Saudi Arabia reopens its land borders with UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain

The King Fahd Causeway Bridge linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is now open to traffic. (AN file photo)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Saudi Arabia reopens its land borders with UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain

  • Commercial traffic flows unhindered as measures to curb spread of virus eased and normality returns

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s land borders with the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain will reopen after a four-month closure as the Kingdom eases the pandemic’s restrictions and economic activity returns to normal.

Commercial trucks carrying goods for the Kingdom will also be allowed to enter through land ports from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states following a circular issued by Saudi Customs.

On March 7, the Kingdom announced that land border crossings with the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain would be limited to commercial trucks as part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile Saudi Customs officials are taking the lead in identifying air travelers harboring COVID-19 by employing specially trained sniffer dogs.

On March 7, the Kingdom announced that land border crossings with the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain would be limited to commercial trucks as part of the government’s efforts to contain the virus spread.

The canine virus detectors are being drafted in at airports throughout the Kingdom to help pick up the scent of infected passengers. Following the resumption of international flights, customs staff in Saudi Arabia are to use the animals as part of their efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

Saudi health authorities recorded 1,342 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total number in the Kingdom to 281,435. The death toll rose by 35 to 2,984

Of the latest cases, 97 were in Riyadh, 56 in Makkah, 53 in Madinah and Hafr Al-Batin, and 51 in Dammam, with 40 percent of them women.

There were 34,763 active cases, with most patients in a stable condition, and 1,983 critical.

The number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 increased to 243,688, with 1,635 of those being in the latest 24-hour period.

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Law to protect soldiers would be ‘dangerous’ to UK forces’ reputation, PM warned

Updated 7 min 49 sec ago

Law to protect soldiers would be ‘dangerous’ to UK forces’ reputation, PM warned

  • “This bill would be a stain on the country’s reputation,” military and political figures said

LONDON: A bill that aims to repress claims against British troops was “dangerous and harmful” to the reputation of the UK’s armed forces and the safety of its personnel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been warned.
Military and political figures have encouraged the British premier to reconsider the “ill-conceived” legislation, which will return to the House of Commons next week, The Times reported.
Former head of the armed forces , Field Marshal Charles Guthrie, ex-defense secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, and former attorney-general, Dominic Grieve, sent a letter to Johnson on Thursday sharing their concerns about the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, the British newspaper said.
The draft law seeks to limit false and old allegations against personnel through measures including a statutory presumption against criminal prosecution five years after an alleged crime.
Compelling new evidence must be presented, and the attorney-general’s consent secured in order for the presumption to be overruled. The bill is only applicable to overseas operations.
In the letter, Guthrie and other signatories said: “We find it disturbing that the government’s approach … creates a presumption against prosecution of torture and other grave crimes (with only rape and sexual violence excepted) after five years.
“We believe that the effective application of existing protocols removes the risk of vexatious prosecution. To create de facto impunity for such crimes would be a damaging signal for Britain to send to the world.
“This bill would be a stain on the country’s reputation. It would increase the danger to British soldiers if Britain is perceived as reluctant to act in accordance with long-established international law,” they added.
Britain’s most senior military judge had warned defense secretary, Ben Wallace, that the legislation could leave British troops more likely to face prosecution for war crimes at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, The Times revealed in June.
As the legislation sets out protections relating only to domestic crimes, it could encourage police and prosecutors to focus on pursuing war-crime charges, Judge Jeffrey Blackett said.
The Ministry of Defense has said that the legislation “strikes the right balance between victims’ rights and access to justice, as well as fairness to those who defend this country.”