Arab Funds – Wagdy Ghoneim Sat, 12 Jun 2021 01:31:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arab Funds – Wagdy Ghoneim 32 32 China urges US, Russia to cut nuclear, move forward on Iran talks Sat, 12 Jun 2021 00:18:46 +0000

The seven-year-old LemonAid Boys of East London have captured the imagination of the public with their fundraising campaigns for Yemen and Palestine

LONDON: Two seven-year-old boys have singlehandedly managed to uplift the world of philanthropy and giving as they aim to raise “a quadrillion pounds for every country” they support.
Best friends Ayaan Moosa and Mikaeel Ishaaq, from Ilford in east London, set up their homemade lemonade stand to raise £ 500 ($ 700) for the humanitarian crisis and famine in Yemen and, to their surprise, managed to raise £ 140,000, earning them international recognition in such a short period of time their campaign went viral.
We didn’t expect it, but we hoped it would, they told Arab News.
The fundraising initiative in Yemen caught the attention of award-winning actress and human rights activist Angelina Jolie, who was trying to draw media and international attention to Yemen’s plight.

Angelina Jolie donated very generously to the booth and sent gifts to the boys to give them more publicity. (Twitter / @ LemonAidboys)

“She (Jolie) saw the interview they gave on the BBC (website). She had tried to publicize Yemen and she is obviously considered a top celebrity, but she had a hard time getting such a sad story to speak, ”said Ayaan’s father, Shakil Moosa.
“Not many people wanted to cover it, even given its high profile. She saw the story and she thought, how can two seven year old boys get so much international attention to the famine and crisis unfolding in Yemen, how can they do it?
“She was amazing. She’s been a great inspiration and a great support in the things they’re up to … and when she’s in London next time we’re going to try and get her to come meet the boys and have a drink of lemonade, “said Moosa.
Jolie donated very generously to the booth and sent gifts to the boys to give them more publicity. On the back of that, the boys have won big accolades. They were nominated for a Gold Blue Peter Badge, the highest honor bestowed for outstanding achievement by the BBC’s children’s program, by British rapper Stormzy. Subsequently, they won the Rotary Great Britain and Ireland Young Citizen Awards for their humanitarian causes because they raised a lot of money.

Stormzy sent them a recorded message saying that at their age he didn’t make lemonade stands and inspire people the way they did. “I would like to nominate you for a Peter Blue Gold badge, you are a pair of little legends, wear it with pride because you deserve it,” he said.
They have also received support from some of their favorite footballers, including Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United and David Luiz of Arsenal.
During the Muslim month of Ramadan, the boys raised £ 25,000 for the Rohingya by selling lemonade and with international donations through their JustGiving page.
“We squeezed the lemons, then we made the lemonade with our special ingredients, then we stayed outside, then we got the money, we gave it to the bank, then the bank paid into our charity. “the boys said. .

Why the lemonade? “Because we think everyone loves lemonade, and we love lemonade too,” they said.
While still raising funds for Yemen and the Rohingya, Ayaan and Mikaeel have also turned their attention to the Palestinian cause, following an 11-day war that rocked the Gaza Strip last month.
“People in Palestine are injured and they have no more water, food and homes, because their homes are being bombed and we wanted to help them,” Ayaan said.
Mikaeel said the Palestinian issue was important to him “because people are injured and people are dying and their homes are being bombed and people are just breaking their houses down and robbing them”, referring to Sheikh Jarrah’s neighborhood. in Jerusalem where dozens of Palestinians are threatened with eviction from their homes by Israeli forces.
The boys also participated in Palestinian protests in central London organized by the British NGO Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA).

Best friends Ayaan Moosa and Mikaeel Ishaaq set up their homemade lemonade stand and managed to raise £ 140,000 for Yemen. (Provided)

“We walked five kilometers but it was really hard because our legs were really hurting,” Ayaan said, but the boys added that they would do it again.
The FOA, which focuses on defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred mosque of Al-Aqsa, held a protest on May 15 and a larger one on May 22, in which until 200,000 people marched past Downing Street in solidarity with the Palestinians. people, calling for sanctions against Israel.
Dubbed the LemonAid Boys, they have now embarked on a partnership with FOA and are expected to do a live interview with Anglo-Iraqi rapper Lowkey, who is a vocal activist on Palestinian issues.

