Pakistani family reunion shattered after dad killed in Houthi attack on UAE
- Mamoor Khan died in Iran-backed Houthi drone, missile strike on Abu Dhabi
- Family was awaiting his homecoming for January vacation
Mamoor Khan’s family members had been eagerly awaiting his homecoming to the northern Pakistan town of Mir Ali. But days before the planned reunion, his body arrived from the UAE, leaving relatives numbed by shock and grief.
Khan and two Indian nationals were killed when drone and missile strikes launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen hit fuel trucks near storage facilities of state oil giant ADNOC in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 17. Khan had been working as a driver for an ADNOC contractor.
“We were preparing for his homecoming,” Khan’s younger brother, Manzoor Ahmad, told Arab News. “But we received his dead body instead.”
Khan, 49, is survived by his parents, wife, and eight children, who were looking forward to his return for a vacation at the end of this month.
His second brother, Javed Khan, also a driver in the UAE, was the first to learn about his death. An ADNOC employee had called him to say he had suffered injuries in the attack and was in hospital in Abu Dhabi.
“I still didn’t know what had happened, but the site where my brother was working was on fire,” he said. “I asked the caller to tell me clearly if my brother had died. The caller replied in a choked voice, ‘yes,’ and that his dead body was in the hospital.”
Khan was the main support of his family in North Waziristan, an impoverished tribal district on the Pakistan-Afghan border, where years of militancy and security operations have thwarted social and economic development.
A week after Khan’s funeral, his father, who sent him to the UAE more than two decades ago to find a better life, told Arab News he was still struggling to talk about the loss of his son.
“I felt like I was stepping over raging fire when I received the news about my son’s death,” he said.
Khan’s mother has been on tranquilizers since receiving the tragic news.
“At home, we have suffered a lot due to militancy, and when Mamoor left for the UAE, we were sure that he would enjoy a safe life there,” his neighbor and friend Munawar Shah Dawar said. “His death has left us devastated, as he fell prey to a terrorist attack there too.”
Yasir Ahmad, Khan’s eldest son, said he and his father had many plans for the family’s future and would often discuss them over the phone. One of those plans, to set up a small business, was to have been put into action during Khan’s home visit this month. The idea was that the business would have later allowed him to return to Mir Ali for good.
One of Khan’s priorities had been to ensure his younger children received an education, something he had asked Ahmad to oversee.
“My father wanted my younger brother to become a doctor, so that he could come back and spend the rest of his life with us.
“We’ve nothing left now, and even the education of my brothers will suffer because I’m a daily wage laborer, earning 600 rupees ($3.40) a day, which isn’t enough.”
Khan’s body was repatriated to Pakistan and buried on Jan. 20.
Mustafa Haider, director general of the welfare division at the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation, told Arab News that death benefits would be paid to the family and the foundation was also considering financial support from its own funds.
Salah scores decisive penalty as Egypt beat Ivory Coast on penalties
- The Liverpool star smashed home his penalty with the Ivory Coast’s Eric Bailly the only player to fail from the spot
- Carlos Queiroz’s team will face Morocco in the last eight despite having scored just two goals in their four matches
DOUALA: Mohamed Salah scored the decisive spot-kick as record seven-time champions Egypt beat the Ivory Coast 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in Douala on Wednesday to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.
The Liverpool star smashed home his penalty with the Ivory Coast’s Eric Bailly the only player to fail from the spot, and Egypt go on to play Morocco in the last eight in Yaounde on Sunday.
It was a tense last-16 tie which for long spells resembled a battle of attrition on a poor pitch at the Japoma Stadium in Cameroon’s economic capital, and it looked for much of the game as though Egypt would pay for their poor finishing.
However, Carlos Queiroz’s team are now through to the last eight despite having scored just two goals in their four matches in Cameroon so far.
Meanwhile two-time champions the Ivory Coast are out, once again defeated by an Egyptian side who have long held the upper hand in meetings between the continental heavyweights.
This was their 11th AFCON encounter and still Egypt have lost just once to the Elephants.
