Three people wounded in bomb blast, north of Baghdad

Flag of Iraq.svg

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Three people were wounded as a bomb blast took place in north of Baghdad, a security source from the Iraqi Interior Ministry said on Friday.

“A bomb, placed near stores at al-Mushahada region in Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad, went off leaving three people wounded,” the source told Alghad Press.

“Security troops arrived at the blast spot and transferred the wounded to hospital for treatment,” the source 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

Iraq foils smuggling of USD13 mn antiquities smuggling to Turkey

Flag of Iraq.svg

Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Iraq has foiled an attempt to smuggle antiquities worth millions of dollars to Turkey, its interior ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry’s general inspector said in a statement, quoted by Alforatnews, that ministry teams in Kirkuk blocked the transfer of scriptures and antiquities worth USD13 million to Turkey, which were in the possession of two people.

Those, the statement revealed, included scriptures and a bust.

It added that the suspects confessed to agreeing with another party in Turkey on the handover of the pieces. They said they were also expecting to receive more items while waiting at the Turkish borders, including jewelry belonging to the wife of late president Saddam Hussein worth millions of dollars.

Iraq’s archaeological sites sustained severe damage when Islamic State militants occupied a third of the country to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “caliphate”. The militants had filmed themselves axing down priceless statues in Mosul and other areas as they considered statues as pagan representations at odds with their extremist religious codes. However, later reports told that militants turned to selling antiquities to fund the group’s operations.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Fearing drought, Iraq pleads to neighbors to release its water share

Flag of Iraq.svg

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq has urged neighboring countries to release its share of water from Euphrates and Tigris rivers, warning that it may be facing a “water scarcity” crisis.

Government-owned Al-Sabaah quoted Hamid al-Nayef, spokesperson of the agriculture ministry, saying that “Iraq has made official requests to Turkey and Syria to release its share of Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which had witnessed a great decline,” he added that the requests were made after “those countries failed to commit to agreements and mechanisms determining each country’s share for many reasons, including the construction of dams”.

According to Nayef, the drop in rainfall rates contributed to the decline of water levels at the rivers. He said the government has only managed to provide water to 75 percent of lands allocated for cultivation.

“All regions of Iraq face the danger of water scarcity,” water resources minister, Hassan al-Janabi, told al-Sabaah.

The minister said a visit by the Iraqi side is planned to Turkey soon to discuss Iraq’s water share in light of Turkey’s Ilisu Dam, one of the biggest dams on Tigris River southeast of Turkey and near the borders with Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had directed for combating violations of water resources at southern provinces.

Meanwhile, Hilal al-Sahlani, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s foreign relations committee, warned that the water scarcity danger might cause to remove southern Iraq’s Ahwar marshes from the UNESCO world heritage list.

“As the water crisis exacerbates, Iraq will sooner or later lose Ahwar from the world heritage list,” Sahlani said.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Five people killed, injured in two bomb blasts in west, south of Baghdad

Flag of Iraq.svg

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) A civilian was killed, while four others were wounded in two bomb explosion in south and west of Baghdad, a security source was quoted saying on Saturday.

Speaking to Baghdad Today, the source said, “A bomb exploded today at a car of a civilian at al-Furat district, west of Baghdad, which caused his immediate death.”

“Security troops transferred the victim to forensic medicine department and conducted investigations,” the source, who asked to remain anonymous, added.

Moreover, “another bomb went off near stores at al-Yusufyia region, south of Baghdad, leaving four people wounded,” the source said. All were transferred to hospital for treatment.

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

Relics of over 100 victims, executed by Islamic State, found in mass grave in Mosul

Flag of Iraq.svg

Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) A huge mass grave composed of relics of more than 100 victims, executed by Islamic State, has been found, south of Mosul, a security source from Nineveh Operations Command said on Saturday.

“Testimonies of local residents enabled army troops to reach the grave, located at al-Ramdaniyah village in Qayyarah, south of Mosul,” Col. Saleh al-Sherifi told BasNews.

“The grave contained relics of more than 111 victims,” Sherifi added. “The relics had symptoms of shooting at chests and heads.”

“Most of the victims were civil servants from the Nineveh elections commission office and security personnel,” he said.

IS militants, according to Sherifi, executed the victims and buried them at the grave during their control on Mosul, which lasted for three years.

