President Biden tears into Donald Trump on anniversary of Capitol ‘insurrection’

President Joe Biden departs with Vice President Kamala Harris after he spoke in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol to mark the one year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot by supporters loyal to then-President Donald Trump. (AP)
President Joe Biden departs with Vice President Kamala Harris after he spoke in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol to mark the one year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot by supporters loyal to then-President Donald Trump. (AP)
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Updated 06 January 2022

President Biden tears into Donald Trump on anniversary of Capitol ‘insurrection’

President Joe Biden departs with Vice President Kamala Harris after he spoke in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol to mark the one year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot by supporters loyal to then-President Donald Trump. (AP)
  • Biden’s voice filled with anger as he laid out the dangers facing a country that has long styled itself as leader of the free world

WASHINGTON D.C.: President Joe Biden on Thursday savaged Donald Trump’s “lies” and attempt to overturn the 2020 election, vowing on the first anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot that he would let no one put a “dagger at the throat of democracy.”
After largely ignoring Trump for a year, Biden took off the gloves, describing the Republican as a cheat whose ego wouldn’t let him accept defeat and whose supporters almost shattered US democracy when they stormed Congress to prevent certification of the election.
“This was an armed insurrection,” Biden said in his dramatic speech from Statuary Hall inside the Capitol, where a year ago thousands of people brandishing Trump flags trampled over police to invade the chamber, forcing lawmakers to flee for their lives.
“For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election. He tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Biden said.
“They came here in rage,” Biden said of Trump’s backers, and “held a dagger at the throat of America.”
“I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”
Biden’s voice filled with anger as he laid out the dangers facing a country that has long styled itself as leader of the free world.
“Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm?” he asked.
Although Biden deliberately did not mention Trump’s name, he made clear whom he was talking about in a blistering portrait of a man he said scorned democracy because he couldn’t accept defeat.
“The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Biden said. “He values power over principle.”
During the assault on Congress, Trump was “sitting in the private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours,” Biden said, his anger clear. “He’s a defeated former president.”
Trump, who has spent the last year spreading conspiracy theories about his election loss to millions of followers, quickly fired back with a series of statements doubling down on his lie about the “rigged” election and dismissing Biden’s speech as “political theater.”
“Never forget the crime of the 2020 Presidential Election. Never give up!” read Trump’s latest statement.
The day’s commemorative events also featured remarks by the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, ahead of a prayer vigil on the steps of the Capitol.
However, such are the depths of division 12 months later that barely any Republicans showed up.
The party’s top lawmaker, Senator Mitch McConnell, was leading a delegation to a funeral of a recently deceased senator some 600 miles (965 kilometers) away in Atlanta, Georgia.
In a statement, McConnell said January 6 had been a “dark day” but called it “stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary.”
McConnell was among the senior Republicans a year ago who condemned Trump for stoking the unprecedented violence with his barrage of lies about fraud, which no court or independent investigator has ever substantiated.
Since then, however, almost the entire party has quietly backed off from talking about January 6, bowing to Trump’s enormous influence with Republican voters — and possible bid to return as president in 2024.
A photo tweeted by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy showed just two Republicans present at the minute of silence held for Capitol police officers who died in the wake of the unrest. “An extraordinary image of where this country’s politics are,” Murphy said.
Writing in The New York Times, former Democratic president Jimmy Carter said the United States “teeters on the brink of a widening abyss.”
“Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late,” Carter wrote.
More surprising was the voice of Karl Rove, one of the chief architects of Republican strategy over the last 30 years, who wrote in the right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial pages that there was no forgiveness for the assault on democracy.
“There can be no soft-pedaling what happened and no absolution for those who planned, encouraged and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy. Love of country demands nothing less. That’s true patriotism,” he wrote.


Cosmin Contra apologizes to Al-Ittihad fans for SPL title race collapse, promises strong comeback next season

Cosmin Contra apologizes to Al-Ittihad fans for SPL title race collapse, promises strong comeback next season
Cosmin Contra has apologized to Al-Ittihad for the club's late SPL title race. (Arriyadiyah)
Updated 1 min 27 sec ago

Cosmin Contra apologizes to Al-Ittihad fans for SPL title race collapse, promises strong comeback next season

Cosmin Contra apologizes to Al-Ittihad fans for SPL title race collapse, promises strong comeback next season
  • Romanian coach’s team blew 16-point February lead over Al-Hilal to lose title by 2 points on last day of season

RIYADH: Al-Ittihad coach Cosmin Contra has apologised to club supporters for his team’s late collapse in the 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title race which allowed Al-Hilal to claim a record-extending 18th championship.

