Activists block Amazon warehouses in Europe on Black Friday

Activists block Amazon warehouses in Europe on Black Friday
An activist from the Extinction Rebellion climate change group, wearing a mask depicting Jeff Bezos, takes part in a protest outside of Amazon’s headquarters in central London on Friday. (AFP)
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Updated 27 November 2021

Activists block Amazon warehouses in Europe on Black Friday

Activists block Amazon warehouses in Europe on Black Friday
  • Members of Extinction Rebellion targeted 13 Amazon fulfilment centers in the UK with the aim of disrupting 50% of the company's deliveries on Black Friday
  • They staged similar protests in Germany and the Netherlands

DUBAI: Climate activists blockaded Amazon warehouses in three European countries on Friday.
This was part of a global effort to pressure the ecommerce giant on one of its busiest days of the year to improve working conditions and end business practices that hurt the environment.
Members of Extinction Rebellion targeted 13 Amazon fulfilment centers in the United Kingdom with the aim of disrupting 50 percent of the company’s deliveries on Black Friday, which marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. They staged similar protests in Germany and the Netherlands.
“The action is intended to draw attention to Amazon’s exploitative and environmentally destructive business practices, disregard for workers’ rights in the name of company profits, as well as the wastefulness of Black Friday,” the group said. It vowed to remain at the scene
At least 30 people were arrested at multiple UK locations, with some held on suspicion of aggravated trespass or public nuisance, police forces said.
Extinction Rebellion and dozens of other activist groups in the US and around the world are organizing a day of global protests and strikes on Friday against Amazon to demand the company provide better working conditions, commit to operating sustainably, and pay its fair share of tax.
In the US, labor activists planned a small protest at Amazon’s fulfilment center on Staten Island, New York.
Activists in the UK blocked the entrance to Amazon’s warehouse in Tilbury, just east of London, with an effigy of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sitting on top of a rocket.
At Amazon’s distribution center in Dunfermline, Scotland, about 20 Extinction Rebellion members strung banners across the entrance road that said “Make Amazon Pay” and locked themselves together, stopping trucks from entering and some from leaving.
Amazon did not directly address the protests in response to a request for comment, but said the company takes its responsibilities “very seriously.”
“That includes our commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040 — 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement — providing excellent pay and benefits in a safe and modern work environment, and supporting the tens of thousands of British small businesses who sell on our store,” the company said.
Extinction Rebellion activists also blocked an Amazon logistics center in the central German town of Bad Hersfeld by erecting a makeshift bamboo scaffold that they used to suspend themselves in the air. Authorities later removed them with the help of a fire department ladder truck, according to video posted on the group’s German Facebook page.
The group staged a similar protest at an Amazon facility at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport.


FIFA boss Infantino living in Doha before World Cup

FIFA boss Infantino living in Doha before World Cup
Updated 20 January 2022

FIFA boss Infantino living in Doha before World Cup

FIFA boss Infantino living in Doha before World Cup
  • Swiss newspaper Blick revealed that Infantino was living in Doha, where he rents a house
  • Two of his four daughters attend school in the build-up to the World Cup

PARIS: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has moved to Doha on a temporary basis to oversee the build-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year, world football governing body confirmed on Thursday.
“As communicated in October 2021, the FIFA President informed the FIFA Council that he would divide his presence between Zurich, Doha and across the world, in order to deliver his presidential duties and be closer to the FIFA World Cup,” FIFA said in a statement.
“As he did during the FIFA Arab Cup, he will work alongside other FIFA staff in our office in Doha, when required, until the conclusion of the tournament. For the avoidance of doubt, Mr.Infantino has residency, and remains liable to pay taxes, in Switzerland.”
Swiss newspaper Blick revealed that Infantino was living in Doha, where he rents a house and two of his four daughters attend school in the build-up to the World Cup which takes place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.
Meanwhile, Infantino’s predecessor Sepp Blatter said it was “incomprehensible” that the 51-year-old should be based elsewhere than FIFA’s headquarters which have been in Zurich since 1932.
“The place of the president of Fifa is where the headquarters are and it’s in Zurich,” Blatter told French radio on Thursday.
“I cannot say that it is outrageous. But I can say that it is incomprehensible that he has gone to live there with his family. It leaves a bitter taste,” said Blatter.
“It’s an abandonment of responsibility, because he must stay where Fifa has its headquarters, especially at a time when we have internal problems.”
Blatter, 85, was FIFA president between 1998 and 2015 when he was forced to stand down and banned from football for eight years, reduced later to six, over ethics breaches.


Princess Diana considered converting to Islam for love: Ex-royal photographer

Princess Diana considered converting to Islam for love: Ex-royal photographer
Updated 20 January 2022

Princess Diana considered converting to Islam for love: Ex-royal photographer

Princess Diana considered converting to Islam for love: Ex-royal photographer
  • She is said to have been in love with Muslim heart surgeon Hasnat Khan
  • But he believed ‘a marriage from two different planets’ could not last

LONDON: The late Princess Diana considered converting to Islam, according to a royal photographer whom she asked for advice about the religion and interfaith marriage.

