- Egypt Independent
DUBAI (Reuters) - Candidates affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards looked on course to win a parliamentary majority on Saturday, reportedly leading in the race in Tehran and towns and villages elsewhere, after a vote stacked in favour of the anti-American hardliners. An Interior Ministry official said a list of candidates affiliated with the Guards led in the capital. Lists linked to hardliners captured 83 seats in towns and villages across the country following Friday's vote, according to a Reuters tally. A clean sweep for hardliners would confirm the political demise of the country's pragmatist politicians, weakened by Washington's decision to quit a 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions
- Al Jazeera
The number of new coronavirus cases have spiked more than two-fold to 433 in South Korea, as China reported a significant decline in new infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the window of opportunity to stem the deadly epidemic was "narrowing" amid concern about a surge in cases with no clear link to China, including in a range of countries in the Middle East. Iran's health ministry reported one more death among 10 new cases of the infection, known as COVID-19. That brough the toll in Iran to five and the number of infections to 28 on Saturday. Lebanon and Israel confirmed their first cases on Friday. More: What happens if you catch the new coronavirus? Why does Indonesia
The Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militia group has named Abu Fadak al-Mohammadawi as its new leader, succeeding Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who was killed in Iraq alongside Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani last month. Due to his nickname of “the uncle,” al-Mohammadawi has been linked to the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad last December as the phrase “the uncle passed through here” was found written on the embassy's wall. Last Update: Saturday, 22 February 2020 KSA 03:01 - GMT 00:01
- Al Jazeera
Islamabad, Pakistan - After spending almost half of his life on death row, Wajeeh-ul-Hassan had given up hope that he would ever be freed. Convicted of committing blasphemy and sentenced to death by a court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore in 2002 - when he was 25 - he spent almost 19 years in jail in a country where the crime of insulting Islam, its Prophet Muhammad or its holy book, the Quran, has been at the centre of alleged rights abuses for decades. The crime carries punishments ranging from fines to life imprisonment and, in the case of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, a mandatory death sentence. But many cases do not even get to court. According to an Al Jazeera tally, at least
- Al Jazeera
Tehran, Iran - On the eve of the general election for Iran's 290-member parliament, the mood is heavy in the cold and rainy capital as the polls come amid escalating political tensions, economic struggles and concerns over public apathy. The country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have called for a high voter turnout, and asked the public to come together as they did during recent crises including the United States' assassination of General Qassem Soleimani in January. Nearly 58 million people are eligible to vote on preselected lists of candidates for Iran's 11th 290-seat parliament. The vote is key, as it is the first parliamentary election after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions against Tehran, including on its oil and banking sectors.
Two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UAE, the health ministry said on Friday. One of the two patients, 34, is from the Philippines, and the other, 39, is from Bangladesh. Both are in a stable health condition.
- Al Jazeera
With many factories still closed in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, its trading partners are feeling the effects. Pakistan imports more than $14bn worth of goods from China every year. Dwindling supplies has led to an inflation of prices for Chinese products. Al Jazeera's Sara Khairat reports.