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Greek F-16 Fighter Jets Intercept Beirut-Bound MEA Flight

The Lebanese pilot is thought to have used an incorrect radio frequency — a major blunder from the son of the airline’s chairman.

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greek f-16 fighter jets intercept beirut-bound mea flight
Middle East Airlines

A “Code Renegade” alert recently set Greek aviation authorities on high alert following a warning issued by a NATO air control center in Torrejón, Spain. Code Renegade is a distress signal typically used in a hijacking situation. In this case, the code was issued after a Middle Eastern Airlines (MEA) flight bound for Beirut failed to answer calls and went into complete radio silence.

After repeated attempts to speak to the aircraft’s captain, authorities began to worry about the plane’s safety status, which eventually caused Greek air defense to scramble two F-16 fighter jets from Souda to intercept the unresponsive civilian airliner over Argolida in the northeastern Peloponnese.

middle east airlines flight me242 escorted over greece

Lebanon-based aircraft tracker InterSky, took to Twitter to report the details of the unfolding situation:

“Code Renegade set Greek authorities on alert following a relevant signal by the NATO air control center in Spain (CAOC Torrejón), to intercept a non-responsive civil aircraft Airbus A321 with 145 passengers onboard that had taken off from Madrid and was bound for Beirut.”

Also Read: Emirates Airline To Invest $2 Billion On Major Upgrades

In a further twist to the story, contact was eventually reestablished with the aircraft, after which it was revealed that the MEA pilot, Abed Al-Hout, was the son of Mohammed Al-Hout, chairman of the board of directors of Middle East Airlines. The chairman has previously received criticism for employing relatives at various levels of the company, and in this instance, his son had failed to set the communication instruments to the correct frequency, resulting in radio silence.

The news is a further embarrassing blow for Middle East Airlines, which has recently lost over 20% of staff to other airlines, as Lebanon’s financial crisis continues to deepen.

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Binance Receives Virtual Assets License To Operate In Dubai

As its user base nears 200 million, CEO Richard Teng believes crypto adoption will soar over the next half of the decade.

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binance receives virtual assets license to operate in dubai

Global crypto exchange Binance has been granted a full operational license in Dubai, in a move that’s expected to accelerate digital asset adoption and strengthen the UAE’s regulatory landscape.

The virtual asset service provider license (VASP) was granted by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and will allow Binance to extend its current range of services to retail investors, the company announced yesterday.

The move by Dubai authorities will be critical to Binance’s strategy of growing its user base globally. The crypto exchange expects to pass the 200 million user mark “quite shortly”, according to Richard Teng, the company’s CEO.

Once that milestone is achieved, Binance will have around twice as many users as rival platform Coinbase. Meanwhile, Crypto.com, another popular exchange with 80 million users, received a Dubai VASP license last week.

“We’re seeing much greater institutional adoption and institutional money coming into this space [along with] much greater regulatory clarity and a lot more jurisdictions approving [digital asset] products that bring in new investor classes,” Binance’s Richard Tang explained, adding: “As of now, we stand at about 5% crypto adoption globally, but that will become much faster moving forward”.

Also Read: Microsoft Invests $1.5 Billion In Abu Dhabi AI Tech Firm G42

Dubai and the UAE are extremely supportive of technologies like digital assets, and have already launched initiatives to boost adoption. The UAE has ambitious plans to become a world leader in the crypto economy of the future, with Dubai in particular being noteworthy for passing a new law to regulate virtual assets to support investors and exchanges.

“Global crypto regulation is currently showing diverging signs. Some developed countries have long suffered from crypto-related frauds and illegal exchanges. On the other hand, emerging nations like the UAE and Singapore have enacted crypto laws at faced pace,” said Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer of Dubai-based Century Financial.

As the UAE gears up to become one of the fastest-growing crypto capitals worldwide, investors and talent are flocking to places like Dubai. During 2023, the Emirates as a whole realized $204 million in capital gains from cryptocurrency investments, according to blockchain data analysts Chainalysis.

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