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US to release oil reserves in attempt to lower prices

The US has said it is releasing 50 million barrels of oil from its reserves in an attempt to bring down the soaring energy and petrol prices. The move is being taken in parallel with other major oil-consuming nations, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK.

The President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has repeatedly asked the Opec group of oil-producing nations to boost output more rapidly, BBC reports.

But Opec has stuck to an agreement to only increase production gradually.

It says it is concerned that a resurgence of coronavirus cases could drive down demand, as happened at the height of the pandemic.

Crude oil prices recently touched seven-year highs, amid a sharp uptick in global demand as economies recover from the coronavirus crisis. It’s driven up petrol prices and energy bills in many countries.

In a statement, the White House said, “American consumers are feeling the impact of elevated gas prices at the pump and in their home heating bills, and American businesses are, too, because oil supply has not kept up with demand. That’s why President Biden is using every tool available to him to work to lower prices and address the lack of supply.”

As part of the coordinated effort, the UK government will allow firms to voluntarily release 1.5 million barrels of oil from privately-held reserves.

It said the action would support the global economic recovery but “any benefit for UK drivers is likely to be limited and short in nature”.

Also, India will release five million barrels, while South Korea, Japan and China will announce the amount and timing of their releases in due course.

News World Update

98 candidates to contest Libya’s presidential election

A total of 98 candidates, including two females, have submitted applications for the first direct presidential election in Libya, meeting Tuesday deadline.

Emad Al-Sayeh, Chairman of the High National Elections Commission said a primary list of candidates will be published in two days.

 

Most of the political and military figures, as well as a large number of activists, academics, and artists are running for president.

Abdulhakim Bayo, the first presidential candidate submitted an application to the Elections Commission, said the upcoming elections are the first democratic elections in the North African country since 2011.

“I am positive that these elections are a chance for me to serve my country,” Bayo told Xinhua.

The House of Representatives, the country’s parliament, approved the presidential election law in September and approved the parliamentary election law in October.

According to the laws, the president will be elected at the end of December by direct general secret ballots, while the parliament will be elected after a month from the presidential election.

Mahmoud Khalafallah, a political analyst, believes the record number of presidential candidates is expected, given the new democratic experience in Libya.

“Everyone believes that they can be a president of the country, especially in the absence of one real candidate who can guarantee to win the presidency,” Khalafallah told Xinhua.

“There are no politicians or figures in Libya with long experience in this field. Therefore, this made even those who do not have a political history believe in their opportunity to win the votes,” Khalafallah said.

The political analyst also pointed out that some candidates are running for president as a political maneuver, attempting to gain a position in the elected authority in the coming weeks.

“Some individuals want to be referred to as presidential candidate. Some of them were pushed by political parties to be an alternative to the well-known figure who may be outside the electoral race.

 

“Therefore, the number of presidential candidates is large,” he explained.

The most notable presidential candidates include Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi, Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the eastern-based army, Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the parliament, and Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, the incumbent prime minister.

The elections are part of a roadmap adopted by the UN-sponsored Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in February, with the aim to bring stability to Libya.

News World Update

Taiwan: Don’t play with fire or you’ll get burnt – China warns US

 

China has warned the United States of America against playing with fire in its relation with Taiwan.

 

Chinese leader, President Xi Jinping gave the warning on Tuesday during a virtual summit with US President Joe Biden.

 

He warned that encouraging Taiwanese independence would be “playing with fire”, during a talk that has been described as most substantial since Biden took office in January.

 

The self-ruled island of Taiwan was of one the major topics during the summit.

 

America has pledged to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of an attack and China’s state-run Global Times said Mr Xi blamed recent tensions on “repeated attempts by the Taiwan authorities to look for US support for their independence agenda as well as the intention of some Americans to use Taiwan to contain China”.

 

“Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt,” it said.

 

The White House said Mr Biden “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.

News World Update

BREAKING: Former South African president FW de Klerk dies at 85

 

FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, has died aged 85, his foundation announced on Thursday.

“It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle again,” the statement said.

News World Update

Like Twitter did to Buhari, Facebook deletes ‘inciting’ post of Ethiopian PM

 

Facebook has deleted a post by Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, for violating its policies against inciting violence.

 

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Ahmed had asked citizens to take up arms to block the advance of rebel group, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

 

The prime minister had asked Ethiopians “to temporarily hold occasional affairs, organise and march through legal manner with every weapon and power/might in order to prevent, reverse and bury the terrorist TPLF”.

