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Kyrgyzstan: Showcase Highway Project Stuck in Funding Jam

BISKEK:The Issyk-Kul highway was supposed to demonstrate that Kyrgyzstan was capable of completing big projects single-handedly, without foreign funding. But three years after its start, construction is now at a standstill, the money has run out and laborers are complaining of unpaid salaries.

The project was designed to expand and improve an existing stretch of road that leads eastward from Balykchy to Korumdu. The route is how visitors reach the lakeside resorts that constitute the core of the country’s tourism industry, which accounts for about 8 percent of economic activity in the country. For most of its current 100-kilometer length, the surface is pot-holed and uneven. Adding to the hazards, many safety-averse drivers are tempted into perilous passing maneuvers on the busy road.

At a projected 6.8 billion som (around $100 million) — an amount equal to $15 for each Kyrgyz citizen — the country was to get a road of which it could be proud. The plan had been to get the highway ready in time for the 2017 Nomad Games, a showcase sporting event intended to impress unseasoned outsiders.

For Tynybek Turgunaliyev, a laborer who has been working on the project for the past two years, the reality has been more bitter. The salary delays began in August. “My daughter is doing her fourth year at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, I have to help her out,” Turgunaliyev said. “Four months ago I took out a loan for 100,000 som to pay for my daughter’s fees.”

Turgunaliyev said he is one of the lucky ones as his wife has a job at a bazaar and is able to help out.

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Senior Cleric Says Iran ‘Fully Determined’ To Boost Missile Power

Tehran interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatolllah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully determined to upgrade its missile power aimed at “confronting whatever threat posed by Israel”, IRNA reports.

Addressing the worshipers at Tehran University, Ayatollah Khatami said “in a world where wolves rule and there is no logic in their behavior, the Islamic Republic should be armed and powerful”.

The senior cleric said Iran’s military missile might is one of the main components of the country’s policy of deterrence.

“We have missiles, we would continue building more missiles and increase their ranges”, he added.

The senior cleric further said that the most important principle of Iran’s military power is defense through deterrence.

Ayatollah Khatami said Iran would never make atomic bombs, adding that based on a Fatwa issued by Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran remains to believe that it should not develop and possess nuclear weapons.


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US Airstrikes Kill 5 Al-Qaida Members In Yemen

U.S. airstrikes killed five al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula operatives in Yemen’s al-Bayda governorate Nov. 20, in an effort to disrupt the terrorist’s attack networks, according to a U.S. Central Command news release issued Friday.

Mujahid al-Adani, an al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula Shabwah leader, was killed in the strikes, along with al-Bayda-based facilitator Abu Layth al-Sanaani and three terrorist network associates, the release said.

Planned, Conducted Terrorist Attacks
Al-Adani, also known as Mohammad Shukri, previously served as an al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula military leader in Aden and remained responsible for planning and conducting terrorist attacks against Yemeni and coalition forces. Al-Adani maintained a significant influence within al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula as well as close ties to other terrorist network senior leaders, according to the release.

The Shabwah offensive has forced al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to consolidate within the northern and eastern portions of the Abyan and eastern al-Bayda governorates, respectively, the release said.

The removal of key al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula leaders and associates in this region, the release said, will further degrade the terrorist network’s freedom of movement and operation, limiting their ability to challenge Yemeni security forces and coalition advances.


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Travel Warnings For US Citizens In Egypt, Sudan

The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum on Thursday issued a travel warning for Americans living in Sudan to “avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”

According to a released statement on the embassy’s website, U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “may spark protests, some of which have the potential to become violent”.

The mission also reminded the U.S. citizens of the need for caution and awareness of personal security.

“Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news for updates,” read the statement.

It said that activities in the mission would be limited, especially on Friday, due to a high risk of protests.

A similar statement was also issued by the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.


‘Recognize the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital’

Meanwhile, political parties in the country called on Muslim countries to take concrete steps against Trump’s decision.

In a released statement on Thursday, the Popular Congress Party of Sudan, which participates in the Sudanese coalition government, said the governments of Islamic countries should take a strong attitude and concrete steps against the U.S. move.

The opposition Sudanese Congress Party also issued a statement condemning the decision underlining that it violated international laws and contradicted the UN resolutions.

On the other hand, the upper and lower chambers of the Sudanese parliament called on the Arab and Islamic countries to recognize the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital in a reaction to the decision, according to the Sudan Tribune..

The paper also reported that some lawmaker also called on the government to expel the U.S. chargé d’affaires in Khartoum.

Despite widespread international opposition,Trump on Wednesday announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

According to Trump, the U.S. State Department has been told to begin preparations for relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and other Muslim countries.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — now occupied by Israel — might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.


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