Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani speaks to the crowd while attending a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Sulaimania, Iraq September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed
Iraqi Kurdish president Masoud Barzani speaks to supporters during a referendum rally in Sulaimania, Iraq. Ako Rasheed / Reuters / September 20

Iraq's Kurdish government defies international calls to postpone referendum



The government of Iraqi Kurdistan vowed on Thursday to take all measures necessary to ensure its highly contested independence vote will be held on time on Monday.

The Kurdish high referendum council announced that "the vote will take place on September 25" despite international pleas to call off the poll.

Headed by the president of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani, the council reiterated "that as time is running out and no alternative has been offered to replace the referendum and guarantee independence, the vote will be held on time".

The statement also pointed that "if a guarantee for independence is not given to replace the referendum [in the next few days] then the vote will take place on time as planned".

________________

Kurdish referendum opinions

For: A Kurdish bid for independence will never be convenient for Iraq,  it must happen now  

Against: Iraqis as well as some Kurds oppose a risky independence referendum

________________

Turkey, Iraq and Iran's foreign ministers voiced concerns that the referendum would ignite new conflicts in the region whilst endangering gains Iraq has made against ISIL extremists.

In a joint statement, Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif, along with Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and their Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Al Jaafari said any conflicts sparked as a result of the referendum would "prove difficult to contain".

In a rare trilateral meeting in New York the ministers threatened to take "counter-measures" if Kurdistan goes ahead with the vote.

They also emphasised that the referendum will not be beneficial for the Kurds and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). The statement, however, gave no details of the possible measures but said the ministers called on the international community to intervene.

Ankara and Tehran fear independence for the Kurds of northern Iraq would embolden their own Kurdish minorities, and Baghdad has bitterly opposed the poll.

The three states reaffirmed their commitment to Iraq's territorial integrity and stated their "unequivocal opposition to the referendum."

Read more: US ‘strongly opposes’ Iraqi Kurd referendum

Iraq's Kurds are determined to go ahead with the vote, which, though non-binding, could trigger the process of separation in a country already divided along sectarian and ethnic lines.

Mr Al Jaafari, released a statement after the meeting, concluding that “Iraq, Turkey, and Iran maintain the unconstitutionality of the referendum whilst agreeing to take countermeasures in coordination with each other.”

Mr Al Jaafari also called for a further dialogue and negotiation between Erbil and Baghdad within the framework of the Iraqi constitution to resolve the disputes.

Mr Barzani insists on holding the vote, stating that the "referendum would only be postponed should the Kurds receive an alternative guaranteeing independence for the Kurdistan region in the coming years."

Read more: Erdogan to discuss 'sanctions' against Iraq's Kurdish region

"The people of the Kurdistan region have the right to peacefully and democratically decide on their future whether they want to remain part of Iraq or seced. Self-determination is the fundamental principle of the international law and the UN charter,” Mr Barzani has previously said.

On Wednesday, the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Necirvan Barzani said that the aim of the independence is based on the aspirations of the Kurdish people to attain freedom and to draw their borers.

Mr Barzani urged that a serious dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad is needed,

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to impose sanctions against Kurdish northern Iraq. Turkish troops are also carrying out military exercises near the border.

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

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

Rating: 4.5/5

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

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

The specs: 2024 Mercedes E200

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo + mild hybrid
Power: 204hp at 5,800rpm +23hp hybrid boost
Torque: 320Nm at 1,800rpm +205Nm hybrid boost
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
On sale: November/December
Price: From Dh205,000 (estimate)

Illegal shipments intercepted in Gulf region

The Royal Navy raid is the latest in a series of successful interceptions of drugs and arms in the Gulf

May 11: US coastguard recovers $80 million heroin haul from fishing vessel in Gulf of Oman

May 8: US coastguard vessel USCGC Glen Harris seizes heroin and meth worth more than $30 million from a fishing boat

March 2: Anti-tank guided missiles and missile components seized by HMS Lancaster from a small boat travelling from Iran

October 9, 2022: Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose recovers drugs worth $17.8 million from a dhow in Arabian Sea

September 27, 2022: US Naval Forces Central Command reports a find of 2.4 tonnes of heroin on board fishing boat in Gulf of Oman 

Another way to earn air miles

In addition to the Emirates and Etihad programmes, there is the Air Miles Middle East card, which offers members the ability to choose any airline, has no black-out dates and no restrictions on seat availability. Air Miles is linked up to HSBC credit cards and can also be earned through retail partners such as Spinneys, Sharaf DG and The Toy Store.

