Saudi Arabia welcomes positive results in discussion with Sanaa delegation

Saudi Arabia welcomes positive results in discussion with Sanaa delegation
These discussions come as a continuation of the meetings that the Saudi team held with the head and members of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council and in Sanaa in April. (SPA)
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Updated 20 September 2023
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Saudi Arabia welcomes positive results in discussion with Sanaa delegation

Saudi Arabia welcomes positive results in discussion with Sanaa delegation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia welcomed early Wednesday the positive results of discussions with a delegation from Sanaa regarding reaching a road map to support the peace process in Yemen, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The discussion was held from Sept. 14-18 in Riyadh between the Saudi communication and coordination team headed by Saudi ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al Jaber and a delegation from Sanaa headed by Mohammed Abdulsalam Felitah, with participation of an Omani delegation.

These discussions come as a continuation of the meetings that the Saudi team held with the head and members of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council and in Sanaa in April, during which many ideas and options were reached to develop a road map agreed upon by all Yemeni parties, the statement added.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s minister of foreign affairs, held a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly.

The meeting welcomed the Kingdom’s hosting of a delegation from Sanaa with the aim of promoting dialogue among all Yemeni parties to reach a road map to end the Yemeni conflict through a Yemeni-led political process, and under the auspices of the United Nations.

It also discussed aspects of joint coordination on many regional and international issues, and the importance of supporting all efforts aimed at establishing the foundations of international peace and security.

The foreign ministry also commended the outcomes of the Sanaa delegation’s meeting with Saudi defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman.


UK’s governing Conservatives face pressure as London mayor blasts ‘tacit endorsement’ of Islamophobia

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. (File/Reuters)
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. (File/Reuters)
Updated 11 min 45 sec ago
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UK’s governing Conservatives face pressure as London mayor blasts ‘tacit endorsement’ of Islamophobia

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. (File/Reuters)
  • Sadiq Khan says ‘enough is enough’ following MP Lee Anderson’s claim that ‘Islamists’ have ‘got control’ of mayor
  • Deputy PM defends ex-Home Secretary Suella Braverman after she echoed Anderson’s sentiments

LONDON: London’s Muslim mayor has accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of “tacit endorsement” of Islamophobia in his Conservative Party.

Sadiq Khan’s accusation came after the “belated” suspension of Conservative MP Lee Anderson, who refused to apologize for saying in a TV interview that “Islamists” had “got control” of the mayor.

“I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London,” Anderson told GB News. “He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

Khan said Muslims are considered “fair game” for prejudice by the Conservatives.

It comes amid a series of scandals for the governing party after its former leader Liz Truss attended a major conservative conference in the US where she appeared on a panel at which British far-right figure Tommy Robinson was praised, and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman penned an article for the Daily Telegraph suggesting “Islamists” are “in charge” of the UK.

Over the weekend, senior party figures failed to fully condemn Anderson despite his suspension, including Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Defense Secretary Grant Shapps.

Khan said: “Blatant anti-Muslim hatred is being tolerated from top to bottom of the party, with everyone from ministers to mayoral candidates failing to condemn even the most clear-cut examples of bigotry and racism.”

He added: “Anderson’s comments have poured petrol on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred … The message it sends is some forms of hatred and racism are acceptable. Enough is enough.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Sunak has “extremists” in his party acting “with impunity.”

Labour Chair Anneliese Dodds said in a letter to her Conservative counterpart Richard Holden that Anderson’s comments are “unambiguously Islamophobic, divisive and damaging.”

She cited other incidents of Islamophobia in the governing part, including London mayoral candidate Susan Hall’s suggestion that Jewish Londoners were “frightened” of Khan’s “divisive attitude” in October, and Conservative MP Nus Ghani saying she was told her “Muslimness” made “colleagues uncomfortable” by an unnamed party official in 2020.

Truss, meanwhile, has been criticized by former Chancellor Sir Sajid Javid for failing to address comments made by US conservative figure Steve Bannon at the Conservative Political Action Conference in which he called Robinson a “hero.”

Sir Sajid said: “I’d hope every MP would confront such a statement head-on … Liz should really know better.”

On Saturday morning, Shapps defended Anderson’s right to “speak (his) mind.” On Sunday, Dowden refused to condemn Anderson as a racist in an interview with Sky News in which he said Anderson had used “the wrong words.”

Dowden added: “I don’t believe the language used by Suella Braverman has crossed the line whereby she should apologize for it.”


