Kurdistan’s parliament convenes for first time in two years, approves referendum

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Erbil (IraqiNews.com) The Kurdish parliament voted yes in consensus on holding the independence referendum on September 25th as scheduled, during a session held on Friday evening, AlSumaria reported.

The parliament recommended that the elections commission hold the referendum in the region as well as the disputed areas on the scheduled time.

The session was the first one of the Kurdish parliament in two years.

Baghdad regularly argued the referendum, saying it was untimely as the country struggles to drive out Islamic State militants who first emerged in 2014 to proclaim its self-styled caliphate covering parts of Iraq and Syria. However, Kurdistan says the referendum, agreed on during a local political meeting early June, was not binding.

In June, Abadi said in a statement “The federal government will not partake, support or fund the referendum on the Kurdish region’s independence from Iraq,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said in a statement last in June.

According to the 2005 constitution, Kurdistan gained autonomous, but is still considered a part of Iraq. The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of conflicts.

Since military campaign against Islamic State was launched in October, political conflicts broke out between both governments in Iraq and Erbil over regions recaptured by Kurdish Peshmerga troops from IS.


Source  :  Iraqi News

Offensive likely to be launched in Anbar on Saturday: Paramilitary source

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Anbar (IraqiNews.com) Military offensive are likely to start early on Saturday to liberate Islamic State’s holdout in west of Anbar province, a source from the pro-government paramilitary troops was quoted saying.

“U.S. force arrived at Ain al-Assad base in al-Baghdadi region, Anbar, in the afternoon within arrangements to launch expected campaign early on Saturday,” the source from al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) told Baghdad Today on Friday.

“The operation will liberate the town of Annah, so the troops would be based in T1 base, located near the town,” the source, who asked for anonymity, added.

On Thursday, Emad al-Dulaimi, Rutba mayor, said in remarks that the first phase of military operation to liberate two regions of Okashat and Annah will be launched simultaneously within the coming few hours.

Anbar’s western towns of Anah, Qaim and Rawa are still held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic Caliphate. Iraqi troops were able to return life back to normal in the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others after recapturing them.

Fighter jets from the Iraqi army and the international coalition regularly pound IS locations in the province.


Source  :  Iraqi News

Should you travel with a passport due to expire in two months?

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Ashish Mehta (Legal View)
Filed on September 15, 2017 | Last updated on September 15, 2017 at 07.46 am

In accordance with the Pakistan Passport & Visa Manual 2006, there is no restriction on renewal of passport before its expiry.

I am a Pakistani national with a UAE visa valid until July 2018. I am planning a travel to Pakistan and will be coming back on December 17, 2016. However, my passport will expire on February 20, 2017. Will my passport be valid for another two months and I can get it renewed here in the UAE? Is there a chance of facing restriction on travelling and coming back to UAE?

Pursuant to your queries, since your passport is valid when you re-enter UAE on December 17, 2016 there should not be any problem as you are on residence visa of UAE. Upon your arrival you may apply for renewal of your passport through the Pakistani Embassy or Consulate in the UAE. In accordance with the Pakistan Passport & Visa Manual 2006, there is no restriction on renewal of passport before its expiry. We understand that passport having full validity of 5 or 10 years can be issued to the applicants even if existing passport has not completed its validity. However, the passport issuing authority may seek a statement mentioning the reason for obtaining a new passport before its expiry. The existing passport may be cancelled and returned to the applicant. All other formalities may also be completed. However, we recommend you to contact the office of Directorate General of Immigration and Passports in Pakistan to obtain further advice in this matter.

I had been working for a private company in Abu Dhabi for past three and half years. My labour card has been cancelled by the labour department but the employer is yet to complete the cancellation process from the Immigration department. Now I got an offer letter from another company and I am not able to join. Kindly advise me and also note my employer have already given me no-objection letter and clearance certificate.

Pursuant to your questions, you could meet the manager responsible for receiving complaints at the offices of the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs – Abu Dhabi and file a complaint against the employer.  You may consider to file a police complaint against your employer for unlawfully withholding your passport.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and managing partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India. Full details of his firm on: http://www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


Source  :  Khaleej Times

All you need to know about UAE privacy laws

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Web Report/Dubai
Filed on September 14, 2017

Here are some rules you should keep in mind

With the use of social media increasing day by day, it is important to know the privacy laws in UAE, especially the parents. Some posts and photographs that the children post on social media sites could lead to privacy complications if there is a complaint. So it is important to know how effectively one could use the social media without breaking the rules of the country.

