UAE Rejects European Parliament’s ‘Baseless’ Report
Middle East & Africa

UAE Rejects European Parliament’s ‘Baseless’ Report

The UAE has rejected the resolution by the European Parliament – adopted this week – regarding the country’s human rights record.

The “factually incorrect report”, as termed by the UAE, was passed by the European Parliament criticizing the country for its human rights violations and calling for the freedom of peaceful political activists.

“Each country has its legal institutions and laws. The UAE constitution and national legislation embodies fundamental rights which provide for the just and fair treatment of all citizens and residents,” said the Emirati foreign ministry in a statement

“The UAE strongly rejects the allegations contained in the resolution. They were previously rejected, addressed, and described as incorrect. The resolution unilaterally ignores all the important achievements of the UAE in the domain of human rights.”

It merits a mention that the UAE has been a high achiever in the field of humanitarian works. The statement is signified by the fact that the value of foreign aid lent forth by the UAE from 2010 to 2021 surged to $56.14bn – as per a report published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The UAE’s foreign aid comprises three key categories, which are humanitarian, development, and charitable assistance, the report added.

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The development aid lent forth by the UAE accounted for 87.7 percent of the total value of its foreign aid, whereas charitable and humanitarian aid accounted for 2.4 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. Furthermore, a whopping 59.1 percent of its total development aid has been in the form of grants, which the recipient countries are not required to repay.

Just recently, the United Arab Emirates started operating an air bridge to deliver aid to Afghanistan – a statement verified by Kabul’s airport operations manager.

The UAE has been a close ally of the US and has remained among the various Gulf states that have served as crucial staging posts for evacuation flights from Afghanistan.

The UAE has rejected the resolution by the European Parliament – adopted this week – regarding the country’s human rights record.

The “factually incorrect report”, as termed by the UAE, was passed by the European Parliament criticizing the country for its human rights violations and calling for the freedom of peaceful political activists.

“Each country has its legal institutions and laws. The UAE constitution and national legislation embodies fundamental rights which provide for the just and fair treatment of all citizens and residents,” said the Emirati foreign ministry in a statement

“The UAE strongly rejects the allegations contained in the resolution. They were previously rejected, addressed, and described as incorrect. The resolution unilaterally ignores all the important achievements of the UAE in the domain of human rights.”

It merits a mention that the UAE has been a high achiever in the field of humanitarian works. The statement is signified by the fact that the value of foreign aid lent forth by the UAE from 2010 to 2021 surged to $56.14bn – as per a report published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The UAE’s foreign aid comprises three key categories, which are humanitarian, development, and charitable assistance, the report added.

The development aid lent forth by the UAE accounted for 87.7 percent of the total value of its foreign aid, whereas charitable and humanitarian aid accounted for 2.4 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. Furthermore, a whopping 59.1 percent of its total development aid has been in the form of grants, which the recipient countries are not required to repay.

Just recently, the United Arab Emirates started operating an air bridge to deliver aid to Afghanistan – a statement verified by Kabul’s airport operations manager.

The UAE has been a close ally of the US and has remained among the various Gulf states that have served as crucial staging posts for evacuation flights from Afghanistan.

Aukus: France Recalls its Ambassadors from the US and Australia
Europe

Aukus: France Recalls its Ambassadors from the US and Australia

France has recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations due to the “exceptional gravity” of announcing the strategic partnership between Washington, London, and Canberra, which led to Australia canceling a signed purchase agreement of submarines with France. The Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, confirmed yesterday.

“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately call our two ambassadors in the United States and Australia back to Paris for consultations. That unprecedented decision is justified by the gravity of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” the Paris minister said.

In the note, the French Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian underlines that “the abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that linked Australia to France since 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States, aimed at launching studies on a possible future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines constitute unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, the consequences of which concern the very conception of our alliances, partnerships and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.”

The US said to be sorry for the French ambassador’s recall

The White House expressed “regret” for the recall of the French ambassador but said the United States would work to resolve the diplomatic dispute. “We are sorry that they have taken this step. We will continue to work in the coming days to resolve our differences, as we have done at other points during our long alliance,” explained a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Australia understands France’s “disappointment” Australia understands France’s “disappointment” at its decision to forgo the purchase of French submarines but looks forward to continuing to work with Paris. That was declared today by the Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne. “I fully understand the disappointment. It is clear that these are complicated issues to manage,” she said from Washington. “But we will continue to work constructively and in close cooperation with our French colleagues.”