The princess reportedly approached Anwar Hussein, 83, the royal family’s longest-serving snapper, during a flight.

Hussein told People magazine: “All the lights were dimmed and she came and whispered: ‘Can I have a chat?’

“She knew that I was married to an English girl, Caroline. She wanted to know about Islam. She was asking about being married when one person is Muslim and another is Protestant.”

He added: “She was interested because of what she was going through with (then boyfriend) Dr. Hasnat Khan. She didn’t mention him, but she assumed I knew it. I think she was wondering how the family would react to him and things like that.”

Diana is said to have been besotted with Khan — a heart surgeon and Muslim — in the 1990s and according to the Daily Mail considered converting to Islam so the pair could marry.

A close friend said she was so “madly in love” that she even thought about moving to Pakistan to be with Khan but abandoned the idea when he decided their relationship was doomed to fail.

His father, Abdul Rasheed Khan, said his son told the family: “If I married her, our marriage would not last for more than a year. We are culturally so different from each other.

“She is from Venus and I am from Mars. If it ever happened, it would be like a marriage from two different planets.”

Princess Diana died in 1997 in a car crash alongside film producer Dodi Al Fayed.


Finland’s PM says young female government has been target of hate speech

Finland’s PM says young female government has been target of hate speech
Updated 20 January 2022

Finland’s PM says young female government has been target of hate speech

Finland’s PM says young female government has been target of hate speech
  • Marin said she doesn't allow the hate speech to affect her decisions but she is concerned about social media becoming more hurtful
  • "I am who I am, a 36-year-old mother and a young person who has friends and a social life," she said

HELSINKI: Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland says she and her fellow young female ministers have been targeted with extensive hate speech for their gender and appearance while in office.
“We can see that when you are young and female the hate speech that we are facing is often sexualized,” Marin told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, a little more than two years into her term as Finland’s state leader.
Marin, 36, became the world’s youngest serving government leader in December 2019 when she was sworn in as prime minister, and originally all five party leaders in her center-left coalition government were female.
Marin, who has more than 540,000 followers on Instagram around the world, said she doesn’t allow the hate speech to affect her decisions but she is concerned about social media becoming more hurtful.
“I worry about so many others and this is why we want to make sure that we are not tolerating this kind of behavior.”
Marin made national and international headlines in December when she decided not to cut her night out short after finding out she had been exposed to COVID-19 the day before. Four days later Marin apologized saying she should have acted differently.
Finland’s young prime minister clubbing during a pandemic became the topic of memes around the world, some of which were humorous and others insulting.
Some opponents have attacked her for appearing on the covers of some of the world’s largest fashion magazines and for being often spotted out with popsingers and social media influencers in Helsinki.
“I am who I am, a 36-year-old mother and a young person who has friends and a social life,” she said.
Marin, who enjoys cleaning her own premises and going for 20-km (12-mile) runs outdoors, said she wants to bring a human side to high-level political leadership and show other young adults that young people can lead too.
In December, the minister in charge of Finland’s COVID response, Krista Kiuru, announced she is expecting a baby due in March, making her the fifth minister in Marin’s government to have a child and take parental leave while in office.
“Globally the image of a leader is still very masculine..., and there are few decision-makers from a younger generation,” Marin said, stressing she wanted to change that.
A report by the NATO Strategic Communications Center last February found that female Finnish politicians are subject to gendered abuse on Twitter, much of which came from clusters of right-wing accounts and did not seem highly coordinated.


UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events
Updated 19 January 2022

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events
  • Singlemuslim.com says get-togethers will be held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds
  • Events open to all ages and chaperones are allowed

LONDON: A UK-based dating app is bringing back its halal speed dating events next month to help Muslims find their perfect partner.
The events, organized by singlemuslim.com, will be hosted by British-Moroccan comedian Fatiha El-Ghorri, and the organizers said that for the first time chaperones will also be able to attend.
“It’s been two years of single Muslims not really being able to meet or get out there and we’ve got a huge demand from the platform from people saying please bring your event back,” Adeem Younis, the app’s founder and chairman, told Arab News.
“A lot of our members — the prerequisite is that they are Muslim — still want to be able to meet people face to face in a halal environment that’s not going to be their living room or their home, and we facilitated a number of these pre-COVID and they were very successful,” he said.

Each of the full-day events — to be held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds — will be open to up to 50 men and 50 women of all ages. The participants will have the option to take a chaperone and will meet in both formal and informal settings. Dinner and prayer facilities will also be provided.
“And you’ll have a world-class comedian who’s breaking the ice and compering and hosting the entire day, making it fun for everybody,” Younis said.
El-Ghorri, a Londoner who has appeared on the Jonathan Ross and Russell Howard shows, has a huge fan base within the Muslim community, but is also popular with mainstream audiences. She is also a member of the app.
“Finding the right partner when you are Muslim can be really challenging as culturally, we don’t really date,” she said.
“When we meet someone, it is expected that we will marry that person and it’s very important that your parents approve your choice of partner, so bringing your dad along to the event kills two birds with one stone.”

