Iraqi official: tribal reconciliation should precede IS families repatriation

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Anbar ( Officials at Iraq’s Anbar province have recommended to resolve tribal disputes at the province before pushing forward with the repatriation of displaced civilians linked with Islamic State militants.

Baghdad Today quoted Naeem al-Kaoud, chairman of Anbar’s security committee, saying that “any decision to return Daesh (Islamic State) families could be catastrophic”.

According to al-Kaoud, “the rule at tribal areas is that anybody who commits a killing, his family is expelled until a reconciliation is reached”.

He added that, “until present, there is no framework for tribal reconciliation, and the government is required to sponsor that issue”.

Kaoud argued that “certain parties want to accelerate the repatriation of refugees to the province for political reasons to use those families’ votes in elections”.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State militants in December, ending months of military operations to retake areas occupied by the group since 2014. Anbar’s Rawa was the last IS bastion recaptured by Iraqi forces.

But many officials and observers have voiced concern over a wave of unrest as the families of civilians slain by the extremist group could seek revenge from others that had some of their members drafted by the group.

Iraqi local authorities had reportedly isolated IS fighters’ families at some provinces and prepared for their social and psychological rehabilitation before returning to their home regions.

Source :  Iraqi News

Kurdish airport denies reports of partial lift of Iraqi embargo

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Sulaimaniyah ( Kurdistan Region’s Sulaimaniyah Airport has denied reports that the central government in Baghdad had partially lifted an embargo it had it had imposed on flights to and from the facility.

In a statement on Tuesday, the airport’s press service said it had not yet received any response from the Iraqi government regarding the lifting of the embargo.

Some media outlets had circulated a government bulletin telling that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had approved flight exceptions for Kurds eager to perform Islamic “Umra” pilgrimage (performed in the holy lands in Saudi Arabia).

The Baghdad-based Iraqi government had imposed an embargo on flights on Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah and Erbil airports following a vote for independence the autonomous region’s government ran in September, which Baghdad deemed illegal.

Recent reports have pointed to imminent talks between both governments to resolve pending disputes over the administration of the region’s airports as well as other contentious subjects.

As part of talks to end the crisis, Baghdad has asked to hand over management of the airports to its central aviation authorities.

In January, Shafaq News quoted Taher Abdullah, Sulaimaniyah Airport chief, saying that passengers numbers at the terminal declined by 86% after the embargo. He said that the airport had used to record the arrival of 50.000 per month before the embargo, which declined after the measure to 6000-7000 per month.

Iraqi Alqurtas News quoted Abdullah saying on the same occasion that the airport recorded the entrance and exit of 485000 passengers in 2017, a drop of 7 percent from the preceding year.


Source :  Iraqi News

U.S., Iraq sign USD3 bn memo for transport projects

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Baghdad ( The United States and Iraq signed on Tuesday a memorandum by which the latter receives USD3 billion in financial aid for transportation and other reconstruction-related projects.

The declaration, quoted by Sputnik news agency, was made by U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson during a conference of donors to Iraq reconstruction which began in Kuwait on Monday.

Tillerson said the memo, signed by U.S. bank Exim and the Iraqi finance ministry, provides for USD3 billion for transport and other projects in Iraq.

He said U.S. firms had previously signed a deal worth USD2 billion for the Iraqi electricity sector, adding that another project worth USD350 million would see works starting soon.

Tillerson also reiterated the U.S. commitment to supporting Iraq’s stability and voiced backing for the government’s declared fight against corruption.

Iraq has said it hopes to collect nearly USD100 billion to rehabilitate the infrastructure and economy of the country ravaged by a three-year war against Islamic State militants.

Iraq declared in December the recapture of all territories occupied by the group in 2014.


Source :  Iraqi News

22 people found hiding in cement mixer at border in Kalba

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Customs officials foil infiltration attempt by 21 men and a woman, arrest driver

Sharjah: Customs officials at the Khatam-Maliha border in Kalba, Sharjah, arrested an Asian driver after he attempted to smuggle 22 persons, including a woman, inside a cement mixer truck into the UAE.

The attempt was foiled last week after the driver arrived at the border from a neighbouring country.

An X-ray machine scan showed that 22 persons, including an African woman, were hiding inside the cement mixer.

