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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

Weekly Saturday Newsletter

The Best of The National

Hello and welcome to the ‘Best of The National’, your guide to our most compelling, important and exclusive content from the past seven days.

This was the week Libya captured Egyptian Al Qaeda commander Hisham Ashmawi in the extremist stronghold of Derna. He is expected to be extradited to face allegations as the mastermind of numerous fatal attacks.

Shop owners in Iran joined truck drivers in a strike across dozens of cities in protest at deteriorating living conditions amid widespread economic woes.

We followed former Israeli soldier Ido Even-Paz as he led a tour through Hebron as part of 'Breaking the Silence', a group that highlights the inequity of Israel’s occupation.

Locally, US oil services provider Baker Hughes announced it would pay $550 million (Dh2.02 billion) for a 5 per cent stake in Adnoc’s drilling subsidiary.

We marked World Mental Health Day in a bid to dispel any remaining stigma about the likes of depression, dementia, schizophrenia and OCD.

And, from farther afield, the resignation of Nikki Haley as the US ambassador to the UN sent shockwaves through Washington and the international community. What does this herald, we asked?

This and much more … Enjoy

At the moment security forces closed in on Hisham Ashmawi, he tried to detonate the explosive belt he was wearing. It failed to explode. Now in custody in Libya, the Al Qaeda commander is expected to be extradited to Egypt where he faces the death sentence. Reporter Adham Youssef looks at the career of one of North Africa’s most wanted militants, a man believed responsible for the death of dozens, if not hundreds, of people.

In a piece of compelling reporting from Jonathan Cook, The National joined Ido Even-Paz as he led a tour around the occupied city of Hebron. Mr Even-Paz is a former Israeli soldier who, after his political awakening, is now part of the Breaking the Silence group. He said settlers and the military had worked hand in hand to hijack the freedoms of some 230,000 Palestinians and turn Hebron’s once-vibrant commercial centre into a ghost town.

On Wednesday, Morocco marked the annual National Women’s Day, founded a decade ago to promote gender parity in the North African kingdom. But still much work needs to be done. The gang rape of a teenage girl has inspired other victims of sexual violence to speak out, triggering the country's #MeToo movement, reported Ruqaya Izzidien in Rabat. The campaign, #Masaktash, translates as ‘I won’t be silent’.

In an exclusive report, Jack Losh uncovered a dark connection between Sudanese militia, moonlighting as poachers in Central African Republic’s badlands, and the illicit trade in wildlife. It’s powerful reading with great images.

Staying in Africa, Colin Freeman reported from Cameroon where the English-speaking regions were in revolt at the Francophone government’s violent suppression of protests seeking equal treatment.

In a story that is almost stranger than fiction, the collapse of the Venezuelan economy and currency means the country’s bandit gangs are fleeing to wealthier countries because kidnapping and robbery no longer pays enough.

Joyce Karam, in Washington, examined the political fallout of UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s resignation, and looked who is in the running to be her replacement.

Locally, Mustafa Alrawi examined what the sale of a 5 per cent stake in Adnoc's drilling unit could mean. "The partnership with Baker Hughes ties into Adnoc’s ambitions to viably explore new sources of oil and gas, opening the door to a windfall for the UAE energy industry that could be a repeat of the dramatic US shale boom," he wrote. (See our podcast below.)

A new report from New York University Abu Dhabi suggested Saharan sands being whisked into the atmosphere and deposited in polar regions could be contributing to climate change.

To mark World Mental Health Day, we spoke to parents who believed their child’s addiction to social media was a leading cause of her depression.

Plans have been announced for a unified driving test in the Emirates. Would this make the roads less, erm, enlivening?

The art collection of embattled private equity company Abraaj Group, as well as that believed to be owned by its founder Arif Naqvi, were in the process of being sold at London auctions, with some works estimated at less than one-tenth of the amount initially paid for them.

And, from Sport, Amith Passela reported how Lahore Qalandars and Multiply Titans said they would continue to use the Abu Dhabi T20 as a platform to develop young players and offer more experienced ones time in the spotlight.

The future is looking more positive for Iraq. After years of upheavals, invasion, insurgencies and unstable government, the appointment of Iraq's new Prime Minister-designate, Adel Abdul Mahdi, has given Iraqis and international observers a cautiously optimistic view of the country's future. But he has a long to-do list.

And, only in Dubai … a nightclub has opened that allows people to drive their cars on to the premises. Admission? Dh10,000. This was too good an opportunity to miss, so motoring editor Adam Workman took the company Lamborghini.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this week warned that if governments failed to limit global warming to less than 2°C by 2050, the world would witness significantly more drought, floods and extreme heat. The Middle East is particularly at risk. So, are the UAE and other regional leaders doing their part? In this week’s Beyond the Headline, Tanzeed Alam, managing director of Earth Matters Consultancy, joins host Naser Al Wasmi to break down the report and assess what needs to be done.

Following the news US oil services provider Baker Hughes will pay $550 million (Dh2.02 billion) for a 5 per cent stake in Adnoc’s drilling subsidiary, in this week's Business Extra podcast, Mustafa Alrawi speaks with Abdulmunim Al Kindy, head of upstream at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, to find out how the partnership can drive higher profitability and new opportunities for the sector.

It was a busy week for UAE cricket fans, with two Twenty20 tournaments and the first Pakistan-Australia Test match getting under way, all within the space of three days. The Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy and the Afghanistan Premier League both faced teething problems, and major challenges lie ahead. But there is hope yet of their success in the near future. In this week's edition of The Cricket Pod, hosts Chitrabhanu Kadalayil and Paul Radley discuss what needs to be done for that to happen.

From our Opinion pages, HA Hellyer considered the scare stories about the alleged growth of sharia justice in the UK. Do these Islamophobes know nothing about how Britain’s common law came to be, he asked.

Rashmee Roshan Lall was occupied by Melania Trump’s choice of wardrobe for her African tour. Did it evoke memories of colonialism’s darkest side? Alas, yes.

And David Rothkopf sounded the alarm about America’s worsening relations with China, fearing that the animus could destabilise countries far beyond their borders.

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

And if you're on the go, don't forget our new-and-improved app - available for iOS and Android devices – and get news alerts sent directly to you.

Have a great day,

Nic Ridley

Night editor