Inter Press ServiceMiddle East & North Africa – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:32:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 “The Situation in Jerusalem Is a Textbook Case of Multi-Faceted and Cross-Cutting Violations of Human Rights” Idriss Jazairyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/situation-jerusalem-textbook-case-multi-faceted-cross-cutting-violations-human-rights-idriss-jazairy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=situation-jerusalem-textbook-case-multi-faceted-cross-cutting-violations-human-rights-idriss-jazairy http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/situation-jerusalem-textbook-case-multi-faceted-cross-cutting-violations-human-rights-idriss-jazairy/#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:57:54 +0000 Geneva Centre http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153943 During a speech at the Al-Azhar conference in Cairo on the situation in Jerusalem, the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Ambassador Idriss Jazairy appealed to the international community, and in particular the Arabic and Muslim community, “to join forces and act in concert in order to halt […]

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By Geneva Centre
GENEVA, Jan 19 2018 (Geneva Centre)

During a speech at the Al-Azhar conference in Cairo on the situation in Jerusalem, the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Ambassador Idriss Jazairy appealed to the international community, and in particular the Arabic and Muslim community, “to join forces and act in concert in order to halt the violations of Palestinians’ human rights.

Jazairy said that the international community has a “moral duty” to protect and to uphold the human rights of the Palestinian people in the wake of the decision of the US to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “Al Quds is a textbook case of multi-faceted and cross-cutting violations of human rights,” he said.

In his speech Jazairy stated that the official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has negative consequences on the Palestinians’ enjoyment of their right to self-determination.

This current situation depriving the Palestinian residents of Al Quds /Jerusalem in violation of the freedom to decide their own destiny” noting that “blatantly violates the right to self-determination.

The situation has the potential to further escalate. He added that the daily human rights violations of the Palestinian people and to accelerate the judaization of Jerusalem despite the fact that the three Abrahamic religions should have the same standing in the Holy City. “It may lead, inter alia, to the further expansion of settlements and systematic demolitions of homes in East Jerusalem, as well as to further restrictions on the Palestinians’ freedom of movement across the city,” stated Jazairy.

The official endorsement of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem by the U.S. will most likely be conducive to the perpetration of heightened discriminatory policies by Israel against the Palestinian population.

The decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is another warning of an alarming situation that cannot be ignored,” concluded Ambassador Jazairy in his intervention.

The two-day international conference on Jerusalem – held under the auspices of the President of Arab Republic of Egypt H. E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – was organized in Egypt’s capital Cairo. It gathered a number of international figures including: President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb and the Chief of the Arab Parliament Meshaal bin Fahm al-Salmi.

Religious and political representatives of more than 86 countries were present at this landmark conference that was sponsored by Al-Azhar, the highest institution of Sunni Islamic authority.

During his visit to Cairo, Jazairy was received for a private audience by Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar with whom he exchanged views on the progress of the preparation of the Geneva Centre-initiated world conference scheduled to be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 18 June 2018 on the theme of: “Religions, Creeds and/or Other Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights” to which the Grand Imam has been invited.

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Groups Condemn U.S. Cuts to Palestinian Refugee Agencyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/groups-condemn-u-s-cuts-palestinian-refugee-agency/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=groups-condemn-u-s-cuts-palestinian-refugee-agency http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/groups-condemn-u-s-cuts-palestinian-refugee-agency/#comments Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:04:16 +0000 Tharanga Yakupitiyage http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153938 International organizations have criticized the United States’ decision to cut more than half of planned funding to a UN agency serving Palestinian refugees. This week, the U.S. administration announced that it is withholding 65 million dollars from a planned 125-million-dollar aid package for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). UNRWA serves […]

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Displaced children in a UN-run school in the Shujaiyeh neighbourhood of Gaza.Credit: Khaled Alashqar/IPS

By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 19 2018 (IPS)

International organizations have criticized the United States’ decision to cut more than half of planned funding to a UN agency serving Palestinian refugees.

This week, the U.S. administration announced that it is withholding 65 million dollars from a planned 125-million-dollar aid package for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

UNRWA serves over 5 million refugees with education, healthcare, social services, and emergency assistance in the Middle Eastern region.

As the U.S. was the agency’s biggest donor, contributing over 350 million dollars in 2017, UNRWA is now facing its biggest financial crisis.

“At stake is the dignity and human security of millions of Palestine refugees in need of emergency food assistance and other support…at stake is the access of refugees to primary healthcare including pre-natal care and other life-saving services. At stake are the rights and dignity of an entire community,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.

“The reduced contribution also impacts regional security at a time when the Middle East faces multiples risks and threats, notably that of further radicalization,” he added.

Former UN Undersecretary General and current Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland noted that the funding cut will have devastating consequences for vulnerable Palestinian refugee children who depend on the agency for their education.

“It will also deny their parents a social safety net that helps them to survive, and undermine the UN agency’s ability to respond in the event of another flare-up in the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict,” he said.

UNRWA provides education to over half of a million boys and girls in 700 schools and manages more than 9 million refugee patient visits at over 140 clinics.

Human Rights Watch’s Deputy UN Director Akshaya Kumar noted that many Palestinian refugees live in poverty, including the majority of those in Syria who require humanitarian assistance to survive.

“Unless other governments fill the gap soon, the U.S. cuts will jeopardize children’s schooling, vaccinations, and maternal health care for refugees,” she said.

Politics Over Humanitarianism?

The Trump administration said that the decision was made as a way to press for unspecified reforms in the agency.

Though the State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the move was not made to pressure Palestinians to enter negotiations, President Donald Trump suggested otherwise in a series of tweets just weeks before the decision.

“We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect…with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” he tweeted.

Kumar pointed out that UNRWA is an aid agency rather than a party to the peace process.

“The administration seems intent on holding them hostage—and ultimately punishing vulnerable Palestinian refugees—as an indirect way to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to join peace talks,” she said.

Head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) U.S. delegation Husam Zomlot echoed similar sentiments, stating that refugees’ access to basic humanitarian services is not a “bargaining chip, but a U.S. and international obligation.”

“Taking away food and education from vulnerable refugees does not bring a lasting and comprehensive peace and [the] rights of Palestinian refugees will not be compromised by a financial decision,” he said.

Egeland also tweeted that cutting aid is a “bad politicization of humanitarian aid.”

UNRWA has long been controversial since its establishment in 1949.

Though it has evolved into a quasi-government, the agency was first set up to temporarily assist those who fled or were forced from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

However, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continued, so did UNRWA’s existence.

The agency allows refugee status to be passed down from generation to generation and does not remove people from its list who have gained citizenship elsewhere, contributing to an ever expanding population and questions as to who qualifies as a refugee.

From the approximately 700,000 Palestinians who fled after the 1948 war, there are now over 5.2 million registered refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.

While UNRWA has been criticized for not working to resettle refugees, Israel has not granted refugees the right to return and other countries such as Lebanon have largely denied Palestinians citizenship and access to employment or land.

Even if the funding cut is meant to target Palestinian authorities, many note that vulnerable Palestinian refugees will bear the brunt of the impact as they will be left in a renewed state of limbo.

UNRWA has since launched a global fundraising campaign to try to close its funding gap before it is forced to cut safety-net services.

Donors have begun to step up including the Government of Belgium which pledged 23 million dollars to UNRWA soon after the move was announced.

