Dubai malls, businesses to ‘fully operate’ from Wednesday

People shop at The Dubai Mall, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates March 12, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Dubai malls, businesses to ‘fully operate’ from Wednesday

  • Dubai had already shortened a nighttime curfew to just seven hours starting from 11 p.m.

DUBAI: Shopping malls in Dubai will fully reopen for business on Wednesday, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions, the emirate’s media office announced.
The step makes the glitzy city-state the first in the Middle East to drop nearly all restrictions to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus that hit retailers and leisure activities.
Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, had already shortened a nighttime curfew to just seven hours starting from 11 p.m. (1900GMT).
Businesses in the private sector had been allowed since last week to work at 50 percent capacity, but the authorities now say they can “fully operate.”
“Shopping malls and private sector businesses in the emirate will fully operate at 100 percent from tomorrow, Wednesday,” the Dubai Media Office tweeted on Tuesday.
Dubai’s shopping centers include the Mall of the Emirates, which has its own indoor ski slope, and Dubai Mall, adjacent to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure.
“The move aims to ensure the private sector is able to resume normal activity without compromising on preventive steps to protect people’s health and safety,” a media office statement said.
Preventative measures include wearing face masks, maintaining a minimum distance of two meters (around 6 feet) between individuals, and the regular use of hand sanitiser, the statement added.
Dubai has the most diversified economy in the Gulf, relying on trade, retail, tourism and real estate.
Its neighbor Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, cordoned off the city and banned travel between regions in the emirate for a week starting Tuesday.
The UAE has so far recorded more than 35,000 cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease, including 269 deaths.

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Algeria buries remains of anti-French fighters, seeks Paris apology

Updated 05 July 2020

Algeria buries remains of anti-French fighters, seeks Paris apology

  • The skulls of the fighters were laid to rest during an emotional ceremony at El Alia cemetery
  • The coffins draped with the national flag were lowered into freshly dug graves in the martyr’s square of Algeria’s largest burial ground

ALGIERS: Algeria on Sunday buried the remains of 24 resistance fighters returned from Paris after more than a century and a half as it marked the 58th anniversary of its independence from France.
The skulls of the fighters, shot and decapitated in the early years of the French occupation, were laid to rest during an emotional ceremony at El Alia cemetery.
The coffins draped with the national flag were lowered into freshly dug graves in the martyr’s square of Algeria’s largest burial ground, alongside national heroes such as top revolt leader Emir Abdelkader.
An elite unit of the Republican Guard presented arms while a funeral march played in the background, an AFP correspondent reported.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who took part in the ceremony alongside other officials, on Saturday said it was time to turn a page on years of frosty relations with France, calling on Paris to apologize for its colonial past.
“We have already had half-apologies. The next step is needed... we await it,” he told news channel France 24 in an interview.
An apology was necessary to “face the problem of memory that jeopardizes many things in the relations between the two countries,” Tebboune said.
It would “make it possible to cool tensions and create a calmer atmosphere for economic and cultural relations,” especially for the more than six million Algerians who live in France, he added.
The skulls, once viewed as war trophies by French colonial officers, were flown into Algiers international airport on Friday and then moved to the Palace of Culture where they were placed on display.
Despite stifling heat, a long queue formed outside the palace and some men and women, waiting to pay their respects, wept, according to footage broadcast by several television stations.
“I came as a fighter, as an invalid from the war of libration, as a citizen who loves his country,” said Ali Zemlat.
The 85-year-old fought in the brutal 1954-1962 war that ended France’s 132 years of colonial rule in Algeria.
The skulls had been stored since the 19th century in the vaults of the Musee de l’Homme in Paris, which specializes in anthropology.
Among the remains were those of revolt leader Sheikh Bouzian, who was captured in 1849 by the French, shot and decapitated, and those of his comrades who had met the same fate.
Algeria had officially asked for their return in 2018, as well as requesting the handover of colonial archives.
The restitution of the skulls has been seen as a sign of a thaw in relations between Algeria and the former colonial power, marked since independence by recurrent tensions.
The French presidency, in a statement to AFP, said the return of the remains was a gesture of “friendship” and part of efforts to “reconcile the memories of the French and Algerian people.”
The repatriation comes amid a global reexamination of the legacy of colonialism, sparked by the May killing of unarmed African American George Floyd by a white police officer.
His murder sparked protests across the world, and UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has urged countries to make amends for “centuries of violence and discrimination.”
Emmanuel Macron, the first French president to be born after the 1954-62 independence war in which 1.5 million Algerians died, made his first official visit to Algiers in December 2017.
At the time, he told news website Tout sur l’Algerie that he was “ready” to see his country hand back the skulls.
During his presidential election campaign, Macron had created a storm by calling France’s colonization of Algeria a “crime against humanity.”