NO: 16422
150 FILS
Syrians throng embassy
after it resumes services
12,000 passports need renewal • Tight security around mission
Min 10º
Max 25º
High Tide
12:52 & 23:25
Low Tide
06:33 & 18:03
By Faten Omar
Activist’s jail
term upheld as
tweeters freed
Domestics’ law studied
By B Izzak
KUWAIT: The public prosecutor yesterday freed two
online activists on bail after questioning them along
with others over accusations of insulting Saudi King
Abdullah, who died less than two weeks ago. The
prosecutor freed Mohammad Khaled Al-Ajmi on a KD
1,000 bail pending trial after detaining him for five
days for allegedly writing comments on his Twitter
account deemed offensive to King Abdullah and
endangering diplomatic ties between Kuwait and the
The prosecutor also freed Flaih Al-Azemi, a journalist with an Arabic daily, after several days of detention
after facing similar accusations. No date has been yet
set for their trial. The decisions come one day after a
judge ordered the detention of two other tweeters for
10 days pending investigation over similar charges.
Arrest warrants have also been issued against a number of other activists for making similar charges.
Continued on Page 13
KUWAIT: Syrians living in Kuwait wait to renew their passports at their embassy yesterday after the diplomatic mission resumed consular services. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
KUWAIT: The Syrian Embassy resumed operations yesterday after being closed for nine months, with long
lines forming outside as Syrians rushed to complete
pending paperwork. An official source at the embassy,
who chose to remain anonymous, denied reports that
the embassy was closed to put pressure on Kuwait to
send back the Kuwaiti ambassador to Syria. “The reason
behind the closure of the embassy was because the
visas of the ambassador and some diplomats at the
embassy were not renewed, so they had to go back to
Syria,” he told Kuwait Times.
“Kuwait recalled its ambassador and diplomatic staff
for safety reasons, but Syria kept its embassy open in
Kuwait more than two years after the withdrawal of the
Kuwaiti ambassador from Syria,” the source said. “The
passports of approximately 12,000 Syrians need to be
renewed, according to the Ministry of Interior, but the
number was higher, as many Syrians renewed their
passport in Syrian embassies in the United Arab
Emirates and Oman. Because of the difficulty of entry
for some people into the UAE, they sent it via mail,” he
The source assured that Kuwait “warmly welcomed”
the opening of the embassy, with a tight security presence around the mission. He added that the charge
d’affaires at the embassy is the de facto ambassador.
The Syrian embassy in Kuwait reopened last month
after a diplomatic team consisting of the charge d’affaires and two aides arrived in Kuwait.
Alarab off air hours after launch
UN: 2014 ‘hottest
year on record’
BRISBANE: Juris Greste, the father of Australian journalist Peter Greste (pictured
below), Peter’s brother Andrew Greste and his mother Lois Greste smile after
holding a press conference yesterday. — AP
Greste speaks of ‘angst’
over colleagues in jail
NICOSIA: Australian journalist Peter Greste
yesterday urged Egypt to free his jailed
colleagues at Al-Jazeera, describing his
“angst” at having to leave them behind
after being released. Greste, 49, was arrested for allegedly aiding the blacklisted
Muslim Brotherhood, along with colleagues Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed
Fahmy and Baher Mohamed of Egypt, in
moves that sparked worldwide condemnation. The award-winning correspondent
was freed and deported on Sunday after
more than 400 days behind bars in Cairo,
and he immediately flew with his brother
Michael to Cyprus, where he has been
resting before returning to Australia.
“This is a massive step forward... I just
hope that Egypt keeps going down this
path with the others,” Greste told AlJazeera in his first interview since leaving
prison. Greste said he felt a “real mix of
emotions boiling inside” upon hearing the
unexpected news that he was to be
released because it meant leaving behind
“my brothers” Fahmy and Mohamed. “I
PM woos
went for a run and the prison warden
called me over and said: ‘It is time... to get
your stuff and go,’” he told the pan-Arab
television network.
“I feel incredible angst about my colleagues, leaving them behind,” he said.
“Amidst all this relief, I still feel a sense of
concern. If it’s appropriate for me to be
free, it’s right for all of them to be freed.”
