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India arrests 2 Nigerians, 4 other drug syndicates in India

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Authority of India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has seized Afghan Heroin worth more than Rs 30 crore(about $4.2million) and arrested six persons, including two Nigerians who were part of an international drug smuggling syndicate, Asian News International(ANI) reported.

The NCB in a press release on Friday did not identify the arrested Nigerians.

They were arrested after an Afghan who was expecting heroin cargo in Delhi was arrested. He sang and led the NCB to the Nigerians.

The first Nigerian arrested was arrested in Vasant Kunj area and a search of his house led to the recovery of 6.02 kilograms of heroin.

The second Nigerian was arrested with 488 grams of heroin in the Uttam Nagar area.

“The street value in the International drug market of the total seized contraband is more than Rs 30 crores,” the release read.

“Sustained operation by Narcotics Control Bureau against drug menace with special emphasis on international drug syndicates has further achieved breakthrough resulting in busting an Afghan-Nigerian Heroin cartel which was being operated in New Delhi area,” the release read.

The NCB acted on a tip-off from a reliable source, that one Afghan national was coming to New Delhi from Kandahar, following which security was beefed up at the international airport.

“The alert NCB team also marked two more Afghan nationals whose movements were found suspicious. Though a search of their belongings yielded no contraband, but when they were subjected to medical examination, presence of foreign substance was revealed in their stomach. The three suspects were admitted to hospital and under medical supervision, a total of 253 pellets containing Afghan Heroin were recovered. The total weight of Heroin was found to be 1.8 kgs,” according to the release.

“This successful operation is a result of increased focus of NCB on international drug networks, especially Afghan heroin supply network, who are working in collaboration with Nigerian drug traffickers,” the release added.

The release added that India is a “transit country” for passing the drugs to other countries apart from being a market and therefore the syndicates are ceaselessly trying to smuggle heroin to India.

“Further investigation in coordination with foreign authorities is being conducted to identify other persons involved in the illicit drug syndicate,” the release added. (ANI)

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Saudi Arabia approves issuance of tourist visa

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Mohammed bn Salman

Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced its decision to commence the issuance of tourist visas as well as allow unmarried foreign couples to rent hotel rooms together.

The tourism authority said in a statement published on Twitter that Saudi women travelling alone would also be able to check into a hotel by presenting valid ID.

In the past, couples wanting to stay in a hotel had to prove they were married.

“This is no longer required for tourists,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia announced on September 27 it was opening its doors to holidaymakers with the goal of diversifying its oil-dependent economy.

The kingdom had previously only issued visas to Muslim pilgrims, foreign workers, and recently to spectators at sporting or cultural events.

Kickstarting tourism is one of the centrepieces of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform programme to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era.

Citizens from 49 countries are now eligible for online e-visas or visas on arrival, including the United States, Australia and several European nations.

On September 28, Saudi authorities warned that tourists who violated “public decency”, including with immodest clothing and public displays of affection, would be subject to fines.

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Xeniphobia: South African Minister receives Buhari on arrival

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President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday arrived in Pretoria, South Africa for a state visit and 9th meeting of Bi-National Commission, which will for the first time witness participation of the two Heads of State after an elevation.

The President’s plane arrived in the South African Air force Base, Waterkloof, at 9.10pm, and he was received by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor and  Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu.

The Bi-National Commission meeting was elevated to the level of Presidents’ participation, following the strategic position of the two economies in Africa and need for stronger relations, and President Buhari and his host, President Cyril Ramophosa, will c0-chair the meeting on Thursday.

Before the meeting, which will be held at the Union Building, both Presidents will have a tête-à-tête to discuss issues of mutual interests relating to the welfare of citizens, and expanding economic and cultural ties.

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5 person feared dead in Saudi Arabia train inferno

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No fewer than were on Sunday injured in a fire that broke out at a new high-speed train station in Saudi Arabia’s western city of Jeddah, state television reported, with huge palls of smoke seen rising into the air.

The station serves the main Haramain High-Speed Rail system. The route opened to the public in October last year, transporting passengers between Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest sites.

“Five people who sustained minor injuries because of the fire were transported to the hospital,” Al-Ekhbariya state television reported.

The General Directorate of Saudi Civil Defence said in an earlier tweet that it was working to extinguish the fire.

A video uploaded on Twitter by the Mecca provincial government showed plumes of grey smoke rising from what looked like the inside of the complex.

An AFP correspondent said security forces closed the main road linking Mecca and Jeddah and cordoned off the site.

The blaze erupted at 12:35 pm local time (0935 GMT), according to the Haramain High-Speed Rail’s Twitter account.

The railway runs 450 kilometres (280 miles) via the Red Sea port of Jeddah, transporting passengers at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour.

Saudi King Salman inaugurated the railway in September 2018. Officials described it as the biggest transportation project in the region.

In 2011, the kingdom signed a deal for a Spanish consortium to build the rail track, supply 35 high-speed trains and handle a 12-year maintenance contract.

Saudi is boosting its infrastructure spending and expanding its railways — including a $22.5 billion metro system under construction in the capital Riyadh — as it seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

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