Saudi’s hazard warning system on roads best in Arab world

Agencies
January 15, 2021

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Riyadh, Jan 15: Saudi Arabia employs the best technology-driven hazard warning system on roads in the Arab world. The ranking is as part of the GCC developmental index, according to a report.

The report said that the Saudi transport ministry has covered more than 58 kilometers of the continent-like country with hazard warning signs using technology that produce warning voices once a driver tends to get out of his track due to feeling sleepy or using mobile or suffering worse vision due to bad weather or whatever.

The measure contributed to drastically reducing fatal car accidents from 28.8 deaths to every 100,000 to 16.8 deaths to every 100,000, the report said.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Transport has implemented many safety projects that have significantly reduced the number of deaths and serious injuries resulting from traffic accidents in the Kingdom through a number of works, including traffic signals, in line with the goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030.

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Agencies
February 25,2021

Saudi Crown Prince undergoes surgery, discharged

Riyadh, Feb 25: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, has had successful surgery for appendicitis, state media reported late Wednesday.

The 35-year-old prince had "successful laparoscopic surgery (Wednesday) morning for appendicitis at King Faisal Specialist Hospital" in Riyadh, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

SPA tweeted footage of the prince walking out of the hospital with an entourage and getting into the front passenger seat of a car.

The prince has overseen the most fundamental transformation of Saudi Arabia in its modern history, shaking up the ultraconservative oil giant with an array of economic and social reforms.

But he has also presided over a crackdown on critics including prominent clerics, activists, and royal family members.

He faced a storm of condemnation over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October 2018.

A US intelligence report -- soon-to-be released -- is believed to have concluded that Prince Mohammed was behind the killing.

The White House has said President Joe Biden will speak with King Salman, not his son the crown prince, when he makes his first telephone call to Saudi leaders.

Biden has not yet spoken to the king but is expected to do so "soon".

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News Network
February 26,2021

Celebs: Kuwaiti actor Mishary Al Balam dies following Covid-19 complications

Kuwait City, Feb 26: In a shocking development, a well-known actor in Kuwait, who had contracting covid-19 during vaccination, died in a hospital yesterday. 

48-year-old Mishary al-Balam was undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit of Kuwait's Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Hospital for past one week.

Al-Balam contracted the coronavirus while receiving the first dose of a vaccine, according to the actor himself who shared the news of his infection on his Instagram account last Wednesday.

“Do not forget me from your prayers. Praise be to God in any case. My family, fellow artists, and the loyal, beloved audience, thank you for asking. All that happened was I got infected during the vaccination. It’s fate and forgive me for I cannot respond to the calls,” al-Balam wrote on an Instagram post at the time.

The actor had shared a video on his Instagram account on February 11 as he received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, calling on his followers to also get vaccinated.

Al-Balam then quickly contracted the coronavirus and was moved days later to the ICU unit at Sheikh Jaber Hospital in Kuwait after a drop in his oxygen levels.

The 48-year-old actor began his acting career in 1991 in Kuwait’s theater circles before making it onto the television screen where he took part in more than 56 programs and series. He leaves behind his wife and five children.

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Agencies
February 22,2021

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Vienna, Feb 22: The UN nuclear watchdog chief announced on Sunday a “temporary solution” to allow Iranian facility inspections to continue after days of talks with officials, giving some much needed breathing space for diplomatic negotiations.

However, Rafael Grossi admitted that under the new three-month arrangement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would not have the same level of access after a law comes into force on Tuesday limiting some inspections.

Grossi’s visit to Iran came amid stepped-up efforts between US President Joe Biden’s administration, European powers and Tehran to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal that has been on the brink of collapse since Donald Trump withdrew from it and went on to impose sanctions on the nation.

In December, Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament passed the law demanding a suspension of some inspections if the United States failed to lift sanctions by this Sunday.

Tehran had notified the UN body that if the suspensions were lifted it would suspend “voluntary transparency measures” — notably inspections to non-nuclear sites, including military sites suspected of nuclear-related activity.

Grossi said that under the new “temporary technical understanding... there is less access, let’s face it”.

“But still we were able to retain the necessary degree of monitoring and verification work,” he added.

“What we agreed is something that is viable — it is useful to bridge this gap that we are having now, it salvages the situation now,” Grossi told reporters after landing back in Vienna.

Under the temporary agreement Tehran will for “three months record and keep the information of some activities and monitoring equipment”, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) said.

“During this period, the IAEA will not have access to this information,” the statement said, appearing to confirm comments from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that the law mandates the government to “not provide the tapes” of cameras at sites to the IAEA.

“If the sanctions are completely lifted within three months, Iran will provide this information to the IAEA, otherwise the information will be deleted forever,” the statement added.

Zarif had signalled the Islamic republic wanted to avoid an “impasse” over inspections, but also warned it could further step away from its commitments if Washington does not lift sanctions.

Grossi had said earlier his hope in visiting Tehran was “to stabilise a situation which was very unstable”.

“I think this technical understanding does it so that other political discussions at other levels can take place, and most importantly we can avoid a situation in which we would have been, in practical terms, flying blind,” he added.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi acknowledged on Saturday that his country’s inspection capability would be “reduced by about 20-30 percent” when Tuesday’s law came into effect.

Grossi declined to give his own estimate of how much the IAEA’s inspection capability would be reduced but said the number of inspectors would not be scaled down, and that the agency would still be able to carry out some snap probes.

Biden has committed to rejoining talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme in a shift from Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” towards the Islamic republic.

Tehran has repeatedly said it is ready to return to its nuclear commitments, on the condition Washington makes the first move by lifting the sanctions that have heaped economic pain on Iran.

But foreign minister Zarif warned that, if sanctions were not lifted, his nation would continue scaling back its commitments under the 2015 deal with the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany.

The stockpile of “enriched uranium will increase”, he said, stressing that Tehran had the right within the agreement to stop observing commitments “totally or partially” if the other parties fail to honour theirs.

“We are still in the partial phase,” Zarif said. “We can be total.”

The European Union’s political director Enrique Mora has proposed an “informal meeting” involving Iran, with Washington accepting in principle.

Araghchi said Saturday that Tehran was reviewing the proposal, and discussing it with “friends and allies” China and Russia.

Meanwhile Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of neighbouring Turkey, said on Sunday there was a “window of opportunity” for the lifting of Iran sanctions, calling it “legal and logical”.

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