Morning Briefing: Aug. 18, 2023

Morning Briefing: Aug. 18, 2023

Anadolu’s recap of top stories from around the globe

By Faruk Zorlu

Here's a rundown of all the news you need to start your Friday with, including the Iranian foreign minister's first visit to Saudi Arabia since the resumption of ties, ECOWAS's readiness to intervene in Niger militarily if all else fails, and a plane crash in Malaysia.

TOP STORIES

  • Iranian foreign minister leaves for Riyadh in 1st visit since resumption of ties

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian embarked on a day-long visit to Riyadh in the first official trip to Saudi Arabia by a top Iranian diplomat in more than seven years.

Iran's state media said Amir-Abdollahian will hold talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan as well as other Saudi officials.

Speculation is rife that the Iranian foreign minister will also meet with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the trip, which comes at the invitation of the Saudi foreign minister.

  • ECOWAS ready to intervene in Niger militarily if all else fails: Official

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is ready to intervene militarily in coup-hit Niger if diplomatic means to restore constitutional order fail, an official said.

“Let no one be in doubt that if everything else fails, the various forces of West Africa – both the military and civilian component – are ready to answer to the call of duty,” ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Abdel-Fatau Musah told a meeting of regional military chiefs in Accra, Ghana.

He said the military administration in Niger said it is ready for talks but is still seeking reasons to justify the unjustifiable coup d’état.


  • 10 killed in plane crash in Malaysia

At least 10 people were killed, including six passengers and two crew members, when an aircraft crashed in Malaysia, police said.

The plane crashed in the Elmina area near the capital Shah Alam in Selangor state, police told the state-run Bernama news agency.

The deceased include eight people who were onboard the aircraft as well as the driver of a car and a motorcyclist who were hit by the crashing plane.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, the Beechcraft model 390 aircraft flew from Langkawi International Airport and was scheduled to land at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport for a domestic flight.

NEWS IN BRIEF

- A Palestinian was shot dead by the Israeli military in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

- The Israeli army demolished a Palestinian school in the occupied West Bank under the pretext of lacking a license.

- Heavy rains have plunged Germany’s Frankfurt airport into chaos, causing around 100 flight cancelations and numerous delays.

- A Moscow court imposed a fine of 3 million Russian rubles ($32,330) on Google for failing to remove “false information” on the country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

- The UN said 19 aid workers have been killed in 17 attacks since the outbreak of the war in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces on April 15.

- The Socialist Party candidate for the Spanish parliament’s new speaker won with an absolute majority.

- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved a decree by the National Security and Defense Council on dismissing regional military conscription officials amid allegations of corruption.

- Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-Ul-Haq Kakar appointed a new 16-member Cabinet.

- The US army has provided joint training in northeastern Syria to elements of the PKK/YPG terrorist group and the forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political party based in northern Iraq.

- Bangladesh’s biggest state lender Sonali Bank froze the accounts of two of Myanmar’s state-owned banks hit by US sanctions earlier this year.

- Japan said 11 naval ships from China and Russia sailed for the first time through the waters near its southern islands.

- Hilary was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane and experts have forecast the storm to reach Category 4 status by the time it makes US landfall, packing winds of at least 130 miles per hour (209 kilometers per hour).

- British pop star Robbie Williams gave a concert for the first time in Türkiye’s popular tourist destination of Bodrum.

- Nigeria announced the release of $241 million to tackle a food shortage in the country.

- Famous British talk show host Michael Parkinson, known for having interviewed some of the world’s most well-known celebrities, including Muhammad Ali and Elton John, has died aged 88, his agent confirmed.

SPORTS​​​​​​​

  • 3 Turkish clubs reach Conference League playoffs

Turkish clubs Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Adana Demirspor reached the UEFA Europa Conference League playoffs.

They eliminated Maribor, Neftci and Osijek respectively in the third qualifying round.

Fenerbahce beat Maribor 3-0 in the second leg match, which was halted for nearly half an hour due to events in the stands, and eliminated the Slovenian club with a 6-1 aggregate win.

Besiktas defeated Azerbaijani club Neftci 2-1 to reach the playoffs with a 5-2 aggregate triumph.

Adana Demirspor was beaten 3-2 by Croatian side Osijek but managed to pass the third qualifying round with a 7-4 aggregate victory.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

  • Oil prices up with demand increase in US

Oil prices increased, with data showing a demand surge in the US, the world's largest oil consumer, and with the depreciation of the US dollar.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $83.81 per barrel at 10 a.m. local time (0700GMT), a 0.43% rise from the closing price of $83.45 per barrel on Wednesday.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude traded at the same time at $79.66 per barrel, up 0.35% from Wednesday's session close of $79.38 per barrel.


  • EU's trade deficit at $4.5B in 1st half

The European Union has posted a foreign trade deficit of €4.2 billion ($4.5 billion) during the first half of 2023, easing from €201.3 billion in the same period last year.

Eurostat's data showed that the EU's exports totaled €1.286 trillion in the January-June period while imports amounted to €1.29 trillion.

In the first half of the year, the eurozone's exports and imports stood at €1.43 trillion and €1.42 trillion, respectively.

The US was the main trade partner of the EU in the first half, followed by China, the UK, Switzerland and Türkiye.

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