Saudi Arabia, Arab nations join world in mourning death of Britain’s Prince Philip

Saudi Arabia, Arab nations join world in mourning death of Britain’s Prince Philip
Philip, who was by the queen’s side for nearly eight decades, retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 96. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 09 April 2021

Saudi Arabia, Arab nations join world in mourning death of Britain’s Prince Philip

Saudi Arabia, Arab nations join world in mourning death of Britain’s Prince Philip
  • King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman send cables to queen and Prince Charles
  • UAE, Bahrain and Oman also sent messages of condolence to Queen Elizabeth.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent their condolences to the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II and Charles, Prince of Wales, on Friday after the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 99.

“We have received with great sadness the news of the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and we express to Your Majesty, the royal family and the friendly people of the United Kingdom our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy,” the king said in a cable to Britain’s queen. 

Cables were sent separately to the queen and the Prince of Wales.

The UAE, Bahrain and Oman also sent messages of condolence to Queen Elizabeth.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan sent a cable of condolences to the Queen, expressing his heartfelt condolences and solace to the monarch.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi also sent similar cables of condolences.

Sheikh Mohammed sent a personal message on Twitter, saying: “On behalf of people of UAE, I extend my sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth II & the people of United Kingdom over the demise of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. A close friend to the UAE & other nations, he will always be remembered for his devotion to his country and people.”

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa extended his deepest condolences and consolation to Queen Elizabeth, as well as to the British government and people, and lauded the efforts of Prince Philip to serve the UK and its friendly people.

“His Majesty the Sultan, Haitham bin Tarik sent a cable of condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the President of the Commonwealth, on the death of her husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” a statement issued by Oman News Agency said.

Here are reactions from major public figures in Britain and around the world:

UK PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON
“We remember the Duke ... above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen, not just as her consort, by her side, every day of her reign, but as her husband, has strength and stay of more than 70 years. And it is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation’s thoughts must turn today.”
“Like the expert carriage driver that he was he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.”

JUSTIN WELBY, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
“I join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and give thanks to God for his extraordinary life of dedicated service.”
“On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life. He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.”

UK OPPOSITION LABOUR PARTY LEADER KEIR STARMER
“The United Kingdom has lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip.”
“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country — from a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during the Second World War to his decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh.”
“However, he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to The Queen.”

SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON
“I am saddened by news that the Duke of Edinburgh has died. I send my personal and deepest condolences — and those of @scotgov and the people of Scotland — to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.”

INDIAN PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI
“He had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.”

PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER IMRAN KHAN

“My condolences on the demise of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Britain has lost a wise elder who was imbued with a unique spirit of public service. His role in promoting Pakistan-UK relations will always be remembered.”

IRISH PRIME MINISTER MICHEAL MARTIN
“Saddened to hear of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom at this time.”

SINN FEIN LEADER MARY LOU MCDONALD
“Sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth and family on the death of her husband Prince Phillip. Sympathies to those of a British identity on our island, for whom his death will be felt as a great loss.”

US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND FIRST LADY JILL BIDEN

The American president and his wife said the impact of the prince’s decades of public service was evident in the causes he advocated. 

FORMER US PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
“Throughout his long and remarkable life, he devoted himself to worthy causes and to others. He represented the United Kingdom with dignity and brought boundless strength and support to the sovereign. Laura and I are fortunate to have enjoyed the charm and wit of his company, and we know how much he will be missed.”

FORMER US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

“Through his extraordinary example, His Royal Highness Prince Philip proved that true partnership has room for both ambition and selflessness — all in service of something greater. Our thoughts are with Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Family, and the British people.”

US HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI

“The US Congress extends condolences over the death of Britain’s Prince Philip.”

FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR
“He will naturally be most recognized as a remarkable and steadfast support to the Queen over so many years. However, he should also be remembered and celebrated in his own right as a man of foresight, determination and courage.”

NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN
“Prince Philip will be fondly remembered for the encouragement he gave to so many young New Zealanders through The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award. In over fifty years of The Award in New Zealand, thousands of young people have completed life-changing challenges through the program.”

KING HARALD OF NORWAY
“Our thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of her family. We also send our condolences to the British people.”

KING KARL XVI GUSTAF OF SWEDEN
“Prince Philip has been a great friend of our family for many years, a relation which we have deeply valued. His service to his country will remain an inspiration to us all.”

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

“The death of Prince Philip fills me with great sorrow. His friendship to Germany, his straightforwardness and his sense of duty will not be forgotten.”

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON

“I wish to express my sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Family and the British people upon the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip who lived an exemplary life defined by bravery, a sense of duty and commitment to the youth and the environment.”

