SALT Abu Dhabi: Where finance, technology, geopolitics meet

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Updated 09 December 2019

SALT Abu Dhabi: Where finance, technology, geopolitics meet

  • Conference run by ex-White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci comes to the Middle East
  • Platform aims to arrange conversations that can create greater cross-cultural understanding

DUBAI: The first Middle East SALT conference — the global thought leadership platform run by former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci — kicks off in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Some 1,000 leaders from the worlds of investment, finance and policymaking will gather at the city’s financial hub, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), for the two-day event, billed as a “Davos style” forum intended to “foster collaboration at the intersection of finance, technology and geopolitics.”
Scaramucci, who launched the event in 2009 under the auspices of his investment business Skybridge Alternatives, told Arab News that there will be a “phenomenal group of people” at the event, which combines onstage presentations, one-to-one “bilaterals” and networking for some of the leading business and technology thinkers in the world.
“It’s through conversations like these that we can create greater cross-cultural understanding and begin to solve the world’s most pressing problems,” he said.
The big annual meeting is held in Last Vegas each year, but spin-off events have been held in Tokyo and Singapore.
The event will have a strongly regional flavor, with Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, being joined by ADGM Chairman Ahmed Al-Sayegh and Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, managing director and group CEO of the Mubadala Investment Co., both of the UAE.
Al-Sayegh said: “The UAE’s robust economic environment, comprehensive industry offerings and sound political stability continue to uphold the nation’s stature as one of the most preferred investment destinations in the world.”
He added: “The SALT Abu Dhabi conference opens up a new window for global businesses and policymakers to gain new insights of what Abu Dhabi and the UAE have to offer now and in the long term.”
Among the foreign thought leaders attending the event are Gen. John F Kelly, former White House chief of staff, and Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy.
“The future of US-Arab relations” will be the topic of a panel discussion on Monday. The session, to be moderated by Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas, will feature Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations; Norman Roule, CEO of Pharos Strategic Consulting LLC; and Dania Koleilat Khatib, affiliated scholar at the Issam Fares Institute.
On the same day, another panel discussion — featuring Renzi and Phillip Hammond, former chancellor of the British Exchequer, and moderated by Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator at the Financial Times — will address “the future of Europe.”
The delegates will be keen to hear Scaramucci’s latest view on the political situation in the US.
He has been one of the fiercest critics of the presidency of Donald Trump, and is leading a campaign to persuade other members of the Republican Party to choose another contender for next year’s presidential election.
“Given his rank lawlessness and criminal activity, the lack of resistance in the Republican Party to him tells you a lot about the hypocrisy in America today,” Scaramucci said.
“He has clearly broken the law, but he has a group of sycophants and acolytes who won’t condemn what he’s doing,” he added.
“I just think he’s the wrong leader for the US. Our system is supposed to ensure that everyone is subject to the law. The president is supposed to serve, not rule. I think the guy is a traitor.”

Global rights groups condemn deadly attack on Yemen jail

Updated 06 April 2020

Global rights groups condemn deadly attack on Yemen jail

  • Internationally-recognized government has accused Iranian-backed Houthi militia of carrying out the attack

LONDON: Two international rights groups on Monday condemned an attack on a prison in Yemen’s besieged city of Taiz that left six women and a child dead.

The internationally-recognized government has accused Iranian-backed Houthi militia of carrying out Sunday’s attack.

The Houthis targeted the female section of the prison with mortar shells, according to the government’s Saba news agency.

“This is a criminal and bloodthirsty gang that has long targeted civilian gatherings and residential areas. In addition to the carnage in the prison, they gunned down today two children in eastern Taiz, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition,” Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni army spokesman in Taiz, told Arab News, adding that the prison is almost 12km from the nearest battlefield.

“They targeted the prison with a Katyusha rocket followed by five mortal shells which show that they deliberately sought to kill civilians.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its hospital in Taiz received the casualties.

“MSF-supported Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz city received the bodies of six women and one child who were killed in an attack on the central prison in Taiz,” it said on Twitter.

The government said 28 other female prisoners were wounded.

“Taiz citizens continue to suffer from the ongoing violence in the sixth year of the protracted conflict in Yemen,” MSF said.

“These attacks on civilians, whether indiscriminate or targeted, are unjustifiable breaches of international humanitarian law.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross said attacks on prisons were banned under international law.

“The ICRC deplores yesterday’s attack on Taiz central prison that left women and children dead and injured,” the ICRC said on Twitter.

“Prisons and their inmates are protected under international humanitarian law and can not be a targeted, it said.

Taiz, a city of 600,000 people in southwest Yemen, is under government control but has been under siege by Houthi militia for the past six years.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed in more than five years of fighting.

Yemen’s health care system has so far recorded no case of the COVID-19 illness, but aid groups have warned that when it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic. The country is already gripped by what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

(With AFP)