Hezbollah brings Iranian fuel into Lebanon, Al-Manar TV says

Hezbollah brings Iranian fuel into Lebanon, Al-Manar TV says
Vehicles ride near a banner depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the first truck carrying Iranian fuel is expected to reach Lebanon today, near the Lebanese-Syrian border, in Lebanon. (Reuters)
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Updated 16 September 2021

Hezbollah brings Iranian fuel into Lebanon, Al-Manar TV says

Hezbollah brings Iranian fuel into Lebanon, Al-Manar TV says
  • The decision to import fuel marks an expansion of the role played by the Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Hezbollah began bringing Iranian fuel into Lebanon via Syria on Thursday, a move the Shiite group says aims to ease a crippling energy crisis but which its opponents have said exposes the country to the risk of US sanctions.
Quoting its correspondent, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV said a convoy of around 20 tanker trucks carrying Iranian fuel oil had entered Lebanon. The Iran-backed Hezbollah has said the ship carrying the fuel docked in Syria on Sunday.
The trucks crossed into northeastern Lebanon near the village of Al-Ain, where a banner declared that Hezbollah had broken a “siege” on Lebanon.
“Thank you Iran. Thank you Assad’s Syria,” declared another banner, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The energy crisis is a result of a financial meltdown that has devastated the Lebanese economy since 2019, sinking the currency by some 90 percent and sending more than three quarters of the population into poverty.
Fuel supplies have dried up because Lebanon does not have enough hard currency to cover even vital imports, forcing essential services including some hospitals to scale back or shut down and sparking numerous security incidents.
The decision to import fuel marks an expansion of the role played by the Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, where critics have long accused the heavily armed group that has fought wars with Israel of acting as a state within the state.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday the ship had docked in Syria to avoid harming Lebanon and to avoid embarrassing some of its allies, an apparent reference to the sanctions risk.
Washington has reiterated that US sanctions on Iranian oil sales remain in place, but it has not said whether it is considering imposing measures against Lebanon over the move by Hezbollah.
Washington designates Hezbollah as a terrorist group and has also targeted it with sanctions.
The United States, a big supplier of humanitarian and military aid to Lebanon, is backing a plan to ease the energy crisis using Egyptian natural gas piped via Jordan and Syria. The US ambassador has said Lebanon does not need Iranian fuel.
Nasrallah has said a second ship with fuel oil would arrive in the Syrian port of Baniyas in a few days, with a third and fourth, respectively carrying gasoline and fuel oil, also due.


Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF

Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 15 min 6 sec ago

Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF

Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF
  • The reason the IMF gave this assessment is that the hikes in consumer prices didn’t turn into wage increases

Despite inflation hitting a record high last month in the euro area, the International Monetary Fund said that the rise in prices is transitory and not worrisome.

Annual inflation rate in the zone reached 4.9 percent in November, Reuters reported.

The reason the IMF gave this assessment is that the hikes in consumer prices didn’t turn into wage increases, also known as the second-round effect.

It pointed out that, meanwhile, monetary policy should remain loose.

The international lender also stated that governments in the euro area should continue backing their economies to overcome the adverse effects initiated by the pandemic. The organization added that fiscal consolidation is not urgent, but its plans should be readily available now.

“Policies should remain accommodative but become increasingly targeted, with a focus on mitigating potential rises in inequality and poverty,”the IMF said.

I took a quote from the source since it's reuters.


Instagram reveals new features to protect teens and support parents online

Instagram reveals new features to protect teens and support parents online
Updated 16 min 14 sec ago

Instagram reveals new features to protect teens and support parents online

Instagram reveals new features to protect teens and support parents online
  • Move comes after the social media platform came under scrutiny

DUBAI: Instagram has announced new additions to its safety features for teens, which will be rolled out next year.

The move comes after the social media platform came under scrutiny following research that was revealed by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on how the platform affects teens.

The leaked research documents showed that 32 percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse; 13.5 percent of teen girls said Instagram makes thoughts of suicide worse and 17 percent of teen girls said Instagram makes eating disorders worse.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post: “Every day I see the positive impact that Instagram has for young people everywhere. I’m proud that our platform is a place where teens can spend time with the people they care about, explore their interests, and explore who they are.

“I want to make sure that it stays that way, which means above all keeping them safe on Instagram.”

The new features seek to implement tighter controls on what is recommended to teens, barring people from tagging or mentioning teens who don’t follow them, nudging teens towards different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a long time, and tightening controls on search, explore, hashtags and suggested accounts recommendations. Teens will also be able to bulk delete content they have posted.

The new features aim to help parents to be more involved in their teens’ Instagram experience, starting March 2022, Mosseri said. Instagram has created an educational hub for parents and guardians, which will include additional resources, such as product tutorials and tips from experts, to help them discuss social media use with their teens.

