Efforts for Census in North Macedonia - January 22, 2021
The decision to hold the census in North Macedonia between 1-21 April 2021 was approved by the country's assembly. After nearly 19 years without a census, citizens living abroad for more than a year will be registered as non-residents, according to the law approved for the census. A budget of 8.5 million euros has been allocated for the census, for which  6,000 people will be responsible. The main opposition party, demanding that the census be carried out in 2022, announced that the census would be a political operation than a statistical one, and therefore would not support and recognize the results and will collect 15,000 signatures in order to invalidate the Census Law.
Kosovo Court Ruling Puts Albin Kurti’s Election Candidacy at Risk - January 21, 2020
Vetevendosje candidate and former PM Albin Kurti may be barred from standing in the February 14 elections – after the Kosovo Judicial Council ruled that 47 candidates were theoretically unable to run having been found guilty of a criminal offence in court. The Central Election Commission, CEC, on Wednesday said 15 of the 28 political entities that had applied to run in the February 14 snap elections had proposed candidates “not in line with the Law on General Elections, which specifies that a person who has been found guilty of a criminal charge in the last three years cannot run as an MP”. Kurti, head of the main opposition Vetevendosje party, and Albulena Haxhiu, a former Justice Minister, were handed conditional prison sentences by a Prishtina court in January 2018 for throwing tear gas in parliament.
Putin Critic Alexei Navalny Was Detained After Landing In Moscow - January 17, 2021
Putin critic Alexei Navalny has been detained after flying back to Moscow from Germany, five months after he was nearly killed by a nerve agent attack. The activist was led away by police at passport control at Sheremetyevo airport. Thousands had gathered at a different Moscow airport to greet his flight from Berlin, but the plane was diverted. Navalny blames Russian authorities for the attempt on his life last year. The Kremlin denies any role. The United States and several European governments have demanded the release of opposition politician Alexei Navalny from Russian detention.
Parliamentary Elections in Bulgaria - January 15, 2021
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev announced that the parliamentary elections in the country will be held on April 4. The President of Bulgaria, who was highly critical of the Boyko Borisov government, supported the demonstrations that citizens accused of tying the prime minister with the oligarchy and demanded his resignation. Borisov, who has ruled the country for nearly ten years, refused to resign, saying he did not want to "surrender to the chaos amidst the health and economic crisis".
Facebook Shuts Some Uganda Officials Accounts - January 11, 2021
Social media platform Facebook has closed some accounts belonging to Uganda government officials ahead of the presidential election. Facebook claimed the accounts are seeking manipulation over election debate by using fake and duplicate accounts. Local authorities accused the social media giant of seeking to influence the election. The East African country is holding presidential and parliamentary elections on Thursday, 14th of January. In the historic election, President Yoweri Museveni is facing a challenge from Bobi Wine, a young popstar-turned politician.
Sudan signs deal to normalise relations with Israel - January 6, 2021
Sudan has signed the “Abraham Accords” with the United States despite the move being rejected by its political parties when it was first announced in October last year. A statement from the office of Sudan’s prime minister on Wednesday said Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari signed the accord with visiting US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Sudan’s Acting Minister of Finance Hiba Ahmed and Mnuchin also “signed a memorandum of understanding in Khartoum to provide a same-day bridge financing facility to clear Sudan’s arrears to the World Bank”, her office said in a statement. “This move will enable Sudan to regain access to over $1 billion in annual financing from the World Bank for the first time in 27 years,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar agreed on reconciliation after three year of Gulf Crisis - January 6, 2021
After three years of Gulf crisis, Saudi Arabia has agreed to re-open its airspace, land and sea borders to Qatar as of Monday evening. Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have signed a “unity and stability” declaration with Qatar that is set to end a years-long boycott of the Gulf state, in a move seen as a victory for Doha. Confirming reconciliation with Qatar, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Tuesday that the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council summit has opened a new phase of "solidarity" and "stability" between regional states. On Tuesday, Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was embraced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman upon arrival in Saudi Arabia to attend the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit.
Egypt signs reconciliation deal with Qatar - January 6, 2021
After three years of Qatar blockade, Egypt signed on Tuesday a reconciliation agreement with Qatar at the 41st Gulf Cooperation Summit in Saudi Arabia, its Foreign Ministry said. The agreement would consolidate Arab action in the face of regional challenges, it said, and hailed efforts for reconciliation between the Arab quartet and Qatar, especially by Kuwait. The summit culminated with Gulf leaders signing an agreement known as the Al-Ula statement. No further details were provided.
