Egypt reports lowest daily COVID-19 cases in a month

Egypt reports lowest daily COVID-19 cases in a month
Around 566 people have been discharged from hospitals, the ministry said. (File/AFP)
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Updated 22 January 2021

Egypt reports lowest daily COVID-19 cases in a month

Egypt reports lowest daily COVID-19 cases in a month
  • Local authorities previously said the country was facing a second wave of the pandemic
  • The new figure brings the total number of cases in Egypt to 159,715

DUBAI: The Egyptian health minister has announced 752 new cases on Thursday, the country’s lowest daily record in a month, local daily Egypt Today has reported.
Local authorities previously said the country was facing a second wave of the pandemic, and restrictions were subsequently implemented to curb the spread of the virus.
The new figure brings the total number of cases in Egypt to 159,715, the Ministry of Health said, with 54 fatalities reported during the same period. The total number of deaths stands at 8,801.
Around 566 people have been discharged from hospitals, the ministry said, bringing total number of recoveries to 125,171.


US sanctions 2 Yemeni Houthi leaders for cross-border, sea attacks

US sanctions 2 Yemeni Houthi leaders for cross-border, sea attacks
Updated 02 March 2021

US sanctions 2 Yemeni Houthi leaders for cross-border, sea attacks

US sanctions 2 Yemeni Houthi leaders for cross-border, sea attacks
  • US said it would freeze any assets of the Houthi air force and naval commanders
  • ‘These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen’

LONDON: The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on two commanders of Yemen’s Houthi militia, blaming them for attacks amid Washington’s efforts to stop the devastating war.
The sanctions against the Houthis’ naval and air force chiefs, Mansur Al-Saadi and Ahmad Ali Ahsan Al-Hamzi, come after President Joe Biden lifted a broader designation of the Iran-backed militia as a terrorist group due to concerns of aid groups.
The Treasury Department said the actions of the two militants “have prolonged Yemen’s civil war and exacerbated the country’s humanitarian crisis.”
Washington said Al-Saadi and Al-Hamzi are responsible for orchestrating attacks by the Houthi militia that have impacted the lives of Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.
“These actions, which were done to advance the Iranian regime’s destabilizing agenda, have fueled the Yemeni conflict, displacing more than one million people and pushing Yemen to the brink of famine,” it said in a statement.
The move comes a day after a United Nations pledging conference for Yemen to help stave off famine in the war-torn country that rights groups say is the worst humanitarian crisis seen in decades.
Last month, the Iran-backed Houthi militia launched an offensive to capture the oil-rich Marib governorate from the internationally recognized government, threatening mass displacement and deepening the humanitarian crisis.
They have also increased cross border attacks targeting Saudi Arabia. A Houthi missile fell in the southwestern Jazan region, injuring five people, early on Tuesday.
“The United States condemns the destruction of civilian sites by the Houthi militants designated today. These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, Andrea Gacki.
“The United States remains committed to promoting accountability of Houthi leadership for their actions, which have contributed to the extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people,” Gacki added.
The US said that since the start of the conflict in Yemen, the Houthis, with the support of the Iranian regime, have waged a bloody war against the internationally recognized government using ballistic missiles, explosives, naval mines, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack bases, population centers, infrastructure, and nearby commercial shipping.
It also said that Iran has provided direct funding and “material assistance” to the Houthi militia, including small arms, missiles, explosives, and UAVs, that has further intensified the six-year conflict.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has also provided the Houthis with military guidance and training, the US said.
“This support has allowed the Houthis to threaten Yemen’s neighbors and to conduct heinous attacks damaging civilian infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” the Treasury Department said.
It added that Iran’s support of the group has prolonged the war and led to the widespread suffering of millions of Yemenis.
Both Al-Saadi and Al-Hamzi were trained in and acquired weapons from Iran, which have been used in the civil war.
Houthi naval commander Al-Saadi masterminded deadly attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea and put fishermen and other civilians at risk with naval mines, the Treasury Department said.
And air force commander Al-Hamzi has carried out targeted drone strikes, it said.
The Treasury said the action was being taken under an executive order issued by then-President Barack Obama in 2012 that aims to freeze the assets of people threatening the peace, security or stability of Yemen.
The action bans US persons from engaging in transactions with the Houthi leaders and blocks any property they may have under US jurisdiction.
Former US President Donald Trump had designated the Houthis as a terrorist organization in his final days in office.
(With AFP and Reuters)


Egypt, Sudan discuss Ethiopian dam during visit by Sudanese FM to Cairo

Egypt, Sudan discuss Ethiopian dam during visit by Sudanese FM to Cairo
Updated 02 March 2021

Egypt, Sudan discuss Ethiopian dam during visit by Sudanese FM to Cairo

Egypt, Sudan discuss Ethiopian dam during visit by Sudanese FM to Cairo

CAIRO: Egypt and Sudan agreed Tuesday that Ethiopia’s decision to proceed with a second filling for the Renaissance Dam is considered a “unilateral act” that threatens both of their interests. 

