Jordanian troops kill smuggler at Syrian border

Jordanian troops kill smuggler at Syrian border
The Jordanian military on Saturday said it thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs and weapons into the country from neighboring Syria. (File/AFP)
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Updated 07 August 2021

Jordanian troops kill smuggler at Syrian border

Jordanian troops kill smuggler at Syrian border
  • On Wednesday, Petra News Agency reported that the Jordanian authorities thwarted an attempt to smuggle half a million pills from Syria into Jordan
  • The kingdom hosts more than 650,000 Syrian refugees

RAMALLAH: The Jordanian military on Saturday said it thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs and weapons into the country from neighboring Syria, killing one smuggler and wounding several others.
The military said in a statement it seized a “large quantity” of narcotics as well as ammunition and a communications device, and that the smugglers fled back to Syria. It said the incident occurred at dawn in Eastern Jordan and gave no further details.
On Wednesday, Petra News Agency reported that the Jordanian authorities thwarted an attempt to smuggle half a million pills from Syria into Jordan.
Jordan is a close Western ally and has long been seen as an island of stability in a turbulent region. The kingdom hosts more than 650,000 Syrian refugees.


Tunisia’s president defends constitution from ‘dictatorship’ accusations

Tunisia’s president defends constitution from ‘dictatorship’ accusations
Updated 8 sec ago

Tunisia’s president defends constitution from ‘dictatorship’ accusations

Tunisia’s president defends constitution from ‘dictatorship’ accusations

TUNIS: Tunisia’s President Kais Saied on Tuesday defended a draft constitution set for a referendum this month, after the drafting committee’s chief disavowed a document he said could return the country to dictatorship.

The new constitution is the centerpiece of Saied’s plan to remake the North African country’s political system, over a decade after its pro-democracy revolt which sparked copycat uprisings across the region.

But Sadeq Belaid, the legal expert who oversaw the drafting of the new constitution, said the final version Saied published last week was “completely different” from his committee’s draft, and warned that some articles could “pave the way for a dictatorial regime.”

On Tuesday, Saied’s office published an open letter arguing that “this draft was built on what the Tunisian people have expressed from the start of the revolution (in late 2010) up until the correction of its path on July 25, 2021.”

That was the day Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament and seized wide-ranging powers in moves opponents have called a coup against the only democratic system to have emerged from the Arab Spring revolts.

Saied wants a presidential system to replace the country’s 2014 constitution, which enshrined a mixed presidential-parliamentary system often beset by deadlock and marred by corruption. “This draft which is proposed to you expresses the spirit of the revolution, and in no way threatens rights or freedoms,” Saied’s letter read.

He dismissed “those who slander and pretend” the document could return the country to tyranny, saying they had not read it in detail.

He urged Tunisians to vote to approve the new draft in the vote set for July 25, the first anniversary of his power grab.

“Say ‘yes’ so the state does not fail, so the revolution’s aims are achieved, so there will be no misery, terrorism, hunger, injustice and suffering,” he wrote.

Wheat crisis

Tunisian farmer Mondher Mathali surveys a sea of swaying golden wheat and revs his combine harvester, a rumbling beast from 1976 which he fears could break down at any moment.

Since the Ukraine war sent global cereal prices soaring, import-dependent Tunisia has announced a push to grow all its own durum wheat, the basis for local staples like couscous and pasta.

The small North African country, like its neighbors, is desperate to prevent food shortages and social unrest — but for farmers on the sun-baked plains north of Tunis, even the basics are problematic.

“I’d love to buy a new combine harvester, but I could only do it with help from the government,” said Mathali, 65. He reckons his outdated machine wastes almost a third of the crop. With spare parts hard to find, he fears a breakdown could cost him his entire harvest.

But even a second-hand replacement would cost him an unimaginable sum: $150,000.

“Our production and even the quality would go up by maybe 50 percent, even 90 percent” with government help, he said. “But our situation is getting worse and the state isn’t helping us.”

Tunisia’s wheat production has suffered from years of drought and a decade of political instability, with 10 governments since the country’s 2011 revolution.


Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center

Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center
Updated 47 min 5 sec ago

Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center

Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center
  • The showroom will provide customers with a cutting-edge shopping experience, allowing them to browse the latest Sony technology and products

MANAMA: Ashrafs Bahrain, one of the most popular shopping destinations in the Kingdom, is showcasing Sony's extensive product line at its new electronics showroom at Bahrain City Center.

Chairman Farouk Yousif Almoayyed, YK Almoayyed & Sons, Executive Director Amal Yousif Almoayyed, Deputy Managing Director Ashrafs and Jobin Joejoe, and Sony Middle East and Africa were present at the showroom's opening.

The new store will provide customers with a cutting-edge shopping experience by allowing them to browse the latest Sony technology and electronic products, the company stated.Customers will be able to choose from a wide variety of home entertainment, smart devices, premium audio accessories, mobile phones, and ecosystem products.

"We are delighted to announce our presence at the new Ashrafs Bahrain. Shoppers in the kingdom can now enjoy a world class shopping experience and discover a range of Sony products." Joejoe said.

"Consumers in Bahrain are very tech-savvy, and we are excited for Sony fans, including movie buffs, sports fans and gamers, to try our ecosystem of products and enjoy a truly immersive experience," he stated.

The new store will also feature Sony's new Bravia XR series and the Sony WH-1000XM5.


Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London
Updated 05 July 2022

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London
  • Societies that allow their people to choose what they believe are better, stronger and ultimately more successful

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is attending the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London.

