Faisal J Abbas was a jonior editor at Future television when the planes hit the twin towers
Saudi desalination corporation reveals environmental sustainability road map
- Kingdom’s plans for improving environment, combating climate change, reaching carbon neutrality shared at global industry forum
JEDDAH: A Saudi government institution responsible for the desalination of seawater has revealed its road map to achieving environmental sustainability at a major international industry conference.
Officials from the Saline Water Conversion Corp. shared their Saudi Green Initiative action plans — aimed at improving the environment, combating climate change, and reaching carbon neutrality — at a recent forum in London attended by more than 90 global leaders and investors.
By taking part in the event, the SWCC not only hoped to strengthen its world leadership role in the desalination industry, but also look at ways to further reduce production costs while increasing the involvement of relevant Saudi companies and organizations in current and future projects.
Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan was among forum delegates who heard how the corporation was focused on enhancing the use of clean energy sources in place of thermal heating systems.
Addressing the meeting, Saleh Al-Mana, the SWCC’s assistant deputy governor for technical affairs and projects, said that by reusing water and recycling filters in production systems, and developing engineering principles in technical designs for beneficiaries including the agriculture, industrial, and urban sectors, the transition to low carbon activated the circular economy.
The corporation has been working on initiatives to achieve environmental sustainability in all areas of desalination supply, from production to transportation.
At the Saudi Green Initiative forum held in Riyadh in October, the Kingdom revealed its blueprint for dealing with climate change by increasing the reliance on clean energy, protecting the environment, and offsetting millions of tons of carbon emissions annually by 2030.
The country was investigating more ways to produce, treat, and distribute water locally using energy systems that ensured sustainable growth.
The initiative aims to protect the marine environment by investing in zero liquid discharge systems, a wastewater management system that extracts salts and minerals and converts them into products of high economic value for use in the industrial sector.
Earlier this year, the SWCC set a world record for the lowest energy consuming desalination plant.
The transition to a low-carbon future will be a complex process. Alternatives will take significant time and sustained investment to meet the rising global energy demand.
Aramco signs $15.5bn gas pipeline deal with global consortium led by BlackRock
RIYADH: Saudi Aramco signed a $15.5 billion lease and leaseback deal involving its gas pipeline network with a consortium led by BlackRock Real Assets and Hassana Investment Co., said a statement.
Considered to be one of the largest energy infrastructure deals, it represents Aramco’s asset optimization program and is the second such infrastructure transaction by Aramco this year after the closing of the oil pipeline infrastructure deal earlier in June 2021.
Upon completion of the gas pipeline transaction, Aramco will receive upfront proceeds of $15.5 billion, further strengthening its balance sheet, the statement added.
Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, said: “BlackRock is pleased to work with Saudi Aramco and Hassana on this landmark transaction for Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure. Aramco and Saudi Arabia are taking meaningful, forward-looking steps to transition the Saudi economy toward renewables, clean hydrogen, and a net-zero future.”
As part of the transaction, a newly-formed subsidiary, Aramco Gas Pipelines Company, will lease usage rights in Aramco’s gas pipelines network and lease them back to Aramco for a 20-year period. In return, Aramco Gas Pipelines Company will receive a tariff payable by Aramco for the gas products that will flow through the network, backed by minimum commitments on throughput.
Aramco will hold a 51 percent majority stake in Aramco Gas Pipeline Company and sell a 49 percent stake to investors led by BlackRock and Hassana, which is the investment management arm of the General Organization for Social Insurance.
Saad Al-Fadly, CEO of Hassana Investment Company, added: “We are particularly excited about this deal as it comes in line with Hassana’s strategy to create enduring value for GOSI and further strengthen our long-lasting partnerships with strong and reputable players such as Aramco and BlackRock.”
According to the statement, Aramco will continue to retain full ownership and operational control of its gas pipeline network and the transaction will not impose any restrictions on Aramco’s production volumes.
Aramco CEO said: “With gas expected to play a key role in the global transition to a more sustainable energy future, our partners will benefit from a deal tied to a world-class gas infrastructure asset.”
The announcement follows a $12.4 billion lease and leaseback transaction concluded in June with a consortium led by EIG Global Energy Partners, which involved Aramco’s stabilized crude oil pipeline network.
Abdulaziz M. Al Gudaimi, Aramco Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, said: “We are pleased that we are concluding the second transaction, seeking long-term partners who understand and appreciate the industry.”
The gas pipeline transaction is expected to close as soon as practicable, subject to customary closing conditions, including any required merger control and related approvals.
Sudanese protest military coup, deal that reinstated PM
- Footage circulated on social media showed demonstrators marching in different locations in Khartoum and Omdurman
- In the western Darfur region, the death toll from tribal clashes over the weekend climbed to at least 48 people
CAIRO: Thousands of Sudanese took to the streets Monday in the capital of Khartoum and other cities in the latest protests against the October military coup and subsequent deal that reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
Footage circulated on social media purportedly showed demonstrators marching in different locations in Khartoum and its sister city of Omdurman. There were also protests in other cities, including Kassala, Sennar and Port Sudan.
