At least four killed in clash in Egypt’s Sinai — security sources

At least four killed in clash in Egypt’s Sinai — security sources
The four dead included a police colonel. (File/AFP)
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Updated 31 July 2023
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At least four killed in clash in Egypt’s Sinai — security sources

At least four killed in clash in Egypt’s Sinai — security sources
  • Detainees seized weapons inside El Arish’s Central Security compound and attacked forces stationed there

CAIRO: At least four security personnel were killed in clashes at a police compound in the city of El Arish in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, two security sources said on Monday.
The clashes broke out on Sunday when a group of detainees seized weapons inside El Arish’s Central Security compound in northern Sinai and attacked forces stationed there, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The four dead included a police colonel, they said. Six people were also wounded.
The interior ministry did not respond to a request for comment and there was no official statement from authorities about the incident.
Egyptian security forces battled an insurgency by Islamist militants in northern Sinai for years and have recently extended their control over the coastal area, which runs between the border with the Gaza Strip and the northern end of the Suez Canal.
Northern Sinai has still seen occasional attacks and the army and police maintain a heavy presence.


Iran president-elect says ready for ‘constructive dialogue’ with EU

Iran president-elect says ready for ‘constructive dialogue’ with EU
Updated 7 min 33 sec ago
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Iran president-elect says ready for ‘constructive dialogue’ with EU

Iran president-elect says ready for ‘constructive dialogue’ with EU

Tehran: Iran’s president-elect Masoud Pezeshkian said he looks forward to improved relations with Europe, even though he accused the continent of reneging on commitments to mitigate the impact of US sanctions.
“Despite these missteps, I look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with European countries to set our relations on the right path, based on principles of mutual respect and equal footing,” Pezeshkian wrote late Friday in the English-language Tehran Times newspaper.


Wedding party resumes for son of Asia’s richest man

Wedding party resumes for son of Asia’s richest man
Updated 3 min 33 sec ago
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Wedding party resumes for son of Asia’s richest man

Wedding party resumes for son of Asia’s richest man
  • It follows a formal ceremony and party the previous evening attended by the likes of socialite Kim Kardashian, Tony Blair and John Cena

MUMBAI: Lavish wedding celebrations for the son of Asia’s richest man resumed Saturday with a star-studded guestlist including Hollywood celebrities, global business leaders and two former British prime ministers.
Billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s youngest son Anant and fiancee Radhika Merchant, both 29, are tying the knot over the weekend in the financial capital Mumbai following months of pre-marriage parties that have set a new benchmark in matrimonial extravagance.
Saturday will see a blessing ceremony during which the world’s rich and famous will greet and pay their respects to the couple at the wedding venue, a 16,000-capacity convention center owned by the Ambani family’s conglomerate.
It follows a formal ceremony and party the previous evening attended by the likes of socialite Kim Kardashian, actor John Cena and former British leaders Tony Blair and Boris Johnson.
Kardashian shared videos on Instagram showing the professional influencer and her sister Khloe preparing for Friday night’s festivities adorned in traditional Indian dresses and ornate jewelry.
Footage shared by the hosts showed hundreds of revellers dancing enthusiastically inside the venue wearing traditional Indian dress.
FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Samsung chairman Jay Y. Lee were among the hundreds of other famous figures from the business, sporting and entertainment worlds to make an appearance.
“Great wedding!” China’s ambassador to India Xu Feihong wrote on social media platform X along with footage of the couple from inside the venue.
“Best wishes to the new couple and double happiness!“
This weekend’s celebrations end Sunday with a reception party and cap months of extravagant pre-wedding parties.
Earlier events this year included a party at the Ambanis’ ancestral home where a purpose-built Hindu temple was unveiled, and private performances by R&B star Rihanna and Canada’s Justin Bieber.
Guests at that gala included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and former US president Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, along with a who’s who of India’s sporting and entertainment worlds.
In June, the couple embarked on a four-day Mediterranean cruise along with 1,200 guests, with singer Katy Perry performing at a masquerade ball at a French chateau in Cannes.
The Backstreet Boys, US rapper Pitbull and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli also provided entertainment.
Anant’s father Mukesh is chairman of Reliance Industries, a family-founded conglomerate that has grown into India’s biggest company by market cap.
The patriarch is the world’s 11th richest person with a fortune of more than $123 billion, according to Forbes, and is no stranger to making a statement when it comes to family marriages.
He held the most expensive wedding in India to date for his daughter in 2018, which reportedly cost $100 million and saw US singer Beyonce perform.
The family’s lucrative interests include retail partnerships with Armani and other luxury brands, more than 40 percent of India’s mobile phone market and an Indian Premier League cricket team.
His 27-floor family home Antilia is one of Mumbai’s most prominent landmarks, reportedly costing more than $1 billion to build and with a permanent staff of 600 servants.
Merchant is the daughter of well-known pharmaceutical moguls.