The American choice to remove a European ally and partner such as France from a structuring partnership with Australia when facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region marks a consistent absence that France cannot observe and regret. The deplorable decision just announced only reinforces the need to raise European strategic autonomy loud and clear.

There is no other credible way for Europeans to defend their interests and values worldwide. China, in response, urged the US, Britain, and Australia to shake off their Cold War mentality and ideological bias. London and Canberra deny. The Australian Prime Minister said he was ready to discuss other issues with Chinese President Xi Jinping despite mounting tensions between the two countries and long-frozen high-level talks. Meanwhile, the British Defense Minister has assured that the new pact with the US and Great Britain is not a new Cold War with China.

UAE’s ADSCC Begins Revolutionary CAR T-Cell treatment First Time in the Region
Asia Pacific Focus

UAE’s ADSCC Begins Revolutionary CAR T-Cell treatment First Time in the Region

The United Arab Emirates is the pioneer in revolutionizing healthcare and medical treatments across the region and world. Capital Abu Dhabi’s ADSCC (Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre) is initiating one of its kind revolutionary experiment in the region that will focus on the safety and efficacy of using CAR T-cell treatment module for hematologic or blood cancers such as lymphoma, myeloma, and certain types of leukemia.

ADSCC – The pioneer in revolutionizing healthcare in UAE

ADSCC was founded in Abu Dhabi in 2019. The prime objective of this center was to conduct radical research on stem cells, thereby bringing the most innovative and advanced treatments to the country. At each step, ADSCC has excelled and proved to deliver the highest standards of treatment quality, patient experience, and follow-up.

The center primarily focuses on harvesting, processing, and storing cell products for clinical purposes in regenerative medicine as well as hematopoietic transplantation.

ADSCC is brought to the forefront of the country’s healthcare and medical research sector by its exceptional team of internationally qualified and recognized doctors working in close coordination with the researchers. ADSCC offers specialties including immunology, hematology, clinical stem cell therapy, molecular biology, orthopedics, and urology, amongst others.

What is CAR T-cell therapy?

CAR T-cell therapy presents an innovative approach that strengthens the body’s immune system to attack certain forms of cancer. In this therapy protocol, a small amount of the patient’s own T-cells (white blood cells that are a crucial component of the immune system that has the capacity to target and destroy abnormal cells including cancer cells) are segregated and collected from the blood. These cells are then re-engineered in the laboratory to allow them to now carry special structures on their surface, called Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs). When re-injected into the body, these CAR T-cells multiply rapidly and intensify the ability of T-cells to target cancerous cells and destroy them.

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This new technology using CAR T-cells is the latest globally recognized immunotherapy technology.

Dr. Fatima Al Kaabi, Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program in Abu Dhabi and the principal investigator in the immune cell experiment, said taking pride in UAE’s achievement of being first in the region to initiate the experiment, “We are proud to be the first in the country and the region to produce and conduct this new and innovative type of treatment and research locally to better understand its effects on cancer cells. Local research to ensure that the people of the country and the rest of the world receive the best possible health care.”

The CAR T-cell therapy experiment is in collaboration with biomedical research company Miltini Biotech. The CAR T-cell therapy experiment will include the use of “apheresis”, a simple process that includes donating blood to enable separation of its components for analysis and treatment.

Dr. Yendre Ventura, Immunologist, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center, and Principal Investigator of the Clinical Trial of CAR T-cell Immunotherapy, said, “The treatment of cancer remains one of the most complex and challenging medical pathways in the world, which underscores the need of an increasing number of locally developed research and therapeutic innovations. It will be a long and arduous process understanding the impact of T immune cells with receptors targeting cancer cells on patients, but at the same time it will pave the way for a new and distinguished chapter in the history of the United Arab Emirates, where these experiences will consolidate its distinguished position globally in the field of medical innovation and research and development.”

“Our world-leading physicians and researchers, in collaboration with our partners at Miltini Biotic, are paving the way for advanced treatments for a healthier society while strengthening Abu Dhabi’s position as a global hub for healthcare, innovation, and research,” he added.

Viral vectors form the crucial element used by molecular biologists for genetic modification of immune cells. Recently, the viral vectors have been successfully used for the production of Covid-19 vaccines that contain a version of the virus, the ‘vector’.

