Bangladesh bans air rifles to protect migratory birds

Bangladesh bans air rifles to protect migratory birds
Authorities estimate that 125,000 migratory birds flew to Bangladesh this year, 20,000 less than during the previous winter. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 December 2021

Bangladesh bans air rifles to protect migratory birds

Bangladesh bans air rifles to protect migratory birds
  • The number of migratory birds, which spend on average seven months in the country, has been declining due to climate change and illegal hunting.

DHAKA: Bangladesh has banned air rifles to protect hundreds of vulnerable bird species, a top environmental official said on Thursday, as flocks of migratory birds arrive in the country to survive the winter months in a warmer climate.

Bangladesh has more than 700 bird species, 388 of them migratory birds coming from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Uzbekistan, according to Bangladesh Bird Club data.

The number of migratory birds, which spend on average seven months in the country, has been declining due to climate change and illegal hunting. Authorities estimate that 125,000 migratory birds flew to Bangladesh this year, 20,000 less than during the previous winter. While wildlife hunting was outlawed in Bangladesh more than three decades ago, air guns remained legal as they did not fall under the “lethal weapon” category. The government ban on carrying and using air rifles came into effect on Wednesday.

“This is a part of our continuing efforts to preserve wildlife. The decision to ban air guns will help in protecting both migratory and homegrown birds,” Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests Mohammad Jahidul Kabir told Arab News.

“There are some migratory birds that are considered critically endangered throughout the world and it’s our duty to protect these birds.”

The move was welcomed by environmentalists, who are urging the government to increase fines and jail terms for poachers.

HIGHLIGHTS

•Bangladesh is home to more than 700 bird species, 388 of them are migratory birds.  

•Wildlife hunting was outlawed in Bangladesh more than three decades ago but air guns remained legal.

“We have been asking for air guns to be banned for around a decade. It’s good news that the government has finally taken the decision,” Abdul Karim, a central committee member of the Bangladesh Environmental Movement, told Arab News.

“The authorities should consider tougher punishments,” he said. “Poachers are still capturing the birds in different ways. Sometimes they use net traps to catch the birds alive and sell them.” 

Under the country’s wildlife protection laws, the maximum punishment is a year’s imprisonment and a fine of $1,200.

The former country director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Prof. Niaz Ahmed Khan, said it was the first time the Bangladeshi government had banned the use of pneumatic weapons.

“The decision is very much logical,” he said, but bans alone are not enough.

“Government has created many sanctuaries for the wildlife and birds. But law and government initiatives alone are not enough in this regard,” Khan told Arab News.

“The government should include the message about the importance of protecting nature in school textbooks,” he said.

“We need to have more people’s engagement and the younger generation should be involved in this process.”

 


Flexible working will be a lasting legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, WEF panel hears

Flexible working will be a lasting legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, WEF panel hears
Updated 26 May 2022

Flexible working will be a lasting legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, WEF panel hears

Flexible working will be a lasting legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, WEF panel hears
  • Participants in the discussion agreed that the experience of working from home during the crisis has left many employees wanting a better work-life balance
  • One panelist said that all workers, regardless of profession, should be given the opportunity to work more flexibly to prevent a split within the workforce

DAVOS: One of the lasting legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic will be a more flexible approach to working because employees increasingly desire “more time for their life,” according to participants in a panel discussion on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“I think that’s been a really good evolution; I would say (it was) unusual at first but I think we can see that this is what our employees are looking for: More control, more choice,” Jonas Prising, the CEO of ManpowerGroup, said during the discussion, titled The Four-Day Week: Necessity or Luxury?

ManpowerGroup is described as a world leader in innovative workforce solutions that connect human potential to the power of business.

Prising argued that all workers, regardless of profession, should be given the opportunity to work flexibly to prevent a split within the workforce. 

CEO of ManpowerGroup, Jonas Prising, addresses a panel at the World Economic Forum. (WEF)

“This needs to be equitably distributed across many categories of workers; not only knowledge workers, not only those that can work from home, but people who are in production lines, who are driving trucks, who are in warehouses, and who are manufacturing,” he said.

“Otherwise, we’ll have a bifurcation of the workforce, and an inequitable distribution of this very valuable benefit that is truly something that all workers are looking for.”

Ohood Al-Roumi, the UAE’s minister of state for government development and future, agreed that people are demanding more flexible working options as a result of their experiences during the pandemic. 

