Thousands in Khartoum rally against military rule, authorities fire teargas

Update Thousands in Khartoum rally against military rule, authorities fire teargas
The protests come on the anniversary of a previous coup in 1989, which toppled the country’s last elected civilian government and ushered in three decades of iron-fisted rule by general Omar Al-Bashir. (File/AFP)
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Updated 01 July 2022

Thousands in Khartoum rally against military rule, authorities fire teargas

Thousands in Khartoum rally against military rule, authorities fire teargas
  • Pro-democracy medics said one demonstrator was shot dead “by a bullet in the chest” Wednesday night
  • Troops and police blocked off roads leading to both army headquarters and the presidential palace

KHARTOUM: Security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades as thousands of anti-coup protesters took to the streets of the Sudanese capital Khartoum and its suburbs Thursday demanding an end to military rule, AFP correspondents said.
“Down with Burhan’s rule,” protesters chanted in north Khartoum, urging the reversal of an October military coup by army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan that prompted foreign governments to slash aid, deepening a chronic economic crisis.
“Even if we die, the military will not rule us,” they cried.
Pro-democracy medics said one demonstrator was shot dead “by a bullet in the chest” Wednesday night, in small-scale protests in the run-up to the main rallies.
More than 100 people have been killed in protest-related violence, according to UN figures, as the military has cracked down on the anti-coup movement over the past eight months.
An AFP correspondent said Internet and phone lines had been disrupted since the early hours of Thursday, a measure the Sudanese authorities often impose to prevent mass gatherings.
Security was tight in Khartoum despite the recent lifting of a state of emergency imposed after the coup.
Troops and police blocked off roads leading to both army headquarters and the presidential palace, witnesses said.
Shops around the capital were largely shuttered.
Activists have been calling for “million-strong” rallies.
UN special representative Volker Perthes said Thursday that “violence needs to end,” while the US embassy in Khartoum urged restraint and “the protection of civilians so that no more lives are lost.”

Sudan’s foreign ministry has repeatedly criticized the UN envoy’s comments, saying they were built on “assumptions” and “contradict his role as facilitator” in troubled talks on ending Sudan’s political crisis.
The latest protests come on the anniversary of a previous coup in 1989 that toppled the country’s last elected civilian government and ushered in three decades of iron-fisted rule by Islamist-backed general Omar Al-Bashir.
They also come on the anniversary of 2019 protests demanding that the generals, who had ousted Bashir in a palace coup earlier that year, cede power to civilians.
Those protests led to the formation of the mixed civilian-military transitional government which was toppled in last year’s coup.
Sudan has been roiled by near-weekly protests as the country’s economic woes have deepened since Burhan seized power last year.
“June 30 is our way to bring down the coup and block the path of any fake alternatives,” said the Forces for Freedom and Change, an alliance of civilian groups whose leaders were ousted in the coup.
Alongside the African Union and east African bloc IGAD, the United Nations has been attempting to broker talks between the generals and civilians, but they have been boycotted by all the main civilian factions.
The UN has warned that the deepening economic and political crisis has pushed one third of the country’s population of more than 40 million toward life-threatening food shortages.


New baseball league announces Dubai International Stadium as official venue for inaugural showcase

New baseball league announces Dubai International Stadium as official venue for inaugural showcase
Updated 26 min 26 sec ago

New baseball league announces Dubai International Stadium as official venue for inaugural showcase

New baseball league announces Dubai International Stadium as official venue for inaugural showcase
  • The UIBL will transform the cricket stadium into the region’s first professional diamond-shaped park

DUBAI: The United International Baseball League, the first-ever professional baseball competition created for India, Pakistan and the Middle East, has signed a partnership with Dubai Sports City, which will see Dubai International Stadium as the official venue for the UIBL’s inaugural showcase from Feb. 23 to March 5, 2023.

The venue will play host to nine games and one exhibition featuring four of the league’s initial franchises.

Dubai International Stadium is an anchor of the Dubai Sports City complex, the premier multi-purpose sports development in Dubai. The stadium, which opened in 2009, has hosted several high-profile International Cricket Council and Indian Premier League tournaments, including last year’s IPL final between the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders. The venue will also be home to the inaugural season of the International League T20, the UAE’s professional cricket league that begins play in January 2023.

