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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
Dubai is home to many man-made wonders: The world’s largest man-made island, the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s tallest building.
It may soon be adding a new one — the world’s first rotating skyscraper.
It’s the brainchild of architect David Fisher of Dynamic Architecture.
Fisher envisions an 80-story, 1,273-foot tower in Dubai with floors that can rotate 360 degrees in both directions. He said he got the idea for a rotating tower that continuously changes shape more than a decade ago while staring out of the Olympic Tower in New York.
“I noticed that from a certain spot you could see the East River and the Hudson River, both sides of Manhattan,” he said on Dynamic Architecture’s website. “That is when I thought to myself: ‘Why don’t we rotate the entire floor? That way, everybody can see both the East River and the Hudson River, as well as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral!'”
Fisher first pitched his idea back in 2008, but it never got off the ground. Now Dynamic Architecture hopes the skyscraper — dubbed the Dynamic Tower — will be gracing Dubai’s skyline by 2020. It would be one of Dubai’s tallest buildings, in a city awash with high-rises.
If everything goes according to plan, the building’s rotating floors be will be just one of its high-tech draws. Voice-activated technology would allow residents to spin their apartments just by speaking, and up to 79 wind turbines placed horizontally between the floors and solar panels on the roof will produce the tower’s energy.
There’s more: A special elevator built inside the central concrete core will let residents transport their car to their floor and park it next to their apartment.
The tower’s floors would be prefabricated units, made of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber materials. Fisher says the floors will be assembled at a factory and then later attached to the tower — that’s another first for skyscrapers.
It’s unclear what the price tag is for this massive project, but Dynamic Architecture says the price for an individual apartment unit could range from $4 million to $40 million.
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Fisher hopes his tower is the beginning of a change in the way architects think about their jobs.
“An architect should design buildings that adjust to life,” he said. “They should adapt to our space, our functionalities and our needs that change continuously — and even to our sense of beauty, itself in continuous motion.”
A Delhiite’s trip to an ATM of the State Bank of India revealed the extent of the fake currency racket in the country when the machine dispensed fake Rs 2,000 notes from the ‘Children Bank of India’.
The notes, withdrawn by one Rohit in Delhi’s Sangam Vihar Tigdi on February 6, look similar to the Rs 2,000 notes introduced after demonetisation last year. A closer look revealed the following anomalies:
– The notes said ‘Children’s Bank of India’ where the Reserve Bank of India’s name is written – It said ‘Churan Label’ where the Ashoka Chakra should have been and is also ‘Guaranteed by Children Government’ – It has a ‘P.K’ label instead of the RBI seal – Next to Mahatma Gandhi’s image it says “I promise to pay the barer two thousand coupens” instead of “I promise to pay the bearer the sum of ₹2,000…”
Shocked at having received such notes from an ATM of the country’s largest lender, the state-run SBI, Rohit first contacted his friend, who is a lawyer, and then informed the police. Rohit had withdrawn Rs 8,000 and all four Rs 2,000 notes dispensed by the ATM turned out to be fake. An FIR was registered Sections 489 B, 489 E and 420 of the Indian Penal Code and the State Bank of India was informed about the same.
The incident became fuel for social media humour and made ‘Children Bank of India’ one of the top trends on Wednesday.
Manchester City came out on top in an epic Champions League battle against Monaco as late goals by John Stones and Leroy Sane secured a 5-3 victory in a last 16 first-leg thriller on Tuesday that had goals galore and a missed penalty.
City took the lead through Raheem Sterling but were then playing catch-up as Monaco drew level thanks to Radamel Falcao’s header and then went ahead with a powerful finish from 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe five minutes before halftime.
South American poachers Sergio Aguero for City and Falcao, who also missed a penalty, then traded blows with Aguero equalising for 2-2 and then 3-3 after Falcao’s exquisite chip gave Monaco the lead for the second time at The Etihad.
