Morocco’s appeals court sentences 12 more migrants

Migrants from Morocco walk along the shore escorted by Spanish Police after arriving at the coast of the Canary Island, crossing the Atlantic Ocean sailing on a wooden boat on Oct.20, 2020. (AP)
Migrants from Morocco walk along the shore escorted by Spanish Police after arriving at the coast of the Canary Island, crossing the Atlantic Ocean sailing on a wooden boat on Oct.20, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 25 September 2022

Morocco’s appeals court sentences 12 more migrants

Morocco’s appeals court sentences 12 more migrants
  • The AMDH human rights group said the 12 migrants would be jailed for three years without parole after being prosecuted for “illegal entry onto Moroccan soil” and “violence against law enforcement officers”

RABAT: A Moroccan appeals court has sentenced 12 Sudanese migrants to three years in jail over violence in the run-up to a June 24 border tragedy in which two dozen migrants died, a rights group said.
Around 2,000 people, many of them Sudanese, stormed the frontier on June 24 in an attempt to reach Spanish territory across one of the EU’s two land borders with Africa.
Rights groups have accused both Moroccan and Spanish security forces of responding with excessive force, leaving at least 23 migrants dead, the worst toll in years of such attempted crossings.
The AMDH human rights group said the 12 migrants would be jailed for three years without parole after being prosecuted for “illegal entry onto Moroccan soil” and “violence against law enforcement officers.”
“It’s a very harsh and unexpected sentence, given that they had initially been sentenced to 11 months in prison,” said Omar Naji of AMDH in the border town of Nador.
The June 24 tragedy followed days of clashes between Moroccan security forces in a forest near Melilla where migrants often spend months living rough before attempting to cross the heavily fortified barrier.
Naji said the 12 had been arrested in one of the clashes, six days before the border incident.
Since the tragedy, Morocco has sentenced dozens of migrants to prison terms of up to two and a half years on charges including illegal entry and belonging to criminal gangs.
The Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta have long been a magnet for people fleeing violence and poverty across Africa to seek refuge in Europe.


UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens
Updated 18 sec ago

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens
  • The third housing package of 2022 coincided with the UAE’s 51st National Day celebrations
  • UAE president earlier waived off over $146 million of debts for 1,214 Emirati citizens

DUBAI: UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has ordered disbursement of housing loans worth $817 million for 1,900 Abu Dhabi citizens.

The third housing package of 2022 coincided with the UAE’s 51st National Day celebrations, marked on Dec.2, bringing the total value of housing support this year to almost $2 billion that benefitted over 4,000 citizens.

“It reflects the leadership’s commitment to ensuring social stability, enhancing living standards and enabling citizens to raise strong and stable families that will benefit the future of the UAE,” said a statement on Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The package includes housing loans, and the exemption of the retired and families of deceased borrowers in Abu Dhabi from loan repayments.

Ahead of the National Day, the UAE president earlier waived off over $146 million of debts for 1,214 Emirati citizens.

The Non-performing Debt Relief Fund said it would settle money owed by Emiratis in 17 banks, WAM earlier reported.


OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause

OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause
Updated 39 min 40 sec ago

OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause

OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the UN General Assembly’s adoption of five crucial resolutions on Palestine and the Middle East, including a text that calls on Israel to cease all actions aimed at ‘altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.‘
The Assembly adopted resolutions related to the mandate and work of the Committee on the “Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division of Palestinian Rights in the United Nations Secretariat,” the media program on the Palestinian cause and the basic principles of a “peaceful solution” to the Palestinian cause.
It also adopted a resolution to commemorate Nakba Day, when Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948 following the foundation of Israel.
The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said, during the debate that Israeli exceptionalism has only emboldened Israel’s worst instincts, a UN Assembly noted.
“Today the Assembly will finally acknowledge the historical injustice that befell the Palestinian people, adopting a resolution that decides to commemorate in the Assembly Hall the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba,” it added.
The OIC praised the positions of the countries that contributed to sponsoring and supporting these resolutions, affirming their commitment to international law and in line with their historical positions based on the principles of truth, justice and peace, state news agency SPA meanwhile reported.


Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears

Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears
Updated 02 December 2022

Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears

Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears

CAIRO: The fourth Arab Water Conference titled “Arab Water Security for Life, Development and Peace,” organized by Palestine, the Arab League and the Arab Water Experts Network in Cairo, kicked off on Nov. 30.

The two-day conference was held under the auspices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with the participation of ministers of water resources as well as delegations from Arab countries and concerned regional organizations.

The conference on Wednesday and Thursday included working sessions and presentations of scientific papers dealing with issues related to water scarcity, drought and climate change.

Among the topics addressed were challenges posed by water scarcity and solutions to these, water demand and drought management, climate change, shared water resources and water diplomacy.

The conference also covered water desalination technology, the management of groundwater resources, the financing of and investment in the water sector, and challenges related to water in the Arab region.

