He was handed a four-month imprisonment for groping another man in a pub in Dubai

Dubai: A British visitor, who was handed a four-month imprisonment for groping another man in a pub and flashing in his face the middle finger, has been pardoned.

The incident happened in July when the 37-year-old Briton got drunk in an upscale pub and groped the German man. The British visitor also flicked his middle finger in German man’s face following a heated argument.

The Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced the British man to three months in jail for groping the German man and touching his posterior.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Misdemeanours Court sentenced the defendant to one month in jail for indecently gesturing in public and fined him Dh2,000 for drinking liquor.

Media reported quoted the defendant as saying that he had been contacted by the Dubai Prosecution and told that he can pick his passport and travel following the ruler’s pardon.

The 47-year-old German called the police and shortly before their arrival, the defendant also made an obscene gesture in the complainant’s face.

The accused had been on bail.

“Not guilty,” the 37-year-old defendant told the court when he refuted the groping charge.

The German victim testified that he was out with friends at the pub in Al Barsha when the incident happened.

Al Sissi’s visit to France is the third since he took office in 2014

Paris: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi is starting a three-day visit to France, where discussions on economic and military cooperation are expected to be held.

Al Sissi was scheduled to meet on Monday with French Defence Minister Florence Parly and on Tuesday will meet French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace.

The heads of state will also discuss Syria and Iraq.

Al Sissi’s visit to France is the third since he took office in 2014, but the first since Macron was elected president in May this year.

The visit was announced in September by France’s ambassador to Cairo.

In early October, plans for the visit were discussed by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, who met in Paris.

European countries support Egyptian authorities in the fight against terrorism. Since 2015, Egypt has concluded several arms deals with France, notably purchasing two French-made, Mistral-class helicopter carriers, 24 French Rafale warplanes and missiles.

Hamdan Bin Mohammad, Mansour Bin Mohammad extend condolences to families of two Emirati martyrs

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Fujairah/Kalba: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, yesterday offered condolences to the families of two Emirati martyrs Major Pilot Ali Saeed Saif Al Mesmari and Lieutenant Pilot Bader Yahya Mohammad Al Marashdeh and Al Mesmari, who were killed while performing their duties as part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition’s Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen.

While visiting the mourning tents of Al Marashdeh family in Kalba and Al Mesmari family in Fujairah, Shaikh Hamdan and Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, expressed their heartfelt condolences to the families of the martyrs, praying to Allah Almighty to rest their souls in eternal peace and grant their families patience and solace.

“I am very proud of the martyrs and Emirati youth who sacrifice their lives for the sake of protecting their country’s achievements, and national interests and for justice and peace,” Shaikh Hamdan said while talking to the martyrs’ families.

Security team at Dubai residential community averts tragedy by quickly extinguishing fire

The security team at Al Khail Gate community in Dubai douse off a fire from a car parked in the area on October 23, 2017.

Dubai: An alert security team at the Al Khail Gate community in Dubai averted a tragedy by quickly dousing a car fire on Monday.

A Kia Carnival car that was parked outside one of the buildings in the phase 2 of the community Al Quoz caught fire around 9.45am, witnesses told Gulf News.

“I could see thick smoke through my bedroom window. I thought there was a fire in one of the flats on the lower flours. But when I opened the window and looked down, I saw that a car was on fire,” said an Indian woman living in the building.

Security guards in the building quickly made emergency calls and swung into action. Within seconds, they were joined by their colleagues from nearby buildings and some executives from the building security management team.

Risking the danger to their lives, the team used fire extinguishers to fight the fire. Though there were no flames, huge plumes of smoke emanated from the car’s engine. 

The team used around 15 fire extinguishers taken out from the building to douse the fire before a first responder team from the Dubai Civil Defence reached the spot. 

Two firefighting trucks, an ambulance, a rescue vehicle and two police cars also arrived soon. The firefighters cooled off the car’s engine that had caught fire. 

The owner of the car, a Filipino expatriate living in the adjacent building, said he had parked the 2008 model car on that spot only some 20 minutes before the fire broke out.

“I had gone out to buy something and when I came back I found parking here. After about 20 minutes, I was alerted about the fire,” he said.

Alert Security team douses a car fire in Dubai’s Al Khail Gate community on Monday morning. (Photo: Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News)

He thanked the team that extinguished the fire. “Though my car is damaged, luckily nothing major happened, thanks to these guys,” he said.

Sahar Nasser Al Ansari, senior executive director of Residential Asset Management at Dubai Properties Asset Management, confirmed that the car fire was swiftly contained by eight members of the community security team.

