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Brazil crush South Korea 4-1 to storm into quarter-finals

Several South Korean fans left the stadium in tears as their team became the last Asian side to exit from the tournament on Tuesday…reports Mukesh Sharma

A fabulous show of football by Brazil sent South Korea packing in their FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 match at the 974 Stadium in Doha on Monday.

The Koreans were completely outplayed by the Brazilian side in the first half as the South Americans scored 4 goals in a span of 29 minutes. The Asian side could salvage its reputation in the second half, but just, with the help of a 76th minute goal. The match ended 4-1 with Brazil set to take on Croatia in a quarter final clash.

The men in yellow began the assault on their Asian rivals when Vinicius Junior, assisted by Neymar Jr netted home in the seventh minute by a right foot shot. As a sea of yellow cheered their side incessantly in the 40,000-capacity stadium made with shipping containers, Brazil scored the second goal with the help of a penalty taken by Neymar Jr in the 13th minute.

Brazil’s third goal came in the 29th minute when Richarlison shot from the centre of the box to make it 3-0. He was assisted by Thiago Silva.

Lucas Paqueta, assisted by Vinicius Junior, made no mistake in the 36th minute to make it 4-0 for the South American side.

Several South Korean fans left the stadium in tears as their team became the last Asian side to exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

Neymar’s heart-warming gesture for Pele

Brazil forward Neymar sent his best wishes to football legend Pele on Monday after the South American team advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals with a 4-1 win over South Korea.

Pele, who won the World Cup three times for Brazil, is currently in hospital as he recovers from a respiratory infection and continues treatment for colon cancer.

Brazil’s players posed for a photograph holding a banner with the 82-year-old’s image and name after the final whistle at Stadium 974, reports Xinhua.

“It’s tough to talk about Pele with what he is going through,” Neymar told reporters. “We wish he can get well soon. We hope we made him feel a bit more comfortable with the banner and with the victory.”

Neymar’s first-half penalty means the 30-year-old now has 76 international goals, one shy of Pele’s Brazil scoring record.

The Paris Saint-Germain player said he felt no ill effects of an ankle problem that forced him to miss Brazil’s previous two matches against Switzerland and Cameroon.

“I didn’t feel any pain in my ankle,” he said. “I want to thank the medical staff and the physiotherapists for helping me to be fit for this match.

“I think I played well. I’m very happy with how the night went but, having said that, I think we can always improve. I can’t be 100 per cent satisfied, we can always get better.”

He added: “We wanted to win the match to reach the next round and that’s what happened. The fans celebrated wonderfully inside the stadium and we have to congratulate them.”

Tite lauds team for victory

Brazil manager Tite applauded his team’s attacking flair after a sparkling 4-1 victory over South Korea in their World Cup round of 16 match on Tuesday.

Vinicius Junior put Brazil ahead with a cool finish, and Neymar doubled the lead from the penalty spot at Stadium 974. Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta extended the advantage before substitute Paik Seung-ho pulled a late goal back for South Korea.

“It’s the offensive boldness of this team and the way we play collectively that is impressive,” Tite told reporters, reports Xinhua. “This batch of players is the result of a lot of work from many people, starting at the grassroots level.

“Another feature is that we have a balanced team, both defensively and offensively. The players realize that this balance is what we need in a tournament like this.”

The victory means Brazil will meet Croatia at Education City stadium in the quarterfinals on Friday (Dec. 9).

Tite also commented on his celebratory dance with Richarlison and Brazil’s bench after the Tottenham forward’s 29th-minute strike.

“I asked him [before the match], ‘What is that dance? If you show me, I’ll do it’,” Tite said.

“But I have to be very careful. There might be people who say it was disrespectful. I knew there would be a camera there and I didn’t want it to be misinterpreted. I would never disrespect the opponent or [South Korea manager] Paulo Bento.”

ALSO READ-Croatia beat Japan 3-1 on penalties

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Qatar 2022 witnesses highest attendance in FIFA World Cup history

History was also made by Stéphanie Frappart, who not only became the first woman to officiate a FIFA World Cup match, but also, together with Neuza Back and Karen Díaz Medina, formed the first all-female trio to take charge….reports Asian Lite News

After 13 days and 48 matches, the first edition of the FIFA World Cup to be hosted in the Middle East and Arab world has presented an array of facts and figures, starting with a cumulative stadium attendance of 2.45 million spectators, according to a report published by FIFA on its Qatar 2022 portal.