Greste said he was overwhelmed by the
level of support for the campaign for his
release, and that he now looked forward
to “watching a few sunsets” and “feeling
sand under my toes”. “This has been like a
rebirth and you realise that it is those little
beautiful moments in life... that’s what’s
Fahmy’s relatives expect him to also be
deported under a decree passed by
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that
allows for the transfer of foreigners on trial.
His fiancee, Marwa Omara, told AFP in
Cairo: “We are expecting Mohamed to be
released in the coming days.”
Continued on Page 13
$4 trillion
GENEVA: The year 2014 was the hottest on record,
part of a “warming trend” that appeared set to continue, the UN’s weather agency said yesterday. Average
global air temperatures in 2014 were 0.57 degrees
Celsius higher than the long-term average of 14 C for
a 1961-1990 reference period, the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a statement. “Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have all been
this century,” said WMO secretary general Michel
Jarraud. “In 2014, record-breaking heat combined
with torrential rainfall and floods in many countries
and drought in some others - consistent with the
expectation of a changing climate,” he added. Global
sea-surface temperatures also reached record levels.
United Nations members will meet in Geneva next
week for talks on a global climate pact that must be
signed in Paris in December for curbing greenhouse
gas emissions. The UN seeks to limit warming to no
more than 2 C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels,
but scientists warn the Earth is on target for double
that target - a scenario that could be catastrophic.
“We expect global warming to continue, given that
rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
and the increasing heat content of the oceans are
committing us to a warmer future,” said Jarraud.
The WMO said that only a few hundredths of a
degree separated the warmest years. Average global
air temperatures in 2010 were 0.55 C above average,
compared to 2014’s 0.57 C, and 0.54 C in 2005.
Continued on Page 13
MANAMA: A new pan-Arab news channel
backed by a billionaire Saudi prince was
suspended from broadcasting from its
home in Bahrain yesterday, just hours after
it went on air and carried an interview
with a prominent opposition activist. The
Alarab television station said on its official
Twitter feed that coverage was halted for
“technical and administrative reasons”, and
that it hopes to be back on the air soon. It
went live on Sunday afternoon.
The unexpected stoppage, apparently
on the order of Bahraini authorities, came
just hours after Alarab surprised many
viewers by featuring Bahraini opposition
activist Khalil Al-Marzouq as one of its first
guests. Yusuf Mohammed, the media
director at Bahrain’s Information Affairs
Authority, cited similar reasons as the
channel for its being “temporarily suspended” in comments to the official
Bahrain News Agency. He did not give further details. He said the authorities are
working with Alarab management “to
swiftly resolve the matter”, and he expected the channel will resume broadcasting
Continued on Page 13
MANAMA: Advertising on the side of a skyscraper shows news anchors of the
newly launched Alarab TV network yesterday. — AP
Iran launches first satellite since 2012
TEHRAN: Iran launched an observation satellite yesterday its first since 2012 - with
President Hassan Rouhani declaring it safely
entered orbit and that he had personally
ordered the mission. The Fajr (Dawn) satellite
was successfully placed 450 km above Earth,
said Al-Alam television, an Arabic-language
station owned by the Islamic republic. It is the
fourth such satellite launch by Iran, after three
others between 2009 and 2012. The satellite
was locally made, said the official IRNA news
agency, as was its launcher, according to
Rouhani who noted Iran’s aim is to have no
reliance on foreign space technology. “Our sci-
entists have entered a new phase for conquering space. We will continue on this path,”
Rouhani said in a short statement on state television.
Al-Alam said the Fajr satellite, weighing 52
kilos, would be able to take accurate pictures
from space. It took eight minutes to reach orbit
and is now linked with its ground-based controllers, state media said. The launch came as
Iran started 10 days of celebrations for the 36th
anniversary of the Islamic revolution, culminating on February 11, “Victory Day”, when the USbacked shah’s reign officially ended in 1979.
Defence Minister General Hossein Dehgan
echoed Rouhani’s comments, stating that the
21-m and 26 tonne launcher, named Safir-Fajr,
shows “the ability of Iran to build satellite
In February 2010, Iran launched a satellite
containing a rat, turtles and insects. Separate
missions under Iran’s space programme have
seen two capsules launched. One, in January
2013, included a monkey that was recovered
alive. Iran’s space activities, however, have
sent alarm bells ringing in the international
community amid concern over Tehran’s
development of technology that could have
military purposes. — AFP
Patriots win
Super Bowl
thriller over