Iraqi bourse retreats 0.23% on banks stocks

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Baghdad ( The benchmark index of the Iraqi bourse (ISX) declined at Monday’s close by 0.23% or 1.28 points to the level of 562.91 points.

Trading volume reached 792.52 million shares exchanged at IQD 433.02 million, compared to 333.99 million shares exchanged on Sunday at IQD 214.01 million.

Ashur International Bank for Investment was the worst performing stock after dropping 9.09%, Babylon Bank shrank 5.71%, National Bank of Iraq fell 3.85% and Mosul Bank for Development and Investment retreated 3.12%.

On the other hand, North Bank for Finance and Investment rose 7.55%, Kurdistan International Bank for Development and Investment ascended 4.55% and Baghdad Hotel levelled up 1.31%.

Sumer Commercial Bank was the most active stock as 193.67 million shares were exchanged at IQD 174.3 million.

The main index declined on Thursday by 1.07% or 6.08 points to the level of 564.19 points.


Source  :  Iraqi News

Iraqi policeman, tribal fighter killed, others wounded in several IS attacks, south of Mosul

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Qayyarah ( A policeman, two Islamic State militants were killed as Iraqi troops launched a midnight attack against a village in South of Mosul, a security source from Salahuddin province said.

“The Counter-Terrorism Service as well as police and army troops took part in the attack, backed by the U.S jets, which attacked Imam Gharbi village from two sides and achieved progress after clashes with the militants,” the source from Salahuddin Operations Command told Anadolu Agency.

“Fierce clashes occurred between IS militants and the troops, which left a policeman and two IS members killed, while another policeman was injured,” the source added.

The clashes, according to the source, “take place 15 kilometers away from Qayyarah airbase.”

In related news, Lt.Gen.Nidhal Ali al-Shakarji, of Federal Police, said an Iraqi fighter was killed, while three others were wounded in the wake of three attacks launched by IS against the village.

The group, according to Shakarji, launched three attacks using drones over the past 24 hours against the troops.

“The militants launched an attack using a drone late on Sunday against the tribal mobilization forces, leaving a fighter killed and two others wounded. Another drone fired a missile against army soldiers, leaving a soldier injured,” the source added.

“The third attack occurred early on Monday using a drone supplied with two missiles,” the source said adding no losses were reported.

On June 29, IS was able to gain control on the village, located south of Mosul.

Despite declaring the end of battles in Mosul, some clashes still occur at west of the city, according to an Iraqi military source.


Source  :  Iraqi News

UAE denies Washington Post’s claim it hacked Qatari sites

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DUBAI: The UAE’s Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba has denied a report by The Washington Post that claims some US officials believe the country “orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir” in late May.
The UAE’s embassy in Washington responded to the article in a series of tweets posted early Monday morning, saying that “the @washingtonpost story is false. UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article” in comments attributed to the ambassador.

The Washington Post report, published on Sunday, alleges that US “officials became aware last week that newly analyzed information gathered by US intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation. The officials said it remains unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or contracted to have them done.”
However, the UAE’s embassy has denied the report, with Al-Otaiba instead stating that “What is true is #Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas & Qaddafi… Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization and undermining the stability of its neighbors.”



Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, told Arab News: “These allegations are just that: Allegations. Moreover, The Washington Post article is thinly sourced with no credible solid evidence presented to back up the accusation. Meanwhile, the Western media seems to have conveniently forgotten about the deliberate hacking that targeted the ambassador as part of an effort clearly itended to benefit the Qatari government.”
Despite The Washington Post’s article, it was recently reported that Russian hackers were thought to be behind the purported breach of Qatar’s state news agency.
CNN reported in June that “US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies.”
Qatar claims that a report released by a state-run news agency in May, in which Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was said to have made incendiary comments regarding the GCC, was the result of a hack.
The report sparked a diplomatic row in the region, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading a host of nations in cutting ties with Qatar.


Source  :  Arab News

FIFA’s intervention in Australian football delayed until August

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JULY 17 2017 – 2:25PM

Emma Kemp

FIFA’s planned intervention into the governance of Australian football has been delayed, with FFA’s November 30 deadline to sort out its affairs creeping closer.

A joint delegation of FIFA and Asian Football Confederation representatives was set to arrive in Australia in late July to mend the rift between divided stakeholders and end their impasse on a new, more democratic congress demanded by FIFA.

If the congress is not in place by the November deadline, FIFA will disband the FFA board and remove chairman Steven Lowy.

“We’re working to get a resolution that means we don’t get to that stage,” FFA chief executive David Gallop told AAP on Monday.

“We’re still looking to finalise the date but it’s likely to be in early August.

“We support FIFA coming and hearing the views of the various stakeholders first hand.


“We’ve seen some changes in the FIFA administration and the people managing the issue in recent times, so it will be good for the people who are actually dealing with the matter to come to Australia and hear the debate.”