UAE Minister of State for Government Development and Future, Ohood bint Khalfan Al-Roumi, addresses a panel at the World Economic Forum. (WEF)

“They worked from home and the line between their personal and professional life blurred,” she said.

“And then when they started going back to their organizations … there was more demand for flexibility, well-being, there was a discussion about mental health.”

The UAE moved to a four-and-a-half day working week this year, with employees of federal organizations now working normal business hours from Monday to Thursday and until noon on Friday.

Al-Roumi said that there should a coordinated effort by public and private sectors to introduce more flexible working practices.

“In the UAE, the shorter workweek was implemented for government (workers), we did not impose it on the private sector,” she added.

“What happened, interestingly, was that 50 percent of the private companies followed the decision. And even some of the global companies who have offices in the UAE took that practice and applied it in their offices across the world.”


Syrian refugee puts medical skills to use in Ukraine

Syrian refugee puts medical skills to use in Ukraine
Updated 26 May 2022

Syrian refugee puts medical skills to use in Ukraine

Syrian refugee puts medical skills to use in Ukraine
  • UK-trained Dr. Tirej Brimo used hospital work leave to treat hundreds in Lviv
  • ‘War is like a nightmare you can’t wake up from while praying for a miracle that just doesn’t happen’

LONDON: A Syrian refugee who traveled to Britain almost a decade ago and trained as a doctor has provided volunteer medical treatment in Ukraine for war victims, The Independent reported on Wednesday.

In 2013, Dr. Tirej Brimo left Syria amid the country’s brutal conflict. He was in his final year of medical school. In 2017, he graduated as a doctor in London.

Five years later, Brimo, now an emergency doctor in Cambridge, put his skills to use in Ukraine.

In order to make the trip to the Ukraine-Poland border and the city of Lviv, Brimo used up seven weeks of his work leave.

“In Syria I ran away. I was a student and felt helpless. In Ukraine, I chose a different destiny. I chose to be there and stand up for what I believe in,” he said.

He helped launch a makeshift medical center in Lviv that treated hundreds of Ukrainian refugees as they fled eastward. 

Back in Cambridge after his trip, Brimo said: “At Lviv train station, the situation was horrid. Every day we got dozens of trains from eastern Ukraine — trains full of injured people, and trains full of refugees who just wanted to flee and leave everything behind.

“In my very first week, a paramedic and I saw 339 patients. It only took a few seconds into the consultation for these emotions to come out. They had been through a lot and they had seen a lot.

“Some of them lost their loved ones, some of them left everything behind, and some of them were so in shock that they were not aware of what was happening around them.”

The experience brought back painful memories for Brimo. “Sadly, the atrocities of war are similar. The horror in peoples’ faces, backpacks that have been filled in a rush, and children who have lost their spark, are some of the images that stay with me,” he said.

“War is like a nightmare you can’t wake up from while praying for a miracle that just doesn’t happen.

“As a doctor in the humanitarian world, our fight is different. We look after those wounded by all kinds of trauma, those who have been forgotten about, those who feel rejected by life and its atrocities.

“We hope that these few minutes of care will one day be remembered as a small light in our patients’ journey. Their journey to heal from all that happened.”

Brimo praised his fellow volunteers, saying: “In a clear message of resilience and rejection of war and its violence, we started our day with a smile and we ended our day with a prayer. A prayer that we hope one day will be heard.”


Cooperating with Saudi Arabia is ‘very important’ for Japan, says president of JICA  

Cooperating with Saudi Arabia is ‘very important’ for Japan, says president of JICA  
Updated 26 May 2022

Cooperating with Saudi Arabia is ‘very important’ for Japan, says president of JICA  

Cooperating with Saudi Arabia is ‘very important’ for Japan, says president of JICA  
  • Akihiko Tanaka says Japan will continue to contribute to economic reforms under Saudi Vision 2030
  • Japan is working with GCC countries to tackle COVID-19, climate change and geopolitical crises

DAVOS: The president of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency highlighted on Tuesday the significance of Saudi-Japanese cooperation, reiterating how Saudi Arabia has been, and will continue to be, a very important country for Japan.  

Stressing the importance of maintaining good relations with the Kingdom, Akihiko Tanaka, president of JICA, told Arab News at the 2022 World Economic Forum that Saudi Arabia is important for Japan “not just as a source of natural resources, but also as a key country in the Middle East.” 