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

“Prince Philip was a man of great purpose and conviction, who was motivated by a sense of duty to others.”

DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE

“Our thoughts and sympathy are with Britain’s Royal Family and the British people at this time of mourning.”

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU

“Prince Philip was the consummate public servant and will be much missed in Israel and across the world.”

BELGIAN ROYAL PALACE

“We wish to express our deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen, the British Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom. Philippe and Mathilde.”

UN SECRETARY GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES

“He was known for his dedication to charitable causes as a patron of some 800 organizations, in particular those focused on the environment, industry, sport and education.”

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, said: “The Secretary-General is saddened at the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He extends condolences to Her Royal Highness, the Queen, and to the people of the United Kingdom.

“As royal consort, the Duke of Edinburgh capably supported the Queen in her duties as sovereign for over 60 years. He was known for his dedication to charitable causes as a patron of some 800 organizations, in particular those focused on the environment, industry, sport and education.

“The Secretary-General pays tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh for his active work for the betterment of humankind.”

PHILIP'S FORMER PRESS SECRETARY JAMES ROSCOE

“From military to youth clubs to DoE award recipients, his interest in people & their stories was real, his motivation always encouraging service in other by example. No nonsense, genuine wit: peace maybe, but he won't rest.”


UK PM Johnson visits church where lawmaker was stabbed to death

UK PM Johnson visits church where lawmaker was stabbed to death
Updated 6 sec ago

UK PM Johnson visits church where lawmaker was stabbed to death

UK PM Johnson visits church where lawmaker was stabbed to death
LEIGH-ON-SEA: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday visited the church where lawmaker David Amess was stabbed to death a day earlier in what police say they are treating as a terrorist attack.
Amess, 69, from Johnson's Conservative Party, was knifed repeatedly in the attack at about midday on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London, during a meeting with constituents.
Johnson, interior minister Priti Patel, and leader of the opposition Labour Party Keir Starmer were among those to lay flowers in tribute to Amess at the scene of the murder.
Johnson and Starmer stood side by side in a moment of silence before leaving. On Friday, Johnson said Britain had lost a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague.
In a statement early on Saturday, police said the early investigation had revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamic extremism.
Police arrested a 25-year-old British man at the scene on suspicion of murder, adding it is believed he acted alone.
Amess in the second lawmaker in little over five years to be murdered while out meeting constituents, after Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in June 2016, a few days before Britain voted to leave the European Union.

China launches second crewed mission to build space station

China launches second crewed mission to build space station
Updated 16 October 2021

China launches second crewed mission to build space station

China launches second crewed mission to build space station
  • Shenzhou-13 is the second of four crewed missions needed to complete the space station by the end of 2022
  • With the ISS set to retire in a few years, China’s space station will become the only one in Earth’s orbit

JIUQUAN, China: China on Saturday launched a rocket carrying three astronauts — two men and one woman — to the core module of a future space station where they will live and work for six months, the longest orbit for Chinese astronauts.
A Long March-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft, which means “Divine Vessel,” blasted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu at 12:23 a.m. (1623 GMT on Friday).
The vessel successfully docked to the port of the space station on at 6:56 a.m. (2156 GMT), and the astronauts entered the space station’s core module at 10:03 a.m., the China Manned Space Agency said.
China began constructing the space station in April with the launch of Tianhe — the first and largest of the station’s three modules. Slightly bigger than a city bus, Tianhe will be the living quarters of the completed space station.
Shenzhou-13 is the second of four crewed missions needed to complete the space station by the end of 2022. During the first crewed mission https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/chinese-astronauts-return-after-90-day-mission-space-station-2021-09-17 that concluded in September, three other astronauts stayed on Tianhe for 90 days.
In the latest mission, astronauts will carry out tests of the key technologies and robotics on Tianhe needed to assemble the space station, verify onboard life support systems and conduct a host of scientific experiments.
The mission commander is Zhai Zhigang, 55, from China’s first batch of astronaut trainees in the late 1990s. Born to a rural family with six children, Zhai carried out China’s first spacewalk in 2008. Shenzhou-13 was his second space mission.
“The most challenging task will be the long-term stay in orbit for six months,” Zhai told a news conference on Thursday. “It will exact higher demands (on us), both physically and psychologically.”
He was accompanied by Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu, both 41.
Wang, also born to a rural family, is known among colleagues for her tenacity. The former air force pilot first traveled to space in 2013, to Tiangong-1, a prototype space lab.
She is China’s second female astronaut in space, following Liu Yang in 2012.
Shenzhou-13 is the first space mission for the third astronaut, Ye.
After the crew returns to Earth in April, China plans to deploy six more missions, including deliveries of the second and third space station modules and two final crewed missions.
China, barred by US law from working with NASA and by extension on the International Space Station (ISS), has spent the past decade developing technologies to build its own.
With the ISS set to retire in a few years, China’s space station will become the only one in Earth’s orbit.
China’s space program has come far since late leader Mao Zedong lamented that the country could not even launch a potato into space. China became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket, in October 2003, following the former Soviet Union and the United States. (Reporting by Carlos Garcia and Xihao Jiang; additional reporting by Josh Horwitz; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Nick Macfie and William Mallard)


