Tunisian president rejects foreign election observers

Tunisian president rejects foreign election observers
President Kais Saied said he opposes the presence of foreign election observers, as the country gears up for a referendum and legislative polls later this year. (AFP)
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Updated 12 May 2022

Tunisian president rejects foreign election observers

Tunisian president rejects foreign election observers
  • "We are not an occupied country to send observers to," he said during a swearing-in ceremony
  • Saied in July last year sacked the government and suspended parliament

TUNIS: Tunisian President Kais Saied on Thursday said he opposes the presence of foreign election observers, as the country gears up for a referendum and legislative polls later this year.
“We are not an occupied country to send observers to,” he said during a swearing-in ceremony for members of a new elections authority.
Saied in July last year sacked the government and suspended parliament, prompting fears for democratic gains a decade after Tunisia’s revolution which sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.
He has since taken control of the judiciary and on April 22 gave himself powers to name three out of seven members of the electoral commission, including its chief.
The US State Department said it was deeply concerned by Saied’s decision to “unilaterally restructure” the body.
On Monday, Saied appointed Farouk Bouasker as its head, replacing Nabil Baffoun, a vocal critic of Saied’s power grab.
Tunisians are set to vote on constitutional reforms on July 25 and elect a new parliament on December 17. Saied’s critics say he wants to create a tame electoral commission ahead of those ballots.
His moves initially won widespread support from Tunisians fed up with the crisis-gripped political system, but his opponents accuse him of trying to restore autocracy in the North African country.


Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center

Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center
Updated 38 min 48 sec ago

Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center

Ashrafs opens new Sony showroom at Bahrain City Center
  • The showroom will provide customers with a cutting-edge shopping experience, allowing them to browse the latest Sony technology and products

MANAMA: Ashrafs Bahrain, one of the most popular shopping destinations in the Kingdom, is showcasing Sony's extensive product line at its new electronics showroom at Bahrain City Center.

Chairman Farouk Yousif Almoayyed, YK Almoayyed & Sons, Executive Director Amal Yousif Almoayyed, Deputy Managing Director Ashrafs and Jobin Joejoe, and Sony Middle East and Africa were present at the showroom's opening.

The new store will provide customers with a cutting-edge shopping experience by allowing them to browse the latest Sony technology and electronic products, the company stated.Customers will be able to choose from a wide variety of home entertainment, smart devices, premium audio accessories, mobile phones, and ecosystem products.

"We are delighted to announce our presence at the new Ashrafs Bahrain. Shoppers in the kingdom can now enjoy a world class shopping experience and discover a range of Sony products." Joejoe said.

"Consumers in Bahrain are very tech-savvy, and we are excited for Sony fans, including movie buffs, sports fans and gamers, to try our ecosystem of products and enjoy a truly immersive experience," he stated.

The new store will also feature Sony's new Bravia XR series and the Sony WH-1000XM5.


Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London
Updated 05 July 2022

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London
  • Societies that allow their people to choose what they believe are better, stronger and ultimately more successful

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is attending the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London.

The event, which is being held on July 5-6, is hosting 500 religious, government and civil society leaders from 60 countries to call for more action to protect freedom of religion or belief around the world.

In the opening speech of the conference, the UK’s Prince Charles said in a recorded message: “Freedom of conscience, of thought and of belief is central to any truly flourishing society. It allows people to contribute to their communities without fear of exclusion, to exchange ideas without fear of prejudice, and to build relationships without fear of rejection. A society where difference is respected, where it is accepted that all need not think alike, will benefit from the talents of all of its members.”

Speaking at the conference at the Queen Elizabeth II Center in London, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss said: “The freedom to believe, to pray and commit acts of worship, or indeed not to believe is a fundamental human freedom and has been one since the dawn of time. Societies that allow their people to choose what they believe are better, stronger and ultimately more successful. This fundamental right is covered in the very first clause of Magna Carta and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is one of the Four Freedoms Franklin D. Roosevelt said were ‘essential everywhere in the world.’”

Yesterday, the Egyptian minister, at the start of his London visit, met UK Minister of State for North Africa, South and Central Asia, the Commonwealth and the UN Lord Tariq Ahmed. The two discussed the conference, Egypt’s preparations for hosting and chairing COP27 in November, and the importance of continuing coordination between Egypt and the UK.


6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot
Updated 05 July 2022

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot
  • Distraught residents search for missing relatives
  • Al-Qaeda known to be active in area

AL-MUKALLA: At least six people were killed and more than 30 injured on Tuesday when two massive explosions destroyed an arms warehouse in the southern Yemen province of Abyan.

The first blast happened in the morning inside a busy popular market near the weapons depot in Lawder, a large town in the province. As dozens of people milled around after the explosion, a second blast detonated in the two-story building containing the arms depot.

Officials said they could not give a precise number of casualties as the dead and injured were still arriving at Al-Shaheed Mahnef hospital in Lawder. Residents rushed to the hospital to searching for missing relatives and friends, and medical staff called for blood donations. The poorly equipped and understaffed hospital was forced to refer critical cases to larger hospitals in Abyan and Aden.

Authorities launched an investigation into the explosions, but Al-Qaeda are known to be active in the area and twin explosions a short time apart are a terrorist tactic to increase the number of casualties.

Abyan is a contested province between the internationally recognized government and separatists loyal to the Southern Transitional Council. It was the site of fierce battles in 2019 and 2020 that claimed the lives of many soldiers and Houthi terrorist militia fighters.

The Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda exploited the anarchy in the province to make a comeback.

Suspected Al-Qaeda militants in the province are still holding five UN workers who were abducted in February while returning to neighboring Aden after finishing a field mission.

Local officials and tribal mediators have failed to convince the abductors to release the workers. The kidnappers insist on swapping them with allied prisoners in Aden and demand a ransom of thousands of dollars.

Elsewhere in Yemen, EU envoys have asked the Iran-backed Houthi militia to de-escalate and implement the elements of the UN-brokered truce, mainly lifting their siege on the city of Taiz.

The ambassadors of France and Germany and the Swedish special envoy to Yemen called Hussein Al-Azi, a Houthi leader, to ask him to accept the UN proposal on opening roads in Taiz and work on achieving peace after he threatened to resume military operations in the central province of Marib.

The ambassadors asked the Houthi leader to constructively engage with the UN Yemen envoy’s proposal and create “positive public rhetoric.”

It was “time to continue delivering on the expectations of Yemenis, who want and need peace,” the EU mission in Yemen said. 


Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai
Updated 05 July 2022

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai
  • Suspect arrested during sting operation before applying a Botox injection for $1,275
  • If found guilty, the unlicensed doctor could face three years in jail, lawyer tells Arab News

DUBAI: An investor in a medical consultation company could face up to three years in jail, and/or a fine up to $542,700, if found guilty of practicing unlicensed medicine in Dubai.
Prosecutors referred the unidentified investor to the Dubai Misdemeanours Court for practicing medicine without obtaining a proper license after he was found to be injecting patients with cosmetic Botox and fillers.
Haifa Al-Marzouqi, assistant chief prosecutor at the Dubai Public Prosecution, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Dubai Healthcare Authority received a tip from an informant about a person practicing cosmetic medicine and applying fillers and Botox on patients at their homes.
“In collaboration with the DHA’s inspection department, someone posed as a potential patient and contacted the suspect to apply on her cosmetic injections. As part of a sting operation, the suspect was apprehended in a flat that was rented for that purpose,” said Al-Marzouqi.
Primary interrogations unveiled that the suspect is an investor in a medical consultation company and not a licensed doctor.
Lawyer Faisal Al-Zarouni told Arab News, that if found guilty, the suspect could be facing between one month and three years in jail, a fine varying between $54,270 and $542,700 or both punishments.
“According to the law … based on which prosecutors are requesting the court to try the suspect, it means the latter provided the health licensing authorities with false documents to obtain a license and practice medicine,” said Al-Zarouni.
Al-Marzouqi said the suspect came to the flat carrying a medium-sized handbag containing medical equipment and medical ointments.
After examining the informant’s face, he provided her with a medical consultation and advised that she needed a Botox injection in her forehead, and said he would charge her an amount of $1,275 for the procedure.
When asked how the public could prevent themselves against falling victim to unlicensed doctors, Al-Zarouni advised them to inquire about the doctor’s licenses listed on the DHA’s website.
Sources told Arab News a hearing will be scheduled next month.
 


Iran adds demands in nuclear talks, enrichment levels ‘alarming’: US envoy

Iran adds demands in nuclear talks, enrichment levels ‘alarming’: US envoy
Updated 8 sec ago

Iran adds demands in nuclear talks, enrichment levels ‘alarming’: US envoy

Iran adds demands in nuclear talks, enrichment levels ‘alarming’: US envoy
  • Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington aimed at breaking an impasse over how to salvage Iran’s 2015 nuclear pact ended in Doha, Qatar, last week

WASHINGTON D.C.: Iran added demands unrelated to discussions on its nuclear program during the latest talks and has made alarming progress on enriching uranium, the US envoy for talks on reinstating a nuclear deal said on Tuesday.
US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said that there was a proposal on the table for a timeline by which Iran could come back into compliance with the nuclear deal and Washington could ease sanctions on Tehran.
Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington aimed at breaking an impasse over how to salvage Iran’s 2015 nuclear pact ended in Doha, Qatar, last week without the hoped-for progress.
Malley said Iranian negotiators added new demands.
“They have, including in Doha, added demands that I think anyone looking at this would be viewed as having nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things that they’ve wanted in the past,” he said in an interview with National Public Radio.
The demands included some that the United States and Europeans have said could not be part of negotiations.
“The discussion that really needs to take place right now is not so much between us and Iran, although we’re prepared to have that. It’s between Iran and itself,” Malley said. “They need to come to a conclusion about whether they are now prepared to come back into compliance with the deal.”
Under the nuclear pact, Tehran limited its uranium enrichment program, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons, though Iran says it seeks only civilian atomic energy.
Then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, calling it too soft on Iran, and reimposed harsh US sanctions, spurring Tehran to breach nuclear limits in the pact.
Now, Tehran is much closer to having enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, Malley said, though they do not appear to have resumed their weaponization program.
“But we are of course alarmed, as are our partners, about the progress they’ve made in the enrichment field,” Malley said.
Iran has enough highly enriched uranium on hand to make a bomb and could do so in a matter of weeks, he said.
Malley said Americans were also working a parallel track to secure the release of Americans detained in Iran. Siamak Namazi, who was detained in 2015 and is the longest-held Iranian American prisoner, made a plea for help in a New York Times piece on Sunday headlined: “I’m an American, Why Have I Been Left to Rot as a Hostage of Iran?“
“We hope that regardless of what happens with the nuclear talks, we’ll be able to resolve this issue because it weighs in our minds every single day,” Malley said.