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Abu Dhabi’s G42 to start Mideast’s first driverless car trials on Yas Island

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An Abu Dhabi firm backed by Mubadala Investment Co. plans to start trials for the Middle East’s first driverless ride-sharing service this month, with the goal of eventually rolling out the technology across the United Arab Emirates.

Group 42’s Bayanat unit will begin with five cars on Yas Island, a popular entertainment destination in the UAE capital, which is home to a Formula One race track and the Ferrari World theme park.

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The cars will have a safety officer on board and transport passengers between nine stops, including hotels and shopping malls.

Second phase

A second phase will include more vehicles in multiple locations across Abu Dhabi. G42 expects to launch a ride-hailing app when the program is made public, and plans to make the hardware technology available for purchase so it can be installed on other vehicles.

Bayanat signed an agreement to begin autonomous vehicle trials in March and the UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved testing of self-driving vehicles this month.

Earlier this year, Cruise LLC, the self-driving car unit backed and majority owned by General Motors Co., signed a deal to begin operating self-driving taxis in Dubai in 2023. The company will start running a small number or vehicles in two years and plans to have 4,000 driverless Origin shuttles in the emirate by 2030.

Energy to healthcare

G42 is as an artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm, with operations spanning from energy to healthcare. Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s influential national security adviser and brother to Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, is its chairman.

The company has been on a hiring spree over the past year, doubling headcount to about 1,800.

Last month, it agreed to merge its data centers with Etisalat. It was the first UAE company to open an office in Israel after the nations normalized ties, later setting up a venture with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

Earlier this year, G42 signed a deal to make millions of doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine in the UAE, taking manufacturing of the shot overseas for the first time. G42 had also helped set up trials for the Sinopharm vaccine.
The firm recently hired Tariq bin Hendi, former director-general at Abu Dhabi Investment Office, as its chief investment officer. Hendi has been tasked with building out a team and hiring senior money managers from Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds, people familiar with the matter said.

Mubadala took a stake in the company last year, and the $243 billion wealth fund’s Chief Executive Officer Khaldoon Al Mubarak sits on G42’s board. US private equity firm Silver Lake invested in G42 this year.

Read more:

Driverless cars to be trialed in Dubai
Google wants to bring driverless cars, more jobs to Mideast
Govt summit: driverless cars could transform Dubai’s transport

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Saudi Arabia supports sustainability while ensuring global energy security: Al-Jadaan

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Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said on Friday that the Kingdom supports sustainability while ensuring energy security and the inevitability of moving to a green and sustainable global economy, “based on a flexible and thoughtful approach, to ensure energy security and economic stability in the long term.”

Al-Jadaan remarks came during his participation in the virtual panel discussion organized by the World Economic Forum, Davos Agenda under the title: Building Future Preparedness.

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He said the past two years have provided many lessons to build economic resilience and a better future preparedness, like the “the need for a bold, decisive, data driven action in risk mitigation, while balancing public health, social, and economic needs simultaneously,” according to a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Al-Jadaan said: “G20 agreed to form a joint task force from the ministries of health and finance to ensure the world is better prepared for the future, and it is important that we support these efforts,” pointing that the COVID-19 pandemic provided the world with a clear lesson that no country can fight the epidemic alone since any pandemic requires greater international cooperation.

The Minister of Finance also clarified that the transformation in the field of energy and sustainable development are two main factors to be able to build a resilient global economy, but the threat that is often ignored is the need to ensure energy security, so that the matter is not negatively affected by the transformation.

Al-Jadaan stressed that the “G20 is working with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral institutions to find a way to better prepare for potential crises in the future by continuing structural reforms and managing risks, noting that in the past, it took years to produce vaccines, yet today, with collective cooperation, whether from the private sector or the government, we were able to deal well with the crisis, we were able to provide support to low-income countries and we were able to provide relief efforts in agreement with the G20 and Paris Club, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to distribute the equivalent of $650 billion from its special drawing rights to support liquidity,” according to SPA.

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Saudi Finance Minister al-Jadaan calls for global action on coronavirus at G20 event

Lebanon to sign electricity deal with Jordan on Jan. 26: Minister Walid Fayad

Unit 2 of UAE’s Barakah nuclear plant to start operations within months: ENEC CEO

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Iran says gas flows to Turkey resume after being cut due to technical fault

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Iran said on Friday its gas exports to Turkey have resumed after being cut a day earlier due to a technical fault, but a Turkish official said Iranian supplies were lower than the required volumes.

“Gas exports to Turkey, which had been suspended yesterday (Thursday, January 20) following a gas leak at a station on the Turkish side, have resumed,” the Iranian Oil Ministry’s news agency SHANA reported.

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“The brief pause in the gas exports to Turkey was due to the pressure-boosting station in Turkey needing to make adjustments to receive the gas after a fall in pressure,” SHANA said, without elaborating.

A sector official on the Turkish side said: “While it has to supply 28 million cubic meters of gas per day, Iran has been sending around 2-3 million cubic meters of gas and at low pressure.”

“The system is being disrupted due to the low amount and pressure, The compressor stations on the Turkey side are ready, operational, and there are no technical issues on the Turkish side,” the Turkish official told Reuters on Friday.

Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji told state TV that Iran was supplying 10 million cubic meters per day, starting early on Friday, while repairs were being carried out to stop a leak.

Sector officials in Turkey said on Thursday that Iran had cut gas flows for up to 10 days due to a technical failure, prompting Turkish authorities to order gas-fueled power plants to cut gas use by 40 percent.

Turkey is almost fully dependent on imported gas from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Iran alone provided 16 percent of Turkey’s natural gas needs in the first 10 months of 2021, according to the latest official data.

Iran has faced gas shortages at home because of record high consumption particularly for household heating in the winter cold and has had to cut supplies to cement plants and other industries.

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Iran gas flow to Turkey cut by technical failure: Officials

Turkey passes law exempting converted lira deposits from corporate tax

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Turkey passes law exempting converted lira deposits from corporate tax

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Turkey’s parliament approved a law late on Thursday under which lira deposits converted from foreign currency under a scheme to support the lira will be exempt from corporate income tax on gains resulting from the conversion.

State-owned Anadolu news agency said interest and profits earned on the converted lira accounts with at least three months’ maturity will be exempt from the tax if they are converted by the fourth-quarter tax return submission date, which is Feb. 17.

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On Jan. 11, Turkey’s Official Gazette announced that Ankara had included corporate foreign currency and gold deposit accounts converted to lira in the scheme that protects local currency savings against exchange rate volatility.

The scheme, announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in December, compensates depositors for any loss in the value of the lira incurred during the duration of the deposit.

The lira slumped 44 percent in value against the dollar last year after the central bank slashed its benchmark interest rate by 500 basis points to 14% since September. The lira has steadied this month. It was 0.8 percent weaker at 13.43 against the dollar on Friday.

Deposits under the scheme have so far reached 163 billion lira ($12.1 billion), Erdogan said on Wednesday. But Reuters has reported that most of that amount comes from existing lira accounts rather than dollars or euros.

Also under the legislation, inflation accounting will be postponed until Dec. 31, 2023, even if all necessary conditions are met for inflation accounting in the 2021, 2022 fiscal periods and the 2023 quarterly periods.

Read more:

Turkey’s inflation soars to 36 percent, highest in Erdogan era

Turkey’s central bank slashes rates 100 points despite lira crash

Turkey, UAE sign FX swap deal worth $5 billion

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