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Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah dies at age 91

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Emir Sheikh Sabah

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has died at the age of 91, state media report.

He is expected to be succeeded by his 83-year-old half-brother and crown prince, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed.

In July, Sheikh Sabah was flown to the United States for medical treatment following surgery for an unspecified condition in Kuwait.

He had ruled the oil-rich Gulf Arab state since 2006 and had overseen its foreign policy for more than 50 years.

He was dubbed the “dean of Arab diplomacy” for his efforts to restore relations with states that backed Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, when Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi forces.

The emir also often acted as a mediator in regional disputes, including the ongoing diplomatic stand-off between Saudi Arabia, its allies and Qatar.

Kuwait also refrained from intervening in Syria’s civil war, instead hosting several donor conferences for humanitarian aid.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah (2nd right) stands beside Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (right) and Bahrain’s King Hamad (2nd left) at a GCC summit in Riyadh on 10 December 2019

Sheikh Sabah came to power in January 2006, after Emir Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah stepped down just nine days into his rule as parliament moved to depose him on health grounds.

He had been prime minister under the previous Emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, and for several years had been seen as the de facto ruler.

Before then, he served as foreign minister from 1963 to 1991 and from 1992 to 2003.

Kuwait – which has a population of 4.8 million, including 3.4 million foreigners – has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves and is a major US ally.

It has been ruled by the Sabah family for the past 260 years.

The emir has the last say in political matters. He has the power to override or dissolve parliament, and call elections.

Middle East

Crude oil: Biden presidency likely to be a huge win for the Middle East

A Biden win will likely be an upward catalyst for oil prices because it will increase costs for shale patch and will likely result in a weaker U.S. dollar, the report said.

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New Delhi, Oct 16 : A Biden presidency is likely to be a huge win for the Middle East to gain back the market share as it restricts shale production and can be supportive for crude oil prices.

According to a report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services, for years, if not decades, OPEC members have been jousting for market share, which is, of course, the reason why the latest Saudi-Russia oil price war happened in the first place.

“A Biden presidency is likely to be a huge win for the Middle East to gain back the market share as it restricts shale production and can be supportive for crude oil prices,” the report said.

Talking about the OPEC approach, Trump would likely continue practicing Twitter oil diplomacy, which he started in his first term to urge OPEC plus producers to increase or cut supply during their meetings in Vienna. He takes credit for helping to negotiate an end to the March oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

“Under Biden, any US diplomacy toward OPEC might return behind the scenes. Antitrust legislation against OPEC would only see renewed interest if gasoline prices soar,” the report said.

Crude oil investors are facing a confused stance as US President Donald Trump’s presidency brings stability and Presidency under Joe Biden might bring uncertainty and more volatility in the market.

Prices can remain in levels of $45 as President Trump would like to keep prices at this level to make sure gasoline prices remain in control, which remains a main concern of taxpayers in U.S.

If U.S. voters decide to stay the course, the current push for energy dominance through increased drilling will continue. He is seen as a promoter of Shale which might put pressure as any stimulus and benefit to shale sector would lead to overproduction and more responsibility on OPEC plus to cut production and bring balance in the market.

Compared with a second term of the Trump administration, a Biden presidency could be a positive for U.S. oil and gas drillers because tougher regulations on hydraulic fracturing would likely reduce production, raising crude prices to levels of WTI $45-$55 in coming months after elections. If they elect a new president, the challenger has pledged to end new drilling on public lands and move toward a carbon-free future.

With his $2 trillion plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Joe Biden might seem a far-from-ideal president for the Texas oil and gas industry. Looks like for Crude oil to rally, markets are praying for Vice President Biden to win and bring back optimism in the market as demand recovery is stalling and it might take more months for crude demand to recover.

A Biden win will likely be an upward catalyst for oil prices because it will increase costs for shale patch and will likely result in a weaker U.S. dollar, the report said.

However, headwinds remains to this optimistic view that if sanctions are pulled off from Venezuela or Iran, they might re-emerge as a significant oil exporter, it might put pressure on prices and can force adjustment in production for the three big oil producers and likely a reduction in through cycle prices which can push additional pressure on prices and bring back glut fears and push prices to levels of $35.

