Iraq extends Lebanon fuel deal for 1 year

With the government unable to provide fuel to public power plants, most homes in the country have been left without state-provided electricity for around 22 hours every day.
With the government unable to provide fuel to public power plants, most homes in the country have been left without state-provided electricity for around 22 hours every day.
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Updated 11 August 2022

Iraq extends Lebanon fuel deal for 1 year

Iraq extends Lebanon fuel deal for 1 year

BEIRUT: Iraq’s government has agreed to continue supplying Lebanon’s electricity company with heavy fuel oil for another year, Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister said on Thursday, alleviating pressure on Lebanon’s struggling power grid.

Najib Mikati said he had made the request to Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhemi, who agreed to extend the same terms of the agreement signed last year.

In July 2021, Iraq offered the cash-strapped Lebanese government 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil a year in exchange for services including healthcare for Iraqi citizens.

The deal was meant to alleviate Lebanon’s acute power shortage, which last summer reached crisis levels when the government was unable to subsidize fuel imports.

Lebanon subsequently removed those subsidies and domestic fuel prices skyrocketed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine then further bumped up international prices this year.

With the government unable to provide fuel to public power plants, most homes in the country have been left without state-provided electricity for around 22 hours every day.


UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday

UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday
Updated 3 min 56 sec ago

UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday

UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday
  • Rashid rover will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, tomorrow (Nov.30)
  • If the lunar mission succeeded, the UAE would be the fourth country to land on the moon.

DUBAI: The UAE has completed the final preparations to launch its rover to the moon in the Arab world’s first lunar mission, it was announced on Tuesday.

Rashid rover will blast off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, embarking on a five-month journey to the moon.

In a statement, Japan-based ispace inc. announced it had completed the integration of its HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander into the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

“We are pleased to have finished the first phase of the Mission 1 with the final preparations before launch completed,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO of ispace.

“To do this, we utilized a design and development model that balanced reliability and low costs by employing proven technologies and components from around the world,” he added.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) invited viewers from all over the world to watch the launch live at 12:39pm UAE time (GMT+4).

 

 

The rover will land on the “unexplored moon surface at Atlas Crater, on the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris (“Sea of Cold”)” in April 2023, the center said.

“The target site criteria were carefully considered by the Emirates Lunar Mission Team, including the duration of continuous sun illumination and communication visibility from Earth,” the MBRSC said in a statement. Once launched, the integrated spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the moon rather than a direct approach.

If the lunar mission succeeded, the UAE would be the fourth country to land on the moon.

The 10kg Rashid rover will study the properties of lunar soil, mobility on the lunar surface, the petrography and geology of the moon, dust movement, and study surface plasma conditions and the moon’s photoelectron sheath.

It will send data and images back to Earth, using two high-resolution cameras: Microscopic, and thermal imaging ones, said the mission’s team.

The lunar mission was the latest of the UAE’s effort in space exploration. Earlier in February 2021, the UAE made history by landing its Hope probe to Mars, becoming the first Arab nation to launch an unmanned mission to the red planet.


Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal

Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal
Updated 18 min ago

Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal

Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal

RIYADH: Emaar The Economic City has announced the sale of an industrial plot to Ceer National Automotive Co. to build a specialized factory for electric vehicles in a move that will create thousands of high-skilled jobs. 

The deal was valued at SR359.04 million ($95.53 million), which Ceer will pay Emaar EC in installments over 15 years, the company said in a statement to Tadawul. The asset book value stood at SR19 million. 

Once complete, the manufacturing facility will create thousands of direct and indirect high-skilled jobs, the majority of which will be filled by Saudi nationals. Construction at the site will begin in early 2023. 

Ceer, the first Saudi electric vehicle brand, was announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the beginning of November, and will see EVs designed, manufactured, and sold to consumers in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and North Africa region.

“We have found a place that meets all our needs. KAEC offers us a great location with world-class logistics, effective access for our global and Saudi-based suppliers, and an ideal location to develop our future workforce,” said Ceer CEO James DeLuca in a press statement. 

According to a Ceer press release, the site in Industrial Valley near King Abdullah Port in KAEC will cover over 1 million square meters. 

The factory will feature the latest technologies to ensure manufacturing efficiency while minimizing energy and water usage, making it a zero-waste-to-landfill site. 