This 2.45-million figure equals an average of 96 percent occupancy and is higher than the corresponding 2.17-million figure for the 2018 edition. The highest attendance in the history of the FIFA World Cup since the 1994 final was seen at Lusail Stadium, where 88,966 fans witnessed the Argentina v. Mexico match.

On the pitch, the FIFA World Cup has faithfully reflected football’s increased competitiveness, as for the first time ever, teams from all continents have advanced to the round of 16. Likewise, three teams from the AFC (Australia, Japan and Korea Republic) have reached the knockout stages – a competition record for the Asian confederation, which previously only had two, in 2002 and 2010. Equally remarkably, for the second time, two African teams (Senegal and Morocco) have reached the knockout stages – the last occasion being in 2014.

History was also made by Stéphanie Frappart, who not only became the first woman to officiate a FIFA World Cup match, but also, together with Neuza Back and Karen Díaz Medina, formed the first all-female trio to take charge. Against Ghana, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo achieved another incredible milestone by becoming the first player to score at five editions of the tournament. Many matches have attracted the best audiences of the year in their respective countries, with England v. USA becoming the most watched men’s football match on US television ever.

“The outcome of the group stage shows the extent to which more countries have acquired the tools to compete at the highest level,” said FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger. “This is the result of better preparation and analysis of the opponents, which is also a reflection of a more equal access to technology. It is very much in line with FIFA’s efforts to increase football’s competitiveness on a global scale.”

As the group stage wrapped up last night, the FIFA Fan Festival welcomed its one millionth visitor. Besides the official tournament venues, Doha’s seaside promenade – the Corniche – has attracted more than two million people since the start of the tournament, with the traditional Souq Waqif market becoming another hotspot for fans from around the world. Uruguayan and Korean fans can be proud of having reached a mighty 131 decibels at their match at Education City Stadium – a noise akin to that heard at a live rock concert.

The most compact FIFA World Cup since the inaugural edition in 1930 is also benefiting fans, teams and media representatives, with the option of attending several matches and entertainment activities per day, while operations continue to run smoothly. During the group stage, the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram networks notched up 9.19 million trips, with a daily average of 707,032 passengers.

The two international airports are comfortably accommodating the influx of fans and teams – so far, 2 million Hayyas (Fan IDs) applications have been received, with fans from Saudi Arabia, India, the USA, the United Kingdom and Mexico at the top of the list for tournament attendance to date. In spite of the unprecedented condensed footprint, with 24 teams staying within a 10km radius of each other, players and officials have also smoothly transferred 3,321 times in and around Doha.

“It’s been a fantastic World Cup, with groundbreaking figures and memorable moments both on and off the pitch. Fans are having an amazing time in Doha, and the whole world is following with excitement on TV as new records as set every day,” said FIFA COO World Cup, Colin Smith. “What some saw as a challenge, we saw as an opportunity. Teams, media and spectators are enjoying more matches, more festivals, more football, more fun – the compact footprint is comfortably addressing the influx of visitors through state-of-the-art infrastructure and thorough operational plans.”

“Together with the host country, we are constantly monitoring and addressing any situation that arises, but the figures already achieved and the fans celebrating together in a joyful and peaceful way throughout this group stage speak for themselves – we are on track to deliver a successful and unforgettable FIFA World Cup.”

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Tunisian shocker for France

Wednesday two other matches will see Argentina take on Poland and a winless Mexico taking on Saudi Arabia…reports Asian Lite News

A 58th minute goal from Wahbi Khazri helped Tunisia inflict a first-ever defeat on defending champions France but the win at the Education City Stadium was not enough to see them to the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup as Australia piped them to the qualifying post.

Khazri’s goal went in vain as the Socceroos’ made it at the expense of the North Africans from Group D after defeating Denmark at the Janoub Stadium and made it to the knockout stage from the group along with France.

France started the World Cup in fine fashion, picking up six points from their first two games and scoring six goals in the process but finished as group leaders ahead of Australia. France, who had already qualified for the knock-out stage with two wins, ended up top despite making nine changes and producing a poor performance.

Both Australia and France finished with six points from two wins, while Tunisia took the third spot with four points from one win and one draw against Denmark, which finished at the bottom with one point.

Australia join already qualified teams France, Portugal, Brazil, Senegal and The Netherlands and will take on winners of Group C, which consists of Argentina, Poland, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday two other matches will see Argentina take on Poland and a winless Mexico taking on Saudi Arabia.

“It’s mixed feelings because we’re happy to beat a team like France,” Tunisia manager Jalel Kadri said.

