A group of British Jews were given the rare opportunity of planting palm trees in Medina, one of Islam’s two holiest sites in Saudi Arabia. It was an invitation extended to a local landowner who welcomed them, according to the Jewish Chronicle of London. The group, which included members of other Abrahamic faiths – including prominent businessmen, philanthropists and Professor of History and scholars from Cambridge University – was led by Rick Sopher, a Jewish London-based banker. The visit was to foster reconciliation and friendship, with a focus on interfaith activities.
The visit points to a greater openness to other faiths in the Arabian Peninsula, which has seen reforms in recent years, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Only five years ago, non-Muslims were banned from entering Medina. When Islam was founded in Medina in 622, there were numerous Jewish residents, who owned palm groves.
The visitors were also reportedly invited to plant saplings of the ajwa date tree, a popular variety cultivated in Medina and mentioned in the Hadith or the recorded sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, the Chronicle noted.
Sopher was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle report as saying, “If anyone had told me five or even 10 years ago that I would be able to come to Saudi Arabia, everybody knowing that I am Jewish, also with friends, also Jewish, I would hardly have believed them. To be received in such a friendly, hospitable way is really something marvelous.”
The Times of Israel was set up a decade ago to offer “must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.” The news outlet has been able to provide free and uncensored content so far, and is now inviting readers to support their work through a subscription to the Times of Israel Community, which provides exclusive content and ad-free news for as low as $6 a month.
Afghanistan and Pakistan will meet for the first T20 match of the three-match series on Friday, March 24. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming match.
It will be interesting to watch if players like Ihsanullah and Azam Khan can maintain their stellar play against Afghanistan after the recently concluded PSL.
The first T20 match between Afghanistan and Pakistan will be played on Friday, March 24. The venue of the match is UAE’s Sharjah cricket stadium. The match will start at 9:30 PM IST and at 9:00 PM PKT. Live-stream of the match will be available on the FanCode app and website in India.
It must be noted that Afghanistan vs Pakistan series won’t be televised in India. To watch the live streaming of the AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match, fans should visit the FanCode website or use the FanCode app.
In Pakistan, the match will be televised LIVE on Geo Super and PTV. The match will start at 9:00 PKT.
When will AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match be played?
AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match will be played on Friday, March 24.
Where will AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match be played?
AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match will be played at UAE’s Sharjah cricket stadium.
What time will AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match start?
AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match will start at 9:30 pm IST.
Where will AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match be live-streamed?
AFG vs PAK 1st T20 match will be live-streamed on FanCode app and website.
Pakistan’s new young side suffered a dramatic collapse as they crawled to 92/9 in 20 overs. After opting to bat first, the visitors lost their opening wicket in the 3rd over as Saim Ayub got bowled out on 17. The first wicket opened the floodgates as the Men in Green lost wickets at regular wickets to give Afghanistan momentum. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts as his spell of 2/9 in 4 overs broke Pakistan’s batting spine.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Naseeb Khan said the best available players had been chosen. Former captain Mohammad Nabi, who stepped down after the Twenty20 World Cup in November, is also part of the squad. Wily spinner Rashid Khan will lead the Afghanistan team in the T20I series against Pakistan.
Rashid Khan-led Afghanistan is coming off a successful bilateral series against the UAE, where they won the series 2-1. Whereas, Pakistan will be looking to bounce back after their disappointment at the T20 World Cup, where they finished runners-up to Australia.
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My journey with InsideSport started in 2023, however, my love for cricket goes a long way back. My journalism career is still a young one and is into its fourth season, all dedicated to sports writing. I have played cricket and did pretty well in school and college. My passion for the sport combined with a short competitive career was enough to help me understand that I have a notable future ahead of me in cricket writing. With InsideSport, I take on the challenge of working on live blogs, writing interesting match reports, and coming up with unique story angles to drive the audience to the website. My favourite Indian cricketers are Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and MS Dhoni. Amongst the overseas players, I love Australian pacer, Brett Lee. My interest lies in following all the ICC events, keeping myself abreast of all the cricket updates, and following the Indian Premier League with due diligence. Apart from cricket, I have an interest in Kabaddi and follow the Pro Kabaddi League. In my free time, I like cooking, biking, and spending time with my family and friends.
As more than 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide prepare for the holy month of Ramadan, the hours of fasting this year will range from 10 to 18 hours depending on the geographical location of the person. The differences in fasting hours are primarily due to variations in the length of the day and night caused by the Earth’s tilt and the position of the sun.
In countries located closer to the equator, the fasting hours tend to be shorter, while those located further away, particularly in northern and southern latitudes, experience longer fasting periods. Depending on the time of year, the fasting period can exceed 20 hours.
In some areas including in Greenland and Alaska, where the sun never sets, Islamic scholars recommend Muslims to follow the fasting hours of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. They have long agreed upon the system since Saudi Arabia is home to the Kaaba – the holiest site in Islam.
The average fasting hours worldwide usually fall between 14 to 15 hours. In Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, Muslims will fast up to 14 hours per day throughout the holy month. The average fasting hours for countries in the Gulf and wider Middle East fall between 13 to 15 hours on average. These include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Palestine.
Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is set to begin on March 23, and involves refraining from food and drink, and engaging in practices that improve one’s faith, patience, and sense of community.
Ramadan 2023: How does fasting during the holy month affect your mental health?
Financial services provider Latitude Financial says the personal information of about 330,000 customers and applicants was stolen during a data breach which it made public on 16 March. It warned that this number could increase as its review of the incident widened to include "non-customer originating platforms and historical customer information".
In an update about the investigation into the breach on Monday, the company said about 96% of the personal information that was filched was copies of drivers' licences or driver licence numbers. Also stolen were Medicare card and passport details, though this was 1% and 4% respectively of the total data theft, Latitude said.
Major Australian retailers Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, David Jones, and The Good Guys offer buy-now-pay-later services in association with Latitude.
"Because the attack remains active, we have taken our platforms offline and are unable to service our customers and merchant partners," Monday's statement said. "We cannot restore this capability immediately. However, we are working to do so gradually over the coming days and ask our customers for their continued patience. Our restoration of these services is aligned to our forensic review."
Latitude chief executive Ahmed Fahour said: "I sincerely apologise to our customers and partners for the distress and inconvenience this criminal act has caused. I understand fully the wider concern that this cyber-attack has created within the community.
"Our focus is on protecting the ongoing security of our customers, partners and employees’ personal and identity information, while also doing everything we can to support customers and applicants who have had information stolen.
“While we continue to deliver transactional services, some functionality has been affected resulting in disruption. We are working extremely hard to restore full services to our customers and merchant partners and thank them for their patience and support. We understand their frustration. Customers should refer to Latitude’s website for regular updates.”
The company has asked customers not to share personal information such as passwords and keep an eye on their banking transactions for signs of fraudulent activity. A dedicated support line has also been set up to help customers manage related issues with their credit reports and identity information.DOWNLOAD NOW! MORE INFO HERE!
Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.
Saudi National Bank is nursing major losses in the wake of Credit Suisse's failure after a deal was reached for UBS to buy the embattled Swiss lender for $3.2 billion. Saudi National Bank — Credit Suisse's largest shareholder — confirmed to CNBC on Monday that it had been hit with a loss of around 80% on its investment.
The Riyadh-based bank holds a 9.9% stake in Credit Suisse, having invested 1.4 billion Swiss francs ($1.5 billion) in the 167-year-old Swiss lender in November of last year, at 3.82 Swiss francs per share. Under the terms of the rescue deal, UBS is paying Credit Suisse shareholders 0.76 Swiss francs per share.
The significant discount comes as regulators try to shore up the global banking system. The scramble for a rescue follows a tumultuous few weeks which saw the collapses of U.S.-based Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic bank as well as major stock price downturns across the banking sector internationally. Shares of UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, traded down 10.5% at 9:28 a.m. London time, while Europe's banking sector was around 4% lower. Credit Suisse was down a whopping 62%.
Despite the loss, Saudi National Bank says its broader strategy remains unchanged. Shares of the lender were up 0.58% on Monday at 9:30 a.m. London time. "As at December 2022, SNB's investment in Credit Suisse constituted less than 0.5% of SNB's total Assets, and c. 1.7% of SNB's investments portfolio," the Saudi National Bank said in a statement. It said there was "nil impact on profitability" from a "regulatory capital perspective." "Changes in the valuation of SNB's investment in Credit Suisse have no impact on SNB's growth plans and forward-looking 2023 guidance," it added.
The Qatar Investment Authority, Credit Suisse's second-largest investor, holds a 6.8% stake in the bank and also suffered a steep loss. QIA did not reply to a request for further details.
Credit Suisse's demise was a long time coming, with a culmination of years of scandals, multi-billion dollar losses, leadership changes and a strategy that failed to inspire investor confidence. In February, the bank — Switzerland's second-largest — reported its biggest annual loss since the 2008 financial crisis after clients withdrew more than 110 billion Swiss francs ($120 billion).
The sharp and sudden downturn that began last week and led to the bank's emergency sale is partially the fault of Saudi National Bank itself, some argue. Saudi National Bank chairman Ammar Al Khudiary on Wednesday was asked by Bloomberg if it would increase its stake in the troubled Swiss lender. His reply was "absolutely not, for many reasons outside the simplest reason, which is regulatory and statutory."
The comment triggered investor panic and sent Credit Suisse shares down 24% during that session, even though the statement wasn't in fact new; the Saudi bank said in October that it had no plans to expand its holdings beyond the current 9.9%. "Even though the situation at Credit Suisse was not perfect and investors had a lot of question marks about the future of the bank, SNB didn't help calm down investors and shot themselves in the foot" with the chairman's comments, one UAE-based investment banker, who requested not to be named due to professional restrictions, told CNBC.
The messy fallout, which spilled over across the entire banking sector, has ruptured market confidence and stoked fears of another global banking crisis. Swiss Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter set out to reassure angry taxpayers during a press conference Sunday, stressing that "this is a commercial solution and not a bailout." "SNB's feeling right now is probably like all shareholders in CS — utter anger that management have let the situation get to this point," Simon Fentham-Fletcher, chief investment officer at Abu Dhabi-based Freedom Asset Management, told CNBC.
