A migrant worker from Bangladesh washes off in a puddle at the Ras Ajdir border checkpoint yesterday in Libya.
A migrant worker from Bangladesh washes off in a puddle at the Ras Ajdir border checkpoint yesterday in Libya.

Chaos reigns on Libya's borders as refugees face theft and queues



TUNISIAN-LIBYAN BORDER // Flag-waving supporters of the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi paid a surprise visit to the Tunisian border yesterday to tell fleeing refugees and Tunisian soldiers that his rule was intact despite a continuing revolt.

Several men, in the back of a blue Toyota pick-up, swung through the Libyan border post and pulled up beside the Tunisian gate. "Everything that media are reporting about trouble in Libya is false," said one of the men, Mosbah Zemzel, 28, tossing juice boxes and chocolate biscuits over the fence to a crowd of refugees, in sight of gathered journalists. "The leader is in charge and there are no problems."

Mr Zemzel and his companions, who described themselves simply as Libyan citizens, were accompanied by several other men in separate cars who chatted with media gathered in this no-man's land but did not clearly identify themselves.

Nearby, refugees were picking their way toward Tunisia through a wasteland of discarded luggage and clothing. Tunisian authorities say that at least 75,000 people have fled into the country from Libya, turning the border post of Ras Ajdir into a human traffic jam.

On Tuesday, refugees pressed into the several hundred yards of open ground between the borders scuffled with Tunisian guards, who fired warning shots in the air and struggled to push back people trying to scale the cement border wall.

Yesterday, the area was empty of people. While it was not clear how many refugees entered Tunisia yesterday, they did so in orderly fashion, queuing first to have passports stamped and second for a tuna sandwich from charity workers inside the border.

Several kilometres inside Tunisia, yellow buses were pulling away from a tent camp run by the Red Crescent, the United Nations' High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Tunisian army, where more than 18,000 thousand refugees were hunkered down to await repatriation.

Other refugees are housed in schools and other public buildings in the region, said Benoit Carpentier, communication coordinator for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

However, transportation home for refugees is still lacking, Mr Carpentier said. "There are more people than there are solutions. And we don't know how many people are still waiting on the Libyan side," he said.

One stranded refugee in a bind was Delouar Hussain, 29, a Bangladeshi construction company foreman who entered Tunisia yesterday after waiting for three days on the Libyan side of the border, who said he was uncertain of how he would get home.

"And on the way here, soldiers and police at checkpoints took my phone memory card, my phone, my money - everything," said Mr Hussain, echoing a common complaint among refugees at Ras Ajdir.

Most refugees are foreign workers in Libya who are fleeing violence as anti-government protests have accelerated into armed revolt against Colonel Qaddafi. Security forces have repeatedly opened fire on protesters in several cities, according to witnesses cited by news media.

"I couldn't even go outside my house to buy food because the shops were mostly closed, and I might have been killed in the fighting," Mr Hussain said. "I only left Bangladesh to work and send money to my family."

Colonel Qaddafi has denied that his regime has used violence to quell protests and blames unrest on al Qa'eda and foreign meddling in Libya.

A speech by his son, Saif al Islam Qaddafi, on February 20 telling Libyans to beware of foreigners appears to have helped trigger a mass exodus of foreign workers from the country. At least 140,000 people have fled so far into Tunisia and Egypt.

Colonel Qaddafi has lost control of eastern Libya but appears well entrenched in Tripoli, where he enjoys a degree of popular support.

Yesterday, the leader's forces attacked the coastal city of Brega, held by rebels who have begun to organise an opposition government in the city of Benghazi, Libya's main commercial centre after the capitol, Tripoli.

The specs: 2018 Maxus T60

Price, base / as tested: Dh48,000

Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder

Power: 136hp @ 1,600rpm

Torque: 360Nm @ 1,600 rpm

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Fuel consumption, combined: 9.1L / 100km

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Genesis G80 2020 5.0-litre Royal Specs

Engine: 5-litre V8

Gearbox: eight-speed automatic

Power: 420hp

Torque: 505Nm

Fuel economy, combined: 12.4L/100km

Price: Dh260,500

Racecard

6pm: The Pointe - Conditions (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,400m

6.35pm: Palm West Beach - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (T) 1,800m

7.10pm: The View at the Palm - Handicap (TB) Dh85,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

7.45pm: Nakeel Graduate Stakes - Conditions (TB) Dh100,000 (T) 1,600m

8.20pm: Club Vista Mare - Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,900m

8.55pm: The Palm Fountain - Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,200m

9.30pm: The Palm Tower - Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,600m

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

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

The specs: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 300 Cabriolet

Price, base / as tested: Dh275,250 / Dh328,465

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder

Power: 245hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 370Nm @ 1,300rpm

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.0L / 100km

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY S24 ULTRA

Display: 6.8" quad-HD+ dynamic Amoled 2X, 3120 x 1440, 505ppi, HDR10+, 120Hz

Processor: 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, 64-bit octa-core

Memory: 12GB RAM

Storage: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: Android 14, One UI 6.1