Israel army carried out 300 attacks on Gaza Strip in 2020- January 01, 2021
The army revealed in a statement documenting its activities in 2020, that nearly 300 targets were raided in the Gaza Strip, while its armed forces thwarted 38 attempts to infiltrate through the security fence of the besieged enclave. According to the statement, as many as: "176 rockets and mortars were launched from the Gaza Strip, 90 percent of them landed in empty areas, as the Iron Dome system intercepted 80 shells and rockets that were targeting civilian areas." In the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army stole 675,000 shekels of Palestinians' money, compared with 972,000 shekels in 2019. More than one million shekels were stolen in 2018, and 541 weapons confiscated, compared with 603 during the previous year.
Israel: Blue and White likely to collapse after departure of key figures- December 29, 2020
Coalition partner in Israel's current government, the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, is likely to collapse after key members quit the bloc, local media reported yesterday. This comes after two Members of the Knesset, Asaf Zamir and Miki Haimovich, voted against extending the budget deadline last week, Ynet News said, leading to the collapse of the coalition government. Zamir and Haimovich announced on Sunday night that they had defected and would not be included in the party's electoral list for the next elections. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also announced on Wednesday that he was taking a break from politics and leaving Blue and White, in the latest high-profile defection from Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s ailing party.  
Hundreds of Syrian refugees flee Lebanon camp as tents torched - December 28, 2020
At least three were injured in the incident on December 26 in the Miniyeh region near the coastal city of Tripoli, which was followed by angry youths setting the campsite on fire, Lebanon's state-owned National News Agency said. Hundreds of Syrian refugees fled their makeshift camp in north Lebanon after their tents were torched when fighting broke out between local youths and camp residents. Khaled Kabarra, a UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman, said the nearly four hundred residents who fled went to other enclosed encampments or found temporary shelter in vacant schools and hotels.
90% of Syria families in Lebanon living in extreme poverty, says UN - December 23, 2020
Nine of ten Syrian refugee families in Lebanon are living in extreme poverty, a United Nations (UN) report published said. The report warned nearly 89 percent will be struggling to fulfill their most basic needs by the end of the year, up from 55 percent in 2019. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme, and the Children's Fund (Unicef) blamed Lebanon's economic crisis, currency collapse, the coronavirus pandemic, and Beirut blast for the rapid downturn. Lebanon plays host to an estimated 1.5 million Syrians, amounting to a quarter of the country's entire population. However, the country is grappling with its worst economic crisis since the end of the civil war in 1990, with rising unemployment, soaring inflation, and a collapsing currency.
Israel government dissolved, elections set for 23 March- December 23, 2020
The Israeli Knesset was automatically dissolved early this morning after lawmakers failed to pass the state budget, setting the stage for a fourth election in less than two years. While Netanyahu insisted on having the budget for year 2020, Gantz wanted it to be a two-year budget covering both 2020 and 2021, as agreed with Netanyahu during negotiations to form a coalition government in May. 
Mostar holds first local elections in 12 years - December 21, 2020
Local elections were held for the first time in 12 years in Mostar on Sunday, December 20. Just over 100,000 people were eligible to vote in the elections. The Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced that the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won the Croatian regions of the city and took the lead in Mostar, with more than 37 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results. On the other hand, the main Bosniak coalition of the country, led by the Democratic Action Party (SDA), has announced that it has gained 29 percent of the votes.
Kosovo's government falls - December 22, 2020
The Constitutional Court of Kosovo annulled the vote used by MP Etem Arifi for the government of Avdullah Hoti. The decision marks the fall of the government of Kosovo. With this decision, the Constitutional Court ordered Acting President Vjosa Osmani to announce early elections within 40 days. 9 judges of the Constitutional Court unanimously decided that vote of Arifi should be declared invalid.
After 2 years, Turkey appoints new ambassador to Israel - December 14, 2020
Turkey has appointed a new ambassador to Israel after a two-year absence. In May 2018, Ankara withdrew its envoy over deadly attacks against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip who were protesting US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move to appoint Ufuk Ulutas, 40, as the new Turkish ambassador is part of an attempt to improve ties with incoming President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, a report by Al-Monitor. Ulutas, described as “very polished”, “very clever” and “very pro-Palestinian” by sources quoted in the report, studied Hebrew and Middle Eastern politics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is also an expert on Israel’s regional rival, Iran, but is not a career diplomat.