He said that shareholders, specifically large ones like Saudi National Bank, will likely now want to reappraise the way they make investments and "where the stake is as large as it was here, will probably want to start embedding people so they properly understand what is happening inside their investments." "This might see a rise in activist shareholders not just wanting a board seat but real eyes and ears," he added, noting that the last few weeks of market turmoil will undoubtedly put a significant dent in investor desire for risk.
From a risk perspective, Fentham-Fletcher said, "generally, I think that we will see a pullback in all risk appetite as confidence has just taken a severe beating, and this combined with the apparent upending of the capital structure rules will undoubtedly make people pause."
Lindsay Lohan and Bader Shammas got married last year and are now expecting their first baby together.
Bader, a Dubai-based businessman from Kuwait, is around 36 years old and works as the assistant vice president at Credit Suisse, an international wealth management company based in Dubai.
According to reports, he's also worth around $110 million.
Bader and Lindsay were first linked in February 2020 and are thought to have met in Dubai, after the Freaky Friday star moved to the UAE in 2018.
She announced their engagement on Instagram in November 2021 and it's believed they tied the knot in July 2022 in a private ceremony.
Following their wedding, they travelled to Turkey for a romantic honeymoon.
As per his LinkedIn page, Bader attended the University of South Florida for a degree in mechanical engineering from 2007 to 2010.
He later attended the University of Tampa to get his Bachelor of Science in finance from 2010 to 2012.
Bader does have an Instagram account but it's set to private and currently has 741 followers.
Lindsay frequently tags him in posts, including the announcement of their pregnancy.
The couple is excitedly awaiting the arrival of their child and continuing their happy life together.
While Bader may not be a household name, he seems to be supportive of Lindsay and their growing family.
After the Saudi national bank retracts further lending to Credit Suisse and announces more lending would go over the agreed 10%, regulatory issues ensue, causing the Swiss bank's stock to plunge. Contagion prospects add to the sentiment.
The US Federal Reserve uses the inflation figure as a key measure of the upcoming interest rate hike, which drives global market direction. The tight range could be linked to the core inflation figure's persistence, excluding food and energy prices, which increased to 0.5% MoM compared with January's 0.4%.
Recession fears are shattering demand prospects, and oil prices have plummeted to new lows. Brent hits a new low near $75 pb, while WTI hovers around $70, potentially going below. China's reopening cheer for the black gold commodity was short-lived.
Users can use new contracts, with up to 100x leverage and settled in Tether tokens (USDt), effective March 15 at 10:30 AM UTC.
A new method preventing mule transactions will preserve customer relations and reduce potential monetary loss.
The Hong Kong Exchange adds an RMB Counter for the trading of HKEX shares to provide investors with more choice, greater flexibility, and new liquidity pools. This move supports the internationalisation of the RMB and strengthens Hong Kong's position as a premier offshore RMB hub.
Euronext FX appoints Nicolas Jégou as Head of Economics & Research. Before joining Euronext FX in 2021, Nicolas has worked for more than ten years in various global economic and capital markets roles.
The UAE is experiencing a boom in IPOs, but only a few companies offer their clients access to the potential opportunities.
BingX integrates TradingView's tools to help users make more informed and professional decisions and stay ahead of the competition.
The cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, reassures its customers that they have no exposure to the troubled banks, and their funds remain safe and accessible.
The Pakistan Super League enters its final stretch on Wednesday with a qualifier between title holders Lahore Qalandars and an in-form Multan Sultans. However, the political situation in the country has put a question mark over the four remaining games of the T20 tournament.
Former prime minister Imran Khan defied attempts to arrest him and remained in his house in Lahore as thousands of his supporters clashed with police. Supporters of Mr Khan threw bricks at police, who used clubs and teargas for a second day on Wednesday as officers tried to arrest him for failing to appear in court on various charges.
Violence was also reported between Mr Khan's supporters and police in Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and other parts of Pakistan. The situation escalated this week, coinciding with the final leg of the PSL that is being held at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
On Wednesday, the Pakistan Super League announced that the qualifier will held in Lahore as per schedule. However, reports from Pakistan state that the situation is tense and evolving constantly.
On Tuesday evening, teams cancelled their practice session in Lahore. The PSL and franchises are monitoring the situation and are expected to remain flexible as the situation unfolds. In case the situation in Lahore is deemed not conducive for the playoffs, Karachi could get to host the remaining games. This despite Karachi having endured a major terror attack last month, which led to uncertainty over the league before cricket chief and veteran administrator Najam Sethi ensured the tournament remains on track.
All matches will be shown on Starzplay in the UAE.
In the first T20 between Bangladesh and England, Bangladesh emerged victorious with a comprehensive win.
England’s batting order appeared weak, and Bangladesh's openers had the freedom of a low score to freely attack.
England's Chris Woakes did not play, explaining that he felt he needed more overs under his belt before he could earn a place in England's Test cricket team.
The T20 series appears to be a contractual obligation for both teams and aims to prepare players for the Indian Premier League.
The series could offer players the chance to secure regular spots in England's T20 squad.