Arab Funds – Wagdy Ghoneim Mon, 08 Aug 2022 21:03:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arab Funds – Wagdy Ghoneim 32 32 Former Israeli health minister sentenced in student abuse case Mon, 08 Aug 2022 20:28:01 +0000

DUBAI: A day before the second anniversary of the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, the World Bank has released a scathing report on Lebanon’s financial crisis and the alleged acts of deception that appear to have made the economic collapse of the inevitable country.

Titled “Ponzi Finance?”, the report likens the Mediterranean country’s economic model since 1993 to a Ponzi scheme – an investment fraud named after Italian con man and con man Carlo Ponzi.

During the 1920s, Ponzi promised investors a 50% return within months for what he claimed was an investment in international courier coupons. Ponzi then used new investors’ funds to pay fake “returns” to previous investors.

The World Bank report claims that a similar act of deception has taken place in Lebanon since the end of the civil war, where public finances have been used for the capture of the country’s resources, “serving the interests of an economy entrenched politics, which instrumentalized state institutions using fiscal and economic tools.

The report says excessive debt accumulation has been used to create the illusion of stability and to boost confidence in the economy so that commercial bank deposits will continue to flow. The study analyzes “Lebanon’s public finances over a long horizon to understand the roots of fiscal profligacy and its eventual insolvency.

At the same time, according to the report, there has been a “conscious effort” to weaken the delivery of public services to the benefit of a very few at the expense of the Lebanese people. As a result, citizens end up paying double while receiving poor quality services.

The World Bank experts who wrote the report describe Lebanon’s financial crisis as “a deliberate depression” because “a significant part of people’s savings in the form of deposits in commercial banks have been misused and misused spent” over the past 30 years.

“It is important for the Lebanese people to realize that the central elements of the post-civil war economy – the economy of the Second Lebanese Republic – have disappeared and will never return. It is also important for them to know that this was deliberate.

A protester stands with a Lebanese national flag during clashes with army and security forces near the seat of the Lebanese parliament in the center of the capital Beirut on August 4, 2021, on the first anniversary of the explosion that devastated the port and the city. (AFP/file photo)

The report adds: “It is expatriate income that is struggling abroad; they are retirement funds for citizens and perhaps the only resource for a dignified life; it is necessary funding for essential medical and educational services that successive governments have failed to provide; these are funds to pay for electricity in light of the colossal blackouts at Electricité du Liban.

Since 2019, Lebanon has been in the grip of the worst financial crisis in its history, which has been aggravated by the economic pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s political paralysis.

In October 2019, Lebanese took to the streets in the short-lived “thawra,” or revolution, demanding political and economic change. Their hopes were quickly dashed by the trauma of the Beirut port explosion, which on August 4, 2020 killed 218 people, injured 7,000 and left 300,000 homeless.

These overlapping crises have sent thousands of young Lebanese abroad in search of safety and opportunity, including many of the country’s top medical professionals and educators.

A World Bank study of Lebanon’s public finances blamed an entrenched political elite for the country’s economic collapse. (AFP)

Lebanese economists and financial analysts largely agree with the World Bank’s Ponzi scheme analogy.

“Lebanon is the biggest Ponzi scheme in economic history,” Nasser Saidi, a Lebanese politician and economist who served as minister of economy and industry and deputy governor of China, told Arab News. Lebanese Central Bank.

Unlike financial crises elsewhere in the world throughout history, Saidi said the cause of Lebanon’s misfortunes could not be linked to a single calamity that was beyond the government’s control.

“In the case of Lebanon, it was not due to a real disaster, not to a sharp drop in export prices of raw materials, it is indeed man-made.

“The World Bank talks about Ponzi financing, and they are right to point out the fact that you have two deficits over several decades. One was a budget deficit caused by continued government spending more than revenue.

“The problem was that government spending was not for productive purposes. It was not about investing in infrastructure or building human capital. He went for running expenses. So you haven’t accumulated real assets. You had an accumulation of debts, but you did not accumulate assets in proportion or in comparison to the loan you had.

Since the end of the civil war, Lebanon should have experienced a period of reconstruction. However, spending on these infrastructure projects has remained low, with money seemingly diverted elsewhere.

“The necessary infrastructure – electricity, water, waste management, transport and airport restructuring – has been neglected,” Saidi said.

A Lebanese activist shows off counterfeit banknotes called ‘Lollars’ (top) for a 100 USD note, in front of a fake ATM during a stunt to expose high-level corruption that has ravaged the country in Beirut on 13 May 2022. (AFP)

But it is not just physical infrastructure of this type that has been neglected. Institutions that would have improved and solidified governance, accountability and inclusiveness were also ignored, leaving the system vulnerable to abuse.

“Whenever you go through a civil war, you have to think about the causes of the war, and a lot of that is due to dysfunctional policies, political fragmentation and the breakdown of state institutions,” said Said.

“There was no rebuilding of state institutions and because of that budget deficits continued and a very corrupt political class started to own the state. They entered state-owned enterprises and government-related enterprises and considered all state assets to be theirs and not state property. »

Lebanon’s “Ponzi scheme” was also driven by current account deficits and the overvalued exchange rate caused by the central bank’s policy of maintaining fixed rates against the dollar.

In economics, Saidi said, this is what you called the “impossible trinity”, which means that a state cannot simultaneously have fixed exchange rates, free capital movements and an independent monetary policy.

The portside explosion of randomly stored ammonium nitrate, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions of all time, killed more than 200 people, injured thousands more and decimated large areas of the capital. (AFP/file photo)

“If you fix your exchange rate, you no longer have any monetary policy freedom. Lebanon’s central bank attempted to defy the impossible trinity and attempted to maintain an independent monetary policy at a time when the exchange rate was becoming increasingly overvalued.

Lebanon’s central bank increased its borrowing in an attempt to protect the currency and in 2015 bailed out the banking system, while insisting the system was sound and suppressing IMF reports to the contrary.

