Kuwait Local News

Amir leaves for Bahrain to attend GCC summit

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will leave for Bahrain today leading a Kuwaiti official delegation to attend the 37th Summit of the GCC Supreme Council and GCC leaders’ meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The summit is held amid quite significant regional challenges, affirmed Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the GCC Secretary General. These political, security and economic challenges warrant solidarity and cooperation among all the GCC member states and relentless action to attain merger among them, Zayani said in an interview broadcast by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) yesterday.

He indicated that agenda of the GCC summit, due on Tuesday, includes various files related to political, economic, security and social cooperation, as well as examining reports filed by the Ministerial Council, committees and the General Secretariat.

Challenges
Current economic conditions constitute some of the major challenges facing the GCC states, he said. The GCC countries had already taken steps at this level, endorsing the joint economic treaty, setting up the common market and the customs union.
Elaborating, Zayani re-affirmed the GCC states’ resolve to face security threats. “They will not hesitate to take all necessary measures to safeguard their security, stability and defend their sovereignty and interests,” he stressed.

The GCC countries have taken an unwavering approach for upgrading their security and military potentials for defense purposes and safeguarding achievements that have been made throughout the years, Al-Zayani added.
He rejected, anew, foreign intervention in the regional countries’ affairs for such meddling contradicts with international laws and threatens the Gulf security and stability, noting the UN prime role in this regard.

On the Syrian refugees’ plight, he underscored the GCC countries’ efforts at the public and private levels to help them, noting that the GCC states along with other countries had pledged more than $7 billion to aid the Syrians. Kuwait had hosted three international conferences grouping countries pledging support for the Syrians affected by the war. A fourth one was held in London.

Regarding Yemen, Al-Zayani said the GCC countries had given substantial financial support for the legitimate government to help it deliver relief supplies to those in need in the war-stricken nation. For its part, Saudi Arabia had established King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid to coordinate humanitarian operations in Yemen, with a special budget estimated at one billion Saudi riyals.

Integration
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah yesterday expressed confidence that the summit will come up with resolutions to promote the pan-GCC integration, and joint action. These will be topped with carrying on with implementation of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s ‘Vision 2030’ for accelerating the pace of cooperation among the member states, and enhancing the bloc’s joint action, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah said in a press statement.

He noted that the GCC Ministerial Council in 2016 approved measures for the completion of the Monarch’s wise vision, and the leaders endorsed the formation of a joint commission to reactivate economic and development.

The Bahraini chief diplomat pointed to the pivotal role the GCC member states play on the regional and international scenes. The 37th Summit will be a good chance to consolidate this role, and further boost security and stability in the region, to maintain unity, development, and prosperity in the region.

Concluding the statement, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah praised the Saudi King’s presidency of the 36th Summit held in Riyadh in December 2015, which has helped achieve remarkable steps for the GCC march, to continue with strong resolute in the Manama summit till the bloc realizes the aspired integration and unity.

Tension
In the meantime, MPs of the Bahraini Council of Representatives have affirmed the importance of the upcoming GCC Summit in facing the rising political, security and economic tension in the region. The MPs agreed in various statements that the current unstable conditions in the Arab World, mainly the escalation of terrorism and the economic situation in the Gulf countries due to the drop in oil prices, require the GCC states to unite.

Creating unity between the GCC countries will prevent any outer intervention in the Gulf’s own issues, said MP Nasser Al-Qaseer. The Gulf states have the ability to become one of the top economic powers, as they possess huge financial abilities, strong infrastructure and opportunities for attracting foreign investments, he added.

MP Mohammad Al-Amadi said meanwhile that the GCC citizens are looking forward for the outcome of the 37th summit, hoping the leaders would take measures to create a Gulf union to face the growing challenges and threats in the region. Sharing one language is a key factor to create a strong economic union, he said.

On this matter, he mentioned the successful experience of the European Union (EU), despite countries of different languages and backgrounds. Meanwhile, MP Jamal Dawoud noted the importance of discussing means of resolving the unemployment issues among youth through executing joint-GCC economic projects.
Unity
In the meantime, Bahraini Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Humoud bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are heading towards a level of unity and further development. He further stressed the importance of the 37th GCC Summit to be held in Riyadh tomorrow, amidst the rising political, economic and security tension in the region. The ambassador hoped the summit will result in establishing the sought and the long-awaited Gulf union to face the challenges and threats and boost economy among the GCC states. – KUNA

Viral

A Man Wrestled A Rattlesnake To Show Off. He Was Bitten In The Face And Nearly Died.

Victor Pratt knows a thing or two about rattlesnakes, as he made clear to reporters last week, after regaining consciousness in a Phoenix hospital.

Always has. He played with rattlers all the time as a child, he told NBC News 12. Later on, he learned how to cook them.

“You cut the heads off. They taste just like chicken,” he said, a mic clipped to his hospital gown – a bit hard to understand because his face had swollen up.

Pratt even learned long ago what a rattler bite felt like, after a mishap as a teenager, though that of course could not compare to the incident Sept. 7, when he tried to re-create his childhood memories in his late 40s.

It was at his son’s birthday party near Coolidge, outside Phoenix, he told NBC 12. They were at a lake. A rattlesnake happened along, as snakes tend to.

“I showed them how to catch it and I was playing with it like little kids do,” Pratt told Fox 10.

“I was showing off,” he admitted. “Like I always do.”

The photos did look impressive, while the pose lasted: There was Pratt on his back in the dirt, with one end of the snake in each hand. There was Pratt on his feet, beside his son, wearing the snake like a scarf.

A close-up showed the snake’s fanged agape mouth, just inches from Pratt’s faded print T-shirt.

There might even have been a photo of Pratt cooking the snake, the Arizona Republic reported.

Except, not pictured, it got loose before that point in the party, and went right for Pratt’s face.

And now something else he knew about snakes crossed his mind: That the venom would spread within seconds.

“I kept my mind strong,” he told Fox 10. His sons drove him to a nearby emergency room, where a doctor quickly inserted a tube in his airway to keep him breathing as the poison swelled his flesh.

