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An unprecedented number of Iranian girls have been forced into marriage in Iran over the past year, according to a report.

While exact statistics are difficult to come by in the closed country, Iranian agencies reportedly documented that at least 36,000 girls below 18 wed – with the vast majority taking place in the northeastern Zanjan Province, according to Radio Farda.

UNICEF estimates that 17 percent of girls in Iran are married before reaching the age of 18 and in roughly 20 percent of those below the age of 15 are married to men at least ten years older. However, experts assert that the number may be significantly higher because many families don’t register underage marriages, especially in border areas and poverty-stricken parts of the country.


Anti-child marriage activist site attributes the high prevalence of child to gender inequality because females are perceived to be less valuable than males. However, the site also cites poverty and the quest for families to trade girls for money or property, traditional customs and the importance of keeping marriage within the family unit, and the staunch Sharia-based religious system as driving factors for the ongoing epidemic of child brides.

Although Iran ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, which stipulates that marriage cannot take place before the age of 18, numerous articles and provisions in support of the Islamic Sharia Law have enabled the trend to remain.

The issue sparked a renewed wave of outrage in February after an 11-year-old girl, identified under the pseudonym Raha, was repeatedly raped after being forced to marry a man 40 years her senior who already had a wife and seven children.


The outcry prompted Iran’s Welfare Organization to relocate Raha to one of its centers, who declared the marriage illegal because it had taken place without the consent of a local court.

Nonetheless, the incident took place two months after Iranian officials shot down a bill aimed at outright prohibiting marriage for girls under the age of 13, with prominent members of the Islamic Republic’s Cultural and Social Council for Women defending the practice under the guise that it shields girls “from a life of prostitution and illegal abortions.”


As it stands, girls under the age of 13 and boys under the age of 15 can be lawfully wed, providing families and husbands obtain legal permission.

Source: Fox News World

One of the most-powerful leaders in the United Arab Emirates has found himself entangled in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian interference in America’s 2016 election.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, believed to be the Emirates’ day-to-day ruler, is the only world leader included in Mueller’s cast-of-characters index near the end of the 448-page report.

His inclusion, stemming from his mysterious role in a 2017 meeting between a Trump associate and a Russian middleman for Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles, stands out against otherwise-glancing references to the wider Mideast.

But left unsaid — or possibly redacted — is what motivated the UAE to insert itself as a middleman in contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Source: Fox News World

Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have detained two people on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates.

Anadolu Agency said Friday that the two people were detained as part of an investigation led by the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office.

The agency said authorities were investigating whether the suspects could be linked to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year.

Source: Fox News World

Montenegro’s defense ministry says the army has discovered drugs hidden on a navy training ship ahead of its planned journey to Turkey and Greece.

The ministry says the military police searched the Jadran, or the Adriatic, early Friday after learning that certain criminal gangs were planning to use it to smuggle drugs.

According to a statement from the ministry, dozens of kilograms (pounds) of suspected drugs were found during the search at the Tivat harbor and legal proceedings are underway.

The ship has been at the center of a dispute between the small Balkan country and neighboring Croatia, which claims ownership to it following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

It was not immediately clear when the 86-year-old ship will set off on the planned training trip with 42 students.

Source: Fox News World

Bulgarian customs officials say they have seized 288 kilograms (635 pounds) of heroin found in an Iranian truck entering Bulgaria from Turkey.

The drugs were discovered at the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint, customs officer Ivan Kuchmov said on Friday. They were stashed in 144 packages hidden inside the officially declared machinery transported in the truck.

The Iranian truck driver and a Turkish citizen suspected of being the recipient of the drugs in Bulgaria were detained and could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted on drug trafficking charges.

Bulgaria, which lies on a drug route from the Middle East to Western Europe, has taken massive steps in the past couple of years to prevent drug trafficking.

In 2018, Bulgarian customs officers confiscated a total of 1,021 kilograms (2,250 pounds) of heroin at the country’s borders, almost 20 percent more than in the previous year.

Source: Fox News World

Israeli police say they detained four suspects involved in an attempt to smuggle two baby goats into Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site for a ritual sacrifice.

Police said on Thursday that two Jewish minors intended “to cause provocations” by sacrificing the goats ahead of Passover. Two journalists who planned to film the ritual were also detained.

Police say such incidents occur every year as zealots challenge longstanding restrictions by attempting to perform sacrifices in the spot where biblical Temples once stood. In ancient times, animals were sacrificed at the Temple on Passover.

The landmark, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest site in Judaism and third-holiest in Islam. The competing claims lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Source: Fox News World

Turkey’s president has lashed out at the Financial Times and other western media, accusing them of falsely portraying the economy as being on the brink of collapse.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Thursday after the Financial Times reported that Turkey’s Central Bank had bolstered its foreign currency reserves with short-term borrowed money, leading to concerns that Turkey may not be able to defend itself in the event of a currency crisis. The Turkish lira weakened some 2% against the dollar following the report.

Erdogan insisted the economy “is standing strong.” He claimed Turkey was being attacked because it was speaking out against injustices, including about refugees.

Erdogan said: “Oh Financial Times! What do you know about Turkey which hosts 4 million refugees? How many refugees are there in your country?”

Source: Fox News World

Sudan’s new military rulers say two brothers of ousted President Omar al-Bashir have also been arrested, over corruption.

The official news agency SUNA is quoting the spokesman of the military council, Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi, as saying on Thursday that Abdullah and Abbas al-Bashir were arrested as part of the sweep against officials from the former government.

The Sudanese military ousted Omar al-Bashir last week, after four months of street protests against his 30-year rule marred by conflict, civil war and corruption. Al-Bashir is also wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for atrocities committee in the western region of Darfur.

The military council, which took over after al-Bashir’s ouster, said the former president was transferred on Tuesday to a prison in the capital, Khartoum.

Source: Fox News World

Iran has showcased domestically made fighter jets by flying the aircraft over Tehran during a military parade marking National Army Day.

State TV broadcast footage of the aircraft performing during the parade on Thursday.

The planes include the latest all-Iranian fighter jet, dubbed Kowsar, which in Islamic meaning refers to a river in paradise and is also the title of a chapter in the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

The twin-seated Kowsar — modelled after American F-5 fighter jet — was inaugurated in 2017, when the TV aired images of President Hassan Rouhani briefly sitting in the plane’s cockpit inside a hangar before the ceremony.

The parade also showcased the Saegheh, or “Thunderbolt,” another domestically built fighter plane. Iran’s air force already has U.S.-made and Russian-made Sukhoi aircraft in service.

Source: Fox News World

Philippine diplomats say they have started evacuating a small group of Filipinos from the Libyan capital after it was hit by a barrage of rocket fire that wounded one Filipino.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Emmanuel Fernandez said Thursday three hospital workers and four students were evacuated by Philippine Embassy personnel from Tripoli to Tunisia, where they are to take flights back home.

Manila’s top diplomat in Tripoli, Elmer Cato, says 13 more Filipinos have sought help and are expected to be flown back home soon.

Cato says that of about 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli, only 20 have so far asked to be repatriated, including Rolando Torres, who was wounded in the forehead in the rocket fire late Tuesday in the Libyan capital.

Source: Fox News World

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