Bosnia Economy – FK Leotar Tue, 14 Sep 2021 14:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bosnia Economy – FK Leotar 32 32 Merkel urges Western Balkans to focus on EU membership Tue, 14 Sep 2021 14:30:00 +0000

Updated 14 hours, 3 minutes ago

TIRANA, Albania (AP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Albania on Tuesday to urge the leaders of the six Western Balkan states to step up regional cooperation in their struggle for EU membership.

Merkel welcomed the cooperation initiative, saying that “the more you cooperate, the stronger the Berlin process will be”. The Berlin Process is a program she launched in 2014 to boost regional cooperation between the countries of the Western Balkans.

“From a geostrategic point of view, the EU, or more concretely Germany, has its own interest in the accession of the countries (of the Western Balkans) to the EU”, she declared at a conference. Press.

The Western Balkan states – which include Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – are at different stages on the path to EU membership. Their progress in integration has been delayed recently due to the bloc’s stalled interest in enlargement and the years of diplomatic turmoil the EU faced when Britain left the bloc.

Following the veto of EU member Bulgaria, the launch of EU membership negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia has been postponed, although they have already met the criteria.

“The EU must keep its word and not always offer new conditions because it has no interest – perhaps for internal reasons in some countries – in moving the accession process forward. It causes disappointment and I can understand that disappointment, “Merkel said.” We have to trust each other. “

In the Serbian capital of Belgrade, which Merkel visited on Monday, she noted the presence of other contenders for Balkan nations, such as Russia and China.

Merkel will be greatly missed in the region, according to the Albanian leader.

“In the history of this region, Angela Merkel has set a milestone for decades to come,” Prime Minister Edi Rama said.

But Merkel assured her audience that “every German chancellor will have a heart for this region” as many people in the region now live and work in Germany, the EU’s largest economy.

Merkel did not stand for election this year after having led Germany since 2005. Germany is holding general elections on September 26.


Kristen Grieshaber contributed from Berlin.

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In the shadow of the pandemic, humanity’s greatest challenges remain: Ashwin Sanghi Thu, 09 Sep 2021 13:30:39 +0000

A virus that may have been spawned in a Chinese lab has wreaked havoc around the world over the past two years. As of this writing, there have been 209 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 4.4 million deaths worldwide. The good news is that around 4.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered. And while it is true that new variants of the virus continue to emerge with frightening regularity, it is equally true that safety guidelines, urban management, hospital protocols, scientific research and large-scale vaccination can. allow humanity to come out of this war to see another day. .

But the pain of hitting your toe is only felt until you hit your head even harder. Sadly, the challenge of tackling Covid-19 has overshadowed all other issues. I have always argued, and I continue to argue, that the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century will be climate change, water scarcity, population-resource disparities, power imbalance and extremism. ideological. These issues may have faded into the background due to Covid-19, but they remain. A pigeon closes its eyes upon seeing a cat, hoping that the cat will magically disappear. This is precisely what the world is doing with the most pressing problems of our time.

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that over the next two decades, the world is likely to exceed the threshold of 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels. This would likely lead to sea level rise, forest fires, rainstorms, heat waves, extreme temperatures, coastal flooding, drought, ocean acidification, species extinction and increased threat from pests and pathogens. But talk to climate change experts and we’ll hear the usual suggestions: use public transport, take shorter showers, switch to electric vehicles, recycle garbage, and plant trees. Very few discuss the billions of cows, goats, chickens, pigs and turkeys that are crammed into factory farms and produce huge amounts of methane. Each gram of methane is 84 times more powerful than a gram of carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat. The United States Environmental Protection Agency says animal agriculture is the largest source of methane emissions in America. So if we are serious about tackling climate change, humanity has to switch to an increasingly vegan lifestyle. But such a point of view must be motivated by hippies, vegetarians and tree lovers. So let’s not talk about it.

What is worrying is that in countries like India, Israel, America and Germany, the far right is becoming increasingly belligerent in response to the perceived threat of Islamism. We can find a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 but where will we find a vaccine to treat an extreme ideology?

A poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge says, “Water, water everywhere, no drop to drink.” Isn’t it ironic that our high sea level comes with a scarcity of water? Only 0.01% of the water on earth is soft and accessible. Almost 97% of our water is saline and about 3% is extremely difficult to access. One third of the world’s population lives in conditions of water scarcity. By 2030, there will be a 40% gap between demand and supply of water. According to UNICEF, half of the world’s population could live in areas facing water scarcity by 2025. In fact, one in four children will live in areas of extremely high water stress. Across the world, water use has increased at more than twice the rate of population growth over the past century. Many parts of the world will soon run out of groundwater. Added to this is the fear that a large part of the water supply in many countries will be contaminated. In the meantime, geopolitics and uncontrolled dams will ensure that river waters become the very reasons for war. But such a view belongs to the anti-industry lobby and no one wants to discuss the depressing scenarios of the Parched Earth. So let’s not talk about it.

What should we talk about then? Ah, yes, almost a billion of the 7.7 billion people in the world are affected by hunger. About 33 countries already have extremely alarming hunger levels. The world’s population is expected to grow by 83 million people each year and reach 9.8 billion by 2050. A child born in a country with the lowest ranking health care is 60 times more likely to die than a child born. in a country with the best health care. The average income of people living in North America is 16 times that of people in sub-Saharan Africa. And the inequality is not just between nations. According to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report, the richest 1% in the world own 43.4% of the world’s wealth. Inequalities in resources could fuel conflicts, both internal and external. But discussing the inequalities of wealth between individuals and countries is Marxism. So let’s not talk about it.

Since it’s embarrassing to talk about veganism, depressing to talk about water deprivation and leftist to talk about inequalities, let’s turn our attention to another topic: the indefatigable economic engine of the world, China. Economic growth has enabled China, on average, to double its GDP every eight years. Today, China has become the world’s largest economy on the basis of purchasing power parity. It is also the largest manufacturer, trader and holder of foreign exchange reserves in the world. But with China’s economic strength came an even greater tightening of control by the Chinese Communist Party.

