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WASHINGTON (Agencies): The IOC revoked the Olympic qualifying status of a shooting championship in Kuwait on Thursday after an Israeli official was denied a visa to enter the country for the event.

The IOC executive board stripped the Asian Shooting Championship of its Olympic status on the request of the International Sports Shooting Federation. The event is scheduled from Nov 1-12. The IOC said the federation’s technical delegate, Yair Davidovich of Israel, was scheduled to supervise the event on behalf of the ISSF but was denied a visa by the Kuwaiti immigration department. “The denial of a visa is against the nondiscrimination principle of the Olympic Charter,” the IOC said. “The Olympic Charter must apply for all Olympic Qualification competitions.”

The decision came two days after the IOC suspended Kuwait’s national Olympic committee because of government interference. It also came as Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a Kuwaiti, chaired the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Washington. The suspension came after Kuwait failed to amend its disputed sports legislation by the Oct 27 deadline set by the International Olympic Committee. FIFA suspended Kuwait’s soccer association over the same issue two weeks ago. If the suspension is not lifted before next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Kuwaiti athletes would be barred from representing their country at the games.

The IOC would consider giving them special dispensation to compete as individuals under the Olympic flag. Kuwait was first suspended by the IOC in 2010, also in a dispute over government interference. The country was reinstated in 2012 ahead of the London Games after His Highness the Amir Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, pledged autonomy for the Olympic committee and promised new legislation for institutions governing sports. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah inaugurated Thursday the 20th ANOC General Assembly with record-breaking participation of 1,200 delegates from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

In his inaugural speech, Sheikh Ahmad hailed the largest participation of the national committees from the four corners of the globe. This participation shows that the great status of the ANOC as one of the pillars of the international Olympic movement, he said. He welcomed the attending International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and Washington Mayor. Sheikh Ahmad also welcomed the delegates of the national Olympic committees of South Sudan and Kosovo which recently joined the ANOC.

The meeting — which is the largest event for the Olympic Movement outside of the Olympic Games — will mark the first of its kind to be held in the United States since Atlanta hosted the event in 1994. The two-day event will tackle a wide array of key issues related to the world sports and Olympic committees across the world.

It will also touches upon the relationship among ANOC, the International Olympic Committee, the International Anti-Doping Agency and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. On Wednesday, Sheikh Ahmad chaired the 68th session of ANOC Executive Office which chose the Qatari capital Doha to play a host for the ANOC General Assembly of 2016. It also chose the US city of San Diego to host the coming Beach Games.

RIYADH: The Knowledge Core Education System, Canada, joined hands with Prince Miteb bin Thunayan bin Mohammed to support an initiative in order to set up schools, colleges and a university in line with international standards to solve the higher education problems of expatriates living in the Kingdom.

“Seeking to resolve expatriates’ education challenges in the Kingdom, a formal agreement was signed between Prince Miteb, patron-in-chief for the Knowledge Core, Riyadh, and Shahzad Alam Siddiqui, chairman Knowledge Core, Canada,” said Mohammad Naseem, a Knowledge Core official, on Sunday.
Earlier, addressing a formal ceremony, which was also attended by Manzoor Ul Haq, Pakistan ambassador in Riyadh, Prince Miteb emphasized the importance of education for all Muslims saying: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim and promoting education in the Muslim world is the need of the time.”
He said that we wanted some groups to set up an educational institution on affordable prices without compromising the quality of education.
Speaking on the occasion, the Pakistani envoy thanked Prince Miteb and Knowledge Core for extending this support and exuded hoped that this initiative will help resolve educational problems of the Pakistani community in the Kingdom.
On this occasion, he pointed toward the pressure for admissions in Pakistan International schools.
“We encourage all groups to come and help us overcoming educational issues of the Pakistani community,” he noted.
Haq suggested that curriculum for schools, colleges and university should be designed keeping international standards and Islamic principles in mind.
He also appreciated Knowledge Core for promoting quality education in remote and distant areas of Pakistan through its e-Learning program “EDUCAST” via its offshoot EPEX Lab.
Alam underlined the importance of support by the Saudi government to allow investment in the education sector for expatriates.
He maintained that there are 9.2 million expatriate workers in the Kingdom, with around 42 percent employed in both the public and private sectors as per a new study.
He pointed out that expatriates face problems in educating their children in some accredited educational institutions at high costs and need quality education at affordable prices, therefore, “we are keen in setting up an education system for entry level to postgraduate level for the expatriates and Saudis at an affordable cost.”