The remarks were announced as part of a joint statement released following a meeting between Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart Dr. Maryam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, who is on her first visit to Cairo since assuming her post in February. 

The ministers discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the two brotherly states and activate joint bilateral cooperation, according to Egyptian media. 

Al-Mahdi also said Sudan is looking forward to an anticipated visit to Khartoum by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi within the coming days. 

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Chief of Staff was also in Khartoum to participate in the meeting of the Egyptian-Sudanese Military Committee. Lieutenant General Mohamed Farid Hegazy left for Sudan on Monday.  

 

 

 


Dubai bans Ramadan tents in ongoing effort to control COVID-19 spread

Dubai bans Ramadan tents in ongoing effort to control COVID-19 spread
Updated 02 March 2021

Dubai bans Ramadan tents in ongoing effort to control COVID-19 spread

Dubai bans Ramadan tents in ongoing effort to control COVID-19 spread
  • It is the second year that Dubai has banned Ramadan tents as it continues to battle the coronavirus

DUBAI: All permits for Ramadan tents across Dubai have been cancelled as part of the ongoing COVID-19 safety measures, it was announced on Tuesday.

The cancellation means there will be no tents allowed outside mosques, houses or any other public places, a statement issued by the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) in Dubai explained.

The tents are usually set up during Ramadan to serve food at iftar and attract large crowds of people as they break their fast at sunset after the Maghrib prayer.

 

 

A similar ban was brought into force during Ramadan 2020.

The Holy Month is expected to start on April 13 this year.


Syrian victims of chemical attacks file case with French prosecutors

Syrian victims of chemical attacks file case with French prosecutors
Updated 02 March 2021

Syrian victims of chemical attacks file case with French prosecutors

Syrian victims of chemical attacks file case with French prosecutors
  • France is home to thousands of Syrian refugees
  • The case follows a similar one opened in Germany last year

PARIS: Lawyers representing survivors of a chemical weapons attack in 2013 in Syria have filed a criminal complaint against Syrian officials whom they blame for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in a rebel-held area.
France is home to thousands of Syrian refugees, and its investigating judges have a mandate to determine whether crimes against humanity were committed anywhere in the world.
The case, which about a dozen people have joined, follows a similar one opened in Germany last year. It offers a rare legal avenue for action against the government of President Bashar Assad.
Attempts by Western powers to set up an international tribunal for Syria have been blocked by Russia and China at the UN Security Council.
“This is important so that the victims have the possibility to see those responsible being brought to justice and held accountable,” Mazen Darwish, who heads the Paris-based Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), told Reuters.
The SCM filed the complaint along with two other NGOs: the Open Society Foundation’s Justice Initiative and Syrian Archive.
France’s intelligence services concluded in 2013 that a sarin gas attack on the Eastern Ghouta region just south east of Damascas that killed 1,400 people had been carried out by Syrian government forces.
The Syrian government denies it has used chemical weapons against its own civilians.
The complaint is based on what the lawyers say is the most comprehensive body of evidence on the use of substances such as sarin gas in Syria.
They include testimonies from survivors and defectors, an analysis of the Syrian military chain of command, and hundreds of items of documentary evidence, including photos and videos.
“We have compiled extensive evidence establishing exactly who is responsible for these attacks on Douma and Eastern Ghouta, whose horrific effects continue to impact survivors,” said Hadi al Khatib, founder and director of Syrian Archive.
A UN-commissioned investigation to identify those behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria concluded in 2016 that Syrian government forces had used chlorine and sarin gas.
Darwish said he expected another case to be opened in Sweden in the coming months.


Morocco cuts contacts with German embassy in WSahara spat

Morocco cuts contacts with German embassy in WSahara spat
Updated 02 March 2021

Morocco cuts contacts with German embassy in WSahara spat

Morocco cuts contacts with German embassy in WSahara spat
  • Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the decision to suspend dealings with the embassy as well as German cultural organizations was taken in response to “deep misunderstandings”

RABAT: Morocco has suspended contacts with the German embassy, the foreign minister announced in a letter published late Monday, in what officials said was a protest over Berlin’s stance on the Western Sahara dispute.
In the letter addressed to the prime minister and published by Moroccan media, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the decision to suspend dealings with the embassy as well as German cultural organizations was taken in response to “deep misunderstandings” on “issues fundamental for Morocco.”
“Morocco wishes to preserve its relationship with Germany but this is a form of warning expressing unease over many issues,” a senior foreign ministry official told AFP late Monday.
“There will be no contact until we have received answers to the various questions we have posed.”
Morocco was angered by German criticism of former US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for moves by Rabat to normalize its relations with Israel, the official said.
It was also dismayed that it was kept out of discussions on Libya’s political future at a congress in Berlin in January 2000.
Morocco insists its claim to sovereignty over the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara is non-negotiable, despite the rival claims of the pro-independence Polisario Front, with which it fought a 1975-91 war.
Morocco has had generally good relations with Germany, which is a major donor.
Three months ago the foreign minister hailed the “excellence of bilateral cooperation” after Berlin released 1.387 billion euros in support for Moroccan financial reforms and coronavirus countermeasures.