Security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters marching in a street near the presidential palace in Khartoum, activist Nazim Sirag said. He said they also used heavy tear gas to break up a one-day sit-in protest in Khartoum’s district of Bahri. Around a dozen protesters suffered light injuries from tear gas canisters, he said.
In past rounds of demonstrations security forces used violence, including firing live ammunition at protesters, according to activists. At least 44 protesters were killed and hundreds were wounded since the coup, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which tracks protester deaths.
The Sudanese military seized power Oct. 25, dissolving the transitional government and arresting dozens of officials and politicians. The takeover upended a fragile planned transition to democratic rule more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir and his Islamist government.
Hamdok was reinstated last month amid international pressure in a deal that calls for an independent technocratic Cabinet under military oversight. The agreement included the release of government officials and politicians detained since the coup and the formation of an independent technocratic Cabinet led by Hamdok.
The deal, however, was rejected by the pro-democracy movement, which insists on handing over power to a civilian government to lead the transition. The protests came under the slogan of: “No negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing” with the military.
Monday’s protests were called by the Sudanese Professionals Association and the so-called Resistance Committees, which spearheaded the uprising against Al-Bashir and then the military coup.
Among the protesters’ demands are the restructuring of the military under civilian oversight, purging officers loyal to Al-Bashir and disbanding armed groups including the Rapid Support Forces.
“We will keep on using all peaceful means to reject and resist until the fall of the coup government and the return to the course of democratic transition,” said protester Dalia Mostafa, while taking part in a march in Khartoum.
The Rapid Support Forces are a paramilitary unit notorious for atrocities during the Darfur war and a 2019 massacre of protesters in Khartoum. They are led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who is also the deputy head of the ruling sovereign council.
Dagalo is seen as the co-architect of the coup along with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling body.
Relentless street demonstrations have put pressure on the military and Hamdok to take measures to calm angry protesters and gain their trust. Hamdok has yet to announce his Cabinet, which is likely to face opposition from the pro-democracy movement.
In televised comments over the weekend, Burhan described the deal that reinstated Hamdok as “a true start” for the democratic transition.
He said they were working on crafting a “new political charter” with the aim of establishing a broader consensus among all political forces and movements.
In the western Darfur region, meanwhile, the death toll from tribal clashes over the weekend climbed to at least 48 people, all of them shot dead, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee. It said dozens of others were wounded, some in critical condition.
The fighting grew out of a financial dispute late Saturday between two individuals in a camp for displaced persons in the Kreinik area in West Darfur province.
The clashes continued Sunday, with Arab militias known as janjaweed attacking the camp and torching and looting property, according to Adam Regal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur.
The clashes in Darfur pose a significant challenge to efforts by Sudan’s transitional authorities to end decades-long rebellions in some areas like war-wrecked region.
More attacks will happen, says UK’s top counterterrorism cop
- Neil Basu’s warning came during an inquiry into the 2017 bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester
- ‘I’m going to be very blunt about this: We won’t stop them happening again, they will happen again. We have to try and minimize or reduce the risk,’ he said
LONDON: Britain’s highest-ranking counterterrorism police officer has warned that despite improvements in the ways agencies collaborate to prevent terror attacks, they cannot stop them all and it is inevitable that there will be more.
The comment by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police Service came on Monday when he appeared at the inquiry into the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. Twenty-two people were killed, including a number of children, when 22-year-old suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert.
Basu, who serves as the National Police Chiefs Council lead for Counter Terrorism Policing, told the inquiry: “The horror of this makes you look very hard at, hopefully, preventing it ever happening again.”
But he added: “I’m going to be very blunt about this: We won’t stop them happening again, they will happen again. We have to try and minimize or reduce the risk and that means constantly trying to have a system that looks at improvement, no matter how busy we are.”
The inquiry into the attack in May 2017 is examining the activities of emergency services, including the police and intelligence agencies, in the lead-up to the attack.
Basu said the results of a joint police and MI5 review of a number of attacks that took place in 2017, including the arena bombing, were “humbling.” That review made 104 recommendations for improvements, four of which remain outstanding.
He added that cross-agency collaboration has improved since 2017 but that more work can yet be done to better align the work of agencies.
“We’re very close but we need to be closer still,” Basu said.
The inquiry also heard from Ian Fenn, the former headteacher of a Manchester school Abedi attended between 2009 and 2011. He said Abedi was not a good student and was, at times, “aggressive and rude” to teachers, and had been suspended for theft and for setting off fireworks.
However, there was “no indication,” Fenn added, that Abedi held extremist views at that time.
“He never came across as somebody who was opinionated, who was driven, that had an agenda,” he told the inquiry. “He was a typically lackluster child who drifted around.”
Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse
RIYADH: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi reconstituted the country’s central bank board on Monday, replacing the governor and the deputy governor amid an unprecedented collapse in the local currency.
Ahmed bin Ahmed Ghaleb Al-Maabqi was appointed as governor, and Muhammad Omar Banaja as his deputy, a presidential decree published by state news agency SABA said.