Algeria closes airspace to Moroccan aviation as dispute deepens

Algeria closes airspace to Moroccan aviation as dispute deepens
A source at Royal Air Maroc said the closure would only affect 15 flights weekly linking Morocco with Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt. (AFP/File)
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Updated 23 September 2021

Algeria closes airspace to Moroccan aviation as dispute deepens

Algeria closes airspace to Moroccan aviation as dispute deepens
  • Algeria late last month decided to cut diplomatic ties with Morocco

ALGIERS/CAIRO: Algeria’s supreme security council decided on Wednesday to close the country’s airspace to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft, the Algerian presidency said, less than a month after it cut diplomatic relations with the kingdom.
The decision came “in view of the continued provocations and hostile practices on the Moroccan side,” it said in a statement.
The closure also includes any aircraft carrying a Moroccan registration number, the presidency said after a meeting of the council.
There was no immediate Moroccan official response. A source at Royal Air Maroc said the closure would only affect 15 flights weekly linking Morocco with Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt.
The source described the closure as insignificant and said the relevant flights could reroute over the Mediterranean.
The airline gave no official comment on the Algerian decision.
Algeria late last month decided to cut diplomatic ties with Morocco, citing “hostile actions” from the Kingdom, referring mainly to comments made by Morocco’s envoy in New York in favor of the self-determination of the Kabylie region in Algeria.
Algiers also accused Rabat of backing MAK, a separatist group that the government has declared a terrorist organization. Authorities blame the group for devastating wildfires, mainly in Kabylie, that killed at least 65 people. MAK has denied the accusations.
Morocco said in response that Algeria was unjustified in cutting ties and its arguments were “fallacious and even absurd.”
The border between Morocco and Algeria has been closed since 1994 and Algeria has indicated it will divert gas exports from a pipeline running through Morocco, which was due to be renewed later this year.
Relations have deteriorated since last year, when the Western Sahara issue flared up after years of comparative quiet. Morocco sees Western Sahara as its own, but the territory’s sovereignty has been disputed by the Polisario Front, an Algeria-backed independence movement.


Date set for Iran nuclear talks

Date set for Iran nuclear talks
Updated 11 min 55 sec ago

Date set for Iran nuclear talks

Date set for Iran nuclear talks
  • EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said at the weekend he was ready to meet Iranian leaders
  • The 2015 deal collapsed in 2018 when the US pulled out and President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions

JEDDAH: Talks aimed at reviving the collapsed Iran nuclear deal will resume this week, two Iranian members of parliament said on Sunday.

After a private meeting with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, MP Ahmad Alirezabeigui said “talks with the 4+1 Group will restart on Thursday in Brussels.” Another Iranian MP, Behrouz Mohebbi Najmabadi, said negotiations would resume “this week.”

The 4+1 Group consists of four UN Security Council permanent members — Britain, China, France and Russia — and Germany. They began negotiations with Iran in Vienna in April over reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement with world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions.

That deal collapsed in 2018 when the US pulled out and President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions, and Iran responded by breaching the deal’s restrictions on its enrichment of uranium.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden is keen to revive the deal and the US is taking part indirectly in the Vienna talks. However, discussions have been suspended since June in a stalemate over who concedes first — Iran by complying with the agreement, or the US by lifting sanctions. US allies in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, are also concerned that the agreement fails to address wider issues such as Iran’s ballistic missiles and its malign regional activities.

EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said at the weekend he was ready to meet Iranian leaders. “The goal remains to resume negotiations in Vienna as quickly as possible,” his spokesman said.


Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program
Updated 18 October 2021

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program
  • 160 students will participate in the first edition of the program, hosted by the Royal Commission in Yanbu

RIYADH: The Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MiSK) is launching an educational program to guide future leaders and enhance their capabilities to overcome challenges.
The “Leaders of Tomorrow” program includes a training camp that takes participants on a field trip to the center of Yanbu.
The program, which will be launched at the end of November, will be the first physical training since programs became distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondary school and university students will take part in a self-challenging journey that represents a unique opportunity to discover their potential in facing difficulties and solving problems, and work with a team of mentors to hone their skills and prepare them to succeed as leaders in taking on challenges on their own.
In its first edition, hosted by the Royal Commission in Yanbu, 160 students aged between 17 and 24 will participate in the program. They were accepted after a nomination process that began last March.
The “Leaders of Tomorrow” program is one of a series of programs launched by the foundation to prepare young people to chart a promising path for themselves through its work.


