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Back in the USSR? Pentagon chief Austin slips up on Russia reference

US defense chief Lloyd Austin expressed concern Thursday about Moscow’s military build-up on its border with Ukraine but accidentally called Russia the Soviet Union – Washington’s old Cold War foe that collapsed three decades ago.

Austin was speaking at a press conference in Seoul where he was asked about Russia massing troops along its boundary with Ukraine, with fears swirling of a possible invasion.

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“Russia has a substantial amount of forces in the border region, and we remain concerned about that,” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said.

“The best case though is that we won’t see an incursion by the Soviet Union into Ukraine,” he added, accidentally using the name of the country that disintegrated in 1991 into republics including Russia and Ukraine.

“And so we would hope that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would be a lot more transparent and that we would work to resolve issues and concerns, and lower the temperature in the region.”

The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet bloc was the defining conflict of the post-World War II era – until the latter collapsed.

It saw a huge build-up of arms – including atomic weapons – on both sides as well as proxy conflicts, with fear of nuclear war swirling for decades.

The end of the Soviet Union brought a new era in Washington-Moscow relations, but the rise of Putin this century has coincided with tensions not seen since the Cold War.

The top American and Russian diplomats are to meet in Sweden on Thursday, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying ahead of the talks that he was “deeply concerned” by the Russian build-up.

Moscow, accused of backing the separatists fighting Kiev, has denied preparing an attack and accused NATO of stoking tensions.

Read more:

US defense chief slams China’s drive for hypersonic weapons

Russia to unveil security pact proposals in bid to restrain NATO amid tensions

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EU Organic Journey Hosts Exclusive B2B Dinner in Dubai, Unveiling European Organic Excellence

The European program “EU Organic Journey”nhosted a distinguished B2B dinner on the evening of the 14th of December 2023 at 19:00, set against the elegant backdrop of MYOCUM Dubai Restaurant (2D St, Al Wasl, Dubai, United Arab Emirates).
Bringing together key players from the Horeca sector, importers, distributors, wholesalers, grocery chains, organic shops, and esteemed food bloggers, the event showcased an array of delectable European organic products, including virgin olive oil, olives, and organic dairy products.
Attendees were treated to a unique opportunity to engage with representatives from the contributing organizations, fostering connections while savoring the exquisite European offerings. The ambiance of MYOCUM Dubai Restaurant provided the perfect setting for meaningful discussions on potential business opportunities. Throughout the evening, participants delved into the heart of the European program  “EU Organic Journey”gaining valuable insights into its initiatives, organic production methods,
and the superior quality of the promoted products. Representatives from the participating organizations were on hand to provide in-depth information, facilitating discussions on potential collaborations and partnerships within the organic industry.
The B2B dinner not only celebrated the richness of European organic products but also served as a platform for networking and knowledge-sharing. Attendees left the event with a deeper understanding of the “EU Organic Journey,” equipped with the information needed to explore new business avenues and enhance their involvement in the organic sector. The EU Financed campaign EU Organic Journey aims to promote and increase the awareness regarding the European organic products from Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria to consumers in UAE, Saudi Arabia and USA with the participation of the organizations Agrodiatrofiki Sympraxi Perifereias Stereas Elladas (ASPSE) from Greece, Bio Carpathia Cooperative from
Romania and National Organic Association (NAO)from Bulgaria.

