Iraqi school guard stands up to Islamic State militants, foils attack

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Diyala ( An Iraqi school guard in Diyala province single-handedly repelled an attack by Islamic State militants against local paramilitary forces.

Awwad al-Rubayi, chairman of the security committee at Abi Saida precinct, told Alghad Press that terrorist elements, probably, from the Islamic State, sneaked in the area and erected a ladder against the walls of a school on the outskirts of Abi Saida. He said the militants were planning to use the school as a vantage point for an attack against paramilitary security forces.

“The guard was prepared, and managed to confront the militants with his personal gun and foiled the attack, leaving him with injuries,” the official said. Local chased the fighters away, he added.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State militants and the recapture of all of the group’s strongholds in December, but forces continue to hunt for remnant militants hiding at desert areas.

The borders between Diyala and Salahuddin had been hotspots for IS militant activity and launching points for attacks on security forces and civilians since the militants proclaimed a self-styled “caliphate” rule in Iraq in 2014.


Source :  Iraqi News

Central Bank of Iraq Auctions $198,173,094 on 15 February 2018

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Baghdad ( The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on February 15 registered $198,173,094 in sales, a 8.69% volume increase from the US $182,320,645 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on February 14.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on February 15 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the February 15 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3636.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to February 15, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $4.89 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to February 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.82 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 1 -55%




Source :  Iraqi News

War remnants transferred from Nineveh to Kurdistan: Iraqi official

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Nineveh ( War remnants at the Iraqi province of Nineveh are mysteriously transferred to Kurdistan Region, a local official was quoted saying.

Alghad Press quoted Mohamed al-Bayati, chairman of the security committee of Nineveh council, saying that “truck owners have been transferring war remnants from the province to Kurdistan Region”, urging authorities to investigate the issue.

The website quoted a security source in the province saying that “Kurdish businessmen take those remnants for unknown reasons after agreement with the local government and some senior officers”.

On Wednesday, Pehr Lodhammar, a senior official at the United Nation’s Mine Action Service (UNMAS) two-thirds of explosives used in the war against Islamic State militants in Nineveh’s Mosul were thought to be buried under debris.

In 2017, UNMAS said it removed 45,000 explosive remnants and 750 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) across Iraq, including over 25,000 in western Mosul alone.

Several civilians have been killed or wounded when unexploded devices went off at areas retaken from IS over the past months.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces engaged in a military standoff last October when the Iraqi government decided to take over territories disputed with Kurdistan Regional Government in response to an independence poll run by the region a few weeks earlier. The Iraqi campaign ended with taking over oil fields and government facilities at disputed areas.


Source :  Iraqi News

Two people wounded in bomb explosion, southwest of Baghdad

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Baghdad ( Two people were wounded as a bomb blast took place in southwestern Baghdad, a police source said on Thursday.

Speaking to AlSumaria News, the source said, “a bomb placed near stores at al-Furat district, southwest of Baghdad, exploded in the afternoon leaving two people wounded.”

“Security troops transferred the wounded to nearby hospital for treatment and conducted investigations,” the source, who preferred anonymity, added.

In December, Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

Baghdad has seen almost daily bombings and armed attacks against security members, paramilitary troops and civilians since the Iraqi government launched a wide-scale campaign to retake Islamic State-occupied areas in 2016.

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians, excluding policemen, were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected governorate, with 323 civilian casualties (90 killed, 233 injured). Diyala followed, with 8 killed and 15 injured; and Nineveh, with 13 killed and 7 injured.

As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.


Source :  Iraqi News

Paramilitaries kill Islamic State members attempting attack against borders from Syria

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Nineveh ( The pro-government paramilitary forces have killed Islamic State militants as they attempted attacking the troops on the Iraqi-Syrian borders, the media service of the troops reported on Thursday.

In a statement, the media service of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said, “the first brigade blew up a vehicle of Islamic State members and killed those on board, south of Tal Sufuk border crossing.”

“IS members were on board a vehicle coming from Syria in attempt to attack PMFs,” the statement added.

Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

Last month, the Iraqi Media News Agency quoted Farhan Mohamed al-Duleimi, member of the Anbar provincial council as saying that intelligence information from Syria confirmed presence of IS members near al-BuKamal region in Syria to launch attacks against Qaim, located near Iraqi-Syrian borders, and that they prepared for suicide attacks to target military units deployed on borders between Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced, in December, full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.


Source :  Iraqi News

Islamic State’s military emir dies of injuries caused by airstrike in Diyala

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Diyala ( Islamic State’s military emir has succumbed to death after one week from getting injured, northeast of Diyala, the security committee of Diyala provincial council was quoted saying on Thursday.

“Islamic State’s so-called Islamic State in al-Waqf basin, northeast of Baquba, succumbed to death after getting injured last week, when an airstrike targeted a rest house,” Sadeq al-Husseini, head of the committee, told AlSumaria News.

