Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical storm Luban, and will probably head towards Yemen instead. (Photo courtesy: met.gov.om)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

  • The storm is likely to develop into a category one cyclone, over the next 12 hours
  • The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen

DUBAI: Oman is on alert after the meteorology center upgraded Luban to tropical cyclone category one on Wednesday while Yemen issued a warning. 

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical cyclone, and will probably head towards Yemen instead, Omani forecasters said.

Meteorologists warned that heavy rainfall and strong winds would hit Oman as the storm makes landfall. And residents have been warned to take precautions.

Meanwhile, Yemen, worn by an ongoing conflict that has weakened the country’s infrastructure, will face the full force of the storm.

The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen.

Oman’s Meteorology specialist, Hamood Al-Naabiya, had previously told Arab News on Tuesday that if the storm traveled towards the Gulf of Aden, the destructive effects would be less than that of Cyclone Mekunu which killed dozens in May.

In May Cyclone Mekunu ripped through the Yemeni island of Socotra, causing severe flooding, and extensive damage including six ships that sank - four at sea. Flood waters washed away thousands of animals and cut electricity and communication lines. Cyclone Mekunu then moved onto Salalah where whole areas of beach were washed away, as were roads, power cables and properties damaged.

At the end of the week, Mekunu had left 30 people dead - including a 12-year-old girl in Oman, while dozens of others were missing.

Oman subsequently announced schools in Dhofar governorate will close Thursday as a cyclone gathers strength in the Arabian Sea, five months after Cyclone Mekunu killed 11 people in the sultanate and Yemen.
“Schools will be shut as precautionary measure and to protect the students and staff... and in case residents need shelter during that time,” the education directorate in Dhofar, 950 kilometers south of Muscat, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Luban is currently considered a category one tropical cyclone.
In May, Cyclone Mekunu killed at least 11 people in southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The cyclone had isolated parts of Socotra island — part of a UNESCO-protected archipelago for its rich biodiversity — with the government declaring it a “disaster” zone.


Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

Updated 16 February 2019
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Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday suggested the mosque in Athens should open with minarets if the Greek premier wants to reopen a seminary in Istanbul.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was in Turkey this month and visited the disputed landmarks of Hagia Sophia and the now-closed Greek Orthodox Halki seminary.
Tsipras said during the visit to the seminary located on Heybeli island off Istanbul on February 6 he hoped to reopen the school next time with Erdogan.
Future priests of the Constantinople diocese had been trained at the seminary, which was closed in 1971 after tensions between Ankara and Athens over Cyprus.
Erdogan on Saturday complained that the Fethiye Mosque in Athens had no minarets despite Greek insistence that it would open.
The mosque was built in 1458 during the Ottoman occupation of Greece but has not been used as a mosque since 1821.
“Look you want something from us, you want the Halki seminary. And I tell you (Greece), come, let’s open the Fethiye Mosque,” Erdogan said during a rally in the northwestern province of Edirne ahead of local elections on March 31.
“They said, ‘we are opening the mosque’ but I said, why isn’t there a minaret? Can a church be a church without a bell tower?” he said, describing his talks with Tsipras.
“We say, you want to build a bell tower? Come and do it... But what is an essential part of our mosques? The minarets,” the Turkish president added.
Erdogan said Tsipras told him he was wary of criticism from the Greek opposition.
After the independence war against Ottomans began in 1821, the minaret is believed by some to have been destroyed because it was a symbol of the Ottoman occupation.
Ankara had returned land taken from the seminary in 1943 but there is still international pressure on Turkey to reopen it.
Erdogan has previously said that its reopening is dependent on reciprocal steps from Greece to enhance the rights of the Turkish minority.