epa06426184 A Palestinain refugee sits outside his home in a narrow street of the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, 09 January 2018. Media report that the US President Donald J. Trump had vowed to freeze about 125 million US dollar of aid for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees. The US ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, was quoted as saying that Trump did not want to add or stop funding until the Palestinians were agreeing to return to the negotiation table. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) in 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestine refugees from May 1950 on. Until today, some five million Palestine refugees are eligible for their services, UNRWA says on their website.  EPA/ALAA BADARNEH
A Palestinian refugee sits outside his home in a narrow street of the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, on January 9, 2018. US officials said the Trump administration is preparingShow more

Trump administration prepares to cut UN money for Palestinian refugees



The Trump administration is preparing to withhold tens of millions of dollars from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, cutting the year's first contribution by more than half or perhaps entirely, and making additional donations contingent on major changes to the organisation, according to US officials.

President Donald Trump has not made a final decision, but appears more likely to send only $60 million (Dh220.4m) of the planned $125 million first installment to the UN Relief and Works Agency, said the officials, who were not authorised to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Future contributions would require the agency, facing heavy Israeli criticism, to demonstrate significant changes in operations, they said, adding that one suggestion under consideration would require the Palestinians to first re-enter peace talks with Israel.

The State Department said on Sunday that "the decision is under review. There are still deliberations taking place". The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the matter.

The administration could announce its decision as early as Tuesday, the officials said. The plan to withhold some of the money is backed by secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defense secretary James Mattis, who offered it as a compromise to demands for more drastic measures by UN ambassador Nikki Haley, the officials said.

Ms Haley wants a complete cutoff in US money until the Palestinians resume peace talks with Israel that have been frozen for years. But Mr Tillerson, Mr Mattis and others say ending all assistance would exacerbate instability in the Mideast, notably in Jordan, a host to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and a crucial US strategic partner.

_______________

Read more

Palestinians reject Trump threat to halt US aid over Jerusalem crisis

Sweden warns US against cutting UN aid to Palestinians

_______________

In another sign of the growing tensions, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas railed at Mr Trump in a fiery, two-hour-long speech on Sunday, saying "shame on you" for his treatment of the Palestinians and warning that he would have no problem rejecting what he suggested would be an unacceptable peace plan. The speech by Mr Abbas ratcheted up what has been more than a month of harsh rhetoric towards Mr Trump since the president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

The US is the UN agency's largest donor, supplying nearly 30 per cent of its total budget. The agency focuses on providing health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel's establishment in 1948. Today, there are an estimated 5 million refugees and their descendants, mostly scattered across the region.

Eliminating or sharply reducing the US contribution could hamstring the agency and severely curtail its work, putting great pressure on Jordan and Lebanon as well as the Palestinian Authority. Gaza would be particularly hard hit. Some officials, including Israelis, warn that it might push people closer to the militant Hamas movement, which controls Gaza.

The US officials said any reduction in American assistance could be accompanied by calls for European nations and others to help make up the shortfall.

The US donated $355 million in 2016 and was set to make a similar contribution this year; the first installment was to have sent this month.

But after a highly critical January 2 tweet from Mr Trump on aid to the Palestinians, the State Department opted to wait for a formal policy decision before sending any of the $125 million.

Mr Trump's tweet expressed frustration over the lack of progress in his attempts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and he pointed the finger at the Palestinians. "We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect," he said. "But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

Although Trump referred to all US assistance to the Palestinians, the contribution to refugee agency would be the first to be affected.

Three days after the tweet, at a January 5 White House meeting, senior national security officials try to find a way forward. Led by representatives from the State Department and Pentagon, all but one of the members of the "Policy Coordination Committee" agreed to continue the funding, officials said.

The lone holdout was Ms Haley's representative, who insisted that Mr Trump's tweet had set the policy and the money must be cut off, the officials said.

The meeting ended in a stalemate.

_______________

Interview: Head of UNRWA in Lebanon defends work as US threatens to cut aid

_______________

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu then weighed in, telling his cabinet that he agreed with the critique of the agency. He said the agency only perpetuates problems and should cease operating in the region. Mr Netanyahu and other Israelis accuse it of contributing to Palestinian militancy and allowing its facilities to be used by militants. They have also complained that some of its staff are biased against Israel.

Mr Netanyahu suggested transferring the agency's budget to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which aids refugee matters everywhere in the world. It was not immediately clear whether any withheld US assistance would be shifted.

Mr Netanyahu's position, coupled with Ms Haley's firm opposition to the funding, led Mr Tillerson, with the support of Mr Mattis, to propose the $60 million compromise, the officials said.