“We can be proud and leave with our head high, but it is a bitter victory.

“It would have been beautiful to beat France and reach the last 16. It is our fault for not doing what we needed to do before.”

“I said nothing is impossible. We have been able to win over the world champions,” added Kadri.

“We have been able to prove our efficiency and we did our best. We worked as a team. It wasn’t easy for us to get these four points (in the group stage) but we leave with a lot of honour and pride.”

On Wednesday, France having already qualified for the last 16 stage opted to rest a number of players, including Hugo Lloris, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud.

Taking a cue, the Tunisians dominated the major chunk of the opening session.

The Tunisian continued to call the shot in the second session for the major part of the second session.

Khazri struck 13 minutes into the second session. Youssouf Fofana lost the ball in midfield for France and the ball went to Khazri 30 yards from goal, he moved deep into the rival territory and dribbled into the box almost unchallenged, before slipping the ball past Steve Mandanda, 1-0.

It was only the introduction of Antonie Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe that injected some energy into the French attack.

Infact, Griezmann the Athletico Madrid man had volleyed home from 10 yards to put the teams on level terms but the goal was ruled out following VAR review.

The huge contingent of Tunisian fans welcomed the decision with a big roar as the Kiwi referee Matthew Conger overturned the last-minute equalizer.

Tunisia held on to record an against-the-odds to claim a memorable 1-0 win but The Eagles of Carthage will not progress to the last 16 due to Australia’s victory over Denmark in Group D’s other final fixture but will take solace from this upset against the 2018 champions.

There is a large Tunisian community in France who will savour the result, the country’s first win against European opposition at a World Cup and just their third ever in 18 matches at the tournament.

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Vamos Vamos Argentina

Dider Deschamps side aiming to retain the trophy will aim to continue their strong start to the tournament in the hope of reaching the quarter-finals…reports Asian Lite News

Lionel Messi missed a controversial first-half penalty for Argentina against Poland but his side recovered in time to register a 2-0 win, their second successive one and move into the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup as Group C winners.

On Wednesday night at the 974 Stadium, one goal apiece from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez helped two-time champions Argentina to collect full points.

La Albiceleste scored both the goals in the second half to finish with six points, having started their campaign with a shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in the Group C opener.

Argentina as group winners will take on Australia, which finished second in Group D. Poland with one win against Saudi Arabia and one loss, finished second behind the group leaders and also qualified for the last 16 stage and will take on defending champions France, which despite their 1-0 loss to Tunisia finished as group winners.

Dider Deschamps side aiming to retain the trophy will aim to continue their strong start to the tournament in the hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

Argentina and Poland join Australia, Portugal, Brazil, England, France, the Netherlands, Senegal and USA, making it ten teams making it to the last 16 stage with another six set to join the qualified teams in the next stage of the tournament.

Argentina were the dominant team in the first session in which Messi struck two shots on target in the opening ten minutes as Argentina battered at the door of Poland.

They continued to rack up shots through the first half, including a stunning attempt from Rodrigo de Paul from the corner flag.

Julian Alvarez – replacing Lautaro Martinez in the starting line-up – also had a shot blocked from close range in the 36th minute.

Then controversy struck when Messi was awarded a penalty after a VAR review. Poland keeper Wojciech Szczesny had attempted to punch away an Argentina cross but missed, and his hand struck the head of Messi at the back post. Messi had already headed the ball wide of the upright.

But, in a stunning twist, Szczesny saved Messi’s penalty with a brilliant diving block – his second penalty save of the tournament.

Argentina, playing their best football of the tournament, which will please Lionel Scaloni ahead of the round of 16, overcame the penalty save with two goals in the second session.

Argentina went into the lead 60 seconds after the restart with a goal by the Brighton midfielder Mac Allister. Molina got to the touch line and cut the ball back where Mac Allister was waiting – the 23-year-old didn’t make a clean connection as he swept it with his right foot, but the direction was perfect and just kissed the far post after passing Szczesny.

The second goal had been coming. It was a brilliant finish from Alvarez. Enzo Fernandez drives at the defence and finds Alvaraz, who takes a touch, swivels and blasts a rocket into the top corner. A brilliant, instinctive finish from the Manchester city man in the 67th minute to confirm Argentina as group winners.

ALSO READ-Portugal joins Brazil, France into knockouts stage of World Cup

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V-P Dhankhar meets Indian community in Qatar

He also met Sheikh Tamim during the inauguration of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar on Sunday…reports Asian Lite News

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday interacted with the Indian community members here in Doha and lauded their role in deepening the links between India and Qatar.

