Oman authorities seize 3,000 bottles of alcoholic drinks 

Oman authorities seize 3,000 bottles of alcoholic drinks 
One person, a truck driver, was arrested for possessing large quantities of the alcohol. (Photo: Oman Customs)
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Updated 22 August 2022

Oman authorities seize 3,000 bottles of alcoholic drinks 

Oman authorities seize 3,000 bottles of alcoholic drinks 

DUBAI:  More than 3,000 bottles of alcohol were seized by authorities in Oman who raided a site in Muscat Governorate where large quantities of alcohol were found, a report by the Times of Oman said. 

One person, a truck driver, was arrested for possessing large quantities of the alcohol.
“The Investigation and Risk Assessment Department arrested a truck driver in possession of large quantities of alcoholic beverages and raided a site in the Wilayat of Muttrah and seized more than 3,000 bottles of alcohol,” Oman Customs said in a statement. 
In another incident, Omani police also arrested an expat for possessing 20 kg of narcotics in North Al Batinah Governorate.
The Royal Oman Police said in a statement: “The North Al Batinah Governorate Police Command managed to arrest an infiltrator of Asian nationality on charges of smuggling and possessing narcotic substances, and seized 20 kgs of crystal drug in his possession, and the legal procedures are being completed.”


Lebanese troops called in to halt drug turf war

Lebanese troops called in to halt drug turf war
Updated 57 min 35 sec ago

Lebanese troops called in to halt drug turf war

Lebanese troops called in to halt drug turf war
  • Lebanese troops were forced to step in to end the fighting in an area adjoining the Burj Al-Barajneh camp for Palestinian refugees
  • Clashes initially broke out when Hassan Jaafar, an alleged Syrian drug dealer with a Lebanese mother, began arguing with members of a rival family

BEIRUT: Rival drug-dealing families using machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades brought mayhem to the streets of a southern Beirut neighborhood during a series of violent clashes on Tuesday.

Lebanese troops were forced to step in to end the fighting in an area adjoining the Burj Al-Barajneh camp for Palestinian refugees after members of the two families became embroiled in a dispute over drug trafficking.

Clashes initially broke out late on Monday when Hassan Jaafar, an alleged Syrian drug dealer with a Lebanese mother, began arguing with members of a rival family living in the same area, known as the Baalbekien neighborhood.

Samir Abu Afash, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah movement in Beirut, told Arab News that Jaafar started “shooting randomly in the direction of the camp” due to a dispute with other gunmen.

“We feared that something was planned against the camp,” he said.

Abu Afash said that the PLO has pledged not to interfere in Lebanese affairs, or involve refugee camps in any disputes between the Palestinians and the Lebanese.

“So we contacted the Lebanese army and Hezbollah to stop the clashes. But the fights continued throughout the night and intermittently until the army intervened in the morning and entered the haven Jaafar had formed years ago for his gang and arrested two people. Jaafar remains at large.”

He added: “Hezbollah and the Amal Movement have repeatedly stressed that they do not provide cover for Jaafar, and when they do intervene, he usually lays low for a while. Jaafar was able to make a name for himself in the area and managed to bring in prohibited materials into the camp, including building materials for example, along with drugs.”

The army is believed to have seized stolen items, including motorcycles, during the raid.

Burj Al-Barajneh camp is home to over 35,000 Palestinian refugees, as well as some Syrians and Palestinians who fled from Syria.

Lebanese security forces are combating drug dealers in neighborhoods adjacent to the camp. According to a security source, dealers and distributors encourage people from the site to sell their drugs.

Havens for drug dealers and fugitives are common in various Lebanese regions, especially in Hezbollah areas in the southern suburbs of Beirut and in northern Bekaa, although the party claims to have nothing to do with them.

The problem appears to have worsened in recent months, with drug dealers even threatening the security services.

Lt. Col. Ibrahim Rashid, head of the regional anti-narcotics office in Tripoli, said that statistics showed an increase in the numbers of drug addicts and dealers since 2016.

The problem is placing greater strain on Lebanon’s security and judicial systems, he said.

“Drug users pose a threat to the lives of others, as well as to the security of society in their pursuit of theft, fraud, criminality and aggression,” he added.

Lebanon North investigative judge Samaranda Nassar told a recent seminar on Lebanon’s drug problem that rising rates of addiction are leading to an increase in thefts and murders around the country.

“We are confronting new types of drugs intended for young ages and adolescents, as well as digital drugs that are no less dangerous than traditional drugs in their effect on confusing the human brain,” she said.

