Dubai ruler approves futuristic masterplan for Palm Jebel Ali

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The megaproject is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will mark a new milestone in the continued growth of the city. (WAM)
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The megaproject is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will mark a new milestone in the continued growth of the city. (WAM)
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The megaproject is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will mark a new milestone in the continued growth of the city. (WAM)
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The megaproject is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will mark a new milestone in the continued growth of the city. (WAM)
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The megaproject is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will mark a new milestone in the continued growth of the city. (WAM)
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Updated 08 June 2023
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Dubai ruler approves futuristic masterplan for Palm Jebel Ali

  • Part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, Palm Jebel Ali is one of a series of projects being undertaken by Dubai-based real estate developer Nakheel

DUBAI: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, has approved a new futuristic development masterplan for Palm Jebel Ali, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

Part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, Palm Jebel Ali is one of a series of projects being undertaken by Dubai-based real estate developer Nakheel.

Sheikh Mohammed said that Dubai would continue to innovate and deliver world-class lifestyle destinations that enhanced its status as the world’s best city to live, work and visit.

“We have vast ambitions for the future and we are confident that we can transform our grand vision for development into reality,” he said. “Palm Jebel Ali will further strengthen our urban infrastructure and consolidate the city’s emergence as one of the world’s leading metropolises. This new groundbreaking project reflects our strategic development plan centered on raising the quality of life and happiness of residents.

“Dubai has entered a new phase of development driven by innovation and creativity. By taking advantage of the opportunities arising from the evolving global environment, Dubai’s competitiveness and reputation as a thriving global business and tourism hub continue are set to grow further. We remain committed to shaping a brighter future both for our people and the world.

“The urban expansion that Palm Jebel Ali represents is a testament to Dubai’s economic dynamism. It also signifies Dubai’s exceptional outlook as a hub for talent and investment. The project will contribute to Dubai’s sustainable development by opening new avenues for growth in several sectors,” he said.

Palm Jebel Ali would raise the global benchmark in waterfront living and offer a range of luxury lifestyle amenities for residents, families and visitors, supporting the objective of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top cities for business and tourism, WAM said.

The project also marks the beginning of a new growth corridor in the Jebel Ali area, underlining the expansion of the emirate.

Spanning an area of 13.4 sq km and occupying an area twice the size of Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali will feature extensive green spaces and distinctive waterfront experiences. The project will add about 110 km of coastline to Dubai that will provide about 35,000 families with luxury beachside living.

It will feature more than 80 hotels and resorts, and a wide choice of entertainment and leisure facilities that will contribute to Dubai’s tourism sector, while distinguishing the archipelago as an aspirational residential destination in the city.

Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Shaibani said: “We are honored to embark on a pathbreaking journey with the new masterplan of Palm Jebel Ali, which is unprecedented in magnitude and scale. The megaproject is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will mark a new milestone in the continued growth of the city.

“Palm Jebel Ali will capture the spirit, energy and life of Dubai as a thriving, prosperous and sustainable waterfront community and a world-class lifestyle destination, and secure Dubai’s reputation globally as an innovator in waterfront developments, besides creating exceptional value for investors.”

In line with the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, Palm Jebel Ali will support the emirate’s vision to deliver the highest standards of urban infrastructure and facilities, increase beach destinations as well as support sustainable development and facilitate the expansion of the population, estimated to reach about 5.8 million by 2040.

Setting a model in contemporary urban planning practices, the island will feature mixed-use walkable neighborhoods, incorporate smart city technologies and sustainability practices, as well as provide a range of mobility options for residents, visitors and communities, WAM reported.

Palm Jebel Ali has been designed with sustainability in mind. The plans include renewable energy resources being incorporated into its infrastructure design, allowing it to become almost completely self-sufficient in power generation once complete. As much as 30 percent of Palm Jebel Ali’s energy requirements will be obtained from renewable sources.


Israel reopens Gaza crossing to Palestinian workers

Updated 28 September 2023
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Israel reopens Gaza crossing to Palestinian workers

  • The Israeli authorities had initially closed the Erez crossing, the only gateway for Palestinian pedestrians from the Gaza Strip, for the Jewish new year holiday on September 15

