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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June 15,2021

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Mangaluru, Jun 15: Amidst incessant rains in coastal Karnataka, Maravoor Bridge that connects to the Mangalore International airport with the city developed a major crack in the early hours of Tuesday, June 15.

The crack is visibly deep and wide that there is every possibility that the bridge might collapse at any time.

Keeping in mind the safety of the people vehicular movement has been cancelled on the bridge.

Traffic is diverted to two alternative routes. Those who want to go to other side of the Marvoor bridge from Kavoor can either use Kavoor-Kulur-KBS Jokatte-Porkody-Bajpe route or Pacchanady-Vamanjoor-Gurpur-Kaikamba-Bajpe route.

The relentless showers have piled on the misery in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Chikkamagaluru districts. Incidents of tree fall and damages to houses were reported from across the three coastal districts.

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News Network
June 2,2021

United Nations, June 2: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said only B.1.617.2, one of the three strains of the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant first detected in India, is a “variant of concern” now and noted that lower rates of transmission have been observed for the other two lineages.

The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India and was divided in three lineages - B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.

In the Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update published on Tuesday, WHO said available findings for lineages B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 were initially used to designate B.1.617 a global Variant of Concern (VOC) on May 11 this year.

“Since then, it has become evident that greater public health risks are currently associated with B.1.617.2, while lower rates of transmission of other lineages have been observed,” WHO said.

The UN health agency said that in order to reflect this updated information, B.1.617 has been “delineated”.

“B.1.617.2 remains a VOC and labelled variant Delta – we continue to observe significantly increased transmissibility and a growing number of countries reporting outbreaks associated with this variant. Further studies into the impact of this variant remain a high priority for WHO.”

The Delta variant has now been reported in 62 countries around the world as of June 1, the update said.

It added that the B.1.617.1 strain has been reclassified to a Variant of Interest (VOI) and labelled variant “Kappa”. While Kappa is also demonstrating increased transmissibility (in specified locations), “global prevalence appears to be declining. This variant will continue to be monitored and reassessed regularly.”

The B.1.617.3 lineage is "no longer classified as either a VOI or VOC – relatively few reports of this variant have been submitted to date.”

On Monday, the WHO announced the new naming system for key Covid-19 variants and the labels are based on the Greek alphabet (i.e. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc), “making them simple, easy to say and remember.”

“The labels do not replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information & will continue to be used in research. The naming system aims to prevent calling #COVID19 variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatising & discriminatory,” WHO said in a tweet.

WHO said that as the global public health risks posed by specific Covid-19 variants becomes better understood and evolves, it will continue to update the list of global VOIs and VOCs.

“This is necessary to adjust to the emergence of new variants, their changing epidemiology (e.g., the incidence of some variants is rapidly declining), and our understanding of their phenotypic impacts as new evidence becomes available and is shared.”

Variants no longer classified as VOCs or VOIs will continue to be monitored as part of the overall evolution of SARS-CoV-2, and may be reassessed pending new evidence indicating an increased public health risk, WHO said.

The update further said that India reported the highest numbers of new Covid-19 cases in the past week at 13,64,668, a 26 per cent decrease compared to the previous week. Other countries reporting the highest numbers of new cases are Brazil (4,20,981 new cases; 7 per cent decrease), Argentina (2,19,910 new cases; 3 per cent increase), the United States of America (1,53,587 new cases; 18 per cent decrease), and Colombia (1,50,517 new cases; 40 per cent increase).

The South-East Asia Region reported over 1.5 million new cases and over 29,000 new deaths, a 24 per cent and an 8 per cent decrease respectively compared to the previous week.

“Case incidence continued to follow a sharp decline for a third consecutive week, and death incidence decreased for the first time since early March 2021, primarily driven by trends reported in India,” the update said.

In the South-East Asia Region, the highest numbers of new deaths were reported from India (26,706 new deaths; 1.9 new deaths per 100,000; an 8 per cent decrease), Indonesia (1057 new deaths; 0.4 new deaths per 100,000; a 15 per cent decrease), and Nepal (1010 new deaths; 3.5 new deaths per 100,000; a 22 per cent decrease).

Globally, the number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths continues to decrease, with over 3.5 million new cases and 78,000 new deaths reported globally in the past week; a 15 per cent and 7 per cent decrease respectively, compared to the previous week, the update said.

The European and South-East Asia Regions reported the largest decline in new cases and deaths in the past week, while case incidence increased in the African and Western Pacific regions. “Although the number of global cases and deaths continued to decrease for a fifth and fourth consecutive week respectively, case and death incidences remain at high levels and significant increases have been reported in many countries in all regions,” the WHO update said.

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News Network
June 11,2021

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Bengaluru, June 11: Kannada poet, politician and activist Dr Siddalingaiah passed away, who had tested positive for covid-19 some time ago, passed away at a private hospital in the city today. He was 67.

Sources said that he was undergoing treatment at Manipal Hospital for post covid illness. 

Born in 1954 at Magadi, Bengaluru, Siddalingaiah is credited with starting the Dalit-Bandaya movement in Kannada and with starting the genre of Dalit writing. He is one of the founders of the Dalita Sangharsh Samiti along with B. Krishnappa.

In 1988, at the age of 34, he became a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and, in 2006, chairman of the Kannada Development Authority, a post with Cabinet rank that he held until 2008.

He was head of the Department of Kannada at Bangalore University and a member of the University Syndicate of Kannada University, Hampi. He was acknowledged as a symbol of the Dalit movement and a leading public intellectual and Kannada poet. 

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