An Emirates Dubai-London round-trip ticket costs 180,000 miles on the Air Miles website. But customers earn these ‘miles’ at a much faster rate than airline miles. Adidas offers two air miles per Dh1 spent. Air Miles has partnerships with websites as well, so booking.com and agoda.com offer three miles per Dh1 spent.

“If you use your HSBC credit card when shopping at our partners, you are able to earn Air Miles twice which will mean you can get that flight reward faster and for less spend,” says Paul Lacey, the managing director for Europe, Middle East and India for Aimia, which owns and operates Air Miles Middle East.

All The Light We Cannot See

Creator: Steven Knight

Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, Aria Mia Loberti

Rating: 1/5 

Packages which the US Secret Service said contained possible explosive devices were sent to:

  • Former first lady Hillary Clinton
  • Former US president Barack Obama
  • Philanthropist and businessman George Soros
  • Former CIA director John Brennan at CNN's New York bureau
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder (delivered to former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz)
  • California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (two devices)
Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Jumanji: The Next Level

Director: Jake Kasdan

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Nick Jonas 

Two out of five stars 

'Munich: The Edge of War'

Director: Christian Schwochow

Starring: George MacKay, Jannis Niewohner, Jeremy Irons

Rating: 3/5

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

The schedule

December 5 - 23: Shooting competition, Al Dhafra Shooting Club

December 9 - 24: Handicrafts competition, from 4pm until 10pm, Heritage Souq

December 11 - 20: Dates competition, from 4pm

December 12 - 20: Sour milk competition

December 13: Falcon beauty competition

December 14 and 20: Saluki races

December 15: Arabian horse races, from 4pm

December 16 - 19: Falconry competition

December 18: Camel milk competition, from 7.30 - 9.30 am

December 20 and 21: Sheep beauty competition, from 10am

December 22: The best herd of 30 camels

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

Paris Agreement

Article 14

1. [The Cop] shall periodically take stock of the implementation of this Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this Agreement and its long-term goals (referred to as the "global stocktake")

2. [The Cop] shall undertake its first global stocktake in 2023 and every five years thereafter 

UAE WARRIORS RESULTS

Featherweight

Azouz Anwar (EGY) beat Marcelo Pontes (BRA)

TKO round 2

Catchweight 90kg

Moustafa Rashid Nada (KSA) beat Imad Al Howayeck (LEB)

Split points decision

Welterweight

Gimbat Ismailov (RUS) beat Mohammed Al Khatib (JOR)

TKO round 1

Flyweight (women)

Lucie Bertaud (FRA) beat Kelig Pinson (BEL)

Unanimous points decision

Lightweight

Alexandru Chitoran (ROU) beat Regelo Enumerables Jr (PHI)

TKO round 1

Catchweight 100kg

Marc Vleiger (NED) beat Mohamed Ali (EGY)

Rear neck choke round 1

Featherweight

James Bishop (NZ) beat Mark Valerio (PHI)

TKO round 2

Welterweight

Abdelghani Saber (EGY) beat Gerson Carvalho (BRA)

TKO round 1

Middleweight

Bakhtiyar Abbasov (AZE) beat Igor Litoshik (BLR)

Unanimous points decision

Bantamweight

Fabio Mello (BRA) beat Mark Alcoba (PHI)

Unanimous points decision

Welterweight

Ahmed Labban (LEB) v Magomedsultan Magomedsultanov (RUS)

TKO round 1

Bantamweight

Trent Girdham (AUS) beat Jayson Margallo (PHI)

TKO round 3

Lightweight

Usman Nurmagomedov (RUS) beat Roman Golovinov (UKR)

TKO round 1

Middleweight

Tarek Suleiman (SYR) beat Steve Kennedy (AUS)

Submission round 2

Lightweight

Dan Moret (USA) v Anton Kuivanen (FIN)

TKO round 2

Why are you, you?

Why are you, you?
From this question, a new beginning.
From this question, a new destiny.
For you are a world, and a meeting of worlds.
Our dream is to unite that which has been
separated by history.
To return the many to the one.
A great story unites us all,
beyond colour and creed and gender.
The lightning flash of art
And the music of the heart.
We reflect all cultures, all ways.
We are a twenty first century wonder.
Universal ideals, visions of art and truth.
Now is the turning point of cultures and hopes.
Come with questions, leave with visions.
We are the link between the past and the future.
Here, through art, new possibilities are born. And
new answers are given wings.

Why are you, you?
Because we are mirrors of each other.
Because together we create new worlds.
Together we are more powerful than we know.
We connect, we inspire, we multiply illuminations
with the unique light of art.

 Ben Okri,

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

ASIAN RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP 2024

Results
Hong Kong 52-5 UAE
South Korea 55-5 Malaysia
Malaysia 6-70 Hong Kong
UAE 36-32 South Korea

Fixtures
Friday, June 21, 7.30pm kick-off: UAE v Malaysia
At The Sevens, Dubai (admission is free).
Saturday: Hong Kong v South Korea

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

Winners

Best Men's Player of the Year: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

TikTok Fans’ Player of the Year: Robert Lewandowski

Top Goal Scorer of All Time: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Best Women's Player of the Year: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Best Men's Club of the Year: Chelsea

Best Women's Club of the Year: Barcelona

Best Defender of the Year: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy)

Best Goalkeeper of the Year: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG/Italy)

Best Coach of the Year: Roberto Mancini (Italy)

Best National Team of the Year: Italy

Best Agent of the Year: Federico Pastorello

Best Sporting Director of the Year: Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City)

Player Career Award: Ronaldinho

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Primera Liga fixtures (all times UAE: +4 GMT)

Friday
Real Sociedad v Villarreal (10.15pm)
Real Betis v Celta Vigo (midnight)
Saturday
Alaves v Barcelona (8.15pm)
Levante v Deportivo La Coruna (10.15pm)
Girona v Malaga (10.15pm)
Las Palmas v Atletico Madrid (12.15am)
Sunday
Espanyol v Leganes (8.15pm)
Eibar v Athletic Bilbao (8.15pm)
Getafe v Sevilla (10.15pm)
Real Madrid v Valencia (10.15pm)

'My Son'

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: James McAvoy, Claire Foy, Tom Cullen, Gary Lewis

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

SPEC SHEET: APPLE TV 4K (THIRD GENERATION)

CPU: Apple A15 Bionic

Capacity: 64GB, Wi-Fi only; 128GB, Wi-Fi + ethernet

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, ethernet (Wi-Fi + ethernet model only), IR receiver

I/O: HDMI, ethernet (128GB model only); Siri remote (charging via USB-C); accessibility features

Video: SDR/Dolby Vision/HDR10+ up to 2160p @ 60fps

Peripherals: Compatible with HD/UHD TVs via HDMI, Bluetooth keyboards, AirPods

Photo: GIF, HEIF, JPEG, TIFF

Colour: Black

In the box: TV 4K, Siri remote, power cord

Price: Dh529, Wi-Fi only; Dh599, Wi-Fi + ethernet

Virtual banks explained

What is a virtual bank?

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority defines it as a bank that delivers services through the internet or other electronic channels instead of physical branches. That means not only facilitating payments but accepting deposits and making loans, just like traditional ones. Other terms used interchangeably include digital or digital-only banks or neobanks. By contrast, so-called digital wallets or e-wallets such as Apple Pay, PayPal or Google Pay usually serve as intermediaries between a consumer’s traditional account or credit card and a merchant, usually via a smartphone or computer.

What’s the draw in Asia?

Hundreds of millions of people under-served by traditional institutions, for one thing. In China, India and elsewhere, digital wallets such as Alipay, WeChat Pay and Paytm have already become ubiquitous, offering millions of people an easy way to store and spend their money via mobile phone. Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also among the world’s biggest under-banked countries; together they have almost half a billion people.

Is Hong Kong short of banks?

No, but the city is among the most cash-reliant major economies, leaving room for newcomers to disrupt the entrenched industry. Ant Financial, an Alibaba Group Holding affiliate that runs Alipay and MYBank, and Tencent Holdings, the company behind WeBank and WeChat Pay, are among the owners of the eight ventures licensed to create virtual banks in Hong Kong, with operations expected to start as early as the end of the year.