“The World Bank report spells out things that we have all been saying since the beginning of the crisis,” Adel Afiouni, Lebanon’s former minister of investments and technology, told Arab News.

“Of course, the crisis was predictable. The indicators had been there for years. The level of debt relative to GDP and the unsustainability of that debt relative to the level of GDP and the unsustainable deficit that kept growing, and the way (the central bank) handled public finances irresponsibly been a wake-up call for years.

“Countries typically respond responsibly by announcing a package of fiscal control measures to reduce deficit and debt. This did not happen in Lebanon. The current authorities ignored basic principles on how to avoid a crisis before 2019 and how to manage a crisis after 2019.”

In April 2022, Lebanon concluded a draft financing agreement with the IMF that would provide the equivalent of around $3 billion on a 46-month extended financing facility in exchange for a package of economic reforms. However, in June, the Association of Banks in Lebanon called the IMF’s draft agreement “illegal”, which blocked the process.

“This is the first step that should have happened in the first weeks of the crisis, not two and a half years later,” Afiouni said. “Yet we still need to see sweeping reforms before we see the funding, and there is no indication now that we are anywhere close to seeing serious implementation of those reforms.”

The World Bank report calls for a comprehensive program of macroeconomic, financial and sectoral reforms that prioritize governance, accountability and inclusion. According to him, the earlier these reforms are initiated, the less painful the recovery will be for the Lebanese people. But that won’t happen overnight.

“Even if the reforms and laws were passed, it will take time to recover and restore confidence,” Saidi said. “Trust in the banking system, in the state and in the central bank has been destroyed. Until that confidence is restored, Lebanon will not be able to attract investment and it will not be able to attract aid from the rest of the world.

And although Lebanon held elections in May, propelling several anti-corruption independents into parliament, Saidi doubted their influence would be enough to drive change.

“Some 13 new MPs have entered parliament but are unlikely to make the necessary changes,” he said. “Politically, business continues as usual. There is a complete denial of reality.

Dissolve a political party Sun, 07 Aug 2022 01:00:00 +0000

The dissolution of the National Awami Party (NAP) in 1975 followed months of downgrading the party and its leadership in the media. It was a ruling party, in coalition with the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI) of Maulana Mufti Mehmud, in two of the country’s provinces and had zealously participated in the vote on the constitution in 1973.

Audiences in the heartland of Punjabi, an area traditionally planted with conspiracy weeds, were led to believe that after the fall of the eastern wing, the foreign-aided nationalists among the Baluchis and Pakhtuns were on the verge of to move. The judge, who as legal secretary had prepared the reference against NAP, then graced the bench of the Supreme Court that was to hear the reference. Wali Khan, the leader of the NAP, opposed it. His request for a reconstituted bench was refused. He walked out of the courtroom. The dissolution of his party followed. While a rump of the defunct NAP was to reappear as the Awami National Party (ANP), the damage done was permanent. The gash created in the body politic let in the religious fanaticism that nurtured during the second half of the 1970s and 1980s. an ongoing cycle of violence.

History is not meant to repeat itself. The TNP is not NAP. It is a part cut from the same genetic material as the PML-N. Both sides occupy much of the same geographical and psychological territory. Both wear the colors of Pakistani nationalism. JUI and ANP joining the chorus of dissolution is a historical amnesia provoked by the most irresistible of passions: opportunism.

The constitutional order of the Islamic Republic today rests on foundations covered by the stains of the past. Moral pride in the service of power has scripted a lot of things that give water to opportunists. Legalese is inevitable and essential if we want to understand where we are going. Consider.

Article 17(1) of the constitution declares that the formation of a political party is a basic right of Pakistani citizens. Article 17(2) of the Constitution provides only one ground for the dissolution of a political party. A party created for the purpose of infringing or harming the integrity or sovereignty of the country may be declared by the federal government as such. This declaration must be filed with the Supreme Court within fifteen days of its pronouncement. If the Supreme Court confirms the declaration, the political party concerned is dissolved. The deputies, including the provincial assemblies, belonging to this party are removed from office.

General Musharraf issued the Political Parties Ordinance in 2002 when the constitutional order was suspended following the 1999 coup. Political parties were seen as irritants to be subjected to obedience. The general’s order purported to add grounds for the dissolution of a political party, beyond what the constitution stipulates. A political party that obtains assistance, financial or otherwise, from a foreign government or a foreign political party or part of its funds from foreign nationals shall be considered a political party receiving foreign assistance. Section 15 of the 2002 order states that such a party must be dissolved following a declaration by the federal government to that effect and an order by the Supreme Court confirming the declaration. There is no threshold for receiving funds for the dissolution of a political party.

Another provision of the General Order 2002 describes the funds which a political party is prohibited from receiving. The category of prohibited funds covers contributions made, directly or indirectly, by a foreign government, multinational or national, public or private corporation, corporation, trade or professional association. Only funds expressly designated as prohibited funds, if received by a political party, are subject to confiscation.

Section 6(3) states that a party may only accept contributions and donations from individuals. This section appears to make no distinction between funds contributed by individuals who are nationals and those who are not. Funds from both categories of individuals appear to fall outside the scope of prohibited funds. This creates an apparent inconsistency. While funds from persons who are not nationals are not prohibited funds under Article 6(3), the receipt of such funds would make a political party a “supported political party Foreign Affairs” subject to dissolution under Section 15 of the Ordinance, 2002. The cause of the apparent inconsistency can safely be traced to poor drafting, a malaise that afflicts most legislative drafters in Pakistan.