“It’s an honor for our league to begin play in one of the world’s most storied stadiums,” said Kanwal S. Sra, founder, chairman and CEO of the UIBL. “Dubai International Stadium is one of the jewels of the region, and it will be an incredible launchpad for the UIBL as we bring professional baseball to fans across the Middle East and South Asia. We greatly appreciate the support and partnership of Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Sports City, and the entire Dubai International Stadium team.”

A key part of the UIBL’s growth strategy and intellectual property is the league’s process of transforming cricket fields — plentiful across the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East — into baseball diamonds. This includes formulation and transportation of the infield dirt, design and implementation of the fencing, and customization and build-out of the dugouts, bullpens and pitching mound. In addition, the UIBL team is creating first-of-its-kind seating options that will get fans closer than ever to the action.

“In the US, we have baseball fields in nearly every neighborhood,” said Kash Shaikh, president and chief marketing officer of the UIBL. “In India and the Middle East, you can drive thousands of miles without seeing one. While we work at the grassroots level to help expand that infrastructure, we are simultaneously creating our own proprietary process to transform world-class cricket stadiums into hotbeds of professional baseball. And, since we are starting with a blank canvas, we also get to reimagine how fans can experience the game. I’m really excited about the game innovations, fan experiences, and new seating concepts we have in store.”

The UIBL plans to share the stadium designs and new fan seating options — including new premium and corporate seating — in the months ahead. In addition to the UIBL’s innovation plans, Dubai International Stadium is world-famous for its “Ring of Fire” — a special system of 350 floodlights fixed around the circumference of its round roof. The lights minimize the shadows and replace the need for traditional light towers.

“We are honored to host the UIBL at Dubai International Stadium,” said Khalid Al-Zarooni, president of Dubai Sports City. “This event continues our stadium’s tradition of hosting world-class international sporting events. We support the UIBL’s vision to bring baseball to our region, and we’re excited to offer fans across our city — and the world — the chance to experience America’s pastime.”


Iranian activists planning to sue govt over COVID-19 response sentenced to prison

Iranian activists planning to sue govt over COVID-19 response sentenced to prison
Updated 24 min 24 sec ago

Iranian activists planning to sue govt over COVID-19 response sentenced to prison

Iranian activists planning to sue govt over COVID-19 response sentenced to prison
  • Iran has had the Middle East’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with 7,488,493 confirmed cases and 143,093 deaths so far, according to data from John Hopkins University

Several Iranian activists who had plans to sue government officials for its poor handling of the COVID-19 outbreak have been jailed, an appeals court in Iran’s capital city has confirmed. 

Known as “health defenders,” the activists were seeking to file legal charges against the government and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines’ rollout, Radio Farda reported on Wednesday. 

Iran has had the Middle East’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with 7,488,493 confirmed cases and 143,093 deaths so far, according to data from John Hopkins University. 

Many Iranians also saw Khamenei’s ban on the import of vaccines from the US and Britain as a solely political move that led to thousands of preventable deaths, Radio Farda said. 

Security officers arrested five people in August 2021 for refusing to sign a letter pledging they would not sue Khamenei or other officials over the COVID-19 response, Radio Farda reported. 

Activist Mostafa Nili said the court had confirmed sentences against him and other activists before the group could file a suit against the government. 

The report added that Mehdi Mahmudian was jailed for four years and sentenced to two years of deprivation of media activity, while Arash KEykhosro was facing a jail term of two years and a one-year ban from advocacy and media activities. 

Mohammed Reza Faghihi was sentenced to six-months in prison and Maryam Afrafaraz was given a 995-day jail term. 

During a closed trial, the group was convicted of “colluding to commit crimes against national security,” Radio Farda said.