And the Romanian coach promised that the Jeddah club would return stronger in the coming season.

In February, the 46-year-old manager’s team were 16 points clear of the Riyadh giants, but a poor run of form, including two defeats to Al-Hilal, saw them lose the title by two points on the last day of the campaign.

Writing on his official Twitter account, Contra said: “I would like to apologize that we let you down at the last minute, and although we did our best, we did not live up to the aspirations of our fans.”

He highlighted that great champions bounce back from big disappointments by learning from their mistakes. “Al-Ittihad will return next season stronger to achieve the title that we have been waiting for a long time,” he added.

In his tweets, Contra finished by thanking Al-Ittihad fans for the support they had provided to the team throughout the season.


AFC U-23 Asian Cup won by Saudi Arabia was competition’s most engaging

AFC U-23 Asian Cup won by Saudi Arabia was competition’s most engaging
The AFC’s Twitter account generated the highest improvement in impressions. (@SaudiNT)
Updated 13 min 43 sec ago

AFC U-23 Asian Cup won by Saudi Arabia was competition’s most engaging

AFC U-23 Asian Cup won by Saudi Arabia was competition’s most engaging
  • Record-breaking 340m social media impressions for tourney’s 5th edition

The AFC U-23 Asian Cup won by Saudi Arabia in Uzbekistan last month saw a record-breaking 340 million social media impressions — a massive increase of 193.8 percent from the fourth edition in Thailand two years ago.

Asia’s top 16 teams competed for 19 days across 32 matches in the cities of Tashkent and Qarshi, with the Kingdom clinching the coveted fifth crown by defeating hosts Uzbekistan 2-0 in a captivating decider.

The biggest increase was observed through the video content which received 46.9 million views on the AFC’s digital platforms, a rise of 1,066 percent from the 2020 edition, while the newly launched AFC TikTok account also garnered 9.3 million views with close to a million engagements.

The AFC’s Twitter account generated the highest improvement in impressions with a 217 percent increase from 2020 to 33 million, followed by Instagram, which received 115.65 million impressions or an increase of 119 percent, while the AFC’s Facebook impressions rose by 80 percent to nearly 110 million.

At the same time, engagement on the AFC’s social media channels grew by 141.2 percent from 7.3 million in 2020 to 17.68 million in 2022. This was thanks to the multi-lingual approach through the AFC’s platforms in English, Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai and Vietnamese.

The AFC’s Facebook account saw the highest uptake with nearly 10 million engagements, 315 percent higher than the last edition, with the confederation’s Twitter account increasing by 84 percent to 1.6 million engagements, while Instagram rose 61 percent to 6 million engagements.

On the pitch, the continent’s attacking prowess was also palpable with a total of 81 goals scored across the 32 matches, averaging approximately two goals per match, as the young Green Falcons became the first side in the tournament’s history to maintain an unblemished defensive record across all six matches in their impressive march to the title.

The tournament also saw spectator attendance records rewritten on several occasions, with 28,670 fans gathering at the Pakhtakor Stadium when hosts Uzbekistan opened their campaign against Turkmenistan, before a notable 32,268 supporters attended the thrilling final between the host nation and Saudi Arabia.


Boost for embattled Iraq football as host of Gulf Cup 2023

Boost for embattled Iraq football as host of Gulf Cup 2023
Iraq is one of Asia’s biggest football nations. (File/AFP)
Updated 26 min 57 sec ago

Boost for embattled Iraq football as host of Gulf Cup 2023

Boost for embattled Iraq football as host of Gulf Cup 2023
  • Many delays to 25th edition of the 8-team tournament now set for next January

The 25th Gulf Cup that was scheduled to take place in December 2021 will be held in the Iraqi city of Basra in January 2023, the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation announced on Thursday. The body voted unanimously to return the competition to the country for the first time since it was staged in Baghdad back in 1979.