Daesh land mine kills 13 truffle hunters in Syria desert: monitor

Daesh land mine kills 13 truffle hunters in Syria desert: monitor
Updated 36 min 44 sec ago
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Daesh land mine kills 13 truffle hunters in Syria desert: monitor

Daesh land mine kills 13 truffle hunters in Syria desert: monitor
  • Syrian desert is renowned for producing some of the best quality truffles in the world

BEIRUT: A blast from a land mine left by the Daesh group killed at least 13 civilians foraging for truffles in the Syrian desert, a war monitor said.
“Thirteen civilians, including women... were killed when a land mine left by the Daesh group exploded while they were searching for truffles” in the desert in Raqqa province, said the Syria Observatory for Human Rights.
The Syrian desert is renowned for producing some of the best quality truffles in the world, which fetch high prices in a country battered by 13 years of war and a crushing economic crisis.
Authorities frequently warn against the high-risk practice.
But every year between February and April, foragers risk their lives to collect the delicacies in the vast Syrian desert, or Badia — a known hideout for jihadists that is also littered with land mines.
In March 2019, Daesh lost its last scraps of territory in Syria following a military campaign backed by a US-led coalition, but jihadist remnants continue to hide in the desert and launch deadly attacks.
They have used such hideouts to ambush civilians, Kurdish-led forces, Syrian government troops and pro-Iran fighters, while also mounting attacks in neighboring Iraq.
Syria’s war has claimed the lives of more than half a million people and displaced millions since it erupted in March 2011 with Damascus’s brutal repression of anti-government protests.


Film about Israeli settler violence wins best documentary award at Berlin Film Festival

Film about Israeli settler violence wins best documentary award at Berlin Film Festival
Updated 48 min 35 sec ago
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Film about Israeli settler violence wins best documentary award at Berlin Film Festival

Film about Israeli settler violence wins best documentary award at Berlin Film Festival

DUBAI: A documentary film about struggles faced by a West Bank village against Israeli settlers has won the Berlinale Documentary Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival.

“No Other Land” is an Israeli-Palestinian production, with Palestinian activist Basel Adra and Israeli journalist Yuval Abraham acting as co-directors.

“No Other Land” is an Israeli-Palestinian production, with Palestinian activist Basel Adra and Israeli journalist Yuval Abraham acting as co-directors. (Supplied)

“I'm here celebrating the award, but also very hard for me to celebrate when there are tens of thousands of my people being slaughtered and massacred by Israel in Gaza,” Adra said at the ceremony on Saturday.

He urged Germany to “respect UN calls and stop sending weapons to Israel.”

His co-director, Abraham, added: “I am Israeli, Basel is Palestinian. And in two days we will go back to a land where we are not equal... this situation of apartheid between us, this inequality has to end.”

“No Other Land” had also earlier won an audience award.

In an earlier interview with Variety, Adra had said, “Yuval and Rachel, who are Israelis, came five years ago to write about things — Yuval is journalist — we met and we became friends but also activists together, working on articles about the area.” He further said, “And then we got the idea of doing this, of creating this movie.”


Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   

Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   
Updated 14 min 29 sec ago
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Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   

Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   

RIYADH: Oman’s insurance sector is expected to have achieved a 10 percent growth in 2023, paving the way for attracting additional regional investors, according to a top official. 

This comes as Oman recorded a growth rate of about 13 percent in insurance premiums in 2022, according to Mustafa Ahmed Salman, member of the board of directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  

Salman, also serving as the chairman of the chamber’s Finance and Insurance Committee, emphasized that raising the capital of insurance companies will greatly enhance their ability to attract investors and facilitate business growth, as reported by the Oman News Agency. 

“The contribution of the insurance sector to the gross domestic product of the Sultanate of Oman currently amounts to 1.3 percent, which is a good percentage compared to Arab countries,” he said.  

This positive trend follows the insurance division emerging as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Middle Eastern country. 

The chairman went on to explain that the volume of Arab insurance reached about $45 billion, constituting 1 percent of the volume of global insurance. 

Furthermore, Salman highlighted that the Finance and Insurance Committee of the chamber is actively engaged in studying and developing laws, decisions, and regulations related to the sector.  

He also emphasized that the board is actively addressing challenges, presenting proposals, and offering visions to overcome obstacles. 

All these endeavors demonstrate that increasing the contribution of insurance to the GDP is achieved by establishing large projects and capital for insurance companies, as well as strengthening their reserves, highlighted the chairman. 

Regarding the performance of insurance firms on the Muscat Securities Market, he emphasized that their prices have been traded at appropriate costs and delivered good dividends over the past years. 

Salman further disclosed that efforts are underway to enhance trading in the shares of these companies, aiming to attract more investors for buying and exchanging their assets.  

Oman’s insurance industry is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent, reaching $1.8 billion in 2028, up from around $1.4 billion in 2022, according to the UAE-based investment banking advisory firm Alpen Capital. 

