DUBAI: As India’s government scrambles for supplies of oxygen and other emergency aid to control the raging coronavirus outbreak, donors around the world have come to the rescue – including a Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates. On Monday, volunteers from the country’s Hindu community gathered at the Jebel Ali Port, at the northern end of Dubai, to haul hundreds of cylinders of liquid oxygen and massive containers of compressed oxygen onto a ship, where it will head to crisis-wracked India. The organizers, Indian owners of a Dubai helium factory, shifted production to oxygen when the latest surge in virus cases hit India. As calls for help back home grew, the factory enlisted the help of the main Hindu temple based in the UAE’s capital of Abu Dhabi, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, to send oxygen supplies. Covid-19 patients are suffocating in India’s capital, New Delhi, and other cities because of the shortage. Hindu spiritual leaders, dressed in saffron robes, came to bless the oxygen before sending it out, showering rose petals on the shipment and marking the cylinders with traditional orange dye. The UAE’s economy is powered by millions of foreign workers from Southeast Asia. Indian citizens make up nearly 30% of the population.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — As India’s government scrambles for supplies of oxygen and other emergency aid to control the raging coronavirus outbreak, donors around the world have come to the rescue — including a Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates.On Monday, volunteers from the country’s Hindu community gathered at the Jebel Ali Port, here at the northern end of Dubai, to haul hundreds of cylinders of liquid oxygen and massive containers of compressed oxygen onto a ship, where it will head to crisis-wracked India. The organizers, Indian owners of a Dubai helium factory, shifted production to oxygen when the latest surge in virus cases hit India.As calls for help back home grew, the factory enlisted the help of the main Hindu temple based in the UAE’s capital of Abu Dhabi, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, to send oxygen supplies. COVID-19 patients are suffocating in India’s capital, New Delhi, and other cities because of the shortage.Hindu spiritual leaders, dressed in saffron robes, came to bless the oxygen before sending it out, showering rose petals on the shipment and marking the cylinders with traditional orange dye.The UAE’s economy is powered by millions of foreign workers from Southeast Asia. Indian citizens make up nearly 30% of the population.
UAE interior ministry official Ahmed al-Raisi has been accused of the torture and ill-treatment of prisoners.The candidacy of a United Arab Emirates official for president of Interpol could jeopardise the credibility of the global police organisation’s commitment to human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) have said.
Ahmed al-Raisi has been the inspector general at the UAE Interior Ministry since April 2015 and is a member of Interpol’s executive committee.
“General al-Raisi’s selection as Interpol president would indicate that Interpol’s member states have no concern whatsoever about the record of the UAE in persecuting peaceful critics,” GCHR executive director Khalid Ibrahim said in a joint statement with HRW on Wednesday.
“His candidacy is yet another bid by the UAE to purchase international respectability and whitewash its deplorable human rights record,” he added.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW, said choosing a top official of an “abusive state institution as its president, Interpol risks jeopardising its credibility as a rights-respecting international law enforcement agency”.
Al-Raisi was accused last year of being responsible for the torture of a British academic and a football fan.
Matthew Hedges, a British postgraduate student, claimed he was fed a cocktail of drugs during his imprisonment in Dubai on spying charges in 2018.
He spent nearly seven months in a detention centre – mostly in solitary confinement – in the UAE after being arrested during a research trip on suspicion of being a spy for a British intelligence agency.
Al-Raisi is in charge of organising and managing the security and police forces in the UAE, and “was ultimately responsible for my torture and detention”, Hedges said.
On Wednesday, a statement by Carter-Ruck Solicitors said Hedges was claiming damages against four Emirati officials – including al-Raisi – for assault, false imprisonment and the intentional infliction of psychiatric injury which allegedly occurred during the course of his detention in Abu Dhabi.
In March 2020, UN human rights experts urged the UAE to reform detention conditions in the Gulf nation which it said amounted to “torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
Academic jailed for spying by UAE in 2018 launches court proceedings against four senior Emirati officials involved in his case.A British academic who was jailed on espionage charges by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched civil proceedings in a UK court against four senior Emirati officials, according to his lawyers.
