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Melania Trump says be passionate, not violent in farewell video

First Lady Melania Trump released a farewell message Monday as she prepares to leave the White House, saying that “violence is never the answer,” weeks after the president’s supporters stormed the US Capitol.

In a formal, six-minute speech recorded on video, she made only a fleeting reference to her husband as she paid tribute to military families, pandemic health workers and those helping victims of opioid abuse.

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“The past four years have been unforgettable,” the First Lady said. “As Donald and I conclude our time in the White House, I think of all of the people I have taken home in my heart and their incredible stories of love, patriotism and determination.”

“Be passionate in everything you do. But always remember that violence is never the answer, and will never be justified,” she said.

“When I came to the White House, I reflected on the responsibility I have always felt as a mother to encourage, give strength and teach values of kindness.”

The Trumps’ departure has been fractious, with the president refusing for months to accept the election result due to false allegations of fraud, and declining to congratulate his successor Joe Biden.

The outgoing president and his wife have also not invited Biden and his wife Jill for the traditional tea visit in the Oval Office, and will not attend Biden’s presidential inauguration on Wednesday.

“The promise of this nation belongs to all of us who do not lose sight of our integrity and values, use every opportunity to show consideration for another person, and build good habits into our daily lives,” Melania Trump, 50, said.

President Donald Trump has been largely out of the public eye since his supporters rampaged through Congress on January 6, triggering his historic second impeachment a week later.

Read more:

Trump to leave Washington on morning of Biden’s inauguration

Trump confirms he will not attend Biden’s inauguration

US National Guard on 24-hour watch in Capitol after Trump supporters’ riot

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Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities Board of Trustees holds first meeting, adopts multiple strategic decisions

ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2021 (WAM) — The Board of Trustees of the Mohammed bin Zayed University for Humanities, which was launched on International Day for Tolerance 2020, held its first meeting at the university’s campus in Abu Dhabi.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Hamdan Muslim Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and was attended by the full board: Sarah Awad Issa Musallam, Vice President, Maryam Eid AlMuhairi, Mohamed Najim AlQubaisi Dr. Yousif Abdulla Majed Alobaidli, Omar Habtoor AlDarei, and Dr. Ali Saeed bin Harmal Al Dhaheri.

Hamdan welcomed the board members and praised the leadership’s efforts in meeting the community’s needs by establishing prestigious academic institutions, which continue to advance humanity with the same visionary approach initiated by the UAE founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan.

Hamdan emphasised that the university would play a pivotal role in building knowledge, creating future leaders, and serving humanity. Supported by Abu Dhabi leadership, the university aims to strengthen the UAE’s higher education system by providing academic programmes in undergraduate and postgraduate studies and finding links between academic research and the community.

Hamdan said: “In addition to the honour of having the name of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and representing the great values embodied by His Highness, the university is proud to have assembled an esteemed list of scholars and thinkers. This includes one of the most prominent Sunni scholars of our time, Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, President of the university’s Higher Academic Council, which aims to establish the university as a global academic centre in the field of humanities.”

In their first meeting, the board members discussed a series of strategic decisions designed to enhance the status of the field of humanities as central to building a cohesive society; strengthen the values of human fraternity; and promote coexistence and building bridges of communication between cultures and civilizations.

The board adopted the university’s academic plans and programmes, which aim to achieve the university’s vision of excellence. The most prominent of these programmes is the world’s first bachelor’s degree in tolerance and coexistence studies, and the Middle East’s first philosophy and ethics programme. The programmes are designed so students graduate with a combination of knowledge and values and are able to contribute to sustainable social development.

The board adopted the university’s visual identity, inspired by distinctive cultural and historical elements. The logo reflects the university’s vision to spread the values of coexistence, tolerance, and human fraternity. A tree with three intertwined roots, symbolising the shared origins of the Abrahamic religions, extends into water as a reference to the words of the almighty and the fact we all rely on water. An open book at the foot of the tree is a reference to knowledge and intellectual openness, while the symbol for ‘Phi’ – the root of the word ‘philosophy’ – also translates to an appreciation for knowledge.

