Friday, 25 Sep 2020

Saudi Aramco profit drops 50% for first half of the year as pandemic batters oil price

Centre releases ₹553 cr. for farm mechanisation

Funds provided to States under SMAM

The Centre has released ₹553 crore to States under a scheme to promote mechanisation in the agriculture sector.

The Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) was introduced in April 2014 with an aim to have inclusive growth of farm mechanisation to boost productivity.

“In the year 2020-21, budget of ₹1,033 crore has been provided for the scheme, out of which ₹553 crore has been released to state governments,” an official statement said. Agricultural mechanisation helps in increasing production through timely farm operations and cut in operations by ensuring better management of inputs. Individual farmers are also provided subsidy for procurement of machinery. Total funds of ₹11,78.47 crore were provided in the years 2018-19 & 2019-20 to Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT.

Air India Express crash: Investigators find black box data

Friday’s flight was chartered by the Indian government to repatriate workers stranded by the pandemic for months.

Flight data recorders have been recovered from the wreckage of a Boeing 737 which crash-landed in India on Friday.

Both pilots are among 18 dead in the accident in Kozhikode in Kerala state.

Around 150 passengers and crew were injured as the workers’ repatriation flight from Dubai plunged off the end of the runway.

Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat reports.

Belarus: Lukashenko looks for sixth victory in tough contest

President Alexander Lukashenko has been accused of stealing previous elections.

Three Russian opposition activists have been detained as they travelled to Belarus to observe a tense presidential election.

President Alexander Lukashenko is facing the strongest opposition yet to his leadership.

He is expected to declare victory after Sunday’s elections, his sixth in 25 years.

But the opposition says it will fight the election results in court.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reports from Minsk.

30 people displaced after multi-family complex in Aurora catches fire

Thirty people were displaced at a multifamily complex in Aurora on Saturday morning because of a fire.

Aurora Fire Rescue responded about 8 a.m. to a structure fire near Sable Boulevard and Dearborn Way, the agency tweeted.

Seven units in the complex were affected, and the Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents, fire officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Twitter Has Explored Acquisition Of TikTok’s U.S. Operations – Report

As the clock is ticking for Microsoft or another company to acquire TikTok in the U.S. by mid-September, a new potential buyer may have emerged.

Twitter has had preliminary talks with TikTok’s parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, WSJ reported on Saturday, noting that it is not clear whether the Jack Dorsey-led social media company would pursue a deal, which would be for video-sharing app’s U.S. operations.

Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order meant to block all business with ByteDance starting 45 days from that date, forcing the Chinese company to find a buyer or face a ban. TikTok blasted the executive order, threatening to sue the Trump administration.

Microsoft has been in negotiations to acquire TikTok’s operations in the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand for weeks, and is considered the frontrunner for any possible deal, according to WSJ.

Twitter previously acquired video-sharing app Vine before shutting it down four years later.

Australia’s Economy To Recover Slowly: RBA

Australia’s economy is set to log a slow recovery given the ongoing spread of the coronavirus and the response to contain it, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in its quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy, released Friday.

According to baseline scenario of RBA, GDP is expected to contract by around 6 percent over the year to December 2020, but then grow by around 5 percent over 2021.

The outlook for 2020 was largely unchanged from the previous projection but downgraded the projection for 2021 from 6 percent.

“We now think that, even though the initial contraction was smaller, the subsequent recovery is likely to be more protracted and progress on reducing unemployment will be slower,” Luci Ellis, RBA Assistant Governor, said.

“The recovery is expected to be slow and uneven, and GDP will probably take several years to return to the trend path expected prior to the virus outbreak,” Ellis said.

The recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Victoria and the associated introduction of restrictions on activity are likely to reduce national GDP growth by at least 2 percentage points in the September quarter.

A contraction in demand represents an enormous shock to the labor market, Ellis noted.

The unemployment rate is expected to rise to almost 10 percent over the next six months and gradually decline to around 7 percent over the latter part of the forecast period.

Underlying inflation is expected to remain below 2 percent over the next couple of years.

Russia's coronavirus cases surpass 885,000

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia reported 5,189 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its nationwide tally to 887,536, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 77 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 14,931.

Saudi Aramco profit drops 50% for first half of the year as pandemic batters oil price

Oil giant Saudi Aramco has reported a 50% fall in net income for the first half of its financial year, reflecting a devastating year for oil markets and the global economy at large as the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a release published Sunday, the company said net income plunged to $23.2 billion in the first six months of the year, down by half from $46.9 billion over the same period in 2019.

Saudi Arabia's majority state-owned oil company and the world's largest crude producer also maintained its second-quarter dividend of $18.75 billion, saying it will be paid in the third quarter. Its first-quarter dividend of the same amount was paid in the second quarter.

Total free cash flow at the company came in at $21.1 billion for the first half, down from $38 billion the year before.

The results come a week after Aramco ceded its title as the world's largest listed company by market capitalization to Apple.

The financial results for the second quarter reflect the biggest shock to global energy markets in decades.

"Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results," Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said in the release.

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