Libyan rival officials meet for UN-led talks on elections

Libyan rival officials meet for UN-led talks on elections
Speaker of Libyan House of Representatives, UN Special Adviser on Libya and President of Libya's High State Council of State give a press conference at the UN in Geneva. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 28 June 2022

Libyan rival officials meet for UN-led talks on elections

Libyan rival officials meet for UN-led talks on elections
  • Two senior Libyan officials from the country's rival camps have begun talks on constitutional arrangements for elections

GENEVA: Two senior Libyan officials began two days of talks Tuesday on constitutional arrangements for elections, the latest UN effort to bridge gaps between the country’s rivals.
Aguila Saleh, the influential speaker of the country’s east-based parliament, and Khaled Al-Meshri, head of the government’s Supreme Council of State, based in the west, in the capital of Tripoli, met at the UN headquarters in Geneva.
According to the United Nations, the talks will focus on a draft constitutional framework for elections after Libya’s rival factions failed to reach an agreement in their last round of talks in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.
Stephanie Williams, the UN special adviser on Libya, said they would discuss “timelines, modalities and milestones to guarantee a clear path to the holding of national elections as soon possible.”
“It is now the time to make a final and courageous effort to ensure that this historic compromise takes place, for the sake of Libya, the Libyan people and the credibility of its institutions,” she said.
The criteria for a presidential candidacy were a contentious point in the talks, according to Libyan media. The Tripoli-based council insisted on banning military personal from running for the country’s top post — apparently a move directed at the divisive commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are loyal to the east-based administration.
Haftar had announced his bid in elections slated for last December but the vote was not held because of myriad issues, including controversial hopefuls who had announced bids and disputes about election laws.
There are growing tensions on the ground, and sporadic clashes between rival militias recently erupted in Tripoli. Living conditions have also deteriorated, mainly because of fuel shortages in the oil-rich nation. Tribal leaders have shut down many oil facilities, including the country’s largest field.
The blockade was largely meant to cut off key state revenues to the incumbent Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who has refused to step down even though the vote was not held in December.
Now, Dbeibah and another prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, appointed by the east-based parliament to lead a transitional government, are claiming power. The rivalry has sparked fears the oil-rich country could slide back to fighting after tentative steps toward unity last year.
Libya has been wrecked by conflict since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. The country was then for years split between rival administrations in the east and west, each supported by different militias and foreign governments.


Saudi cement producer Umm Al-Qura’s profit drops 55% as sales slump

Saudi cement producer Umm Al-Qura’s profit drops 55% as sales slump
Updated 5 min 10 sec ago

Saudi cement producer Umm Al-Qura’s profit drops 55% as sales slump

Saudi cement producer Umm Al-Qura’s profit drops 55% as sales slump

RIYADH: Saudi cement producer, Umm Al-Qura Cement Co. has posted a 55 percent decline in net profit during the first half of 2022 owing to lower cement sales.

Profits in the first half dropped from SR49 million in the same period last year to SR22 million ($5.9 million), according to a bourse filing.

The company attributed the decline in net profit to a decrease in sales value and an increase in selling, marketing, and administrative expenses.

Its revenue declined 19 percent to SR125 million during the current period from SR154 million during the previous period.


Ksrelief chief meets Omani former conjoined twins 15 years after their separation

Ksrelief chief meets Omani former conjoined twins 15 years after their separation
Updated 5 min 28 sec ago

Ksrelief chief meets Omani former conjoined twins 15 years after their separation

Ksrelief chief meets Omani former conjoined twins 15 years after their separation
  • Al-Rabeeah met with Safa and Marwa Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Jardani and their parents in Riyadh
  • The twins were successfully separated 15 years ago

RIYADH: The supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center received on Wednesday a set of Omani former conjoined twins whom he operated on in 2007.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah met with Safa and Marwa Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Jardani and their parents at the KSrelief headquarters in Riyadh.

The twins underwent successful surgery to separate adhesions in their skulls, brain membranes, and intervening veins at King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh fifteen years ago.

Al-Rabeeah said Saudi Arabia’s program to separate conjoined twins enjoys a high international status that would not be possible without the support of the Kingdom’s leadership.

The supervisor general of Ksrelief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah talks to Omani former conjoined twins Safa and Marwa and their father in Riyadh. (SPA)

He added that the Kingdom has become specialized in performing complex surgical operations due to its advanced human and technical capabilities that make it a desired destination for anyone who requires treatment, whether from inside or outside Saudi Arabia.

He noted that the program embodies the humanity of the Kingdom, which transcends continents, borders and races to heal wounds and relieve human suffering.

The latest beneficiaries of the program are Yemeni twin girls Mawaddah and Rahma who were born conjoined at the lower chest and abdomen.

The baby girls from Aden were successfully separated in July.

