Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup

Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup
Morocco's coach Walid Regragui attends a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha. AFP
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Updated 05 December 2022

Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup

Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup
  • Morocco coach Walid Regragui has urged his team to believe they can defeat powerhouse Spain as they attempt to reach a first World Cup quarter-final
  • “If we’re able to send Spain packing I think this will be a wonderful surprise not only for us but for our country,” said Regragui

DOHA: Morocco coach Walid Regragui has urged his team to believe they can defeat powerhouse Spain as they attempt to reach a first World Cup quarter-final.
The north African side are in the last 16 for only the second time after advancing as winners of Group F ahead of 2018 runners-up Croatia, having defeated Belgium and Canada in Qatar.
“It will be a very testing game for us. We’re coming up against one of the best footballing nations in the world. I think they’re one of the favorites to reach the final,” Regragui said on Monday.
“That said, we’ve also got things up our sleeve. We’ve had one extra rest day compared to them and we’re going to try and pull a surprise out of the bag. 
“If we’re able to send Spain packing I think this will be a wonderful surprise not only for us but for our country.”
Spain denied Morocco a famous win at the 2018 World Cup with a last-gasp equalizer in a 2-2 draw, the only point the Moroccans picked up in Russia.
“We’re not seeking revenge at all. We’re not looking at what happened in the past,” said Regragui, who was appointed in August.
“We’ve got a new generation and, for me, the mentality has to change with the Moroccan team. All the negative aspects, that’s the old Morocco, we’ve changed. Our country’s changed.”
Morocco, the lone Arab nation and the last African team remaining in Qatar, will have the vocal backing of thousands of fans for Tuesday’s game at Education City Stadium.
“We’ll come out swinging. We want to hoist the Moroccan flag way up high. We’re playing first and foremost for us and our country,” said Regragui. 
“All Arabs and Africans, we want to make them happy. We want their prayers and we want their support so it can give us that extra ingredient to win. Before it was just the Moroccans that supported us.” 
Morocco would become just the fourth African team to reach the quarter-finals — after Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 — if they beat the 2010 champions.
Morocco’s only other appearance in the last 16 came in 1986, when they lost 1-0 to eventual runners-up West Germany.
“I don’t think we should go out with any sort of complex,” said Regragui.
“Yes, we’re the underdog, but we know what Spain are made of and the recipe is easy. We shouldn’t be worried, we should have no regrets and give the best of ourselves.”


How Israel’s new right-wing government impacts Palestinians

The Israeli government is taking measures to suppress the Palestinian collective national identity
The Israeli government is taking measures to suppress the Palestinian collective national identity
Updated 6 min 24 sec ago

How Israel’s new right-wing government impacts Palestinians

The Israeli government is taking measures to suppress the Palestinian collective national identity
  • Policies do not receive the attention of the international community, experts say
  • Palestinians make up 20 percent of population within Israel

LONDON: The Israeli government is taking measures to suppress the Palestinian collective national identity and to prohibit their lawful political expression, experts claimed this week.

One expert, Israeli Arab politician Sami Abu Shehadeh, a former Knesset member, also said the recently elected right-wing government in Israel will have a particular impact on Palestinian citizens, who make up 20 percent of the population within Israel.

He was speaking during a Galilee Foundation panel on Wednesday, which discussed the ramifications the government in Israel would have for Palestinians and their struggle for equality.

Abu Shehadeh said that one of the most dangerous signs of what is to come is the Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir’s judicial reforms, which include the ordering of Israeli police to remove any Palestinian flags both inside Israel and in the Occupied Territories.

He added: “The state of Israel doesn’t see our national component as a part of our identity.

“They continue reinventing us as a minority, which doesn’t have a national or religious identity, and that is affecting government policies.”

The landslide victory of Israel’s extremist right-wing parties in December sounded alarm bells throughout Israel and for its historic Western allies, he said.

Abu Shehadeh also said Palestinians can expect discrimination in the education sector as a result of the new government’s stance.

He added: “Most of the world is unaware that the Israeli education system, like the rest of its society, is built on racial separation.”

There are three different official education systems in the country: for Palestinians, for Jewish secular groups, and one for Jewish religious groups.

While all school systems include lessons in modern Zionist history, Palestinians are prohibited from studying their own history, with Israeli Minister of Education Yifat Shasha-Biton once describing it as “dangerous incitement” against the Israeli government and army.

