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.


Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance

Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance
Updated 12 sec ago

Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance

Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance

RIYADH: National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia, better known as Bahri, has completed the issuance of SR3.9 billion ($1.04 billion) sukuk, denominated in Saudi Riyals and maturing in seven years.

The offering, led by Al Rajhi Capital, HSBC Saudi Arabia, and SNB Capital, started by mid-June, and the settlement was done on July 5, the firm said in a bourse filing.

The Saudi-listed company earlier said it will use proceeds to refinance the existing sukuk which will mature this month.

Bahri is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and the Public Investment Fund, operating a fleet of 89 tankers and container ships that transport oil, petrochemicals, and other types of cargo.

 


Shanghai, Beijing order new round of mass COVID-19 testing

Shanghai, Beijing order new round of mass COVID-19 testing
Updated 9 min 20 sec ago

Shanghai, Beijing order new round of mass COVID-19 testing

Shanghai, Beijing order new round of mass COVID-19 testing
  • Shanghai has only just emerged from a strict lockdown that confined most of its 24 million residents to their homes for weeks
BEIJING: Residents of parts of Shanghai and Beijing have been ordered to undergo further rounds of COVID-19 testing following the discovery of new cases in the two cities, while tight restrictions remain in place in Hong Kong, Macao and other Chinese cities.
Shanghai has only just emerged from a strict lockdown that confined most of its 24 million residents to their homes for weeks and the new requirements have stirred concerns of a return of such harsh measures.
The latest outbreak in China’s largest city, a key international business center, has been linked to a karaoke parlor that failed to enforce prevention measures among employees and customers, including the tracing of others they came into contact with, according to the city health commission. All such outlets have been ordered to temporarily suspend business, the city’s department of culture and tourism said.
Shanghai’s lockdown prompted unusual protests both in person and online against the government’s harsh enforcement, which left many residents struggling to access food and medical services and sent thousands to quarantine centers.
Beijing has also seen a recent outbreak linked to a nightlife spot. It has been conducting regular testing for weeks and at least one residential compound in the suburb of Shunyi, which is home to many foreign residents, has been locked down with a steel fence installed over its entrance to prevent residents from leaving.
Enforcement in China’s capital has been far milder than in Shanghai, although officials continue to require regular testing and prevention measures.
In the northern city of Xi’an, whose 13 million residents endured one of China’s strictest lockdowns over the winter, restaurants have been restricted to takeout only and public entertainment spots closed for a week starting Wednesday.
A notice on the city government’s website said the measures were only temporary and intended to prevent the chance of a renewed outbreak. It said supermarkets, offices, public transport and other facilities are continuing to operate as normal, with routine screening including temperature checks and people being required to show an app proving they are free of infection.
Neighboring Hong Kong has also seen a rising trend of coronavirus infections since mid-June. In the past seven days, daily infections reported averaged about 2,000 a day.
The city’s new leader, John Lee, said Wednesday that Hong Kong must not “lie flat” when it comes to COVID-19, rejecting the “living with the coronavirus” mentality that most of the world has adopted.
His comments echo the sentiments of Chinese authorities, who have stuck with their “zero-COVID” policy that has become closely identified with President and head of the ruling Communist Party Xi Jinping.
However, Lee has said that Hong Kong authorities are exploring options, including shortening the duration of mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers. Currently, travelers must test negative for COVID-19 before flying and quarantine for seven days in designated hotels upon arrival.
The city, once known as a bustling business hub and international financial center, has seen tourism and business travel crippled by its tough entry restrictions.
The strict measures have remained in place despite relatively low numbers of cases and the serious negative effects on China’s economy and global supply chains.
The World Health Organization recently called the policy unsustainable, a view Chinese officials rejected outright even while they say they hope to minimize the impact.
While China’s borders remain largely closed, cutting off both visitors from abroad and outbound tourism, officials have cautiously increased flights from some foreign countries, most recently Russia.
Mainland China reported 353 cases of domestic transmission on Wednesday, 241 of them asymptomatic.
Shanghai announced just 24 cases over the past 24 hours, and Beijing five. Anhui announced 222 cases in what appears to be the latest cluster, prompting the inland province to order mass testing and travel restrictions in Si county, where the bulk of cases have been reported.

WHO praises Bahrain’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic

WHO praises Bahrain’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic
Updated 39 min 13 sec ago

WHO praises Bahrain’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic

WHO praises Bahrain’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic
  • National task force, 24-hour war room, and multilingual media campaign was key, says health body
  • Free testing and vaccines kept virus at bay

RIYADH: Bahrain’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic was built on active collaboration between various sectors in the Gulf state, according to a new WHO report.

The document titled “Bahrain COVID-19 Case Studies,” highlights the country’s wide-ranging efforts to get the health crisis under control and identifies lessons learned from that response.