TOKYO: Kuwait’s Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Bader Al-Essa yesterday urged the international community to strive for a world with a healthy environment, more sustainable and free from pollution. At the plenary session in the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) focusing on future perspective of addressing climate change through innovation, Dr Al-Essa stressed that replacing the use of gas and harmful chemicals with safer alternatives, is one step countries may take to improve on climate changes and reduce pollution.

“Many countries have responded to repeated calls for a healthy, sustainable environment and reducing the negative effects that industries impact on the climate. On the other hand, some countries contribute to environmental pollution, destruction of the climate and changes in the earth’s temperature, by allowing industries to continue with poor practices and protocols,” the minister, who heads the Kuwaiti delegation, pointed out.

“It is the duty of scientists, industry owners, policy makers and countries in general, to work towards a more healthy and sustainable environment by improving current policies, creating new tools and developing new technologies to that affect.” While confirming that all countries are held accountable at the legal, political and humanitarian levels to the current status of pollution and global warning, Dr Al-Essa underlined the bigger responsibilities of industrial nations towards the environmental issues, saying, “Industrial countries are required to be more stringent with enforcing the law to protect the environment and human health.”

Three Zero initiatives
The two-day conference gathers more than 1,000 researchers, business leaders, and policymakers from around the world to share a vision and establish partnerships for lasting global reduction in greenhouse gases through innovative low-carbon technologies. Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Chairman of the Bangladesh-based Yunus Centre, called for “three Zero initiatives-Zero poverty, Zero unemployment and Zero net emission-to attain the vision of sustainable development goals that improve human lives.

As an example of popularizing solar energy in Bangladesh, Yunus, renowned microfinance pioneer and founder of Grameen Bank, also said his non-profit energy company has successfully installed more than 1.6 million solar home systems in the country’s rural areas over the past 18 years. The Kuwaiti delegation includes Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education Dr Hamed Al-Azemi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education Dr Haitham Al-Athari, Secretary General of the Private Universities Council Dr Habib Abul, Director General of the Applied Education and Training Dr Ahmad Al-Athari, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kuwait University Dr Firyal Bou-Rabee.
Based on a proposal by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo launched the ICEF last year to provide a global platform, where the world’s leading policy makers, business persons, and researchers can meet and cooperate with each other to address climate change through innovation. This year’s annual meeting is a critical opportunity to discuss innovative measures ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris due November, which will adopt a new international framework in tackling climate change. – KUNA

MUMBAI: An Indian living in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait is at ten times the risk of death, compared to an Indian living in the US, an IndiaSpend analysis has revealed. More than 7 million Indians live and work in the six oil-rich nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain), accounting for more than 60 percent of all global non-resident Indians (NRIs). Qatar has recently come under fire for poor conditions for many of around one million workers, including a large number of Indians, toiling at construction sites linked to the 2022 Soccer World Cup: 1,387 Indians workers have died in Qatar alone from 2010 to mid-2015.

The deaths of workers from India, and those from other countries, such as Nepal and Bangladesh, have been a matter of controversy, with some saying the toll could rise to 1,200 before any matches start. The Qatari government strongly denies that poor working conditions have anything to do with the death toll.

The Indian government appears to concur: In its response to a question in the Lok Sabha (House of the People), the government has said that most of the deaths in Qatar have been due to natural causes. Given that about 600,000 Indians live in Qatar, that is plausible. But is the death toll among Indians in Qatar unnaturally high? Indiaspend ran a check on the number of Indians living overseas, by country, and on the number of Indians who died in countries across the world between 2010 and 2013.

