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Bahrain approves first phase of metro project costing $2 bln

Bahrain has started pre-qualification process for companies bidding to develop first phase of Bahrain Metro Project, according to a statement by the Ministry of Transportation on Tuesday.
The first phase of the metro project will comprise an elevated corridor with two tracks.
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The Bahrain Metro Phase One Project will contain two lines with a total length of 29 kilometers and 20 stations and two interchanges, connecting Muharraq, Manama, Diplomatic Area, Juffair, Seef District, Tubli, Adhari and Isa Town.
The new urban transit system will support a fully automated, driverless GoA4 system operation and will include the latest technology.
Manama has sanctioned the commencement of first phase of the Metro project estimated at $2 billion.
A market consultation event had held earlier in March this year, and the government will now proceed to the tender stage.
This two-stage international and ‘competitively bid’ public tender process will include a request for qualification (RFQ) followed by a request for proposal.
The RFQ process is anticipated to begin in December.
According to Bahrain News Agency (BNA), local and international companies with relevant expertise in the field of public transportation can participate in the tender.

This project is being managed by the country’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications.

Economic Recovery Plan
Bahrain had launched an Economic Recovery Plan and the Metro project is one of the most important strategic projects in the Kingdom that aim to support economic growth by attracting additional foreign direct investment and large multinational companies, thereby enhancing Bahrain’s competitiveness.

“The Bahrain Metro project is one of the most important land transport projects providing a new sustainable mode of transportation in the Kingdom, aiming to achieve Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030. The project is part of the Strategic Projects Plan and comes as part of the government's priority projects that are worth more than $30 billion. The plan to develop an integrated public transport network will contribute to raising the efficiency of transport services in the Kingdom,” Transportation and Telecommunication Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed said.
“The Bahrain Metro Phase One Project will be implemented in line with the latest international standards in the industry, and will be fully automated,” the Minister said.
The first phase of the project will be carried out with the private sector as an integrated PPP, and the pre-qualification tender stage is the first step to identify suitably experienced and qualified individual company or a consortium of companies with relevant expertise to design, build, finance, operate, maintain and transfer the project (DBFOMT mode),” he added.

Read more: Bahrain central bank governor expects real GDP to grow 3.1 pct in 2021

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Israeli army kills suspected assailant after West Bank car ramming

A suspected assailant was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after injuring three young men with his car in the southern West Bank on Saturday, the army and medics said.

The army said a “terrorist” had conducted a “ramming attack adjacent to the town of Beit Ummar” before being neutralized, with a spokesperson confirming to AFP the presumed assailant’s death.

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Magen David Adom medics said the three men were taken to hospitals in Jerusalem with serious, moderate and light wounds.

There were no immediate details on the suspected assailant.

The latest violence comes less than 24 hours after an Arab Israeli allegedly snatched a gun from a police officer and fired it in a scuffle at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, before being shot dead.

The Saturday deaths bring an end to the relative lull in violence since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan some 10 days ago.

Since the start of the year, the conflict has claimed the lives of 88 Palestinians, including militants and civilians, and one Arab Israeli.

Fourteen other Israelis, including members of the security forces and civilians, and one Ukrainian have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.

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High activity spotted at N. Korea nuclear complex after Kim’s bomb-fuel order: Report

Satellite images show a high level of activity at North Korea’s main nuclear site, a US think tank reported on Saturday after the North Korean leader ordered an increase in production of bomb fuel to expand the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The Washington-based 38 North Korea monitoring project said the activity it had spotted, based on images from March 3 and 17, could indicate that an Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) at the Yongbyon site was nearing completion and transition to operational status.

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The report said the images showed that a 5 megawatt reactor at Yongbyon continued to operate and that construction had started on a support building around the ELWR. Further, water discharges had been detected from that reactor’s cooling system. New construction had also started around Yongbyon’s uranium enrichment plant, likely to expand its capabilities.

“These developments seem to reflect Kim Jong Un’s recent directive to increase the country’s fissile material production to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal,” the report added, referring to the North Korean leader.

On Tuesday, North Korea unveiled new, smaller nuclear warheads and vowed to produce more weapons-grade nuclear material to expand its arsenal, while denouncing stepped up military exercises by South Korea and the United States.

Its state media said Kim had ordered the production of weapons-grade materials in a “far-sighted way” to boost the country’s nuclear arsenal “exponentially.”

It is unclear whether North Korea has fully developed miniaturized nuclear warheads needed to fit on smaller weapons it has displayed and analysts say perfecting such warheads would most likely be a key goal if it resumes nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.

South Korea and the United States have warned since early 2022 that North Korea may resume nuclear testing at any time.

In a report last year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated North Korea had assembled up to 20 nuclear warheads, and probably possessed sufficient fissile material for approximately 45–55 nuclear devices.

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UK water companies to face unlimited fines for sewage pollution

Water companies will incur unlimited fines for polluting rivers and the sea under new UK legislation to protect the environment, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Therese Coffrey, the environment secretary, will announce plans next week to remove the £250,000 maximum fine on civil penalties for companies that break the rules. The environment agency is also seeking to strengthen its ability to impose sanctions on water companies without going through the courts.

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Fines will be reinvested into a new Water Restoration Fund which will work with local communities and groups to improve water quality and support projects to improve management of waters and restore protected sites. Penalties and fines will be taken from water company profits, not customers.

Last year, 10 water and sewage companies within England released sewage into rivers and the sea on 301,091 occasions, with United Utilities and Yorkshire Water responsible for 40 percent of the spills.

“I want to make sure that regulators have the powers and tools to take tough action against companies that are breaking the rules and to do so more quickly, Therese Coffrey said in a statement.

The government’s ‘Plan for Water’ will also include measures against other forms of pollution, such as storm overflows, agriculture, plastics, road run-off and chemicals and pesticides.

The proposals will be published within a consultation on Tuesday.

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