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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Author: Mohamed Rezk

Paris writes off 5 billion dollars of Sudan’s debt and lends it 1.5 billion dollars

France decided to write off five billion dollars from the debts of Sudan and Germany 360 million, and the international community in Paris promised to support the transitional process in this country, amid great hopes for the Sudanese government that the conference will contribute to its assistance in the reform process, payment of aid and write off debts.

Loans and debt write-offs
France announced a loan of 1.5 billion dollars to Sudan to allow Sudan to pay its arrears towards the International Monetary Fund, while the French President announced the cancellation of 5 billion of Khartoum’s debts.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the Federal Republic of Germany will write off $ 372 million in bilateral debts with the African country.
Berlin will provide up to $ 109 million to help Sudan settle its debt arrears with the International Monetary Fund.

NBA .. Lakers defeat the Knicks in overtime

Talin Horton Tucker scored a hat-trick 21.1 seconds before the end of extra time to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 101-99 victory over the New York Knicks in the NBA.

Playmaker Tucker, 20, scored 8 of his 13 game points during extra time.

The Lakers became seventh (39 wins -30 defeats) one game away from the Mavericks (40 wins -29 losses) as they strive to clinch the sixth place in the Western Division after Dallas’ 133-104 defeat to Memphis Grizzlies.

With this loss, the Knicks (38 wins -31 losses) were tied with the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat in fourth place in the Eastern Division.
Hit secured it to qualify for the knockout stage for the fourth time in the last 6 seasons, with a 129-121 win over the Boston Celtics.

Miami (38 wins -31 losses) won in Boston for the second match in a row to send the Celtics (35 wins-34 losses) by a large percentage to the promotion round to the knockout stage.

Miami is three games ahead of Boston and is ahead of the Celtics, who have 3 matches left in the preliminary stage of the season.

Hit, who defeated the Celtics in the Eastern Division final last year, clinched his place in the knockout rounds thanks to his advantage in head-to-head matches over the Hawks and Knicks.

The Indiana Pacers (33 wins -36 losses) also clinched a qualification round for the knockout rounds in the Eastern Division after their 103-94 win over the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers and the Chicago Bulls 115-107 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

In the battle for positions before entering the knockout round in the West, the Golden State Warriors won 122-116 over the Phoenix Suns, who finished second in the West Division.

The Warriors (37 wins -33 losses), who defeated the first two teams in the West in two consecutive days, are still half a match ahead of Memphis in their struggle for eighth place in the West Division.

The Sacramento Kings clung to their meager hopes of qualifying for the knockout round after their 122-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder thanks to 27 points from Terence Davis to claim their sixth victory in their last 7 games.

Sacramento needs to win all of their matches and lose the San Antonio Spurs in all of their remaining matches in order for them to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout round in the West.

Renewable energy is growing at its fastest pace in two decades, with Chinese dominance

Renewable energy grew last year at the fastest pace in two decades led by China, according to the International Energy Agency report, while it will continue to grow in the next two years. Renewable energy production rose 45% in 2020 to 280 gigawatts last year, the largest year-on-year increase since 1999, even despite disruptions in supply chains and delays in construction activity due to the impact of COVID-19.

Positive outlook
Regarding the global renewable energy market, the International Energy Agency expects that 270 gigawatts of new capacity will be added this year and about 280 gigawatts in 2022.
These forecasts are more than 25% higher than the agency’s previous forecast in November, as governments sold unprecedented quantities of renewable energy and companies signed a record number of power purchase agreements.

Governments sold 75 gigawatts of wind, onshore, solar PV, and bioenergy last year, up 20% from 2019.
“Wind and solar energy are giving us more reasons to be optimistic about our climate goals, breaking one record after another,” said agency executive director Fatih Birol. “The increase in renewable energy capacity last year accounted for 90% of the total growth in the global energy sector,” he added.

The hegemony of China
China accounted for 50% of the growth in renewable energy capacity last year, and it will account for 45% this year and 58% in 2022. According to the International Energy Agency.
The total installed renewable energy in the world reached nearly 2,800 gigawatts in 2020 and China has a proven renewable energy capacity of 895 gigawatts, greater than the following five countries combined, according to another report published by the “Trading Platform” website.

In 2020, China acquired about a third of the installed renewable energy capacity in the world (about 32%), about 895 gigawatts, and it comes second in the list of the United States with a capacity of 292 gigawatts.
The combined capacity of the United States, Brazil, India, Germany, and Canada reached 809 gigawatts in 2020, and Japan is the only country with a capacity greater than 100 gigawatts, and Italy and France each have 55 gigawatts capacity in 2020.

Global increase
Total renewable energy capacity increased by 10% in 2020 from 2,538 gigawatts in 2019 to 2799 in 2020, while it did not exceed 1,330 gigawatts in 2011.
Wind energy witnessed a growth of approximately 18% compared to last year, reaching 733 megawatts in 2020 from 622 megawatts in 2019, while solar energy achieved a growth of 21.6%, rising to 714 gigawatts in 2020 after the figure was in the range of 587 gigawatts in 2019.
The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, believes that governments need to develop policies to encourage more investment in solar and wind energy and the additional network infrastructure they will require, in addition to other renewable energy technologies such as bioenergy and geothermal energy.

Hollywood steps towards greater representation of people with disabilities in cinema

This year, the Academy Award nominations included several works centering on people with disabilities in a decisive step towards strengthening the representation of this group in Hollywood, but experts in the film sector stress the need for greater efforts in this field.

“They’ve never done a good job before, but they know that and we’re here to tell them,” says Paul Russey, Oscar nominee for a best supporting role in “Sound of Metal,” which deals with the story of a drummer who loses his hearing.

An actor, born to deaf parents and suffering from hearing disorders, is “one of the people who have to be in the forefront to prevent a waning momentum.”

“We have to remind them of all the deaf and disabled artists that we have, and all the geniuses who are here,” he explains to AFP.

The caution appears especially justified, as it is not the first time that the film sector has tried to make progress on the subject before returning to its old habits.

In 1948 Jane Weiman, an actress without a hearing impairment won an Oscar for her role as a deaf woman in “Johnny Belinda”.

But Rasi believes that assigning this role to her and not to someone who truly suffers from hearing disabilities was an unsuccessful option.

Little prizes
Hollywood also made great progress in 1987 with the awarding of the Oscar for Best Actress to Marley Matlin, a deaf woman, for her role in “Children of a Lesser God”.

However, awards rewarding artists with disabilities are still very few compared to the progress recorded in the representation of ethnic minorities on the big screen.

“The disabled are often ranked last among these marginalized groups,” says Doug Rowland, director of this year’s Oscar-nominated short film “Feeling Throw”.

The director, who does not suffer from physical disabilities, explains that his film was inspired by his meeting with a deaf and blind man who needed help navigating a road in New York.

An inferior look
In “Feeling Throw,” Doug Rowland recruited actor Robert Tarango who became the first deaf and blind person to play a major role in a movie.

Thanks to this short film that won Marley Matlin’s support as an executive producer, the director wants to communicate the voice of people with disabilities.

But this struggle without it has huge hurdles in the entertainment sector where stereotypes remain “deeply rooted” without people often being aware of it, according to Doug Rowland. “People with disabilities are often viewed with an inferior gaze, even as if they are not even imperfect,” he says.

Open letter
Due to the lack of adequate equipment, access to the filming locations is an impossible task for some artists with physical or visual impairments.

Hollywood stars, including Amy Poehler and Naomi Harris, have sent an open letter to film production companies urging them to urgently seek the help of specialists in dealing with people with disabilities to remove these obstacles.

To try to change things, in 2013 actor Nick Novicki launched a film award requiring that at least one member of the artistic team or cast be persons with disabilities. “When I first started out, we were really suffering a lot more misrepresentation than it is now,” says Novicki.

The stunted actor was tired of filmmakers assigning him roles exclusively related to his short stature.

Crepe camp
Also nominated for the Oscars this year is the documentary “Crip Camp,” produced by a company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama.

The film deals with the establishment of a vacation camp for disabled youth in the 1970s, and the critical role that this played in defending the rights of people with disabilities in the United States.

“This is one of the most beautiful films I know and the one that rejects exclusion,” Novicki confirms, praising the work of assistant director James Lubrecht, who is a disabled person.

He says that the number of people with disabilities is estimated in the hundreds of millions around the world, which makes them the “largest minority”, calling for members of this group to be given their rightful place in films.

Iraq rejects a Chinese offer to buy Exxon Mobil’s stake in West Qurna

The director-general of reservoirs at the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, Muhammad Al-Aboudi, confirmed that the ministry was in talks with American companies to agree to buy Exxon Mobil’s share in one of the country’s largest fields, indicating that it had rejected a Chinese offer for this purpose.

In statements to Al-Sharq, Al-Aboudi said that a Chinese company submitted a request to buy Exxon Mobil’s 32.7% stake in the field, but the Iraqi government refused and demanded a two-month delay before accepting any offer submitted by other Chinese companies.

According to Al-Aboudi, this is due to the Ministry of Oil’s desire that the alternative to the American company is Western or American companies so that dealing with Chinese and Russian companies is not restricted to the field.

He pointed out that the withdrawal of “ExxonMobil” will not in any way affect the work in the field or its production capacity. It is likely that the ministry will buy the company’s share and assign a local company to work in the field.

This announcement comes at a time when Iraq suffers from an economic crisis imposed by the Corona pandemic, and the decisions of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, calling for a reduction in oil production.

Thousands of passengers are stranded at Miami Airport due to bad weather

Several cancellations of flights at Miami International Airport due to bad weather left thousands of passengers stranded on Monday.

Passengers were unable to reach hotels due to a lack of vacancies.

On Monday, Miami International Airport reported that 70 flights had been delayed and 142 had been canceled due to severe thunderstorms in central and southern Florida since Sunday noon.

Several flights are also expected to be canceled and delayed in the coming hours.

Miami Airport spokesman Gregory Chen said about 10,000 passengers to and from the airport have been affected by delays and cancellations.

The affected airlines include American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.

A sudden malfunction hits Facebook services worldwide

The “Android Police” website suddenly revealed that Facebook services have been disrupted, including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The British newspaper, The Independent, said that millions of users of Facebook’s social media platforms, in different regions of the world, had suddenly encountered difficulties using the various “Facebook” services, on Friday.

Facebook has not issued a statement that the service has stopped.

According to the website monitoring the performance of electronic services “Down Detector”, the rate of complaints from users regarding the four social services during the past minutes has increased to more than 112 thousand times.

Telegram launches new features to compete with “Clubhouse”

The instant communication service “Telegram” launched a new platform for voice chats “Voice Chats 2.0”, with updates and unique features, to be able to compete with the rising voice service ClubHouse, as well as the Twitter service “Spaces”.

The second generation of the audio platform comes with a new set of advantages, which is the ability to open voice discussions within “channels” and groups, with an unlimited number of participants. Group and channel founders and supervisors can also record live discussions to share or post later.

Telegram also borrowed a feature from “Club House”, which is to organize live audio discussions, by asking participants to request the word by “raising a hand”, to be authorized by the supervisors.

The new update also allows for separate invitation links to be created for attendees and speakers in audio discussions. And it became easy to change the title of the audio discussions so that the participants could know their topics.

Gold reaches its highest level in a week as yields and the dollar decline

Gold prices rose on Thursday to their highest in more than a week, after weaker inflation data in the United States halted advances in Treasury and dollar yields.

And gold won in spot transactions 0.4 percent to 1733.46 dollars an ounce, after reaching its highest level since the third of March at 1734.55 dollars earlier.

US gold futures rose 0.6 percent to $ 1732.20.

Record US bond yields remained weak, while the dollar fell after Wednesday’s consumer price index data did not change expectations that inflation would exceed the central bank’s target of 2 percent.

The recent high yields threatened the status of gold as a hedge against inflation, as it means a higher opportunity cost of owning the metal that does not generate a return.

Investors are now looking to the European Central Bank’s policy meeting later today to see if policymakers will take any action to curb the rise in yields.

A bill to mitigate the repercussions of Corona in the United States, worth $ 1.9 trillion, finally won approval on Wednesday and is expected to give a strong impetus to the economic recovery.

As for the other precious metals, silver increased 0.5 percent to $ 26.30 an ounce. Palladium fell 0.1% to $ 2,303.11, while platinum gained 1.1% to $ 1,216.32.

Aston Martin pledges to build electric cars in Britain by 2025

The British luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin has pledged to manufacture its electric cars in England and Wales from 2025.

Lawrence Stroll, who owns a large stake in the famous brand, told the British newspaper “The Financial Times” that an electric sports car and an SUV will be manufactured at the company’s factories in the West Midlands and South Wales, England, instead of the factories run by the company. Mercedes-Benz, which owns a small stake in Aston Martin.

A spokesman for “Aston Martin” said that the German car giant usually manufactures engines for “Aston Martin” in Germany, as the company is a technical partner of the British brand.

The Financial Times reported that Mercedes could continue to manufacture batteries, as Stroll and his team “are looking at all options.”

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