US bans large electronic devices on flights from some Mideast countries

Royal Jordanian Airlines pointed out in a tweet that medical devices were excluded from the ban. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 21 March 2017
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US bans large electronic devices on flights from some Mideast countries

DUBAI:  The US government is ordering passengers on nonstop, US-bound flights from a handful of Middle Eastern and North African countries to pack electronic devices other than cellphones in their checked baggage.

Senior Trump administration officials said that starting Tuesday morning airlines flying directly to the United States from 10 airports in eight countries could allow only cellphones and smartphones in carry-on bags, the Associated Press reported.

The order was sent out in an e-mail from the US Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) on Monday.

The ban involves any device larger than a mobile phone, including cameras, laptops and tablets, The Guardian reported Monday.

The policy is set to be announced in full on Tuesday but Saudi and Jordanian airlines are thought to be among the affected as they released notifications to fliers late Monday.

The UK is due to announce a similar move with different restrictions from the US Department of Homeland Security's ban, according the BBC.

Royal Jordanian Airlines pointed out in a tweet that medical devices were excluded from the ban but said everything else would need to be packed into checked luggage.

“Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited,” the airline tweeted. “Prohibited devices, including for instance laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games … etc, can be carried in the checked baggage only.”

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released new guidelines to fliers traveling to the US, stating that they should not carry laptops or tablets in their hand luggage.

The reason behind the ban is unclear but on Monday, a US official told Reuters that it followed a “terrorism threat.”

According to the official, no American carriers are impacted by the ban.


France, Saudi Arabia to hold Yemen humanitarian conference end June

Updated 24 May 2018
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France, Saudi Arabia to hold Yemen humanitarian conference end June

  • France and Saudi Arabia will co-host an international conference on Yemen in Paris
  • More than 10,000 people have been killed in a war that has displaced 3 million internally

PARIS: France and Saudi Arabia will co-host an international conference on Yemen in Paris in June to assess humanitarian needs for the country and possibly contribute to reviving U.N.-backed peace talks.
A Saudi-led coalition backed by the West has carried out air strikes against the armed Houthi movement in a war since 2015 to restore the internationally recognised government.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in a war that has displaced 3 million internally and unleashed the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the UN says.
"We are currently working on how to organise this conference with our various partners, Yemen and the United Nations," France's foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily briefing on Wednesday.
"This conference should take stock of humanitarian needs, evaluate the assistance provided and the response mechanisms which need to be improved and define humanitarian actions to improve the situation of civilian populations."
The French president's office said the conference would take place at the end of June. A source aware of the plans said it was scheduled for June 27.
Von der Muhll declined to say whether Paris intended to invite representatives of the Iran-aligned Houthis.
"This work, which we want to be collective, can help to recreate the conditions for a resumption of political discussions under the auspices of the United nations," Von der Muhll said in a statement on Tuesday.
It is unclear how this would fit into the UN Yemen mediator Martin Griffiths' efforts. He said in April he wanted to present a plan for negotiations within two months to end the conflict, but warned that any new military offensives could "take peace off the table."
Three rounds of UN-backed peace talks between the Houthis and the Yemeni government, with the last held in Kuwait in August 2016, ended without success. Griffiths began his term in March in a bid by the U.N. to revive the stalled peace process.