Ammon News, Gotcha

Jordanian who killed 7 Israeli girls in 1997 set for release


[3/8/2017 7:34:50 AM]

AMMONNEWS - An official in Jordan's government says a Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls visiting the country on a class trip will be released after serving 20 years in prison. Spokesman Mohammed Momani said Tuesday that Ahmed Daqamseh is to be freed next week, possibly Monday, after completing his term. Daqamseh killed the girls in a 1997 shooting rampage at the "Island of Peace" border post. A military court deemed him mentally unstable and sentenced him to life in prison, which in Jordan typically means 25 years. Jordanian lawmakers lobbied in the past for his early release. King Hussein, Jordan's ruler in 1997, paid a rare visit to Israel to express his condolences to the girls' parents. The shooting came three years after Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty.

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Jordan drops 12 places on corruption perceptions index


[1/26/2017 3:47:36 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan is perceived as more corrupt and less transparent than in 2015, according to its ranking and score in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index. Jordan’s score in the index dropped in 2016 by 5 points compared to the year before, pushing Jordan 12 places down the ranking list. This year, the Kingdom ranked 57th out of 176 countries included in the index, with an overall score of 48 out of 100 points. Last year, Jordan ranked 45th internationally, scoring 53 out of 100. Jordan came fourth regionally, following the United Arab Emirates (24th), Israel (28th) and Qatar (ranked 31st). The findings of the anti-graft perception index, which collects data from 13 sources, including evaluations of experts and the opinions of businesspeople, were released on Wednesday at a session organised by the Jordanian Integrity and Transparency Coalition “Rasheed”. Major shortcomings were related to investment measures and investors’ feedback, said Rasheed Deputy Chairman Osama Azzam, who cited perceptions of increasing challenges facing investors and “requests for bribes”. In addition, the index reflected an increase in “petty corruption” among some public servants, according to Azzam, suggesting that corruption is no longer limited to those with influence and power. The local evaluation included data from eight sources: the Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2015, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2016, the Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide 2016, the Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index 2016, the Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings 2016, the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016, the World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey 2016 and Varieties of Democracy 2016. Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in the 2016 index fall below the midpoint on the scale, with 0 meaning “highly corrupt” and 100 “very clean”, according to Transparency International, which added that the global average score is 43. While many countries witnessed a regression in performance, the Arab region in particular has witnessed a “remarkable” drop in performance. According to the index, 90 per cent of Arab countries scored below 50, which is a failing grade. The results indicate a connection between corruption and inequality, which feed off each other to create a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society and unequal distribution of wealth, according to the organisation’s website. Denmark and New Zealand topped the list, scoring 90 points, followed by Finland (89) and Sweden (88). These countries have high degrees of government openness, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary, civil freedoms, freedom of expression and the right to access information. On the other hand, Somalia (10), Sudan (11) and North Korea (12) were at the bottom of the list. Jamal Salah, a Rasheed board member, presented some of the coalition’s recommendations, which included supporting anti-graft efforts and institutions, raising further awareness among citizens on corruption-related violations, as well as encouraging reporting them. In addition, Rasheed urged public agencies to commit to implementing and following up on the recommendations of the annual report of the Jordan Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission. In addition to partnering with civil society, anti-graft entities were asked to restore illegally squandered funds and to allow citizens more access to information on public issues.

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Palestinian, Jordan warm Trump over proposed move of US empassy in Israel to Jerusalem


[1/6/2017 5:00:05 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today called on President-elect Donald Trump not to go forward with his plan to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. "If he did this, then he would be putting the peace process in a critical situation that he will not get out of, not only in the Middle East but also all over the world," Abbas said in Bethlehem in the West Bank. "We call on you not to implement your statement on the ground or in your agenda because we consider it as an aggressive statement." Jordan's government also issued a warning to Trump over his plans. A spokesman for the Jordanian government told the Associated Press on Thursday that the change would lead to "catastrophic" repercussions. Jordan would consider moving the embassy a "red line" that would "inflame the Islamic and Arab streets" and prove to be a "gift to extremists," Jordan's information minister, Mohammed Momani, said, according to the AP. The United States like most other countries with diplomatic representation in Israel has its embassy in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its capital and where its national government is headquartered. Jews, Muslims and Christians all consider Jerusalem's holy sites among the most important to their respective religions, and Palestinians have called for the eastern part of the city to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Like any issues around final borders and security arrangements between a Palestinian state and Israel, the status of Jerusalem has remain unresolved in the eyes of the international community. Trump said during his presidential campaign that he would move the embassy to Jerusalem. He has since announced his intention to nominate attorney David Friedman, who also supports moving the embassy, as U.S. ambassador to Israel. Abbas said moving the embassy would deny Palestinians' hope that they would one day see East Jerusalem become the capital of a Palestinian state. He also invited Trump "to visit Bethlehem and to visit Palestine next year." *ABC

