Etihad Airways to end flights to Tehran in January

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Reuters/Dubai
Filed on December 19, 2017 | Last updated on December 19, 2017 at 07.28 pm

The airline has asked affected passengers to switch to an alternative travel date between December 25 and January 23, or be refunded.

Etihad Airways will scrap flights to Tehran on January 24, the latest route to be dropped as the Abu Dhabi airline pursues a strategy review.

The airline launched the review in 2016 that has also seen it sell or step away from investments in foreign carriers.

Etihad’s five weekly flights to Iran’s capital will be reduced to two a week between December 25 and January 23, before it suspends the route entirely on January 24, an airline spokeswoman said.

She declined to say why the route was being suspended, but said in a statement that affected passengers could switch to an alternative travel date between December 25 and January 23, or be refunded.

Since launching the strategy review, Etihad has said it would cut flights to San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth in the US.

The airline has regretted for inconvenience caused to passengers with existing bookings.

Passengers holding bookings for travel up to January 23 and affected by the schedule change will be re-booked with an alternative travel date (subject to availability) or offered the choice of a full refund.

Passengers with bookings from January 24 will be offered a full refund.

Britain’s top defence buyer Tony Douglas will join Etihad next month as its new group chief executive, as the airline rethinks its rapid expansion strategy.

Two of Etihad’s major foreign investments, Air Berlin and Italy’s Alitalia, filed for administration this year.

Douglas, who joins Etihad from Britain’s Ministry of Defence, has previously served as chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s airport company.

Etihad has made few details public about its strategy review, which since being launched has seen the departure of its James Hogan, its group chief executive who led the airline for a decade.

(with inputs from Ashwani Kumar)

 

Source  :  The Khaleej Times

Teen pleads guilty to raping, bashing elderly Perth woman

Flag of Australia.svg

A 15-year-old Perth boy has pleaded guilty to raping, bashing and robbing an elderly Waikiki woman aged in her 80s.

The boy entered the woman’s house on October 13 and sexually penetrated her three times during the home invasion.

Appearing in Perth Children’s Court on Tuesday via video link from Banksia Hill Detention Centre, the boy slouched in his chair at times biting his nails as his eight charges were read to him.

He admitted to entering the elderly woman’s home, indecently and unlawfully assaulting her, raping her, using violence to obtain money and doing bodily harm to her.

Prosecutors recommended the boy be sentenced by the Children’s Court president due to the “very serious” nature of the charges.

 He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date, pending the completion of a neuropsychological report.

 

Source  : WA Today

WACA curator Matt Page was taken to hospital after being knocked over by covers

Flag of Australia.svg

DECEMBER 19 2017 – 3:52PM

Justin Chadwick

The WACA pitch debacle was a big headache for curator Matt Page – literally.

Page was taken to hospital with concussion on Monday after being wiped out by his own pitch coverings during the recently-concluded Ashes Test in Perth.

In video footage that has since gone viral, Page was standing to the side of the wicket when a big gust of wind blew away the huge centre square covering.

As it became airborne, he took a step towards it in a bid to stop it from blowing away.

Rain and a wet pitch delayed play on Monday.

But he instantly realised he was no match for the giant tarpaulin, and was violently bowled over by it.

England captain Joe Root was also near the pitch at the time, and hid behind burly umpire Paul Wilson to avoid being cleaned up.

WACA chief executive Christina Matthews revealed Page had to be taken to hospital later that day.

AFP investigating itself after details of arrest accidentally broadcast

Flag of Australia.svg

 Rachel Clun

 The Australian Federal Police is investigating itself after details of an operation to arrest an alleged North Korean agent were accidentally broadcast on social media.

AFP officers arrested a 59-year-old Sydney man on Sunday and charged him, alleging he had tried to arrange the sale of North Korean missile parts.

But days before the man’s arrest, the AFP’s media team broadcast a minute-long discussion on live-video streaming app Periscope of how they would manage media surrounding the event.

The Periscope clip was recorded by The West Australian – whose report included details on the timing of the arrest, and whether Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull or opposition leader Bill Shorten would need to be briefed.

In the audio, an officer was heard saying AFP officers were “not going in all guns blazing, it’s only half-a-dozen people and a forensic van”.

Another AFP officer can be heard saying they needed to take into account what politicians would need to know.

“We just need to recognise that the PM will be standing up at some time on Sunday to talk about Bennelong [by-election], as will Shorten.”

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration :  Matt Goldin

According to the newspaper, the broadcast remained on the AFP Periscope page until they notified media officers it was still there.

An AFP spokesman confirmed part of an office conversation was accidentally broadcast via their Periscope account on Wednesday, December 13.

“The incident occurred when testing a piece of social media broadcasting equipment,” the spokesman said.

“Steps have been taken to ensure such incidents will not occur again.

“The matter has been referred to the AFP’s Security area for review. As such, no further comment will be made at this time.”

At the time of the arrest on Sunday, AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said the case was an Australian first.

He said the AFP allege the man had been acting “to serve some higher patriotic purpose” to raise funds for North Korea, and could have raised tens of millions of dollars if successful.

