A picture taken on July 9, 2017 shows Syrian regime forces standing at the entrance of the Rasafa oil pumping station, situated southwest of the city of Raqa. 
On June 30, 2017 a  military source, quoted by Syrian state news agency SANA, confirmed that the Islamic State (IS) group had pulled out of territory along the Ithraya-Rasafa highway.  / AFP PHOTO / George OURFALIAN
A picture taken on July 9, 2017 shows Syrian regime forces standing at the entrance of the Rasafa oil pumping station, situated southwest of the city of Raqqa. AFP / George Ourfalian

Syrian army takes more oilfields from ISIL in Raqqa and eastern desert



The Syrian army backed by heavy Russian air strikes seized a string of oil wells in Raqqa province, as retreating ISIL militants battle to defend their remaining territory in the country.

State-owned Ikhbariyah television quoted a military source on Saturday as saying the army had taken control of Wahab, Al Fahd, Dbaysan, Al Qseer, Abu Al Qatat and Abu Qatash oilfields and several other villages in the desert area that lies in the south-west of Raqqa province.

The seized oilfields lie south of the town of Rasafa and its oil wells, which the army took last month from the militants in their first major territorial gains inside the province.

In the past few months the army and Iran-backed militias have been advancing east of Aleppo city and seizing swathes of territory west of the Euphrates River that militants have pulled out of to defend their self-declared capital of Raqqa, where they are now battling US-backed troops inside the city.

The latest gains tighten the army's grip on a bulge of territory stretching from eastern Hama province to eastern Homs and the edge of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Russian air force has intensified strikes on several targets and towns held by ISIL in the area, according to the Britain-based monitor, which tracks the Syrian conflict through activists in the country.

The Observatory said on Sunday that the civil war, now in its seventh year, has killed about 475,000 people including 99,617 civilians in addition to tens of thousands of troops, opposition fighters and extremists, as well as pro-government gunmen. It said it had identified 331,765 of the dead.

The Observatory said the army's next goal is to retake the town of Sukhna, a gateway to the eastern province of Deir Ezzor that borders Iraq and is likely to be the militants' last major bastion in Syria if Raqqa falls.

The army and its Iran-backed allies have also announced steady gains in the desert north-east of the ancient city of Palmyra in recent days, with the capture of the Hail gas field bringing them to within almost 18 kilometres south of Sukhna.

Heavy fighting has however continued in the last 48 hours near Hail and the nearby Arak gas field that the army took last month, both the Observatory and extremist websites said.

The army and Iran-backed militias have pressed a campaign since May to fill the void left by the retreat of militants in areas they once controlled in the vast eastern Syrian desert that stretches all the way from central Syria to the south-eastern border with Iraq and Jordan.

The military and allied forces have also been engaged in heavy fighting with western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels in the rugged eastern countryside Sweida province in southern Syria.

The army said it had captured most of these areas that are also near the border with Jordan, while the rebels said they had inflicted losses on Lebanon's powerful Hizbollah group and Iraqi Shiite militias.

Syria's civil war began in 2011 as an uprising against president Bashar Al Assad but has been complicated by the emergence of ISIL and other extremist groups as well as the involvement of western and regional countries backing rebels groups, and Russia and Iran on the side of the government.

Shelling by rebels on the outskirts of Damascus damaged the Russian embassy compound and a nearby area on Sunday, and wounded seven people in other parts of the city. Government forces have been pounding rebel-held areas near the capital for days.

The shelling came hours after a bomb exploded near a hospital in the rebel-held north-western city of Idlib, wounding five people.

Elsewhere in Syria, state media said three people were killed by two mines planted by ISIL near the central village of Um Harteen, and seven people were wounded when a blast hit a bus in Sweida province.

A “terrorist explosion” in Ras Shamta, a town about 12km north of the government-held coastal city of Latakia resulted in casualties, state television said. It gave no further details.

