Man who slapped Macron to stand trial on Thursday

Man who slapped Macron to stand trial on Thursday
French President Emmanuel Macron. (File/AFP)
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Updated 10 June 2021

Man who slapped Macron to stand trial on Thursday

Man who slapped Macron to stand trial on Thursday
  • Tarel’s attack on the president stunned the country
  • The unemployed 28-year-old said during interrogation that he had been close to the anti-government “yellow vest” protest movement

PARIS: Damien Tarel, the medieval martial arts enthusiast who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron across the face, will go before a judge in a fast-track trial on Thursday.

Tarel had acknowledged striking Macron while the president was on a visit to a professional training college, but told investigators it was not premeditated, local prosecutor Alex Perrin said in a statement.

The unemployed 28-year-old said during interrogation that he had been close to the anti-government “yellow vest” protest movement which shook the Macron presidency, and held ultra-right wing political beliefs.

“He maintained that he acted out of impulse and ‘without thinking’ to express his discontent,” Perrin said in a statement late on Wednesday.

Tarel’s attack on the president stunned the country. Macron later described it as an isolated incident and said violence and hate were a threat to democracy.

The president had been on a trip to the Drome region in the southeast to take the country’s pulse after the pandemic and with less than a year to go before the next presidential election.

Acquaintances of Tarel described a man who loved period role-play and was not a trouble-maker. The prosecutor said he was not a member of any political or militant group.

Tarel was arrested along with a second man from his hometown of Saint-Vallier. Police found weapons, a copy of Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf and a red flag with golden sickle and mortar that is the international symbol of the communist movement in the second man’s home, Perrin said.

The second man will not face any charges related to the slapping but will be prosecuted for illegal possession of arms in 2022.


Egypt upholds death penalty for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members

Egypt upholds death penalty for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members
Updated 27 min 18 sec ago

Egypt upholds death penalty for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members

Egypt upholds death penalty for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members

Egypt upholds death penalty for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members


Caution on Iran nuclear deal as G7 leaders vow to stop bomb

Caution on Iran nuclear deal as G7 leaders vow to stop bomb
Updated 28 min 22 sec ago

Caution on Iran nuclear deal as G7 leaders vow to stop bomb

Caution on Iran nuclear deal as G7 leaders vow to stop bomb
  • EU coordinators suggested that differences over the 2015 accord limiting Iran's nuclear activities had narrowed further
  • Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister said a deal was unlikely to emerge in the coming week

VIENNA: Diplomats from outside the European Union cautioned Sunday that negotiations with Iran to salvage a landmark nuclear deal still need more time.
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations also reaffirmed a commitment to stop the Islamic republic from building nuclear weapons.
Iranian envoys held another round of negotiations with international delegations in Vienna a day after EU coordinators suggested that differences over the 2015 accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities had narrowed further. But Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told Iranian state media he thought a deal was unlikely to emerge in the coming week. A diplomat from Russia also said more time was needed to work out details.
The Vienna meetings are aimed at rebuilding a nuclear containment agreement between Iran and major world powers that the Trump administration withdrew the United States from in 2018.
US President Joe Biden and other G-7 leaders expressed support for the Vienna process after a three-day summit in southwest England that ended Sunday. The G-7 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“We are committed to ensuring that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon,” the leaders said in a joint statement.
“A restored and fully-implemented (nuclear deal) could also pave the way to further address regional and security concerns,” the statement said.
A resolution would see Iran return to commitments made in 2015, aimed at making the development of a nuclear weapon impossible, in exchange for lighter US sanctions.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Iran had been “galloping forward” with its nuclear ambitions and violating the terms of the accord since the United States pulled out of the deal.
“I think puts some urgency in seeing if we can put the nuclear problem back in the box,” Blinken said.
Sunday’s bilateral meetings followed joint negotiations held Saturday involving senior diplomats from China, Germany, France, Russia, and Britain. The United States was not directly involved.
An Iranian pro-opposition group held a small protest outside the famed Vienna Opera House, near the downtown hotel where the talks are taking place. Organizers said local police in Austria’s capital instructed them not to protest outside the hotel. The event ended peacefully.


Israel’s new foreign minister Yair Lapid vows to end ‘hostile’ relations abroad

Israel’s new foreign minister Yair Lapid vows to end ‘hostile’ relations abroad
Updated 37 min 21 sec ago

Israel’s new foreign minister Yair Lapid vows to end ‘hostile’ relations abroad

Israel’s new foreign minister Yair Lapid vows to end ‘hostile’ relations abroad
  • ‘Our relationship with too many governments has been neglected and become hostile’
  • ‘Shouting that everyone is anti-Semitic isn’t a policy or a work plan, even if it sometimes feels right’