A police official told Gulf News: “When customs officials saw them inside the cement mixer at the X-ray scanner, they were stunned.

The driver of the vehicle was asked to open the top cover of the mixer and officials asked the persons inside to come out one by one.”

Officers from the Kalba police station were called in to the scene to secure the place and supervise the operation.

The suspects — Asians and one African woman — have been taken into police custody.

The case has been referred to the Public Prosecution for further action.

“The customs employees foiled the human smuggling attempt … these persons exposed themselves to danger by hiding inside the mixer, hoping to evade the customs checkpoint,” the official said.

The operation was carried out by the Federal Customs Authority and the Sharjah Ports Authority.

Ali Bin Sabeeh Al Kaabi, chairman of the Federal Customs Authority, said the foiling of the human smuggling attempt reflects the high level of coordination between the federal and local customs officials who exchange information about such activities promptly. It also showed the vigil maintained by customs officers and observers at checkpoints and their keenness to protect the borders and preserve the security of UAE society.

Al Kaabi said the federal authority had issued alerts to all local customs departments regarding the methods used by people to enter the country illegally or smuggle goods in.


Source :

Major innovations help Dewa improve efficiency

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Al Tayer says Dh50b Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park project will provide 5,000MW of clean energy

Dubai: Major innovations undertaken by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) have placed Dubai in good stead to meet the future, said the utility provider’s top manager on Tuesday on the final day of World Government Summit.

In the opening address of the morning, Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dewa, said, “We were able to raise electricity production to 8.6MW efficiency … without new assets, new turbines, new plants or more fuel.”

 Al Tayer said the new Dh50-billion Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park project now under construction will provide 5,000MW of clean energy, adding generating capacity to Dubai’s power grid and reducing “6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions”.

The project to build a concentrated solar power project using thousands of mirrors will direct collected sunlight to a 260-metre-tall tower, the tallest in the world, said Al Tayer.

By the end of each day, the project will store up to seven per cent of daily electricity production to provide off-peak time power to consumers.

The solar project is one of 1,700 solar power projects across Dubai, he said, which will help meet growing electricity demands as the emirate’s population grows in the future.

The provider is also working on boosting water-production capacity, said Al Tayer, using solar power to reduce greenhouse gases and desalinate millions of gallons of water for public consumption.

Al Tayer said he was pleased with the results that show 79 per cent of Dewa customers have reported they are happy with the service.


Source :

Five-year-old sleeps next to mother not knowing she is dead

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The boy had accompanied his mother to hospital late on Sunday night with the woman gasping for air

Image Credit: Twitter
Boy sleeps next to dead mother. The woman, identified as Sameena Sultana, was taken to hospital on Sunday evening gasping for breath.Hyderabad: The image of an exhausted five-year-old boy lying next to his mother on a hospital bed oblivious to the fact that she was dead, has left millions moved and teary eyed in India.

It took a lot of effort by the doctors and nurses at Osmania, the premier hospital in Hyderabad, to convince the boy that his mother had died.

The boy had accompanied his mother to hospital late on Sunday night with the woman gasping for air.

Realising that she was suffering cardiac arrest, doctors admitted her but despite their best efforts she died half an hour later without giving any information about herself.

Aadhar card

Fortunately the boy carried an Aadhar card of his mother which identified her as a labourer Sameena Sultana who was deserted by her husband. The boy was also identified as Shoeb.

“Even after the mother died, the boy remained asleep next to her and was there for two hours. He woke up only when her body was being moved to the mortuary. We informed the boy that his mother had died but he refused to believe and insisted on remaining with her,” said a hospital worker.

Even as efforts were on to find out her other relatives, the boy fell asleep next to his mother not knowing the tragedy which had befallen him.

Volunteers of an NGO Helping Hand Foundation and the local police, when alerted about the matter got into action to trace her relatives and contacted her parents in Zaheerabad, 110 kms from Hyderabad.

As her relatives reached the hospital 18 hours after her death, her body and the boy were handed over to them by the hospital authorities.

Earlier, a postmortem was done at the hospital mortuary to remove any doubts about the cause of death.

The NGO volunteers also found that the woman was living with another construction worker in Rajendarnagar area of Hyderabad.

It is believed that when her condition deteriorated, the mother took her son with her to hospital by auto rickshaw.