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 

RESULT

Copa del Rey, semi-final second leg

Real Madrid 0
Barcelona 3 (Suarez (50', 73' pen), Varane (69' OG)

EVIL DEAD RISE

Director: Lee Cronin
Stars: Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Lily Sullivan
Rating: 5/5

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Company Profile

Name: Nadeera
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Founders: Rabih El Chaar and Reem Khattar
Sector: CleanTech
Total funding: About $1 million
Investors: Hope Ventures, Rasameel Investments and support from accelerator programmes
Number of employees: 12

Company profile: buybackbazaar.com

Name: buybackbazaar.com

Started: January 2018

Founder(s): Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech, micro finance

Initial investment: $1 million

Draw:

Group A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi

Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania

Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia

Group E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola

Group F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea-Bissau

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.

Racecard

6.35pm: The Madjani Stakes – Group 2 (PA) Dh97,500 (Dirt) 1,900m

7.10pm: Evidenza – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,200m

7.45pm: The Longines Conquest – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 2,000m

8.20: The Longines Elegant – Conditions (TB) Dh82,500 (D)

8.35pm: The Dubai Creek Mile – Listed (TB) Dh132,500 (D) 1,600m

9.30pm: Mirdif Stakes – Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (D) 1,400m

10.05pm: The Longines Record – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,900m

Four scenarios for Ukraine war

1. Protracted but less intense war (60% likelihood)

2. Negotiated end to the conflict (30%)

3. Russia seizes more territory (20%)

4. Ukraine pushes Russia back (10%)

Forecast by Economist Intelligence Unit

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

No.6 Collaborations Project

Ed Sheeran (Atlantic)

A general guide to how active you are:

Less than 5,000 steps - sedentary

5,000 - 9,999 steps - lightly active

10,000  - 12,500 steps - active

12,500+ - highly active

Will the pound fall to parity with the dollar?

The idea of pound parity now seems less far-fetched as the risk grows that Britain may split away from the European Union without a deal.

Rupert Harrison, a fund manager at BlackRock, sees the risk of it falling to trade level with the dollar on a no-deal Brexit. The view echoes Morgan Stanley’s recent forecast that the currency can plunge toward $1 (Dh3.67) on such an outcome. That isn’t the majority view yet – a Bloomberg survey this month estimated the pound will slide to $1.10 should the UK exit the bloc without an agreement.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Britain will leave the EU on the October 31 deadline with or without an agreement, fuelling concern the nation is headed for a disorderly departure and fanning pessimism toward the pound. Sterling has fallen more than 7 per cent in the past three months, the worst performance among major developed-market currencies.

“The pound is at a much lower level now but I still think a no-deal exit would lead to significant volatility and we could be testing parity on a really bad outcome,” said Mr Harrison, who manages more than $10 billion in assets at BlackRock. “We will see this game of chicken continue through August and that’s likely negative for sterling,” he said about the deadlocked Brexit talks.

The pound fell 0.8 per cent to $1.2033 on Friday, its weakest closing level since the 1980s, after a report on the second quarter showed the UK economy shrank for the first time in six years. The data means it is likely the Bank of England will cut interest rates, according to Mizuho Bank.

The BOE said in November that the currency could fall even below $1 in an analysis on possible worst-case Brexit scenarios. Options-based calculations showed around a 6.4 per cent chance of pound-dollar parity in the next one year, markedly higher than 0.2 per cent in early March when prospects of a no-deal outcome were seemingly off the table.

Bloomberg

GRAN TURISMO

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Stars: David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe, Darren Barnet

Rating: 3/5

MATCH INFO

Euro 2020 qualifier

Norway v Spain, Saturday, 10.45pm, UAE

65

Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Profile of Hala Insurance

Date Started: September 2018

Founders: Walid and Karim Dib

Based: Abu Dhabi

Employees: Nine

Amount raised: $1.2 million

Funders: Oman Technology Fund, AB Accelerator, 500 Startups, private backers

 

Landfill in numbers

• Landfill gas is composed of 50 per cent methane

• Methane is 28 times more harmful than Co2 in terms of global warming

• 11 million total tonnes of waste are being generated annually in Abu Dhabi

• 18,000 tonnes per year of hazardous and medical waste is produced in Abu Dhabi emirate per year