Dhankhar is in Doha for a two-day visit and represented India at the inauguration of the FIFA World Cup on Sunday. He is visiting Doha at the invitation of Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

He also met Sheikh Tamim during the inauguration of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar on Sunday.

“Hon’ble Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar interacted with members of the Indian Community in Doha, Qatar. Shri Dhankhar lauded the community members for their accomplishments in their respective fields,” the Vice President of India tweeted along with pictures.

“Connecting with our own! Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar @VPSecretariat met with a cross-section of Indian community members & school students in Doha, Qatar,” Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted.

“In his inspiring address at the reception, VP lauded the role played by the community in deepening India-Qatar links,” he tweeted.

On Sunday, Dhankhar met several world leaders, including UN chief Antonio Guterres, on the sidelines of the FIFA World Cup here in Qatar.

“In a conversation with the UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino and IOC President, Mr Thomas Bach on the sidelines of FIFA World Cup 2022 inaugural in Qatar today,” the Vice President’s Office tweeted.

“Hon’ble Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar meeting with world leaders on the sidelines of FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar today,” the VP office tweeted.

India and Qatar enjoy close and friendly relations with a multi-faceted partnership extending to areas of trade, energy, security, defence, health, culture, and education, among others, the MEA statement said.

Qatar plays an important partner in India’s energy security and India participates in the Gulf nation’s food security.

India and Qatar will be celebrating 50 years of the establishment of full diplomatic relations next year.

The MEA statement said people-to-people ties form an important element of the bilateral relationship with over 840,000 Indians in Qatar.

ALSO READ-Qatar fuels Arab pride

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Qatar fuels Arab pride

Festive spirit bubbles over despite beer ban and other controversies. The Union of Arab Chambers, which is the official representative of the Arab private sector, has affirmed that organizing the FIFA World Cup 2022 by the State of Qatar is a source of pride for all the people of the Arab region…reports Asian Lite News

Football, fans and flags. These three words embody Qatar as a large number of international fans, expatriates and Qataris soak in the festive spirit of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 just more than 24 hours ahead of the grand event that begins on Sunday.

Groups of men and women carrying flags and in colourful jerseys could be seen around fan zones and places hosting festivities on Friday, the last weekend ahead of the tournament. The cyan and white jerseys of Argentina and the yellow and green of the Brazil squad have been the dominating colours as football revellers celebrate on Doha streets.

“We are lucky to be living in Qatar during the FIFA World Cup as so many fans from all over the world have converged here for the tournament,” said Mohammed Shahid, an Indian from Kerala who was dressed in a Brazil national team jersey at the Lusail Boulevard, which has been done up with flags and lights for the World Cup.

Enquiries at supermarkets and other stores selling flags and jerseys revealed that the offtake for Brazil jerseys and flags has been the highest. Amna Siddiqui, a girl from the Indian state of Karnataka, was found pleading with her father at a supermarket in Al Wakra to buy her the Brazilian standard.

“I have finally decided to yield to her badgering,” said her amused father as the 10-year-old Brazil fan emerged victorious from the shop located some 15 km from Doha.

The convivial spirit of the World Cup seems to have outshone a slew of allegations by international news outlets, especially those belonging to Western nations. A number of articles in international media have pointed the finger at Qatar, alleging human rights violations and abuse of workers’ rights as the country built eight advanced stadiums for the World Cup. Qatar denies the allegations and has pushed back against criticism.

The sale of alcoholic drinks at the World Cup has been hotly discussed in Western newspapers, with some criticising the price of beer to be sold as exorbitant. Until a few weeks before the tournament, it was still seemingly unclear if alcohol will be sold at match venues and fan zones in the conservative Muslim country where the sale of liquor is strictly regulated.

FIFA ended the speculation on Friday when it announced a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages near the eight stadiums where World Cup matches will be played in Qatar.

In a statement on its website, the world football body said: “Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium perimeters.”

The announcement implies that alcohol will be sold at FIFA Fan Festivals, which will be held in designated places in the country where thousands of fans will congregate to watch matches on giant screens.

“…FIFA will continue to ensure that the stadiums and surrounding areas provide an enjoyable, respectful and pleasant experience for all fans,” the world football body’s statement added.

 ARAB PRIDE

The Union of Arab Chambers, which is the official representative of the Arab private sector, has affirmed that organizing the FIFA World Cup 2022 by the State of Qatar is a source of pride for all the people of the Arab region.

