Agreement in principle reached over Suez Canal ship, says Stann Marine

Agreement in principle reached over Suez Canal ship, says Stann Marine
Journalists look at a container ship navigating Egypt’s Suez Canal on March 30, 2021, a day after the Ever Given cargo vessel was dislodged from its banks. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 June 2021

Agreement in principle reached over Suez Canal ship, says Stann Marine

Agreement in principle reached over Suez Canal ship, says Stann Marine

ISMAILIA: A representative for the owners and insurers of a giant cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March on Wednesday said that an agreement in principle had been reached in a compensation dispute with the canal authority.
Work was under way to finalize a signed settlement agreement as soon as possible and arrangements for the release of the Ever Given vessel would be made after formalities had been dealt with, Faz Peermohamed of Stann Marine said in a statement.
The Ever Given container ship has been anchored in a lake between two stretches of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29. It had been grounded across the canal for six days, blocking hundreds of ships and disrupting global trade.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) demanded $916 million in compensation to cover salvage efforts, reputational damage and lost revenue before publicly lowering the request to $550 million.
The Ever Given’s Japanese owners, Shoei Kisen, and its insurers have disputed the claim and the ship’s detention under an Egyptian court order.
SCA lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr on Sunday told a court hearing over the ship’s detention that the vessel’s owners had presented a new compensation offer and negotiations were ongoing.


Rasanah spotlights Iran’s role in recruitment of child fighters

The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani. (Supplied)
The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani. (Supplied)
Updated 2 min 30 sec ago

Rasanah spotlights Iran’s role in recruitment of child fighters

The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani. (Supplied)

RIYADH: The International Institute for Iranian Studies (Rasanah) has released a book titled “Silent Victims … Iran and Recruitment of Child Fighters in the Middle East,” co-authored by the institute’s researchers Maj. Gen. (retired) Ahmed Al-Maimouni and Saad Al-Shahrani.

The book launch was attended by Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Moammar Al-Eryani, Director of Civil Military Operations in the Joint Forces Command Major General Abdullah Al-Habbabi, Spokesman for the Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki, and Chargé d’Affaires of Saudi Arabia to Yemen Abdullah Al-Ghunaim, in addition to officials, researchers and other interested parties.

Founder and President of Rasanah Dr. Mohammed S. Alsulami gave a speech in which he welcomed the attendees while talking about the book and how the idea to publish this book came about. Yemeni minister Al-Eryani addressed in his speech the violations committed by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, and its recruitment of hundreds of thousands of children to threaten the security and stability of Yemen.

Al-Maimouni, who is the director of the studies and research center at the institute, spoke about the content of the book, which consists of six chapters, while Al-Shahrani gave a presentation on “The militarization of Iranian educational curricula.”

The 150-page book attempts to bring to focus the emergence of the phenomenon of child fighter recruitment in the Iranian strategy, the methods of recruiting children and the institutions embracing the idea of child fighter recruitment as one of the Iranian government’s tools since the beginning of the Iranian revolution to solidify the ideological tenets that serve its approach and support the continuation of its project.

The book focuses on the Iranian militias’ acts of embroiling child fighters in military conflicts that lead them to be killed and wounded, working against the interests of their homelands and destroying their future.

In the first chapter titled “Recruitment of Child Fighters in the Iranian Thought,” the book begins with casting light on the phenomenon of child fighter recruitment as an inhumane practice, discussing the genesis and motives of the militarization of Iranian Shiite young men, the methods and motives of recruitment and the psychological and social consequences endured by the recruited children.

Chapter Two, titled “Hezbollah and the Recruitment of Child Fighters in Lebanon,” is divided into “Hezbollah as a Tool for Disseminating the Tenets of the Iranian Revolution,” “Hezbollah’s Hidden Activities on the Recruitment of Child Fighters” and the “Impact of International Sanctions on Hezbollah and its Recruitment Operations.”