“No residents or staff were harmed as a result of the fire. The team successfully prevented the flames from spreading to other vehicles, keeping the blaze at bay until the arrival of the Dubai Civil Defence, whose prompt action is commendable,” he said in a statement to Gulf News

He said the Al Khail Gate Security Team [is] SIRA (Security Industry Regulatory Agency) Certified, and has been trained in fire safety by the Dubai Police. 

“Additionally, we support our staff with regular Internal Training initiatives, as well as First Aid refreshers. We are proud of our capable security team for effectively dealing with the incident.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman speaks with Iraqi Prime Minister Al Abadi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday

Dubai: The Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement is being seen as a wise, strategic move by the kingdom, which may end up gradually freeing the Iraqi government of Iranian influence, Arab analysts said.

Strong relations between the two neighbours will be mutually beneficial, analysts said, a day after the inauguration of the Saudi-Iraq Coordination Council (SICC) in Riyadh on Sunday.

“In politics, there are common interests,” said Faleh Abdul Jaber, head of Iraqi Studies, a Beirut-based research centre. “When the interests [of different countries] align, countries meet. When their interests conflict with each other, they disagree,” Abdul Jaber told Gulf News.

Today, the interests of both Riyadh and Baghdad align and this necessitates stronger relations.

For Saudi Arabia, this development comes at a time of a ‘shift’ in the country’s foreign policy, experts said.

“I believe there has been, recently, a change in the kingdom’s foreign policy philosophy,” said Ahmad Kamel Al Buhairi, a researcher at the Cairo-based Al Ahram Strategic Studies Centre. “Part of this new philosophy is related to openness to many of the regional issues, aimed at rearranging the dossiers on these issues,” Al Buhairi said.

Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia, particularly since the appointment of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman as Crown Prince, is reviewing its internal, regional and international policies, including its relations with different countries. The historic visits by both Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad to Moscow earlier this year — the first ever — are examples of the vision.

The kingdom also showed strong support for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi’s war on terrorism, and his efforts to eliminate Daesh.

“Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to let Iran be the only influence in Iraq … Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt [have] decided to deal differently with Iraq,” said Al Buhairi.

Iraq’s relations with many Arab countries became strained, and diplomatic ties with most Gulf States were cut off, in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. And after the toppling of the secular regime of Saddam Hussain in 2003, Iran-backed Shiite parties have dominated politics in Iraq.

However, in the past few years, there has been increased interest from the Arab side to re-establish good relations with Iraq. Similarly, a growing number of Iraqi political parties are seeking better relations with Arab countries.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad after 25 years. In February, 2017, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir visited Baghdad. Three months later, Iraqi President Fuad Masum visited Riyadh to attend the Islamic-Arab-American summit.

Al Abadi visited Saudi Arabia last June, and the prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric and political leader Moqtada Al Sadr paid a similar visit last July. The visit was described as a “positive development”, and analysts said Al Sadr realised that sectarianism is negatively affecting the future of the Iraq, its people, and all the Arabs.

“Al Sadr’s meetings in Saudi Arabia were an important message that there is an Arab flavour to Iraqi Shiites,” said Al Buhairi.

However, it is “not accurate” to say that Iraq’s improving relations with its Arab neighbours mean it is getting outside Iran’s sphere of influence.

Iran is a strong supporter, politically and military, of the Iraqi government’s war against Daesh and Al Qaida. Iran has also supported Baghdad’s position against the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum last month.

Yet, this support does not mean Iraq and Iran are two peas in a pod, analysts said.

Moreover, this support also does not imply the US wants to see Iran end its support to the war against terrorism in Iraq.

“The United States is benefiting from Iranian support to the Iraqi government in the fight against Daesh and Al Qaida,” said Al Buhairi.

“There are near enemies and distant enemies,” he said. Daesh and Al Qaida are the near enemies at present. Iran is the distant one, now.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a press statement in Saudi Arabia that all foreign fighters in Iraq should go back home, as the battle is about to come to an end.

Commenting on the statement, Abdul Jaber said, “Iran’s influence on the Iraqi government will subside gradually … and this will give Iraqi politicians an opportunity to work freely.”

“In the end, both Saudi Arabia and Iraq will emerge as the biggest beneficiaries, and this is very important. Riyadh’s move to rebuild bridges with Iraq was a wise one,” he added.

Hamas says three Palestinians have gone missing from tunnel between Egypt and Gaza

Cairo: Egypt’s military says it has destroyed eight vehicles loaded with weapons, ammunition and explosives, and killed militants in the western desert, after they crossed borders with neighbouring Libya.

The air attack comes a few days after authorities officially announced that at least 16 policemen were killed in a brazen ambush by militants in the Al Wahat Al Bahriya area, about 135 kilometres southwest of Cairo.

