UN chief warns no Syria cross-border aid would be ‘devastating’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres looks on during a news conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 23, 2021. (Pool via Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres looks on during a news conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 23, 2021. (Pool via Reuters)
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Updated 24 June 2021

UN chief warns no Syria cross-border aid would be ‘devastating’

UN chief warns no Syria cross-border aid would be ‘devastating’
  • ‘A failure to extend the council’s authorization would have devastating consequences,’ Guterres says
  • The UN and aid groups have warned there is no substitute for the delivery of cross-border aid into Syria

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the Security Council on Wednesday to renew a cross-border aid operation into Syria for another year, warning that a failure to do so would be devastating for millions of people.
Guterres addressed the 15-member body ahead of a likely showdown next month between Western members and Russia and China over the renewal of the mandate for the long-running aid operation, which expires on July 10.
“A failure to extend the council’s authorization would have devastating consequences,” Guterres said.
The Security Council first authorized a cross-border aid operation into Syria in 2014 at four points. Last year, it reduced that access to one crossing point from Turkey that leads into a rebel-held area in northwestern Syria due to opposition from Russia and China over renewing all four.
Council veto-power Russia, which is allied with Syrian President Bashar Assad, has questioned the importance of the cross-border aid operation, arguing that aid can be delivered to northern Syria from the capital Damascus.
China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun also raised the issue of unilateral sanctions on Syria, telling reporters ahead of the meeting: “Some people say, okay, we are concerned about the humanitarian situation, but meanwhile, they are continuing to impose unilateral sanctions. So that’s really hypocritical.”
The UN and aid groups have warned there is no substitute for the delivery of cross-border aid into Syria.
“A failure to extend the authorization will have stark consequences. It would disrupt life-saving aid to 3.4 million people in need across the northwest, millions of whom are among the most vulnerable in Syria,” acting UN aid chief Ramesh Rajasingham told the council on Wednesday.
Ireland and Norway plan to circulate a draft resolution in the coming days that “will renew and expand the humanitarian aid delivery mechanism in response to the pressing humanitarian needs,” Ireland’s UN Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason said.
A resolution to extend council approval needs nine votes in favor and no veto from any of the five permanent members Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain.
In the past decade, the council has been divided over how to handle Syria, with Syrian ally Russia and China pitted against Western members. Russia has vetoed 16 resolutions related to Syria and was backed by China for many of those votes.


US imposes fresh Syria-related sanctions: Treasury

US imposes fresh Syria-related sanctions: Treasury
Updated 52 min 56 sec ago

US imposes fresh Syria-related sanctions: Treasury

US imposes fresh Syria-related sanctions: Treasury

WASHINGTON: The US Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed fresh Syria-related sanctions on several individuals and entities, according to the Treasury’s website, increasing pressure on President Bashar Assad’s government.
The United States blacklisted eight individuals and 10 entities in separate counterterrorism and Syria-related actions taken on Wednesday, including branches of the Syrian general and military intelligence, according to the website.


Schools in Egypt flourishing with Tokkatsu system

Schools in Egypt flourishing with Tokkatsu system
Updated 28 July 2021

Schools in Egypt flourishing with Tokkatsu system

Schools in Egypt flourishing with Tokkatsu system
  • Japanese system develops all the skills of the student, focusing on creativity and thinking rather than conservation and indoctrination
  • Egyptian-Japanese schools in Egypt are preparing for the new academic year, which begins in October

CAIRO: The Japanese education system, Tokkatsu, continues to flourish in Egypt as the country had 48 schools that used the system during the last academic school year. 

These Egyptian-Japanese schools teach Egyptian curriculum in addition to the Japanese Tokkatsu educational system, which develops all the skills of the student, focusing on creativity and thinking rather than conservation and indoctrination.

Safwat Al-Jamai, an educationist, told Arab News the Tokkatsu method relies on activities that help the students with daily life, self-development, health, safety, and creativity.

“It encourages students to help with the management and planning of the activities, and there are cultural exchange programs for different age groups within the school,” Al-Jamai said.

“It also entails activities that develop a sense of belonging and solidarity toward others and working for the public interest through practical activities carried out by students."

These activities, according to Al-Jamai, transform the role of the teacher into that of a facilitator. They no longer merely teach facts and concepts leading students to a right-or-wrong answer, but rather facilitate social and emotional learning for the student through trial and error in an individual or group environment.

