Taliban fire into air to disperse women’s rally backing Iran protests

Taliban fire into air to disperse women’s rally backing Iran protests
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Taliban forces fired shots into the air on Thursday to disperse a women’s rally supporting protests that have erupted in Iran. (AFP)
Taliban fire into air to disperse women’s rally backing Iran protests
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Taliban forces fired shots into the air on Thursday to disperse a women’s rally supporting protests that have erupted in Iran. (AFP)
Taliban fire into air to disperse women’s rally backing Iran protests
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Taliban forces fired shots into the air on Thursday to disperse a women’s rally supporting protests that have erupted in Iran. (AFP)
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Updated 30 September 2022

Taliban fire into air to disperse women’s rally backing Iran protests

Taliban fire into air to disperse women’s rally backing Iran protests

KABUL:  Taliban forces fired shots into the air on Thursday to disperse a women’s rally supporting protests in Iran over the death of a woman in the custody of morality police.
Deadly protests have erupted in neighboring Iran for the past two weeks, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while detained by the Islamic republic’s morality police.
Chanting the same “Women, life, freedom” mantra used in Iran, about 25 Afghan women protested in front of Kabul’s Iranian embassy before being dispersed by Taliban forces firing in the air, an AFP correspondent reported.
Women protesters carried banners that read: “Iran has risen, now it’s our turn!” and “From Kabul to Iran, say no to dictatorship!“
Taliban forces swiftly snatched the banners and tore them in front of the protesters.
Defiant Afghan women’s rights activists have staged sporadic protests in Kabul and some other cities since the Taliban stormed back to power last August.
The protests, banned by the Taliban, contravene a slew of harsh restrictions imposed by the hard-line extremists on Afghan women.
The Taliban have forcefully dispersed women’s rallies in the past, warned journalists against covering them and detained activists helming organization efforts.
An organizer of Thursday’s protest, speaking anonymously, told AFP it was staged “to show our support and solidarity with the people of Iran and the women victims of the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
Since returning to power, the Taliban have banned secondary school education for girls and barred women from many government jobs.
Women have also been ordered to fully cover themselves in public, preferably with the all-encompassing burqa.
So far the Taliban have dismissed international calls to remove the curbs on women, especially the ban on secondary school education.
On Tuesday, a United Nations report denounced the “severe restrictions” and called for them to be reversed.
The international community has insisted that lifting controls on women’s rights is a key condition for recognizing the Taliban government, which no country has so far done.


REVIEW: Fatih Akin’s ‘Rheingold’ raises Red Sea pulse rates

REVIEW: Fatih Akin’s ‘Rheingold’ raises Red Sea pulse rates
Updated 4 min 11 sec ago

REVIEW: Fatih Akin’s ‘Rheingold’ raises Red Sea pulse rates

REVIEW: Fatih Akin’s ‘Rheingold’ raises Red Sea pulse rates

JEDDAH: Fatih Akin, the renowned German director of Turkish descent, has made dramatic cinema his calling card with films like “Head-On,” “The Edge of Heaven” and “In the Fade,” and his Red Sea offering “Rheingold” is just as exhilarating.

First premiered at the Venice Film Festival and based on events in German rapper Xatar’s 2015 autobiography “All or Nothing,” Akin's movie begins on a gruesome note.

The first 20 minutes are intense with Xatar (Giwar Hajabi), played by Emilio Sakraya, being brutalized in a Syrian prison in 2010 by fellow inmates, who want to know where stolen gold is hidden.

This takes Xatar back to childhood memories of his composer father Eghbal (Kardo Razzazi) being jailed at the beginning of the Iranian revolution in 1979.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fatih Akin (@fatih_bombero)

We are then swiftly taken through the terrifying Khomeini regime, the father’s plight and the spirit of his mother Rasal (Mona Prizad) who, following Xatar’s birth, declares: “Your name will be Giwar, born of suffering.”

“Rheingold” then takes us to Paris in 1986, and to Bonn where Xatar’s refugee family struggles to make a life out of misfortune.

The father abandons his family, leaving Xatar to assume a mountain of responsibility. He wanders into petty crime and drug dealing which results in him spending time at a Cologne juvenile detention center.

The man who emerges hits a reckless path to give his earlier tormentors a hard time.

In Amsterdam he sells drugs and falls in love with his old neighbor Shirin (Sogol Faghani). If she and his supportive mother are constants in his life, there is one more: his love for music, inherited from his father.

Xatar’s resolve to start his own label, and his desperate attempts to finance it, land him in a Syrian prison, and it is only after eight years that he walks out a reformed man.