Legal risks social media users in UAE should know

Social media is a powerful tool to connect millions and send your views across, and share updates of your day to day life. But, at the same time, it has its risks. Whatever you post online becomes public information at once. You unknowingly share your life events with strangers, who may use that information to their advantage. Here are some rules you should keep in mind:

> Posting photographs: Care needs to be taken when posting pictures of others online, including via social media sites since the Cyber Crimes Law (Federal Law No. 5 of 2012) makes it an offence to use any IT means to breach someone else’s privacy, including by taking pictures of others, or publishing or displaying those pictures.

> Privacy and confidentiality: Disclosing secrets relating to someone’s private life, without that person’s consent can attract liability. Similarly, disclosure of confidential information, such as information belonging to an employer, can also attract legal liability in the UAE.

> Using emoticons and emojis: Besides, one should be careful while using certain types of emojis while talking online. For example, if one uses the emoji of a ‘middle finger’ in a conversation and the recipient complaints about the act, it could lead one to jail, fines and deportation.

> Defamatory statements: The Penal Code makes it an offence to publish information that exposes another person to public hatred or contempt, or to make a false accusation which dishonours or discredits another person.

> Content contrary to morality, social cohesion: It is an offence to use any IT means for activities which are inconsistent with public morals and good conduct including content that is un-Islamic, blasphemous, lewd, that encourages sinful activity, or that is aimed at corrupting minors, etc.

> Online monitoring: UAE TRA monitors online content available and prohibits content for hacking and malicious codes, Internet content providing unlicensed VoIP services and other illegal Internet content.

> Licensed service providers (du and etisalat) can also block online content if required and subsequent to complaints of abuse or defamation, authorities can take legal action against those running the sites after verifying the validity and seriousness of the complaint.

What UAE law says about cybercrimes, penalties

The UAE has clear – and strict – laws against cybercrimes, with various penalties that can include lengthy prison terms and fines of up to Dh3 million.

UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012, which was issued by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, includes a range of violations and penalties, with fines ranging between Dh50,000 and Dh3 million depending on the type and severity of offence.

Those caught gaining access to a website, network or system without authorisation are to be imprisoned and fined at least Dh50,000, but fines can go as high as Dh1 million if personal information is stolen or deleted.

Those caught using technology to invade someone else’s privacy – which can even include eavesdropping, copying photos or publishing news – can be jailed for six months and face fines of between Dh150,000 and Dh300,000.

The most severe penalty – five years in jail and a Dh3 million fine – is reserved for those who run malicious software that causes a network or IT system to stop functioning ‘or results in crashing, deletion, omission, destruction and alteration of the programme, system, website, data or information’.

Additionally, the law stipulates various penalties for a number of other cybercrimes, including insulting religions and their rituals, slandering public officials, forging electronic official documents, sending or re-publishing pornographic materials, reproducing credit or debit card data, and obtaining secret pin codes or passwords.

Read the full 10-page text of the law here


Source  :  Khaleej Times

Abu Dhabi Executive Council undergoes reshuffle

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WAM/Abu Dhabi
Filed on September 15, 2017 | Last updated on September 15, 2017 at 09.02 am

The reshuffle is part of continuous efforts to pursue development and improve government performance

Thanks to Allah and the wise vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the emirate of Abu Dhabi has made remarkable social and economic achievements, said His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

“Sheikh Khalifa’s vision remains the key driving force and guide for the performance of government entities,” His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said in a comment on the latest decree for restructuring the emirate’s Executive Council, issued by Sheikh Khalifa in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The reshuffle is part of continuous efforts to pursue development and improve government performance. According to the decree, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed will continue as Chairman of the Council, while H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will stay as his Deputy Chairman.

“The Executive Council will strive to increase citizens’ confidence in the work of government entities so as to meet their aspirations and promote the culture of excellence and innovation in the government and corporate work and achieve optimum investment of resources to push the sustainable development forward and strengthen competitiveness to ensure leadership of the emirate and achieve collective work between the government, the community and the private sector,” he affirmed.

On his part, H.H. Sheikh Hazza said the decree would have positive impact on the government performance as the leadership seeks to promote efficiency, creativity and innovation in the government work. It will further explain responsibilities of government entities which will define regulatory, supervisory and operational mandates,” he stated.

“Abu Dhabi would not have met requirements of sustainable development in a record time without the vision of President Khalifa and close follow up of Sheikh Mohamed,” he added.


Source  :  Khaleej Times

New ‘urban renewal precinct’ in the works for Woden’s light rail corridor

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SEPTEMBER 15 2017 – 11:45PM

Daniel Burdon

he Barr Government is expected to declare a second ‘urban renewal precinct’ to encourage development along the stage two light rail corridor to Woden, but it could be three years away.

The creation of the precinct is understood to be part of the government’s long-term plans, despite Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s spokesman saying there was no intention to declare it “for some time”.

Such a zone would likely mirror a similar precinct declared under the City Renewal Authority laws earlier this year, which is expected to lead to higher density commercial and residential development along the stage one route and Dickson shops.

Mr Barr took control of the new City Renewal Authority in June, despite saying at a ministerial reshuffle last year that Planning Minister Mick Gentleman would be responsible for the authority.

The Chief Minister had said the embattled Land Development Agency would be split into two agencies, in line with an election pledge, with Mr Gentleman in charge of the CRA and Housing Minister Yvette Berry running the new Suburban Land Agency.

 The split of the old LDA followed an audit of controversial land deals involving the now-defunct agency, which is now being examined by a Legislative Assembly committee, with hearings expected later this month.

A second Auditor-General’s probe is also underway into the now-defunct LDA’s rural land purchases since 2012, while a third audit is also on foot into another land deal between the LDA and Tradies Club in Dickson.

Once the laws for the two new agencies were passed in June, Mr Barr took oversight of the CRA, a ministerial responsibility he held for the LDA before the reshuffle.


Mr Barr’s spokesman said it was unlikely there would be any move to declare further urban renewal precincts “within this decade” – or before the end of 2020.

He said regardless of the creation of precincts under the Authority, all developments in the precincts must meet territory planning laws and regulations and National Capital Authority rules, where relevant.

“Urban renewal projects will continue to be undertaken right across Canberra both inside and outside of the City Renewal Authority-managed precinct,” he said.

“The Planning Directorate and the Suburban Land Agency will manage ACT Government involvement in those projects.”

All declared precincts must promote “urban renewal” and meet at least one of the following conditions: that it “facilitate” integrated commercial and residential development; integrate development with public transport or have benefits to the community, economy and environment.

Changes were also made this week to the laws governing the territory’s CRA and Suburban Land Agency, giving Mr Barr powers to give both agencies directions around any land purchases the bodies may make.

Those powers include being able to direct both agencies to ensure the respective boards formally approve land acquisitions and extend to outlining the requirements around government land purchases ‘of a particular value’.

Those changes is part of broad efforts to improve transparency and governance around government land deals, in the wake of the last year’s audit report and a governance review of the LDA that followed it.

The extra powers are consistent with the Treasurer’s existing responsibility over both agencies’ involvement in subsidiaries, joint ventures and trusts; changes which both the ACT Greens and Canberra Liberals supported.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

How Lydia Williams’ childhood made her a leader for the Matildas

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SEPTEMBER 15 2017 – 6:40PM

Dominic Bossi

By her own admission, Lydia Williams was never a natural born leader, rather, somewhat of a battler. The nervous smile that follows every mention of her success suggests as much, and the long surgical scar down her left knee further backs up her case.

But there’s a reason her Matildas teammates are looking to her to lead their fight on and off the field. As she reflects, it’s probably her resilience, something that stems from her childhood.

Consistency was a luxury for Williams growing up. Every few months, she had to adjust to new surroundings at a moment’s notice.

Her parents were missionaries working with Indigenous communities in remote, rural regions in Western Australia. The demands of their work placed them on road for long periods, meaning a young Lydia had to adjust to new schools, short-term stints with other family members and even temporary home schooling.

“My parents travelled all the time, I had to be independent by myself or with a new family to go to school,” she said.

She would never get comfortable for too long, quickly learnt self reliance and sharpened her mental fortitude. As she sits in her hotel in Parramatta anticipating the historic home match against Brazil in front of a sell-out crowd on Saturday, it’s was those early lessons that forged her into one of the Matildas most vocal leaders and staunch advocates for gender equality in sport.


