Top Palestinian official Erekat ‘critical’ from virus

A file photo taken on March 3, 2020 shows Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization and chief Palestinian negotiator, talking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 19 October 2020

Top Palestinian official Erekat ‘critical’ from virus

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization said on Sunday that Erekat had been admitted to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital’s coronavirus intensive care unit
  • The Jerusalem-born Erekat serves as the PLO’s secretary-general and in remains Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s inner circle

JERUSALEM: Long-time chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was in “critical” condition and in a medically induced coma on Monday, said the Israeli hospital in Jerusalem treating him for coronavirus complications.
The Palestine Liberation Organization said on Sunday that Erekat had been admitted to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital’s coronavirus intensive care unit due to “chronic health problems in the respiratory system.”
The 65-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 on October 19, the PLO said.
Erekat had “arrived in serious condition” and was receiving oxygen, the hospital said on Sunday, adding that his condition was “serious” but “stable.”
On Monday morning, Hadassah said that after a “quiet night,” his condition “deteriorated and is now defined critical and due to respiratory distress, he is anaesthetised and ventilated.”
Erekat, who lives in the biblical town of Jericho in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, underwent lung-transplant surgery in the United States in 2017.
“Mr Erekat is a challenge to treat for coronavirus since he had lung transplants, he is immunosuppressed, and has another bacterial infection in addition to coronavirus,” Hadassah said on Monday.
Hadassah said it was “is in contact with international medical authorities regarding the treatment policy of this complex patient.”
The Jerusalem-born Erekat serves as the PLO’s secretary-general and in remains Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s inner circle.
He has been a key figure in Palestinian politics for decades, often serving as a main interlocutor for foreign envoys and the international media.
He has consistently voiced support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There have been 42,490 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the West Bank, including 381 deaths.


UAE eases limits on foreign ownership to attract investors

Updated 24 November 2020

UAE eases limits on foreign ownership to attract investors

  • Earlier this month, the UAE also announced a series of reforms to its Islamic legal code
  • The reforms allow foreign entrepreneurs and investors to set up their own companies without involving local shareholders

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates has relaxed and removed a range of limits on foreign ownership of companies, state-run media reported Monday, in the country’s latest bid to boost its global status and attract foreign investors.
Earlier this month, the UAE announced a series of reforms to its Islamic legal code, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, improving protections for women and loosening restrictions on alcohol consumption.
The dramatic changes come as the UAE has spent billions of dollars preparing to host some 25 million visitors for the World Expo, which was pushed back to 2021 because of the pandemic.
The UAE also expects Israelis to join the legions of foreigners who have opened up businesses and bought apartments in the coastal cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi following a breakthrough US-brokered normalization deal between the countries.
Dubai in particular, which was teetering on the brink of an economic downturn before the pandemic thanks to a weak real estate market, is eager for the influx of capital and travelers. COVID-19 has battered its economy, which draws largely from the tourism, hospitality and aviation industries.
The presidential decree that alters the corporate law helps the UAE “strengthen its leading position regionally and globally as an attractive destination for projects and companies,” state-run WAM news agency reported.
The reforms allow foreign entrepreneurs and investors to set up their own companies without involving local shareholders, the agency said.
That’s a welcome development for the country’s many expatriates who long had their ownership capped at 49 percent in firms outside free zones.
Other legal amendments remove quotas requiring that Emiratis hold the majority of board positions and serve as chairs for onshore companies. Companies that want to be publicly traded will be able to sell up to 70 percent of their shares instead of the current 30 percent limit.
The amendments will certainly diminish the appeal of 45 “free” zones across the UAE, where those wanting to avoid local-hiring quotas and retain full foreign ownership would set up shop.