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8,157 illegal residents adjusted their status: central apparatus


[1/2/2017 12:30:58 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Between 2011 until end of December 2016, some 8,157 illegal residents have adjusted their status in Kuwait, said the Central Agency for Illegal Residents Affairs here on Sunday. Head of the status adjustment department of the apparatus Colonel Mohammad Al-Wohaib told KUNA that 5,637 illegal residents have adjusted their status and reverted back to their Saudi nationality, 923 to the Iraqi and 816 to the Syrian. He added that 94 persons reverted back to the Iranian nationality, 49 to the Jordanian and 638 to other nationalities. He called on illegal residents, who are yet to adjust their status in the country, to visit the headquarters of the central apparatus to do the necessary measures needed. Al-Wohaib affirmed that those complying with the law will be given residency visas which could be renewed every five years in addition to healthcare, education and ration cards. Other privileges such as priority in employment after Kuwaiti nationals and facilitating procedures for obtaining driving licenses will also apply upon adjustment of their status, said the official. *Arab Times

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Jordan exempts Egyptian workers from exit and re-entry permits as of January 2017


[12/30/2016 4:10:12 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan has decided to exempt Egyptian workers from exit and re-entry permits starting from January 2017, state news agency MENA reported on Friday. According to MENA, the Egyptian Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan received from the Egyptian embassy in Amman a decree from the Jordanian labour ministry regarding procedures related to Egypt’s workforce in Jordan. The document stipulates that Egyptian workers who have a valid work permit are allowed to leave and return to Jordan at any time before the expiry of their permits. However, Egyptian labourers working in the agricultural field are not included in the decision, with procedures related to exit and re-entry visa permits remaining in effect, MENA reported. Thousands of Egyptians have worked in Jordan for years. According to a 2013 interview, a spokesperson from the Jordanian labour ministry said that 400,000 Egyptians work in Jordan, with only 177,000 of them holding work permits. *Ahram

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Jordanian lawyer arrested in Egypt over selfie near defence ministry


[12/27/2016 11:42:54 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordanian lawyer Shadi Shabana was arrested on December 12 in Cairo after taking selfies in front of Gamal Abdel Nasser Mosque, a member of the Jordan Bar Association (JBA) said on Monday. Shabana arrived in Egypt on November 9 for medical purposes, touring Cairo between doctor appointments, Walid Al Adwan, head of the public freedoms committee at the JBA, told The Jordan Times. The arrest took place after security personnel spotted Shabana taking selfies in front of the mosque, which is located next to the Egyptian Ministry of Defence and Military Production, Adwan noted. Shabana is now detained in Al Waili detention centre under charges of filming in prohibited areas. His trial’s first hearing is slated for Tuesday. Adwan said the case is still under investigation, noting that three lawyers who are following up on the case have met with the head of the Egyptian lawyers syndicate, Sameh Ashour, who “was cooperative”. “We are maintaining contact with Ashour, who is taking this case seriously and has assigned a member of the syndicate council, Abd Al Jawad Ahmad, as Shabana’s lawyer,” Adwan added. He charged that the Foreign Ministry has so far played a “modest role” in facilitating the procedures. Officials at the ministry were unavailable to comment, despite several attempts by The Jordan Times. “We have met with Shabana, and he is in good condition. His family and children are worried,” Raed Al Nsour, one of the three lawyers following up on the case, told The Jordan Times. “Abd Al Jawad Ahmad has assured us that the whole situation will come to an end smoothly,” Nsour added. Attorney Musab Izmigna, another one of the three lawyers following up on the case, charged that the JBA “failed to offer an official response and give attention to the matter”. “All three of us took personal initiatives in this case,” he explained. In Tuesday’s hearing, the judge will decide — based on investigation results — whether to set Shabana free or continue his detention for further investigation.

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Jordan joins in fighting brush fires in Israel, West Bank


[11/27/2016 1:16:51 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The Civil Defence Department said that it had participated in fighting brush fires that swept large areas in Israel and the occupied West Bank after the Jordanian government received an official request for help this morning. It said in a statement that the contribution is part of the humanitarian regional effort in which a number of countries, including Egypt, Turkey and the Palestinian National Authority, took part alongside other world nations. It added that the fires fall within the category of natural disasters.

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