JERUSALEM: Israel’s new foreign minister Yair Lapid on Monday vowed to improve relations with US Democrats while ending “hostile” ties with Europe he accused Benjamin Netanyahu of cultivating.
The centrist broker who forged an unlikely coalition deal to unseat the hawkish former prime minister told foreign ministry staff that under Netanyahu’s 12-year-rule Israel had “abandoned the international arena.”
“Our relationship with too many governments has been neglected and become hostile,” Lapid, a 57-year-old former television presenter, said.
“Shouting that everyone is anti-Semitic isn’t a policy or a work plan, even if it sometimes feels right.”
After coming to power in 2009, Netanyahu has strained relations with former US president Barack Obama, a Democrat, before forming a tight bond with his Republican successor Donald Trump.
“The management of the relationship with the Democratic Party in the United States was careless and dangerous,” Lapid said.
“I’ve warned against it more than once, but the outgoing government took a terrible gamble, reckless and dangerous, to focus exclusively on the Republican Party and abandon Israel’s bipartisan standing.”
He added: “We find ourselves with a Democratic White House, Senate and House and they are angry. We need to change the way we work with them.”
The new Israeli foreign minister said he had spoken with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and that both agreed to “build relations based on mutual respect and better dialogue.”
Lapid succeeds Gabi Ashkenazi, a former army chief-of-staff, who became chief diplomat in 2020 as part of a power-sharing deal between the Netanyahu camp and opposition parties.
Lapid also said he would work to improve Israel’s standing internationally as well as ties with Europeans leaders, adding that he had “exchanged messages” with French President Emmanuel Macron and spoken to the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
He also vowed that Israel “will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb” and said he was opposed to a revived nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that could see the United States rejoin the accord.
And one month after a deadly 11-day war broke out between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas militants, Lapid reaffirmed that “Israel has every right to defend itself.”


Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns

Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns
Updated 40 min 57 sec ago

Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns

Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns
  • Qatar plans to grow its LNG output by 40 percent to 110 million tons per annum (mtpa) by 2026

LONDON: Six top western energy firms are vying to partner in the vast expansion of Qatar’s liquefied natural gas output, industry sources said, helping the Gulf state cement its position as the leading LNG producer while several large projects around the world recently stalled.
Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, TotalEnergies and ConocoPhillips, which are part of Qatar’s existing LNG production were joined by new entrants Chevron and Italy’s Eni in submitting bids on May 24 for the expansion project, industry sources told Reuters.
The bids show energy giants continue to have appetite for investing in competitive oil and gas projects despite growing government, investor and activist pressure on the sector to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.
Unlike Qatar’s early LNG projects in the 1990s and 2000s when the country relied heavily on international oil companies’ technical expertise and deep pockets, the country’s national oil company Qatar Petroleum (QP) has gone ahead alone with the development of the nearly $30 billion North Field expansion project.
It is, however, seeking to partner with the oil majors in order to share the financial risk of the development and help sell the additional volumes of LNG it will produce.
“I don’t think QP need the IOCs expertise in the upstream or midstream construction of the project but they will be glad to see someone take some LNG volumes off their hands,” a senior source in one of the bidding companies said.
Qatar plans to grow its LNG output by 40 percent to 110 million tons per annum (mtpa) by 2026, strengthening its position as the world leading exporter of the super-chilled fuel.
An Eni spokesperson confirmed the company is participating in the bidding process. QP, Shell, Chevron, TotalEnergies, Conoco declined to comment.
Exxon said it did not comment on market rumors, but added: “We look forward to continuing success in future projects with our partners Qatar Petroleum and the State of Qatar. ExxonMobil affiliates are working with Qatar Petroleum to identify international joint venture opportunities that further enhance the portfolio of both.”
Leading energy companies see natural gas as a key fuel in the world’s efforts to cut carbon emissions and replace the more polluting coal, although the International Energy Agency said in a report last month that investments in new fossil fuel projects should stop immediately in order to meet UN-backed targets aimed at limiting global warming.
Activists say that expansion in natural gas delays a transition to renewable energy that is needed to meet UN-backed targets to battle climate change. The European Union is in the midst of a debate about what role gas should take in the energy transition.
The outlook for global LNG supplies tightened sharply in recent months after Total suspended its $20 billion LNG project in Mozambique due to a surge in violence.
It followed a string of delays of LNG projects in North America as COVID-19 hobbled demand last year.
Global LNG demand has increased every year since 2012 and hit record highs every year since 2015 mostly due to fast-rising demand in Asia. Analysts have said they expect global LNG demand will grow about 3-5 percent each year between 2021 and 2025.
Lower returns
The interest from companies in the Qatari expansion comes despite relatively low returns.
QP offered international bidders returns of around 8 percent to 10 percent on their investment, down from around 15 percent to 20 percent returns Exxon, Total, Shell and Conoco have seen from the early LNG facilities, according to sources in three companies involved.
Qatar project returns have never previously been disclosed.
The six companies and QP declined to comment on the terms of the bids.
“Clearly Qatar has become more competitive,” a source said. “But it remains very low risk from the resource perspective.”
The results of the tender process are not expected to be announced before September, two of the sources said.
In March, QP said it will take full ownership of Qatargas 1 LNG plant when its 25-year contract with international investors including Exxon and TotalEnergies expires next year, in a sign of its growing confidence.
Qatar is also in talks to make Chinese firms partners in the project, sources told Reuters last month.
QP last month hired international banks for a multi-billion dollar debut public bond sale by the end of June, two sources said, to help in part development the Northern Field project.


Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city

Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city
Updated 45 min 6 sec ago

Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city

Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city
  • SPARK announced in March that 80 percent of the project’s first phase was officially complete

RIYADH: A new city being developed in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province will be cashless according to Riyad Bank CEO Tareq Al-Sahdan.
King Salman Energy Park (SPARK), located between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, is being built on an area of 50 square kilometers and will include a dedicated logistics zone and dry port. SPARK announced in March that 80 percent of the project’s first phase was officially complete.
A new agreement signed between Riyad Bank and the King Salman Energy City (SPARK) aims to fully transform the project into a fully digital city, Al-Sahdan told Al Arabiya.
“We aspire that Spark City will be completely digital, since it is a new city, where cash is not used, and there will be payment solutions for all uses and a special pass card used in shops and services,” he told Al Arabiya.
An agreement between the pair, which includes ten initiatives, aims to support the Kingdom’s ranking in ease of doing business and the digital economy.