RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 largest economies agreed on Monday to develop an ‘action plan’ to respond to a coronavirus pandemic that the IMF now expects to trigger a global recession, but they offered no specifics.
The G20 secretariat issued the statement after the finance officials met by video conference for nearly two hours, amid growing criticism that the world’s ‘fire station’ has been slow to respond to the worsening crisis.
G20 leaders are due to gather for an extraordinary virtual summit in coming days as the world races to contain the virus, which has infected 370, 000 globally and killed over 16,000.
The summit, called by this year’s chair, Saudi Arabia, will be complicated by an oil price war between the two members, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and rising tensions between two others, the United States and China, over the origin of the virus.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News his counterparts agreed to act to support their own economies, and coordinate internationally as needed. But he gave no specifics.
Maunchin will chair a conference of G7 finance ministers and central bankers early Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the plans.
He said the United States was working closely with G20 countries, the Group of Seven (G7), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in responding to the crisis.
‘This is a team effort to kill this virus and provide economic relief’, said Mnuchin, who is simultaneously struggling to win congressional approval for a nearly $2 trillion U.S. rescue package.
G20 leaders need move beyond recent squabbles and ‘stop weaponing the new coronavirus in the fight for global influence’, to help stabilize public confidence and markets, said Hung Tran, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
Potential concrete actions could include sharing test results of new treatments and vaccines; rolling back tariffs that were dragging down global growth even before the crisis; and synchronized fiscal actions, he said.
‘Simply repeating the mantra that ‘we’ll do whatever it takes’ is not adequate anymore’ he added.
The IMF and the World Bank on Monday both forecast the pandemic would trigger a global recession in 2020.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed fiscal and monetary steps already taken by countries, but said more would needed, especially in the fiscal arena.
The average size of fiscal measures announced by over 20 countries amounts to around 1.8% domestic gross domestic product (GDP), below the 2% packages offered by G20 countries in 20019 during the financial crisis, Tran said.
G7 finance ministers and central bankers will hold a conference call of their own early Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the plans.
Japan, a member of the G7, expressed concern about the impact of the coronavirus, and urged G20 members to act ‘without hesitation in a timely manner’.
Argentina, whose debt has been deemed unsustainable by the IMF, warned fellow G20 member they must act decisively to ‘avoid a social meltdown’ as the pandemic spreads.
Argentina’s Finance Minister Martin Guzman told fellow ministers on the G20 call that countries should use the ‘entire toolkit’ of economic policies, including the extension of bilateral swaps to aid those nations most in need.
Monday’s G20 meeting was far from smooth, although no open disputes broke out, said one senior official from a G7 country, adding that Tuesday’s G7 statement would focus heavily on cooperation but also offered little in the way of new ideas.
‘There aren’t very exciting things in there’, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly’. ‘But I have the impression that we’re on the same page now’.
The Seychelles is taking the bold step of banning all cruise ship tourism through the end of 2021 as a measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The East Arica island nation’s largest, the Seychelles Nation, reports that Didier Dogley, the country’s Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, made the decision. According … Continue reading TRAVEL | Seychelles Bans Cruise Ships Through 2021 To Prevent Covid-19 Spread
LONDON – Russia has no objection to the next meeting of OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, being brought forward to June 4 from the following week, three OPEC+ sources familiar with the meeting’s preparations told Reuters on Sunday. Algeria, which currently holds the presidency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has … Continue reading BUSINESS NEWS | Russia Has No Objection To Earlier OPEC+ Meeting: Sources
LONDON – Six times Formula One motor racing champion Lewis Hamilton has criticized his sport for its silence on the killing of George Floys, an unarmed black man who died after a white U.S. police officer knelt on his neck. The death in Minneapolis triggered a wave of outrage and violent protests in the United … Continue reading SPORTS NEWS | Hamilton Criticizes F1 For Staying Silent On Floyd Death
JEDDAH | SAUDI ARABIA – Coty Inc. is set to announce that Peter Harf, its current chairman, will become the cosmetics company’s new chief executive officer, replacing Pierre Laubies, that Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter. Coty declined to comment on the report. Harf’s appointment would come as a … Continue reading BUSINESS | Coty To Appoint Chairman Peter Harf As Its New CEO: ESJ
PARIS – Paris’s haute couture Fashion Week will go digital this July, translating the craftsmanship of couture to a virtual format for the first time. From July 6 to 8, the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode will host videos from accredited couture maisons on a dedicated platform. The videos will be … Continue reading FASHION | The Paris Haute Couture Shows Will Go Digital This July
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA – SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched two Americans toward orbit from Florida on Saturday in a mission that marks the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years. A SpaceXFalcom 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. EDT … Continue reading SCIENCE NEWS | NASA resumes human spaceflight from U.S. soil with historic SpaceX launch
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz approved on Friday opening the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina to the public starting from Sunday, May 31, as part of the government’s plan to ease coronavirus restrictions and re-open the Kingdom. Worshippers will be able to enter the Prophet’s Mosque for group prayers, with … Continue reading NEWS ALERT | Saudi Arabia Opens Prophet’s Mosque In Medina To The Public From May 31
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia modified the coronavirus regarding limiting gatherings and family visits to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Interior said in Saturday, according to state news agency SPA. The maximum number of people allowed to gathering family visits, non-family gatherings inside homes, gatherings in farms, and social events … Continue reading NEWS ALERT | Saudi Arabia Allows Gatherings, Family Visits Of 50 People, Sets Fines
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Forbes magazine, which in March 2019 declared reality TV star Kylie Jenner had become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, said on Friday that is no longer believed that her net worth was that much. The magazine said it reviewed financial data released by Coty INC, which bought a 51 percent … Continue reading ENTERTAINMENT | Kylie Jenner Is Not A Billionaire, Forbes Magazine Now Say
NEW YORK – Zoom, the video conferencing provider whose business had boomed with the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to strengthen encryption on video calls made by paying clients and institutions like schools, but not for users of its popular free accounts, a company official said Friday. The company previewed its intentions on a call with civil … Continue reading BUSINESS | ZOOM Plans To Roll Out Strong Encryption for paying customers only
JEDDAH | SAUDI ARABIA – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, like many of us in the U.S., spend Memorial Day weekend taking in the sun, sitting poolside with their family, and…spotting a small drone flying just a couple feet above their head? Okay, most families didn’t have to deal with that last one, but Meghan … Continue reading ROYALS | Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s LA Home Is Being Inundated by Drones
NEW YORK – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he is termination the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus, saying the WHO has essentially become a puppet organization of China. Appearing in the White House Rose Garden, Trump went ahead with repeated threats to eliminate American funding … Continue reading WORLD NEWS | Trump Says Terminating U.S. Relationship With World Health Organization Over Virus
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia transferred a total of 150 billion riyals ($40 billion) from central bank foreign reserves to fund investments by sovereign wealth fund PIF in March and April, the finance minister said on Friday. Saudi Arabia’s central bank foreign reserves fell in March by nearly $27 billion month-on-month, their fastest … Continue reading BUSINESS NEWS | Saudi Arabia Says It Provided $40 Billion To PIF From Foreign Reserves
PARIS | FRANCE – The Louvre museum in Paris will reopen on July 6, it said on Friday, as France’s historical and cultural sites emerge gradually from the coronavirus lockdown. In a statement, France’s most visited museum said a booking system and new signposting would offer visitors the maximum possible safety while they are in … Continue reading ARTS & CULTURE | France’s Louvre Museum To Reopen July 6, Versailles June 6
JEDDAH | SAUDI ARABIA – Twitter hid a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump behind a warning for the first time on Friday, accusing him of breaking its rules by ‘glorifying violence’ in a message that said looters at protests in Minneapolis would be shot. Twitter’s decision to step in escalates a feud between Trump … Continue reading SOCIAL MEDIA | Twitter Hides Trump Tweet For ‘Glorifying Violence’
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia confirmed it will host a virtual donors conference next week for Yemen together with the United Nations which said the conflict – riven nation risked being overwhelmed by the coronavirus. Millions need aid in Yemen, whose government was ousted from the capital Sanaa by the Iran – allied … Continue reading NEWS | Saudi Arabia Confirms Virtual Donors Conference For Yemen With U.N.