• 20,000 litres of cooking oil produced in Abu Dhabi’s cafeterias and restaurants every day is thrown away

• 50 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s waste is from construction and demolition

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

Schedule for show courts

Centre Court - from 4pm UAE time

Johanna Konta (6) v Donna Vekic

Andy Murray (1) v Dustin Brown

Rafael Nadal (4) v Donald Young

Court 1 - from 4pm UAE time

Kei Nishikori (9) v Sergiy Stakhovsky

Qiang Wang v Venus Williams (10)

Beatriz Haddad Maia v Simona Halep (2)

Court 2 - from 2.30pm

Heather Watson v Anastasija Sevastova (18)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) v Simone Bolelli

Florian Mayer v Marin Cilic (7)

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, six-cylinder

Transmission: six-speed manual

Power: 395bhp

Torque: 420Nm

Price: from Dh321,200

On sale: now

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, flat six-cylinder
Transmission: seven-speed PDK
Power: 510hp
Torque: 470Nm
Price: from Dh634,200
On sale: now

The Land between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees
Tom Sleigh, Graywolf Press

Elvis

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Stars: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2019 GMC Yukon Denali

Price, base: Dh306,500
Engine: 6.2-litre V8
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Power: 420hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 621Nm @ 4,100rpm​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Fuel economy, combined: 12.9L / 100km

The specs: Fenyr SuperSport

Price, base: Dh5.1 million

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 800hp @ 7,100pm

Torque: 980Nm @ 4,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 13.5L / 100km

Mia Man’s tips for fermentation

- Start with a simple recipe such as yogurt or sauerkraut

- Keep your hands and kitchen tools clean. Sanitize knives, cutting boards, tongs and storage jars with boiling water before you start.

- Mold is bad: the colour pink is a sign of mold. If yogurt turns pink as it ferments, you need to discard it and start again. For kraut, if you remove the top leaves and see any sign of mold, you should discard the batch.

- Always use clean, closed, airtight lids and containers such as mason jars when fermenting yogurt and kraut. Keep the lid closed to prevent insects and contaminants from getting in.

 

More from Armen Sarkissian
PRISCILLA

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

Rating: 3/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 

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

If you go

The flights 

Emirates flies from Dubai to Funchal via Lisbon, with a connecting flight with Air Portugal. Economy class returns cost from Dh3,845 return including taxes.

The trip

The WalkMe app can be downloaded from the usual sources. If you don’t fancy doing the trip yourself, then Explore  offers an eight-day levada trails tour from Dh3,050, not including flights.

The hotel

There isn’t another hotel anywhere in Madeira that matches the history and luxury of the Belmond Reid's Palace in Funchal. Doubles from Dh1,400 per night including taxes.

 

 

ON TRACK

The Dubai Metaverse Assembly will host three main tracks:

Educate: Consists of more than 10 in-depth sessions on the metaverse

Inspire: Will showcase use cases of the metaverse in tourism, logistics, retail, education and health care

Contribute: Workshops for metaverse foresight and use-case reviews

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

It's up to you to go green

Nils El Accad, chief executive and owner of Organic Foods and Café, says going green is about “lifestyle and attitude” rather than a “money change”; people need to plan ahead to fill water bottles in advance and take their own bags to the supermarket, he says.

“People always want someone else to do the work; it doesn’t work like that,” he adds. “The first step: you have to consciously make that decision and change.”

When he gets a takeaway, says Mr El Accad, he takes his own glass jars instead of accepting disposable aluminium containers, paper napkins and plastic tubs, cutlery and bags from restaurants.

He also plants his own crops and herbs at home and at the Sheikh Zayed store, from basil and rosemary to beans, squashes and papayas. “If you’re going to water anything, better it be tomatoes and cucumbers, something edible, than grass,” he says.

“All this throwaway plastic - cups, bottles, forks - has to go first,” says Mr El Accad, who has banned all disposable straws, whether plastic or even paper, from the café chain.