Shamiul Joarder, of FOA, said they had seen a clear shift in the demographics of those supporting the Palestinian cause, including “young and vibrant protest groups” from their mid-to-late teens to early 1900s. mid-twenties, as well as young families with their children.
Joarder was introduced to the great job the boys do when they participate in the protest.
“We thought it was really cool, they obviously have a profile ready, they’re so young and they already care about justice, so it made sense for us to reach out and see if they wanted to do more. on Palestine and raise awareness, because we planned to do something for the students.
“We are having an Instagram interview between the boys and Lowkey and the idea was to keep it very simple and informal, but inside of that getting some basic information for young people – the bombs have stopped falling in Gaza, does that mean everything is ok now? This obviously helps develop the occupation and the fact that it’s 73 years of occupation and colonization still going on, and we should always care about justice, so that opened things up with such a dynamic young duo. involved, ”Joarder said.

The sky is the limit for boys and every milestone they reach is just one more checkbox than the initial goal of £ 500. However, they seek to diversify to strengthen their cause. They are in talks with a drink maker and have published a children’s book, all of the proceeds of which will be donated to charity.
“I don’t think they can do anything that makes me more proud. They help humanity, and they have this empathy and humility in them of wanting to help others. As parents, we help facilitate that, we help give them the platform and help them do it, but it’s their own calculation, it’s the bosses, ”Moosa said.
“They’re just two normal seven-year-old boys, they love what they do and they didn’t get carried away. They just want to continually help people and I’m extremely, extremely, extremely proud of both of them, ”he added.

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United Arab Emirates and Israel sign double taxation treaty Fri, 11 Jun 2021 05:40:37 +0000

On May 31, 2021, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel signed a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA). According to the Israeli Ministry of Finance, TNT encourages the development of business between countries after the normalization of relations in 2020.

Based on the model tax convention of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (TCM of the OECD), the main objective of the DTA is to avoid situations of double taxation. Since the UAE currently does not levy any corporate taxes (except from oil and gas companies and foreign bank branches) or withholding taxes, DTT will be primarily effective for inbound Israeli investments. . We understand that the applicable withholding tax rates under the DTA will be as follows:

  • Dividends: 0% – 15% (Israeli national standard rate 25%);
  • Interest: 0% – 10% (Israeli national rate 23%); and
  • Royalties: 12% (Israeli national rate of 23%).

As is the case with most OECD MTC-based DTTVs, access to UAE / Israel DTT and the application of reduced withholding taxes will depend on aspects such as: (i) tax residence, (ii) the identity of the recipient of the income, and (iii) beneficial ownership. As the content of DTT is currently not known to the public, no details are available on aspects such as the attribution of taxing rights in the case of (i) a permanent establishment and (ii ) capital gains, among others. DTT still has to be ratified by the two countries later this year and it is expected to come into force on January 1, 2022.

Government officials said that DTT will significantly promote investment and trade that will help the economies of both countries. For companies operating internationally, the new CDI means that cross-border investments and activities can benefit from favorable tax treatment. Considering the substantial investment potential of UAE sovereign wealth funds, corporate conglomerates and family offices, UAE / Israel DTT is sure to give a strong boost to inbound Israeli investments in sectors such as high tech, agriculture / food security, security, among others. With over 130 DTT and over 90 bilateral investment treaties (providing investor protection) with other jurisdictions, the UAE has created an unprecedented holding platform for internationally active companies. , combining a well-established and easy-to-set up business infrastructure with a highly efficient tax system. This could be of great benefit to Israeli companies looking for a reliable and efficient hub to centralize their assets and investments abroad.

Once the content of DTT is made public, we will report on the full scope and benefits available under it.

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Food Aid Rises in Yemen, But Funding Crisis Persists | The powerful 790 KFGO Thu, 10 Jun 2021 14:39:29 +0000

By Lisa Barrington

DUBAI (Reuters) – More food arrives to needy Yemenis after donors heeded United Nations warnings of impending famine, but aid groups said the world’s largest humanitarian operation had failed still not enough money to see 2021.

The World Food Program has announced that it will resume monthly distributions this month to around 6 million people in areas with the highest rates of food insecurity.

In April 2020, WFP cut bi-monthly food aid in half in areas of Yemen controlled by the Houthi movement after donors cut funding, in part due to concerns about the obstruction of the Houthi movement. ‘help.

More funds have started flowing since April after UN officials said Yemen could experience the world’s worst famine in decades as violence escalated in the six-year war amid the pandemic of COVID-19.

“WFP needs $ 1.9 billion in 2021. Donors have so far increased by about $ 937 million,” said WFP Yemen spokesperson Annabel Symington.

Yemen has food reserves, but the deep economic crisis and restrictions on fuel and food imports have pushed prices out of reach for many.

WFP feeds more than 12 million Yemenis, about 80% of them in areas held by the Houthis, who ousted the internationally recognized government from power in the capital Sana’a in late 2014.

