JIAT to join Yemen bombing probe, US advice to be sought

Yemenis are complaining that Houthi militias have blocked instant messaging application, WhatsApp, to sabotage calls for mass protests against their atrocities (Source: Twitter)
Updated 10 October 2016
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JIAT to join Yemen bombing probe, US advice to be sought

JEDDAH: The Saudi-led coalition, supporting the legitimate government in Yemen, said on Sunday it was deeply saddened by the regrettable and painful bombing of the great hall in Sanaa on Saturday, which reportedly led to deaths and injuries.

“The coalition will immediately investigate this case along with the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen, and the team will seek advice from the US which can help with their experiences and lessons learned in such investigations,” the coalition said in a statement sent to Arab News.
“The coalition is also willing to provide the investigation team with any data and information related to its military operations on Sunday, at the incident’s location and surrounding areas. The result of the investigation should be announced as soon as it’s completed,” added the statement.
“The coalition expressed its deepest condolences and support to the families of the victims of hostilities since the coup in Yemen in 2014. The coalition confirms that its troops have clear instructions not to target populated areas and to avoid civilians,” the statement added
Also on Sunday, Saudi air defenses intercepted two ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militias targeting Maarib, and Taif inside the Kingdom. Earlier in the day, the coalition forces repelled an attack by Houthi militias and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh, which tried to reach the Saudi border off Al-Khubah in Jazan region.
The militias’ infantry tried to attack the Saudi border on several points through the Yemeni mountains bordering Saudi Arabia, especially Mount Razih, but was foiled by an attack carried out by the coalition jet fighters and artillery.
Military sources said dozens of militants died in the attack. Their military vehicles and missile launchers were also destroyed.
The coalition takes all measures to ensure that its airstrikes are precisely conducted to avoid civilian gatherings, its spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri told Arab News earlier.
“The coalition has always avoided such gatherings and these have never been targets of the air raids,” Al-Assiri explained. Accusations against the coalition come as Yemeni citizens in Sanaa continue to stage massive demonstrations against the Houthi militias, who have caused damage and wreaked havoc on Yemen since they took over the capital two years ago, helped by the forces supporting former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt, Houthis set up roadblocks and disperse their troops in the streets to prevent citizens from responding to calls on social media to gather in the center of the capital, eyewitnesses from Sanaa said.
Over the past two days, the hashtag “ana nazel” (I am participating) has been trending on social media, vowing to sustain the protest against the Houthi militias, accused of starving the Yemeni people and failing to pay public servants’ salaries for the past two months. Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had transferred the Yemeni Central Bank from Sanaa to Aden two months back.


Misk forum connects global youth

High-tech passes allow participants to connect and swap contact details at the touch of a button.
Updated 5 min 54 sec ago
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Misk forum connects global youth

  • It was the old-fashioned, face-to-face connections that many delegates said they valued the most
  • More than 3,500 delegates received insights from more than 50 speakers from around the world

Young leaders, entrepreneurs, students and inventors mingled in innovative ways at the Misk Global Forum, with name tags that sent delegates’ connections to an app at the press of a flashing button. 

But at the end of the day it was the old-fashioned, face-to-face connections that many delegates said they valued the most.

“I’m seeing people from all over the world gathered here in Riyadh, which has become the center of opportunities,” said Jomana Khoj, a 26-year-old animator from Makkah, before the forum wrapped up on Thursday. 

“Thanks, Misk, for helping us, the youth, gather here and connect with other youth from around the world.”

The forum included “Skills Garages,” workshop spaces with whiteboard tables that could be written on during group brainstorms, with sessions on “The Art of Persuasion” and “Landing Your Dream Tech Job.”

Top left: Paintings displayed in a 360-degree fashion. Bottom left: Participants had a chance to learn about every aspect of the Misk Foundation’s work. Right: Young people exploring their skills, potential and passions during workshops.

The workshop spaces served as a hub for visitors from North America, Africa, Asia and Europe, with many attendees commending the amount of innovation the forum provided. 

“I feel this year’s content is well chosen,” said Faisal Al-Sudairy, a 24-year-old participant. “We really need to prepare ourselves for the future, especially in this fast-changing era, and to know more about what skills we should acquire.”

The workshops catered to developing youths’ skills for the future economy. More than 3,500 delegates received insights from more than 50 speakers from around the world. 

It was the third annual forum organized by the Misk Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded in 2011 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  

In the main hall, called the “Skills Factory,” Thursday’s opening session included a speech by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE’s minister of state for higher education and advanced skills.

“Misk Majlis,” another designated area, provided a relaxed and informal setting that focused on helping delegates build their personal brands. Traditional floor cushions and couches represented traditional Arab social gatherings. 

In the majlis, Misk Innovation held a talk to publicize its new brand and partnership with the Silicon Valley venture capital firm 500 Startups. 

The accelerator program for tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa will last 16 weeks starting from Jan. 27, 2019. Applications close on Dec. 15.

The Misk Art area introduced visitors to works by many renowned Saudi artists, such as Taha Sabban and Safia bin Zager. 

The vibrant hall displayed a large image of a sophisticated woman from Hijaz wearing the traditional Hijazi headdress and sitting on a beautiful ornamental wooden chair well known in the Saudi region. The image provided a transcendence between the past and present.

The Misk Art Institute had a unique section at the forum that was divided into two rooms. One was to showcase paintings and drawings of four pioneering Saudi artists. 

The other room had huge LED screens that gave people a 360-degree experience. The screens displayed paintings in an interactive way and synchronized with tailored music.

The halls were lined with inspirational quotes and the faces of well-known figures. It should come as no surprise that the most popular one was of Misk’s founder, with delegates taking selfies alongside the crown prince’s smiling face.