The activities also enable the development of the personal and social skills needed when students enter the real world, and it requires them to share tasks, set rules, experience leadership as well as follow rules and adhere to order.

Egyptian-Japanese schools in Egypt are preparing for the new academic year, which begins in October. One of them is in Sharm El-Sheikh, which was inaugurated by the Egyptian Minister of Education, Tariq Shawky, and the Governor of South Sinai, Maj. Gen. Khaled Fouda, last March.

The Egyptian-Japanese School in Sharm El-Sheikh is located near King Salman University and consists of 28 classrooms from kindergarten to secondary school. It is the second such school in the governorate after another that was established in Tur Sinai in October 2018.

The Egyptian-Japanese School finished conducting personal interviews for students initially accepted to the school for the academic year 2021-2022. Prospective students applied to enroll in the school through the school's website, under the supervision of the Egyptian-Japanese Schools Administration Unit at the Ministry of Education.

They canceled paper submissions due to coronavirus (COVID-19) safety precautions. 

The admission process for students included a personal interview with parents, submission of supporting documents with the application, a math test, and a cognitive skills test for the child. Personal interviews were also conducted for students applying for kindergarten.

Mahmoud Abdel-Aal, director of the Egyptian-Japanese School, said interview results will be announced after they are completed in all schools nationwide.


Lebanon's Mikati hopes to form government soon

Lebanon's Mikati hopes to form government soon
Updated 28 July 2021

Lebanon's Mikati hopes to form government soon

Lebanon's Mikati hopes to form government soon
  • Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said he hoped to form a government in the "near future"

BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said on Wednesday that he hoped to form a government shortly after securing the approval of President Michel Aoun for most of his nominees.
Mikati, a businessman, is the third potential prime minister to be nominated since Hassan Diab's government resigned after an explosion in Beirut's port area on Aug. 4 last year that killed more than 200 people and flattened large areas of the city. He spoke to reporters after meeting Aoun.
Diab's government has stayed on in a caretaker capacity, but Lebanon's currency has collapsed, jobs have vanished and banks have frozen accounts in the country's worst crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.
"I gave my proposals, President Aoun approved most of them and he made some remarks which are acceptable; God willing ... we will be able to form a government soon," Mikati said.
Mikati has been prime minister twice before and, unlike many Lebanese leaders, does not represent a political bloc or hail from a dynasty.
Like the previous nominee, Saad Al-Hariri, he must navigate the sectarian, power-sharing structure and secure agreement on a cabinet equipped to address the financial meltdown in Lebanon, one of the world's most heavily indebted states. 


UAE starts granting golden visas to doctors

UAE starts granting golden visas to doctors
Updated 28 July 2021

UAE starts granting golden visas to doctors

UAE starts granting golden visas to doctors
  • All doctors licensed by the UAE health regulatory bodies can apply for the golden visa between July 2021 to September 2022

DUBAI: The UAE has started to grant golden visas to doctors in what the government described as “recognition of their efforts and sacrifices and being the frontline heroes.”

The golden visa will grant doctors and their families a 10-year residency, ensuring stability in their jobs and livelihood in the UAE as well as the development of the health care sector.

“This initiative promotes a motivational work environment and high-quality living standards by attracting and retaining the top talents in the medical field, and providing opportunities for medical staff to work and reside in the UAE,” a report from state news agency WAM said.

All doctors licensed by the UAE health regulatory bodies can apply for the golden visa between July 2021 to September 2022 online through smartservices.ica.gov.ae.

Dubai-licensed doctors meanwhile may apply via smart.gdrfad.gov.ae.

Seven offices across the Emirates affiliated with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will accept applications from doctors who wish to apply for the golden visa personally.


Daesh attack kills seven Syrian troops: Monitor

Daesh attack kills seven Syrian troops: Monitor
Updated 28 July 2021

Daesh attack kills seven Syrian troops: Monitor

Daesh attack kills seven Syrian troops: Monitor

BERLIN: Daesh group militants killed at least seven soldiers and militiamen in eastern Syria on Wednesday, the latest in a series of deadly attacks, a Britain-based war monitor said.
Several government positions came under attack in a desert area of Deir Ezzor province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Several troops were also wounded, some of them critically, while five militants were also killed.
A Kurdish-led offensive overran the last patch of Daesh-held territory in Syria in March 2019 but sleeper cells continue to launch attacks in the vast desert that stretches from central Syria east to the Iraqi border.