The essential job of the lawyer is to identify inconsistencies in the law and provide interpretations that make the best sense of disparate provisions when read together. The status of the constitution as the supreme law must be maintained and all interpretations of laws subordinate to the constitution must be made in such a way as to bring those laws into conformity with the intent of the constitution. Where such consistent interpretations are not possible, the subordinate law must be declared unconstitutional and void.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has been called upon to interpret the provisions of the Political Parties Ordinance 2002 which deal with prohibited funds and a political party receiving foreign aid in light of Article 17 of the constitution . In particular, the wording of section 15 of the 2002 ordinance, which appears to make the mere receipt of funds from non-nationals an offense to be sanctioned by dissolution, had to be harmonized with the fact that the article 17, paragraph 2, authorizes the dissolution of a political party if it proves to be against the sovereignty or the integrity of the country. It turns out that the ECP made no attempt to heed article 17(2) of the constitution. It is the abdication of duty.

An obvious harmonious reading of article 15 of the 2002 ordinance with article 17, paragraph 2, of the constitution would be to consider that for a party to be dissolved for having received funds from foreign nationals, it must be proved that by reason of such receipts the party concerned acted in a manner detrimental to the sovereignty or integrity of the country. The mere receipt of foreign funds is not a constitutional fault. The consequence of not harmonizing article 15 of the 2002 ordinance would be to make it obsolete, exceeding the limit imposed by the constitution.

Section 15 of the 2002 Ordinance provides for the dissolution of a political party only when it is shown that funds have been received from foreign governments, political parties or foreign individuals. Article 6(3) requires that funds received from multinational or national enterprises be treated as prohibited funds and confiscated. The ECP took the word “multinationals” to include all foreign companies. While the 2002 ordinance makes a clear distinction between foreign nationals and multinational corporations, only the funds of the latter can be confiscated, the ECP erased the distinction. The PTI reportedly received funding from foreign individuals as well as foreign companies, but not from foreign governments or foreign political parties. All of these funds were deemed liable to confiscation.

A large portion of the foreign funds, totaling around Rs 80 crore, received by the PTI through bank transfers during the years 2008 to 2013 came from fundraising vehicles set up by the PTI itself, such as the two PTI LLC established in the United States. United States, PTI Canada Corporation and PTI UK. The ECP considered the funds raised by these entities, regardless of the identity of the final donors, as funds contributed by foreign companies which must be confiscated. Over the period 2008 to 2013, more than half of the foreign funds received by PTI went through these vehicles. Are these funds subject to confiscation? Should PTI funding vehicles be treated as foreign multinationals or alter egos of PTI itself? Lawyers relish these questions.

There are other streams, including Arif Naqvi’s now disgraced but then valued Wootton Cricket Club, totaling over two million dollars, which could have been raised for charitable, not political purposes in the UK . Some of the accounts through which funds reached the PTI are claimed by the ECP to have been concealed by the party when issuing full disclosure certificates signed by the head of the PTI, Mr. Imran Khan. These are serious enough cases even if they do not provide a basis for dissolving the PTI.

Mr Khan must hope that the standard applied to declare Mian Nawaz Sharif not sadiq, in a petition to the Supreme Court by Mr Khan himself, and therefore ineligible for life to be a member of parliament, will not be applied to him. Mian Nawaz was declared ineligible not because at the time of declaration he was found guilty of an act of corruption. He was not declared ineligible on the grounds that he held an iqama or a UAE residency visa. He was told that an unpaid nominal salary as chairman of the board of a one-man company set up by his son in the United Arab Emirates constituted a debt. Since the receivables are book assets and he had not declared this “asset” in his electoral declaration of assets, he was not a sadiq.

The author is a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He tweets @salmanAraja and can be reached at:

UAE aims to convert oil wealth into technological prowess – TechCrunch Thu, 04 Aug 2022 20:01:41 +0000

The Middle East has long been seen as an oil region, but the UAE aims to change that by emphasizing the growth of the country’s technology and startup scene.

For the first half of 2022, the Middle East region generated $1.73 billion of investments in 354 deals, compared to more than $1.2 billion in the first half of 2021, representing a growth of 64% from a year to year. The UAE absorbed 46% of total venture capital received in the Middle East and Africa in 2021, according to the country’s economy ministry.

HE Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of Artificial Intelligence of the United Arab Emirates. Picture credits: United Arab Emirates

The UAE began to focus on its goal as a technology and start-up hub in 2016 by establishing the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park to incubate businesses in a variety of industries, including water management, renewable energy, transport, manufacturing and agriculture.

TechCrunch highlighted some of the most recent tech activity coming out of the UAE, including that the country is set to pour $800 million into a fund to invest in space initiatives, that the region is now home to the “world’s largest vertical farm.” “. and a global investment in local proptech startup Huspy.

In 2017, the United Arab Emirates created a position in the Ministry of Artificial Intelligence, which it filled with HE Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, who had previously worked in the banking and telecommunications sectors.

HE Al Olama recently spoke to me about Emerati’s burgeoning startup and venture capital ecosystem, and the country’s approaches to attracting US venture capital investment. The following are highlights of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity and length.

TechCrunch: Is the presence of venture capital in the UAE relatively new?

HE Al Olama: If you look at the geography, you will see that the UAE attracts more than 50% of all venture capital investment from this entire region. It’s interesting, but when you actually look at population size, it becomes much more interesting because you’re talking about a very high concentration of very high-quality talent, as well as an ecosystem that enables successful startups and startups that are not just getting started, but are actually going through different phases of scaling.

In terms of venture capital and investment in the region, I saw it was over $1 billion last year. Do you see that increase this year or on par with last year?

For the first half of this year, investments were much higher than we had expected. Of all investments in the first six months, $1.73 billion was invested in the Middle East, of which 37.2% was invested in the United Arab Emirates. So it’s quite substantial. If we look at the comparison from 2022 to 2021, January was 2.5 times, just like February, and March was 1.5 times, April was 1.5 times, May was 1.4 times, and June was 1.2 times. This is for the whole region. What you can see is the interest that global investors have in the region. And, the theory that the UAE still gets the biggest chunk of it compared to other countries in the region that have a larger population or seemingly larger market size, shows that the snowball has started to roll. a few years ago with the startups we’ve had and it’s only getting bigger. I think we are just getting started.

How did you manage to attract tech companies to the UAE?

The tax exemption is certainly an incentive, but the UAE today is also a financial center for our region and one of the main financial centers in the world. There is a lot of capital here ready to be deployed. A big advantage is that many investors feel more comfortable investing in a company located in the UAE due to the transparency of the judicial system. Government legislation is favorable to the private sector. It’s an environment that allows people to thrive because they don’t feel marginalized or disadvantaged because they have a certain ethnicity, gender or nationality. It is known to be able to be a place where anyone from anywhere in the world can really succeed. Moreover, the infrastructure is also quite advanced in terms of road quality and smartphone penetration – we have the highest smartphone penetration in the world.

The government has put in place many different incentives over the years, including startup-friendly policies. If someone were to move to the United Arab Emirates, what would they need to know?

We looked at all the different sectors that support the startup landscape and tried to put incentives in place to ensure that people actually prefer something in the UAE over somewhere else. In most countries it is very, very difficult to get a visa. If you’re a talent and you work specifically in a digital economy that we’re very focused on, you can get permanent residency or long-term residency right off the bat. Another thing, you can start the business in a day. Third, there are many different programs, for example, incubators and accelerators and government contracts that are very attractive.

TC: How did the UAE AI Mandate come about and what was your plan to launch it?

We asked what are we really trying to decipher? What exactly is the potential of the UAE, whether positive or negative potential, and how can we ensure that we are effectively deploying AI across the country in a way which improves the quality of life. Quality of life is actually the main driver of AI. It is not an economic gain, as is the case in many countries. Second, it is difficult to ensure that our policies or legislation actually give us an advantage when it comes to the negative consequences of deploying AI, whether locally or globally. If AI goes wrong elsewhere, how can we make sure we’re less likely to be burdened by it? Our motto since day one was to build a nation of responsible artificial intelligence, useful for the present, but also for the future.

Do you expect the UAE to have difficulty attracting American talent and investment, as the region is notorious for human rights abuses?

The Middle East has a reputation for being a “difficult neighborhood” for a wide range of reasons, from conflict to governance failures. We see the Emirates as differentiated, with a very tolerant multinational community made up of people of over 195 nationalities living, working, learning and playing together in an atmosphere of peace, stability and security.

Why has support for startups and venture capital been such a big boost for the region?

A few reasons: First, if you look at our history, the UAE has always been a country of traders and has always sought to support business and create opportunity. The second thing is that we have been very adamant and very vocal about our ambition to diversify away from oil and that shows through investments in renewable energy and other parts of our economy, namely the digital economy , to ensure that we are competitive and comparative. to advanced and developed countries around the world. Finally, we are not a big country, so we will not be able to compete in certain sectors with other countries which have a cheaper labor cost. But, if you look at the digital economy and the sectors that are emerging right now, due to the advancement of technology, you are able to get incredible returns from talent that, although quite expensive, are able to create a production, and that’s what we’re really aiming for.

KIA Shock, Minister’s Move – ARAB TIMES Mon, 01 Aug 2022 03:55:50 +0000

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Jhe Minister of Finance, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the State’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, which manages funds worth nearly $800 billion, has taken a decision to dismiss Mr. Saleh Al-Ateeqi, Executive Director of Kuwait Investment Office in London, through which the majority of investments are managed.

The dismissal decision was pronounced abruptly and immediately without even granting the CEO the usual three-month deadline. The dismissal, because of its seriousness and importance, resounded in all Western newspapers, especially in Britain because of the economic importance of the London office, which will soon reach the age of eighty.

The Financial Times reported that the decision to fire Al-Ateeqi came after a period of instability and increased change of senior administrative staff and amid legal battles with former senior staff in the office, which generally follows a conservative policy. to explain or justify its investment decisions. or regarding appointments and dismissals.

Mr. Saleh Al-Ateeqi started his career as head of the London office in 2018, and prior to that, he worked for McKinsey Financial Consulting. He did not accept the decision to dismiss him in this humiliating way, and immediately, perhaps out of a sense of injustice, demanded an investigation into the circumstances of his dismissal and that the Minister of Finance be prosecuted!

I do not know Mr. Al-Ateeqi, and I have no contact with him, and I will not take a position to support or oppose him especially as the competent authorities are investigating the matter, but I am concerned by the reputation of the State and the reputation of its senior officials, especially after what the former Attorney General, Mr. Dirar Al-Asousi was exposed to, of unexpected behavior in the procedures for the termination of his services.

The damage caused by the misbehavior with Mr Al-Ateeqi was bad by any measure, as the reputation of the Kuwait Investment Office in London, which has operated for eight decades in silence away from scandal, has been affected by a scandal that can be described as ethical. The tongues and pens of high profile journalists and commentators have afflicted the reputation of the prestigious office, its officials, the way it is run and Kuwait’s financial reputation.

It was better for the officials to summon the man in silence and end his services in a decent way, while honoring him, if he deserved it, or holding him accountable afterwards, if necessary.

The KIA made a serious mistake in the way it handled the dismissal of the managing director of State Investments in London, and the finance minister, the political party involved in the decision, which is most affected by the issue, committed a mistake because it damaged the reputation of the office and the reputation of state investments in very difficult circumstances in the global financial markets.

The whole case wasn’t worth all the drama and the legal ramifications of the minister’s decision and the upcoming KIA. It wasn’t worth all that expensive and exhausting struggle, that both sides would enter the halls of the courts, all to the detriment of the state’s reputation and the soundness of its investments.

The KIA, as reported by the prestigious Financial Times newspaper, lives these days in a state of chaos, due to the absence of a decision-maker, and the fear that the fate of any senior manager of the KIA will be the same as that of the head of the office.


