Nigeria stands to continue to benefit from an improved oil revenue as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided on Thursday in Vienna to extend cuts in oil output by nine months to March 2018 to further battle a global glut of crude. OPEC’s cuts have helped to push oil back above $50 a barrel this year, giving a fiscal boost to producers, many of whom rely heavily on energy revenues. Oil’s earlier price decline, which started in 2014, forced Russia and Saudi Arabia to tighten their belts and led to unrest in some producing countries, including Venezuela and Nigeria. In December, OPEC agreed its first production cuts in a decade and the first joint cuts with non-OPEC, led by Russia in 15 years. The two sides decided to remove about 1.8 million barrels per day from the market in the first half of 2017, equal to 2 per cent of global production. Despite the output cut, OPEC kept exports fairly stable in the first half of 2017 as its members sold oil from stocks.
Iran began building its National Ion Therapy Center with Austrian help on Monday, in a €200 million project which follow the country’s landmark nuclear deal with six world powers in July 2015. Senior Iranian officials, including nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, appeared at the launching ceremony for the five-year project with a total treatment capacity of 1200 patents per annum in three irradiation rooms after completion. “We are very serious about this project because it has to do with the health of our people and the project is an indication that the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran doesn’t only deal with nuclear power plants and enrichment”, Salehi told reporters. Also, officials from the leading Austrian MedAustron, the Austrian Ion Therapy and Research Centre, attended the groundbreaking event. “I’m so happy that in this very humanitarian project we came across a company in Austria, MedAustron, which is a leading company in this technology, to embark on this project in Iran”, Salehi said in response to a question by Austrian media on why Iran chose an Austrian partner. To be built in a gross area of 25,000m2, the project will use a synchrotron to accelerate protons and carbon ions to cure tough-to-treat diseases such as cancers, preventing an annual currency outflow of nearly €25 million. The Iran already uses other photon- and electron-based radiation therapy techniques and the project will be the country’s first endeavor to use particle therapy with protons and carbon ions for therapeutic purposes. The procedure, as compared to photon- and electron-based methods, will result in secondary cancers, fewer complications, and less damage to other organs. The project has non-clinical uses such as experimental physics research. “We finish the construction of the center in three years and it will also take us two years to test installed technical infrastructure”, Salehi told reporters at the site. Technological localization, he insisted, is a key component of the cooperation and a “huge portion of the equipment, including power supply and magnets, will be manufactured inside Iran”. Once completed, the hospital can also admit patients from nearby countries. Only five such centers are operating in the world and Iran will be the sixth one to join the club. Iran has seen increasing international medical cooperation in nuclear-related areas after the 2015 international nuclear deal that removed sanctions against Tehran in return for it rolling back its nuclear program. The country uses its 40-megawatt, heavy-water Arak reactor to produce isotopes for cancer and other medical treatments. It has already begun cooperation with Russian ROSATOM to build infrastructure for the manufacturing of stable isotopes at its Fordo facility.
Saudi Arabia will donate $10 billion in aid to Yemen, $2 billion to the central bank and $8 billion to reconstruct the run-down areas including areas destroyed by Houthi militias. The news was revealed by the Country’s President Hadi during a meeting on Wednesday with Prime Minister and governors of Taiz, Aden, Sana’a, Bayda and others. Hadi also said they will succed in overcoming the terroristic forces represented by Houthis and Saleh and placed the priority on streamling services related to electricity, health, water, education, roads and telecommunications.
An Islamic State group official was shot dead on Wednesday in the restive Bekaa border town of Arsal. Three gunmen riding a motorcycle shot dead Syrian national Ahed al-Jawwash, aka Abu Adham al-Hamawi, one of IS’ security officials in Arsal. The agency said his body was found in Arsal’s al-Sabil Square before being transferred to the town’s al-Rahma hospital. IS militants and others from the rival jihadist group Fateh al-Sham Front, previously known as al-Nusra Front, are entrenched in Arsal’s outskirts and in mountainous areas along the undemarcated Lebanese-Syrian border. The Lebanese army regularly shells their posts while Hizbullah and the Syrian forces have engaged in clashes with them on the Syrian side of the border.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that Peshmerga forces will return to the positions they were stationed at before the start of the Mosul liberation operation, in accordance with an agreement between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).The Peshmerga forces have moved several kilometers to help the Iraqi security forces during the operation to liberate the city of Mosul -“But the agreement was for them to return back to their previous positions,”- Abadi have said and added that -“President Barzani has said publicly they would respect this agreement; they will go back to their original line where they have started”- Meanwhile Peshmerga officials have shown a stance in opposition to the Peshmerga’s withdrawal, saying an agreement reached with the United States would see Peshmerga retain areas it liberated.