Yemen’s 2021 humanitarian response plan, worth $ 3.85 billion, is only 43 percent funded.

“It’s not enough to get through the rest of the year,” said David Gressly, United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

“We have made a major intensification effort, particularly on the side of food aid and malnutrition… It must be supported or the gains we are currently seeing will be totally lost.

The ramp-up was made possible thanks to injections from a new private foundation. The UAE has resumed aid to Yemen through the 2021 Famine Prevention Foundation. Saudi Arabia – which leads a coalition fighting the Houthis – has placed part of its donation through it, the United Arab Emirates said. humanitarian sources.

This money only runs until the end of August and other humanitarian aid remains underfunded.

Programs for internally displaced people are funded at around 5% for 2021 and health programs at around 10%, UNOCHA said.

“Famine is a multidimensional phenomenon… you also have to think about protection, health care, water,” said a humanitarian source.

(Written by Lisa Barrington; edited by Angus MacSwan)

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A letter to Jerusalem on areas of common interest Wed, 09 Jun 2021 16:35:34 +0000

Editor’s Note: This is a letter that retired Sarasota lawyer Harold Halpern, a board member of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Lawyers, wrote to a friend in Israel.

Dear Stu, It’s time to share my thoughts on a new government, which may soon be in place unless there is a last-minute defection of one or more former supporters who are under intense pressure from the Premier. Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to return to the fold.

This latest election, like the last three elections, was all about Netanyahu, not problems. He was opposed not only by the left and center parties but also by two former supporters: Naftali Bennett, leader of Yamina, and Gideon Saar, leader of New Hope, both right-wing parties. The disparate parties were united in the desire to end Netanyahu’s 12-year rule.

Make no mistake, opponents of Netanyahu have acknowledged that he presides over a strong economy, resisted attacks on Israel’s policies and its existential right to exist, obtained the Abrahamic agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, all Muslim countries, and keep the country safe from terrorism. However, the change group argued that any success for Netanyahu pales in the face of his personal failures as a corrupt leader and divisive under criminal charges.

The new government coalition, once approved by the Knesset, will be made up of eight political parties, including two right-wing nationalist parties, two center parties, a secular nationalist party, two left-wing parties and an Arab-Israeli Islamic party. They have 61 members in the Knesset and Netanyahu supporters have 59 members.

While there are significant differences between coalition programs, there are also areas of common interest. With a majority with one vote, unity and compromise will be necessary to avoid a collapse. His first compromise was to appoint Bennett, with only six members from Yamina, as prime minister for the first two years, followed by Yair Lapid, leader of Yesh Atid, a center party with 17 members, the largest bloc in the coalition. . This compromise enabled the parties to reach an agreement on government ministers and the broad lines of governance.

The new government will face many challenges, including security, the West Bank, the budget, Arab-Israeli relations and age-old religious tensions. On some of these issues there is no significant difference, but others will require careful balancing to avoid a fall of the government.

Here is my take on these issues.

All parties agree on the security policy. Israel will take all necessary measures to protect itself from all threats, whatever the source, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and everyone else. Unlike security, there are substantial differences about the West Bank. The left and the center want to maintain a two-state solution and oppose the increase in settlements and annexation. On the other hand, Bennett, Saar and Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beteinu, reject the creation of a Palestinian state and support the continued colonization and annexation of part of the West Bank. However, Bennett understands that annexation is not feasible now.

The tension will likely be resolved by maintaining the status quo. Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli relations have been strained. However, a new chapter may have started. In Israel’s 73-year history, it was taboo for an Israeli Arab party to be part of the governing coalition. Now, for the first time, an Israeli Arab party, Ra’am, winner of four seats, led by Mansour Abbas, will be part of the government. It couldn’t have happened at a better time; right after the physical attacks by extreme Israeli Jews and extreme Israeli Arabs on each other during the Gaza war.

The majority of all Israelis, Arabs and Jews alike, hope that this decision will encourage the process of integrating Jews and Arab Israelis into society. Arab Israeli citizens, 20% of the population, have equal legal rights but have not had distributive equality. The coalition agreement addresses this issue by providing a significant amount of new funds for Arab Israeli economic development, infrastructure and the fight against organized crime and pledges to recognize the legality of three Bedouin villages in the Negev.

Bennett called Abbas “brave”. Ra’am’s cooperative commitment is a natural consequence of the Abrahamic accords, which established mutual acceptance and cooperation between Muslim nations and Israel. May these new relationships encourage an end to acts of violence between the extreme elements of Israeli society, both Arab and Jewish.

