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Zig’s Place Chat Room Discussion and News Wed AM 3-3-21

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butterfly  Oil rises on demand hopes after days of sell-off


butterfly  2021-03-03 00:35  Shafaq News/ Oil prices rose on Wednesday, boosted by demand hopes on progress made in U.S. vaccine rollouts, while uncertainty over how much supply OPEC+ will restore to the market at its Thursday meeting and a big build in U.S. crude stocks capped gains.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 28 cents, or 0.45%, to $59.95 a barrel by 0506 GMT, recovering from three days of losses.

Brent crude futures rose 28 cents, or 0.46%, to $62.99 a barrel, up from four days of losses.

Both futures had dipped in Asia’s early morning trading.

Demand recovery hopes thanks to the rollouts of vaccine kept oil prices supported, analysts said.

The U.S. will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday after Merck & Co agreed to make rival Johnson & Johnson’s inoculation.

Meanwhile, the market’s attention is on a forthcoming Thursday meeting by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together called OPEC+, at a time when they are generally positive on the oil market outlook compared with a year ago when they slashed supply to boost prices.

The market widely expects them to ease production cuts, which were the deepest ever, by about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), with OPEC’s leader, Saudi Arabia, ending its voluntary production cut of 1 million bpd.

However, a JTC document, seen by Reuters, called “for cautious optimism,” citing “the underlying uncertainties in the physical markets and macro sentiment, including risks from COVID-19 mutations that are still on the rise”.

Reinforcing concerns of potential oversupply, the American Petroleum Institute industry group reported U.S. crude stocks rose by 7.4 million barrels in the week to Feb. 26, in stark contrast to analysts’ estimates for a draw of 928,000 barrels.

“The recent selloff may help reinforce Saudi’s cautious stance and delay any production increase,” said Stephen Innes, global market

butterfly   Dollar exchange rates in Iraq


butterfly  2021-03-03 01:57   Shafaq News / The dollar exchange rates stabilized today Wednesday (March 3, 2021) in the Iraqi market.

  • The Kifah Stock Exchange recorded 145,450 dinars, for $ 100.
  • Al-Harthiya Stock Exchange recorded 145,450 dinars, for $ 100.

In Baghdad  Selling prices in the banking stores in the local markets

  • Sale price: 146,000 dinars for $ 100  •Purchase price: 145,000 dinars for $ 100

In Erbil  Selling prices in the banking stores in the local markets

  • Sale price: 145,200 dinars for $ 100   •Purchase price: 145,000 dinars for $ 100

butterfly  ISF celebrates the International Women’s Day


butterfly  The Internal Security Forces (ISF) – Women unit and the Women Protection Forces in the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in northeast Syria celebrated on the International Women’s Day.

Hundreds of women in the internal security forces and other agencies attended the celebration held in the stadium of the city of Rmaylan, 70 kilometers from Qamishli, the largest Kurdish city in Syria.

Halima Mahmoud, head of ISF’s Women unit said “We congratulate all women in the International Women’s Day, especially the women of northern and eastern Syria, …The 8th of March is a historic day for us, is the Day of Resistance,….thanks to the thought and the long struggle of free women we have reached this stage.”

Mahmoud added, “We celebrate the Women’s Day from the 1st to the 8th March… we will continue the struggle to obtain a free and decent life.”

It’s noteworthy that in the Kurdish-led autonomous administration, women have active participation at all political and military levels.

Women fighters make up 40 percent of the region’s force and have won praise for their prowess when battling ISIS, including the liberation of Yazidi families under siege near Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014.

The internal police, or Asayish, has a women-only unit that deals also with sexual assault and rape. Each city in Rojava has a co-presidency that must be filled by a woman, and at least 50 percent of political offices are held by females.

Academies and foundations to further women’s rights and as many as 27 centers to help women facing domestic violence or financial hardship have opened in Kurdish Syria since 2014.

butterfly  fatalities and +5000 new cases in Iraq today

https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/COVID-19-25-fatalities-and-5000-new-cases-in-Iraq-today COVID-19: 25

butterfly   2021-03-03 07:08   Shafaq News / The Iraqi Ministry of Health and environment registered 25 fatalities, 5173 new, cases and 3463 recoveries of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

The cumulative count of cases has reached 708,951, including 646,619 recoveries and 13,483 fatalities.

Amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the Country, the Government imposed a partial (on weekdays) and total lockdown (on weekends), closed public sites, prohibited gatherings, and shifted to online learning in schools and universities instead of in-person attendance.

On March 2, Iraq received its first 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China as the country is struggling to cope with a new surge of the disease.

butterfly   Pope Francis: The Revolutionary Supreme Pontiff


butterfly  2021-03-01 13:26 Shafaq News / Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Vatican’s 266th Pope, is the first non-European Pope in more than 1,000-year history of Papacy and the first Jesuit priest. His reformist imprints in the Catholic Church have soon begun after his election in March 2013.

He chose the name “Francis” after st. Francis of Assisi, who lived some 800 years ago, called for the Church’s reform, lived as an advocate of the poor and visited Egypt to meet the Ayyubid king to call for peace and brotherhood, despite the bloody battles brought by the crusader invasions of the region.

Pope Francis was born in Argentina on December 17th, 1936. His father was an immigrant from Italy, and his mother is also of Italian origin but was born in Argentina. His family is believed to have left Italy to escape the fascist regime. He is known for his passion for music, films, and football

Despite his university major in chemistry, in 1958, he entered the Church and joined the Jesuit order at 21.

While he continued to pursue his religious studies, the greatest transformation of his career was when Pope John Paul II chose him to be Assistant to the Archbishop in Buenos Aires in 1992 and then to be Archbishop in 1998.

Even before his election as supreme pontiff, the Pope distinguished his lifestyle and humility compared to the overall image of the Vatican and church leaders. The media often described him as a “revolution” in the Church. For example, despite assuming Archbishop’s post, he committed himself to live in a small apartment instead of the Archbishop’s residence and refrained from using his limousine with a private driver and used public transport.

butterfly  When he was elected leader of the Catholic Church, he merely wore a white cloak, renounced the papal dress, distanced himself from adorning the golden ornament, committed to using the Iron Cross he was wearing as Archbishop and did not adopt the Golden Cross. He also refused to live in the Apostolic Palace, opposite St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, and lived in a small house, but he goes to the Apostolic Palace to inspect the crowds. The journalists also noted that he did not wear red papal shoes but only wore plain black shoes.

Estimates vary as to whether the Pope is considered a liberal or a conservative. However, given his many positions on social issues, he seemed conservative on sex-related issues and liberal in social justice matters. In his years of pastoral work in Argentina, he often faced the government because of decisions that affected, for example, the repression of demonstrators or the interests of farmers, immigrants, the marginalized, and the poor. He is known as a supporter of dialogue and acceptance of opinions.

In recent years, he has been celebrating holiday ceremonies differently from his predecessors, repeatedly making sure to spend them with poor and marginalized people. In his priestly career, he was keen to follow the traditions of the Maundy Thursday of Jesus, which commemorates the practice of ceremonial foot-washing to mitate Jesus, who washed his disciples’ feet.

Last year, the Pope visited a refugee center where he washed and kissed 12 refugees’ feet – some of which were Muslim girls – becoming the first Vatican Pope to wash the feet of women or non-Catholics.

butterfly  The surprises in the Pope’s personality are not limited to that. While in Argentina, he apologized on behalf of the Church for its “inaction” in confronting the military regime that ruled Argentina and committed many crimes against opponents.

The Pope said, “Believers and atheists can be strong allies in their efforts to defend human dignity, build peaceful coexistence among all people, and protect the universe”.

More recently, he broke with the prevailing Catholic tradition and appointed Nathalie Becquart as the first woman to the post of the deputy of the Bishops’ Council, granting her voting rights in a body that examined key matters of faith.

He also called for COVID-19 vaccines to be made available to all and priority for the poor, fearing that they would be available only to the rich.

The Pope criticized capitalism, saying that the pandemic showed that free-market policies could not meet all the most pressing needs of humanity, “The poor are persecuted for demanding work, and the rich are applauded when they flee justice”.

Last November, the Pope appointed Wilton Gregory to become the first African-American cardinal in the Catholic Church’s history.

In 2020, the Pope’s activism was marked by speaking out against social injustice issues. When the U.S. police killed George Floyd, he said, “We can not turn a blind eye to racism”.

