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Saudi Gazette, Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mideast

World’s oldest bread found

at prehistoric site in Jordan

WASHINGTON —

Charred

remains of a flatbread baked

about 14,500 years ago in

a stone fireplace at a site in

northeastern Jordan have given

researchers a delectable sur-

prise: people began making

bread, a vital staple food, mil-

lennia before they developed

agriculture.

No matter how you slice

it, the discovery detailed on

Monday shows that hunter-

gatherers in the Eastern Medi-

terranean achieved the cultural

milestone of bread-making far

earlier than previously known,

more than 4,000 years before

plant cultivation took root.

The flatbread, likely un-

leavened and somewhat resem-

bling pita bread, was fashioned

from wild cereals such as bar-

ley, einkorn or oats, as well as

tubers from an aquatic papyrus

relative that had been ground

into flour.

It was made by a culture

called the Natufians, who had

begun to embrace a sedentary

rather than nomadic lifestyle,

and was found at a Black Des-

ert archeological site.

“The presence of bread at a

site of this age is exceptional,”

said Amaia Arranz-Otaegui,

a University of Copenhagen

postdoctoral researcher in ar-

cheobotany and lead author of

the research published in the

journal Proceedings of the Na-

tional Academy of Sciences.

Arranz-Otaegui said until

now the origins of bread had

been associated with early

farming societies that culti-

vated cereals and legumes. The

previous oldest evidence of

bread came from a 9,100-year-

old site in Turkey.

“We now have to assess

whether there was a relation-

ship between bread production

and the origins of agriculture,”

Arranz-Otaegui said. “It is

possible that bread may have

provided an incentive for

people to take up plant cultiva-

tion and farming, if it became a

desirable or much-sought-after

food.”

University of Copenhagen

archeologist and study co-

author Tobias Richter pointed

to the nutritional implications

of adding bread to the diet.

“Bread provides us with an im-

portant source of carbohydrates

and nutrients, including B vita-

mins, iron and magnesium, as

well as fiber,” Richter said.

Abundant evidence from

the site indicated the Natufians

had a meat- and plant-based

diet. The round floor fireplaces,

made from flat basalt stones

and measuring about a yard

(meter) in diameter, were lo-

cated in the middle of huts.

Arranz-Otaegui said the

researchers have begun the

process of trying to reproduce

the bread, and succeeded in

making flour from the type of

tubers used in the prehistoric

recipe. But it might have been

an acquired taste.

“The taste of the tubers,”

Arranz-Otaegui said, “is quite

gritty and salty. But it is a bit

sweet as well.”

— Reuters

Stone structure at an archeological site containing a fireplace, seen in the center, where charred remains of 14,500-year-old bread was

found in the Black Desert. — Reuters

Turkish court orders US

pastor to remain in jail

ALIAGA, Turkey —

A Turkish

court on Wednesday ordered an

American pastor held for almost

two years on terror charges to re-

main in prison, defying growing

pressure from the US authorities

for his release.

The judge said the next

hearing in the case of Andrew

Brunson, who ran a protestant

church in the Aegean city of

Izmir and was first detained in

October 2016, would be on Oct.

12, an AFP correspondent re-

ported.

This is the third time his

release has been refused — the

court had in both previous hear-

ings on April 16 and May 7 de-

nied requests by the defense for

Brunson to be set free.

After the hearing was con-

cluded, Brunson waved at sup-

porters, saying only “thank you”

in English.

The case has become a major

sticking point in improving rela-

tions between Ankara and Wash-

ington and US President Donald

Trump has repeatedly called for

Brunson’s release.

He faces up to 35 years in

jail if convicted on charges of

carrying out activities on behalf

of two groups deemed by Turkey

to be terror organizations — one

led by US-based Muslim preach-

er Fethullah Gulen who Ankara

says was behind the failed 2016

coup and the Kurdistan Workers’

Party (PKK).

Brunson has at previous hear-

ings denied the charges, which

his supporters have derided as

absurd.

President Trump has called

for Brunson’s release and the is-

sue was discussed in a phone call

between the American leader and

Turkish President Recep Tayyip

Erdogan on Monday.

