Grand light show was held at Shanghai Disneyland theme park to celebrate its first anniversary on June 16, 2017. Photo: Li Hao/GT
Source : Global Times
17 Jun 2017 – 15:44
Qatar on Saturday denied accusations of attempting to undermine security in neighbouring Bahrain.
On Friday, Bahrain’s official TV channel broadcast a phone call allegedly between Hamad bin Khalifa al-Attiyah, Special Advisor to Emir and Hassen Ali Mohamed Jumaa, a leader of Bahrain’s opposition Al-Wefaq movement. The agency accused Doha of meddling with Bahrain’s internal affairs.
In response, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement the phone call was part of Qatari efforts to mediate between the Bahraini authorities and opposition in the wake of the 2011 unrest in Bahrain.
The ministry described the broadcast of the phone call as “an exposed naive attempt to twist the facts and take them out of context.”
The statement said the contacts had been made “with the approval and knowledge of the authorities in Bahrain”.
“Then Qatar Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al-Thani in the presence of the late Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Saud Al-Faisal visited Bahrain and briefed the King about all the efforts by Qatar in this regard.
“The Qatari mediation stopped after the decision of military intervention to disperse the protests and sit-ins,” the statement said, referring to the decision to send Saudi-led forces to quell the protests.
“Bahrain was aware of these contacts as standard telephones in Bahrain were used and they never raised this issue as a point of disagreement in the past, especially during the crisis in 2014 when ambassadors were recalled,” statement added
The statement wondered why these contacts were not released in 2011 in the same way they were announced now.
“Taking a part of the phone call and broadcasting it in these controversial circumstances among current tensions provides compelling evidence of targeting Qatar and attempting to impute charges to it. It is also a disavowal of its efforts aimed at ending the unrest and enhancing the security and stability of Bahrain,” Foreign Ministry’s statement stressed.
The statement affirmed Qatar’s continued and permanent commitment to all the principles laid down by the GCC and stressed that the policy of Qatar is based on the principles of good neighbourliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of all countries.
Source : thepeninsulaqatar.com
16 Jun 2017 – 2:06
The ninth Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) Annual Forum has announced the awardees of its several programs and highlighted the impact of ongoing projects at an event at the Qatar National Convention Centre. Also the Texas A&M University at Qatar was awarded the Best Research Office of the Year Award 2016 for its outstanding projects.
Dr Hamad Al Ibrahim as Executive Vice-President of Research and Development at Qatar Foundation together with other officials presented the award to Dr Cesar O Malave, Dean of Texas A&M University at Qatar.
In the opening remarks at the event, Dr Al Ibrahim highlighted the new concept of co-funding which stimulates the creation of partnerships between the academic sector and the commercial end-users of research, and promoting a culture of public-private partnership in Qatar.
He said that commercial stakeholders, industry and the government have shown a promising indication of strong interest by co-funding the proposals.
“In this tenth cycle we introduced co-funding by stakeholders. More than 50 percent of the submitted proposals has co-funding as total amount of $16m,” Dr Al Ibrahim said.
The forum also saw the awarding QNRF’s funding programs. It included the tenth cycle of the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP 10), the second cycle of the Path towards Personalized Medicine (PPM2), second cycle of the OSRA (OSRA2), held in collaboration with Doha International Family Institute and the third cycle of the Postdoctoral Research Award (PDRA3).
During the forum Dr Abdul Sattar Al Taie, Executive Director, QNRF, in his presentation on ‘The Road to Impact’ said that according to a survey conducted by the QNRF has found that its work has an high impact on scientific, training and technological areas.
According to the survey, QNRF has a 78 percent of scientific impact, 50 percent impact in training and 38 percent impact in the area of technology such as creating products and innovation.
He said at present QNRF has a total of 570 active projects worth of $972m. It has 546 international collaborations and an annual increase of 28 percent of publications.
Source : thepeninsulaqatar.com
(Reuters) The Syrian army said it would suspend combat operations in the southern city of Deraa for 48 hours from Saturday, according to a statement carried by state news agency SANA.
A war monitor said the level of violence had fallen three hours after the ceasefire was due to take effect, but rebels said the city was still being bombarded.
The army general command said the ceasefire was due to take effect at 12 noon (0900 GMT) on Saturday and was being done to support “reconciliation efforts”.
The Syrian army and Iran-backed militia forces have escalated attacks against a rebel-held part of Deraa city in recent weeks, in a possible prelude to a large-scale campaign to wrest full control of the city.