“For a lot of Palestinian refugees the UNRWA is the last life buoy,” said Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

“Let us draw our strength from the Palestine refugees who teach us every day that giving up is not an option. UNRWA will not give up either,” Krahenbuhl said.

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OFID Director-General commits to Bangladesh, meets with Prime Ministerhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/ofid-director-general-commits-bangladesh-meets-prime-minister/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ofid-director-general-commits-bangladesh-meets-prime-minister http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/ofid-director-general-commits-bangladesh-meets-prime-minister/#respond Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:56:53 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153924 The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Suleiman J Al-Herbish, has concluded a mission to Bangladesh, the first high-level visit to South Asian country, and in addition to meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Al-Herbish signed two loan agreements to help bolster the country’s transportation sector. Al-Herbish also delivered an address to […]

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OFID Director-General commits to Bangladesh, meets with Prime Minister

By WAM
VIENNA, Austria, Jan 18 2018 (WAM)

The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Suleiman J Al-Herbish, has concluded a mission to Bangladesh, the first high-level visit to South Asian country, and in addition to meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Al-Herbish signed two loan agreements to help bolster the country’s transportation sector.

Al-Herbish also delivered an address to the Bangladesh Development Forum and met with government ministers and other high-level officials to discuss ongoing and future projects.

Al-Herbish outlined OFID’s pioneering Energy for the Poor initiative and the role the organisation played in drawing attention to the importance of energy access, helping to secure a standalone Sustainable Development Goal relating to affordable and clean energy in the 2030 Global Development Agenda.
During the meeting with Prime Minister Hasina, Al-Herbish spoke of OFID’s longstanding support for Bangladesh’s socio-economic development; a commitment that spans more than four decades. The lion’s share of OFID’s public sector approvals to the country, he explained, totaled over US$600 million and supported priority projects in the transportation and energy sectors, as well as projects with a multi-sectoral focus. The approvals are in line with OFID’s energy-water-food nexus approach to development, which considers transportation as a vital enabling sector.

Al-Herbish outlined OFID’s pioneering Energy for the Poor initiative and the role the organisation played in drawing attention to the importance of energy access, helping to secure a standalone Sustainable Development Goal relating to affordable and clean energy in the 2030 Global Development Agenda. He assured the Prime Minister of OFID’s ongoing commitment to Bangladesh and spoke of various pipeline projects.

Earlier, Al-Herbish, Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal A Muhith and the Secretary of Economic Relations Division Shofiqul Azam signed two US$30 million loan agreements for the Paira Bridge and SASEC Road Connectivity Projects.

OFID is an international development finance institution established by the member states of OPEC in 1976 as an international bank account. In 1980, Member States decided to turn the temporary fund into a permanent legal entity. The UAE became a member of the fund by virtue of Federal Decree No. 56 of 1976.

 

WAM/MOHD AAMIR/Esraa Ismail

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Solar energy powered desalination commercially viable: Masdarhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/solar-energy-powered-desalination-commercially-viable-masdar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=solar-energy-powered-desalination-commercially-viable-masdar http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/solar-energy-powered-desalination-commercially-viable-masdar/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:57:45 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153926 Masdar has announced the outcome from its Renewable Energy Desalination Pilot Programme in Ghantoot, showing that solar energy powered desalination is commercially viable in Abu Dhabi. Masdar commissioned five pilot projects during the programme to explore the feasibility of using renewable energy to power seawater desalination. The outcomes of the pilot projects, which revealed during […]

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Solar energy powered desalination commercially viable: Masdar

By WAM
ABU DHABI, Jan 17 2018 (WAM)

Masdar has announced the outcome from its Renewable Energy Desalination Pilot Programme in Ghantoot, showing that solar energy powered desalination is commercially viable in Abu Dhabi.

Masdar commissioned five pilot projects during the programme to explore the feasibility of using renewable energy to power seawater desalination.

The outcomes of the pilot projects, which revealed during the now-running Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, revealed that solar energy-driven seawater desalination using reverse osmosis technologies offers a commercially attractive, low-cost and sustainable long-term solution for seawater desalination in the Gulf.

The company revealed that energy efficiency improvements of up to 75 percent were achieved through the programme compared with existing technologies employed in the UAE.

WAM/Hatem Mohamed/Hassan Bashir

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Renewable energy and cooling technologies key to reduce water use in India’s Power Sectorhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/renewable-energy-and-cooling-technologies-key-to-reduce-water-use-in-indias-power-sector/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=renewable-energy-and-cooling-technologies-key-to-reduce-water-use-in-indias-power-sector http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/renewable-energy-and-cooling-technologies-key-to-reduce-water-use-in-indias-power-sector/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:21:28 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153928 A new policy brief co-authored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) finds that increasing the share of renewables, in particular solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind, in India’s power mix, and implementing changes in cooling technologies mandated for thermal power plants would not only lower carbon emissions intensity, but […]

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Renewable energy and cooling technologies key to reduce water use in India’s Power Sector

By WAM
ABU DHABI, Jan 16 2018 (WAM)

A new policy brief co-authored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) finds that increasing the share of renewables, in particular solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind, in India’s power mix, and implementing changes in cooling technologies mandated for thermal power plants would not only lower carbon emissions intensity, but also substantially reduce water withdrawal and consumption intensity of power generation.

"India has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy achieving record-level growth in deployment, rapid cost reductions and many socio-economic benefits of the energy transformation,"

Dr. Henning Wuester, IRENA Director of the Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre (KPFC)

The brief, Water Use in India’s Power Generation – Impact of Renewables and Improved Cooling Technologies to 2030, finds that depending on the future energy pathways (IRENA’s REmap 2030 and the Central Electricity Authority of India), a power sector (excluding hydroelectricity) transformation driven by solar PV and wind, coupled with improved cooling technologies in thermal and other renewable power plants, could yield as much as an 84 per cent decrease in water withdrawal intensity by 2030, lower annual water consumption intensity by 25 per cent and reduce carbon emissions intensity by 43%, compared to 2014 levels. It builds off of the findings of Parched Power: Water Demands, Risks, and Opportunities for India’s Power Sector, also launched today by WRI.

“India has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy achieving record-level growth in deployment, rapid cost reductions and many socio-economic benefits of the energy transformation,” said Dr. Henning Wuester, IRENA Director of the Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre (KPFC). “Scaling up the use of renewables, especially solar PV and wind, will yield further benefits, in particular long-term reductions in the dependency of the power sector on freshwater.”

More than four-fifths of India’s electricity is generated from coal, gas and nuclear power plants which rely significantly on freshwater for cooling purposes. Moreover, the power sector’s share in national water consumption is projected to grow from 1.4 to nine per cent between 2025 and 2050, placing further stress on water resources. Renewable energy, with the added potential to reduce both water demand and carbon emissions, must hence be at the core of India’s energy future.

“India’s move towards renewable energy is essential, especially as water stress puts increasing pressure on India’s thermal power plants,” said Dr O.P. Agarwal, CEO, WRI India. “Water risks to thermal power plants cannot be ignored when considering the cost of thermal energy. Renewables, especially solar PV and wind energy, present a win-win solution for both water and climate.”

The joint brief was launched at the World Future Energy Summit 2018 in Abu Dhabi.

