Haifa Wehbe dispels Syria concert rumors

Haifa Wehbe
Updated 06 December 2017
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Haifa Wehbe dispels Syria concert rumors

JEDDAH: News that Lebanese pop star Haifa Wehbe will be performing a concert in Damascus, Syria on New Year’s Eve is false, Wehbe’s media office announced on Wednesday.
Wehbe’s media office issued an explanatory statement after bogus news stories started circulating on social media about her holding a concert in Syria, as well as details about the concert and ticket prices.
The statement said: “After the news was circulated on social media platforms, the media office of pop star Haifa Wehbe stresses her deep respect for the people of Syria, and refutes all news stories mentioned above and deems them rumors and false interpretations; no one communicated with her director regarding holding a concert in Damascus, Syria.”
“The only platform through which Wehbe announces her activities and concerts are her official social media accounts or her media office,” the statement concluded.
In April, Wehbe had tweeted prayers for Syria in an image with the caption “No caption needed, pray for #Syria.”


Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

Updated 19 August 2018
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Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

  • Shop owner sees increasing demand from women, says self-defence is main reason for buying
  • Customer says legalized gun sales will act as crime deterrent

BAGHDAD: In the middle of Baghdad’s busy commercial neighborhood of Karrada, where most retail outlets sell home appliances, shoppers can now also buy handguns and semi-automatic rifles legally for the first time in decades.
After the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, illegal weapons trade flourished across the country. Looted guns from ransacked police stations and military bases were sold in streets and public areas to residents seeking to protect themselves in a state that was largely lawless.
The authorities have since been battling to curb illegal weapon sales and the government has stepped up efforts to control gun ownership through regulation.
The latest initiative came into force this summer and allows citizens to own and carry handguns, semi-automatic rifles and other assault weapons after obtaining official authorization and an identity card that also details the individual’s weapons.
Previously, gun sales were restricted to firearms for hunting and sport.
Hamza Maher opened his new gun shop in Karrada after receiving official approval from the Interior Ministry and says there has been growing demand for his wares.
“Customers are mainly men, but the number of women buyers is growing,” said Maher inside his shop, where a variety of pistols and assault rifles are on display.
“The reason for buying is self-defense, and it’s safer for citizens to buy a weapon from an authorized store instead of from an unknown source.”
Pistol prices in Maher’s shop range from $1,000 to $4,000, while Kalashnikov assault rifles can be had from as little as $400 up to $2,000, depending on the brand and manufacturing origin, he said.
Haider Al-Suhail, a tribal sheikh from Baghdad, welcomed the legalization of gun stores.
“Yes, it will decrease crime,” he said on a visit to Maher’s shop to buy assault rifles for his ranch guards. “The criminal who plans to attack others will understand that he will pay heavy price.”