Stu, the new government will face a long-simmering question about the role of religion and the state, religious freedom and pluralism. The ultra-Orthodox represent 12% of the Jewish population. However, its rabbinate maintained a monopoly on religious practice. Ultra-Orthodox receive a disproportionate share of their school budgets and family support from their students, including those who have the special privilege of being exempt from military service until the age of 35. The majority of Israelis do not appreciate the rabbinate and special privileges.

Until this last election, the votes of ultra-Orthodox parties in the Knesset were needed to form a government. This allowed them to retain their special privileges. The new government is the first in a long time not to depend on the votes of the two ultra-Orthodox parties. Lieberman, who will be finance minister, is a strong supporter of religious pluralism. His power of the stock market can bring some change.

Stu, that’s it from here. There are other issues, including relations with the American administration and with the American Jewish community. More on that later.

Harold Halpern is a retired lawyer residing at Lakewood Ranch. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and the West Coast section of the American Jewish Committee.

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Bangladeshi expats line up for COVID-19 grant Tue, 08 Jun 2021 22:00:23 +0000

BERNE: How vaccines can be distributed equitably to the world’s population has upset world leaders and international agencies since the first vaccines against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were made available at the end of the year. last year.

The issue was high on the agenda of the recent General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO), and G7 heads of state are sure to give it more thought when they meet. will meet this weekend.

Until a sufficiently large proportion of the world’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19, the pandemic cannot be considered over.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, recently urged countries to commit to vaccinating at least 10 percent of their population by September and 30 percent by the end of the year.

The intensification of the global immunization campaign could benefit economies at all levels. The International Monetary Fund recently predicted that a successful immunization program, funded to the tune of $ 50 billion, could add up to $ 9 trillion to the global economy by 2025.

It is with this in mind that world leaders view the provision of vaccines to the developing world not only as a humanitarian imperative, but also as an economic necessity.

There are also the practicalities of such a gigantic business to consider.

According to Our World in Data, a research tool compiled by analysts at the University of Oxford’s Global Change Data Lab, 63% of Israelis, 60% of Britons and 52% of Americans received at least one dose of one. COVID-19 vaccine. to June 6.

In contrast, in the world’s emerging economies, only 23% of Brazilians and 13% of Indians had their first jab, while the average across Africa was less than 2%.

Until a sufficiently large proportion of the world’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19, the pandemic cannot be considered over. (AFP / File Photo)

Likewise, while most countries in the developed world have ordered enough doses to immunize their entire population multiple times, only 0.4% of vaccines have been given in low-income countries, according to the WHO.

The question now is how to remedy this shocking imbalance.

One option is COVAX, an initiative designed over a year ago to address the issue of equitable vaccine distribution to low-income countries. It is led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership with the WHO.

World leaders have made many commitments to help developing countries immunize their populations. On May 21, Italy chaired a world health summit that culminated in the Rome Declaration, setting out guiding principles for equitable distribution of vaccines.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged $ 1.2 billion to the effort, while China has said it will donate $ 3 billion over the next three years. France has offered 500 million euros ($ 608 million) to the G20’s COVID-19 Tool Access Accelerator (ACT) and 30 million doses, while the United States has pledged to share its doses surplus with the poorest countries.

On June 2, Japan and Gavi hosted a joint virtual summit, which raised $ 2.4 billion to support immunization efforts in low-income countries. Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Sweden and Spain have also allocated 54 million of their excess doses for shipping to poorer countries.


* 250 million – Additional doses needed to immunize 10% of the population of each country by September, 30% by the end of the year.

Although well intentioned, all of these efforts have failed. Gavi has so far shipped over 77 million doses to 127 countries. Compare that with the more than 2 billion doses the US and EU ordered in March – for a combined population of just under 800 million.

No wonder how these vaccines are shared has come under such scrutiny.

India and South Africa have proposed patent waivers for COVID-19 vaccines so they can be produced more affordably and where they are needed most.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the administration of US President Joe Biden would support such a dialogue on waiving patent rights through the World Trade Organization (WTO). With the United States long a staunch supporter of intellectual property rights, this about-face came as a surprise.

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Sharing vaccines, strengthening the WHO and adopting a pandemic treaty were among the proposals from world leaders on May 24, 2021 on how to stop the Covid-19 pandemic and prevent future ones. health disasters. (AFP / File Photo)

Pharmaceutical companies, including those in Europe and Japan, are not in favor of the idea, although the EU has expressed an interest, as has China. The proposal also has the backing of WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former World Bank Vice President, Nigerian Minister of Finance and outgoing Gavi Chairman.