The experts speaking on the panel argued that the fundamental policies of the new coalition government were intended to target Palestinians, and they were not receiving the attention of the international community nor attracting public debate in the country.

They argued the focus had instead shifted toward the new government’s plans for judicial reform, which they said threatened Israeli democracy.

“While the legal reforms are important, the extreme Israeli audience is not waiting for these laws to pass,” Abu Shehadeh said.

Dr. Areen Hawari, director of the gender studies program at the Mada Al-Carmel Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa, shared her thoughts on the matter.

She said: “Israel is a settler colonial state, the homeland of other people, just like South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.

“Such colonial states, but particularly Israel, which was established in 1948 after World War II, need strongly as part of their existence to belong to the West.

“In order to be part of the West, you need to introduce that at least you are procedurally democratic.

“That is why the left wing in Israel is ready to fight against these new reforms because if you lose the support of the West, you lose your existence.”

However, Hawari said that, for the first time, the new government “simply doesn't care” about what the West thinks of them.

She claimed this was due to the success of its ongoing occupation, the recent normalization agreements with several Arab countries, the country’s gains during the Trump administration, and the continued silence of the EU.

Dr. Hassan Jabareen, a Palestinian human rights lawyer, acknowledged that among the thousands of Israelis protesting in Tel Aviv against the new judicial reforms, several have criticized the country’s treatment of Palestinians.

Dr. Hassan Jabareen. (Supplied/Galilee Foundation)

Equally, he said: “We cannot find ourselves protesting in Tel Aviv in saving Israeli democracy when we do not see Israel as a democratic state. We see ourselves as victims of that very legal system.

“So while it's very difficult for Palestinians to participate in the protest, we agree with some protester leaders that we are in fact the main victims of Israel’s new government.”

As the growing threat of Israel’s extremism looms, Abu Shehadeh told Arab News that Palestinians, especially those settled around the world, need to rethink the way they strategize for their liberation.

He said: “One of our challenges is that we, as Palestinians, are talking to ourselves and people who are similar to us.

“For us activists, everything that is going on [in Palestine] is taken for granted, but a lot of the world doesn’t know the basics.”

He claims activists must continue to educate others who do not know about the Palestinian cause, question, and narrative.

“It is important for the world to see that we are struggling against not a democracy according to its false image. To call it apartheid is not enough… I think this is the most racist society, “ he said.

“People should see this truth in order to support our struggle. We are struggling for peace, justice, and equality for all, both Palestinians and Jews.”


Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 

Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 
Updated 13 min 34 sec ago

Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 

Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 

RIYADH: Unique challenges that startups in the Kingdom face when trying to secure funding will be the subject of a panel discussion on the final day of the LEAP 2023 conference on Thursday.

“The Road to Success: The Journey of Saudi Pre-seeds Starting to Get Funded” will also explore the outlook for startups in Saudi Arabia over the next five years.

Elina Idrisova, regional director of Digital Transformation, who will be part of the panel, told Arab News that the sessions will be about “how government is supporting these initiatives in order to accelerate the transformation and technology adoption.” 

Successful Saudi software startup Elevatus will be included in the discussion. 

Idrisova said that accelerators in Saudi Arabia are actively supporting and mentoring early-stage startups to help secure funding.

The Kingdom is planning to invest more than $25 billion to expand the technology ecosystem, the regional director said.

She said that the session will also discuss ways Saudi startups can attract global investors and scale worldwide.

“I also want to highlight the exceptional support of accelerators and programs such as Venture Studios and different university research centers, which help startups to get more deep research and to understand the market well, to get to know how to conduct the right assessments and to create the product that’s really needed by the market,” she said. 
 


Former UK medical student-turned-Daesh fighter wants to ‘face justice’ in Britain

Former UK medical student-turned-Daesh fighter wants to ‘face justice’ in Britain
Updated 27 min 5 sec ago

Former UK medical student-turned-Daesh fighter wants to ‘face justice’ in Britain

Former UK medical student-turned-Daesh fighter wants to ‘face justice’ in Britain
  • Ibrahim Ageed, 29, has been imprisoned in Syria for past 4 years
  • Brothers left final-year studies in Leicester to join terror group aged 21, 23

