TWITTER POLL: Majority believes Hezbollah will be convicted of 2005 Hariri assassination

Hariri, who served as Lebanon’s prime minister from 1992 to 1998, and again from 2000 to 2004, had played a central role in reviving the battered nation’s fortunes. (Getty Images)
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Updated 13 August 2020

TWITTER POLL: Majority believes Hezbollah will be convicted of 2005 Hariri assassination

DUBAI: A special UN-backed tribunal is set to announce its verdict on the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri on Aug. 18 – and an Arab News Twitter poll showed majority thinks Hezbollah will be convicted.

Four alleged members of the Shiite group are on trial for the Beirut suicide bombing in 2005 that killed Hariri.

Arab News asked on Twitter whether the tribunal will convict the four, and out of 725 respondents, 64.6 percent said yes. The defendants will face life imprisonment if convicted.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was going to announce the verdict on Friday, but had to postpone because of the deadly explosion at the Beirut port.

The court “is deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic events that shook Lebanon” and “expresses its solidarity with the Lebanese people in these difficult times,” it said in a statement announcing the ruling’s postponement.

STL is believed to be the first international tribunal set up to probe terrorist crimes.


First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

Updated 20 September 2020

First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

  • Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird is estimated to have a global population of only around 100
  • It is believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration

DUBAI: One of the rarest birds in the world has been spotted in Abu Dhabi by two members of the Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC), according to state news agency WAM. 
Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird - estimated to have a global population of only around 100 - was seen by Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Course, WAM reported on Saturday.
Believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration, the Steppe Whimbrel is an extremely rare sub-species of the widespread Whimbrel, which regularly passes through the Emirates in spring and autumn.
The Steppe Whimbrel seen in Abu Dhabi is believed to have been born this year, making it the first time a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been spotted anywhere in the world, according to WAM.
“On August 29, we were studying around 20 whimbrels on the Saadiyat Beach golf course. We were stunned when one flew off showing the distinctive white wings, clearly different from the other birds,” Campbell and Lloyd told WAM. 
“We immediately realized the potential significance of this so we concentrated on observing the bird and obtaining photographs, allowing us to check the key identification features,” they said.
Campbell and Lloyd then shared their photographs with world’s top expert on Steppe Whimbrels, Gary Allport, who confirmed their findings. 
“The discovery of a Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi is remarkable in itself, and confirms our suspicion that the migration route of the sub-species passes through the Arabian peninsula region,” Allport said. 
“What is even more remarkable is that this is the first time ever, anywhere in the world, that a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been seen in the field…It’s an amazing find,” he added. 
The Saadiyat Beach Golf Course management was delighted with the discovery. 
“When you look at the significance of sighting the Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi, its history and the subspecies actually being declared extinct in 1995, it is pretty amazing,” Clinton Southorn, Cluster Director of Agronomy for managers Troon Golf, told WAM.
“This is one of the reasons the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has worked hard to achieve its Audubon certification and showcase the positive environmental impact the course can have on the environment,” he added.