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Disaster

Palestinian official praises China’s COVID-19 response

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Coronavirus Russia

RAMALLAH, Oct. 15 : A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday praised China’s model in confronting the novel coronavirus in order to protect the Chinese people.

Hanna Issa, deputy commissioner-general for Arab and China relations in the country’s major Fatah party, said that China’s COVID-19 response has won the respect of the world.

“China had followed strict precautionary and preventive measures for months to fight the unprecedented pandemic,” Hanna said at a virtual symposium with the Communist Party of China and 50 other political parties from around the world.

He said that China has helped many countries fight the novel coronavirus by providing essential information about it and sharing its experiences in confronting the public health crisis.

In addition, China has donated large sums of fund to the World Health Organization to support its efforts to combat the disease and sent medical delegations, equipment and medical supplies to more than 130 countries around the world, including Palestine, he added.

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Iran records highest daily deaths from COVID-19 as Iraq’s death toll surpasses 10,000

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Corona Death Body

CAIRO, Oct. 14 : Iran recorded on Wednesday 279 deaths related to COVID-19 during the past 24 hours, the highest daily fatalities in the country, raising the death toll to 29,349. Meanwhile, the total number of deaths from the virus in Iraq exceeded 10,000.

Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East region, reported 4,830 new cases, bringing the tally of infections to 513,219. The new 279 deaths took the overall death toll of the pandemic in Iran to 29,349, while a total of 414,831 coronavirus patients have recovered.

In the meantime, 3,857 new COVID-19 cases were detected in Iraq during the past 24 hours, bringing the total nationwide infections to 413,215.

The death toll from the coronavirus in Iraq rose to 10,021 after 51 fatalities were added, while the total recoveries increased to 347,396 as 3,188 more patients recovered.

Sayf al-Badr, Iraqi health ministry’s spokesman, said in a press release that the number of influenza infections will increase when the temperatures decrease in autumn, which will lead to more suspicions of being infected with COVID-19 due to the similarities of symptoms between the two viruses.

Saudi Arabia announced 501 new cases and 21 more deaths, raising the tally of confirmed cases to 340,590 and the death toll to 5,180.

The kingdom also reported 481 more recovered patients, taking the total recoveries to 326,820.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey climbed by 1,671 to 340,450, Turkish Health Ministry announced.

The death toll from the coronavirus in the country rose to 9,014 after 57 new fatalities were added in the past 24 hours, and the total recoveries increased to 298,368 with 1,396 more recovered.

More than 40,000 healthcare professionals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Turkey since the pandemic outbreak, while the number of the medical staff who lost their lives from the infection has reached 107, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on the same day.

In Morocco, the tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 160,333 after 3,387 new cases were added, which included 2,726 fatalities and 133,959 recoveries, while 525 patients remained in the intensive care units.

In Qatar, 198 new cases of coronavirus infections were detected, increasing the total number to 128,603, including 220 deaths and 125,584 recoveries.

Kuwait reported 532 new cases, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 113,269, of whom 676 have died and 105,236 recovered.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 1,431 new cases, raising the total confirmed cases in the country to 110,039.

The tally of recoveries in the UAE rose to 101,659 after 1,652 more patients have recovered from the virus and the death toll reached 450 with two more deaths.

Oman’s Ministry of Health announced 563 new cases of infections, raising the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 107,776, including 1,061 deaths and 93,908 recoveries.

Palestine reported 532 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally of infections in the Palestinian territories to 56,999, including 49,934 recoveries and 463 deaths.

In Lebanon, 20 new deaths from COVID-19 were recorded, the highest daily increase in fatalities in the country, taking the death toll to 499, while the total number of infections went up by 1,377 to 57,246, the Health Ministry reported.

Algeria’s tally of coronavirus infections rose to 53,584 after 185 new cases were added with 1,827 deaths and 37,603 recoveries.

Libya on Wednesday said that 836 new coronavirus infections were registered in the previous day, increasing the tally of cases in the country to 45,821, while the death toll rose by 13 to 669 and the recovered cases went up by 294 to 25,301.

In Jordan, 2,423 new COVID-19 cases and 32 more deaths were recorded, increasing the tally of cases to 30,550 and the death toll to 257. The country’s total recoveries from the virus increased by 105 to 6,466.

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COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.