WAM/Esraa Ismail

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Lawmakers discuss policies to accelerate global energy transformationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/lawmakers-discuss-policies-accelerate-global-energy-transformation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lawmakers-discuss-policies-accelerate-global-energy-transformation http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/lawmakers-discuss-policies-accelerate-global-energy-transformation/#respond Fri, 12 Jan 2018 15:03:51 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153853 Lawmakers from around the world gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss the policies needed to accelerate transformation of the global energy system, in a Legislators Forum organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and a Parliamentary Forum jointly organised by the United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council (FNC). Held the day before the opening […]

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By WAM
ABU DHABI, Jan 12 2018 (WAM)

Lawmakers from around the world gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss the policies needed to accelerate transformation of the global energy system, in a Legislators Forum organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and a Parliamentary Forum jointly organised by the United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council (FNC).

Held the day before the opening of the Eighth Assembly of IRENA, the 2018 IRENA Legislators Forum, “Renewable Energy – the Role of Legislators in Catalysing Action to Accelerate the Energy Transformation” is the third meeting of its kind hosted by the Agency and seeks to facilitate dialogue between legislators on the deployment of renewables and the critical challenges facing the global energy transformation. Participation in this year’s Forum doubled from last year’s, including attendees from 30 countries around the world.

“Legislators have a key role to play in enacting and overseeing the laws that govern the energy sector, and in widening the support for renewables through their respective constituents,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin during the opening of the Forum.

"The UAE unveiled an ambitious energy strategy with targets of 44% renewable energy, 38% gas, 12% clean coal, and 6% nuclear by 2050, while reducing the country’s carbon footprint from power generation by 70% and reducing residential energy consumption by 40%,"

Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment

“As the energy transformation gathers momentum, it increasingly brings with it important economic, social and environmental benefits to citizens and communities all over the world,” continued Mr. Amin. “Therefore it is crucial that as our energy system evolves, lawmakers’ remain engaged and informed advocates of a low-carbon energy future.”

In addition to covering areas of policy, legislation, and the tools necessary to support legislators, discussions at this year’s Forum focused on renewables deployment from the power sector to end-use sector, and on raising the level of ambition of renewable energy in Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

“Legislators play a significant role in supporting the advancement of renewable energy technologies and their faster deployment by contributing to the development of enabling policy frameworks, institutional capacities and encouraging public-private partnerships,” said Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, participating in the session.

“The UAE unveiled an ambitious energy strategy with targets of 44% renewable energy, 38% gas, 12% clean coal, and 6% nuclear by 2050, while reducing the country’s carbon footprint from power generation by 70% and reducing residential energy consumption by 40%,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi added.

“Energy transformation is a global priority and we see a strong commitment among many parliamentarians to contribute to it,” said Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary General Martin Chungong who delivered a keynote speech during the event. “We need to keep parliaments informed and make sure that they have the capacity to legislate and support efforts in this area.”

Lawmakers participating in the Forum took part in a Public-Private Dialogue, consisting of a roundtable discussion with members of the Business and Investors Group of the IRENA Coalition for Action, government representatives, and parliamentarians.

Yesterday, prior to the Legislators Forum, IRENA partnered with the FNC to convene a joint Parliamentary Forum on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthening the engagement with the private sector in this context.

During the Parliamentary Forum, special focus was given to the food-energy nexus, as an illustration of the interlinkages between energy access and other Sustainable Development Goals, and the latest trends and developments in bioenergy. Participants were also given a guided visit of the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System plant, in Masdar City.

The IRENA Legislators Forum takes place in the context of the eighth IRENA Assembly, which gathers global energy leaders from more than 150 countries. During the Assembly delegates will discuss IRENA’s strategic and programmatic direction to help countries accelerate deployment of renewable energy, and in doing so, meet climate goals, boost the economy, and increase energy access and security. Outcomes from today’s Legislators Forum will be reported to Assembly delegates.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker

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UAE ‘most visionary’ in future energy sector: Atlantic Council Presidenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/uae-visionary-future-energy-sector-atlantic-council-president/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-visionary-future-energy-sector-atlantic-council-president http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/uae-visionary-future-energy-sector-atlantic-council-president/#respond Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:52:40 +0000 Nour Salman http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153851 The reality is that the energy mix for the foreseeable future is going to consist of both fossil fuels and renewable energy forces, according to Frederick Kempe, President of the Atlantic Council. “Work in the energy market with a mix of both these energy forces is key to why we brought the Global Energy Forum […]

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By Nour Salman
ABU DHABI, Jan 12 2018 (WAM)

The reality is that the energy mix for the foreseeable future is going to consist of both fossil fuels and renewable energy forces, according to Frederick Kempe, President of the Atlantic Council. “Work in the energy market with a mix of both these energy forces is key to why we brought the Global Energy Forum to the UAE.”

Kempe’s remarks come ahead of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, with the Atlantic Council holding its second-annual Global Energy Forum in the capital this weekend. The two-day premier event, opening today, gathers international and regional industry leaders in Abu Dhabi to address the geopolitical, energy and sustainability challenges and opportunities of the future.

"We chose to base the forum here because, in some respects, the UAE is the ‘model’ of how to think about the energy mix while still having time to plan for it." The summit seeks to draw global attention to the UAE’s journey of progress in this field, "which in many ways embodies some of the smartest directions in dealing with the energy transition."

Frederick Kempe, President of the Atlantic Council

The forum is hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is convened in partnership with the UAE’s Ministry of Energy, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, and Mubadala Investment Company.

In an interview with Emirates News Agency, WAM, the Atlantic Council President explained that the most important contribution of the forum is looking at the geopolitics of the energy transformation. He said that the shift over time to renewables will greatly benefit nations, although there is a need to consider the challenges that could arise as a result of some nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, with possible political instability.

Having the summit in the UAE is key, Kempe explained, as the country is the “most visionary of the fossil fuel producing countries, and (is) thinking about renewables and planning for the future, and diversifying its economy.

“We chose to base the forum here because, in some respects, the UAE is the ‘model’ of how to think about the energy mix while still having time to plan for it.” The summit seeks to draw global attention to the UAE’s journey of progress in this field, “which in many ways embodies some of the smartest directions in dealing with the energy transition.”

The UAE Energy Plan 2050 aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 70%, increase clean energy use by 50% and improve energy efficiency by 40%. By 2050, the UAE aims to obtain 44% of its energy for local consumption from renewables, with gas accounting for 38%, clean fossil fuels for 12% and nuclear energy for 6%. At the moment, more than 90% of the UAE’s energy needs are met by natural gas.

Commenting on the UAE energy strategy and the role the country plays in the global renewable energy sector, Kempe said, “I’m not sure there’s another country in the world that’s a global leader in fossil fuel production and renewable energy.”

Addressing the potential for enhanced collaboration between the United States and GCC nations, the Atlantic Council president sees plenty of room for cooperation. “The big market for everybody is Asia,” he continued, adding that the main belief for a period of time was that the US would take less interest in the region because it’ll be extracting less energy resources from it. However, he said, “What we’ve learned is that the geopolitical interest in the region and the overall impact of the GCC on the world energy market ensures that the US will stay focused on this region for some time to come.”

Following on with the latest hike in oil prices in 2017, Kempe commented that the global markets are seeing a return of geopolitical risks, and that “as long as markets perceive these risks, you’ll see prices going up.” He went on to explain that if “these risks are not borne out of true crises, my guess is in another year, prices will come back down again,” adding that there is natural evolution towards renewables.

