Tag Archives: United Arab Emirates

Iran official says over 7,000 people arrested in protests

Iran is beginning to acknowledge the scale of recent protests that swept across the Islamic Republic, with one lawmaker quoted as saying authorities arrested more than 7,000 people.

The comment by Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, who sits on parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, came as Iran’s interior minister also alleged demonstrators wanted to take over state television.

Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli offered no evidence for his claim during an interview aired late Tuesday night on Iranian state television. Protests weren’t reported around state TV’s headquarters in northern Tehran.

Iran has yet to offer any definitive statistics for the unrest, which began Nov. 15 when officials sharply raised government-set gasoline prices.

Amnesty International says it believes violence in the protests and a security force crackdown killed at least 143 people.


Two-day children’s carnival begins in Sharjah tomorrow

After entertaining children of the emirate last year, the Sharjah Baby Friendly Office (SBFO) has announced the second edition of the Sharjah Carnival for Children and Youth, to be celebrated on Nov.21 – 22 in conjunction with World Children’s Day observed annually on Nov.20.

Two full days of fun and games have been dedicated to this unique carnival, which will be organised on the picturesque Al Majaz Amphitheatre Island. It will be an occasion for children, families and the whole community to enjoy and learn, from 9am – 10pm on both days.

In celebration of Sharjah’s support for children’s rights and to mark the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child this year, the island has been named the ‘Children’s Rights Island’ for the carnival.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, this SBFO carnival celebrates the exceptional qualities and achievements of the city’s children and youth by bringing the whole community together to connect and celebrate.

Festivities will unfold on the island, completely transformed into a child-friendly edutainment zone filled with exciting games, educational workshops and fun activities, including roving dance performances and processions, a photo booth, a tunnel of light, giant chairs, flag poles themed around children’s rights.

Activities will include workshops on cube painting, stencil painting and tote bags painting, and a variety of games staged on various parts of the island. There will also be lounges where families can relax and unwind.

Dr Hessa Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SBFO, said: “On the occasion of World Children’s Day, we invite families and schools in to bring their children and students for two days of fun and edutainment. The carnival’s main theme this year is children’s rights as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. We pay tribute to this achievement with activities and games themed around children’s rights.”

She added: “The carnival reflects His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi’s vision and directives, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi’s support to elevating the status of children and bettering their lives. This is a great opportunity for the community to unite, celebrate our children and youth, and recognise Sharjah’s achievements to create a nurturing environment for them.”

Sharjah will also participate in Unicef’s global GoBlue campaign through ‘Go Blue Sharjah’, which will be an intrinsic feature of the carnival, with the Al Majaz Amphitheatre building being lit up in blue symbolically, alongside other destinations such as the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and The Flag Island, to show the emirate’s support for children’s rights globally.

Fifteen government entities and organisations will participate in the carnival, each offering interactive edutainment activities and workshops for visitors, including Lughati initiative, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Girl Guides, Child Safety Department, Sharjah Government Media Bureau, Sharjah Police, Sharjah Municipality, Sharjah Education Council, Sharjah Children, Sharjah Health Authority, Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders & Innovators, Sharjah Private Education Authority, and the Sharjah Social Services Department.

SBFO aims to protect and elevate the status and wellbeing of children of all ages in Sharjah. It creates relevant strategies and plans and implements them in cooperation with relevant institutions and government authorities. The office is currently tasked with overseeing the continuation and implementation of the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Project (targeting age group 0-2), the Sharjah Child Friendly City Project (targeting age group 0-18), and the Sharjah Child Friendly Schools project.

The new season of #letsmajaz at the Al Majaz Amphitheatre will open on Dec.6 with Iraqi and Middle Eastern musical legend Ilham Al Madfai, according to an earlier report.

The world-class destination with a strong reputation for attracting the region’s biggest artistes for concerts and celebrations to Sharjah has roped in the iconic Iraqi guitarist, singer and composer, who will be accompanied by the six-member musical ensemble by Iraqi-Swedish Tarabband.


US urged to overhaul arms sales stance after Yemen withdrawal

US officials have been urged to make advanced military hardware available to the UAE in recognition of its moves to end the conflict in Yemen.

Danny Sebright, president of the US-UAE Business Council, told a Dubai audience of business leaders and dignitaries that the recent withdrawal of some UAE troops was “significant and very important”.

The development should be met by an increased willingness in Washington DC to “move forward on the release of more sophisticated technologies” which would bolster Emirati defences against Iran and other adversaries, he said.