Philippines to deport, blacklist foreigners who join election campaigns

Philippines to deport, blacklist foreigners who join election campaigns
Updated 16 October 2021

Philippines to deport, blacklist foreigners who join election campaigns

Philippines to deport, blacklist foreigners who join election campaigns
  • Presidential and vice-presidential election is scheduled to be held on May 9, 2022

MANILA: Foreigners involved in political campaigning in the Philippines could face deportation, especially if their activity involves electioneering, immigration authorities have said, as the Southeast Asian nation prepares for next year’s presidential election.
The presidential and vice-presidential polls are scheduled to be held on May 9, 2022. Registration for candidates closed on Oct. 8, but the list of presidential hopefuls is not yet final as substitutions may take place until Nov. 15.
Among those seeking to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte, whose term will end in June, are the current vice president, and Duterte critic, Leni Robredo, former boxing champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao, former actor and now Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa — who was the chief implementor of Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs” campaign — and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“Foreigners joining mass actions and protests including election campaigns is disrespectful to our prescribed laws and is considered a violation of their stay in the Philippines,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said earlier this week. “Those foreigners … found guilty of such acts, especially electioneering, shall be deported and blacklisted, perpetually barring them from returning to the Philippines.”
Morente said the authorities have zero tolerance for non-citizens “meddling in the internal affairs of the Philippines as a sovereign nation.
“We are sending this early reminder as we have encountered so many deportation cases of foreigners who have engaged in political activities in the past,” he added.

Political activities
In 2018, four foreign missionaries were forced to leave the country on charges of participating in political activities. Among them was Sister Patricia Fox, an Australian nun who had lived in the Philippines for nearly three decades and who had publicly denounced Duterte’s deadly anti-drug campaign.
In 2013, Dutch activist Thomas van Beersum was deported after he was photographed shouting at a Filipino police officer as he joined a protest held during the annual presidential state of the nation address.
Another foreign national, Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Miller, was deported the same year, also for joining an anti-SONA demonstration.
Around 62 million Filipinos over the age of 18 are expected to take part in next year’s presidential vote, which will coincide with general elections.
Politicians from across the country will vie for more than 18,000 positions — at the Senate, House of Representatives, party-list groups, and the national and sub-national administration.


Islamabad animal sanctuary launches stray dog capture, release program

Islamabad animal sanctuary launches stray dog capture, release program
Updated 16 October 2021

