Houthis accused of firing at UN monitor Patrick Cammaert’s convoy in Yemen’s Hodeidah

Retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert (C), who is leading a joint committee, which includes both government and rebel representatives, tasked with overseeing a truce in the Red Sea port city and the withdrawal of both parties, speaks with an official in the port city of Hodeidah on January 13, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019

Houthis accused of firing at UN monitor Patrick Cammaert’s convoy in Yemen’s Hodeidah

  • The UN said that Cammaert and his team were safe following the "reported shooting incident"
  • Earlier, the Houthis prevented retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert from leaving his residence

LONDON: A convoy of UN ceasefire monitors in Yemen was hit with small arms fire in eastern Hodeidah Thursday in an attack blamed on the Houthi militia.

A car was hit with one round as they returned to the city center from a meeting with a delegation from the legitimate Yemeni government, a UN spokesman said.
"We do not have information as to the source of the fire," Stephane Dujarric said.

The attack on the monitors, led by Retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, was "a significant development,” Yemeni government spokesman Rajih Bady said, accusing the Houthis of being responsible.

The UN said Cammaert and his team were safe following the "reported shooting incident."

 

Cammaert, who is the the head of the UN mission in Yemen charged with monitoring the Hodeidah ceasefire, was not in the vehicle that was hit and he and his team returned to their base safely, Dujarric said.

"I can assure you that general Cammaert and his team are supplied with the strongest possible security measures the UN can supply," he said.
"But it is important to add that all the parties in Yemen are also responsible for the safety of all UN personnel in Yemen. We are dealing with a highly volatile environment in Hodeidah."

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman said: "KSA strongly condemns the targeting of UN personnel by the Iran backed Houthi militia in Yemen, who have violated their signed commitments in Stockholm and continue to flout International Law and escalate their aggression against the Yemeni people," in a tweet on Friday. 

Cammaert has been in Hodeidah since late December trying to get the internationally recognized government and the Houthi militia to strengthen a cease-fire negotiated in Sweden last month and agree to arrangements for the redeployment of their forces.

Earlier, the Houthis prevented Cammaert, head of the Joint Coordination Committee, to monitor the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, from leaving his residence to meet representatives of the Yemeni government, Al Arabiya reported.

A source in the committee explained that a meeting was scheduled to take place between Cammaert and government representatives at a designated site in Hodeidah.

The UN Security Council approved this week to bolster the mission with a deployment of up to 75 monitors.

The unarmed monitors would be sent to the Hodeidah and its port along with the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa for an initial period of six months.

The port of Hodeida is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen's supplies of imported goods and humanitarian aid.

Talks between the government and Houthis last month in Sweden on ending the devastating war led to an agreement on the observer force.

The first group of about 20 monitors was authorized by the council last month to begin work in Yemen, but their mandate expires on Jan. 20.

The new resolution calls on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to "expeditiously" deploy the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeida Agreement (UNMHA). 

The UN says a ceasefire that went into force on Dec. 18 in Hodeida has been generally holding, but there have been delays in the redeployment of rebel and government forces from the city.


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 22 August 2019

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.