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Iran sends French-Iranian academic back to prison: Supporters

Iranian authorities have sent back to prison French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, who had for over a year been serving a sentence under house arrest, her Paris-based support group said on Wednesday.

Adelkhah was sentenced on May 2020 to five years in prison for conspiring against national security, accusations her supporters have always denounced as absurd.

“It is with great shock and indignation that we have been informed that Fariba Adelkhah… has been re-imprisoned in the prison of Evin” in Tehran, the committee set up to support her said in a statement.

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“The Iranian government is cynically using our colleague for external or internal purposes that remain opaque, and that have nothing to do with her activities,” it added.

The committee accused the authorities of “deliberately endangering Fariba Adelkhah's health and even her life”, pointing to the death this month in Iranian custody of poet Baktash Abtin after he contracted Covid.

The surprise move by the Iranian authorities to move Adelkhah back to prison comes at a hugely sensitive juncture in talks involving France and other world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 deal on the Iranian nuclear program.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian complained Tuesday that the pace of the talks in Vienna is “too slow”, in marked contrast to the more upbeat tone from officials in Tehran.

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Dubai announces new timings for paid parking, metro, buses during Ramadan 2023


Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced new timings for paid parking zones and public transportation during Ramadan on Tuesday.
The revised timings for the Islamic holy month will go into effect from Thursday, officially the first day of Ramadan.

Paid Parking

The paid parking zones across the city will be split into two payable time slots. The first shift will start at 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and the second paid shift will begin at 8:00 p.m. until midnight from Monday to Saturday.
The Tecom zone F was not included in the revision so paid parking is still enforced from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Parking in paid zones will remain free on Sundays and multi-story car parks are 24-hour paid parking zones.

Public Transportation

Metro
The Dubai metro will run from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, from Monday to Thursday and on Saturday.
On Friday, both the red and green lines will operate from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the following day.
On Sunday, both lines will run from 8:00 a.m. to midnight.
Tram
The Dubai tram will run from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the following day, from Monday to Saturday.
On Sunday, the light rail system will operate from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the following day.
Bus
All current intercity bus routes operating from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ajman, and Fujairah will run from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the following day.
The metro feeder bus service within Dubai will coincide with the first and last metro timing.
Vehicle testing centers, including Tasjeel and Shamil will be closed on Sundays during the holy month.
A detailed list of revised timings for other means of public transportation including the water bus, Abra, and Dubai Ferry, and other RTA services are available online.

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Russia’s Black Sea Fleet thwarts drone attack on Crimea’s Sevastopol


The Russian navy “repelled” a drone attack on the port of Sevastopol in Moscow-annexed Crimea early on Wednesday, the Kremlin-backed governor of the city said.
The peninsula, seized by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, is home to Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet and has been hit by a series of drone attacks since the Kremlin’s offensive in Ukraine.
The attack came just four days after President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Sevastopol.
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“In total, three objects have been destroyed,” the Russian-installed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said on Telegram.
He said military personnel had shot at the drones with “small arms” and that “air defense was also working.”
Razvozhayev added there were no casualties and claimed no ships had been damaged, but said that the explosions blew out windows in nearby buildings.
These included the Moscow House cultural center, a well-known building that is beyond the port.
But Razvozhayev downplayed the attack, saying the navy “confidently and calmly” repelled it. He urged calm saying the “situation was under control.”
In a later post, he dismissed reports that people were leaving Crimea, saying it was a “lie” spread by Kyiv.
“Information is spreading about evacuations from the peninsula by ferry crossings and other such nonsense,” he said.
A day earlier Kyiv said Russian missiles were destroyed in a blast in Crimea, but denied responsibility for the incident.
In October, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was hit by a major drone attack that the Kremlin blamed on Ukraine.
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Taliban acting finance minister becomes central bank governor


The Taliban administration’s former acting finance minister, Mullah Hidayatullah Badri, has been appointed as governor of Afghanistan’s central bank, a finance ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

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Badri, who acted as the Taliban’s finance minister and oversaw budgets after they regained power in 2021, had already taken up his new role, finance ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal told Reuters.

The reason for the appointment and who would replace Badri at the finance ministry were not immediately clear. His predecessor as central bank governor was Haji Mohammad Idris.

Badri was head of the economic commission of the Taliban government, as they conducted a 20-year insurgency against the former Western-backed government of Afghanistan, according to Taliban officials. In that time, he ran most of the Taliban’s fundraising, they say.

Afghanistan’s central bank appointments have been closely watched by Washington, which froze billions of the bank’s reserves held in the US and later transferred half of the money to a trust fund in Switzerland overseen by US, Swiss and Afghan trustees.

One of several proposed US conditions on considering letting the central bank access to the funds has been replacement of senior Taliban members at the institution with experienced professionals. The aim would be to build confidence in the central bank being insulated from political interference.

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Afghan broadcaster airs rare all-female panel to discuss rights on Women’s Day

UN grants extension to Afghanistan mission

Female entrepreneurs from across Afghanistan seek out foreign markets

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