Yemen’s Houthis drop ‘tax’ threat that jeopardised aid: UN official

A UN official in Sanaa said the Houthis had backed away from a proposed 2.0 percent levy on NGOs pushed by the Houthi aid body SCMCHA, criticised for hobbling aid with interference and layers of bureaucracy. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 February 2020

Yemen’s Houthis drop ‘tax’ threat that jeopardised aid: UN official

  • United Nations leaders and humanitarian groups held crunch talks in Brussels on Thursday to address obstruction by the Iran-backed militia
  • The Brussels meeting heard that, while both sides have made trouble for humanitarian and UN agencies, the Houthi attempts to tax shipments triggered the latest crisis

DUBAI: Yemen’s Houthi militia have dropped a threat to tax aid, a UN official told AFP Friday, in a significant step towards resolving a crisis that has jeopardised the world’s biggest humanitarian operation.

United Nations leaders and humanitarian groups held crunch talks in Brussels on Thursday to address obstruction by the Iran-backed militia that has threatened to sever the lifeline to millions at risk of starvation.

They heard that vital supplies could be cut off, after humanitarian agencies complained of a deteriorating situation in the Houthi-controlled north where aid workers face arrest and intimidation.

But a UN official in Sanaa said the Houthis had backed away from a proposed 2.0 percent levy on NGOs pushed by the Houthi aid body SCMCHA, criticised for hobbling aid with interference and layers of bureaucracy.

The Houthi administration “in its meeting on 12 February, has decided to cancel the 2.0 percent that was included in SCMCHA regulations,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

“The cancellation of the tax is a positive development for sure,” he said, noting that other issues that still need to be dealt with relate to “access and bureaucratic impediments.”

The outcome of the Brussels meeting has not been released.

But before the talks, the European commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, demanded that all parties in the Yemen conflict “uphold international humanitarian law and guarantee safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian organisations.”

The Brussels meeting heard that, while both sides have made trouble for humanitarian and UN agencies, the Houthi attempts to tax shipments triggered the latest crisis.

“It cannot continue, the biggest lifeline on earth is at stake. There are 20 million people in need in Yemen,” Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, told AFP on Thursday.

“We cannot pay donated aid money to one of the parties to the conflict. So that is one of the many red lines that we are fearful of having to cross. We cannot do it,” he said.


Egypt footaller gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

Updated 13 July 2020

Egypt footaller gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

CAIRO: An Egyptian footballer has threatened to sue Instagram users who sent abusive messages this week over photos of himself and his three-year-old daughter.
The incident involving Amre Soulia, a player at Al-Ahly football club, has caused a storm on social media in Egypt after comments on his photos triggered widespread anger over harassment.  
The player publicly called out a number of people who had harassed him and his daughter by sharing screenshots of their comments that mainly targeted what the young girl was wearing - a black T-shirt and jeans.
The player is seen holding his daughter’s hand while she smiles back at him.  

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my everything

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“May God save her for you … but I hope you make your daughter wear respectable clothes because you’re a respectful player,” one user wrote to Soulia.
Another user said: “Cover up your daughter, son, so that she grows to become one (who’s covered).”
Several other sexually-loaded remarks targeted the little girl, prompting the player to take legal action against them. 
“All legal measures were taken and a lawsuit was filed against anyone who insulted me or any member of my family,” Soulia wrote on his social media account. 
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The incident is the latest in Egypt, where sexual assault and harassment are deep-seated problems. 
Egyptian actor Sherif Mounir recently hit out at people who insulted his teenage daughters in a picture he shared of them on Instagram.