Pompeo urges Lebanon to move away from Iran and Hezbollah’s ‘dark ambitions’
BEIRUT: On the last leg of his Middle East tour in Beirut, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Lebanon to stand up to Iran and Hezbollah, whom he accused of “criminality, terror and threats”.
Pompeo met with President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, all political allies of Hezbollah. The said they had told him the group was part and parcel of Lebanese politics.
But Pompeo said Hezbollah and Iran have nothing positive to offer to Lebanon.
“What did Hezbollah and Iran offer Lebanon but coffins and weapons? Qassem Soleimani (senior Iranian military commander) continues to undermine the legitimate institutions and the Lebanese people,” he said after meeting with Lebanon’s political leaders.
“How can storing thousands of missiles on Lebanese territory strengthen this country?” said Pompeo, who was on tour in the Middle East to drum up support for Washington’s harder line against Iran.
Pompeo said he believes that Iran does not want the situation in Lebanon to change because change is a threat to Iran’s ambitions to dominate the country.
He spoke of Iran’s criminal networks of drugs and money laundering that place Lebanon under international monitoring, and he said: “The Lebanese people should not be forced to suffer because of an illegal and terrorist group.”
Pompeo noted that US sanctions on Iran and Hezbollah are working, citing a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah this month asking the group’s supporters for funds as evidence US pressure was working.
“Our pressure on Iran is simple. It’s aimed at cutting off the funding for terrorists and it’s working,” he said standing alongside Bassil after their meeting. “We believe that our work is already constraining Hezbollah’s activities.”
Pompeo said Iran gave Hezbollah as much as $700 million a year.
The heavily armed Hezbollah has a large militia that has taken part in Syria’s civil war alongside President Bashar Al-Assad’s government, but it also has elected members of parliament and positions in the national unity government.
The group’s influence over Lebanese state institutions has expanded in the last year. Together with allies that view its arsenal as an asset to Lebanon, it won more than 70 of parliament’s 128 seats in an election last year.
The group has taken three of the 30 portfolios in the government formed by the Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri in January, including the health ministry – the first time it has held a ministry with a significant budget.
Pompeo said he shared concerns about “external and internal pressures on the government, including coming from some of its own members, which do not serve an independent thriving Lebanon”.
The United States would continue to use “all peaceful means” to choke off financing that “feeds Iran and Hezbollah terror operations”, he said, pointing to “smuggling, criminal networks and the missue of government positions”.
“Lebanon faces a choice: bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation, or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future,” he said.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun earlier told Pompeo that Hezbollah was a Lebanese party with popular support, the Lebanese presidency said.
“Preserving national unity and civil peace is a priority for us,” Aoun told Pompeo, the presidency said on its Twitter feed.
Speaker Berri said earlier in a statement that he had told Pompeo that Hezbollah’s “resistance” against Israel was a result of continuing Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory.
Israel, the closest US ally in the Middle East, regards Iran as its biggest threat and Hezbollah as the main danger on its borders.
Euro 2020: Christian Eriksen collapses in Denmark v Finland match
DEVELOPING STORYDanish attacking midfielder receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation at Saturday’s match in Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.Denmark’s attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen has collapsed on the pitch of Parken Stadium during his country’s Euro 2020 game against Finland. The 29-year-old was seen receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation at Saturday’s match in Copenhagen. Eriksen fell to the ground near the sideline…
DEVELOPING STORYDanish attacking midfielder receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation at Saturday’s match in Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.Denmark’s attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen has collapsed on the pitch of Parken Stadium during his country’s Euro 2020 game against Finland.
The 29-year-old was seen receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation at Saturday’s match in Copenhagen.
Eriksen fell to the ground near the sideline late in the first half and was immediately surrounded by medical staff. His distraught teammates formed a ring around him as medics pumped his chest.
The Group B clash was suspended.
More to follow.
UAE: Who will own your cryptocurrency after you die?
Experts reveal everything you need to know about passing down and inheriting digital assets. In the last two years, the global user base for crytpocurrencies has increased by nearly 190 per cent in terms of traded volumes. A survey by Statista of consumers across 55 countries ranks consumers in the UAE 19th most likely to…
Experts reveal everything you need to know about passing down and inheriting digital assets.
In the last two years, the global user base for crytpocurrencies has increased by nearly 190 per cent in terms of traded volumes. A survey by Statista of consumers across 55 countries ranks consumers in the UAE 19th most likely to be an owner of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, in 2020.
But unlike ‘fiat currency’ such as the dollar or the dirham, which can be easily passed on, exchanged, or used for transactions, we are yet to gin an understanding of what will happen to digital currency their owner dies. We know of instances where assets have been lost forever- in 2019, a crypto exchange lost $145 million after its CEO suddenly died and no one had access to the password of the digital wallet.
Safekeeping of passwords is important and equally important is letting your loved ones know about them. “It’s a question that has been bothering me for some time. I have investments worth $100,000 in various crytocurrencies. I have bought these through a broker and not directly from the exchange, which allows me to nominate a beneficiary. So, I am guessing if my wife wants to have access to it when I am gone, she should be able to. But I am not sure of the procedure. I am yet to safekeep my cryptocurrencies in a digital wallet; they are just lying in my account for now, which I know can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. I plan to explore more and make my cryptos more safe and secure and also let my better half know,” says Bawa K., who has been investing in digital currency since 2017.
How are cryptos bought?
Cryptocurrencies can be bought ‘peer to peer’ from people, directly from organisations ‘over the counter’ who offer their own tokens for sale, or from public exchanges such as Coinbase, Bittrex, Binance, Bithumb, Huobi, etc.