Newcastle fans urge new owners to axe Steve Bruce

Newcastle fans urge new owners to axe Steve Bruce
Updated 17 October 2021

Newcastle fans urge new owners to axe Steve Bruce

Newcastle fans urge new owners to axe Steve Bruce
  • Long-suffering manager refuses to be drawn on whether talks on his future are imminent

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has refused to be drawn on whether he will have more crunch talks with the Magpies’ new owners this week.

Almost two weeks into the reign of the Saudi-led consortium, Bruce continues to hang on to his job, despite vociferous calls from fans for him to be sacked.

And following the Magpies 3-2 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur, watched from the directors’ box by non-executive chairman Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Bruce stonewalled any questions on his future.

When asked whether fresh talks with the owners were planned, he said: “I’ve got to wait, until they see fit. You need to ask somebody else that one.

“Look, the owners have been very respectful in the last week to 10 days. It is going to take time and patience, of course. But to have the supporters back on side is a positive.”

Bruce is understood to be hanging by a thread as the club’s manager following a run of nine games without a win in 2021/22, eight of those in the Premier League.

Speculation about his future has grown since the club was purchased by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), RB Media & Sports and PCP Capital Partners.

Bruce met with NUFC board member Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, of PCP, on Monday last week - but has been backed to continue in the role, for now, at least.

On Friday, Staveley was quoted in a club statement discussing Bruce’s future.

The statement read: “We have had an extremely busy week reviewing the business and getting to know people and it is imperative that we continue to be patient and considered in our approach. Change does not always happen overnight, it demands time and that we follow a carefully considered plan and strategy.

“We met Steve and the players on Monday and have given them the time and space this week to focus on preparing for what is a very important game on Sunday.

“Steve has been very professional in our dealings with him and he and his coaching team will take the team on Sunday. If we make any changes going forward, Steve will be the first to know but, in the meantime, we wish him the best of luck in his 1,000th match as a manager and will be joining you in getting right behind the team.”

Meanwhile, Bruce admits he was disappointed his side did not build on their positive early start against Spurs.

Following Callum Wilson’s goal, United conceded three first-half goals, which ultimately saw them condemned to yet another top flight loss, despite Eric Dier’s late own goal.

“It is pretty obvious we haven’t defended well after a great start. Unfortunately we have done too much of that this season for my liking,” said Bruce. “With Tottenham’s first attack they score, their second it is two.

“We are trying to be a bit more attacking but defensively, we just haven't defended well enough.”

When asked whether he thinks his 19th-placed side are in a relegation battle, he said: “Have we not been in that for the last five or six years? I would think so.

“We have finished 12th and 13th - I found that very respectable, for where we are at this moment. I am convinced we would win a relegation battle. But when you are in the bottom half, people will say you’re in a relegation battle, yes.”

 


US supply chain woes to stretch into 2022, warns top official

US supply chain woes to stretch into 2022, warns top official
Updated 17 October 2021

US supply chain woes to stretch into 2022, warns top official

US supply chain woes to stretch into 2022, warns top official

WASHINGTON: The US transportation secretary on Sunday warned that America’s supply chain woes including clogged ports will drag into next year, potentially cramping the upcoming holiday shopping season in the world’s largest economy.

Pete Buttigieg did the rounds on US political talk shows to stress that President Joe Biden’s administration was doing everything it could to alleviate congestion at the country’s overloaded ports, railways and roads, and that the government will “re-evaluate all of our options” to relieve the bottlenecks.

But “a lot of the challenges that we have been experiencing this year will continue into next year,” the transport chief and former presidential candidate told CNN’s “State of the Union” show.


Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) and the US Navy on Sunday launched a mixed joint naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet, the ministry of defense announced.
The “Indigo Defender — 21” exercise was launched in the presence of Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, the Assistant commander of the Western Fleet and commander of the exercise, Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, and Col. Daniel Bailey of the US Navy.
The exercise’s commander said the 10-day maneuvers aim to strengthen relations and military cooperation, raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between the RSNF and the US Navy.
It also aims to exchange expertise in the field of port protection, clearing land and underwater mines, and contribute to developing security capabilities by protecting and securing the regional and international waterways to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.