China’s economic weight has enabled it to detain a million Muslim Uyghurs in what they call “re-education” camps in Xinjiang. It can advance massive projects such as the Belt-and-Road Initiative while burdening developing countries with crippling debt. China supports some of the worst regimes in the world, including North Korea and Pakistan. He is brazenly waging war on democracy in Hong Kong while continuing to bitch against Taiwan. It is undermining territorial waters by building artificial islands in the South China Sea. It is the biggest cyber spy in the world and also one of the biggest polluters in the world. Not content with directing India to its borders, China has territorial problems with Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and many others. Considering the huge reliance on Chinese investment, supply chains, and trade, it’s awkward to talk (excuse the pun) about the bull in the china shop. And if former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain could be fooled into believing that he had negotiated “peace for our time” with Adolf Hitler in 1938, then where is the harm in believing that the economic, political and military weight of China will not have serious consequences for the world? But to hold China to account is to wage war. So, let’s not talk about this inconvenient truth either.

All right, then consider this. One million Uyghur Muslims are incarcerated in Xinjiang, but you can barely hear a glance of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation which includes 45 Islamic countries. They are quick to point out the injustices – both real and perceived – against Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but there is a strange conspiracy of silence surrounding the Uyghur situation. What explains it? Truth be told, the Islamic world is a divided lot. The only unity is a medieval ideology that clings to gender inequality, LGBTQ revulsion, apostasy prevention and disbelief aversion.

The world tries in vain to fight Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and the Taliban, but is reluctant to accept that the real fight is against the Wahhabi-Salafi ideology that inspires such groups. Even Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has found it necessary to push for new interpretations of the most controversial texts. But anyone who suggests Islamic reform is generally referred to as an Islamophobic fanatic. What is worrying is that in countries like India, Israel, America and Germany, the far right is becoming increasingly belligerent in response to the perceived threat of Islamism. We can find a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 but where will we find a vaccine to treat an extreme ideology? Instead, let’s do the best thing. Let’s not talk about it.

The great poet, Mirza Ghalib, wrote “Hum ko maloom hai jannat ki haqiqat lekin dil ke behlane ko Ghalib yeh khayal achcha hai. “We know the reality of Heaven, but it’s still a good idea, well suited to keeping the heart happy.

So let’s just stay happy by not talking about anything important.

—Sanghi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, Keepers of the Kalachakra, and other books

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Where is South Africa heading for the rest of the year, economists say Tue, 07 Sep 2021 14:55:12 +0000

The South African economy grew 1.2% better than expected in the second quarter, growing for four consecutive quarters. The growth rate accelerated by 1.0% in the first quarter, which was revised downwards by 1.1%.

Although the economy is 19.3% larger than a year ago – after rebounding from a depressed basis – overall economic activity has now only returned to 2017 levels, StatsSA said.

The median estimate of four economists in a Bloomberg survey was for growth of 0.9%.

Transportation and communications, personal services and commerce were the main contributors to growth this quarter, all supported by the gradual economic reopening and further normalization of activity, noted Reza Hendrickse, portfolio manager at PPS. Investments.

Hendrickse said the third wave, which accelerated in June, appears to have had a limited impact on second-quarter growth, which exceeded expectations. However, forecasting growth has been more difficult than usual, given the recent rebasing by Stats SA.

“Looking ahead, we are cautiously optimistic about the growth outlook. Last year’s crisis is still leaving some scars, but we’re coming out on a reasonably good basis, with the outlook looking better than it was in previous years. Even if there are still risks, growth is returning, we are seeing promising reforms locally and the fiscus is doing a little better.

Maarten Ackerman, chief economist at Citadel, noted that although the economy grew by more than 19% from a year ago, it is starting from a weak base.

“The strong growth associated with the change in the base year to 2015 – which resulted in the economy growing 11% from the previous figure shown – should support a better-than-expected fiscal outlook, which should please to rating agencies and discourage any further downgrades at this time.

Given the recent adjustment in GDP figures, the economy is now considered 11% larger than previously believed. Ackerman stressed that this needs to be taken into account in context because most measures measured as a percentage of GDP will look better.

“Another important consideration is that starting this quarter, StatsSA will no longer report quarterly analyzed figures; only quarter to quarter as well as annual changes, ”he said.

While the 19.3% growth rate is impressive, he said it was likely a “spike” of growth from a low base. “We can still expect to see growth continue, but the annual number is likely to decline in the coming quarters,” Ackerman said.

Time to aim beyond pre-Covid levels

Ackerman said that while the economy has made huge strides to reach pre-Covid levels, there is still some way to go.

“If growth continues in this direction, we could reach pre-Covid levels within the next two quarters. While this is positive news, it is still not where economists want the country to be.

“We have to consider that South Africa has been stagnant for most of 2017 to 2019, and we are now only back to the levels of the fourth quarter of 2017 – so the real goal is to exceed the growth levels just before the decline of Covid. This can happen over time, but will likely only happen towards the end of 2022 if the growth path continues. “

Additional warning

Lullu Krugel, chief economist at PwC Strategy & Africa, and Dr Christie Viljoen, PwC Strategy & economist, have warned that third quarter GDP will experience headwinds from unrest and Level 3 foreclosure.

Given the large negative impact on GDP induced by the foreclosure in the second quarter of last year, the annualized growth rate was still expected to be large, Krugel said.

Real GDP Growth (%)

The South African economy grew on average 7.5% year-on-year in the first half of this year. However, that did not translate into more jobs, the economist said.

While the country had 15,024 million jobs – formal and informal – at the end of last year, employment fell to 14.995 million in the first quarter of this year and to 14.942 million in the second quarter – a net loss. 82,000 jobs in the first half of 2021.

Formal non-farm employment fell from 10.495 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 10,200 million in the second quarter of 2021, a net loss of nearly 300,000 formal jobs in the first half of this year. “It’s a staggering number. Unsurprisingly, South Africa now has the highest official unemployment rate in the world, ”Viljoen said.

At 34.4% in Q2 2021, this is more than Nigeria (33.3%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (32.4%), Angola (31.6%) and Palestine (26.4%) %).

Looking ahead, Krugel said it’s likely the third quarter will see some pressure on the recovery rate due to a combination of negative effects from 1) the unrest at KZN and Gauteng in early July as well as 2 ) a level 3 extended lock still in place.

“The severity of the mid-year wave, and the accompanying severity of associated lockdowns, is the primary driver of the nature of the economic recovery alongside the impact of power cuts.”