Chapter Three, “Iran Militias and the Recruitment of Child Fighters in Syria,” sheds light on the recruitment operations on the Syrian landscape and using foreign recruits from Pakistan and Afghanistan. It also discusses the Iranian militias and factions in Syria, the efforts of Iran and Hezbollah to advance child fighter recruitment in Syria and the Iranian soft policies to wrest control over Syrian society.

As for Chapter Four, titled “Shiite Militias and the Recruitment of Child Fighters in Iraq,” it touches on pushing Iraq into the spheres of Iran’s influence and the Iraqi-Iranian militias and child fighter recruitment. This reality was shaped by the Iraq-Iran war and what was known in the military corridors as “human waves” in order to make up for the superiority on the part of Iraq in weapons and military tactics. Most of these waves were made up of the youth and child fighters.

Chapter Five, titled “The Houthi Militia and Child Fighter Recruitment in Yemen,” spotlights the inception of the Houthi militia group, the influence of the Iranian approach on it and the Houthi methods of child recruitment. It then presents examples of cases of Houthi recruitment of children, outlining proposed mechanisms to address the phenomenon of child fighter recruitment in Yemen.
As for Chapter Six titled “Child Recruitment and Its Impacts in Light of International Law,” it surveys international legal resolutions criminalizing child recruitment, reveals the efforts of the international community aimed at protecting children and casts light on Iran being a focus of blame by the international community.

In the end, this book tracks the Iranian role in sponsoring militias that work actively in child recruitment on the battlefield and clarifies that this recruitment causes the children returning from the battlefield to experience psychological trauma and the inability to integrate back into civil society, which prompts them to embrace violence and resort to extremist methods.

Iran’s involvement has appeared unambiguously in supporting militias in the aforesaid countries ideologically, militarily, financially and politically, according to reports of media outlets and international organizations, in addition to accounts of those affected and their relatives on the tragedies they have suffered.

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Gulf stocks buoyed by oil prices as emerging markets hammered on China

Gulf stocks buoyed by oil prices as emerging markets hammered on China
Updated 23 min 26 sec ago

Gulf stocks buoyed by oil prices as emerging markets hammered on China

Gulf stocks buoyed by oil prices as emerging markets hammered on China
  • Tadawul All Share Index rose 7.5 percent in July
  • MSCI Emerging Market Index dropped 7 percent in the month

RIYADH: Gulf stocks were a relative oasis for emerging market investors this week as the broader complex posted its worst month since March 2020 amid concern over the breadth of a Chinese regulatory crackdown.

The Tadawul All Share Index climbed 0.7 percent on July 29 to end the week 1.9 percent higher for a 7.5 percent monthly gain. The Abu Dhabi Securities Market General Index climbed 1 percent on Thursday, taking it to a record high on the back of a 2 percent advance for First Abu Dhabi Bank.

By contrast, the MSCI Emerging Market Index dropped 1.4 percent on Friday, for a 7 percent monthly loss, the most since the fallout from the pandemic hit global markets early last year. Stocks in mainland China and Hong Kong fell to their lowest this year, on investor worries over government regulations dented the education, property and tech sectors.

Brent crude climbed 2.5 percent in the week after a rollercoaster month that saw it swoon from a two-year high of $77.16 on July 5 to $68.62 on July 19 before recovering to end the month at $76.33.

Concerns over the effect a resurgence in coronavirus cases might have on demand for crude were allayed on Wednesday when a report showed a bigger-than-expected drawdown of crude stockpiles the previous week.

“The reduced stockpile has propped crude prices up which gave a boost to the region’s stock markets,” Daniel Takieddine, senior market analyst at FXPrimus, told Reuters.

The Tadawul’s IPO pipeline will advance this month after Saudi burger chain Burgerizzr said it will begin offering shares to the public on Aug. 15 with the intention to list on the parallel stock market Nomu in September.

The company plans to offer 725,000 shares, representing 29 percent of its SR25 million capital, it said in its prospectus on Thursday.

