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Oil in free fall touches $40 a barrel


New Delhi: Global crude in free fall touched the $40-a-barrel mark in trading the day before, having already dropped under $50 for the second time this year from levels of over $100 last year. The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $40.47 a barrel of nearly 160 liters on Tuesday, compared to $43 over the weekend, even as global crude oil prices plummeted to fresh six-year lows.


The Indian basket comprising 73 percent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crude, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent fell to its lowest of $42.59 on Tuesday, since December 2008 when the prices averaged $40.61 for the month, as per government data. OPEC’S biggest member-economy Saudi Arabia is being considered key in the the slump in crude oil prices, for not cutting crude output in line with its long-term strategy of making production unviable for US explorers. In July, the OPEC crude production increased by 101,000 barrels per day to average 31.51 million barrels per day, according to OPEC’s monthly oil market report last week. Particularly since global powers signedia the historic nuclear deal with Iran last month, traders have  been worried that crude supply might exceed the demand.
Oil prices have been under pressure for several months due to concerns over oversupply, but the slump has deepened in recent weeks fueled by fears of a sharp slowdown in the Chinese economy. The fall in oil followed an 8.5 percent decline in the Shanghai Composite Index on Monday. China is the world’s second-largest consumer of oil after the US. Analysts predictions of the price falling to as low as $20 have provoked fears about what the flip side of the situation could entail. Saudi Arabia, which draws some 90 percent of its revenue from petroleum, is reportedly preparing to cut billions of dollars from its investment budget.

Unable to bear the burden anymore of long-standing subsidies, the United Arab Emirates government in July deregulated petrol and diesel prices, resulting in an increase by 24 percent in the price of petrol to $0.58 per liter. According to an Indian energy expert, the current fiscal situation of Gulf nations like Oman and the UAE indicate they are beginning to feel the pinch of low oil prices. These countries have concerns about unrest within their own populations, “simmering since the so-called Arab Spring”, says Amit Bhandari, a fellow at the Mumbai-based foreign policy think-tank Gateway House. “These countries relied on higher social spending to quieten political unrest. This cannot continue indefinitely, but if let up, can lead to another set of problems for some of the states,” he said.


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Abu Dhabi is Expecting more than 20% growth in Indian Tourist Arrivals this Year

Abu Dhabi. Representational image. Pixabay

Mumbai, December 12, 2016: Abu Dhabi, the capital and the second most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is expecting more than 20 per cent increase in Indian tourist arrivals this year.

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“India has been the number one source market for us globally and we have been witnessing a steady growth in tourists coming to Abu Dhabi from the sub-continent.

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority Country Manager, India, Bejan Dinshaw told PTI,“We are already in the last month of 2016, and are confident of seeing over 20 per cent growth this year.”

Abu Dhabi saw 2.8 lakh Indian tourists checking into hotels in 2015.

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With a large number of Indian expats living in Abu Dhabi, the actual number of visitors to the capital city is much more, he said.

Dinshaw said, the capital of UAE has already 2.36 lakh Indians staying in hotels and spending an average 3.2 nights till September this year.

After India, the other top tourist-generating markets for Abu Dhabi are China,Britain, Germany, and France.

He further said, “Indian are also among the top spenders in Abu Dhabi.”

“Indians love shopping and are the leading spenders in Abu Dhabi. To attract shoppers we celebrate ‘Summer Season’ (from June-September) during Ramzan, where many discounts and other schemes are offered,” the official said.

Abu Dhabi, placing itself as an affordable luxurious destination for Indians, is mainly targeting segments like wedding, honeymoons, family, single travellers, and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).

With good connectivity – 250 flights a week connecting 15 Indian cities directly with Abu Dhabi – India will continue to remain a major source of holiday-makers coming to the city, he said.

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“For this purpose we are bullish on roadshows and joint marketing promotions (JMPs) with travel companies and local travel agents in tier 1, 2 and 3 cities.

Dinshaw added,“We aim to make Abu Dhabi the first choice of destination for Indians looking for long weekends and short breaks. And proximity and good connectivity gives Abu Dhabi an edge in this regard.”

by NewsGram team

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Popular Indian Animated Character ‘Chhota Bheem’ to Debut at Multi-Cultural Fest in Dubai

The event will take place in the first week of February 2017 and the main festival of Global Village will go on till April 8, 2017

Indian animated character Chhota Bheem and his friends. Wikimedia

Dubai, November 29, 2016: Popular Indian animated character Chhota Bheem will make his debut at the Global Village — a multi-cultural festival here.

The character will mark his presence at the festival in a musical show. The musical will be a part of the special Kids Fest offering at Global Village.

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“We are happy to collaborate with Green Gold Animation to become the first entertainment park outside of India to launch live shows of Chhota Bheem at Global Village,” Ahmad Hussain Bin Essa, CEO of Global Village, said in a statement.

“We have a large number of visitors from the Indian subcontinent.”

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Mascots of the central characters of “Chhota Bheem” series – Chhota Bheem, Chutki, Jaggu and Kalia, will also be part of the musical that will have the fictional kingdom of Dholakpur recreated. The 20-minute show will be played daily on the main stage. The story line is being picked from one of the episodes of “Chhota Bheem” series.

The event will take place in the first week of February 2017 and the main festival of Global Village will go on till April 8, 2017.

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Earlier this year, the film “Chhota Bheem Himalayan Adventure” released in United Arab Emirates. It received an excellent reception and ran at exclusive multiplexes for close to a month. (IANS)

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Private Company Requests for U.S. Clearance to Fly to Moon

U.S. officials appear poised to make history by approving the first private space mission to go beyond Earth’s orbit

The Moon as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia commons
  • U.S. government agencies are working on temporary provisions to allow a private company to land a spacecraft on the moon next year
  • This request is a first of its kind, which is why USA does not have any established legal framework in these matters
  • Other countries are moving faster to establish rules for space launches in compliance with international treaties

U.S. government agencies are working on temporary provisions to allow a private company to land a spacecraft on the moon next year in 2017, while Congress weighs a more permanent legal framework to govern future commercial missions into Moon, Mars and other destinations beyond Earth’s orbit, officials said.

The US Space Shuttle. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Plans by private companies to land spacecraft on the moon or launch them out of Earth’s orbit face legal obstacles because the United States has not put in place regulations to govern space activities, industry and government officials said.

“We do not have formal authority today to deal with what happens on orbit or on other planetary terrestrial bodies. That’s the issue we’re wrestling with,” said George Nield, head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

“What is being looked at right now is a Band-Aid fix because the system is broken,” Nield said at an American Bar Association space law forum in Washington on Wednesday.

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A 1967 international treaty obliges the United States and other signatories to authorize and supervise extraterrestrial activities by its non-government entities. But no U.S. agency has authority to regulate commercial space activities outside of rocket launches, spacecraft re-entries into the atmosphere and operations of telecommunications and remote sensing satellites in Earth orbit.

The issue is coming to a head in part because of a request by Florida-based Moon Express for permission from the U.S. government to land a spacecraft on the moon in 2017. So far, only government agencies have flown satellites beyond Earth’s orbit.

“No commercial company has ever asked to go outside of Earth orbit and go elsewhere before. We’re a pathfinder out of necessity,” Moon Express Chief Executive Bob Richards said in an interview on Monday.

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Richards and Nield declined to comment on what specifically Moon Express is proposing.

Other countries are moving faster to establish rules for space launches in compliance with international treaties. Luxembourg last week announced it was partnering with two U.S. companies interested in mining asteroids and set aside 200 million euros to woo space firms to relocate. The United Arab Emirates also intends to serve as a commercial space haven.

“We don’t want to create an environment where there’s a competitive advantage for payloads to go overseas,” said space attorney Michael Gold, who chairs the FAA’s commercial space advisory panel.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from Reuters), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96