Gulf countries send urgent aid to Pakistan

Gulf countries send urgent aid to Pakistan
The UAE dispatched three planes carrying 33 tonnes of urgent shelter, food, and medical supplies for 13,600 people in Karachi. (Emirates News Agency/WAM)
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Updated 06 September 2022

Gulf countries send urgent aid to Pakistan

Gulf countries send urgent aid to Pakistan
  • Nine more aid flights are expected to depart the UAE this week to deliver aid from international charity organizations

DUBAI: Gulf states have sent urgent aid to those affected by unprecedented flooding in Pakistan, which killed at least 1,314 and affected over 35 million people.

On Monday, the UAE dispatched three planes carrying 33 tonnes of urgent shelter, food, and medical supplies for 13,600 people in Karachi.
Shelter items from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees warehouse located at Dubai’s International Humanitarian City (IHC) were also sent to Pakistan, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
Nine more aid flights are expected to depart the UAE this week, to deliver aid from international charity organizations whose depots are also at IHC, said WAM.
Similarly, Kuwait has launched a 3-day humanitarian initiative in response to Pakistan’s plea for global aid.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs collaborated with 27 local charities to provide urgent relief for thousands of people affected by the ravaging floods, the Kuwait News Agency reported.
“Pakistan is witnessing one of the worst humanitarian disasters. Without urgent access to medical aid, food, water, and shelter, those affected are most exposed to grave risks,” Kuwait’s charities said in a joint statement posted on KUNA.
Earlier, Bahrain also collaborated with Pakistani officials to provide urgent humanitarian relief to “help victims of torrential rains and continuous floods and the high number of wounded and displaced persons,” said Bahrain’s News Agency.


Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister

Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister
Updated 54 min 29 sec ago

Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister

Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister
  • He has also been tasked with nominating members of the new cabinet

KUWAIT: Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah has been reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister under an Emiri order issued on Wednesday, state news agency (KUNA) reported.

He has also been tasked with nominating members of the new cabinet, and has been asked to list their names ‘to issue a decree for their appointment’ said the Emiri order.

‘The prime minister should implement this order and submit it to the National Assembly. It is effective as of now and to be published in the official Gazette’, it added in the official order.


American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran

American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran
Updated 19 min 5 sec ago

American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran

American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran
  • Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF official, was detained in 2016 when he went to Iran to press for the release of his son Siamak
  • The US has been pressing for the release of these two men and two other Americans

DUBAI: An 85-year-old Iranian-American held by Iran over internationally criticized spying charges left the country Wednesday for Oman, officials said, after increasing pressure to free him amid his struggles with poor health. His 50-year-old son, however, remains in Iran.

The release of Baquer Namazi marks the first American to be freed by Iran since President Joe Biden took office, even as talks over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers have stalled. Iran long has used detained Westerners or those with ties abroad as bargaining chips in negotiations.

The state-run IRNA news agency published video of Namazi boarding a Royal Oman air force jet, apparently in Tehran. It said Namazi left the country Wednesday.

Flight-tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press corresponded with Iran’s description, showing a Gulfstream IV flown by Oman leaving Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport just before noon.

Jared Genser, a Washington-based lawyer representing the Namazi family, shared a photo of Namazi on the plane in a suit and tie.

“After a short layover, he will be leaving Oman and heading to Abu Dhabi,” Genser said.

In Abu Dhabi, Namazi will undergo a carotid endarterectomy at the local branch of the Cleveland Clinic to clear out a severe blockage to his left internal carotid artery, Genser said. That blockage put Namazi at high risk of a stroke.

Tehran said late Tuesday that Oman had thanked the Iranian government for “delivering” Namazi to Muscat. Oman and the US did not immediately acknowledge the flight.

Namazi is a former UNICEF official who served as governor of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province under the US-backed shah. He was arrested in 2016, apparently drawn to Iran over fears about his incarcerated son detained in 2015.

Namazi was placed under house arrest for medical reasons in 2018 but prevented from leaving Iran despite his family’s pleas that he travel to receive emergency heart surgery after suffering multiple hospitalizations.

Last October, he underwent surgery in Iran to clear a blockage in an artery to the brain that his family and supporters described as life-threatening.

Security forces arrested his son, Siamak Namazi, an advocate of closer ties between Iran and the West, while he visiting Iran on a business trip.