Main camera: quad 200MP wide f/1.7 + 50MP periscope telephoto f/3.4 with 5x optical/10x optical quality zoom + 10MP telephoto 2.4 with 3x optical zoom + 12MP ultra-wide f/2.2; 100x Space Zoom; auto HDR, expert RAW

Video: 8K@24/30fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, full-HD@30/60/240fps, full-HD super slo-mo@960fps

Front camera: 12MP f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh, fast wireless charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare

Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC

I/O: USB-C; built-in Galaxy S Pen

Durability: IP68, up to 1.5m of freshwater up to 30 minutes; dust-resistant

SIM: Nano + nano / nano + eSIM / dual eSIM (varies in different markets)

Colours: Titanium black, titanium grey, titanium violet, titanium yellow

In the box: Galaxy S24 Ultra, USB-C-to-C cable

Price: Dh5,099 for 256GB, Dh5,599 for 512GB, Dh6,599 for 1TB

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

How to wear a kandura

Dos

  • Wear the right fabric for the right season and occasion 
  • Always ask for the dress code if you don’t know
  • Wear a white kandura, white ghutra / shemagh (headwear) and black shoes for work 
  • Wear 100 per cent cotton under the kandura as most fabrics are polyester

Don’ts 

  • Wear hamdania for work, always wear a ghutra and agal 
  • Buy a kandura only based on how it feels; ask questions about the fabric and understand what you are buying
Five calorie-packed Ramadan drinks

Rooh Afza
100ml contains 414 calories
Tang orange drink
100ml serving contains 300 calories
Carob beverage mix
100ml serving contains about 300 calories
Qamar Al Din apricot drink
100ml saving contains 61 calories
Vimto fruit squash
100ml serving contains 30 calories

While you're here
UAE jiu-jitsu squad

Men: Hamad Nawad and Khalid Al Balushi (56kg), Omar Al Fadhli and Saeed Al Mazroui (62kg), Taleb Al Kirbi and Humaid Al Kaabi (69kg), Mohammed Al Qubaisi and Saud Al Hammadi (70kg), Khalfan Belhol and Mohammad Haitham Radhi (85kg), Faisal Al Ketbi and Zayed Al Kaabi (94kg)

Women: Wadima Al Yafei and Mahra Al Hanaei (49kg), Bashayer Al Matrooshi and Hessa Al Shamsi (62kg)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Nomad Homes
Started: 2020
Founders: Helen Chen, Damien Drap, and Dan Piehler
Based: UAE and Europe
Industry: PropTech
Funds raised so far: $44m
Investors: Acrew Capital, 01 Advisors, HighSage Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, Potluck Ventures, Knollwood and several undisclosed hedge funds

Need to know

When: October 17 until November 10

Cost: Entry is free but some events require prior registration

Where: Various locations including National Theatre (Abu Dhabi), Abu Dhabi Cultural Center, Zayed University Promenade, Beach Rotana (Abu Dhabi), Vox Cinemas at Yas Mall, Sharjah Youth Center

What: The Korea Festival will feature art exhibitions, a B-boy dance show, a mini K-pop concert, traditional dance and music performances, food tastings, a beauty seminar, and more.

For more information: www.koreafestivaluae.com

Other ways to buy used products in the UAE

UAE insurance firm Al Wathba National Insurance Company (AWNIC) last year launched an e-commerce website with a facility enabling users to buy car wrecks.

Bidders and potential buyers register on the online salvage car auction portal to view vehicles, review condition reports, or arrange physical surveys, and then start bidding for motors they plan to restore or harvest for parts.

Physical salvage car auctions are a common method for insurers around the world to move on heavily damaged vehicles, but AWNIC is one of the few UAE insurers to offer such services online.

For cars and less sizeable items such as bicycles and furniture, Dubizzle is arguably the best-known marketplace for pre-loved.

Founded in 2005, in recent years it has been joined by a plethora of Facebook community pages for shifting used goods, including Abu Dhabi Marketplace, Flea Market UAE and Arabian Ranches Souq Market while sites such as The Luxury Closet and Riot deal largely in second-hand fashion.

At the high-end of the pre-used spectrum, resellers such as Timepiece360.ae, WatchBox Middle East and Watches Market Dubai deal in authenticated second-hand luxury timepieces from brands such as Rolex, Hublot and Tag Heuer, with a warranty.

Reputation

Taylor Swift

(Big Machine Records)

Name: Peter Dicce

Title: Assistant dean of students and director of athletics

Favourite sport: soccer

Favourite team: Bayern Munich

Favourite player: Franz Beckenbauer

Favourite activity in Abu Dhabi: scuba diving in the Northern Emirates 

 

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The Bio

Favourite place in UAE: Al Rams pearling village

What one book should everyone read: Any book written before electricity was invented. When a writer willingly worked under candlelight, you know he/she had a real passion for their craft

Your favourite type of pearl: All of them. No pearl looks the same and each carries its own unique characteristics, like humans

Best time to swim in the sea: When there is enough light to see beneath the surface

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Masters of the Air

Directors: Cary Joji Fukunaga, Dee Rees, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Tim Van Patten

Starring: Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle, Barry Keoghan, Sawyer Spielberg

Rating: 2/5