Spanish group working with World Central Kitchen stops using sea route to Gaza

Spanish group working with World Central Kitchen stops using sea route to Gaza
The Open Arms vessel which ferried food rations provided by aid group World Central Kitchen to the Gaza Strip, is docked in the port of Larnaca on the southern coast of Cyprus on Apr. 3, 2024. (AFP)
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Updated 05 April 2024
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Spanish group working with World Central Kitchen stops using sea route to Gaza

Spanish group working with World Central Kitchen stops using sea route to Gaza
  • “This attack, perpetrated by the Israeli Defense Forces last Monday, marks a painful turning point in our efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Open Arms said
  • On Wednesday about 240 metric tons of food returned to Cyprus in a ship convoy led by the Open Arms’s salvage ship

NICOSIA: Spanish nongovernmental organization (NGO) Open Arms said it and US charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) were suspending attempts to get aid to Gaza via sea after seven WCK workers were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Monday.
The two charities had worked together in launching a maritime corridor of humanitarian aid to Gaza from Cyprus in March, and had just completed unloading about a third of the shipped cargo when the convoy of WCK workers was attacked on April 1.
“This attack, perpetrated by the Israeli Defense Forces last Monday, marks a painful turning point in our efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Open Arms said in a written statement.
WCK has said it is pausing its work in the besieged enclave, where it had been operating with more than 60 community kitchens since October. The UN has said famine is an imminent threat to more than half of Gaza’s population.
On Wednesday about 240 metric tons of food returned to Cyprus in a ship convoy led by the Open Arms’s salvage ship after the offloading operation was halted in the wake of the killings.
“With the arrival yesterday of the Open Arms ship in Larnaca, Cyprus, the mission in alliance with WCK in the humanitarian corridor to the Gaza Strip is suspended,” Open Arms said.
It quoted Open Arms director Oscar Camps calling Gaza a “dystopian laboratory where people’s blood flows while war technologies are tested and perfected, directed by increasingly automated algorithms that allow all human responsibility to be diluted, using technology and trivializing evil.”
“Now states are rushing to extend their condolences to the families, but they are not showing the same rush to stop the shipment of weapons to this laboratory of destruction,” Camps said.
“How much more humanity must be lost in this genocide?“

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Ongoing hostage-for-prisoners exchange opens the world’s eyes to arrests, interrogations, and even abuse of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities

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Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers

Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers
Updated 7 min 18 sec ago
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Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers

Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers
  • Players participating in the King’s Cup final between Al-Nasser and Al-Hilal on Friday will join the national squad on Sunday
  • Green Falcons fly to Islamabad on Wednesday for their game against Pakistan on Thursday, and then host Jordan in Riyadh on June 11

RIYADH: The Saudi national football team gathered at their training camp in Riyadh on Thursday to begin preparations for the upcoming Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Cup.
As the Green Falcons held their first training session on Thursday evening behind closed doors at Mahd Academy, members of the squad from Al-Nasser and Al-Hilal, who will meet in the final of the King’s Cup on Friday, were absent. They will join the national team’s preparations on Sunday after head coach Roberto Mancini gave them a day off on Saturday to recover.
The 31-player squad, announced by Mancini last week, will fly out on Wednesday for their game against Pakistan in Islamabad on June 6, and then host Jordan at Alwal park in Riyadh on June 11.
Saudi Arabia currently tops Group G of the Asian qualifiers, with 10 points from four games, ahead of Jordan (7 points) and Tajikistan (5). Pakistan are bottom of the group having lost all four games so far.


Pakistan look to end World Cup preparations on a high against England in 4th T20I

Pakistan look to end World Cup preparations on a high against England in 4th T20I
Updated 10 min 45 sec ago
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Pakistan look to end World Cup preparations on a high against England in 4th T20I

Pakistan look to end World Cup preparations on a high against England in 4th T20I
  • England win toss, put Pakistan to bat first as rain threatens to disrupt today’s match 
  • All-rounder Imad Wasim rested after experiencing discomfort in rib cage, says PCB

ISLAMABAD: England won the toss and elected to put Pakistan to bat first, as the two sides lock horns today, Thursday, at The Oval for the fourth and last T20I match before both teams leave for the United States to take part in the T20 World Cup. 