Among their many successes against the Ivory Coast was their victory on penalties in the 2006 final, and a crushing triumph in the semifinals in 2008.
This match, like those played on Tuesday, was preceded by a moment’s silence in memory of the victims of Monday’s tragic crush in Yaounde.
In the wake of those terrible events, there was none of the chaos that followed the Ivory Coast’s 3-1 win over Algeria in Douala last week, when fans invaded the pitch at the end.
This time the crowd was well below what might have been expected for such a match, but many of those who were present were clearly there to see Salah, judging by the screams every time the Liverpool star’s face appeared on the big screens.
Salah spoke on the eve of the tie of his desperation to win the Cup of Nations, with the last of Egypt’s record seven titles coming in 2010, a year before he made his international debut.
He was the one who delivered the final blow, but only after he and his side squandered a hatful of chances.
The young VfB Stuttgart winger, Omar Marmoush, almost put Egypt ahead with a superb 17th-minute strike from 25 meters that crashed off the top of the bar.
Salah and Mostafa Mohamed were both denied by Badra Ali Sangare in the first half, while the Ivory Coast lost influential midfielder Franck Kessie to injury after just half an hour.
Still the Elephants almost went ahead when the unmarked Ibrahim Sangare saw his acrobatic effort pushed away by Mohamed El Shenawy.
Sebastien Haller, the Elephants’ own Europe-based attacking superstar, struggled to get into the game before two attempts, either side of half-time, tested El Shenawy.
The experienced Al Ahly goalkeeper came off injured after a long delay late on as the game petered out, with Mohamed Abogabal replacing him for extra time.
The Zamalek shot-stopper produced a fine save to deny the excellent Sangare before Haller was taken off, and as the game went to penalties Abogabal tipped Bailly’s kick onto the bar and Salah then had the last word.
Imagination launches BEAST TV, first Saudi music streaming channel
- ‘Always-on’ interactive platform will offer music, gamified content
DUBAI: Imagination, an award-winning design experience agency, has created Saudi Arabia’s first-ever music streaming channel, BEAST TV.
The channel was launched by entertainment company MDLBEAST at the Soundstorm Festival, which was held in Riyadh from Dec. 16 to 19, recording 732,000 total visitors.
The launch of BEAST TV in Saudi Arabia is reflective of the Kingdom’s investment in music, culture and entertainment, said Ross Wheeler, creative director at Imagination.
“Saudi is changing fast, and this is a perfect moment to highlight, celebrate and share these changes through the rich and diverse music scene, and artists that are emerging in the region,” Wheeler added.
“The Saudis we spoke to at the event — many of whom had traveled back to their homeland for this — were there because it marked such a significant moment, even if electronic music was not their first love,” he said.
The festival was streamed through BEAST TV to 107 countries. The livestream saw the use of live spatial audio for the first time at a streamed festival, providing a uniquely immersive experience.
“Listening to spatial audio on your headphones breathes space into a live performance. Normal stereo is very intimate, like listening to the artist playing just for you in your head, whereas with spatial audio, you feel as though you are at the front of the crowd watching the artist on stage, without any loss of detail or expression,” Wheeler said.
The audio offering included a real-time immersive spatial mix from seven stages, featuring star DJs such as Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Afrojack and Salvatore Ganacci.
“It is the closest you can get to experiencing being at the festival without being there in person,” Wheeler added.
Following the success of its launch, the BEAST TV channel will become a permanent platform, bringing all of MDLBEAST’s live experiences to digital audiences, in addition to other interactive content.
The platform, which has been built for scale, can stream to more than 1 million concurrent viewers. “The aspiration is to become an equivalent to MTV or Red Bull TV in the Middle East,” said Wheeler.
The channel offers both local and international music with a focus on electronic music, as well as “content from the world of entertainment and culture as well,” he added.
Last week, MDLBEAST partnered with music rights company Esmaa to ensure that composers and rights holders are paid whenever their work is played by MDLBEAST. Artists who work with the company’s in-house record label, MDLBEAST Records, will also be paid when their tracks are played by other organizations signed to Esmaa.