This was revealed at the closing statement of the 133rd board of directors meeting of the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC) held recently in the State of Kuwait.
The “Kuwait Summit for the Private Sector” statement also stressed that the World Cup opened broad horizons for Arab companies to implement more projects and gain more expertise.

HE Chairman of Qatar Chamber Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani led the Chambers delegation participating in the meeting which touched on many topics, including enhancing mutual investments between Arab countries and the most prominent obstacles facing the intra-Arab trade, in addition to upgrades in the global trade and opportunities available for Arab economies.

During the meeting, Their Excellencies the heads of unions and Arab chambers and members of the delegations praised Qatar’s organization of this tournament, assuring that it is a championship for all Arabs and that its economic gains would exceed all expectations.

The statement also called on Arab governments to achieve the four freedoms that enhance Arab economic integration, which are the freedom of movement of individuals, freedom of movement of capital, freedom of movement of goods, as well as the freedom of transfer of services by accelerating the adoption of the Agreement on Liberalization of Trade in Services among the Arab Countries.

The establishment of Arab value and supply chains through Arab ports and sea lines and logistics centers, and providing support for the multimodal transport, as well as the establishment of an Arab commodity exchange were among recommendations.

The meeting also stressed on encouraging the private sector to play its societal role in developing and supporting education, training, and entrepreneurship to create productive generations that keep pace with developments, with a focus on youth entrepreneurs.

It further called for empowering womens participation in economic activity, activating the PPP in all economic sectors, and activating the role of banks and funds Arab development in support of investments.

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Artists from India, Pakistan celebrate truck art in Qatar

The initiative was a part of the annual JedariArt programme launched by Qatar Museums…reports Asian Lite News

Mural and street artists from India and Pakistan breathed life into the walls of Al Mansoura Metro Station in Doha with their truck art for the FIFA World Cup, which kicks off this month in Qatar.

Truck art is a psychedelic display of interesting slogans, floral patterns, calligraphy and a riot of vibrants colours, usually practised in India and Pakistan.

The initiative was a part of the annual JedariArt programme launched by Qatar Museums, wherein they partnered with art groups — All India Permit from India and Phool Patti from Pakistan — to celebrate the truck art form.

The 23X33 feet mural art stand adjacent to each other with the Indian mural displaying famous truck slogans like, “dekho magar pyaar se”, and Horn OK please.

It showcased motifs and slogans in Hindi, English, Bengali, Punjabi, Arabic, Urdu and Telugu, inspired from the Indian trucks.

The Pakistani mural portrayed nature and its various elements with the message of Qatar-Pakistan Friendship written in the centre.

“The artwork also reflects the ethnic diversity at Al Mansoura, Doha. We are thankful to Qatar Museums for celebrating Indian and Pakistani truck art and helping it travel across borders,” Farid Bawa, artist and founder of All India Permit, told Doha News.

The All India Permit was formed with the aim to revive, preserve and promote the beautiful truck art of India, according to Bawa, who saw the plight of truck artists first-hand, as his grandfather ran a transport business.

“We have tried to portray the beauty of Pakistan’s heritage through our art form on the Mansoura walls. The truck art mural is the embodiment of Phool Patti’s dedication to the cause of promoting Pakistan’s rich heritage and culture,” Ali Salman Anchan, artist and founder of Phool Patti, told The Peninsula.

This year, Qatar Museums has over 30 public art installations planned to be placed in different spots across the country for the FIFA World Cup, Doha News reported.

Participants from India included artists Bawa and Akhlaq Ahmad (Shabbu), and Ali Salman Anchan, Mumtaz Ahmad, Muhammad Amin from Pakistan.

The event also saw participation from local artists, Amal Serhan, Abdulrahman Ahmadi, Maya Attia and Lee Baker.

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Türkiye, Qatar sign 11 deals to cement ties

The 11 agreements cover areas of shared use of communications infrastructure, food security, intellectual property, disaster and emergency management, as well as cultural exchanges…reports Asian Lite News

Türkiye and Qatar signed 11 new agreements during the eighth meeting of their Supreme Strategic Committee in Istanbul on Friday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and visiting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani co-chaired the meeting, where high-level officials held talks on various issues.

The agreements cover areas of shared use of communications infrastructure, food security, intellectual property, disaster and emergency management, as well as cultural exchanges, according to the report.

Türkiye enjoys a deep historical friendship with Qatar. The two countries’ partnerships have also strengthened since the Supreme Strategic Committee was established in 2014, during which over 80 bilateral agreements were signed and high-level meetings were frequent.

