This business classic written by longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks is an insightful and engaging look into corporate and financial life in America, says a review published on goodreads.com.
Stories about Wall Street are infused with drama and adventure and reveal the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance.
Brooks’ insightful reportage is so full of critical detail that whether he is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962 or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, one gets the sense that history really does repeat itself.
RSIFF title ‘Antidote’ sheds light on the challenges faced by Saudi musicians in the past
Updated 04 December 2023
JEDDAH: Saudi director Hassan Saeed is set to unveil his short film “Antidote” at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah and spoke to Arab News ahead of the screening to explain the themes he explores and why he chose to tell this story.
The 20-minute film tells the story of a young boy, Ali, who sets out with his father’s tape recorder to record a folk singer named Abu Hussain.
However, Abu Hussain loses his voice after undergoing throat surgery, and Ali reconnects with him through a previous recording. The deliberate use of silence surrounding Abu Hussain serves as a powerful motif, symbolizing his enduring struggle and passion for music, set against the challenges faced by Saudi musicians in the past.
Saeed said that he drew inspiration for “Antidote” from his formative years in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
“Having grown up in a society where musicians and music were not widely embraced, my goal was to portray the challenges encountered by underground musicians in the 1990s. The film intertwines a personal narrative with a broader cultural context, showcasing the unwavering determination and commitment of artists in the face of adversity,” he said.
The director is excited about showing his work to global audiences at the festival, which attracts participation from international industry figures.
“I firmly believe that our stories possess a unique quality, and through ‘Antidote,’ we can offer a fresh and captivating perspective to audiences worldwide. I anticipate the film resonating deeply with viewers, sparking meaningful conversations, and bridging cultural gaps,” he said.
“I am thrilled about the prospect of presenting ‘Antidote’ at the Red Sea Film Festival, as it offers an ideal setting to connect with international directors and producers who share a profound passion for cinema.”
Reflecting on his career as a filmmaker, Saeed said that growing up in a conservative society with limited access to cinema, his fascination with the art form began with a VHS camcorder in the late 1980s. This early exposure to capturing moments on film sparked his love for observing the world through a lens.
Saeed’s hope is that “Antidote” will allow audiences to connect with the characters and their struggles, and also spark an appreciation for local stories.
“The characters and their journeys are not limited to a specific culture or region; they represent universal experiences that can resonate with people from different backgrounds,” he said.
“Through my work, I hope to bridge cultural gaps and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Saudi culture.”
With its unique storytelling and cinematic style, “Antidote” stands out, particularly as a period piece set in the 1990s.
The film was made in collaboration with German director of photography Christoph Schumann, and has garnered widespread recognition, including two Golden Palm awards for best short film and best cinematography at the 2023 Saudi Film Festival.
Saeed said that through “Antidote” and future projects, he hopes to contribute to a “more comprehensive and accurate understanding of Saudi culture on a global scale.”
He added: “Film has the power to transcend boundaries and bring people together, and it is my mission to use this medium to tell meaningful and impactful stories.”
Saudi border guards thwart qat smuggling operation
Updated 12 min 46 sec ago
RIYADH: Saudi border guards in the Jazan region have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 180 kg of qat.
The illegal substance was confiscated, and several people arrested.
Qat is a flowering shrub native to the Arabian Peninsula, the leaves of which act as a stimulant when chewed.
Saudi security agencies have urged the public to report any information about drug smuggling or trafficking by calling 911 in Makkah, Riyadh, and the eastern regions, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom.
They can also contact the General Directorate of Narcotics Control by calling 995 or emailing [email protected]. All reports are treated with confidentiality.
Indonesia advances early closure of coal plant under ADB’s energy transition effort involving Pakistan
The deal, announced during the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, aims to cut global carbon emissions
ADB says it wants to support two other countries with energy transition under the same plan soon
Updated 04 December 2023
DUBAI: Indonesia and the Asian Development Bank have agreed a provisional deal with the owners of the Cirebon-1 coal-fired power plant to shutter it almost seven years earlier than planned, a principal energy specialist for climate change at the ADB told Reuters.
The deal, announced during the COP28 climate talks in Dubai on Sunday, is the first under the ADB’s Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) program, which aims to help countries cut their climate-damaging carbon emissions.
Supporting a $20 billion Just Energy Transition Partnership agreed last year that aims to bring forward the sector’s peak emissions date to 2030, the ADB hopes to replicate it across other countries in the region.
