President Aoun received businessman George Andary and his son Richard
 
“The Parramatta River Flood Study was the largest update to flood modelling in 20 years ...” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Pierre Esber.
 
The NSW Government ordered the inquiry after an interim report provided to the Minister for Local Government
 
A great proposal for strong Lebanon, even if it came late!
 
Messi Can Also Cry
 
Hello Kitty to make comeback for her 50th Birthday Year celebrations at Cumberland Council’s 2024 Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival
 
It is imperative that the international community, including Australia, adhere to the decisions of the ICJ.
 
Omani Police: Three Omani brothers “affected by misguided ideas” behind the attack on a mosque in Muscat
 
Arson suspected in fire that killed 7 in France
 
Donald Trump's return was described as heroic, days after he was shot
 
4 people were killed in a shooting in the Sultanate of Oman, and such an attack is rare in the Sultanate
 
Trump officially wins the Republican nomination to run for president
 
From Australia, World news in Brief

**
Biden announces his determination to run and his readiness for
a medical examination
***
Leading House Democrat now goes public with calls for Biden to step aside
***
Ghada Aoun: Don’t the Lebanese have the right to know the fate of the $8 billion that was verified by Kroll and entered into the advisory account at Optimum?
***
Four pro-Palestine protesters arrested after scaling roof of Australia’s Parliament House to unfurl banners criticising Gaza war
***
Supporters of Mr Pezeshkian, a heart surgeon and longtime politician, entered the streets of Tehran and other cities before dawn to celebrate as his lead grew over Mr Jalili, a hardline former nuclear negotiator.
***
Senator Payman will now sit on the crossbench, meaning the government will need an additional vote in the Senate in order to pass legislation if it is not supported by the opposition.



