- This week, the European Commission (EC), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have adopted an investment tool of 26.2 billion euros (27.26 billion dollars).
The InvestEU program was signed in Athens on Thursday.
“InvestEU is one of the main tools that we have in Europe to stimulate investment, but not simply investments to disperse money to the market, but investments focused on specific priorities that also define the new development model of the European Union”, said the vice-rector. of the European Commission. said President Margaritis Schinas in Athens.
The program aims to unlock investments of more than €372 billion across Europe, to support the EU's strategic priorities. These include the European Green Deal and the digital transition.
In the context of the launch of InvestEU, EIB Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen jointly signed an agreement with the Greek government to provide €119 million in the form of a 25-year loan for the expansion and modernization of six research centers in Greece.
In addition, a new contractual framework was signed for the EIF to manage another 400 million euros of financial support from the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) investments in Greece, to help small and medium-sized companies in the country.
The first InvestEU projects in Greece are expected to be implemented in 2023. (1 euro = 1.04 USD) ■
- Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd, a China-Brunei joint venture, will continue its reforestation project to help protect the local natural environment, the company's CEO Chen Liancai said on Thursday.
Hengyi Industries carried out its sixth reforestation project in conjunction with the celebration of the third anniversary of the successful commissioning of the Hengyi Refinery and Petrochemical Plant.
Brunei Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Haji Abdul Manaf, Chinese Ambassador to Brunei Yu Hong and more than 90 Hengyi employees as well as volunteers from various government and non-government agencies participated in the event.
As part of the reforestation project, 500 saplings were planted on 0.5 hectares of land in the Berakas Forest Reserve.
"Established in May 2019, the reforestation project is part of Hengyi Industries' corporate social responsibility activities under the Hengyi One Planet Initiative," Chen said.
Hengyi Industries is a joint venture between China's Zhejiang Hengyi Group and Damai Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Brunei government's Strategic Development Capital Fund. Hengyi owns 70 percent of the company's shares while Damai Holdings owns the remaining 30 percent.
Zhejiang Hengyi Group invested around US$3.45 billion in the first phase of its Brunei oil refinery and petrochemical project, which went into full operation in November 2019.
The China-funded firm began its reforestation project in 2019, which is expected to help materialize the country's effort to achieve one of the main strategies of Brunei Darussalam's National Climate Change Policy.
Brunei launched the climate change policy in July 2020, aiming to reach the target of planting 500,000 new trees by 2035. ■
- The annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City drew huge crowds along its 2.5-mile route on Thursday morning.
An estimated 3 million people watched the parade in person, up from 2.5 million viewers last year, according to a CNN report citing event organizers.
Mild winter weather and street closures along the route make it easy for spectators to be present.
The debut of Striker's balloons, the USA soccer star, the new giants of the puppy Bluey, Greg Heffley from the Diary of A Wimpy Kid book series, the dinosaurs DINO and Baby DINO, one-eyed Stuart the Minion , as well as five new floats added novelty to the ritual.
The parade was attended by nearly 8,000 volunteers, 1,200 cheerleaders, 700 clowns, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups and several musical stars, according to Jeff Gennette, president and CEO of Macy's Inc., which is behind the event. which dates from 1924.
As many as 54.6 million Americans plan to travel 50 miles or more for this year's Thanksgiving holiday between Wednesday and Sunday, according to a forecast from the American Automobile Association. ■
- Brunei's Home Ministry on Thursday asked all dog owners to get a license or dog tag for their pets every year.
According to the ministry, the registration applies to dogs three months or older, including new dogs, previously registered or licensed pets, and expired licenses.
The ministry said registered dogs must always have a tag around their necks. Dog owners are fully responsible for their pets and must keep them in a crate or on a leash while at home.
It is an offense for dog owners not to register their pets, which carries a fine of 250 Brunei dollars (182 US dollars) or 14 days in prison for the first offense.
Further violations, including second and subsequent offenses, will face a fine of 500 Brunei dollars (US$365) or one month in prison. ■
- The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on Thursday called on the European Union (EU) to place security and solidarity at the center of its action in the Mediterranean and on all other routes migratory
On the eve of the meeting of EU interior ministers at an extraordinary session of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, the UN refugee chief said in a statement that so far this year, nearly 2,000 Migrants have died or disappeared trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
"While states point fingers and trade blame, lives are lost. What is needed are more state-led and better coordinated search and rescue efforts, predictable landings in safe locations, and expedited access to screening and asylum procedures. to identify those who may need international protection, and return those who do not with safety and dignity," he said.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has consistently advocated that the vulnerabilities of all migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean, including accompanied and unaccompanied children, victims of trafficking and survivors of torture, be identified. in order to activate national and international initiatives. protection and reception mechanisms.
Those arriving from conflict zones have in many cases suffered serious abuses and human rights violations, UNHCR said. ■
Businessmen, diplomats and analysts from Italy and China on Thursday expressed confidence in future economic ties between the two countries despite a temporary slowdown in two-way trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They made the remarks at "China-Italy: Prospects for Business," a forum organized by the Italy China Council Foundation Study Center in Milan.