Akin uses his trademark style of snappy montages, slow motion and freeze-frames to take us on a whirlwind trip through Xatar’s life.

He never lets go of his swagger, even in his darkest moments, steering us through 140 minutes of a strange yet riveting narrative.
 


Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute
Updated 4 min 31 sec ago

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian think tank King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s Economics & Technology Research Institute to exchange information around energy, economics, and climate change

Under the terms of the MoU, both entities will work hand in hand in order to allow for the exchange of research and the generation of actionable insights.

Some of the fields of common interest which will be prioritized topics of research include energy, economics, climate change, sustainability, transition, productivity, hydrogen, carbon capture, among others.

The MoU falls in line with KAPSARC’s mission to utilize applied research and innovation to drive and propel the global energy sector, while the Chinese organization is affiliated with oil and gas firm China National Petroleum Corporation.

“We see a lot of common interest and alignment between China’s and Saudi Arabia's position when it comes to energy and climate. We both understand and reiterate the idea of common but differentiated responsibility when it comes to climate change,” KAPSARC’s president Fahad Alajlan said in a statement.

Through joint workshops, the exchange of ideas and insights between experts, and the creation of platforms that facilitate global cooperation and knowledge exchange, both institutions will work together on deliver research.

“As important energy producers and consumers in the world, China and Saudi Arabia play an important role in maintaining the stability of the international energy market, addressing climate change, and promoting the realization of energy green transformation goals,” added CNPC ETRI’s president Yu Guo.


Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell
Updated 20 min 16 sec ago

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

RIYADH: The Tadawul All Share Index collapsed on Wednesday, losing 259.13 points — or 2.48 percent — to close at 10,185.14 points. The last time the index witnessed this level was on April 26, 2021, when the market ended at 10,231.  

The advance-decline ratio took a huge hit, with 158 stocks of the listed 219 dropped while 42 gained. The total trading turnover was SR3.68 billion ($980 million) compared to Tuesday’s SR4.96 billion. 

TASI’s steep fall was driven by the banking index, which fell 448.45 points or 3.88 percent to 11,123.58. While Al Rajhi Bank tumbled 4.88 percent to close at SR74, Riyad Bank shed 4.7 percent to SR30.40. Arab National Bank slumped 4.08 percent to SR30.55. 

The other indices that boarded the southbound bandwagon were MSCI Tadawul 30 Index, which fell by 2.99 percent, Diversified Financials by 2.77 percent, Healthcare Equipment and Services by 2.72 percent and Materials by 2.42 percent.  

According to market sources, the dampened spirit among investors could be attributed to the fear of a global economic downturn. The hunch that the US Federal Reserve could increase interest rates further, following positive US services industry data released on Monday, upset the apple cart. 

The trend is contagious as Saudi Arabia, like most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, has its currency pegged to the US dollar. Therefore, any policy move of the Fed has a direct impact on the regional markets. 

The Qatari index QE General slumped 154.24 points to close at 11,463.07, while the Abu Dhabi index FTSE ADX General declined 71.61 points to end at 10,336.34.  

Back to Tadawul, the top loser of Wednesday was Tourism Enterprise Co., which slid 5.3 percent to close at SR22.90, while the top gainer was Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co. It rose 9.61 percent to end at SR16.66. 

On a positive note, on Wednesday, Scientific & Medical Equipment House Co. bagged a medical operation project tender in the medical centers affiliated with the General Department of Medical Services at a total value of SR8.71 million.  

The project will be implemented in 14 months in four affiliated medical centers across Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif and Al-Muzahimiyah. 


Filipino volunteers join Saudi ‘green’ initiative

Filipino volunteers join Saudi ‘green’ initiative
Updated 21 min 26 sec ago

Filipino volunteers join Saudi ‘green’ initiative

Filipino volunteers join Saudi ‘green’ initiative
  • Officials from the embassy and NCVC gathered for a jointly organized tree-planting event on Dec. 3 in the Saad National Park
  • The event was also intended to mark International Volunteer Day