Israel, Morocco agree to normalize relations in US-brokered deal - December 10, 2020
Israel and Morocco agreed to normalize relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past four months. As part of the agreement, US President Donald Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara, where there has been a decades-old territorial dispute with Morocco pitted against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the territory. 
Protests in Albania - December 9, 2020
Protests are being held in Albania over the death of a 25-year-old teenager in hospital after being shot and injured by the police. Dozens of people, including civil society activists, gathered in front of the Ministry of Interior and chanted slogans, "No justice, no peace". As the protests continued, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced in a statement that Interior Minister Sandër Lleshaj has submitted his resignation.
Steep rise in executions in Egypt in past two months: Amnesty - December 2, 2020
Egypt executed 57 men and women in October and November, nearly double the 32 people reported in the whole of 2019, Amnesty International said. “The Egyptian authorities have embarked on a horrifying execution spree in recent months, putting scores of people to death, in some cases following grossly unfair mass trials,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director Philip Luther said. Luther added that executions in the country were “particularly appalling” considering all the “well documented and systematic breaches of fair trial rights in Egypt with courts often relying on torture-tainted ‘confessions
‘Deliberate depression’: World Bank’s dire warning on Lebanon- December 1, 2020
Lebanon has been ravaged this year by an economic and financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a deadly explosion at the Port of Beirut. Now, economists at the World Bank are warning that things will get much worse for the embattled nation before they get better, threatening the country’s stability. The bank’s economists see Lebanon’s economy shrinking by a huge 19.2 percent in 2020 and a further 13.2 percent next year, while the country’s debt to GDP ratio is projected to reach a jaw-dropping 194 percent by the end of this year.   
Montenegro declares Serbian ambassador persona non grata - November 29, 2020
Montenegro’s outgoing pro-Western government declared the ambassador of neighboring Serbia persona non grata Saturday, reflecting a spike in tensions days before the planned inauguration of a new, pro-Serb government in Montenegro. The small Balkan nation’s Foreign Ministry cited “long and continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Montenegro” as the reason for the action and asked Serbian Ambassador Vladimir Bozovic to leave the country. Serbia’s Foreign Ministry said later Saturday it responded in a “reciprocal manner.” State-run media reported that Montenegrin Ambassador Tarzan Milosevic was asked to leave Serbia within 72 hours. However, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic reversed the decision and said that her country "wants to extend a hand for co-operation and friendship with Montenegro".
Greece, UAE commit to mutual defense assistance - November 23, 2020
The mutual defense assistance clause, activated in the event that one of the two countries’ territorial integrity is threatened, is probably the most important part of the defense and foreign policy cooperation agreement signed by Greece and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Even though the agreement explicitly states that it does not concern specific third countries, both parties understand that it was signed to counteract Turkey in the region.
Messages Containing Racist Threats Were Written to Xanthi Mufti Ahmet Mete - November 30, 2020
In Greece, Western Thrace, messages containing racist threats were written to the elevator of the apartment building where Xanthi Mufti Ahmet Mete stayed with his family. "While the world was dealing with pandemics and deaths, unfortunately," H.A "signed the" Good Turk is a dead Turk "and" Hodja is on his face ... "writings were written on the elevator mirror of the building where we stayed. First of all, it is admirable that they attest to our Turkishness. However, those who say "the minority is comfortable, there is equality" should see such attacks. Will the politicians attacking the minority, the press, still play three monkeys in these situations? The residents searched the security and the police took care of it. We hope the authorities take this into account. " announced by sharing. Attack was condemned by Turkey's Foreign Ministry, The President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş, and the President of Parliamentary Assembly Mustafa Şentop.
Preliminary results of the extraordinary mayoral election - November 11, 2020
The first unofficial results of the extraordinary mayoral elections in Podujevo and North Mitrovica in Kosovo have been published. According to the results published by the Central Election Commission, Vetëvendosje Movement Mayor Candidate Shpejtim Bulliqi won 51.64% of the vote in Poduyeva, while Serbian List candidate Milan Radojevic won the election with 89.86% in Northern Mitrovica.