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Independence day of Uzbekistan held virtually in Washington DC

Jalil Afridi
Washington DC: The 21st independence day of Uzbekistan was celebrated in Washington DC and the said event was held virtually while using Zoom and  Facebook platforms.
The Washington DC Embassy of Uzbekistan impressed all the participants and viewers who were part of the Independence Day celebrations. The participants of the event appreciated the efforts by the Embassy to arrange such a beautiful event virtually.
Some of the participants were from the United States Peace Corps, the chamber of commerce, mayors, governors, artists, private businessmen and higher-ups of the local government in Washington DC.
Despite being a nation which got its independence 21 years ago the Uzbek embassy in Washington DC very much impressed everybody by the way they conducted the event. Not only that, many of the other embassies officials in Washington DC were embarrassed to see that they had missed their Independence Day celebrations in Washington DC due to COVID-19. 
A Pakistani resident who is based in Washington DC while talking to this correspondence said that he attended the Independence day celebrations in the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC since many years but this year he was very sad to see that the embassy did not hold any event with regard to its independence day on August 14 this year. He further said that a nation which got its independence only 21 years ago is making much better impression globally than a nation which has gotten independence 70 years ago.

The participants of the event especially highlighted the positive energy, the creativity and openness of the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the ambassador of Uzbekistan to Washington DC, Javlon Vakhabov for taking Uzbekistan to new height of success and prosperity. A speaker at the event while appreciating Uzbekistan said that “Uzbekistan is the center of Central Asia.” 
To add a beauty to the event, the Uzbek embassy presented some of the leading musicians and singers of Uzbekistan and they played their folk music which was extremely appreciated and liked by those who were attending the event.

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Israeli investors eyeing real estate business in Dubai

Individuals and Israeli institutions are willing to invest in Dubai real estate once the two countries will finalise details to establish diplomatic relations in coming weeks.

As the UAE and Israel are holding talks this week to finalise details to set up diplomatic ties following the announcement of a peace treaty, investors have shown interest in real estate sectors of the two countries, Khaleej Times has learnt. 

Industry insiders said Israeli investors, both individuals and institutions, are willing to invest in Dubai real estate once the two countries finalise details of establishing diplomatic relations in the coming weeks. 

Matthew Bortnick, associate director at Tel Aviv-based Beauchamp Estates, said Israeli investors are keen to make forays into the UAE property market. 

“We have received over 50 inquiries over the past two weeks from Israeli investors, both individuals and institutions, looking to get involved in the Emirati market. I’ve taken numerous meetings with various developers to make this a reality,” Bortnick said. 

Beauchamp Estates Tel Aviv specialises in sales, rentals and new homes. Aside from a portfolio of Tel Aviv and Herzliya properties for sale, it also has offices in UK,  the US, France and Greece. 

“Interestingly, I’ve also had over 20 inquiries from Emirati investors looking to invest in the Israeli property market,” he said in a statement to Khaleej Times on Sunday.
“These past two weeks have kept many of us busy with nothing but the implications of the new peace deal. Exciting indeed,” he added.  

“These past two weeks have kept many of us busy with nothing but the implications of the new peace deal. Exciting indeed,” he added. 

He said Emirati investors have taken interest in beach side properties and new developments in Tel Aviv as well as private homes in Herzliya Pituach – a suburb north of Tel Aviv on the sea featuring mostly villas – wheras Tel Aviv is mostly apartments.  

“Tel Aviv features more luxury high-rise developments that are similar to those properties in Dubai. Some are interested in the capital growth and long term safe investment value of these properties, as well as using them as a holiday home with Israel being only four hours away,” he said. 

To a question, he said Israeli investors have taken interest in similar properties in Dubai, attracted by the high yields and holiday rental use they can provide. “Prices are less than in Israel and offer higher yields for the money and are thus more accessible for most Israelis. Israelis are often excited by new untapped markets so there is a lot of excitement,” he said. 

Rizwan Sajan, founder chairman of Danube Group, said recent peace deal with Israel will pave the way for a new era of cooperation and shared prosperity.   

“The UAE government has taken a very bold step and if everything moves as planned, these steps will create greater opportunities for all parties. Businesses will have a larger ground to cover, more customers to serve and will create a win-win situation for all. We are hopeful for the best, which is yet to come. 

“With this bold step, the UAE government is creating more opportunities for local businesses. At Danube, we can see lot of investments coming from Israel as the property prices are much cheaper here compared to Israel and soon you will see UAE products in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem,” he added. 