Nonetheless, the path to the WTO would not be quick or easy, as any resolution would require unanimous approval. Moreover, such a resolution would run counter to the agreement on the commercial aspects of intellectual property rights.

This week, the WTO will discuss an alternative EU proposal, which contemplates a compulsory licensing process involving a (minimal) fee.

Patent waivers for vaccines raise all kinds of questions, including whether there can be intellectual property for an international public good or whether the inventor of an international public good deserves compensation. The EU license proposal is a similar cause for concern with regard to intellectual property rights.

These are not just moral questions; it is an economic issue, which could influence the willingness of the private sector to help shape solutions to global problems well beyond the scope of the current pandemic.

As world powers debate the intricacies of capitalism, the search for a better framework for vaccine distribution continues. Vaccine production has increased dramatically, with 250 million doses shipped last week.

Men wait to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Dubai on February 8, 2021. The United Arab Emirates has one of the best vaccination rates per capita in the world, just behind Israel. (AFP / File Photo)

A Bloomberg report says an additional 6 billion doses are expected to be distributed by the end of the year. Pfizer has provided the poorest countries with 1 billion doses in 2022. Moderna and other vaccine makers have made similar commitments.

This shows that the pharmaceutical industry is aware of the challenges for global public health as well as for their economic models.

However, the success of a global immunization campaign will depend on factors other than intellectual property rights, the condition of local governance and infrastructure being just two of them.

There is also a geopolitical dimension. China and Russia may well support India and South Africa in their quest to get COVID-19 vaccine patents lifted because Moscow and Beijing have used their own vaccines to bolster their geopolitical influence, in particular in the poorest countries, by exerting control over their country private sectors.

In the United States, the Biden administration’s willingness to engage in the patent debate plays well with the left wing of the Democratic Party. However, significant lobbying efforts are expected from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to avoid such a derogation.

In market economies, incentives take the form of compensation, which determines the behavior of firms and investors. Companies that lack investment do not have the capital to fund research, unless it is a national imperative. This is particularly pronounced in the defense industry.

The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year has been largely driven and funded by private companies and capital. Much will depend on the outcome of the discussions at the WTO, as they may well determine the viability of the pharmaceutical industry as a private company and shape the future of public-private partnerships.


  • Cornelia Meyer is a PhD economist with 30 years of experience in investment banking and industry. She is President and CEO of the business consultancy firm Meyer Resources. Twitter: @MeyerResources

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Why cutting aid to Hamas is insufficient Tue, 08 Jun 2021 14:40:15 +0000

Hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid are pouring in from around the world to rebuild Gaza after the recent war between Israel and more than a dozen Palestinian terrorist groups. But rebuilding territory controlled by Hamas, a terrorist group designated by the United States, is complicated. US laws impose conditions on the flow of funds. But it is not that simple. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the United Nations agency responsible for delivering aid to Palestinians, does not consider violent extremist groups in Gaza to be terrorist organizations. Not even Hamas.

Despite this, donor countries promise to prevent aid from going to terrorists. It should be noted that many of these donor countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have also designated Hamas entities under their anti-terrorism laws. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States would “work with partners to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from these reconstruction efforts.” UNRWA is one of these partners. It is currently expected to receive $ 150 million in US taxpayer funds this year. Unless the State Department makes UNRWA funding conditional on the agency’s compliance with US terrorist designations, US taxpayer funds could go to any of the fifteen Palestinian terrorist groups that launched rockets without discrimination against Israel during the recent war.

Indeed, Hamas is not the only one concerned. At least three groups that the United States officially considers terrorist entities participated in Hamas’s campaign against Israel: Palestinian Islamic Jihad (JIP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), according to Joe Truzman of FDD Long War Diary.

UNRWA procurement contracts suggest that funds are already disbursed to PFLP affiliates. As recently as March, UNRWA was funding the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), a Gaza-based entity with close ties to the PFLP. Earlier this month, Israel tasked several staff from the UHWC partner organization with funneling funds to the PFLP. Like Hamas, the PFLP receives financial support from Iran. The “political and military wings” of the PFLP have received financial and logistical support from Iran since at least 2013, according to a Palestinian journalist based in Gaza. Iran’s financial support for Hamas and the PFLP is well documented in the official Iranian government media.

During the eleven days of the recent conflict, the military wing of the PFLP broadcast videos of its uniformed fighters throwing projectiles at Israel, posted obituaries for its fighters, and claimed credit for Arab Israelis wounding IDF soldiers in inside Israel. Despite conclusive evidence that the PFLP receives funds from Iran to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel, UNRWA continues to send funds from US taxpayers to the UHWC, an entity of the PFLP.

