restriction changed in 2018, it transformed him into a figure with a reach not seen since Chairman Mao.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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The head of the political bureau of Hamas says Israel’s assassination of his children will not make the Palestinian resistance group back down on its goals and demands in the latest round of talks aimed at reaching a truce in the Gaza war.

Ismail Haniyeh made the remarks in a phone interview with Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV network on Wednesday night, after an Israeli airstrike killed three of his sons — Hazem, Amir and Mohammad — and four grandchildren in the al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. 

“Our demands are clear and specific and we will not make concessions on them. The enemy will be delusional if it thinks that targeting my sons, at the climax of the negotiations and before the movement sends its response, will push Hamas to change its position,” he said.

The Israeli military and the regime’s so-called internal security service, Shin Bet, confirmed killing Haniyeh’s sons, who were visiting relatives on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr before their vehicle was struck.

The assassination came at a time when Hamas was preparing a response to Israel’s proposal for a Gaza ceasefire delivered through mediators during the negotiations in Cairo.

Also in his remarks, Haniyeh said killing his sons would only make Hamas “more steadfast in our principles and adherence to our land.”

The resistance group, he added, would “not surrender, and […] not compromise […] no matter how great our sacrifices are.”

The Hamas leader also noted that around 60 members of his family, including nieces and nephews, have been martyred during the Gaza onslaught. 

“All our people and all the families of Gaza have paid a heavy price in blood, and I am one of them,” he said.

Haniyeh further decried Israel’s brutality in Gaza, saying the regime is conducting a war of ethnic cleansing and genocide on the besieged territory.

“There is no doubt that this criminal enemy is driven by the spirit of revenge and the spirit of murder and bloodshed, and it does not observe any standards or laws,” he stressed.

Erdogan extends condolences to Haniyeh

Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has extended his condolences to Haniyeh over the deaths of several of his family members, the Turkish Communications Directorate said.

During the phone call on Wednesday, Erdogan said that Israel will be held accountable before the law for its crimes against humanity.

In addition, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz condemned the attack and conveyed his condolences to Haniyeh.

”The Israeli administration will eventually be held accountable for these inhumane attacks under international law,” Yilmaz said on X.

Israel waged its bloody US-backed war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out its historic operation against the usurping entity in retaliation for the regime's intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

So far, the occupying regime has killed at least 33,482 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 76,049 others.

Ansarullah’s reaction

Meanwhile, the Yemeni Ansarullah resistance group extended its condolences to Haniyeh.

“These great sacrifices … indeed strengthen the steadfastness of Palestinian people in the face of Israeli arrogance,” Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam stated.
On the threatened invasion of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, Haniyeh said, “We will not submit to the occupying regime’s intimidation, as those who surrender will not be spared.”

Shati is the third-largest refugee camp among the eight in the Gaza Strip, and also one of its most crowded, with thousands of people living in an area of less than half a square kilometer.

Ismail Haniyeh, who now lives in Qatar, is originally from Shati camp.

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News Network
April 14,2024

Qatar and Kuwait have banned any use of their airspace and air bases for attacks against Iran amid heightened tensions between Iran and the Israeli regime following an Israeli attack early this month on an Iranian diplomatic mission in Syria.

Reports on Saturday indicated that both Qatar and Kuwait had issued directives to the United States stressing that the US military will not be allowed to use air bases in the two countries for carrying out any potential airstrikes on Iran.

Qatar and Kuwait have also indicated that their airspace will not be available for any military action against Iran.

The US has military aircraft at the Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait. The Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is also the largest US air base in the West Asia region.

The directives issued by Iran’s two Arab neighbors come amid reports showing that Iran is preparing to respond to an Israeli airstrike that killed two of its senior military commanders in its consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 1.

Washington has urged Iran to deescalate while saying that it will defend Israel in case it is attacked.

Iran, which has no direct relations with the US, has called on regional Arab countries to advise the US not to interfere if Israel is attacked.

Countries have been wary of a major confrontation in the region more than six months into an Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

Reports show they have already limited the ability of the US to use their airspace and air bases for attacks on resistance groups that are allied with Iran and have been attacking Israeli and US interests in the region since the start of the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

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News Network
April 14,2024

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Tehran: Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has launched “extensive” retaliatory missile and drone strikes against the occupied territories in response to the Israeli regime’s terrorist attack of April 1 against the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic premises in the Syrian capital Damascus.

The Corps announced launching the strikes in a statement on Saturday night, defining the mission as "Operation True Promise."

“In response to the Zionist regime’s numerous crimes, including the attack on the consular section of Iran’s Embassy in Damascus and the martyrdom of a number of our country’s commanders and military advisors in Syria, the IRGC’s Aerospace Division launched tens of missiles and drones against certain targets inside the occupied territories,” the statement read.

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, meanwhile, warned that “Whatever country that could open its soil or airspace to Israel for a [potential] attack on Iran, will receive our decisive response.”

The Israeli attack had resulted in the martyrdom of Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a commander of the IRGC's Quds Force, his deputy, General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, and five of their accompanying officers.

The terrorist attack drew sharp condemnation from senior Iranian political and military leaders, who vowed "definitive revenge."

During a speech in Tehran on Wednesday after leading the Eid al-Fitr prayers, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the Israeli regime “must be punished and will be punished” for the deadly strike on the Iranian diplomatic premises.

The Leader added, “The evil Zionist regime committed another mistake ...  and that was the attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria. The consulate and diplomatic missions in any country are considered to be the territory of that country. When they attack our consulate, it means they have attacked our soil."

In a subsequent statement, the IRGC said the retaliation came after 10 days of "silence and neglect" on the part of the international organizations, especially the United Nations Security Council, to condemn the Israeli aggression or punish the regime in line with Article 7 of the UN Charter.

Iran then resorted to the retaliatory strikes, the Corps added, "using its strategic intelligence capabilities, missiles, and drones" to attack "targets of the Zionist terrorist army in the occupied territories, successfully hitting and destroying them."

The statement, meanwhile, warned the United States -- the Israeli regime's biggest supporter -- that "any support or participation in harming Iran's interests will result in a decisive and regrettable response by the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic."

"Furthermore, America is held responsible for the evil actions of the Zionist regime, and if this child-killing regime is not restrained in the region, it will bear the consequences," it noted.

The Corps concluded the statement by cautioning third countries against letting their soil or airspace be used for attacks against the Islamic Republic.

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