Spain hails Saudi Arabia, Iran decision to resume diplomatic ties

Spain on Saturday welcomed the resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran after officials of the two countries met in China.

"The government of Spain welcomes the decision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran to reestablish diplomatic relations. Both countries are key to security and cooperation in the region," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry reiterated Spain's commitment to continue actively contributing to the stability of the Middle East "through its participation in international peace operations and its friendly and cooperative relations with all the countries of the region."

It added that these aspects are among the priorities of Madrid's next presidency of the Council of the EU.

The two Persian Gulf neighbors severed their diplomatic ties after the Saudi diplomatic mission in Tehran was attacked by an angry mob in January 2016 over the execution of a Saudi Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

The two estranged neighbors were engaged in marathon talks brokered by Iraq since April 2021 to restore diplomatic ties. Both Tehran and Riyadh noted progress but the breakthrough had been eluding.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Ukraine slams decision to reject Zelenskyy’s Oscars speech request

Ukrainian foreign minister 'sharply' criticized Saturday the decision to reject President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's request to speak at the Oscars ceremony, according to local media.

'The decision not to invite Zelenskyy to deliver a speech during the Oscars ceremony, where one of the leading Best Foreign Language Film nominees is an anti-war Picture, is highly hypocritical,' Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper, state news agency Ukrinform reported.

'I think if 'All Quiet on the Western Front' receives an Oscar as the Best Foreign Language Film, while Zelenskyy, who is in the war, leading the country, fighting in the biggest war in Europe since World War II, is not allowed to speak at the Oscars ceremony, you will not find a better example of the hypocrisy of the film industry's top executives and producers,' Ukrinform quoted Kuleba as saying.

For the second time, the Academy Awards has declined to offer the floor to the Ukrainian leader.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Anti-government protests resume in Israel for 10th straight week

Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets Saturday to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing policies and a plan that would restrict the powers of the judiciary.

Israelis have held demonstrations every Saturday against the judicial regulation of the extreme right-wing coalition government led by Netanyahu.

They were on the streets again Saturday in the tenth consecutive week of protests held in dozens of cities, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, West Jerusalem, Beersheba and Netanya.

Representatives from different NGOs made pro-democracy speeches on a stage set up in Tel Aviv's Kaplan square near the government complex.

Demonstrators also chanted slogans against Netanyahu, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Yair Lapid, former prime minister and leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, attended demonstrations in the southern city of Beersheba.

'Together with more than 10,000 mighty protesters in Beersheba, fighting for the state,' Lapid wrote on Twitter.

Proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the reform plan, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The change would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, give the government the power to choose judges and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the attorney general.

Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, has insisted his plan would enhance democracy.

*Ikram Imane Kouachi contributed to this report.

Source: Anadolu Agency

US, Georgia agree to maintain economic pressure on Russia amid Ukraine war

The US and Georgia agreed to maintain economic pressure on Russia amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Friday with Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed 'the need to ensure Russia continues to feel the full economic costs of the sanctions, export controls, and other economic restrictions imposed by the US and a coalition of over 30 allies and partners on Russia to hold Putin accountable for his war in Ukraine,' the White House said in a statement.

Sullivan and Zourabichvili also discussed recent developments in Georgia, underlining the two nations' common interest in Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration, according to the statement.

They also talked about Zourabichvili's will for a 'unified and inclusive approach to achieving the reforms necessary to advance Georgia's candidacy for EU membership,' the statement added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Galatasaray taste narrow win over Kasimpasa as Zaniolo scores in Istanbul

Nicolo Zaniolo's goal led Galatasaray to a narrow win over Kasimpasa Saturday on matchday 25 of the Turkish Super Lig.

Neither team was able to break the deadlock for the first half at Nef Stadium.

Galatasaray's new signing Zaniolo came off the bench in the 46th minute and scored a close-range finish in the 57th minute, assisted by Milot Rashica.

Following the goal, the stadium announcer and fans yelled out "Muhammed Zaniolo" multiple times as a mark of respect for the 17-year-old Muhammed Emin Ozkan, who died in the Trkiye earthquake.

Last month, the Istanbul football club gifted a Zaniolo-signed jersey to Galatasaray fan Muhammed's father Dogan Ozkan.

Galatasaray, who are on top of the Super Lig with 60 points in 24 matches, won 17 matches in a row, including three Turkish Cups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Dutch farmers protest government’s agricultural policy

Thousands of farmers in the Netherlands gathered Saturday in the Hague to protest the government's agricultural policy.

Protestors participated in the demonstration that was organized with the support of various institutions.

Farmers gathered in Zuiderpark to protest the government's decision to reduce nitrogen emissions.

The municipality of the Hague banned tractors from entering the city to maintain public order.

It allowed only two tractors to enter, citing an "emergency order."

Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders and the leader of the far-right Forum for Democracy party, Thierry Baudet, addressed the demonstration.

Source: Anadolu Agency

India uses helicopters to contain forest fires in western state

The Indian Air Force on Sunday said that it has intensified firefighting efforts in the western state of Goa, where "sporadic fires" have been reported and detected in various areas over a week.

The Indian Air Force said on Twitter that it is responding to fires with Mi-17 helicopters and dispensed over 25,000 liters of water over the affected areas on Saturday.

"Thus far, 47,000 liters of water have been dispensed by the Indian Air Force over the afflicted area," it added.

India's Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav said the Indian Air Force helicopters have done a "remarkable job trying to douse the fires and saving the forest and related biodiversity."

According to the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, "sporadic fires have been reported and detected in various areas of Goa, including forests, private areas, comunidades lands, plantations, revenue lands etc." since March 5.

Authorities have spotted 48 fires after reports from the field since March 5 till March 10, and field executives and other departments attended them, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

It also said authorities "have been directed to conduct a detailed enquiry into each of the fire incidences which have occurred since March 5."

The ministry also said around the clock control room was established for real-time monitoring of the fire alerts generated by Forest Survey of India, a government monitor for land and forests.

Vishwajit Rane, Goa's forest minister, said as of 8 a.m. local time (0200GMT) on Sunday, seven fires were still burning, while over 450 people were deployed to fight the blazes, and 16 fires were extinguished as of Saturday.

Talking to Anadolu, Saurabh Kumar, a senior forest department official in Goa, said all efforts are being made to douse the fires reported in several places immediately. He said that the fire incidents are "exceptional," and the foremost priority is to put out the blazes.

According to the Forest Ministry statement, "it appears that the fires are mostly man-made in nature, cause of which may be inadvertent or otherwise, for which enquiry has been initiated and the spread has further been aided due to unprecedented high temperature and high winds."

"No major losses to floral and faunal diversity have been reported as yet," it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency