Khalifa orders release of prisoners held for debt



ABU DHABI // Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has ordered the release of 263 Emirati and expatriate inmates and that their debts be paid off, according to WAM, the state news agency. In addition, the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council will find jobs for the released Emiratis, while expatriates are to be deported. WAM said the move was part of Sheikh Khalifa's "interest in granting the inmates the opportunity to have a new start and mitigate the suffering of their families". The total value of the inmates' debts was not disclosed and it was not clear whether there was a specific occasion to mark their release. The Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution has started procedures to release the inmates. The release of inmates is a common occurrence in the UAE. Every prison is required to put forward a list of prisoners it feels should be released for good behaviour or because they are nearing the end of their sentences. In March 2009, a total of 329 inmates who were jailed for unpaid debts were released from Abu Dhabi's prisons. Sheikh Khalifa announced he would pay the outstanding amount owed of Dh3 million (US$817,000). * WAM

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July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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