Islamabad animal sanctuary launches stray dog capture, release program

Islamabad animal sanctuary launches stray dog capture, release program

ISLAMABAD: An animal sanctuary in the Pakistani capital claims to be the first in the country to introduce a dedicated trap-neuter-vaccinate-return program to deal with
stray dogs.
The initiative is aimed at using humane methods to manage thousands of free-roaming dogs in Islamabad often seen by authorities and the public as a threat due to their aggressive behavior and them carrying diseases such as rabies.
The Comprehensive Disaster Response Services Benji Project Animal Sanctuary in the city has estimated there are at least 3 million stray dogs in Pakistan, with upward of 50,000 culled each year.
The Global Alliance for Rabies Control has said that more than 80,500 cases of dog bites are reported by basic health units across Pakistan annually, and the World Health Organization estimates that up to 5,000 people die of rabies in the country
every year.
The solution adopted by authorities in most major Pakistani cities is culling of the animals either by shooting them or feeding them poisonous food.
But animal rights groups have advocated vaccination and spaying methods as a better, more humane alternative.
The CDRS Benji Project is testing out one such solution with Pakistan’s first dedicated TNVR program, aimed at reducing both the number of stray dogs and the suffering they have been subjected to for decades, while also making them safer through vaccination, and training to be less aggressive.
“We realized that TNVR is the only way that we can help in reducing, humanely, the number of dogs that roam the streets,” project director Quatrina Hosain told Arab News.
“We have no idea what kind of level of poisoning takes place or shooting takes place ... but one estimate is that it’s upward of 50,000 dogs being killed every year. And that is not the solution,” she said.
She pointed out that the sanctuary’s latest arrivals were 15 puppies brought in from Rawalpindi after their mothers were poisoned.
“It (culling) is cruel and inhumane, because they don’t differentiate between nursing mothers, pregnant dogs, and it is just a terrible thing to do. I believe that nobody wants to kill dogs, but they don’t want the dogs to multiply at the level that they are. So TNVR is the only humane way,” Hosain added.
A single female dog can deliver more than a dozen puppies a year, or more than 80 over her lifetime, according to animal rights NGO Four Paws International. Without loving homes to provide adequate shelter, food, and medical care, puppies and kittens — in Pakistan and countries around the world without adequate care for strays — are frequently left to fend for themselves.
Born under less-than-ideal conditions, most of the pups do not survive their first weeks of life — during the winter months many freeze to death, starve when their mothers are killed by traffic, are attacked and eaten by other animals, and sometimes deliberately killed by humans.
CDRS wants to change this, which is why it set up a dedicated facility just a short drive away from Islamabad’s Gulberg Greens neighborhood.
Staff at the facility said that strays were an integral part of the larger ecosystem, particularly for their scavenger roles in removing leftover food such as carcasses and agricultural and city waste. They also help reduce rat populations.
The project is so far a humble beginning, but sanctuary workers are hopeful for more support from authorities and the public. They noted that Turkey was a good example to follow.
CDRS veterinarian, Dr. Hasnain Raza, said: “TNVR was implemented in Turkey some 20 years back, and it has shown very positive results in the country, so we are trying to implement that model in Pakistan. This is a model facility for showing people that it can work, and it is worth trying.
“But we can’t do it alone. In collaboration with the public sector and the private sector, together, we can make sure that animals are cared for in Pakistan.”


Lawyer: ‘Preposterous’ to blame Afghan man in US war deaths

Lawyer: ‘Preposterous’ to blame Afghan man in US war deaths
Updated 15 October 2021

Lawyer: ‘Preposterous’ to blame Afghan man in US war deaths

Lawyer: ‘Preposterous’ to blame Afghan man in US war deaths
  • Attorney Mark Gombiner spoke at a pretrial hearing after his client pleaded not guilty to charges in a rewritten indictment released against him last week
  • Najibullah was already charged in the 2008 gunpoint kidnapping of a reporter for The New York Times and another journalist

NEW YORK: The lawyer for an Afghan man awaiting trial in Manhattan federal court on charges that he commanded the Taliban fighters responsible in the killing of three American soldiers said Friday it was “preposterous” to charge his client in deaths that occurred in a war the US started.
Attorney Mark Gombiner spoke at a pretrial hearing after his client, Hajji Najibullah, pleaded not guilty to charges in a rewritten indictment released against him last week.
Najibullah was already charged in the 2008 gunpoint kidnapping of a reporter for The New York Times and another journalist. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
But the new indictment accused him of commanding the Taliban fighters responsible for a fatal ambush of the three service members in Afghanistan in 2008.
The attack killed Matthew L. Hilton, of Livonia, Michigan; Joseph A. McKay, of Brooklyn, and Mark Palmateer, of Poughkeepsie, New York. Najibullah was also charged with playing a role in the downing of a US military helicopter later in the same year.
Gombiner said evidence will show the allegations are not true.
The lawyer said the deaths of American soldiers was an “immense tragedy.”
“Nobody disputes that,” Gombiner said.
But he said it “is preposterous” that his client should be held responsible for murder in a US courtroom for the death of “American soldiers fighting in a war commenced by the United States.”
US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla interrupted Gombiner, accusing him of having “gone off on a huge P.R. campaign.”
She added: “I want you to talk to me and not the press.”
The lawyer, however, said prosecutors were to blame for publicizing the charges through a news release “that was circulated around the world.” The lawyer noted that he refused to comment when reporters asked him about the new charges.
Assistant US Attorney David Denton told the judge that Gombiner was raising arguments “that have been raised and dismissed before, particularly as it relates to the Taliban.”
Najibullah, 45, was extradited to the United States last year to face charges including hostage taking, conspiracy and kidnapping.
The original indictment charged him with orchestrating the abduction of David Rohde, who then worked for The New York Times, and Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin, when they were on their way to interview a Taliban leader.
Both men made a dramatic escape from a Taliban-controlled compound in Pakistan’s tribal areas more than seven months after their Nov. 10, 2008, kidnapping. Their driver, Asadullah Mangal, was a third kidnapping victim. He escaped a few weeks after Ludin and Rohde.

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