If the delegation does arrive in early August, it will leave little more than three months before FIFA acts on its threat to implement a normalisation committee to temporarily take over FFA’s affairs.

The governing body’s decision earlier this month to intercede is an embarrassing blow to Lowy and his beleaguered board, and followed FIFA’s outright rejection of its proposed new congress model as unrepresentative.

After a protracted stalemate lasting months, FFA informed FIFA it had reached consensus from more than 75 per cent of members for the first stage of an expanded congress.

That 9-3-1 model is made up of the nine state member federations, two seats for the A-league clubs and one for the W-League, and one for the players’ union, the Professional Footballer’s Australia (PFA).

FFA still sits poles apart from the A-League clubs, PFA and the largest state member federation, Football NSW, who are standing firm on a 9-5-1 model.

Trust has all but dissolved in the increasingly bitter stand-off, especially as the 10 A-League clubs continue to seek what they believe is their share of revenue entitlements and a greater say in the game’s future.

“It would certainly be good to get things resolved,” Gallop said.

“There’s a level of frustration from most stakeholders.”



Source  :  The Canberra Times

Australia says those behind MH17 shooting down may be tried in absentia

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A file image of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER 9M-MRD. (Damien Aiello)

Foreign minister Julie Bishop says those behind the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 may have to be tried in absentia as the Australian Government reaffirms its commitment to using every legal avenue to bring those responsible to justice.

On July 17 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, 9M-MRD, operating a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members – including 38 Australian citizens or permanent residents – was shot down over eastern Ukraine. There were no survivors.

Amateur video footage showed the aircraft exploding on impact with the ground, and the charred remains of recognisable aircraft components strewn across a fairly wide semi-rural area.

A report from the Dutch Safety Board published in 2015 found the Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile that was launched in a 320 sq km area in eastern Ukraine.

In 2014, Australia sponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution that expressed condemnation of the shooting down of the aircraft and set up an independent international investigation. It was unanimously backed by all 15 members of the Council, including Russia.

And in July 2017, it was announced the five countries jointly investigating the crash – Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands – had chosen the Dutch courts to prosecute those suspected to be responsible for the downing of the aircraft.

The move followed Russian efforts to block the establishment of an international court to bring those behind the shooting down of MH17 to justice.

Bishop told the ABC Insiders program on Sunday she was “confident that we are doing all we can to bring those responsible to account”.

“We have now confirmed that we will back a Dutch national prosecution which will be an independent and fair and transparent prosecution,” Bishop said.

“And we will work as hard as we can to support the Dutch and Ukraine because I’ve entered into a treaty with the Netherlands so that the full criminal jurisdiction of Ukraine has been transferred to the Netherlands.

“It may be that there will have be to a trial in absentia.”

Bishop urged Russia, which has consistently denied being involved in the shooting down of the aircraft, to abide by the Security Council resolution from 2014 that called on all nations to cooperate to ensure those responsible were brought to justice.

“There have been reports that some of the witnesses have been detained in Russia. Well, I certainly urge Russia to comply with the Security Council resolution and do all it can to help bring these people to account,” Bishop said.

A memorial located near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will be unveiled on Monday (European time) to remember the 298 people who died. Many of the victim’s relatives were expected to attend.


Source  :  Australian Aviation

Saudi Haj minister discusses development of services for pilgrims

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MADINAH: Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Salih bin Taher Bentin continued inspection rounds and field visits, as well as preparatory meetings with the board of directors for Tawafa owners in preparation for the coming Haj season.
The minister visited the headquarters of the Establishment of Motawifs of Pilgrims of Turkey, Muslims of Europe, US and Australia and the National Tawafa Establishment for South Asian Pilgrims in Makkah. The visit aimed to check on the programs and operational plans of the institutions for this Haj season.
Bentin discussed the services offered to pilgrims, including grouping, transport, climbing Arafat mountain, housing and meals.
The minister stressed the importance of providing services that reflect the great care and attention the government of King Salman gives to pilgrims. Bentin also emphasized the importance of enhancing cooperation between the different parties offering Haj services.


Source  :  Arab News

Saudi Arabia launches new tourism initiatives within Vision 2030

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RIYADH: As tourism becomes a major driver of the Saudi economy with its huge employment-generating potential, Saudi Arabia has launched six major initiatives to stimulate the travel and tourism industry.
“The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) is reviewing its strategies to be in conformity with Vision 2030 and contribute in achieving the goals of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020,” said Mohammed Al-Nashmi, a spokesman of the SCTH.
Al-Nashmi pointed out that SR9.93 billion ($2.64 billion) have been allocated for these projects in the 2017 budget. According to a statement released by the SCTH, “the six initiatives are aimed at streamlining the travel and tourism sector.”
Religious tourism, including Haj and Umrah, has been a major revenue component of the sector. The statement said that one of the six initiatives is “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for taking care of national culture and heritage.” A total of 79 projects will be implemented under this program.
“The Long Live Saudi Arabia Program is another initiative, while the development of Okaz city in Taif is yet another,” he added. Other initiatives include “the Kingdom as a Muslim destination initiative,” “the development of integrated tourism destinations,” and “the Kafalah program initiative” to finance commercial establishments for tourism projects.
While 18 million people visited the Kingdom in 2016, most of them came for pilgrimage. Hence, the SCTH plan is to promote its travel and tourism sector to foreign and domestic tourists. The Kingdom has a large number of interesting archaeological sites, pristine beaches, monuments, and a range of other holiday destinations. It is being promoted to become one of the biggest players in global tourism.
Tourism in Saudi Arabia is expected to generate around 1.2 million jobs for Saudis in the period until 2030. The tourism sector has been earmarked by the government as a key driver for growth in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy. The travel and tourism is the second-largest Saudized sector in the country. It currently employs about 900,000 Saudis.


