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How much did EU spend on unsuccessful gas projects?

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The EU has wasted nearly €440 million in taxpayer cash on fossil gas infrastructure projects that have either failed or are likely to fail, Report informs, citing Global Witness.

Global Witness is an international NGO established in 1993 that works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide.

Most of the EU’s wasted money has been spent on a project that has been partially-built. Since 2014, the EU has poured €431 million into the BRUA pipeline, backed by Romania’s TRANSGAZ. BRUA was designed to transport gas between Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria to supply gas to Austria from Romania’s offshore Black Sea fields.

It appears likely that BRUA will fail to meet either of these objectives. A section of the pipeline was completed in November 2020, but it is located entirely in Romania and reaches neither the Black Sea nor the country’s neighbors. Investors are now worried that BRUA will not transport gas from the Black Sea after Exxon, which led the largest proposed project – announced it wanted to sell its license. In April, these doubts resulted in the cancellation of plans to extend BRUA into Hungary, the NGO reported.

It is important to note that Global Witness analysis of how much taxpayer money has been wasted is conservative and actual figures will be much higher. Calculations only include subsidies controlled by the EU: grants from the Connecting Europe Facility, the European Regional Development Fund, and the European Investment Bank. But PCIs can receive money from additional public sources, including national governments or public banks – including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which loaned BRUA €60 million in 2017.

The Organization says that the European Commission should drop all gas projects from the proposed fifth PCI list and bar them from receiving additional subsidies, redirecting funds to renewable energy projects.

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New CEO appointed to Azercell Telecom

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Zarina Zeynalova has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Azercell Telecom LLC, Report informs.

Zarina Zeynalova holds a post-graduate diploma in People Management & Development from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. She is a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of People Management and Development (CIPD). She is a graduate of the Executive Management Development Program at Texas A&M University, USA. She holds a B.Sc. degree from Azerbaijan Medical University.

Z. Zeynalova has over 25 years of professional experience in management and organizational development across multiple geographies of the world. For 20 years she has held various management positions in BP offices in Azerbaijan, UK, and the US. She also held senior management positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Pasha Construction Group.

Note that the former head of Azercell Telecom LLC, Vahid Mursaliyev left his post due to the expiration of his contract.

The main priority of the new CEO of Azercell will be to ensure a leading position in the field of digital transformation in Azerbaijan, along with the development of the communication activities of Azercell.

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Oil prices go up 

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The oil prices, which fell this afternoon, rose again during the evening auctions.

Report informs that Brent crude for June delivery went up 0.12 percent to $66.86 a barrel, WTI June crude futures surged 0.22 percent to $63.33, while May futures climbed 0.17 percent to $63.24 a barrel.

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WHO extends emergency mode due to coronavirus

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has extended the global emergency regime due to the COVID-19 pandemic for another three months.

The decision was made after the Committee on Emergency Situations of the WHO International Health Regulation (IHR) discussed the situation at the 7th meeting.

"The WHO Director-General accepted that the COVID-19 pandemic still remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and agreed with the committee's recommendations," the statement reads.

So far, 142 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 3 million of them have died.

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