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UAE police nabs brother pair and drug mafia gang



Two males who were wanted worldwide for allegedly participating in human trafficking and money laundering have been detained, according to the UAE.

A nine-month security operation undertaken by the UAE in collaboration with Interpol resulted in the capture of the two brothers and their associates.

In a news conference on Thursday, it was revealed that Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam of Eritrea had been detained on Sunday in Sudan by local police working with the UAE’s Ministry of Interior.

An Interpol red alert stated that he was wanted for being the leader of a criminal organisation which kidnapped, mistreated, and demanded money from East African migrants trying to immigrate to Europe over the course of several years.

According to a June investigation by Reuters, his gang held thousands of African migrants and refugees headed for Europe captive in Libyan warehouses while extorting thousands of dollars from them and their families.

Kidane was detained in Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia, in 2020, but he managed to flee in February 2021. In his absence, he was given a life sentence four months later.

Dutch law authorities added Kidane to their most-wanted list in October. According to Reuters, an investigation by a Dutch public prosecutor showed that his organisation “abuses, extorts, kidnaps, and rapes Eritreans” who are trying to enter the Netherlands.

Brig Saeed Al Suwaidi, director general of the UAE’s Federal Anti-Narcotics General Directorate, said on Thursday that Kidane will face trial in the UAE.

“UAE Public Prosecution is reviewing his file for the moment,” Brig Al Suwaidi said. “He will go on trial first in the UAE and the court will decide later on the extradition to Ethiopia or Netherlands after he gets his final judgment.

“It was a happy new year for all police departments working on this operation.”

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Zelenskyy thanks President Sheikh Mohamed for support to Ukraine




ABU DHABI (WAM) – President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan today received a telephone call from Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of the Republic of Ukraine, during which they discussed the relations between their countries and ways to develop them.

The two leaders also reviewed the latest developments in the Ukrainian crisis and a number of issues of mutual concern.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed highlighted the importance of continuing communication and talks to find political solutions to the Ukrainian crisis, in light of its humanitarian and economic fallout that has impacted the entire world.

Sheikh Mohamed also underscored the UAE’s humanitarian approach which entails providing aid to all peoples of the world, stressing support for all initiatives and efforts aimed at reaching a political solution that puts an end to the crisis and re-establishes security, stability and peace.

Sheikh Mohamed also offered his condolences to President Zelenskyy over the death of Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and a number of officials and civilians, who died in a helicopter crash.

For his part, the Ukrainian President expressed his thanks and appreciation for the humanitarian support that the UAE continues to provide, and for his active role in promoting peace.

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Stories emerge from Nepal air crash disaster as search for bodies continues




Rescue workers rappel down a gorge near Pokhara airport to search for bodies and wreckage. Reuters

Searchers used drones and rappelled down a 200 metres (656 feet) deep gorge in Nepal’s second-biggest city on Tuesday to search for two people unaccounted for after the country’s deadliest plane crash in 30 years killed at least 70 people.

Courtesy Reuters Graphics

Difficult terrain and inclement weather was hampering rescue efforts near the tourist city of Pokhara, where the Yeti Airlines ATR 72 turboprop carrying 72 people crashed in clear weather on Sunday just before landing.

“There is thick fog here now. We are sending search and rescue personnel using ropes into the gorge where parts of the plane fell and was in flames,” Ajay KC, a police official in Pokhara who is part of the rescue efforts, told Reuters. The ATR 72 aircraft, which was flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara, was carrying two infants, four crew members, and 11 foreign nationals, including 5 Indians. Pokhara is a popular tourist destination in Nepal, and its international airport was recently inaugurated and has been built with China’s financial help.

Co-pilot shares same fate as her husband

In a quirk of fate, the co-pilot of the ill-fated flight 691 lost her husband in a crash 16 years ago with Yeti Airlines too.

Anju Khatiwada not only inspired herself to build a piloting career from scratch after becoming a single mother, she was just minutes away from becoming a chief pilot when she lost her life.