Dr. Robert Handgrittinger, Head of Adoptive Cell Transfer and Head of Pediatric Services at the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant Program, said, “It is our job to make sure that the immune cells that we modify effectively target the cancer cells in each patient so that we can help direct them. On the right track to lying dormant and this is where the role of viral vectors and the partnership with Miltini Biotech comes into play. Ultimately, building a robust CAR T-cell immune cell therapy program in Abu Dhabi.”

FDA Refuses Booster Shot For All Americans But Senior Citizens Only
Americas

FDA Refuses Booster Shot For All Americans But Senior Citizens Only

After a full day of contemplations, questions answers, presentations, and deliberations, the FDA rejected Joe Biden’s Pfizer booster plan for Americans. Instead, a third shot will be administered to elderly Americans only when required. Federal advisers voted 18-0 in favor of recommending Pfizer booster shots for anyone over 65 or anyone who is at high risk of severe disease but declined to recommend it for all Americans.

With the variants challenging the efficacy of the vaccine itself, Biden had chosen the booster shot route for health safety of the masses. If needed, the booster will be administered only six months after having received the second shot.

Pfizer has shared data that the efficacy and protection of the vaccine do tend to wane off with time, as seen in Israel’s case. But the reason FDA approval has been halted over booster shots is the lack of safety data when it comes to younger Americans.

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While on one side Biden made a commitment that the booster drive does not start without clearance from regulators, his recent speech advocated for a booster campaign start from September 20. If the FDA signs off on the latest plan for boosters for seniors and health care workers, the CDC also has to weigh in. A key meeting is planned soon by a separate group of experts that advises the CDC and will likely discuss who exactly should get the extra doses.

After that CDC recommendation is made, booster shots would be available through any of the nation’s 40,000 pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and other sites already offering the Pfizer vaccine. Data collected from Israel shows excellent results of booster shots administered amongst senior citizens.

An Israeli study published in a British journal said that there were 11-fold lower rates of infection and nearly 20-fold lower rates of severe Covid-19 among people older than 60 who got a booster dose. A separate Israel Ministry of Health analysis estimated approximately 10-fold improved protection against infection and severe Covid-19 among people who got a booster.

Yemen’s Deteriorating Economy Raises  Concerns Among Leading Global Nations
Middle East & Africa

Yemen’s Deteriorating Economy Raises Concerns Among Leading Global Nations

Four leading global economies have raised concerns over dwindling economy of war struck Yemen. In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the UAE, USA, UK and Saudi Arabia stressed on the collapsing economy of country and called for implementing Riyadh Agreement in Yemen.

Stressing on their commitment to provide economic support to Yemen, the joint statement said, “The Quad nations noted with concern the depreciation of the riyal, corresponding rise in food prices, and severe impact on Yemen’s economy and humanitarian situation.” Yemen at present is undergoing one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time led by the years-long war aggravated by Houthis, the Iran backed movement, who are point blank refusing to engage in a ceasefire to restore peace in Yemen.

The statement by four nations followed recent warning by the United Nations that continuation of current situation in Yemen can lead to its complete collapse. Statement was issued after the Ambassadors of United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom to Yemen, and the chargé d’affaires for the US Embassy to Yemen held a meeting in Riyadh.

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The concerns around Yemen’s economy are stemmed from rise in food prices, depreciation of Yemeni rial and humanitarian crisis in the country ripped apart by war. The four nations stressed that its crucial for Yemeni government to return to Aden, citing its role in managing international support for Yemen’s economic recovery in future. They also called for implementation of Riyadh Agreement in the country. The nations reiterated their commitment to render their full support to newly appointed UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg.

Riyadh Agreement was signed on November 5, 2019 between the Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) and YAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC). The agreement included several provisions like formation of new Yemen government that incorporates STC, disarmament of militias and incorporation with military formations under defense and interior ministries, support to Yemen’s economy, and demilitarization of Aden.

UAE Embassy to Yemen tweeted on its official Twitter handle, “The UAE ambassador to Yemen participated in the Quartet meeting, along with the ambassadors of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the ambassadors of the United Kingdom and the charge d’affaires of the United States of America regarding the Yemeni crisis. They called for steps to be taken to stabilize the economy, implement the Riyadh Agreement, and facilitate the government’s return to Aden.”

Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Yemen, Salem Al-Ghafli visited Riyadh where he was received by Prime Minister, Dr. Moeen Abdulmalik. The two diplomats discussed number of developments and also the critical need to “complete the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, and support and enable the government to perform its work from the temporary capital, Aden.”

Energy Crisis in Europe is Making the Market Nervous
Geopolitics

Energy Crisis in Europe is Making the Market Nervous

Due to extreme shortage of natural gas, energy prices in Europe have hit record low. They are generating much lower than expected wind power output. Several countries have even been forced to restart coal power plants to ensure enough electricity reaches to all the consumers.

Stefan Konstantinov, who is senior analyst at ICIS Energy mentioned that Europe’s energy supply crunch is making the market nervous as we approach winter. It should be noted that energy bills are most expensive ones in Europe now. And this price has surged due to country’s high dependence on gas and renewables to generate electricity from scarce resources or to import from other countries.

It doesn’t just stop here rather these higher gas prices have also been a big driver in lifting carbon and coal prices to record highs too. Factors such as low wind generation and nuclear plant unavailability across the continent are few of the key factors that play important role.

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Carbon prices in Europe have nearly trebled this year as the European Union reduces the supply of emissions credits. The EU’s benchmark carbon price climbed above 60 euros per metric ton for the first time ever in recent weeks, trading slightly below.

Konstantinov further added that high energy consumption and low production across Europe is also coupled with the very significant competition for LNG supplies from Asia and South America, which is driving gas prices up.

The people in Europe are fearing being in this energy crisis state especially because they have never faced widespread risk of blackouts, such as those seen in California, Texas and New York.

Another might be that energy cost as a proportion of income remains below historical levels. Europeans rank climate change as one of the top concerns in their continent, this may lead them to accept slightly higher energy prices if it leads to a lower-carbon world.

24 Republican States Threaten Legal Action Against Joe Biden, Here’s Why
Americas

24 Republican States Threaten Legal Action Against Joe Biden, Here’s Why

The battle against the coronavirus, which had been Biden’s flagship all spring and his rise in popularity’s primary source, became a nightmare again for more than a month. In a letter addressed to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, twenty-four attorneys general of Republican states appealed to the President to reconsider his decision to impose mandatory vaccine and frequent PCR testing on companies with more than 100 employees. In the letter published by US media outlets, the Biden administration’s pandemic plan is described as “disastrous and counterproductive.”

Prosecutors in twenty-four states consider the vaccination requirement to be a threat to individual freedom, as well as a public health disaster. “The vaccination mandate will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staff crisis, with serious consequences for all Americans,” they say in the letter delivered to the White House.

The decree that Biden announced last week again shows a rift among Americans. According to polls, three out of five Americans support vaccine requirements across the federal government and large corporations. But while support is high among Democrats, only 30% of Republicans agree with the White House pandemic plan.

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To stop the new wave of infections, 150,000 a day, which is filling hospitals and intensive care units again and causing 1500 deaths a day, Joe Biden introduced new restrictive measures last week. These include compulsory vaccination for federal government employees, administration contractors, health care personnel, and specific school teachers. Plus, private companies with more than 100 employees are required to vaccinate or test employees every week. But, according to US law experts, this measure, which affects about 100 million workers, rejected by the 24 Republican States, can be challenged in court.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the request as an assault on private companies. While Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts considers it an “incredible violation of personal liberty and abuse of power by the federal government.” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted that her State will raise in defense of freedom, threatening to drag President Biden to court. The President of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, has also promised lawsuits to the Biden administration to protect Americans and their freedoms. Last week Biden challenged opponents, urging them to proceed legally.

Sheikh Mohamed’s Britain Visit Strengthen UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership
Middle East & Africa

Sheikh Mohamed’s Britain Visit Strengthen UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, recently paid an official visit to the United Kingdom with the aim of strengthening the strategic cooperation between the two nations.

As part of this visit, the UAE announced plans to invest 10 billion pounds ($13.8 billion) in Britain’s business sector over the next five years. The announcement came in line with the agreement signed between Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund “Mubadala” and UK’s Office for Investment (OfI) to expand UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership.

