Dubai based news and features writer with 20 years' experience in both the UK and UAE media, writing for international titles including The Times and The Telegraph. Offering services including ghost writing, PR and media relations, copywriting and editing.

News And Features Articles

Iran puts treasured sites on sale to ease debt in face of sanctions

Some of Iran’s most ancient historical treasures are being put up for an online auction to reduce state debt in the face of crippling sanctions. Nineteen locations will be put on sale on May 22 by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts. The decision has been condemned by experts. Mohammad Gharipour, one of Iran’s leading architectural historians, said the plan was “extremely worrisome and appears to have been hastily made”.

Iranian film and sports stars banned from leaving country

Iranian film stars, sports personalities and celebrities have been banned from leaving the country, had their bank accounts frozen and wages cut, according to leaked documents that reveal the depth of the regime's crackdown. Dozens of famous Iranians have been penalised for supporting the women's rights protests that have taken place since last year, secret documents seen by the Telegraph show, with punishing sanctions including “disconnecting their communication”.

Iranian mullahs use spy cameras to catch hijab refuseniks

Iran has begun a nationwide CCTV surveillance operation to catch women refusing to wear the compulsory Islamic head covering in the wake of a nationwide uprising. Since unrest began in September following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in the custody of the Iranian morality police, women across the country have defied the regime in a mass rebellion. Women can now be seen in public places without the headscarf, in addition to innumerable others burning them in public, rejecting the strict dress

Saudi dissident in UK says there is a bounty on his head

A Saudi Arabian security officer turned dissident who fled to London after he criticised his country’s human rights record has claimed there is a bounty on his head. Colonel Rabih Alenezi, a member of Saudi Arabia’s security service, posted a video on Twitter last month announcing that he was abandoning his post over “dangerous violations to human rights” and “the reckless policies and political indiscretions” of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS.

Israeli protests over Netanyahu’s judicial reforms escalate

A record 120 demonstrations took place across Israel on Saturday and elite military reservists said they would refuse to turn up for duties as protests against proposed controversial reforms by Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, escalated. Thousands of demonstrators opposing legislation that could essentially make the government unaccountable to the legal system were attacked by right-wing and religious extremists with tear gas, pepper spray and iron bars amid the clashes.

Binyamin Netanyahu defies mass protests with vow to fulfil mandate

Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, has vowed his government will “fulfil our mandate” despite a weekend of historic mass demonstrations against his plans to curb Israel’s judiciary. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in cities across the country on Saturday, in what organisers claimed were the biggest protests in Israel’s history. More than 240,000 marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday, with 50,000 on the streets of the northern city of Haifa.

Hijab protests sow doubt and confusion among Iran’s revolutionary guards

Forces in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are beginning to feel “doubt and confusion” after almost five months of anti-regime demonstrations, senior officers have admitted. Compounding this sense of frustration is their pay. The salaries of IRGC soldiers are a quarter of their counterparts in Lebanon’s Hezbollah forces, Iran’s most powerful Middle East proxy, according to sources.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard given extra billions as economy collapses

Iran’s feared state security forces, which have played a violent role in suppressing nationwide protests, have been allocated $3 billion in the latest budget, despite the country’s collapsing economy. Announced several weeks late by the government, the budget for the state militia, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has been raised by 28 per cent. Some experts estimate the actual income of the militia could be as high as $17 billion.

In Bethlehem, the Christian population is shrinking and afraid

While there is a giant tree and twinkling lights in Manger Square, the celebrations around the 6th-century Church of the Nativity, the site of Jesus’s birth two millennia ago, are being observed by a diminishing number of tourists and locals. The city’s Christian population has dropped from 84 per cent of the total a century ago to about 20 per cent today, and is falling further in the face of discrimination and threats from elements of the Muslim majority.

Morality police retreat from Iranian streets in wake of hijab death protests

Not long after Iran’s ultra-conservative president issued an edict for greater enforcement of the religious code, three women wearing black chadors patrolled the streets of Rasht almost every day in a green-and-white van that marked them out as members of the morality police. President Raisi’s order on July 5 commanded the Guidance Patrols to seek out women failing to wear their headscarves properly.

Iranian journalist arrested after reporting Mahsa Amini’s injuries

An Iranian newspaper journalist who played an important role in covering the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police is being held in solitary confinement. Niloufar Hamedi was arrested after breaking the news that Amini, 22, was in hospital following her arrest this month for “unsuitable attire” by the police force, which enforces the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. Hamedi is one of several reporters detained during the country’s worst protests since 2019.

Ezba experience: A magical glimpse into the private life of Abu Dhabi's Emiratis

While modern Abu Dhabi can be defined by a space-age skyline and gigantic engineering projects, glimpses of the emirate's traditional old world can still be found and -- if you have the right guide to initiate you into the often private lives of locals -- experienced by visitors. One classic Emirati tradition is the ezba, a place that long played an important role in the lives of Abu Dhabi's nomadic Bedouin tribes.

Saudi feminist jailed for 45 years over social media posts

Saudi Arabia has handed down its harshest ever sentence to a women’s rights activist, sentencing her to 45 years in prison for opposing the regime on social media. Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani was convicted in the Specialised Criminal Court for “using the internet to tear the social fabric” and “violating the public order by using social media”, according to a court document received by rights group Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn).
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