Joe Biden’s not-quite-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been press conference fixes nothing
Samuel Clench
12/07/2024
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l:That’s the go-to word these days, whenever Joe Biden’s train of thought derails mid-sentence.
“I’ve been thinking about the state of our marriage. I really don’t think it’s fair that you … anyway. Bolognese for dinner, is it?”
“Can you believe what’s happening at the Jets? That quarterback of theirs is … anyway. The 1940s were a hell of a time.”
That sort of thing. Sometimes the derailment is mild, more of a quick breakdown really, and we’re moving forward along the same track again after a minute or two. And sometimes the thought has plummeted off a cliff to be gone for good, lost in a burning heap of wreckage.
It’s not the mixing up of names that makes Mr Biden so excruciating to watch in this undignified twilight of his political career. Donald Trump often forgets which city he’s in. A few months back he spent an entire speech confusing former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, with his top opponent for the Republican nomination, Nikki Haley.
That’s standard, harmless old guy stuff. The moment when Mr Biden called Volodymyr Zelensky “President Putin” on Thursday was embarrassing, and funny, but has no lasting effect on America’s policy stance towards Ukraine and Russia.
The US President’s inability to form coherent sentences, though? The fact that people have stopped bothering to parse the substance of his remarks, and are instead tuning in merely to cringe through his next gaffe? That matters.
The leader of the free world, as Americans so dearly love to call their president, is no longer being taken seriously. He’s a walking punchline. That matters.
There are two pesky questions here. One: is Mr Biden capable of doing the job for another four-and-a-half years? Two: is he capable of beating Mr Trump in November’s election? The first is more important, the second will determine what happens next, and the answer to both is straying dangerously close to a firm, irrevocable no.
“I’ve just got to pace myself a little more,” Mr Biden said during his NATO summit press conference, before tacking on a complaint that his staff, the sheer cheek of them, add events to his schedule “all the time”. As though having a full schedule as President of the United States is an unreasonable imposition.
I get to whine when someone adds a work meeting to my calendar at 5pm on a Friday. How important could a discussion about SEO strategy possibly be? Substitute that for a meeting of the White House National Security Council, and, you know what, I think I’d tolerate it.
When Mr Trump was president, he famously spent most mornings lazing around in the presidential residence, watching television, posting malicious tweets and avoiding anything that resembled serious work. Now we have a guy who can barely make it past 8pm unless he sets aside some time for a nap.
So as things stand, perhaps the most consequential US presidential election of our lifetime is boiling down to a choice between one intellectually spent old man you would barely consider hiring to run a small business, and another chronically delusional old man you wouldn’t trust to babysit his own grandchildren. I’ll let you decide which is which.
Put it this way: the American presidency ages almost everyone. Quite horrendously. Compare photos of George W. Bush in 2000, or Barack Obama in 2008, to those of the same men after eight years of ungodly stress, sleepless nights and presumably bone-chilling intelligence reports.
Joe Biden was already ancient when he took the job, which goes some distance towards explaining why he’s such an old, old 81 now. Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s four years in the White House barely aged him at all, which betrays a frankly unsettling indifference towards his responsibilities.
Who is worse? A president who feels the full weight of his duties, but is too mentally infirm to bear them competently? Or a president who is a little, teensy bit sharper, but doesn’t give a damn about anyone other than himself?
Maybe, perhaps, possibly, with just a skerrick of self-awareness, either or both of these men would ponder stepping aside. Oh, we ask so much of them.
That Mr Biden, in his condition, has convinced himself there is no better person to be president is … well, anyway. Imagine a world in which Michael Jordan, in 2024, was still clinging on to the shooting guard position at the Bulls. It’s preposterous.
If Mr Biden were 10 points ahead of Mr Trump in the polls, he could probably get away with hiding from the public until the election. But he’s behind, and will remain so unless something dramatic changes the dynamic.
How is he supposed to deliver such a monumental change, given the absolute state of him? He needs to be out and about, making his case, holding press conferences, doing long, tough interviews, prosecuting the argument.
But he can’t. He can’t be trusted to participate in anything other than the most tightly scripted events, lest he suffer another catastrophic senior moment.
It is so very obviously untenable. Vice President Kamala Harris, for all her flaws as a politician – and there are many – can at least speak somewhat reliably. And if she were to become the Democratic candidate, the American voter would have an alternative to the self-absorbed gerontocracy currently monopolising their politics.
Or we can just continue as we are, hoping no world events arise requiring the input of a cogent, competent American president. That’s a wonderful plan.
Leading House Democrat now goes public with calls for Biden to step aside
Story by James Liddell 
11/07/2024
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: Representative Adam Smith has become the sixth House Democrat to call for Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential race since last month’s election debate disaster– as the president continues to dig in.