“These are the channels for most of the people to get and sell cryptocurrencies. And there are many other ways to get digital assets, for example, C2C(customer to customer) transferring, which are usually not used much,” says Ola Lind, Director, SoBitX.
How are they stored?
The cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology and stored in a so-called wallet. Each wallet corresponds to a pair of keys, a public key and a private key. The public key is used as an address to receive coins and the private key is used to identify the owner.
“Each owner should keep the private key safe. Anyone with this private key can access the assets in this wallet,” says Lind.
“In terms of storage, cryptocurrencies are stored in digital wallets. An individual has a range of choices in that regard, which include holding their digital assets in wallets on exchange, in software wallets such as metamask, or in hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger. In all cases, the individual must make their own judgment in terms of security and accessibility,” says Blaise Carroz, Vice President, Global Acquisition, Idoneus.
UAE law on digital currencies and wills
“While legally, the answer is yes, dependents can seek to claim digital assets, similar to any other type of asset, if your passwords, passphrases, and key locations die with you that probably won’t happen. Without those things your crypto assets will be inaccessible,” says Carroz, when asked if families could inherit their loved ones’ cryptocurrencies after they died.
Under the UAE Federal laws, the status of crypto is currently not sufficiently clear to be certain about adding crypto to one’s will. “However, a UAE resident can use a DIFC Will so that it covers all his worldwide assets, include crypto assets. This is possible since DIFC applies the laws of England and Wales, which recognises crypto assets as property. DIFC Wills also have a provision for including a ‘sealed’ document so that potentially one may leave a private key for the beneficiary to receive and use to retrieve the crypto,” advises Carroz.
“As with all things of this nature it is best to consult a professional law firm for advice for drafting wills with crypto elements due to the complexities involved,” adds Carroz.
When including digitally held assets in an estate planning instrument, Century Maxim recommends the following to be outlined in an estate planning instrument:
a. A clear list of the digitally held assets
b. Information of the digital wallet(s)
c. A memorandum of including the passwords and PINs
d. A step-by-step guide explaining how the beneficiaries can access those assets upon the execution of the estate planning instrument
“Without access to the identifiers to access the exchange or wallet, it would be near impossible to access the assets irrespective if it is briefly mentioned under an estate planning instrument. In such a case, it is more likely than not that the digitally held assets are under a highly secure and encrypted network — a feature for which investors of currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or recently the Dogecoin opt for because it is so difficult to intercept,” says Farhat Ali Khan, Managing Partner, Century Maxim International, a legal consultancy firm licensed based in Abu Dhabi.
Suneeti Ahuja Kohli
Suneeti Ahuja-Kohli has been in Dubai long enough to call it her spiritual home. She loves to travel but plans to settle down in Koi Samui, Thailand eventually to spend her sunset years by the sea. For now, she writes frequently on personal finance, retirement planning, business news and features, health and almost anything assigned by her editor. Her sojourns can be followed on instagram (suneetiahujakohli), news and views on Twitter @suneetiahuja, and for the rest, there’s a Facebook account.
Pakistan Budget 2021-22: Imran Khan chairs cabinet meeting
The meeting is being held to give approval to the budget proposals for fiscal year 2021-22. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of the federal cabinet on Friday. The meeting is being held to give approval to the budget proposals for fiscal year 2021-22. Budget to improve living standard of working class, labourers:…
The meeting is being held to give approval to the budget proposals for fiscal year 2021-22.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of the federal cabinet on Friday.
The meeting is being held to give approval to the budget proposals for fiscal year 2021-22.
Budget to improve living standard of working class, labourers: Farrukh Habib
The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said that the government was presenting an excellent, balanced and people-friendly budget for financial year 2021-22. In budget 2021-22, maximum funds will be allocated for the welfare projects for the poor segments of society, labour and working class, he said while talking to a private news channel.
Farrukh Habib said that the budget would be austerity-oriented and public-friendly and efforts would be made to put minimum burden on the common man. The resources generated through financial discipline, transparency and good governance were also being spent on the welfare of the people, he added.
The minister said besides big cities, balanced development of villages is also being ensured so that all facilities should be available to the youth and farmers living in rural areas. He said underprivileged segments of the society were most affected by Covid-19 difficulties and the government would not put any further burden of direct taxes and would facilitate the common man.
He said PTI is pro-labour party and Prime Minister Imran Khan has always been supportive for the rights of the workers, adding that the pays for labours including painters, unskilled labour, plumber, electricians was increased.
The minister said with the prudent policies of the government, over 13 per cent export has increased, adding the per capita income was also increased which is another historic achievement of the present government.
He said the country has better days ahead where common man will get full benefit from the prudent policies of the present government.
He mentioned that to make major changes in the Kamyab Jawan Programme (KJP), planning to increase the loan facility for youth, which would prove as an engine for jobs creation, poverty alleviation and economic growth in the country.
He said like KPK province, the Health Card project would be further expanded to other provinces of the country to facilitate working and poor class. He said the present government was constructing dams to provide 10 thousand megawatts electricity at cheap rate. Habib also assured that the government would control the inflation and common man would get relief on priority.
Pakistan heading towards economic stability: Fawad
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that Pakistan was heading towards economic stability after a long time.
In a tweet, he said all economic indicators were positive and such political and economic stability was only possible due to confidence of people and institutions in the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) June 11, 2021
He urged the opposition to cooperate with the government on electoral and judicial reforms.