Advanced armed drones, including the deadly Reaper model, are among the American weapons systems that have been sought after by Gulf countries, but sales have been blocked due to US rules.

Some UAE troops recently returned from Yemen following successful operations in Aden and there are ongoing efforts to end a conflict that has dragged on for years.

“Steps recently taken by the UAE to begin redeploying and drawing down forces in Yemen are significant and very important,” Mr Sebright said.

“These should be met by increased willingness in Washington to move forward on the release of more sophisticated technologies to sustain the UAE’s effective counter-terrorism efforts as well as to improve their defensive posture to address a range of new and evolving threats from Iran and other aggressors in the region.”

The United Nations is also working to implement a deal struck in Sweden between both sides of the conflict to bring the Red Sea city of Hodeidah under its control.

Speaking at a dinner at the Dubai Air Show on Sunday, Mr Sebright warned that the US stance meant the UAE was instead turning to US rivals such as China and Russia for weapons systems, despite their preference to do business with the Americans.

This was giving China in particular an advantage in the “great power struggle”, he said.

“When they [the UAE] cannot receive capabilities from the US, that they deem essential for their own legitimate self-defence needs, they say to me ‘what choice do we have but to turn to countries like China and Russia to fill those gaps?’

“I have led multiple trade missions of marquee US companies in the tech sector to the UAE just in the last two months. Every single meeting with UAE and government industry leaders included elements of discussion focused on how China is starting to win in this part of the world.

“We must do better in forging even closer partnerships and cooperation with our UAE and other Gulf partners if we are to check the spread of Chinese influence.”

Both Russia and China have made efforts to strengthen ties with Gulf states in recent years, with both President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin visiting Abu Dhabi within the last 18 months.

The US has vowed to review its policy regarding the export of some military technologies, including armed drones, although it is bound by agreements such as the Missile Technology Control Regime that do not apply to China.

The US had shifted its main focus from counter-terrorism, which had dominated defence policy for the past two decades, to “great power competition”, said Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment at the US department of defence.

She told the audience that “interoperability” between branches of the US military, as well as allies, was crucial as the world entered a new era of cyber warfare.

“From cyber security to intellectual property, supply chain security underpinning all of this, we must ensure our industry partners are protecting their capabilities,” she said.

“The Chinese are familiar with our loopholes and they are exploiting them, daily. They do not play by the rules of free, democratic societies and we must work together, government, industry, our partners and allies, to combat this threat.

“I will tell you after having been in industry for 33 years, and now in government for two years, my eyes have been absolutely opened by the daily intel briefings I get… There is no question: we are at cyber war with China”.


UAE drone attack killed 7 in Tripoli: Libya gov’t

Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on Monday accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of carrying out an airstrike that killed seven people south of Tripoli. 

The GNA’s Health Ministry said the airstrike targeted a biscuits factory in Wadi Rabie area, killing two Libyans and five foreign workers and injured 15 others.

The military command of the GNA-affiliated Volcano of Rage Operation said in a statement that the “airstrike was conducted by Emirati unmanned aircraft”.

There was no comment from the UAE on the allegation.

East Libya-based forces aligned with military commander Khalifa Haftar have launched a campaign in April to capture Tripoli from the GNA.

Clashes between the two sides have left over 1,000 people dead and around 5,500 wounded, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The oil-rich country has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a NATO-backed uprising after four decades in power.

Libya has since seen the emergence of two rival seats of power, including one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based GNA, which enjoys UN recognition.


UAE lifts travel ban to Lebanon

The UAE has announced that it is lifting the travel ban to Lebanon on its citizens starting from Tuesday.

Emirates News Agency (WAM) quoted Khalid Belhoul, undersecretary of the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation saying that the decision came after the ministry followed up on “matters” related to the exits’ security and the guarantees provided by the Lebanese government in this regard, in addition to strengthening brotherly relations between the UAE and Lebanon.

The decision was issued in conjunction with an indefinite visit made by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Abu Dhabi in order to participate in the events of theUAE-Lebanon Investment Conference.

In November 2017, the UAE and Bahrain warned their nationals against travelling to Lebanon after Hariri announced his resignation from the government, from Saudi Arabia, before retracting it later.


In mid-February, Riyadh’s ambassador to Beirut, Walid Bukhari, announced the dismissal of the warning against travelling to Lebanon issued by the kingdom to its citizens.

Lebanon is counting on Gulf tourists to boost its economy.

