Lebanon in power deal with Jordan

Lebanon in power deal with Jordan
The deal is expected to supply Lebanon with two hours of power a day. (AFP)
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Updated 27 January 2022

Lebanon in power deal with Jordan

Lebanon in power deal with Jordan
  • The agreement is part of a wider plan to pump Egyptian gas to a power station in northern Lebanon

BEIRUT: Lebanon signed a deal on Wednesday to import electricity from Jordan through Syria after US assurances that the agreement was not in breach of sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria.
The deal is expected to supply Lebanon with two hours of power a day, double what is currently available from EDL, the state electricity generating company. Electricity from Jordan will cost Lebanon about $200 million a year.
“This is an important, historic moment for Lebanon ... not because of its impact but because of its symbolism,” Energy Minister Walid Fayad said. He said the deal was a “modest but very important agreement for the Lebanese people, who need every extra hour of electricity.”
Lebanon has not had 24-hour mains power since its civil war ended in 1990, but the country’s economic meltdown has led to power cuts of up to 23 hours a day, and most people have to rely on expensive private generators.


ANALYSIS: Lebanon’s new electricity deal with Syria and Jordan is a long way from being switched on 


The deal with Jordan was funded by the World Bank, and must be approved by Lebanon’s parliament. It is expected to be implemented in the next two months.
The agreement is part of a wider plan to pump Egyptian gas to a power station in northern Lebanon via a pipeline that runs through Jordan and Syria.
“The Jordanian electricity and Egyptian gas could provide around six hours of electricity,” energy policy consultant Jessica Obeid said.
However, she described the deals as “a quick fix that does not solve any of the sector’s problems, which are deeply rooted in politics and governance.”


Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand

Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand
Updated 6 min 50 sec ago

Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand

Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on Thursday beat market expectations for fourth-quarter revenue, powered by demand for its ecommerce and cloud services as lockdowns in the country’s biggest cities forced offices to shift to remote work.

US-listed Alibaba shares, which have lost roughly a third of their value so far this year, were up about 2 percent in premarket trading.

The e-commerce giant’s strong results come as Beijing extends support to its tech companies to avoid a hit from new COVID-19 outbreaks.

Demand for online services ranging from shopping to cloud-based products has skyrocketed in China as strict lockdowns prompt people to work, shop and keep themselves entertained from homes.

Overall, revenue rose 9 percent to 204.05 billion yuan ($30.35 billion) in the quarter.

Revenue in the cloud computing division rose 12 percent to 18.97 billion yuan in the reported quarter.

At the core commerce unit, its largest, revenue rose 8 percent to 140.33 billion yuan.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of 199.25 billion yuan, according to Refinitiv data.


Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis
Updated 12 min 48 sec ago

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis
  • The Kremlin says Ukraine had made commercial shipping impossible by mining its waters

LONDON: The Kremlin on Thursday said the West only had itself to blame for a brewing food crisis due to problems getting Ukraine’s grain out to world markets, demanding the United States and its allies scrap what it cast as illegal sanctions.

Besides the death and devastation sown by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the war and the West’s attempt to isolate Russia as punishment have sent the price of grain, cooking oil, fertilizer and energy soaring, hurting global growth.

The United Nations, which says a global food crisis is deepening, is trying to broker a deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports though Western leaders have blamed Russia for holding the world to ransom by blockading Ukrainian ports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected those accusations and said the West was to blame for the situation.

“We categorically reject these accusations and, on the contrary, accuse Western countries that they have taken a number of illegal actions that led to this,” Peskov told reporters.

“They (the West) must cancel those illegal decisions that prevent the chartering of ships, that prevent the export of grain, and so on” so that supplies can resume, Peskov said.

Russia has captured some of Ukraine’s biggest seaports and its navy controls major transport routes in the Black Sea, where extensive mining has made commercial shipping dangerous.

Sanctions have also made it hard for Russian exporters to access vessels to move commodities to global markets.

Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies.

Chicago wheat futures hit a record price in March on supply concerns, and are still up by 30 percent since Feb. 24.

Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, while Russia and Belarus — which has backed Moscow in the war and is also under sanctions — account for over 40 percent of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.

Time is running out to get some 22 million tons of grain out of Ukraine ahead of the new harvest as Russia continues to blockade the country’s Black Sea ports, Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniia Kravchuk said on Wednesday.

“We have about maybe a month and a half before we start to collect the new harvest,” she told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, adding there was not sufficient space to store the fresh harvest.

Ukraine has lost the ports of Kherson and Mariupol to Russian occupation, and fears Russia may try to seize a third, Odesa.

The Kremlin says Ukraine had made commercial shipping impossible by mining its waters.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is among those who have accused Moscow of using food exports as a weapon, while Kyiv has said Russia has stolen hundreds of thousands of tons of grain in areas their forces have occupied.
“Putin is trying to hold the world to ransom, and he is essentially weaponizing hunger and lack of food among the poorest people around the world,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said during a visit to Bosnia on Thursday.


UAE In-Focus — Dubai issues eight new customs policies and announces DubaiPay as a new payment method

UAE In-Focus — Dubai issues eight new customs policies and announces DubaiPay as a new payment method
Updated 5 min 59 sec ago

UAE In-Focus — Dubai issues eight new customs policies and announces DubaiPay as a new payment method

UAE In-Focus — Dubai issues eight new customs policies and announces DubaiPay as a new payment method

Dubai issues eight new customs policies and announces DubaiPay as a new payment method : UAE Wrap 

Eight new customs policies issued

Dubai Customs has issued eight new policies, in order to secure the flow of trade and facilitate the flow of goods and shipments to commercial markets without delay, according to a statement issued by the Dubai Media Office.

Over a period of time between January 2020 and April 2022, the Department of Tariff & Origin released eight major customs policies relating to passengers’ disclosures of currencies, negotiable financial instruments, precious metals and precious stones.

“These customs policies issued by the Tariff & Origin Department aim at the first place to facilitate trade by defining controls and procedures applied at Dubai Customs to implement customs measures related to trade agreements with member states that have agreements with the GCC countries,” said Ahmed Al-Khrousi, Director of Tariff & Origin Department in a statement.

The customs policies issued during this period dealt with enabling a country’s free trade agreements with other countries and determining the origin of its products for the purposes of applying non-preferential and preferential treatment to the originating products.

Additionally, the department established a customs policy which governs exchange conditions and controls for trade, as well as an Arab free trade zone, to facilitate the implementation of this agreement.

Furthermore, the organization released a customs policy on the conditions and controls for applying the Free Trade Agreement to the countries of the European Free Trade Association.

Additionally, the policies described the procedures for applying the TIR Carnet, which outlines how to deal with land-transported trade following TIR arrangements.

The TIR Carnet allows road transport of goods in transit between countries that are members of the TIR Convention without the payment of duties and taxes. 

Dubai announces DubaiPay as a new payment method for Al Ansari Exchange

DubaiPay’s payment services will be made available to Al Ansari Exchange users through its partnership with the Government of Dubai, represented by the Department of Finance (DoF) and Dubai Smart Government Establishment (DSG), according to a statement issued by the Dubai Media Office.

The agreement was signed by Wesam Al Abbas Lootah, CEO of DSG, Jamal Hamed Al Marri, executive director of Central Accounts at DoF, and Rashed A. Al Ansari, CEO of Al Ansari Exchange, at the headquarters of Digital Dubai.

Al Ansari Exchange, one of DubaiPay’s first private companies, will become one of the company’s service providers. DubaiPay is now available on Al Ansari Exchange’s mobile app as an alternative payment method.