British-Moroccan comedian Fatiha El-Ghorri will be hosting and compering the entire day for the first time. (Supplied/Singlemuslim.com)

The event in London is expected to be particularly popular as it falls closest to Valentine’s Day.
“It’s a weekend of love and now, post-COVID, with a new year and fresh start, people have set their agenda.” Younis said.
“A lot of people are wanting to get married this year … what better way to do that than by attending a halal speed dating event?”
Singlemuslim.com was set up in 1999 and is one of the world’s world’s largest Muslim dating apps. Younis said the company had received a lot of requests from its members in Dubai, the UAE and Egypt to take halal speed dating to their countries.
He said the company would use the event formula as a roadmap to take it internationally, starting with the Arab market.
“Finding a life partner is difficult and challenging, especially within the Arab communities in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as people have become more urbanized,” he said.
About 5 percent of the apps members are from Saudi Arabia, where there is huge demand, especially as its digital savvy market is opening up more.
“We want to empower not just Muslim females, but anybody who’s Muslim to choose their own marriage partner, and the halal speed dating event is somewhere they can come and do that,” Younis said.


Lebanese man who threatened to blow up bank that withheld his money begins hunger strike

Lebanese man Abdullah Al-Saii was arrested Tuesday for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw his $50,000, began a hunger strike on Wednesday. (Social Media/Twitter)
Lebanese man Abdullah Al-Saii was arrested Tuesday for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw his $50,000, began a hunger strike on Wednesday. (Social Media/Twitter)
Updated 19 January 2022

Lebanese man who threatened to blow up bank that withheld his money begins hunger strike

Lebanese man Abdullah Al-Saii was arrested Tuesday for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw his $50,000, began a hunger strike on Wednesday. (Social Media/Twitter)
  • Armed with a gun and grenade, he took staff and customers hostage and demanded to withdraw $50,000 of his own cash
  • The father-of-two, who could face 10 years in jail, was described by some commentators on social media as a ‘national hero’

BEIRUT: A Lebanese man arrested for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw $50,000 of his own money began a hunger strike on Wednesday.
Abdullah Al-Saii was armed with a gun, grenade and bottles of benzene when he entered a branch of the Bank of Beirut and Arab Countries in Jeb Jannine in Bekaa Valley, eastern Lebanon, on Tuesday. He said that staff at the bank had refused his previous requests to withdraw his savings, blaming the economic and banking crisis in the country
An Internal Security Forces official told Arab News that Al-Saii held more than 10 of the bank’s staff and customers hostage for several hours, demanding he be allowed to withdraw the money. He said he would blow up the branch if his demands were not met. The building was cordoned off and the standoff was resolved following negotiations, the official added.
“He surrendered himself after the bank gave the money to his wife and nobody was hurt,” said the ISF official. He added that Al-Saii began a hunger strike early on Wednesday afternoon after the attorney general’s office in Bekaa ordered the confiscation of the money.
Mustafa Kammouneh, the mayor of Jeb Jannine, told Arab News that Al-Saii, a father of two, had lived abroad for most of his life and, like most depositors during the financial crisis in the country, has been denied access to his life savings.
“What he did was totally understandable, especially given he needs money to support his family,” said the mayor. It was “totally expected and normal,” he added, considering the circumstances citizens have been enduring for the past two years.
Al-Saii is from the village of Kefraya. It is believed that his wife disappeared with the $50,000 shortly after prosecutors ordered the money be confiscated, said Kammouneh, adding that the couple’s children are being cared for by their grandparents.
When asked whether the wife, who is not Lebanese, had left the country, the mayor said only that he was sure she was no longer the village. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.
Antoine Kanaan, editor-in-chief of the Lebanon Law Review, said it is too early to speculate what charges Al-Saii might face.
“He committed a list of illegal acts that are punishable by law and could face up to 10 years in jail,” he told Arab News. “I am not sure whether he may benefit from any leniency factors, considering the socioeconomic circumstances.”
The incident prompted much discussion on social media in Lebanon, with many commentators supporting Al-Saii and some describing him as a “national hero” for his actions.
In a message posted on Twitter, Charbel Hage wrote: “Instead of prosecuting banks, their directors and shareholders for a breach of fiduciary duty, the justice system in Lebanon is prosecuting a depositor for withdrawing his money. Shameless.”
Journalist Salman Al-Andari tweeted that the judiciary had acted quickly to protect banks and their interests when they ordered the money be confiscated from the wife.
Lebanon has been in the grip of a financial crisis for more than two years. Banks have blocked access to accounts, preventing people from accessing their savings, which have lost more than 90 percent of their value.