UN says world population to peak at 10.3 billion in 2080s

UN says world population to peak at 10.3 billion in 2080s
Updated 13 July 2024
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UN says world population to peak at 10.3 billion in 2080s

UN says world population to peak at 10.3 billion in 2080s
  • A quarter of world’s population now lives in one of 63 countries where the population has already peaked
  • Nearly 50 other countries should join that group over the next 30 years, including Brazil, Iran and Turkiye

NEW YORK: Earth’s population will peak in the mid-2080s at around 10.3 billion people, then drop slightly to a level much lower than anticipated a decade ago, the United Nations said.
The current population of 8.2 billion people will rise to that maximum over the next 60 years, then dip to 10.2 billion by the end of the century, says a report released Thursday entitled “World Population Prospects 2024.”
It said the size of the world’s population in 2100 will be six percent lower, or 700 million people fewer, than what was anticipated in June 2013.
“The demographic landscape has evolved greatly in recent years,” said Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
He said the unexpected population peak stems from several factors that include lower levels of fertility in some of the world’s largest countries, especially China.
He said this lower maximum will also come earlier than previously calculated and this is a hopeful sign as the world fights global warming: fewer humans accounting for less aggregate consumption would mean less pressure on the environment.
“However, slower population growth will not eliminate the need to reduce the average impact attributable to the activities of each individual person,” this official said.
More than a quarter, or 28 percent, of the world’s population now lives in one of 63 countries or areas where the population has already peaked, including China, Russia, Japan and Germany, the report said.
Nearly 50 other countries should join that group over the next 30 years, including Brazil, Iran and Turkiye.
But population growth will continue in more than 120 countries beyond 2054. These include India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United States, said the UN.
A rise in global life expectancy — interrupted by the Covid pandemic — has resumed, with an average of 73.3 years of longevity in 2024. It will average 77.4 years in 2054.
So the world’s population will get more and more gray. By the late 2070s, the number of people 65 or older is projected to be 2.2 billion, surpassing those under 18, the study predicts.


As bombs shatter Gaza, boxing coach emboldens girls

As bombs shatter Gaza, boxing coach emboldens girls
Updated 13 July 2024
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As bombs shatter Gaza, boxing coach emboldens girls

As bombs shatter Gaza, boxing coach emboldens girls
  • The boxing club where girls once learned to jab, build their stamina, and make friends has been demolished
  • There are no protective equipment in the open-air sandy space between tents where displaced girls now practice

GAZA: Israel’s offensive in Gaza has pulverized most of its sports facilities and equipment, but that has not stopped boxing coach Osama Ayoub from training Palestinian girls in a tent camp that offers no protection from airstrikes or shelling.
The boxing club where girls once learned to jab, build their stamina, and make friends has been demolished.
There are no protective equipment, ring, or punch bags in the open-air sandy space between the tents where displaced girls now practice — a mattress and pillow will have to do — but Ayoub says the training has helped them overcome their fear of war.
“They started going out on the street. They started going out at night. Their personalities became much stronger, and even their families saw they were stronger,” he said.
It’s all about improvization. One young girl unleashes barehanded punches and weaves left and right to dodge imaginary fists. “Throw a right,” yells the coach, who puts up his fists for the girls to punch.
“They have determination, they have contentment, they have courage. At first, they were afraid of the war we are living in, but through boxing, they have benefited a lot,” he said.
Gaza offered playgrounds, football, tennis, karate, and other sports before terrifying bombs began dropping from the skies, flattening entire neighborhoods.
Attempts to restart sports are risky, even when played outside. On Tuesday, an Israeli missile slammed into a football match at a tent encampment, killing at least 29 people, Palestinian officials said.
Yet the boxers dream of international competitions overseas worlds away from Gaza. This tiny, densely populated enclave suffered from poverty and high unemployment even long before Hamas triggered the war on Oct. 7.
“I hope that this war will end and that our message will reach everyone in the name of the girls of Gaza,” said one of the boxers, Bilsan Ayoub.
The chances of that happening soon are slim. Months of mediation by the US, Egypt, and Qatar have failed to secure a truce between Israel and its arch-enemy Hamas, never mind a permanent ceasefire.
So, all the boxers can do is keep practicing as each side demands concessions from the other, and the conflict rages.
“We do not have anything left, being displaced. We do not have clips, gloves, teeth protection, said Ayoub, who has to improvise daily to keep her dream of international competition alive.
“The tools are very simple, but we want to continue in this game until we achieve our dream and end the war,” she said.