City, however, then pulled clear as Stones tapped in at the far post and Sane rolled the ball into an empty net to give City a two-goal advantage ahead of the return on March 15.
City manager Pep Guardiola had called Monaco “killers” in the box before the game and while they showed just why they are European football’s most deadly assassins, they were embarrassingly fragile at times at the back.
They were behind after 26 minutes when Sterling tapped home after Sane dazzled down the left and teed up the England winger.
Monaco were handed a route back into the match after 32 minutes following an error by City’s Willy Caballero, the first of the night’s goalkeeping blunders.
He gave the ball away with a poor clearance and the visitors worked it to Fabinho whose devilish cross was headed home by former Manchester United and Chelsea striker Falcao, who has found his best form again since returning to France.
City were denied a penalty by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz when Aguero appeared to be upended by keeper Danijel Subasic before Monaco grabbed the lead through Mbappe.
The 18-year-old was released through the middle and lashed his finish into the top corner past Caballero.
The visitors should have extended their advantage soon after the restart but Falcao’s tame penalty was saved after Nicolas Otamendi had been penalised for catching the Colombian as he tried to convert Benjamin Mendy’s cross.
City swiftly made Monaco pay as Aguero ended a six-game goal-drought thanks to a Subasic howler. Sterling slid the ball through and the Argentine fired straight at the keeper but it squirmed out of his hands into the net after 58 minutes.
Parity was short-lived, however, as Falcao turned City defender Stones before lifting an exquisite chip over the stranded Caballero to make it 3-2 to the principality club.
Aguero levelled once more when he volleyed home from 12 metres after a corner and City took the lead when Kevin De Bruyne’s set-piece was turned in by Stones at the far post.
The final twist in one of the most entertaining encounters in the competition’s recent history came when Aguero rolled the ball into the path of Sane who tapped into an empty net.
The Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to close a Dakota Access pipeline protest camp that’s been around for more than six months isn’t likely to be the demise of on-the-ground opposition in North Dakota.
Wednesday’s deadline for the protesters to leave also may not spell the end of heavy law enforcement presence near where the Dallas-based developer is finishing the last big section of the pipeline, which will carry oil from North Dakota through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.
The protest camp is on federal land in southern North Dakota between the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the pipeline route. It has at times housed thousands of people, though it’s dwindled to just a couple hundred as the pipeline battle has largely moved into the courts.
The Corps has told those who remain in the Oceti Sakowin camp that they needed to leave by 2 p.m. Wednesday. Gov. Doug Burgum listed the same time and date in an emergency evacuation order last week.
Large-scale arrests are possible at the camp Wednesday, said Morton County sheriff’s spokeswoman Maxine Herr, but she insists that’s not want authorities want. Though law enforcement and state officials in the past said they wouldn’t forcibly evict protesters, they now cite the coming threat of spring flooding as a safety issue that requires clearing the camp.
“We prefer to handle this in a more diplomatic, understanding way,” she said, adding that a transition center will be set up to help protesters who don’t have a place to go.
Some protesters plan to move, but some in the camp are ready to go to jail and “will engage in peaceful, civil resistance … holding hands, standing in prayer,” said American Indian activist Chase Iron Eyes.
Morton County sheriff’s deputies can arrest people who won’t leave. Army Corps rangers who are in the area can’t make arrests, but they can write citations for various offenses including trespassing that carry a maximum punishment of a $5,000 fine or six months in jail, Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight said.
More than 700 protest-related arrests have occurred since August, though activity has waned recently.
While some in camp feel “under threat” by Wednesday’s deadline, most are focusing on moving off federal land and away from the flood plain, said Phyllis Young, one of the camp leaders.
“The camps will continue,” she said. “Freedom is in our DNA, and we have no choice but to continue the struggle.”
Other camps are popping up on private land in the area, including one the Cheyenne River Sioux has set up about a mile from the Oceti Sakowin camp.
“A lot of our people want to be here and pray for our future,” tribal Chairman Harold Frazier said.