Female participation in the energy sector is integral to ensuring GCC countries’ innovation and economic prosperity, he added. Commenting on the fourth agenda topic of the forum, Kempe said, “What we’re learning more and more is that the countries that do best in the world are those that unlock half of their society, and the UAE has been ahead of the curve in unlocking the potential of women in society.”

“We are particularly moved by the centenary of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s birth. If you think about where the UAE was 100 years ago when he was born, and where it is now, it’s breathtaking,” Kempe concluded.

WAM/Hassan Bashir/Nour Salman/Rasha Abubaker

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Abu Dhabi to host eighth IRENA Assemblyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/abu-dhabi-host-eighth-irena-assembly/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=abu-dhabi-host-eighth-irena-assembly http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/abu-dhabi-host-eighth-irena-assembly/#respond Thu, 11 Jan 2018 15:05:12 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153854 More than 1,100 representatives of governments from 150 countries will meet in Abu Dhabi to attend the Eighth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, taking place on 13th -14th January, 2018. As the world’s principal platform for international cooperation on renewable energy, the assembly will provide strategic guidance to the work of the […]

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Abu Dhabi to host eighth IRENA Assembly

By WAM
ABU DHABI, Jan 11 2018 (IPS)

More than 1,100 representatives of governments from 150 countries will meet in Abu Dhabi to attend the Eighth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, taking place on 13th -14th January, 2018.

As the world’s principal platform for international cooperation on renewable energy, the assembly will provide strategic guidance to the work of the agency for the next four years and position it to play a key role in driving the global energy transformation.

Since 2013, more than US$1 trillion has been invested in renewables globally and today the industry accounts for nearly 10 million jobs worldwide. As countries, cities and corporates drive progress towards a low-carbon energy system, the assembly will take stock of progress in renewables deployment, and the decarbonisation of the electricity system as well as end-use sectors such as heating, cooling and transportation.
“As renewable energy costs decline, technology advances and deployment accelerates around the world, we are entering a new age of energy transformation, with renewable energy becoming a significant driver of economic growth, job creation, and socioeconomic development, while also addressing climate change and reducing air pollution,” IRENA’s Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin, said.

“At the IRENA Assembly, our global membership will set the direction of the agency in the coming years and chart a roadmap for the energy system of the future – a future that will be increasingly decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised,” he added.

Since 2013, more than US$1 trillion has been invested in renewables globally and today the industry accounts for nearly 10 million jobs worldwide. As countries, cities and corporates drive progress towards a low-carbon energy system, the assembly will take stock of progress in renewables deployment, and the decarbonisation of the electricity system as well as end-use sectors such as heating, cooling and transportation.

President of the Assembly, and Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining for Uruguay, Carolina Cosse, said, “Uruguay is honoured to preside over the eighth session of the Assembly of IRENA, an organisation that plays a central role in promoting renewable energy worldwide. Uruguay is proof that high shares of variable renewable energy can be successfully integrated into the energy mix.

“Just last year, 97 percent of our electricity was generated by renewables, out of which 35 percent came from wind, and over 60 percent of our primary mix is renewable – mainly based on the use of biofuels,” Minister Cosse said. “This year marks our fifth without the need to import power, as well as increasing our exports to neighbouring countries. Our next challenge is to move foward on electric transportation and I believe Uruguay is ready to be the next regional platform where this technology can be developed and implemented.”

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Esraa Ismail

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Hatta goes solarhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/hatta-goes-solar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hatta-goes-solar http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/hatta-goes-solar/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 11:27:48 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153739 The Hatta solar project has enabled building owners to install solar panels on their rooftops to generate electricity from solar power as part of the Shams Dubai initiative. Implemented by Etihad ESCO, it is the largest residential rooftop solar PV project in the region. The Hatta solar project consists of 640 solar powered villas, supporting […]

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By WAM
DUBAI, Jan 3 2018 (WAM)

The Hatta solar project has enabled building owners to install solar panels on their rooftops to generate electricity from solar power as part of the Shams Dubai initiative. Implemented by Etihad ESCO, it is the largest residential rooftop solar PV project in the region.

The Hatta solar project consists of 640 solar powered villas, supporting the Hatta Comprehensive Development Plan, launched by the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Several factors are driving solar's ever-increasing adoption, from improved technologies and falling installation costs to endorsement from government
Dubai Carbon has been commissioned by Etihad ESCO to procure, construct, operate and provide maintenance and installation of solar photovoltaic systems for 430 villas in Hatta. Dubai Carbon is replicating its innovative approach through Safaqat, an initiative that aims at enabling UAE home owners and tenants in their transition to solar energy, by offering financing schemes allowing residential solar hopefuls to stay cash flow positive throughout their solar energy journey.

“The grid-connected solar project in Hatta will provide energy savings to Hatta residents, as well as support the development of renewable energy in the region. Several factors are driving solar’s ever-increasing adoption, from improved technologies and falling installation costs to endorsement from government. Through Safaqat, we make it even easier and accessible for home owners and tenants to embrace solar energy,” said Ivano Iannelli, CEO of Dubai Carbon.

“Hatta’s first solar connection is an important milestone. We value the concrete steps taken towards the implementation of solar power in Hatta and extend our gratitude to Dubai Carbon for their continued efforts towards enhancing the use of solar energy in the region,” said Ali Al Jassim, CEO of Etihad ESCO.

With rooftop solar panels connected to the grid, any excess electricity produced is fed back into the grid, which can then be used when required. This will not only benefit villa owners in Hatta, but also improve energy demand management for adaptation to climate change and set a trend for home owners to go solar.

WAM/Rola Alghoul/MOHD AAMIR

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UN human rights chief urges Iranian authorities to defuse tensions, investigate protest deathshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/un-human-rights-chief-urges-iranian-authorities-defuse-tensions-investigate-protest-deaths/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=un-human-rights-chief-urges-iranian-authorities-defuse-tensions-investigate-protest-deaths http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/un-human-rights-chief-urges-iranian-authorities-defuse-tensions-investigate-protest-deaths/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 11:07:27 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153735 The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday urged the Iranian authorities “to handle the wave of protests that have taken place around the country with great care so as not to further inflame violence and unrest,” and to investigate all deaths and serious injuries that have occurred so far. […]

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By WAM
NEW YORK/GENEVA, Jan 3 2018 (WAM)

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday urged the Iranian authorities “to handle the wave of protests that have taken place around the country with great care so as not to further inflame violence and unrest,” and to investigate all deaths and serious injuries that have occurred so far.

"The Iranian authorities must respect the rights of all demonstrators and detainees, including their right to life, and guarantee their safety and security. There must be thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence that have taken place"
“I am deeply disturbed by reports that more than 20 people, including an 11-year-old boy, have died and hundreds have been arrested during the recent wave of protests in Iran,” Al Hussain said in a statement today.

“The Iranian authorities must respect the rights of all demonstrators and detainees, including their right to life, and guarantee their safety and security. There must be thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence that have taken place – and a concerted effort by the authorities to ensure that all security forces respond in a manner that is proportionate and strictly necessary, and fully in line with international law.”

The UN human rights chief stressed that Iranian citizens who take to the streets to express their discontent have a right to be heard, and that the issues they raise should be resolved through dialogue, with full respect for freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.

