BEIRUT: Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has said it will boycott this Sunday’s Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Beirut.
The boycott is in response to “negative acts carried out by the host country, Lebanon,” said Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj.
The GNA “decided to boycott the summit after it was revealed that the host country did not provide the appropriate climate in accordance with the obligations, customs and traditions of such summits,” he added.
Supporters of the Lebanese Amal Movement tore down the Libyan flag from between the other flags raised on poles on the road to the airport to welcome the delegations participating in the summit.
They replaced it with the Amal flag to protest the kidnapping in Libya of Imam Musa Al-Sadr, a Lebanese-Iranian philosopher and Shiite religious leader, and two companions in 1987.
Photos of Amal members tearing down and replacing the Libyan flag went viral on social media.
This prompted Libyan protesters to remove the sign of the Lebanese Embassy in the Libyan capital and raise their country’s flag at the embassy’s main iron gate, said Lebanon’s ambassador to Libya, Mohammad Sukaina.
“Lebanon is convinced that what happened in Beirut and Tripoli is neither directed against the people of Libya nor against the Lebanese people,” he told the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA).
“We believe that the right, fair, and perhaps the only approach to establishing a good relationship between the Lebanese and Libyan people is that the competent authorities in Libya help free Imam Musa Al-Sadr and his companions.”
Lebanon’s caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil sent a letter to his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Siala, expressing his regret that Libya will not participate in the summit.
Bassil also expressed his rejection of “the actions taken in Lebanon against Libya and its participation in the Beirut summit,” saying they do not reflect his position or his country’s.
Meanwhile, a debate in Lebanon over inviting Syria was settled by the supreme committee organizing the summit, which said: “Syria’s invitation is related to the decision of the Council of the Arab League and is not a Lebanese decision.”
In the halls of the summit’s venue, the flags of all Arab League member states were raised, including those of Syria and Libya, on Monday.
“The countdown to the summit has started,” said the summit’s media spokesman Rafic Chlala.
“The reconstruction of Syria is not on the summit’s agenda, but at the meeting of Arab leaders there may be decisions in this regard,” he added. “So far, this topic will not be discussed.”
The head of the committee, Antoine Choucair, said 24 items are on the agenda, and Lebanon wants to hold the event under the title “Prosperity for Peace.”
He added that Lebanese President Michel Aoun is considering an initiative inspired by the title, and will launch it during the summit.
The commander of the Lebanese Republican Guard, Brig. Gen. Salim Feghali, said it will be in charge of the summit’s security in cooperation with the rest of the security services.
He added that “500 officers and 7,000 soldiers will participate in securing the summit’s location as well as the road to the airport and the delegations’ accommodations.”
Feghali told Arab News: “The security forces will address the protests scheduled for Sunday… in a manner that ensures the safety of the summit.”
Brig. Gen. Joseph Al-Nahhas said: “The secure area will be closed starting Thursday midnight.”
He added: “The supreme committee has proposed to the caretaker prime minister, Saad Hariri, to make Friday a day off.” Al-Nahhas said Hariri had no objection to the proposal.
Meanwhile, the Civil Society Organizations Forum, hosted by the UN headquarters in Beirut, produced recommendations that will be submitted to the summit.
The forum’s organizers said the recommendations aim to “strengthen cooperation between governments and civil society, and provide an independent platform for civil society to allow experts to participate in and contribute to the development process.”
Manal Warde, Oxfam’s policy and campaigns manager for the Middle East and North Africa, said the forum aimed to influence the summit at a time when many Arab countries face public demands for democracy and economic reforms.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) said it expects the summit to “provide an opportunity to develop mechanisms for achieving the (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.”
UAE administered 200 vaccine doses per 100 people
The country is going the extra mile, with fully vaccinated residents now getting their booster shots. The UAE crossed a new vaccination milestone on Saturday: the distribution rate is now at 200.67 doses per 100 people. This means the number of Covid jabs administered in the country has reached twice its population. So far, more…
The country is going the extra mile, with fully vaccinated residents now getting their booster shots.