In a recently released study titled “GCC Insurance Industry Report,” the advisory firm stated that several macroeconomic trends, particularly GDP and population growth between 2023 and 2028, are expected to drive this transition. 


In the studio with Fadi Yazigi, one of the last of Syria’s internationally renowned artists

In the studio with Fadi Yazigi, one of the last of Syria’s internationally renowned artists
Updated 25 February 2024
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In the studio with Fadi Yazigi, one of the last of Syria’s internationally renowned artists

In the studio with Fadi Yazigi, one of the last of Syria’s internationally renowned artists
  • Yazigi’s work is housed in a number of international public collections, including at the British Museum in London, The Delfina Foundation in London and at the Kaleemat Foundation in Istanbul
  • The artist is known for his authentic approach to image-making, whether it be in paintings or sculptures

DAMASCUS: In the heart of ancient Damascus, veteran Syrian artist Fadi Yazigi delicately inspects a neat set of assorted paintings, sculptures, and reliefs.

He blows off the gathered dust, stating: “I feel we are living in a medieval age, not everything is fair, there is no plan for the world, and it’s not an honest period.”

Fadi Yazigi’s work is housed in a number of international public collections, including at the British Museum in London, The Delfina Foundation in London and at the Kaleemat Foundation in Istanbul. (Supplied)

Yazigi, 57, is at home in his Bab Sharqi atelier, drawing intricate sketches that are sometimes comical, cartoonish even, giving glimpses of the unorthodox techniques of one of Syria’s most creative modern artists.

“(Jean) Dubuffet is a big inspiration for me.” He told Arab News, referring to the late French painter and sculptor.  “I feel the humanistic side, the pain and suffering of everyday people, from the homeless person in the street to those stricken in poverty. I feel they are always right,” he added.

Fadi Yazigi, 57, is at home in his Bab Sharqi atelier, drawing intricate sketches that are sometimes comical, cartoonish even. (Supplied)

One glance at Dubuffet’s work and the influence is conspicuous. The artist, who died in 1985, embraced so-called "low art" and discarded traditional beauty standards in favor of an authentic approach to capturing people and places in his art. In the same vein, Yazigi is known for his authentic image-making. 

“I try to explore new materials in my work, to experiment with a wide variety of means and forms, each new material gives me a feeling whether on canvas, cardboard, textiles or papers, using acrylic, oil and ink, I depict people and human emotions,” he explained of his style.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fadi Yazigi (@fadiyazigiart)

Yazigi’s work is housed in a number of international public collections, including at the British Museum in London, The Delfina Foundation in London and at the Kaleemat Foundation in Istanbul, among other locations. His solo exhibitions include Art Paris 2016, Galerie Tanit in Beirut, and The Mosaic Rooms in London 2011. He has also exhibited extensively at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

The artist represents the last of a breed of older-generation Syrian creatives who have attained global recognition.   

In a spectacular new collection, the artist created a set of sculptures inspired by the exploration of memory.

“I’m working on the idea of memory. It's inspired by the tale of Kalila and Dimna, where there is a phasic flow, where square artworks are ornamented with heads that suggest different emotions and stories. It's relevant to general human nature,” the artist said.

Kalila and Dimna are a collection of fables where the heroes are animals, the role of the king is played by a lion and the two jackals, Kalila and Dimna, are both the narrators and the protagonists.

The Indian-origin tale — composed in Sanskrit possibly as early as the third century BC — was translated into Arabic by Ibn al-Muqaffa in the eighth century.

The ingenious representation of life as hybrid human-animal creatures is symptomatic of Yazigi’s general preference for this type of art.

“Relief is my favourite type of art, it's what is similar to my style and identity, and lots of my efforts and works are relevant to that, I love the multi-dimensional, especially working with mud or clay, human beings were made of it, that’s what they say.”

Born in the Syrian port city of Latakia, Yazigi is known for choosing to leave many of his works untitled. (Supplied)

Born in the Syrian port city of Latakia, Yazigi is known for choosing to leave many of his works untitled. 

“I am free to do what I want with my piece, and you are free with what you want to title it, to tell your story. I’m not going to push you to be inside my cage, and I won't be pressed to concur or conform to what a title has to be, so I leave it open to interpretation, something untitled is also titled at the same time,” he explained.

Art curator Nour Salman spoke to Arab News about her experience working with the renowned artist on the recent solo exhibition “Once in Damascus.”

“While working with Fadi, I discovered a whole new realm of art, as an artist he is incredibly hard-working and creative, he can make something out of nothing in an instant, and that’s partly why he gets international recognition.

“His vision and viewpoint on art and the way he makes it is inspiring and rare. We don’t have that weighted creative touch in Syria anymore. There is a depth to his work that takes generations to develop.”