UK will be 'hard-headed' to defend interests, will challenge 'malign acts': Foreign minister

UK will be 'hard-headed' to defend interests, will challenge 'malign acts': Foreign minister
US Australia and Great Britain flag. Aukus defense pact.
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Updated 19 September 2021

UK will be 'hard-headed' to defend interests, will challenge 'malign acts': Foreign minister

UK will be 'hard-headed' to defend interests, will challenge 'malign acts': Foreign minister
  • The pact has angered France as it saw Canberra ditch a multi-billion-dollar order for French submarines in favor of an alternative deal with Britain and the United States
  • The partners will use a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, from nuclear-powered submarines at first and then looking at artificial intelligence and quantum computing

Britain's new security pact with Australia and the United States (Aukus) shows its readiness to be "hard-headed" in defending its own interests, newly appointed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in an article published on Sunday.


The pact has angered France as it saw Canberra ditch a multi-billion-dollar order for French submarines in favor of an alternative deal with Britain and the United States. It has also riled China, the major rising power in the Indo-Pacific region.


"This is about more than foreign policy in the abstract, but delivering for people across the UK and beyond by partnering with like-minded countries to build coalitions based on shared values and shared interests," Truss wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.


"We will be working closer together to use a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, from nuclear-powered submarines at first and then looking at artificial intelligence and quantum computing. It shows our readiness to be hard-headed in defending our interests and challenging unfair practices and malign acts."


On Friday France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia on Friday after the contract's cancellation set off a diplomatic crisis citing the "exceptional gravity" of the matter.

Also speaking on Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said France would have known Australia had “deep and grave concerns” that a submarine fleet the French were building would not meet Australian needs,  

France accused Australia of concealing its intentions to back out of the 90 billion Australian dollar ($66 billion) contract for French majority state-owned Naval Group to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines. He added the cancelled contract will cost his government at least AU$2.4 billion ($1.7 billion)


Saudi women comprise 50% of flyadeal’s cabin crew as it doubles its fleet

Saudi women comprise 50% of flyadeal’s cabin crew as it doubles its fleet
Updated 29 sec ago

Saudi women comprise 50% of flyadeal’s cabin crew as it doubles its fleet

Saudi women comprise 50% of flyadeal’s cabin crew as it doubles its fleet
  • Kingdom’s budget airline vows to promote, nurture local talent

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s budget airline flyadeal aims to nurture and promote local female talent as it's doubling its fleet by end of next year, its chief commercial officer told Arab News.
Ahmed Albrahim said the low-cost airline’s fleet contains 15 A320 narrowbodies, and it will continue to receive more aircraft of the A320 Neo class.
Albrahim expects the fleet to reach up to 30 aircraft by the end of 2022. 
The airline seeks to be the fastest-growing company in the region next year, he said.
He said that 50 percent of the airlines’ cabin crew consists of Saudi women and the number will continue to rise.
“We are very proud that we are creating jobs for our young Saudi talents, this year we recruited close to 130 females,” he said.
The airline seeks to empower Saudi women in the aviation industry, he added, saying: “We have the first chief people officer, which is a female, also the first female airport duty manager, and first female pilot.”
The low-cost airline launched its first direct flights from Jeddah to Dubai last week. The new route signaled the company’s first international journey from the airport.
A subsidiary of Saudia, flyadeal now operates six routes to the UAE daily — with the other five originating from Riyadh.
The aviation industry was worst hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 
In a report recently issued by the International Air Transport Association, total airline industry losses from 2020 to 2022 are expected to reach $201 billion despite a post-pandemic improvement.
Net losses are expected to come in at $11.6 billion in 2022 after a $51.8 billion loss in 2021, IATA said in its latest outlook for airline industry financial performance, showing improved results amid the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
Demand is expected to stand at 40 percent of 2019 levels for 2021, rising to 61 percent in 2022.
Albrahim admitted that the last two years had been bad for the industry. Likening it to the 2008 global financial crisis, he said during that time “people lost their spending power.”
“Back in 2008 when the world witnessed the financial crisis, people lost their spending power,” he said, It was a very tough time for everybody including airlines.
However, he added, the COVID-19 has changed people’s behaviors due to social distancing measures and airlines have to work out different strategies to ensure a smooth recovery. Albrahim said people now want all operations carried out electronically or “touchless.”  
Albrahim said this is putting pressure on all airlines. However, the airline official expressed optimism that the industry will recover and the flyadeal will grow from a “lean startup” into a key aviation player.
“We were able to recover a lot because we are domestic airlines, and because we are one of the very few airlines in the region that follows the low-cost carrier,” Albrahim said.


Egypt, Israel sign memorandum on gas supplies for re-export

Egypt, Israel sign memorandum on gas supplies for re-export
Updated 22 min 22 sec ago

Egypt, Israel sign memorandum on gas supplies for re-export

Egypt, Israel sign memorandum on gas supplies for re-export
  • The MoU also considers the possibility of using the existing pipeline between the two countries to transport hydrogen in future.

