Joie Cooper

US Envoy for Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein spoke with a negotiating team from Israel’s Energy Ministry over the weekend, discussing proposals he received from Lebanese leadership during a trip to Beirut earlier this month.

“The exchanges were productive and advanced the objective of narrowing differences between the two sides,” the State Department said in a statement Monday. “The United States will remain engaged with parties in the days and weeks ahead.”

The US has unsuccessfully sought to mediate between the sides for over a decade, with the last three administrations dispatching envoys to the region with the same task. The Israel-born Hochstein had the same role during the Obama administration.

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The health ministry said on Sunday that Cyprus was investing a social policy to address addiction to narcotics, in a message to mark World Day Against Drugs and Drug Trafficking.

The social policy was being based on EU standards “so that we can all feel that scientifically proven steps have been taken towards a society that is as well protected as possible from substance abuse,” the ministry said.

The ministry said it was committed to creating an environment that supports everyone who need help with drug addition, whatever the circumstance.

In a separate message, the president of the Addiction Treatment Authority, Dr Christos Minas said dealing with addiction requires a multi-themed, balanced and integrated policy, and cooperation.

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Windcraft Music Fest is preparing a groovy comeback, with an international line-up of bands that infuse musical traditions of the world with jazz and electronic dance beats. The 8th edition of the festival on August 5, 6 and 7 will again see wind instruments have the starring role. In addition to the concerts, the festival will include three-day seminars for winds and voice, workshops and an interactive parallel programme.

This year’s concert programme includes selected Cypriot and international bands that will present original compositions. Combining modern sounds with the musical traditions from around the world, they will create a mixture of musical styles that will carry us away in a range of emotions and will surely make Cypriots dance.

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The five-bedroom house in Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge, a stone’s throw from high-end store Harrods, belonged to Lebanon’s billionaire Hariri family and was sold to a businessman for £19.75 million ($24m).

The family commissioned Mr Pinto to refurbish and interior design the Rutland Gate mansion, creating one of London’s most magnificent private homes.

After the death of Rafik Hariri in 2005, the family gave the Rutland Gate property to Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the late crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

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The European Union will temporarily shift back to coal to cope with slowing Russian gas flows, an EU official said on Wednesday, as a tight gas market and rocketing prices set off a race for alternative fuels.

European leaders have rounded on Russia after flows through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline were cut to just 40% of capacity, deepening an energy standoff after the invasion of Ukraine prompted Europe to impose tough sanctions on Moscow.

The EU and other developed economies have sanctioned Russian oil and coal but held off banning gas imports.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began a two-day visit to Egypt on Monday evening, the presidency in Cairo said, kicking off a regional tour extending to Jordan and Turkey.

The crown prince’s regional tour comes weeks ahead of a visit to Saudi Arabia by US President Joe Biden, whose administration has lately sought to repair ties with Riyadh, despite him earlier calling the kingdom a “pariah” state.

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European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas on Saturday called on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot government to do more to stem migrant arrivals on the ethnically divided Mediterranean island.

After a visit to an upgraded migrant facility outside the capital, Nicosia, Schinas said Brussels “won’t let the Turkish Cypriot community consider itself neutral in what is going on.”

The Cypriot government says around 90% of migrants enter via Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north through a loosely regulated student visa system.

Thousands of people then cross the UN buffer zone to seek asylum in the Greek Cypriot south.

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Australia has not signed up to a US-led statement about Israel and the Palestinian territories, instead raising deep concerns about “human rights abuses and the lack of progress towards a just and enduring two-state solution”.

Gorely said Australia did not support the proposition that Israel was the only country that was a permanent item on the human rights council’s agenda. That was the reason Australia retained “fundamental concerns” about the nature of the commission of inquiry that published its first report last week.

But the Australian government indicated it would seek to take a balanced approach.

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Israel and Egypt plan to boost gas exports to Europe under an agreement signed during a Cairo visit Wednesday by the European Commission president as the bloc seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has exposed our European dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and we want to get rid of this dependency,” von der Leyen told a joint press conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The memorandum of understanding on gas exports between Egypt, Israel and the EU was signed at the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, the Egyptian petroleum ministry said.

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Joie Cooper

Joie Cooper

May your coffee be strong and your Monday be short. Coffee connoisseur. Part time writer, writes about politics in middle east and anything interesting