“We expect the current adjusted Level 3 lockout to be in place for the remainder of September. While active cases under the third wave of infection have declined from a peak of over 200,000 in mid-July, that figure has not fallen below 140,000 in the past two months, ” PwC said.

While some forecasts suggest the South African economy will grow by more than 4.0% this year, PwC said its modeling pointed to a figure closer to 2.5%.

“The poor annual growth seen in the first half of this year, coupled with the negative factors highlighted for the third quarter, does not encourage much optimism as to how quickly South Africa’s GDP will return to levels before the pandemic, ”Viljoen said.

“Our baseline and downside assumptions also take into account a likely fourth wave of infections during the summer vacation. Health Minister Joe Phaahla recently warned authorities expected a fourth wave to materialize in November.

“He expressed concern about the long tail of the third wave and the risk that South Africa could switch from the current wave directly to another wave over the summer.”

Bloomberg reported that the economy is likely to contract in the third quarter after deadly riots, looting and arson erupted in July and weighed on activity in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province and the mall. of Gauteng – the two largest provinces in terms of contribution to GDP. .

A cyber attack on public ports and the rail operator also hampered trade at major container terminals and led the company to declare its second force majeure event in a month.

“A fourth wave of Covid-19 infections which is expected in early December and could prompt more stringent lockdown measures due to reluctance over vaccines, electricity supply constraints and slow structural reforms could still weigh on production in the second half of the year. It could also hamper job creation in a country where more than a third of the workforce is unemployed. “

Read: South Africa’s economy posts fourth consecutive quarter of growth

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Autumn 2021: Political forecasts and panorama Fri, 03 Sep 2021 12:41:00 +0000

Anton Rovenskyy, Master in international relations, international political scientist

The season of low political activity, which traditionally falls in August, is over. September is widely regarded as the first month of a new political season, so let’s take a look at its main storylines in a document below.

Federal elections in Germany

In January 2021, Armin Laschet became a leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), with the aim of obtaining or, to be more exact, politically inheriting the seat of chancellor after the results of the autumn elections to the Bundestag. While such a scenario was most realistic in January 2021, the events of the following months were definitely a bad surprise for the CDU.

In March 2021, the CDU lost the elections in two western federal territories. At the end of this spring, the Greens occupied the leading position in the electoral race. In the following months, the growing leadership of the Greens appeared unstable and the CDU resumed its positions. However, massive summer flooding in Germany hit the positions of the Merkel party and its potential ancestor hard. Today, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) enjoys the greatest support, with one of its leaders, Olaf Scholz, enjoying much better personal support than Armin Laschet, and being seen as a serious candidate for the seat of Federal Chancellor. In turn, popular support for the CDU is at historic lows.

At the end of her term, Angela Merkel must make monumental efforts to save the CDU’s majority interest in German politics and lead Armin Laschet to the seat of power. However, current social and political trends, as well as the nation’s weariness with “the Merkel course” are definitely working against the CDU, at least for now.

Future developments in Afghanistan

The entry into force of the “Taliban” in Afghanistan should come as no surprise to these experts, who have long followed the Central Asian region. However, many states, especially European ones, which are facing new waves of migrants from Afghanistan, have turned out not to be ready for this. Simultaneously, two blocs are trying to have a strong presence in the economy and logistics of the “post-American” country: China-Pakistan and Turkey-Qatar. Regarding new Afghan migrants to the EU, a group of European politicians stress that the EU needs to deal more closely with Turkey, which set up refugee camps on its territory in 2015-2016, thanks to large donations from the official government of Brussels. Nowadays, such a case is likely to be repeated once more by the Ankara official.

The aftershocks of the fall of pro-American power in Afghanistan will long be heard in the United States and Western Europe. The US federal elections of 2022, the aforementioned autumn federal elections in Germany, the election campaigns in Eastern European countries: all of these events would be influenced by the situation in Afghanistan, as well as by many other political processes. , economic and social in the world.

Political unrest in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Christian Schmidt, CDU member and former member of the Merkel government, became the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 1, 2021. He replaced Valentin Inzko, who has held this post for 12 years. It should be noted that the system of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina is built according to the Dayton Accords of 1995, which means that the High Representative has extremely wide powers, being the last instance in the decision-making process (including the right of veto on the decisions of the Bosnian legislative bodies).

As the UN Security Council did not approve the change of high representative, the Serbian part of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republika Srpska), as well as Russia and China, do not recognize the full powers by Schmidt. With such a decision, the conflict between the Serbian part of Bosnia and the High Representative, provoked by a number of decisions of the Parliament of Republika Srpska and the Office of the former High Representative Valentin Inzko regarding the policy of remembrance, intensified.

For several years, the most radical part of the national elites of Republika Srpska have spoken of a possible secession from Bosnia, while their equally radical opponents of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Croatian Muslim Federation) have advocated the abolition of the Republika Srpska and the transformation of Bosnia into a unitary state. The chances that such scenarios will materialize are low at the moment, however, if the slow confrontation continues and the socio-economic situation in Bosnia continues to deteriorate, local elites could be seriously tempted to turn social discontent into confrontation. ethnic. Probably, in this case, the structures of the EU should have a say, for example by clearly stating the prospects for European integration of Bosnia, which will help to alleviate the national contradictions in the country.

Czech parliamentary elections

“Czech Trump”, the nickname of outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babis in the 2017 election, who is also the founder of the populist ANO party, has a relatively high chance of remaining as head of government. According to polls, ANO scores barely drop below 30%.

However, the Brussels official is not in favor of a possible future post of Prime Minister of Babis. First, the European Commission had previously acknowledged that Babis was in a conflict of interest due to its control over the company, the transnational holding company Agrofert, which in turn received grants from EU structural funds. The case was referred to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which has been operating in Luxembourg since June 1, 2021. Second, the Czech Republic under the Babis regime sabotaged a number of European initiatives, mainly related to migration issues, by strengthening the cooperation with partners from Poland and Hungary, known for their critical attitude towards the EU.

For these reasons, the political future of Babis and his ANO party is not as bright as it appears from recent polls.