Mujtaba Hussain Askari of HHF said that her last rites were performed by her family in Zaheerabad.


Source :

Man threatens to shoot ex-wife dead after she asked for alimony

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Filed on February 13, 2018 | Last updated on February 13, 2018 at 03.33 pm

He was seen pushing the woman and her brother our of the house.

A man threatened to shoot his wife dead unless she left the country so that he did not have to pay her monthly alimony, an Abu Dhabi court has heard.

The woman from Saudi Arabia told the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance that her ex-husband, an Emirati, had pointed a pistol to her head when he went to her house. He asked her to leave the country because she had asked him to pay her alimony and the children’s expenses.

She told the judge that her ex-husband, who is also the father of her two children, had threatened to kill her and her brother who stayed with her in Baniyas.

The couple was married for six years before they divorced because of family disputes. Official court documents stated that after the couple separated, the woman left the UAE and went back to her home country with their children. During that period, the woman said the Emirati didn’t provide financial support to their children.

When the woman heard that her ex-husband was preparing to marry another woman, she returned to the UAE to claim alimony and support for the children.

She also filed a case in this regard.

The defendant also pushed the woman and her brother, and forced them out of the house.

Prosecutors said that a passerby witnessed the incident and immediately notified the police, after which the defendant was arrested. The man denied the charge of threatening to kill his wife.

The trial was adjourned until March 5.


Source :  The Khaleej Times

When Dubai Playes Cupid

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Filed on February 13, 2018

As the world celebrates Valentine’s Day today, we speak to four Dubai-based couples to find out how the city was instrumental in bringing them together

Love, like music, knows no barriers or boundaries. And what better example of this than the multi-cultural metropolis of Dubai, where couples hailing from different countries are continuing to meet, fall in love and get married. Today being Valentine’s Day, we at City Times have decided to set aside our usual sprinkling of cynicism and bring you feel-good stories of how love between people from diverse backgrounds has flourished in the city.


Peter Rodrigues & Patrycja Rodrigues (Goan & Polish)
“We met in November 2006, on a 11-hour flight to Perth from Dubai. By the time we reached Australia we were totally hooked, knowing that this new found friendship will be very special for both of us. We got married on 10-10-2010 and our wedding theme was ‘Love is in the air’ as it all began in the air!
Dubai has played a special part as we would have never met if not for this place. I am from Goa, India and Patrycja is from Poland and we needed a common place like Dubai to meet. When I met Patrycja she was very new in Dubai so I was her local guide, showing her those hidden gems of the city and helping her to understand the culture!
For our first date we went to Rugby Sevens, which will always hold sentimental value for us, although we were so excited and busy getting to know each other we had no idea who was playing and what the score was! Nowadays we like going to Kite Beach and La Mer Beach, as well as BOXPARK and Zabeel Park. The fountains at Dubai Mall never fail to amaze us, no matter how many times we see them.
This year it is going to be a quiet Valentine’s Day, as we will be spending it at home with our one-year-old baby girl, who brought even more love into our life.
We believe love is integration of two people into one. It is the understanding of each other’s values and most importantly bringing out the best in each other.”
As told to Enid Parker (

Rena Rzayeva & Rui Martins (Azerbaijani & Portuguese)
“We first met in Dubai in 2002 at the French Connection Cafe on Sheikh Zayed Road and now we are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary next month! We were introduced to each other by a common friend and what started as a normal meeting led to a solid bond that culminated in us taking our marriage vows. Before coming to Dubai we had never ever met anyone from each other’s respective countries before, so it seems that Dubai, in some ways, played cupid for us! We don’t think we would have met each other if it wasn’t for Dubai.
Among the things that we love to do in the city is to go to Jumeirah Beach because this place holds many sweet memories for us and we also take our 7-year-old son, Tiago, who was born in Dubai, along with us to share those pleasant memories. We also like to visit a shawarma joint in Satwa which used to be a regular hangout for us. It’s  called Al Mallah. And once in a while, we also take an abra ride across the Dubai Creek to the Spice Market.
Love means different things for different people, but for us, it’s about two souls trusting each other, it’s about a long life journey filled with lots of adventures that is fun to experience together.
This Valentine’s Day we plan to celebrate at home. Rui is threatening to cook a romantic dinner! Hopefully, we will not have to call the firefighters or order dinner from a restaurant!”
As told to Michael Gomes (

