Taliban warn of ‘consequences’ if Turkey runs Kabul airport

Taliban warn of ‘consequences’ if Turkey runs Kabul airport
Members of the Afghan Special Forces pray on a highway before a combat mission against the Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 11, 2021. (Reuters)
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Updated 14 July 2021

Taliban warn of ‘consequences’ if Turkey runs Kabul airport

Taliban warn of ‘consequences’ if Turkey runs Kabul airport

KABUL: The Taliban warned Turkey on Tuesday against possible plans to keep some troops in Afghanistan to run and guard Kabul’s main airport after the withdrawal of foreign troops, calling the strategy “reprehensible” and warning of “consequences.”
Ankara, which has offered to run and guard the airport in the capital after NATO’s withdraws, has been in talks with allies, namely the United States, on aspects of financial, political and logistical support.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan condemns this reprehensible decision,” the militant group said in a statement.
“If Turkish officials fail to reconsider their decision and continue the occupation of our country, the Islamic Emirate... will take a stand against them.”
In that case, it added, the responsibility for consequences would fall on the shoulders of those who interfere.
The Taliban, emboldened by the departure of foreign forces by a September target, are making a fresh push to surround cities and gain territory.
Clashes were continuing in the southern province of Kandahar, said Attaullah Atta, a provincial council member, with the Taliban being pushed back after a bid to break into a city prison.
Hundreds of families had fled the violence, he added.
Mohammad Daoud Farhad, director of Kandahar’s provincial hospital, said it had received eight dead and more than 30 people, mostly civilians, wounded in clashes in the past 24 hours.
Early on Tuesday, Afghan security forces had retreated from the district of Alingar in the eastern province of Laghman, a local government official said on condition of anonymity.
A cease-fire pact with the Taliban in the district fell through in May.
On Monday, the Taliban circled the central city of Ghazni and made attacks overnight in their latest offensive on a provincial capital, a local security official said, only to be pushed back by Afghan forces. (Reporting by Afghanistan and Turkey bureaux; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


Luxury chain St. Regis Hotels & Resorts outlines Middle East and North African expansion by 2025

Luxury chain St. Regis Hotels & Resorts outlines Middle East and North African expansion by 2025
Updated 1 min 12 sec ago

Luxury chain St. Regis Hotels & Resorts outlines Middle East and North African expansion by 2025

Luxury chain St. Regis Hotels & Resorts outlines Middle East and North African expansion by 2025

CAIRO: High-end hotel chain St. Regis Hotels & Resorts plans to open new sites in the Middle East and North Africa over the next four years as it boosts its global presence.

The Marriott International-owned brand is set to open The St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl, in Qatar in early 2022.

Further openings are scheduled in Oman with Al Mouj Resort in Muscat in 2024, and the Marrakech Resort in Morocco slated for 2025.

The chain already operates hotels across the region in such countries as Egypt, the UAE and Qatar.

Marriott International said in a statement: “St. Regis has 49 open hotels and resorts today, with 29 hotels and resorts in its pipeline, representing expected growth of nearly 60 percent over the next five years in both urban and leisure destination.”

Other hotel openings are planned in the US, Caribbean and Asia Pacific regions over the period.


Economic growth in the UAE will peak next year: Beltone forecast 

Economic growth in the UAE will peak next year: Beltone forecast 
Updated 7 min 5 sec ago

Economic growth in the UAE will peak next year: Beltone forecast 

Economic growth in the UAE will peak next year: Beltone forecast 

Abu Dhabi: The UAE's main economic indicators will achieve their highest growth rates in a decade during 2022 with the support of Expo 2020, Egypt-based investment bank Beltone has forecast.

It predicts growth in private spending, non-oil GDP, tax and tourism revenues, with additional expenditure on consumer goods and services during the Expo months, Asharq news reported.

Beltone expects that the total number of visitors to the UAE from around the world will reach 10 million in the period from October 2021 until the end of March 2022.

However, this is less than the pre-pandemic target of 18 million visitors.


ENGIE-led consortium closes financing for Saudi largest solar-powered water desalination plant

ENGIE-led consortium closes financing for Saudi largest solar-powered water desalination plant
Updated 13 min 38 sec ago

ENGIE-led consortium closes financing for Saudi largest solar-powered water desalination plant

ENGIE-led consortium closes financing for Saudi largest solar-powered water desalination plant
  • The plant, supplying potable water to Jubail and Dammam, will have a 60MW capacity solar facility - the largest in-house solar capability for a desalination plant in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC), in association with the consortium led by France-headquartered ENGIE has achieved financial close on the Jubail 3B Independent Water Project (IWP), the largest solar-powered water desalination project in the Kingdom.

