23 April 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Syria attack: Chemical weapons inspectors retrieve samples from Douma
by The Independent, 23 Apr 2018

International chemical weapons inspectors have collected samples of soil and human tissue from the Syrian town of Douma in an effort to establish whether such weapons were used in an attack there. The experts there will try to determine whether chemical weapons were used in the attack on 7 April, and if so, which.

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Israel celebrates but is war with Iran looming?
By The Guardian, 23 Apr 2018

There were fireworks, concerts, torch processions and parties throughout the country. In Jerusalem the night sky was illuminated by 300 drones that coalesced to form images of favourite Israeli symbols,such as the national flag and a dove with an olive branch in its mouth. The celebrations included a live, televised retelling of Jewish history dating to biblical times. In one scene children with yellow stars pinned to their clothes fled marching Nazi soldiers. Another showed pioneers building the fledgling Jewish state. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, helped lead the national extravaganza, despite objections that his presence contradicted the event’s traditional, non-political character. This moment – the 70th anniversary last Wednesday of Israel’s independence, according to the Hebrew calendar – marked the country’s emergence as a rising world power, he declared.

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Afghanistan: 63 dead in attacks on voter registration centres
By Al Jazeera, 23 Apr 2018

Bombings at voter registration centres in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and in Baghlan province have killed at least 63 people and wounded more than a hundred others, health officials said. At least 57 people were killed in Kabul when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the doorway of an ID distribution centre in the city on Sunday, officials said.  Six more people were killed later in the day in Baghlan's Pul-e-Khumri city, when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb near  another voting centre. All six were from the same family. 

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Opinion: Turkey getting a last shot at democracy
by DW, 18 Apr 2018

Turkey is heading for early elections on June 24. The winner of the crucial vote will wield extraordinary power, which is exactly what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants, says DW's Seda Serdar.

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