Once the main camp is cleared of people, cleanup of trash and debris that’s being coordinated by the tribal, state and federal governments will continue. More than 1,000 tons of waste had been removed by contractors as of early Tuesday, though dozens of semi-permanent structures remained, according to Herr. Dozens of abandoned vehicles also remained, according to George Kuntz, vice president of the North Dakota Towing Association.
Law enforcement for months has maintained a staging area just north of the protest camp. With cleanup continuing, construction ongoing and protesters still in the area, it’s unclear when the operations center will be shut down.
“That will be a tactical decision,” said Mike Nowatzki, a spokesman for Gov. Burgum.
A Muslim schoolteacher was denied entry to the USA while travelling with pupils on a school trip.
Juhel Miah, from Wales, was heading to New York after initially travelling to Iceland last week.
When Mr Miah boarded the onward flight in Reykjavik on February 16 he was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel.
Whilst the school trip, from Llangatwg Comprehensive in Aberdulais, proceeded as planned, Mr Miah’s removal from the flight left pupils and colleagues “shocked and distressed”.
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council has today written to the Embassy of the United States of America in London to express its dismay at the treatment of one of its employees, who has been denied entry to the US as a member of a school party.
An authority spokesperson says they understand that Mr Miah was refused permission by the United States authorities to fly to New York, despite being issued with a valid visa for travel.
He is described as a “popular and respected teacher” at the school, Wales Online reported.
A council spokesperson said: “We are appalled by the treatment of Mr Miah and are demanding an explanation. The matter has also been raised with our local Member of Parliament.
“No satisfactory reason has been provided for refusing entry to the United States – either at the airport in Iceland or subsequently at the US Embassy in Reykjavik.
“Mr Miah attempted to visit the Embassy; but was denied access to the building. Understandably he feels belittled and upset at what appears to be an unjustified act of discrimination.”
The US embassy has been approached for comment.
The reason for the US refusing entry to Mr Miah is unclear at the moment.
President Donald Trump’s travel ban initially triggered chaos at airports around the world, as travellers from seven Muslim-majority nations were stopped in transit.
But the order has been suspended during a court battle and Mr Trump’s revised order, which is understood to be being developed at the moment, has not yet been signed.
Police recovered the chopped-up body of a missing airforce employee from the residential quarters of a sergeant in the Bhisiana airforce station on Tuesday.
The pieces of the body of Vipin Shukla, a corporal in the Air Force Wives Welfare Association Canteen, were found stuffed in 16 polythene bags and hidden in different parts of the accused’s quarters.
The accused, Sulesh Kumar, and his wife Anuradha have been arrested, while Kumar’s brother-in-law Shashi Bhushan, who worked in the Merchant Navy, is absconding. A case under section 302 (murder) has been registered against the accused.
Twenty-seven-year-old Shukla, a resident of Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, joined the airforce in 2009 and was posted at the Bhisiana airforce station in May 2014. He reportedly went missing on February 8.
Following a complaint by his wife Kumkum, a case of kidnapping was registered against unknown persons at Bathinda’s Nathana police station on February 15.
In a press conference, superintendent of police (traffic), Gurmeet Singh, said that a team of Punjab police and airforce station officials detected a foul smell from Sulesh Kumar’s residential quarters on Tuesday, after which they discovered the victim’s cut-up body.
Kumar, the accused, confessed to his crimes on interrogation, and claimed that the victim had illicit sexual relations with his wife Anuradha.
The SP said, “(After discovering she was pregnant,) Anuradha asked Vipin to marry her but he refused. He had also been spreading details of their relationship among other employees. Thus, Anuradha, with her husband and brother hatched a conspiracy to murder Vipin for revenge.”
“On the evening of February 8, Sulesh called Vipin to help him pack as he was to change his quarters, then attacked him with an axe, killing him. He then packed Vipin’s body in a box and took it to his new quarters,” he added.