“The airstrikes killed several IS leaders over the past few months, especially in al-Waqf basin, where some sleeper cells still exist,” he added.

Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition, was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group.

In December, Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members. However, Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

The war against IS has so far displaced at least five million people. Thousands of others fled toward neighboring countries including Syria, Turkey and other European countries, since IS emerged to proclaim its self-styled “caliphate”.


Source :  Iraqi News

New UAE visa policy boosts Dubai tourism

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Wam /Dubai
Filed on February 15, 2018 | Last updated on February 15, 2018 at 02.27 pm

DWC welcomed 904,940 passengers during 2017 compared to 850,633 passengers recorded in 2016.

Change in UAE visa regulations offering Russian visitors visa on arrival last year propelled Dubai World Central’s, DWC, traffic to more than 900,000 passengers in 2017, according to the annual traffic report issued by operator Dubai Airports today.

DWC welcomed 904,940 passengers during 2017 compared to 850,633 passengers recorded in 2016, a robust growth of 6.4 per cent.

The annual figures were boosted mainly by a surge in traffic on Eastern European routes which recorded a spike of 168 percent to take the total number of passengers during the year to 452,631.

Spurred by the change last year in visa regulations that offer visa on arrival to Russian visitors, Russia emerged as the single largest contributor to traffic from Eastern Europe with a growth of 955.4 percent totalling 279,100 passengers in 2017.

Western Europe also recorded a surge in traffic with passenger numbers reaching 94,452 ( plus 34.6 percent). Germany was the single largest contributor in the region with 41,671 passengers, propelled by the launch of service by Condor and their partners FTI Group and Meeting Point International that connects DWC with multiple cities across Germany including Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Hannover, Cologne, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart, as well as Basel in Switzerland.

Airlines that were top traffic contributors at DWC during the year include Wizz Air, Azur Air, Royal Flight, Condor and Ural Airlines.

Freight volumes at DWC are approaching the million mark after growing by 8.3 percent to 972,295 tonnes during the year compared to 897,998 tonnes recorded in 2016. The airport registered robust growth in the fourth quarter with cargo volumes reaching 267,560 tonnes, up six percent compared to 252,300 tonnes recorded during the same period in 2016.

The airport recorded 34,198 flight movements during 2017 down 11.6 percent compared to 38,670 movements during 2016. Average passenger per flight movement grew 36.3 percent during 2017 to reach 129 compared to just 94 in 2016.

“DWC’s performance this year was very satisfying both in terms of passenger numbers as well as cargo volumes. The airport is gaining popularity among airlines operating point to point routes, thanks to the unique advantages of convenience, quick turnaround times, and cost efficiency that DWC offers to carriers and passengers. DWC will have much more to offer to our airline partners and customers in 2018 as the project to expand the capacity of the passenger terminal building from five million to 26 million passengers per annum is nearing completion,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.


Source :  The Khaleej Times

Sheikh Mohammed tweets out message in Chinese

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Web Report/Dubai
Filed on February 15, 2018 | Last updated on February 15, 2018 at 02.54 pm

Dubai Ruler sends out greetings on the occasion of the Chinese New Year.



His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Thursday tweeted out a message in Chinese, wishing everyone on the occasion of the Chinese new year.

“On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, congratulations to the Chinese people throughout the world for the happy Spring Festival!,” a translation of the message read.

“China is an important partner and an old friend full of culture and inspiration. We wish everyone all the best in the new year,” the tweet said.

The Chinese new year — The Year of the Dog — begins on Friday, February 16, and marks the end of the Year of the Rooster, one of 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.


Source :  The Khaleej Times

This family sent 3 generations to same school in Dubai

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Dhanusha /Dubai
Filed on February 16, 2018 | Last updated on February 16, 2018 at 12.06 am
Ghazala Dhar, the Urdu teacher, her daughter Sidra Rashid, now a teacher at GEMS New Millennium School and granddaughter Areej Fatima, a KG student.- Photo by Shihab

The school opened its doors to students for the first time in 1968.

Starting school can be a daunting experience for any child, but when six-year-old Areej Fatima enrolled at a primary school last year, she had a few former students on hand to ease her anxiety. When Areej walked through the gates of GEMS Our Own English High School, Dubai, she was following the well-trodden footsteps of two generations of her own family.

Not only did her mother Sidra Rashid, now an English teacher at GEMS New Millennium School attend the same school, but her grandmother Ghazala Dhar has been a teacher at the school for 33 years.

‘I enjoy seeing ‘nanno’ in corridor’

Areej said: “In 60 days, I will be in Grade 1. My favourite activities are painting, drawing and colouring and I love attending the bumblebee classes.” Like a lot of students her age, Areej does love going to school, but she also enjoys the good fortune of bumping into her grandmother in the school’s corridor.