One of the latest changes he has implemented at his stores is to offer refills of liquid laundry detergent, to save plastic. The two brands Organic Foods stocks, Organic Larder and Sonnett, are both “triple-certified - you could eat the product”.  

The Organic Larder detergent will soon be delivered in 200-litre metal oil drums before being decanted into 20-litre containers in-store.

Customers can refill their bottles at least 30 times before they start to degrade, he says. Organic Larder costs Dh35.75 for one litre and Dh62 for 2.75 litres and refills will cost 15 to 20 per cent less, Mr El Accad says.

But while there are savings to be had, going green tends to come with upfront costs and extra work and planning. Are we ready to refill bottles rather than throw them away? “You have to change,” says Mr El Accad. “I can only make it available.”

Top tips to avoid cyber fraud

Microsoft’s ‘hacker-in-chief’ David Weston, creator of the tech company’s Windows Red Team, advises simple steps to help people avoid falling victim to cyber fraud:

1. Always get the latest operating system on your smartphone or desktop, as it will have the latest innovations. An outdated OS can erode away all investments made in securing your device or system.

2. After installing the latest OS version, keep it patched; this means repairing system vulnerabilities which are discovered after the infrastructure components are released in the market. The vast majority of attacks are based on out of date components – there are missing patches.

3. Multi-factor authentication is required. Move away from passwords as fast as possible, particularly for anything financial. Cybercriminals are targeting money through compromising the users’ identity – his username and password. So, get on the next level of security using fingertips or facial recognition.

4. Move your personal as well as professional data to the cloud, which has advanced threat detection mechanisms and analytics to spot any attempt. Even if you are hit by some ransomware, the chances of restoring the stolen data are higher because everything is backed up.

5. Make the right hardware selection and always refresh it. We are in a time where a number of security improvement processes are reliant on new processors and chip sets that come with embedded security features. Buy a new personal computer with a trusted computing module that has fingerprint or biometric cameras as additional measures of protection.

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

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

RESULTS

2pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (Dirt) 1,200m
Winner: Najem Al Rwasi, Fabrice Veron (jockey), Ahmed Al Shemaili (trainer)

2.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Fandim, Fernando Jara, Majed Al Jahouri

3pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: Harbh, Pat Cosgrave, Ahmed Al Mehairbi

3.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: Wakeel W’Rsan, Richard Mullen, Jaci Wickham

4pm: Crown Prince of Sharjah Cup Prestige (PA) Dh200,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Jawaal, Fernando Jara, Majed Al Jahouri

4.30pm: Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup (TB) Dh200,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Tailor’s Row, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

The Word for Woman is Wilderness
Abi Andrews, Serpent’s Tail

Thor: Love and Thunder

Director: Taika Waititi 

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi

Rating: 4/5

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

ORDER OF PLAY ON SHOW COURTS

Centre Court - 4pm (UAE)
Gael Monfils (15) v Kyle Edmund
Karolina Pliskova (3) v Magdalena Rybarikova
Dusan Lajovic v Roger Federer (3)

Court 1 - 4pm
Adam Pavlasek v Novak Djokovic (2)
Dominic Thiem (8) v Gilles Simon
Angelique Kerber (1) v Kirsten Flipkens

Court 2 - 2.30pm
Grigor Dimitrov (13) v Marcos Baghdatis
Agnieszka Radwanska (9) v Christina McHale
Milos Raonic (6) v Mikhail Youzhny
Tsvetana Pironkova v Caroline Wozniacki (5)

THE SPECS

Aston Martin Rapide AMR

Engine: 6.0-litre V12

Transmission: Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic

Power: 595bhp

Torque: 630Nm

Price: Dh999,563

Arsenal's pre-season fixtures

Thursday Beat Sydney 2-0 in Sydney

Saturday v Western Sydney Wanderers in Sydney

Wednesday v Bayern Munich in Shanghai

July 22 v Chelsea in Beijing

July 29 v Benfica in London

July 30 v Sevilla in London


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos