BEIJING: Police have ordered some low-end hotels in the Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries to stay, though China’s foreign ministry said it had never heard of the policy.
Three hotels with rooms costing about $23 a night said they had received police notices as early as March, telling them to turn away people from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan.
“I’m not clear about the reason. We just can’t take them,” one hotel worker said by telephone.
The notice appears only to apply to cheaper hotels at the bottom of the price scale.
All of the five countries have been beset by terrorist attacks in the past few years, or in the case of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been in states of war.
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post said on Friday the rule appeared to be a security measure coinciding with a development forum being held in Guangzhou this week, and also ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, though the two cities are more than 1,000km apart.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware that such an order had been issued in Guangzhou. “I’ve never heard that there is this policy being followed in China,” Lu told a daily news briefing.
“Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard.”
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2016
DOHA: Qatar’s government will levy a new airport tax on passengers from Tuesday as the country seeks new revenue streams amid falling oil prices. Every passenger leaving Qatar from Doha’s Hamad International Airport, including transit passengers, will be charged 35 riyals ($9.61) for using airport facilities, according to a statement by the airport.
The charge will apply to tickets issued after Aug 30 and for any travel starting on Dec 1 onwards and would be used to “further increase the airport’s capacity and invest in new infrastructure”, the statement said. Children under two years old without a seat will be exempted.
Airport fees, while common elsewhere in the world, have until recently been avoided by Gulf states as they seek to gain a competitive advantage for business and become regional hubs. Some 1.33 million passengers travelled through Hamad International Airport in June. Airports in the United Arab Emirates announced similar taxes earlier this year. Interest rates are rising in the Gulf as low oil prices pressure governments’ finances, so Qatar has been looking at ways other than borrowing to fund its projects, including raising local gasoline prices.
Qatar has said it expects to post a deficit of 46.5 billion riyals ($12.8 billion) in 2016, its first in 15 years, and to run a deficit for at least three years as low natural gas and oil prices weigh on its revenues as it prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2022. – Agencies
AMMAN: The US will reach its target this week of taking in 10,000 Syrian war refugees in a year-old resettlement program, the US ambassador to Jordan said yesterday, after meeting families headed to California and Virginia. The resettlement program has emerged as an issue in the US presidential campaign, with Republican nominee Donald Trump alleging displaced Syrians pose a potential security threat. Alice Wells, the US ambassador to Jordan, said yesterday that keeping Americans safe and taking in some of the world’s most vulnerable people are not mutually exclusive.
“Refugees are the most thoroughly screened category of travelers to the United States, and Syrian refugees are subject to even greater scrutiny,” she said. Wells said the target of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US in the 2016 fiscal year will be reached Monday, as several hundred Syrians depart from Jordan over 24 hours. The Jouriyeh family, which attended Sunday’s short ceremony, is headed to San Diego, California. Nadim Fawzi Jouriyeh, 49, a former construction worker from the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs, said he feels “fear and joy, fear of the unknown and our new lives, but great joy for our children’s lives and future.”
Jouriyeh, who suffers from heart problems, will be traveling with his wife, Rajaa, 42, and their four children. Their oldest son, 14-year-old Mohammed, said he is eager to sign up for school in San Diego and hopes to study medicine one day. The resettlement program focuses on the most vulnerable refugees, including those who were subjected to violence or torture or are sick. Close to 5 million Syrians have fled civil war since 2011. Most struggle to survive in tough conditions in neighboring countries, including Jordan, which hosts close to 660,000 Syrian refugees.
Only a small percentage of Syrian refugees have been resettled to third countries. Instead, donor countries are trying to invest more in job creation and education for refugees in regional host countries to encourage them to stay there instead of moving onward, including to Europe. Wells said the US has taken in more refugees from around the world over the years than all other nations combined. – AP
source: Kuwait Times
WASHINGTON: The father of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq posed a question to Donald Trump: Have you read the Constitution?
To rapturous cheers, Pakistan-born Khizr Khan fiercely attacked the billionaire businessman Thursday at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, saying that if it was up to Trump, his son never would have been American or served in the military.
Khan said that Hillary Clinton, by contrast, "called my son the best of America".
The address was the latest effort by Democrats to highlight their diversity and criticise Trump's most contentious plans. Beyond his proposed wall across Mexico, the billionaire businessman has threatened to ban Muslims from entering the United States if he becomes president.
Capt. Humayun Khan died in 2004 when a car loaded with explosives blew up at his compound. He was 27.
Honouring his son, Khizr Khan pulled a copy of the Constitution out of his suit pocket and offered to lend it to Trump.
“Look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law', he said standing next to his wife, waving the paperback document vigorously.
"Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery?” he then asked. “Go look at the graves of brave Americans who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing.“
Khan, who moved to the US in 1980, said he and his wife were "patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country."
“Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty handed,” he said, believing that with hard work he could raise his three sons "in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams".