The Lebanese economy is facing economic challenges, such as fluctuations at the level of the local exchange market and the abundance of the dollar, in addition to the rise of exchange rates in the informal market above 1650 pounds/dollar, compared to 1507 in the official market.


UAE, Russia boosting cooperation

Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, on Wednesday met with Sergei Kuznetsov, Russian Ambassador to the UAE, and his accompanying delegation, where they discussed means of bolstering cooperation.

During the meeting, which was held at the ministry’s premises in Abu Dhabi, the two sides explored ways to enhance UAE-Russia ties in various fields for the benefit of both countries.

They also reviewed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest and exchanged views on them.

The meeting was attended by Matar Salim Ali Al Dhaheri, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, as well as a number of senior officers and officials at the ministry.


India to build Expo 2020 pavilion with nature as its heart

India’s nature and wildlife will feature at the heart of its Expo 2020 pavilion, a senior minister said as he unveiled plans for the structure.

The large four-storey building will also display a towering image of non-violence leader Mahatma Gandhi and the word ‘India’ written in Arabic, English and Hindi.

Piyush Goyal, Indian federal minister for commerce, industry and railways, unveiled the designs at a function in Dubai on Saturday.

Addressing businessmen and the Indian community, he spoke of the time being ripe for India to engage with the world.

The interlaced mesh facade seeks to represent the country’s connection to nature and there are plans for the the construction to incorporate environmentally friendly technology.

The project will include a two-storey plaza on a large one-acre plot and is among the permanent structures that will remain in the Dubai South area after the six-month world fair ends in April 2021.

Located in the Opportunity district, the pavilion will display the strength of emerging firms and showcase start-ups in technology, artificial intelligence, infrastructure, solar power and green energy, officials said.

The exhibition will also feature displays relating to Mahatma Gandhi to commemorate the 150th birth celebrations of the Indian independence leader.

About 30 varied areas of growth and development will be highlighted within the pavilion, including the government’s plans to boost manufacturing with its ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Mr Goyal began a two-day visit to the UAE on Saturday and is due to later meet Sheikh Hamad bin Zayed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and member of the Executive Council.

They will chair a meeting of the India-UAE high level task force that will discuss priority sectors to channel investments.

The high-level task force was established in 2012 and the meetings this week will focus on how to increase cooperation.

Mr Goyal will seek foreign direct investment from the UAE into India in eight sectors, including petroleum and natural gas, food processing, civil aviation, railways, renewable energy, infrastructure, shipping and construction, according to a statement from the ministry.


UAE leaders congratulate El Salvador on Independence Day

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a congratulatory message to President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, on the occasion of his country’s Independence Day, which is observed on September 15th.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, sent similar messages to President Bukele, on the occasion.


Arab rescued from drowning in Ajman

The marine division of the General Directorate of Civil Defence – Ajman rescued an Arab national, 27, from drowning off the beach in Ajman on Monday morning.

According to Lieutenant Humaid Bin Ayaf, Director of Marine Rescue Branch, the marine division received a report that a man was drowning at 6.30am on Monday. The marine division rushed to the place and was able to rescue the man, who was given to the national ambulance for the necessary medical treatment.

Calling on beachgoers to follow the instructions, which ban swimming in restricted areas, Bin Ayaf affirmed that lack of public awareness on the danger of sea currents was a major reason for drowning.

Separately, the Sharjah Misdemeanour Court postponed a case in which three Asians were accused of assaulting and beating up another with blunt objects during a brawl. The victim sustained various wounds, the Court heard.  The victim said that due to a difference between him and the suspects, they fought him with hands and a knife, resulting in an injury in the back as a result of the stabbing.

Libya issues complaint letter to UN for UAE actions

Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday of hostility and supporting a coup against the legitimate government.

The government issued a complain letter to the UN Security Council (UNSC) because of the UAE’s acts that violate the former’s decisions, according to a statement on the GNA’s social media account.

The statement slammed the UAE for transforming its capital of Abu Dhabi into a media platform working against the GNA and stressed that the UAE bears the spiritual and moral responsibility of attacks on Tripoli.

On Aug. 27, Fawzi Buharara, former general of Khalifa Haftar, confessed that the UAE provided aerial support with drones when it targeted southern Tripoli.

Forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar launched a campaign in April to capture Tripoli from forces aligned with the GNA.

Clashes between the two sides have left more than 1,000 people dead and about 5,500 wounded, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising after four decades in power.

The oil-rich country has since seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based GNA.