Development close to Roman catacombs could be withdrawn

The site in Kercem.17/06/2017 (Times of Malta – Malta): The Planning Authority board will be deciding whether to withdraw a permit for a terraced house which could threaten Gozo’s only surviving Roman catacombs. The controversial permit given to the development at a protected site in Għar Għerduf, Kercem, has triggered off protests from NGOs and residents. In a statement this afternoon, the PA said when the application was being processed, the Planning Directorate considered the zone as a Class B archaeology site. However, government records show the site had been protected as a Class A category (top protection) until October 2000. The same discrepancy was shown on the PA’s electronic system used by the Planning Directorate when the application was evaluated…


Libyan, Italian coastguards rescue more than 3,400 migrants

Migrants and refugees stand on the deck of the rescue vessel Golfo Azzurro after being rescued by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms workers in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, June 16, 2017. (AP Photo)17/06/2017 (Sabah – Turkey): The Italian and Libyan coastguard have rescued more than 3,400 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe since Friday, the two countries’ coastguards said. Most were rescued in 18 separate operations on Friday, the coastguard said, while more missions were undertaken overnight, according to news agency ANSA. The EU border agency Frontex and Italian marines were also involved in the rescue operations.Over 1,800 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, according to the International Organization for Migration. The Italian coastguard said it rescued 2,500 migrants, while the Libyan coastguard rescued more than 900 African and Asian migrants attempting to reach Europe, a Libyan navy spokesman said Saturday…


Political turmoil finds artistic outlet at Basel fair

17/06/2017 (Hurriyet – Turkey): Hundreds of glass bottles suspended in nets or hanging from chains hauntingly illustrate the horrors of the slave trade, while 40,000 golden bullets are poised menacingly above an egg-covered surface. The global political turmoil has left its mark on many of the works on display at this year’s Art Basel, the world’s biggest contemporary art fair.With allusions to mass-migration tragedies, political populism, violent extremism and protest movements, even the more historically focused pieces appear to speak directly to today’s angst-provoking realities. “This edition of Art Basel was chosen at a particularly political time,” the fair’s director, Marc Spiegler, said ahead of the public opening on June 15…


Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

17/06/2017 (Gulf News – Bahrain): Inc said on Friday it would buy Whole Foods Market Inc for $13.7 billion, in an embrace of brick-and-mortar stores that could turn the high-end grocer into a mass-market merchant and upend the already struggling U.S. retail industry. Amazon used aggressive pricing to become an e-commerce retail juggernaut and has recently been experimenting with brick-and-mortar outlets. It will take over a natural and organic grocer pioneer with 456 stores, a mecca for young, high-end shoppers, that has been struggling to rein in prices and integrate technology. The deal represents a dramatic turn in strategy for Amazon, which has offered food delivery through its Fresh service for a decade but has not made a major dent in the $700 billion grocery market. “The ramifications for all of retail are seismic – not just retailers that sell grocery, but for everyone,” Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom said…$137-billion


Has journalism failed to reflect our harrowing, blood-soaked reality?

Ramzy Baroud17/06/2017 (Al Arabiya News – UAE by Ramzy Baroud*): Media coverage of any subject is as good as the people behind it. When those people are propagandists, sectarian and deliberately skew or drum up their own facts, then the outcome, predictably, becomes a gross mispresenting of reality. This becomes more urgent when the media coverage pertains to the Middle East, a region that is undergoing a massive upheaval, where violence has grown dramatically in degree and dimension, and where the parties – enemies and allies – are in constant flux.  Indeed, the conflicts inspiring this unprecedented violence are compound, and at times confusing even for those who are familiar with the region and its history…

*Ramzy Baroud  is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of


Saudi foreign minister says Saudi, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain working on list of Qatar ‘grievances’

Adel al-Jubeir17/06/2017 (Ahram Online – Egypt): Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Friday that his country, Egypt and two other Arab states that broke ties with Doha were drawing up a list of “grievances,” and would present them soon, warning that Qatar could not fund extremism and remain on good terms with neighboring states. The minister, Adel al-Jubeir, told journalists in London that Qatar should respond to demands to halt its support for “extremism and terrorism” which, he said, were being made by the whole world and not just Gulf states. Four Arab states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – severed diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and Iran – charges that Doha has denied. The UAE has also decided to blacklist Qatari individuals and entities…,-Egypt,-UAE-and-.aspx


International opera festival curtain opens in Istanbul

09/06/2017 (Hurriyet – Turkey): The 8th International Istanbul Opera Festival will meet art lovers between June 13 and 23, kicking off with Mozart’s famous “Abduction from the Seraglio,” staged by Yekta Kara. The opera, conducted by Zdravko Lazarov, will be performed by the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet on June 13, 14 and 15 in the garden of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Due to the 100th year of his birth, the founder of the Ankara and Istanbul Opera, state artist, director and opera artist Aydın Gün, who has made many contributions to the development of opera in Turkey, is being commemorated in the 2016-2017 season of the State Opera and Ballet with a concert series. He will also be commemorated in the festival program. The concert, which has been performed in the southern province of Mersin, Ankara and the northern province of Samsun, will also be performed in Istanbul by sopranos Zerrin Karslı, Deniz Yetim, mezzo soprano Aylin Ateş, tenor Emrah Sözer, bassist Şafak Güç, and baritone Caner Akgün under the baton of Selman Ada…


Hellenic-era tomb discovered in Shatby, Alexandria

09/06/2017 (Egypt Indipendent – Egypt): The Egyptian Archaeological Mission in Alexandria on Thursday discovered a Hellenic-era tomb in Al-Shatby district of Alexandria city. The Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, Mahmoud Afifi, said the discovery was made during the excavation work carried out by an Egyptian archaeological mission from the ministry’s inspectorate in Alexandria.Mustafa Rushdi, General Director of Antiquities for the Western Delta and Alexandria, said in a statement that the tomb was dated based on its architectural style and the remains of the pottery found inside it…


Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul hits record high

Turkey's Borsa Istanbul hits record high09/06/2017 (Anadolu Agency – Turkey): Turkey’s benchmark index closed the day with an all-time high after going up 965.33 points on Friday to stand at 98,942.87 points. Borsa Istanbul’s BIST 100 index rose 0.99 percent with a total trading volume of 4.6 billion Turkish liras (approximately $1.30 billion). The banking and holding sector indices advanced by 1.33 percent and 0.90 percent, respectively. Among all sectors, the mining sector index was the top gainer — up 4.44 percent — while the small-and-medium enterprises industrial index saw the biggest decline, going down 0.23 percent. Stocks of Nurol GMYO (NUGYO), a real estate investment trust, were the top performer with an increase of 20 percent in value, whereas Otokar, a major defense industry firm part of Koc Holding, performed the worst, with its stocks falling by 3.14 percent…