That was also the first time Iraq won the title and the team repeated the feat in 1984 and 1988. But the last time the eight-nation biennial tournament took place was in December 2019 in Qatar when Bahrain lifted the trophy. The 2021 version was postponed as facilities including stadiums and hotels in the southern Iraqi city were not ready. It was expected to take place in 2022 but that proved to be impossible due to a crowded international schedule, which included World Cup qualifiers, Asian Cup qualifiers and the Arab Cup, not to mention the World Cup itself.

Basra has been working hard to improve its sporting facilities and general infrastructure and after inspection by AGCFF officials, the go-ahead was given to stage the first major football competition in the country since the US-led invasion in 2003. FIFA has been concerned about the security situation in the country for a while, due to the Iran-Iraq war in the eighties and the first Gulf War in the following decade.

The prospect of eight teams — Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen —coming to the southern port city is thus a big deal for the host nation.

“Congratulations to Iraq and the dear Basra for hosting the 25th Gulf Championship,” said the country’s president Barham Salih, adding “it is a merit worthy of Iraq and its people after more than four decades deprived of that.”

Salih paid tribute to “all the governmental and popular efforts and our sports fans that contributed to achieving this achievement, which embodies the Iraqis’ ethos of generosity and hospitality.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was also delighted and promised that Basra would put on a great show.

“We congratulate our beloved Iraq and Basra after this long-awaited tournament (has been awarded to us). We promise our people and our brothers in the Gulf that this football event will be a model in football circles.”

In the almost two decades since Iraq was invaded, only in 2011 have World Cup qualifiers been held in the country due to FIFA concerns over security. There was disappointment earlier this year as the world governing body, which had originally allowed Baghdad to host March’s qualifier against the UAE, switched the game to Saudi Arabia just days before kick-off after missile attacks in the north of the country.

This latest decision could mark the beginning of a new era for Iraqi football on and off the pitch. For as long as anyone, around the age of 50 remembers, Iraq’s home games have usually taken place in third countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But once the Gulf Cup, which is not a FIFA-sanctioned competition, is done and dusted, then it is hoped that Iraq will be given the green light to play competitive games in Baghdad and elsewhere.

Iraq is one of Asia’s biggest football nations and won the 2007 Asian Cup despite the chaotic situation back home. The country has only appeared at one World Cup, back in 1986, and it is likely that there would have been other appearances had the team been allowed to play qualifiers on home soil. With the 2026 World Cup expanding to include eight automatic berths from Asia, doubling the current total of four, if the Gulf Cup leads to a change in FIFA’s stance, then Iraq will have a great chance of going to North America.

First though, there is a need to perform well off the field in January.

“We are now facing a great challenge, as we are only six months away from the start of the tournament,” said Adnan Dirjal, the president of the Iraq Football Association. “This requires everyone to do a great deal of work and to double their efforts.”

“We are looking forward to the challenge however and to welcoming the Gulf Cup to our country and putting on a great event.”


Jordan’s Prince Faisal bin al-Hussain sworn in as deputy to the king

Jordan’s Prince Faisal bin al-Hussain sworn in as deputy to the king
Updated 27 min 21 sec ago

Jordan’s Prince Faisal bin al-Hussain sworn in as deputy to the king

Jordan’s Prince Faisal bin al-Hussain sworn in as deputy to the king

Jordan's Prince Faisal bin al-Hussain sworn in as deputy to his brother King Abdullah II of Jordan, Petra news agency reported on Friday.


Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

RIYADH: Alamar Foods has set the top range of its initial public offering prices at SR115 ($30.64) per share, with a 47.5 percent oversubscription, after completing its pricing and book building process for institutional investors.

The final offer price gives the fast food chain franchiser an implied market capitalization at listing of SR2.933 billion.

Alamar Foods is developer and operator of two global household brands: Domino’s, which operates across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan region, and Dunkin’, which operates in Egypt and Morocco.

“This IPO stands as a testament to the milestones achieved towards becoming a leading QSR player across the MENAP region,” Filippo Sgattoni, CEO at Alamar Foods, said.

The individual investor subscription period is scheduled to start on July 20 and to close on July 21. 

The Capital Market Authority approved on June 7 Alamar’s application to offer 10.63 million shares, or 41.7 percent of the company’s capital, to the public.

Alamar’s capital stands at SR255 million.