Global MERS death toll passes 200-mark

Global MERS death toll passes 200-mark
Updated 24 May 2014

Global MERS death toll passes 200-mark

Global MERS death toll passes 200-mark

JEDDAH: The world’s total death toll from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus has passed the 200-mark and is still going up.
As of Thursday, the cumulative global number of MERS infections since September 2012 was 661, of which 205 patients have died, data compiled from reports of the Saudi Health Ministry and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control showed.
Saudi Arabia bore the brunt of the outbreak, with the Health Ministry's count on May 23, 2014 standing at 551 cases, including 177 deaths.
A statement posted by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control on its website on Thursday said that as of May 20, the cumulative number of infections in all countries other than Saudi Arabia stood at 110, with 28 deaths.
Topping the list was the United Arab Emirates with 67 cases and 9 deaths, followed by Jordan with 9 cases and 4 deaths, and Qatar with 7 cases and 4 deaths.
Rounding up the Middle East countries with MERS cases were Oman had 2 cases, 2 deaths; Kuwait, 3 cases/1 death; Egypt: 1 case/0 deaths; Yemen: 1 case/1 death and Lebanon: 1 case/0 deaths.
In Europe, UK led with 4 cases/3 deaths, followed by Germany: 2 cases/1 death; France, 2 cases/1 death; Italy, 1 case/0 deaths; Greece, 1 case/0 deaths; and the Netherlands, 2 cases/0 deaths.
Africa had 3 cases/1 death, all in Tunisia.
The Americas had two cases, all in the United States.
In Asia, Malaysia reported 1 death and Philippines had 1 infection.
While the Philippines had only one case of infection, a number of Filipino workers in the Middle East were reported to have been among the victims, including two nurses who have died in Saudi Arabia and one in the United Arab Emirates. (See related report)


King Salman issues royal order to promote members of Public Prosecution Office

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office. (SPA)
Updated 58 min 40 sec ago

King Salman issues royal order to promote members of Public Prosecution Office

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office. (SPA)
  • Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujib praised the issuance of the royal order

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujib praised the issuance of the royal order, and said that it came within the framework of the king and crown prince’s support for the Public Prosecution, and their “interest in promoting the principle of universal sufficiency for all its needs,” SPA said.

The attorney general said this included stimulating the administrative system in a way that contributes to fulfilling its duties to the fullest.

Sheikh Al-Mujib urged employees of the Public Prosecution to redouble their efforts to meet the expectations of the leadership and society.


Interview: A shared ‘forward-looking spirit’ underpins EU-Saudi partnership

Patrick Simonnet, the EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. (AN Photo)
Patrick Simonnet, the EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. (AN Photo)
Updated 20 min 10 sec ago

Interview: A shared ‘forward-looking spirit’ underpins EU-Saudi partnership

Patrick Simonnet, the EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. (AN Photo)
  • EU Ambassador Patrick Simonnet draws parallels between Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiatives and the European Green Deal
  • Exclusive interview given to Arab News to mark Europe Day, which celebrates peace and unity at the heart of EU project

RIYADH: On May 9 each year, the European Union’s 27 member states celebrate Europe Day in recognition of the continent’s integration, diversity and decades of peace. While the day is an occasion for the continent to reflect on its turbulent past and its present challenges, it is also an opportunity for it to look ahead, according to Patrick Simonnet, the EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

“It’s always a chance for us to remember the value of peace and unity, which is really at the heart of the European project,” the French diplomat told Arab News during an exclusive interview. “It’s something in our DNA, in our identity, what Europe actually is.”

The date is significant as it was on this day in 1950 when former foes France and Germany came together under the Schuman Declaration to create the forerunner to the European Coal and Steel Community — an agreement that laid the foundations for the modern EU, a trading bloc that today incorporates 448 million inhabitants speaking 24 languages.

“Europe Day helps us to look at where we come from, two world wars and then the decision to unite ourselves, where we are today — and I think Europe is not in a bad condition right now. We have many challenges, but we also have big projects — and Europe Day is definitely for looking at the future, what we leave as Europe to our children, how we manage this pandemic, how we tackle climate change, and all those issues.”

