US joins UAE to ‘spearhead’ global drive for agricultural innovation

US joins UAE to ‘spearhead’ global drive for agricultural innovation
US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 24 September 2021

US joins UAE to ‘spearhead’ global drive for agricultural innovation

US joins UAE to ‘spearhead’ global drive for agricultural innovation
  • US climate envoy John Kerry hails UAE’s ‘innovation and ingenuity’ in food and climate challenges
  • Agriculture is a major contributor to global warming, World Bank report warns

NEW YORK: The UAE and US will collaborate to “dramatically” increase global investments in food system innovation, a top US government official said Thursday.

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said: “We must use the power of ingenuity to improve our food systems so they provide safe, nutritious, affordable and accessible food for all, while conserving natural resources and combating the climate crisis.”

Vilsack was speaking on the first day of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, attended by Arab News.

He said: “The US and UAE are spearheading a global initiative, the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, with the goal of dramatically increasing public and private investing in climate-smart agriculture and food system innovation.”

Political leaders and scientists from across the world are collaborating at the summit to examine the future of global food security, with a major part of the discussion centering on the balance of ensuring an efficient agricultural system without destroying the planet.

According to the World Bank, agriculture is a “major part of the climate problem,” with farming activities accounting for 19 to 29 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The AIM project, endorsed by the UK, Singapore, Australia, Brazil and others, will “serve as a unique platform for cooperation among many countries on these shared challenges,” US climate envoy John Kerry said earlier in the year when the AID initiative was announced.

The US and UAE said they will use the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 — taking place in New York as world leaders also gather for the General Assembly — to advance the program before launching it at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow later this year.

Kerry said that the US chose to partner with the UAE because of “the ingenuity being applied to food and climate challenges” that he witnessed on his visit there.

The need for this type of collaboration to fight climate change cannot come at a more urgent time.

In July, the UN World Food Programme said that acute food insecurity rose by 74 percent this year because of climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, while in the General Assembly on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the pandemic has “plunged millions into extreme poverty and raised the specter of famine in a growing number of countries.”

At the same time, Guterres added, “we are waging a war against nature, and reaping the bitter harvest of ruined crops, dwindling incomes and failing food systems.”

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced that his administration will make $10 billion available for the global fight against food insecurity.

However, according to Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, half of that amount will be spent in the US.

She said that this acknowledges that “all countries, even those that produce a surplus of food, must adapt and take steps to improve nutrition and adapt their food systems to a changing climate.”

Power added: “The other half will be spent fighting global food insecurity, helping smallholder farmers and their families escape poverty.”

This is “a recognition that the well-fed have an obligation to care for the hunger of others.”


Egypt tries man over murder of student who refused advances

Egypt tries man over murder of student who refused advances
Updated 22 sec ago

Egypt tries man over murder of student who refused advances

Egypt tries man over murder of student who refused advances
  • The murder has triggered widespread anger in the Arab world, as a similar killing of a female Jordanian student occurred a few days later

AL MANSURAH: A trial began Sunday for an Egyptian man accused of stabbing a woman to death in a public street after she rejected his advances — a case that has sparked widespread outrage.
A video went viral last week appearing to show the victim, identified as student Nayera Ashraf, being stabbed by a young man outside her university.
The crime has triggered widespread anger both in Egypt and beyond, having been followed a few days later by a similar incident in which Jordanian student Iman Irshaid was shot dead on a university campus.
Social media users immediately drew comparisons between the two murders, decrying cases of femicide in the Arab world.
At the Mansoura Criminal Court, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Cairo, Mohamed Adel was accused of “premeditated murder,” after confessing to intentionally killing the victim, an AFP correspondent said.
Ashraf had previously reported the alleged perpetrator to the authorities, fearing that he would attack her, according to her father and witnesses.
The maximum penalty for murder is death in Egypt, which carried out the third highest number of executions in the world in 2021, according to Amnesty International.
“He stabbed her several times,” said the prosecution, which found “messages threatening to cut her throat” on the victim’s phone.
The next hearing is set for Tuesday, the defendant’s lawyer, Ahmed Hamad, told AFP.
In a rare occurrence among cases involving violence against women, authorities allowed television cameras to film the hearing on Sunday.
On social media, many Jordanian and Egyptian users called for the perpetrator to be sentenced to death, while others said men must “learn to take no for an answer.”
Egyptian preacher Mabrouk Attia sparked outrage last week after suggesting that the victim would not have met the same fate had she been veiled.
Nearly eight million Egyptian women were victims of violence committed by their partners or relatives, or by strangers in public spaces, according to a United Nations survey conducted in 2015.


Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE

Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE
Updated 11 sec ago

Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE

Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE
  • CCTV footage shows the victim being stabbed 15 times in her car before the attacker drove off in it
  • Killing triggered widespread anger in Arab world, follows murder of female Jordanian student occurred a few days earlier

LONDON: A Jordanian woman was stabbed to death by her husband in Sharjah, UAE on Friday, local media reported.

The 20-year-old woman was stabbed 15 times following a dispute with her husband, according to the Sharjah Police.

The suspect, who fled in the victim's car, was arrested on a beach within two hours of the crime.Col. Faisal bin Nassar, the head of Sharjah Police CID, said CCTV footage from the young woman's residence parking lot showed the suspected killer attacking the woman inside her car.

After the suspected attacker was seen leaving in the vehicle, police were able to trace it where the found her body inside it.

The man confessed to killing the woman due to personal differences and has now been transferred to the Public Prosecution.

Following the incident, people took to Twitter to express their outrage.

One user tweeted: “The World is no longer safe for us women.”

