15 JUNE 2021 – Starvision News 3D PRO
Biden says NATO defense pact is a ‘sacred obligation’
U.S. President Joe Biden offered an unequivocal commitment to defend fellow NATO countries on Monday. “Article 5 we take as a sacred obligation.” Article five is the mutual-defense clause of the military alliance. “I just want all of Europe to know that the United States is there.” The members are in Brussels for an annual summit.
Biden sought to rally Western allies to support a U.S. strategy to contain China’s military rise, and present a united front in the face of Russian aggression. Allied leaders are concerned about Russia’s recent military build-up near Ukraine, as well as its covert and cyber attacks to undermine Western states. Moscow denies any wrongdoing. Beijing, while not seen as an outright adversary, is no longer seen as a benign trading partner.
Another topic at the NATO summit is the handover of power in Washington. Biden’s predecessor disparaged the alliance as obsolete, harangued members to pay more for mutual defense, and sometimes appeared to cozy up to their number one adversary, Moscow. (Reuters)
Novavax COVID vaccine more than 90% effective in US trial
Novavax on Monday reported late-stage data from its U.S.-based clinical trial showing its vaccine is more than 90% effective against COVID-19 across a variety of variants of the virus. The study of nearly 30,000 volunteers in the United States and Mexico puts Novavax on track to file for emergency authorization in the United States and elsewhere in the third quarter of 2021, the company said.
Novavax’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate was more than 93% effective against the predominant variants of COVID-19 that have been of concern among scientists and public health officials, Novavax said. Protein-based vaccines are a conventional approach that use purified pieces of the virus to spur an immune response and vaccines again whooping cough and shingles employ this approach. During the trial, the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom became the most common variant in the United States, it said.
The vaccine was 91% effective among volunteers at high risk of severe infection and 100% effective in preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19. It was roughly 70% effective against COVID-19 variants that Novavax was unable to identify, Glenn said. (Reuters)
Bahrain exports BD283 million worth of products of national origins in May
Bahrain issued its foreign trade report of May 2021, encompassing data on the balance of trade, imports, exports (national origin), and re-exports. The value of imports increased by 6%, reaching BD402 million during May 2021 compared to BD378 million for the same month of the previous year. The top 10 countries accounted for 66% of the value of imports, with the remaining countries accounting for 34%.
According to the report, Brazil ranked first when it came to imports to Bahrain, with a total of BD52 million; China was second with BD46 million; and Australia was third with BD31million. Non-agglomerated iron ores and concentrates as the top product imported into Bahrain with a total value of BD75 million, while Aluminum oxide emerged was second with BD28 million, and four-wheel drive cars third with BD13 million. The value of exports of national origin increased by 60% to BD283 million during May 2021, compared to BD176 million for the same month of the previous year. The top 10 countries in terms of the value of exports of national origin purchased from Bahrain accounted for 75% of the total value, with the remaining countries accounting for 25%.
Saudi Arabia ranked first among countries receiving Bahraini exports of national origin, importing BD52 million from Bahrain. Meanwhile, United Arab Emirates was second with BD45 million and China third with BD20million. Agglomerated iron ores and concentrates emerged as the top products exported during May 2021 with BD60 million, Unwrought aluminum alloys was second with a value of BD48 million and Semi-finished iron and steel third with BD24 million.
The total value of re-exports increased by 38% to reach BD55million during May 2021, compared to BD40 million for the same month of the previous year. The top 10 countries accounted for 89% of the re-exported value, while the remaining countries accounted for the 11%. The United Arab Emirates ranked first with BD14 million, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia second with BD12 million, and the Singapore third with BD6 million. Four-wheel drive cars as the top product re-exported from Bahrain with BD9 million, Parts for Plane Engines came in second place with BD6 million, and gold ingots came third with BD5 million. The trade balance, difference between exports and imports, the value of the deficit of the trade balance reached BD65 million during May of 2021 versus BD162 million for the same month of the previous year with a decrease of 60%.
‘Divine Vessel’ to mark China’s first human spaceflight since 2016
A Chinese spacecraft will blast off from the Gobi Desert on a Long March rocket in the coming days, ferrying three men to an orbiting space module for a three-month stay, the first time China has sent humans into space for nearly five years. Shenzhou-12, meaning “Divine Vessel”, will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete China’s space station by 2022. Among them, four will be missions with people on board, potentially propelling up to 12 Chinese astronauts into space — more than the 11 men and women that China has sent since 2003. The craft will also carry into space the hopes of some in Earth’s most populous nation.
“The motherland is powerful,” one person wrote on Chinese social media, which has lit up with well-wishes for the Shenzhou-12 crew. “The launch is a gift to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party.”
Chinese astronauts have had a relatively low international profile. A U.S. law banning NASA from any connection with China means its astronauts have not been to the more than two-decade-old International Space Station, visited by more than 240 men and women of various nationalities. China, which aims to become a major spacefaring power by 2030, in May became the second country to put a rover on Mars, two years after landing the first spacecraft on the far side of the moon. It also plans to put astronauts on the moon — the farthest celestial body that humans have travelled to. The Shenzhou-12 crew is to live on the Tianhe, “Harmony of the Heavens”, a cylinder 16.6 metres (55 feet) long and 4.2 metres (14 feet) in diameter.
The planned three-month stay would break the country’s record of 30 days, set by the 2016 mission — China’s last crewed flight — of Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng to a prototype station. Three men from China’s first and second batches of astronauts will be on this mission, Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office and China’s first astronaut, told state tabloid Global Times last month. China’s space bloggers speculate they will be Nie Haisheng — who at 56 would be China’s oldest astronaut sent into space — Deng Qingming, 55, and Ye Guangfu, 40.