“It is incumbent on the authorities that their actions do not provoke a downward spiral of violence, as occurred in 2009,” he warned. “The authorities must take all steps to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The High Commissioner urged the authorities to release from detention any protestors who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, or penalised in any way, for expressing their views and protesting in a peaceful manner. “Peaceful protests must not be criminalised,” he said. “They are a legitimate part of the democratic process.”

[Image caption: High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. – UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré]

 

WAM/Hatem Mohamed/Hassan Bashir

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Arab Parliament affirms rights of Palestinians to establish independent countryhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/arab-parliament-affirms-rights-palestinians-establish-independent-country/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=arab-parliament-affirms-rights-palestinians-establish-independent-country http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/arab-parliament-affirms-rights-palestinians-establish-independent-country/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 11:15:54 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153737 Dr. Meshaal Al Salmi, Chairman of the Arab Parliament, has renewed the Arab Parliament’s firm commitment to supporting the rights of the Palestinian people to establishing their independent sovereign country, with Jerusalem as its capital, in line with international laws and resolutions. In his speech during the second meeting of the second session of the […]

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Arab Parliament affirms rights of Palestinians to establish independent country

By WAM
CAIRO, Dec 28 2017 (WAM)

Dr. Meshaal Al Salmi, Chairman of the Arab Parliament, has renewed the Arab Parliament’s firm commitment to supporting the rights of the Palestinian people to establishing their independent sovereign country, with Jerusalem as its capital, in line with international laws and resolutions.

In his speech during the second meeting of the second session of the Second Legislative Chapter of the Arab Parliament, which was held today, under the theme, “Jerusalem is the Eternal Capital of Palestine”, Al Salmi greeted, on behalf of the Arab people, the countries that stood with Arabs and Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly against the United States decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, and recognise the holy city as the capital of the Israeli occupation.

He affirmed the parliament’s support for countries fighting terrorism, doubling on the official and social capabilities of Arab countries to overcome their current challenges and to progress to a new stage of Arab co-operation and solidarity.

Al Salmi explained that facing these challenges requires pan-Arab co-operation, calling on the Arab media to commit to the “Arab Media Charter of Honour”, refrain from sowing seeds of disorder and spreading misinformation between Arab communities, and to exercise maximum caution while exchanging information, especially during this critical stage in the history of Arab nations.

 

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Hatem Mohamed

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US Faces Collective Defiance at UN Over Jerusalemhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/us-faces-collective-defiance-un-jerusalem/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=us-faces-collective-defiance-un-jerusalem http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/us-faces-collective-defiance-un-jerusalem/#respond Fri, 22 Dec 2017 18:45:22 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153682 When the UN General Assembly condemned the United States for its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the vote was described as a “collective defiance” of the international community against public threats against the United Nations and its member states by a politically unpredictable and predictably wavering US President. Turkish Foreign Minister […]

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UN voting -- electronic board. Credit: UN Photo

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 22 2017 (IPS)

When the UN General Assembly condemned the United States for its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the vote was described as a “collective defiance” of the international community against public threats against the United Nations and its member states by a politically unpredictable and predictably wavering US President.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking on behalf of a country that has been a longstanding American ally, declared that Donald Trump’s threat last week to cut off American aid to countries voting for the UN resolution, as an act of “bullying,” and the General Assembly “would not bow to such bullying”.

“It is unethical. The votes and dignity of member states are not for sale– and it was unacceptable for a member state to threaten other member states. A vote in favour of the Palestinian people would place Member States on the right side of history”, he noted.

Stewart Patrick, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, was quoted by the New York Times as saying: “I think this was a significantly self-inflicted wound and really unnecessary, clumsy diplomacy on the part of the United States.”

“More than that, I think it symbolizes the self-defeating notion that for the United States, ‘it’s my way or the highway,’” he said.

Regrettably, there is no love lost between Trump and the United Nations, which he once denounced as just another “social club” – a remark made more through sheer ignorance than a well-thought-out diplomatic pronouncement.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, went one step further by not only warning member states but also the United Nations itself. In an implicit threat on US funding for the UN, she said: “We will remember it (the voting against the US), when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution (22 percent of the regular budget) to the United Nations”.

The final tally on the vote was 128 in favour to 9 against (Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, United States), with 35 abstentions.

The non-binding General Assembly resolution, which expressed “deep regret” over recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem, also stressed that the future of the Holy City “is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant UN resolutions” – and, in a stinging rebuke to the US, declared “null and void” any actions intended to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition.

Adopted at an emergency special session of the General Assembly on Thursday, the resolution was a devastating attack against Trump’s recent unilateral decision to recognize the historically disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and a pledge to relocate the US embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv—the only country to do so.

The 128 member states supporting the resolution included four of the five permanent members of the Security Council: the UK, France, China and Russia. The fifth permanent member is the US.

Last week, speaking on the impending UN vote, Trump blustered he will not tolerate “all of these nations that take our money and then vote against us in the Security Council and at the General Assembly. They take hundreds of millions of dollars and then they vote against us. Well we’re watching those votes.”

But some of his threats, which is rare for a head of state, have proved to be empty. Trump threatened to hold up aid to Pakistan if it did not cooperate more on US counter-terrorism efforts and also warned he will withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) if it did not increase its joint military spending.

US economic and military aid to American allies such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, run into billions of dollars annually—but all of these countries voted for the resolution.

One of the strongest denunciations came from Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi of Pakistan who told delegates that the unilateral actions of one country were set to undo decades of work by the international community and to defy international law.

She said Pakistan rejected the decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate its embassy to the Holy City in contravention of several provisions of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

“Member States must recommit to thwarting any attempts to violate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the ultimate goal of a two State solution”.

Expressing her support for the Palestinian cause, she said it was a key pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy, recalling that her country had led and sponsored the Assembly’s first ever resolution on Jerusalem.

“In that regard, Pakistan was proud to join the international community once again in adopting a landmark draft resolution to reject the “revisionist” decision of the United States,” declared Dr Lodhi.

Riad al-Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Palestine, said while the State of Palestine respected the sovereignty of all States, it refused to have that principle used as an excuse to deny Palestinians their rights.

“We stand today united for justice,” he declared, stressing “the veto will not stop us”. The State of Palestine would not accept any justification — security, religious or otherwise — to excuse Israel’s continued occupation, he said. The United Nations was today undergoing an unprecedented test “with Palestine as its headline”.

The General Assembly resolution followed a failed attempt by the 15-member Security Council last week to adopt a similar text reflecting regret about “recent decisions regarding the status of Jerusalem.” But that resolution, despite a vote of 14 to 1, was vetoed by the United States, a permanent member of the Security Council.

Both the General Assembly and the Security Council votes have underlined the increasing isolation of the Trump administration—amongst its Western allies and at the United Nations.

The writer can be contacted at thalifdeen@aol.com

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MOCCAE launches e-Service regulating trade of endangered fauna and florahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/moccae-launches-e-service-regulating-trade-endangered-fauna-flora/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=moccae-launches-e-service-regulating-trade-endangered-fauna-flora http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/moccae-launches-e-service-regulating-trade-endangered-fauna-flora/#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 10:24:23 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153657 The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, has launched an electronic service on its website to regulate domestic and international trade in endangered and threatened animals and plants covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES. The country joined CITES under Federal Decree No. 86 of […]

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MOCCAE launches e-Service regulating trade of endangered fauna and flora

By WAM
DUBAI, Dec 20 2017 (WAM)

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, has launched an electronic service on its website to regulate domestic and international trade in endangered and threatened animals and plants covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES.