“This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

The man, named as Chan Han Choi, is understood to have been born in South Korea but has lived in Australia for three decades as a naturalised citizen.

He was charged with offences relating to being a broker and economic agent for the North Korean regime, including two under Australia’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995.

The man is expected to appear in Central Local Court next week.

 

Source  :  WA Today

Father arrested for attempting to murder his newborn

Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg

By Nader Al-Enizi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

TABUK — A father was arrested for attempting to murder his newborn son on Monday in public in Dhibaa Governorate.

A father snuck into Al-Muwailih School’s courtyard with his newborn son and a blade in his hand. He laid down his son on the courtyard’s floor raising his blade to slaughter him. The man yelled out that he will slaughter his son as that is what his inner voice was telling him to do.

The teachers, students and staff at the school were horrified by the sight they were witnessing and immediately and tactfully interfered to save the newborn.

Tabuk Police Director Maj. Gen. Mohammad Al-Tamimi said the incident was reported to the police and the police immediately responded taking in the newborn and giving him back to his mother. The father was arrested and is being analyzed for any mental illnesses.

“The father has been previously arrested and he was diagnosed with mental issues. Emir of Tabuk Prince Fahd Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz supervised the incident and ordered a full sociological and psychological report of the state of the entire family of the newborn,” said Al-Tamimi.

The school’s principal Wael Al-Aqbi said that the school was guarded and sealed but the father snuck through one of the corners that was under construction.

“I told the teachers and staff to try to pull him away from the newborn while I report the incident to the police. They surrounded him throwing their shumagh and igaal at him. The father started to get dizzy and lost consciousness. That allowed the teachers to immediately snatch the baby away to secure him from his the father. We gave the newborn to his uncle,” said Al-Aqbi.

Lawyer Ibrahim Al-Basha said the father is subject to a month to a year of imprisonment. He added that the father is a direct threat to the child when he should be his protector. The father should lose custody of the child.

 

Source  :  Saudi Gazette

Improving citizens’ living standards a priority

Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, affirmed that improving the living standard of citizens is at the heart of the government’s efforts to diversify the economy and achieve financial stability through stimulus packages to the private sector and generating more jobs for Saudis.

In a press statement following the announcement of the state budget for the fiscal year 2018, the Crown Prince said the allocation in the budget for public spending amounted to more than SR1.1 trillion.

“The announcement about the largest government spending program in the history of the Kingdom is a strong indication of the success of our efforts in improving public financial management, despite the decline in oil prices.”

Crown Prince Muhammad said the economic reform programs under Vision 2030 are beginning to achieve tangible results. Approximately 50 percent of this year’s budget will be financed from non-oil sources of income.

He stressed that the 2018 expansionary budget included a comprehensive set of new development initiatives aimed at achieving financial and economic stability.

“Vision 2030 is to stimulate the main economic sectors, thus generating employment opportunities, improving basic services to citizens and developing infrastructure projects,” the Crown Prince said.

He pointed out that the expenditure of the public bodies in the country has been coordinated to achieve the development goals for the coming fiscal year.

“Expenditure will come from three main sources. Expenditure from the budget will reach SR978 billion. In addition, SR50 billion from development funds under the National Development Fund. The third source of capital is investment spending within the Kingdom from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to fund its new and existing projects. The fund will reach SR83 billion in the next fiscal year, increasing total public expenditure to more than SR1.1 trillion in 2018.

The Crown Prince stressed that the government will do all it can to promote economic growth and improve the standard of living of citizens.

Spending of PIF for the coming year will lead to more economic development and create more job opportunities for citizens and help the private sector to open new fields of investment.

“The budget includes earmarked allocations for the provision of more residential products, and will support connecting 700,000 homes with fiber optic network to provide telecommunications services to help citizens get more services through high-speed Internet.

 

Source  :  Saudi Gazette

SR978 billion budget unveiled

Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Tuesday unveiled the general budget for the fiscal year of 2018 at the special Council of Ministers session at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

Addressing the Cabinet, King Salman said the budget, which is the largest in the Kingdom’s history, focused on continuation of the Kingdom’s growth through diversification of its economic base.

The budget projects a historic spending of SR978 billion, an increase of 5.6 percent compared to the allocation of SR926 in the last budget.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance, the expected revenues during the next year is estimated at SR783 billion, compared to the revenues of SR696 billion in 2017, an increase of 12.5 percent.

There will be a 15 percent reduction in deficit, reaching SR195 billion in 2018 compared to SR230 billion in the current year.

The revenues from taxes on goods and services are expected to reach SR85 billion in 2018 while spending on the Citizen’s Account will be SR2.5 billion per month.

There will be a gradual imposition of levy on energy and water charges.

Expatriate worker fees will remain on their previously announced upward path without any adjustment.

Public spending in 2018 will include public budget spending as well as spending by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and other development funds.

The total spending of PIF and other development funds would reach SR133 billion in 2018.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, said the largest state budget in the Kingdom’s history is evidence of success despite low oil prices.

 

Source  :  Saudi Gazette