By Ahmad Alsarraf

F1 drivers navigate wet testing ahead of qualifying Sat, 30 Jul 2022 12:47:27 +0000

Getting the right players is most important, not the speed at which players arrive: Newcastle chief

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has admitted he had a dose of transfer frustration just seven days before Newcastle United head into the Premier League battle.

The Magpies recorded an impressive 1-0 win over Serie A side Atalanta at St. James’ Park on Friday night thanks to a Chris Wood penalty.

And while Howe was pleased with what he has seen from his current crop, he revealed he had hoped for better news on a frontline rookie before now.

“I probably wouldn’t have expected to be in this situation, but it’s the transfer window,” Howe said.

“As I have said many times, there is no certainty about anything. You want to do business early, but my time in leadership has taught me that rarely happens and that we need to be adaptable.

“The most important thing is that we get the right players, not the speed at which we integrate them.

“We are working hard behind the scenes to try to make that happen.”

Howe continued: “I think there is a slight frustration but not aimed at anyone on our side. It’s just an understanding of the window and the mechanics that come into play for transfers to occur.

“There is a frustration that you want to build your team and make the cohesive nature work quickly.

“We hope we can do something, but I think we showed tonight that we have strength in depth.”

Howe used the last weekend of the summer to split his United squad into two groups – and ensured all but one of those players had 90 minutes under their belt.

Kieran Trippier captained the team as Nick Pope made his home debut and fellow summer catch Sven Botman, along with Callum Wilson, Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin, were absent. It all starts against Bilbao on Tyneside on Saturday afternoon.

United got off to a good start against their Italian foes with young chief architect Elliot Anderson, but had Pope to thank for keeping the level up, as he made a strong reaction to deny Luis Muriel.

Unlike pre-season in 2021, Newcastle look fit and sharp, implementing some new high press brought by Howe this summer.

And that high press, again led by Anderson and Miguel Almiron, began to gain possession high up the field.

It was the youngster, invented the Geordie Maradona by former Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton, who created the opportunity for New Zealander Wood to score from the spot.

A short corner from Sean Longstaff allowed Anderson to create – his quick feet were far too quick for the visiting defense and he was brought down in the area. A smart move from a player who looks set to have a chance to make his mark in the Premier League this season.

Wood, who struggled for goals last season, made no mistakes from the spot, sending Marco Sportiello down the wrong way for 1-0.

After the break, the creator nearly turned goalscorer as Anderson produced a trick turn from Cruyff at the edge of the area before cracking a left-footed one to the bottom corner, only for a tense Sportiello to deny.

The visitors threw fresh legs galore in the second 45 and it started to be said as their influence grew, but it was United who came closest to adding to their lead as Almiron had to again was denied by the impressive Sportiello as he went in search of goal seven of the summer.

While Almiron has looked good for United, the star of the show is surely Anderson, who has gone from Championship door to Premier League shoutout this season.

And while the focus is on transfers, the lad from the banks of the Tyne – Whitley Bay to be precise – could well save Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund a pretty penny this summer, if his performances are continuing.

That doesn’t stop Howe from wanting more, though.

And one name heavily linked with United in recent days is Maxwell Cornet.

The Burnley striker, who can also play at left-back, has a $21.3m release clause in his contract with Burnley.

And while he could prove a slightly disappointing signing, particularly given United’s pursuit of Moussa Diaby, he would provide much-needed fresh legs in a department the Magpies are desperate to improve.

Asked about the player, Howe said: “A predictable answer from me, I won’t comment on other people’s players.”

And asked about the 25-year-old’s absence in Burnley’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town at John Smith’s Stadium, Howe added: “Not that I know of. It has nothing to do with us.

Newcastle United complete their pre-season campaign tomorrow against La Liga side Athletic Bilbao.

And in seven days, the Magpies take on newly-promoted Nottingham Forest in the first Premier League game of the season, again at St. James’ Park.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif hits out at Imran Khan despite delay in verdict on foreign funding case Thu, 28 Jul 2022 20:23:14 +0000

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

Photo: PTI


  • Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted: “NS [Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif’s brother] was sentenced for not receiving a salary, ‘Ladla’ is untouchable. Eight years later, the decision is still elusive.”
  • Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also urged the ECP to “immediately” announce the verdict in the foreign funding case
  • “PTI lawyers have resorted to delay tactics for eight years filing nine motions for injunction during the proceedings, but now the decision is already reserved,” Sanaullah tweeted.
Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday criticized the Pakistan Election Commission for taking too long to deliver its verdict in former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “foreign funding” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf case.

According to media reports, Sharif said it was a classic example of how “Ladla“(Imran) was protected.

FYR News reported that the Shehbaz Sharif government on Thursday asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to rule on the PTI “foreign funding” case which has been pending since 2014.

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In a tweet, the Pakistani Prime Minister said: “NS [Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif’s brother] was sentenced for not receiving a salary, ‘Ladla’ is untouchable. Eight years later, the decision is still elusive.”

In 2014, PTI founding member Akbar S Babar filed a complaint alleging that the party had received foreign funding. A verdict was reserved by the ECP on 21 June.

In addition, Khan filed nine writ petitions in the Islamabad High Court to end the foreign funding case and won 50 adjournments, he added.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also joined in the chorus. In a tweet, he urged ECP to “immediately” announce the verdict in the foreign funding case.

“PTI lawyers have resorted to delaying tactics for eight years by filing nine motions for an order during the course of the proceedings, but now the decision is already pending,” he wrote, stating that a delay additional is “incomprehensible”.

Shehbaz Sharif also called on Pakistan’s Election Commission to announce a long-delayed verdict in the “foreign funding” case against the PTI last week as well.

According DawnSharif claimed that the PTI leader had long enjoyed a pass despite his “repeated and brazen attacks on state institutions”, which have harmed the country.