The UAE had arrested Matthew Hedges in May 2018 and handed him a life sentence more than six months later after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of Britain’s spy agency and researching which military systems the Gulf state was buying.
After being granted a presidential pardon and returning to the United Kingdom in late November 2018, Hedges accused UAE investigators of subjecting him to psychological torture and forcing him to give a false confession. UAE officials at the time had denied the allegations and described the doctoral student at Durham University as a “part-time academic, part-time businessman and full-time spy”.
On Wednesday, a statement by Carter-Ruck Solicitors said Hedges was claiming damages against the four Emirati officials for assault, false imprisonment and the intentional infliction of psychiatric injury which allegedly occurred during the course of his detention in Abu Dhabi.
It identified the defendants as Counsellor Saqr Saif Al Naqbi, who was the head of state security public prosecution in Abu Dhabi at the time; Major-General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, who was the commander in chief of the Abu Dhabi police; Major-General Ahmed Naser Ahmed Alrais Al Raisi, inspector general in the Ministry of the Interior; and Ali Mohammed Hamad Hammad Al Shamsi, a senior intelligence official in the UAE.
“On May 5th 2018, I was detained and tortured in the UAE. Three years later, I am still waiting for the truth and justice,” Hedges said in the statement.
“The UAE authorities have refused to answer the complaint that was submitted to them through the UK Foreign Office. It is clear they have no interest in finding out who was responsible for my abuse. This total lack of redress has prolonged my trauma and made it very difficult to move on with my life.”
There was no immediate comment by Emirati authorities.
A group of scientists from the United Arab Emirates have injected camels with dead samples of Covid-19, hoping that the antibodies produced by the animals – which are immune to the virus – can someday be used to cure humans.
The Arabs have relied on camels for millennia and continue to do so in the 21st century, this time recruiting the desert animals in the battle against the coronavirus.The head of the UAE’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Dr. Ulrich Wernery, and his team have chosen dromedaries or one-humped camels for their experiments because they’re known to be immune to Covid-19 and its predecessor, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Unlike humans and some other animals, they simply lack a virus receptor, which the disease uses as a gateway into cells.“MERS-CoV, [camels] can harbor but they don’t get sick. With Covid-19, the virus cannot attach to the camels’ mucosa cells of the respiratory tract as the receptor is absent or dull,” Wernery told Al Arabiya.“This makes it all very interesting. Besides humans, minks and cats – small and big, such as such tigers and lions – can get Covid-19 and can transmit the virus to other cats and to humans and vice versa. But not camels.”
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The scientist explained that camels had been injected with the dead coronavirus so that they could produce antibodies to it. The blood samples from those animals will then facilitate “better tests for the diagnosis for Covid-19,” he said.“We hope that maybe one day we can use the blood – the antibodies – from camels to treat humans against Covid-19 infections,” Wernery stated.Covid-19 has already infected over 153 million people and killed more than 3.2 million around the globe. And it turned out that animals weren’t immune to the disease. During the pandemic, reports emerged of cats, dogs, monkeys, tigers, lions and others getting sick and even dying of the virus. Last year, Denmark had to cull its whole population of mink due to a mutated coronavirus strain.
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The exact origins of the coronavirus are currently unknown, but one of the likely scenarios considered by the World Health Organization is that the virus was transmitted from bats to humans through another animal host.Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
The United Arab Emirates’ Mubadala Investment Co, a sovereign wealth fund with $232bn in assets, plans to buy a stake in an Israeli natural gas field for $1.1bn – a deal that would rank as the biggest since the Abraham Accords were signed last year.A United Arab Emirates sovereign wealth fund plans to buy a stake in an Israeli natural-gas field for as much as $1.1 billion, in what would be the biggest business deal since the nations normalized ties last year.
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., a fund with $232 billion of assets, signed a memorandum of understanding to buy Delek Drilling LP’s 22% stake in the Tamar offshore field. Mubadala is carrying out due diligence, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“If finalized, the transaction will be the largest commercial agreement” since the signing of the Abraham Accords, Delek said in a statement.
The company’s shares rose as much as 9.1% on Monday in Tel Aviv, before paring gains to 2.7%. Delek would use most of the proceeds to pay down debt, according to the same person.
