Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018


Jordan u-turns on tax reforms, the UN outlines its Yemen peace plan and Dubai spends Dh2bn on global good causes

Hello from The National’s newsroom in Abu Dhabi.

The people have spoken and Jordan's incoming prime minister Omar Razzaz yesterday promised to withdraw a controversial income tax law that ignited nationwide protests and general strikes. Mr Razzaz's announcement, which followed a meeting with MPs, was widely cheered by Jordanians on social media but did not address how his government would balance the demands of the street with rescuing the economy.

A United Nations peace plan for Yemen calls on the Houthi rebels to give up their ballistic missiles in return for an end to a bombing campaign against them by a Saudi-led coalition and a transitional governance agreement, according to a draft of the document and sources. The plan, which has not yet been made public and could still be modified, is the latest effort to end Yemen's three-year-old civil war, which has spawned one of the world's worst humanitarian calamities.

In an exclusive and powerful report, Florian Neuhof visits Gaza's ravaged hospitals which are being forced to prematurely release patients at risk of amputation or death to make space for the next wave of people injured by Israeli brutality.

Iraq’s supreme court yesterday backed demands for a full manual ballot recount in a move that could further delay the formation of a new government.

And our report Gareth Browne visits northern England to meet 40-year-old Abdul Ahad, a speaker and imam at the Al Azhar mosque in the town of South Shields. Mr Ahad has become a powerful voice in the fight against extremist thinking - and the UK government's go-to person to de-radicalise people.

In local news, almost Dh2 billion has been spent by Dubai on alleviating poverty, boosting education and providing humanitarian aid to millions of people in 68 countries. That’s the result of last year’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global initiatives programme. A breakdown of the spending revealed that Dh194 million was pumped into relief aid, with health accounting for Dh477m, education Dh634m, while Dh396m was spent on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Our weekend essay comes from Con Coughlin who argues that, a year in to the Arab Quartet's boycott of Qatar, Doha cannot evade accountability by embracing Tehran.

In Business, we exclusively report, Brazil's Embraer, which is in talks with Boeing for a jet joint venture, is boosting efforts to woo Middle East buyers for its aircraft as the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Tehran slammed shut Iran's lucrative market for the plane maker.

John McAuley in Sport speak to Egypt team manager Ehab Leheta who has waited 28 years to see his country in action at a World Cup.

In our super Weekend supplement, there's something for everyone. We review the Jaguar I-Pace and ask if it a game-change for electric cars? In fashion, we look at Adler and the brand's high-end jewellery with a sense on whimsy. We spend some time in glorious Cambridge in England, which is very reachable from Emirates airlines new destination, Stanstead. Our Postcard looks at the Syrians finding a home in the land of the Moors, Selina Denman, in her weekly column, comments on the Qatar Airways CEO's chauvinism. And in Timeframe, we look back six year to when pop superstar Madonna (and her audience) challenged the UAE summer to perform in Abu Dhabi.

And, in case you missed it, Emirates planes could soon go windowless to make them lighter, faster and safer.

All this and more in The National today – look out for the print edition, visit TheNational.ae, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter for round-the-clock updates.

Have a great weekend,

Nic Ridley

Production editor

Updated: June 7, 2018 11:23 PM



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