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Indian crew aboard Iranian oil tanker released in Gibraltar

Indian minister tweets all 24 Indian crew members have been released. The police proceedings against four Indian crew members, including the captain, aboard an Iranian oil supertanker has ended and they were released by authorities in Gibraltar on Thursday, even as the US Department of Justice made a last-minute claim on the vessel. “I am…

Indian crew aboard Iranian oil tanker released in Gibraltar

Indian minister tweets all 24 Indian crew members have been released.

The police proceedings against four Indian crew members, including the captain, aboard an Iranian oil supertanker has ended and they were released by authorities in Gibraltar on Thursday, even as the US Department of Justice made a last-minute claim on the vessel.
“I am grateful and thankful for my release. And I am grateful to all who have facilitated my release in my legal team,” the Captain of the Grace 1 tanker said in a statement.
A spokesman for Gibraltar’s government also confirmed that police proceedings against four members of the crew had ended.
The arrested Indian crew members – the Master, Chief Officer and two Second Mates – were aboard the Panama-flagged supertanker that was detained off Europa Point in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the Spanish coast, last month.
The Gibraltar authorities had said the vessel is loaded to capacity with crude oil enroute to Syria, in breach of European Union (EU) sanctions.
However, the Gibraltar authorities have since been given assurances from the arrested crew members and Iran that the ship was not on its way to Syria.
A total of 28 crew on board the vessel include majority Indians but also Russians, Latvians and Filipinos, who have spent over a month in detention on board the ship since it was seized in early July.

The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs tweeted that all 24 Indian crew members had been released:

Spoke to our High Commission @HCI_London on VLCC Grace 1. They confirmed all 24 Indian crew aboard VLCC Grace 1 have been released by Gibraltar authorities and are free to return to India. @narendramodi @PMOIndia @AmitShah @DrSJaishankar @MEAIndia @VMBJP
– V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) August 15, 2019

Their further course remains unclear and complicated as a result of the US intervention to request the seizure of Grace 1, which is set for a hearing in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar later on Thursday.
“The US Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered. The matter will return to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar,” noted a statement from the government of Gibraltar.
The UK Foreign Office has declined to comment on the US request and said that “investigations conducted around the Grace 1 are a matter for the government of Gibraltar”.
The Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies had detained the supertanker and its cargo on July 4 during an operation conducted by the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP), Customs and Port Authority with the support of British Royal Marines.
A Gibraltar government statement noted: “The detention of the vessel relates to the suspected destination of the cargo, the Banyas refinery in Syria, which is owned by a company, the Banyas Oil Refinery Company. This company is the subject of European Union sanctions under EU Regulation 36/2012, which is directly applicable in Gibraltar.
“The investigations of the Royal Gibraltar Police continue and the vessel remains detained under an Order of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar.”
However, following the assurances given by Iran and the captain of the ship, the Gibraltar government was all set to allow the vessel to set sail before the US demand, which is reportedly part of the Trump administration’s efforts to intensify the effect of existing Western economic sanctions on both Iran and Syria.
Tehran blames the US for arranging to have its ship seized in the wake of sanctions imposed against Iran with the aim of halting all its oil exports. European countries do not have sanctions against Iran but have had them in place against Iran’s ally Syria since 2011.

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Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo win Booker Prize

The prolific Atwood had already received a Booker in 2000 for her novel ‘The Blind Assassin’. The judging panel for the Booker Prize in London named Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and British author Bernardine Evaristo as the winners of the prestigious literary award. Despite the fact that the rules of the competition say that the…

Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo win Booker Prize

The prolific Atwood had already received a Booker in 2000 for her novel ‘The Blind Assassin’.

The judging panel for the Booker Prize in London named Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and British author Bernardine Evaristo as the winners of the prestigious literary award.

Despite the fact that the rules of the competition say that the award may only be bestowed on a single individual each year, the judging panel decided to make an exception on this occasion and declare a tie after more than five hours of deliberations on Monday, Efe news reported.
Atwood, the author of “The Testaments,” and Evaristo, who earlier this year released “Girl, Woman, Other,” will share the cash award of 50,000 pounds sterling (57,200 euros or $63,051) that comes with the recognition.
This is the 79-year-old Atwood’s second Booker of her career, taking the honours this time for her sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), a dystopic story that has acquired new relevance in the feminist genre thanks to its popular television adaptation.
Evaristo, meanwhile, at age 60 becomes the only black woman to take home a Booker, her first, for a work exploring the lives and struggles of different black women in the modern-day United Kingdom.
The president of the judging panel, Peter Florence, said after announcing the decision at London’s Guildhall that the more the panel discussed it the more they came to the conclusion that they wanted both women to win.
The Booker Prize sponsors in 1992 had established an internal rule that just one person could win the award each year after Canada’s Michael Ondaatje and Britain’s Barry Unsworth received the prize in that year.
The prolific Atwood had already received a Booker in 2000 for her novel “The Blind Assassin,” and with this latest triumph she has become the fourth person and the second woman to receive the award twice, along with Hilary Mantel, J.M. Coetzee and Peter Cary.
In “The Testaments” Atwood returns to the imaginary totalitarian and patriarchal Republic of Gilead – which has supplanted the United States – to further the “Handmaid’s Tale” narrative from different female points of view.
So far, the book – published in September – has sold more than 100,000 copies in the UK, making it the most successful novel published in the country in the past four years.
This is Evaristo’s eighth novel, divided into 12 chapters, each one telling about the life of a character, most of them black women, whose fates are intertwined in some way.
The author said she was honoured to receive the award, and especially to share it with the likes of Atwood, but she expressed her hope that it would not be long before she would be joined by other black female authors as Booker recipients.
Also in the running for the Booker this year were Salman Rushdie, for his work “Quichotte,” an adaptation of the Don Quixote story set in the modern-day US, along with Chigozie Obioma, for “An Orchesta of Minorities,” Lucy Ellmann, for “Ducks, Newburyport,” and Elif Shafak, for “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.”
The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to writers of any nationality writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