“The way I was raised early on has helped me,” Williams said. “I had to reach that level of independence early on and it helped me able to adapt.”

She was always patient, resilient and determined but it’s a rise in her presence that’s elevated her to one of the senior figures within the dressing room.

“She was voted into the leadership group by the players this year, which is a sign of her emerging status within the group. She’s becoming a vocal person within the group, she enforces standards for herself and for her team,” Matildas coach Alen Stajcic said.

Internally, she sets benchmarks on the training ground. Away from practice, she’s leading their fight for improvements in standards for women’s sport. Having grown up within an environment fighting injustice and inequality, she was quick to improve the hardships experienced by female footballers. For the last two years, she’s done so as an executive for the players union, and one of the more vocal members at that.

“I want the opportunities to be equal, not just about equal pay… I don’t believe in separating, putting one group higher than another, I see everyone as equal,” Williams said. “I want to leave the game in a better state than before. I came from a generation, from Cheryl Salisbury, Jo Peters – they spoke about the rights before and when I retire, I want to make a positive impact on the game.”

Her character off the field has flourished into one of a leader and it’s transpired with improved performances on the pitch. She’s always been strong in the air and possessed great reflexes, but has become an increasingly authoritive presence in the box.

“I’ve matured a lot, the game is progressing … There’s a lot more strategy, you’re passing, keeping possession and I’ve always wanted to keep learning and develop my tools. The national team want to do that too,” she said.

Williams saw deficiencies in the way female goalkeepers were trained and major weak points in their non-technical performances.

“I would say not a lot of goalkeepers talk enough in the women’s game, or know the right things to say,” she said.

Williams had to learn about independence from a young age and the ability adjust and adapt. More so, she never believed in typecasting and sought more for her trade.

“I’ve been taught to be a goalkeeper, not just a female goalkeeper. I trained with boys and we worked on the same things,” Williams said.

She is now one of the better international goalkeepers at playing out from the back and barks out orders like a general on the battlefield. That authority wasn’t always instinctive to her, but adapting and learning on the road has become second nature. It’s that resilience that’s shaping her team.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams says sell-out crowd in Sydney a sign of the times

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SEPTEMBER 15 2017 – 9:06PM

Eamonn Tiernan

Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams says a record W-League pay deal has been a long time coming as the Matildas prepare to face Brazil in front of a sell-out crowd at Penrith Stadium on Saturday.

More than 17,000 fans are expected to pour through the gates which could surpass the Wallabies crowd at Canberra Stadium when they host Argentina a few hours later.

It would mark the first time across Australia’s four football codes that an international women’s crowd eclipsed a men’s fixture when played on the same day.

Williams admits she never thought she’d see that day in her career, but said the Matildas turnout is a sign of the times as women’s sport in Australia goes from strength to strength.

“With the boost in all women’s sporting codes and how well we’ve done on the world stage I think it’s been a long time coming,” Williams said.

“A lot of our results over the last couple of years have drawn interest from the Australian public and part of that comes from the AFLW getting involved and new pay conditions for cricket and netball.

“We want to get up to the USA team are in terms of support where they have sell-out crowds all the time, but we made good progress striking a new pay deal in the W-League.”

Williams was part of the Matildas team which boycotted a tour of America in 2015 and said the financial support for the women’s game didn’t happen overnight.

“At the time of the strike it could have been taken two ways but the most important thing was we all stuck together and we’re pretty happy now with our conditions,” Williams said.

“We still have a little while to go but this is the beginning of it and we have to take responsibility ourselves and get the results we need to help drive that support.”

It has been a whirlwind month for Williams who won the Tournament of Nations with the Matildas and then survived Hurricane Harvey in Texas, before getting traded from Houston to Seattle in the WNSL.

“Harvey came through and dumped nine trillion gallons of water over Houston, so we couldn’t go on any roads and were stuck in floods for about five days,” Williams said.

“It made me get a bit more aware on life situations… but our host family in Houston had been through hurricanes before so they were calm when I was freaking out.”

Williams escaped Harvey to Seattle but as fate would have it her first game back was away against Houston, albeit relocated to Dallas.

“I wasn’t really happy [at Houston] and needed to be playing and if I could go anywhere I wanted it to be Seattle, so that was kind of the catalyst to make that happen,” Williams said.