Israel and the UAE’s deal in August was a historic breakthrough hailed by leaders including then-U.S. President Donald Trump as a crucial step toward forging peace in the Middle East. The UAE was the first Arab nation after Egypt and Jordan to recognize Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised it would lead to billions of dollars of investment in his country. Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have since then also normalized ties with Israel, following intense diplomacy from Netanyahu and Trump.
The UAE, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital, and Israel have agreed to develop anti-drone systems, artificial intelligence and big data analysis together as bi-lateral ties expand.
There have also been talks between businesses in the two countries on everything from oil pipelines, to soccer clubs to financial payments.
The announcement comes amid a boom in gas investments in the eastern Mediterranean, with Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus all trying to develop fields.
Gas can be “a source of collaboration in the region,” said Yossi Abu, Delek’s chief executive officer. “The development is not only a significant endorsement of the quality of the Tamar reservoir and the Levant basin but also a major support for the East Mediterranean natural gas sector.”
The Abu Dhabi fund would make the acquisition through its energy arm, Mubadala Petroleum.
The transaction would “strengthen our gas-biased portfolio in line with our energy transition targets,” Mubadala Petroleum said in a statement.
Tamar is Israel’s biggest field after Leviathan and located around 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the coastal city of Haifa. It supplies gas to Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
Israel is in talks to build a new subsea pipeline to Egypt, which aims to become a major exporter of liquefied natural gas to Europe.
Chevron Corp. operates Tamar and has a 25% stake. Other owners include Houston-based Isramco Inc. and Tamar Petroleum Ltd., based in Tel Aviv.
Delek has been key to the development of many of Israel’s gas finds along with Noble Energy Inc., which Chevron bought last year. The companies wanted to expand their footprint and explore Block 72, one of Israel’s northern-most offshore concessions. But the bid was blocked by Israel’s competition authority, which wanted to limit Delek’s already formidable share in the gas sector.
Israel’s government obliged Delek to sell all of its holdings in Tamar by the end of 2021.
(Updates with comments on transaction.)–With assistance from Sylvia Westall.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates on Monday warned that any moves to change the historic identity of Jerusalem threaten peace, and called on Israel to put an end to violence following the latest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the city.The statement was a rare rebuke of Israel by the UAE, which has welcomed tens of thousands of Israeli tourists and signed a slew of deals to strengthen bilateral ties since the administration of President Donald Trump brokered a historic and surprise deal to normalize relations between the two countries some seven months ago. The UAE move laid the path for Bahrain and Sudan to also formalize ties with Israel.The UAE Foreign Ministry said in a statement, carried on the Emirates’ state news agency, that it was concerned over ”acts of violence committed by right-wing extremist groups in the occupied East Jerusalem.” The ministry called on Israeli authorities to “assume responsibility toward de-escalation and putting an end to all aggressions and practices that perpetuate tension and hostility.”The UAE cautioned it was necessary to preserve Jerusalem’s historical identity and maintain “maximum self-restraint to avoid the region slipping into new levels of instability in a way that threatens peace.”The immediate spark for the unrest was Israel’s decision to barricade a plaza outside of Jerusalem’s Old City where Palestinian residents traditionally gather in the evenings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The move deepened Palestinian concerns about Israel’s control over east Jerusalem, which is home to sacred Jewish and Muslim sites.Hundreds of young Palestinian took to the streets each evening to protest the barricades. Crowds hurled stones, firebombs and other objects at police, while officers used stun grenades and water cannons to disperse them.The Israeli decision appeared to have been reversed late Sunday, when the barricades were suddenly removed. The violence had escalated to cross-border fighting between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas group.Story continuesAlso last week, a far-right Israeli group called Lehava staged a massive demonstration, with demonstrators chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Arabs Get Out,” just a few hundred meters (yards) from the Palestinian crowds.Two other Mideast countries with longstanding diplomatic ties with Israel had earlier called on Israel to end the violence. Jordan, which acts as the custodian over Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites, and Egypt urged Israel in a joint statement to “stop all attacks and provocative measures” in the city.Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital under the Trump administration. Palestinians, however, claim east Jerusalem as the capital for a future Palestinian state.