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Stories from Middle East

Iran's Grand Ayatollah: 3G Internet Is Immoral

Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a prominent Shia scholar, has said 3G Internet is immoral and inhumane, Iranian sites reported on Tuesday.

Iran has the highest number of internet users in the Middle East, but its average data speed is about a tenth of the global average.Internet speeds in Iran have accelerated by 30 percent since summer 2013, after Hassan Rohani won the presidential election.

Iranian Photojournalist Arrested Alongside Washington Post Reporter Is Released

An unidentified female Iranian-American photojournalist was released on Thursday, Aug. 21 after being held in police custody at an unidentified location since July 22.

The photojournalist had official accreditation from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and was arrested alongside her husband and on the same day that Iranian-American Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi were arrested.

Since then, the husband of the photojournalist has been released. Rezaian and Salehi remain in the custody of the Iranian Judiciary in an unknown location and have yet to be issued formal charges. 

Iranian Police Interrogator Gets 3 Years Jail Time for Killing a Blogger

Cyber police interrogator Akbar Taghizadeh has been sentenced to three years in prison, two years in exile, and 74 lashes for the murder of dissident blogger Sattar Beheshti, who died under torture while in police detention in November 2012. “On Wednesday afternoon, August 6, news of the sentence was delivered to us by mail. But we do not accept it. It is dastardly and unfair,” said Gohar Eshghi, Beheshti's mother, in an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Many Twitter users, following the story under the #SattahBeheshti hashtag, expressed similar disapproval for the sentencing.

PHOTO: Crowds Outside a Cairo Liquor Store

A photograph showing crowds outside a popular Cairo liquor store is making the rounds online. On Twitter, Tom Gara shares it with his 27.9K followers:

Egypt, with a liberal alcohol policy compared to other Muslim countries, bans the sale of alcohol to Egyptians during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ended yesterday. This explains the scene Gara tweets.

Images of Air Algerie AH5017 Plane Wreckage in Mali Reveals Violent, Abrupt Crash

The first footage of the plane crash are now available thanks to a Burkinabe soldier present on the site of the wreck near Gossi, in Northern Mali. There are no survivors among the 118 people on board, including more than 50 French nationals. Algerian website Algérie Focus reports in French that:

Cette vidéo montre des débris éparpillés et broyés. La zone sablonneuse a été noircie par le crash. Sur cette vidéo, il est pratiquement impossible de repérer les pièces maîtresses de l’avion au milieu des débris.

The video shows scattered and crushed debris. The sand at the site was blackened by the crash. In the video, it is virtually impossible to identify the key components of the aircraft amid the debris.

Eerie Similarities in Deaths Provoked by Police Brutality in Staten Island and Paris

Eric Garner was a 44-year-old African-American man who died following an attempted arrest by the NY Police Department. On July 17, 2014, when police officers attempted to arrest Garner, he had broken up a fight. Garner who suffered from asthma was wrestled to the ground. Medical examiners concluded chokehold and chest compression as the primary causes of Garner's death and Garner's heart problems, obesity and asthma as additional factors. Here is a video of the accident [Warning: Graphic Images]

A few days later (28 August) in Roissy, France, Abdelhak Goradia, a 51 year old Algerian citizen also died inside a police van. The police was carrying Goradia to the airport to be deported back to Algeria when they initially affirmed that he died of a heart attack. Justice department corrected that assessment and stated that Goradia died from choking on his own gastric fluids. His lawyer stated that Goradia called him to say that he was taken away in handcuffs and a head gear. Goradia was previously charged with theft, petty crimes and violence.

VIDEO: Is the IDF Glorifying Its Air Bombings of Gaza?

Israeli blogger Elizabeth Tsurkov challenges the IDF to make an English version of a video it had released in Hebrew, which she describes as “glorifying air bombings of Gaza.”

She tweets:

At least 1,900 Palestinians have been killed, more than 10,000 injured, and 450,000 displaced since Israel launched a massive offensive called Protective Edge against the 40-kilometer-long coastal strip on July 8.

Follow our in-depth coverage: #Gaza: Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Israeli Offensive

PHOTO: Five Jewish Graves in WWI Gaza Cemetery

Foreign Policy magazine Middle East editor David Kenner visiting the British WW1 cemetery in Gaza and shares this photograph on Twitter.

The inscription reads: “In the mighty march of progress, he sought to do his best.”

The grave of Second Lieutenant W. G. A. Joseph of the Northamptonshire regiment is one of five graves belonging to Jewish soldiers which Kenner spotted.

Kenner is among journalists from around the world who swarmed on Gaza to cover a major Israeli offensive called Protective Edge against the 40-kilometer-long coastal strip, which started on July 8.

Dr Ashraf Al Qedra, spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, announced on his Facebook page the overall toll as of yesterday, the 34th day of fighting, as follows:

حصيلة العدوان الصهيوني الغاشم المستمر على غزة لليوم الرابع والثلاثين هي 1911 شهيد وحوالي 9861 جريح .

The toll of the aggressive Zionist attack, continuing on Gaza for the 34th day, is 1,911 martyrs and 9,861 injured

Follow our in-depth coverage: #Gaza: Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Israeli Offensive

PHOTO: Palestinians Teach Life

Palestinian Sayel tweets to his 1,800 plus followers on Twitter the following photograph of Gazans planting flowers in Israeli shells. He notes:

Today is Day 19 of an Israeli offensive on the Palestinian enclave, which has claimed the lives of at least 1,000 Palestinians and injured 6,000 others.

Photo: Watching Rockets Fly Over Gaza from Space

From outer space, astronaut Alexander Gerst watches as Gaza erupts in flames. He tweets:

This photograph has been retweeted 33K times so far.

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