“I urge the Election Commission of Pakistan to announce a long-delayed judgment on the PTI foreign funding case. For a long time, Imran Niazi has been given a pass despite his repeated and brazen attacks on state institutions. The impunity granted to him has harmed the country,” Shehbaz tweeted.

On April 14, Islamabad High Court Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani rejected a request to bar PTI’s Babar from accessing case files and a request to remove him from the foreign funding proceedings. .

During the hearing, the petitioner Babar’s financial expert, Arsalan Wardak, argued that it was an “established fact” that funds had been received from Britain. He also pointed out that no one was aware of the origin of Canada’s funding, reported Dawn newspaper.

“Funds have been received from Wootton Cricket Limited for which the registration number has been provided. A further $49,000 has been received from another UAE company,” he said, noting that the PTI did not deny receiving the funds.

Several details were also missing from the donor lists, according to the financial expert. “The PTI has received funds from 13 countries. There is no record of the 20 million rupees received at the PTI Chairman’s office,” he said.

Britain targets Russian officials in new round of sanctions Tue, 26 Jul 2022 12:11:06 +0000

KYIV (Reuters) – Russia targeted Ukraine’s Odessa and Mykolaiv regions in the Black Sea with airstrikes on Tuesday, hitting private buildings and port infrastructure along the country’s southern coast, the military said Ukrainian.
Kremlin forces used air-launched missiles in the attack, Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command said in a Facebook post.
In the Odessa region, a number of private buildings in coastal villages were hit and caught fire, according to the report. In the Mykolaiv region, port infrastructure has been targeted.
Hours after strikes resumed in the south, a Moscow-based official in the southern Kherson region said the Odessa and Mykolaiv regions would soon be “liberated” by Russian forces, as would the Kherson region further afield. ballast.
“The Kherson region and the city of Kherson have been liberated forever,” said Kirill Stremousov, quoted by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
The developments came as Ukraine appeared to be preparing a counter-offensive in the south.
Russia previously attacked the port of Odessa over the weekend. The British military said on Tuesday there was no indication that a Ukrainian warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles were at the site, as claimed by Moscow.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russia views Ukraine’s use of anti-ship missiles as “a key threat” limiting its Black Sea Fleet.
“This significantly undermined the overall invasion plan, as Russia cannot realistically attempt an amphibious assault to capture Odessa,” the military said. “Russia will continue to prioritize efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine’s anti-ship capability.”
He added that “Russia’s targeting processes are most likely regularly plagued by outdated intelligence, poor planning and a top-down approach to operations.”
Russian shelling over the past 24 hours has killed at least three civilians and injured eight others in Ukraine, the president’s office said Tuesday.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, where fighting has been concentrated in recent weeks, shelling has continued along the entire frontline, with the largest towns in the region, including Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Toretsk, being targeted by Russian forces. , according to a press release. .
Donetsk Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko accused Russian troops of using cluster munitions and reiterated his call for the evacuation of civilians.
“There is not a single safe place left, everything is bombed,” Kyrylenko said in televised remarks. “But there are still escape routes for the civilian population.”
The Institute for the Study of War, based in Washington, DC, reported that the Russians are using mercenaries from the shadowy Wagner Group to capture the Vuhledar power plant on the northern outskirts of the village of Novoluhanske.
But the Russian forces have made “limited gains” there, according to the Ukrainian general staff.
Russia’s main objective was to capture Bakhmut.
“Russian forces have made marginal gains south of Bakhmut but are unlikely to be able to effectively exploit these advances to take full control of Bakhmut itself,” the Institute for study of war.
Russian forces continued to launch strikes on civilian infrastructure in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city in the northeast, and the surrounding region.
Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said strikes on the city resumed at dawn on Tuesday, damaging a car dealership.
“The Russians deliberately target civilian infrastructure – hospitals, schools, cinemas,” Syniehubov told Ukrainian television. “Everything is being shot, even the queues for humanitarian aid, so we urge people to avoid mass gatherings.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Moscow wanted “the complete subjugation of Ukraine and its people”.
“We must be prepared that this war – which Russia is waging with absolute brutality and in a way no one else would – will last for months,” Baerbock said during a visit to Prague.

Mediterranean ships find 5 dead and rescue more than 1,100 migrants Sun, 24 Jul 2022 20:44:19 +0000

Why the Chicago mayor’s crime-fighting strategy is costing Muslim and Arab businesses

CHICAGO: As Chicago continues to be overwhelmed by gun violence and homicides, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration has begun to adopt a strategy ostensibly designed to make the American city a safer place.

However, Muslim and Arab-owned businesses say they are paying the price – and no one is reaping the rewards.

In June 2021, Lightfoot launched a task force that Arab-Muslim American business owners said specifically targeted their stores, operating overnight across the city in areas where crime was at its peak.

Between June and September 2021, the task force shut down more than 150 small businesses owned by Arab and Muslim Americans, according to the Arab American Chamber of Commerce.

Arab and Muslim business owners hold a press conference to complain that the task force set up to reduce crime is targeting them. (Ray Hanania for Arab News)

The aggrieved store owners ultimately took action through the AACC, bringing the task force’s actions to public attention at a press conference on September 8, 2021.

The press conference was backed by the man who plans to challenge Lightfoot for his job next year: Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez.

About 25 store owners attended, all but one preferring to remain anonymous, fearing reprisals from the city.

“We had received many complaints from businesses saying that they were closed by the city for no real reason. The model only appeared in August when more and more stores started complaining,” AACC chairman Hassan Nijem told Arab News.

“We protested to the city, but only a few aldermen listened and responded, such as alderman Raymond Lopez. But it was like nobody wanted to acknowledge our problem.

“We were an easy target for the mayor to use to make it look like she was doing something about gang violence when she wasn’t.”