“This is a critical and required move, aligning the Kingdom with global music copyright practices, and further demonstrating the country’s dedication to growing its music and creative industries, attracting international artists, and supporting its homegrown, emerging talent,” said Wheeler.
“Alongside the emergence of an exciting new film industry in the Kingdom, this move will ensure that artists and rights holders are compensated whenever and wherever their music is played live or licensed commercially,” he added.
The BEAST TV platform, which is free to use, can be viewed here.
Indonesia capital move to remote Borneo sparks rights concerns
- New city named Nusantara, which means ‘archipelago’ in old Javanese
- Relocation to ease burden on traffic-clogged, polluted and sinking Jakarta
JAKARTA: The Indonesian government recently signed a law to move ahead with its plan to relocate the capital from Jakarta to a jungle site in East Kalimantan on Borneo island, but the massive $32 million project is raising concerns among the region’s indigenous communities.
The potential change in capital city has been under discussion for decades, since Jakarta, a megacity of 10 million people, faces chronic traffic congestion, regular flooding and heavy pollution. It is also one of the world’s fastest sinking cities, with its northern suburbs falling at an estimated 25 centimeters per year. It is estimated that one-third of Jakarta could be submerged by 2050.
However, rights groups have warned that the new state capital law aimed at easing the burden on Jakarta was rushed without consultation.
Pradarma Rupang of environmental group Mining Advocacy Network, or JATAM, said the government has long ignored a number of critical issues in the new capital region in Borneo, including access to clean water. He added that local residents have until now largely depended on rainwater.
“This capital policy was taken without a scientific study,” he said. “The process has been reckless, lacking in participation, and was not based on dialogue with the people.
“The indigenous population is not at all visible in the new state capital law. While on the ground, the existence of the indigenous population is very clear,” Erasmus Cahyadi, deputy secretary general of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago, told Arab News.
According to the alliance’s data, at least 20,000 people from 21 indigenous groups live in the area that has been designated for the new city.
The law permitting the start of construction was passed by the Indonesian parliament last week. It covers how the new city’s development will be funded and governed. Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa announced at the time that new capital will be called Nusantara, which translates to “archipelago” in old Javanese.
“The new capital has a central function and is a symbol of the identity of the nation, as well as a new center of economic gravity,” the minister said during a parliamentary session.
In constructing a purpose-built capital, Indonesia will be following a path that two other Southeast Asian nations — Malaysia and Myanmar — have taken over the past two decades.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo formally launched the relocation project in 2019, in what has been widely viewed as an attempt to seal his legacy before the end of his second and final term in office until 2024. The new state capital law was approved last week, paving the way for construction to begin.
The megaproject also aims to redistribute wealth across Indonesia. Java, the island on which Jakarta is located, is home to about 60 percent of the country’s population and more than half of economic activity. While the current capital is set to remain Indonesia’s commercial and financial hub, its administration will move to the new city, about 2,000 kilometers northeast of Jakarta. The relocation process is scheduled for completion by 2045.
The government has said that initial planning had been carried out by clearing 56,180 hectares of land to build roads, the presidential palace, government offices and Parliament.
The region surrounding the Nusantara site is known for its deep jungles and various endangered animal species, including orangutans. Concerns over the future of wildlife on Borneo have grown since the plan to move the capital city was made public. Indigenous communities living nearby have also raised concerns over the impacts of construction.
Riri Al-Kahfi, a 29-year-old who lives in East Kalimantan’s seaport city of Balikpapan, where the new city will be located, told Arab News there are growing fears over the survival of local cultures.
“Our hope is that the massive development for the new capital won’t wipe away the culture and diversity in Kalimantan, especially in the regions close to the new capital city,” she said, but added that the city’s construction could help equitable economic development in Indonesia.
“We hope that the positive impact will be felt by the local communities, maybe through empowering local youth and giving them opportunities in the new capital city.”