Military spokesman Col. Tamer Al Rifai said in a statement on Monday that air strikes destroyed eight vehicles and killed suspected militants, without elaborating.

Friday’s attack took place near Egypt’s vast western desert, where a previous series of attacks were blamed on militants pouring in from Libya.

Egypt has long contended that weapons smuggled across the porous desert border with Libya have reached militants operating on its soil.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian group Hamas has said three Palestinians went missing from a tunnel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in mysterious circumstances on Monday.

“Three Palestinian workers disappeared inside one of the tunnels on the Palestinian-Egyptian border and the security forces are investigating to locate their whereabouts,” the interior ministry in Gaza City said in a statement.

A number of Gazans have died in tunnel collapses in recent months, but there were no reports of any such incident on Monday.

One witness said that a group of masked gunmen snatched the three and took them across the border into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

The account of the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was not confirmed by authorities.

Egyptian security forces have been fighting a branch of Daesh in the Sinai, and the extremists have recently stepped up their attacks.

In August, a suicide bomber killed a Hamas guard along Gaza’s border with Egypt in what was described as a rare Islamist attack against the Palestinian group.

In 2015, gunmen seized four Hamas members from a bus bound for Cairo from the Gaza Strip in the Sinai near the border.

Egypt has cracked down on tunnels crossing from Gaza into the Sinai, and Hamas has agreed to improve security along the border.

Tunnels between Gaza and Egypt are typically used for smuggling.

First phase of Bur Dubai heritage area redeveloped into leisure destination opens

Dubai: Sitting under the awnings of shops along the creek at Al Seef, you can feel like a 19th century merchant sipping a hot cup of Arabic coffee.

Ambling along the stone-paved alleys, called sikkas locally, you could well be walking through an ancient oriental souq, if not for the sunlight reflecting from shiny skyscrapers in the background reminding you of contemporary reality.

Sprawling along the Bur Dubai side of Dubai’s fabled creek, Al Seef is a living reminder of how the city used to be, with its quiet, laidback ambience.

It is an extension of Al Fahidi historical district, complete with barjeels (traditional wind towers), coral stone walls and gypsum plaster.

Nestled just a few blocks away from the crowded markets of Bur Dubai and right across the busy business districts of Deira, the newly developed destination offers some respite from the noise of the city, right in the middle of it.

Developed by Meraas, phase one of the leisure destination, with a variety of coffee shops, eateries and boutiques, opened to the public last month.

Though only a handful of shops have opened, a variety of outlets like The Brass coffee shop, Bikanerwala food outlet, London Dairy ice cream parlour and others offer people enough options to relax.

Apart from food and coffee shops, Al Seef also has an open-air market of hand-crafted artefacts, textiles, accessories and many more small treasures. The destination will also host an array of fun-filled activities.

According to Meraas, the 1.8km long destination aims to tell Dubai’s story through architecture and memorable experiences, enabling visitors to rediscover the heart of the city along its much-loved creek.

“Dubai Creek holds a special place in the history of Dubai. Its peaceful shores have welcomed travellers and tradesman since ancient times, and the development of Al Seef reflects a commitment at Meraas, to revitalise an area known for its vibrancy,” said Abdullah Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas.

The shopping, dining, entertainment and tourism destination covers a total built up area of 2.5 million square feet and houses close to 500 shopping and dining concepts, offering global cuisine overlooking the creek.

The second phase of the destination, scheduled to be ready by the first quarter of next year, will comprise of an authentic souq, similar to those that were common in Dubai in the 1950s, with a traditional vibe and delightful retail and dining experiences of its own.

With a selection of floating restaurants, a marina for private yachts, floating market and links to the Dubai water taxi network, Al Seef also celebrates Dubai’s rich maritime heritage and the role that the creek has played in the city’s transformation.

The development is divided into a historic block and a modern-looking block of shops, cafes and underground parking.

“By combining traditional and modern design elements, the destination highlights the role the creek has played, and continues to play, in the evolution of Dubai, and reinforces the city’s position as a leading international tourism destination by enriching the experience for visitors and creating new economic opportunities for local businesses,” added Al Habbai.

The destination also has three hotels with a combined 550 rooms, each with its own unique appeal.

Al Seef is fully pedestrian-friendly and benefits from a multimodal transport system that links to key locations across the city. The nearest metro station, BurJuman is just 400 metres away from one of the destination, while Al Fahidi station is also just a short walk away from the other end.

Al Seef is also connected with marine transport network including water buses, water taxis and abra, along with private yacht moorings.

Basement parking as well as valet parking facilities are available currently for free.

In numbers

1.8km long destination

2.5 million square feet built up area

3 hotels, 550 rooms

550 shopping and dining options

700 parking spaces

Connectivity: Metro and marine transport