Philipp Kosnett, the US

charge d’affaires who was at-

tending Wednesday’s hearing,

said both Erdogan and Trump

were committed to rebuilding

the bilateral relationship but the

Brunson case was a key obstacle.

“This case is really important

because it has become a critical

issue,” he told reporters outside

the court in Aliaga north of

Izmir.

— AFP

US Pastor Bill Campbell arrives to show his support during the trial of pastor Andrew Brunson, held on

charges of aiding terror groups, in Aliaga, north of Izmir, Wednesday. — AFP

After 2-year

purge, Turkey

to end state

of emergency

ISTANBUL —

Turkey’s state of

emergency which was imposed

after the failed 2016 coup is to

end Thursday but the opposi-

tion fears it will be replaced by

even more repressive legislative

measures.

President Recep Tayyip Er-

dogan declared the state of emer-

gency on July 20, 2016, five days

after warplanes bombed Ankara

and bloody clashes broke out in

Istanbul in a doomed putsch bid

that claimed 249 lives.

The measure, which normally

lasts three months but was extend-

ed seven times, has seen the deten-

tion of some 80,000 people and

about double that number sacked

from jobs in public institutions.

The biggest purge of Turkey’s

modern history has targeted not

just alleged supporters of Fethul-

lah Gulen, the US-based preacher

blamed for the coup, but also

Kurdish activists and leftists.

The former leaders of the

opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’

Democratic Party (HDP) — Fi-

gen Yuksekdag and Selahattin

Demirtas — are still languishing

in jail following their arrest in

November 2016 on charges of

links to Kurdish militants.

During last month’s presiden-

tial election campaign, which he

won, Erdogan pledged that the

state of emergency would end.

And it will — at 1:00 am on

Thursday (2200 GMT Wednes-

day), simply by virtue of the

government not asking that it be

extended.

But the opposition has been

angered by the government’s

submission of new legislation to

parliament that apparently seeks

to formalize some of the harshest

aspects of the emergency.

The bill, dubbed “anti-terror”

legislation by pro-government me-

dia, will be discussed at commis-

sion level on Thursday and then in

plenary session on Monday.

The main opposition Republi-

can People’s Party (CHP) said the

new measures would amount to a

state of emergency on their own.

“With this bill, with the

measures in this text, the state

of emergency will not be ex-

tended for three months, but for

three years,” said the head of the

CHP’s parliamentary faction,

Ozgur Ozel.

“They make it look like they

are lifting the emergency but in

fact they are continuing it,” he

added.

Key elements unchanged

Under the proposed legisla-

tion, the authorities will retain

for three more years the power

to sack civil servants deemed

linked to “terror” groups, retain-

ing a key power of the state of

emergency.

Protests and gatherings will

be banned in open public areas

after sunset, although they can be

authorized until midnight if they

do not disturb the public order.

Local authorities will be able

to prohibit individuals from en-

tering or leaving a defined area

for 15 days on security grounds.

And suspect can be held

without charge for 48 hours or up

to four days in the case of mul-

tiple offenses.

This period can be extended

up to twice if there is difficulty

in collecting evidence or if the

case is deemed to be particularly

voluminous.

— Reuters

Kiev arrests

blogger for

Turkey coup

bid: Police

KIEV —

Security services picked

up a Turkish blogger accused

of having links to the move-

ment Ankara blames for a 2016

failed coup at the weekend,

Ukrainian police said Tuesday.

The state-run Anadolu

news agency had reported

Sunday that Yusuf Inan was

expelled from Ukraine as part

of an operation by Turkey’s

National Intelligence Organiza-

tion (MIT) against a “terrorist

group”.

Local police spokeswoman

Olena Berezhna told AFP that

Inan was arrested in the southern

city of Mykolaiv “by the Ukrai-

nian security service (SBU), who

took him” elsewhere.

It was the latest covert

overseas swoop against a sus-

pected member of the group of

US-based preacher Fethullah

Gulen, whom Ankara accuses

of orchestrating the coup bid

aimed at toppling President Re-

cep Tayyip Erdogan.