Fuad Nazim & Aisha Nazim (Indian & Canadian)
“We met in December 2006, surprisingly at 360 – Jumeirah Beach Hotel (my favourite hangout during those years). Aisha had just moved to Dubai a couple of months earlier from Canada, and I moved back to Dubai during the summer of ’06.
Considering the fact that we got married in six months, I would say that Dubai has played a special part in our story. My whole family lives here, so it was easy to introduce Aisha to all of them. Dubai is a very cosmopolitan city, and it’s easy to be a newcomer here. The jitters of a new relationship were ironed out by hanging out in different places in Dubai, getting reacquainted with old friends, and making new ones too. Dubai is a melting pot of East meets West, and now with four kids, its honestly the best place to raise a family. Pier Chic in Al Qasr is a particularly special place for us as that’s where we had our first date. Love is not an on and off switch. Love is something that grows every day you are together. After almost 11 years of marriage and four amazing kids, love is something that you can just be yourself with your other half. Aisha and I are exact opposites and I think that’s the strength of our relationship.
We’ve made a pact that we’d spend Valentine’s day with our kids at their favourite restaurant, Farzi Café at City Walk. We couldn’t have it any other way.”
As told to Maán Jalal (

Liam McElhinney & Katrina Navarro-McElhinney (Irish & Filipino)
“We met at Claw BBQ, Souq Al Bahar. There are a lot of mixed couples in Dubai. I believe that here more than any other major international city we are all encouraged to bring and share our different cultures/traditions. By being empowered to share our different cultures we actually highlight how in the most important things (love, family, aspirations) we all are the same. For me the Filipino and Irish cultures are so similar I feel just as much at home with my wife’s family as I do with my own.
A place that has sentimental value for us is the creek area since we got married in Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Our plan for Valentine’s Day is to have a romantic dinner at the place we first met. Claw!”
As told to Enid Parker (


Source :

Twelve Canberra public schools running well below capacity, others enrol too many

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FEBRUARY 13 2018 – 6:22PM

Emily Baker

Twelve Canberra public schools are running well below capacity, including two with just 22 per cent of possible enrolments filled, prompting a leading academic to call for the system to collaborate to restore confidence in local schools.

Figures from last year show while five government schools burst at between 98 and 105 per cent capacity, a dozen others lagged with utilisation rates of between 22 and 50 per cent.

Eight of the undersubscribed schools were in Tuggeranong, two in Belconnen, one in the Molonglo Valley and the other Jervis Bay. Most ranked below the national average in the index of community socio-educational advantage with all but one listing more than 25 per cent of students in the bottom quarter.

The reverse was true in schools near or over capacity. All had ICSEAs well above the Australian average with as few as one per cent of students considered disadvantaged.

Victoria University education expert Stephen Lamb, who was commissioned to examine the performance of Canberra’s public education system in 2016, said the data suggested parents were avoiding certain schools.

 This led to a process of residualisation, he said, in which schools that were being avoided were more likely to be attended by local children with greater needs. Professor Lamb said it also meant fewer resources were allocated to those schools, resulting in fewer specialised programs and a low likelihood the cycle would be broken.
“It is worrying because what it has an impact on is the types of resources that are available to the school, both in terms of families that are using the school and the children that are there but also, importantly, the sorts of resources that are allocated to the school for it to be able to deliver its services,” Professor Lamb said.

“Schools that are more towards having a full complement of students have much larger budgets on which to plan with and to operate with.”

Schools that were under capacity in 2017 included Calwell Primary (220 students and a 42 per cent utilisation rate), Calwell High (352 students, 49 per cent utilisation), Caroline Chisholm School (324 students, 38 per cent utilisation), Charles Weston School (197 students, 22 per cent utilisation), Charnwood-Dunlop School (278 students, 50 per cent utilisation), Gilmore Primary (99 students, 32 per cent utilisation), Jervis Bay School (50 students, 40 per cent utilisation), Lanyon High (333 students, 40 per cent utilisation) and Richardson Primary (136 students, 37 per cent utilisation).

