AS IT HAPPENED: Davos 2020 Day Two - Middle East geopolitics and more

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The World Economic Forum 2020 continues on Wednesday from Davos in Switzerland. Foreign ministers from the Middle East and North Africa are taking to the stage to talk about the geopolitical outlook in the region. (Reuters)
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The World Economic Forum 2020 continues on Wednesday from Davos in Switzerland. Foreign ministers from the Middle East and North Africa are taking to the stage to talk about the geopolitical outlook in the region. (Reuters)
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The World Economic Forum 2020 continues on Wednesday from Davos in Switzerland. Foreign ministers from the Middle East and North Africa are taking to the stage to talk about the geopolitical outlook in the region. (Screenshot: WEF)
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The World Economic Forum 2020 continues on Wednesday from Davos in Switzerland. Foreign ministers from the Middle East and North Africa are taking to the stage to talk about the geopolitical outlook in the region. (Screenshot: WEF)
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The World Economic Forum 2020 continues on Wednesday from Davos in Switzerland. Foreign ministers from the Middle East and North Africa are taking to the stage to talk about the geopolitical outlook in the region. (Screenshot: WEF)
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Updated 22 January 2020

AS IT HAPPENED: Davos 2020 Day Two - Middle East geopolitics and more

  • The World Economic Forum runs until Jan. 24 in Davos, Switzerland
  • Middle East and North Africa, geopolitical outlook in the region in focus

DAVOS, Switzerland: The World Economic Forum 2020 continued on Wednesday from Davos in Switzerland. Foreign ministers from the Middle East and North Africa took to the stage to talk about the geopolitical outlook in the region.

There was also discussion panels on a range of topics including global financial markets, environment, science and technology.

Follow Arab News coverage here:

19:00 - That's it for Day Two, make sure you come back for another packed schedule tomorrow for Day Three. Good night...

18:15 - Superstar musician and entrepreneur will.i.am and youth activist Naomi Wadler have been talking about the fight to end gun violence — especially in the US — and how they are influencing policy change and inspiring the next generation.

17:30 - Iraq's president Barham Sali warned against pushing the country to choose sides in escalating tensions between neighboring Iran and the US. Using his address, he said a recent parliamentary vote to oust foreign forces from Iraq should not be understood as a sign of "hostility."

"The escalating tensions between Iran, the Gulf states, and the United States over the past month have reminded us that our aspirations remain subject to political disputes beyond our control and to unwelcome foreign interference," Saleh said. "It is not in our interest to choose to ally with one side at the expense of others, as long as both respect our sovereignty and independence."

He added that "no country should seek to dictate to Iraq" the nature of its relationships.

16:00 - Away from the high-profile panels and sessions at Davos, there's a whole host of interesting things on the sidelines - you can see Arab News' 'Davos Off-Piste' thread on Twitter here...

15:15 - As always, it was an impassioned speech from Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan, who spoke about why his country is so affected by climate change, the huge untapped mineral and human potential of Pakistan - he even made reference to speaking to Trump about war between the US and Iran...

14:30 - Iraqi President Barham Salih met with US President Donald Trump in Davos on Wednesday. And the two discussed reducing foreign troops in the country, the Iraqi presidency said, after Washington spurned an Iraqi request earlier this month to pull out its troops.

READ THE FULL STORY: Iraqi president Salih discusses foreign troops cut with Trump in Davos

14:15 - Missed yesterday? You can read our live blog from Day One - and you can check out the World Economic Forum's handy round-up video below...

13:50 - The UK's Prince of Wales, Charles, is giving a special address - focusing heavily on the environment and climate change and what the world can do to combat the latter's impact on the former. The prince says "we're in the middle of a climate change crisis"...

13:30 - Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam used her Davos platform to say on Wednesday that the city had several crises to manage and that it was her job to remain to deal with them. You can watch a recap of her session here...

13:00 - Historic rivalries and their impact on the politics of the Middle East are in focus in a heated panel discussion...

12:45 - The Wall Street Journal Editor Thorold Baker opens a discussion on the outlook for emerging markets this year. Saudi Arabia's Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri is part of the panel, and he's joined by Alicia Ibarra from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; Economics professor Jin Keyu; and Standard Chartered Bank chief Bill Winters.

The Saudi minister mentioned the Kingdom's strides on "driving the non-oil growth." He emphasized the essesnce of Saudi Arabia's diversification model is to veer away from oil.

11:45 - Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman joins a discussion on the future of fossil fuels. Also on stage were Colombian Minister of Energy Maria Fernanda Suarez, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, and Total chief Patrick Pouyanne.

Prince Abdulaziz reiterated the Kingdom's commitment to developing renewable energy, saying Saudi Arabia is involved in a "transfromative effort."




The officials talked about supply and demand of the oil market. (Screengrab/World Economic Forum)

11:00 - Alphabet Inc. and Google CEO Sundar Pichai takes to the stage to talk about Artificial Intelligence and its impacts on society

10:00 - World Economic Forum President Borge Brende is moderating a panel discussion on the Middle East and North Africa. He is joined Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu, his Omani counterpart Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Prime Minister of Jordan Omar Al Razzaz, and Jane Harman, the president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Jordan's Razzaz said the world has "to be very careful about the sorts of intervention, regional and global, that we do."

He added: "Jordan… has presented a model, that shows political and economic resilience."


Japan to let off last healthy cruise travelers, isolate rest

Updated 21 February 2020

Japan to let off last healthy cruise travelers, isolate rest

  • The ship docked at a Yokohama port has the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 634 confirmed by late Thursday
  • Six government quarantine workers contracted the virus, raising questions about the protective measures used

TOKYO: Japan’s health minister said the last cruise ship passengers who tested negative for a new virus will leave the Diamond Princess on Friday after a much-criticized quarantine of the vessel ended.

The ship docked at a Yokohama port has the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 634 confirmed by late Thursday. Two former passengers have died.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference the mass disembarkation into Japan of passengers from the ship is set to end Friday, while dozens of foreign passengers are flying back to their home countries on flights chartered by their governments.

Most crew members and other passengers who have not completed their 14-day quarantines because they had more recent contact with infected people are staying on the ship for now, but they will be transported to a government facility to be quarantined in isolation.

Japan is discussing with the ship operator and home countries of foreign crew members over their future movements, he said.

Japan’s government has been questioned over its decision to keep people quarantined on the ship, given the tight quarters and the difficulty of isolating sick people from the healthy.

Six government quarantine workers contracted the virus, raising questions about the protective measures used.

The two fatalities, a man and woman who were both Japanese and in their 80s, were believed to have been infected before health checks and a Feb. 5 quarantine began on the ship, Health Ministry official Masami Sakoi said. It was not immediately known if they had any roommates on the ship.

The new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has sickened tens of thousands of people, mostly in central China’s Hubei province.

The US and other countries have put former Diamond Princess passengers in second quarantines.

Australia said two passengers tested positive after they returned home. Kato said Australia, like the US, brought home a mixture of passengers who tested negative and others who were not tested and had an unknown status, therefore it was difficult to know when or how they had contracted the virus.

Kato said passengers who returned home on the US and Australian flights did so before completing the Japanese quarantine process, and that Japan’s ongoing disembarkation of passengers is still adequate.