Two airlines suspend Iran flights as economy weakens

Updated 12 January 2013
0

Two airlines suspend Iran flights as economy weakens

LONDON: Two European airlines said yesterday they were halting services to Iran, a sign of the crumbling purchasing power of Iranians as their economy buckles under the weight of Western sanctions.
Air France-KLM will suspend its Amsterdam-Tehran service starting April 2013, a spokesman for the carrier said. It currently flies to Iran four times a week.
Austrian Airlines, a unit of Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa , is canceling its services to Iran due to a lack of demand, a spokesman said. The carrier’s last flight from Vienna to Tehran will be on Jan. 13.
It used to fly to Tehran four times a week, but reduced that to three in November.
The Iranian rial has lost about two thirds of its value against the US dollar in the last year, following US sanctions on its central bank and a European Union embargo of Iranian oil, levied over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
That depreciation has made imported goods and foreign plane tickets far more expensive for Iranians.
A spokesman for Lufthansa said the German carrier was continuing to fly to Tehran five times a week. Italian airline Alitalia also flies to Iran, according to its website.
The US and its European allies fear Iran is trying to build a bomb under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran says its program is purely peaceful.
The sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors have made it more difficult for the Iranian government to earn foreign currency, raising concern that the central bank will not be able to defend the rial and depressing its value.
Airlines already had to think twice over whether to maintain services to the country since Iran said in 2011 it had stopped providing fuel to European aircraft in retaliation for their refusal to fuel Iranian planes.
Austrian Airlines suspended its service to Tehran for more than two months last summer because it could not be sure of getting its planes refueled there.


Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos accused of helping runaway maids

Updated 23 April 2018
0

Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos accused of helping runaway maids

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has banned workers from heading to Kuwait over abuse cases
  • The two countries have since been negotiating for new rules governing Filipino workers there
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti police arrested two Filipinos for allegedly convincing housemaids to run away from their employers’ homes as the Philippines’ ambassador faced questions for comments about his embassy’s work in aiding abused workers, authorities said Sunday.
The arrests, reported by the state-run KUNA news agency, come as relations are tense between Kuwait and the Philippines, which sends many domestic laborers to the Gulf Arab emirate.
Already, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte has banned workers from heading to Kuwait over abuse cases, culminating in a February incident that saw a Filipino’s body discovered in a freezer at a Kuwait City apartment abandoned for more than a year.
KUNA said Sunday the two Filipinos acknowledged convincing the maids to leave. It wasn’t clear what law the two men were accused of breaking, though KUNA said the two “confessed to the crime in addition to other similar offenses that had been committed in various regions of the country.”
The arrests came after Kuwait summoned the Philippines ambassador over comments he made that were reported in local press about the embassy’s effort to rescue domestic workers who are abused by their employers. Ambassador Renato Villa was quoted as saying his embassy moves in to help the abused if Kuwaiti authorities fail to respond within 24 hours.
Villa’s office said he was unavailable for comment Sunday.
Duterte in January complained that cases of abuse reported by Filipino domestic workers “always” seem to be coming from Kuwait.
There have been prominent cases of abuse in the past, including an incident in December 2014 where a Kuwaiti’s pet lions fatally mauled a Filipino maid.
The Philippines banned workers entirely from Kuwait after the discovery of Joanna Demafelis’ body in a freeze in February. In late March, Lebanese officials said 40-year-old Lebanese national Nader Essam Assaf confessed to killing the woman along with his Syrian wife, who remains at large. Authorities say Assaf faces a possible death sentence.
More than 260,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many of them as housemaids. Kuwait and the Philippines have since been negotiating for new rules governing Filipino workers there.
Philippine officials have demanded that housemaids be allowed to hold their passports and cellphones, which is normal for skilled workers like teachers and office workers. But many Kuwaiti employers seize their phones and passports.