“On February 19, Sulesh cut the body into pieces with a meat knife and packed it in 16 polythene bags. He put some in the wardrobe and the others in the refrigerator,” he said.
The police are yet to ascertain how the accused planned to dispose of the body.
Scientists exploring the forests of the Western Ghats have come across four new species of tiny frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail, which make a distinctive chirping sound comparable to that of a cricket.
These species are among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ discovered by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and the Kerala Forest Department, who spent five years surveying the global biodiversity hotspot.
Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus endemic to the Western Ghats and represent an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70 to 80 million years ago.
The scientists were surprised by the relative abundance of the previously unknown species at their collection localities.
“The minuscule frogs have probably been overlooked because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and cricket-like calls,” says Sonali Garg who undertook the study as part of her Ph.D research at the University of Delhi.
The scientists used an integrated taxonomic approach that included DNA studies, detailed morphological comparisons and bioacoustics to confirm the new species. The findings have been published in the latest issue of PeerJ, an open access journal.
A German woman was allegedly assaulted and robbed of Rs 2,500 at Chamundi Hills near Mysuru, police said today.
“A German national was assaulted and robbed of Rs 2,500 on Chamundi Hills last evening,” police Inspector B S Prakash told.
On the basis of her complaint, a case has been registered under various sections of IPC including 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), he said.
As the woman was climbing down the steps of Chamundi Hills, an unidentified person passing by grabbed her mobile phone, which was on flashlight mode as it was already dark, Prakash said, adding the woman resisted but the accused allegedly bit her left cheek and mouth while pushing her down.
The Inspector said the woman managed to escape by kicking him but not before he robbed her of Rs 2,500.
The incident comes close on the heels of alleged abduction and harassment of a popular South Indian actress at Kochi in Kerala.
Six persons, including four workers, died in a fire accident at Attapur opposite pillar number 159 in the early hours on Wednesday morning.
All of them were locked inside the premises of an establishment where they used to work and were charred to death soon after a fire broke out inside at about 5.05 am, said the police.
The owner of the shop named Triwheel Enterprises, which sells battery-operated vehicles and air coolers, was taken into custody by the Rajendranagar smile soon after incident. According to locals, his name is believed to be Pramod.
Assistant Commissioner of Police S. Sayaram said that four workers of Triwheel Enterprises were repairing some electronic items last night. “They had called two of their friends over, and all six of them had dinner together. The fire may have taken place due to a short circuit, but we are yet to ascertain the exact cause of the incident,” he told.
The ACP added that the bodies of the four workers were found lying just beside the door, indicating that they were trying to escape and that the other two bodies were found nearby.
While police officials said the four workers belong other states and the bodies of all six victims are burnt beyond recognition and have to be identified through DNA tests, locals said that the workers names are Irfan, Saddam, Ayub and Shahrukh. However, this is yet to be corroborated by the police.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 to discuss the company’s rural digital initiatives and further leveraging LinkedIn for creating employment opportunities.
“Microsoft is doing good work in India. In particular, we have appreciated their initiative for digital inclusion in village, the Harisal pilot project in Maharashtra where they brought in technology and connectivity for digital health and digital education,” Prasad said after the 30-minute meeting.
The Centre has even reportedly given Microsoft’s free calling service Skype, a go-ahead to start utilising Aadhaar as a form of authentication. The company presented numerous scenarios on how Skype could be used citing an example wherein people can authenticate themselves for accessing government services that require Aadhaar-based authentication.
The Minister said Nadella represented a powerful statement of “extraordinary contribution of India’s talent” and accomplishments.
Nadella also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discusses Microsoft’s digital inclusion program that is aimed towards improving rural healthcare and education.
The company has also launched ‘Skype Lite’ that can verify Aadhaar data on the go in the form of OTPs generated more like ordering food or using Paytm. Users can chat with ‘Aadhaar Verified’ users on both, the regular Skype app and the new Skype Lite app while interacting for job interviews, government services and other services.