Ceer, a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn, will license component technology from BMW to design and build vehicles, including sedans and sport utility vehicles in the Kingdom. 

Foxconn will develop the electrical architecture of the vehicles, resulting in a portfolio of products that will lead in infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies. 

The establishment of Ceer comes in line with the PIF strategy to focus on unlocking the capabilities of promising sectors in the Kingdom, including the automotive industry and creating opportunities for the growth and diversification of its economy. 


Fernandes believed Ronaldo had scored first goal against Uruguay

Fernandes believed Ronaldo had scored first goal against Uruguay
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Portugal's first goal with Bruno Fernandes during the Qatar World Cup Group H match. AFP
Updated 29 November 2022

Fernandes believed Ronaldo had scored first goal against Uruguay

Fernandes believed Ronaldo had scored first goal against Uruguay
  • “I celebrated as if it had been Cristiano’s goal, it seemed to me that he had touched the ball, my aim was to cross the ball for him,” Fernandes said
  • Portugal coach Fernando Santos chose to praise the whole team instead of focusing on Fernandes

DOHA: Bruno Fernandes said he thought Cristiano Ronaldo had scored Portugal’s opener in their 2-0 win over Uruguay on Monday even though he was credited with the goal.
The Manchester United midfielder’s cross toward Ronaldo flew straight in but the veteran striker was a whisker away from making contact with the ball.
Fernandes added the second from the penalty spot late on after Uruguay were penalized for handball and he was chosen as man of the match.
The win guaranteed Portugal’s progress to the last 16 in Qatar.
“I celebrated as if it had been Cristiano’s goal, it seemed to me that he had touched the ball, my aim was to cross the ball for him,” Fernandes said.
“What’s important is that we were able to go to the next round and (secure) a very important win against a very tough opponent.”
Fernandes warned that Portugal would have to be at their best in their final group match on Friday against South Korea, with a point enough to guarantee them top spot in Group H.
“We know we will find a very organized team in front of us with a huge skill-set, as we’ve seen in their last matches,” added Fernandes.
“We’ve played at different times and that has allowed us to watch South Korea play. Our objective is to win every match, and we have one ahead of us.”
Portugal coach Fernando Santos chose to praise the whole team instead of focusing on Fernandes.
“I think it’s the result of the team’s work,” said Santos. “If the team does not play well then the player himself will not have a good performance.
“I think in the first two games, the team has played well. Diogo Costa (the Portugal goalkeeper) saved two important shots, so I don’t think we should be focusing on individual players.”


Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister

Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister
Updated 29 November 2022

Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister

Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is offering investment opportunities worth $6 trillion in the travel and tourism sector through to 2030, as the Kingdom steadily pursues its journey to emerge as a global tourist destination by the end of this decade, according to the Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb. 

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 29, Al-Khateeb said that collective action globally is required to combat the challenges in the tourism sector. 

“We built our tourism industry against the backdrop of a global disaster (COVID-19 pandemic). And we now have $6 trillion of investment opportunities through 2030,” said Al-Khateeb. 

He added: “We value collaboration, we have proved that it will work. Our shared commitment to partnerships will drive the global industry forward. Saudi Arabia is reimagining tourism, making use of the power of partnership and ensuring that no one is left behind.” 

Al-Khateeb noted that he is proud of Saudi Arabia’s achievements, both as a rapidly developing destination and as a global partner driving change across the travel and tourism sector. 

“As the travel and tourism sector recovers stronger, we must put people and the planet first, at the very center of every decision we take,” he said. 

The minister further noted that the travel and tourism industry will create 126 million new jobs in the next decade globally, which means one in every three new jobs created will be from the tourism sector. 

Reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s commitment toward the industry and the young population in the nation, Al-Khateeb pointed out that the Kingdom is training 100,000 people annually to work in the tourism sector. 

Arnold Donald, chairman of WTTC, said that Saudi Arabia is evolving rapidly as a tourist destination. 

“This is my third visit to Saudi Arabia within the last 14 months, and each visit has been very impressive when compared to my previous visit. Saudi Arabia’s bold ambitions embody the region’s drive and energy in the travel and tourism sector,” said Donald. 

He added: “This is a Kingdom that aspires to become one of the top 5 tourist destinations in the world, welcoming 100 million domestic and international travelers a year.” 

