Hard Numbers: China’s Saudi visit, Greece’s energy ambitions, Colombia’s small steps, Austria’s crackdown on “boy racers”
6: Chinese President Xi Jinping will head to Saudi Arabia this week for the first time in six years in a bid to bolster economic relations with Riyadh. This comes amid broad perceptions in the Gulf that the US has lost interest in the Middle East as it focuses on the Asia Pacific and that Beijing is keen to fill the gap.
174: Greece and Bulgaria are in talks to revive a 174-mile-long oil pipeline bypassing the Bosphorus Strait to try and offset losses from reduced Russian energy exports to the region. Athens is trying to circumvent Russia as a key natural-gas exporter to the Balkans, hoping to deliver 8.5 billion metric tons of the stuff to these states by 2025.
60: The Colombian government has made progress in negotiations with the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) – the only paramilitary group that refused to sign onto a 2016 peace accord – in a bid to end the asymmetric war that’s plagued the country for nearly 60 years. As a first step, both sides agreed that displaced indigenous groups should be allowed to return to their historic lands.
14: Austrian authorities are cracking down on “boy racers” – those who drive at extreme speeds and wreak havoc on the roads – by threatening to confiscate their cars for up to 14 days. Repeat offenders, meanwhile, will have their vehicles seized and auctioned off.
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