“There is a 100 percent chance he would have died if he’d not have made it to the hospital within minutes,” said Steven Curry, who directs the department of medical toxicology at Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix, where Pratt was airlifted later that day.

“The facial swelling is so immense that even your tongue and lips and the inside of your throat swell,” Curry said. “In simple terms, it would be strangulation.”

Pratt was sedated and in shock when Curry first saw him. He remained unconscious for several days, as doctors treated him with the first of what would eventually be 28 vials of antivenin.

Curry’s department sees about 70 snake bite patients each year, he said. And while facial bites are rare, men like Pratt who fancy themselves snake charmers are not.

“In my career, and I’ve been doing this for about 35 years or so, I’ve only seen one illegitimate snake bite in a woman,” he said, meaning a bite in which the victim saw the snake and didn’t try to escape.

“We find they are far too intelligent to go messing around.”

As for Pratt, he woke up from his sedation last week and entertained reporters while waiting to be discharged from the hospital, which was expected to happen Monday.

He struggled to get his words out through his bloated cheeks, but was not so proud that he couldn’t admit a deficiency in his lifelong knowledge of the snake.

“Think before you go out there and play with rattlesnakes,” he told Fox 10 late last week. “You might not make it next time.”

India News

Ryan School Owners Fail To Get Protection From Arrest In Student Murder Case

The owners of Ryan International School, where a seven-year-old boy was murdered earlier this month, failed to get protection from arrest today as the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notice to Haryana on their request for bail and posted the case to Monday.

Ryan Pinto, the CEO of Ryan International, and his parents Augustine and Grace Pinto, the founders, had gone to the High Court last week requesting anticipatory bail.

On September 8, Pradyuman Thakur, a Class 2 student of the Ryan International school in Gurgaon, was found with his throat slit after he visited a toilet near his classroom. A school bus conductor believed to be present in the toilet when the boy entered and caught in security footage leaving it, has been arrested.

The school has been accused of serious lapses in security.

Justice Inderjit Singh did not grant the Pintos any reprieve today. “The single bench has issued notice of motion to the Haryana government seeking its response on the anticipatory bail plea,” said the counsel for the Ryan trustees.

Yesterday, another judge, AB Chaudhari, withdrew from the case, reportedly on grounds that he knows the Pintos and it wouldn’t be fair for him to hear their petition.

The Pintos moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court after the Bombay High Court rejected their request for protection from arrest on September 14.

The schoolboy’s murder jolted the nation and has led to a series of security measures recommended for schools across the country.

The killing is being investigated by the CBI after Pradyuman’s parents alleged that the police investigation was not up to the mark.

Sports

Runner Collapses Near Finishing Line. What She Does Next Is Inspirational

“I witnessed this lady’s body collapse 12 yards short of the finishing line. She tried to get backup, but couldn’t stand,” wrote Facebook user Phillip King about a video he took at the Tunnel Vision Marathon in Washington, USA in August. A month later, the incredible story behind the video is an inspiration for many.

The woman in the video is Devon Bieling, a registered nurse from Atlanta. She was at the end of the marathon when her body gave up and she collapsed. Unable to stand up but unwilling to give up, she began crawling on the rocky track. But after 3-4 feet, the gravel cut her knees and she collapsed again in agony. But her journey was far from over. Moments later, she began rolling towards the finishing line. Crowds cheered for the determined runner as she belly-rolled across the finishing line.

“I read the comments and so many people were so nice and said they were inspired and knew they could do something hard in their life. I couldn’t believe it,” she told NDTV.

She explained the moment in a Facebook post featuring the only finish photo from the race which shows her crawling.

“I’ve decided the best way to describe this is “Fall seven times, stand up eight”… but if you can’t stand, crawl…and if crawling hurts, you remember Kona videos asap and you roll your ass to a BQ!!” she wrote in the post.

Ms Beiling finished the race in 3 hours, 34 minutes and 2 seconds. The reason that kept her going towards the finishing line was to qualify for Boston Marathon, the cut off for which is 3 hours, 35 minutes. Ms Beiling has submitted her time to take part in the coveted marathon and is waiting for their response. She says she’s “thankful” for the response she got for the video and even if she doesn’t make it to Boston Marathon, it’s fine.

“This was able to touch people who needed motivation or hope when they may feel like they had none left. I’ve been there and I’m glad it’s turned into a positive news story amidst all the sadness and hate we see everyday!” says Ms Beiling who began running in 2009 but was forced to take a break after a car accident.

 

Viral

Meet Mysterious Madame Giselle, Allegedly Married To Two World Leaders And An Adviser To The White House

The irresistibly charming woman in Apartment 713 can hold forth for hours with tales of her luxe life among the intercontinental elite, neighbors say.

Madame Giselle, as some call her, is forever boasting of being the secret wife of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, even saying she facilitated the first phone call between the Middle Eastern leader and President Donald Trump, according to two of her neighbors in an upscale high-rise building just beyond the Washington, D.C. border in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Over homemade Turkish coffee in her lavishly appointed apartment or across the table at pricey restaurants, the neighbors say, she has shared in a confiding tone that she occupies a prime White House office next to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.

“I’m kind of a mom figure to her,” Madame Giselle says, according to those who live in her building.

In this gilded age of Washington excess, Madame Giselle’s casual references to her private jet and to her collection of glitzy residences in the tony D.C. neighborhood of Foxhall, as well as in Spain and Manhattan, seemed entirely plausible to some of the friends she accumulated in the hallways and elevators of a building occupied by a sophisticated array of capital insiders. For a time, the elegant woman in Apartment 713 appeared to be just another fascinating curio in a city thick with the creme de la creme of foreign dignitaries and financiers, an only-in-Washington sort of apparition.

Then she started promising to make her neighbors a lot of money.

That’s when things got messy.