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Classification: Public New Murabba appointed AtkinsRéalis to masterplan the world’s largest modern downtown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The New Murabba Development Company (NMDC), a fully-owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia,
has appointed AtkinsRéalis (TSX: ATRL), a fully integrated professional services and project management company with offices around the world, to support the design of the New Murabba masterplan, the world’s largest modern downtown in Riyadh, and the Mukaab, an immersive destination that will revolutionize the way in which people experience hospitality, retail and
leisure. A signing ceremony, attended by Sabah Barakat, Acting CEO, New Murabba Development Company, and Campbell Gray, CEO of AtkinsRéalis, Middle East and Africa, was held to mark this milestone and celebrate the ongoing support to deliver Riyadh’s new iconic destination. Sabah Barakat, Acting CEO, New Murabba Development Company, commented: “We are proud
to recognize the important role that AtkinsRéalis has played so far in the translation of the incredible vision of this project into the design of the masterplan and the iconic Mukaab building. We’re also pleased to recognize the ongoing involvement of AtkinsRéalis in this project through a series of recent contract awards relating to the further detailing and definition
of the overall New Murabba masterplan and infrastructure design, as well as the concept design of the iconic Mukaab building.”
“The New Murabba project aligns with Saudi Arabia’s national vision aimed at developing the infrastructure, enabling the private sector, and creating job opportunities for local talent,“ added Campbell Gray, CEO of AtkinsRéalis, Middle East and Africa. “We are proud to work with NMDC on this ambitious project and bring our global engineering excellence and design
expertise, underpinned by cutting-edge technologies and sustainable solutions, to deliver a long-  lasting legacy for the Kingdom and its future generations.” After successfully winning the international architectural and master planning competition for Riyadh’s new icon, AtkinsRéalis will provide its world class advisory, architecture, masterplanning and engineering services to deliver this groundbreaking project, a cornerstone to the visionary reinvention of the Kingdom’s capital city. Contributing to the city’s future development in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, the New Murabba masterplan is inspired by Riyadh’s original balance with nature, and its design is focused on a data-driven approach to sustainability, user convenience, reduction in the need for transport, walkability and people- centric design of its public realm. “Synonymous with designing iconic landmarks in the Middle East, AtkinsRéalis has established a stellar reputation for delivering people-centric destinations combining the region’s cultural identity with modern urban standards,“ said Matthew Tribe, Managing Director, Planning, Design, and Engineering at AtkinsRéalis, Middle East and Africa. “This project win is a testament to our innovative architectural design approach set to redefine downtowns of the future living experience not only in Riyadh but also globally.”

AtkinsRéalis’s competition-winning scheme is inspired by Najdi Architecture, with a focus on creating a futuristic landmark with deep contextual roots that blends Riyadh’s cultural heritage with its future ambitions. The Mukaab, which means cube in Arabic, will be the world’s largest immersive destination providing innovative experiences driven by digital and virtual technology.
The Mukaab’s exterior envelop shrouds an internal skyscraper, which will be one of the largest built structures in the world’s history, standing 400m high, 400m wide, and 400m long. The design of the Mukaab will also include first-of-its-kind hospitality, F&B and retail facilities.

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ASPIRE’s A2RL Debuts Autonomous Racing Car in Abu Dhabi

-Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League to hold its first event in April 2024

– A2RL introduces an enhanced version of the 300 km/h Japanese Super Formula SF23 racing car

– Autonomous technology testing commences ahead of inaugural race in April 2024

ASPIRE’s grand challenge, the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League – A2RL, has for the first time revealed its autonomous, highly modified Super Formula SF23 development car. The first glimpse
unfolded at ASPIRE’s offices in Abu Dhabi, near the world-famous Yas Marina Circuit, where the premier event of the season – the Formula 1 (F1) Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023 – is currently underway. The same venue will play host to the inaugural A2RL racing event scheduled for next April. Globally acclaimed journalists, representing the world’s most reputable automotive and
racing publications, were also present during the car’s spectacular reveal – further solidifying
the cars status as a trailblazer in the motorsports industry. In April 2024, ten teams spanning North America, Europe, the UAE, and Asia will battle it out to claim a stake in the US$2.25 million purse. The series aims to accelerate autonomous driving development and innovation, pushing the
technology forward for the eventual benefit of road car safety. The new series makes the best use of the forward-thinking and blisteringly quick Super Formula SF23 racing car, developed by motorsport powerhouse Dalarra. All cars will come equipped with an array of sensors and control units as well as a basic level of autonomous performance. The autonomous car unveiled today was fresh off the track, having completed a successful week of testing. Attendees were shown how A2RL’s extensive testing programme has begun to refine the base SF23 platform. This includes validating an array of sensors, controlmodules, and autonomous control software. Once finalized, this base platform will be madeavailable to the ten teams participating in the inaugural A2RL race at Yas Marina Circuit onApril 28, 2024.

His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology
Research Council, ASPIREs parent entity, said, “This is an exciting opportunity to use
extreme sports as the basis for delivering technical advances. A2RL represents an
investment that will contribute to building an autonomous mobility ecosystem in Abu Dhabi,
showcasing safe deployment and encouraging OEM investments for widespread adoption,
ultimately enhancing road safety.”
Stephane Timpano, CEO at ASPIRE, commented: “We are thrilled to debut the A2RL
autonomous racing car to global media. It was an exciting opportunity to discuss our latest
developments and testing while also highlighting the motivation and competitors behind the
competition. A2RL will be the largest autonomous racing league in the world, shifting focus
from drivers to the engineers, scientists, and programmers behind brilliant autonomous
racing systems.”

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