A closure notice on a store window posted by Chicago police. (Ray Hanania for Arab News)

Lopez and several aldermen, including former Illinois State Representative Silvana Tabares and candidate for Illinois’ 3rd congressional district Gilbert Villegas, tried unsuccessfully to get the Chicago City Council to hold a public hearing on the closures carried out by the task force.

Lopez said targeting Arab- and Muslim-owned stores was “ineffective in reducing crime” and “morally wrong.”

He added: “Where and why are we focusing on this group? Is it because we think they won’t get up? Is it because we have prejudices that we don’t want to admit? Or are we afraid to really tackle the real magnets of violence in our neighborhoods? »

Nijem said, “The mayor reopened all stores the day after a press conference was held to highlight this targeting.” He added that the TV, radio and newspaper coverage made it “impossible to ignore”.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot denies targeting Arabs and Muslims. (.Getty Images via AFP)

Lightfoot’s administration has denied that the stores were targeted by race or religion, although the AACC says every closed store was owned by Arabs or Muslims.

She declined to meet with the AACC or the store owners, and said the allegations of racism were “untrue” and the stores engaged in code violations.

Shop owners said they were working with local police to tackle crime – reporting incidents when they happened near or around their shops – and cooperating fully to help find the perpetrators.

They added that in the past, when accused of code violations, they had time to correct them rather than being shut down immediately.

“Every day I come to work, I’m always scared that this task force… will attack our gas station and shut us down without notice,” Chicago gas station owner Saad Malley told Arab. News.


161 – Targeted Arab-Muslim stores since June 2021.

1,500 – Jobs lost due to closures.

$5 million – Taxes lost due to closures.

65% – Increase in shootings in Chicago 2019-2021.

In May 2022, the closures started again, but this time on a smaller scale. On May 2, surveillance cameras at a Citgo gas and grocery store on Chicago’s West Side, owned by Yemeni-American Ahmad Mohsin, recorded footage of a teenage sprinter brandishing an automatic rifle AK- 47 illegal.

The teenager ran in front of the store towards Chicago Avenue at 9:30 a.m. and shot a man who was waiting for public transport.

The victim was on the sidewalk in front of Mohsin’s store and was looking at his cell phone. He died instantly, falling on the edge of Mohsin’s gas station property. The suspect fled and was never identified or captured by police.

Yemeni store owner Ahmad Mohsin with AACC officials Hassan Nijem and Maher Al-Khatab after Mohsin’s store closed. (Ray Hanania for Arab News)

“We immediately called the police, as we always do when there is crime around our store, and when they arrived they asked us to close our store while they investigated,” Mohsin told Arab News.

“We did it with pleasure because we always help the Chicago police to help the neighborhood where we work.”

The next day, the police told him that the business he had owned for 20 years would remain closed indefinitely.

“We assume that we are held responsible for the violence that began on the city’s public streets and spread to our activities,” Mohsin said.

He called the AACC, who quickly held a press conference at the gas station on May 5. Other traders participated, as well as several media.

Ten days later, the task force allowed Mohsin to reopen, but only after agreeing to close late at night.

He was also ordered to hire an additional security team recommended by Lightfoot administration. The city suggested three companies that ranged in cost from $22,000 to $30,000 per month.

The city responded to the news conference, saying the Mohsin gas station had received notices for 18 code violations.

In reality, these opinions had been issued over a period of 20 years, the last having been given in 2021.

Lightfoot said Mohsin reported hundreds of crimes at the store location. He agreed, but explained that he was simply doing his civic duty as a member of the community by alerting the police.

Nijem said: “None of the violent crimes that have happened near or around the stores targeted by the city over the past year have anything to do with the store or the store owners themselves. .

“The city only said it was investigating cigarette sales or code violations, which do not require store closure and have nothing to do with violence.

“Violent crimes are crimes that took place in the community where the store was located and had nothing to do with the store owners or the store employees or the stores other than taking place nearby.”

Nijem said the city has never closed non-Arab or non-Muslim stores when crimes occur nearby.

He estimated that Arabs and Muslims own and operate less than 5% of all small retail stores in the city of nearly 3 million people. “Instead of fighting crime, they are fighting Arab and Muslim businesses,” Nijem said.

He added that when a store like a gas station is closed, taxes collected from sales are lost to the city, county and state, and those losses range from $10,000 to $20,000 per month. Additionally, Nijem said, employees are losing their jobs.

Villegas promised he and other aldermen would fight to end the discriminatory closures. “The issues arise when you have a (city) strike force… you don’t know how it works, and what really is due process for these business owners who are affected? We want to put in place a process for due process,” he said.

How South Americans with Middle Eastern roots are transforming Arabic cuisine Fri, 22 Jul 2022 18:05:27 +0000

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: In a region where the first Arab immigrants arrived in the 19th century and where around 18 million people have Middle Eastern roots, Arabic cuisine has become an integral part of the local cuisine of several Latin American countries . A new generation of Arabs on the continent are now seeking to expand the concepts and possibilities of their culinary traditions.

In Brazil, where researchers estimate that at least 10 million people are of Syrian or Lebanese descent, the kibbeh and sfiha have become so popular that many people have forgotten their Levantine origins. “Sfiha was mainly brought to Brazil by Armenians from Aleppo,” Lebanese-born chef Georges Barakat told Arab News.

When he arrived in the city of Sao Paulo in 2004, he realized that Brazilians were very interested in Arabic cuisine. Since he opened his restaurant Shahiya in 2012, he has been reinventing Lebanese dishes by giving them contemporary attributes without losing their roots.

“As with any other cuisine, Arabic cuisine can be transformed, but always keeping its essence,” he said.

“I try to provide my customers with nostalgic recipes that remind them of the food they used to eat with their grandmothers, but with a modern twist.”

Georges Barakat’s Lebanese-inspired cuisine. (Provided)

Both in Shahiya, located in an upscale neighborhood of Sao Paulo, and in his work as a culinary consultant at the Mount Lebanon Club – one of the most traditional institutions of the city’s Lebanese community – Barakat offers a high level culinary presentation and a sumptuous atmosphere.

