Iran big winner from region’s turmoil: Arab League head

A still image taken from a video posted on a social media website and said to be shot on April 30, 2017, shows smoke rising after what purported to be barrel bombs were dropped on an area said to be Latamneh, in Hama province, Syria. Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit on Monday said that Iran and Israel were the main beneficiaries of turmoil across the Arab world, which he described as the worst he has ever seen. (Social Media Website via Reuters)
Updated 02 May 2017
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Iran big winner from region’s turmoil: Arab League head

DUBAI: Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit warned Monday that Iran and Israel were the main beneficiaries of turmoil across the Arab world, which he described as the worst he has ever seen.
“I have never seen anything worse than what we are now seeing,” Abul Gheit said at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai.
“Iran is enjoying what the Arab world is going through. There are those in Iran who are watching and waiting for us to destroy ourselves.”
Ties between Iran and Arab states have grown increasingly tense in recent years, with Tehran backing Syrian President Bashar Assad, Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels and armed Shiite groups in Iraq.
Arab governments largely back Syrian opposition groups.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have for the past two years battled the Houthis, who control the capital and strategic ports along the Red Sea coastline.
Israel also stood to benefit from conflicts across the region, Abul Gheit said.
“Israel was under enormous pressure to find a solution with the Palestinians,” he said.
“If I were the prime minister ... I would have thought these were the happiest days for Israel.”
Long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been overshadowed by global concerns over the Syrian war and Daesh group jihadists.


Camel dung fuels cement production in northern UAE

Updated 20 min 40 sec ago
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Camel dung fuels cement production in northern UAE

  • Farmers in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah drop off camel excrement at collection stations

RAS AL-KHAIMAH: Thousands of tons of camel dung are being used to fuel cement production in the northern United Arab Emirates, cutting emissions and keeping animal waste out of landfill.
Under a government-run scheme, farmers in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah drop off camel excrement at collection stations. It is then blended with coal to power the boiler at a large cement factory.
“People started to laugh, believe me,” said the general manager of Gulf Cement Company, Mohamed Ahmed Ali Ebrahim, describing the moment the waste management agency proposed the idea.
But after running tests, the company found two tons of camel waste could replace one ton of coal.
“We heard from our grandfathers that they used cow dung for heating. But nobody had thought about the camel waste itself,” said Ebrahim, whose factory now uses 50 tons of camel dung a day.
Cow dung has been tapped as a resource to generate energy from the United States, to Zimbabwe to China. Camel dung is a rarer fuel but one well suited to Ras Al-Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, home to around 9,000 camels used in milk production, racing and beauty contests.
Each camel produces some 8kg of faeces daily — far more than farmers use as fertilizer.
A blend of one part dung to nine parts coal burns steadily — essential for cement ovens that work continuously at up to 1,400 degrees Celsius.
The main aim of the project is to prevent camel waste from ending up in the dump, with the government seeking to divert 75% of all waste from landfill by 2021.
“We don’t make use of it. The most important thing is for the area to be clean, for the camels to be clean,” said farm owner Ahmed Al-Khatri, stroking camel calves in the afternoon sun as a farm worker sifted dung for collection.
Authorities want more cement plants to adopt the practice and start using chicken and industrial waste, as well as sludge from water treatment, said Sonia Ytaurte Nasser, executive director of the waste management agency.
“Waste is just a resource in the wrong place,” she said.