Sharjah reopens public beaches as country reports 3 days free of COVID-19 deaths

Sharjah reopens public beaches as country reports 3 days free of COVID-19 deaths
The number of people to have recovered now stands at 54,863 after a further 248 patients tested coronavirus free overnight. (WAM)
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Updated 04 August 2020

Sharjah reopens public beaches as country reports 3 days free of COVID-19 deaths

Sharjah reopens public beaches as country reports 3 days free of COVID-19 deaths
  • The emirate’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Team urged people to follow all precautionary measures and maintain social distancing
  • The move comes as the UAE announced that it had tested more than 5 million people for the coronavirus

DUBAI: UAE’s Sharjah has reopened its public beaches as the country gradually eases its coronavirus restrictions, state news agency WAM reported.
The emirate’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Team urged people to follow all precautionary measures and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
The move comes as the UAE announced that it had tested more than 5 million people for the coronavirus, since the start of the pandemic.
There were 164 new cases recorded overnight, bringing the he total number of infections to 61,163, but government spokesman Omar Al-Hammadi said the recovery rate had increased to 90 percent.
The number of people to have recovered now stands at 54,863 after a further 248 patients  tested coronavirus free overnight – with no COVID-19 deaths recorded in the past three days.

And Al-Hammadi said children over two-years-old should wear masks, as they are not immune to the virus, local daily Gulf News reported.
He added that although they are less likely to develop severe symptoms, they can still carry the virus and transmit it.
Children should not wear masks if they have difficulty breathing or cannot take them off themselves, he said.


Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity

Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity
Updated 16 January 2021

Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity

Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity
  • First elections in 15 years “will usher in badly needed democracy”
  • The PA will hold legislative elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31

AMMAN: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement of the first parliamentary and presidential elections in 15 years has raised hopes of an end to longstanding divisions, but skeptics doubt it will bring about serious change.
According to decrees issued by the presidential office on Friday, the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, will hold legislative elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31.
Hanna Naser, head of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, told a packed press conference a day earlier that the decrees will usher in a badly needed democratic process.
Naser said the elections will be transparent and will deliver a functioning legislative council, adding: “After 15 years without a legislative body, it is important to have accountability through a council elected by the people.”
Jibril Rajoub, secretary of the Fatah movement and a key force behind the election deal, said on Palestine TV that the decrees are a major breakthrough and reflect a Palestinian commitment to democratic principles.
Rajoub said that the elections commission will be responsible for all aspects of the poll, and that a meeting of all Palestinian factions next week in Cairo will help resolve any remaining issues.
Hussein Sheikh, minister of civil affairs and member of the Fatah Central Committee, tweeted that the presidential decrees are “an important step to strengthen democracy and partnership in a unified political regime that ensures the end of the split and will create a unified vision for a cooperative effort aimed at ending the occupation and accomplishing freedom and liberty for our people.”
Hamas welcomed the decrees, which include a commitment by all participants that the PLO represents Palestinians, and is responsible for foreign affairs and negotiations.
The decrees stipulate elections for a 132-member legislative council that will include Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza on a full proportional basis.
Presidential elections will follow in July and the Palestine National Council will hold elections wherever possible for candidates in different locations. All lists must have a woman as the third and fourth candidates on the list, with at least 26 percent of the next council to be female.
However, Ghassan Khatib, a lecturer at Bir Zeit University and a former minister, told Arab News that while he strongly supports the elections, he is worried about the quality of the poll.
“I am concerned that the elections will reflect the wishes of the political elite since the lists will be national and will be made up by political leaders who might not give enough attention to local communities and their needs,” he said.
Khatib, who founded the Jerusalem Center for Communication Studies, said that polls show Fatah could win the coming elections if it can present a unified list.
Hani Masri, director of the Masarat think tank, said that holding elections before national reconciliation is complete is a “formula for trouble.”
“Issuing presidential decrees for elections before reconciliation is doing things in reverse order,” he said. “To have elections, the land mines must be removed. If we don’t address some of these problems, we are inviting trouble,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
One suggestion to overcome this issue has been that the two main parties, Fatah and Hamas, agree on a joint list and a single nominee for president.
Marwan Muasher, vice president of Carnegie Endowment for International Studies, told Arab News that national unity is a necessary first step.
“National elections serve to renew Palestinian legitimacy, which has been significantly affected,” he said.
Palestinians are also unsure if Israel will allow East Jerusalem residents to take part in the elections. Under the Oslo accords, Jerusalem residents can vote at local post offices.