On May 18, the PFLP posted a photo of a destroyed Palestinian building on social media and called on UNRWA to take care of the building’s former residents. In a May 25 Arabic-language Telegram article, the PFLP rebuked the UNRWA chief for admitting that Israel was carrying out military strikes with “precision” and “sophistication.” The outcry from the PFLP and other Palestinian terrorist groups prompted UNRWA Gaza director Matthias Schmale to change his initial statement. Palestinian factions later declared Schmale to be persona non-grata in Gaza. These episodes provide insight into the power dynamics in Gaza. As long as Palestinian terrorist groups rule Gaza, UNRWA will continue to operate at their request.

While Washington is now ready to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, Congress must condition US aid to ensure it does not go to terrorist entities. UNRWA is unlikely to adopt aggressive policies in this regard. But Congress can take concrete steps to ensure that UNRWA does not become an intermediary for terrorist financing. The State Department should warn that it will stop and recover US funding if UNRWA does not follow the letter and spirit of US laws to prevent terrorist financing.

Given that UNRWA sent more than $ 4.8 million to the PFLP-linked UHWC, Congress may already be justified in opening an investigation. To date, UNRWA is only subject to a semi-annual audit conducted by the representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Board of Auditors. Congress shouldn’t have to depend on China to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funding is spent appropriately.

Congress should also address another major UNRWA failure: the agency’s schools teach violence and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Future US assistance to UNRWA should be conditioned so that textbooks used in UNRWA schools do not include anti-Semitic, incitement or extremist content.

In the coming months, the State Department will work with Israel and Egypt to identify mechanisms to prevent Hamas from filling its coffers. But until UNRWA takes concrete action to prevent funds from going to Palestinian militant groups who participated in the recent war, there is a loophole. The need for humanitarian aid in Gaza is real. It is time for Congress to ensure that aid does not go to Palestinian terrorist groups, holding both the State Department and the United Nations to account.

Julia Schulman is senior director of special projects at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington, DC-based non-partisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.

Image: Reuters

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Are we coming out of the pit? – ARAB HOURS Mon, 07 Jun 2021 19:09:57 +0000

IIf we looked back in time, looking at Singapore in 1965 from a small plane, we only found a piece of land measuring barely 600 km2 including muddy swamps infested with mosquitoes, poor people of origins, colors. and of different races, from non-religious Chinese to Hindus and Malay Muslims living on this land.

After a little over half a century, we look out the window of another plane to find that the size of the island has increased a little to over 700 km2, and the swamps have turned into a town. modern, advanced and very clean. State with unparalleled health, justice and education system, strong economy and highest individual income in the world, thanks to a magic wand used in a unique way called ‘education’ and zero corruption.

Despite the poverty of the small country because it did not have a single drop of oil, nor a gram of minerals, nor natural resources, nothing other than a strong will, integrity and a will to create a new state out of “nowhere” and almost in a few years, according to the trusted “Davos Index”, Singapore has held the world’s number one spot for many years, followed by developed Western countries and light years away from the top levels. education of the Arab world.

Singapore founder prominent lawyer Lee Kuan Yew believed that it was not important for our children to bequeath huge industrial, trading and investment companies, but rather to arm them with knowledge so that they could manage and maintain these companies and factories, and their expansion and progress would continue, and this could not be achieved without bequeathing them a good education.

Many children have inherited the wealth and businesses of their families, but most of them have failed, for those who founded them did not give their children a distinguished and serious education, and so these enterprises are collapsed over time.

The same has happened with most of the countries in the region, which have made huge fortunes from oil extraction, but they have not given the utmost importance to education. As soon as oil revenues declined, everyone discovered the weakness of our human potential, the low skill level of our children, and our apparent inability to create alternative sources of income.

This is the reverse of what happened with a country like Norway for example, which became an oil-producing country a quarter of a century after Kuwait, and the idea of ​​withholding part of the oil was withdrawn from it. Its oil revenues are in investment funds, and also a quarter of a century after us, and today the difference between us and Norway is clear, and all thanks to the attention it has paid to the education and integrity, which we haven’t done.

For example, we have spent over three billion dollars on our fellow citizens for their “treatment abroad” in less than two years. Money was siphoned from the pockets of some and as bill payments to Western hospitals and no one was held accountable for what was spent, often to gain the loyalty of MPs.

As soon as the treatment budget ran out, these MPs turned their backs on the government, and voted against it in every decision, suggestion and opinion.

