Referendum will not solve Sudan's issues

"Five years after concluding a peace agreement, the Sudanese are still divided because leaders have failed to build trust and achieve peace," Hazem Mubaidheen wrote in a comment article for the Jordanian newspaper Al Rai. The Sudanese soon will decide about the unity of their country in a referendum. This is taking place amid rising fears that separation could lead to a further disintegration of the South because of its tribal character. Moreover, if Sudan is split, the new government in the South will face problems related to power conflicts between clans.

So far, southerners have not built an official army of their own. Many political groups doubt the ability of the standing army to protect civilians because of its weak composition based on militias. Moreover, most soldiers have not been paid, which means they will hardly be able to maintain security. The South also suffers as many migrant workers from East Africa, who have played a vital role in the South's emerging economy, have left because of maltreatment. The same is true for northerners who left because of persecution since 2005. Politicians and journalists have been harassed and many forced to close their offices. For these reasons, separation should be welcomed only if southerners are able to ensure themselves of a decent life and spare northerners more conflict.

"We are still looking for an educational model that meets the ambitions of the UAE, which is endowed with innovative vision. We are still in a phase of trial and error, as if all the experience we have accumulated is of no use," Muraei al Halyan wrote in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan. "Some have said that the present system is fine and we should content ourselves with it. According to this view, focusing on one system will help us avoid disorientation and uncertainty. Others believe that our educational system does not meet university requirements because high school graduates' academic level remain less than the standards set by higher education institutions. A third view advocates continuing our search for an ideal educational model even if it is based on others."

Amid this debate, parents are confused about whether to register their children in public or private schools. "Such indecisiveness should stop. We need to ask ourselves why today's schools ended up like this, and whether it is a wise decision to follow the old school model centred on the teacher and the textbook, or to turn to the latest trends in education." Whatever the case, one thing should be observed: high schools need to meet higher education standards because that will have a great impact on general education outcomes.

Israeli military experts are talking about an imminent assault on Gaza aimed at eliminating Hamas, as Israel intensifies attacks against the Strip, the London-based daily Al Quds al Arabi claims in its editorial. "The Israeli aggression is expected for several reasons; most notably, Benjamin Netanyahu's government is in a political deadlock and faces increasing opposition in the West because of its continuous settlement expansion policy. This is seen by many as the main cause holding up the peace process."

The Israeli government is also in a major crisis as Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, rejects resuming negotiations if the Israelis continue building more settlements in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. Mr Abbas also sets conditions for a timeline and the requirements specified in the Road Map peace plan. "The war on Gaza will not help Mr Netanyahu get out of his present limbo; rather, it probably will worsen his position. Last year's assault on the Strip has only strengthened the position of Hamas, and has put Israel in confrontation with the whole world. Since then, Israeli politicians have been under threat of being sued for crimes against humanity."

"Clashes between the opposition and the regime in Iran have not stopped for more than six months. In this confrontation, the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has enjoyed strong support from the supreme leader, conservative clerics, Basij forces and the Revolutionary Guards. This means the opposition led by Hossein Mousavi and others has narrow room for manoeuvre," the Saudi newspaper Al Watan said in its leader.

The opposition still enjoys wide support from a large section of Iranian society, which is eager for change. The opposition leaders do not seek radical change, such as the overthrow of the whole system. They are seeking reform within the regime, without touching the fundamentals of the Islamic revolution. Nevertheless, no one can diminish the effect of the green revolution that has swept Iranian streets. Even though Mr Ahmadinejad has saved his job, Iran remains a pluralistic society and all he can do now is distract the opposition by finding external enemies. However, all these attempts cannot hide the truth that an uprising is brewing. At this point, Arab nations are very concerned and hope Iran will not export its crisis as it did after the Islamic revolution three decades ago.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi

World Cricket League Division 2

In Windhoek, Namibia - Top two teams qualify for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, which starts on March 4.

UAE fixtures

Thursday February 8, v Kenya; Friday February 9, v Canada; Sunday February 11, v Nepal; Monday February 12, v Oman; Wednesday February 14, v Namibia; Thursday February 15, final


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Founders: Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori

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Sector: Health & wellness

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Investment: $250 million

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Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Gamage

Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Nigel Llong (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
ICC match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

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Pushkin Press 


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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


Company name: Sav
Started: 2021
Founder: Purvi Munot
Based: Dubai
Industry: FinTech
Funding: $750,000 as of March 2023
Investors: Angel investors


Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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


2000: Israel withdraws from Lebanon after nearly 30 years without an officially demarcated border. The UN establishes the Blue Line to act as the frontier.

2007: Lebanon and Cyprus define their respective exclusive economic zones to facilitate oil and gas exploration. Israel uses this to define its EEZ with Cyprus

2011: Lebanon disputes Israeli-proposed line and submits documents to UN showing different EEZ. Cyprus offers to mediate without much progress.

2018: Lebanon signs first offshore oil and gas licencing deal with consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.

2018-2019: US seeks to mediate between Israel and Lebanon to prevent clashes over oil and gas resources.

The biog

Favourite book: Men are from Mars Women are from Venus

Favourite travel destination: Ooty, a hill station in South India

Hobbies: Cooking. Biryani, pepper crab are her signature dishes

Favourite place in UAE: Marjan Island

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg


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Rating: 5/5

Company profile

Name: Cashew
Started: 2020
Founders: Ibtissam Ouassif and Ammar Afif
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: FinTech
Funding size: $10m
Investors: Mashreq, others

Yemen's Bahais and the charges they often face

The Baha'i faith was made known in Yemen in the 19th century, first introduced by an Iranian man named Ali Muhammad Al Shirazi, considered the Herald of the Baha'i faith in 1844.

The Baha'i faith has had a growing number of followers in recent years despite persecution in Yemen and Iran. 

Today, some 2,000 Baha'is reside in Yemen, according to Insaf. 

"The 24 defendants represented by the House of Justice, which has intelligence outfits from the uS and the UK working to carry out an espionage scheme in Yemen under the guise of religion.. aimed to impant and found the Bahai sect on Yemeni soil by bringing foreign Bahais from abroad and homing them in Yemen," the charge sheet said. 

Baha'Ullah, the founder of the Bahai faith, was exiled by the Ottoman Empire in 1868 from Iran to what is now Israel. Now, the Bahai faith's highest governing body, known as the Universal House of Justice, is based in the Israeli city of Haifa, which the Bahais turn towards during prayer. 

The Houthis cite this as collective "evidence" of Bahai "links" to Israel - which the Houthis consider their enemy. 


Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

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

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

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

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

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


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