Kuwait to host Iraq reconstruction summit

Destroyed buildings from clashes are seen in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq July 10, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 08 January 2018
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Kuwait to host Iraq reconstruction summit

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait will host an international conference in February on the reconstruction of war-torn Iraq, in cooperation with the World Bank and private companies, it said Monday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said that despite “past wounds” — a reference to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait — his country had a “moral, humanitarian and Arab” duty to support its neighbor.
“The stability of Iraq is the stability of Kuwait and the region,” he said.
Iraqi forces have regained swathes of territory from the Daesh group since the jihadists seized a third of Iraq and large parts of Syria in 2014.
In December, Baghdad declared victory over the group following three years of war.
The Kuwait conference, from February 12-14, will devote its second day to the role of the private sector and civil society organizations in reconstruction, Jarallah said.
Mehdi Al-Alaq, the secretary general of Iraq’s Council of Ministers, said Baghdad and the World Bank had estimated reconstruction would cost at least $100 billion (84 billion euros).
“ISIS displaced 5 million people,” he said, speaking alongside Jarallah in Kuwait City.
“We succeeded in returning half to their areas, but we need international support to return the rest of the displaced.”
The International Organization for Migration said last week that by the end of 2017, more than 3.2 million Iraqis had returned home, but 2.6 million remained displaced.
Nearly one third are reported to have returned to houses that have been significantly or completely damaged, it said.
Alaq said heavy damage had also affected oil, electricity, transport, communications and manufacturing infrastructure as well as basic services such as water and sanitation.
Some Iraqis have complained of delays by central authorities in launching reconstruction efforts.
Baghdad has argued that the world “owes” it a program similar to the United States’ multi-billion dollar post-war Marshall Plan for Europe.


Cairo looks to curb street sheep slaughter for Eid holiday

An Egyptian vendor holds his camels as people gather at the Berqash camel market northeast of Cairo, on August 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 20 August 2018
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Cairo looks to curb street sheep slaughter for Eid holiday

  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recommends strict guidelines for the slaughter of animals
  • Egypt’s state-sponsored Islamic religious authorities, which rule on sharia law, have also come out against the practice

CAIRO: Faced with scenes of blood flowing in rubbish-strewn roads and of streets littered with animal entrails, authorities in the Egyptian capital say they aim to crack down on the outdoor slaughter that marks one of Islam’s main holidays.
Eid Al-Adha, or the festival of sacrifice, is marked by Muslims sacrificing animals according to religious traditions at the end of the Hajj annual pilgrimage to Makkah and Medina.
Ahead of the holiday, which this year starts on Tuesday, temporary sheep markets have sprung up amid the exhaust fumes and garbage heaps of the sprawling metropolis.
But the governor’s office in Cairo insists it is on a “cleanliness” drive to stop the widespread slaughter of animals in the distinctly unhygienic surroundings of the city’s streets.
To prevent the “barbaric and unacceptable” spectacle, officials in each neighborhood have been ordered to “strictly” enforce laws prohibiting the practice, city spokesman Khaled Mostafa told AFP.
Offenders risk a fine of at least 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($280, 250 euros), a hefty sum that exceeds the average monthly wage in the country.

In the crowded Sayeda Zainab neighborhood near central Cairo, local merchants keep the sheep up for sale for the feast down muddy alleyways.
Traders like Hussein Abul Al-Aziz say they welcome the push to eliminate the killings in the streets and claim they don’t engage in the practice.
“It is unacceptable to slaughter in the street, it must be done in an abattoir with a veterinarian who examines the animal and under the supervision of the health ministry,” Aziz said, standing among his well-fed beasts.
But it clear that the message from the authorities has not reached most people.
Local resident Ahmed Ragab shops around for a sheep for Eid Al-Adha.
The father in his fifties confides that he has not heard of the official sanitation drive and was planning to slaughter his animal in the street outside his house.
“But it is true that it’s dirty and dangerous,” he concedes.

It is not just Cairo officials who are seeking to dissuade people from street sacrifices.
Egypt’s state-sponsored Islamic religious authorities, which rule on sharia law, have also come out against the practice.
The Dar Al-Ifta institution published a speech this month condemning street sacrifices as a “great sin and serious crime.”
A potential cause of diseases and epidemics, leaving behind the remains of the animal is also considered “impure” by the Qur'an holy book, the government body said on its website.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recommends strict guidelines for the slaughter of animals.
It says abattoirs should be “situated away from residential areas” and calls for “a well-planned, well-executed and controlled cleaning and sanitation program.”
However, the aspirations of the authorities and advice of experts seem at odds with the reality in the marketplace.
On the outskirts of Cairo, makeshift pens hold sheep close to an open sewerage drain.
Local butchers complain of financial woes they face as the cost of living soars in Egypt.
Most did not want to answer questions but it was clear they would meet customers’ demands — including butchering animals in the streets — to make ends meet.
“We’ll do anything,” one told AFP.