‘Terrorist explosion’ injures two civilians in Bahrain

Filed on February 15, 2017
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The blast came as demonstrators clashed with police in Manama and several nearby villages.

An explosion wounded two civilian passers-by in Bahrain, the interior ministry said early on Wednesday, as demonstrators were marking the sixth anniversary of an anti-government uprising that was suppressed.

The ministry did not say what caused on Tuesday evening’s blast in a village outside the capital Manama but demonstrators sometimes throw petrol bombs during the sporadic protests that still grip the Kingdom.

“Terrorist blast in Sitra causes minor injuries to a married couple passing the site. Police at the scene,” the ministry said on its Twitter.

It also tweeted a picture of a black 4X4 with a shattered windscreen and significant damage to the front bonnet.

The blast came as demonstrators clashed with police in Manama and several nearby villages.

The demonstration in the capital ended when police fired tear gas and stun grenades, witnesses said.

Source : Khaleej Times


Nurse from Kerala stabbed and undergoing treatment

IANS/Thiruvananthapuram/Kuwait City
Filed on February 22, 2017 | Last updated on February 22, 2017 at 02.10 pm

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, tweeting about the incident, said that India has taken up the issue of security of Indians in Kuwait at the highest level.

An Indian nurse from Kottayam in Kerala was stabbed in Kuwait City and is under treatment at Farwaniya Hospital.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, tweeting about the incident, said that India has taken up the issue of security of Indians in Kuwait at the highest level.

“Our Embassy has taken up the matter at the highest level in Kuwait to ensure safety and security of Indian nationals there,” she said.

“I was informed about the stabbing of Mrs. Gopika Shajikumar, an Indian national, from Kottayam. I asked for an immediate report and we have complete details of the unfortunate incident,” Swaraj tweeted.

Gopika works at the Al Jahra Hospital.

Last week, an Indian nurse from Kerala was found murdered in Oman.

Shebin Jeeva, 31, from Nedumkandam in Idukki district, was found dead in her flat near Dohar Club in Salalah. She was working in a dental clinic there.

Source : Khaleej Times

Planning a vacation? Travel to Oman from Dubai for less than Dh150

Web Team /Dubai
Filed on March 2, 2017
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Oman’s SalamAir starts double daily flights to Dubai


SalamAir officially started their first international route to Dubai on Tuesday.

The airliner’s new Airbus A320 aircraft dubbed “Fateh Al Khair”, SalamAir flew to Al Maktoum International Airport on Tuesday.

The flight took off at 5:35pm local time, which is the start of a double daily service to the UAE, a Times of Oman report said.

Al Maktoum International Airport will be SalamAir’s Dubai destination until March 26 before move to Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport.

Therates offered is as low as OMR14.6 – tax included (Dh139.28).

Francoise Bouteiller, CEO of SalamAir, was quoted as saying in the report:

“Dubai is a thriving leisure and business destination and with convenient dual flight times, we are offering more flexible travel options for our guests, all within their budgets.”

He added that they are planning to operate flights to Pakistan and Jeddah by the end of March with the introduction of their third aircraft.

“Flights to Pakistan is expected to start by the end of March. By the end of March we expect to introduce Karachi, Sialkot and Multan,” said Bouteiller adding that these destination will commence when their third aircraft arrives.


With fares from Muscat to Dubai as low as OMR14.6, guests can now book their flights on the website and can choose between three easy fare options: Light, Friendly and Flexi.

Delivering on its promise to offer value for money, SalamAir will provide the option of ‘through flights’ on the 17:35 flight from Salalah to Dubai, meaning that guests can fly to Dubai without having to disembark in Muscat. The service includes a 50-minute stopover.

When asked about operating flights to India, Bouteiller said that it requires a lot of “bilateral agreements” and “buying traffic rights” to operate in, the report added.

Source : Khaleej Times

Will metro’s arrival make a change in car-crazy Qatar?

Filed on March 9, 2017
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Ninety per cent of the metro will run underground when operational.

Qatar’s metro, once completed, will run hundreds of kilometres across ultra-modern Doha, along the coast and into its expanding suburbs. But whether car-crazy Qataris will actually use it remains an open question.