LONDON: An imprisoned former medical student from the UK who traveled to Syria to join Daesh has said that he hopes to return to Britain to “face justice,” the Daily Mail reported.
Ibrahim Ageed, 29, joined the terror group in 2015 aged 21, together with his brother, Mohammed, who was 23.
The pair left their final-year studies at the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in Leicester to travel to Turkiye and then Syria.
Ageed was captured and imprisoned after the collapse of Daesh in Syria and Iraq, and has spent the past four years in northeast Syria’s Al-Sina prison.
His story is similar to that of Shamima Begum, 23, who left London aged 15 with two school friends to join the terror group.
In an interview, Ageed claimed that it was his “right” to return to Britain, warning that Daesh “could make a comeback.”
He said: “I believe I’ll be subjected to the justice system, but I’m ready to face the music and I believe it’s my right, basically, to go back home.”
Ageed described being “completely isolated” while imprisoned, saying that people initially joined Daesh from around the world because they had “lost hope.”
He added: “Whether you can completely rid the world of these groups is a very difficult task.”


EU to host donor conference on Syria, Turkiye quake aid

EU to host donor conference on Syria, Turkiye quake aid
Updated 08 February 2023

EU to host donor conference on Syria, Turkiye quake aid

EU to host donor conference on Syria, Turkiye quake aid
  • "Turkiye and Syria can count on the EU," von der Leyen wrote on Twitter
  • The European Union said the conference would be held early next month in Brussels

BRUSSELS: The EU plans to host a donors conference in March to mobilize international aid for Syria and Turkiye following this week’s devastating earthquake, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.
“We are now racing against the clock to save lives together. Soon we will provide relief aid, together. Turkiye and Syria can count on the EU,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
The European Union said the conference would be held early next month in Brussels in coordination with Turkish authorities “to mobilize funds from the international community in support for the people” of both countries.
“No one should be left alone when a tragedy like this hits a people,” von der Leyen said in a statement.
The event is aimed at coordinating the international response to the disaster and “will be open to EU Member States, neighboring countries, UN members” and international lenders, the bloc said.
Sweden, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, will co-chair the conference, at a moment when it is facing a block from Turkiye on its push to join NATO.
“Sweden wants to ensure that the EU’s assistance is adequate to meet the need of the Turkish and Syrian people in this terrible time,” Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson said.
The European Union was swift to dispatch rescue teams to Turkiye after the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country on Monday close to the border with Syria.
But it initially offered only minimal assistance to Syria through existing humanitarian programs because of EU sanctions imposed since 2011 on the government of President Bashar Assad in response to his brutal crackdown on protesters, which spiralled into a civil war.
On Wednesday, Damascus made an official plea to the EU for help, the bloc’s commissioner for crisis management said.
Now that Damascus has made the move, through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism that coordinates aid, Janez Lenarcic said the commission was asking European countries “to respond favorably to this request.”
The participants in the EU mechanism comprise the 27 EU countries plus eight neighboring non-EU nations that include Norway and Turkiye.


Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye
Updated 08 February 2023

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye
  • Platform has been widely used to seek help and establish personal contact
  • Turkish authorities have limited access to social media during previous national emergencies

LONDON: Twitter is facing restrictions in Turkiye as the country struggles to deal with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, sources reported.

Independent global internet monitor NetBlocks confirmed that the social media platform has been restricted on multiple network providers, including TTNet and Turkcell, on Wednesday.

“Real-time network data show Twitter has been restricted in Turkiye,” Netblocks said in a tweet.

“The filtering is applied on major internet providers and comes as the public come to rely on the service in the aftermath of a series of deadly earthquakes.”

Twitter is widely adopted in the country and its restriction disrupts critical communication for rescue efforts.

NetBlocks Director Alp Toker said that this is the first time the company detected social media restrictions during a natural disaster.

“Twitter has been in use extensively in the aftermath of the earthquakes, both to seek assistance and rescue equipment and by those trying to get back in touch with loved ones,” Toker said.

Turkish authorities have not given any formal explanations, but NetBlocks said that Turkiye often acts to prevent alleged disinformation during national emergencies.

In November, following a terrorist attack in central Istanbul that killed six people and injured more than 80, authorities imposed a 10-hour social media ban.

Some users also reported that TikTok might have been affected by the restrictions.

In a statement, the video-sharing app said it was aware of the technical difficulties and is “investigating the matter and hope access is restored as soon as possible as platforms like TikTok remain a critical way to stay in touch during crises.”

NetBlocks and some Twitter users have reported that users in Turkiye can still access the platforms through VPNs.