In addition, Instagram is piloting a tool that will give teens the option to notify their parents if they report someone, thereby providing their parents the opportunity to talk about it with them.

Mosseri announced the launch of “Take a Break,” a new feature for teens, in US, UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It is not being launched in the Middle East currently but will be introduced later as part of a phased rollout.

If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, Instagram will ask them to “take a break” from the platform and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future. Instagram said early test results seem to be promising with 90 percent of teens keeping the reminders on once they set them.

“As always, I’m grateful to the experts and researchers who lend us their expertise in critical areas like child development, teen mental health and online safety, and I continue to welcome productive collaboration with lawmakers and policymakers on our shared goal of creating an online world that both benefits and protects many generations to come,” Mosseri said.


Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies

Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies
Updated 17 min 40 sec ago

Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies

Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies

JEDDAH: Bahrain aims to reduce government ownership in listed companies, the CEO of the Bahrain Bourse has said.

The country aims to list more governmental companies to encourage the private sector to follow the lead. 

At least two governmental firms are currently close to listing, including the Bahrain Airport Company,  Khalifa Al Khalifa added in an interview with Al Arabiya.

Bahrain Bourse has also reached an agreement with Abu Dhabi to facilitate direct trading between the two markets.

It is also implementing a four year strategy ending in 2026, to develop the financial market sector by listing more companies, including small and medium-size enterprises, Al Arabiya reported.


Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns

Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 24 min 47 sec ago

Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns

Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns
  • Meanwhile, companies made offers on Monday to buy crude oil released from US strategic reserves

JEDDAH: Oil prices rose to $70 a barrel earlier on Dec. 7, as concerns eased about market demand and as fears of the omicron variant waned, Bloomberg reported.

Brent crude futures were up $1.66, or 2.3 percent, at $74.74 a barrel by 1005 GMT, after settling 4.6 percent higher on Monday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $71.30 a barrel, up $1.81, or 2.6 percent, building on a 4.9 percent gain in the previous session.

At the weekend, Saudi Arabia increased the cost of its crude for buyers in Asia and the US, signaling that it still sees strong demand despite the wave of restrictions by various national governments in response to the latest variant of the COVID-19.

Meanwhile, companies made offers on Monday to buy crude oil released from US strategic reserves, according to Bloomberg.

The winning bids for the first 32 million barrels will be announced on Dec. 14. 


At least two oil refiners have expressed interests. 

The US release of crude is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to control gasoline prices, Bloomberg said.


UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise

UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise
Updated 29 min 48 sec ago

UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise

UAE bank credit falls for first time since May; deposits rise

Gross credit in the UAE declined by a monthly rate of 0.8 percent in October to hit 1.76 trillion dirhams ($480 billion) on falls in both domestic and foreign credit, according to data published by the country’s central bank.  

The October decline in gross credit is the largest since March and is in contrast to September's performance, when it rose 0.3 percent month-on-month. 

Domestic credit went down due to drops related to the government, public, and private sectors. Credit provided to non-banking financial institutions rose by 2.7 percent, the central bank said in a press release issued Dec. 6.

In September, domestic credit increased by 0.2 percent to 1.6 trillion dirhams, while foreign credit, which includes loans, trade bills and advances to non-resident companies other than banks, grew 0.8 percent to 164.4 billion dirhams. 

Bank deposits in the UAE went up by a monthly rate of 1.3 percent in October to hit 1.97 trillion dirhams. This was the fifth consecutive month of growth and is the highest monthly rate since June.

This was mainly attributed to a 1.7 percent rise in residential deposits, offsetting a 1.7 percent drop in non-residential deposits. 

Outside of residential deposits, government and public sectors experienced the highest increases, jumping by 5.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively. At the same time, private sector deposits edged up slightly, rising by only 0.6 percent.

The monthly rate of growth in deposits accelerated from 0.7 percent recorded in September when resident deposits grew 0.3 percent to 1.7 trillion dirhams while non-resident deposits jumped 3.7 percent to 243.2 billion dirhams.    

The central bank also said that the gross banks’ assets increased by 0.7 percent in October when compared to the previous month. The balance stood at 3.27 trillion dirhams by the end of the month.

The UAE’s monetary base, which includes currency issued and bank reserves among others, grew by 1.3 percent month-on-month in October. This was driven by widenings in both issued currency and banks’ current accounts and overnight deposits with the central bank.

Moreover, M1, a monetary aggregate encompassing currency outside banks and short-term monetary deposits, underwent a 0.5 percent monthly increase in October. This was attributed to jumps in both of its components.

Additionally, a wider measure of money, M2, rose by 0.8 percent on more quasi-monetary deposits and a higher M1. Quasi-monetary deposits consist of residential time and savings deposits in local currency in addition to residential deposits in foreign currencies.

Similarly, M3 increased due to larger government deposits as well as higher M1 and M2.