United Arab Emirates

Regional News • Middle East
Special Report: UAE shipping firm is helping Venezuela avoid U.S. oil sanctions

Tankers managed by firms based in the United Arab Emirates have transported millions of barrels of oil produced by state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, since June, according to the internal documents and a publicly available shipping database. A shipping document shows that on July 31, the newly rebranded ships under a newly rebranded firm set sail carrying some 650,000 barrels of Venezuelan Boscan crude after a ship-to-ship transfer from the Alasfal, a Crude Oil Tanker flagged in Liberia, off Venezuela's coast.

The three supertankers - the Kelly, Marbella and Rene - each transported nearly 2 million barrels of Venezuelan crude and fuel in the first half of 2020 after coming under Issa's management, a batch of internal PDVSA shipping documents show.

Sports
F1 season ends with Verstappen race win in Abu Dhabi
F1 season ends with Verstappen race win in Abu Dhabi
Credit: LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Max Verstappen won his second race of the season with the Red Bull team, while Bottas and Hamilton completed the podium lineup. With the last race of 2020, McLaren-Renault reached third position in the constructors championship, behind Mercedes and Red Bull Honda.

Sports
Max Verstappen clinches pole position for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Red Bull's Max Verstappen secured the pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the first pole for the team this season.

Valtteri Bottas followed Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton third. McLaren's Lando Norris is fourth ahead of Red Bull's Alex Albon.

Regional News • Middle East
Morocco also recognizes Israel as a sovereign state
Morocco also recognizes Israel as a sovereign state
Credit: unsplash.com / emrecan arık

After the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, Morocco now also wants to normalize relations with Israel. U.S. President Donald Trump declared via Twitter that the two states had agreed to establish "full diplomatic relations." Liaison offices were to be opened immediately in Rabat and Tel Aviv, and ultimately there would also be the opening of reciprocal embassies.

Regional News • Middle East
Islamic laws get less priority in United Arab Emirates in exchange for personal freedoms
Islamic laws get less priority in United Arab Emirates in exchange for personal freedoms
Credit: unsplash.com / Ainur Kamaev

With newly announced reform plans the United Arab Emirates aim to boost the country’s economic and social standing and “consolidate the UAE’s principles of tolerance,” according to the state-run WAM news agency.

As of now, it's unclear how the new regulations will put into law, but according to the report they aim to "protect women’s rights," and get rid of laws defending "honor crimes".

Science • Space
NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
Credit: NASA

Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have signed on as founding member nations to NASA's Artemis Accords, an international agreement that "will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions."

"Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition," so NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "With today's signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy."

Regional News • Americas • United States
DOJ orders an Al Jazeera platform to register in the US as foreign agent
AJ+ Logo
AJ+ Logo Credit: AJ+

The Justice Department ordered AJ+, an Al Jazeera online news platform based in the US, to register as a foreign agent Monday. The DOJ declared the outlet is "an agent of the Government of Qatar" and "engages in “political activities.”

Al Jazeera suggested the move was related to the agreement signed by the United Arab Emirates with Israel, a deal brokered by the Trump administration. The Emirates ambassador to the United States said that was not true.

Regional News • Europe
Former Spanish king Juan Carlos is in the United Arab Emirates
King Emeritus Juan Carlos I
King Emeritus Juan Carlos I Credit: א (Aleph) (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5)

The Spanish royal palaced confirmed that former king Juan Carlos I has been living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since August 3. His whereabouts have been unknown since he left Spain amid a corruption investigation.

The finances of the former king are under scrutiny. Juan Carlos denies any wrongdoing and has said he is available if prosecutors need to interview him.

Regional News • Middle East
Historic deal to normalize relations between Israel and United Arab Emirates
U.S. President Donald J. Trump announcing the deal
U.S. President Donald J. Trump announcing the deal Credit: Joyce N. Boghosian (White House) (Public Domain)

In a surprise announcement, Israel has agreed to suspend its plans to annex parts of the West Bank and has reached a deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Both countries have agreed to take up normalized diplomatic relations and to cooperate in topics of energy, water, environmental protection, water, the development of a Covid-19 and other topics. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has reportedly helped to broker the deal and announced it.

Science • Space
Nasa has launched the Mars rover Perseverance to detect life on the Red Planet
Nasa has launched the Mars rover Perseverance to detect life on the Red Planet
Credit: Twitter Reproduction (Public Domain)

NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Thursday atop an Atlas 5 rocket on a mission to search for traces of potential past life on Earth’s planetary neighbour. Perseverance was the third of three Mars missions to launch in the space of just ten days, after the United Arab Emirates’ Mars Hope orbiter, and China’s Tianwen-1.

The six-wheeled rover is on a path to intercept Mars in February next year, and when it lands, the Nasa robot will also gather rock and soil samples to be sent home later this decade.

Science • Space
UAE launched its first mission to Mars successfully
"We have lift-off. H2A, the rocket carrying the Hope Probe to space, has launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan."
"We have lift-off. H2A, the rocket carrying the Hope Probe to space, has launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan." Credit: @HopeMarsMission via Twitter

UAE's Mars Hope lift-off was a success. On Sunday the United Arab Emirates launched its Hope probe, a probe designed to orbit Mars to gather data from the Red Planet, from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. The probe, which should reach March sometime in February 2021, will track day-to-night cycles of the planet's weather over the period of a Martian year which equals 687 days on Earth.

Regional News • World
Public records: UK has sold surveillance technology to 17 repressive governments
Public records: UK has sold surveillance technology to 17 repressive governments
Credit: Jonathan McIntosh

The Independent reports that public records show exports of security technology from the United Kingdom to repressive regimes despite rules to prevent it. Security technology such as wiretaps, spyware and other telecommunications interception equipment shouldn't be exported to regimes that might use them for internal repression purposes.

Public records show that despite the rules exports worth £75 million have been approved to 17 countries including China, Saudia Arabia, the United Arba Emirates and Bahrain. All 17 states have been rated "not free" by the Non-Governmental Organisation Freedom House.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Emirates and Etihad extend reduced pay until September
Emirates and Etihad extend reduced pay until September
Credit: N509FZ (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Emirates and Etihad Airways will extend the period of reduced pay for their staff until September as they try to preserve cash during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Emirates Group, based in Dubai, said last week that it could reduce the number of employees by about 30% due to the economic impact of the global pandemic.