But a rebel commander in Deraa told Reuters hostilities had not stopped.
“We have not heard of any such talk and the regime is still attacking us with the same intensity,” the commander said at 3:30 PM (1230 GMT).
The United States and Russia have been holding talks on creating a “de-escalation zone” in southwestern Syria which would include Deraa province, on the border with Jordan, and Quneitra, which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Deraa city lies within an existing plan brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey in the Kazakh capital, Astana, in May to create four de-escalation zones in Syria. Since May, violence levels have vastly reduced in some of those proposed de-escalation areas, but fighting has continued on major frontline areas including in Deraa city.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said there had been a decline in the pace of fighting and shelling in the city for the three hours since the ceasefire came into force. But the Britain-based monitor said some shells and air strikes had continued to hit parts of the city.
“There are breaches and we are distrustful of the regime’s intentions in abiding by the ceasefire,” Major Issam al Rayes, spokesman for the Southern Front grouping of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels, told Reuters.
“The regimes forces have stopped their military operations after big losses in equipment and men since the start of their campaign over a month ago … after the failure of repeated attempts to advance,” Rayess said
Source : Syria News Media
(Reuters) The Russian defense ministry said on Saturday it had killed two Islamic State field commanders, named as Abu Omar al-Beljiki and Abu Yassin al-Masri, in air strikes near the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, Interfax news agency reported.
The statement came a day after Russia said it may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike last month. Washington said it could not corroborate Baghdadi’s death and Western and Iraqi officials were skeptical.
The Russian defense ministry said on Saturday it killed around 180 militants and the two commanders al-Beljiki and al-Masri in air strikes close to Deir al-Zor on June 6 and June 8.
Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based expert who advises several Middle East governments on Islamic State affairs, said he was skeptical about Russia’s claim on Saturday.
He said Abu Yasin al-Masri is the same person as Abu al-Haj al-Masri, who the Russians on Friday said they killed near Raqqa in May.
Al-Hashimi said the other IS leader, al-Beljiki, was unlikely to have been in Syria at the time of the attack.
“The Russians are trying to improve their record fighting Daesh as it was the Americans who have killed the top commanders of the group so far, like Abu Omar al-Shishani, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani and Abu Ali al-Anbari,” he said, using an Arabic acronym of Islamic State.
“If (Russia’s) announcements prove wrong, their credibility will be hurt,” al-Hashimi said.
Islamic State fighters are close to defeat in the twin capitals of the group’s territory, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, after nearly three years ruling over millions of people in a wide area in both countries.
A U.S.-led coalition is assisting Iraqi forces in the Mosul battle and supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes Arab and Kurdish militias, in Raqqa.
Having been forced into retreat across much of Syria, Islamic State’s biggest remaining foothold in Syria is in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor.
Source : Syria News Media
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) — On 16 June 2017, a meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan Shiri Shiriyev and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Sayed Shahabuddin Timori was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
At the meeting the topical aspects of interaction between three countries in the framework of multilateral organizations were discussed, the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said.
The ambassadors on behalf of the foreign ministers of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan handed the official invitation for the Uzbek part to the upcoming 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference for Afghanistan (RECCA-VII), which will be held in Ashgabat.
Source : UzDaily
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) — Government of Uzbekistan will direct US$500 million for recapitalization of commercial banks of the country.
On 16 June 2017, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a corresponding resolution.
The resolution is aimed at maintaining the level of capitalization of commercial banks, enhancing financial stability of the banking system and expanding their participation in financing investment projects and entrepreneurship.
According to the document, the Fund for Reconstruction and Development (FRDU) will allocate US$500 million in 2017 to increase the state share in the authorized capitals of commercial banks of Uzbekistan.
Commercial banks will use the funds, received from the FRDU to form and increase state stake in their authorized capital, to finance and co-finance programs of social-economic development of the regions of Uzbekistan in 2017-2018 and financial support for business entities, the resolution said.
Uzbek leader instructed the Central Bank to introduce a mechanism for providing loans to commercial banks with acute shortage of liquidity. The credits will be provided for up to three months and without collateral, the document added.
The resolution noted that banks should use these funds only to maintain liquidity in order to ensure the continuity of payments. The banks do not have the right to use these resources for providing loans.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev also granted the right to the Central Bank to introduce a guardianship regime over a commercial bank, which did not ensure uninterrupted payment for customers after receiving the loan without collateral from the regulator.
Source : UzDaily
SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s government is drawing fire for stripping a Paralympic gold medal winner of basic state subsidies for livelihood stability, critics said Saturday.