Sheikh Mohamed and British PM Boris Johnson welcomed the signing of the partnership agreement between the two sides. According to a statement issued by Mubadala, the UAE will be investing in Britain’s energy transition, technology, infrastructure and life sciences to expand the Sovereign Investment Partnership with the UK.

“Today’s expansion of our Sovereign Investment Partnership will help accelerate funding and innovation in key sectors that are foundational to the economic growth of both nations,” Mubadala’s Managing Director Khaldoon Mubarak said in the statement.

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Taking to Twitter, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince expressed pleasure in meeting British PM Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street in central London. During the meeting, the two leaders reviewed their cooperation and flourishing opportunities to strengthen key areas of investment, economy and trade. They also discussed potential ways to tackle regional and international issues of mutual interest.

“We discussed the importance of peace and stability in the Middle East and also strengthening and developing the relationship between our two nations,” he posted on social media.

Welcoming Sheikh Mohamed to the UK, British PM Johnson hailed the strong support shown by the UAE in enhancing the relations between the two nations. He also underlined the special importance shared by the UK to fostering enhanced ties with the UAE as part of the “Partnership for the Future” initiative.

As per a WAM statement, Sheikh Mohamed also expressed confidence in Britain’s participation at the Expo 2020 Dubai that will facilitate more opportunities for economic and development partnership between the two countries.

Ahead of the UK visit, Sheikh Mohamed visited France and held a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Putin on Test as Russia Begins Voting to Elect a New Parliament
Europe

Putin on Test as Russia Begins Voting to Elect a New Parliament

On Friday, Putin I going to face the challenge as Russians are going to begin voting and choose a new parliament in a three-day vote. The operating United Russia party expects to win regardless of a rating drop after the most significant crackdown on the Kremlin’s detractors in years.

The vote is a challenge for President Vladimir Putin as he needs to be successful again from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea as the Kremlin faces disquietude at the domestic level over failure in improving living standards and not being able to manage relations with the West.

In question is United Russia’s majority in the state of Duma, which in 2020 assisted Putin to easily pass through constitutional reforms that enable him to compete for office once again and possibly continue until 2036.

Navalny’s partners call the presidential elections fake and have advised supporters to choose the candidate they believe has the most chances to defeat United Russia in various regions.

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Both United Russia and Putin’s ratings have felt the squeeze because of long periods of declining or stagnant wages compounded by dissatisfaction over the pandemic, growing inflation, and economic crisis. 

The voting will commence late Sunday and is viewed as a trial run for the official presidential elections in 2024. It is a profoundly delicate time for the Kremlin to leave or remain with the political transition to a newly elected leader. Putin has not spoken on whether he will go for re-election when his term expires in 2024.

The Kremlin’s fiercest critic Alexei Navalny has been imprisoned on anti-corruption charges and believes that a tactical voting campaign driven by his organization can detract United Russia and harm its effort to win the majority. However, Google and Apple have suddenly removed the tactical voting application from their mobile application stores in Russia just before the polls. Russian state had been intensifying the tension on US tech giant companies to remove the voting app just ahead of elections.

The vote is happening alongside elections for local legislative assemblies. It is extended more than three days due to precautions and measures for handling coronavirus; a move analyst says indicates observing efforts to stop voter fraud. 

His allies, who blame the Kremlin for a comprehensive crackdown, get no opportunity of winning even a foothold in genuine politics after they were banned from campaigning for office in light of their relationship with Navalny’s organization. The Kremlin rejects any politically determined crackdown and maintains that people are charged for violating the law.

US Company Pays to Watch Horror Movies
Americas

US Company Pays to Watch Horror Movies

US-based company FinanceBuzz has announced USD 1,300 which amounts to Rs 95,500 for the interesting job of a Horror Movie Heart Rate Analyst. For this job, a person will be required to watch horror movies while wearing a Fitbit that will monitor the person’s heartbeat.

The selected candidate will also get the liberty to rank the movies. Horror movies such Amityville horror to Annabelle and Paranormal Activity, and more will be added in the fierce list of horror genre. The aim of the company is to do ground market research on whether high-budget horror movies deliver stronger scares than low budget ones.

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The chosen candidate will receive a FitBit to track their heartbeat, pay for the viewing of the thirteen films, as well as provide a “Survival Kit” that will include a blanket, popcorn, candy, and some Stephen King paraphernalia. It is suggested that if you are chosen, you book a room for a full Stephen King experience and get your heart rate up.

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