Source  :  Arab News

Abe cabinet’s support rate falls to 35.8%

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe  Photo: REUTERS


The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet has fallen 9.1 points from June to 35.8 percent, the lowest level since Abe commenced his second stint as premier in 2012, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday.

In the nationwide telephone survey conducted Saturday and Sunday, 77.8 percent of respondents said they were not convinced by the government’s denial of claims that Abe used his influence to secure the approval of a new department at a university run by a close friend.

The disapproval rating for Abe’s cabinet stood at 53.1 percent, up 10 points from June. Among those who expressed disapproval, 51.6 percent said the prime minister cannot be trusted, up 9.7 points.

The cabinet’s support ratings have fallen since the ruling parties forced through a controversial law to penalize the planning of a range of crimes and allegations surfaced of favoritism by Abe in connection with the project to construct the new university department.

More than 62 percent said it was a “problem” that Kake Educational Institution, run by Abe’s close friend Kotaro Kake, had been selected to open the veterinary medicine department in a government-designated specially deregulated zone in Ehime Prefecture.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, headed by Abe, suffered a crushing defeat in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election earlier this month and the prime minister is planning to overhaul his cabinet and senior LDP posts possibly on Aug. 3, sources close to the matter said earlier.

Regarding the planned reshuffle, 57 percent of respondents did not have positive expectations, while 41 percent did.

Of the respondents, 73.1 percent said Abe’s failure to replace Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, amid questions about her competence, was unacceptable.

During a campaign speech for the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election, Inada implied the Self-Defense Forces’ support for the LDP candidate, a remark viewed as undermining the political neutrality of the defense forces.

On Abe’s drive to amend the country’s Constitution for the first time, the survey showed that 54.8 percent were opposed to amending it under the Abe administration, while 32.6 percent expressed support.

The LDP is gearing up toward amending the 1947 supreme law after Abe proposed in May revising its war-renouncing Article 9. In the following month, he urged the LDP to compile amendment proposals for discussion during an extraordinary Diet session likely to be convened in the fall.

Of the respondents, 61.7 percent said the LDP should submit the amendment proposal to the Diet session in fall, while 29.3 percent said the party should not.

As for party affiliation, 31.9 percent said they backed Abe’s LDP, down 2.4 points, while support for the main opposition Democratic Party fell 2.2 points to 8.2 percent.

The survey covering 740 randomly selected households with eligible voters as well as 1,069 mobile phone numbers received responses from 509 and 506 people, respectively.

Kyodo News has made calls to mobile phones in addition to landlines since April.

Source  :  Japan Today

Gov’t to survey unpaid medical bills by foreign tourists

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St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo. The health ministry says there has been an increase in cases where foreign tourists have not paid their medical expenses while in Japan.  Photo: WIKIPEDIA

The health ministry will launch a survey to look into medical expenses paid by foreign tourists to deal with an apparent increase in unpaid cases, a source close to the matter said recently.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will study the total amount of unpaid bills and number of cases at 7,000 hospitals nationwide and consider measures to address the issue after compiling a report based on the survey’s results by March, the source said.

About 30 percent of hospitals in Osaka that provided medical care and treatment to foreign tourists said in a government survey last year that they had not received payments in some cases.

According to the tourism agency, roughly 30 percent of foreigners visit Japan without travel insurance covering medical costs.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan nearly tripled to a record 24.04 million in 2016 from 8.61 million in 2010 and is expected to continue to rise.

The government is aiming for 40 million tourists by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Olympics and Paralympics Games, and 60 million by 2030.

Nonlife insurance companies are cooperating with the tourism agency, offering new insurance covering medical costs that foreign tourists can buy after arriving in Japan.

Toshiki Mano, a professor at Tama University, said hospital operators need special services such as interpreter assistance to prevent medical services from being left unpaid by foreign tourists.

The government could set up a scheme with other countries to help hospitals collect payments for emergency treatment more easily, he added.

The average amount of unpaid medical bills, including those of Japanese patients, stood at 50.18 million yen ($446,000) per hospital at the end of fiscal 2014, up 15.7 percent from the year before, according to a survey by the ministry.

Source  :  Japan Today