Atif Rahman, director and partner at Danube Properties, said the investment and business opportunities in UAE are seasoned with a strong growth outlook. 

“I believe this is the golden era of investment opportunities in the UAE and it’s only natural that the most prolific investment community is getting access to this,” he said. 

Elaborating, he said it’s all about the leadership and UAE is blessed with the best. The UAE has always been led by the most forward thinking and visionary leaders who have created an unparalleled soft and hard infrastructure in the country. The UAE is also one of the safest and most inclusive societies with a track record of tolerance. 

“All these are the essential platform for businesses to thrive and grow,” he said. 

Atif Rahman said excellent infrastructure, strong regulatory framework, immigration reforms, trade liberalisation, geographical advantage further boost the UAE advantage. All of this put together create a unique combination of safe yet high yield investment opportunities, he said. 

“It’s a historical decision taken today that the future will be proud of. This move has far reaching benefits, and I am confident that the decision will commence a new era of stability for the entire Arab world,” he said. Courtesy: Khaleej Times

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Youm-e-Ashur observed with due solemnity across Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Youm-e-Ashura, the tenth of Moharram, was observed across the country on Sunday with due solemnity to pay homage to the supreme sacrifice rendered by Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his devoted companions in Karbala

Taazia and Zuljanah processions were taken out in all cities and towns. Hundreds of religious gatherings (Majalis) and processions were also held across the country.

Thousands of mourners, including ladies and children wearing black dresses participated in countrywide hundreds of Ashura processions for ceremonial mourning that involves the ritualistic  Matam , self-flagellation to reflect the grief over the violent martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions. A number of devotees carrying  Tazias  and  Alams  were reciting soul-stirring elegies and hymns, dedicated to Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his family.  Zuljinnah  was the major attraction of the mourning processions and everybody wanted to touch it.

Ulema and Zakireen highlighted the bright and candid teachings of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and various aspects of Karbla tragedy.

Elaborate security arrangements had been made to avoid any untoward incident during the mourning processions. Law enforcement agencies, including Police, Rangers, FC and others provided foolproof security to mourners.

Mobile phone services were completely suspended as a security measure. The routes of procession were protected with barbed wire, panels, and barriers besides ensuring compliance of government guidelines regarding Covid-19 (SOPs). Medical camps, Sabeels and stalls were also arranged to provide assistance to the participants.

Standard Operating Procedures had also been issued for the mourning processions after consultations with the religious scholars to avoid spread of Covid-19.

Hospitals were directed to remain alert for any emergency situation while a comprehensive plan was formulated to provide first aid on the spot to the mourners.

In Rawalpindi, the main procession of Ashura emerged from Imambargah Col. Maqbool Hussain, which culminated at Imambargah Qadeemi after passing through its designated routes.

Sabeels of water, milk and tea were set up along the route of the processions. Walk-through gates and CCTV cameras had also been installed to check the entry and exit of people at various points. Courtesy: DunyaTV

Zakireen highlighted the philosophy Karbala battle, paying great respects to the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The mourners held Sham-e-Ghariban Majlis at Imambargah Qadeemi.

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Thrilling win for England against Pakistan in second Twenty20

England captain Eoin Morgan belted a blistering half-century as England chased down a record target at Old Trafford to beat Pakistan by five wickets in the second Twenty20 international on Sunday.

Pakistan posted 195 for four in their 20 overs on a flat wicket, but the home side completed their victory with five balls to spare and a take 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Morgan blasted 66 from 33 balls to secure the win in what is the highest chase in any form of 20-over cricket at Old Trafford.

Jonny Bairstow (44 from 24 balls) and Tom Banton (20 from 16 balls) got their side off to a fast start with an opening stand of 66 in 38 deliveries, but when they fell in consecutive balls to spinner Shadab Khan (3-34), the home side appeared to wobble.

But Morgan and Dawid Malan (54 not out in 36 balls) led the counter-attack and accelerated as their third-wicket partnership grew, finishing with 112 in 62 balls before the skipper was caught in the deep with the side still needing 18 runs to win.

Pakistan also got their runs at the top of the order as opener Babar Azam smashed 56 from 44 balls in an opening stand of 72 with Fakhar Zaman (36 from 22 balls).

Number three Mohammad Hafeez carried on that momentum with a blistering assault on the home bowlers, who struggled to find the right length and too often dropped too short, exposing the square boundaries.

Hafeez struck four sixes in his 69 from 36 balls before offering a simple catch to Morgan at cover.