“If we don’t address these coal plants, we’re not going to meet our climate goals,” David Elzinga, ETM team leader, said on the sidelines of the conference.
“By doing this pilot transaction, we are learning what it takes to make this happen,” Elzinga said. “We’re very much shaping this as something we want to take to other countries.”
ADB also has active ETM programs in Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and is considering transactions in two other countries, it said.
Under the non-binding framework deal, signed by ADB, Indonesian state-owned power utility company PT PLN, independent power producer PT Cirebon Electric Power (CEP) and the Indonesia Investment Authority (INA), a power purchase agreement for the 660 megawatt plant — a key supplier to the capital Jakarta — will be ended in December 2035 instead of a planned date of July 2042.
As it only opened in 2012, the plant, operated by CEP, could have been expected to run for 40 or more years, so retiring it in 2035 would avoid over 15 years of greenhouse gas emissions from the site, the ADB said.
The deal is subject to due diligence, including assessing its impact on the environment, the company’s workers and society more broadly, and the broader electricity system, but is expected to close in the first half of 2024.
Oscar-nominated director Kaouther Ben Hania on challenges faced filming ‘Four Daughters’
Updated 45 min 23 sec ago
LOS ANGELES: After winning the L’Oeil d’or award for best documentary following its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s movie “Four Daughters” will now screen at Jeddah’s Red Sea International Film Festival.
Ben Hania is no stranger to critical acclaim and saw her 2020 feature "The Man Who Sold His Skin" nominated at the Academy Awards in the best international feature film category. Tunisia has now submitted her latest film in the same category for the 2024 Oscars, with the nominations yet to be announced.
She spoke to Arab News about the challenges involved in filming the flick.
She said: “It’s not about one scene or another. It’s about how to translate all the complexity of this story, all the layers of this story, because it’s a movie about motherhood.
“It’s a movie about transmission between generations, transmission of trauma also. It’s a movie about Tunisia. All those themes were very important to me.”
The film tells the true story of Olfa Hamrouni, a heart-broken Tunisian mother of four daughters. The two eldest, aged 15 and 16, disappear in 2015 after being radicalized by extremists.
Ben Hania started working on “Four Daughters” in 2016, when she first heard the story on the news in Tunisia.
“I started thinking about making a documentary about it. But when I met Olfa and her daughters, I thought that I could do a fly-on-the-wall documentary. It took me some years to come up with the actual form of the movie,” she added.
Professional actresses filled in for the missing sisters, while renowned Egyptian actress Hend Sabri replaced Hamrouni as memories started to weigh heavy on the mom. This created a unique hybrid of fiction and documentary in the co-production between Tunisia, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.
Day 5 of COP28: Saudi Green Initiative Forum begins
The 3rd edition of the forum will discuss critical sustainability, primarily energy transition, protecting the seas, and unlocking climate finance
Updated 3 min 56 sec ago
DUBAI: The Saudi Green Initiative Forum (SGI Forum) kicked off on Monday as COP28 continues to mobilize world leaders towards serious action against climate change.
Held under the slogan “From Ambition to Action”, the 3rd edition of the forum will discuss critical sustainability, primarily energy transition, protecting the seas, and unlocking climate finance to enable climate action at the UN climate Summit.
On balancing out carbon management: “What dictates what solution takes place depends a lot on the circumstances because at the end of the day when you select a solution it has to be the most economical for this location. There is no one path for every one.”
“When you are planning your power sector, you need a baseload and sometimes renewable energy could not provide that baseload and we have to be realistic about it what we’re planning moving forward. We do not see any competition, we believe that all these solutions are necessary moving forward, but what dictates the mix would be different from on country to another.”
“I believe we can work in terms of carbon capture and sequestration. I believe we can do a lot in terms of how we manage our lives and how we live, how we design our cities to reduce commuting time and to reduce pollution.”
“I believe our approach has to be comprehensive, not just in specific areas, there is room for reducing waste.”
“There is room for increasing efficiencies there is room for planting trees. There is room for combating desertification, there is room for combating plastics, there is room for carbon capture and sequestration.”
“I would say that the approach that we have used in Saudi Arabia is a whole of government all of society approach we don't believe that you can segment different areas we have to work, so to speak on all cylinders.”
“I believe that there's a need to provide resources to countries that have a lack of resources, and also providing them with expertise.”
“I believe we have the financial resources, I believe we're developing the political will in order to put in place ambitious policies and ambitious pathways towards achieving the objectives that we all aspire towards.”