The parents of the Omani twins expressed their gratitude to the Kingdom for facilitating the necessary efforts to separate and treat their daughters, adding that the kind gesture had had a great impact on their lives.


TASI ends in red as investor mood sours over oil price shifts: Closing bell

TASI ends in red as investor mood sours over oil price shifts: Closing bell
Updated 15 min 37 sec ago

TASI ends in red as investor mood sours over oil price shifts: Closing bell

TASI ends in red as investor mood sours over oil price shifts: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index ended the week’s final session lower after investors’ mood turned negative as oil prices fluctuated during the week.

TASI finished 0.20 percent lower at 12,621, while the parallel Nomu market finished 0.19 percent higher at 21,574.

The Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi, ended the session with a 1.68 percent gain, while the Saudi National Bank, the country's largest lender, ended with a 1.10 percent decline.

Saudi Aramco lost 0.75 percent, despite achieving its highest quarterly profit since going public in 2019 with SR182 billion ($48.4 billion), a 90 percent jump over analysts' expectations.

Among the Kingdom's leading information technology firms, Elm climbed 6.08 percent to lead the gainers in the market, while Al Moammar shed 1.30 percent.

Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. slipped 4.25 percent, despite reporting a 31 percent increase in profits for the first half of the year to SR138 million.

Red Sea International Co. dropped 2.12 percent, after it secured financing from SABB worth SR35 million.

Taiba Investments Co. fell 0.82 percent, despite turning into a profit of SR55 million in the first half, wiping out losses of SR14.8 million from the same period last year.

Sadr Logistics Co. declined 0.95 percent, after it turned into losses of SR3 million during the first six months of 2022.

Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, ended the week’s session with a 1.11 percent gain.

 


Saudi insurer Allied Cooperative names new CEO

Saudi insurer Allied Cooperative names new CEO
Updated 15 min 48 sec ago

Saudi insurer Allied Cooperative names new CEO

Saudi insurer Allied Cooperative names new CEO

RIYADH: Allied Cooperative Insurance Group has announced the appointment of Mohammad Al-Gadhi as its CEO.

The appointment is subject to approval by the Saudi Central Bank, the insurer said in a bourse filing.

Al-Gadhi served as the company’s head of operations and technical affairs since 2012 and held several technical and administrative positions, it said.


Salman Rushdie attack suspect to appear in court Thursday

Salman Rushdie attack suspect to appear in court Thursday
Updated 17 min 24 sec ago

Salman Rushdie attack suspect to appear in court Thursday

Salman Rushdie attack suspect to appear in court Thursday
  • The suspect earlier appeared in a county court and pleaded not guilty to one count of second-degree attempted murder

MAYVILLE, New York: The man suspected of stabbing novelist Salman Rushdie last week in western New York will appear in court for arraignment on Thursday afternoon, the prosecutor said.
Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of wounding Rushdie, 75, on Friday just before the “The Satanic Verses” author was to deliver a lecture on stage at an educational retreat near Lake Erie.
He is scheduled for an arraignment at 1 p.m. EDT, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said in an email.
The suspect appeared in a county court on Saturday and pleaded not guilty to one count of second-degree attempted murder and an additional count of assault in the second degree after a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors.
He was remanded without bail.
The attack comes 33 years after Iran’s then-supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling on Muslims to assassinate Rushdie the year after “The Satanic Verses” was published.
The Indian-born writer has since lived with a bounty on his head over the book, which some Muslims say contains blasphemous passages about Islam.
In 1998, Iran’s pro-reform government of President Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from the fatwa, saying the threat against Rushdie — who had lived in hiding for nine years — was over. But in 2019, Twitter suspended Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s account over a tweet that said the fatwa against Rushdie was “irrevocable.”
Political leaders, including in those in the United States and Britain, have called last week’s attack an assault on free speech.
In an interview published by the New York Post on Wednesday, Matar said he respected Khomeini but would not say if he was inspired by the fatwa. He said he had “read a couple of pages” of “The Satanic Verses” and watched YouTube videos of the author.
“I don’t like him very much,” Matar said of Rushdie, as reported in the Post. “He’s someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.”
Iran’s foreign ministry on Monday said that Tehran should not be accused of being involved in the attack. Matar is believed to have acted alone and the motive was not known, police have said.
His defense attorney, Nathaniel Barone, said he was left in the dark about the Post interview and had not authorized any conversation with outside sources.
Matar, who is of Lebanese descent, is a Shiite Muslim American who was born in California.
Prosecutors say he took a bus to Chautauqua Institution, a retreat about 12 miles (19 km) from Lake Erie, where he bought a pass to Rushdie’s lecture, according to the New York Times.
Witnesses said there were no obvious security checks and that Matar did not speak as he attacked the author. He was arrested at the scene by a state trooper after being wrestled to the ground by audience members.
Rushdie sustained severe injuries in the attack, including nerve damage in his arm, liver wounds and the likely loss of an eye, his agent said.