The project is part of the water schemes in Saudi Arabia developed under the public-private-partnership (PPP) structure, Engie said in a statement. The consortium is developing and financing the desalination plant, which will be operated and maintained by ENGIE. The Jubail 3B project was awarded by SWPC as a build, own, operate (BOO) contract, with commercial operation expected in 2024, it said.

ENGIE holds 40 percent of the project, while Saudi based Nesma Co. and Abdulaziz Al Ajlan Sons for Commercial and Real Estate Investment hold 30 percent each. 

On 29 April, SWPC awarded the ENGIE-led consortium a 25-year Water Purchase Agreement, and the contract was signed on 22 June.


Saudi firm Tabuk Pharmaceutical strikes deal to manufacture Leosons products in the MENA 

Saudi firm Tabuk Pharmaceutical strikes deal to manufacture Leosons products in the MENA 
Updated 13 min 36 sec ago

Saudi firm Tabuk Pharmaceutical strikes deal to manufacture Leosons products in the MENA 

Saudi firm Tabuk Pharmaceutical strikes deal to manufacture Leosons products in the MENA 

RIYADH: Saudi-based Tabuk Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company has announced an exclusive agreement with Leosons Overseas Corporation to manufacture and sell Leosons products in the MENA region,

The agreement gives Tabuk Pharmaceutical an immediate take over of the US-based company's existing business in more than 10 markets, with future expansion plans to include new regions and products.

Tabuk Pharmaceutical will have the right to register, manufacture, and commercialize a range of 14 brands in several countries in the MENA region, according to the agreement.

"We consider this partnership a step forward towards augmenting our plans for long-term growth and strengthening Tabuk’s over the counter business with direct contact with patients,” Wisam Alkhatib, vice president of Strategy and Business Development at Tabuk Pharmaceuticals said.
 
“We believe our partnership with Tabuk Pharmaceuticals is transformational especially in Saudi Arabia,” John L. Ohanian, President of Leosons said.


Longer sentences imposed for Brits who travel to war zones or plot terror attacks

Longer sentences imposed for Brits who travel to war zones or plot terror attacks
Updated 37 min 19 sec ago

Longer sentences imposed for Brits who travel to war zones or plot terror attacks

Longer sentences imposed for Brits who travel to war zones or plot terror attacks
  • Terrorists could face 14 years behind bars and even more on license under strict new guidelines
  • The new sentences were first mulled when a man committed a deadly attack just weeks after being released early from jail

LONDON: New sentencing guidelines have been proposed by the British Justice Secretary that would see those who plot attacks with multiple victims or travel abroad to fight for terror groups hit with lengthier jail terms of 14 years.

Dominic Raab, who is new to the post, said the updated powers would deter “those who kill and maim in the name of warped and fanatical ideologies.”

The Sentencing Council will set out its proposed guidance to judges on how they should apply the new mandatory minimum jail term — which became law earlier this year — on Wednesday.

Those who are found guilty under the new category will face a minimum of 14 years behind bars unless there are “exceptional circumstances.”

They will also face a further seven to 25 years on license after their custodial sentence ends, which will see severe restrictions and monitoring of their daily lives.

The new sentencing will apply in cases where there is “a significant risk” to the public of “serious harm occasioned by the commission by the offender of further serious terrorism offenses.”

It should also cover cases where the offense “was very likely to result in or contribute to (whether directly or indirectly) the deaths of at least two people” — the so-called “risk of multiple deaths condition.”

A consultation on the new guidance will run until Jan. 11, 2022.

Raab said: “These proposed guidelines will support judges to pass consistent and appropriate sentences in terrorism cases. Those who kill and maim in the name of warped and fanatical ideologies will spend longer behind bars, because public protection is our top priority.”

The Guidance Council’s lead member for terrorism offenses, Justice Maura McGowan, said: “Terrorism offenses are serious criminal acts that are constantly evolving, and the law is regularly updated in line with the changing nature of the offenses, requiring a new approach to sentencing.

“The council is proposing revisions to existing sentencing guidelines to reflect the new legislation and ensure that the courts have comprehensive and up-to-date guidance for dealing with these extremely serious cases.”

The new sentencing guidelines were first proposed in 2019, when a man killed two people in central London after being released early from prison on license after being jailed for plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

Hundreds of Britons have also previously traveled to Syria to join Daesh before the group collapsed, and the country has been struggling to manage their return.

According to a report by The Independent earlier this year, only one in 10 people who returned from fighting for Daesh in Syria were prosecuted, and not all of those prosecutions were related to terror offenses. Even fewer people were convicted directly for Daesh membership.

Officials struggled to prove that offences took place in Syria due to flimsy evidence from the battlefield, severely limiting prosecution capabilities. 

The new legislation is designed to remedy that struggle by criminalizing the act of traveling to terrorism “designated areas” abroad, such as Daesh’s short-lived territories in Iraq and Syria.