Saudi Arabia to allow female enlistment in armed services: In a historic move, the Saudi Arabian government has carved a pathway for females to enter Saudi military service.
Although the new decree prohibits combat service, females now are authorized to petition to fill security positions in the Saudi armed forces.
Applicants must meet 12 standards, including height, weight, education and education requirements. Those with a past criminal history will be prohibited.
China expands internet censorship: In a bizarre new development, the Chinese government has temporarily banned the letter “N” from publication online.
The move follows a torrent of online criticism directed at the Chinese Communist Party’s proposal to scrap presidential term limits for Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Alongside the letter “N”, “I disagree,” “emigrate,” “lifelong,” and “indefinite control” were also banned by Chinese internet censors.
Korean ruling family used forged passports to leave country: According to several Western security services, members of North Korea’s ruling Kim family routinely traveled abroad in the 1990s using forged Brazilian passports.
An anonymous Brazilian official confirmed the authenticity of the forged documents.
According to the security agencies, the late Kim Jong-il and his son, Kim Jong-un used Brazilian passports to obtain visas to travel to Hong Kong, Japan and Brazil under false names and birthdates.
Militants attack French embassy in Burkina Faso: In coordinated attacks on Friday, at least eight gunmen attacked the French embassy and the offices of Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou.
Officials say the attack on the military headquarters began in mid-morning with the detonation of a car bomb. The attackers then ran to the French embassy and sprayed the building with gunfire.
Eight Burkina Faso security troops were killed and another 12 wounded. No French injuries were reported. At least eight gunmen were reported killed.
Turkey expands military presence in Syria: Ahead of what Ankara was said is “a coming battle,” the Turkish government has deployed special forces to the Syrian city of Afrin in the Aleppo Governorate in northwest Syria.
Turkey has engaged in what Ankara calls “anti-terror” operations in Afrin since the beginning of the year against Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
Since launching Operation Olive Branch in January, Turkey has launched hundreds of air and ground attacks against Afrin.
Despite the attacks, Afrin remains under YPG control.
UN contends Pyongyang supplying Syrian government with chemical materials: A yet-to-be-released report written by United Nations’ investigators viewed by The New York Times says evidence has been found North Korea is sending supplies to Syria which are used to produce chemical weapons.
Besides North Korean personnel being spotted in Syrian chemical weapon-producing facilities, specific materials traced back to Pyongyang include acid-proof tiles, thermometers and valves.
According to the UN, Syria is providing North Korea with money which funds the country’s nuclear development programs in exchange for the components. From 2012–2017, Pyongyang has made more than 40 shipments of prohibited materials to Demascus in violation of sanctions.
North Korea has been suspected of providing Syria with chemical weapons’ support since 2011 when the country’s civil war broke out.
[Middle East Monitor] [Business Insider] [MercoPress] [France 24] [Sputnik via Almasdar News] [New York Times]