The Washington lawmaker was reportedly among several committee ranking members who privately told House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries that Biden should bow out in a “brutal” two-hour call on Sunday.
The list – previously naming Smith – includes Jerrold Nadler, Mark Takano, Joseph Morelle, Susan Wild, and Jim Himes, three sources told CNN.
Now, Smith, 59, has decided to go public, declaring that he thinks Biden “should step aside”, adding that the White House’s “be quiet, fall in line” message isn’t working.
“I think it’s become clear that he’s not the best person to carry the Democratic message, he told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on Monday.
 “Here’s the thing, we have an incredibly strong message … the president has shown he is not capable of delivering that message,” Smith added.
Biden’s painful performance on the debate stage against Donald Trump on June 27, which at points saw him struggle to deliver a coherent response to his Republican rival, was a nail-in-the-coffin moment, Smith said.
However, the senior Democrat said that “there were concerns leading up to” the event about Biden’s ability to land a message, adding that it “hasn’t gotten better since then”.
While he didn’t explicitly address rumors surrounding the 81-year-old president’s cognitive decline that stemmed from the debate, Smith admitted that “there are the healthcare concerns”.
The damning call for Biden’s resignation landed just hours after he voiced his frustrations with “elites in the party” on MSNBC’s episode of Morning Joe. He goaded dissenting Democrats to run against him and “challenge me at the convention”, in August.
It comes after five House Democrats have publicly called for Biden to step down for his re-election bid including Texas’ Lloyd Doggett, Arizona’s Raul Grijalva, Massachusetts’ Seth Moulton, Illinois’ Mike Quigley and Minnesota’s Angie Craig.
Biden continues to fight for his political survival as he maintains that he will both run against – and beat – Trump when the electorate hits the polls in November.
Congressional Democrats received a two-page letter from the president on Monday as he tried to quell the uprising among senior party members.
Sharing on his Twitter/X account, Biden declared that he is “firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump”.
The president will hope that this week’s Nato summit will offer a reprieve and allow him to move forward with his campaign.
Independent readers are independently-minded global citizens. They are not defined by traditional demographics or profiles, but by their attitudes. In today’s increasingly fragmented world, communities value real facts and frank opinions delivered first-hand from a non-biased news brand that they can trust. Armed with information and inspiration, Independent readers are empowered and equipped to take a stand for the things they believe in.
Ghada Aoun: Don’t the Lebanese have the right to know the fate of the $8 billion that was verified by Kroll and entered into the advisory account at Optimum?
10/07/2024
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: The Public Prosecutor in Mount Lebanon, Judge Ghada Aoun, wrote on her account on the “X” platform:
“To all those who spread misinformation that the amount of $8 billion that was verified by the “Kroll” company and which entered the advisory account at the “Optimum” company, are restrictions that occurred in the context of financial engineering to cover the losses of the Central Bank. Okay, assuming this matter is true, Why all this secrecy on the part of the BDL, and why it does not disclose the content of the account and its restrictions, how these commissions were spent, and where they went in the face of the theft of the era, and in the face of the impoverishment of the Lebanese people, stripping them of their savings, and the collapse of the economy? Don’t the Lebanese have the right to know every detail of this account? What is required is transparency, what is required is not to cover up any waste, what is required is the truth, in the form of His Excellency the Ruler.”
Four pro-Palestine protesters arrested after scaling roof of Australia’s Parliament House to unfurl banners criticising Gaza war
Review launched into security breach after parliament partly locked down as activists climbed on to roof
Karen Middleton and Josh Butler
4 Jul 2024 
07/07/2024
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, says protesters who scaled Parliament House and unfurled banners should feel “the full force of the law”.
A review has been launched into the security breach after pro-Palestine protesters climbed on to the roof of the building in Canberra and unfurled a banner declaring “war crimes … enabled here”.
Four people – three men and one woman – were arrested and some areas of Australia’s federal parliament were locked down.
Thursday’s protest focused on the war in Gaza appeared to be coordinated with other actions highlighting the climate crisis and Indigenous rights.
Members of the public were cleared from Parliament House on the last sitting day of a two-week session before politicians head home for the six-week winter break.
Masoud Pezeshkian wins Iran's presidential runoff election
Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian wins Iran's presidential runoff election, beating Saeed Jalili
06/07/2024
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: A vote count offered by authorities put Mr Pezeshkian as the winner, with 16.3 million votes to Mr Jalili's 13.5 million in Friday's election.
Mr Pezeshkian's win sees Iran at a delicate moment, with tensions high over the Israel-Hamas war, Iran's advancing nuclear program, and a looming US election that could put any chance of a détente between Tehran and Washington at risk.
Reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian won Iran's runoff presidential election on Saturday, besting hardliner Saeed Jalili by promising to reach out to the West and ease enforcement on the country's mandatory headscarf law after years of sanctions and protests squeezing the Islamic Republic.
Mr Pezeshkian promised no radical changes to Iran's Shiite theocracy in his campaign and long has held Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the final arbiter of all matters of state in the country.
But even Mr Pezeshkian's modest aims will be challenged by an Iranian government still largely held by hardliners, the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, and Western fears over Tehran enriching uranium to near-weapons-grade levels.
A vote count offered by authorities put Mr Pezeshkian as the winner with 16.3 million votes to Mr Jalili's 13.5 million in Friday's election.
Supporters of Mr Pezeshkian, a heart surgeon and longtime politician, entered the streets of Tehran and other cities before dawn to celebrate as his lead grew over Mr Jalili, a hardline former nuclear negotiator.
The first round of voting on June 28 saw the lowest turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iranian officials have long pointed to turnout as a sign of support for the country's Shiite theocracy, which has been under strain after years of sanctions crushing Iran's economy, mass demonstrations and intense crackdowns on all dissent.
Government officials up to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted a higher participation rate as voting got underway, with state television airing images of modest lines at some polling centres across the country.
However, online videos purported to show some polls empty while a survey of several dozen sites in the capital, Tehran, saw light traffic amid a heavy security presence on the streets.
The election came amid heightened regional tensions.
In April, Iran launched its first-ever direct attack on Israel over the war in Gaza, while militia groups that Tehran arms in the region — such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthi rebels — are engaged in the fighting and have escalated their attacks.
Iran is also enriching uranium at near weapons-grade levels and maintains a stockpile large enough to build several nuclear weapons, should it choose to do so.
The campaign also repeatedly touched on what would happen if former president Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew America from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, won the November election.
Iran has held indirect talks with President Joe Biden's administration, though there has been no clear movement back toward constraining Tehran's nuclear program for the lifting of economic sanctions.
More than 61 million Iranians over the age of 18 were eligible to vote, with about 18 million of them between 18 and 30. Voting was to end at 6pm but was extended until midnight to boost participation.
The late president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a May helicopter crash, was seen as a protégé of Mr Khamenei and a potential successor as supreme leader.
Still, many knew him for his involvement in the mass executions that Iran conducted in 1988, and for his role in the bloody crackdowns on dissent that followed protests over the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by police over allegedly improperly wearing the mandatory headscarf, or hijab.
Western Australian senator Fatima Payman has been considering
her futureafter being suspended from Labor's caucus for crossing the
floor against theparty on a motion to recognise Palestine.(AAP: Lukas Coch)
Fatima Payman quits Labor 'with a heavy heart but a clear conscience'
Exclusive by political reporter Tom Crowley and politics lead David Speers
04/07/2024
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l:  senator Fatima Payman has confirmed she is leaving the party to sit as an independent.
As reported by the ABC earlier on Thursday afternoon, the senator confirmed she will not be joining any Muslim community-linked party.
She said she was "deeply torn" over the decision and continued to believe in the principles of the Labor Party, but felt she could see "no middle ground" that would allow her to remain in the party.
"My conscience leaves me no choice," she said.
Senator Payman said her resignation would take immediate effect and that she had already informed the prime minister.
The first-term senator from Western Australia was "indefinitely suspended" from the Labor caucus, where MPs discuss the government's agenda and tactics, last week after she defied the party and voted with the Greens to call for the recognition of Palestinian statehood — and then vowed to do so again if necessary.
Senator Payman will now sit on the crossbench, meaning the government will need an additional vote in the Senate in order to pass legislation if it is not supported by the opposition.
Labor speculation about new party quashed
Senator Payman quashed speculation coming from the Labor Party that she would join forces with The Muslim Vote, a grassroots organisation which says it plans to endorse independents with pro-Palestinian stances in several Labor-held seats.
That speculation was linked to the fact that Senator Payman is being advised by minor party "whisperer" Glenn Druery, who has also been advising Muslim community groups about political campaigns.
Senator Payman confirmed she had spoken to the group about their plans but had not discussed joining them.
In Question Time on Tuesday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he believed Senator Payman had been pursuing a "strategy" related to her departure dating back at least a month.
But Senator Payman told the ABC she believed the party was spreading that perception because it was upset with her actions.

 














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