NBA Abu Dhabi Games may be slam dunk for basketball in the region

NBA Abu Dhabi Games may be slam dunk for basketball in the region
Updated 32 min 52 sec ago

NBA Abu Dhabi Games may be slam dunk for basketball in the region

NBA Abu Dhabi Games may be slam dunk for basketball in the region
  • Saleh Mohamed Al-Geziry, director general of tourism at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, talks to Arab News about the two games between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks at the Etihad Arena

With the NBA Abu Dhabi Games on Oct. 6 and 8 hosting the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Arab News spoke to Saleh Mohamed Al-Geziry, director general of tourism at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, about sports tourism, the partnership with the American league, and how it will lead to promoting basketball in the UAE and the region.

Here’s what he had to say:

On the partnership between the NBA and Abu Dhabi

Our collaboration with the NBA is an exciting next step in our ambitious sports tourism strategy for the emirate, as we work to offer an unbeatable year-round calendar of fantastic sporting events. It’s hard to overstate basketball’s massive global appeal — the NBA is an incredibly popular league with millions of fans around the world, and viewership numbers that keep climbing year on year.

So, it was a natural choice to bring a sporting league of this magnitude to Abu Dhabi — it’s a fantastic opportunity to further raise our destination’s global profile, as the eyes of the basketball world will be firmly focused on the UAE capital this October.

The NBA partnership is ideal for Abu Dhabi; we already have a track record of numerous successful tie-ups with high profile global IPs and the emirate is a destination that prides itself on offering unique and innovative experiences. Now, with the NBA Abu Dhabi Games this October, we can offer some of the world’s biggest basketball superstars facing off in the region for the very first time.

And of course, fans converging in Abu Dhabi for this first-in-the-region event will have a positive impact on airlines, hotels, attractions, restaurants, and shopping malls while creating a great atmosphere.

On the massive response from basketball fans to the inaugural NBA Abu Dhabi Games

The response has been phenomenal — the inaugural NBA Abu Dhabi Games is a sold-out event, and the anticipation is palpable among NBA fans across the country and the region. None of this is a great surprise to us, as we knew the interest was there, but it is still so gratifying to see the fan engagement and excitement in the lead-up to this ground-breaking sporting event.

The great news for fans in the city is that the action is not just focused on the arena, this is an unmissable week-long celebration of sport, entertainment and culture featuring two historic NBA games, citywide activations, an interactive fanzone and special appearances by NBA legends.

On the different NBA events to take place over the coming years

Abu Dhabi and the NBA have entered into a multi-year strategic partnership, so we are exploring which activations and events make the most sense for the coming years.

One exciting offshoot of our collaboration that will definitely be taking place annually is the Junior NBA Abu Dhabi League, launched in February this year. It introduced the NBA and basketball to a whole new generation of 11- to 14-year-olds in Abu Dhabi, who also had the chance to meet and learn from seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry and Olympic gold medalist Clyde Drexler.

On the partnership between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi raising basketball’s profile in the UAE

The partnership between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi has already begun to contribute directly to the growth of basketball within the region. Take the Junior NBA Abu Dhabi League, for instance, where more than 450 boys and girls from 30 schools across the emirate participated in its first-ever edition this year — and I have no doubt that we will see participation numbers rising in the future.

Looking to the wider region, this partnership also brings a huge range of activations to the GCC for the first time, including a series of NBA FIT clinics promoting health and wellness, an NBA 2K League Exhibition event at the annual Middle East Film & Comic Con, and interactive fan events featuring former and current NBA players. Such events will only grow interest in the sport of basketball and we look forward to seeing that development continue in the years ahead.

On how the NBA could develop local talent in the UAE and the region

Hosting world-class sporting events ensures elite international players visit and inspire the local population, helping to grow interest and motivate young players to hone their talent and follow their dreams. Through its various high-profile events, Abu Dhabi has helped fuel the popularity of multiple sports throughout the region, including motorsports, golf, football, cricket, tennis, and swimming.

Basketball is firmly on that list. An increasing number of Emirati teams are entering international competitions, and more than 220 players from the Middle East recently joined Basketball Without Borders, a program that develops talent outside of the USA. Commonly known as the NBA Academy, this year’s cohort includes five players from the UAE.