The country joined CITES under Federal Decree No. 86 of 1989 and issued Federal Law No. 11 of 2002 to enforce the application of the agreement.

In line with the UAE’s strategy to make all government services available in an electronic and smart format, the new two-track service allows customers to complete all relevant procedures through the website without visiting the customer service offices of the Ministry.

"Every member of the community is responsible for complying with the terms and conditions of CITES. Buyers should verify the availability of the required certificates when purchasing any of the animals or plants listed in the agreement, or their parts and derivatives"
The first track offers registration, licencing and issuance of passports for international trade in endangered animals and plants – covering import, export and re-export – in accordance with the terms of CITES. Meanwhile, the second track targets domestic trade by individuals and entities, including registration and ownership change.

Muna Omran Al Shamsi, Acting Director of the Biodiversity Department at MOCCAE, said, “The move aligns with the Ministry’s drive to increase customer satisfaction and happiness through transforming all its services into e-services and mobile applications. The main objective of the service is to monitor and regulate trade in endangered and threatened species in line with CITES to avoid random abandonment by owners causing a proliferation of stray animals that may pose a risk to public health and safety.”

“The e-service website contains information about CITES and the full list of endangered and threatened animals and plants with the aim of educating the public about species that are prohibited to acquire without registration,” she added.

Al Shamsi noted that the new service replaces the previous CITES website run by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, which handled the registration of falcons, issuance of passports, and procedures for import, export and re-export.

“Every member of the community is responsible for complying with the terms and conditions of CITES. Buyers should verify the availability of the required certificates when purchasing any of the animals or plants listed in the agreement, or their parts and derivatives. They also need to obtain the necessary import certificates, and register the sale and transfer of ownership. Establishments engaging in trade in endangered species should be registered with MOCCAE, and ensure that the animals or plants are free from any diseases with the assistance of the concerned authorities,” she explained.

Federal Law No. 11 of 2002 concerning regulating and controlling the international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora sets out penalties for the violation of its provisions, including imprisonment for up to six months and fines up to AED50,000, in addition to confiscation of the illegally traded or held specimens.

WAM/Nour Salman

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Saudi German Hospital provides treatment services for Rohingya refugeeshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/saudi-german-hospital-provides-treatment-services-rohingya-refugees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=saudi-german-hospital-provides-treatment-services-rohingya-refugees http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/saudi-german-hospital-provides-treatment-services-rohingya-refugees/#respond Tue, 19 Dec 2017 10:17:18 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153656 A medical team of doctors from the Saudi German Hospital in Dubai have volunteered in the Zayed Giving Convoy to alleviate the suffering of Rohingya refugees in the city of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, by providing diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive services. Dr. Reem Osman, CEO of the Saudi German Hospital, said, “The doctors presented a […]

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By WAM
DUBAI, Dec 19 2017 (WAM)

A medical team of doctors from the Saudi German Hospital in Dubai have volunteered in the Zayed Giving Convoy to alleviate the suffering of Rohingya refugees in the city of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, by providing diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive services.

The Saudi German Hospital is keen to provide the necessary support with its humanitarian medical partners to enable volunteer doctors to alleviate the suffering of thousands of refugees suffering from tragic conditions
Dr. Reem Osman, CEO of the Saudi German Hospital, said, “The doctors presented a distinctive example of charitable work and humanitarian acts via their volunteer work in the UAE field hospital and its mobile medical clinics, equipped with the latest medical equipment, which include a reception, emergency unit, laboratory and pharmacy.”

She added that the move comes in line with the 2017 Year of Giving as per the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to strengthen the role of UAE health institutions and its humanitarian mission in alleviating the suffering of the underprivileged, and improve its social responsibility towards disadvantage communities.

“We are working in coordination with the Zayed Giving Initiative and under the supervision of the Emirates Programme for Community and Specialised Volunteering. The Saudi German Hospital is keen to provide the necessary support with its humanitarian medical partners to enable volunteer doctors to alleviate the suffering of thousands of refugees suffering from tragic conditions, in light of the deteriorating health conditions, which threatens the spread of infectious diseases and epidemics, especially among children and the elderly,” Dr. Osman added.

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Nour Salman

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UAE reaffirms commitment to achieving SDGshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/uae-reaffirms-commitment-achieving-sdgs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-reaffirms-commitment-achieving-sdgs http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/uae-reaffirms-commitment-achieving-sdgs/#respond Sun, 17 Dec 2017 10:29:49 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153659 The UAE has reiterated its serious commitment to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, stressing the importance of reaching gender balance as part of its fulfilment of said goals. Addressing the World Family Summit 2017 in Geneva, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations and other International Organisations, […]

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UAE reaffirms commitment to achieving SDG's

By WAM
GENEVA, Dec 17 2017 (WAM)

The UAE has reiterated its serious commitment to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, stressing the importance of reaching gender balance as part of its fulfilment of said goals.

Addressing the World Family Summit 2017 in Geneva, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations and other International Organisations, said that gender equality and women’s empowerment is an essential element in the UAE’s national agenda and Vision 2021, which affirms that “the promotion of gender equality is an integral requirement of sustainable development and for fulfilling the UAE’s commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

He added that it is for this purpose that the country developed the Gender Balance Index 2017, which features three categories: Best Personality for Supporting Gender Balance, Best Federal Entity for Supporting Gender Balance, and the Best Initiative for Supporting Gender Balance.

“The policies of our leadership has transformed its commitments into actions, which is driving the country forward,” Al Zaabi explained.

Al Zaabi also spoke about the UAE’s sustainability efforts, which include building sustainable cities equipped with renewable energy using technology and adaptive architectural designs, pointing to Masdar City, the world’s first planned sustainable city.

In his speech, Al Zaabi also expressed his pride for naming H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, as the summit’s Guest of Honour and for receiving the international Family Advocate Award.

He also noted that this prestigious award is an additional international recognition of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s important role in promoting the family at the national, regional and global levels, saying she represents a source of inspiration not only for Emirati women but also for all Arab and Muslim women.

 

WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Nour Salman

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UN and Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies to cooperate on religious educationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/un-forum-promoting-peace-muslim-societies-cooperate-religious-education/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=un-forum-promoting-peace-muslim-societies-cooperate-religious-education http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/un-forum-promoting-peace-muslim-societies-cooperate-religious-education/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:08:02 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153541 Undersecretary-General Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, announced a joint cooperation agreement between the United Nations and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies to organize ten research workshops to promote religious education in the Islamic world. Dieng said the agreement was attained following a set of previous meetings […]

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UN and Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies to cooperate on religious education

By WAM
ABU DHABI, Dec 13 2017 (WAM)

Undersecretary-General Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, announced a joint cooperation agreement between the United Nations and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies to organize ten research workshops to promote religious education in the Islamic world.

Dieng said the agreement was attained following a set of previous meetings with Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. Both parties discussed a potential cooperation between them to promote religious education via extensive academic programs, and agreed to organize ten research workshops the details of which shall be announced later.

Dieng explained that the United Nations highly appreciates the efforts exerted by the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies to promote tolerance and coexistence among people, which involve scientific and knowledge-based activities consistent with contemporary humanitarian standards and ethical and religious standards.