Israel has never been held to account for its attack on USS Liberty 55 years ago, US vets say

Israel has never been held to account for its attack on USS Liberty 55 years ago, US vets say
Updated 21 min 29 sec ago

Israel has never been held to account for its attack on USS Liberty 55 years ago, US vets say

Israel has never been held to account for its attack on USS Liberty 55 years ago, US vets say
  • Survivors of USS Liberty attack demand Congressional hearing to investigate Israel’s killing of 34 Americans during the assault
  • Congress and US government are more concerned about protecting Israel than honoring the 34 servicemen killed and 173 wounded in the 1967 attack, survivors tell Arab News

CHICAGO: US military veteran survivors of the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty communications ship said on Wednesday that they were betrayed and “stabbed in their spine” by US government efforts to protect Israel and suppress details of the unprovoked assault.

Five survivors from the USS Liberty told Arab News that after the nearly two-hour long assault by Israel they were “threatened with imprisonment” if they spoke publicly about the attack, which took the lives of 34 American servicemen and injured 173.

The survivors, all decorated American veterans and now in their seventies, demanded that Congress allow them to testify at a public hearing on what they saw, saying Israel lied when it claimed its assault fighter jets, torpedo boats and attack helicopters did not recognize the Liberty as an American ship even though it was flying the US flag.

Former Liberty naval officer, Larry Bowen, said that the American public “deserves to know the truth” about what happened, not from the bureaucrats or the pro-Israel propagandists who have vilified the survivors and called them “anti-Semitic,” but from the American veterans who survived the Israeli assault.

 

 

“What we are all seeking from our government, and that is the truth. They have been covering it up for the past 55 years and there has been evidence come out over the years to prove that no way was it a mistaken identity. So, for me, I would like to see a full Congressional investigation calling on us Liberty veterans to provide testimony so they can get the truth,” said Bowen, president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association. “The Sixth Fleet didn’t come to the aid of the severely damaged Liberty until the next day,” he said.

“After the Sixth Fleet came to our aid the following day, we had an admiral come on board, Admiral Kid, and tell us we were never to talk about it with anyone. He threatened us with fines and imprisonment, or worse, if we did. And that was the story all the way along. Even when I came off the ship, I was flown to Norfolk Virginia for my next assignment and I had a lieutenant commander tell me the same thing, we were not talk to the news press. We were not to talk to our families, friends, relatives. We weren’t to say anything at all about the incident or we would be fined or imprisoned.”


Bowen received a Purple Heart for injuries suffered during the attack, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his sustained exceptional performance at the time. 

The survivors said that Israel’s attack was “brutal and unrelenting.” Israeli fighter jets dropped napalm on the bridge of the ship, and shot life rafts American sailors were trying to use to save wounded shipmates. The ship had 850 cannon rocket holes and was strafed by more than 5,000 armor-piercing bullets.

The attack began at about 2 p.m. off the coast of Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea. It continued for nearly two hours. 

Mickey LeMay, 73, who was a second-class electrician in charge of the electrical department on the Liberty, said that US forces did not come to their rescue until early the next afternoon. They accused the US Navy and Israel of wanting the ship and the evidence of the attack to sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. The US was embarrassed and Israel wanted the attack covered up.

 

 

“We didn’t get any help from the United States until about 9 or 10 o’clock the next morning. The Russians came alongside and offered us help but nothing from the United States. They wanted us to sink. The American politicians wanted the Liberty sunk. They didn’t even send help from a doctor,” said LeMay, who still has 52 pieces of shrapnel in his body from the attack.

“Except for the Russians. They offered to stand by, and if we sunk they were going to pull the survivors out of the water.”

LeMay said he was ordered by senior officers not to speak about the incident to anyone.

Don Pageler, 76, a communications technician seriously wounded during the Israeli attack, was awarded the Presidential UNIT Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medals and National Defense Medal. He was shocked that no one came to their aid.

“The Navy did try to send us help. Captain Tully, captain of the Saragtoga, said that he had 16 planes, including 12 to 14 fighter bombers, to come to our aid within 15 minutes of giving our distress call but before they were out of sight (of the Saratoga) they were recalled,” Pageler said.