Protest activities in the Baltic States

In the summer of 2021, a wave of popular protests in Lithuania and Latvia involved several thousand people, which is a significant event for the Baltic States. The last time these countries faced such protests was during the 2008-09 global economic crisis. The Baltic States have been among the hardest hit by the collapse of world markets among EU member states, which has resulted in a noticeable reduction in social guarantees and an increase in the tax burden.

The current summer protests have been triggered by severe anti-COVID-19 restrictions and the worsening socio-economic situation caused by both the pandemic and reduced opportunities for labor migration to Europe Western (including post-Brexit UK). In Lithuania, the protests further fueled the confrontation between political factions oriented towards the incumbent president and the “old” political power, as well as the migration crisis associated with the infiltration of thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants from the Belarusian border. .

While the reasons for the protests are not excluded, there is no doubt that public unrest will accelerate this fall. So far, authorities in the Baltic states have used interdiction measures in an attempt to stop protest activity. Thus, according to the recommendations of the Lithuanian State Security Department, a gathering of 15,000 people in Vilnius, scheduled for September 10, was also banned.

What is different is that the political class of the Baltic States is quite homogeneous, and even in the event of the coming to power of opposition forces as a result of street actions and parliamentary crises, domestic policies and foreigner from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia will only undergo cosmetic changes. And the objective reduction of the resource base does not allow talking about the possibility of a significant growth in social norms.

Re-elections in Bulgaria

The current political crisis in Bulgaria will spread: the parties show no capacity to form a government following two general elections, which were held respectively in the spring and summer of the current year. For now, the nation is on the eve of the third parliamentary elections of the year, which could be held at the same time as the presidential elections of November 2021. Bulgaria’s political field may be significantly reformatted this fall, while the structures of the EU are interested in it. by downplaying the conditionally pro-Russian tilt of Bulgarian politics following the elections. Recall that the Bulgarian President-elect Rumen Radev was considered a friend of Moscow, which was a surprise given the events of 2014, when the Sofia official blocked the “South Stream” energy project, important for the Russian Federation. Russia.

One of the current intrigues is the future position of former Bulgarian Prime Minister in 2009-2021 Boyko Borissov, who has come under heavy criticism from the EU because of autocratic methods of government. In addition, it is worth pointing out the question of the development of relations between Bulgaria, the EU and North Macedonia in view of the latter’s European integration and the position of the official ethnic and cultural policy of Sofia. and North Macedonia.

It is also worth highlighting the new anti-COVID-2019 restrictions, which come into effect on September 7, 2021. Bulgaria is the least vaccinated nation in the EU, and the new wave of restrictions will certainly influence the country’s political processes. in the coming months. .

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As EU membership stalls, Balkan countries make controversial move to create their own mini-Schengen Tue, 31 Aug 2021 09:41:22 +0000

Seeing the leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia share a moment of collective jubilation is not something that happens every day, especially in a region known for its past strife and differences.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev were all smiles as they strolled through the Macedonian capital of Skopje in late July after signing a trilateral economic agreement at a regional trade forum .

Called the Open Balkan Initiative, the idea of ​​forming a common market for countries awaiting EU membership was previously known as the Mini-Schengen Area.

The initiative is trade-heavy, and it promises the free movement of goods and citizens and equal access to labor markets. Participating countries would save up to $ 3.2 billion (€ 2.71 billion) each year, according to World Bank estimates.

A previous attempt was made during the Berlin Process, a German-led cooperation initiative designed for the countries of the Western Balkans, which never resulted in a binding agreement.

The Berlin process launched in 2014 aimed to quell growing Euroscepticism in the region after then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced a five-year moratorium on the admission of new members by the syndicate.

Seven years later, countries in the region are trying to prove that they can do things on their own, with or without EU help.

Belgrade to Tirana without any control?

Albanian Prime Minister Rama told Skopje that the move was aimed at preventing the Western Balkans from getting stuck in “a little caricature of the EU, where everything requires consensus and anyone can block it with a veto.”

Rama, who has been increasingly vocal in his criticism of the EU’s approach to membership, was supported by Prime Minister Zaev. Although EU membership remains a goal for all three, “until the EU decides, we must find ways to continue the process of Europeanization,” Zaev said.

Albanian and Macedonian leaders criticized Bulgaria’s veto on the two membership negotiations which officially open due to the ongoing language debate between the two, with Bulgaria claiming to have problems with the appeal of the language spoken in North Macedonian.

Serbian Prime Minister Vučić was also positive, saying that “it is time to take matters into our own hands and decide for ourselves our destiny and future” and bragged that “from the 1st January 2023, no one will stop you from Belgrade to Tirana. “

But moving forward without the participation of the six Western Balkan countries could backfire and create further divisions in the region.

Tensions in Kosovo

The biggest elephant in the room is Kosovo, which Serbia does not recognize as an independent state and claims that its former province – located geographically in the middle between Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania – is actually part of his territory.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 after NATO intervention in 1999 led to the withdrawal of Belgrade-controlled forces from the predominantly ethnic Albanian province. Since then, Serbia has actively tried to prevent Kosovo from becoming a full member of international organizations, such as the United Nations, and has significantly compromised its process of integration into the EU. Serbia has also waged an international campaign of de-recognition, in an attempt to deny it its status.

When Yugoslavia collapsed in the 1990s, the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milošević took an active part in creating and sustaining wars and conflicts which caused significant loss of life in the region, in particular during the war in Bosnia and the conflict in Kosovo.

Today Vučić, who was Milošević’s Minister of Information in the 1990s, leads the initiative, much to the apprehension of the leaders of the three abstaining countries. Kosovo’s leaders, including Prime Minister Albin Kurti, have criticized the initiative. In August, Kurti declared that Open Balkan is “a balkan open to autocracy, corruption and war criminals”.

This illustrates the lingering tensions between Kurti and Vučić, but also Rama. According to Gjergi Vurmo of the Institute for Democracy and Mediation in Tirana, the clash between Kurti and Rama has degraded the traditionally good relations between the two countries – both ethnic Albanian majority – have maintained.

“Last year’s report from the European Commission for Albania had a very interesting difference,” emphasizes Vurmo, “all other EU reports on Albania on regional cooperation and relations with neighbors have noted excellent relations between Albania and Kosovo “.

Last year’s report stated that Albania’s relations with Kosovo are now “good”, as are with Serbia and North Macedonia, for example.