Opec’s Production

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit voiced “full support” for Saudi Arabia’s decision to reduce oil production, the pan-Arab bloc said in a statement.

Aboul-Gheit condemned the harsh media campaign launched against Saudi Arabia following the announcement of the OPEC+ decision.

“Those statements aim at politicizing pure economic decisions that are necessary for the stability of the world economy in face of the ongoing dangerous challenges,” he said.

The Arab League’s leader also praised Saudi Arabia’s balanced strategy for stabilizing the oil markets and its position on global and regional political concerns.

Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a 23-member group known as OPEC+, decided to cut daily production by 2 million barrels starting November. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said the OPEC+ decision was “purely economic.”

The United States, which is facing mounting pressure from high inflation, objected to the production cut. U.S. President Joe Biden said he would be reviewing the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia and there would be unspecified “consequences” for the kingdom.

Iraq’s Government

UN special envoy for Iraq, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and speaker of the Arab Parliament on Friday congratulated Iraq on its ongoing political process to form a new government.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for Iraq and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, congratulated the country’s new Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani on being assigned to form a new government, official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported .

“We hope and expect the formation of the new government will pave the way for addressing Iraq’s long list of urgent and pending issues and meet the needs of the Iraqi people,” INA quoted the UN envoy’s congratulatory message to al-Sudani as saying.

Meanwhile, GCC secretary-general Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf congratulated newly-elected Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid and prime minister-designate al-Sudani, said the GCC press release.

Al-Hajraf praised the strong relations between the GCC and Iraq, highlighting GCC countries’ willingness to strengthen cooperation with Iraq.

In his congratulation to Rashid and al-Sudani, Arab Parliament Speaker Adel Abdul-Rahman al-Asoumi called on all Iraqi political forces, at the delicate moments, to cooperate and provide support to the Iraqi president and prime minister-designate to maintain the stability of the country and achieve national consensus, according to the Arab Parliament press release.

Iraqi lawmakers on Thursday elected Rashid as the new president, marking a crucial step toward forming a new government for the country and ending a year of political deadlock.

After the parliament session, Rashid tasked al-Sudani with forming a new government as al-Sudani was nominated by the Coordination Framework (CF), the largest parliamentary alliance and an umbrella group of Shiite parliamentary parties.

Rashid’s election as president came as political tensions have been rising in the past months between the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sadrist Movement, the biggest winner in the parliamentary elections in 2021, and its rivals in the CF alliance.

Al-Sadr demanded to dissolve parliament and hold early elections, but it was rejected by the CF parties, which became the largest bloc after al-Sadr ordered his followers to withdraw from the parliament in June.

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Turkey, Qatar reach agreements to boost ties

 Turkey and Qatar signed 11 new agreements during the eighth meeting of their Supreme Strategic Committee in Istanbul, state-run news agency reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and visiting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Friday co-chaired the meeting, where high-level officials held talks on various issues, Xinhua news agency reported.

The agreements cover areas of shared use of communications infrastructure, food security, intellectual property, disaster and emergency management, as well as cultural exchanges, according to the report.

Turkey enjoys a deep historical friendship with Qatar. The two countries’ partnerships have also strengthened since the Supreme Strategic Committee was established in 2014, during which more than 80 bilateral agreements were signed and high-level meetings were frequent.

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Qatar interested in leasing Pakistan’s airports

Qatar is going to invest in seaports, LNG plants, and solar power plants, reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that Qatar is “interested in leasing Pakistan’s airports”.

He was addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Friday.

Miftah said that Qatar is going to invest in seaports, LNG plants, and solar power plants, Samaa TV reported.

They are also interested in entering the Pakistan Stock Exchange, he said.

He denied media reports about handing over New York’s Roosevelt Hotel and Pakistan International Airline. He said these topics did not come under discussion.

His statement comes a day after Pak Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif concluded his maiden official visit to the Gulf kingdom since assuming office in April.

The minister said that the meeting of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board is taking place on Monday which will approve the release of funds.

He claimed that Pakistan has already fulfilled all the pre-conditions for the disbursement of the loan tranche.

Miftah said that the Fuel Charges Adjustment (FCA) that came with the electricity bills of August was for the month of May. It increases the per unit price of electricity by Rs 7, he said.

He said that the government has talked to the IMF about this and decided not to collect FCA from consumers using less than 200 units of electricity. This would cost us almost Rs 21 billion, he added.

He also said that a committee has been constituted to consider reduction for the consumers using 200 to 300 units.

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