Abbas, in a speech delivered on his behalf by Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, stressed that resolving the issue of water shortage in the Arab world requires developing a unified and comprehensive strategy that defends the right to water in the face of occupation, exploitation, or encroachment. It also entails the development of plans to confront water and food deficits due to existing challenges.

Abbas said: “Arab water security poses a major challenge to nearly 453 million Arab citizens, and it is an issue that captures the attention of Arab countries, as represented by the Arab League’s decision to establish the Council of Arab Water Ministers.”

He added that the transnational waters of the Arab world are a matter of security.

“We stand with our brothers in Egypt and Sudan in their demands on everything related to the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and in ensuring that their water, agricultural or energy-related security is not compromised,” Abbas said.

He called for reaching a binding legal agreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, in line with the statement issued by the UN Security Council in September 2021, in a manner that perpetuates cooperation and consolidates common interests among the peoples of the region.

He also called for joint Arab cooperation to find alternative sources of water for major projects that benefit everyone in light of the severe water shortage in Arab countries.

Hani Sweilem, Egyptian minister of water resources and irrigation, affirmed that the water issue in Egypt is one of the most important pillars of Egyptian national security and a major axis in achieving sustainable development. 

He said Egypt is one of the driest countries in the world, as rainfall in the country is estimated to be 1.3 billion cubic meters annually.

He said 97 percent of Egypt’s water depends on the Nile, which comes from outside its borders.

Over the years, the per capita share of water in Egypt decreased to about 560 cubic meters annually, compared to the global water poverty line, which determines the per capita share at 1,000 cubic meters annually, Sweilem said.


Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II

Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II
Updated 02 December 2022

Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II

Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II

CAIRO: The Egyptian and Greek air forces carried out the joint air exercise MENA-II with the participation of multirole combat aircraft.

The exercise comes within the framework of supporting and strengthening military cooperation relations with friendly and brotherly countries, said Egyptian military spokesman Gharib Abdel-Hafez.

The training included the implementation of a number of theoretical lectures to unify concepts, refine skills, and coordinate the management of joint operations in various methods of modern air combat.

Multirole fighters from both sides carried out joint sorties to train in attacking hostile targets and defending vital assets efficiently.

The training showed the extent to which the participating personnel have reached a high level of professionalism in carrying out all tasks, Abdel-Hafez said. 

The training “reflects the extent to which the air forces of both countries possess advanced human and technical capabilities that qualify them for joint action under various circumstances,” he added.

According to the Egyptian military, the training is an extension of a series of joint exercises being conducted in light of the Egyptian and Greek armed forces’ growing partnership and military cooperation in a variety of fields.

The MEDUSA-12 drills lasted several days in the Mediterranean Sea last month, and forces from Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, and the US took part.

Observers from the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Germany, France, Romania, Congo, and Morocco were also present.

In August, Egyptian and Greek naval forces engaged in a joint exercise in the Mediterranean, within the range of the Egyptian Northern Fleet.

According to the Egyptian military, the drills contributed to exchanging joint experiences with Greek naval forces, and helped both sides achieve common aims and maintain maritime security and stability in the region.


Tunisia’s spicy harissa gets UNESCO heritage status

Tunisia’s spicy harissa gets UNESCO heritage status
Updated 02 December 2022

Tunisia’s spicy harissa gets UNESCO heritage status

Tunisia’s spicy harissa gets UNESCO heritage status
  • Harissa is a paste made with sun-dried hot peppers, freshly prepared spices and olive oil

TUNIS: UNESCO has added Tunisia’s spicy national condiment harissa to its list of intangible cultural heritage, saying it was part of the North African country’s identity.

The UN’s cultural agency is meeting in Morocco to examine proposals for its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which aims to protect cultural traditions, practices and knowledge.

“Just inscribed on the #IntangibleHeritage List: Harissa, knowledge, skills and culinary and social practices,” it tweeted on Thursday.

Harissa is a paste made with sun-dried hot peppers, freshly prepared spices and olive oil, which preserves it and slightly reduces its spiciness. 

It is found in almost every restaurant in Tunisia and also exported worldwide.

Tunisia’s application for the status notes that harissa is “an integral part of domestic provisions and the daily culinary and food traditions of Tunisian society,” usually prepared in a family or community setting.

“Harissa is used as a condiment, an ingredient, and even a dish in its own right, and is well-known throughout Tunisia, where it is consumed and produced, particularly in the regions where chilli peppers are grown,” it said.

“It is perceived as an identifying element of national culinary heritage, and a factor of social cohesion.”

The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage aims to safeguard and raise awareness about the “intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned.”

UNESCO stresses that the list honors traditions, practices and knowledge and all such forms of culture that are “human treasures” that must be protected.

On Wednesday, the organization also recognized French baguettes, adding them to more than 530 items on the list.