“So we have some sort of official confirmation that relations are not the best. And I think the fault lies on both sides. Maybe it was Albania and more precisely the mega-ego and the “Rama intends to play the regional role. A leader who takes care of Kosovo. But there is some blame to be placed on some politicians on the Kosovo side,” Vurmo explains.

Kurti’s party in Kosovo, Vetevendosje or VV, is trying to become a more established political subject in Albania and even competed with candidates in the April elections. It appears that Kurti is trying to expand his political influence across the border, and disagreements over the initiative are a way to gain support from those who disagree with Rama.

But this struggle between Kurti and Rama distracts attention from more important issues, such as what it means for the rule of law and the general state of democracy in the region, Vurmo said.

“For me personally, what matters most is a) is it inclusive? It is not. It cannot be called Open Balkan with only three countries as members. And b), that Does this mean for democracy? It means absolutely nothing, “he said. Explain.

“It doesn’t mean anything because it’s a tactical project that makes sense for Vučić and Rama, and it doesn’t make sense with what the citizens want.”

“Because at the end of the day, what is the main reason why foreign direct investment does not come to the Balkans? Because they don’t trust the justice system.

“Our businessmen in Albania, do you think they would trust the judicial system in Serbia? Or, say, in Bosnia, if they ended up joining mini-Schengen? No,” Vurmo concludes.

Is Vucic trying to fill the EU vacuum?

Toby Vogel, analyst at the Council for Democratization Policy, a Berlin-based think tank, believes that for Rama and Vučić, the Open Balkan initiative is indeed a publicity stunt aimed at showing their personal power and contrasting it with the The impotence of the EU in the region.

“Vučić is trying to diversify,” says Vogel. “He has been trying for some time to really strengthen relations in the region – not to be seen as the champion of [solely] the Serbs. “

“Vučić’s ambition is greater. He sees himself as the regional leader and of course being the leader of all Serbs is helpful in all of this, but as soon as it conflicts with his regional ambition I think he will opt for the regional role, “he said. Explain.

This marks a significant change in strategy for Vučić over the years, who began his political career as a zealous ultra-nationalist in the Serbian Radical Party, then moderated some of his views – including on joining the Serbian Radical Party. ‘EU – when he formed the Serbian Progressive Party. In recent years Vučić has generally played a pro-EU card in Brussels while retaining nationalist views in the region. By his own admission, he claims to have grown politically over the years.

“This is what we saw in the history of the vaccine, where it was very clear that the message was ‘we can do things where the EU has failed'”, illustrates Vogel. “We show our solidarity with our brethren in North Macedonia, Bosnia, etc. by giving them vaccines or letting them come to be vaccinated and all that.”

But when too few Balkan countries participate, pitting one side against the other could create significant divisions.

Problems that still plague the Western Balkans, such as the endemic ethno-nationalism that has led Bosnia to be ambivalent about joining an initiative led by Vučić. Some leaders of Montenegro, like Milo Đukanović, also oppose the rise of Serbian nationalism in the country. These problems will not be solved by a purely economic approach, he believes.

“Anyone who thinks this is a confidence-building measure, I think they underestimate the dangers of this economics-centric approach,” Vogel said.

“Economic cooperation will sooner or later come up against the reality of political tensions and political obstacles. The EU and the international community more generally tend to look to the economy when political issues get too difficult. And it never worked because political issues will catch up with economic issues, ”he said.

But the EU in particular is happy to see how it goes, according to Vogel. “There are a few people in the European institutions who are ready to admit – only in private, only in private – that enlargement is dead, that accession will not take place, except perhaps for Serbia – and Montenegro And I think they are thinking about the alternatives, ”Vogel explains.

And although countries in the region still intend to become members of the EU, the Open Balkan initiative would not be a big enough consolation prize instead of EU membership.

“We have had over 25 years of pious discourse on regional integration, peacebuilding, reform, rule of law and European values. I think it would be quite difficult for officials to the EU to suddenly say “okay, you have your mini European economic area in the Balkans, so mission accomplished,” he said.

“Yet I can see that this is happening, as the EU is desperate to claim some level of success and to recognize what is obvious to all of us – that it is disengaging from the region in so many ways.”

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World Leasing Yearbook 2021 – Creating business opportunities Fri, 27 Aug 2021 10:08:41 +0000

Dublin, August 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The “World Leasing Yearbook 2021” report has been added to offer.

The World Leasing Yearbook is the only guide that covers all of the global leasing and asset finance markets in one volume. Available in digital and hardback format, it is truly unique in its field and an indispensable resource.

The new 42nd edition includes over 50 country reviews written by leading industry players in the markets and covers all leasing sectors with basic data for each country with analyzes and projections.

Covering 364 pages, it is the essential guide to current international leasing and asset finance opportunities and provides valuable benchmark data for everyone in the field.

The new 2021 edition features the new Global Leasing Report which includes unique data on market volume and growth by region, including a ranking and analysis of the top 50 leasing markets by size. Includes data from 1999 to date. The complete Global Leasing Report which includes 12 charts and tables is ONLY available and exclusive to the World Leasing Yearbook.

The accompanying World Leasing database, which gives direct access to more than 4,000 companies and contacts from all sectors of the industry, is provided on disk, making the data easily searchable and downloadable. The database is totally unique to the World Leasing Yearbook and is an invaluable networking tool for all professionals in the market.

The 2021 edition provides 364 pages of unparalleled and valuable benchmark data:

  • The Global Leasing Report presents unique data on international leasing volume and growth by region. A ranking of the top 50 leasing markets, global leasing data from 1999 to date, market penetration levels, GDP penetration ratios and market volumes and shares for the 50 countries.
  • Includes over 240 tables and charts containing essential statistical data in one volume.
  • A special report on how the Covid-19 crisis has helped accelerate the pace of digitization impacting the automotive asset finance and leasing markets.
  • A comprehensive report on rental technology for a post-pandemic market.
  • Direct processing and cloud solutions.
  • Special reports on the impact of Covid-19 on the leasing sector; aircraft rental; the Cape Town Convention and the MAC Protocol and Industry 4.0.
  • New country reports for the 2021 edition include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kenya, the Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
  • A comprehensive analysis of the European leasing market is provided by Leaseurope, with basic data comprising 10 tables and charts providing leasing volumes, penetration and growth rates by customer and asset type.
  • A study of leasing in Latin America is provided by the Alta Group based on its AltaLAR 100 report, providing detailed information on the size and growth of the leasing portfolio by country in the region and including an overview of the 100 largest leasing companies in Latin America.
  • Product reviews of over 35 leasing and asset financing software vendors.
  • The unique World Leasing database giving you direct access to over 4,000 companies and contacts in over 100 countries in the asset finance and leasing industry. Of which: general leasing companies, specialist leasing companies, captives, investment bankers, consultants, brokers, lawyers and accountants.


