Syrian soldiers walk in front of a restaurant where a picture depicting from left, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is attached, in Damascus, Syria, Friday, April 30, 2010. In a speech on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Syrian transfers of increasingly sophisticated weaponry, including rockets, to militants in southern Lebanon and Gaza could spark new conflict in the Middle East. Additionally, she said a nuclear-armed Iran would profoundly destabilize the region. Israel has accused Syria of providing Hezbollah with Scud missiles, which would dramatically increase the group's ability to strike targets in Israel. Syria has denied the charges. (AP Photo/Ola Rifai)
Syrian soldiers walk in front of a Damascus restaurant which displays a picture depicting, from left, the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Syrian president Bashar Assad and the Hizbollah leaShow more

Obama renews sanctions against Syria for another year



WASHINGTON // Barack Obama's decision to renew economic sanctions against Syria for an additional year have not changed the administration's goal of ultimately restoring diplomatic ties with Damascus, administration officials said yesterday. "The president is committed to principled and sustained engagement with Syria based on mutual interests," Mike Hammer, the spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said in a statement to The National. "Communication with Syria enables us to clearly raise our concerns as we seek to advance US national security interests and find ways to make progress on a number of key issues where we differ."

His comments come a day after Mr Obama announced that the United States would continue to implement the wide-ranging US sanctions regime put in place by George W Bush in 2003. The sanctions ban US exports to Syria, except food and medicine for humanitarian purposes, and also bar transactions with Syria's commercial bank and commercial flights between the two countries, as well as restrict the movement of Syrian diplomats in the United States.

In a written message to Congress, Mr Obama pointed to the Syrian government's progress in suppressing the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. But he cited continued concerns about Syria's missile programmes, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and the country's support of radical groups. The behaviour of the Syrian government, he said, poses "a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States".

"As we have communicated to the Syrian government directly, Syrian actions will determine whether this national emergency is renewed or terminated in the future," Mr Obama said. Analysts say it is difficult to measure the full economic impact of US sanctions on Syria. But Mona Yacoubian, an expert on Syria at the United States Institute of Peace, said sanctions have created an "air of uncertainty" about the Syrian economy that has spooked foreign investors.

"Sanctions certainly have a dampening impact at a time when the Syrians definitely need to grow their economy," she said, noting that certain economic sectors, such as the tourism and airline industries, have been disproportionately affected. The US restrictions, for example, ban Syria from importing spare parts to service its planes, which are made by the American company Boeing. Andrew Tabler, who specialises in US-Syrian relations at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, likewise said he believed the sanctions were having the desired effect.

"Why else would Damascus - touted as one of the world's hardest bargainers - now be asking Washington to lift them?" he said. "While they are unlikely on their own to bring the regime to its knees, sanctions, combined with a political track, can change the regime's calculations." In recent months, Syria has turned to other potential economic partners, including Saudi Arabia, a country with which it has had rocky relations. Such efforts could help it mitigate the impact of penalties imposed by the United States.

The Obama administration so far has taken a piecemeal approach to its engagement effort, and administration officials have stressed that there is no easy way to mend the fractured US-Syrian relationship. High-level US diplomats, including George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East, have taken part in at least nine meetings with their Syrian counterparts. In February, the White House named Robert Ford, a career diplomat, as its nominee to be its first US ambassador in Damascus since 2005, when suspected Syrian involvement in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, disrupted relations.

Mr Ford's nomination, however, has run into stiff opposition on Capitol Hill, where legislators from both parties have worried that restoring an ambassador to Damascus will be perceived as a reward to Syria at a time when the country has done little change its policies. Opposition to US engagement intensified last month when Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, publicly accused Syria of supplying ballistic missiles to Hizbollah's military wing, a charge Syria denies. The acquisition of such weapons would enable Hizbollah to strike deep inside Israel.