The UAE crossed a new vaccination milestone on Saturday: the distribution rate is now at 200.67 doses per 100 people. This means the number of Covid jabs administered in the country has reached twice its population.
So far, more than 19.8 million doses have already been given across the Emirates, with 71,886 jabs recorded in the past 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap).
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“This is in line with the ministry’s plan to provide the Covid-19 vaccines to all members of society and part of efforts to reach acquired immunity…which will help reduce the number of cases and control the Covid-19 virus,” added the ministry.
For doctors in the country, the mass vaccination drive has been proving effective as cases have drastically dropped by over 60 per cent last month.
Dr Abdul Aneez, medical director of Medeor Hospital Dubai, said: “It is heartening to learn that the UAE is rapidly vaccinating its people against Covid-19. Today, (Saturday) the nation has achieved yet another milestone. This is a commendable record in the vaccination effort among the world nations.”
The UAE has even gone the extra mile, he said, with people now getting their booster shots.
“It is this step that has bolstered immunity and has significantly contributed to developing herd immunity,” added Dr Aneez.
Sustained vaccination efforts make sure the population develops immunity to combat the disease. “Additionally, we also have evidence from studies that immunity has a waning effect over the months. It is at this point that the booster dose comes into effect, to continue to maintain the level of immunity in the population,” said the doctor.
He praised the UAE leadership, the government, Mohap and all healthcare workers for this great achievement. “This is no less feat when we are fighting an invisible enemy that has brought the world to a grinding halt,” he added.
Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.
UAE Cabinet reshuffled: Meet the new ministers
Some of them are serving in the Cabinet for the first time, while others are taking on new roles. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday announced the formation of a new UAE Cabinet. Here’s a list of the new…
Some of them are serving in the Cabinet for the first time, while others are taking on new roles.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday announced the formation of a new UAE Cabinet.
Here’s a list of the new ministers:
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
He is the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the First Deputy Chairman of The Dubai Executive Council and the Chairman of the Ruler’s Court of Dubai.
He holds a number of leadership positions in the city, with responsibilities focused on boosting government performance and promoting the emirate’s economic sector.
He chairs the Board of the Dubai Judicial Council, the Board of DIFC–Dubai International Financial Centre, the Supreme Legislation Committee in Dubai, and the Strategic Affairs Council of the Dubai Executive Council.
Sheikh Maktoum holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the American University in Dubai. He undertook a number of professional development opportunities at Harvard University in the US, as well as the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government in the UAE. He was born in Dubai on November 24, 1983.
Mohammed bin Hadi Ahmed Abdullah Al Hussaini
Mohammed bin Hadi Ahmed Abdullah Al Hussaini is now the UAE’s Minister of State for Financial Affairs, succeeding Obaid Al Tayer.
Al Hussaini is an experienced banker with an extensive track record in finance and investment. He serves on the board of directors of the Emirates Investment Authority and the Investment Corporation of Dubai, as well as the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (du) and Emirates NBD.
Born in 1976, he holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in international business from Switzerland.
Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri
Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri — previously Minister of State for Food and Water Security — becomes the Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
Almheiri has been responsible for monitoring national food stocks, investing in food technology, and following up international relations in this area.
Before that, Almheiri was appointed as Minister of State for Food Security following the Cabinet reshuffle in October 2017. Her responsibilities included overseeing the development of the necessary infrastructure that would ensure the country’s food security objectives, in line with UAE Centennial 2071 Plan.
Abdullah bin Muhair Al Ketbi
Abdullah bin Muhair Al Ketbi becomes the Minister for the Affairs of the Federal Supreme Council.
Staff Maj-Gen Al Ketbi served as commander of support units for the UAE Armed Forces from 2012 to 2021, a long military career with the Army.
He has served as the director of the Office of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and was previously director of the Ruler’s Representative Office in Al Dhafra Region of the Capital.
An active participant in a number of international forums, he has also been a prominent member of many preparatory and organisational working groups and committees in Abu Dhabi.
