Mediators in Cairo made a renewed push for a Gaza ceasefire, but differences remained as fighting raged on in the Palestinian territory gripped by desperate food shortages.US, Qatari and Hamas envoys travelled to Cairo for the latest effort towards a six-week truce, stepped-up aid deliveries and the exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners.But sticking points remained, including a Hamas demand that the Israeli armed forces entirely withdraw from the Gaza Strip after almost five months of devastating war.And Israel, which has so far announced no plans to join the Egypt talks, has demanded Hamas provide it with a list of all 130 remaining captives, including more than 30 it fears are dead.Despite the latest push to halt the fighting sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel, Israeli bombing and urban combat again rocked Gaza, home to 2.4 million people, most of whom have been displaced.Another 90 Palestinians were killed within 24 hours, said Hamas-ruled Gaza's health ministry, which put the war's overall death toll at 30,410, mostly women and children.Two of the latest victims, twin babies Naeem and Wissam Abu Anza, were buried on Sunday as their mother Rania wept in agony, an AFP photographer said.A relative, Shehda Abu Anza, said "only civilians" were in the house when it was bombed, killing 14 members of one family."All of them were sleeping when suddenly a missile hit and destroyed the whole house," he told AFP as residents searched the rubble with their bare hands, for bodies and also to salvage scarce food.An Israeli siege on Gaza has sparked dire warnings from the United Nations of famine, leading the United States to start airdropping food rations into Gaza on Saturday.Jordan and some other countries have already done so.Screaming Palestinian children ran toward food parcels that drifted on black parachutes onto the Mediterranean beach.At least 16 children have died of malnutrition in recent days as "famine spreads" in Gaza's north, said health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.Gaza's desperation was grimly highlighted last Thursday when more than 100 people were killed in chaotic scenes around a convoy of aid trucks.Gaza health officials said Israeli forces opened fire into the crowd, causing a "massacre", while Israel's army said most victims were trampled or hit by trucks in a chaotic crush for food aid.A UN team that visited some of the wounded in Gaza City's Al-Shifa Hospital on Friday saw a "large number of gunshot wounds", said UN chief Antonio Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric.Israel's military on Sunday announced the death of one more soldier in Gaza, bringing to 246 the number killed since ground operations began on October 27.In the worst ever Gaza war, more air strikes hit southern Rafah and Khan Yunis overnight, and the Hamas government media office reported intense tank shelling in northern Gaza.The Israeli military reported hitting about 50 targets including "underground terrorist infrastructure".The UN Security Council on Friday voiced concern over Gaza's "alarming levels of acute food insecurity" and urged "the immediate, rapid, safe, sustained and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale".Pope Francis called for Gaza civilians to be given "safe access to the humanitarian aid they urgently need", telling the faithful at the Vatican that he supports an "immediate ceasefire" and hostage release.Mediators have been scrambling to lock in a truce before Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month that begins in around one week.Envoys from the United States, Qatar and Hamas have arrived in Cairo, Egyptian state-linked media reported Sunday.A US official, speaking to reporters late Saturday, had said "there's a framework deal" for a ceasefire which could start "today if Hamas agrees to release" elderly, women and ill hostages."The Israelis have more or less accepted it," the administration official said. "Right now, the ball is in the camp of Hamas."A Hamas official said that, if Israel were to meet its demands, this would "pave the way for an agreement within the next 24-48 hours".Osama Hamdan, a Lebanon-based Hamas official, told Qatar's Al-Araby TV that the group insisted on a complete, rather than "temporary", ceasefire and on "ending the aggression against our people".Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far rejected pulling troops out of Gaza before Hamas is destroyed and all hostages are freed.The Hamas official also said the group would demand "the entry of at least 400 to 500 trucks per day" carrying food, medicine and fuel as part of a truce deal.Israel had yet to confirm that it has accepted the truce plan or whether it would attend the Cairo talks.Netanyahu has faced mounting calls to secure the release of the hostages, from their desperate families and from a resurgent anti-government protest movement.At one rally, Eyal Kalderon, cousin of hostage Ofer Kalderon, said there may not be "another chance" to bring him home."It's now or maybe never."
