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Japan and UAE strengthen bilateral ties, boost cooperation in various sectors

The United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed al-Jaber, and senior Japanese government officials and business leaders met to discuss ways to strengthen ties, Emirates News Agency WAM reported on Tuesday.

The meetings focused on strengthening the two nations’ economic, energy, and industrial cooperation as well as plans to drive low carbon growth opportunities.

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The minister, who is also the country’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, said that Japan was “one of the UAE’s largest and most important energy and trading partners,” expressing the UAE’s keenness to “bolster bilateral ties” and strengthen their relationship “across multiple sectors.”

“The UAE is keen to leverage every facet of our relationship, including climate diplomacy to drive economic development, enable low-carbon growth and enhance energy security,” said al-Jaber.

“The UAE-Japan relationship is underpinned by long-standing energy partnerships, and we are very pleased to be working closely with Japan to capitalize on the economic opportunities of the energy transition, strengthen industrial cooperation and expand economic and trade relations,” the minister added.

Throughout the three-day visit to Japan, al-Jaber met with senior Japanese government officials including the Asian country’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hagiuda Koichi, environment minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, and foreign affairs minister Odwara Kiyoshi.

He also met with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, among many others.

At the meetings, al-Jaber reiterated the UAE’s commitment and support for Japan’s energy security, vowing to continue ensuring reliable supplies of crude oil and liquified natural gas (LNG), WAM reported.

The Gulf country is Japan’s top crude oil supplier, providing it with more than 20 percent of its crude oil requirements.

The UAE minister’s meetings covered a range of topics, including the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Initiative (CSPI) between Japan and the UAE which was launched in 2018.

During the visit, ADNOC and ENEOS Corporation and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui) signed an agreement to explore establishing a hydrogen supply chain between the two countries. The agreement aims to assess the potential to convert hydrogen produced as a byproduct from ADNOC’s refining and petrochemical operations, and blue hydrogen produced from natural gas.

Separately, Mitsui also signed a new partnership agreement with Abu Dhabi Chemicals Derivatives Company RSC Ltd (TA’ZIZ), Fertiglobe and GS Energy in the world-scale low-carbon blue ammonia production facility at the TA’ZIZ Industrial Chemicals Zone in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.

Japan and the UAE enjoy a strong bilateral trade agreement. As of now, over 340 Japanese companies are based in the UAE.

In 2021, the UAE was ranked as Japan’s tenth-largest trading partner globally.

Bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $30 billion in 2021, with UAE exports to Japan accounting for $26 billion and imports from Japan rising to $6.2 billion.

The last 12 months have witnessed further economic cooperation between the UAE and Japan, with the signing of an agreement between ADNOC and three Japanese companies, INPEX Corporation, JERA Co. Inc and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation to explore the commercial potential of blue ammonia production in the UAE, according to WAM.

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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