It was not surprising to see the fierce attack I was subjected to after my last interview with Al-Arabiya Channel when I described high school graduates who got high rates thanks to absurd online tests. and were sent on this basis to complete their university studies abroad. , that some are not able to work even as a building janitor.

Whoever attacked me knows that neither he nor his son deserves the honor of a scholarship, and their anger can be justified by 1%, for the extraordinary conditions of the crown, but these and others are incomes again, including bearded MPs claiming “fear of God” asking the government to cancel paper exams for high school students this year and hold them online.

We did not fall into the abyss of ignorance, but we did not come out of it.


By Ahmad alsarraf

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Hate preachers in UK to be treated as ‘priority threat’ amid concerns over resurgence of extremism Sun, 06 Jun 2021 13:42:07 +0000

LONDON: Some of the world’s poorest countries, including Yemen and Afghanistan, could face devastating food shortages as well as the closure of health and education facilities due to planned cuts in the UK United in foreign aid spending, charities have warned.

Ahead of a potential vote in the House of Commons on Monday that will decide the fate of aid changes, including a spending cut from 0.7% of national income to 0.5%, a coalition of leading charities such that Oxfam and ActionAid UK warned in a letter that the cuts could have a “devastating” effect on Britain’s international credibility.

Last year, the top five recipients of British foreign aid were Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Nigeria.

Save the Children, WWF UK and Cafod also signed the letter, which included more than 1,700 academics, charities and business leaders, warning that aid cuts have already led to the closure of food centers and health clinics in poor countries.

Water sanitation and health training programs have also been affected, charities said.

“While other G7 countries have increased their aid budgets, the UK is the only one to back away from its commitments,” the letter added, warning that cuts planned amid the pandemic would represent a ” double whammy for the world’s poorest communities. “

A senior UN diplomat also warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the proposal to cut foreign aid “tarnishes confidence in Britain’s reliability at a crucial time.”

Mark Lowcock, former permanent secretary at the Department for International Development, added that Johnson’s oversight of the policy change revealed “a failure of kindness and empathy.”

He told The Observer newspaper: “At this moment, I am particularly alarmed by a famine which is now affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Ethiopia, the biggest famine problem the world has seen in 10 years. Last year, the UK reported to the UN for providing $ 108 million in humanitarian aid to Ethiopia. This year, they’ve made $ 6 million so far.

He added, “It’s very corrosive to trust, trust and your reputation, as well as your relationships with people who matter to your own interests and prosperity. All other countries face the same economic problems. But no one else in the G7 reacts that way.

Opposition groups and figures demand an immediate reversal of the planned cuts.

Some former Conservative senior ministers have also criticized the proposal.

Former Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “The Prime Minister’s personal aid priority is girls’ education. But girls’ education has been cut by 25 percent, while UNICEF, the United Nations children’s fund, has suffered a 60 percent cut. It just doesn’t make sense. You only have one chance in childhood.

Caroline Nokes, former immigration minister, said: “UK aid cuts are only 1% of what the Chancellor is borrowing this year. But they mean funding for the UN’s reproductive health program has been cut by 85 percent.

“The UN says this aid would have prevented an estimated 250,000 maternal and child deaths. It is literally a matter of life and death, ”she added.

The Church of England has also warned that the cuts could have immediate consequences for war-torn Yemen.

Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, said: “Has anyone defended the cuts in Yemen? Defending girls’ education is empty talk when action denies honest intention. It is a shameful denial of a promise, a denial of compassionate justice and a hasty recourse. “

The charity coalition said there was “no justifiable economic need” for the cuts, which the government says will save nearly £ 4bn ($ 5.66bn) per year.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a proponent of the aid changes, said: “The decisions the government has made on this are very reasonable. We are facing a unique economic disruption in 300 years.

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Hamas’ Bitcoin windfall: how Gaza group circumvents sanctionsNews Sun, 06 Jun 2021 09:29:00 +0000

The latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas may have dealt a military blow to the terrorist organization in Gaza, but it led to what one activist described as a “spike” in donations to the military wing of the Gaza Strip. group, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Hamas has seen an increase in digital donations in the form of cryptocurrencies, according to the report, citing official and online data from Hamas. Using digital coins like bitcoin to receive funds from abroad allows the blacklisted group to bypass sanctions.

“There has definitely been a spike” in cryptocurrency donations, said a Hamas official who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on condition of anonymity. “Some of the money is used for military purposes to defend the fundamental rights of Palestinians,” they added.

According to the report, two websites linked to Hamas’s military wing, the Ezz-Al Din Al-Qassam Brigades, saw their traffic from the Arab world increase during the 10 days of fighting last month. and the website and Telegram channel linked to have carried out what can be called a sort of donation campaign.