Michele Dunne, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin, a monthly online journal, said that given the mood in Congress Mr Obama's decision to renew the sanctions was not surprising. "I just don't think President Obama really had much of a choice to make here," she said. "There simply wasn't enough change in Syrian behaviour, particularly as regards terrorist organisations. There simply wasn't enough to merit lifting these sanctions."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month approved the nomination of Mr Ford, a former ambassador to Algeria who has been serving as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Baghdad. It remains unclear when - and if - the nomination will be taken up by the full Senate, which ultimately must confirm US ambassadors. @Email:sstanek@thenational.ae

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

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

Rating: 4.5/5

Results

1. Mathieu van der Poel (NED) Alpecin-Fenix - 3:45:47

2. David Dekker (NED) Jumbo-Visma - same time

3. Michael Morkov (DEN) Deceuninck-QuickStep   

4. Emils Liepins (LAT) Trek-Segafredo

5. Elia Viviani (ITA) Cofidis

6. Tadej Pogacar (SLO UAE Team Emirates

7. Anthony Roux (FRA) Groupama-FDJ

8. Chris Harper (AUS) Jumbo-Visma - 0:00:03

9. Joao Almeida (POR) Deceuninck-QuickStep         

10. Fausto Masnada (ITA) Deceuninck-QuickStep

New Zealand T20 squad

New Zealand T20 squad: Tim Southee (captain), Finn Allen, Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wicketkeeper), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Will Young 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Alaan
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founders: Parthi Duraisamy and Karun Kurien
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $7 million raised in total — $2.5 million in a seed round and $4.5 million in a pre-series A round

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 specs: 2019 Mini Cooper

Price, base: Dh141,740 (three-door) / Dh165,900 (five-door)
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder (Cooper) / 2.0-litre four-cylinder (Cooper S)
Power: 136hp @ 4,500rpm (Cooper) / 192hp @ 5,000rpm (Cooper S)
Torque: 220Nm @ 1,480rpm (Cooper) / 280Nm @ 1,350rpm (Cooper S)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Fuel consumption, combined: 4.8L to 5.4L / 100km

'Laal Kaptaan'

Director: Navdeep Singh

Stars: Saif Ali Khan, Manav Vij, Deepak Dobriyal, Zoya Hussain

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile 

Founder: Omar Onsi

Launched: 2018

Employees: 35

Financing stage: Seed round ($12 million)

Investors: B&Y, Phoenician Funds, M1 Group, Shorooq Partners

8 traditional Jamaican dishes to try at Kingston 21

  1. Trench Town Rock: Jamaican-style curry goat served in a pastry basket with a carrot and potato garnish
  2. Rock Steady Jerk Chicken: chicken marinated for 24 hours and slow-cooked on the grill
  3. Mento Oxtail: flavoured oxtail stewed for five hours with herbs
  4. Ackee and salt fish: the national dish of Jamaica makes for a hearty breakfast
  5. Jamaican porridge: another breakfast favourite, can be made with peanut, cornmeal, banana and plantain
  6. Jamaican beef patty: a pastry with ground beef filling
  7. Hellshire Pon di Beach: Fresh fish with pickles
  8. Out of Many: traditional sweet potato pudding
New Zealand 21 British & Irish Lions 24

New Zealand
Penalties: Barrett (7)

British & Irish Lions
Tries: Faletau, Murray
Penalties: Farrell (4)
Conversions: Farrell

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

The five new places of worship

Church of South Indian Parish

St Andrew's Church Mussaffah branch

St Andrew's Church Al Ain branch

St John's Baptist Church, Ruwais

Church of the Virgin Mary and St Paul the Apostle, Ruwais

 

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

Burnley 1 (Brady 89')

Manchester City 4 (Jesus 24', 50', Rodri 68', Mahrez 87')

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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

Breast cancer in men: the facts

1) Breast cancer is men is rare but can develop rapidly. It usually occurs in those over the ages of 60, but can occasionally affect younger men.

2) Symptoms can include a lump, discharge, swollen glands or a rash. 

3) People with a history of cancer in the family can be more susceptible. 

4) Treatments include surgery and chemotherapy but early diagnosis is the key. 

5) Anyone concerned is urged to contact their doctor

 

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)