Further signs of the Kingdom’s ambitious investment program were revealed this week as
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced a $15 billion technology fund to advance digital infrastructure in the Kingdom during the Saudi 4th Industrial Revolution conference held in Riyadh this week.

The public-private partnership will develop advanced technology from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is expected to generate around $1 trillion for the Saudi economy in new revenue streams, a senior Saudi official said on Wednesday.

The Kingdom will enjoy economic boosts from robotics, artificial intelligence, and wireless production models as it pushes for more smarter cities and infrastructure.


Saudi Arabia announces 11 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 11 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 31 July 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 11 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 11 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 506,089
  • A total of 8,237 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 11 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,146 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 243 were recorded in Riyadh, 209 in the Eastern Province, 196 in Makkah, 84 in Asir, 79 in Jazan, 64 in Madinah, 56 in Hail, 53 in Najran, 34 in Al-Baha, 33 in the Northern Borders region, 19 in Tabuk, and eight in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 506,089 after 1,086 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,237 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 26.6 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


UK research: Double vaccine dose halves risk of long COVID

UK research: Double vaccine dose halves risk of long COVID
Updated 31 July 2021

UK research: Double vaccine dose halves risk of long COVID

UK research: Double vaccine dose halves risk of long COVID
  • Long COVID includes lingering symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain and problems with concentration
  • COVID-19 levels differ between men and women, according to other UK research

LONDON: People who have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine are 50 percent less likely to suffer from long COVID, a UK scientific advisory body has said.
Long COVID includes lingering symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain and problems with concentration.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said UK government statistics found that “in all age groups the odds of experiencing symptoms for more than 28 days after post-vaccination infection was approximately halved by two vaccinations.”
But women, older people and those who are overweight or obese are more likely to have lingering symptoms, with fatigue the most frequently reported, the group said.
SAGE added that the proportion of people suffering from symptoms 12 weeks after COVID-19 infection varied between 2.3 percent and 37 percent depending on studies, leading to uncertainty among scientists.
But the group said it has high confidence in research showing that just 1.2 percent of young adults and 4.8 percent of middle-aged people reported symptoms limiting their daily lives.
COVID-19 levels differ between men and women, according to other UK research. Men are more likely to have shortness of breath, exhaustion, chills and fever, while women are more likely to experience loss of scent, chest pain and a persistent cough.


Gulf capitals dominate world’s fastest 5G cities in 2021

Gulf capitals dominate world’s fastest 5G cities in 2021
Updated 31 July 2021

Gulf capitals dominate world’s fastest 5G cities in 2021

Gulf capitals dominate world’s fastest 5G cities in 2021
  • Oslo has the fastest media 5G download speed globally
  • Riyadh has the sixth fastest 5G speed in the world

RIYADH: Capital cities in the Gulf made up five of the top 10 fastest globally for 5G connectivity in the first half of 2021, according to a new report.

Oslo had the fastest commercially available 5G speeds with a median download speed of 526.74 Mbps, while Seoul was second at 467.84 Mbps, Internet metrics provider Ookla said in a report.

Abu Dhabi was the fastest Gulf capital and the third globally at 421.26 Mbps, followed by Doha at 413.40 Mbps. Riyadh was sixth fastest globally at 384.66 Mbps, Kuwait City was seventh and Muscat eighth. Manama was 15th with a speed of 249.71 Mbps.

The slowest global capital for 5G speeds was Capetown at 53.33 Mbps. Other notable capitals include London at 167.50 Mbps, Tokyo at 167.02 Mbps and Jerusalem at 145.17 Mbps.

A report from Ookla in April showed Saudi Arabia had the highest adoption of 5G in the Gulf as measured by the ratio of samples from devices connected to 5G to the number of samples from all 5G-capable devices, which the firm said is an indicator of the maturity of a country’s 5G market.

Qatar came second, followed by the UAE. Oman, which only launched 5G early this year, was at the bottom of the list.

The Saudi Telecom Company emerged as the fastest operator in the Kingdom, but Mobily recorded the highest rating from customers.