On one level, the saga of Madame Giselle is a story about, in no particular order, allegations by two neighbors who say they were swindled in an elaborate scheme to sell T-shirts to the Venezuelan army, a cash-stuffed envelope slipped under a doorway, a legendary bygone scandal involving the Colombian military and a glamorous woman known as “The Blonde,” an ongoing multimillion-dollar Colombian fraud case, and a supposed helicopter ride into Syria. But on another level, as illustrated in interviews and in hundreds of text messages obtained by The Washington Post, it’s a story about friendship and trust, about what we can make ourselves believe and how we can sometimes suspend disbelief when dreams are in sight.

At the edges of the story there is a little girl who adores stuffed animals, a father on the horns of a rough divorce, a former ambassador with a TV star son, and an out-of-towner who longed to get a Ph.D. But the central figure is the woman in Apartment 713, an enigmatic presence who calls herself Giselle Yazji.

In the weeks since The Post began examining the many lives of Madame Giselle, her activities have drawn the attention of investigators in the Montgomery County state’s attorney’s office, according to several people who have been interviewed by authorities. (The office declined to comment.)

Reached by phone recently, Yazji – who said she was in Colombia but planned to return to Maryland soon – issued a string of denials before abruptly hanging up. She denied boasting of a secret marriage to el-Sissi and arranging a call between the Egyptian leader and President Trump, and she brushed aside the allegations of the two neighbors in Maryland who say they were swindled by her. One of those neighbors has sued her, and she has responded in court documents by denying all allegations of wrongdoing.

Giselle, who did not respond when asked if she’d claimed to have a White House office, offered to make herself available for a sit-down interview upon her return to the United States. But later she did not respond to requests to schedule the interview. She also did not respond to follow-up questions sent via email, saying instead in a typo-filled email that “if you want to publish fake information given to you as a gossip from somebody ir neighbors and try to damage my name ease feel free to do it. I really don’t think that a responsible person would do that knowing that I will sue you and sue the newwspaper.”

Bob Underwood didn’t know what to make of the unusually ornate toy bird he found his 7-year-old daughter playing with one night in early 2015.

“It entranced her,” Underwood recalls in an interview. “It was like a fairy had come and dropped it at the door.”

Neither Underwood nor his daughter knew the provenance of the toy his daughter had discovered outside their apartment, a glass-and-steel prestige address just a few steps from a thicket of luxury department stores. It wasn’t until a few days later that Underwood learned that the friendly woman across the hall had left it there, he says.

Underwood, who is now 53 and works in international development, says gifts soon started appearing every few days from the woman his daughter called Miss Giselle. A box of candy. An enormous stuffed giraffe. Children’s clothing.

Miss Giselle, who is in her late 50s, appeared in Underwood’s life at an unsettled time. He was in the midst of a divorce. Underwood didn’t become romantically involved with his neighbor, he says, but they formed a close bond centered on his daughter. The neighbor started inviting Underwood’s daughter over for tea parties and to watch movies, he says.

In an interview, Giselle confirmed that she’d had the little girl over to her home.

“I really have a beautiful apartment – very rich in many things,” she said. “I said, ‘Of course you can come.’ I very much like this girl.”

Giselle, who said she was born in Lebanon and had lived around the world, tugged at his emotions, Underwood says, by telling him that she was estranged from her own children.

“She gave me the impression of being absolutely heartbroken,” Underwood says. “It was visceral.”

Giselle invited Underwood to her house for coffee and to restaurants for lunches and dinners, he says. He saw her doling out $100 tips “like she was handing out Coca-Colas,” he says. Her apartment was filled with expensive crystal figurines, and there were pictures everywhere of well-dressed people. She would pull out her phone and show him photos of her home in Spain. She claimed to have a monthly income of $2.1 million, he says, and said she was renting an apartment in their building only because it was convenient, given her heavy travel schedule, while she was renovating a much larger residence in Foxhall.

As the weeks passed, Underwood says, his neighbor dribbled out details of what seemed like a charmed and exotic life. Giselle said she was giving sotto voce advice to the Obama administration on Pakistan policy, and had the use of a White House office. She also said she’d been married to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

She told richly embroidered stories about going to Cuba with the ailing Chavez. The way the hospital looked. What the doctor told Chavez. Meeting Raul Castro.

“Very elaborate detail,” Underwood says.

Giselle and her attorney did not respond to questions about Chavez and the Cuba trip.

When Underwood expressed some skepticism, he says, his neighbor rattled off names. Obscure names. Cousins of Venezuelan leaders. Minor officials. At night he’d go to the computer in his apartment and Google the names. They’d show up. Her knowledge was nothing short of “encyclopedic,” he says.

Underwood often has trouble getting to sleep, and on one of his restless nights, he stumbled across English-language articles published in African blogs in the mid-2000s about his neighbor serving as an adviser to the president of Ghana, John Kufuor. Kufuor’s foundation did not respond to a request for comment. (The Post recently showed a photo that accompanied one of the blog posts to Giselle’s neighbors in Maryland, all of whom confirmed that the woman pictured was the mystery woman in Apartment 713.)

Giselle regaled Underwood with stories of her adventures in the free-for-all of Ghanaian politics, he says. Still, for all the bravado, Underwood says, he sometimes questioned whether his neighbor was actually as wealthy as she claimed. Once, when he raised doubts about her financial status, she flung open her closet so that he could see the dozens of designer dresses she owned, he says.

Underwood couldn’t help but be impressed.

“I’d never met anybody like her in my life,” he says.

– – –

Underwood’s finances were strained by the divorce, and he was sending his daughter to a public school. Giselle, he says, pressed him over and over to move the child to a private school, saying it would be best for the little girl.

When he said he couldn’t afford it, she offered up a plan. Giselle said she could fold him into a special investment opportunity: They would bid to sell T-shirts to the Venezuelan army, a deal that she said they were sure to get because of her high-level connections there. He’d make a ton of money, he says she promised, enough so that he could set up a college fund and provide a better lifestyle for his daughter.

“I love your daughter,” Giselle wrote in a text message provided to The Post by Underwood. “She’s the sweetest, kindest girl.”

Looking back, Underwood says, that may have been the moment when he was hooked.

“That hit me in the gut,” he says.

