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Rockets target US embassy in Iraq, month into truce: Source

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Katyusha rockets
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Several rockets targeted the US embassy in Iraq’s capital late Tuesday, killing at least one child and injuring five other civilians, according to the Iraqi military, the first such attack since pro-Iran factions agreed to stop targeting the compound last month.

Four of the rockets landed inside the Green Zone, and three outside it.

The Green Zone is an area of Iraq’s capital city where the embassies for the US and several other western countries are located. It is largely viewed as a safe location, but is frequently the target of rocket attacks.

A US official said US personnel moved into shelters during the incident. The US has yet to do a complete damage assessment, but initial findings indicate no injuries to US persons and no material damage to the embassy.

Iraqi security forces located the launch site of the rockets in Baghdad’s eastern al-Ameen neighborhood, according to an Iraqi military statement.
The military released images of the launch site which displayed the rocket launcher outside on a street and on fire.

The Iraqi military released photographs of the rocket launcher ablaze in a street.
The Iraqi military released photographs of the rocket launcher ablaze in a street.

In the past, some rockets have been fired at the Green Zone to protest US troop presence in Iraq.

The deadly launches on Tuesday came just after the Trump administration announced that the US will withdraw thousands more US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan by Jan 15, 2021 — days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, confirming plans first reported by CNN on Monday.

The planned withdrawal will leave approximately 2,500 troops in both countries,

Health

13 Israelis suffer facial paralysis post inoculation

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

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Vaccine

Jerusalem, Jan 17 : At least 13 Israelis suffered mild facial paralysis as a side effect after receiving the first Covid vaccine jabs, the Health Ministry said, adding that the count could be higher.

The officials have raised questions on whether or not to administer the second dose to these individuals the Health Ministry had recommended for the second dose, reported the Jerusalem Post.

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

“I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

As for receiving the second dose, he admits he is undecided, but says that “it is important to note that this is something rare, and I don’t want people to avoid getting vaccinated – it’s important”.

“I recently came across, for example, someone vaccinated who was dealing with paralysis, and decided not to give her a second dose,” Galia Rahav, Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Centre told Ynet.

“It is true that it can be given according to the Health Ministry, but I did not feel comfortable with it.”

She added that, “No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose.”

However, the Health Ministry has assured of the second dose only when the paralysis passes, Ynet reported.

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Lifestyle

Saudi Arabia, the Largest Producer of Oil, Will Now Create a City Without Cars or Roads

A Saudi statement said construction would start in the first quarter of 2021 and that the city was expected to contribute $48 billion to the kingdom’s gross domestic product and create 380,000 jobs.

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Saudi Arabia‘s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has come out with his latest vision for the nation which is the largest producer of oil – an ambitious non-carbon emissions city without cars or roads.

The project named “The Line” will be home to a million people and have no cars and no streets, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, Arab News reported. “The city will be a 170 kilometer belt of “hyper-connected future communities,” and will be built around the natural environment,” he said.

Prince Mohammed said there was a need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one. “By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. 90 per cent of people breathe polluted air,” he added.

“Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting?” he said, according to the report.

The project is part of the prince’s plans to build a zero-carbon city at NEOM, the first major construction project for the $500 billion flagship business zone aimed at diversifying the nation’s economy.

The prince later told reporters in the northwestern city of Al Ula that the project was the conclusion of three years of preparation, adding that its infrastructure would cost $100 billion to $200 billion.

“The backbone of investment in ‘The Line’ will come from the $500 billion support to NEOM by the Saudi government, PIF and local and global investors over 10 years,” he added.

The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is the cornerstone investor in NEOM, a 26,500-square-km (10,230-square-mile) high-tech development on the Red Sea with several zones, including an industrial and logistics areas, planned for completion in 2025.

There have been few announcements regarding NEOM since it was announced by de facto ruler Prince Mohammed to much fanfare in 2017 as a pillar of his Vision 2030 plan to rid Saudi Arabia of its reliance on crude oil revenues.

A Saudi statement said construction would start in the first quarter of 2021 and that the city was expected to contribute $48 billion to the kingdom’s gross domestic product and create 380,000 jobs.

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Business

OPEC allows Russia, Kazakhstan to raise output

Kazakhstan will boost its production by 10,000 bpd to 14,27,000 bpd in February and by another 10,000 bpd to 14,37,000 bpd in March.

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OPEC

Moscow, Jan 6 : The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-bloc producers agreed to allow Russia and Kazakhstan to slightly raise oil output in the next two months.

In accordance with a deal published by the OPEC, Russia will increase its output by 65,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the January level to 91,84,000 bpd in February and by another 65,000 bpd to 9,249,000 bpd in March, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Kazakhstan will boost its production by 10,000 bpd to 14,27,000 bpd in February and by another 10,000 bpd to 14,37,000 bpd in March.

All the remaining participants in the OPEC+ mechanism will keep their output unchanged from January.

The OPEC+ has introduced caps on production to stabilize global oil prices.

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