“In the Arabic, English and Hebrew editions,… features an animated video soliciting bitcoin donations that gives potential donors tips on how to conduct the transaction anonymously while avoiding regulators. The al-Qassam Brigades video tutorial advises potential donors to use public computers and software to hide their location and cryptocurrency platforms based in the British Virgin Islands and Seychelles.

Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. Others, including Britain, have only outlawed al-Qassam brigades. Such a designation means that in the United States, for example, it is illegal to provide money or training, with financial companies controlling the linked funds being required to report them to authorities.

The Hamas official who spoke to the Wall Street Journal declined to say how much money the group raised in digital currency, but said cryptocurrencies were a growing part of their overall income. . The report notes that approximately $ 1 million in digital currencies linked to Hamas was seized last year by US authorities.

The increase in donations shows how Hamas has turned to cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions. “Our fundraising strategies continue to evolve as more and more restrictions are placed on us,” the Hamas official told the Financial Daily.

Reuters reported in 2019 how Hamas was adopting increasingly complex mechanisms to be able to receive digital coins despite legal restrictions placed on them. While their first digital donation campaign saw the cryptocurrency deposited into a single digital wallet, by the end of 2019 Hamas had created a new system that generated a new wallet for each donation.

A man talks on his cell phone as he walks past a cryptocurrency exchange store in Istanbul, Turkey, April 27, 2021.


This makes it harder for companies around the world to keep tabs on the group’s cryptocurrency funding, said researchers who worked with Reuters. Only one digital wallet can be flagged to cryptocurrency exchanges, which in theory allows them to block funds from passing through their systems to that destination.

At the time, a similar two-minute video on the al-Qassam Brigades website featured step-by-step instructions in Arabic on how supporters can bypass the traditional financial system and donate cryptocurrency. “How to support the Palestinian resistance via Bitcoin? he asks.

With neat graphics and English subtitles, it explains how to send bitcoin directly, through a bureau de change, or through a cryptocurrency exchange. “Use a public device so that the wallet is not tied to your IP address,” he says.

Regulators and law enforcement have long been concerned about the potential of digital currency – relatively anonymous and readily available online – to finance terrorism. Cryptocurrency regulations vary from country to country.

In the United States, federal investigators recently said that a proposal to register Bitcoin accounts would be particularly useful in identifying drug dealers, human traffickers and terrorists. Last month, the US Department of Justice created a government group to fight ransomware attacks by breaking the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions, used by hackers and criminals.

However, many exchanges, which perform the critical operation of transforming cryptocurrency into dollars or other widely accepted currencies, are in countries beyond the reach of US regulators.

Reuters contributed to this report

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Group video calls and animated backgrounds appeared in Telegram Beta Sat, 05 Jun 2021 11:29:20 +0000

A new beta version of Telegram Messenger for Android with number 7.8.0 was released yesterday. It has received innovations such as animated backgrounds for chats, support for group video calls, and a number of other features that will migrate to the stable version of the app for the foreseeable future.

Voice chat participants can now start streaming video from their device’s camera or screen. For this feature to be available, the #vid tag must be added to the voice chat name. Unfortunately, it is not yet necessary to talk about the full functioning of the function – the other participants in the conversation do not see the video stream.

The update also brought a degraded chat background to Telegram that changes when messages are sent. Other updates include an animation when sending stickers, moving the search button to the chat header in the Favorites section, and a list of active voice chats appearing in the Calls section of the application side menu.

Telegram will go public in two years, if rumors are true

Messenger Telegram plans to conduct an IPO (share issue and IPO) within the next two years. Some reports write about it with reference to a source close to Telegram. We have confirmation of the information from many sources familiar with the plans of the company.

Now the platform is preparing for an IPO: it performs checks and selects a stock exchange for further placement of shares. The company is considering only two options. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HK) and the Nasdaq. The first option is possible because almost half of Messenger users live in Asia; and in the future this figure could exceed 50%.

In addition, according to one of the sources, Pavel Durov has not yet chosen the format to enter the market. Presumably, he can refuse the IPO in favor of two other options – direct listing (direct public offering) or through a SPAC company (raising funds with certain debt securities from qualified investors) .

Presumably, when placing shares, the company can be valued at $ 30-50 billion. Experts say the price will depend on the number of active monthly users, each valued at $ 50. In early January, the company announced that it had crossed the 500 million mark; and will rise to one billion at the time of the IPO.

Previously, Telegram had raised over $ 1 billion in investments by selling bonds. The cost of each title was $ 1,000. The buyers were Arab funds Mubadala and Abu Dhabi CP.

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