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
November 18,2021

sahib.jpg

Lahore, Nov 18: Over 100 Sikh pilgrims from India, including Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, are expected to arrive at the revered Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on Thursday using the visa-free Kartarpur corridor, some 20 months after the pilgrimage was suspended following the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday, the first batch of 28 Indian Sikhs, including women, arrived in Pakistan to take part in the annual commemoration of the birth of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev on Friday. Similarly, over 2,500 Indian Sikhs also arrived via the Wagah border crossing.

“The Indian Punjab chief minister (Channi) along with his delegation is also scheduled to visit Darbar Sahib on Thur¬s¬day,” Karta¬rpur Pro¬ject Management Unit chief executive officer Muhammad Latif said.

Latif also told the Dawn newspaper that over 100 Indian pilgrims were expected to visit the gurdwara on Thursday.

The Kartarpur Corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district.

Gurpurab, which marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, will be celebrated on November 19.

Till Wednesday, over 2,500 Sikh pilgrims have arrived via the Wagah border.

The pilgrims left for Nankana Sahib soon after their arrival to participate in the main event at Gurdwara Janam Asthan on Friday, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) spokesperson Amir Hashmi told the Dawn newspaper.

“All the visiting Sikhs from India and elsewhere will be facilitated for travelling to Kartarpur sahib,” he added.

Pilgrimage to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara was suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Indian government reopened the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from its side on Wednesday.

India signed the Kartarpur corridor agreement with Pakistan on October 24, 2019.

Under the pact, Indian pilgrims of all faiths are allowed to undertake round the year visa-free travel through the 4.5-km-long passage.

In November 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor as part of the commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at a colourful ceremony, paving the way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit one of their religion's holiest sites in Pakistan without needing a visa. 

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News Network
November 16,2021

Kasaragod, Nov 16: Kerala BJP chief K. Surendran on Tuesday called on Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and sought an NIA probe into the murder of an RSS worker.

Twenty-year-old Sanjith was killed at Ellapully in Palakkad district on Monday allegedly by a group of miscreants, who according to BJP are members of Social Democratic Party of India. 

Speaking to the media persons, Surendran said, "We have demanded an NIA probe as all know that the hands of the Kerala Police are tied."

"It has been 24 hours since the brutal crime, which is now understood to be a well planned and organised crime by the SDPI. Sanjith was getting death threats for the past few months," he said.

Surendran alleged that SDPI is getting the support of the Kerala Police and the state government.

"In the past two weeks, this is the second incident of the murder of RSS worker by SDPI, and there is a striking similarity in the way the killings have been done," he said.

"We will now request Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for an NIA probe. We will also meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah with the same demand, as only an NIA probe will bring out the truth as this is terror killing," Surendran said.

Sanjith's wife said five people committed the crime whom she can identify.

Five assailants in a car waylaid and attacked Sanjith and his wife who were on a motorcycle at 9 a.m.

Sanjith was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The police have formed seven teams and initiated the investigation.

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News Network
November 23,2021

Riyadh, Nov 23: The Arab coalition said on Tuesday that it had carried out airstrikes in Yemen’s capital.

The coalition cautioned civilians in Sanaa from approaching or gathering near the targeted locations in the Dhahban neighborhood of the city.

The strikes hit sites storing ballistic missiles, said the coalition, accusing the Iran-backed Houthi militia of endangering Yemeni civilians by using them as human shields.

Residents told Reuters the strikes targeted two military sites.

The coalition said on Monday that the Houthi militia in Yemen have turned Sanaa airport into a military base for experiments and cross-border attacks.

Saudi Arabia claims that it is targeted by the militia nearly daily using explosive drones, which are often easily destroyed by the Kingdom’s air defenses.

Houthi attempts to target civilians has been labeled as war crimes by the Kingdom.

The Arab coalition has been supporting the Yemeni government regain full control of the country after the Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, in 2014. 

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