Deadly Beirut blast could have been missile attack or bomb, says president

Agencies
August 8, 2020

Beirut, Aug 7: A devastating explosion that destroyed much of Beirut might have been the result of a missile attack or bomb, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said, as the death toll from the blast rose to 154.

More than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate had been sitting in a port warehouse for six years, but there have been conflicting accounts about why Lebanese authorities decided to empty the shipment of explosive material. The vessel carrying the flammable cargo was heading from Georgia to Mozambique when it stopped in the Lebanese port to load up on iron, according to the ship’s captain.

By Friday, 19 suspects had been arrested and Lebanon’s former director general of customs Chafic Merhy had been questioned by military police.

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Arab News
January 14,2021

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Dubai, Jan 14: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud accused Iran of spreading havoc in the region, in a joint press conference in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

He further urged Iran to enhance the capabilities of the Iranian people instead of financing militias to destabilize the security of neighboring countries, Al-Arabiya TV reported.

“The Iranian regime must change its philosophy regarding its role in the region,” he said, adding that “the Iranian citizens should be a priority, and when that happens, things will change in the region.”

The Saudi minister also said the Kingdom was pushing towards achieving stability in the region.

He discussed the Kingdom’s success in implementing the Riyadh Agreement in Yemen, alluding to an Iranian role in supplying the Houthis in Yemen with weapons.

The Kingdom supports Washington’s decision to consider the Houthis a terrorist group, he added, noting their attacks on civilian areas in Saudi Arabia

With regards to oil, he said cooperation with Russia contributed to stabilizing oil prices within the OPEC+ system.

The Saudi Foreign Minister stated that his visit to Russia aimed to enhance coordination and cooperation in all fields.
For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said: “Russia welcomes the Al-Ula summit in Saudi Arabia and the agreements that it came out with.”

He said Moscow is interested in stability in the Arab Gulf region. “We support the Saudi position in rejecting foreign interference in the region’s issues,” he added.

Lavrov stressed that Moscow supported “a comprehensive political process in Libya with the participation of all parties,” adding that “We discussed with the Saudi Foreign Minister the crisis in Syria."

He said his country was cooperating with Saudi Arabia in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the stability of the oil market.

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Agencies
January 8,2021

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Riyadh, Jan 8: Saudi Arabia has decided to lift the temporary travel ban and resume all international flights, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday citing a statement from the Ministry of Interior.

The move, which will come into force on March 31, 2021, includes the following measures:

1. Citizens will be allowed to travel outside the Kingdom and come back.

2. The temporary ban on international flights will be lifted.

3. All air, sea, and land borders will reopen.

The implementation of the above-mentioned measures will be done in accordance with the procedures and precautions laid down by the concerned committee amid all necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Kingdom in coordination with the concerned authorities, the statement added.

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Agencies
January 17,2021

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Abu Dhabi, Jan 17: With the number of Covid-19 cases in the country hitting a record high of 3,432 on Saturday, Abu Dhabi has once again tightened norms for entering the emirate.

The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee has updated procedures to enter Abu Dhabi from within the country, effective from Sunday, 17 January, as part of the proactive efforts and precautionary measures to contain and eliminate the spread of Covid-19. pic.twitter.com/MIkfqUEDZg

— (@admediaoffice) January 16, 2021
From Sunday, stringent measures followed till the last week of December will be implemented in the emirate, the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee for the Covid-19 Pandemic said on Saturday. But there is reprieve in travel restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated or volunteers of the Phase 3 clinical trials.

This latest development is announced following the number of Covid-19 cases increasing consistently this month and remaining more than 3,200 for the past four days.

Taking precautionary measures, from Sunday, a person needs to enter the emirate of Abu Dhabi within 48 hours of receiving a negative PCR or DPI test result instead of 72 hours, which was in place from December 24.

Also, a person needs to take mandatory PCR tests on day four of entry for those staying for four days or more, and on day eight of entry for those staying for eight days or more. The day of entry into Abu Dhabi is counted as day one. Since December 24, a person entering Abu Dhabi had to take only one additional PCR test on the sixth day.

The procedures apply to all citizens and residents, including Abu Dhabi residents, except for those vaccinated as part of national vaccination programmes and volunteers of the Phase 3 Clinical Trials who have received status (letter ‘E’ or gold star) on their Al Hosn app. According to the last available information, till January 10 some 250,000 people have received the second dose.

Meanwhile, the committee has urged community members to continue their cooperation and commitment to follow preventive and precautionary measures.

Those who fail to follow the procedures are liable for fines.

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