The pick of the England bowlers was leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who recorded figures of 2-32 as he picked up the wickets of both openers.

The third and final match in the series will be at the same venue on Tuesday. The first match was abandoned due to rain.

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Roof collapse in China during birthday party kills 29

BEIJING : Rescue efforts ended at a two-story restaurant in a northern Chinese village that collapsed during a local resident’s 80th birthday celebration, leaving 29 people dead, authorities said Sunday. 

The Ministry of Emergency Management said another 28 people were injured, seven of them seriously, when the building suddenly crumbled on Saturday. 

There was no immediate word on what caused the collapse or on the fate of the birthday guest and other celebrants. 

Hundreds of rescue workers using sniffer dogs, cranes and high-tech sensors had searched the rubble, lifting slabs of concrete in hopes of freeing survivors. 

The official China Daily newspaper said the building collapsed at 9:40 a.m. Saturday. It said the Cabinet’s Work Safety Commission would oversee the investigation into the accident’s cause. 

While China has seen major improvements in industrial safety, building standards are sometimes ignored, particularly in rural areas such as Shanxi province’s Xiangfen county, about 630 kilometers (400 miles) southwest of Beijing, where the restaurant was located. 

The region lies in the heart of China’s coal country, where thousands of miners have died in explosions, collapses and floods over the years. Courtesy AP

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Karzai rescues himself from talks with Taliban

Kabul: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai excused himself on Sunday from being placed in the official negotiating team for talks with the Taliban.

This came hours after Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree approving a list of 48 prominent figures for the High Council for National Reconciliation for the proposed talks with the Taliban with the name of Karzai right on the top.

“The former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai considers the effort for peace as the national aspiration of all the people of Afghanistan. The former president will continue his effort for peace as a citizen and will use his full power to reach this national purpose, but will not participate in any ‘government formation’,” said a brief statement issued by Karzai’s office.

This comes as the Taliban continues to undermine the authority of the Afghan government as the legitimate representative of the people.

The delegation tasked by the Afghan government for the long-awaited intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban is led by Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

Ghani directed the council to conclude internal consultations for finalizing the list of members.

The troubled Afghan peace parley fringes on the sluggish prison swap testing patients of the erratic warring parties.

Amid stalled peace talks, the Taliban and Afghan security forces continued to engage in deadly fighting with both sides claiming to have inflicted a heavy toll on the opposite side.

It took the fragile yet rejuvenated Afghan peace parley six months to reach to this stage after the landmark peace deal between the US and Taliban in February that envisioned the intra-Afghan talks within weeks of the agreement. Courtesy: Anadolu

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Those who burnt copy of the Quran in Sweden are modern barbarians: Turkey

Ankara: Those who burned a copy of the Quran in Sweden are “modern barbarians” who have a “primitive mindset,” Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Sunday in a strong message against the Islamophobic act.

“They shamelessly burn the Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam, in the middle of Europe. They then claim to be the paragons of reason, logic, freedom and justice,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a tweet.

“They label anyone not like them as anti-reason bigots and retros. Modern barbarians know no limits in primitive mindset.”

The incident took place in the Swedish city of Malmo on Friday evening, where far-right activists of the anti-Muslim group Stram Krus (Hard Line) burned a copy of the Quran at a rally in the largely migrant neighborhood of Rosengard.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has also vehemently criticized the incident, saying that such “provocative acts are a heavy blow to the culture of coexistence and European values.”

“This despicable act against our holy book is an exemplary act, as it reveals the extent to which the threat Muslims face in Europe has come,” the ministry said in a statement earlier on Saturday.

Protests against the racist act broke out in Malmo soon after, with demonstrators blocking roads and burning tires as they called for action against the perpetrators.

Swedish police later said that three people were arrested for burning the Muslim holy book.

The racist far-right group’s leader, anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, was banned from entering Sweden for two years. Courtesy: Anadolu

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Kushner hopes for more Arab, Muslim partners for Israel

JERUSALEM: US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Sunday more Arab and Muslim countries were likely to follow the United Arab Emirates in normalizing relations with Israel.
The White House official, Robert O’Brien, and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on the eve of talks in Abu Dhabi on Monday on finalizing formal Israel-UAE ties.
Israel and the UAE announced on Aug. 13 that they would forge official ties under a deal brokered by Washington. The diplomatic move reshapes the Middle East order, from the Palestinian issue to relations with Iran.