 

He made the post after the rebels seized control of more towns in the country.

 

The conflict between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF escalated in November 2020 when the rebel forces seized military bases in Tigray, a northern region.

 

Abiy, in response, sent more troops into Tigray but the TPLF said the government and its allies launched a “coordinated attack” against its fighters and that parts of its capital city were attacked by soldiers.

 

Thousands of people have reportedly been killed and more than 2.5 million forced to flee their homes since the conflict started.

 

A spokesperson for Facebook told BBC that the post was removed for violating its policies.

 

“We were made aware of a post by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and removed this for violating our policies against inciting and supporting violence,” the spokesperson said.

 

“At Meta, we remove content from individuals or organizations that violates our community standards, no matter who they are.”

 

This is not the first time a social media platform will remove the post of a world leader.

 

In June, Twitter removed President Muhammadu Buhari’s post where he threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.

 

The federal government subsequently suspended the operation of Twitter in the country.

News World Update

Prove $6bn can solve world hunger, Elon Musk fires back at UN director

 

Elon Musk has asked the Director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme, David Beasley, to prove that two per cent of his wealth can solve world hunger.

 

Beasley was quoted by CNN to have said that a one-time payment of two per cent wealth of billionaires alike can solve global hunger, citing specifically the world’s two richest men, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

 

Though Musk agreed to give his money but gave a condition that UN must publish how the money will be spent publicly.

 

“If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it,” Musk tweeted

 

“But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent,” he added

 

Musk, who is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has a total worth of over $300 billion.

 

Beasley later denied saying so.

 

The UN official reacted, “We’ve never said $6B [billion] would solve world hunger. This is a one-time donation to save 42 million lives during this unprecedented hunger crisis. The $8.4B you refer to covers what we needed to reach 115 million people in 2020 with food assistance.

 

“We need $6B plus NOW on top of our existing funding requirements due to the perfect storm from the compounding impact of Covid, conflict and climate shocks.”

 

He also hit back at Elon Musk saying, “Let’s talk: It isn’t as complicated as Falcon Heavy, but too much at stake to not at least have a conversation. I can be on the next flight to you. Throw me out if you don’t like what you hear!”

 

Musk replied back, saying, “Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where money goes.”

 

He even posted a link to an article that alleged sexual abuse by UN officials.

 

News World Update

G20 leaders agree on 15% global minimum corporate tax

 

Leaders of the world’s 20 major economies have approved a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15 percent, which will come into force in 2023.

 

The tax is aimed at preventing multinational companies from taking advantage of complacent tax regimes and not paying taxes where they operate.

 

Janet Yellen, US treasury secretary, announced that leaders of the countries representing 80 percent of the world economy supported the reform at the Rome summit on Saturday.

 

“Today, every G20 head of state endorsed an historic agreement on new international tax rules, including a global minimum tax that will end the damaging race to the bottom on corporate taxation,” said Yellen.

 

 “It’s a critical moment for the US and the global economy.”

 

She offered congratulations to US President Joe Biden for the “achievement”.

 

Opening the summit, Mario Draghi, Italian prime minister, said the success of COVID-19 vaccines and efforts to stimulate economic recovery showed there is reason for optimism.

 

“Together we are building a new economic model and the world will be all the better for it,” he said.

 

He described the tax deal as “a historic agreement for a fairer and more effective international tax system”.

 

“We call on the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting to swiftly develop the model rules and multilateral instruments as agreed in the Detailed Implementation Plan, with a view to ensure that the new rules will come into effect at (the) global level in 2023,” the draft conclusions, seen by Reuters, reads.

 

The conclusions are to be formally adopted on Sunday.

 

President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China are not attending the summit in person, but are taking part remotely.

News World Update

Japan’s Princess Mako gives up royal status to marry a commoner

 

Japan’s Princess Mako has given up her royal status to marry Kei Komuro, her college boyfriend.

 

According to the Imperial Household Agency, which runs the family’s lives, the marriage document for Mako and Kei was submitted by a palace official to a local office registry on Tuesday, making the union official.

 

Mako skipped the usual rites of a royal wedding and also turned down a payment offered to royal females upon their departure from the family — becoming the first female member of the royal family to decline both.

 

Under Japanese law, female imperial family members forfeit their status upon marriage to a “commoner”.

