Syria says pipeline blast that caused blackout was terrorist attack

Syria says pipeline blast that caused blackout was terrorist attack
An explosion on the Arab gas pipeline has caused a total blackout in Syria on Sunday. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 24 August 2020

Syria says pipeline blast that caused blackout was terrorist attack

Syria says pipeline blast that caused blackout was terrorist attack

CAIRO: The Syrian government said an explosion on a main gas pipeline traversing the Middle East on Monday was the result of a terrorist attack, and the United States said it suspected Daesh militants of carrying out the sabotage.
The blast caused a blackout across Syria, but power was gradually being restored, officials said.
It took place on the Arab Gas Pipeline between the towns of Ad Dumayr and Adra, northwest of the capital Damascus.
"Assessments show that the explosion...was the result of a terrorist attack," Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ghanem said, quoted by state news agency SANA. He did not provide further detail.
In Geneva, the US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, said there had been an upsurge in Daesh activity in the southeast of the Syrian desert. Daesh lost its last territory in Syria in March 2019 but pockets of fighters remain.
"We are still looking into (the explosion). But it was almost certainly a strike by ISIS," Jeffrey told reporters at the start of UN-sponsored talks on the Syria conflict.
The Arab Gas Pipeline system extends from Egypt into Jordan and Syria. Syrian state-run Ikhbariya TV channel showed footage of a large fire after the explosion. The channel said later the blaze had been extinguished.
A Damascus resident said power had returned to the city.
In 2013, much of Syria was hit by a power cut after rebel shelling hit a gas pipeline.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.