Baghdad trade fair strengthens Saudi-Iraqi economic ties

The Iraqi and the Saudi oil ministers Jabar al-Luaibi and Khalid al-Falih open the Baghdad International Exhibition in Baghdad on October 21, 2017. (REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily)
Updated 22 October 2017
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Baghdad trade fair strengthens Saudi-Iraqi economic ties

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia showcased its strong participation at the 44th Baghdad International Fair on Saturday.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and Iraqi Trade Minister Salman Al-Jumaili were among prominent figures at the inauguration of the fair running from Oct. 21 to 30 in which 18 countries and 400 local and international companies are taking part.
Al-Jumaili said that the launch of the fair coincides with the complete liberation of many Iraqi areas. “This is a clear and true message that Iraq is ready to cooperate in the fields of investment and reconstruction and is capable of fighting and combating terrorism and strengthening its relationships through real and constructive partnerships,” he said.
Al-Falih said over 60 Saudi companies are taking part in the fair which highlights the high level of Saudi participation.
He stressed “the strong cultural and economic historical bonds” between the two countries.
Saudi Exports Development Authority (SEDA) Secretary-General Saleh Al-Salami said Saudi participation emphasized the political and economic openness between the two countries.
In a separate development, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Riyadh on Saturday to attend a landmark meeting between officials from Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at improving relations between the two countries and countering Iran’s growing regional influence.
Improved relations between the two countries led to Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) announcing its first flight to Baghdad on Oct. 30, according to Sabq.
This will be the first flight after 27 years of interruption.
On Wednesday, Saudi budget airline, Flynas, made a similar flight from the Kingdom to Iraq.


Indonesian agency downplays volcanic eruption

Lava streams down from Anak Krakatoa volcano during an eruption as seen from Rakata island in South Lampung. (AFP)
Updated 55 sec ago
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Indonesian agency downplays volcanic eruption

  • No one lives on Krakatau, which forms a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, but the peak is a popular tourist spot
  • Indonesia is situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a vast zone of geological instability

JAKARTA: The deadly 1883 eruption of Mount Krakatoa is unlikely to happen again despite the Anak Krakatoa volcanic island showing signs of increased activity, said Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
The agency has raised the alert status to the second of four levels since June 18 after the volcano rumbled back to life by spewing ash and lava, prompting officials to declare an exclusion zone within 1 km of the summit.
Anak Krakatoa caused hundreds of mild tremors on Thursday, according to seismographic data from the agency.
“It continues to rumble, and the eruptions are a normal phenomenon,” agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told Arab News on Friday.
“Anak Krakatoa erupts as it continues to emerge higher, but the eruptions are never big since the energy of the magma it expels to the surface isn’t strong,” he said.
“Even though it erupts hundreds of times every day and the alert level has been increased, it’s not dangerous. It won’t cause a tsunami like in 1883.”
The eruption that year caused a 30-meter-high tsunami that killed more than 36 million people and lowered global temperatures by around 1.2 degrees Celcius for five years.
The eruption was so loud that it was audible as far away as Perth in western Australia, which is 3,100 km away, and in Mauritius, which is 4,800 km away.
The volcano erupted 479 times last weekend, gushing plumes of thick smoke up to 800 meters high, and lava was visible streaming down from its summit at night, Nugroho said. The eruptions have so far not affected flights or sea voyages, he added.
The Sunda Strait, where the island is located, is a busy shipping lane and accommodates the 30-km, frequently used ferry crossing between the islands of Java and Sumatra.
Anak Krakatoa is uninhabited, but its 300-meter-high summit is a popular tourist destination. It is one of the 127 active volcanoes — a third of the world’s total — that dot the Indonesian archipelago, and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates meet and subduct, frequently triggering earthquakes and volcanic activity.