LuLu Group has opened its 23rd hypermarket in Qatar at Doha Mall. The expansive two-level, 80,000sq ft store is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and an extensive range of quality products, aiming to elevate the shopping experience for customers.The inauguration ceremony, held on Thursday, witnessed the presence of Qatari businessman Abdul Aziz Mohamed al-Rabban alongside Sheikh Abdullah bin Hassan al-Thani, Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Indian ambassador Vipul, Joseph Abraham (Group CEO of Commercial Bank of Qatar), Yusuff Ali MA (Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group International) and other esteemed dignitaries. Ambassadors from Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Croatia, Poland, Ashraf Ali MA (Executive Director of LuLu Group International), Dr Mohamed Althaf (LuLu Group Director) and other senior management officials were also present.The new hypermarket introduces an extensive array of fresh produce sourced globally, an in-house bakery, and innovative shopping options including the renowned Planet Y featuring plant-based alternatives and a zero-waste refill station.Shoppers can explore popular LuLu shopping stations such as LuLu Fashion, LuLu Connect for electronics, EyeXpress, BLSH for beauty and cosmetics, reo-speciality apparel and accessories retailer for men, women and children, and a dedicated section for the latest IoT appliances and electronics. With ample parking spaces, self-checkout, and green checkout counters, LuLu ensures a seamless and eco-friendly shopping experience.Yusuff Ali said Lulu Group is glad to see another beautiful store opening that will cater to our loyal patrons living in Abu Hamour and its nearby areas. “As a leading regional retailer, it is our enduring commitment to innovate and provide a world-class shopping experience to the diverse multinational population in Qatar. We thank the wise leadership of Qatar under HH the Amir, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and the Government for the continuous support being extended to us as we are on track to further expand our Qatar operations,” he said. Yusuff Ali also extended heartfelt appreciation to all valued customers whose loyalty has been instrumental in the success and growth of the LuLu Group in the region.LuLu Hypermarket Doha Mall is the destination for cutting-edge smart home accessories. The newly opened store features a dedicated department tailored to the Internet of Things and Smart home devices, aimed at simplifying the concept of a smart home for our customers. In addition to the hypermarket launch, LuLu Group takes a significant step toward customer satisfaction with the introduction of its new loyalty reward programme, "Lulu Happiness." This innovative programme, designed to enhance the overall shopping experience and acknowledge customer loyalty, offers exclusive perks, additional discounts, and redeemable points with every purchase at any LuLu Hypermarket.Sheikh Mohamed bin Hassan al-Thani, along with Yusuffali MA (Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group), unveiled the "Happiness" reward programme during a ceremony at LuLu Hypermarket in Doha Mall.Becoming a member of the "Lulu Happiness" programme is simple, whether through conveniently located kiosks at LuLu hypermarkets or via online registration. Shoppers can access a range of exclusive offers and accumulate redeemable points, adding extra value to their shopping endeavours.The hypermarket places a strong emphasis on sustainability, offering services such as wheelchair accessibility, seating areas, gift wrapping, and featuring a Reverse Vending Machine for recycling plastic bottles. Smart technology is integrated throughout the store, enhancing the shopping experience with self-checkouts and a streamlined checkout system.Key Features of LuLu Hypermarket at Doha Mall:· Smart technology for a smoother shopping experience, including self-checkouts.· Zero Waste refill station for reusable containers with dry goods.· 'Planet-Y' section for vegan and vegetarian alternatives.· Special sections for Vegan, Organic, Keto-friendly, Super Food, Gluten-free, Protein, Dairy-free, Under 100 Calories and No Added Sugar items.· Juice Station offers a variety of freshly made juices.· Super Food Pantry stocking affordable superfood items.· Extensive Fresh Market produce section.The LuLu Hypermarket at Doha Mall stands as a testament to the group's dedication to providing a diverse and sustainable retail experience offering a wide array of products and services tailored to the evolving needs of its valued customers.
The Iftar tents by the General Administration of Endowments at the Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs will distribute Iftar meals to 70,000 fasting people across the country during the holy month of Ramadan, the ministry announced Saturday during a press conference. Iftar meals will be distributed to 24,000 people a day in 20 tents and five distribution points.While addressing the press conference Dr Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Ghanem al-Thani, Director General of the General Administration of Endowments, said that the Iftar initiative for the fasting persons is one of the important community initiatives of the administration during the holy month and it aims to spread the spirit of solidarity among the society.“The General Administration of Endowments aims, through the initiative, to establish 20 locations and aims to provide about 700,000 meals throughout the holy month,” he explained thanking the benefactors who support the initiative. He said the number of tents and distribution points was increased due to the growing demand for Iftar meals.Mohamed bin Yaqoub al-Ali, Assistant Director General of the General Administration of Endowments, said the initiative is one of the endowment projects within the Endowment Bank for Righteousness and Piety. He explained that the sites for Iftar tents will have dining facilities.He urged the public to participate in the initiative by donating through Awqaf’s website.Through the campaign, the public administration aims to establish a year of social solidarity and interdependence, implement the conditions of those who stand by, help the needy to perform the obligation of fasting, alleviate the suffering of many workers whose circumstances don’t allow them to prepare the meals promptly and make use of the gatherings for awareness-raising and educating.The tents are at Ain Khaled (Thursday and Friday Market), Al-Sailiya (New Central Market), Industrial Area (Eid Musalla, Street 23 Al-Attiyah) Industrial Zone Street 38, Al-Rayyan (Eid Prayer Hall), Al Montazah, Umm Salal Mohamed, Al-Wakrah (opposite the old Al-Wakrah Market), Al-Khor (Othman Mosque), Bin Omran (Eid Prayer Hall), Al-Aziziyah (Eid Prayer Hall), Souq Al-Ali, Al-Sulaimi ( North Farms Area), Muraikh, next to Mosque No. (879) and Al Thumama.Meals will be distributed at Old Airport (behind Family Shopping Centre), Umm Ghuwailina (Council Cooperation Traffic Signals), Bin Mahmoud (Jaidah Bridge), Souq Al Faleh (near Al-Qubab Mosque) and Salwa Road (Azab Abu Nakhla Complex).Donors can participate in the endowment and choose the tent location via the link:https://www.awqaf.gov.qa/fasting-breakfast.