Brussels, Jun 26 (AP/UNB) — Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is making it clear to Turkey that it will face economic sanctions if it goes ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system.
Esper met with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Wednesday during a NATO meeting. Officials say there was no progress in the stand-off between the two allies.
The U.S. has told Turkey that it will not be allowed to buy the F-35 fighter jet if it continues with plans to buy the Russian S-400 system.
A senior defense official traveling with Esper says that message was repeated during what was described as a frank and candid discussion. Turkey has said the S-400 purchase is a done deal.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting.
London, June 26 (AP/UNB) — Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says he'd be inclined to back a stimulus package to shore up the British economy if the country crashes out of the European Union at the end of October with no deal.
In testimony to lawmakers, Carney said Wednesday that the response from the bank's rate-setting panel over a 'no-deal' Brexit "would not be automatic" and will depend on the impacts on demand, supply and on the exchange rate. A fall in the pound could lead to a rise in inflation that could prompt some rate-setters to increase interest rates.
Carney said "some of us, myself included" think it's "more likely" that some stimulus will be provided but that there were "no guarantees" on that.
Seoul, June 26 (AP/UNB) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Wednesday with visiting Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who promised to help with possible fuel shortages in case of supply disruptions caused by tensions in the Middle East.
Moon and the Saudi prince also called for international efforts to secure safety at the Strait of Hormuz, where the U.S. has blamed Iran for mysterious explosions targeting oil tankers, Moon's office said after the meeting at Seoul's presidential Blue House.
Tehran denied involvement in the attacks, which raised concerns among Asian countries of potential supply disruptions. South Korea gets more than 70% of its crude oil from the Middle East and most of the supplies flow through the strait.
Moon's office said the countries also agreed to increase exchanges in various sectors including technology and industry. Moon also pledged South Korean support for Saudi Arabia's national drive to diversify its oil-dependent economy by developing sectors such as health, education and tourism.
South Korea is the world's fifth largest importer of crude oil and Saudi Arabia has been its biggest supplier. South Korea imported nearly 101.5 million barrels of crude from Saudi Arabia from January to April, according to the state-run Korea National Oil Corp.
Prince Mohammed's visit came a week after a United Nations independent investigator called for him to be investigated over the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October.
Following a monthslong inquiry, Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said she concluded that Khashoggi was a victim of a "deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible."
Beirut, June 26 (AP/UNB) — Mohammed Awwad and his fiancee, both Muslims, recently found an affordable apartment for rent online in a town in Lebanon, southeast of Beirut.
The 27-year-old journalist called the number and asked the owner when they could drop by to take a look. He was stunned by her response: Muslims are not allowed to settle in the town, she said.
The apartment owner apologized to Awwad, saying she wouldn't mind renting to people of any sect but officials in the town of Hadat issued orders years ago that only Christians be allowed to buy and rent property from the town's Christian residents.
The young Shiite Muslim man could not believe what he heard and asked his fiancee, Sarah Raad, to call the municipality and she, too, was told that the ban had been in place for years.
Hadat is a small example of Lebanon's deeply rooted sectarian divisions that once led to a 15-year civil war that left more than 100,000 people dead. Christian communities feel under siege as Muslims, who tend to have higher birth rates, leave overcrowded areas for once predominantly Christian neighborhoods.
"There are people who live in fear and feel threatened and this can be removed through (state) policies that make citizens equal," said Pierre Abi Saab, a Lebanese journalist and critic.
Three decades ago Hadat was almost entirely Christian, but today it has a Muslim majority because the Muslim population expanded greatly between 1990, when the war ended, and 2010, when the ban was imposed. Since then, the Muslim population has hovered between 60% and 65%.
The ban only applies to Christian property — a Muslim resident or landowner of Hadat is allowed to sell or rent his property to Muslims from outside the town or to whomever he wants.
Hadat is the only area where such a ban is publicly announced. Local officials in Christian areas in central, eastern and southern Lebanon impose such bans in more discreet ways. In the predominantly Christian southern region of Jezzine, some local officials have changed the status of land in their villages from commercial to agricultural in order to prevent mass construction projects while in other villages and towns only locals are allowed to buy property.
"As a Lebanese citizen I don't see that there is justification for fear and mixing with others is our salvation in Lebanon," said Abi Saab, deputy editor-in-chief of the daily Al-Akhbar newspaper. He said it's unacceptable that Lebanese citizens cannot live wherever they want in the country.
Hadat is on the edge of an area known as Dahiyeh, Beirut's heavily populated Shiite southern suburbs that is a stronghold of the militant Hezbollah group. Hadat, along with other nearby areas, saw tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims move in over the years, raising fears among some of the country's Christians.