Erez: Israel said it reopened Thursday a key crossing with Gaza to Palestinian workers after shutting it during violent protests that saw the army launch strikes targeting Hamas military posts.
The Israeli authorities had initially closed the Erez crossing, the only gateway for Palestinian pedestrians from the Gaza Strip, for the Jewish new year holiday on September 15.
But they extended the closure citing security reasons following daily demonstrations along the border that left several protesters dead and injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers.
While patients seeking medical treatment and foreigners had been allowed to use the crossing, thousands of Palestinian workers from the coastal enclave had been banned from entering Israel.
On Wednesday evening COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, said the crossing would reopen for workers from Thursday morning.
The Palestinian civilian affairs ministry confirmed the crossing had reopened.
An AFP correspondent saw thousands of Palestinians waiting at the terminal to enter Israel.
Israel has issued work permits to some 18,500 Gazans, COGAT said last week.
The Gaza Strip, home to some 2.3 million Palestinians, had been rocked by violent protests in the past two weeks.
Protesters had often resorted to burning tires, throwing stones and petrol bombs at Israeli troops, who have responded with tear gas and live bullets.
The Israeli army had also resorted to drone strikes targeting military sites of the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the enclave.
Since September 13, seven Palestinians have been killed and more than 100 wounded in the violence in Gaza, according to figures from the Hamas-controlled health ministry.
Israel has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized the Palestinian territory in 2007.
Armed conflict sporadically erupts between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip.
In May, an exchange of Israeli air strikes and Gaza rocket fire resulted in the deaths of 34 Palestinians and one Israeli.


‘Yesterday there was a wedding and happiness … now we bury them’

Updated 28 September 2023
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‘Yesterday there was a wedding and happiness … now we bury them’

  • Grief in Iraqi town after 113 die in wedding inferno
  • 9 arrested, warrants issued for hall owners

JEDDAH: Nine people were arrested on Wednesday and warrants were issued for a further four after more than 100 people died when a fire ripped through a packed wedding hall in northern Iraq.

Fire fighters searched the charred remains of the building in Qaraqosh, also known as Hamdaniya, onWednesday morning and bereaved relatives gathered outside a morgue in the nearby city of Mosul, wailing in distress.
“This was not a wedding. This was hell,” said Mariam Khedr as she waited for officials to return the bodies of her daughter Rana Yakoub, 27, and three young grandchildren, the youngest aged just eight months.
Survivors said the fire began about an hour into the wedding celebration when flares ignited a ceiling decoration as the bride and groom danced. Nineveh province Deputy Governor Hassan Al-Allaf said 113 people had been confirmed dead.

“We saw the fire pulsating, coming out of the hall. Those who managed got out and those who didn’t got stuck,” said survivor Imad Yohana, 34.
Outside the morgue, one woman said: “I lost my daughter, her husband and their three-year-old. They were all burned. My heart is burning.”

A man called Youssef stood near by with burns covering his hands and face. He said he had not been able to see anything when the fire began and the power cut out. He had grabbed his three-year-old grandson and managed to escape. But his wife, Bashra Mansour, did not make it. People in black streamed towards the cemetery in Qaraqosh on Wednesday as a line of pickup trucks drove past carrying the dead. Hundreds gathered, many sobbing, as coffins were carried at shoulder height, some shrouded in white, one with a floral cloth, before being lowered into their graves.
Most residents of Qaraqosh, which is mostly Christian but also home to some of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, fled the town when Daesh seized it in 2014. But they returned after the group was ousted in 2017.
“Yesterday there was a wedding and happiness. Now we are preparing their burial,” said deacon Hani al-Kasmousa at Mar Youhanna church, where the wedding service took place on Tuesday before the evening celebration.
People who survived the blaze said the hall appeared poorly equipped for it, with no visible fire extinguishers and few exits. Iraq’s Interior Ministry said nine wedding hall staff had been arrested and it had issued arrest warrants for the four owners.


Arab family of five shot dead as crime rates in Israel soar

Updated 28 September 2023
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Arab family of five shot dead as crime rates in Israel soar

  • Arab mayors have accused the government and police of deliberately neglecting their communities and of enabling criminals to act with impunity

JERUSALEM: Five members of an Arab family were shot dead in their home in Israel, police said on Wednesday, in the latest in a wave of crime-related killings in Israel’s Arab communities that has reached a new peak this year.
The shooting of the five, including a woman and two teenagers, in the northern town of Basmat Tab’un followed a separate incident in which a 50-year-old man was killed earlier on Wednesday.
More than 180 Arab citizens in Israel have been killed in crime-related violence since January — a seven-year high — in a spate of killings that have continued unchecked, drawing accusations that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist government was ignoring the bloodshed.
“Israel has the abilities, the Israeli government understands what needs to be done, everybody understands what needs to be done, there simply is no will and no leadership,” said Mansour Abbas, leader of one of the parties that represent Israel’s Arab minority.
Arab mayors have accused the government and police of deliberately neglecting their communities and of enabling criminals to act with impunity. They have refused to work with the far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has past convictions of support for terrorism and anti-Arab incitement, and have demanded that Netanyahu intervene instead.
With Israel facing its worst political crisis in decades, over Netanyahu’s drive to push through divisive changes to the judiciary, Arab citizens say the collapse of personal safety in their communities must receive more government attention.
Ben-Gvir, who did not immediately comment on Wednesday’s incident, has rejected accusations of inaction. He has said fighting crime is high on his agenda and that police have stepped up crime-busting activity, including the seizure of weapons and funds from criminal groups.
“As police, we will do everything to get to the killers,” police spokesman Eli Levi told reporters at the scene of Wednesday’s crime.
Arab citizens, most of whom are descendants of Palestinians who remained in Israel during the mass exodus of refugees in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation, make up about a fifth of the country’s population.
They have for decades faced high poverty rates, poorly funded schools and overcrowded towns lacking services and say they are treated as second-class citizens compared with Jewish Israelis.


