An Important News Mobile 2

Report into killing of Irish soldier in Lebanon finds litany of conflicting accounts

When Private Caomhán Seoige was sent out to observation post 6.22 Delta in the so-called ‘Iron Triangle’ in South Lebanon, the Aran Islander was just days away from returning home after his six months’ UN tour of duty. Private Hugh Doherty who accompanied him at that isolated spot, was just five days into his first overseas posting with the Defence Forces, part ...

Scores naturalized in Lebanon where women still lack rights

A Lebanese presidential decree to naturalize hundreds of foreigners, including Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi and other regional elites, has ignited a row over who deserves citizenship in this tiny Mediterranean country, where one in four people is a refugee and women married to foreigners cannot pass on their citizenship to their children. News of the decree, which was signed ...

Lebanon’s mountains are being wiped from the map – but does anyone care?

Rarely are journalists lost for words. But how do you describe the destruction of entire mountains, the slashing down of tens of thousands of pine trees, the very shape of the landscape changed by more than 3,000 quarries which have ripped apart the geography of Lebanon and made a new map of its blessed and ancient land – the Massacre of the Mountains? ...

Jordan’s next premier dodges tax crisis but big problems await

Jordan’s incoming prime minister defused his first political minefield after unions welcomed his plan to reconsider a proposed income tax increase that sparked widespread protests and brought down his predecessor. Prime Minister-designate Omar Al Razzaz told reporters in Amman that the tax bill would be withdrawn for review once his new cabinet is sworn in — as King Abdullah II ...

Iraq court jails French woman for 20 years over Islamic State membership

An Iraqi court on Sunday jailed a French woman for 20 years for belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group as her lawyers accused authorities in Paris of “interference” to prevent her returning to France. Melina Boughedir, a mother of four, was sentenced last February to seven months in prison for “illegal” entry into the country, and was set to ...

Australia’s CommBank accepts record penalty in money-laundering case

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) agreed to a record penalty of A$700 million ($529.3 million) to settle explosive money laundering charges brought by Australia’s financial intelligence agency. The fine is almost double the amount CBA had set aside to finalize the matter and represents a record penalty for money-laundering and terror finance breaches, the Australian government said on ...

EGYPT RE-TESTING RUSSIAN WHEAT AS ERGOT FUNGUS SPAWNS CONTROVERSY AGAIN

Egypt is re-testing a 63,000-tonne Russian wheat cargo for ergot, the common grain fungus, days after rejecting it for excessive levels, official and trade sources said. The samples were sent from the Red Sea port of Safaga to a central laboratory in Cairo. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, said on Thursday the cargo, sold to state grain buyer GASC, ...

Golden age for Kylie as Australia’s pop princess turns 50

SYDNEY — From teenage soap sensation to pop royalty, over Kylie Minogue’s three-decade career she has sold 80 million records, survived breast cancer and become a gay icon whose fanbase spans generations. The pint-sized Aussie superstar celebrates her 50th birthday on Monday, another milestone for the singer who is one of the few celebrities known simply by their first name. ...

Australia completes world’s largest cat-proof fence to protect endangered marsupials

The world’s largest cat-proof fence has been completed in central Australia, creating a 94 square kilometre sanctuary for endangered marsupials. The 44km fence – made of 85,000 pickets, 400km of wire and 130km of netting – surrounds the Newhaven wildlife sanctuary, a former cattle station that has been bought by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. Endangered species such as the bilby, the burrowing bettong ...

Australia’s high earners will benefit most from tax reforms, says thinktank

The Turnbull government’s plan to pursue billions of dollars in income tax cuts over the next seven years will radically alter Australia’s progressive income tax system, shifting more than 80% of workers to a flat tax, according to analysis. The analysis shows the major beneficiaries of the government’s plan will be Australia’s highest income earners, with the top 10% of ...