“We believe that other Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead and normalize relations with Israel,” O’Brien told reporters after talks at Netanyahu’s residence.
He did not name the states, but Israeli officials have publicly mentioned Oman, Bahrain and Sudan.
Palestinians have condemned the UAE’s move as abandonment of a policy of linking official relations with Israel to achievement of Palestinian statehood in territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war.
The Trump administration has been trying to coax other Sunni Arab countries that share Israel’s concerns about Iran to join in a regional peace push.
Kushner, speaking alongside Netanyahu and O’Brien, said the UAE deal was a “giant step forward” in the direction.
“To have played a role in its creation, and I say this as the grandson of two Holocaust survivors, it means more to me and to my family that I can ever express,” Kushner said.
Kushner, O’Brien and other US officials will join an Israeli delegation on Monday in the first flight by an Israeli commercial airline — El Al — to the UAE.
Speaking on Israel’s Kan public radio on Sunday, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis said Israel hopes to hold a signing ceremony in Washington for the UAE deal by mid-September.
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said Kushner and his team were “scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible” to attend a White House signing event and give Trump a boost ahead of the Nov. 3 US presidential election.
“They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region,” Ashrawi said.
On Saturday, the UAE announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel. Officials from the two countries have said they are looking at cooperation in defense, medicine, agriculture, tourism and technology.
Netanyahu told reporters that abolishing “the anachronistic boycott” opened the door for “unbridled” trade, tourism and investment.
Statements issued by the UAE and Israel on Sunday said the UAE minister of state and Israel’s agriculture minister spoke by phone on Friday and “pledged to collaborate on projects that address food and water security.”
The UAE, a desert state, relies on imports for around 80 percent to 90 percent of its food, and has heavily encouraged investments in recent years in agricultural technology and farmland investments abroad. Courtesy: Arab News

Khaleej Times Adds:

Appearing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Kushner spoke a day before he is to join a senior Israeli delegation on the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE. The flight holds great symbolic value and is a key step in what is expected to be full normalisation between Israel and the UAE. 

“Today obviously we celebrate a historic breakthrough for peace,” Kushner said, adding that the deal will create “previously unthinkable” economic, security and religious cooperation. 

“While this peace agreement was thought by many to be impossible, the stage is now set for even more,” he said, claiming he has heard optimism throughout the region since the deal was announced. 

“We must seize that optimism and we must continue to push to make this region achieve the potential that it truly has,” said Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser. 

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreement with the UAE would bring “unbridled” trade and opportunities. 
“You will see how the sparks fly,” he said. 

“If we have to wait for the Palestinians, we will have to wait forever,” Netanyahu said. “As more Arab and Muslim countries join the circle of peace, the Palestinians will eventually understand their veto has dissipated and they will be hard pressed to stay outside the community of peace.” 

Israel and the UAE have moved quickly to cement their ties over the past two weeks. Almost immediately, they opened direct phone lines, and cabinet ministers have held friendly phone conversations. 

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Future Movement to nominate Adib as PM of Lebanon

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib is poised to be designated prime minister on Monday after winning the support of major parties to form a new government facing a crippling financial crisis and the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion.
The nomination followed contacts by French President Emmanuel Macron over the last 48 hours to press Lebanese leaders to agree on a candidate, two senior Lebanese officials said, just ahead of a visit by the French leader to Lebanon this week.

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Hezbollah says ‘open’ to dialogue on new Lebanon pact

BEIRUT (AA): Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday that the Shia group was open to discussions for a new political pact in Lebanon.

“Hezbollah is ready to discuss any new political pact…on condition that this pact is accepted by all Lebanese groups,” he said in a televised speech.

He said his group was open “to discuss any mechanism that clarifies the people’s demands in order to block the way for anyone who wants to impose [certain] demands by describing them as popular”.

“No one in Lebanon can claim to be expressing the will of the Lebanese people,” Nasrallah said, stressing his support for carrying out reforms.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Lebanon early August, days after an explosion rocked the Beirut port amid calls by several Lebanese groups for a new political pact in the country.

“We call on the competent authorities, especially the army, to announce the results of the technical investigation [into the explosion] in order to settle the debate and put an end to fabrications in the country,” Nasrallah said.

The port explosion was caused by a neglected stockpile of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that ignited in a warehouse, killing more than 170 people and injuring over 6,000 others.

The blast flattened nearby buildings and caused extensive property damage leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. The explosion came at a time when Lebanon was dealing with a severe financial crisis along with the coronavirus pandemic.