RIYADH: As part of the Philippines Embassy’s initiative to celebrate the 53rd diplomatic anniversary with Saudi Arabia, the embassy recently took part in the “Let’s Make it Green” afforestation initiative being implemented by the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification across the Kingdom.
Officials from the embassy and NCVC gathered for a jointly organized tree-planting event on Dec. 3 in the Saad National Park, 100 km east of Riyadh.
The event was also intended to mark International Volunteer Day, which takes place annually on Dec. 5. This year’s theme is “Solidarity through volunteering.” According to the website of the UN Volunteers program, which coordinates IVD, the campaign “highlights the power of our collective humanity to drive positive change through volunteerism.”
Rommel Romato, charge d’affaires at the embassy, said: “The Filipino’s sense of volunteerism and commitment to environmental sustainability transcend our borders. Our dynamic Filipino community in Saudi Arabia fully supports the Saudi Green Initiative programs by undertaking clean-up drives and tree planting activities, among others.”
Amal Al-Daej, international relations and strategic partnership adviser of the NCVC, said: “The government of Saudi Arabia has decided to overcome environmental and ecological limitations through different initiatives. The most prominent among them is the Saudi Green Initiative which was launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2021. It aims to plant 450 million trees by 2030 — with a long-term target of 10 billion trees.
“This initiative foresees that afforestation and land-restoration measures will increase the Kingdom’s forestry sink to over 200 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030. Besides that, it is envisaged that the protected areas shall be increased to 30 percent of the total land area of Saudi Arabia by 2030.
Similar climate initiatives are also planned under the Middle East Green Initiative at the regional level, Al-Daej added.
She said: “Obviously it is difficult to draw comparisons between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia regarding the management of natural resources since it is a tropical country. Almost 90 percent of the total 25 percent forest cover of the Philippines is planted. We may learn from the plantation activities in mangrove forests in the Philippines, and also about nursery techniques for raising tree seedlings.
“The measures being taken by the Philippines to control the sharp rate of decline in forest cover over the past few decades would also be useful for us. Similarly, knowledge sharing may also be possible in regard to the management of protected areas.
“We very much appreciate the efforts being made by the volunteers from the Philippines. Indeed, the message to improve green cover through this event will help to encourage others to join in our efforts for greening Saudi Arabia,” Al-Daej added.


Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame

Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame
Updated 36 min 17 sec ago

Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame

Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot talks inspiration, creativity and fame
  • Childhood in ‘beautiful’ Kenya shaped his vision
  • Key to artistry is facing fear, he says at Red Sea festival

JEDDAH: Legendary French animator Michel Ocelot says the key to becoming an accomplished artist is to continue to face one’s fears of failing and never giving up.
Ocelot, 79, offered this advice to fellow creatives on the sidelines of the Red Sea International Film Festival currently underway. He was speaking during one of the “In Conversation” sessions at the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah on Dec. 6.
The Frenchman is a writer, designer, storyboard artist, and director of an array of acclaimed animated feature films. He is mostly recognized for “Kirikou et la Sorciere” released in 1998 which means “Kirikou and the Witch,” and also his remarkable animation “Azur and Asmar: The Princes’ Quest” released in 2006.
“Kirikou et la Sorciere” marked the rebirth of French animation in the cinema and it was a striking start to the passionate Ocelot’s artistic career. “I know what I want, I’m doing it and I love it,” he said.
The artwork for “Kirikou et la Sorciere” was completely handmade and drawn. After struggling “hard” as an artist he suddenly found international success.
He said he had produced the work with “not much money” and without the backing or support of a company or a board of directors. He had succeeded in creating a compelling fictional world from very few resources.
Ocelot’s brilliant work is an inspiration for generations of experts and emerging animation artists. “Kids who were kids at the time (and are) now adults … come to me and thank me. And sometimes they cry. So, I’m lucky.”
Despite his success, Ocelot’s start was challenging. “It was hard to find my way because when I started animation didn’t really exist.” He said there were no schools, and he did not have resources to pay for cameras or editing. “So, I lost quite some time. I learned by myself.”
“I think I started at the year of 1 or 2, I took a pencil and I drew and I never stopped. And then I was a happy child and I was always active. And I think I prepared myself for my job from my infancy. And I would draw in paint and cut (it out) and get into a disguise and decorate the house for the festivals, and make a little gift with a nice package. And that’s my vision today.”
His artistic sensibility was influenced by his formative years growing up in Kenya where he was inspired by the country’s “beautiful and benevolent people.”
“I remember the beauty of the people and the dresses of (the) women on festival days … True elegance, happy elegance, and the details within which made my infancy in the world of animation special.”
Ocelot eventually became president of the International Animated Film Association, a position which allowed him to showcase his understanding and affinity to different cultures, and to reflect his passion for Africa.
“So that’s always been a great part of my life. Being aware of different worlds and being at ease with them and being at ease with such different parts of the world. I can put myself in the place of other people easily, and I know the relatability of things.”
Ocelot said artists must overcome their fears and try to be as original as possible. “Give everything you have. Try not to listen to bad advice. Sometimes you get good advice, but it’s better not to follow them. Don’t be afraid to start.”
His new animated feature film that was released earlier this year, “The Black Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess,” was screened for the audience after the session.