SIGNIFICANT DATES

1950 - French FM Robert Schuman proposes pooling of resources.

1951 - European Coal and Steel Community formed.

1957 - Treaty of Rome signed by six nations to form EEC and Euratom.

1979 - First European Parliament elections held.

1986 - Deadline set for creation of Single European market.

1992 - Maastricht Treaty establishes European Union (EU).

1995 - Schengen Agreements enter into force in 7 member states.

1999 - Euro introduced as single European currency.

2009 - Treaty of Lisbon signed in 2007 comes into force.

Simonnet believes the EU and the Kingdom share the same forward-looking spirit, creating a dynamic partnership. He draws parallels between the European Green Deal (the EU’s sustainability initiative launched in December 2019) and the key development goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 agenda — a plan to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from oil, empower its citizens, and encourage openness to visitors and investors.

“I was very happy this week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Vision 2030, with 10 years to go until full implementation,” Simonnet told Arab News. “It’s a critical subject. I think you will hear that from all Europeans, but we truly find it a remarkable agenda, which also speaks very much to some of the aspects of the European Green Deal, which is the equivalent of Vision 2030 for Europe.

“It’s very ambitious. It’s an inspiration for the rest of the region. We think it’s an excellent basis for us in terms of economic cooperation. There are many sectors of common interest where we think we can work together.”

Currently, around 28 percent of all imports to Saudi Arabia come from Europe, making the EU the Kingdom’s second biggest trading partner. One particularly promising area for future trade is clean-energy production.

“There’s great potential for hydrogen exports from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Europe at a time when we, as Europe, are trying to become cleaner in the type of fuel we consume,” he said. “(That the) ambition of the Kingdom (is) to be one of the leading exporters of hydrogen, whether blue or green, is really very important for us. It could help us reach our own climate goals.”

How Europe went from debt and ruin to peace and prosperity

Europe Day, observed on May 9 every year, celebrates peace and unity on the Continent. On this day in 1950, Robert Schuman, the-then French foreign minister, set out his idea in Paris for a new form of political cooperation that would make war between European nations unthinkable.

Barely five years earlier, the Continent had emerged from the Second World War in a state of ruin, with millions dead and displaced, economies grossly distorted and governments weighed down by debt.

The widespread yearning for cooperation — first to recover and then to ensure such a conflict would never happen again — saw the birth in 1950 of a trading bloc, the European Coal and Steel Community, comprising Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

This was followed in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community, also known as the Common Market. With trade tariffs scrapped between member states, the Continent saw a decade of meteoric economic growth through the 1960s.

In 1973, the union was expanding, with Denmark, Ireland and the UK joining the bloc. By the end of the decade, the first European elections had taken place, boosting the influence of the European Parliament and its directly elected members.

The EU’s expansion accelerated in the 1980s, with Greece, Spain and Portugal joining the bloc. The Single European Act was signed in 1986 to iron out trade issues, creating the single market. The biggest upheavals were yet to come, however, with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, creating a Europe without frontiers.

During the 1990s, the single market was completed with the “four freedoms” of movement — goods, services, people and money. The decade also saw the Maastricht Treaty, the Treaty of Amsterdam and the addition of three new members — Austria, Finland and Sweden. It was also the decade of the Schengen Agreement that would eventually allow people to travel without passport checks.

The dawn of the new millennium brought even more expansion, with 10 countries joining in 2004, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and the Lisbon Treaty coming into force in 2009. This was also the decade of the euro, with several countries adopting the shared currency.

Such had been the union’s success in preserving a lasting peace, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. However, the EU has faced some of its greatest challenges in the past decade. The eurozone debt crisis threatened to tear the shared currency to shreds. The refugee crisis and a string of Daesh-inspired terrorist attacks raised doubts over the principle of free movement.

Then came the Brexit referendum, when the British voted to leave the bloc and pursue their own trade deals and border arrangements.