Phil Tourney, who received the Bronze Star for heroism for rescuing wounded shipmates, said that the award he received mentioned the injuries “but not the state that directed the attack, Israel.” The US Government did everything possible to save Israel from blame.

 

 

Asked if the US government was built on coverups or built on the constitution, Tourney said: “It’s worse than that. They didn’t just throw us under the bus. Israel and our own government put a knife in our spine. And to all Americans, just not us, but to all Americans, they put a knife in all of your spine by what they got away with. They care less about what happened to the USS Liberty. But we are not going to stop. We are still living. Look at these guys out here. We are old men. Well, these guys are. We are not giving up. We are here for a reason. Our dead shipmates didn’t have a chance to talk but we are talking for them and we will never forget them.”

The survivors said that despite Israel’s claims, the Liberty was flying a 5 x 8 foot American flag and that the Liberty had “all the markings” of an American vessel.

Bowen said that Liberty communications intercepted reports from the Israeli attackers saying that the ship was American, but they were told to continue the assault.

“The attack was intentional. They knew well in advance that we were the USS Liberty,” Bowen said. “There were at least a half dozen overflights early in the morning by the Israelis. It was a deliberate attack. They knew who we were.”

He said there is a conspiracy to cover up what Israel knew and why they attacked, adding that there never was a full or impartial investigation by Congress. The Navy conducted a quick court of inquiry and only interviewed 14 crew members. Anyone who criticized Israel in their testimony, he said, had their testimony redacted to remove criticism that pointed a finger at Israel.

“I think it is important for our American public to realize that Israel has a hold on our government. There is something that Israel is aware of to make it impossible for our congressmen to speak out against them (Israel),” Bowman said.

“We have tried over the past 55 years to go in and talk to various senators and congressmen about getting an investigation. And each time, if they are being honest, they will tell you that AIPAC gets more play than the USS Liberty will ever get because they fund a lot of the congressmen and senators and they will not bite the hand that feeds them. We as a country can’t allow a country like Israel to dictate what we can or can’t do.”

The USS Liberty Veterans Association completed its own report in 2000, which was presented to the US military for review with the request that Israel be charged with war crimes.

“They owe the families, the survivors, and most of all America, an apology. It was treason on the high seas by our own president Lyndon Baines Johnson. If the ship (Liberty) went down they were going to blame it on the Arab countries,” Ron Kukal said.

“We need accountability and transparency now that we haven’t gotten for the past 55 years.”

That request was summarily dismissed.

  • The Ray Hanania Radio Show is broadcast on the US Arab Radio Network and sponsored by Arab News live every Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST in Detroit on WNZK AM 690 and in Washington D.C. on WDMV AM 700. It is rebroadcast on Thursdays at 7 a.m. EST in Detroit on WNZK AM 690 radio and in Chicago at 12 noon on WNWI AM 1080.

 For the podcast and more information on the radio show visit:
 www.arabnews.com/RayRadioShow

Saudi Power Procurement Co. receives A1 rating from Moody's

Saudi Power Procurement Co. receives A1 rating from Moody's
Updated 42 min 35 sec ago

Saudi Power Procurement Co. receives A1 rating from Moody's

Saudi Power Procurement Co. receives A1 rating from Moody's

RIYADH: Saudi Power Procurement Co., the sole licensed principal buyer of electricity in Saudi Arabia, received an A1 rating from Moody's Investors Service on May 23.

The rating reflects SPPC’s low-risk profile, the transparency of its regulatory framework, and its ability to maintain a good liquidity profile despite the high seasonality of working capital, it said.

"The A1 issuer rating and stable outlook assigned to SPPC are aligned with that of the Government of Saudi Arabia, because of the company's very close integration into the public sector, with a clear public policy mandate that aligns SPPC's interests and objectives with those of the government," Moody's lead analyst on SPPC, Paul Feghaly, said.