In an interview, Giselle painted a different picture of her relationship with her neighbor and his daughter. Without offering any proof of her claims, she portrayed Underwood as an inattentive father – an allegation he vigorously denies.

“I’m really very kind,” Giselle said in the interview. “He is a really bad person. I think he was born bad.”

Giselle said Underwood was “always talking about his daughter. Not because he likes her. It’s because he used her. It’s amazing. Amazing, really.”

By November 2015, Underwood says, he was all in for the Venezuela deal. Even though he says he’d never received paperwork about the business, he agreed to give Giselle $1,870 to cover the cost of registration fees for their bid. She asked him for the money on a bank holiday, so he couldn’t deposit it in her account. But she said that shouldn’t be a problem – he could merely slip the cash under her door in an envelope and she’d have her assistant pick it up, according to a text message.

The payment would be secure, Giselle texted, because the only other people with keys to her apartment were her assistant and “one of the secret service.” The comment made sense to Underwood since he says Giselle had told him that members of the U.S. Secret Service had access to her apartment because of her relationship with the White House.

The Secret Service had no comment. In an interview, Giselle denied claiming the Secret Service had access to her apartment.

“This is a confabulation against me,” she said.

At the time of their exchange about the Secret Service, Underwood was upbeat about his prospects.

“If it goes through I’ll walk over to the Church of Santo Spirito and say my thanks,” Underwood, who was about to leave for Italy, texted her. He said he also would toast Giselle with Chianti. Later, Giselle sounded celebratory, too, texting that she had bought 24 Beanie Boos, a popular stuffed animal, for Underwood’s daughter. Giselle knew Beanie Boos were his daughter’s favorites.

But as time went on, Giselle kept asking for more money. On Nov. 25, 2015, she sent an apologetic text requesting $1,200 to pay a lawyer working on the project.

“He asked for more I told him to make you a discount,” she wrote.

Underwood was getting nervous. She pushed back, seeming to use shame as a tool to overcome his hesitancy.

“It is not going to look good,” she wrote, “he [is] one of the most prestigious lawyers.”

The messages from Giselle came amid an aura of jet-setting glam. Once, Giselle texted that she would soon be flying to Damascus, Syria, and explained that she’d get there by first traveling to Greece, then taking a helicopter through Beirut. She told of hobnobbing with Venezuelan generals. In another text she said that her purse, which she said cost $7,000 and contained $3,000 in cash, was stolen in Egypt when she’d left her hotel without her bodyguards.

She texted Underwood that she would not tell “the president” about her mishap. Underwood presumes she was talking about Sissi, the Egyptian president who she’d claimed was her clandestine husband.

That December, Venezuela held elections that did not go well for the ruling party, seemingly imperiling their inside track to get the T-shirt deal. But days later Giselle sent a text with big news: “Hello Bob how are you they just signed the contract.”

She asked him to give his daughter a kiss for her, and told him to go ahead and toast their business success. But within eight hours, she was texting from Buenos Aires to ask for a favor: Her assistant had called and told her that she would need to complete another registration the next day. Giselle she’d brought the wrong debit card, and was wondering if Underwood would put $1,000 into her account to cover the cost.

Sure, Underwood said. He thought he’d just scored a big contract. What was another $1,000?

But he still had nothing to show for his investment, and in the days to come, his anxiety levels spiked.

“I’m faced with something that if it goes poorly for me I’m sunk,” he texted to Giselle the day before Christmas.

After New Year’s, Giselle was asking for still more money. She texted to say that she’d just spoken to Venezuela’s economy minister about the deal, and needed an additional $3,673.

“Please try to find the money I am worry I want to finish the deal,” she urgently texted him.

Her claims were getting more and more dramatic. Underwood was getting desperate, torn between his pique at the lack of information and a desire to keep the deal alive so he could at least recoup the tens of thousands of dollars he’d already put in. When he complained, she responded with all-caps text messages.

“OH MY GOD I HAVE PAID MORE THAN YOU IMAGINE TO HELP YOU FOR WHAT YOU PAID IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THE MILLIONS I PAID.”

Underwood says he moved to a different floor in the building just to avoid the woman he once thought would deliver him a new kind of prosperity. In February 2016, Giselle sent him an email saying she would repay him for the cost of the registrations related to the bid once she sold the T-shirts. But Underwood says he never saw a dime.

For months he stewed. He felt embarrassed and humiliated. He calculated that he’d lost more than $50,000.

In March, about a year after cutting off contact with his neighbor, he filed a lawsuit against Giselle Yazji, demanding $1.7 million – the amount Underwood says she promised he would make. The case is pending. In a court filing, Harry A. Suissa, an attorney for Yazji, denied that she was involved in fraudulent wrongdoing. Suissa declined to comment for this article or to provide documentation of the Venezuelan business venture.

“In his suit, everything is a lie,” Giselle said in an interview. “I didn’t receive anything. He paid expenses. It wasn’t for me.”

– – –

One evening in June this year, there was a knock at Bob Underwood’s door. In the hallway stood a polite, well-dressed man who spoke near-perfect English in an elegant Middle Eastern accent.

He wanted to talk about Giselle.

The man, who agreed to be interviewed on the condition that only his last name, Sadi, be used, works for a foreign entity in the United States. Underwood was not glad to see him, both men say.

Underwood “was suspicious,” Sadi says.

Yet, the more they talked, the more they realized they’d each found an ally.

“She scammed you?” Sadi recalls saying. “She scammed me, too!”

Sadi had found Underwood because another person who lives in the building had conducted a background search after being approached by Giselle about an investment opportunity. The search turned up Underwood’s lawsuit.

As Sadi and Underwood talked, they began to see similarities. Like Underwood, Sadi had met Giselle by chance in the hallway. When Giselle invited herself for coffee one evening in late 2014, Sadi says, he and his wife felt it would be a cultural faux pas to refuse.

The woman he calls Madame Giselle began to give Sadi and his wife expensive presents, he says: Perfume, a designer purse.

“She seemed like a very rich woman,” Sadi says.