These events have rattled confidence in the European project and the concept of an ever-closer union. But with the emergence of China as a major world power, greater Russian assertiveness on Europe’s eastern flank, and the US reassessing its strategic aims, the friendships enjoyed by the EU’s member states have allowed the bloc to respond collectively to shared challenges and, above all, to keep the peace. — Robert Edwards BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

Simonnet has thrown his support behind the Saudi and Middle East Green initiatives — two programs launched in April this year to reduce carbon emissions, boost renewables, protect ecosystems and reforest parts of the Kingdom and the wider Middle East.

He reserves particular praise for Vision 2030’s commitment to tourism, including the AlUla development plan launched in April, which he says will attract foreign investment while sharing the diversity and richness of Saudi culture with the world.

“We’re all impressed by the huge potential, the huge developments in the country in terms of tourism facilities,” Simonnet said. “Tourism may be a word which is too simplistic, because it’s about diversity, it’s about culture, it’s about traditions, about nature … it is about innovation as well.

“So, it’s not just showcasing diversity of culture. It’s also leveraging that through innovation. I think the Kingdom has really great potential to be a regional hub, a world hub, and will certainly attract a lot of attention from both investors and also tourists.”

EUNUMBERS

* 6 - Founding members of European Coal and Steel Community.

* 27 - Total member states of the European Union.

* 447m - Estimated total population of the EU bloc.

Underpinning the Saudi-EU relationship are many common security concerns, including counterterrorism, the war on drugs, and the situation in Yemen.

“Yemen sits on the Red Sea. Through the Red Sea goes 20 percent of all European trade. So, if there’s something happening in the Red Sea, it has to find another (route), it’s completely disrupted. So, we have a clear security interest,” Simonnet said, reacting positively to the Saudi peace initiative announced in March.

“Security of navigation, stability, the fight against terrorism, extremism, the fight against drugs — all that is our common security agenda and that’s why we need to have lots of political consultations, lots of visits in both directions.

“This is a really strong basis for our partnership.”

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Twitter: @NoorNugali


Al-Jubeir calls on Kingdom’s accusers in Bezos phone hack to ‘acknowledge their mistake’

Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who
Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who "accused the Kingdom" with regard to claims it was involved with the hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' phone last year to "acknowledge their mistake." (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 53 min 53 sec ago

Al-Jubeir calls on Kingdom’s accusers in Bezos phone hack to ‘acknowledge their mistake’

Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who "accused the Kingdom" with regard to claims it was involved with the hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' phone last year to "acknowledge their mistake." (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said Saudi Arabia “had nothing to do with the allegations”
  • Saudi embassy in US rejected the claims at the time as “absurd”

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who “accused the Kingdom” with regard to claims it was involved with the hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’ phone last year to “acknowledge their mistake.”

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs posted to Twitter asking if now that the truth that “the Kingdom had nothing to do with the allegations” had been revealed, whether people would “simply delete their tweets” and “hope that their positions at the time disappear into the sunset?”

Reports in January 2020 suggested Bezos’ phone was hacked after receiving a WhatsApp message sent from the personal account of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia's embassy in the US rejected the claims at the time as “absurd,” while Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the allegations were “absolutely silly” while speaking to Reuters at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

Related


Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues

Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues
Updated 56 min 20 sec ago

Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues

Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues
  • The two sides reviewed all regional and international issues, and agreed to intensify cooperation
  • Khan arrived in the Kingdom for his two-day visit on Friday