The world health body credits strategic partnerships between public and private entities for the positive response.

Bahrain detected its first case of the virus on Feb. 24, 2020, and caseloads have remained relatively low during the pandemic, with only short-lived surges as a result of the delta and omicron variants. The country has lost 1,495 people to the disease since the start of the pandemic, according to the information organization Our World in Data.

The study was presented by Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the health organization’s head for the eastern Mediterranean region.

“I would like to acknowledge the resilience of the health system in Bahrain throughout the pandemic, and its continued provision of essential health services for all, under a framework of accessibility, acceptability, availability, and quality,” Al-Mandhari said.

“This new report provides us with a valuable reminder: Together we can face health emergencies, and together we can build back stronger,” he said in a joint press conference with Jaleela S. Jawad Hasan, the health minister, on Tuesday.

Hasan outlined some of the strategies that had helped to keep the virus in check on the small island kingdom of 1.7 million people.

Even before the first case appeared, Hasan said, Bahrain established a national task force coupled with a round-the-clock war room, featuring representatives from various sectors. A multilingual public media campaign to spread awareness was also introduced.

The report stated that by using its existing health infrastructure, the kingdom “capitalized on and scaled up its existing resources and displayed a level of preparedness and synergy of efforts from both the top down and the bottom up.”

King Hamad’s decision to provide testing and vaccines to the public free of charge was among the positive steps in handling the crisis, stated the authors of the report.

The lessons learned from what the country has achieved provide “invaluable insights into best practices that, shared, will have far-reaching and long-lasting effects beyond Bahrain’s borders,” the report concluded.

Hasan said Bahrain was committed to its cooperation with the WHO to combat the pandemic and achieve global health goals, according to the Bahrain News Agency.

On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 40 active hospitalized cases, 15 of which were critical.

Bahrain removed most COVID-19 restrictions in February, doing away with capacity limits at indoor venues and testing and vaccination requirements for travelers heading to the kingdom.


Gulf nations condemn violent attacks in Burkina Faso

Gulf nations condemn violent attacks in Burkina Faso
Updated 56 min 34 sec ago

Gulf nations condemn violent attacks in Burkina Faso

Gulf nations condemn violent attacks in Burkina Faso

DUBAI: Gulf nations have condemned the violent attacks in northern villages of Burkina Faso over the weekend which resulted in the death of dozens of people, including children, and injured others.
Armed men killed at least 34 people in separate incidents in Bourasso in Kossi province and Namissiguima in Yatenga province, both north of the country, the Burkina Faso government said over the weekend.
The West African nation, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been besieged by militant attacks by forces linked to Al-Qaeda and Daesh in recent years. The turmoil has resulted in the deaths of thousands and left nearly 2 million people displaced.
The UAE expressesd its “strong condemnation of these criminal acts” and repeated its rejection of “all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at destabilizing security and stability in contravention of human values and principles,” the country’s foreign affairs ministry said in the statement.
Bahrain also reiterated its “solidarity with Burkina Faso in its war against terrorism, calling on the international community to intensify its efforts in combating extremism and terrorism in all its forms,” according to its foreign affairs ministry.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s foreign ministry in a statement outlined the country’s “principled and firm stance against violence and terrorism’ in condemning the attacks.
The Gulf states also sent their condolences to the Burkina Faso leadership and the families of the victims.


OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies

OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies
Updated 4 min 10 sec ago

OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies

OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies

RIYADH: OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies at Abuja, Nigeria at an age of 63, Arab News learned.

He will be buried in his home town Yola, a source confirmed.

The news of Barkindo’s death was confirmed by Mele Kyari, managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. 

In a tweet, Kyari described Barkindo’s departure as a great loss to his immediate family, NNPC Nigeria, OPEC and the global energy community.

A few hours before his death, Barkindo was honored by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the state house.

During the honoring ceremony, Buhari described Barkindo as a worthy ambassador of the country, and lauded his efforts as the secretary general of OPEC for six years.

“You have indeed been a worthy ambassador of our country. We are proud of your achievements before and during your appointment at OPEC and the proud legacies you will leave behind,” said Buhari, during the honoring event. 

Barkindo’s unexpected demise came at a time when he was expected to complete his tenure as the OPEC secretary-general on July 31. 

A few days back, it has been reported that Barkindo will join the Atlantic Council as a distinguished fellow in the Global Energy Center after his term at the OPEC. 

In his career which spanned over four decades, Barkindo has worked as NNPC’s International Investments head, president of Duke oil, CEO of NNPC, etc. 

From 1986 to 2010, Barkindo was the Nigerian Delegate to OPEC Ministerial Conferences. He became the secretary-general of OPEC on Aug. 01, 2016, and continued in that position until his death.