His experiments include grape leaf rolls stuffed with Portuguese cod, a fusion of the traditional Lebanese dish with a filling popular in Brazil. “I want to appeal to different tastes. No one will lose anything with this effort,” he said.

Brazilians have turned sfiha into their own dish and are now making sausage and even chocolate versions of it. In Mexico, the historical presence of Arab immigrants has also generated a curious synthesis with the local cuisine. The most notorious example is the Arabic taco, a fusion between the Arabic shawarma and the Mexican taco.

It was a creation of Assyro-Chaldean immigrants who settled in the city of Puebla in the early 1920s.

Left: the Shahiya mijadra; right: the kibbeh nayeh of Shahiya. (Provided)

“My grandfather and his brother realized it was not easy to find pita bread, so they started using tortillas,” said Zacarias Galiana, the heir to Tacos Baghdad – the pioneering restaurant in the production of Arab tacos – to Arab News.

“They also replaced yogurt with chipotle sauce, and the favorite meat became pork.”

Galiana, who makes the chipotle sauce created by her grandfather, also serves a more Arabian version of the taco, using a more pita-like tortilla and traditional shawarma toppings such as yogurt and onions. “We are totally connected, and fusion cuisine is a natural consequence,” he said.

In Chile, where at least 600,000 Palestinians form their largest community outside the Middle East, the new generation seems eager to innovate.

Jad Alarja, a 33-year-old Palestinian-born chef in the capital Santiago, is a culinary instructor on the online platform and teaches viewers how to prepare traditional Arabic dishes. He’s not afraid to experiment with new flavors and textures.

Syrian refugee Haneen Nasser and her husband, Argentinian of Lebanese origin Besim Assad. They cook and sell Arabic food in Santa Rosa, La Pampa province, using the trade name Arabian. (Provided)

“New generations are ready for new culinary experiences, but we Arabs tend to be stuck with the same old ways of doing things,” he told Arab News. Alarja’s classes were shared on social media by the Palestinian community in Chile. Sometimes it gets negative feedback.

“I once learned how I make tabbouleh and someone said, ‘I come from a five-generation family of cooks, and that’s not the way to make tabbouleh.'” he says.

“Why do people prefer to compete to see who makes things in a more traditional way instead of creating new things?”

Alarja said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Arab Chileans have started cooking and selling food, which could help expand the reach of Arab cuisine in the country.

The expansion of Arab food in Latin America is also the result of the influx of Syrian refugees, who have been arriving in the region for 10 years due to humanitarian visas distributed by countries such as Brazil and Argentina.

Arabs in Latin America strive to preserve the traditional cuisines of their homeland, but sometimes, as in the case of the Arabic taco, fusion creates new culinary phenomena. (Provided)

Some of them opened restaurants and served the food they used to prepare in Syria, which can sometimes surprise Latin Americans accustomed to specific Arab cuisine.

Haneen Nasser, a 30-year-old Syrian who arrived in Argentina six years ago, married a Lebanese Argentinian and settled in Santa Rosa, a small town in the province of La Pampa.

There they started cooking in 2018 and quickly surprised their customers. “The city doesn’t have a big Lebanese community like Buenos Aires and Cordoba, but people have their own ideas about Arabic cuisine. Sometimes we impact them,” she told Arab News.

This was the case of the mint and cheese sfiha, a traditional dish from his hometown of Latakia but hitherto unknown in Argentina.

Zayas Galeana Antar, an Assyrian-Chaldean immigrant in Puebla, Mexico, in the 1930s, in front of the Taquería Baghdad. (Provided)

“Even my Lebanese mother-in-law didn’t know. Now it’s a hit, especially among vegetarians and children,” Nasser said.

A graduate in English Studies, she never cooked professionally in Syria but fell in love with the idea in Argentina. At one point, she asks her mother and aunt in Syria for help with some recipes.

“We are now opening a small restaurant with the idea of ​​not only serving food, but also introducing our culture to people,” Nasser said. “This is our life project for the future.

Barakat said, “Many Arab chefs go to Europe for training and end up becoming chefs of foreign cuisine. I am the opposite: I want to be an ambassador of Lebanese – and Arabic – cuisine all over the world.

2 charged in migrant tug case that left 53 dead Thu, 21 Jul 2022 01:53:25 +0000

LONDON: The World Health Organization has urged health systems to consider the needs of refugees and migrants to protect and promote their health.

He also called on health workers to be more aware of refugees and migrants within the framework of the principle of health for all and for the benefit of host communities.

According to WHO’s first report on the health of refugees and migrants, millions of refugees and migrants in vulnerable situations have worse health outcomes than their host communities, especially where conditions life and work are poor.

He said refugees and migrants were not inherently less healthy than host populations. It was the impact of various suboptimal determinants of health, such as education, income, housing and access to services, compounded by language, cultural, legal and other barriers that were responsible for the poor health outcomes.

He highlighted data and information gaps regarding the health of refugees and migrants.

There were about 1 billion migrants in the world, or about one in eight people. The experience of migration is a key determinant of health and well-being, and refugees and migrants remain among the most vulnerable and neglected members of many societies, said WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom.

“This report is the first to offer a comprehensive review of the health of refugees and migrants; it calls for urgent and collective action to ensure that they have access to health services adapted to their needs. It also illustrates the urgent need to address the root causes of ill health and radically reorient health systems to respond to an increasingly changing world.

WHO Deputy Director-General Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab said more needed to be done for the health of refugees and migrants.

“But if we are to change the status quo, we need urgent investments to improve the quality, relevance and completeness of health data on refugees and migrants,” she added. “We need strong data collection and monitoring systems that truly represent the diversity of the global population and the lived experience of refugees and migrants around the world and that can guide more effective policies and interventions.