“I do bump into my granddaughter at school sometimes,” said Ghazala, an Urdu teacher at the school for 33 years. She laughed adding, “Now, all the children in her class call me nanno (grandma) as well.” Sidra, Areej’s mother, joined the school in the 1988-89 academic-year and studied till Grade 8. “After which I moved to Westminster Dubai to pursue my O-levels,” she added.

Areej said: “I’ve had some incredibly pleasant memories in the school. I will never forget my KG teacher Mrs Uma Thattai. It was raining heavily and I went to play and ended up losing my spectacles. Despite having been mischievous, she consoled me and made me feel much better.”

‘It’s tough to have mom as teacher’

Sidra admits that having her mother as a teacher was more tough than easy. “She would be harder on me as compared to the other students, and I found it very hard to pass her classes,” she said. Sidra’s mother Ghazala joined the school as an Islamic Studies and Urdu teacher on November 13, 1984, when the school’s founder Mariamma Varkey was taking care of the school administration.

“The school was very accommodating as I had three girl children and the school has continued to be supportive and taken very good care of my family. In times of dire need, Madame Varkey herself has come forward and supported me. I’ve seen the institution grow from small porter cabins to the big campus that it is today,” said Ghazala. Sidra’s experience as a student is also one of the main reasons she decided to start working as an English teacher at the GEMS New Millennium School.

She added: “Many former students come back to visit and many of them have their own children studying in the same school.” Sidra and Ghazala stated that not only did the family consciously decide to enroll Areej, but she herself chose to be in the school. “When she was four-years-old, I took her to the school for a visit. She instantly told me that she wants to go to this school,” said Sidra.

School marking 50th year

The school, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has been decked and prepared for year-long celebrations. Furthermore, it is taking special efforts to reach out to alumni and families who have spent over 30 years in the same establishment.

The school opened its doors to students for the first time in 1968. “The earlier campus of the school was in Al Bastakiya, then we shifted to a bigger campus in Oud Metha. and now, we’re 10,000 girls strong in Al Warqa,” said Thomas Mathew, the executive principal. “The school alumni achievements are vis-à-vis achievements of Dubai,” he added.

“As part of the celebrations, the school plans on burying a time capsule in the school campus, which they will open after 25 years,” explained Mathew. Former students can register for the upcoming 50th-anniversary event on the school website under the alumni registration section.


Source :  The Khaleej Times

Student innovations create a buzz in town

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Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on February 15, 2018

The festival is offering a comprehensive agenda with its various events, programmes, competitions, initiatives, sessions and workshops.

The second edition of the National Science, Technology and Innovation (NSTI) Festival saw the presence of hundreds of students who were excited to fuel their imagination at the Dubai Festival Arena on the first day. The event will continue until February 19.

At the conference held to mark the opening of the event, Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, said “the future is bright for those who are creative and innovative”. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited the festival and encouraged the student exhibitors.

“We have to get ready for the post-oil era. Our new generation should be equipped with knowledge and creativity to become leaders of tomorrow. Dear students, you must pursue gaining new skills, research and get knowledge because future is changing rapidly and you are the ones who have to shape the future of the UAE,” said Al Hammadi. He said the ministry is now looking to integrate the culture of innovation and creativity in the curriculum of Emirati schools from Grade 3 onwards.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the NSTI Festival reflects the growing importance of science and technology to the nation.

The festival includes a science fair arena where students have displayed their innovative projects for the visitors. High school students of Wasit Model school, Marwa and Mahra were excited to display their braille piano for blind people. “Since we are pianists ourselves, we wanted to create something for the visually-impaired who have interest in music but are unable to play because of their visual impairment.”

Other important activities include the Family Festival; Industrial Revolution X (IR-X) programme and the Young Scientist Award.

Jameela Bint Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education said: “The NSTI Festival demonstrates the aspirations of our government and the vision of our wise leadership that recognise the importance of innovation and shed light on its invaluable contribution in various spheres of life. It allows students and community members to stay up to date on the latest developments in science, technology, modern techniques, artificial intelligence and the latest trends in advanced educational solutions.”

The festival is offering a comprehensive agenda with its various events, programmes, competitions, initiatives, sessions and workshops.

The Family Festival

The Family Festival section at NSTI Festival has 14 experimental stations from the Swiss Science Centre Technorama offering hands-on experiences with phenomena related to perception, mechanics, aero-dynamics, plasma, energy, puzzles and sound. Visitors can engage in art activities at the Medaf Studio and TheJamJar workshops, in addition to the interactive graffiti wall from Zayed University students. Budding astronauts will have a chance to learn all about space from the UAE Mars mission, how to build a satellite and the future of housing from Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) is offering an interactive space to raise awareness on environmental challenges and the Ministry of Community Development is providing an innovation lab for the deaf.

The acclaimed game design company, Pixel Hunters, will run a series of workshops including ‘Think as a Game Designer’ that will appeal to gamers and virtual reality enthusiasts alike. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies will be providing dreamers with a simulator that mimics their futuristic pods that transport commuters from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain in just nine minutes.


Source :  The Khaleej Times