Driverless three-car trains are to serve 100 stations, easing into gleaming newly-built destinations with names such as Ras Bu Fontas, Al Shaqab and Legtaifiya.

Now the main task for those behind the approximately $18-billion project – in a country where car is king – is to ensure it draws enough passengers to justify the huge outlay.

“We are not a culture that is used to the metro, not like Europe,” said Khaled Al Thani, a civil engineer with Qatar Rail, the state-owned company responsible for the metro.

“This is all new for us.”

The Doha Metro is a massive venture even by the standards of the nation where infrastructure mega-projects are commonplace.

Officials at Qatar Rail are cagey about terming it the world’s biggest ongoing engineering project, preferring to call it one of the largest.

Since ground was broken in the summer of 2013, a workforce of 41,000 has been digging, tunnelling and building. Large tracts of land in Doha have been set aside for a network of tunnels and stations.

Qatar even set a world record for using 21 tunnel boring machines at the same time in November 2015, the highest number ever recorded.

Ninety per cent of the metro will run underground when operational. The station designs have been approved by Amir of Qatar, Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Qatar Rail says its target is to have completed 70 percent of the network by the end of 2017, with the opening due in late 2019 or early 2020.

“With metros in other developed countries, when they develop a metro they introduce a new line, but for us in Qatar, we’re introducing a whole network system,” said Khaled Al Thani.

Probably the most symbolic part of the Doha Metro will be a station around 20 kilometres north of the capital.

Lusail, the final stop on the Red Line, will serve the $45-billion city emerging from the desert that will be the venue of football’s 2022 World Cup final.

“We are actualising a vision,” said Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Subai, managing director of Qatar Rail.

The company has begun holding special classes for Doha residents to make them aware of the metro and to encourage them to use it.

“I’m very confident that the metro will be a hit,” said Thani on an upbeat note.

“It takes me approximately one hour every day to go to work. So, with the metro you have a safe and dependable transportation to reach from point A to point B.”

The target is to remove 190,000 cars a day off Doha’s heavily congested roads.

A report from the Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre (QMIC) found that commuters spent an average of 109 hours in traffic on the country’s roads in 2016.

That was an increase of seven hours over the previous year and equivalent to around $1.5 billion in losses for the Qatari economy, according to QMIC calculations.

Many question whether Qataris will swap their beloved cars for public transport, and say foreign workers are more likely to fill the carriages.

The country’s population could rise to 3.6 million by 2031, from 2.6 million today, and Qatar Rail wants 1.65 million people at year to be using the metro by that time.

“To change this culture, it will take time,” said Abdulla Alsayed Zahran, a manager with Qatar Rail.

Source : Khaleej Times

Saudi King expected to visit India this year

IANS/New Delhi
Filed on March 12, 2017
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Bilateral trade in 2015 was worth nearly $40 billion, with India importing a fifth of its oil needs from Saudi Arabia.

India on Sunday said it looks forward to the first official visit here by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia to further deepen the strategic ties between both countries, an Indian official said.

“We are looking forward to the visit of the King of Saudi Arabia later this year,” Secretary, External Affairs (Economic Relations), Amar Sinha, said at an event here organised by the Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC.

“Our historical and deep relations have been growing rapidly over the last couple of years. While both countries have intensified joint production and investment and are looking at new investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and pooling of technical resources and skills,” he added.

King Salman was crowned the new king in January 2015, following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah.

SABIC, which has a major presence in India, including an advanced R&D facility in Bengaluru, announced its CSR activity to test the eyesight of over 100,000 government-aided schoolchildren in Delhi, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Vadodara, Chennai and Mumbai.

In his address, Saudi Ambassador Saud Al-Sati invited India to play a key role in the kingdom’s economic transformation as it seeks to reduce its dependence on oil exports following a long period of decline in crude prices and emergence of new fuels by diversifying its sources of income and attracting foreign investment.

Al-Sati said the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan aims to free the Saudi economy from dependence on oil by diversifying its sources of income, attract foreign investment and make Saudi Arabia a manufacturing hub.

Bilateral trade in 2015 was worth nearly $40 billion, with India importing a fifth of its oil needs from Saudi Arabia.