“We have launched more than 80 programs and committed almost $200 billion, 186 to be precise on programs this far. We will continue to see what else we can do.”
“I would say the key elements are open dialogue and trust. And if we have an open dialogue and we have trust, and we can have a rational conversation about how they solve the problems and how we tackle the challenges that we're facing. We can come up with credible pathways forward.”
“The key is to express different opinions and the key is to see how we can all combine our collective wisdom to move forward.”
Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme
- “I want to celebrate the fact that Saudi Arabia put it on the G7 agenda. Desertification and land degradation is an issue that is affecting millions of people and billions of hectares of land.”
- “It is a real issue and we have to also accept that we need land to have agriculture to have urbanization etc. So how are we going to ensure that our lands are as fertile as possible.”
“The Middle East green initiative that is also Saudi-led is something to celebrate. There are resources, obviously, from the GCF, the Green Climate Fund, etc. But these are small resources, the bigger resources will come from communities themselves.”
Dr. Khaled Alabulqader, CEO, National Center For Vegetation Cover Development And Combating Desertification, said Saudi Arabia is taking climate change “very importantly and seriously”.
“The Kingdom has taken big initiatives in the world stage and the local stage and on the regional stage.”
“We have done a very good job in the Kingdom in the last few years, where we reduced the [climate] impacts, especially in the coastal areas, vegetation cover and the rangelands. And now we have a policy to also manage the grazelands where we can convert to organized grazing practices with some incentives given to the local community and people.”
“We encourage the development of NGOs. NGOs are really increasing in numbers in the kingdom. For example, when we started the initiative for a plantation in the Kingdom, in the last two years, we have reached to a number 150,000 volunteers.”
“Land degradation is responsible for the 40 percent of global emissions.”
“We just finished the study and the roadmap for the Kingdom to take on the initiative of planting 10 billion trees from 2024 to 2100.”
Jukka Petteri Taalas, Secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said this year would be the warmest year on record, and we have also broken records of main greenhouse gas concentrations of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.
Taalas added that sea level rise is affecting this part of the world. “We are seeing more weather extremes, more droughts. This part of the world is very sensitive, people are facing more risks in this part of the world.”
“We know that the biggest problem with climate mitigation is consumption of fossil fuels. That’s two thirds of the problem. Then about 20 percent of the problems related to release of methane, especially from tropical wetlands, from rice paddies and from cattle. And about 10 percent of the problem that we have having in climate is related to deforestation, especially deforestation of the tropical rain forests in Africa, and sub parts of Southern Asia.”
“And we should stop this deforestation and instead, plant more trees is a way to absorb carbon dioxide from the from the atmosphere.”
“Then there’s a second challenge that we are having. It’s the fact that we have started seeing growing amount of dust and sand storms also in your parts of the world and these tree plantation to be one positive act against this growing amount of sand and dust storms. And this as you all know, sand and dust storms are having negative impacts on human health.”
During his opening speech, the Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the Kingdom will work with international partners to develop tech-based initiatives to advance the implementation of effective climate action.
He said the Kingdom’s concrete action on implementing renewables are reflected by its ability to quadruple its capacity from 700 megawatts last year to two gigawatt with more than eight gigawatts of renewable under construction and around 13 gigawatts in various development stages.
“We are also planning to tender an additional 20 gigawatt by 2024 as part of our commitment to accelerate the development to renewable energy project.”
The Kingdom, the minister said, aims to become a key exporter of green hydrogen.
The NEOM green hydrogen project, he said, has successfully completed its initial phase securing investments of about $8.5 billion to produce 1.2 million tonnes per annum.
The forum will highlight Saudi Arabia’s projects and initiatives to promote sustainability and mitigate climate action under SGI, which was launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2021.
More than 80 initiatives are being implemented to contribute to achieving the SGI’s goals of the Saudi Green Initiative.
SGI Forum is an annual platform convening policy makers, thought leaders and climate experts from around the world to share insights, and discuss the best solutions to reach a more sustainable regional and global future.
It comes this year as the UN climate summit continues with key pledges from world leaders to mobilize efforts to combat the rising threats.
The annual United Nations Conference of the Parties, known as COP28, in the UAE featured about 150 presidents, prime ministers, royals and other leaders who are presenting their plans to cut heat-trapping emissions and mostly seek unity with other nations to avert climate catastrophe that seemed to draw closer than ever in 2023.