Lebanon, a country of about 5 million, has a very delicate sectarian balance between its 18 religious sects. The last census was conducted in Lebanon in 1932, during which Christians were the majority but over the decades their numbers have been declining because of slower birth rates and more immigration. Today, Christians make up nearly a third of the population, while the two other thirds are almost equally split between Shiites and Sunnis.
"When he says Muslims are not allowed to rent property he means that he does not want to see Muslims," Awwad said, referring to Hadat Mayor George Aoun.
Lebanon's Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan denounced the town's policy as unconstitutional.
Aoun strongly defended his decision, noting it was made in 2010, shortly after he was elected to the post. He said at the end of Lebanon's civil war in 1990, Hadat was a purely Christian town but by 2010, tens of thousands of Muslims, many of them Shiites from Dahiyeh, moved in.
"We are telling every Christian to be proud of his or her village. Live here, work here and raise your children here. We are an exemplary village for coexistence," he said. Asked whether his decision violates the constitution, which allows any Lebanese citizen to settle and own property anywhere in Lebanon, Aoun denied it, saying the proof is that Hadat is 60% Muslim.
"Every village should preserve itself. Every Shiite village should preserve its Shiite nature, every Christian village should preserve its Christian nature and every Sunni village should preserve its Sunni nature. We want to preserve our village or what remains of it," Aoun said in an interview in his office, which is decorated with a giant framed map of Hadat.
The mayor has received a barrage of criticism recently on social media and on local TV stations that describe his decision as "racist and discriminatory."
In response, hundreds of supporters marched in Hadat supporting the mayor's decision over the weekend. Aoun told the crowd that he will commit to the ban until "doomsday."
Christians once dominated Lebanon's politics until the 1989 Taif agreement, named after the Saudi city of Taif where it was signed, that ended the 1975-90 civil war. The agreement divided Cabinet and parliament seats as well as senior government jobs, equally between Muslims and Christians. The agreement also removed powers from the Christian president and gave them to the Sunni Muslim prime minister.
According to Lebanon's power-sharing system since independence from France in 1943, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shiite.
Hadat's municipality is dominated by members of President Michel Aoun's ultranationalist Free Patriotic Movement, which has been leading a campaign against Syrian refugees in the country calling for their return to safe areas in war-torn Syria.
Two years ago, Hadat's municipality banned Syrians from working in the town, becoming one of the first areas to do so in Lebanon. Walking through the streets of Hadat, no Syrians can be seen unlike in other parts of Lebanon and shop owners boast that they only hire Lebanese.
Hadat resident George Asmar invited a reporter into his clothes shop near a church and proudly pointed to a woman who works for him, saying "she is one of our Shiite sisters." But Asmar said he supported the mayor because the ban on Muslims owning or renting property in the town is preserving the town's identity.
"The decision of the municipality is very good because we want to keep our sons in Hadat," Asmar said. "It is good to keep our sons, to live with us rather than travel."
Dhaka, June 26 (UNB)- A 2-day "International Clean Technology Fair" kicked off at the Institute of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB) on Wednesday..
METABUILD, a project of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries(DCCI) funded by European Union, in association with the DCCI organised the fair.
Chairman (Additional Secretary), Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) Md. Helal Uddin was present as the chief guest.
Member (Additional Secretary), SREDA Siddique Zobair was present as special guest. Senior Vice President Waqar Ahmad Choudhury and Vice President Imran Ahmed were also present on the occasion.
DCCI Senior Vice President Waqar Ahmad Choudhury in his welcome address said METABUILD project is working in 250 metal and steel industries to motivate them to use resource efficient cleaner production utilizing energy efficiency.
He said objective of this project is to reduce waste emission and increase resource efficiency in metal component SMEs from the building and construction sector. “If we are able to ensure energy efficiency in our industries 25% of existing consumption can be saved.”
Md. HelalUddin said industries in Bangladesh have started using sustainable technology and the government is formulating business friendly policies to expedite sustainable technology.
Through energy efficient technology, renewable energy, industrial waste management, metal industry process management, metering and data management cost of production can be reduced in industries he said. He also urged the entrepreneurs to invest for innovative technology.
Siddique Zobair said not only cost saving issues, energy efficiency is needed to fight against climate change issues as well.
Senior Technical Expert, METABUILD RajatBatra said that this project is working in 250 industries in Bangladesh. This project is also in operation in Sri Lanka and Nepal. He said industries consume heavy energy for its production, but there are more than 150 technology which can be used to reduce the consumption without hampering production, he added.
DCCI Directors Kh. RashedulAhsan and EnamulHaquePatwary were also present on the occasion.