The board also adopted plans to launch an annual Week of Tolerance, which will coincide with the anniversary of the university’s establishment on the International Day for Tolerance, observed on 16 November. The week will include a series of initiatives and events that strengthen the university’s role in supporting Abu Dhabi’s position as the global capital of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

The board also discussed a series of strategic plans and made decisions that serve the university’s efforts to achieve its vision and strategic goals.

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Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi receives honorary PhD from University of Sharjah

SHARJAH, 18th January, 2021 (WAM) — Under the chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, President of the University of Sharjah, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, was conferred an honorary PhD. by the Board of Trustees of the University of Sharjah (UoS).

This comes in recognition of her humanitarian and social achievements locally, regionally and internationally, and its pioneering and qualitative initiatives, including its establishment of the Sharjah Women’s Club and the Supreme Council for Family Affairs that serve the social sector in the Emirate of Sharjah.

The Supreme Council for Family Affairs participates in decision-making processes and in legislation related to women, children, the family and youth, and the council also supervises vital institutions, including Sharjah City for Human Services, Family Development Centers, the Department of Culture and Information, the Child Safety Department, the Health Education Department, in addition to many associations.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi has also established over the past decade many institutions such as: the “Riyada” Training Center for Training and Development, the Sharjah Businesswomen Council, and The Big Heart Foundation, in addition to its support for many humanitarian institutions.

This came during His Highness, Ruler of Sharjah presiding over the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Sharjah, Monday afternoon, at his office at the university.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah praised the excellence performance of the University of Sharjah in overcoming the negative effects of the Covid-19 virus epidemic on educational systems.

His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah, welcomed the new members of the Board of Trustees, noting that they will form an addition to the university’s march and its progress by activating and expanding their roles and creativity in a wider manner in proportion to the position that the University of Sharjah has attained from progress and success. His Highness also thanked the members whose membership in the Council had ended.

His Highness thanked Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah and his work team for their contribution to the development and progress of the university at the local, regional and global levels and in its various works, especially in the fields of scientific research.

His Highness expressed his pride in the many achievements of Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology, which is supervised by the University of Sharjah, which he said included the discovery of two asteroids and the accreditation of the Sharjah Astronomical Observatory as a global observatory relied upon by the International Astronomical Union in monitoring small celestial bodies.

The members of the Board of Trustees thanked His Highness, Ruler of Sharjah, President of the University of Sharjah, for the interest he attaches to supporting the university and its development.

The council approved the minutes of its previous meeting, for the council to approve the external auditor’s report for the year 2019/2020, and the university’s financial report.

It also adopted a proposal on research grants for interdisciplinary research “large projects”, and a proposal on a project to attract, interest and develop the skills of Emirati youth graduates of postgraduate studies, especially PhDs, through various training and social aspects to become scientists, researchers and innovators. It also approved the strategic plan of the University of Sharjah, and the scientific research process in University of Sharjah, continuing education and business in the fall semester 20/21 and a report on Sharjah Oasis for Technology and Innovation.

The Board approved the report of the Compliance and Internal Audit Committee and the Charter of the Compliance and Internal Audit Committee, as well as a number of promotions for faculty members and a number of proposed new academic programmes.

The Board of Trustees also approved a proposal to establish a medical journal at the university, another proposal on the subject of a practicing professor as an academic rank, also proposal on the recognition of the final qualification in the specialisation for academic ranks, and the graduation of students who completed graduation requirements for bachelor’s and diploma programmes in the summer and fall semesters was approved.

The council listened to a report on the latest developments and achievements of the University of Sharjah, and the report referred to the university’s five-year strategic plan 2019-2024, which was launched by the university in the fall of 2019/2020.

Then the report touched on the University of Sharjah’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, indicating that it successfully dealt with this sudden and unusual situation and continued in all its activities and work by adopting various technological methods and working remotely.

During the meeting, the latest construction developments that took place at the university were reviewed that the university was classified according to the international evaluation organisations for universities with excellent performance in international appearance and a stable performance in industry income for research and development.

Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, reviewed the achievements of the University of Sharjah, including Scopus statistics for the published research of the University of Sharjah compared to the most important universities in the country, which showed that the University of Sharjah is in the very advanced centers in scientific research.

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Longest suspension bridge in Northern Emirates takes shape in Ras Al Khaimah

Video Image

RAS AL KHAIMAH, 18th January, 2021 (WAM) — Ras Al Khaimah has secured a new architectural landmark that will add to its tourist destinations.

The longest suspension bridge in the Northern Emirates has been established in the emirate, linking together the two buildings of the new Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island.

The 36m long bridge will feature eight hotel rooms, and vantage viewing points, opening to spectacular views of Al Marjan Island.

The bridge is supported by four main trusses, each weighing 55 tonnes. Each truss is 4 metres high and installed at a height of 44.2 metres.

With intermediate beams and composite floor deck, the bridge structure was assembled at the ground floor in two pieces comprising two trusses each, and lifted in place using a 650-tonne crawler crane.

The bridge is fabricated using 310 tonnes of structural steel. From design to installation, the bridge project was completed in around 65 days by over 55 professionals and skilled workers.

Its installation process was completed following all safety procedures, including traffic management, to ensure the safety of the public and staff. All COVID-19 precautionary measures were followed during the construction and installation process.

The suspended bridge is one of the stand-out features of the Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, which is being developed at a cost of AED543 million. The hotel will be delivered as planned by September 2021.

WAM/Hatem Mohamed

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Abdullah bin Zayed, FM of Cyprus review advancing cooperation

ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2021 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Nikos Christodoulides, Foreign Minister of Cyprus, have reviewed the prospects of advancing relations between the two friendly nations across all fronts.

This came as the two top diplomats met in Abu Dhabi today and underlined the steadily growing cooperation between their countries.

They addressed the recent regional and international developments, primarily the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and ways of ensuring security and stability in the region.

The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of enhancing international cooperation to ensure fair and equitable access to the vaccine for every country in the world.

Sheikh Abdullah reaffirmed the depth and width of the UAE-Cypriot relations and underscored the Emirates’ determination to foster cooperation in the common interests of their peoples.

WAM/Hatem Mohamed

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Trump orders assessment of security risks of Chinese made drones in US govt fleet

US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order directing US agencies to prioritize removing Chinese-made drones from American government fleets and to assess any security risks.

Trump directed all US agencies to outline security risks posed by the existing government drone fleet from drones built by Chinese companies or by other countries deemed foreign adversaries.

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Last month, the US Commerce Department added China’s SZ DJI Technology, the world’s largest drone maker, to the American government’s economic blacklist, along with dozens of other Chinese companies.

Trump, who long touted friendly ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping as he sought to make good on promises to rebalance a massive trade deficit, made getting tough on China a key part of his failed campaign for re-election last year. He accused his Democratic opponent, President-elect Joe Biden, of being soft toward Beijing.

Read more:

Trump signs law bolstering support for Taiwan and Tibet, angering China

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US airstrikes pound Iran-backed militias south of Iraq’s Baghdad: Reports

Multiple explosions were heard south of Iraq’s capital overnight Monday in what reports suggest may have been US airstrikes on Iran-backed militias.

The Pentagon and US Central Command (CENTCOM) have not yet responded to a request for comment.

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The airstrikes were reported south of Baghdad in Jurf al-Sakhr.

Last March, US airstrikes targeted a weapons depot in the area, which it said belonged to Kata’ib Hezbollah.

– Developing

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Trump to rescind COVID-19 travel ban on most non-US citizens: Reuters

US President Donald Trump will rescind entry bans for most non-US citizens who recently were in Brazil and much of Europe starting on Jan. 26, two officials briefed on the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Reuters first reported in November that the administration had been considering lifting the restrictions, imposed early last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials.

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The restrictions are set to end under a new proclamation from Trump the same day that new COVID-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors. The White House did not immediately comment.

The restrictions have barred nearly all non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe that allow travel across open borders.