Source : Khaleej Times

Turkey vows tough action after Netherlands bars its ministers

Filed on March 12, 2017
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A Dutch riot policeman tries to get his dog to let go of a man after riots broke out during a pro Erdogan demonstration at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Sunday.

The Dutch government barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam on Saturday

Turkey told the Netherlands on Sunday that it would retaliate in the “harshest ways” after Turkish ministers were barred from speaking in Rotterdam, as a row over Ankara’s political campaigning among Turkish immigrants escalated.

The Dutch government barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam on Saturday and later stopped Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate there, before escorting her out of the country to Germany.

Dutch police used dogs and water cannon on Sunday to disperse hundreds of protesters waving Turkish flags outside the consulate in Rotterdam.

Some threw bottles and stones and several demonstrators were beaten by police with batons, a Reuters witness said. Mounted police officers charged the crowd.

The Dutch government – set to lose about half its seats in elections this week, according to polls, as the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders makes strong gains –  said the ministers’ visits were undesirable and it would not cooperate in their campaigning in the Netherlands. “If you can sacrifice Turkish- Dutch relations for an election on Wednesday, you will pay the price,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech at an awards ceremony in Istanbul.

“I thought Nazism was dead, but I was wrong. Nazism is still widespread in the West,” he said. “The West has shown its true face.”

Speaking to reporters before a public appearance in the northeastern French city of Metz, Cavusoglu said Turkey would continue to act against the Netherlands until it apologises. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he would do everything to “de-escalate” the confrontation, which he described as the worst the Netherlands had experienced for years.

But he said the idea of apologising was “bizarre”.

“This is a man who yesterday made us out for fascists and a country of Nazis. Im going to de-escalate, but not by offering apologies. Are you nuts?” he told a morning talk show. In a statement issued early on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey would retaliate in the “harshest ways”.

The row risked spreading on Sunday as Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen proposed postponing a planned visit by Yildirim this month due to the dispute.

The French foreign ministry urged calm and said there had been no reason to prohibit a meeting in France between Cavusoglu and a local Turkish association. – Reuters

‘Netherlands is capital of fascism’

Metz (France) – Turkey’s foreign minister said in France on Sunday that the Netherlands is the “capital of fascism”, the day after he was barred from speaking in the country to promote a referendum at home.

Some 800 flag-waving Turks gathered in the eastern French city of Metz for the address by Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is campaigning for constitutional changes that would boost the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The “fascism” comment echoed accusations by Erdogan himself, both Saturday and again on Sunday, when he said the Netherlands was behaving like the Nazis in its treatment of Turkish ministers.

The Metz rally was planned weeks ago but took on “another dimension” because of the row between Ankara and The Hague, said Saban Kiper, vice president of a grouping in France of Turkish associations. – AFP

Source : Khaleej Times

Four computers dumped outside embassy

Monday, 13 March 2017

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Deliberately damaged: Journalists taking pictures of the computers that were dumped outside the embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Deliberately damaged: Journalists taking pictures of the computers that were dumped outside the embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR: Exactly a month after the high profile assassination of Kim Jong-nam, three laptops and a desktop computer were dumped outside the North Korean embassy, all with their hard disk drives missing.

The four computers also looked like they were deliberately damaged, with multiple cracks on the laptops’ screens, broken keyboards and excessive dents on them.

It was believed that the computers were thrown out in the early hours yesterday when journalists who have been staking out the embassy at Jalan Batai left for the night.

Also discarded were empty liquor bottles, cigarette cartons, flowers, flower stands and other common household rubbish.

The only activity seen was when embassy counsellor Kim Yu-song and another man left the building in an MPV at 11.30am. They returned 35 minutes later.

Scores of motorists passing by the road slowed down to look, while some stopped to take photographs.

At around 4.45pm, a scrap material collector came and took the computers and the glass bottles away.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed on Friday that the man killed at KLIA2 on Feb 13 was Jong-nam.

Authorities believe that the embassy’s se­cond secretary Hyon Kwang-song, 44, and Air Koryo staff member Kim Uk-il, 37, are still in the country.

They are believed to be holed up inside the embassy.

It was learnt that the North Korean high-level delegation sent here from Pyongyang wants Hyon and Uk-il to be allowed to return to their country and Jong-nam’s body to be released to their government.