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Cultural celebrations begin in Abu Dhabi to mark Putin’s visit

The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of cultural activities at the Emirates Palace. The UAE-Russia week kicked off in Abu Dhabi on the eve of the landmark visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of Emirati and Russian cultural activities…

Cultural celebrations begin in Abu Dhabi to mark Putin’s visit

The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of cultural activities at the Emirates Palace.

The UAE-Russia week kicked off in Abu Dhabi on the eve of the landmark visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of Emirati and Russian cultural activities at the Emirates Palace.

The inaugural day saw traditional Emirati performances like ayyala; a selection of Emirati and Russian culinary treats including qahwa coffee and Emirati dates and Russian bread and salt; a musical performance by Emirati pianist Fatima Al Hashimi; and a showcase of traditional handicrafts.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, inaugurated the event on Monday. Sergei Kuznetsov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UAE, and a number of senior officials attended the opening ceremony.

Noura Al Kaabi said: “Cultural collaborations and the sharing of our traditional heritage with one another are integral to bringing two cultures closer. It provides a strong impetus to the development of bilateral relations and injecting renewed strength in the process of UAE-Russian cooperation.

“The UAE’s relationship with Russia dates back over 47 years when our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundations of these bilateral ties.

“With thousands of Russian citizens residing in the UAE, our leadership is eager to strengthen our friendship and collaboration with Russia. The launch of the UAE-Russia Week is a key implementation in sharing knowledge in the field of culture between our two countries and it opens opportunities for artists and creatives to communicate,” she added.

Cultural relations between the UAE and Russia have developed rapidly over the past few years. Sharjah was the guest of honour at the 2019 Moscow International Book Fair, in celebration of its Arab and international cultural status after it was chosen as the World Book Capital.

Additionally, the UAE will be welcoming Russia as the Country of Honour for the 30th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2020.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com

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Doc, can we have a clean bill of service after one for health?

You’ve been there, haven’t you? Down with seasonal flu or gum problems or even that niggling migraine. Nothing that a visit or two to the doctor won’t set right. So, you take an appointment and arrive at the requested time. Yeah, you may have to still wait for your turn despite the appointment, but let’s…

Doc, can we have a clean bill of service after one for health?

You’ve been there, haven’t you? Down with seasonal flu or gum problems or even that niggling migraine. Nothing that a visit or two to the doctor won’t set right. So, you take an appointment and arrive at the requested time. Yeah, you may have to still wait for your turn despite the appointment, but let’s put a pin in that peeve (to be addressed at a later date). The doc finally examines you and comes up with a diagnosis. The medical professional then goes on to explain the treatment – the medication and any accompanying lifestyle adjustments that you might have to make – along with the duration of such a drill. All done, and you proceed to collect the prescription after making the required payment.
This is where my – and I’d believe a lot of others’ – issue begins. We make the co-payment that our insurer requires and we’re handed over the stamped prescription, which we then take to the pharmacy to collect the medicines. At the end of the day, besides the credit card counterfoils (if a card is used) and a bag of medicines, there are no tell-tale signs of our visit to the doc. We may have just walked across to a pharmacy and bought those medicines off the rack. I’ve tried the other route – of asking for an invoice from the reception, and I must confess that I’ve received it, too. But it’s done grudgingly every time I’ve insisted for one and, even then, the invoice just mentions the very basic details – like ‘doctor’s consultation’ and the amount charged, at times without even referring to the doctor by name, leave alone the diagnosis and/or a copy of the prescription.
The practice in most developed countries is that individuals do have access – both physical and online – to their own health records while parents have access to their kids’ health records until they turn 18 years of age. I’m told that my physician is obliged to share a copy of my records with me if I insist, but I’d welcome you to volunteer for such a venture and enlighten us on how it went. While the quality of medical professionals in Dubai and across the UAE is second to none, why is it that there is this cloud surrounding the billing process? You’ve given us a clean bill of health on several occasions, doc. How about a clean and transparent bill of services, too?

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