“No fighting between Arabs and Kurds, no fighting between Sunni and Shia. We decided to work together to safeguard everyone, to provide security,” is the final statement of the minister.
Saudi Arabia deported about 39,000 Pakistani nationals from the Kingdom in the past four months for violating the rules of residence and work, the Saudi Gazette reported on Tuesday. The deportations were a result of visa violations. Officials in the Kingdom are carrying out a “thorough scrutiny” of Pakistanis allowed in to the Oil-rich country amid concern that some of them could be ISIS sympathizers. Besides involvement in some terrorist actions orchestrated by Daesh, the so-called Islamic State, number of Pakistanis were held in the crimes of drug trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assault, according to officials.
The United States is obligated to defend the Senkaku Islands on behalf of Japan, new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in their first telephone conversation on Feb. 7. The Senkakus, in the East China Sea, are controlled by Japan but claimed by China. They are covered by Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japanese territories, Tillerson said.
The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) said it had been deeply concerned about the legal and humanitarian statuses of the prisoners in the Benghazi- based Kuwaifiya prison. The prisoners – civilian families and former regime individuals who were stuck in Ganfouda and were recently arrested by pro-Haftar forces – were thrown into the jail arbitrarily, it added. NCHRL said on Sunday that after some of the families that were trapped in Ganfouda, western Benghazi, were forced out of the district along with some of the prisoners who were released by Benghazi Shura Council, the pro-Haftar forces took them to a military checkpoint and then kept them for investigations. “However, we were surprised to hear that they had been tortured physically and psychologically by the Benghazi military policemen and then sent to the notorious Kuwaifiya prison again, claiming that the freed prisoners still have cases relating to their ties with Gaddafi regime.” NCHRL’s statement says. It called on the Justice Ministry of Al-Thanni-chaired government in eastern Libya and the justice and human rights committee of the House of Representatives to exert efforts for freeing the detainees, prisoners and families that were arrested upon their departure from Ganfouda as it would be a positive gesture in the path to comprehensive national reconciliation, peace and stability in Libya.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday that the Turkish people are on course for one of the most critical struggles in the country’s history, but it will continue decisively on its way. Speaking at a council meeting of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Erdoğan said that Turkey’s “independence war” continues in earnest and called on all sectors of society to support their country in the struggle. “I hope that all Turkish people see that truth; Turkey is in one of the most critical fights in its history,” he said. “We call it an ‘independence war,’ because it is only comparable to the Gallipoli War or Turkish War of Independence.” He emphasized that some internal opponents harm Turkey due to their hostility toward himself. “They are trying to sink the ship just because they could not take down the captain,” he said. Erdoğan pointed to the upcoming referendum for the constitutional amendment package that includes a switch to a presidential system, saying that he hopes Turkish people will vote in favor of change.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, In an address to Iranian Air Force commanders and personnel in Tehran, reminded the new US president that Iran is not afraid of threats, and said Trump has done Iran a favor by disclosing the magnitude of corruption in the US and showing the real face of America to the world. “With his words and deeds during the election campaign and in recent days, the new (US) president has plainly exposed the real nature of the US before the eyes of people of the world, and is revealing what the true US is,” Imam Khamenei added. As regards Trump’s comment that Iran “should have been thankful” for Obama’s administration, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “We are by no means thankful for that administration because it imposed heavy sanctions with the intent to cripple the Iranian nation and the Islamic Establishment, an objective it did not achieve, and no other enemy will be able to cripple this great nation either.