Indian opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi addresses packed UAE stadium

The Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where the Indian National Congress politician spoke to non-resident Indians (NRIs), reached its crowd capacity an hour before the event was due to start. (Photo: Indian overseas conference)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Indian opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi addresses packed UAE stadium

  • Gandhi was speaking in the same stadium where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the community during a visit in 2015
  • Earlier on Friday, Gandhi was greeted by leading UAE government officials, visited labor camps to meet Indian workers and held talks with members of the Indian business community

DUBAI: Around 15,000 supporters of Rahul Gandhi, the president of India’s leading opposition party, on Friday were turned away from a packed rally in the UAE, ahead of his address to thousands of expatriates.
The Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where the Indian National Congress politician spoke to non-resident Indians (NRIs), reached its crowd capacity an hour before the event was due to start.
Stadium officials were forced to turn away disappointed followers of the party leader, many of whom had traveled long distances from cities throughout the UAE to hear Gandhi speak.
Those who secured a seat inside the venue cheered and waved banners during Gandhi’s address, which lasted for more than 40 minutes.
With elections due to take place in India later this year, Gandhi spoke of the important role he hoped NRIs could play in shaping India’s future.
Gandhi said: “I am so proud of NRIs living in the UAE, and their major contribution to the development of this beautiful country. Now, I want you to play the same role in developing your own homeland.”
He spoke of India’s “great religions and cultures,” and the need for communities to work together to tackle key economic challenges, such as unemployment and the agricultural sector. He also promised the crowd that when his party gets into power, it will designate special seats in the upper Parliament for NRIs.
Gandhi was speaking in the same stadium where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the community during a visit in 2015.
Earlier on Friday, Gandhi was greeted by leading UAE government officials, visited labor camps to meet Indian workers and held talks with members of the Indian business community. He is also scheduled to visit the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.


Passengers shiver through 16-hour ordeal on Canadian tarmac

Updated 4 min 29 sec ago
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Passengers shiver through 16-hour ordeal on Canadian tarmac

MONTREAL: A medical emergency and a mechanical problem left passengers on a United Airlines flight stuck for about 16 hours on the frigid tarmac of a Canadian airport in the plane’s barely heated interior, the CBC network reported.
United Flight 179 had taken off late Saturday from Newark, New Jersey en route to Hong Kong with about 250 passengers on board.
When a passenger suffered a medical problem the plane made an emergency landing at Goose Bay airport in Newfoundland and Labrador province, on Canada’s east coast, the airline told CBC.
But after paramedics took him to hospital, the plane was unable to take off, reportedly because bitterly cold temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) had caused a door to freeze.
With no customs officers on duty overnight, passengers were forced to stay on board, many shivering under the thin blankets handed out by flight attendants.
With food and water running short roughly 10 hours into the ordeal, officials finally arrived to deliver supplies from the Tim Hortons fast-food chain known in Canada for its coffee and doughnuts.
One of the passengers, Sonjay Dutt, reached by phone, said the plane was under-heated and that the arrival of the food and coffee was not enough to appease increasingly angry passengers.
A relief aircraft arrived in Goose Bay late Sunday morning. After the passengers were transferred to the plane by bus, it took off in mid-afternoon to take them back to Newark, where they originally came from the day before, CBC said.
Much of eastern Canada, as well as the US northeast, has been suffering through a glacial cold spell, with heavy snowfalls that have led to scores of flight cancelations.
At the end of the United ordeal, passenger Dutt tweeted that “it’s been a long long long long day.”