Al Ketbi holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in military sciences from Zayed II Military College and was born on June 6, 1956.
Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi
Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi has been appointed the Minister of Justice. He will be succeeding Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi.
Al Nuaimi is an economist specialising in financial management and security. He started his career with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, going on to serve as an economist with the Supreme Council for National Security, and then a director of economic affairs at the council.
He sits on the Board of Directors of the UAE Competitiveness Council and serves in a number of strategic government committees, including the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations; the Strategic Impact Economic Activities Committee; the Supreme Committee for Foreign Aid; and the National Covid-19 Crisis Recovery Management and Governance Committee.
He holds a master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Boston University (BU) in the US. He was born in Al Ain on January 1, 1976.
Dr Abdul Rahman Al Awar
Dr Abdul Rahman Al Awar is now the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation. He will be replacing Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli.
Al Awar is an experienced executive in both the public and private sectors. He started his business career at Emirates Global Aluminium, going on to work with Dubai Oil. He also held senior management roles at Mubadala Investment, Dolphin Energy Limited, and HSBC.
He was appointed director-general of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources in 2009, and sits on the board of the Emirates National Oil Company, the Supreme Council of the National Defense College, the University of Dubai, and is a member of the Higher Colleges of Technology board of trustees.
Al Awar received his PhD from Colorado School of Mines in the US. He was born on October 21, 1968.
Sign language: Connecting people and cultures
The Deaf Friends team – KUNA photosSign language is a full-fledged means of communication for deaf people, depending on facial and body gestures that enable them to interact. The UN General Assembly set Sept 23 as the International Day for Sign Languages to highlight their importance, and how it was a major right for deaf…
The Deaf Friends team – KUNA photosSign language is a full-fledged means of communication for deaf people, depending on facial and body gestures that enable them to interact. The UN General Assembly set Sept 23 as the International Day for Sign Languages to highlight their importance, and how it was a major right for deaf people to have their own languages. The international day coincides with the establishment of the World Federation of the Deaf, founded in 1951.
“Sign language is multicultural and derived from the culture of every country,” said Hamad Al-Marri, President of Kuwait Sport Club for the Deaf. Marri, also member of the higher council for the disabled, told KUNA deaf people will be using their hands and other body gestures to express themselves. Every country has a unique sign language depending on its culture, he explained. “There is an international sign language, an Arab sign language and a unique local sign language.”
Arabic days of the week in sign languageMarri said many deaf people have occupied senior positions because they excelled in the use of sign language. He added he proposed to the Civil Service Commission for the appointment of people with sign language expertise in government departments to help the deaf. Marri said HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah instructed Kuwait National Guards personnel, when he was deputy chief of KNG, to learn sign language to communicate with the deaf.
Arabic alphabets in sign languageDr Mohammad Al-Ramzi, a sign language instructor, said sign language “is rich, expressive and complicated just like the spoken language, and it has a grammar framework similar to all human languages”. Speaking to KUNA, Ramzi said Arab countries unified their sign languages in 1999 and a dictionary was published with more than 3,000 signs. Kuwait was the first country in the world to interpret three TV news bulletins. The bulletins were raised to eight per day in 2020, he added.
Ismail Karam, Technical Director at Kuwait Sport Club for the Deaf, said he learned sign language at Al-Amal (Hope) School for people with special needs, which he joined in 1960. After spending 12 years at the school, Karam graduated with the ability to write and sign. He then worked at the finance ministry’s printing press where he spent 30 years, during which he joined former classmates to establish the Kuwait Society for Deaf and Dumb in 1975. The society later changed its name to Kuwait Sport Club for the Deaf.
Al-Zahraa Al-Tamimi, member of the Deaf Friends team, said team members are teaching hearing-impaired people how to use sign language. The team, she told KUNA, sought to spread the use of sign language on social media, TV channels and public places. Kuwait is the second Arab country to introduce education of the deaf – the ministry of education issued a law in 1965 making it mandatory for people with special needs to get an education. – KUNA