  • Update your knowledge base
  • Find out which markets have the greatest market potential
  • Network with the main global players
  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of the main strategic issues
  • Benefit from an international vision
  • Understand the dynamics of your market through trend reports
  • Create business opportunities with 4,000 global contacts

Main topics covered:

1. Introduction

  • A decade of growth and resilience in the global leasing industry
  • The Leasing Market Evolves As The Economy Evolves
  • A look at the European leasing market in 2019 and beyond
  • Latin American leasing 2019-20: diversified landscape before the pandemic
  • How will Covid-19 impact the present and future of the leasing industry?
  • Industry 4.0: Impact on automotive manufacturing and OEMs
  • Aircraft rental: a solution for the revival of the global aviation industry
  • Cape Town Convention: MAC Protocol – summary and latest developments
  • Cyber ​​insurance solutions for leasing markets
  • Leasing in Africa: Professional action 2017-20

2. Information technology review

  • Emerging Trends in Leasing Technology for a Post-Pandemic Market:
  • Solution providers intervene
  • Lead into the normal NEXT
  • Automotive and retooling equipment financing
  • The technical check: a new era of adaptive technology in asset finance
  • Mapping the customer journey through automation
  • Understanding Economic Difficulties: The Automotive Industry
  • Reshaping the Leasing Industry: New Trends, Threats and Opportunities
  • The acceleration of car leasing in a post-pandemic market
  • STP: The catalyst for quick and easy asset financing

3. Rental software reviews

  • Rental software in Europe
  • Rental software in the United States
  • Rental software in Asia-Pacific

4. International leasing associations

Companies mentioned

  • ABEL – Association Brasileira das Empresas de Leasing
  • Abu Dhabi Finance PJSC
  • ACHEL, Asociacion Chilena de Leasing
  • Africalease (African Leasing Federation)
  • AFPA Trust
  • Aircraft rental Ireland
  • Alfa
  • Alliance Location Group
  • AMSOFAC – Mexican Association of Leasing, Credit and Factoring
  • ASF (French Association of Financial Companies)
  • Malaysian Asset Finance and Leasing Association
  • ASSILEA – Associazione Italiana Leasing
  • ASOBANCARIA – Colombian Banking Association
  • Argentina Leasing Association
  • Asociacion Espanola de Leasing y Renting (AELR)
  • Association of Austrian Leasing Companies
  • Association of Financial Institutions – Turkey
  • Association of Greek Leasing Companies (AGLC)
  • Association of Leasing Companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Association of Leasing Companies in Serbia
  • Association of Leasing Companies of the Slovak Republic
  • Association of Norwegian Financial Houses
  • Professional Association of Financing Companies – APSF
  • Swiss Association of Leasing Companies ASSL
  • Association of Swedish Finance Houses (AFINA)
  • Australian Financial Industry Association
  • Banco de Credito del Peru – BCP
  • Banqsoft
  • Belgian Leasing Association
  • White Rome LLP
  • BNP Paribas rental solutions
  • Bundesverband Deutscher Leasing-Unternehman eV
  • Bynx
  • Canadian Finance and Leasing Association
  • Chailease Finance Co., Ltd.
  • Credit Financing Association – Korea
  • Czech Association for Leasing and Finance
  • Dentons UK & Middle East LLP
  • Egyptian Leasing Association
  • Nigeria Equipment Rental Association
  • Equipment rental and financing association
  • Foundation for leasing and financing of equipment
  • Estonian Leasing Association
  • Financing and Leasing Association
  • Finance og Leasing, the Association of Danish Finance Houses
  • FIS
  • Holland & Knight LLP
  • Hong Kong Equipment Rental Association
  • Hungarian Leasing Association
  • IAA Ltd Consulting
  • IDS
  • InnoVent rental and asset management solutions
  • Iranian National Leasing Association
  • Japanese Leasing Association
  • Latvian Donors Association
  • Leaseurope
  • Kenya Leasing Association
  • Uzbekistan Leasing Association
  • LTi technology solutions
  • National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow)
  • NBFI & Pakistan Modaraba Association
  • Nederlandse Vereniging van Leasemaatschappijen (NVL)
  • NETSOL Technologies, Inc.
  • Odessa
  • ORIX Metro Leasing and Financing Company
  • Polish Leasing Association
  • Portuguese Association for Leasing, Factoring and Rental
  • T2
  • Quantitative Economic Decisions, Inc.
  • Quiktrak, Inc.
  • Sach Avro Limited
  • Societe Generale Equipment Finance (SGEF)
  • Sofico SA
  • SOFT4
  • Sopra banking software
  • Susan Carol Creative
  • The Alta Group – Latin America Region
  • Ukrainian Union of Donors
  • University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), Beijing, People’s Republic of China
  • Vedder Price, PC
  • Vinod Kothari Consultants Pvt Ltd.
  • VIP Apps Consulting Limited
  • Westpac Institutional Bank
  • Clarke Blanc Group

For more information on this report, visit

		BiH still a long way from concluding a new deal with the International Monetary Fund
		Sat, 21 Aug 2021 13:30:00 +0000


Bosnia and Herzegovina is still a long way from concluding a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund and, as Nezavisne Novine confirmed by the IMF, € 300 million in aid to BiH is expected to be disbursed before the end of the month.

As a reminder, “Nezavisne novine” predicted such an outcome six months ago after it became clear that the IMF would not deviate from the demand for reforms, and especially after the IMF pledged assistance to the BiH.

While the IMF’s idea is well-intentioned, to help BiH cope more easily with the consequences of the coronavirus, domestic politicians have interpreted that money can be obtained without implementing reforms.