As their friendship grew, Sadi says, he confided some of his dreams: Though he did not earn a large salary, he hoped to improve his lot by returning to school to earn a Ph.D. He pined for a larger apartment and wanted to have children.

Sadi provided The Post with copies of hundreds of text and WhatsApp messages that show how their relationship unfolded. In June 2015, the neighbors appeared to be on good terms. Giselle sent a text to Sadi and his wife, addressing him respectfully as “Monsieur,” and he called her Madame Giselle.

“I wanted to talk with you two if you have time about something interesting please let me know when you can receive me for an hour,” she in a text.

Sadi explained to Underwood how Giselle had told him that she’d purchased a cache of T-shirts at auction from the estate of a wealthy textile merchant who had died. Madame Giselle was so convincing that night, Sadi says, that he agreed to give her $5,000 in cash without a scrap of documentation.

“Please I want you to know that I have you both this opportunity because I know you could help many people with it,” Giselle wrote in a text message.

It was all sounding painfully familiar to Underwood. He, too, had placed his blind faith in a woman who seemed to have his best interests at heart. There was the big promise, the pressure for money – always in cash – and the anger when questions about the deal were raised.

In July 2015, Giselle added a new twist, Sadi says, telling him that her brother had been kidnapped. She texted Sadi to say that she’d traveled to Bogota and had paid $3 million for her brother.

Looking back, Sadi says the anecdote seemed to serve two purposes: It showed that Giselle was a person of great means who could afford a multimillion-dollar ransom, and it made her an object of sympathy – not unlike the references to being estranged from her children that tugged at Underwood’s emotions.

As the months raced past and Sadi’s mood darkened, Giselle’s text messages seemed to toggle between furor and hopefulness. Once, as she did with Underwood, she claimed to have paid millions to arrange the T-shirt deal. “And I lost a lot,” she texted to Sadi. She also asked Sadi to get money to her the same way as Underwood had: By placing cash in an envelope and slipping it under her door.

But at other times, she evinced a sunny optimism, citing her religious faith as a Christian in appealing to Sadi, a Muslim: “I know that it will resolve many things and the most important thing I will show the world that between muslim and Christian from the middle east we help each other,” she wrote in a text.

At one point, Giselle was separately sending dozens of text messages to both Underwood and Sadi, though the two men had no idea because they had never met. On Jan. 5, 2016, she asked for precisely $3,673 from Underwood for “transfer costs” related to their deal. Thirteen days later, according to a Post review of hundreds of text messages, she asked for exactly the same amount from Sadi.

Sadi was in agony. He was having trouble making the rent. He wanted his money back. He calculated he’d given her nearly $19,000. When he complained about his financial difficulties, Giselle nudged him to sell some Persian carpets that she’d seen in his apartment, even though the dealer was offering him a low price, he says.

The deal – like Underwood’s, to sell T-shirts to the Venezuelan army – was so opaque that Sadi didn’t even know how to categorize the business they were supposedly launching when he tried to use an online service to register a corporation to receive payments.

“Sorry for upsetting, but what the type of our business?” Sadi texted in July 2015.

Giselle always had an answer, Sadi says. This time, she said she’d register a company under her assistant’s name to collect the profits for Sadi. She even sent him the form. The name she listed on it as the responsible party for the company threw him.

It was Giselle Jaller.

– – –

The name Giselle Jaller didn’t mean anything to Sadi at first. But he got on the internet and started searching. He had something in his favor: He speaks fluent Spanish.

And when he typed that name into Google’s Colombia search field, a torrent of articles came flying at him. A series of deeply reported stories in the respected newsmagazine Semana told the epic story of a spectacular alleged rip-off of the Colombian army.

The alleged perpetrator was a woman named Giselle Jaller, who had been dubbed “La Mona,” a slang term that roughly translates to “The Blonde.” The Colombian media gushed about her appearance, noting her large, dark eyes and habit of wearing miniskirts. The business publication Dinero called her a “stunning blonde.”

The photos Sadi found of Jaller on the internet left no doubt in his mind: His neighbor, the woman he knew as Giselle Yazji, was the same woman who had been at the center of scandal in Colombia, using the name Giselle Jaller.

According to Semana, Giselle Jaller had used her good looks and charm to court customers at two Colombian banks where she worked. In an interview with The Post, a spokesman for the Colombian attorney general’s office confirmed that the authorities in the early 1990s had accused Jaller – who was married to a high-ranking police officer at the time – of stealing the equivalent of tens of thousands of U.S. dollars from each of two banks by opening accounts under fake names. The case expired without a resolution, according to the attorney general’s spokesman.

Three years later, Jaller allegedly resurfaced in Bogota and used the name of her sister, Rolla Jaller, in a convoluted scheme to sell ponchos, backpacks and belts to the Colombian military, the spokesman says. Once again, she ran afoul of the authorities.

Reached recently by phone, Rolla Jaller, who lives in Florida, described her sister as “crazy.”

“We don’t want to hear anymore about her in this life,” Rolla Jaller says. “It’s a nightmare. My sister is a nightmare for all the family.”

Colombian authorities accused Giselle Jaller of failing to deliver materials she’d been contracted to provide to the Colombian military and of defrauding the military of the equivalent of about $1 million.

She was captured and sent to a women’s prison in June 1995, according to the Colombian attorney general’s office. However, a judge released her, on the condition that she return, because she was seven months pregnant.

She never came back. In that instant, she became a famous fugitive.

Things got even stranger from there.

– – –

All throughout her legal drama in Colombia, Jaller appears to have had ties to the United States, according to public records. She is listed as an officer in two Florida companies. Eric Kaplan, who was then an attorney in Miami who specialized in offshore and foreign business, said in a recent interview that he remembered being introduced to Jaller by a prominent Colombian client.

“Gorgeous woman. Incredibly striking,” Kaplan says of Jaller. “She was some kind of banker.”

In July 1997, Jaller appeared on Colombian television for an extraordinary interview. A full copy of the interview was provided to The Post by Canal 1 and the Colombian television program Noticiero CM&. The Post showed the video to two of Giselle’s current neighbors in Maryland, and they said they were absolutely certain that the woman in the video is the same woman who lives in Apartment 713 and now refers to herself as Giselle Yazji.