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan held talks on Saturday to discuss bilateral relations and ways to strengthen them in all fields.
Khan arrived in the Kingdom for his two-day visit on Friday upon an official invitation from the crown prince.
The two sides affirmed the depth of the historical relations between their two countries, a joint statement said, adding that they also reviewed all regional and international issues, and agreed to intensify between government officials and the private sector in both countries, with the aim of promoting bilateral relations to broader horizons in a way that serves their common interests.
Khan praised King Salman’s leadership role in promoting Islamic unity, the Kingdom’s positive role in resolving the issues facing the Islamic nation, and its endeavors for regional and international peace and security.
He also praised Prince Mohammed’s historic visit to Pakistan in February 2019, during which the launch of the Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council was announced, and the two visits that his country made to the Kingdom in 2018 and 2019.
Khan said the visits “contributed to pushing bilateral relations toward more joint cooperation based on trust, mutual benefits and common interests between the two countries.”
The crown prince affirmed the Kingdom’s continued support for Khan’s vision of transforming Pakistan into a prosperous and developed country.
The two sides discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations between them by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and Pakistan’s development priorities to shift from geopolitics to economic geography, in addition to increasing cooperation in the fields of energy, science, technology, agriculture and culture.
“They affirmed their satisfaction with the strength of bilateral military and security relations, and agreed to further cooperate to achieve common goals between the two countries,” the statement said.
It added that issues pertaining to the Islamic nation were at the forefront of discussions, and “they stressed the need for concerted efforts by Muslim countries to confront extremism and violence, reject sectarianism, and relentlessly pursue international peace and security.”
They also stressed the importance of continuing joint efforts to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations regardless of their source, and should not be associated with any religion, race, or ethnic background.
The two sides also reaffirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially their right to self determination and the establishment of an independent state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions.
They also expressed their support for political solutions in Syria and Libya, and the efforts of the UN and its envoys in this regard.
The two sides also stressed the importance of supporting efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2216.
The crown prince and prime minister condemned ballistic missiles and drones attacks by “terrorist groups and militias,” including the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, on Saudi territory targeting vital installations and civilian objects.
“They expressed their grave concern over the threats (posed) to the security of oil exports and the stability of global energy supplies,” the statement said.
The prime minister praised the Saudi Arabia’s role and its peace initiative to end the war in Yemen, “which aims to achieve security and stability in Yemen for the benefit and development of the region and its people.”
The crown prince welcomed the understanding reached recently between the Pakistani and Indian military authorities regarding a cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between the two regional rivals.
“The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to solve the outstanding issues between the two countries (especially the Jammu and Kashmir conflict) to ensure peace and stability in the region,” the joint statement said.
On Afghanistan, Prince Mohammed said Pakistan played a pivotal role in facilitating the Afghan peace process, and the two sides agreed to continue mutual consultations and said that a comprehensive political settlement is the only way forward.
The two sides also agreed to continue exchanging support and coordination in international organizations and forums, and stressed the importance of all states committing to the UN Charter and the principles of international legitimacy, adhering to the principles of good neighborliness, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means.
Khan congratulated the Saudi government for successfully organizing and holding the G20 summit last year and the positive decisions that it yielded in all economic, developmental, environmental, health, energy and other fields.
Pakistan also welcomed the Saudi Green and Middle East Green Initiatives launched by Prince Mohammed in late March, which shows the Kingdom’s leadership role toward common international issues, including combating climate change, and praised its positive impact on the region and its inhabitants.
The crown prince also praised the prime minister’s Clean Green Pakistan initiative, as well as the successful 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative.
Khan also praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts and its leadership in serving the Two Holy Mosques, pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors, especially in organizing last year’s Hajj season despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Several agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed to further strengthen and diversify bilateral relations, including an agreement to establish the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC), a cooperation agreement to cooperate in combating crime and an agreement to transfer convicted prisoners, a MoU in combating illicit drug trafficking, and a MoU to finance projects in energy, hydropower generation, infrastructure, transport, communication, and water.
The prime minister expressed his gratitude and appreciation to King Salman, the crown prince, and the Saudi people.


Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases
Updated 08 May 2021

Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 1,026 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 372

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 14 new COVID-19 related deaths on Saturday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,059.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 997 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 425,442 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 9,707 remain active and 1,319 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 372, followed by Makkah with 250, the Eastern Province with 123, Asir recorded 54 and Madinah confirmed 49 cases.
The ministry also announced that 1,026 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 408,676.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs temporary closed nine mosques in five regions after nine people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed to 1,056 within 89 days, 1,037 of which have reopened after being sterilized.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 157 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.28 million.