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.


Warner Bros. Discovery and SRMG partner to launch ‘Asharq Discovery’

Warner Bros. Discovery and SRMG partner to launch ‘Asharq Discovery’
Updated 8 min 38 sec ago

Warner Bros. Discovery and SRMG partner to launch ‘Asharq Discovery’

Warner Bros. Discovery and SRMG partner to launch ‘Asharq Discovery’

DUBAI: Warner Bros. Discovery, the global leader in media and entertainment and SRMG, the MENA region’s largest media group, announced today their long-term partnership to launch ‘Asharq Discovery’, a new free-to-air (FTA) Arabic language channel, exclusively for audiences in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Asharq Discovery will be the newest addition to SRMG's fast-growing media and international offerings.

The new FTA channel will be an authentic gateway connecting MENA-wide audiences to the world and global viewers to the region, offering compelling content, enriching experiences, and memorable stories that allow audiences a step outside their established media consumption habits.

The partnership upholds Warner Bros. Discovery's MENA expansion strategy and SRMG's growth strategy, brought together by a shared goal of diversifying content and improving its accessibility, and to help propel MENA's maturing entertainment industry to become one of the largest globally.

"The MENA's entertainment industry has been undergoing an incredible transformation and exponential growth, posing great potential and offering immense opportunities for content players and consumers. Having established our Discovery brand in linear channels and successfully launching our non-fictional streaming service discovery+ last year, we believe launching a new FTA channel in MENA with the homegrown powerhouse, SRMG is a solid step for us to build a 360 ecosystem of entertainment. This partnership will also support our MENA business development strategy to increase our presence in KSA," says Jamie Cooke, GM CEE, Middle East & Turkey.

“Our new strategic collaboration with Warner Bros Discovery will further bolster our ability to deliver dynamic, innovative, and exciting Arabic content, through new multiple formats and platforms. This partnership is a further demonstration of SRMG’s unrelenting focus and commitment to its consumer-centric approach; bringing our audiences engaging and premium content - when, where and how they want it. Discovery has an unrivaled legacy of producing cutting-edge, high-quality documentaries. We look forward to working together to deliver co-commissioned quality content, provide new job opportunities and best-in-class training, as well as tap into a new global network for our growing audiences,” says Jomana Al Rashid, SRMG CEO.

Asharq Discovery will offer audiences unparalleled real-life entertainment with thousands of hours' worth of premium content, including originals, premiers and exclusives, across a wide selection of genres spanning pop science and engineering, motoring and turbo, wildlife and nature, adventure and travel, reality and lifestyle, crime mystery documentaries.  In addition, Warner Bros. Discovery and SRMG have earmarked co-productions of high-quality local programming, to be distributed globally through the Discovery Global network – thus adding more cultural and market relevance to the mix.

‘Asharq Discovery’ launch-related forward planning and necessary steps are currently underway, with the aim for it to be available to end-users in MENA, during the course of 2023, through broadcast, streaming and third-party local apps, with a catch-up facility available on over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

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Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 
Updated 36 min 47 sec ago

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

RIYADH: The Central Bank of Kuwait has named Sahar Al-Rumaih as its deputy governor in a first-ever such appointment of a woman to this position in the Gulf state.

Al-Rumaih, who was the deputy CEO for corporate banking at Ahli Bank of Kuwait, replaced Yousef Al-Obaid as his term had expired, according to Bloomberg. 

With this new appointment, the central bank’s board now includes two women. 

This comes following a similar development in Saudi Arabia in June when the Kingdom’s Central Bank named Sheila Al-Rowaily, who worked as a financier with Saudi Aramco, as its first woman board of directors. 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has focused on women’s empowerment and workforce, with efforts directed towards increasing female employment in diplomatic and governmental services. 

Women joining the workforce in Saudi Arabia has been a key development of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 social and economic reforms, which has seen their participation jump from 19 percent in 2016 to 33 percent last year.


Suspected German ‘fans’ attack pub customers before Wembley clash with England

Suspected German ‘fans’ attack pub customers before Wembley clash with England
Updated 45 min 11 sec ago

Suspected German ‘fans’ attack pub customers before Wembley clash with England

Suspected German ‘fans’ attack pub customers before Wembley clash with England
  • About 100 males, many wearing masks, approached the pub in Wembley
  • Punches and projectiles including traffic cones were thrown

LONDON: Scores of suspected German football fans attacked customers at a London pub ahead of England’s 3-3 Nations League draw with Germany on Monday, injuring several people, three seriously, police said.
About 100 males, many wearing masks, approached the pub in Wembley, near where the stadium where the match was held, and assaulted customers in the beer garden, police said.
“While a number of the group were wearing England hats and scarves, it is believed they were German ‘fans’,” a police statement said.
“The group entered the beer garden of the pub and began assaulting customers, most of whom were in the area to attend the England vs Germany match. Punches and projectiles including traffic cones were thrown.
“Officers responded and the group fled. The disorder lasted for around two minutes.”
The police said “a number of people” sustained head and facial injuries, with three suffering serious leg, wrist and thumb injuries. Four people were arrested.
“None of those injured are believed to be in a life-threatening condition,” the statement added.


Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies
Updated 5 min 47 sec ago

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

RIYADH: The US Federal Reserve’s most aggressive interest hikes since the 1980s have pulled several currencies across the world to new lows.

On Sept. 21, the US Federal Reserve hiked the short-term interest rates by 75 basis points to 3 to 3.25 percent.

Since the announcement, several investors took their money out of other markets to invest in the US, thus pulling global financial markets to a state of volatility.

The Chinese onshore yuan is sliding toward 7.2 per dollar, down 10.9 percent from the same date last year, while the People’s Bank of China is setting up defenses to protect the currency, according to Reuters data.

On Sept. 26, the Indian rupee plunged 8.7 percent year-to-date to an all-time low of 81.67 against the US dollar.

Soon after the Fed hike, the British pound started falling, and it reached an all-time low on Sept. 26 before showing signs of recovery. The fall of the British pound is also due to the tax cuts announced by the new Liz Truss government.

At one point on Monday, the pound sank as low as $1.0327, surpassing the previous record low reached in 1985, before recovering some of its value. 

The Pakistan rupee also nosedived following the Fed hike, with one US dollar now equal to 233.79 Pakistani rupees.

Other major currencies like the Egyptian pound and the Australian dollar fell 19.5 percent and 11.1 percent year-to-date respectively.

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Tuesday the Federal Reserve will need to raise interest rates to a range between 4.50 percent and 4.75 percent.

The Kingdom’s currency has dipped just 0.2 percent against the US dollar compared to the same date last year, in contrast to other markets.


Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund
Updated 27 September 2022

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

RIYADH: Riyad REIT Fund has invested SR62 million ($17 million) in a private closed-end real estate fund that is income-generating and Shariah-compliant, according to a bourse filing.

The private fund, which is managed by Riyad Capital, seeks to achieve stable current income and long-term capital growth by investing in top-tier institutional real estate assets located in prime Saudi Arabian locations.

The private real estate fund has a target size of SR3 billion, and the initial closing amount is SR315 million.

The fund has a term of 20 years that can be extended for an additional five years.

The investment will generate 8.5 percent per year in return over a five-year period if it is invested semi-annually, it added.