What to expect at NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022

The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 is a first for the region, and undoubtedly a special and incredibly exciting time for basketball fans in the UAE and beyond. The sport of basketball is high-octane, with games speeding by at a breakneck pace, and those attending the games in October can expect non-stop action and thrills. I’m sure the audience’s energy will be electric as they cheer on their favorites.

What will make that time extra special are the accompanying activities and interactive fan events, which will provide unmissable opportunities to meet some of the world’s greatest basketball stars. Appearances by current top NBA players, as well as legends of the sport, will ensure that the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will be an unforgettable experience for basketball fans.

Of course, we hope that fans venture beyond the on-court action and take the time to explore what the emirate has to offer. Visitors can ride the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, soak up the sun on our stunning beaches, take in some culture at Louvre Abu Dhabi, or enjoy alfresco dining experiences at Yas Bay. No matter what they’re looking for, there really is something for every visitor in Abu Dhabi.


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday
Updated 33 min 27 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

RIYADH: Saudi stocks jumped on Wednesday, thanks to strong first-half earnings despite mixed results from the insurance and cement sectors.

TASI the main index added 0.8 percent to 12,646, while the parallel Nomu market lost 2.3 percent to 21,533, as information technology consulting firm Saudi Networkers Services Co. made a weak stock market debut.

Gulf peers advanced in line with the Kingdom's main benchmark index, led by a 1.8 percent jump for the Qatari bourse.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi gained 1.3 and 0.7 percent, respectively, followed by Kuwait and Bahrain. While the Omani index edged 0.1 percent lower.

Elsewhere, Egypt’s EGX30 soared 2.2 percent after the country’s president accepted the resignation of central bank governor Tarek Amer, the presidential office said.

In energy trading, Brent crude traded at $93.7 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate slipped to $88.08 a barrel as of 9:14 a.m. Saudi time on Thursday.

Stock news

Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. reported a higher profit of SR138 million ($37 million) for the first half of 2022, on the back of sales growth

Malath Cooperative Insurance Co. posted a 216 percent higher net loss before Zakat of SR25 million for the first half of 2022

Taiba Investments Co. was back to a profit of SR55 million in the first half of 2022 as hospitality sales rose post the pandemic

Red Sea International Co. secured SR35 million worth of financing from SABB 

CHUBB Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co.'s half-year profit before Zakat declined 54.8 percent to SR3 million

Gulf General Cooperative Insurance Co.’s losses narrowed by 20 percent to SR35 million in the first half of 2022

SABB Takaful issued its board’s circular regarding the offer document for the merger with Walaa Cooperative Insurance Co.

National Gas and Industrialization Co. announced it is studying the feasibility of partnering with UK’s Aburi Composites and Front End Co. to operate a joint composite cylinder factory

Naba Alsaha’s initial public offering for listing on Nomu was concluded with 531 percent coverage

Andalus Property Co. appointed Mashal Ibrahim Abuneef as its acting CEO effective Sep. 1

Tabuk Agricultural Development Co. signed a contract to sell its industrial potatoes to Wafrah for Industry and Development Co. for SR4.3 million

Calendar

August 18, 2022

Rawasi Albina Investment Co. will start trading its shares on Nomu


Kuwait approves measures to ensure transparent elections

Kuwait approves measures to ensure transparent elections
Updated 53 min 56 sec ago

Kuwait approves measures to ensure transparent elections

Kuwait approves measures to ensure transparent elections
  • Cabinet approved adding new precincts to four voting constituencies
  • Resolutions will be forwarded to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for approval

Voters can use their national IDs to cast their ballot in Kuwait’s upcoming parliamentary elections, state news agency (KUNA) reported.  

The resolution was among new law-decrees of necessity adopted during a cabinet meeting that was held at Seif Palace on Wednesday.

Kuwait’s cabinet approved adding new precincts to four voting constituencies “based on geographic proximity and governorate affiliation,” said Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Integrity Enhancement Jamal Al-Jallawi in a statement to KUNA.

“The new measures aim to ensure transparent and legal elections that truly represent the will of the voters,” said Al-Jallawi.

Earlier this month, Kuwait had formally dissolved the parliament, with the Crown Prince Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah calling for early elections.

The cabinet’s recent resolutions will be forwarded to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for approval, KUNA said.