“Stricter penalties need to be imposed on drug dealers. I am determined to take appropriate decisions and punish criminals.”


Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit

Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit
Updated 29 November 2022

Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit

Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit
  • Edro Khider, a disabled woman, was carried by her son to the Bank Audi branch
  • The elderly woman’s son, told Arab News: “My elderly mother and father need the equivalent of $1,000 per month for medicines and medical examinations”

BEIRUT: How ordinary Lebanese are suffering during the country’s financial crisis came under the spotlight on Tuesday when a 90-year-old woman staged a sit-in at a Beirut bank, demanding her deposit that is frozen for three years.
Edro Khider, a disabled woman, was carried by her son to the Bank Audi branch in the Salim Salam neighborhood in Beirut. When the bank’s management refused to release the $20,000 deposit, the woman decided to stage a sit-in inside the bank.
Bank holdups by depositors decreased during the current month, after they intensified during October, and included retired security men, a parliament MP, and businessmen.
Hussein Khider, the elderly woman’s son, told Arab News: “We are in the bank and will not leave until we get the deposit. My elderly mother and father need the equivalent of $1,000 per month for medicines and medical examinations, and we can no longer afford them. We, the four children, can no longer afford this exorbitant amount.”
Khider said his mother has been sick for five years, and during this period “we did not demand the deposit, and we did not sign any agreement with the bank to obtain it according to the decisions that authorize it to be paid in installments, but now we are no longer able to cover the cost of medical treatment.
“My mother saved the amount over the years from the money we gave her. She saved $100-200 each time and put them in the bank for the rainy day. The day has come, and they are not allowing her to get the deposit.”
He said his father, also in his 90s, needed open-heart surgery, and he has a financial deposit in the bank, but the bank refused to release, and now he lives on medicines that prolong his life to a minimum.”
Khider said: “The security forces surround the bank, but they are not interested in what happens inside the bank. The bank’s management informed me that it is ready to release the deposit according to Resolution 158, which means that it will give us $4,000. The bank manager said that he will give us an additional gift of $2,000. We refused; we want the full amount. Is he giving it to me from his pocket? It’s my mother’s money.”
He described the negotiations with the bank’s management as “procrastination, and no one is interested in a solution. There is an incomprehensible indifference.”
Musa Ghazi, the media official of the Depositors Outcry Association, which is following up on the case of Khider and his mother, told Arab News that “more tragic cases will be witnessed by banks in the coming days.”
Bank holdups by depositors came as a result of the failure of the political authority to resolve the issue.
Lebanese banks accuse the political authority of having withdrawn from banks, through the central bank, $62.670 trillion of deposits and wasting money on subsidies, fixing the exchange rate, high interests, electricity, the state’s import needs, and others.
The Association of Banks says that “the public sector has squandered the funds of the private sector. The state and its institutions have squandered the funds of depositors and the capital of bank shareholders.
“The most dangerous thing that the public sector has done is that it has placed the responsibility of solving its problems on the private sector and reached into its savings. Today, the state distances itself and establishes itself as arbiter between depositors and banks.”
Depositors accuse the banks of smuggling their money and the money of politicians abroad, and that the banks and the state are both accused of looting people’s deposits.


Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation

Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation
Updated 29 November 2022

Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation

Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation
  • Nancy Namrouqa lauds EU’s contribution and support to development projects in Jordan

AMMAN: Jordan’s state minister for legal affairs, Nancy Namrouqa, has reaffirmed the significance of continuing and advancing cooperation with the EU in various fields.
After receiving the EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou on Tuesday, Namrouqa spoke about the government’s endeavors to conduct the three political, economic, and administrative modernization paths, described by King Abdullah as “state projects.”
The minister lauded the EU’s contribution to and support for development projects in Jordan, reported Jordan’s News Agency.
Hadjitheodosiou expressed her appreciation for the EU-Jordan partnership and praised Amman’s efforts to achieve its three modernization tracks and enhance the investment environment.


Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank

Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank
Updated 29 November 2022

Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank

Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank
  • Jawad Abd Al-Rahman Rimawi, 22,  was shot dead in Kufr Ein, near Ramallah; his brother, Thafer, 21, was shot and critically injured, and later died
  • Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian prime minister, said that the deaths of the two brothers was a “heinous crime”

RAMALLAH: Four Palestinians, including two brothers, were killed and 21 injured in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

Mufid Mahmoud Ekhlil, 44, was shot dead in the town of Beit Ummar, northern Hebron.