Lebanese military court sentences Daesh official to 160 years in prison

Updated 27 September 2023
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Lebanese military court sentences Daesh official to 160 years in prison

  • Imad Yassin, a Palestinian in his 50s, confessed to all 11 charges against him

BEIRUT: Lebanese military court has sentenced an official with the extremist Daesh group to 160 years in prison for carrying out deadly attacks against security forces and planning others targeting government buildings and crowded civilian areas, judicial officials said Wednesday.

The officials said Imad Yassin, a Palestinian in his 50s, confessed to all 11 charges against him, including joining a “terrorist organization,” committing crimes in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp of Ein El-Hilweh, shooting at Lebanese soldiers, and transporting weapons and munitions for militant groups.

Yassin, also known as Imad Akl, said he was planning several other attacks, including blowing up two main power stations, the headquarters of a major local television station in Beirut, killing a leading politician, as well as planning attacks on hotels north of Beirut, the officials said on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Before joining Daesh, Yassin was a member of other militant groups, including Al-Qaeda-linked Jund Al-Sham, which is still active in Ein El-Hilweh. In later years, he became Daesh’s top official in the camp.

Yassin was detained in Ein El-Hilweh, near the port city of Sidon, six years ago and has been held since. The total 11 sentences that he received count to up to 160 years in prison, the officials said.

The session during which he was sentenced started on Monday night and lasted until the early hours of Tuesday. 

At the height of its rise in Iraq and Syria in 2014, Daesh claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in different parts of Lebanon that left scores of people dead.


Morocco aims to become key player in green hydrogen

Updated 27 September 2023
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Morocco aims to become key player in green hydrogen

RABAT: Morocco has voiced ambitious plans to become North Africa’s top player in the emerging “green hydrogen” sector, with plans to export the clean-burning fuel to Europe.

Hydrogen is seen as a clean energy source that can help the world phase out fossil fuels and reduce atmospheric carbon emissions in the battle to slow global warming.

Morocco, which already runs large solar power plants, also hopes to harness green hydrogen — the kind made without burning fossil fuels — for its sizeable fertilizer sector.

Around 1.5 million acres of public land — nearly the size of Kuwait — have been set aside for green hydrogen and ammonia plants, the economy ministry says.

King Mohammed VI has hailed a national green hydrogen plan dubbed l’Offre Maroc (the Moroccan Offer) and called for its “rapid and qualitative implementation.”

Speaking in July, before the country’s earthquake disaster, he said Morocco must take advantage of “the projects supported by international investors in this promising sector.”

Local media have reported about investment plans by Australian, British, French, German and Indian companies.

Hydrogen can be extracted from water by passing a strong electrical current through it.

This separates the hydrogen from the oxygen, a process called electrolysis.

If the power used is clean — such as solar or wind — the fuel is called “green hydrogen,” which is itself emission-free when burnt.

But there are problems: Hydrogen is highly explosive and hard to store and transport. This has set back hydrogen fuel cell cars in the race against electric vehicles using lithium-ion batteries.

However, experts say green hydrogen also has a big role to play in decarbonizing energy-intensive industries that cannot easily be electrified such as steel, cement and chemicals.

Powering blast furnaces with hydrogen, for example, offers the promise of making “green steel.”

Hydrogen can also be converted into ammonia, to store the energy or as a major input in synthetic fertilizers. Morocco is already a major player in the global fertilizer market, thanks mainly to its immense phosphate reserves.

It profited after fertilizer shortages sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices up to 1,000 euros ($1,060) per ton.

Morocco’s state Phosphate Office has announced plans to quickly produce a million tons of “green ammonia” from green hydrogen and triple the amount by 2032.

Analysts caution that Morocco still has some way to go with its ambitious green fertilizer plans.

The sector is “embryonic and the large global projects will not see the light of day until three to five years from now,” said Samir Rachidi, director of the Moroccan research institute IRESEN.

Morocco’s advantage is that it has already bet heavily on clean energy over the past 15 years.

Solar, wind and other clean energy make up 38 percent of production, and the goal is to reach 52 percent by 2030.

For now green hydrogen is more expensive than the highly polluting “brown hydrogen” made using coal or “grey hydrogen” produced from natural gas.

The goal is to keep green hydrogen production below $1-$2 per kilogram, Ahmed Reda Chami, president of the Economic, Social and Environmental Counsel, told the weekly La Vie Eco.