UN demands ceasefire as warplanes pound Ghouta



The UN Security Council on Saturday demanded a 30-day truce across Syria as rescuers in the country's eastern Ghouta region said bombing had not let up long enough for them to count bodies during one of the bloodiest air assaults of the seven-year war.

Shortly after the unanimous vote by the 15-member council, warplanes struck a town in eastern Ghouta, the last rebel enclave near Syria's capital, an emergency service and a war monitoring group said. Warplanes have pounded the region for seven straight days while residents holed up in basements.

UN chief Antonio Guterres appealed on Wednesday for an immediate end to "war activities" in eastern Ghouta, where nearly 400,000 people have lived under government siege since 2013 without enough food or medicine.

While Syrian ally Russia supported the adoption of the UN resolution, its UN Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, cast doubt on its feasibility. Previous ceasefire deals on the ground have had a poor record of ending fighting in Syria, where President Bashar Al Assad's military has gained the upper hand.

“What is necessary is for the demands of the Security Council to be underpinned by concrete, on-the-ground agreements,” Nebenzia told the council after the vote. He later told reporters it was unrealistic to expect an immediate ceasefire and that the parties had to be encouraged to work for it.

After several days of delay and last-minute negotiations to win the support of Russia, the council adopted the resolution – drafted by Sweden and Kuwait – demanding hostilities cease for 30-days “without delay” to allow aid access and medical evacuations.

"We accept that it might take a number of hours before it can all be fully implemented ... we just have to keep the pressure up. Implementation is key now," Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told Reuters.

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UAE calls for immediate truce in Eastern Ghouta

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Russia did not want to specify when a truce would start, so a proposal for the truce to begin 72 hours after adoption was watered-down to demand it start "without delay".

Further talks on Saturday added a demand for all parties to "engage immediately to ensure full and comprehensive implementation".

“As they dragged out the negotiation, the bombs from Assad's fighter jets continued to fall. In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution, how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and shelling?” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.

"We are deeply skeptical that the regime will comply," Haley said.

A surge of rocket fire, shelling and air strikes has killed more than 500 people since last Sunday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The dead included more than 120 children.

The monitor said raids hit Douma, Zamalka and other towns there on Saturday, killing 40 people.

After the UN vote the two dominant rebel factions in Ghouta – Failaq Al Rahman and Jaish Al Islam – both committed to implementing the truce and facilitating aid access, but also reiterated their right to respond to any attacks on them.

Medical charities have decried attacks on a dozen hospitals. The Syrian government and Russia say they only target militants. Moscow and Damascus have said they seek to stop mortar attacks injuring dozens in the capital, and have accused insurgents in Ghouta of holding people as human shields.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military.

“We are combating terrorism on our territories,” Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told the Security Council.

“Our government will reserve the right to respond as it deems appropriate in case those terrorist arms groups are targeting civilians in any part of Syria with even one single missile.”

Ja'afari said his government interpreted the resolution as also applying to "Turkish forces in Afrin, and the operations of the anti-ISIL coalition in Syria ... Israeli forces in Syria, especially the occupied Syrian Golan."

The truce demanded by the Security Council does not cover militants from ISIL, Al Qaeda and the Nusra Front.

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Founders: Mohamed Al Fayed and Mohammed Hammedi

Launched: October 2019

Employees: 50

Financing stage: Seed round (raised $2 million)

 

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
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
Silver
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
Bronze
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

MATCH INFO

Bangla Tigers 108-5 (10 ovs)

Ingram 37, Rossouw 26, Pretorius 2-10

Deccan Gladiators 109-4 (9.5 ovs)

Watson 41, Devcich 27, Wiese 2-15

Gladiators win by six wickets

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

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

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38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019

ENGLAND SQUAD

Joe Root (captain), Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Dan Lawrence, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (wicketkeeper), Moeen Ali, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad

About Okadoc

Date started: Okadoc, 2018

Founder/CEO: Fodhil Benturquia

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Healthcare

Size: (employees/revenue) 40 staff; undisclosed revenues recording “double-digit” monthly growth

Funding stage: Series B fundraising round to conclude in February

Investors: Undisclosed

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

6.30pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 Group 1 (PA) | US$95,000 | (Dirt) 2,000m
7.05pm: Meydan Classic Listed (TB) ) | $175,000) | (Turf) 1,600m
7.40pm: Handicap (TB) ) | $135,000 ) | (D) 1,600m
8.15pm: Nad Al Sheba Trophy Group 3 (TB) ) | $300,000) | (T) 2,810m
8.50pm: Curlin Handicap Listed (TB)) | $160,000) | (D) 2,000m
9.25pm: Handicap (TB)) | $175,000) | (T) 1,400m
10pm: Handicap (TB) ) | $135,000 ) | (T) 2,000m

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1987

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1888

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Co Chocolat

Started: 2017

Founders: Iman and Luchie Suguitan

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Food

Funding: $1 million-plus

Investors: Fahad bin Juma, self-funding, family and friends

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1.45pm: Maiden Dh75,000 1,200m.

2.15pm: Maiden Dh75,000 1,200m.

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2.15pm: Majestic Thunder – Daltrey

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3.15pm: Eqtiraan - Bochart

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4.15pm: Arroway – Arch Gold

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The lowdown

Rating: 4/5

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

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Director: Karyn Kusama

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Sebastian Stan

Rating: 3/5 

UAE release: January 31 


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