The event, which is being held on July 5-6, is hosting 500 religious, government and civil society leaders from 60 countries to call for more action to protect freedom of religion or belief around the world.

In the opening speech of the conference, the UK’s Prince Charles said in a recorded message: “Freedom of conscience, of thought and of belief is central to any truly flourishing society. It allows people to contribute to their communities without fear of exclusion, to exchange ideas without fear of prejudice, and to build relationships without fear of rejection. A society where difference is respected, where it is accepted that all need not think alike, will benefit from the talents of all of its members.”

Speaking at the conference at the Queen Elizabeth II Center in London, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss said: “The freedom to believe, to pray and commit acts of worship, or indeed not to believe is a fundamental human freedom and has been one since the dawn of time. Societies that allow their people to choose what they believe are better, stronger and ultimately more successful. This fundamental right is covered in the very first clause of Magna Carta and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is one of the Four Freedoms Franklin D. Roosevelt said were ‘essential everywhere in the world.’”

Yesterday, the Egyptian minister, at the start of his London visit, met UK Minister of State for North Africa, South and Central Asia, the Commonwealth and the UN Lord Tariq Ahmed. The two discussed the conference, Egypt’s preparations for hosting and chairing COP27 in November, and the importance of continuing coordination between Egypt and the UK.


6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot
Updated 05 July 2022

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot
  • Distraught residents search for missing relatives
  • Al-Qaeda known to be active in area

AL-MUKALLA: At least six people were killed and more than 30 injured on Tuesday when two massive explosions destroyed an arms warehouse in the southern Yemen province of Abyan.

The first blast happened in the morning inside a busy popular market near the weapons depot in Lawder, a large town in the province. As dozens of people milled around after the explosion, a second blast detonated in the two-story building containing the arms depot.

Officials said they could not give a precise number of casualties as the dead and injured were still arriving at Al-Shaheed Mahnef hospital in Lawder. Residents rushed to the hospital to searching for missing relatives and friends, and medical staff called for blood donations. The poorly equipped and understaffed hospital was forced to refer critical cases to larger hospitals in Abyan and Aden.

Authorities launched an investigation into the explosions, but Al-Qaeda are known to be active in the area and twin explosions a short time apart are a terrorist tactic to increase the number of casualties.

Abyan is a contested province between the internationally recognized government and separatists loyal to the Southern Transitional Council. It was the site of fierce battles in 2019 and 2020 that claimed the lives of many soldiers and Houthi terrorist militia fighters.

The Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda exploited the anarchy in the province to make a comeback.

Suspected Al-Qaeda militants in the province are still holding five UN workers who were abducted in February while returning to neighboring Aden after finishing a field mission.

Local officials and tribal mediators have failed to convince the abductors to release the workers. The kidnappers insist on swapping them with allied prisoners in Aden and demand a ransom of thousands of dollars.

Elsewhere in Yemen, EU envoys have asked the Iran-backed Houthi militia to de-escalate and implement the elements of the UN-brokered truce, mainly lifting their siege on the city of Taiz.

The ambassadors of France and Germany and the Swedish special envoy to Yemen called Hussein Al-Azi, a Houthi leader, to ask him to accept the UN proposal on opening roads in Taiz and work on achieving peace after he threatened to resume military operations in the central province of Marib.

The ambassadors asked the Houthi leader to constructively engage with the UN Yemen envoy’s proposal and create “positive public rhetoric.”

It was “time to continue delivering on the expectations of Yemenis, who want and need peace,” the EU mission in Yemen said. 


Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai
Updated 05 July 2022

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai
  • Suspect arrested during sting operation before applying a Botox injection for $1,275
  • If found guilty, the unlicensed doctor could face three years in jail, lawyer tells Arab News

DUBAI: An investor in a medical consultation company could face up to three years in jail, and/or a fine up to $542,700, if found guilty of practicing unlicensed medicine in Dubai.
Prosecutors referred the unidentified investor to the Dubai Misdemeanours Court for practicing medicine without obtaining a proper license after he was found to be injecting patients with cosmetic Botox and fillers.
Haifa Al-Marzouqi, assistant chief prosecutor at the Dubai Public Prosecution, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Dubai Healthcare Authority received a tip from an informant about a person practicing cosmetic medicine and applying fillers and Botox on patients at their homes.
“In collaboration with the DHA’s inspection department, someone posed as a potential patient and contacted the suspect to apply on her cosmetic injections. As part of a sting operation, the suspect was apprehended in a flat that was rented for that purpose,” said Al-Marzouqi.
Primary interrogations unveiled that the suspect is an investor in a medical consultation company and not a licensed doctor.
Lawyer Faisal Al-Zarouni told Arab News, that if found guilty, the suspect could be facing between one month and three years in jail, a fine varying between $54,270 and $542,700 or both punishments.
“According to the law … based on which prosecutors are requesting the court to try the suspect, it means the latter provided the health licensing authorities with false documents to obtain a license and practice medicine,” said Al-Zarouni.
Al-Marzouqi said the suspect came to the flat carrying a medium-sized handbag containing medical equipment and medical ointments.
After examining the informant’s face, he provided her with a medical consultation and advised that she needed a Botox injection in her forehead, and said he would charge her an amount of $1,275 for the procedure.
When asked how the public could prevent themselves against falling victim to unlicensed doctors, Al-Zarouni advised them to inquire about the doctor’s licenses listed on the DHA’s website.
Sources told Arab News a hearing will be scheduled next month.