Qatar opposition event starts in London amid high security

An aerial view of Qatar’s capital, Doha (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 September 2017

Qatar opposition event starts in London amid high security

DUBAI: Members of the Qatari opposition are speaking publically for the first time at an event debating the situation in Qatar.
Shrouded in secrecy amid concerns over interference by the Qatari government and its supporters, the Qatar, Global Security and Stability Conference has also attracted a line-up of world renowned speakers, including the former US Ambassador to the UN, and an ex-British Cabinet Minister.
Security was tight at the event, held at a hotel in the east of the capital, with sniffer dogs prowling the site before it opened. They will be joined by members of the Qatari opposition – exiled Qataris pressing for reform in the country who have never spoken previously in public.
The conference will focus on five main topics: Political Islam and terrorist groups; Qatar and Iran’s Foreign Policy, a source of regional instability; Democracy, human rights and a quest for global prestige; Al Jazeera – free press or voice of terror; and Qatar’s economic and geopolitical influence.
The event’s organizer Khalid Al-Hail, spokesman for the Qatar National Democratic Party, which earlier told Arab News that he “feared for his life” because of perceived threats over his opposition stance.
The conference comes as the diplomatic crisis between the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) and Qatar enters its fourth month.
The ATQ was formed in June by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, the four nations that initially severed ties with Qatar in June amid allegations that it supported terror.
Attending this week’s event are a number of senior politicians including Britain’s Lord Paddy Ashdown, former US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, former British Prime Minister Iain Duncan Smith, and other prominent commentators.
Al-Hail said ahead of the event: “The support we have received from some of the most respected and high-profile commentators on the Middle East, World Affairs and the media demonstrates the level of concern there is inside and outside Qatar about the current direction of the leadership of the country.”


NASA investigating first crime committed in space: report

Updated 7 min 20 sec ago

NASA investigating first crime committed in space: report

  • Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of improperly accessing her partner’s private financial records while aboard the International Space Station
  • McClain’s lawyer said the astronaut accessed the account only to monitor the couple’s combined finances

WASHINGTON: US space agency NASA is investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife’s private financial records while on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.
The astronaut’s spouse Summer Worden filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain had accessed her bank account without permission, while Worden’s family filed another with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, according to the newspaper.
McClain’s lawyer said the astronaut had done nothing wrong and accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple’s combined finances — something she had done over the course of their relationship, the Times reported.
NASA investigators have contacted both women, according to the newspaper.
McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but NASA scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism.
Worden said the FTC has not responded to the identity theft report, but that an investigator specializing in criminal cases with NASA’s Office of Inspector General has been looking into the accusation, according to the Times.