The oldest human in space was John Glenn, who flew on the space shuttle at age 77 in 1998 — after having been the first American to orbit the earth in 1962, a U.S. senator and a presidential candidate. (Reuters)
Gulf CX signs more than US$ 10 million worth of contracts
Bahrain-based Gulf CX has signed contracts worth more than US$ 10m to manage clients’ call centres operating in the GCC and beyond, including a list of over 30 well-known companies operating across the fields of food and nutrition, e-commerce, and retail.
Those contracts will contribute to the creation of 450 jobs over the coming three years. The contact centre is also 50% staffed by women and will offer a flexible shift schedule and will allow employees to work remotely to offer maximum flexibility to both employees and customers.
With the support of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and other government agencies, Gulf CX have chosen Bahrain as their regional hub to serve their large customer base of around 50 million customers across the GCC. The Kingdom offers some of the region’s best value operating costs, along with a highly educated bilingual workforce allowing for an unparalleled multilingual and high-quality customer experience.
Gulf CX, originally launched with support from the EDB, the Kingdom’s investment promotion agency tasked with attracting investment to act as a catalyst for economic growth, creating jobs in line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030.
Commenting on the announcement, Rami Sweis, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf CX, said: “This is undoubtedly a significant win with one of the region’s most exciting and dynamic technology companies. Here in Bahrain, we are able to take advantage of a competitive business environment, the region’s best-value operating costs, and a skilled workforce that allows us to deliver to our clients’ high standards and support their future growth, all while contributing to the improvement of the customer experience.”
“Bahrain has proven itself a destination of choice and regional hub for business process outsourcing and back and middle office functions, particularly in the technology and financial services sectors. Gulf CX, as a local business that is serving some of the world’s fastest growing companies and constantly striving to innovate, is a strong example of Bahrain’s achievements in this regard,” said Musab Abdullah, Executive Director of Investment Development at the EDB.
Southern Governor stresses keenness on catering to citizens’ needs
Southern Governor, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, paid an inspection visit to Isa Town where he got informed about citizens’ needs and progress of work in many services and developmental projects.
He stressed the governorate’s keenness to reach out to citizens and cater to their needs in cooperation with the relevant parties, in line with the directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the support of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
HH the Southern Governor got updated about infrastructure development plans, stressing keenness on following up on the implementation of various projects as scheduled. He praised the comprehensive care and services provided by Isa Town Social Centre for various components of the community.
He stressed the governorate’s keenness on field communication to reach out to citizens and assess their needs, lauding cooperation with the Ministry of Works, Municipality Affairs and Urban Planning and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development in this respect.
Belarus sees BRAVE CF restoring MMA’s former glory in the country
With the persistent growth of mixed martial arts (MMA) in Europe through BRAVE Combat Federation, Tatsiana Kukhareva—the director of Rukh Sport Management—expects a bright future for the local scene in Belarus. Rukh Sport Management recently partnered with the Bahrain-based promotion to host the historic BRAVE CF 51: THE FUTURE IS HERE, which took place at the state-of-the-art Falcon Club Arena last June 4.
BRAVE CF’s inaugural event on Belarusian soil featured 11 high-octane bouts, captivating the global audience from start to finish. The host country has plenty to be proud of as three of its hometown heroes walked away with their hands raised in triumph. Denis Maher kept his undefeated professional record intact by stopping previously-unbeaten standout Rinat Sagyntay of Kazakhstan in the opening salvo to extend his impressive winning streak to eight matches. On the other hand, Vadim Kutsyi put the entire super welterweight division on notice by turning in a masterful performance against fellow debutant Daniyar “Doni” Abdibaev of Kyrgyzstan via unanimous decision. Meanwhile, Vadim Rolich authored a highlight-reel knockout at the expense of Kurbonsho Jamolov, shutting the lights out on the Tajikistani stalwart courtesy of a spinning back-kick and follow-up punches with 25 seconds left on the clock in the final round.
“I believe these fighters we have now can be successful in world-famous promotions such as BRAVE CF,” Kukhareva quipped. Kukhareva is delighted with the fact that Belarusian MMA rising stars have found a home for their elite skills in BRAVE CF. “The development of our athletes stagnate because the non-competitive environment does not develop them the right way. Because of this, it is impossible to attract fans, which is bad for business,” she shared. “MMA is developing exclusively on a commercial basis, which complicates its development,” Rukh Sport Management executive continued. “To have BRAVE CF put a show in Minsk, it just gives our athletes an avenue to grow.”
In restoring the old glory of Belarus in MMA, Kukhareva believes that the recently-concluded show in Minsk is a step in the right direction. “We really enjoyed working with BRAVE CF. BRAVE CF does a lot for the development of the MMA community and unites people, athletes and business representatives,” she said. “Considering the number of guests we invited and their reaction to the event, which was held in Minsk for the first time in a long time, we can talk about a great success.”
Belarus was once a hub of the best MMA fighters, producing the likes of Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski, Alexei “Brick” Kudin, Dmitry Voitov and Igor Litoshik. However, it has largely fallen out of context over the past decade. Now, Belarus is poised to reclaim its position among the powerhouse MMA nations in Europe and the world through BRAVE CF.
“BRAVE CF has contributed so much to the reemergence of Belarus in MMA. Football, hockey, and basketball are the most popular sports in our country. But thanks to a promotion like BRAVE CF, the future of MMA in Belarus is secured,” Kukhareva stated. Kukhareva’s claim was supported by Kutsyi, who is touted to lead the Belarusian MMA industry along with Maher and Rolich.
“We see this as a huge development, for the first time in years. This is an indicator that BRAVE CF has done a great job to put Belarus back in the MMA limelight. I think this is just the beginning, and I am excited for things to come,” Kutsyi stressed.