BUCHAREST | ROMANIA – Greece said on Friday it will open to visitors from 29 countries from June 15, days before its peak tourism season begins. The countries are: Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Israel, Switzerland, Japan, Malta, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Australia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Albania, Estonia, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Hungary, South Korea, Serbia, … Continue reading TRAVEL | Greece To Open To Tourists From 29 Countries From June 15
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, received a phone call from President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation. During the phone conversation, they discussed the efforts being exerted to stabilize the oil markets, the Saudi Press Agency, SPA, reported. … Continue reading BUSINESS | Saudi Crown Prince Discusses Oil Markets Stability With Russian President On Phone
Hundreds of indoor gyms, sports and fitness clubs, and sports academies across Dubai reopened its doors Wednesday, May 27. The announcement came after two months of government-mandated closures due to Covid-19 as restrictions within the UAE continue to gradually lift. Although these facilities can once again operate between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. in accordance … Continue reading HEALTH | Gyms Reopen In Dubai: What You Need To Know Before Your First Workout
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Kuwait will ease its full-time, to be a 12-hour one during night, the interior minister said in a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Thursday. The minister added that the curfew will be from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., starting Sunday. The health minister said easing the curfew will … Continue reading NEWS | Kuwait Replaces Full-Time Curfew With 12-Hour One
ENTERTAINMENT | Nicole Kidman Has Purchased Rights To Another Laine Moriarty Book That Sounds Even Better Than Big Little Lies
MILAN – Hulu’s limited TV series adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s book, Nine Perfect Strangers, is taking shape with a number of key cast members on board, Deadline reports. Nicole Kidman and Gilmore Girls alum Melissa McCarthy are set to star along with The Good Place’s Many Jacinto. Kidman will take on the role of Masha … Continue reading ENTERTAINMENT | Nicole Kidman Has Purchased Rights To Another Laine Moriarty Book That Sounds Even Better Than Big Little Lies
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, received on Wednesday an oral message from Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah. The messages were delivered by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. … Continue reading NEWS ALERT | Saudi King, Crown Prince Receive Messages From Emir Of Kuwait
BUCHAREST | ROMANIA – Professional soccer leagues around Europe are gearing up for a return to action following the novel coronavirus stoppage, but some are more advanced than others. Here is a roundup of the state of play: GERMANY The Bundesliga restarted on May 16, games played without fans and with a strict health protocol … Continue reading SPORTS NEWS | European Soccer’s Return To Action After Coronavirus
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – – Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulazi Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, received a phone call from President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation. During the phone conversation, they discussed the efforts being exerted to stabilize the oil markets. From his part, President Putin … Continue reading NEWS ALERT | Saudi Crown Prince Receives Phone Call From President of Russia
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – The Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen said its forces intercepted and downed drones launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement towards the Saudi border city of Najran on Wednesday in the first such incident since late March. There was no immediate comment from the Houthi group about the attack, which comes … Continue reading NEWS ALERT | Saudi-Led Coalition Says It Downs Houthi Drones Launched At Najran
NEW YORK – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies for stifling conservative voices, a day after Twitter attached a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact check the president’s claims. Without offering evidence, Trump again accused such platforms of bias, tweeting: ‘Republicans feel … Continue reading SOCIAL MEDIA | Twitter’s Fact-Check Label Prompts Trump Threat To Shut Down Social Media Companies
BUCHAREST | ROMANIA – Greece will allow travellers from around two dozen countries including Germany, Cyprus and Israel to visit from mid-June without having to be quarantined, government officials said, part of gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. ‘Travel will be some 20-25 countries whose nationals will be allowed to come’, a government source said, … Continue reading TRAVEL | Greece To Welcome Germans, Cypriots, Israelis In First Wave Of Visitors
NEW YORK – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will travel to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump on Wednesday and planned to discuss major investments in infrastructure as a way to jumpstart a U.S. economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo also told a daily briefing on Tuesday he planned to accelerate … Continue reading BUSINESS NEWS | New York’s Cuomo To Meet Trump, Push Infrastructure Spending
RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia will extend tourist visas which expired during the suspension of international flight amid the coronavirus pandemic automatically for a period of three months free of charge, according to an official statement. The Kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports announced that the General Directorate of Passport would extend the visas … Continue reading NEWS ALERT | Saudi Arabia To Extend Tourist Visas For Three Month Free Of Charge
PARIS | FRANCE – President Emmanuel Macron announced an 8 billion euro plan on Tuesday to make France the top producer of clean vehicles in Europe and urge French carmakers to make vehicles in their own country. French car plants are only just starting to rev up production after the coronavirus lockdown, which hit the … Continue reading BUSINESS NEWS | Macron Wants France To Be Europe’s Top Clean Car Producer