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UAE, France sign $18 billion deal for 80 Rafale jets as Macron starts Gulf tour



French President Emmanuel Macron, left, is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Dubai Expo on the first day of his Gulf tour on December 3, 2021.

French President Emmanuel Macron met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on Friday at the start of a two-day Gulf tour that saw France sell the UAE 80 French-made Rafale warplanes for $18.08 billion (€16 billion).

France’s Defense Minister said the deal was France’s largest-ever weapons contract for export while the Minister for the Armed Forces hailed the deal as “historic.”

There was no immediate confirmation of the deal from Emirati officials. Macron was greeted at the leadership pavilion at Dubai’s Expo site for talks with Sheikh Mohammed.

“I don’t want to reveal the Christmas present” before the meeting, UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash told journalists in the build-up to the talks in Dubai.

Macron arrived in the early hours of Friday for a brief Gulf tour where he will also visit Qatar, host of next year’s World Cup, before traveling to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The UAE, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday, is expected to order dozens of Rafale jets to replace its Mirage 2000 aircraft acquired in the late 1990s.

The Emirates is the fifth biggest customer for the French defense industry with $5.31 billion (€4.7 billion) from 2011-2020, according to a parliamentary report.

Macron is accompanied by a large delegation in Dubai including Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Defense Minister Florence Parly.


World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia




A Japanese-Australian venture producing hydrogen from brown coal is set to start loading its maiden cargo on the world’s first liquid hydrogen carrier on Friday, in a test delayed by nearly a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Suiso Frontier, built by Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), arrived Australia this week from Kobe, following a longer trip than the expected 16 days as the ship dodged bad weather and rough seas, said a spokesperson for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) venture. The ship is scheduled to head back to Japan in about a week.

Led by KHI, HESC is a A$500 million ($360 million) coal-to-hydrogen project backed by Japan and Australia as a way to switch to cleaner energy and cut carbon emissions.

Hydrogen, seen as a path to decarbonizing industries that rely on coal, gas and oil, is key to Japan’s goal to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Australia aims to become a major exporter of the fuel.

The Australian government on Friday committed a further A$7.5 million for HESC’s A$184 million pre-commercialization phase, and A$20 million for testing a capture and storage project for carbon dioxide released in the coal-to-hydrogen process to create a carbon neutral product.

Last year, HESC started extracting 70 kg of hydrogen a day from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley, about 135 km (84 miles) east of Melbourne, where brown coal mines have long fueled some of Australia’s most polluting power stations.

The hydrogen is produced by reacting coal with oxygen and steam under high heat and pressure. It is then trucked to a port site where it is cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius (minus 423 Fahrenheit), liquefying it for export.
The partners are looking to produce up to 225,000 tons of hydrogen a year.

They will need to make a final investment decision by 2025, with Australia racing against countries in the Middle East and elsewhere to produce carbon neutral hydrogen, said Jeremy Stone, a director of J-Power, one of the HESC partners.

Partners in the project include Japan’s Electric Power Development Co, Iwatani Corp, Marubeni Corp., Sumitomo Corp. and Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd., whose mine is supplying the brown coal.

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Singapore suspends crypto ATMs despite investor appetite: Crypto Moves




Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Wednesday, falling by 0.46 percent to $41,515 at 12:07 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $3,074, down by 2.60 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

To curb Singapore’s growing appetite for digital tokens, crypto ATMs are shutting down, as the city-state moves to significantly reduce consumer marketing of cryptocurrencies.

Daenerys & Co, the largest machine operator in Singapore has suspended its services to comply with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s request, the company said on Tuesday.

Another company, Deodi Pte, shut down its sole machine on Tuesday, the company said on its website.

“The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s new guidelines regarding ATMs were an unexpected surprise,” Daenerys said in a reply to questions from Bloomberg.

The machines, which are mostly located in malls across Singapore, provide people with a convenient way to buy cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether using fiat currencies, Bloomberg reported.

However, the notion of a fast and easy way into crypto trading for retail investors didn’t sit well with regulators, who explicitly mentioned the ATMs in guidelines released Monday.

Such offerings could encourage people to trade on impulse, the MAS said.

Meanwhile, said it has suspended all deposits and withdrawals while it investigates unauthorized activity on some accounts, according to Bloomberg.

The crypto wallet provider and trading platform said in a Twitter post that the measure was temporary to allow it to improve security and it would resume activity once the update was complete. The company added that all funds are safe.

Several users on social media have reported that their cryptocurrencies, sometimes worth tens of thousands of dollars, had disappeared from their accounts in recent days.

Technical issues on crypto trading platforms have become commonplace as the hype surrounding digital assets grows.

Providers such as Coinbase, Binance and Kraken have all suffered widespread outages at times of peak demand in the last year, causing trouble for investors who were prevented from making withdrawals or liquidating their positions amid volatile trading periods.

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TikTok owner ByteDance dissolves its investment arm




TikTok owner ByteDance has disbanded its investment department, a company spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday.

Following an assessment at the beginning of the year, ByteDance decided to “strengthen the focus of the business, reduce investments with low connection (to the main business) and disperse employees from the strategic investment department to various lines of business,” the spokesperson said in a Chinese-language statement translated by CNBC.

The move “strengthens the coordination between strategic research and the business,” the company said.

The news comes as ByteDance is undergoing restructuring since its founder Zhang Yiming stepped down as chairman in the fall.

ByteDance is the world’s largest start-up valued at $140 billion, according to CB Insights.

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