Packed US refugee plane carried record number

Packed US refugee plane carried record number
Evacuees crowd the interior of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, carrying some 640 Afghans to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 August 2021

Packed US refugee plane carried record number

Packed US refugee plane carried record number

WASHINGTON: The US Air Force says the cargo plane packed with Afghan refugees whose photo was widely shared online actually carried even more people than originally thought — 823 — and marked a new passenger record for the aircraft.
The brief statement by the Air Mobility Command on Friday said the C-17 that departed the capital, Kabul, last Sunday had an initial count of 640 passengers, but that figure inadvertently left out 183 children sitting on people’s laps.
The statement said the correct count of 823 passengers is a record for the C-17. It took off as the Taliban swept into the city, prompting thousands of Afghans and foreigners to rush to the airport seeking flight out — with some reaching the tarmac.


More attacks will happen, says UK’s top counterterrorism cop

More attacks will happen, says UK’s top counterterrorism cop
Updated 12 min 1 sec ago

More attacks will happen, says UK’s top counterterrorism cop

More attacks will happen, says UK’s top counterterrorism cop
  • Neil Basu’s warning came during an inquiry into the 2017 bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester
  • ‘I’m going to be very blunt about this: We won’t stop them happening again, they will happen again. We have to try and minimize or reduce the risk,’ he said

LONDON: Britain’s highest-ranking counterterrorism police officer has warned that despite improvements in the ways agencies collaborate to prevent terror attacks, they cannot stop them all and it is inevitable that there will be more.

The comment by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police Service came on Monday when he appeared at the inquiry into the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. Twenty-two people were killed, including a number of children, when 22-year-old suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert.

Basu, who serves as the National Police Chiefs Council lead for Counter Terrorism Policing, told the inquiry: “The horror of this makes you look very hard at, hopefully, preventing it ever happening again.”

But he added: “I’m going to be very blunt about this: We won’t stop them happening again, they will happen again. We have to try and minimize or reduce the risk and that means constantly trying to have a system that looks at improvement, no matter how busy we are.”

The inquiry into the attack in May 2017 is examining the activities of emergency services, including the police and intelligence agencies, in the lead-up to the attack.

Basu said the results of a joint police and MI5 review of a number of attacks that took place in 2017, including the arena bombing, were “humbling.” That review made 104 recommendations for improvements, four of which remain outstanding.

He added that cross-agency collaboration has improved since 2017 but that more work can yet be done to better align the work of agencies.

“We’re very close but we need to be closer still,” Basu said.

The inquiry also heard from Ian Fenn, the former headteacher of a Manchester school Abedi attended between 2009 and 2011. He said Abedi was not a good student and was, at times, “aggressive and rude” to teachers, and had been suspended for theft and for setting off fireworks.

However, there was “no indication,” Fenn added, that Abedi held extremist views at that time.

“He never came across as somebody who was opinionated, who was driven, that had an agenda,” he told the inquiry. “He was a typically lackluster child who drifted around.”


Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse

Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse
Updated 16 min 37 sec ago

Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse

Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse

RIYADH: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi reconstituted the country’s central bank board on Monday, replacing the governor and the deputy governor amid an unprecedented collapse in the local currency.
Ahmed bin Ahmed Ghaleb Al-Maabqi was appointed as governor, and Muhammad Omar Banaja as his deputy, a presidential decree published by state news agency SABA said.


Saudi Arabia records 1 COVID-19 death, 43 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 1 COVID-19 death, 43 new cases
Updated 06 December 2021

Saudi Arabia records 1 COVID-19 death, 43 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 1 COVID-19 death, 43 new cases
  • The health ministry says 26 patients have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours
  • More than 22.6 million people have been fully vaccinated throughout the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed one new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,845.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 43 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 549,955 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 37 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh and Jeddah with 14 cases each, while Makkah confirmed three and Dhahran recorded two cases.


The health ministry also announced that 26 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 539,082.
Over 47.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 22.6 million people have been fully vaccinated.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 266 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 5.27 million.


Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition

Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition
Updated 06 December 2021

Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition

Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition
  • US oil CEOs also stress need for fossil fuels despite push for cleaner energy

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nassir on Monday rejected what he called a “deeply assumption” that the entire world can run on alternatives and the vast global energy system can be totally transformed, virtually overnight.

He was speaking at a global energy conference devoted to future technologies and low-carbon strategies in Houston.

The Aramco chief said several highly unrealistic scenarios about the future of energy are clouding the picture such as investments worth “roughly $115 trillion will be made in less than 30 years.”

“Energy security, economic development, and affordability imperatives are clearly not receiving enough attention,” he said.

“There are still no truly viable alternatives to conventional fuels in aviation, shipping, and even trucking.”

His global counterparts at the World Petroleum Conference also affirmed the need for more oil for decades to come. 

“We in fact are going into a period of scarcity. And I think that for the first time, in a long time, we will see a buyer looking for a barrel of oil, as opposed to a barrel of oil looking for a buyer,” said Jeff Miller, CEO of energy services firm Halliburton.

World fossil fuel demand has rebounded sharply in 2021, with natural gas already at pre-pandemic levels and oil nearing levels reached in 2019. That comes even as large global majors, especially those based in Europe, are limiting exploration and production in an attempt to shift to renewable power development and as governments promote efforts to reduce cut carbon emissions to deal with rising worldwide temperatures.

The Aramco chief said due to the mounting pressure to stop all investments in oil and gas, the upstream capex has fallen by more than 50 percent between 2014 and last year, from $700 billion to $300 billion.

“Consequently, supplies have started to lag. This is also hurting spare oil production capacity, which is declining sharply. Yet this is happening against the backdrop of healthy demand growth.,” Nasser said.

Oil rose 3 percent a barrel to about $72 on Monday on hopes the omicron variant would be less damaging to oil demand.


Saudi defenses intercept 3 ballistic missile launched toward Riyadh: Arab coalition

Saudi defenses intercept 3 ballistic missile launched toward Riyadh: Arab coalition
Updated 26 min 50 sec ago

Saudi defenses intercept 3 ballistic missile launched toward Riyadh: Arab coalition

Saudi defenses intercept 3 ballistic missile launched toward Riyadh: Arab coalition

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses intercepted three ballistic missiles launched toward the Kingdom, state TV reported on Monday, citing the Arab coalition.
The coalition said the missiles was targeting the capital, Riyadh, in an attempt to attack civilians and civilian objects.
“In response to the threat, we will start implementing a large-scale operation against the Houthi militia, and to protect civilians, we will strike with an iron fist, within the framework of international humanitarian law,” the coalition said in a separate statement.
The Iran-backed militia has launched several drones toward the Kingdom’s southern region since Sunday, sparking condemnation from regional counties and organizations.
The Houthis launch frequent cross-border attacks targeting populated areas, airports and oil installations, threatening global energy supplies and endangering lives.