Is Saudi Arabia planning to turn Qatar into an island

Agencies
September 1, 2018

Riyadh, Sept 1: A Saudi official hinted Friday the kingdom was moving forward with a plan to dig a canal that would turn the neighbouring Qatari peninsula into an island, amid a diplomatic feud between the Gulf nations.

"I am impatiently waiting for details on the implementation of the Salwa island project, a great, historic project that will change the geography of the region," Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said on Twitter.

The plan, which would physically separate the Qatari peninsula from the Saudi mainland, is the latest stress point in a highly fractious 14-month long dispute between the two states.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being too close to Riyadh's archrival, Iran -- charges Doha denies.

In April, the pro-government Sabq news website reported government plans to build a channel -- 60 kilometres (38 miles) long and 200 metres wide -- stretching across the kingdom's border with Qatar.

Part of the canal, which would cost up to 2.8 billion riyals ($750 million), would be reserved for a planned nuclear waste facility, it said.

Five unnamed companies that specialise in digging canals had been invited to bid for the project and the winner will be announced in September, Makkah newspaper reported in June.

Saudi authorities did not respond to requests for comment and there was no immediate reaction on the plan from Qatar.

After the dispute erupted last year, Qatar -- a small peninsula nation -- found its only land border closed, its state-owned airline barred from using its neighbours' airspace, and Qatari residents expelled from the boycotting countries.

Mediation efforts led by Kuwait and the US, which has its largest Middle East air base in Qatar, have so far failed to resolve the dispute.

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News Network
January 5,2022

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Tel Aviv: Israel’s defense minister met with the Jordanian king on Wednesday, both sides said, part of a reset of ties between the two countries.

According to Benny Gantz’ office, the two discussed “security and policy topics.” Gantz “welcomed the expansion of relations between Jordan and the current Israeli government.”

A statement from King Abdullah II said the two spoke about “the need to maintain calm in the Palestinian Territories,” and the measures necessary to lay the foundation for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The two met in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

The meeting is part of revamped ties between Israel and Jordan, which became strained under the leadership of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It follows a secret meeting last year between Abdullah and current Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, as well as a separate meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers.

Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994 and maintain close security ties, but relations soured in recent years over tensions at a flashpoint Jerusalem mosque, Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and the lack of any progress in the long-moribund peace process. The countries also fell out over a shooting incident by a guard at Israel’s embassy in Amman.

Both Jordan and the Palestinians were adamantly opposed to the Trump administration’s Mideast plan, which would have allowed Israel to annex up to a third of the West Bank. Israel captured east Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want as part of their future state.

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News Network
January 6,2022

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Founder of Ittehad-e-Millat Council Tauqeer Raza Khan's call for a 'Dharam Sansad' on Friday has got support from All India Tanzeem ul Islam, which on Thursday asked the community members to gather in large numbers. The protest has been called to offer 'mass sacrifice' in protest against hate speeches delivered in Haridwar.

Raza Khan appealed to muslims of Uttar Pradesh to gather in large numbers at the Islamia School in Bareilly on Friday for "mass sacrifice" in protest against recent hate speeches made in Haridwar.

The announcement was made on Saturday where he said, "the recent Dharam Sansad against which objections were raised by our community was not the first one but it has been happening for many months, but the present government was never ready to hear anything."

"Our ulemas have conducted three meetings but we never called it Dharam Sansad, but the language used in Haridwar can never be used by our ulemas and the ulemas show the path of peace, patriotism and love to disciples," he added.

The cleric said that the hate mongers want to kill 20 lakh Muslims. "We have decided that we are ready for it. I urge the government that they can send their people to kill us and on Friday at least 20,000 Muslims will surrender before them. The best way is that Muslims sacrifice their lives to ensure peace in the country."

Khan has got support of Tanzeem which recently advocated united India as it was in medieval period. Mujahid Hussain Qadri of Tanzeem said that people want to create disharmony between Hindus and Muslims but they will not succeed.

The hate speech was reportedly made during an event in Haridwar held from December 17 to 20. Video clips of the event, circulated on social media, say that "Hindus should arm themselves like those seen in Myanmar, every Hindu must pick up weapons and conduct a Safayi Abhiyan."

The event was organised by Yati Narasimhanand, a controversial religious leader who has been accused in the past of inciting violence.

The Uttrakhand Police have lodged an FIR in the case against Jitendra Narayan Tyagi -- former Shia Waqf board chairman, who recently converted to Hinduism.

In a similar incident, Chhattisgarh Police had arrested Kalicharan Maharaj for allegedly using derogatory language against Mahatma Gandhi from Madhya Pradesh's Khajuraho.

The police had registered an FIR and arrested the religious leader and others for allegedly making derogatory comments on Mahatma Gandhi and praising Nathuram Godse.

The Congress is criticising the delay in action against the accused in Haridwar.

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News Network
January 13,2022

Bengaluru, Jan 13: Karnataka may witness 20,000 to 70,000 daily hospitalisations for Covid by the end of January or February 2.

These are the new projections made by researchers at the Indian Statistical Institute and Indian Institute of Science on Tuesday.

Similarly, projections made by the researchers for ICU bed requirement shows that the state will require 1,000 beds to more than 3,000 beds by February 2.

As per projections made by another group INDSCI-SIM (Indian Scientists’ Response to Covid-19), Karnataka, by January 25, will have 35,000 daily cases and 500 to 5,000 severe cases, based on whether individuals are fully vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Prof Gautam Menon, professor of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, Haryana, who has worked on several Covid models and is a part of INDSCI-SIM, said, “Across the country, we expect six lakh to nine lakh new Covid cases to be reported at the peak between January 21 and February 10. By March, the curve will flatten. Another common thing with projections from other models is that the number of cases will be larger than the second wave.”

Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) president Dr H M Prasanna said, “The state’s private sector does not have 1.4 lakh beds as is being reported. When the second wave started, we checked and there were only 66,000 beds. This is as per the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust portal. We don’t know when it increased. Maybe the government is factoring in medical college hospital beds.”

Estimating the number of beds in private hospitals, he said, there are around 6,500 private hospitals in Karnataka, apart from medical colleges.

“In all, there are 70,000 beds in private hospitals and medical colleges. In both the government and private sector, there may not be more than one lakh beds,” he said.

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