Jordan WEF event to focus on ‘new platforms of cooperation’

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih will speak at the 17th World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, in Jordan. (Reuters)
Updated 05 April 2019
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Jordan WEF event to focus on ‘new platforms of cooperation’

  • Speakers include King Abdullah of Jordan, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN
  • The event’s 100 Arab Startups initiative will bring together entrepreneurs from across the region, including 10 from Saudi Arabia

LONDON: This weekend’s World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan will address “new platforms of cooperation” for the Arab world, organizers said on Wednesday.

The 17th World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa is set to take place at the Dead Sea on April 6-7, and bring together more than 1,000 leaders of government, business, civil society, faith and academia.

Speakers include King Abdullah of Jordan, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN.

“The meeting will focus on four transformational imperatives: Shaping a new economic and social model for the region; environmental stewardship in the Arab world; finding common ground in a multiconceptual world; and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Arab world,” organizers said.

Mirek Dusek, deputy head of the Center for Geopolitical and Regional Affairs and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, said the meeting comes at an important time for the region.

“At this meeting, we will hold several strategic dialogues, with particular attention on the relationship between the public, private and civic sectors, the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on skills and jobs, and new initiatives to help resolve long-standing conflicts,” he said.

“The region is at a pivotal time of taking the bold decisions necessary to future-proof its societies and economies.”

The event’s 100 Arab Startups initiative will bring together entrepreneurs from across the region, including 10 from Saudi Arabia.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.