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UN Head calls for de-escalation in Syria-Israel theatre

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Iran says Israeli claim of shooting down its drone is ridiculous

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate de-escalation in Syria-Israel theatre after reports of Syrian forces shooting down Israeli F-16 warplane and Tel Aviv’s claim of downing Iranian made drone in its territory.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Saturday,“ Guterres is following closely the alarming military escalation throughout Syria and the dangerous spillover across its borders,”

According to official SANA news agency, “Syrian Air Defense confronted an Israeli enemy aggression on one of the military positions at the central region and hit more than one Israeli aircrafts. Later, the Air Defense also confronted another Israeli aggression on Damascus countryside.”

Russian Foreign Ministry has also expressed concern about the latest developments in Syria and called on the sides to exercise restraint and avoid escalation of the situation.

In the meantime, Iran has rejected Israel’s claim of shooting down Iranian made drone in its territory on Saturday as “ridiculous” and clarified that Islamic Republic’s military advisory presence in Syria is at the request “constitutional and legitimate” government in that country.

According to Tehran based Press TV, Bahram Qassemi, the spokesman of Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, “Claims about the flight of an Iranian drone … are too ridiculous to be addressed because the Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country’s legitimate and constitutional government.”

“The government and army of Syria as an independent country have a legitimate right to defend [the country’s] territorial integrity and counter any type of foreign aggression,” he reportedly said.

The spokesman emphasized that the “illegitimate Israeli regime cannot cover up its atrocities and crimes against Muslim nations in the region by playing a blame game and spreading lies.”

Meanwhile, Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on international affairs, while speaking to the reporters in Tehran on Saturday said that the Syrian government and nation have proved that they would sacrifice themselves to “safeguard their country’s territorial integrity, security and independence.”

He further said that Syrian people have achieved victory in an “international war”, in which more than 80 countries dispatched terrorists to that country.

On the other hand Tel Aviv based Haaretz quoted military sources saying that Israeli army decided to shoot down Iranian drone over its territory in an attempt to prove Tehran was operating in Syria against Israel.

The Israeli army said that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Quds Force have been active for a long period of time from the T-4 Syrian air force base near to Palmyra. It claims that they are supported by Syrian army with approval of the Assad regime.

UN Head calls for de-escalation in Syria-Israel theatreWhile describing the events leading to the crash of Israeli F-16 by Syrian forces, Haaretz said that “In response to the incursion by an Iranian drone, Israeli aircraft stuck Iranian targets in Syria, with a barrage of Syrian air-defense missiles bringing down an Israeli F-16 over Israel. Following the downing of the Israeli fighter jet, Israel said it carried out “large scale strikes” in Syria targeting Syrian air-defense batteries and four Iranian sites.”

Reuters also confirmed the situation which led to downing of Israeli F-16 warplane. A report compiled by its correspondents based in Jerusalem and Beirut said, “Anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria Saturday in the most serious confrontations yet between Israel and Iranian-backed forces based across the border.”

The agency, quoting an Israeli official, further reports that “The F-16, one of at least eight Israeli planes dispatched in response to what Israel said was an Iranian drone’s incursion into its airspace earlier in the day, was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed in northern Israel.

Another Reuters report quoted Hezbollah condemning the Israeli aggression saying that Saturday marked the “start of a new strategic phase”. It also said that exploitation of Syrian airspace will be limited. “Today’s developments mean the old equations have categorically ended.”

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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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