The controversial policy came to light after Chung Ho-won, a disabled resident of Sokcho on the east coast, said he lost his status as the beneficiary of basic livelihood security aid after winning a boccia gold medal at the Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August last year.
Boccia is a competitive sport practiced by people with cerebral palsy or related neurological conditions.
Chung Ho-won (L) and his coach Kwon Chul-hyun (Yonhap file photo)
The 31-year-old Chung received a reward of 60 million won (US$53,000) from the South Korean government for the gold medal. But the cash reward immediately stripped Chung of his extensive basic living benefits as the maximum wealth of such subsidy beneficiaries is set at 54 million won.
Chung, who is a first-degree disabled person with a brain injury, said he was recently informed by the administrative authorities that he no longer qualified for basic living security subsidies.
Under the National Basic Livelihood Security Act, South Korea ensures the minimum level of living for the needy and helps them support themselves by furnishing them with cash and in-kind benefits. Around 1 million won worth of benefits, including cash, is known to be paid to a disabled recipient of basic livelihood security subsidy, for instance.
The government currently pays cash rewards of 60 million won, 30 million won and 18 million won to Paralympics gold, silver and bronze medalists, respectively.
“I only recently learned that Paralympic rewards are not recognized as an exception under the National Basic Livelihood Security Act,” said Kwon Chul-hyun, a coach for the national boccia team.
“Chung has also lost all state medical, housing and education benefits just because he won a gold medal,” he regretted. At present, four of 11 national boccia players are beneficiaries of basic livelihood subsidies.
Kwon warned that low-income disabled athletes could give up sports entirely, as long as Paralympic medals can lead to the loss of state livelihood subsidies.
In this regard, an official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said that an exception can hardly be recognized for the Paralympic medalists for the sake of equitable treatment of all recipients.
Source : Yonhap News Agency
SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) — A heat wave is expected to grip South Korea over the weekend, with the mercury forecast to surge above 35 C in the southwest region, meteorological officials said Saturday.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said it issued this year’s first heat wave warning for Gwangju, about 330 km south of Seoul, and its surrounding areas.
The KMA said the warning was announced at 11 a.m., as the daily high in the southwestern metropolitan city is expected to remain above 35 C for two consecutive days.
“The warning was issued because some locations within Gwangju are predicted to see the temperature rise above 35 C during the day,” said a KMA official.
Sweltering heat is also expected to envelop other parts of the country, as a heat wave advisory was issued for the Seoul metropolitan area and central provinces as of 10 a.m., said the KMA.
Even mountainous areas in Gangwon Province, east of Seoul, came under heat wave advisory, it noted.
The daily high is expected to reach 31 C in Seoul and 33 C in Daegu and Chuncheon of Gangwon Province, the agency said.
Source : Yonhap News Agency
Iran lost to Poland 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-22) in Week 3 of the 2017 FIVB World League Saturday night.
Michal Kubiak (15 points, 2 blocks) and Dawid Konarski (10 points) led Poland to a three-straight set comfortable victory over Iran.
With their fourth win of the tournament, Poland are still in contention for a berth at the Curitiba Final Six. And they can thank Dawid Konarski and Michal Kubiak, who scored a combined total of 25 points, fivb.com reported.
Milad Ebadipour Ghara managed a team-high 7 points for Iran on the other side of the net. Seven blocks and four aces for Poland, to Iran’s six and zero, sealed the deal as Iran committed 20 mistakes and were no match for the ruthless hosts.
Both teams headed into the final week-end with the same record: three victories, four defeats. Neither had much of a choice: a win was the “only” requirement to keep the chances of heading to Brazil’s Final Six in Curitiba alive.
“First of all I want to congratulate Poland on the 3-0 victory. Poland was better than us in all elements. We can say we did not play good, but we play as good as opponent let us. In the last set we had an opportunity, but Poland put pressure on serve, especially to the second zone. I don’t want to speak about our problems, because the result is clear,” Igor Kolakovic said.
Iran captain Saied Marouf also said: “I don’t know what to say because we made too many mistakes. Our opponent was better in every element. Only in the third set we played our volleyball. Poland had a good day, they serve well and we had problem with reception.”
The FIVB World League is the premier annual men’s volleyball tournament with a total of 36 participating teams in 2017.
The 36 teams have been split into three groups of 12 teams and will play the preliminary round in a pool format over three weeks, before the best teams gather for the finals in each group.
Source : Tehran Times