Nine Palestinians were injured by bullets during the confrontations and taken to nearby hospitals, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

The Israel Defense Forces said that “rioters” attacked soldiers with rocks and explosive devices after two IDF vehicles got stuck during an operational patrol near Beit Ummar.

It added: “The rioters also shot at the soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire.”

Jawad Abd Al-Rahman Rimawi, 22,  was shot dead in Kufr Ein, near Ramallah. His brother, Thafer, 21, was shot and critically injured, and later died.

Rani Abu Ali, 45, from Betunia, west of Ramallah, was killed following a car accident involving a 20-year-old Israeli soldier, who was wounded.

The latest bloodshed took place amid a mounting surge of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the wake of a Jerusalem bombing last week that killed two Israelis.

A general strike in Ramallah and some surrounding towns was called to mourn the deaths of the two brothers.

Ghassan Al-Khatib, a Palestinian political analyst and vice president of Birzeit University, told Arab News that there is a clear indication of an Israeli policy of escalation.

He added that he believes the soldiers’ incursions into Palestinian cities and villages will increase in the light of the ultra right-wing Israeli government being formed under Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.

He said: “We are facing a revolt and an escalation of violence because a popular Palestinian reaction will meet every attack of the Israeli army.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian presidential spokesperson, said the Israeli government “bears full responsibility for these crimes and must be held accountable for them,” noting that successive right-wing governments have declared daily war on the Palestinian people.

He added: “The American administration also bears a great responsibility for the occupation and authorities’ continuous crimes against our people, as it is the only sponsor of the occupying state in the world, in arms and financing and at international forums.

Abu Rudeineh said the US administration needed to take action to deter Israel from carrying out crimes that destabilized the region.

Some 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of this year, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian prime minister, said that the deaths of the two brothers was a “heinous crime.”

He added: “With the continued declaration of war on our people, and the new Israeli government, we call on the world’s countries to intervene urgently to stop the Israeli killing machine and to hold the perpetrators accountable.”

Hundreds of Palestinians attended the funerals of the victims in Ramallah and Hebron, and chanted slogans condemning the crimes of the Israeli occupation, and calling for their cessation.

Hussein Al-Sheikh, from the Palestine Liberation Organization, tweeted that the deaths of the brothers was an “awful crime committed by the occupation forces.” He added that execution in cold blood is “fascist behavior.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: “The Israeli occupation is trying desperately to stop the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people, through killings and assassinations, but this blood will be fuel for our people’s revolution and continuous uprising.”

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, outgoing Israeli defense minister, said he had approved the construction of 10,000 units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that settlements, especially in the Jordan Valley, must be strengthened.

In addition, Yair Lapid, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, has sent more than 50 world leaders a letter calling on them to exert their influence on the Palestinian Authority to prevent the General Assembly vote on an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This resolution is the outcome of a concerted effort to single out Israel, to discredit our legitimate security concerns, and to delegitimize our very existence,” Lapid said in the letter.


IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match

IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match
Updated 29 November 2022

IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match

IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match
  • Players warned their relatives face arrest, torture if they do not back regime in final group game
  • Source tells CNN IRGC has flooded Qatar with operatives, officials to monitor players

LONDON: Iran’s footballers at the World Cup in Qatar have been warned that their families could be imprisoned and tortured if they show any signs of protest or dissent during the team’s final group game on Tuesday.

In their opening game against England, the Iranian players refused to sing the national anthem in a show of solidarity with protests across the country, but did participate during the second game against Wales.

A source told CNN, ahead of the match against the US, that the players had been informed in a meeting with members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that “violence and torture” awaited their relatives if they did not “behave” this time.

It marked a severe change in tone, the source added, as prior to the World Cup the team had been promised lavish gifts if they performed well at the tournament.

Coach Carlos Queiroz also had a separate meeting with IRGC officials, but it is not known what was discussed.

Queiroz had previously said his players could protest as long as it met with criteria established by FIFA.

The source said “dozens” of IRGC members are in Qatar to monitor the players, who are not allowed to meet with or talk to foreigners for the duration of the competition.

“There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players,” the source told CNN.

“In the last game against Wales, the regime sent over hundreds of these actor supporters in order to create a false sense of support and favor amongst the fans.

“For the next game against the US, the regime is planning to significantly increase the number of actors into the thousands.”

Protests have engulfed Iran since September following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini at the hands of the country’s morality police, for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly. Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands arrested, with many facing execution.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called the situation a “full-fledged human rights crisis.”

Thousands of Iranian fans have taken their protests to World Cup venues, holding anti-regime banners, calling for women’s rights to be protected, and booing the national anthem.