AS IT HAPPENED: Davos 2020 Day Three – G20, AI, gender balance and health top the bill

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The World Economic Forum 2020 will run until Jan. 24. (File/AFP)
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Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking on a World Economic Forum panel about the situation in the Middle East, said Iran should stop ‘meddling’ in Iraqi affairs and worry about its own people. (Screenshot: WEF)
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Gebran Bassil - one of the targets of angry Lebanese protesters in recent months - was involved in a very awkward interview during Day Three of WEF. (WEF/Flickr)
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Updated 23 January 2020

AS IT HAPPENED: Davos 2020 Day Three – G20, AI, gender balance and health top the bill

  • Government ministers from Saudi Arabia speaking ahead of Kingdom hosting high-profile G20 Riyadh summit
  • Discussions about health technology, digital economy, gender equality, and the disability movement

DAVOS, Switzerland: Thursday saw Day Three of the 2020 World Economic Forum get underway, which included government ministers from Saudi Arabia speaking ahead of the Kingdom hosting the high-profile G20 Riyadh summit in November.

There were also discussions about health technology, digital economy, gender equality, and the disability movement among many other global issues.

Follow Arab News coverage below:

18:30 - And that's a wrap on the third day of talks in Davos. We hope you enjoyed our coverage throughout the week. See you next year!

18:00 - Day Three's panels are closed out by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who, like many this week, has used his address to call for action on climate change...

17:15 - Artificial intelligence has been one of the big talking points this week in Davos, with discussions revolving around where AI fits in with the ever-changing employment roles for humanity. Here are some handy Arab News infographics on the subject...

16:45 - In case you missed it, Gebran Bassil - one of the targets of angry Lebanese protesters in recent months - was involved in a very awkward interview earlier today during a controversial panel. You can read more about it here...

16:00 - "I know everyone thinks Davos is all about lushing it up in the Alps with the global elite, but actually — if you take it seriously — it is very hard work. I don’t expect any sympathy..." - Arab News' man on the ground in Davos has shared the lowdown on what happens at WEF once the panels come to a close of an evening...

Read his account here...

15:15 - Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking on a World Economic Forum panel about the situation in the Middle East, said Iran should stop ‘meddling’ in Iraqi affairs and worry about its own people...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jubeir tells Iran to stop ‘meddling’ in Iraqi affairs

14:30 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in no mood to mince her words on the Iran nuclear deal, saying it's the best option for the Islamic Republic but any violations would not go unpunished...

14:00 - Speaking during a hard-hitting panel discussion the controversial Gebran Bassil said Lebanon’s youth were calling for an end to the country’s current political system in favor of a secular one.

12:00 - This year’s G20 Summit in Riyadh was also discussed, with a look into some of the topics that will be on the agenda.

WEF president, Borge Brende, revealed to delegates that the next Middle East summit will be held in Saudi Arabia in April.

11:15 - Gender disparity continues to be a problem around the world a panel discussion was told. The issue remains through industry, politics and culture.

10:15 - The day started with a discussion on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in healthcare - would the loss of a human interface help or hinder patient care?


Afghan govt. vows to probe civilian deaths in Kunduz airstrike

Updated 20 September 2020

Afghan govt. vows to probe civilian deaths in Kunduz airstrike

  • There have been conflicting reports from lawmakers and residents about number of fatalities
  • Taliban says none of its fighters killed in attack

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry pledged on Sunday to probe “allegations” of at least 12 civilians being killed in an airstrike targeting Taliban fighters in the northern Kunduz province a day earlier.
The pledge followed inconsistencies about the number of casualties, with the insurgent group saying that none of its men had died in the attack.
“The Taliban were the target, and 30 of them were killed. Initial reports indicate no harm was inflicted upon civilians, but we are probing reports by locals about civilian casualties. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces take allegations of civilian harm seriously, and these claims will be investigated,” Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the defense ministry in Kabul, told Arab News.
He added that the ministry would “share any details” about civilian casualties “once the probe is over.”
If confirmed, Saturday’s airstrike in the Khan Abad district, which lies nearly 350 km from Kabul and is mostly controlled by the Taliban, will be the latest in a series of air raids killing civilians in several parts of the country.
It follows a week after crucial intra-Afghan talks between the government and Taliban officials began in Doha, Qatar on Saturday, to end the protracted war and plan a roadmap for peace in Afghanistan.
There were conflicting accounts from civilians and lawmakers in the area about the incident, with two provincial council members, Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani and Sayed Yusuf, saying that at least 12 civilians had died in Saturday’s air raid.
“Since the area is under Taliban’s control, we have not been able to find out exactly how the civilians were killed,” Rabbani told Arab News.
Meanwhile, Nilofar Jalali, a legislator from Kunduz, offered another version of the attack, which she said “hit a residential area before sunrise when people were still in their bed.”
“Children and women are among the dead, and 18 civilians have also been wounded. I informed the defense minister about it; he said he will check and get back to me, but has not,” she told Arab News. However, Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied the reports in a statement on Sunday, saying that “no fighter of the group was killed,” before placing the number of civilian deaths at 23.
Kunduz and other parts of the country have witnessed an escalation in attacks by both the government and the Taliban in recent weeks, despite their negotiators participating in the Qatar talks which are part of a US-facilitated process following 19 years of conflict in the country — Washington’s longest war in history.
The Qatar discussions are based on a historic accord signed between Washington and the Taliban in February this year which, among other things, paves the way for the complete withdrawal of US-led troops from the country by next spring, in return for a pledge from the Taliban not to allow use Afghanistan to harm any country’s, including US, interests.
Kabul’s negotiators in Qatar are pushing the Taliban to declare a cease-fire, while the Taliban say it can be included in the agenda and that both sides must first ascertain “the real cause” of the war.
Some analysts believe that while delegates of the parties are struggling to agree over the mechanism and agenda of the talks in Qatar, their fighters in Afghanistan are “focusing on military tactics to capture grounds” so that they can use it as a “bargaining chip” at the negotiation table.
“Both sides think that if they have more territory then they can argue their case from a position of strength during the talks and use it as leverage,” Shafiq Haqpal, an analyst and a former university teacher, told Arab News.
“The sides have not yet agreed on the mechanism of the talks despite the Qatar talks, which began on the 12th of September. So, this is an indication that things are not going the right way politically, and both sides are trying their luck on the battlefield here.”