Donald said the public and private sectors are working together in pursuit of a common goal in Saudi Arabia, which is an example to the entire world. 

“Partnership across the public and private sectors should come first to push forward the action that will benefit all,” added Donald. 

For her part, Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC said that investments worth $800 billion are happening in the travel and tourism sector of Saudi Arabia now, and that is the biggest ever in the history of the industry. 

She also added that the travel and tourism sector will witness tremendous growth over the next decade. 

“Travel and tourism sector will outpace global growth over the next decade. We will be growing at a rate of 5.8 percent annually, but globally GDP will grow 2.8 percent,” said Simpson. 

During her speech, Simpson also announced the launch of the world’s first environmental and social impact report for travel and tourism, describing it as a “groundbreaking piece of research that allows us to measure and track the sector's footprint.”

She also highlighted the necessity to embrace sustainable aviation fuel to reduce emissions in the transport sector. 

“In 2019, transport accounted for 38 percent of emissions. It is critical to ensure wide scale availability of sustainable aviation fuel,” added Simpson.


NATO chief says alliance won’t back down on Ukraine aid

NATO chief says alliance won’t back down on Ukraine aid
Updated 29 November 2022

NATO chief says alliance won’t back down on Ukraine aid

NATO chief says alliance won’t back down on Ukraine aid
  • NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest are focusing on ramping up military assistance for Ukraine such as air defense systems and ammunition

BUCHAREST: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said the alliance would not pull back in its support for Ukraine, calling on partners to pledge more winter aid for Kyiv as it braced itself for more cold and darkness due to Russian attacks on infrastructure.
NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest are focusing on ramping up military assistance for Ukraine such as air defense systems and ammunition, even as diplomats acknowledge supply and capacity issues, but also discuss non-lethal aid as well.
Part of this non-lethal aid — goods such as fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers — has been delivered through a NATO assistance package that allies can contribute to and which Stoltenberg aims to increase.
“Nato will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down,” Stoltenberg said in a speech in Bucharest.
“The main focus is supporting Ukraine and ensuring President (Vladimir Putin) doesn’t win,” he said, adding that the only way to get the right terms for a negotiation to begin would be for Ukraine to advance on the battlefield.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned his fellow citizens of new Russian attacks this week that could be as bad as last week’s, the worst yet, which left millions of people with no heat, water or power.
Russia acknowledges attacking Ukrainian infrastructure. It denies its intent is to hurt civilians.
“It is going to be a terrible winter for Ukraine, so we are working to strengthen our support for it to be resilient,” a senior European diplomat said.
Germany, which holds the G7 presidency, also scheduled a meeting of the Group of Seven rich nations with some partners on the sidelines of the NATO talks as it presses for ways to speed up reconstructing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
Washington had been working with US utilities and hardware providers and with European nations to locate equipment that can help restore high-voltage transmission stations damaged by Russian missile strikes, senior State Department official told reporters.
The official did not specify what form the assistance would take or how much it would be worth.
France and Germany have said they are sending more than 100 power generators each to help stabilize the electricity grid.
“The reason Russia is continuing these war crimes is because it is losing ground,” a French official said, referring to the attacks on civilian infrastructure.
WEAPONS’ CRUNCH?
On the military side, NATO keeps pushing weapons manufacturers to accelerate production but a second diplomat cautioned there were increasing problems with supply capacity.
“We are doing the maximum we can on deliveries, but there is a real problem. The Ukrainians know it. Even the US weapons industry despite its strength is having issues,” the diplomat said.
Ministers will also discuss Ukraine’s application for NATO membership. But they are likely to only confirm the alliance’s open-door policy while NATO membership still appears far away.
In 2008, a NATO summit at the same Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, built under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu who was toppled in 1989, agreed that Ukraine would eventually become a member of the alliance.
However, leaders have stopped short of taking any concrete steps such as giving Ukraine a membership action plan that would lay out a timetable for bringing it closer to NATO.
Georgia, Moldova and Bosnia will also attend the meeting on Wednesday as the alliance looks to strengthen ties with the countries amid fears Russia is seeking to destabilize states beyond Ukraine.
NATO ministers will also talk about how to strengthen the resilience of society, days after Stoltenberg warned Western nations must be careful not to create new dependence on China as they wean themselves off Russian energy supplies.