Namely, on the eve of the start of a new round of negotiations on the deal last year, the IMF set reasonable but difficult conditions for Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach a new deal, which aimed to better monitor cash flow, prevent money laundering, strengthen the taxation system and implement structural reforms.

For example, if BiH adopted the condition that the register of accounts of individuals is located at the Central Bank of BiH, it would be much more difficult to handle money laundering, as it would be possible to easily control the cash flow in central registers.

From a source who was involved in the talks with the IMF while they were going on, Nezavisne learned that national authorities suggested that the entities have central registers that the Central Bank could access after sending an official request to obtain an overview.

The source indicated that the IMF rejected this condition because it would be possible to withdraw the money from the account in a few seconds, which would lose the sense of control of these funds.

However, then the top IMF in Washington decided to grant virtually interest-free credits to all countries in order to help the economy emerge from the crisis caused by the covid.

The Ministry of Finance and Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed that there was no indication of further negotiations with the IMF.

“I hereby inform you that the last session of the Fiscal Council was held on April 22, 2021, during which a potential new agreement with the IMF was discussed, but no agreement was reached and that other talks have not been started by any of the parties. “, They said for” Nezavisne “.

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What future for investments in fossil fuels? Sat, 14 Aug 2021 04:11:21 +0000

Fossil fuels built the world as we know it today, fueling our global economy and producing most of the world’s electricity. But over the past 170 years, humans have burned so much oil, gas, and coal that the earth’s average temperature is now higher than at any time in the past 125,000 years.

And we are already suffering the consequences, according to the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The long-awaited report presented “undisputed” evidence that carbon pollution and greenhouse gases from human activity are causing profound changes in our world: more extreme heat waves and fires, increased rainfall and flooding, longer droughts and a shrinking Arctic.

Energy systems must adapt

The IPCC report didn’t directly mention fossil fuels, but that hasn’t stopped other leading organizations from calling them. Earlier this year, G7 leaders agreed to begin phasing out overseas fossil fuel financing and end their continued support for coal power. And in May, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a landmark report that called for a complete halt to new investment in oil, gas and coal supply after this year – despite the growing number of countries. committing to zero net emissions for years to come. decades.

“This gap between rhetoric and action must be closed if we are to have any chance of reaching net zero by 2050,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. “It requires nothing less than a total transformation of the energy systems that underpin our economies.”

Part of this transformation will come from investors seeking to protect the future value of their assets. Sarah Brown, an electricity transition analyst at UK-based energy think tank Ember, told DW investors and insurers increasingly face risks – related to extreme weather events , energy transition or changes in regulations.

“The recent findings of the IEA and IPCC reports shouldn’t have come as a surprise, and there are many national policies and global commitments that mean that investing in new fossil fuel assets has no impact. economic sense and hasn’t been for quite some time, ”she said.

Brown highlighted several coal-fired power plant projects across Europe that have been canceled in recent months, including in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey. “Utilities, financial institutions, engineering companies and governments all see that there is no future for coal-fired power generation,” she said.

“Fossil fuels are not going to disappear overnight”

But Samantha Gross, director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at the U.S. research group Brookings Institution, doesn’t think investors will be so quick to ditch fossil fuels. She pointed out that despite advances in renewable energy, the world has yet to find a reliable substitute for oil and natural gas, which she called “the lifeblood of the modern economy”.

“We are certainly seeing pressure from many different camps to move away from investing in fossil fuels,” she told DW. “And I don’t disagree with the sentiment. The challenge will be that fossil fuels are not going to disappear overnight.”

Gross said oil and gas have more energy per weight than other fuel sources, making them essential for industrial processes that require very high heat, or for industries like aviation, transportation. maritime and long-distance trucking, where electric vehicles are not yet up to the task. Not to mention that more than three quarters of the world’s electricity is still produced by fossil fuels, according to the latest analysis of the oil giant BP.

“You’re not going to see a sudden halt to all investments in fossil fuels. But I think what you will see is that the more expensive, riskier investments will start to go away first. And I think it does. process certainly begins, “says Gross.

She believes the industry is approaching a “tipping point” on carbon-intensive processes like oil sands development or hydraulic fracturing, with some investors now turning to inexpensive renewables with good rates of return. yield.

“[This is] something that investors do because there is money to be made in there. This is how it really is. It sounds a bit rude, but it’s true, ”she said.

Climate change in Exxon, Chevron

While the trend to make greener investments has been more visible in Europe, with pension funds in countries like the UK, Sweden and Norway taking action to limit climate-related exposure, there are has had some movement in the United States as well – and not just with pensions.

On May 26, 61% of Chevron shareholders backed a proposal asking the oil company to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions. On the same day, activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 took three seats on the board of Exxon Mobil after a months-long campaign that highlighted the oil giant’s focus on fossil fuels was a “existential risk”.

In May, a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels.

Speaking to investors in July, CEO Darren Woods said Exxon Mobil aims to play “a key role in the energy transition while continuing to increase shareholder value,” highlighting developing markets for capture and storage carbon, hydrogen and biofuels. However, Woods – who had campaigned against the No.1 Engine – warned that “huge changes in strategy” are not to be expected.

Nonetheless, said Gross, “It’s quite astonishing what they were able to do,” stressing the importance that it was investors who pushed for change, rather than external pressure. “Nothing against NGOs, but when investors start talking, they listen.

Fight to stay relevant

But some companies are still struggling to delay the inevitable phase-out of fossil fuels and lost profits. German utilities RWE and Uniper, for example, announced in April their intention to sue the Dutch government over its plan to end coal-fired power generation by 2030, citing billions in damages.

Fossil fuel messaging also plays its part. InfluenceMap, a think tank that studies the impact of corporate lobbying on climate policy, revealed in 2019 that the five largest publicly traded oil and gas companies – Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total – have spent over $ 1 billion (€ 853 million) campaigning against climate policies or buying deceptive ads since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The aim is to promote oil and gas as part of the the solution to the climate crisis, as well as new technologies, to keep them as long as possible in the energy mix.

“Many large energy companies appear to be very focused on transition paths that only modestly adapt their current business models, relying heavily on carbon capture and storage. [CCS] to mitigate their emissions or produce blue hydrogen from natural gas, ”said Brown, adding that these approaches also carry significant climate and financial risks.