Schools near or over capacity were Garran Primary (581 students, 100 per cent utilisation), Gold Creek School (589 students, 98 per cent utilisation), Hawker Primary (343 students, 98 per cent utilisation), Lyneham High (1084 students, 100 per cent utilisation) and Telopea Park School (856 students, 105 per cent utilisation).

Professor Lamb suggested public schools collaborate to attract more local families. Data released by the Education Directorate last year showed 38 per cent of Canberra’s public school students attended a school outside their priority enrolment area in 2016.

“At a system level, that means thinking about where all the programs are delivered and in which settings, so being able to therefore get some schools to specialise or to be able to work with others in the delivery, so therefore there are other things that are coming into play in the way families view the use of the schools,” he said.

“There shouldn’t be any need, in a sense, for parents to be pursuing other sorts of schools outside the one that they have available to them because that should be the highest quality available. In an ideal world, that’s exactly what would happen.”

An Education Directorate spokesman pointed to “unavoidable, natural” cycles of growth and decline when asked to explain the low utilisation of some schools.

Census data shows children aged zero to 14 make up 19.6 per cent of Tuggeranong’s population; the Canberra average was 17.4 per cent. Charles Weston School in the new suburb of Coombs opened mid-2016 and will likely expand as the region grows.

The directorate spokesman added: “Sometimes parents also seek enrolment outside their neighbourhood school.”

The Education Directorate was also looking at its methodology for determining school capacity, he said.

Asked the directorate’s plans for under-utilised schools, the spokesman said: “The government supports and invests in schools that currently have available capacity, as with every school, to make sure every student has access to a great education.”

Aranda Primary last week opened a demountable building with two extra classrooms to help its battle with capacity issues.


Source :  The Canberra Times

‘He knew that he was going to lose it’: Perth man jailed for raping and bashing his own family members

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FEBRUARY 13 2018 – 5:48PM


A young Perth man who savagely bashed his own grandmother before repeatedly raping his half sister has been jailed for six years.

Shocking details of the attack were read out in the WA District Court on Tuesday as the 25-year-old man was jailed.

The accused man cannot be named for legal reasons in order to protect the identity of the two victims.

The court was told the crimes took place at a home in Perth’s south eastern suburbs in July last year.

The man’s grandmother was aged in her 70s, his half sister was in her late teens.

 The court heard the attack began while the 25-year-old man and his grandmother were weighing themselves on some scales in the grandmother’s bathroom.

As his grandmother was standing on the scales, the man suddenly grabbed his grandmother by the neck and threw her to the ground.

He punched her repeatedly between six and 12 times to the face and head and also kicked her.

He then went into his half-sister’s bedroom, grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the face and back of the head repeatedly.

She fell to the floor, where the man smashed a teacup over her head.

She was then dragged to the front of the house and repeatedly sexually assaulted.

He told both women if they didn’t do what he said, he would kill them.

The man then left the scene in his grandfather’s car. The entire ordeal lasted about 30 minutes.

After he drove away he threw his half-sister’s mobile phone out of the car window.

Police and St John Ambulance were called to the home soon after and both women were taken to a local hospital with terrible injuries.

The man was arrested later the same day in WA’s South West and made full admissions to what had happened.

“He went over to his nanna’s house that evening with the intention of losing it,” prosecutor Sarah Jessup told the court.

“He didn’t have a specific intention as to what he was going to do, but he knew that he was going to lose it.”

The court was told the 25-year-old accused man had consumed alcohol and cannabis on the day of the offence.

The court heard the offending “appears to be linked to disinhibition in relation to the use of alcohol and cannabis”.

In addition to using cannabis, which included the use of synthetic cannabis, the offender also watched excessive amounts of violent pornography in the years prior to the attack.

He pleaded guilty to nine charges in total. One count of aggravated grievous bodily harm, one count of assault occasioning bodily harm, six counts of aggravated sexual penetration and one count of attempted sexual penetration.

“The offences are obviously extremely serious involving a sustained, prolonged, vicious and violent attack on two people very close to you,” Judge Christopher Stevenson said.

“At the same time as physically punching and kicking the victims, you also threatened to kill them. The conduct was obviously degrading to both of them and unexplainable.

“The impact of the offending on each of the victims cannot be overstated.”

The man was jailed for six years and six months in total.

He will be eligible for parole after serving four years and six months.


Source :  WA Today