US slaps sanctions on alleged new Daesh financiers

A sign marks the US Treasury Department in Washington, U.S., August 6, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 15 April 2019

US slaps sanctions on alleged new Daesh financiers

WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on financiers with bases in Belgium, Kenya and Turkey on charges they funneled money internationally for the Daesh extremist group.
The Treasury Department said it had pinpointed successors to Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr Al-Rawi, who was killed in a US-led coalition air strike in Syria in 2017 after allegedly sending millions of dollars earmarked for the jihadists.
The United States imposed sanctions on seven people including Mushtaq Talib Zughayr Al-Rawi, who as of late 2018 was living with his family in Belgium, according to the Treasury Department.
Forces seized evidence during a raid on the Daesh group last year that showed Mushtaq was helping fund them by exploiting the Iraqi government’s electronic payment machines designed to distribute payments to public employees and retirees, the Treasury Department said.
“Treasury is dedicated to ensuring the enduring defeat of Daesh by cutting off all remaining sources of their terror funding around the globe,” said Sigal Mandelker, the department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Rawi’s network dates from the 1990s in Iraq, when it used the region’s hawala system, the informal network of money transfers conducted through face-to-face guarantees, to evade biting international sanctions on the country then ruled by Saddam Hussein.
The Treasury Department also sanctioned a money exchange company, Al-Ard Al-Jadidah, said to connect Iraq’s hawalas with the northern Turkish city of Samsun.
An Daesh member in Iraq allegedly received $1 million through the exchange last year, it said.
Also targeted in the latest sanctions was Kenya-based Halima Adan Ali, who the Treasury Department said was part of a network that moved more than $150,000 through the hawala system to Daesh fighters in Syria, Libya and central Africa.
She has been arrested twice by Kenyan authorities and also served as a recruiter for Somalia’s Al-Shabab militants, according to the Treasury Department.
With the announcement, the United States will seize any assets it finds which belong to the sanctioned individuals and bar any Americans from financial dealings with them.


AI helped predict virus health care needs, says SEHA CFO

In this Feb. 5, 2010, file photo, a laboratory technician prepares samples of urine for doping tests during a media open day, at the King's College Drug Control Centre in London. (AP)
Updated 30 May 2020

AI helped predict virus health care needs, says SEHA CFO

  • Kapitelli praised the UAE and its residents and citizens for taking a proactive role in curbing the spread of the virus

LONDON: Artificial intelligence (AI) and data have allowed health systems and governments to predict and ascertain coronavirus patient demand curves, as well as find out where and what type of capacity is needed, the group chief financial officer at the Abu Dhabi Health Services Co. (SEHA) said during a webinar on Friday.
That enabled hospitals in Abu Dhabi to be equipped with ventilators to treat critically ill patients and “to effectively double our ICU (intensive care unit) bed capacity … in a relatively short period of time,” George Kapitelli said.
The webinar was titled “Artificial intelligence in the time of COVID-19.” It was hosted by the Emirates Society in the UK, and was moderated by its Chairman Alistair Burt.
Other speakers included Orlando Agrippa, CEO of Draper & Dash Predictive Healthcare Analytics, and Northumbria Healthcare CEO Sir James Mackey.
Agrippa said: “What we want to do as a health system in Abu Dhabi is not to tackle this virus from a sort of guessing perspective. We want to leverage data, analytics and advanced technology to be able to get in front of it and really manage it at a cellular level.”
He added: “We started looking at what South Korea was doing, what Singapore was doing, what the guys in Germany are doing, or Sweden, that made their situation different from others. We spent an enormous amount of time looking at that.
“We looked at splitting the population into categories. The Middle East has a very different population configuration than the UK, for example.
“We had to do all those things to try to get some sense of when it (COVID-19) will peak, and what will be the true demand and true capacity requirement.”
Kapitelli praised the UAE and its residents and citizens for taking a proactive role in curbing the spread of the virus.
“What I see in the UAE, compared to my home country Australia, is a much better application of basic principles of social distancing and wearing masks and gloves,” he said. “People just accept that here (in the UAE), and I think that obviously plays a positive role.”
Sir James said the use of AI and data gathering is essential in order to be prepared for the next phase of coronavirus.
“One of our problems throughout this whole episode has been access to data beyond our own boundaries,” he added.
“In terms of trying to understand what was coming, our main source of information was ringing friends in London and finding out what was happening there — London was always about two weeks ahead of us (Northumbria). That’s a big gap that we’ve got to close down ahead of this next phase.”