Inan, who fled Turkey after

the failed coup in 2016, was

accused of “trying to discredit

some political figures and state

officials in Turkey by carrying

out a perception operation on

social media”, Anadolu said.

He is also wanted in west-

ern Izmir province for “being a

member of an armed organiza-

tion”, it said.

Inan is married to a Ukrai-

nian woman and had a resi-

dence permit, Berezhna noted.

— AFP

Libya halts

oil export

at Zawiya port

TRIPOLI —

Libya’s state oil

company said on Tuesday

that it has halted crude ex-

ports at its Zawiya terminal

due to falling production

after an attack in which four

workers were kidnapped.

“National Oil Corpora-

tion has declared force ma-

jeure on crude oil loadings

at Zawiya port,” the NOC it

said in a statement.

“This is a result of re-

duced production at Sharara

following the recent attack

and kidnap of four Akakus

company employees,” it said,

adding that two were later

released.

The Sharara oil field,

which is managed by Akakus,

is a joint venture between the

NOC, Spain’s Repsol, Total

of France, Austria’s OMV

and Statoil of Norway.

It is one of the largest oil

facilities in Libya, producing

270,000 barrels a day.

Force majeure is a legal

measure that frees a company

from contractual obligations

due to circumstances beyond

its control.

The NOC said it had

evacuated and shut down sta-

tion 186 — where the four oil

workers were kidnapped —

and evacuated two others.

Field production had

been limited to 125,000 bpd,

which it said was enough to

meet the requirements of the

Zawiya refinery, but “leaving

no excess crude for export”.

“Employee safety is al-

ways our first priority. This

incident required us to shut

down and evacuate a number

of stations,” said NOC chair-

man Mustafa Sanalla.

“We have to prioritize

local demand for fuel. For

the time being all Sharara

production will go to the re-

finery.”

On Monday, during a pro-

test outside the NOC’s head-

quarters in Tripoli, Sanalla

called on tribes in the south

of the country to release two

employees, including a Ro-

manian national.

Libya’s economy relies

heavily on oil, with produc-

tion at 1.6 million barrels

per day under former leader

Muammar Gaddafi.

His 2011 ouster saw

production fall to about 20

percent of that level, before

recovering to more than one

million barrels per day by the

end of 2017.

OPEC has estimated Lib-

ya’s oil reserves at 48 billion

barrels, which makes them

the biggest in Africa.

— AFP

Buses arrive to evacuate two besieged pro-Assad villages

BEIRUT —

Dozens of buses

reached two Syrian government

loyalist villages under siege from

insurgents in the northwest, as part

of a deal to evacuate residents on

Wednesday, state media said.

Some 6,000 people will

leave, emptying out the mostly

Shiite villages of Al-Foua and

Kefraya, a commander in the

regional alliance that backs Syr-

ian President Bashar Al-Assad

told Reuters.

Rebels and Iran-backed

forces agreed a deal to evacuate

the two mostly Shiite villages in

return for the release of hundreds

of detainees in state prisons,

sources said on Tuesday. Op-

position sources said officials

from Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a

coalition spearheaded by Syria’s

former Al-Qaeda offshoot, and

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had

negotiated the deal.

“Buses and ambulances enter

the villages of Al-Foua and Ke-

fraya to bring out the besieged

people,” state news agency

SANA said.

In April last year, thousands

of people in the two villages

were shuttled out to government

territory in a swap deal.

In return, hundreds of resi-

dents left two towns at the border

with Lebanon, which were in the

hands of Sunni rebels at the time

and besieged by pro-government

forces. They were evacuated to

insurgent territory in northern

Syria. A source from HTS on

Tuesday said some 6,900 people

— including civilians and fight-

ers — were to be evacuated un-

der the deal.

The source said 1,500 people

would be freed from govern-

ment-run jails. The evacuation

agreement reached Tuesday is

not the first for the two tiny vil-

lages.

— Agencies

Some 6,000 people will leave, emptying out the mostly Shiite villages of

Al-Foua and Kefraya. — Reuters