Israel's Golan violations
Syria believes pressure is needed to make Israel stop its violations and illegal constructions in the occupied Golan Heights. The Arab country now wants to see some action from the UN Security Council. Syria’s UN envoy says Israeli efforts to change the demographics of the Golan Heights or impose its custody there will fail. Bassam Sabbagh noted that such measures have no legal effect under the relevant UN resolutions. He says sooner or later, the occupied territory will return to Syria. Sabbagh also condemned Israel for the assassination of a former Syrian lawmaker last week. The Golan Heights belong to Syria, and all settlements there are illegal. Israeli officials, however, say they’re planning to eventually increase the settler population there fourfold.
War crimes in Yemen
A group of British lawyers has accused senior officials in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of complicity in war crimes committed in Yemen. The legal team, known as Guernica-37, has filed a complaint with British police, calling for the immediate arrest of 22 Saudi and Emirati officials. The human rights lawyers are specifically focusing on two airstrikes in Yemen that have killed more than 160 people, including dozens of children. Reports of torture and murder of civilians by foreign mercenaries have also been cited in the lawsuit. Saudi Arabia along with some of its Arab allies launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015. The conflict has so far killed tens of thousands of civilians.
New Zealand COVID outbreak
New Zealand is one of the few places in the world known for its success in keeping the coronavirus at bay. But Covid infections there are shooting up, with the daily caseload now a three-digit number. Authorities are reporting 102 new cases, most of them in Auckland. That brings the overall infections since the start, to well over 22-hundred. There have been 28 deaths in total. New Zealand stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until the Delta variant started spreading in August. The tight restrictions on one-point-seven million Aucklanders have been extended this week. Officials say infections are likely to rise until vaccination speeds up, urging people to get their shots quickly. Nearly 70 percent of New Zealanders are fully vaccinated. Close to 90 percent have received at least one dose.