Security troops ran into tens of mass graves at regions recaptured from IS. More than 70 graves, including Yazidis killed by IS, were also found.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared in July victory over IS militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city since 2014. More than 25,000 Islamic State militants were killed throughout the campaign. Abadi announced, in December, full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

RTA starts trial run of ‘Bus on Demand’ service in Dubai

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 03.06 pm

The service debut will be at Al Warqaa and Al Barsha

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched the trial run of its ‘bus on demand’ initiative in Al Warqaa and Al Barsha. For three months, the service will be free, the authority announced on Saturday. It is offered through the MVMANT app.

Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA’s public transport agency, said: “The 18-seater buses will operate on flexible routes and schedules, and bus drivers can know the service demand through the app to reach to the nearest point to their destinations. Through the MVMANT app, customers living in Al Warqaa and Al Barsha will be able to identify their locations and track the bus arrival times to their locations.”

Video: Residents can now get an RTA bus on demand in Dubai

The smart responsive system is based on the idea of linking some places with mini public buses operating near the locations of commuters. “They can avail the service through the smart app, which enables them to figure out their routes from the start point to destination point, choose their preferred seats, and pay fares. The service will be an innovative solution to the first and last mile between the homes of clients and the nearest public transport station,” added Bahrozyan.

During the trial period, the RTA will assess the efficiency of the service in terms of accessibility to riders, response period, and the time of journey to the destination. A questionnaire will be provided at the Metro stations in Al Warqaa and Al Barsha to understand commuters’ “needs, views and thoughts”.

Khalfan Belhoul, chief executive officer of the Dubai Future Foundation, said: “The solutions that the MVMANT’s bus on demand service brings to the table will help reinvent the transportation sector on the one hand, while bringing benefits to the economy as a whole.”

Site surveys

Before the launch of this initiative, the RTA had conducted site surveys and polls covering 1,750 commuters (63 per cent males and the rest females). The proportion of those aged 25 to 34 amounted to 53 per cent. 

The service targets three categories: Workers (23 per cent), occupational specialists (15 per cent), and retail and services business (62 per cent). According to the RTA, the site survey was based on several parameters, including demography of service users, car ownership, mobility options, nearest public transport station/stops, and preferred mobility choices such as the walking distance, waiting time etc.

Other parameters included comfort, accuracy of schedules, and service on demand, service proximity to homes and destinations, and reasonable fares of the service. 

reporters@khaleejtimes.com

How the system works

> Download the MVMANT app

> You can track movement of buses in your neighbourhood

Book the bus and seats

Source :  The Khaleej Times

Illegal fishing nets blamed as 5 dugongs washed ashore

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Staff Reporter/Abu Dhabi
Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 11.16 pm

The causes of dugong death included habitat loss, marine pollution and collisions with speeding boats.

Four dugongs – three males and one female – have been found washed ashore on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Public Beach in recent weeks, in what may be the biggest single die-off of one of Abu Dhabi’s most vulnerable species.

In addition, another dead dugong, an expecting mother with a fully-developed calf, was discovered last week.

Following the incident, a team from the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) made up of species scientists and marine biologists have been racing against time to determine the cause of death and to intensify monitoring of critical areas. The results of the investigation and necropsy indicate that the most probable cause of death was drowning in an illegal fishing net, locally known as ‘hiyali’.

Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s second largest population of dugongs, with around 3,000 found mostly in the waters around Bu Tinah Island, part of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve. Dugongs, their foraging habitats and their migratory routes in the UAE have been protected under Federal Law No. 23 and No. 24 since 1999.

The UAE is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species, making it an international commitment to protect dugongs.

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, excutive director of the terrestrial and marine biodiversity sector at EAD, said: “This discovery is a harsh blow to one of Abu Dhabi’s most vulnerable species and it may be the biggest single die-off of dugongs recorded in a decade. It once again affirms the vulnerability of this species to human threats and the pressing need for fishermen to end irresponsible fishing practices.

“EAD’s research has demonstrated that the majority of commercial and recreational fishermen are fully aware of the laws prohibiting the use of illegal nets and the protected status of dugongs in the UAE. However, in spite of the regulations in place and the awareness being raised, many fishermen continue to use hiyali nets, because it is a particularly lucrative method of fishing.

