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Exclusive: Saudi Arabia prepares to open first alcohol store for diplomats

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia prepares to open first alcohol store for diplomats

SAUDI Arabia is preparing to open its first alcohol store in the capital Riyadh which will serve exclusively non-Muslim diplomats, according to a source familiar with the plans and a document. Customers will have to register via a mobile app, get a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and respect monthly quotas with their purchases, said the document, which was seen by Reuters. The move is a milestone in the kingdom's efforts, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to open the ultra-conservative Muslim country for tourism and business as drinking alcohol is forbidden in Islam. It is also…
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‘Diplomats brought Omicron from Europe’

‘Diplomats brought Omicron from Europe’

BOTSWANA’S President Mokgweetsi Masisi said some of the four diplomats who first tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant in the country had come from Europe, calling for a reversal of widespread travel bans imposed against southern African countries. Omicron dubbed a variant of concern by the World Health Organization, has prompted many governments to impose curbs on travel from southern Africa and to take other measures to contain it. While it is still not established where Omicron first emerged, on November 25 South Africa, followed by Botswana a day later, announced they had detected a new variant whose mutations…
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Kenyan vaccine offer to diplomats draws ire

Kenyan vaccine offer to diplomats draws ire

DAVID LEWIS and MAGGIE FICK KENYA has offered free COVID-19 vaccines to all diplomats based there, including thousands of United Nations staff, even though it has not completed inoculating its own health workers, other frontline staff or elderly, drawing criticism from local medics. The offer was made in a March 18 letter sent by the Ministry of Foreign affairs to diplomatic missions and seen by Reuters. Macharia Kamau, the foreign ministry's principal secretary, said the shots being offered had been supplied via the World Health Organization (WHO) co-led COVAX vaccine access scheme. Kenya, where nearly 2,000 people have died of…
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Afghanistan withdraws ambassador, diplomats from Islamabad

Afghanistan withdraws ambassador, diplomats from Islamabad

AFGHANISTAN has withdrawn its ambassador and diplomats from Pakistan's capital following the kidnapping of the ambassador's daughter, the Afghan foreign ministry said has announced, a new blow to relations at a sensitive time for the Afghan peace process. The daughter of Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan was seized on Friday and held for several hours by unknown assailants who left her with injuries and rope marks and Pakistan authorities have said they are investigating. "The Afghan government recalled the ambassador and senior diplomats to Kabul until the complete elimination of the security threats, including the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators,"…
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South Africa to expel more disgraced diplomats

South Africa to expel more disgraced diplomats

AFRICA MIRROR REPORTER MORE diplomatic heads are expected to roll as South African intensfies its investigations into foreign representatives who have abused their privileges by buying duty-free alcohol and selling it to South African outlets for a profit. More than 17 diplomats from Lesotho and Malawi, found guilty of the crime, were stripped of their diplomatic privileges and given 72 hours to leave SA.  The South African government, through the Department of International Relations (DIRCO), has announced that more diplomats were under investigation and that they would face the same fate as those from Lesotho and Malawi. In a statement,…
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