“Despite the obvious difficulties stemming from a global economy in crisis, the message we are receiving from companies is a great desire to collaborate,” Mario Boselli, president of the foundation, said during the forum.
The planned launch of direct flights between Milan and Shanghai next year by Italy's flagship airline ITA would further boost bilateral economic relations, said Luca Ferrari, Italy's ambassador to China.
Rosario Strano, head of China operations at Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, sees growing "cultural, political and economic challenges" for Italian companies operating in China, but the market potential "remains as great as ever," she said.
Zheng Xuan, the acting Chargé d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Rome, stressed the need for both Italian and Chinese companies to focus on long-term operations.
"Business ties are becoming more complex and require a long-term view," Zheng said.
Hu Kun, president of European operations for Chinese telecom and information technology giant ZTE, echoed him. The company has been operating in Italy for 17 years.
"We have made long-term investments in Italy, a market of strategic importance to us," Hu said. "It's important to learn how a market works and develop strong ties."
Several speakers at the forum discussed the evolution of economic ties between countries.
Stefano Picchiotti, CEO of Guala Closures, sees a growing demand for high-end products in China. His company, known for its security closures for wine, spirits and olive oil, has been operating in China since 1998 and has seen faster growth in premium and prestige products than in standard products. ■
- A concert was held at the China Cultural Center in Tel Aviv, Israel on Thursday to celebrate its fifth founding anniversary.
Under the theme "Love and Friendship", the concert featured a string quartet led by Chinese violinist Liu Yang and piano solos performed separately by Israeli pianist Einat Fabrikant and a teenage fan.
Recalling the nine years she spent in China, Fabrikant said she was impressed by the warm-hearted Chinese people and the talented Chinese musicians.
"China was the most welcoming country for me," said Fabrikant, who performed famous Chinese pieces from "My Homeland" and "Liuyang River" at the concert.
Over the past five years, the China Cultural Center in Tel Aviv has organized many events to promote Chinese culture and facilitate cultural exchange and cooperation between China and Israel, said Shi Yuewen, director of the center.
The center, opened in November 2017, is the first of its kind in the Middle East. It frequently hosts events including art performances, cultural exhibits, and academic seminars to help Israelis better understand Chinese culture. ■
- US President Joe Biden on Thursday renewed his call to ban assault weapons.
“I'm going to try to get rid of the assault weapons,” Biden told reporters during a visit to firefighters in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The comments came on the heels of a pair of high-profile mass shootings in just a few days.
In a shooting at a Colorado Springs nightclub over the weekend, a gunman brandished an AR-15-style rifle, killing five people and wounding 19 others.
“I am sick and tired of these shootings,” Biden said Thursday. "We should have much stricter gun laws."
However, the possibility of an assault weapons ban passing through the US Congress is almost impossible in the near future.
Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives next term and are likely to oppose legislation to curb gun rights.
The United States has suffered more than 600 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Archive of Gun Violence.
Last year the country recorded a staggering 690 mass shootings, up from 610 in 2020 and 417 in 2019. ■
- Libya's Department for Combating Illegal Immigration deported more than 200 illegal immigrants to their countries of origin on Thursday.
According to Nasser al-Khatroshi, head of the Deportation Office of the Department against Illegal Immigration, the immigrants, who are from Egypt, Niger and Sudan, were deported overland to their own countries.
The deportation was first carried out in collaboration with Libya's Eastern and Southern Anti-Illegal Immigration Departments, the Libyan official said.
"Today we are very happy to see officials from the west, east and south of Libya gathered here in Tripoli to solve the problem of illegal immigration, which is a complicated issue," said Mohamed al-Khoja, head of the Department against Illegal Immigration. . .
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European shores.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a total of 20,842 illegal immigrants, including women and children, have been rescued at sea and returned to Libya so far this year.
Meanwhile, 500 illegal immigrants have been killed and another 863 have gone missing off the Libyan coast en route to the central Mediterranean, the IOM said. ■
- France and Germany have called for the implementation of minimum taxes on multinational companies at the European Union (EU) level, according to senior officials.
"As our citizens are severely affected by inflation and the energy crisis, we are determined to ensure tax justice so that companies pay their fair share," said French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and the German Finance Minister Christian Lindner. he said in a joint statement on Thursday.
Le Maire and Lindner said the two countries "share the view that our common European fiscal framework has a critical role to play in helping to rebuild fiscal buffers in Europe and promoting investment in climate and digital transitions."
They stressed the importance of "resilient and sustainable growth" to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability.
Speaking of the current energy crisis, the two finance ministers noted the need for investments in Europe to reduce the EU's energy dependency and address the energy, climate and digital transitions.
"We will continue to work together to harness the full potential of the EU's growth capabilities, thereby increasing our economic resilience and reducing our carbon footprint," they said. ■