The check threw up some uncomfortable statistics:

* On an average, there are 53.6 deaths per 100,000 NRIs annually. However, this number conceals a sharp discrepancy. The average for the six GCC nations is 69.2 deaths, while the figure for rest of the world is 26.5 deaths, almost 60 percent lower.

* Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Kuwait report between 65 and 78 deaths per 100,000 Indian workers. Qatar actually fares much better than these four states.

* For the US and the UK, the toll is 80-90 percent less than these four states, meaning, an Indian citizen in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia has 10 times the risk of death compared to an NRI in the US. Indians living in US and UK work mostly in the financial and technology sectors, whereas Indians in the GCC often work in riskier jobs, such as construction. Secondly, Indians in US and UK also have access to better healthcare, given their relatively better incomes and the better medical infrastructure of these states.

The data also show that the death rate in Qatar per 100,000 Indians is half that of Saudi Arabia. Assuming that Indians in Qatar work in similar roles as Indians in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Oman, it is evident that a lot of lives can be saved through better working conditions and better medical attention. Qatar has probably come to the attention of Western media because it was awarded the 2022 Soccer World Cup and because of recent controversies linked to FIFA, the international soccer body-and, perhaps, that is the reason its standards are better than its neighbors. Similar publicity for other GCC nations could help improve the lives of expats in those countries.

SRINAGAR: The flags of Pakistan were raised here on Friday ahead of talks scheduled to be held between the national security advisers (NSAs) of India and Pakistan.

The flags were seen near Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta.

Kashmiri leader Shabbir Shah said the Indian government should review its rigid stand over the talks because its stand was very weak.

Mr Shah told the ANI news agency: “Discussions (between India and Pakistan) won’t make progress without the Kashmir issue.... It is not right to dictate the government of Pakistan that it should not meet the Hurriyat leaders. Government of India should reject this rigidness; their stand is very weak.”

He said the Kashmir issue was very important and if the Indian government wanted to discuss it with the Kashmiri leaders they were ready for a dialogue.

Meanwhile, the high court of Jammu and Kashmir quashed on Friday the detention under the Public Safety Act of Kashmiri leader Masarat Alam who was arrested for allegedly hoisting Pakistani flags and chanting anti-India slogans. 

Justice Hasnain Masoodi, who had earlier reserved his order on the petition filed by Mr Alam’s counsel, quashed the detention of the 45-year-old leader. 

Mr Alam was arrested on April 17 for allegedly raising Pakistani flags and chanting anti-India slogans during a rally organised by the Hurriyat Conference to welcome Syed Ali Shah Geelani from New Delhi. 

Police had registered a case against several leaders including Hurriyat Confe­rence chairman Geelani for activities like hoisting the Pakistani flag. 


LONDON: Eighteen migrants have been found stowing away in a lorry on a British motorway, police said yesterday. The migrants were found after the lorry was stopped Saturday by police on the M1 near Flamstead, north of London, 111 miles (178 kilometres) northwest of Folkestone, where Britain’s Eurotunnel cross-Channel terminal is located. The driver of the truck, a 40-year-old man from Poland, has been arrested on suspicion of assisting people entering the country unlawfully.

Officers were alerted by a member of the public who reported seeing suspicious activity on the lorry, Hertfordshire Police said. “Eighteen people who are believed to have entered the UK illegally on the lorry were taken into custody for their safety,” they added in a statement. Traffic police tweeted a picture of the migrants sitting on the ground next to a parked lorry loaded with cargo, apparently at a motorway service station.