Trump, Khan argued, was imperilling that ideal with his smears of Muslims, women, judges and other groups. He urged Muslims, immigrants and all patriots to “to not take this election lightly“.
“Vote for the healer,” Khan said, "not the divider".
TOKYO: Eiko Ishiyama, a Japanese-Kuwaiti woman, has fulfilled one of her goals by raising the Kuwaiti flag on Mt Fuji, Japan’s highest and most iconic mountain. “It was a tough journey because the weather got colder the higher I climbed.”
Ishiyama, who conquered the 3,776-meter peak last week, said yesterday. Living in Kuwait, Ishiyama teaches Japanese to Kuwaiti students, including in Japanese language courses at Kuwait University’s (KU) Center for Community Service and Continuing Education.
“One of my former Kuwaiti students tried to raise the Kuwaiti flag at the summit of Mt. Fuji a few years ago, but he did not make it to the top. Ever since then, I was inspired to take the Kuwaiti flag to the top myself, and I set it as one of my personal goals for 2016,” said Ishiyama.
She suffered from elevation sickness at the 8th station of the trail, where she was forced to stop and rest. But with remembering the dream of her Kuwaiti student, who could not continue beyond the 9th station, which was only one station away from the peak, Ishiyama stayed motivated to move up.
“I was worried that I could not achieve the same goal either. But after resting, I pushed myself to hike up to the summit while it was still dark.” Ishiyama reached the top just in time to see the sunrise, which she described that the view was absolutely stunning and very rewarding. “I recommend this experience to everyone. It is never too late and you are never too old to fulfill your goals,” she added. Located about 100 kilometer southwest of Tokyo, Mt Fuji has long been a symbol of Japan. It was added to the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site in 2013. – KUNA
MUNICH: Gunmen went on a shooting rampage in a shopping mall in the southern German city of Munich yesterday, killing and wounding many people, police said. Authorities were evacuating people from the Olympia mall but many others were hiding inside. The Bavarian Interior Ministry said three people were dead, NTV television reported. A Munich police spokeswoman said multiple people were killed or wounded. “We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage,” the spokeswoman said.
More than one gunman was believed to be involved and no one had been arrested, she said. “We believe there was more than one perpetrator. The first reports came at 6 pm, the shooting apparently began at a McDonald’s in the shopping center. There are still people in the shopping center. We are trying to get the people out and take care of them.” Police special forces had arrived at the scene, NTV said. It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack, which took place a week after an axe-wielding teenager went on a rampage on a German train. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.
The Bild newspaper reported that a gunman ran through the mall near the Munich Olympic stadium, firing on several people before fleeing in the direction of a nearby metro station. Staff in the mall were still in hiding, an employee told Reuters by telephone. “Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot,” the employee, who declined to be identified, said from the mall in Munich. “All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn’t survive. We have no further information, we’re just staying in the back in the storage rooms. No police have approached us yet.” Munich transport authorities said they had halted several bus, train and tram lines. – Agencies
DHAKA: Bangladesh on Friday moved to regulate weekly sermons in hundreds of thousands of mosques as part of a stepped-up campaign to combat extremism, officials said.
The move comes after the deadly attack in an upscale Dhaka cafe in which 20 hostages were brutally shot and hacked to death in the nation's worst attack by suspected militants.
Since then, authorities have shut down Zakir Naik's Peace TV, and decided to monitor the social media and Friday sermons of local mosques in a bid to prevent radicalisation.
As part of the drive, the state-run Islamic Foundation, which works as a watchdog for mosques and religious establishments, has prepared a sermon for the main national mosque which it has asked other mosques to follow.
The sermon, which was published by the agency ahead of Friday's prayers, invokes holy verses and traditions of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) to rail against murderous extremism.
"Whoever kills a person unjustly, it is as though he has killed all mankind," it said, citing a verse of the Holy Quran.
It also quoted the Prophet (PBUH) as saying the killing of a human being is the biggest sin and urged parents to take good care of their children so they cannot be "brainwashed".
It was not clear how many of Bangladesh's mosques, which are run by independent neighbourhood lay committees, would follow the instructions.
But a senior police official said local administrations, police and regional Islamic Foundation officials would "monitor" the sermons.
Foundation chief Shamim Mohammad Afzal told AFP that the sermon had been distributed to more than 300,000 mosques.
"It is not mandatory but we hope the imams will follow our sermon or take their inspiration from it," he said.
"Our core message is there is no place for terrorism in Islam. We want to make sure our children cannot be brainwashed to commit an act of terrorism."
Islamic parties, who have strongly denounced the cafe siege and a string of other recent attacks on minorities, have criticised the sermon regulation as "undesirable".
"Long before the Foundation issued its instructions, our clerics have been vocal against terrorism," said Mufti Faiz Ullah, secretary general of Islamic Oikya Jote, a faith-based party.
Last month, just ahead of the cafe attack, a pro-government council of clerics issued a fatwa against violent jihad, which was endorsed by more than 100,000 imams.