While acknowledging the potential of greenwashing, Gross said companies using these bridging technologies could potentially have skills that would help further develop renewable energies like geothermal power or offshore wind farms.

“Certainly, some companies understand that this is where the future is headed. They want to continue to be relevant in the energy sector and therefore focus on how they can be relevant in an industry that has a different shape than the one we have now, “Gross said.” They understand which direction the wind is blowing and try to move accordingly. “

(This article by author Martin Kuebler originally appeared on Deutsche Welle.)

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Mulk Holdings and Park International Investments announce their entry into the United States – News Tue, 10 Aug 2021 15:44:00 +0000

Mulk Holdings International, a diversified multinational business conglomerate based in the United Arab Emirates, has announced its partnership with Park International Investments and Silver Heights Real Estate to create Alubond USA.

The joint venture which will focus on the manufacture and supply of exterior facade materials such as the Alubond brand of Aluminum Composite Panels (ACP), glass and aluminum facade elements, solid surfaces and roof shingles. Alubond USA has already secured supply contracts of over $ 100 million for five megaprojects in different regions of the United States.

The partnership brings together two giants – Mulk Holdings International and Park International Investments – to lead the exterior facades at a time when the US economy is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Fueled by vaccinations and government aid, the U.S. economy posted solid 6.5% growth in the last quarter – another sign that the world’s largest economy has managed a sustained recovery from the pandemic recession. The total size of the economy has now passed its pre-pandemic level, according to reports.

“We are very pleased to announce this important partnership with Park International Investments and Silver Height Real Estate. Together, we will explore the development and construction activities of major projects in the United States. I am pleased to report that together with our partners, we have secured over $ 100 million in supply contracts in the United States, ”said Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, President of Mulk Holdings International.

Mulk Holdings International has production facilities and operations in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East with a sales network of over 100 countries.

“As the global economy recovers from a successful worldwide vaccination campaign, we at Mulk Holdings International have launched a major global expansion campaign that will see our business expand into new territories and expand significantly. its activities to meet growing demand around the world. Alubond USA is part of this global expansion, ”he said.

Park Investments, which operates in the United States, United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Bosnia and Herzegovina, has invested in real estate projects in all of these countries.

John Hwan Park, President of Park Investments, said: “This partnership will help us leverage our combined strengths and build on the core strengths of both companies and help us grow our business and meet the growing demand for quality homes and other pluses. Alubond’s product line is perfectly suited to the US market and we are very excited about this joint venture partnership which will help us accelerate our projects in the US and beyond.

John Hwan Park has been the entrepreneur of many successful businesses in the United States and South Korea for many years. He has over 20 years of retail, wholesale, restaurant and real estate experience. His company is currently developing a number of hotels under the Wyndham chain – which will be supported by the new joint venture entity, Alubond USA.

The group’s operations in the UAE are managed by Park International Investments, which is developing a number of projects. It is also developing projects in the United States, South Korea, India and Pakistan as part of Park Properties, its real estate development branch.

Silver Heights, a Dubai-based real estate management and brokerage group responsible for ensuring the smooth flow of buy and sell transactions across a broad portfolio of developments. It supports the holistic range of real estate transactions including commercial and residential property sales, acquisitions and leasing, property valuation and management, joint ventures and asset management.

Samir Munshi, Founder of Silver Heights Real Estate, said: “For us it is a strategic decision to develop new activities and a possible entry into the US real estate market where we could bring our expertise and benefit from experience of the American markets. The Alubond USA joint venture provides us with a platform to explore new avenues and take advantage of the opportunities of growing new demand.


]]> 0 The global coronavirus toll stands at 42 87 427 Sun, 08 Aug 2021 19:33:00 +0000

The new coronavirus has killed at least 42 87,427 people since the outbreak of the epidemic in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources established by AFP on Sunday at 10:00 GMT.

At least 20,22,74,390 cases of coronavirus have been recorded. The vast majority have recovered, although some continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.

The figures are based on daily reports provided by the health authorities in each country.

The World Health Organization estimates that the global toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than official records, due to the excess mortality which is directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19.

A large number of less severe or asymptomatic cases also go undetected, despite increased testing in many countries.

As of Saturday, 9,373 new deaths and 6 91,420 new cases were recorded worldwide.

Based on the latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were Indonesia with 1,498 new deaths, followed by Brazil with 990 and the United States with 856.

The United States is the most affected country with 6 16,718 deaths for 35,739,777 cases.

After the United States, the most affected countries are Brazil with 5 62 752 deaths for 2 01 51 779 cases, India with 4 27 862 deaths for 3 19 34 455 cases, Mexico with 244 248 deaths for 29 64,244 cases, and Peru with 1,967,873 deaths for 21,24,128 cases.

The country with the highest number of deaths relative to its population is Peru with 597 deaths per 1,000,000 inhabitants, followed by Hungary with 311, Bosnia and Herzegovina with 295, the Czech Republic with 284 and Brazil with 265.

Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole have 13,90,154 deaths for 41,489,417 cases, Europe 12 11,528 deaths for 5 94 86 360 infections, and Asia 699 596 deaths for 4,61 15,997 cases.

The United States and Canada reported 6 43,381 deaths in 3,717,857 cases, Africa 1,7,6,624 deaths in 69 85,972 cases, the Middle East 1,64,695 deaths in 1,09 25,737 cases and Oceania 1,449 deaths for 93,054 cases.

Iran is reporting more than 500 daily Covid deaths for the first time, its health ministry announces, as new infections also hit an all-time high.

Saudi Arabia will begin accepting vaccinated foreigners wishing to make the Umrah pilgrimage, authorities say, a move that will boost an economy hit by the Covid pandemic.

Australia’s third largest city Brisbane will lift a lockdown after containing a cluster of viruses, but an outbreak that has kept Sydney crippled for weeks continues to grow.

Congolese authorities say the epidemic has eased in many parts of the country but remain worrying in the economic capital of Lubumbashi where failure to wear a mask will now be punishable by up to seven days in prison. .

Brunei is imposing strict restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19, after finding its first locally transmitted cases in more than a year.

France’s controversial health pass goes into effect Monday, despite another weekend of protests, with nearly a quarter of a million people marching across the country against its imposition.

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