In the interview, the woman admits that she assumed the identity of her sister, Rolla, so that she could seek contracts with the Colombian military. She also admits to paying bribes to Colombian officials by writing checks to their wives.

In the interview, she shows flashes of the charm that made her famous in Colombia. A slight smile crosses her face as she answers questions. She portrays herself as a businesswoman who paid bribes because Colombian officials demanded them, and she expresses remorse for assuming her sister’s identity.

The scandal made banner headlines in Colombia. But she remained free. The attorney general’s spokesman says the authorities did not know where she was located and therefore could not bring her back to Bogota to face charges.

Years passed. The scandal of La Mona faded from memories. The statute of limitations for her alleged crimes expired, according to the attorney general’s office. Then, the spokesman says, she did something bold – she returned to Colombia in 2010 and tried to collect $20 million from an account in a Spanish bank there.

That set off another round of legal action. Once again, prosecutors accused her of committing a crime, holding court hearings in 2015 and 2016 in Bogota. At the same time, back in Maryland, the woman who called herself Giselle Yazji was pressing Underwood and Sadi for cash. The case, which is still pending, has been plagued by delays related to legal maneuverings by the woman they call “La Mona Jaller,” according to the attorney general.

Sadi did not know all of this when he was researching his neighbor, but he learned enough to make his heart sink. He decided to tell anyone he saw talking to Giselle about what he’d learned. (In the interview with The Post, Giselle alleged that Sadi hates her because she is Christian and he is Muslim – an assertion he vehemently denied.)

As Sadi made his way through the building, rumors about possible Giselle sightings ricocheted through the halls. For weeks at a time, he wouldn’t see her. This summer, Giselle texted friends in the building to ask about a water leak, and said she was in Venezuela after having also traveled to Colombia. Sadi was more convinced than ever that the woman in whom he’d placed his trust was the same woman who had been accused of the big swindles in Colombia.

Many records regarding Giselle’s identity track back to Florida, where she appears to have lived in the Miami area for years before relocating to the Washington area. Numerous Florida records list Jaller and Yazji with the same birth month and year, including driver’s licenses, voter registrations, and marriage and divorce records. (She appears to have been married twice in Florida. Both marriages ended in divorce.) Yazji and Jaller have also been associated with the same Social Security number, according to national database searches.

There are other similarities of note: A news release from the Colombian attorney general’s office about a hearing in Giselle Jaller’s ongoing case makes references to her allegedly assuming the management of a company without permission of two people who are listed as partners: Hernando and Catherine Cano. Neighbors say the woman in Apartment 713 has told them that her children are named Hernando Cano and Catherine Cano, and Colombian media reports say that Giselle Jaller was married to a policeman named Hernando Cano.

Giselle’s children, Hernando and Catherine Cano, declined to comment. People familiar with the family dynamic say they are estranged from their mother.

In the phone interview with The Post, the woman who goes by the name Giselle Yazji denied that she is, in fact, Giselle Jaller, the accused swindler known as “La Mona” in the Colombian media.

Giselle spoke of Jaller in the third person. But she said she had researched the story of La Mona, and she went on to discuss it in great detail.

“She is a very strong woman,” Giselle said.

– – –

Sadi’s quest to warn the world about Giselle brought him to Dick and Patricia Carlson, who have an apartment in the same building. In the past few months, the Carlsons – the parents of Tucker Carlson, the Fox News television host – had been socializing with Giselle.

Carlson’s wife had met Giselle in the lobby of their building. Soon thereafter, Giselle gave Patricia a framed religious icon that she now displays in the foyer of their apartment, two floors directly above Giselle’s.

Giselle never asked the Carlsons for money. Still, her claims about foreign marriages and U.S. government connections made them suspicious. Dick Carlson, a former high-powered television producer who ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the early 1990s and served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Seychelles under President George H.W. Bush, is still well connected. He contacted friends involved in the federal government. They asked around. None of their contacts had ever heard of the woman.

At dinner one night at the Capital Grille, an upscale steakhouse around the corner from their building, Giselle regaled the couple with stories of her highflying adventures. She told them about her office next to Ivanka Trump’s in the White House and talked about giving advice to the president’s daughter on Air Force One. She boasted that her marriage to el-Sissi was kept secret because of sensitivities over the fact that she is Christian and he is Muslim, and she said she’d introduced the Egyptian president to President Trump one day in the Oval Office.

“I have him on the speed dial,” Giselle said, according to Dick Carlson. “I called him and then handed the phone to Trump. That’s when they had their first conversation.”

A top official in the Trump White House said neither Ivanka Trump nor anyone else at the White House has ever heard of Giselle. The Egyptian president’s office did not respond to the assertion of a secret marriage.

At another meal, Carlson says, Giselle’s phone rang and she excused herself saying it was the president of Angola.

“He’s always after me,” she said, according to Carlson.

Carlson wasn’t buying any of it. But he kept listening, in part, he says, because it was hard to get a word in edgewise.

“She’s a nonstop talker,” Carlson says, “a monologuist of considerable experience.”

While she spoke, Giselle glanced around the restaurant and told the Carlsons a little secret: She has four or five bodyguards, Carlson remembers her saying.

“They’re here now,” the woman from Apartment 713 told him. “But you don’t see them.”

Healths

Scientists Discover Paper Patch Which May Help diabetics Monitor Sugar

The Health and nutrition circuit across globe is innovating new technologies and drugs to manage diabetes, the newest addition to the list is a paper-based sensor patch that could allow diabetics to effectively measure glucose levels during exercise. According to the paper, published in the journal Micromachines, the self-powered, wearable and disposable patch allows for non-invasive monitoring of glucose in human sweat. This single-use biosensor combines a vertically stacked, paper-based glucose/oxygen enzymatic fuel cell into a standard Band-Aid like adhesive patch.