Another wrote: “Now tomorrow who is the next victim?”

Only two days prior, a female student was killed by a male shooter inside a private university in Amman, Jordan.


Qatar ‘likely’ venue for Iran, US nuclear deal talks: Report 

Qatar ‘likely’ venue for Iran, US nuclear deal talks: Report 
Updated 26 June 2022

Qatar ‘likely’ venue for Iran, US nuclear deal talks: Report 

Qatar ‘likely’ venue for Iran, US nuclear deal talks: Report 
  • Iran’s indirect talks with the US on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact will resume soon, the Iranian foreign minister said

Talks between the US and Iran on the 2015 nuclear deal are “likely” to be held in Qatar, Iran International reported on Sunday, citing a website close to Iran’s security council.

Efforts by Qatar to help restart talks for lifting US sanctions on Iran made “Doha’s chances for hosting the upcoming negotiations higher” than other countries, Iran International website said, quoting Nour News.

Nour News, according to Iran International, reflects the views of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary, Ali Shamkhani.

Iran’s indirect talks with the US on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact will resume soon, the Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday amid a push by the EU’s top diplomat to break a months-long impasse.

“We are prepared to resume talks in the coming days. What is important for Iran is to fully receive the economic benefits of the 2015 accord,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said, adding that he had held a “long but positive meeting” with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Borrell met Iran’s top diplomat on Saturday, Iranian state TV reported, as the bloc seeks to break an impasse between Tehran and Washington over reinstating a nuclear pact.

The pact appeared close to being revived in March when the EU — which is coordinating negotiations — invited foreign ministers representing the accord’s parties to Vienna to finalize an agreement after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and President Joe Biden’s administration.

(With Reuters)


Israeli PM convenes Cabinet before parliament is dissolved

Israeli PM convenes Cabinet before parliament is dissolved
Updated 26 June 2022

Israeli PM convenes Cabinet before parliament is dissolved

Israeli PM convenes Cabinet before parliament is dissolved
  • Benjamin Netanyahu, the current opposition leader, who now has an opening to return to lead the country

TEL AVIV: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened what is likely his last Cabinet meeting as premier on Sunday, with parliament expected to dissolve itself this week, triggering new elections in the fall.
Bennett’s decision to head to elections puts an end to an ambitious political project that united eight ideologically disparate parties that chose to put aside their differences to oust former leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the current opposition leader, who now has an opening to return to lead the country. The elections, the fifth the country has held in three years, deepen an unprecedented political crisis in Israel.
At the meeting, Bennett listed a series of accomplishments under his year-old government and thanked his coalition partners, which included dovish parties that support Palestinian statehood, nationalist ones who don’t, and for the first time in Israeli history, an Arab political faction.
“It was an excellent government that relied, yes, on a complicated coalition. And here in this room there is a group of people that knew how to put aside ideological disagreements, to rise above, and to work for the state of Israel,” he said.
As part of the power-sharing agreement that brought Bennett to power, he is set to hand over the premiership to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, a centrist former broadcaster, once parliament is dissolved. Elections are expected around the end of October and polls show Netanyahu’s Likud party is expected to garner the most seats.
But as in most rounds of voting during the current political turmoil, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, has been unable to muster a majority to form a coalition government, with some of his traditional allies refusing to join him. That could further extend the crisis after the upcoming vote.
While Bennett’s government helped steady the economy and navigated the last year of the coronavirus pandemic, it was beset by disagreements over the very issues it sought to avoid, particularly Israel’s 55-year occupation of the West Bank. Bennett said he decided to put an end to his political experiment because the government was unable to renew regulations that enshrine separate legal systems for Jewish settlers in the territory and Palestinians.
Bennett’s own nationalist faction, Yamina, was dogged by defectors, legislators who said the prime minister, a former settler leader, had veered too much toward the center in his bid to keep the coalition intact.
Bennett, who entered politics a decade ago, hasn’t said whether he’ll run in the upcoming elections.


Detained Tunisia ex-PM Jebali hospitalized: lawyer

 Hamadi Jebali. (AFP)
Hamadi Jebali. (AFP)
Updated 26 June 2022

Detained Tunisia ex-PM Jebali hospitalized: lawyer

 Hamadi Jebali. (AFP)
  • Jebali, a former senior official in the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party that is a key rival of President Kais Saied, was detained in relation to transfers of large sums of money from overseas to a charity in Tunisia

TUNIS: Tunisia’s former prime minister Hamadi Jebali, on hunger strike after being arrested earlier this week on money-laundering allegations, was rushed to intensive care on Saturday, his lawyer said.
“His condition rapidly deteriorated because he is on an intense hunger strike and he didn’t take his medicine” for cardiovascular conditions and diabetes, lawyer Zied Taher told AFP.
Police had not delivered the drugs in question to Jebali’s cell despite prosecutors allowing the family to take them to the police station, he added.
Jebali, a former senior official in the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party that is a key rival of President Kais Saied, was detained in relation to transfers of large sums of money from overseas to a charity in Tunisia.
Ennahdha has dismissed the allegations and said the arrest was part of a campaign of settling political scores.
Saied in July last year sacked the government and suspended the Ennahdha-dominated parliament in moves opponents have called a coup in the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings.
He later dissolved the assembly, extended his powers over the judiciary and moved to change the constitution.
Many Tunisians have backed Saied’s moves against a system seen as corrupt and self-serving.
Jebali is not the first senior Ennahdha figure to be detained since Saied’s power grab — former justice minister Noureddine Bhiri was also held under house arrest for two months before being released without charge.