A warrant of arrest has been issued for Uk-il and a letter requesting Hyon’s cooperation was sent to the embassy.

Meanwhile, members of the press, inclu­ding foreign journalists, looked fatigued after weeks of staking out the embassy.

A reporter from a Japanese television network, who declined to be named, said he had just arrived in Malaysia a week ago to replace his colleague who was here earlier.

He said there were around 30 media practitioners from various Japanese news agencies and television networks.

Another reporter from Bangkok hoped that the entire saga would come to an end soon.

“This is now my second week here. We’re not sure when we’ll get to go back. As long as Jong-nam’s body is still here, I guess we’ll still be here,” she said.

Source : The Star

Philippines’ President Duterte set to visit UAE in May

Web Team/Dubai
Filed on March 5, 2017 | Last updated on March 5, 2017 at 02.23 pm
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Here’s what we know so far.

The Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte is set to visit the UAE sometime around May. The long anticipated visit to the UAE, was confirmed by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary, Perfecto Yasay Jr.

Yasay who was in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi earlier last week confirmed the presidential visit. He said that the dates are still tentative and are subject to change, adding that the president has yet to confirm a date for this visit.

Details of the purpose of the visit are not yet known, however there is speculation that the president will have bilateral talks with UAE leaders. Duterte is expected to stop by UAE on his way to Moscow, Russia.

The Filipino community has been keeping close tabs on the popular president’s visit here. In Dubai alone, numerous supporters of the Philippine leader can be seen clad in their “DU30” t-shirts which have become part of their wardrobe. Some residents have gone out of their way to have the novelty t-shirt custom made.

More updates as they happen can be found here on khaleejtimes.com

Source : Khaleej Times

Pakistan to debate bill legalising trials before military courts

Filed on March 10, 2017 | Last updated on March 10, 2017 at 07.06 pm
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All parties except for slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party agreed on the government proposed draft.

Pakistan’s parliament is set to debate a bill next week that would legalise trials before military courts for another two years, a measure human rights activists say negates the basic principles of justice and denies those on trial the chance for a fair defense.

The bill, designed to combat terrorism, was presented before the lower house of parliament Friday by law minister Zahid Hamid.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government was expected to fast-track the draft before lawmakers amid indications the National Assembly – the lower house of parliament – would unanimously back the constitutional amendment.

All parties except for slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party agreed on the government proposed draft.

A member of the PPP, the main opposition party, said her party had suggestions that should be incorporated in the draft. Azra Fazal said the bill was not acceptable unless debated and improved. The session was adjourned until Monday when the debate would take place.

The proposed amendment authorizes the military to try any suspect on terrorism-related charges.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, adviser to the prime minister on law and human rights, said there was a consensus between all the political parties that under extraordinary circumstances “we have to set military courts.” But, he said, there are some small differences on certain points.

A similar amendment was adopted in 2015, allowing military courts to carry out trials of suspected militants under a two-year mandate, which expired in January.

That measure came after a December 2014 Taleban attack at a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which killed 154 people, mostly schoolchildren. The assault also prompted Pakistan to lift its moratorium on the death penalty. Since then, more than 400 convicts have been executed, though most were not linked to terrorism-related cases.

Along with military trials, Pakistani forces have carried out several military operations against militants in lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, including a major push that began in mid-2014 in North Waziristan, a militant base.

Militants in Pakistan have killed tens of thousands of people over the years, seeking to overthrow the government.

Last month, authorities expanded the powers of the paramilitary Rangers to include the eastern Punjab province. Previously, the force could only pursue and arrest suspects in the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan, as well as in the northwest.

Rights groups have consistently criticized the military courts, which had a total of 274 cases referred to them over the past two years. During that time, the courts sentenced 161 people to death.

“They don’t meet the internationally accepted principles of justice. These courts don’t give the suspects the right to select a lawyer,” Zohra Yusuf, who heads the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told The Associated Press.

The trials are conducted by army officers – not lawyers – who lack proper legal background and experience, she said. The trials are held behind closed doors and suspects’ families often learn about the rulings against their kin through the media.

Instead of relying on military courts to be judge, jury and executioner, Yusuf appealed to authorities to reform the country’s judicial system.

Source : Khaleej Times