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Russian defense minister inspects IRGC drones and missiles during Iran visit

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the aerospace unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Wednesday where he inspected drones, missiles, and air defense systems, Iranian state media reported.

Shoigu, who arrived in Tehran on Tuesday, was welcomed and given a tour by Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s aerospace unit, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu listens to Iran’s IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amirali Hajizadeh as they visit an Iranian aerospace industry’s exhibition in Tehran, Iran, September 20, 2023. (Russian Defense Ministry via Reuters)

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu listens to Iran’s IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amirali Hajizadeh as they visit an Iranian aerospace industry’s exhibition in Tehran, Iran, September 20, 2023. (Russian Defense Ministry via Reuters)

Earlier on Wednesday, Shoigu met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani. Talks revolved around a “long-term military and defense cooperation document” between Iran and Russia, as well as proposals to address the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Tasnim said.

Addressing the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ashtiani said: “Maintaining international borders and the territorial integrity of regional countries is one of the red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran … we consider the proposed 3+3 format to be a solution for peacefully solving issues in the Caucasus region.”

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The “3+3” format includes the three Caucasian states – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – and their three neighboring countries – Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

This comes as Azerbaijan launched a military operation against separatist forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Tuesday.

Shoigu, for his part, said that the relationship between Russia and Iran has reached a new level despite opposition from the West.

“We are determined to implement the entire set of our planned activities despite opposition from the US and its Western allies. The pressure of sanctions on Russia and Iran is proving to be futile, while Russia-Iran cooperation is reaching new highs,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Shoigu as saying during his meeting with his Iranian counterpart.

This handout picture provided by the Iranian defense ministry shows Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani (R) shaking hands with the visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during their meeting in Tehran on September 20, 2023. (AFP)

This handout picture provided by the Iranian defense ministry shows Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani (R) shaking hands with the visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during their meeting in Tehran on September 20, 2023. (AFP)

Upon his arrival in Tehran on Tuesday, Shoigu met with Iran’s top military commander, Mohammad Bagheri, who serves as the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces.

Bagheri said that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei believes that long-term cooperation between Iran and Russia is in the interest of both countries, and “that's why the long-term cooperation document is being drafted.”

“This document holds significant military and defense dimensions and can serve as a suitable platform for the expansion of long-term bilateral cooperation.”

Over the past year, Russia and Iran, both subject to international sanctions, have forged strong ties across multiple sectors, with a particular emphasis on military collaboration.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in its ongoing war against Kyiv. Tehran denies the allegations.

Earlier this month, Iranian media reported that the country’s air force had taken delivery of a shipment of Russian YAK-130 training aircraft, aimed at enhancing the training and combat capabilities of its air force.

In May, the United States voiced concern that Tehran and Moscow were “expanding their unprecedented defense partnership.”

Read more:

Iran president accuses US of ‘fanning flames’ in Ukraine

US intelligence analysts warn against Iran’s new ‘UAV diplomacy’

Britain, France, Germany to retain ballistic, nuclear sanctions on Iran

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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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