Mr Trump, whose recognition last year of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announcement of plans to move the US embassy to the holy city had upset the Palestinians, was said by one official to have expressed cautious backing of the compromise.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

As You Were

Liam Gallagher

(Warner Bros)

A Bad Moms Christmas
Dir: John Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines
Two stars

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: BorrowMe (BorrowMe.com)

Date started: August 2021

Founder: Nour Sabri

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce / Marketplace

Size: Two employees

Funding stage: Seed investment

Initial investment: $200,000

Investors: Amr Manaa (director, PwC Middle East)

VEZEETA PROFILE

Date started: 2012

Founder: Amir Barsoum

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: HealthTech / MedTech

Size: 300 employees

Funding: $22.6 million (as of September 2018)

Investors: Technology Development Fund, Silicon Badia, Beco Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Saudi Technology Ventures and IFC

The specs

Engine: 2.2-litre, turbodiesel

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Power: 160hp

Torque: 385Nm

Price: Dh116,900

On sale: now

Favourite book: ‘The Art of Learning’ by Josh Waitzkin

Favourite film: Marvel movies

Favourite parkour spot in Dubai: Residence towers in Jumeirah Beach Residence

US households add $601bn of debt in 2019

American households borrowed another $601 billion (Dh2.2bn) in 2019, the largest yearly gain since 2007, just before the global financial crisis, according to February data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Fuelled by rising mortgage debt as homebuyers continued to take advantage of low interest rates, the increase last year brought total household debt to a record high, surpassing the previous peak reached in 2008 just before the market crash, according to the report.

Following the 22nd straight quarter of growth, American household debt swelled to $14.15 trillion by the end of 2019, the New York Fed said in its quarterly report.

In the final three months of the year, new home loans jumped to their highest volume since the fourth quarter of 2005, while credit cards and auto loans also added to the increase.

The bad debt load is taking its toll on some households, and the New York Fed warned that more and more credit card borrowers — particularly young people — were falling behind on their payments.

"Younger borrowers, who are disproportionately likely to have credit cards and student loans as their primary form of debt, struggle more than others with on-time repayment," New York Fed researchers said.

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor cricket in a nutshell
Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sept 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side
8 There are eight players per team
9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.
5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls
4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs
B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run
C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs
D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

Superliminal

Developer: Pillow Castle Games
Publisher: Pillow Castle Games
Console: PlayStation 4&5, Xbox Series One & X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac
Rating: 4/5

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).

Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1hr 32mins 03.897sec

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull-Honda) at 0.745s

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 37.383s

4. Lando Norris (McLaren) 46.466s

5.Sergio Perez (Red Bull-Honda) 52.047s

6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 59.090s

7. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 1:06.004

8. Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) 1:07.100

9. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:25.692

10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:26.713,

MATCH INFO

Champions League last 16, first leg

Tottenham v RB Leipzig, Wednesday, midnight (UAE)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

WEST ASIA RUGBY 2017/18 SEASON ROLL OF HONOUR

Western Clubs Champions League
Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Runners up: Bahrain

Dubai Rugby Sevens
Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Jebel Ali Dragons

West Asia Premiership
Winners: Jebel Ali Dragons
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Premiership Cup
Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Runners up: Dubai Exiles

UAE Premiership
Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Last five meetings

2013: South Korea 0-2 Brazil

2002: South Korea 2-3 Brazil

1999: South Korea 1-0 Brazil

1997: South Korea 1-2 Brazil

1995: South Korea 0-1 Brazil

Note: All friendlies

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

SHOW COURTS ORDER OF PLAY

Wimbledon order of play on Saturday, July 8
All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Centre Court (4pm)
Agnieszka Radwanska (9) v Timea Bacsinszky (19)
Ernests Gulbis v Novak Djokovic (2)
Mischa Zverev (27) v Roger Federer (3)

Court 1 (4pm)
Milos Raonic (6) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas (25)
Anett Kontaveit v Caroline Wozniacki (5)
Dominic Thiem (8) v Jared Donaldson

Court 2 (2.30pm)
Sorana Cirstea v Garbine Muguruza (14)
To finish: Sam Querrey (24) leads Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-5
Angelique Kerber (1) v Shelby Rogers
Sebastian Ofner v Alexander Zverev (10)

Court 3 (2.30pm)
Grigor Dimitrov (13) v Dudi Sela
Alison Riske v Coco Vandeweghe (24)
David Ferrer v Tomas Berdych (11)

Court 12 (2.30pm)
Polona Hercog v Svetlana Kuznetsova (7)
Gael Monfils (15) v Adrian Mannarino

Court 18 (2.30pm)
Magdalena Rybarikova v Lesia Tsurenko
Petra Martic v Zarina Diyas