Seokheun Choi, Assistant Professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York, said “The paper-based device attaches directly to skin, wicks sweat to a reservoir where chemical energy is converted to electrical energy, and monitors glucose without external power and sophisticated readout instruments,” Choi also said that, conventional measurements, however, are not suitable for preventing hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) during exercise. He explained the reason as a procedural limitation. The underlying process relies on invasive and inconvenient blood sampling, causing the possibility of sample contamination and skin irritation with sweat containing various electrolytes and proteins.

Also, the methods, requires the patients to carry many added accessories, while exercising (or any physical activity) like lancets, alcohol swabs and a relatively large glucometer. “The technique requires a sophisticated electrochemical sensing technique and sufficient electrical energy, which makes the technique difficult to be fully integrated in a compact and portable fashion,” Choi added. The researchers believe that the sweat-based glucose sensing is a viable option for managing exercise-induced hypoglycemia because the measurement is performed during or immediately after exercise, which is when there is enough supply of sweat to obtain an adequate sample. “The sensing platform holds considerable promise for efficient diabetes management, and a fully integrated system with a simple readout can be realised toward continuous non-invasive glucose monitoring,” noted the researchers in the paper presented.

Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). Here are some foods that can help you keep your blood sugar in check.

1.Barley

The dietary fibres found in barley can help reduce your appetite as well as high blood sugar levels. Whole grains like oats, brown rice or millets like jowar and ragi contain both soluble and insoluble fibre that helps with sugar control.

2.Bananas

The starch found in foods such as bananas, potatoes, grains and legumes, may benefit your health by aiding blood sugar control, supporting gut health and enhancing satiety. This is a form of starch that is not digested in the small intestine and is, therefore, considered a type of dietary fiber.

3. Nuts

Nuts contain unsaturated fats, proteins and a range of vitamins and minerals that lower cholesterol, inflammation and insulin resistance. One should include at least 50 grams of almonds, cashews, chestnuts, walnuts or pistachios in your daily diet to control high levels of blood fats (triglycerides) and sugars.

4.Bitter gourd (Karela)

Bitter gourd contains an insulin-like compound called Polypeptide-p or p-insulin which has been shown to control diabetes naturally.Consumption of bitter gourd tends to increase the uptake of glucose and improves glycemic control.

5.Protein rich foods

Proteins from eggs, meat fish and chicken or from vegetarian sources like dals, paneer or besan help control blood sugar levels. Whole dals like rajma, Kabuli chana, sabut moong, and masoor are recommended at least once daily. Studies have proven that proteins have a neutral effect on blood glucose levels.

Load up on these foods to prevent blood sugar spike and the glucose under the prescribed levels.

TECH #TOP STORIES

Saudi Arabia to Lift Block on Internet Calling Apps, Including WhatsApp and Skype

Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on internet calling applications on Wednesday, authorities said, easing restrictions online as the conservative kingdom faces new criticism over censorship.

Voice and video calling apps such as WhatsApp and Skype will be “widely available to users”, a government statement said Tuesday, in a move aimed at improving business confidence as the kingdom transitions into a post-oil era.

“Access to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) will reduce operational costs and spur digital entrepreneurship,” the statement said, citing a directive from the communications and technology ministry.

“Digital transformation is one of the key kick-starters for the Saudi economy, as it will incentivise the growth of Internet-based businesses, especially in the media and entertainment industries.”

The announcement comes a day after Al Jazeera lashed out at Snapchat for blocking the Qatari broadcaster from its app in Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi authorities.

Saudi Arabia has long accused Al Jazeera of acting as a mouthpiece for extremist groups, a charge it denies.

Alongside the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Qatar in June, in the worst diplomatic crisis to roil the Gulf in years.

Al Jazeera condemned the blocking as an assault on freedom of expression but the Saudi government vigorously defended its position.

“The recent cooperation with Snapchat to remove Al Jazeera, a harmful, propaganda-pushing channel that supports extremism, should not be considered in isolation or interpreted as a crackdown on free media,” the Saudi statement said.

Saudi Arabia, with its bulging youth population, is among the world’s top per capita users of social media.

The Internet represents a limited space for freedom of expression in a country with strict social codes.

More than half of Saudi Arabia’s citizens are under 25, who spend much of their time on social media platforms, away from official strictures and traditions.

TOP STORIES

Part Of 389-Crore Bihar Dam Crashes Hours Before Launch by Nitish Kumar

Hours before its grand launch by Nitish Kumar, a portion of a 389-crore dam in Bihar crashed during a trial run and left parts of a town in Bhagalpur flooded. The Chief Minister was forced to cancel the inauguration today of the Ganga canal project that was completed after a 40-year delay.

Last evening, Mr Kumar’s office cited “technical reasons” for dropping the launch of the Bateshwarsthan Ganga Pump Canal Project, which has been set up to irrigate land in Bihar and neighbouring Jharkhand. Ads in newspapers had announced that Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan would also be present at the event.

The wall of the canal collapsed when water from the river Ganga crashed into it after the pump was switched on for a trial. The water gushed into Kahalgaon village and inundated areas that are part of a thermal power project.

The Principal Secretary of the Water Resources department, Arun Kumar Singh, and top Bhagalpur officials are overseeing efforts to drain out water from the submerged areas around 3 km from the canal.

“Sandbags are being placed to check the flow of water,” Mr Singh told reporters. Experts blame the collapse on the negligence of officials.

A joint scheme by Bihar and Jharkhand, the project aims to irrigate 18,620 hectares of land in Bhagalpur and over 4,000 hectares in Jharkhand, a government brochure on the project said.

The Planning Commission had originally approved the project in 1977 at an estimated cost of nearly Rs. 14 crore.

In a series of tweets, Mr Kumar’s former deputy and Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav snarked: “One more dam has been sacrificed to corruption…The Water Resources department is a den of corruption…wonder why the Chief Minister is silent on that?” Mr Yadav didn’t take names but appeared to be hinting at Mr Lallan, the Water Resources Minister.

TOP STORIES

250 Dead In Powerful Mexico Earthquake, 21 Children Crushed Under School

At least 250 people were killed when a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday, including 21 children crushed beneath an elementary school that was reduced to rubble.

The destruction revived horrific memories in Mexico on the anniversary of another massive quake in 1985, the disaster-prone country’s deadliest ever.

One of the most gut-wrenching scenes was at the Enrique Rebsamen primary school on Mexico City’s south side, whose three floors collapsed into one, trapping students and teachers inside.

Twenty-one children and five adults were killed, said Major Jose Luis Vergara of the Mexican navy, who was coordinating a rescue effort that involved hundreds of soldiers, police, civilian volunteers and rescue dogs.

He said another 30 to 40 people remained trapped inside, while 11 children have been rescued so far.

Emergency workers found a teacher and a student alive beneath the rubble and are trying to get them out, he said.

But the situation was precarious. Late into the night, part of the wreckage collapsed as rescuers continued their search.

Local media reports said soldiers had administered oxygen to one trapped child through a tube.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, who rushed to the site, warned the death toll could rise.

“Unfortunately, many people have lost their lives, including children, in schools, buildings and homes,” he said in a national address.

The devastation struck across a swath of central states and the death toll as of early Wednesday was 250, the head of the national disaster response agency, Luis Felipe Puente, said on Twitter.

In addition to Mexico City, people were also killed in Puebla, Morelos, Mexico state and Guerrero, said Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong.

‘Nightmare’

Well after nightfall, rescue crews and volunteers in Mexico City — home to 20 million people — were still clawing through the rubble of dozens of collapsed buildings looking for survivors and bodies.

Local media reported that families were getting WhatsApp messages pleading for help from desperate relatives trapped under debris.

Memories of the devastating 1985 earthquake, which killed at least 10,000 people, surged to the surface on what was meant to be a low-key 32nd anniversary.

Adding to the national sense of vulnerability, the quake also came just 12 days after another temblor that killed nearly 100 people and left more than 200 injured, mainly in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Many in the capital ran outdoors when walls around them swayed and cracked.

“I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985,” Georgina Sanchez, 52, sobbed to AFP in a plaza in the capital.

The quake — which occurred in the early afternoon, hours after city authorities had conducted an earthquake drill — caused massive damage in the bustling center of the city.

“It was horrible,” said resident Leiza Visaj Herrera, 27. “I had to hold on to the ground.”

Scenes of chaos erupted in the quake’s aftermath. Traffic jammed to a standstill before blanked-out stop lights, and anxious people ran between vehicles as ambulances tried to make headway, sirens blaring.

In several locations, large crowds of people clambered on buildings that were now piles of stone and tangled metal, trying to pull people out.

Emergency workers held up signs commanding “Silence” so crews could listen for the sounds of any survivors.

‘Everyone was frantic’

Jorge Lopez, a 49-year-old Spaniard living in Mexico City, said he raced to his children’s school in the central Roma district, to find it collapsed but his offspring safe but terrified.

“We arrived at the school and everyone was crying, everyone was frantic, and the kids were holding on to a rope,” he said.

Patients were evacuated from a nearby hospital, wheeled out on beds and wheelchairs.

Pena Neto said on Twitter he had ordered the evacuation of damaged hospitals.

At one collapsed building in the Roma district, dozens of people dug through rubble as they waited for the arrival of heavy machinery to move the massive chunks of stone. Officials called out for more volunteers, and for water.

A woman standing and watching the efforts with her husband, a doctor, turned to him and said, “Darling, if you want to help, go ahead. Just give me your glasses, and be careful.”

Mexico City’s international airport closed for more than three hours following the quake. The stock market was forced to shut.

Fearful residents whose homes were damaged were preparing to spend the night on the street or in parks.

On the clogged and darkened roads, muggers came out at night to assault motorists.

Trump’s prayers

Officials in several other countries responded to the quake with offers of help.

Honduras sent a 36-strong rescue team.

US President Donald Trump, who has forged an antagonistic relationship with Mexico, tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “Devastating news from Mexico City. My thoughts are with those affected by today’s earthquake — Canada will be ready to help our friends.”

Kuwait Local News #TOP STORIES

Minister M J Akbar spoke to Indian labourers protesting outside the Indian embassy over unpaid wages

We posted an article yesterday about the Minister of External Affairs of India Mr MJ Akbar will interact with Indians on Tuesday evening. More than 200 workers from Kharafi National and Bayan Company made use of this opportunity to interact with minister and addressed their issues of salaries not being paid for more than 6 months and have been living in the camps with lots of difficulties to the extent that even medical support is not provided.

Workers also explained to minister how they paid huge sum of money to the agents to find a job and when they found the job the company is not paying them. These issues were already addressed to the Indian embassy and they tried their best to solve the issue and also spoke to the concerned kuwaiti authorities but the issue still remains.

Minister was shocked and he thoroughly heard everyone’s issues and has promised to look into this matter on priority. He also mentioned that he will be meeting the Minister of social affairs and labour Mrs Hind Al Sabeeh on wednesday morning and this is going to be one of the topic.

We sincerely hope that the Minister will help all the stranded workers in Kuwait and solve all the raised issues.

What do you think about the issue and how long it will take the minister to take action? comment down your views below.

 

 

Picture Stories

Baby Alligator, Stuck In Fence, Gets Rescued By Cop ‘Friends’

“Everyone needs a little help from their friends now and then,” says a Facebook post. That seems fine until it goes on to say that in this case what was seeking help was actually a reptile. The hilarious post, shared on the Fulshear Police Facebook page describes how officers from Texas helped free a baby alligator stuck in a fence.

“This gator thought he was skinnier than he was (haven’t we all) and attempted to squeeze through the fence, getting caught in the process,” says the post. It is accompanied with a picture of the poor gator tangled in the fence.

Thankfully, help came in the form of Officer Henry and Officer Looney who helped the poor guy out. The post goes on to say that the gator even tried to thank its rescuers, but they had to decline. You’ll understand why when you read the post here.

“Happy it was rescued and everyone stayed safe!” says one Facebook user on the post. “We were driving by when they were ‘releasing’ him and wondering WTH… good job guys!” says another.