Canada and victims’ families press Iran for answers over downed Ukrainian jetliner

In this file photo rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 24 August 2020

Canada and victims’ families press Iran for answers over downed Ukrainian jetliner

  • Many of the 176 victims killed in the crash were Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has said it accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 on Jan. 8

MONTREAL: Canada and families of the victims of a downed Ukrainian jetliner are pressing Iran for additional answers, after an announcement by Tehran on Sunday provided “limited and selected information.”
The announcement by the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization marked the first official report on the contents of the cockpit voice and data recordings, which were sent to France for analysis in July.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has said it accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 on Jan. 8, mistaking it for a missile at a time when tensions were high between Iran and the United States.
Many of the 176 victims killed in the crash were Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

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READ MORE: Iran says European insurers should pay compensation for downed Ukrainian plane

Iran sends downed Ukrainian plane’s black box to France

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Tehran said the analysis shows the plane was hit by two missiles 25 seconds apart and that passengers were still alive for some time after the impact of the first blast.
“This preliminary report only provides limited and selected information regarding this tragic event,” Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement on Sunday night.
“The report only mentions what transpired after the first missile strike but not the second.”
They asked why the missiles were launched and why Iran’s air space was open.
An association representing families of the plane’s victims dismissed the report in a statement that said they needed to know why a second missile was fired at the aircraft.
Earlier on Sunday, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) questioned why commercial airlines continued operating in the area affected by the conflict.
Under UN rules, Iran retains overall control of the investigation while the US and Ukraine are accredited as the countries where the jet was respectively built and operated. Canada has also played a role as the home of many of the victims on the downed plane.


Egypt extends measures to boost country’s struggling tourism sector

Updated 36 min 24 sec ago

Egypt extends measures to boost country’s struggling tourism sector

  • The measures include the waiving of visa fees until April 30 next year for tourists visiting the governorates of South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan
  • Businesses that operate within the tourism industry, including hotels, will not have to pay any fees or electricity, water and gas bills until Dec. 31 this year

CAIRO: The Egyptian government has extended the duration of a number of policies and incentives designed to boost the country’s struggling tourism sector, which has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures include the waiving of visa fees until April 30 next year for tourists visiting the governorates of South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan.

Businesses that operate within the tourism industry, including hotels, will not have to pay any fees or electricity, water and gas bills until Dec. 31 this year. In addition, all debts owed by companies in the sector, including amounts accrued before the pandemic began, will be rescheduled, with no repayments due until Jan. 1.

A flight incentive program, which includes discounted airport fees for airlines, was extended until Dec. 31.

The government said that their decision to extend the measures beyond the previously announced end date of Oct. 31 is designed to support the winter tourism season, which runs from Nov. 1 until April 30.

The global tourism sector has been particularly badly affected by the effects of the pandemic. It is vital to the economies of many nations, including Egypt, but has effectively been closed down due to lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world.

Bassem Halqa, who represents workers in Egypt’s tourism industry, said that the decision to waive visa fees for some of the country’s most popular destinations is a very important step in efforts to encourage tourists to return, and will have a positive impact on sector.

However, he called for the initiative to be extended to cover additional destinations, such as Cairo, Alexandria and Giza. He also urged the government to allow public beaches and hotel gyms to reopen.