When the media described The footballer Messi as “a god,” the Pope, known for his encouragement of FC Barcelona, said that it was “a violation of divine sanctity”

Two years ago, when a gunman committed the massacre of two mosques in New Zealand, the Pope said, “Let us pray for our Muslim brothers who were killed”.

Butterfly   In February 2019, when he paid an official visit to the UAE, he delivered a speech that he began with a “Peace Be upon you” greeting and signed the so-called “The Declaration of Abu Dhabi”. However, before arriving in Abu Dhabi, which takes part in the War in Yemen, he sent an implicit but very clear political message when he prayed for the “hungry and exhausted children of Yemen”.

He rejected the Syrian war and repeatedly prayed and called to renounce weapons and fighting. He always refused to link Islam with terrorism.

In 2016, at the height of terrorist attacks after ISIS took control of large areas of Iraq and Syria, Pope Francis received a large delegation representing different religions worldwide. He said, “Unfortunately, not a day goes by without hearing of violence, conflict, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, assassinations, or destruction.

It is outrageous that barbaric acts are sometimes justified in the name of religion or the name of God. Let us condemn these evil acts that desecrate the name of God”.

The Pope has visited the region, including Jordan, Palestine, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. He was the first Pope to travel directly to the West Bank in Palestine, and during his visit, he went to the separation wall between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where he stopped for prayers.

The Pope’s visit to Iraq is of great importance given that it is seen as a visit to the land of the prophet Ibrahim and because Iraq is going through a new phase after many wars and massacres in the past years. He is betting on encouraging Christians to hold on to their land and, most importantly, their co-existing alongside their “brothers” of other sects and minorities.

butterfly  In 2014, during a visit to Turkey, Pope Francis and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said in a joint statement that a Middle East free of Christians who have practiced their faith for 2,000 years could not be accepted. Stressing, “The terrible situation of Christians and all those suffering in the Middle East requires not only constant prayer but also an appropriate response from the international community”.

butterfly  Intense preparations before pontiff meets Iraqi ayatollah


butterfly  Saudi chief of staff visits Iraq, holds meetings with senior defense officials


butterfly  BAGHDAD — Saudi Chief of Staff General Fayadh Bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili paid an official visit to Iraq on Tuesday where he met with senior defense officials and paid get-acquainted visits to a number of defense entities.

At the outset of the visit, Iraq’s Minister of Defense Juma Enad Sadoon Khattab Al Jibori received Gen. Al-Rwaili who conveyed to him the greetings of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.

During the meeting, they exchanged a number of viewpoints in the military aspect and discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, confirming the firmness of the fraternal relations binding the two friendly countries in what consolidates the security and stability of the region.

Later, Gen. Ruwaili met with his Iraqi counterpart Gen. Abdulamir Rasheed Yarallah whereas they reviewed the bilateral relations, particularly in the military field, and ways of developing them in a way that achieves the joint interests between the armed forces of the two countries.

On the other side, Gen Ruwaili paid a get-acquainted visit to the command of the Iraqi land forces whereas he met with its commander Gen. Gasem Mohammed Salih. Then, the Saudi senior officer paid a visit to the command of the air forces where he met with its commander Shihab Jahid Ali to get briefed on all potential opportunities to exchange experience and military drills between the military forces of the two countries.

The meetings and visits were attended by Gen. Al-Rwaili’s accompanying delegation as well as a number of Iraqi senior officers of the ministry of defense.

butterfly    Russian investments in Iraqi energy projects exceed $10 BILLION


butterfly  Cooperation between Russia and Iraq in the oil sector is “very active” in spite of all the restrictions and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Novak, who previously served as Russia’s energy minister, met on Wednesday with Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar to discuss the prospects of the two countries’ oil and gas projects, as well as the situation on the global oil market.

He noted the fruitful cooperation between Russia and Iraq in the oil sector, saying: “Our interaction is very active, despite the current restrictions and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

While talking about the existing projects by Russian oil firms in Iraq, Novak said: “Our companies are actively implementing a number of successful projects on the territory of the republic. To date, the accumulated investments of Russian oil and gas companies in Iraqi projects have exceeded $10 billion.”

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