He added that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is closely following the efforts exerted by the Forum, which include the promotion of tolerance, peace and happy coexistence in the world.

Undersecretary-General Adama Dieng is taking part in the fourth annual Forum for promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, which was inaugurated Monday in Abu Dhabi. The event, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, alongside an elite of academics, intellectuals and scholars from around the world.

WAM/Hassan Bashir

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GOSH celebrates topping out of Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Childrenhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/gosh-celebrates-topping-zayed-centre-research-rare-disease-children/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gosh-celebrates-topping-zayed-centre-research-rare-disease-children http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/gosh-celebrates-topping-zayed-centre-research-rare-disease-children/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:00:22 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153445 The Great Ormond Street Hospital, GOSH, has marked a crucial milestone in the construction of The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children, as a topping out ceremony was held to mark the moment when the building reached its highest point. The Centre was made possible thanks to a generous GBP60 million donation […]

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By WAM
LONDON, Dec 11 2017 (WAM)

The Great Ormond Street Hospital, GOSH, has marked a crucial milestone in the construction of The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children, as a topping out ceremony was held to mark the moment when the building reached its highest point.

The Centre was made possible thanks to a generous GBP60 million donation from H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation. The centre is a partnership between the GOSH, University College London, UCL, and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

The centre is due for completion at the end of 2018 and will be the first purpose built centre of its kind in the world. It will bring together hundreds of clinicians and researchers under one roof to drive forward new treatments and cures for children with rare diseases, and will support translational research that focuses on taking discoveries from the lab bench to the patients’ bedsides.

The centre is due for completion at the end of 2018 and will be the first purpose built centre of its kind in the world. It will bring together hundreds of clinicians and researchers under one roof to drive forward new treatments and cures for children with rare diseases, and will support translational research that focuses on taking discoveries from the lab bench to the patients’ bedsides.
The ceremony was attended by Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazrouei, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Professor Maha Barakat, Advisor to the Executive Council of the Government of Abu Dhabi and a number of officials from the Government of Abu Dhabi.

During the ceremony, Al Mazrouei expressed his gratitude to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for her generous support locally and internationally. He also thanked the partners and shareholders of the centre for their ongoing commitment to the project.

He said, “The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children is an innovative and collaborative partnership that brings together world-class medical and scientific expertise, which will have an immediate and lasting impact on the lives of many children from around the world.”

Peter Steer, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We’re delighted to celebrate this important milestone which marks the culmination of many months of work with our contractors and UCL in the construction of the centre. By creating a facility that brings patients, clinicians, and scientists together in one place we will advance pioneering research into paediatric rare diseases further and faster. The work we do here will help children with rare conditions across the world to thrive and fulfil their potential.”

Professor Graham Hart, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences, said, “This generous donation and the building it has helped create will help progress international quality research into the causes and treatments of rare diseases in children across the globe. UCL is proud of its association with its partner Great Ormond Street Hospital, and together we will work tirelessly to improve the health of children and the adults they will become through the efforts of our colleagues in the Zayed Centre.”

Tim Johnson, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, added, “I would like to thank the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Thanks to their generosity the charity has been able to support GOSH to discover new treatments and cures for children with complex and rare conditions both at the hospital and across the UK.”

GOSH sees children from more than 90 countries and specialises in the treatment of children with rare diseases. These include children from the UAE who come to the hospital to be treated for a range of conditions including rare heart and neurological conditions.

Work has now begun on the interior of the centre, which will house state-of-the-art laboratories and highly-specialised facilities for the development of new gene and stem cell therapies as well as a much-needed outpatient clinic.

The construction of the building involved the demolition of an office block built in the 1960s, which was being used by the University of London and had been disused for some time. Designed by award-winning architects Stanton Williams, construction of the new building began in 2017 by Swedish contractor Skanska, who is responsible for the construction, mechanical and electrical fit-out of the facility.

On completion, the building will include 4,200m3 concrete to build the frame, weighing 10,500 tonnes; 520 tonnes of steel used in the building structure; 5,000 metres of drywall partitions; 13,000sqm of floor space; 2,500sqm of glass within the external walls, and a BREEAM rating of excellent.

The topping out event was celebrated with a traditional Scandinavian ‘flying of the fir’ in which a fir tree was flown over the building by tower crane, as well as a final pouring of cement, in a rooftop ceremony.

WAM/MOHD AAMIR/Nour Salman

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Major collapse in Houthi militias’ defences, says Arab Coalition Forces Commanderhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/major-collapse-in-houthi-militias-defences-says-arab-coalition-forces-commander/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=major-collapse-in-houthi-militias-defences-says-arab-coalition-forces-commander http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/major-collapse-in-houthi-militias-defences-says-arab-coalition-forces-commander/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:34:30 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153439 Brigadier-General Abdul Salam Al-Shehhi, Commander of the Arab Coalition Forces on the west coast of Yemen, has stated that the UAE, Sudanese and Yemeni armed forces are conducting, with courage and determination, an epic battle to liberate Yemen from the control of the Iran-backed Houthi militias. Al-Shehhi said in a statement to the Emirates News […]

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By WAM
ADEN, Dec 11 2017 (WAM)

Brigadier-General Abdul Salam Al-Shehhi, Commander of the Arab Coalition Forces on the west coast of Yemen, has stated that the UAE, Sudanese and Yemeni armed forces are conducting, with courage and determination, an epic battle to liberate Yemen from the control of the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

Humanitarian aid continues to be distributed to liberated governorates, including the dispersal of relief convoys to the city of Al-Khokha and its neighboring villages, and the delivery of thousands of food parcels to alleviate the hardships incurred by the Houthi siege
Al-Shehhi said in a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, that the Houthi militias have suffered a ‘major collapse’ in their defences, adding that hundreds of their dead, injured, and captured members have been treated according to International Laws.

He went on to say that the battle currently being conducted in Yemen’s west coast has dealt with Houthi militias only, adding that Yemen’s National Resistance Forces have assisted the Coalition’s task to eliminate the Houthi threat.

The Commander of the Arab Coalition Forces on the west coast of Yemen further said that Yemeni citizens from liberated areas have welcomed the Arab Coalition Forces, reflecting their desires to liberate their country from the Iran-backed Houthi militias. He noted that humanitarian aid continues to be distributed to liberated governorates, including the dispersal of relief convoys to the city of Al-Khokha and its neighboring villages, and the delivery of thousands of food parcels to alleviate the hardships incurred by the Houthi siege.

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition Forces and the Yemeni National Resistance Forces continue their advance in the West Coast of Yemen following the liberation of Al Khokha city.

The victories in West Coast and the liberation of strategic city of Al Khokha will pave the way to liberating all districts and to cutting off supply lines of the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

WAM/Nour Salman/Hassan Bashir

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ICRC: UAE judicial systems conform with International Human Rights Lawhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/icrc-uae-judicial-systems-conform-international-human-rights-law/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=icrc-uae-judicial-systems-conform-international-human-rights-law http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/icrc-uae-judicial-systems-conform-international-human-rights-law/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:21:09 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153438 The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, has praised the UAE’s commitment to protection of human rights and ensuring the continual improvement of its judicial laws and practices in line with the basic rules of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. In a statement to Emirates News Agency, WAM, Omar Ahmed Mekki, Regional […]

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By WAM
ABU DHABI, Dec 11 2017 (WAM)

The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, has praised the UAE’s commitment to protection of human rights and ensuring the continual improvement of its judicial laws and practices in line with the basic rules of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.