 

After their marriage, the couple is expected to move to the United States where Kei works as a lawyer.

 

The duo’s move has attracted heated criticism, with a protest ensuing in Japan on Tuesday against the couple’s marriage.

 

It also prompted commentaries that likened the pair to the well-publicised revolt of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry within the British royal family.

 

 

Speaking with journalists, Mako apologised for any trouble brought to the people by her marriage.

 

“I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused and I am grateful for those who have continued to support me. For me, Kei is irreplaceable. marriage was a necessary choice for us,” the princess was quoted as saying.

 

In turn, Komuro was quoted to have said: “I love Mako. We only get one life, and I want us to spend it with the one we love. I feel sad that Mako has been in a bad condition, mentally and physically, because of the false accusations.”

 

The lovebirds had earlier planned on getting married in 2018.

 

It was, however, gathered that their union had — over the years — been plagued by controversy and widespread disapproval.

News World Update

Elon Musk set to become the world’s first trillionaire

 

Elon Musk, the world’s richest person is estimated to have a net worth of $242 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Although he is already the world’s richest person, he could also become the first member of the four-comma club.

According to The Guardian, analysts at Morgan Stanley have predicted that Musk, 50, could become the world’s first trillionaire — largely thanks to his aerospace company SpaceX, People.com reports.

“More than one client has told us that if Elon Musk were to become the first trillionaire… it won’t be because of Tesla,” analyst Adam Jones told the newspaper, referring to the electric car company behind the majority of his wealth to date.

“Others have said SpaceX may eventually be the most highly valued company in the world — in any industry,” Jones added.

Though humans have yet to reach Mars — one of Musk’s goals for the company — via SpaceX’s Starship, the advanced launch system already has high expectations following the success of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.

“As one client put it, ‘talking about space before Starship is like talking about the internet before Google,’ ” explains Jones.

Earlier this month, the valuation of SpaceX increased to $100.3 billion, up from $74 billion in February, according to CNBC.

The valuation made SpaceX — which Musk owns about 48% of the corporation — the world’s second-biggest privately held company, The Guardian states.

SpaceX has celebrated a number of milestones this year, including successfully launching and landing a Starship rocket for the first time. Last month, SpaceX sent the first all-civilian crew into orbit.

Musk is currently estimated to have a $242 billion net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Tesla still remains his biggest asset.

Back in January, Musk overtook Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person, only to briefly lose the title back to the Amazon billionaire the following month. Musk went on to reclaim his spot days later, following the completion of a SpaceX funding round, according to Fortune.

Bezos — currently the second-richest person in the world, per Bloomberg — is estimated to have a net worth of $197 billion, followed by Bernard Arnault ($163 billion), Bill Gates ($133 billion) and Mark Zuckberg ($127 billion).

Musk’s fortunes have rapidly increased since the start of last year.

Back in January 2020, Musk was ranked 35th on their list of billionaires, but that year his net worth rose by $100.3 billion, according to Bloomberg. He became the second-richest person in the world that November.

Bloomberg reported at the time that Musk’s financial surge came as Tesla’s market share hit $500 billion, which was an all-time high for the electric automaker company.

So far this year, the billionaire has increased his fortune by $72 billion, a 42.4% increase from this time last year, per Bloomberg.

News World Update

Donald Trump to launch ‘Truth’ social network after being banned by Twitter, Facebook

 

Donald Trump, the former US president, is set to launch a social media platform named ‘Truth’ — a few months after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook.

In the wake of the January 6 insurrection, Trump was prohibited from using his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages after he was said to have violated their policies.

Other platforms like Parler, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitch had also faced pressure to place a form of restriction on him.

This was due to widespread claims that he might have incited violence in the US following his election loss to Joe Biden.

Five persons were said to have died after some of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol during the certification ceremony for Biden’s presidential election victory.

But in a statement on Wednesday by the stakeholders involved, it was revealed that ‘Truth Social’ will be created through a company formed by a merger of the Trump Media and Technology Group and a special acquisition company (SPAC).

The statement added that the mission of the platform is to “create a rival to the liberal media consortium.”

 “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American president has been silenced. This is unacceptable,” Trump was quoted to have said.

“I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech.”

It is understood that the network is set for a beta launch in November and a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022.

According to the statement, the launch is the first of three stages in the company’s plans to be followed by a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news, and podcasts.

 ‘Truth Social’ is already available for preorder in the Apple App store.