CAIRO: Egypt and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding to consider the possibility of increasing Israeli gas supplies to Egypt with the aim of re-exporting and using the pipeline between the two countries to transport hydrogen in the future.
Last year, Egypt and Israel announced the start of pumping Israeli gas to Egypt through the EastMed Gas Pipeline, with the purpose of liquefying it at Egyptian liquefaction stations and re-exporting it to Europe.
A statement issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum added that the agreement is part of efforts aimed at expanding the use of less polluting fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.
The MoU said that natural gas is a transitional fuel, as its use in the Eastern Mediterranean contributes to a significant reduction in emissions, especially after the sharp decline in the use of coal and petroleum in Egypt and Israel.
During the last few months, joint working groups from both countries held several meetings, during which a comprehensive review of the possibility of expanding natural gas supplies for re-export was conducted.
Tarek El Molla, Egyptian minister of petroleum and mineral resources, said that supporting joint cooperation in order to benefit from the natural resources in both countries is important.
Karine Elharrar, the Israeli minister of national infrastructures, energy and water resources, said Egypt is an important partner in achieving energy security in the region.


Sustainable fashion is not a trend, it’s a necessity, says e-commerce platform chief

Sustainable fashion is not a trend, it’s a necessity, says e-commerce platform chief
Updated 32 min 4 sec ago

Sustainable fashion is not a trend, it’s a necessity, says e-commerce platform chief

Sustainable fashion is not a trend, it’s a necessity, says e-commerce platform chief
  • E-commerce platform with environment at heart of its strategies

DUBAI: For many, sustainable fashion is an interest or trend. For the founders of global sustainable e-commerce platform Plain Tiger, it’s a necessity.
In the middle of the night, Oliver Baillie woke up in his new home in South Africa to find strange men in his house. He began thrashing, worried it was a robbery until his wife, Alexandra Baillie, explained it was the paramedics. He had had a seizure and needed to be taken to hospital immediately.
The prognosis wasn’t good; a brain tumor — with no prior symptoms – was the cause. Following surgery and treatment, it led to a year of healing practices for the entrepreneur, who had recently moved to Cape Town after a long career heading international operations at a leading British bank based in Dubai. 
“What I learned is that what’s good for the body is also good for the planet,” said Baillie, the co-founder and CEO, during the regional soft launch at the Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah in Dubai.

“A plain tiger is an orange butterfly found in the region and ‘they’ say seeing one signifies positive change. They kept landing on our conference room window as we were building the business. And so, we named the brand Plain Tiger: A global platform for conscious luxury lifestyle products.”
The first of its kind, the platform curates leading ethical and sustainable fashion, beauty and home decor brands from across the world. Many of the 185 brands are exclusively available through Plain Tiger in the Middle East and North Africa and represent the most carefully crafted products from over 20 countries across six continents. These are brands on the rise in cities like Paris, London, Milan, Sydney and New York.
“At a time when sustainability has such a strong focus in the region, it’s the perfect time to be launching in MENA,” said Baillie, who now moved back to Dubai with his wife. “Governments like those of the UAE and Saudi Arabia are driving positive change, and businesses are looking to improve their environmental impact.”  
Last month, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launched a Middle East Green Initiative, aimed at raising $10.4 billion for an investment fund and clean energy projects to reduce carbon emissions. Meanwhile, the UAE will play host to global climate summit COP 28 in 2023. The steps are in place and brands like Plain Tiger have a true opportunity to make a difference.
The brand is also launching a sustainability accelerator in the region, inviting local startups to assess their ethical practices at early stages of building their businesses.
“Sustainability is a buzzword that can be thrown around, but we have really stringent requirements for brands hosted on our e-commerce platform,” said Baillie.
At a time when many businesses are still setting strategies to become net zero, Plain Tiger has already secured a “climate positive” status. Each order made has a positive impact on the environment thanks to Plain Tiger’s three-part strategy: Conscious product curation, minimizing company carbon emissions, and offsetting double the remaining carbon emissions by investing in reforestation projects in Uganda and Brazil through their partnership with leading offset provider Pachama. 
Plain Tiger also has a 70 percent female team. The featured designers and manufacturers are all selected for their expertise in their craft and commitment to ethical and sustainable practices, often leveraging processes steeped in tradition and indigenous ingredients or materials. Transparency and traceability is key to Plain Tiger’s ethos. 
“We believe you should know the hands that made your products,”  said co-founder and director, Alexandra Baillie. Her background in luxury retail includes Estee Lauder, La Mer and The Four Seasons spas.
From the packaging to the material, any product purchased on the site holds a promise of ethical luxury. Add to that the passion of the founders and you’ve got powerhouse potential with a lot of heart, too.


China’s industrial profits growth accelerates in Oct

China’s industrial profits growth accelerates in Oct
Updated 38 min 13 sec ago

China’s industrial profits growth accelerates in Oct

China’s industrial profits growth accelerates in Oct

REUTERS: Profits at China’s industrial firms grew at a faster pace in October, the statistics bureau said on Saturday, providing a buffer for a faltering economy battered by soaring raw material prices.
Profits in October rose 24.6 percent from a year earlier to 818.7 billion yuan ($128.1 billion), the official data showed, quickening from a 16.3 percent gain reported in September.
For the January-October period, industrial firms’ profits rose 42.2 percent year-on-year to 7.2 trillion yuan, slower than a 44.7 percent rise in the first nine months of 2021.
The industrial profit data covers large firms with annual revenues of over 20 million yuan from their main operations.
Prices in China have surged amid a power crunch and Beijing has been trying to cool a red-hot market for coal.


Xiaomi to open electric vehicle plant in Beijing

Xiaomi to open  electric vehicle  plant in Beijing
Updated 40 min 9 sec ago

Xiaomi to open electric vehicle plant in Beijing

Xiaomi to open  electric vehicle  plant in Beijing

BEIJING: Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp. will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.
The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.
Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024.
In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.