The UAE's adaptation of local laws in line with International Humanitarian Law, IHL, provisions will contribute strongly to the operationalisation and judicialisation of the Genera Conventions, which for a long time have been non-binding in the region

Omar Ahmed Mekki, Regional IHL Advisor at the ICRC
In a statement to Emirates News Agency, WAM, Omar Ahmed Mekki, Regional IHL Advisor at the ICRC, said, “The UAE’s adaptation of local laws in line with International Humanitarian Law, IHL, provisions will contribute strongly to the operationalisation and judicialisation of the Genera Conventions, which for a long time have been non-binding in the region.”

He said that Federal Decree-Law No. 12 of 2017 on International Crimes, issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, makes the UAE the first Arab country to adopt a comprehensive and complete legislation on war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and crimes of aggression among others associated with war and conflict. The Federal Decree-Law includes 46 articles.

Mekki went on to say that legislative adaptation between relevant international conventions and national laws, would help equip national federal courts with the necessary expertise and legislative knowledge to prosecute war crimes on a regional level.

Federal Decree-Law No. 12 of 2017 stipulates that the death penalty or life imprisonment will be imposed on any person(s) convicted of committing acts of genocide on national, ethnic, racial or religious group, causing massive corporal or mental harm to them, leaving them under harsh living conditions for the purpose of killing them completely or partially, imposing measures aimed to prevent reproduction among them or taking their children by force to another group.

The decree-law also deals with the punishments imposed on crimes against humanity, war crimes, attacks against civilians and civil and religious buildings, taking hostages, tortures and mobilising children under age, among others.

WAM/Nour Salman/MOHD AAMIR

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Trump-Mideast: Much More than a ‘Kiss of Death’ to Palestinianshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/trump-mideast-much-kiss-death-palestinians/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trump-mideast-much-kiss-death-palestinians http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/trump-mideast-much-kiss-death-palestinians/#comments Thu, 07 Dec 2017 15:59:56 +0000 Baher Kamal http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153387 US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not represent only a ‘kiss of death’ to the two-State solution, but also a strong blow in the face of 57 Muslim countries, let alone igniting fire in this easily inflammable region, providing more false arguments to criminal terrorist groups to escalate their […]

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Southern aerial view of the Temple Mount, Al-Aqsa in the Old City of Jerusalem. Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered to be the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Credit: Godot13. Attribution: Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

By Baher Kamal
ROME, Dec 7 2017 (IPS)

US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not represent only a ‘kiss of death’ to the two-State solution, but also a strong blow in the face of 57 Muslim countries, let alone igniting fire in this easily inflammable region, providing more false arguments to criminal terrorist groups to escalate their brutal attacks, in addition to taking a step further in Washington’s new conflict with Iran and the ‘restructuring’ of the Middle East.

These are the main conclusions both Middle East analysts and international policy experts reached as soon as Trump announced on 6 December 2017 his decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus recognising as capital of Israel this Holy City, home to essential shrines of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The ‘Old City’ of Jerusalem has been steadily considered by Palestinians to become the capital of their future State, should all international agreements –including the United Nations General Assembly—implement their commitment for the two-State solution, one Israeli and one Palestinian.

Israeli captured Arab East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and since then has gradually annexed against all international protests and non-recognition. The ‘Old City’ in Jerusalem hosts Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

Palestinian leaders have already warned that Trump’s move could have dangerous consequences, calling for massive popular mobilisations that are feared to lead to new bloodshed in the occupied West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

“This is much more than a kiss of death to the longstanding international consensus to establish two-States as the sole feasible solution,” a former Egyptian high-ranking military official told IPS under condition of anonymity.

“[Trump’s] decision will add more dangerous fuel to the current rekindled flame over hegemony dispute between Shias lead by Iran and Sunnis lead by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, which fire President Trump has now contributed to strongly blow on.”

Donald Trump. Photo: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

According to the retired high military official who participated in secret regional negotiations over the Middle East conflict, “The US has visibly shown its strategy to support the Sunni States in the Arab Gulf… Just see president Trump’s new weapons sale deal –worth 100 billion dollars—with the Saudi regime, and its tacit support –and even physical involvement—in the ongoing genocidal war against Yemen.”

Gulf Sunni Arab countries are home to a high percentage of Shias who have been systematically ruled by Sunni regimes. In some of them, like Bahrain, it is estimated that the Shias represent up to 60 per cent of the total population in spite of which they are considered minorities.

Oil, that “Black Gold”

The Egyptian analyst would not exclude a new armed conflict between the Gulf Arab Sunni states and Shia Iran. Such an armed conflict would break the already fragile stability in the region, leading to a strong rise in oil prices.

“This eventually would clearly benefit the US fossil energy sector, would weaken the oil-dependent European economies, let alone striking a strong blow to the also foreign oil-dependent China.”

Hatred, Terrorism

Another immediate, dangerous consequence of President Trump’s decision is a feared new wave of terrorist attacks against US, Israel and Western interests worldwide.

In fact, the Palestinian radical movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, has already urged Arabs and Muslims worldwide to “undermine U.S. interests in the region” and to “shun Israel.”

On this, Lebanese Muslim Shia cleric A. Khalil, expressed to IPS his “deep fear that the [Trump’s] decision will help criminal terrorist groups, falsely acting in the name of Islam, to exploit the furious anger of lay people against the US-led aggression against Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen… to commit more and more brutal, inhumane attacks.”

This will tragically and dangerously unleash a new wave of hatred and Islamophobia that will only add fuel to popular anger, to the benefit of terrorist groups, added the cleric.

For his part, Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar – which is considered the world’s highest institution of Sunni Islamic learning– announced on 5 December 2017 that Al-Azhar rejects Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“The US president’s decision denies the rights of Palestinians and Arabs to their holy city; it ignores the feelings of one-and-a-half-billion Muslims as well as millions of Arab Christians who have a connection to Jerusalem’s churches and monasteries,” he said in a statement issued following Trump’s announcement.

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church and Al-Azhar issued statements warning of the “serious potential consequences” of Trump’s plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate the US embassy there.

“Politically Correct” Words

Meanwhile, politicians have reacted to president Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. Here some examples:

Mahmoud Abbas, president of Palestinian Authority, alerted of its “dangerous consequences,” while Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas chief, talked about “igniting the sparks of rage.”

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stressed his country’s firm stance on preserving the legal status of Jerusalem within the framework of international references and relevant UN resolutions, stressing the need to ensure that the situation in the region is not complicated by measures that undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia expressed “grave and deep concern,” while King Abdullah II of Jordan warned of “dangerous repercussions.”

Haider al-Abadi, Iraqi prime minister expressed “utmost concern,” and Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary general of the Arab League, which groups all 22 Arab countries, characterised Trump’s decision as a “dangerous measure.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Jerusalem is a “red line for Muslims,” threatening cutting relations with Israel.

And Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general, opposed Trump’s “unilateral action,” while Frederica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy representative, called for resolving Jerusalem’s status through negotiations.

Will words and “politically correct” statements reverse this new situation? Most likely they will not, at least if you judge by what’s happened over the last 98 years, i.e. since the then British Empire released its 1919 Balfour Declaration granting Israel a national home in Palestine.

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