Son of Asia’s richest man marries in year’s most extravagant wedding

Son of Asia’s richest man marries in year’s most extravagant wedding
Updated 13 July 2024
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Son of Asia’s richest man marries in year’s most extravagant wedding

Son of Asia’s richest man marries in year’s most extravagant wedding
  • The celebrations of Anant Ambani marrying Radhika Merchant took place at Ambani-owned Jio World Convention Center in Mumbai
  • The marriage culminated months of wedding events that featured performances by pop stars including Rihanna and Justin Bieber

MUMBAI: The youngest son of Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, married his longtime girlfriend early Saturday in what many dubbed the wedding of the year attended by global celebrities, business tycoons and politicians, highlighting the billionaire’s staggering wealth and rising clout.
The wedding rituals, including exchanging garlands by the couple and walking around the sacred fire, began Friday and were completed past midnight.
The celebrations of Anant Ambani marrying Radhika Merchant took place at the Ambani-owned Jio World Convention Center in Mumbai and the family home. The marriage culminated months of wedding events that featured performances by pop stars including Rihanna and Justin Bieber.

Hollywood actor John Cena poses as he arrives to attend the wedding ceremony of billionaire Mukesh Ambani's son Anant Ambani and fiancee Radhika Merchant in Mumbai on July 12, 2024. (AFP)

The four-day wedding celebrations, which began on Friday with the traditional Hindu wedding ceremony, will be followed by a grand reception that will run through the weekend. The guest list included former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Boris Johnson, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser, Adele, Lana Del Rey, Drake and David Beckham, according to local media. The Ambani family did not confirm the guest list.
Television news channels showed celebrities like Kim Kardashian in a red ensemble and professional wrestler and Hollywood actor John Cena arriving.
International guests also wore traditional dresses by major Indian fashion designers. They put on embroidered “sherwanis,” a long-sleeved outer coat worn by men in South Asia. Cena came in sky blue sherwani and white pants. Nick Jonas wore a pink sherwani and white pants.

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas (L) and her husband American singer-songwriter and actor Nick Jonas (R) pose for photos as they arrive to attend the wedding ceremony of billionaire tycoon and Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani's son Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Mumbai on July 12, 2024. (AFP)

Police imposed traffic diversions around the wedding venue from Friday to Monday to handle the influx of guests who flew to Mumbai, where heavy monsoon rains have caused flooding and flight disruptions for the past week.
The extravaganza and the display of opulence that comes with the wedding has led many to raise questions about rising inequality in India, where the gap between rich and poor is growing. The event has also sparked anger among some Mumbai residents, who say they are struggling with snarled traffic.

Billionaire tycoon and Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani (C) with his wife Nita Ambani (3R), daughter Isha Ambani (2R), sons Akash Ambani (L) and Anant Ambani (C, left), daughter-in-law Shloka Mehta (2L), and son-in-law Anand Piramal pose for photos as they arrive to attend the wedding ceremony of Anant and Radhika Merchant in Mumbai on July 12, 2024. (AFP)


“It affects our earnings. I don’t care much about the wedding,” said Vikram, a taxi driver who uses only his first name.
The father of the groom, Mukesh Ambani, is the world’s ninth richest man, with a net worth of $116 billion, according to Forbes. He is the richest person in Asia. His Reliance Industries is a conglomerate reporting over $100 billion in annual revenue, with interests that include petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecoms and retail.
The Ambani family owns, among other assets, a 27-story family compound in Mumbai worth $1 billion. The building contains three helipads, a 160-car garage and a private movie theater.
The groom, Anant, 29, oversees the conglomerate’s renewable and green energy expansion. He also runs a 3,000-acre (about 1,200-hectare) animal rescue center in Gujarat state’s Jamnagar, the family’s hometown.
The bride, Radhika Merchant, also 29, is the daughter of pharmaceutical tycoon Viren Merchant and is the marketing director for his company, Encore Healthcare, according to Vogue.
Ambani’s critics say his company has relied on political connections during Congress party-led governments in the 1970s and ‘80s and under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule after 2014.
The Ambani family’s pre-wedding celebrations have been lavish and star-studded.
In March, they threw a three-day prenuptial bash for Anant that had 1,200 guests, including former world leaders, tech tycoons and Bollywood megastars, and performances by Rihanna, Akon and Diljit Dosanjh, a Punjabi singer who shot to international fame when he performed at Coachella. The event was also attended by tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.
It was the start of lavish monthslong pre-wedding celebrations that have grabbed headlines and set off a social media frenzy.
In May, the family took guests on a three-day cruise from Italy to France, which included Katy Perry singing her hit song “Firework” and a performance by Pitbull, according to media reports.
The family also organized a mass wedding for more than 50 underprivileged couples on July 2 as part of the celebrations.
Last week, Justin Bieber performed for hundreds of guests at a pre-wedding concert that included performances by Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh and Salman Khan.
Ambani also made headlines in 2018 when Beyoncé performed at pre-wedding festivities for his daughter. Former US Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were among those who rubbed shoulders with Indian celebrities and Bollywood stars in the western Indian city of Udaipur.