Pakistan’s preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, scheduled to be held next month in the United States and the West Indies, have been anything but impressive. The green shirts lost 4-1 to New Zealand in an away series in January before drawing 2-2 against a second-string New Zealand side in a home series in April. 

The green shirts then scraped a 2-1 series victory over Ireland this month but still lag 1-0 behind England in the four-match T20I series. Two matches of the series were abandoned due to rain. 

“Toss: England won and decided to bowl,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement. 

Pakistan said all-rounder Imad Wasim is not playing in Thursday’s match after experiencing discomfort in his rib cage. 

“While batting in the nets during Wednesday’s training session, he experienced discomfort in his right rib cage. He was sent for a preventative scan as advised by the PCB medical panel,” the cricket board said. 

The PCB said Wasim is expected to be fit before Pakistan begins its World Cup campaign next month. 

“The panel is actively monitoring Imad’s progress and will provide further update if deemed necessary,” the PCB said. 

Playing XIs

Pakistan: Usman Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Azam Khan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah

England: Jonny Bairstow, Phil Salt (wk), Will Jacks, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood


Jeddah waterfront renovated by PIF-owned ROSHN

Jeddah’s popular waterfront promenade has been renovated by Saudi developer and owner ROSHN. (File/ROSHN)
Jeddah’s popular waterfront promenade has been renovated by Saudi developer and owner ROSHN. (File/ROSHN)
Updated 34 min 1 sec ago
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Jeddah waterfront renovated by PIF-owned ROSHN

Jeddah’s popular waterfront promenade has been renovated by Saudi developer and owner ROSHN. (File/ROSHN)
  • The area, opened in 2017 and renamed ROSHN Waterfront in 2022, contains a range of amenities, attractions and entertainment activities
  • The new waterfront will be revealed to the public in early June

JEDDAH: Jeddah’s popular waterfront promenade has been renovated by Saudi developer and owner ROSHN.

The area, opened in 2017 and renamed ROSHN Waterfront in 2022, contains a range of amenities, attractions and entertainment activities.

More than 55 million people visit the site each year.

ROSHN, which is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, said the renovation will enhance community participation, empower creative people and improve the public landscape.

The facade walkway will feature a community painting by Saudi artists that celebrates the features of the Red Sea city of Jeddah and the distinctive elements that represent the work of ROSHN.

The walkway is 3,200 meters long and five meters wide, covering a total area of 16,000 sq. meters.

More than 200 volunteers from Jeddah are working on implementing the new design of the walkway, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The new waterfront will be revealed to the public in early June.

Over recent months, ROSHN has hosted a competition to encourage Saudi artists to submit designs for walking, running and bicycle paths on the walkway.

Ghada Al-Rumayan, executive director of marketing and communications at ROSHN, said: “The waterfront has become one of the most famous tourist places in Jeddah, and we are keen to ensure that our efforts in improving the quality of life for everyone are in line with our commitment to supporting Saudi art and artists.”

The renovation will highlight the spirit of the city of Jeddah and present a “stunning artistic painting that embodies the beauty of Saudi art,” she added.


Labour Party dumps UK election candidate over 10-year-old tweets about Israel and Islamophobia

Labour Party dumps UK election candidate over 10-year-old tweets about Israel and Islamophobia
Updated 47 min 46 sec ago
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Labour Party dumps UK election candidate over 10-year-old tweets about Israel and Islamophobia

Labour Party dumps UK election candidate over 10-year-old tweets about Israel and Islamophobia
  • Faiza Shaheen blocked from standing for the party at the General Election on July 4 because of a handful of interactions on social media platform X over the past decade
  • The tweets include one about her experience of Islamophobia in the party, and a clip from The Daily Show in which host Jon Stewart discussed Israel’s actions in Gaza in 2014

LONDON: Labour Party bosses have blocked a candidate from standing at the upcoming UK General Election because of a handful of interactions on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, over the past 10 years.

In once case, economist and academic Faiza Shaheen “liked” a video of a TV comedy sketch about Israel by acclaimed American comedian Jon Stewart, host of satirical news program The Daily Show. In another she wrote about her own experiences with Islamophobia within the Labour party.