She was to be promoted on touch down when the crash took her life. Her husband Dipak Pokhrel was also a co-pilot.
Dipak was in the cockpit of a Twin Otter prop plane which was carrying rice and food to the western town of Jumla when it came down and burst into flames in June 2006, killing all nine people on board.

Four years later, Anju was on the path to becoming a pilot, overcoming many obstacles to train in the US. Once qualified, she joined Yeti Airlines. She was one of six women employed by the airline as pilots, and had flown close to 6,400 hours.


Disaster caught on video

(Warning!! Click on the link to see the video at your own discretion. Disturbing visuals at the end)

The plane crashed between the old airport and the Pokhara International Airport while landing, and a video shot on mobile revealed the plane banked hard on the left, almost 90 degrees, before crashing.

While the exact factors for the crash will be known only after completion of the detailed probe, initially, it looks like the possibility of mishandling by the pilot or malfunctioning of the plane’s angle of attack system, experts believe. As seen in the video, the weather was perfectly fine on the day of the crash.

The video opens with shots of passengers sitting inside the plane and Pokhara city below, seen from the plane’s window. Suddenly there is an explosion, and the phone goes topsy-turvy. The final few seconds of the video show a horrifying fire outside the window, and the cries of distraught passengers can also be heard. The five Indians killed in the Nepal plane crash were Sonu Jaiswal (35), Anil Kumar Rajbhar (27), Abhishek Kushwaha (27), Vishal Sharma (22) and Sanjay Jaiswal (26).

Another video captured shows the drastic movement by the plane and the sudden fall.


One date, two results

The Nepal crash on the 15th day of January was a different outcome to the one that happened on the same day in Houston, United States. In 2009, the pilot’s bravery and skill saved the lives of 155 people, whereas in the Nepal disaster, either the pilot’s error or a technical issue with the plane caused 72 people to perish.

The second incident occurred on the same day in 2009, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger became a worldwide hero by safely bringing a US Airways flight down on the Hudson River. Flight 1549 made it on the watery strip when it struck a flock of birds shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport, New York City, losing all engine power.

There were 155 people on board the flight operating an Airbus A320. All the passengers came out safely from the plane and were rescued by nearby boats, with only a few serious injuries. The media quickly dubbed the incident a “Miracle on the Hudson”, while the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board official described it as “the most successful ditching in aviation history”.

The pilots and flight attendants were awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in recognition of their “heroic and unique aviation achievement.

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Strong response to unemployment insurance within two days




More than 60,000 employees have signed up for the UAE’s unemployment insurance scheme within the first two days of its launch.

About 86 per cent of them subscribed via the official website with 90 per cent opting to subscribe to the scheme annually.

The programme, which came into effect on January 1, aims to provide financial security to workers in the public and private sectors if they lose their jobs due to reasons other than disciplinary action or resignation.

The insurance cost for employees earning a basic salary of up to AED 16,000 (Category A) has been set at AED 5 a month, while those who earn more than AED 16,000 (Category B) will pay AED 10 a month.

The premium can be paid monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or on an annual basis.

Compensation will be paid for a maximum of three months from the date of the employee’s job loss and will be calculated at 60 per cent of the basic salary drawn during the last six months before losing the job.

An individual has to be subscribed to the scheme for at least 12 consecutive months to be eligible for the pay out. The employee forfeits his/ her right to the claim if he/she leaves the country or accepts a new position.

The maximum monthly compensation amount for employees in Category A is AED 10,000, and for those in Category B it’s AED 20,000.

The amount will be paid within two weeks following the claim date and the insured individual must submit the claim through the designated channels, which are the official website, smart application or the call centre 600 599 555.

Employees working in the UAE’s free zones are currently exempt from subscribing.

The other exempted categories are investors or owners of establishments, domestic workers, temporary contract workers, juveniles (under 18 years), and retirees who receive a pension and have joined a new job.

Workers can subscribe to the programme through the insurance pool’s website or smart application, banks, self-service kiosks, Al Ansari Exchange, business service centres, and telecom service providers.

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