Both Namazis were sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran on what the US and UN say were trumped-up spying charges.

The UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention dismissed the cases against the two men, saying in 2017 their case is part of “an emerging pattern involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of dual nationals.”

“There is no evidence either Mr. S. Namazi or Mr. B. Namazi had a criminal record, including in relation to national security offenses,” their report read. “There is nothing to indicate that they have ever acted against the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”


Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl
Updated 05 October 2022

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl
  • The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people

TEHRAN: Iran’s judiciary has opened an investigation into the death of a teenage girl, who was reportedly killed during protests over the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since Amini died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly failing to observe the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people — mostly protesters but also members of the security forces.
“A case has been filed in the criminal court to investigate the cause of Nika Shakrami’s death,” Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency late Tuesday.
“An order to investigate the case has been issued and necessary measures are being taken in this regard,” he added.
Earlier, the prosecutor said 400 protesters were released from prison “on condition of not repeating their actions.”
He stressed, however, that those “who acted against national security” will be dealt with “decisively, seriously and without leniency.”


Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings

Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings
Updated 05 October 2022

Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings

Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings
  • First-time parliamentarian enters bank unarmed and demands $8,500 in cash
  • Bank offers a rate of 8,000 pounds to the dollar, an 80 percent cut on the value of her funds

A Lebanese member of parliament entered a branch of Byblos Bank north of Beirut on Wednesday with a group of associates to demand access to her frozen savings to pay for surgery.

Cynthia Zarazir, a first-time parliamentarian who was elected in May to represent Beirut, entered the bank unarmed and demanded $8,500 in cash, she said.

“We’ve spent a few days going back and forth to the bank and bringing my (medical) reports and they don’t answer us. I can’t delay this any more. I came to take my money,” Zarazir said by telephone from the bank.

“Today, I came as a I don’t care what my colleagues in the parliament will think. I see right from wrong,” she said.

 

 

A citizen also opened fire on a Bank of Beirut branch in Jbeil after guards prevented him from getting into the bank without a prior appointment, the Lebanese State Agency reported.

The man reportedly pulled out a machine gun from his car and opened fire on the bank, causing damage to the glass door. Security forces arrested him on the scene for further investigations.

Cases of bank hold-ups and protests have snowballed across Lebanon recently as depositors have grown exasperated over informal capital controls that banks have imposed since an economic downturn began in 2019.

Depositors can only withdraw limited amounts in US dollars or the Lebanese pound, which has lost more than 95 percent of its value since the crisis began.

The bank branch shut down after Zarazir entered and a spokesperson for Byblos Bank at its headquarters was not immediately available for comment.

Zarazir said she had rejected an offer from the bank to withdraw an unlimited amount in Lebanese pounds at a rate of 8,000 pounds to the dollar — which would represent a roughly 80 percent haircut on the value of her funds.

“She has not broken the law in any way. She went into her bank to ask for her money. She didn’t even shut the bank down — the management did that,” said Fouad Debs, her lawyer and a founder of the Depositors’ Union advocacy group.

He accompanied Zarazir and spoke to Reuters from the bank, saying the sit-in would continue until the lawmaker had access to her funds.

Tuesday saw four hold-ups across Lebanon, two of them involving armed men demanding their deposits.

Another incident took place on Monday.

Separately, an unidentified assailant fired shots at a Beirut Bank branch in the northern town of Byblos on Wednesday, a security source said.

There were no injuries and the assailant fled, the source said.

Lebanon’s banking association has expressed outrage over the hold-ups. A similar surge last month prompted banks to close for about a week.


Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents

Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents
Updated 05 October 2022

Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents

Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents

DUBAI: The newest Hindu temple in Dubai opened its doors to worshippers on Tuesday following an official ceremony. 
The new Hindu House of Worship officially welcomed worshippers for the first time following its inaugural by the UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence. 
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan inaugurated the temple by lighting a lantern in the temple’s multi-purpose hall on the ground floor, Al-Khaleej Times reported. 

People visit the newly inaugurated Hindu Temple in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 4, 2022. (Reuters)


The new temple in Jebel Ali is the latest addition to what is locally known as “village of worship” which already houses nine religious shrines, including seven churches, the Guru Nanak Darbar and Sikh Gurudwara. 
The ceremony was also attended by the Indian ambassador to UAE and over 200 dignitaries, including officials, faith leaders, and members of the Indian community in UAE.