Shaheen said she was informed on Wednesday night that she could not stand for the party at the election, after she was called to a meeting to discuss accusations of antisemitism and other misconduct. She told the BBC’s Newsnight program on Wednesday of her shock upon receiving the email confirming her candidacy had been blocked.

“Fourteen tweets since 2014 — 10 years,” she said. “Three of those were about the Green Party, me liking my friends’ tweets before I joined the Labour Party, and one of them was about my experiences of Islamophobia in the party.

“How am I not allowed to talk about my experiences of Islamophobia and the double standards that I’ve seen.”

Shaheen, an academic who specializes in the study of inequality, had been presented with a list of tweets earlier in the day, including one that included a clip from The Daily Show broadcast in July 2014. In it, host Stewart, who is of Jewish heritage, starts to discuss an Israeli ground offensive during the 2014 Gaza War. He is immediately surrounded and rebuked by four of the Comedy Central show’s correspondents who, as part of the show’s satirical commentary on the issue, accuse him of being a “self-hating Jew” for questioning the actions of Israel.

Shaheen’s interaction with video on social media prompted a complaint from the Jewish Labour Movement, which is affiliated with the Labour Party.

“It was the middle of the night, if you look at the time. I was probably with the baby, breastfeeding. I don’t even remember liking that tweet,” she said during her appearance on Newsnight.

She later accused the Labour Party of waging “a systematic campaign of racism, Islamophobia and bullying” and alleged that the party, led by Keir Starmer, has “a problem with black and brown people.”

Adding that she will challenge the party’s decision in the courts, she said: “This campaign of prejudice, bullying and spiteful behavior has finally been rewarded by Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) and my name has been added to the list of those not welcome in the candidate club. And it is no surprise that many of those excluded are people of color.”

Stewart reacted to the Labour Party’s action against Shaheen with a message on Twitter in which he wrote: “This is the dumbest thing the UK has done since electing Boris Johnson.”

The decision by Labour bosses to prevent Shaheen from standing in the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency in North East London comes as the party campaigns for the General Election on July 4, which many experts predict will result in a landslide victory for the party.

However, under Starmer, who became leader in 2020, the party has faced criticism on a number of issues, including its stance on the war in Gaza and its handling of internal matters.

In 2020, watchdogs ruled that the party was responsible for “unlawful” acts of antisemitic harassment and discrimination during the four-and-a-half years when Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, was party leader.


Saudi education ministry, SDAIA sign SR440m deal to establish educational endowment portfolio

Saudi education ministry, SDAIA sign SR440m deal to establish educational endowment portfolio
Updated 30 May 2024
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Saudi education ministry, SDAIA sign SR440m deal to establish educational endowment portfolio

Saudi education ministry, SDAIA sign SR440m deal to establish educational endowment portfolio

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority to establish an educational endowment portfolio.

SDAIA was represented by the national platform for charitable work, Ihsan.

The portfolio, which will support both general and university-level education, saw contributions on the first day reach SR440 million ($117.3 million), the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The MoU was signed by CEO of the Ihsan platform Ibrahim Al-Husseini and Director-General of the General Department of Social Responsibility and Voluntary Work Mishari Al-Juwairah.

Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan and Vice President of SDAIA Sami Muqeem were also present at the signing.

The deal aims to enhance cooperation between the ministry and Ihsan to activate a group of joint educational programs and initiatives, build a promising generation whose educational needs are met, and enable different segments of society and donors to contribute to supporting education programs and initiatives, including developing educational organizations related to data science and artificial intelligence.

Following the signing of the MoU, seven Saudi universities contributed to the portfolio with a total of SR320 million, with SR50 million each from Umm Al-Qura University, Jeddah University, Islamic University of Madinah, Dar Al-Hekma University, Hail University, and University of Tabuk, while Taif University donated SR20 million.

Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Khudair contributed SR70 million toward developing educational organizations and supporting capacity-building and academic programs directed at the non-profit sector.

The King Abdullah Humanitarian Foundation also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education to support the sustainability of university educational endowments to the amount of SR50 million as a contribution to the portfolio.

The proceeds were returned to the university endowments, bringing the total contributions to the portfolio through Ihsan to SR440 million.

Since its launch, the Ihsan platform’s donations have reached more than SR7 billion, benefiting over 4.8 million beneficiaries in various charitable and development fields, including over 1.6 million beneficiaries in the educational field.