Middle East looking to revive economy despite rising coronavirus infections

A man sells ballons at Beirut seaside corniche on May, 13, 2020. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 15 May 2020

Middle East looking to revive economy despite rising coronavirus infections

Countries across the Middle East are looking for ways to revive their economies, despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

Meanwhile shortly after Saudi Arabia suspended the cost of living allowance and increased the value-added tax (VAT), it urged other producers to join them in mitigating the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on energy demand. The country – which depends on the stability of oil production - confirmed a total of 44,830 cases of virus infections.

Lebanon, meanwhile, called on the public to stay home, starting Wednesday evening until dawn on Monday, reversing measures earlier this month that phased out restrictions imposed since mid-March.

May 14, 2020 Thursday (GMT times)

13:20 - The COVID-19 death toll in the United Kingdom rose by 428 to 33,614, health officials said on Thursday.
An update from the officials also showed that more than 126,000 tests were carried out on May 13.

10:49 - Qatar confirms 1,733 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infected people to 28,272

10:04 - The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed 698 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the total to 21,084 infected people.

The ministry also said there had been 407 recoveries, placing the number of recovered patients in the country at 6,930. There were two fatalities, increasing the death toll to 208.

09:51 - Kuwait confirms 188 new coronavirus recoveries, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 3,451

09:31 - China rejected US ‘smearing’ of attempted coronavirus vaccine theft claim

09:05 - The number of coronavirus cases in Spain increase to 229,540 and deaths reach 27,321

08:43 - European Medicines Agency says the coronavirus vaccine could be ready for approval in a year’s time

08:21 - China's National Health Commission will step up COVID-19 testing and screening, to prevent rebound of pandemic.

07:37 - Armenia extends state of emergency until June 13 to curb the spread of coronavirus.

07:20 – The deadly coronavirus pandemic will cost the global insurance industry about $203 billion, the Lloyd’s of London market forecast on Thursday.

06:41 – France's nationwide lockdown reduced the number of those normally classified as unemployed by making it impossible for them to look for work, dropping unemployment figures in the first quarter to an 11-year low, authorities said on Thursday.

06:40 – A powerful typhoon hit the central Philippines Thursday, forcing a complicated and risky evacuation for tens of thousands already hunkered down at home during the coronavirus pandemic. At least 200,000 people live in coastal areas or flimsy homes in the province near where the storm, called Typhoon Vongfong, made landfall with fierce winds and heavy rain.

06:30 – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments, civil society and health authorities on Wednesday to urgently address mental health needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic, warning that psychological suffering is increasing.

06:28 – The head of Dubai airport said temperature screening and face masks will become common sights at airports to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus but physical distancing could make flying more expensive.

06:20 – The next pandemic could be in the Amazon rainforest, warns Brazilian ecologist David Lapola, who says human encroachment on animals' habitats - a likely culprit in the coronavirus outbreak - is soaring there because of rampant deforestation.

06:07 – Oil prices edged higher Thursday on signs that production cuts are easing a virus-triggered glut, but gains were capped after the head of the Federal Reserve warned about the pandemic's economic impact.

05:05 – The coronavirus may never go away and populations will have to learn to live with it just as they have HIV, the World Health Organization has warned.


Turkey to arrest 82 including mayor over pro-Kurdish protests

Updated 25 September 2020

Turkey to arrest 82 including mayor over pro-Kurdish protests

ANKARA: Turkish authorities on Friday issued arrest warrants for 82 people, including a mayor, over pro-Kurdish protests six years ago, officials and local media said.
The warrants relate to October 2014 protests in Turkey sparked by the seizure by Islamic State (IS) jihadists of the mainly Kurdish Syrian town of Kobane.
Police were on the hunt for the 82 suspects in the Turkish capital and six other provinces, the Ankara chief public prosecutor's office said in a statement.
The prosecutor's office did not specify what offences the 82 are alleged to have committed.
But it said crimes committed during the protests included murder, attempted murder, theft, damaging property, looting, burning the Turkish flag and injuring 326 security officials and 435 citizens.
There was also a warrant for the mayor of the eastern city of Kars, Ayhan Bilgen, Hurriyet daily reported.
Bilgen won the city in 2019 local elections representing the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which is Turkey's second-largest opposition group in the parliament.
Of a total of 65 HDP mayors returned in those elections, 47 have now been replaced by unelected officials, with some detained on terror charges, the party said last month.
The Turkish government accuses the HDP of being a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party -- which has waged an insurgency against the state since 1984 -- but the party denies this.
Former HDP co-leaders, Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, were named in the investigation but both have been in jail since 2016 pending multiple trials.
The government accused the HDP of urging people to take part in the protests across Turkey that left 37 dead.
But the HDP blames Turkish police for the violence.