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Jordan: Protests may force King Abdullah II to remove PM Mulki

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Jordan: Protests my force King Abdullah to change government

High prices and new IMF triggered tax bill cause nationwide protests

Amidst mounting public pressure against price rise and proposed tax bill, Jordan’s King Abdullah was expected to ask Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki to resign on Monday. Sunday was the fourth day of public protests which are billed to be largest in five years in the most peaceful country in the region.

According to Riyadh based Al-Arabiya network, protesters were demanding dismissal of Mulki during the protests against IMF-backed tax increases that have shaken the kingdom. The sources said King Abdullah had ordered Mulki for an audience in his palace later on Monday.

The protesters near Prime Minister’s office chanted on Sunday evening, “We are here until we bring the downfall of the tax bill. This government is shameful. Our demands are legitimate. No, no to corruption”.  The protesters were carrying national flags and signs reading “we will not kneel”.

Abdullah II of JordanMulki was appointed in May 2016 and given the responsibility of reviving a sluggish economy and business sentiment hit by regional turmoil. He is considered to be a business-friendly politician.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two countries in the region having peace-treaty with Israel. Both are allied with US and Saudi Arabia. Jordan receives financial assistance from US, UAE and Saudi Arabia. It houses large number of Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi refugees.

Read More:  Mike Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan

Several protesters told the foreign media covering the protests that Jordanian people were passing most difficult time.

“Women have started looking in rubbish bins to find food for their children, and every day we’re hit by price hikes and new taxes,” said one protester.

Another protester Mohammad Shalabiya, 28, said demonstrators wanted “to tell the government that the citizen’s income isn’t suitable for this kind of law and that we have a right to demonstrate”. Peoples’ pockets are empty in the most expensive country in the region with no resources, said the other protester.

Public anger over IMF-driven government policies has grown since a steep general sales tax hike earlier this year and the abolition of bread subsidies, a staple item for the poor. The protests were initiated by labor organizations.

Read More:  Modi receives Jordan’s King Abdullah II at airport

Saturday evening was the fourth evening when people tried to reach to the government offices housing the cabinet and Prime Minister. Security personnel had tough time to manage the protesters.

Tens of thousands of Jordanians took to the street on Thursday evening being the weekend in most countries in the region. The protesters took to the streets across the kingdom – In the Irbid and Jarash provinces, the cities of Amman, Aqaba, Salt, Al-Karak and the Jordan Rift area – demanding to cancel the raising of taxes and staple food. They claim that the government measures will increase poverty and distress in the country.

Jordan Protests my force King Abdullah to change governmentThousands of protesters gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s Office and blamed for deepening poverty accusing leaders of trying to close the budget deficit with draconian decisions at the expense of the working class.

On Friday, King Abdullah II, who is considered to be the stabilizing force among various sections, ordered to delay the decisions to raise petrol prices. He is also reportedly communicating with the protest organizers and considering meeting more demands. There are possibilities that King Abdullah II will order the formation of a new government and elect a new parliament.

Jordan’s economy has deteriorated in the last few years for several reasons, among which are the conduct of recent governments and the intake of over a million Syrian refugees.

The Al-Arabia reports that Jordan’s stability is a supreme security concern from Israel’s standpoint. At this point, officials in Jerusalem are closely following the demonstrations in Jordan as well as the regime’s efforts to halt the protest.

Saudi media has remarkable started calling Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after President Donald Trump has recently shifted US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The phrasing of “officials in Jerusalem are closely following” indicates the change in Riyadh’s official working.

However, media in Iran and its allies: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Houthi run government in Yemen call Jerusalem as “Al-Quds” as the capital of Palestine, an occupied territory. They condemn US for recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital and moving their embassy to Jerusalem.

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Bigg Boss 14 contestant Rahul Vaidya struggles walking in knee deep water, compares Dubai rains with Mumbai floods

Singer and TV personality Rahul Vaidya was recently stranded in the Dubai rains.

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Rahul Vaidya, who was in Dubai ahead of his show which was scheduled to take place today, left the country due to heavy rains and reached Kolkata. The artist shared on social media his encounters in the UAE city, including challenges like walking through knee-deep water. Rahul provided an update regarding the heavy rainfall in Dubai on his Instagram profile.

The Bigg Boss 14 contestant revealed that he was in Kolkata and prepared to do an evening performance. Recalling the terrifying period he went through, Vaidya said there was a lot of confusion and panic in Dubai. The situation was similar to that when heavy floods hit Mumbai in 2005.

Vaiday also posted seval other images and videos of cars that were underwater and flooded roadways. The Bigg Boss 14 contestant, who shared his ordeal, claimed that even though it had just rained for two hours, the situation was dire.

In one of the video, which went viral he can be seen struggling in walking in knee-deep water. He can be also seen holding his sneakers in one hand and with other hand he was seen managing other things.

This is the result of the two hours of rain that it had, he can be heard saying in the video. Vidya also said he dosen’t believe Dubai is accustomed to a lot of rain. Everything had stopped working, he remarked.

After taking part in the first season of the singing reality show Indian Idol, Rahul Vaidya gained widespread recognition. In addition to Bigg Boss, he took part in Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.

Meanwhile, heavy rains that triggered flooding in the UAE and Bahrain, which left 18 people dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, have paralyzed the financial hub of the Middle East, Dubai.

A lot of incoming flights were diverted from Dubai’s international airport because of the rain. At 7:26 p.m., the busiest airport in the world for foreign visitors stopped accepting new arrivals; a gradual resumption was announced for more than two hours later.

Images of planes navigating flooded tarmacs are making the rounds on social media.

According to pictures shared on social media, the flagship malls Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both experienced heavy floods, while at least one Dubai Metro station had water up to the ankles.

There were several road collapses, severe flooding in residential areas, and numerous reports of leaks from windows, doors, and roofs.

Due to the unfavourable weather, schools around the United Arab Emirates were forced to close, and as more storms are predicted, the closures are anticipated to last until Wednesday. The government of Dubai allowed its staff to work remotely till this Wednesday.

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Dubai sky turns green during storm in UAE, video goes viral

The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain.

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1 person was killed in UAE as it witnessed heavy rainfall on Tuesday, stranding commuters, flooding roads, disrupting trains and flights and resulting in water leakage from mall ceilings. The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain. It is being said that the rainfall was the highest documented since the start of data collection in 1949.

The heavy rainfall in UAE came days after a similar situation in neighbouring Oman, where 13 people were killed in flash floods. Many parts of Oman saw torrential rains, which caused students to be trapped in buses and swept away motorists and trapped people in their homes.

Videos from Dubai circulating on social media showed widespread waterlogging on roads in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other important cities. This left daily commuters in cars and other vehicles struggling to get back home. Dubai metro station too was seen flooded and closed.

One such video circulating on social media shows the aerial view of the city of Dubai from the top of a building. In the video the stormy winds are seen blowing over the city of Dubai. As the storm intensifies the Dubai sky turns green and ultimately gets covered by heavy rainfall. The video has gone viral on social media with more than 1.1 million views.

Another video showed water leakage from the ceilings of shopping malls, flooding the floors and destroying goods. A video which was shot in the famous Mall of the Emirates, showed pieces of ceiling falling as the rainwater gushed inside. Videos from many outlets of the Deira City Centre mall chain showed escalators being rendered unusable. Majid Al Futtaim, the company which owns the Mall of Emirates, said that the shopping complexes have been kept open and the customers are being sent away from the flooded areas. 

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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