“As the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE, stressed, environmental protection is not a matter only for government officials. It is an issue that should concern us all. And so, we call on all fishermen to fish in a responsible way,” she said.

The EAD has now intensified its monitoring of critical areas within and outside marine protected areas and is meeting regularly with fishermen, calling on them not to use the illegal hiyali net and to report the locations of any abandoned fishing nets.

Commercial and recreational fishermen caught using illegal and banned fishing gear and methods will be prosecuted. First-time offenders can receive fines of up to Dh50,000 and/or an imprisonment term of not less than three months, while second-time offenders can receive fines of up to Dh100,000 and/or an imprisonment term of not less than one year.

Other causes of dugong death included habitat loss, marine pollution and collisions with speeding boats.

Know the shy vulnerable marine mammal

>Dugongs are the only marine mammals which are herbivore.

>The Arabian Gulf and Red Sea host around 7,000 dugongs.

>Dugongs have been traditionally persecuted by humans for their meat and oil.

>Dugongs are more closely related to elephants than to whales or dolphins.

>Dugongs are shy, secretive.

>Dugongs are often referred to as “sea cows” because they feed almost exclusively on seagrass. They can eat up to 30kgs of seagrass daily and can weigh anywhere from 230-500kgs.

>Dugongs sometimes breathe by “standing” on their tail with their heads above water.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

 

Source :  The Khaleej Times

Here’s how an 8-year-old became a cop in Dubai

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Amira Agarib/Dubai
Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 04.55 pm

Incidentally, little Saif’s father is also a policeman – Lieutenant Ahmad Al Ketbi.

The Dubai Police, in cooperation with the UAE-based Make A Wish foundation, has turned the dreams of a young UAE national into reality.

Eight-year-old Saif Ahmed Al Ketbi got his wish to be a policeman for a day fulfilled, which the foundation facilitated for him. The little boy got the opportunity to dress up in a cop’s uniform and visit the various police departments. He was even able to pet some of the horses and check out the luxury cars used by the force, during the course of the day.

Supplied photo

Incidentally, little Saif’s father is also a policeman – Lieutenant Ahmad Al Ketbi.

Major General Mohammed Saeed Al Marri, assistant commander-in-chief of Community Affairs and Equipment at Dubai Police, welcomed the boy and the foundation’s representatives in the presence of Colonel Khalfan Al Jallaf, of the General Department of Community Happiness.

Maj Gen Al Marri said the Dubai Police’s community initiatives are keen to achieve the aspirations of the government, to create a happy, safe and secure society. The force supports the Make A Wish Foundation in making many ailing children’s dreams come true and is proud to cooperate with it, the official added.

“Turning the wishes of children with serious or chronic diseases into a reality brings joy to their lives, positively raising their spirits and encouraging them to continue with their normal lives. It also brings happiness to their families during the long and difficult period of medical treatment,” Maj Gen Al Marri said.

Hani Al Zubaidi, CEO of Make A Wish Foundation UAE, said such initiatives are in line with the Year of Zayed 2018 and continues the humanitarian work emphasis of 2017, which was the Year of Giving. He particularly praised the Dubai Police’s efforts and for taking the time out to help sick children.

Lieutenant Al Ketbi thanked the Dubai Police and Make A Wish Foundation UAE for making his son’s dreams come true.

amira@khaleejtimes.com

 

Source :  The Khaleej Times

Forget countries, take an affordable space holiday soon

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Sarwat Nasir/Dubai
Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 07.00 pm

Virgin Galactic started selling tickets for space tourism in 2013, with prices ranging between $200,000 to $250,000.

A trip to space could eventually be as affordable as a regular holiday on Earth, former Nasa astronaut Mike Massimino, the first person to send a tweet from Space, has said.

Massimino is in Dubai to visit the UAE’s largest science fair exhibition – the National, Science, Technology and Innovation Festival (NSTI) – taking place at the Festival Arena until February 19.

Massimino, 55, is a former NASA astronaut who was part of the STS-109 Columbia and STS-125 Atlantis shuttle missions to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. He achieved several spacewalk hours and orbits around the Earth during these missions. He has even played a recurring cameo role in the popular TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

The space man spoke to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of NSTI and shared his views on what space tourism and exploration could look like in the future.

