India gives $ 2 million aid to UN agency working for Palestinian refugees

Agencies
May 19,2020

Ramallah, May 19: India has given USD 2 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency working for the welfare of Palestinian refugees in support of its core programmes and services, including education and health, amidst the coronavirus crisis.

India had increased its annual contribution to the UNRWA from USD 1.25 million in 2016 to USD 5 million in 2019. It pledged another USD 5 million for 2020 which opens its way to become a member of the agency's advisory commission, according to official sources.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) applauded India's financial support to keep its basic services operating, especially under the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contribution was presented to the UN agency by the Representative of India (ROI) to the State of Palestine, Sunil Kumar.

"On behalf of the agency, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Government of India for advancing part of its contribution, which will help UNRWA address cash flow challenges," Marc Lassouaoui, chief of the Donor Relations at the agency said.

"The continued determination and commitment of India in support of the Palestine refugees is commendable, in particular under the current circumstances brought on us by COVID-19," he said.

"On behalf of the Government of India, I would like to express my appreciation for the commendable work and endeavours carried out by the UNRWA. We believe that our contribution will support the agency's activities in providing the needed assistance to Palestinian refugees, and assist in achieving their full human development potential," Kumar said.

India's contribution will support the agency's "dire" financial situation due to the funding gaps that risk its core services to the Palestinian refugees in the fields of education and health.

About 3.1 million Palestine refugees depend on health services provided by the UNRWA. At the same time, the agency's schools educate 526,000 students every year, of which half are female.

The agency was created in December 1949 by the UN to support the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees.

The UNRWA definition of “refugee” covers Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 War.

Meanwhile, India is preparing medical supplies for the Palestinians to help them in their fight against the coronavirus which is likely to reach the Palestine soon, the Indian mission in the West Bank said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over phone and discussed the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He appreciated efforts being made by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to protect its population and assured all possible support from India.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar later talked to his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki and reiterated India's commitment to support Palestine in its battle against the global pandemic.

So far, 554 COVID-19 cases have been detected in the West Bank under PA and east Jerusalem, with two casualties.

Twenty people were found infected with the virus in Gaza, of which 14 are said to have recovered.

Separately, 17 agreements have been signed under an India-Palestine development partnership between the two sides in the fields of agriculture, health care, information technology, youth affairs, consular affairs, women empowerment and media in the past five years.

New Delhi is to provide an assistance of around USD 72 million through these agreements in projects like the post-2014 war reconstruction efforts in Gaza, construction of five schools, setting up a centre of excellence for information and communication technologies at Al-Quds University and developing a satellite centre in Ramallah.

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Abu Dhabi's ADC Bank likely to lay off hundreds of employees

Agencies
July 28,2020

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Dubai, Jul 28: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) (ADCB.AD) is letting go hundreds of employees, sources said, the latest in a round of lay-offs by regional banks as pressure mounts to cut costs amid lower oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.

The UAE’s third-biggest lender is laying off 400 employees, two sources familiar with the matter said, after it had committed to not cutting staff because of the crisis.

In a statement, a spokesman said ADCB had pursued efficiency over the last decade by managing out its lowest underachievers after regular reviews, while ensuring talent was deployed in high-growth areas, such as digital banking.

“A certain number of redundancies are therefore expected every year in the normal course of business,” the bank spokesman added.

The sources said the cuts would involve ADCB’s consumer business and several in top management were among those being let go. One source said the bank was looking to close 20 branches.

In March, ADCB had declared, “No employee will be made redundant during 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

UAE banks have been hit by government measures to rein in the spread of the virus, forcing many businesses to shut temporarily.

Last week, Dubai’s largest bank, Emirates NBD, reported a slump of 58% in profits. In June, sources told Reuters the bank started a new round of hundreds of lay-offs.

In May, ADCB reported a fall of 84% in first-quarter net profit as it took impairments of $292 million on debt exposure to troubled hospital operator NMC Health and payments group Finablr.

It was a major lender, with an exposure of about $981 million, to NMC Health, which went into administration this year after months of turmoil following questions over financial reporting.

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24-yr-old NRI techie falls to death from UAE building after throwing his phone down

coastaldigest.com news network
August 3,2020

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Sharjah, Aug 3: A 24-year-old Indian engineer has fallen to death from the sixth floor of a residential building on Eid al-Adha in the UAE's Sharjah, a media report said on Monday. 

The electrical engineer, identified with his single name Sumesh, hailed from the south Indian state of Kerala.

He lived in a building in Al Dhaid in Sharjah, from where he fell to death on Friday, the report said, adding that he was apparently talking over the phone and threw it down minutes before the incident.

Sumesh, who came to the UAE a year ago, worked as a designer in Sharjah's Muwaileh area. His roommates said that he had some "personal issues" that had been "bothering him for some time", according to the report.

"It was Eid al-Adha and our cook had made biryani for us. We were all cracking jokes and having a good time. In fact, even Cuckoo (Sumesh) was also laughing with us. He seemed happy. Nobody had anticipated this. I did sense a few times that something was troubling him and I even asked him about it, but he brushed it off," the report quoted his roommate Dileep Kumar as saying.

Shans KF, another roommate, said Sumesh was to travel to India for his annual leave but could not because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The police have launched an investigation and moved the body to the forensic lab for an autopsy.

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Blast in Dubai restaurant after gas leak damages buildings

News Network
July 13,2020

Dubai, July 13: An explosion caused by a gas leak damaged a restaurant, and nearby shops at a residential building in Dubai on Monday morning. 

According to Brigadier Abdul Haleem Al Hashemi, Deputy Director of Al Qusais Police Station, the incident took place at 4am when the restaurant was closed.

No injuries were reported, but two nearby shops, a pharmacy, a salon and three cars were severely damaged.

"Dubai Police patrols were immediately dispatched to the scene and worked with Dubai Civil Defense to evacuate residents of the two-storey building as a precautionary measure," Brig Al Hashimi explained.

Preliminary investigations showed that the blast was caused by a gas leak, the officer said. The Crime Scene Department of the General Department of Forensics and Criminology in Dubai is studying the evidence collected from the site and will be preparing the final report on the accident.

Brig Al Hashimi urged restaurant owners to ensure that all safety and security systems at their outlets are in good condition. Regular maintenance checks should also be conducted on all pipes and gas regulators, especially during the summer season.

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