Following the end of a regional crisis between Qatar, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2017, direct flights to Qatar between its former rivals have on Monday resumed. The first commercial flight was Egypt Air to Cairo from Qatar at the Doha airport followed by the arrival of Air Arabia flight from Sharjah, UAE.
Emirates has suspended flights to Australia’s three largest cities as the country further restricts international arrivals over fears of new virus strains. The Dubai-based carrier was one of the last to maintain routes into and out of the country’s east coast throughout most of the pandemic but on Friday evening told travelers a handful of planned flights next week would be the last.
Ahead of the peacemaking talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents on Saturday in Doha, Qatar, the two parties held a preparatory meeting on Wednesday. This comes as the United States plan to withdraw another set of troops from Afghanistan, in line with the agreement with the Taliban in 2020 which will see American troops leave after 19-years of war. The Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said on Twitter, “The second round of intra-Afghan talks started this evening during a preparatory meeting,” adding that It was decided the teams would begin substantive discussions on Saturday.
Parts of the world have begun ushering in the New Year while Nigeria eagerly awaits 2021. As at the time of reporting, Countries in the Oceania and Asian time zone have marked the start of 2021, with millions around the world celebrating the New Year at home because of COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged 2020.
Indonesia Sriwijaya Air, passenger plane with more than 50 people onboard has gone missing shortly after take-off from the Indonesian capital Jakarta and flew over the Java Sea. The Boeing 737 was reported to have lost contact en route to Pontianak in West Kalimantan province, and according to Flight tracking website Flightradar24.com, the aircraft had lost more than 3,000m (10,000ft) in altitude in less than a minute.
China has disclosed that it has approved its first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, Sinopharm developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, for general use, making it an addition to the vaccines currently in use to fight the global pandemic. The approval comes after the Country launched a vaccination campaign ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday in February. This alongside Britain’s inexpensive AstraZeneca vaccine will give poorer countries access to the vaccine after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been snapped up by richer countries.
Israel and Morocco have made a deal to normalise relations, Donald Trump has announced, marking the fourth agreement between an Arab government and the Jewish state this year. “Another HISTORIC breakthrough today!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!”