The US restrictions barring most visitors from Europe have been in place since mid-March, while the Brazilian entry ban was imposed in May.

The Trump administration imposed the bans in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed an order requiring nearly all air travelers to present a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 to enter the United States starting on Jan. 26.

Airlines had hoped the new testing requirements would clear the way for the administration to lift the restrictions that reduced travel from some European countries by 95 percent or more.

They pressed senior White House officials about the issue in recent days.

Reuters previously reported the White House was not considering lifting entry bans on most non-US citizens who have recently been in China or Iran.

Read more:

Trump slams Huawei and its suppliers one final time

Trump receives Morocco’s highest award for Middle East peace efforts: Official

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Saqr Ghobash discusses bilateral ties with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus

ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2021 (WAM) — Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), highlighted the bilateral cooperation and friendship between the UAE and the Republic of Cyprus, which are witnessing significant overall advancement, due to the continuous support of their leaderships.

He made this statement during his meeting with Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, and Yannis Michaelides, Ambassador of Cyprus to the UAE, at the headquarters of the FNC in Abu Dhabi.

During the meeting, both sides discussed bilateral ties and ways of strengthening them in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas. They also exchanged views on several regional and global issues of mutual concern.

Ghobash commended the FNC’s friendship with the parliament of Cyprus, noting that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on their parliamentary cooperation is required, in addition to reinforcing the role of joint parliamentary friendship committees.

He also pointed out that a parliamentary friendship committee between the two countries will hold a meeting in the first quarter of 2021, stressing the importance of improving their coordination during global parliamentary events.

Christodoulides highlighted the importance of the visit to strengthening the bilateral ties and promoting further cooperation between the two friendly countries while stressing the keenness of Cyprus to consolidate its overall relations with the UAE.

He then lauded the UAE’s leading regional and international stature, noting that it is a strategic partner of his country.

He also conveyed the invitation of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus to Ghobash to visit Cyprus as head of a parliamentary delegation, to discuss ways of reinforcing their parliamentary ties.

Christodoulides lauded the UAE’s significant overall efforts to counter the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while praising the efficiency of its adopted measures in mitigating the economic and social effects of the crisis.

The meeting was attended by several senior officials.

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Parents in UAE ready to get their 16-yr-olds vaccinated

‘I am glad the UAE government gave us this chance as I have missed going to school’

With 16-year-olds now allowed to take the Covid-19 vaccine in the UAE, parents were happy and relieved. Earlier, the minimum age to get the jab was 18 but, on Sunday, it was lowered to 16.

Lizzy Thomson, mother of a 16-year-old, said she was really hoping the announcement would come soon as her daughter Naiomi’s exams were fast approaching.

“I am very grateful that the government has reduced the age bracket for people who can take the vaccine to 16 because kids are usually prone to infection when they go to school or interact with their friends outdoors,” Lizzy said. “Students in the age group of 16 years and above are currently in a very critical academic phase with exams like GCSE, A Levels approaching. With the vaccination, we can at least be assured that the children could continue with their studies safely, without getting sick.”

Lizzy added that with the vaccine, they will safer whenever they have to go out as a family.

Abu Dhabi resident Swati Gadgil, whose 16-year-old-son Sanjit Chaubal will be sitting for his CBSE board exams in May, is also looking forward to getting her kid vaccinated.

“If he has to appear for an exam and be exposed to a larger crowd, then this vaccine would definitely give him the extra layer of protection he needs,” said Swati, who had already taken her first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine, together with her husband. “We will be getting our second dose this week, and we are encouraging our son to follow suit.” She added that although her son was a bit apprehensive about taking the jab, she encouraged him to go for it, saying it would help him go back to school.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Titto Vadakken said she was excited to go for the vaccine and eventually get back to her normal school life. “I am in my last and final year in school, so I was really hoping we get a chance to get inoculated so we could get back to school safely and make memories before we graduate,” Catherine said.

“I am glad the UAE government gave us this chance as I have missed going to school and catching up with my friends. I can’t wait to take the jab.”

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