Dubai airport fully operational for first time since pandemic

 Travellers wear masks as they arrive at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (REUTERS file photo)
Travellers wear masks as they arrive at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (REUTERS file photo)
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Updated 21 December 2021

Dubai airport fully operational for first time since pandemic

 Travellers wear masks as they arrive at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (REUTERS file photo)
  • Travel via Dubai increases at the end the year, with foreigners — who make up the majority of the emirate’s population — heading home for the holidays, and visitors arriving to celebrate the New Year

DUBAI: Dubai airport, one of the world’s busiest travel hubs, is fully operational for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic erupted in March 2020, officials said Monday.
The opening of sections closed as the Covid-19 crisis took hold comes as the United Arab Emirates records a rise of infections amid fears of the new omicron variant.
“Following the opening of the final phase... (the) airport is 100 percent operational with all terminals, concourses, lounges, restaurants, and retail outlets now open,” said a statement carried by the UAE’s official WAM news agency.
Travel via Dubai increases at the end the year, with foreigners — who make up the majority of the emirate’s population — heading home for the holidays, and visitors arriving to celebrate the New Year.
Last year, Dubai International Airport reported a 70 percent drop in traffic, from more than 86 million travelers in 2019 to 25.9 million in 2020.
In the first half of this year, 10.6 million people passed through the airport, a 41 percent drop from pre-pandemic figures.
Tourism is an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed 16.7 million visitors in 2019.
Dubai is counting on the six-month Expo 2020 trade fair to boost the economy, with more than seven million visits since it opened on October 1.
The UAE — made up of seven emirates including Abu Dhabi and Dubai — has pushed a comprehensive vaccination campaign for its nearly 10 million population.
But coronavirus infection numbers are again on the rise, with the UAE recording 301 cases on Monday, compared to just 92 last week.
Since the pandemic began, the UAE has registered over 744,400 cases, including 2,152 deaths.
WAM also reported on Monday that Abu Dhabi received its first shipment of AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, an anti-body treatment.


Iran releases Iranian-French academic Adelkhah on furlough -lawyer

Updated 14 sec ago

Iran releases Iranian-French academic Adelkhah on furlough -lawyer

Iran releases Iranian-French academic Adelkhah on furlough -lawyer
DUBAI: Iran has released Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkhah on furlough for five days, her lawyer told the Emtedad website on Tuesday, a day after Tehran and Washington wound up indirect talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear pact.
“We hope it (the furlough) will be extended,” Emtedad quoted Hojjat Kermani as saying.
Adelkhah, who is a resident of France and was arrested in 2019 while on a visit to Iran, was sentenced in 2020 to five years in prison on national security charges. She was moved to house arrest later, but in January was returned to jail.
Adelkab has denied the charges. France has called them “politically motivated” and repeatedly called for the release of Adelkhah, a researcher affiliated with Paris’s prestigious Sciences Po University.
Iran does not recognize dual nationality, saying the case is an Iranian domestic legal matter.
In March 2020, Iran released Adelkhah’s partner, French academic Roland Marchal, who was detained along with her, after France freed Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad, detained over alleged violations of US sanctions against Tehran.

Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor

Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor
Ankara has launched successive military offensives in Syria. (File/AFP)
Updated 36 min 23 sec ago

Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor

Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor
  • Turkey has stepped up its drone strikes in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to greenlight a fresh offensive, according to Kurdish officials and the Observatory

BEIRUT: A Turkish drone strike Tuesday killed at least four people in a northeast Syrian city held by Kurdish forces, the latest in a flurry of attacks, a war monitor said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack struck near a hospital in Qamishli, the defacto capital of a semi-autonomous Kurdish administration that runs large parts of the country’s northeast.
The four victims, all affiliated with the administration, were killed while they dug trenches near Turkey’s border in anticipation of a new offensive that Ankara has threatened to launch since May, the monitor said.
Ankara has launched successive military offensives in Syria. Most have targeted Kurdish militants that Ankara links to a group waging a decades-long insurgency against it.
Turkey has stepped up its drone strikes in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to greenlight a fresh offensive, according to Kurdish officials and the Observatory.
A Turkish drone strike on Qamishli at the weekend killed four people, including two siblings, said the Observatory.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have counted at least 13 of their members killed in several Turkish attacks since July 19.
Syria’s conflict that began in March 2011 has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population.


Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties

Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties
Updated 52 min 48 sec ago

Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties

Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties
  • Shoukry praised Kazakhstan’s role in launching the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia
  • Tursunov emphasized the value that Kazakhstan places on relations with Egypt, and on the critical role that Cairo plays in the region

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Adil Tursunov in Cairo.

They discussed issues of common interest and ways to enhance bilateral relations. Shoukry praised Kazakhstan’s role in launching the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, which aims to enhance security and stability on the continent, particularly with regard to terrorism, drug trafficking and weapons of mass destruction.

He and Tursunov highlighted the significance of developing cooperation between their nations in various fields, following up on the phone call between their presidents in February.

Tursunov emphasized the value that Kazakhstan places on relations with Egypt, and on the critical role that Cairo plays in the region.


Egyptian, Israeli leaders hold talks after Gaza truce

Egyptian, Israeli leaders hold talks after Gaza truce
Updated 09 August 2022

Egyptian, Israeli leaders hold talks after Gaza truce

Egyptian, Israeli leaders hold talks after Gaza truce
  • Yair Lapid thanks Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for Cairo’s mediation

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid held talks following Sunday night’s Cairo-brokered truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, where fighting last week left at least 44 Palestinians dead, including 15 children.

During their phone call, El-Sisi said it is crucial to build on the current calm and take immediate steps to improve living conditions in Gaza and support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Lapid reaffirmed Egypt’s role as a cornerstone for Middle East peace, expressing his gratitude for its effective mediation in recent days.

In a statement, Lapid said he and El-Sisi “talked about the importance of promoting and developing normalization between Israel and the countries of the region and the importance of dialogue for achieving stability in the region.”

They also discussed “important humanitarian issues for the two countries and the continuation of economic cooperation between them.”

The truce ended the worst fighting in Gaza since an 11-day war last year. Israel began its operation by assassinating an Islamic Jihad leader on Friday, and killed another of its leaders on Saturday.


Hezbollah warns Israel against targeting Palestinian militants in Lebanon

Hezbollah warns Israel against targeting Palestinian militants in Lebanon
Updated 09 August 2022

Hezbollah warns Israel against targeting Palestinian militants in Lebanon

Hezbollah warns Israel against targeting Palestinian militants in Lebanon
  • Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: ‘Any attack on any human being will not go unpunished or unanswered’
  • Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz hinted at the possible targeting of Islamic Jihad officials abroad

The head of Lebanon’s powerful armed movement Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, warned on Tuesday against any Israeli attempts to expand their targeting of Palestinian militants to Lebanon.
“Any attack on any human being will not go unpunished or unanswered,” Nasrallah said in a televised address marking Ashura, a melancholic commemoration for Shiite Muslims of the killing the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein.
The comments came after a flare-up in violence between Israel and the Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza strip, prompted by Israel’s arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad leader earlier this month.
On Saturday, Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz hinted at the possible targeting of Islamic Jihad officials abroad, who he said could be seen in “restaurants and hotels in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon.”
“They too will have to pay the price,” Gantz said.
On Monday, a day after a truce brokered by Egypt ended the Gaza violence, he said Israel could carry out “pre-emptive strikes” abroad.
“In the future too, if necessary, we will deliver a pre-emptive strike in order to defend Israel’s citizens, sovereignty and infrastructure and this is true for all fronts, from Teheran to Khan Younis,” he said.
Iran-backed Hezbollah is vehemently opposed to Israel and tensions between the two have been escalating in recent months over a disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.