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, along with Heads of States and delegations, took part in the 7th Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), which was held at the International Centre of Conferences in Algiers, in the sisterly People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Saturday.The summit was attended by members of the official delegation accompanying the Amir, members of the accompanying official delegations, representatives of regional and international organisations, and the summit's guests.In his speech during the opening of the summit, President of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune emphasised that Algeria, along with all partners, realises the importance of gas as an environmentally friendly energy source and a strong supporter of renewable energies.Tebboune also praised the successful presidency of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani of the 6th session of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.He noted the importance of the role of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, noting that it represents an opportunity to draw a common vision to preserve the interests of gas producers and consumers at the same time. He said that the forum is a platform for co-operation and that they are all supporters of this approach to dialogue to contribute to strengthening their mutual interests and the vital role of gas in sustainable development.Tebboune stressed that all participants in the forum are working to strengthen long-term contracts and fair prices, and the prominent role that natural gas plays in achieving sustainable development, highlighting that the current challenges require strengthening dialogue and multilateral work that leads to achieving the goals that were set when the forum was launched.The Algerian president pointed out that the summit hosted by Algeria represents an opportunity to enhance co-operation and exchange dialogue, especially between various actors, which leads to improving the gas market and using it as a clean fuel with renewable energies. He stressed the importance of continuing to develop the gas industry, cooperation in technologies, and the development of marketing and exploration techniques.He welcomed the joining of Mozambique, Mauritania, and Senegal as observers.President of the Republic of Tunisia Kais Saied - the forum's guest of honour - called for unity to protect wealth from exploitation. He pointed out that the collar that was imposed on gas at the beginning of its exploration has today become a lifeline.President of Iraq Dr Abdullatif Jamal Rashid stressed the keenness of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum to coordinate visions and positions with OPEC, noting that the gas industry requires great effort and funding at the level of production and export.President of Senegal Macky Sall thanked all member states for supporting Senegal's membership in the forum, stressing his country's commitment to the strategies and objectives of the forum, for the sake of economic advancement within the framework of sustainable development.President of the Presidential Council of Libya Dr Mohamed Al Manfi affirmed Libya's commitment to the goals of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, noting the progress that Libya has made at the level of various issues to enable international companies to return to work in the country, continue exploration and development tasks, increase gas production capacity, and develop promising reserves of shale gas within the framework of enhancing energy security.Secretary General of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum Eng. Mohamed Hamel made a presentation in which he anticipated the future of the gas industry by the year 2050, during which the demand for this vital product will increase by 40%, indicating the necessity of investment in this field.The Secretary General of the forum stressed that member states play a pioneering role in improving the efficiency of the energy sector by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The UN said yesterday gross human rights violations, possibly including war crimes, had been committed in Israel and the Palestinian territories since the start of the war in Gaza.In its annual report, covering the 12 months to October 31, 2023, the UN Human Rights Office said clear violations of international humanitarian law, “including possible war crimes, have been committed by all parties” since October first week.“The entrenched impunity reported by our office for decades cannot be permitted to continue,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk.“There must be accountability on all sides for violations seen over 56 years of (Israeli) occupation and the 16 years of blockade of Gaza.” “Justice is a pre-requisite for ending cycles of violence and for Palestinians and Israelis to be able to take meaningful steps towards peace.”The report cited unlawful killings, hostage-taking, the wanton destruction of civilian property, collective punishment, strikes on civilian infrastructure, forced displacement, incitement to hatred and violence and torture.The war in Gaza began after the Hamas group that controls the Palestinian territory stormed Israel in the first week of October.Israel’s retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza have killed at least 29,514 people, most of them women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry. In less than five months, much of Gaza has been flattened and its population of around 2.4mn has been pushed to the brink of famine, the UN has said.WAR CRIMESIsrael’s response has led to “massive suffering of Palestinians, including through the killing of civilians on a broad scale, extensive repeated displacement, destruction of homes, and the denial of sufficient food and other essentials of life”, it said.“The blockade and siege imposed on Gaza amount to collective punishment and may also amount to the use of starvation as a method of war, which are war crimes.” The report identified three “emblematic” Israeli strikes — two on the Jabalia refugee camp and one in Gaza City — which caused enormous destruction.“Launching an indiscriminate attack resulting in death or injury to civilians, or an attack in the knowledge that it will cause excessive incidental civilian loss, injury or damage, are war crimes,” said Turk.