Iran denies claims it is supplying weapons to Somali militants



UNITED NATIONS // Iran has denied allegations that it has been supplying Islamist militants in Somalia with weapons in violation of a UN arms embargo, describing the charges as "absurd fabrications".

UN monitors following Somalia sanctions are warning that Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa nation are receiving weapons from distribution networks linked to Yemen and Iran.

According to the latest findings by the UN Security Council's monitoring group, which tracks compliance with UN sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea, most illicit arms are coming into northern Somalia - the autonomous Puntland and Somaliland regions - after which they are moved farther south into strongholds of Islamist Al Shabaab militants, diplomats said.

"The allegations of arm transfers from Iran to Somalia are absurd fabrications and have no basis or validity," Iran's UN mission wrote to the Security Council in a letter obtained by Reuters yesterday.

"It is unfortunate that the Monitoring Group has, in an obvious irresponsible manner, put such unfounded allegations and strange fabrications in its report, without first bothering itself to communicate them to my Government," Iran's UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee wrote.

"It is further regrettable that the content of the report is leaked to the media for propaganda purposes," he wrote. "This malicious campaign, which is done in the name of the United Nations, endangers the credibility of the Security Council along with that of the United Nations."

The monitoring team's concerns about Iranian and Yemeni links to arms supplies for Al Shabaab come as Yemen is asking Tehran to stop backing armed groups on Yemeni soil. Last month the Yemeni coast guard and the US Navy seized a consignment of missiles and rockets the Sanaa government says were sent by Iran.

According to the monitoring group, the supply chains in Yemen that provide Al Shabaab with arms are largely Somali networks, council diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Yemen is just across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia's northern coast, making it easy to move all kinds of goods - legal and illegal - from the Middle East into Somaliland and Puntland.

Iran's UN mission also wrote to the council regarding the allegations about the ship containing arms bound for Yemen. It denied responsibility for those weapons.

"It has been further claimed that the items seized on board ... the ship were produced in Iran," Mr Khazaee wrote in a separate letter to the council. "Even if some of these items were made in Iran, this does not provide any evidence that Iran was involved in the shipment of arms to Yemen."

The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has said the 15-nation council should consider lifting the arms embargo to help rebuild Somalia's security forces and consolidate military gains against the Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants.

It is a position that has the strong backing of the United States, which is pushing for an end to the 21-year-old UN arms embargo. The Security Council imposed it in 1992 to cut the flow of arms to feuding warlords, who a year earlier had ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged Somalia into civil war.

France and Britain oppose lifting the arms embargo for the government, UN diplomats say, and would prefer a more gradual easing of the restrictions on arms sales to Somalia's government.

Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

MATCH INFO

Asian Champions League, last 16, first leg:

Al Jazira 3 Persepolis 2

Second leg:

Monday, Azizi Stadium, Tehran. Kick off 7pm

Fitness problems in men's tennis

Andy Murray - hip

Novak Djokovic - elbow

Roger Federer - back

Stan Wawrinka - knee

Kei Nishikori - wrist

Marin Cilic - adductor

$1,000 award for 1,000 days on madrasa portal

Daily cash awards of $1,000 dollars will sweeten the Madrasa e-learning project by tempting more pupils to an education portal to deepen their understanding of math and sciences.

School children are required to watch an educational video each day and answer a question related to it. They then enter into a raffle draw for the $1,000 prize.

“We are targeting everyone who wants to learn. This will be $1,000 for 1,000 days so there will be a winner every day for 1,000 days,” said Sara Al Nuaimi, project manager of the Madrasa e-learning platform that was launched on Tuesday by the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to reach Arab pupils from kindergarten to grade 12 with educational videos.  

“The objective of the Madrasa is to become the number one reference for all Arab students in the world. The 5,000 videos we have online is just the beginning, we have big ambitions. Today in the Arab world there are 50 million students. We want to reach everyone who is willing to learn.”

BACK TO ALEXANDRIA

Director: Tamer Ruggli

Starring: Nadine Labaki, Fanny Ardant

Rating: 3.5/5

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

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg

Tottenham 0-1 Ajax, Tuesday

Second leg

Ajax v Tottenham, Wednesday, May 8, 11pm

Game is on BeIN Sports

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

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Places to go for free coffee
  • Cherish Cafe Dubai, Dubai Investment Park, are giving away free coffees all day. 
  • La Terrace, Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai, are serving their first 50 guests one coffee and four bite-sized cakes
  • Wild & The Moon will be giving away a free espresso with every purchase on International Coffee Day
  • Orange Wheels welcome parents are to sit, relax and enjoy goodies at ‘Café O’ along with a free coffee
ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

2017 RESULTS: FRENCH VOTERS IN UK

First round
Emmanuel Macron: 51.1%
Francois Fillon: 24.2%
Jean-Luc Melenchon: 11.8%
Benoit Hamon: 7.0%
Marine Le Pen: 2.9%

Second round
Emmanuel Macron: 95.1%
Marine Le Pen: 4.9%

Types of fraud

Phishing: Fraudsters send an unsolicited email that appears to be from a financial institution or online retailer. The hoax email requests that you provide sensitive information, often by clicking on to a link leading to a fake website.

Smishing: The SMS equivalent of phishing. Fraudsters falsify the telephone number through “text spoofing,” so that it appears to be a genuine text from the bank.

Vishing: The telephone equivalent of phishing and smishing. Fraudsters may pose as bank staff, police or government officials. They may persuade the consumer to transfer money or divulge personal information.

SIM swap: Fraudsters duplicate the SIM of your mobile number without your knowledge or authorisation, allowing them to conduct financial transactions with your bank.

Identity theft: Someone illegally obtains your confidential information, through various ways, such as theft of your wallet, bank and utility bill statements, computer intrusion and social networks.

Prize scams: Fraudsters claiming to be authorised representatives from well-known organisations (such as Etisalat, du, Dubai Shopping Festival, Expo2020, Lulu Hypermarket etc) contact victims to tell them they have won a cash prize and request them to share confidential banking details to transfer the prize money.

* Nada El Sawy

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

Australia squads

ODI: Tim Paine (capt), Aaron Finch (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.

T20: Aaron Finch (capt), Alex Carey (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth.

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)