Sham Jaff
Last updated: 23 February, 2014

Keep up to speed – here are your top news stories from the past week

While Libyans marked the third anniversary of the revolt that toppled Kadhafi, Saudi women learned that they can't visit medical clinics without male guardians. Sham Jaff has this week's top news stories.

Barely a day after a second round of peace talks in Geneva broke down last Saturday, the Free Syrian Army fired its military chief Selim Idriss, citing “the paralysis within the military command these past months”. But UN chief Ban Ki-moon is still convinced that Geneva peace talks are the best way to resolve the Syrian conflict and urges all sides to return to the table, his spokesman said Tuesday. (Although Syria will most likely miss the UN-backed June 30 deadline to destroy its chemical arsenal.) UNICEF launched a record $2.2 billion aid appeal Friday to help tens of millions of children around the world, saying the lion’s share was to deal with the Syria war.

More than 450 Indian migrants working in Qatar have died in the last two years, according to new data from the Gulf state, which is under pressure over its rights record ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Libyans on Monday marked the third anniversary of the revolt that ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi, fearful for the future of a country plagued by lawlessness.

Loss-making state-owned Kuwait Airways signed contracts with Airbus Wednesday to buy 25 planes, its first order for new aircraft in more than 20 years, the airline’s chairwoman said. We also learned that Saudi Arabia exported more crude oil in 2013 than in any year since at least 2002, according to official statistics posted on the website of the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI). Meanwhile, Saudi women aren’t too happy this week: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) has officially prevented women from visiting medical clinics without male guardians.

Iran and world powers agreed Thursday on a timetable and framework for the ambitious and arduous process of hammering out a lasting nuclear accord by July 20 that satisfies all sides.

On a more lighthearted note…

Women raped during Libya’s 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi should be recognised as war victims (which would entitle them to compensation), the Libyan cabinet said.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with Indonesia aimed at protecting the rights of Indonesian maids in the country following allegations of abuse. The domestic workers will no longer be deprived of their passports nor prevented from communicating with the outside world.