Tanaka also acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s interest in “keeping collaborative relations, particularly in the area of technology advancement, standardization and future development.” 

Speaking about Saudi Vision 2030, Tanaka assured Arab News that Japan will continue to contribute to the economic reforms that are being promoted under the initiative.  

Tanaka explained that JICA has provided knowledge sharing and training for the dissemination of “Kaizen,” the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, and effective use of water resources in accordance with Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.  

Tokyo-based JICA is one of the world’s largest public development assistance institutions, established in 2003, with over 96 overseas offices. 

According to Tanaka, upcoming cooperation between JICA and Gulf Cooperation Council countries will focus on tackling the triple threat of COVID-19, climate change and geopolitical crises, including issues that originated with the Arab Spring, stalled peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and the impact of Ukraine crisis on the world.  

“Our vision in working with Saudi Arabia is to create mutual benefit to realize a more sustainable world,” Tanaka said. “Our overall vision in JICA is to lead the world with trust, and so as a very important partner and a key actor in the Middle East, we would like to also maintain good and productive relations [based on] trust.” 

JICA has been cooperating with Saudi Arabia since 1975, and their focus, according to Tanaka, has been and will continue to be human resource development.   

Tanaka said that JICA has already established cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the fields of technical education, water resource development and treatment, and electricity development, adding that there were “many potential cooperation opportunities” between Saudi Arabia and Japan.  

 


Blasts in Kabul mosque, north Afghanistan, kill at least 14

Blasts in Kabul mosque, north Afghanistan, kill at least 14
Updated 25 May 2022

Blasts in Kabul mosque, north Afghanistan, kill at least 14

Blasts in Kabul mosque, north Afghanistan, kill at least 14
  • The Kabul Emergency Hospital said it received 22 victims of the mosque bombing, including five dead
  • All the victims in Mazar-e-Sharif were from the country's minority Shiite Muslims

ISLAMABAD: A series of explosions shook Afghanistan on Wednesday, the Taliban said, including a blast inside a mosque in the capital of Kabul that killed at least five worshippers and three bombings of minivans in the country’s north that killed nine passengers.
The Kabul Emergency Hospital said it received 22 victims of the mosque bombing, including five dead. There were no further details on the blast that struck the Hazrat Zakaria Mosque in the city’s central Police District 4, according to Khalid Zadran, a Taliban police spokesman in Kabul.
“The blast took place while people were inside the mosque for the evening prayers,” Zadran said, adding that they were waiting for an update.
The minivans were targeted in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif after explosive devices were placed inside the vehicles, according to Mohammad Asif Waziri, a Taliban-appointed spokesman in Balkh province. He said the explosions killed nine and wounded 15.
All the victims in Mazar-e-Sharif were from the country’s minority Shiite Muslims, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to give details to the media.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions, but they had the hallmarks of the regional affiliate of the Daesh group, known as Daesh in Khorasan Province, or Daesh-K.
The Daesh affiliate, which has been operating in Afghanistan since 2014, is seen as the greatest security challenge facing the country’s new Taliban rulers. Following their takeover when they seized power in Kabul and elsewhere in the country last August, the Taliban have launched a sweeping crackdown against the Daesh headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.


France charges 18-yr-old over Daesh attack plot: judicial source

France charges 18-yr-old over Daesh attack plot: judicial source
Updated 25 May 2022

France charges 18-yr-old over Daesh attack plot: judicial source

France charges 18-yr-old over Daesh attack plot: judicial source
  • Initial investigations indicated that he planned to carry out a terror attack
  • The man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France

PARIS: French authorities have charged an 18-year-old man on suspicion of planning an imminent terror attack with a knife in the name of Daesh militants, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
Initial investigations indicated that he planned to carry out a terror attack “in the name of Daesh, to which he had pledged allegiance,” said the source, who asked not to be named.
The source added that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.
The man, from a Muslim family, had adopted extremist views and was considered a threat, sparking France’s anti-terror prosecutors office (PNAT) to open an investigation on May 19, a source close to the case said.
Police arrested him on Friday and a video of him swearing allegiance to Daesh was found in his possession.
The source did not say whom he was planning to target in the attack or in which location.
France saw a wave of militant attacks from 2015 that left hundreds dead and pushed the country to its highest level of security alert.
There has been no repeat of a mass atrocity in the last years, but there have been several deadly attacks carried out by lone individuals.