As for the Brazilians, Williams said she’s expecting anything but a repeat of the 6-1 thrashing they handed the side which knocked the Matildas out of the Rio Olympics last year.

“They’re going to obviously have players that were there at the Tournament of Nations who will be coming out to get revenge,” Williams said.

“They’ve proven themselves to be tough opponents at the World Cup and Olympics and we’re expecting another hard contest.”


Source  :  The Canberra Times


Saudi Arabia to allow international companies to install solar cells for power subscribers

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RIYADH: The Kingdom will next Sunday begin receiving applications to install solar cells, with the Saudi Electricity and Co-Generation Regulatory Authority allowing international companies to register for the project’s auction.
The initiative for using the new technology falls into “The Kingdom’s Vision 2030” that supports the use of solar energy in the Kingdom, relying less on oil, and giving consumers the opportunity to generate power and export the surplus energy to the national grid.
Abdullah Al-Shehry, governor of the Electricity and Co-Generation Regulatory Authority, told Aleqtesadiah that “using solar energy will be optional” and clarified that the authority adopted regulations for the uses of solar energy titled “Small-scale Solar Energy Systems.”
Al-Shehry stressed that this opportunity to install solar cells is available to both local and international companies, provided that they obtain a qualification certificate from the Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC).
He further noted that the solar energy project will start being implemented by the middle of next year, allowing consumers to export the redundant energy to the national grid at a price to be set by the network each year, or to be deducted from their electricity bills.
A team of experts is developing the regulations and necessary technical designs to launch the project.
The submission of initial online applications will start next Sunday to limit the number of subscribers, and to be able to study the demand, the potential produced energy, and its impact on the national grid.
Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Beeshi, head of distribution services and leader of the initiative of the solar energy shift at the SEC, pointed out in a previous report that the qualified subscribers can submit a final application to install and connect the small-scale photovoltaic solar energy systems to the national grid on July 1, 2018.
He added that the necessary details, instructions, procedures and examples regarding the applications will be posted on SEC’s official site to make it easier for subscribers, he added.


Source  :  Arab News

Peace, comfort prevail as over 1.5m pray in Makkah, Madinah

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Saudi Gazette report

OVER 1.5 million pilgrims, visitors and worshipers performed Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah in peace and comfort after successfully completing their Haj rituals.

In Makkah, the pilgrims and worshipers began arriving at the Grand Mosque smoothly right from the break of dawn.

Authorities were seen exerting all their efforts to provide the pilgrims with the best possible services. The courtyards, gates and walkways were all ready before the arrival of the pilgrims and worshipers. The agencies made sure that the movement of pilgrims and worshipers was streamlined.

With temperatures around 40 Celsius (110 Fahrenheit) many pilgrims carried water and tried to help each other. Pilgrims who could not walk were pushed around in wheelchairs by volunteers and workers.

Regularly-spaced taps provided thirsty pilgrims with spring water. At all the Grand Mosque’s entrances, policemen controlled the movement of pilgrims who expressed joy and happiness for being in the proximity of the Grand Mosque.

They performed their prayers with devotion, tranquility and peace of mind amid an integrated system of services and arrangements provided by the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman as well as the nongovernment agencies. The services provided were supervised by the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques within the second stage of the presidency’s Haj plan.

The circumambulation (mataf) area was full of pilgrims performing their farewell Tawaf (Tawaf Al-Wadaa) before their departure from the holy lands. The expansion of the mataf facilitated an orderly, methodical and systemized performance of the important ritual.

The pilgrims and worshipers were able to perform Friday prayer in full security and safety.

Copies of the Holy Qur’an were available in large numbers and were easily accessible. Chilled Zamzam water and plastic tumblers were easily available. Cleaners kept the Grand Mosque clean. Air-conditioners, fans, loudspeakers and facilities for hearing the spontaneous translation of the Khutba (Friday sermon) were available, aside from golf carts and wheelchairs to help the aged and people with special needs.

In Madinah too, worshipers started arriving at the Prophet’s Mosque from early morning. All the government agencies, the mosque’s administrations and the nongovernment sector exerted their utmost efforts to provide the best services to the worshipers. The pilgrims performed Friday prayer before departing from Madinah for their respective countries after performing their Haj rites.

The pilgrims expressed gratitude to King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad and Emir of Madinah Prince Faisal Bin Salman for the best services they were provided.


Source  :  Saudi Gazette