“I think in order to do what we really want to do in space is – first – to have these private companies be successful. All the governments that are participating in space are necessary, but I don’t see how you’re going to get there without private enterprises being successful,” Massimino said. “With what SpaceX has been able to do, and other companies like Blue Origin, they’ll surely be able to fly people to space with paying customers and tourists.

“The first few people that are going to go, are going to pay a lot. When a new technology comes out, it’s expensive. But if you want to it be successful, you have to make it affordable. I think it’s their goal for tourism. Blue Origin’s mission is to make it as expensive as a holiday would cost anywhere on Earth. They can’t charge people a million dollars to go to space; only a few people can pay that, so they’ll have to bring the price down and I think they will.”

Virgin Galactic started selling tickets for space tourism in 2013, with prices ranging between $200,000 to $250,000.

Massimino said he was “gratified” to see that many students who were displaying their science projects at NSTI had chosen the subject of space.

He added that the UAE has invested a lot in the advancement of students’ education in science, which he believes can benefit not only the emirates but also the rest of the world. “All of their projects are very impressive. There are a lot of them out there and each that I’ve seen is a very interesting idea and a fresh new one. It shows great teamwork and it’s really professionally done for their age,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it, where students are given so many opportunities. It’s astounding. It’s been nice seeing how interested they are in space and space exploration. There’s a lot of interest from young people.”

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com

 

Source :  The Khaleej Times

Early screening and detection key to prostate cancer treatment

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg

Asma Ali Zain (City Editor)/Dubai
asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com Filed on February 17, 2018

As per the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) data, 4,500 cases are reported per year. In 2014, the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (HAAD) reported 1,700 cases.

An expert has called for the establishment of an effective screening programme for the third most common cancer affecting men in the country.

Prof Dr Yasser Farahat, chairman of the Scientific Office of Emirates Urological Society (EUS) and secretary-general of Arab Association of Urology (AAU) said that an increase of up to 18 per cent was expected in prostate cancer patient between 2020-2021.

“Prostate cancer is also known as the silent killer since it develops without symptoms,” said Dr Yasser while speaking to Khaleej Times. 

“The only way is to screen early on and prevent the disease from spreading,” he said.

He, however, said that while the US and Europe had developed protocols and screening programmes for the disease, screening for prostate cancer in the Middle East was being done on an individual basis only.

“We have nothing on the country level that is the reason why we are working with health authorities in the country to establish a similar programme for screening in the country,” he said.

Dr Yasser said that the exact extent of the disease could not be assessed especially in the northern emirates due to lack of data.

As per the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) data, 4,500 cases are reported per year. In 2014, the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (HAAD) reported 1,700 cases.

“This shows a significant presence of the disease in the UAE,” he added.

Talking about the causes, Dr Yasser said that genetic types played a big role, especially among Europeans, Africans and Americans.

“There is a genetic factor present in the Arab world too, but it is not that significant. That is the reason we do not have huge numbers as compared internationally, however, they remain significant,” said the doctor.

Lifestyle is also a cause among other factors. “They do not affect directly but redispose to increase the incidence of prostate cancer,” he said.

“This control is in a person’s hand since they can avoid preservatives, artificial colours, alcohol and smoking.”

Prostate cancer is also strongly related to age, he said. “It does not usually affect young people so we will be focusing on people above 50 years of age,” said Dr Yasser.

Prostate cancer symptoms

Urinary symptoms of prostate cancer:

Because of the proximity of the prostate gland in relation to the bladder and urethra, prostate cancer may be accompanied by a variety of urinary symptoms. Depending on the size and location, a tumour may press on and constrict the urethra, inhibiting the flow of urine. Some prostate cancer signs related to urination include:

> Burning or pain during urination

> Difficulty urinating, or trouble starting and stopping while urinating

> More frequent urges to urinate at night

> Loss of bladder control

> Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream

> Blood in urine (hematuria)

Other prostate cancer symptoms:

Prostate cancer may spread (metastasize) to nearby tissues or bones. If cancer spreads to the spine, it may press on the spinal nerves. Other prostate cancer symptoms include:

> Blood in semen

> Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)

> Painful ejaculation

> Swelling in legs or pelvic area

> Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet

> Bone pain that doesn’t go away, or leads to fractures

asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com

Source :  The Khaleej Times