A spike in the number of migrants trying to cross the Channel Tunnel from France to Britain has pushed the issue to the top of the political agenda. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned Sunday that living standards in Europe could not be sustained if “millions” of migrants from Africa arrived. “As long as the Europe Union’s laws are the way they are, many of them (migrants) will only have to set foot in Europe to be pretty confident that they will never be returned to their country of origin,” he told the BBC. “Now, that is not a sustainable situation because Europe can’t protect itself and preserve its standard of living and social structure if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa.” Britain is the sixth most popular country for asylum applications in the European Union, with 31,745 in 2014 compared to 202,645 for topranked Germany and 62,735 for fourth-placed France.

In a bid to tackle the issue, Prime Minister David Cameron’s government is sending up to 100 extra guards to Calais on the French side and is helping to upgrade fences to try and keep migrants from gaining access to trains which carry trucks across the Channel.— AFP

YANGON: Monsoon rains have claimed the lives of hundreds of people across Asia, authorities said yesterday, as rescue workers scrambled to reach remote areas of India, Pakistan and Myanmar in the wake of flash floods and landslides. Authorities in India say more than 120 people have died across the country in recent days, while more than a million have been displaced by rains worsened by a cyclone that barreled through the Bay of Bengal last week. Yesterday rescuers resumed their search for villagers after downpours caused a landslide in remote northeastern Manipur, where an official said four bodies have been recovered from a hamlet buried by a collapsed hill. In neighboring Myanmar the belt of heavy seasonal rains-augmented by Cyclone Komen-have killed 46 people so far and affected more than 200,000 with much of the country languishing under rooftop-high floods.

Risings waters
The government there has focused relief and rescue efforts on four “national disaster-affected regions” in central and western Myanmar, where villagers have been forced to use canoes and makeshift rafts to escape the rising waters. Thousands of others are already in camps for the displaced including in Kalay, Sagaing Region, where residents told of unusually powerful flood waters swamping homes in hours. “We’ve lost all that we have. Our house is still under water,” Htay Shein, 62, told AFP from a temporary shelter in Kalay. “We have seen floods, but never anything like this before. This year is the worst.” An AFP photographer in the area said floodwaters remained stubbornly high yesterday, with many people making their way to safety in rafts cobbled together from old tyres, salvaged wood and large plastic bottles.

The United Nations warned swollen rivers threaten more areas of the country, adding it could be days before the true extent of the disaster emerges. “Logistics are extremely difficult. Assessment teams are having a hard time reaching affected areas,” said Pierre Peron, Myanmar spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Landslides in Chin state-south of Sagaing-have destroyed 700 homes in the state capital Hakha, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar. President Thein Sein has promised the government will do its “utmost” to provide relief, but said parts of Chin had been cut off from surrounding areas, the report added. Rains have also battered the western state of Rakhine which already hosts about 140,000 displaced people, mainly Rohingya Muslims, who live in exposed coastal camps following deadly 2012 unrest between the minority group and Buddhists.

Poor infrastructure
The annual monsoon is a lifeline for farmers across the region but the rains and frequent powerful cyclones that usher them in can also prove deadly. Poor infrastructure and limited search and rescue capabilities routinely hamper relief efforts across the region, more so as roads, phone lines and electricity are knocked out by rising waters. India, which receives nearly 80 percent of its annual rainfall from June to September, sees tragedy strike every monsoon season. This year West Bengal has been hit hard with 48 people killed, according to state management minister Javed Ahmad Khan. “More than 1.8 million people in 5,600 villages have been affected by the flooding… nearly 1.1 million have been moved to camps,” Khan told AFP. “If there are no rains, the water level will come down in the next few days,” he added. Pakistan, which has suffered deadly floods around the same time every year since 2010 — when the country was struck by the worst inundations in its history- has seen 116 people die so far. Ahmed Kamal, spokesman for Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) told AFP that more than 850,000 people had been affected by this year’s floods. Dozens have also perished in Nepal and Vietnam following floods and landslides. In Vietnam toxic mudslides from flood-hit coal mines in the northern province of Quang Ninh, home to the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay tourist site, claimed the lives of two families and spewed coal into town centers. —AFP

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