Iran new cabinet
Iran’s parliament is holding a vote of confidence on the proposed cabinet lineup of President Ebrahim Raeisi, after five days of debates on the candidates’ qualifications. Raeisi put up a final defense for his 19 picks for ministerial posts at the parliament before the vote. During the past five days, lawmakers were reviewing the qualifications of the candidates, with the nominees taking the podium to present their plans. That followed by lawmakers taking the floor to argue for or against them. All of the nominees are predicted to win the confidence vote. However, if any of them fails, the president will have up to three months to name a replacement.
China-US Covid-19 row
China has once again urged the United States to stop politicizing the issue of the origin of the novel coronavirus. An official said Beijing will provide access to its labs if Washington does the same. Fu added that the United States has carried out more bio-military activities than any other country in the world. His comments came after US media reported that a classified report on the origins of Covid-19 had yielded no definite conclusions. President Joe Biden had commissioned the investigation three months ago, saying US intelligence agencies were unsure whether the virus was the result of a lab leak or transmitted to humans via animals. In January, a team of World Health Organization experts determined it highly unlikely that the coronavirus was produced in a lab.
Israeli land grabbing
Israeli forces have demolished several more buildings belonging to Palestinian families in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian sources say the regime bulldozers backed by troops destroyed a house in the Silwan neighborhood in east al-Quds. The demolition of the 90-square-meter house was carried out under the pretext of lacking construction license. Elsewhere in al-Walaja village near the city of Bethlehem, Israeli bulldozers tore down another house. A car workshop was also flattened near the city of al-Khalil under similar pretext. Israel demolishes houses on a regular basis in the occupied territories citing different pretexts. Palestinians and rights groups say the Israeli demolition drive is aimed at grabbing more land for settlement expansions.