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News: Qatar reopens to vaccinated travellers

Qatar has re-opened its borders to international travellers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

A new set of measures designed to make travelling to Qatar as easy as possible, while maintaining the necessary precautions to continue to protect against the spread of the virus, have also been implemented.

The new measures will allow people who are fully vaccinated to visit Qatar without the need for quarantine.

Arrangements will also make it easier for citizens and residents of the country to travel in and out of the country, enabling fully vaccinated people to bypass the quarantine requirement when returning to Qatar.

All visitors – vaccinated or non-vaccinated – will be required to undertake a PCR test up to 72 hours prior to travel.

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However, travellers are advised to check the entry requirements of the country they are travelling from and will return to from Qatar, before booking any flights and should understand that those policies can change with very little notice, a statement from the local tourism body said.

In order to visit Qatar – international visitors, citizens and residents – must register and upload required documentation such as a vaccination certificate, valid PCR test up to 72 hours prior to travel and personal details through the Ehteraz website.

In addition, visitor visa rules apply for certain nationalities, however, over 80 nationalities can visit Qatar with a free visa on arrival.

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This post originally posted here Breaking Travel News

Qatar could throw a wrench in America’s ambitious LNG plans

US domestic demand for natural gas has been falling for a year now, according to EIA data. The authority expects demand will continue down this year as well because of cheap renewables and coal.

And yet, production is on the rise—a combination that makes US gas producers increasingly dependent on export markets. Reuters’ John Kemp wrote in a recent column that while US natural gas production grew at some 4.3% between 2015 and 2020, domestic consumption of the commodity only increased at half that rate. Exports—via pipelines and as LNG—were what absorbed the excess. In a best-case scenario, they will continue to absorb it. In a worst-case scenario, competition on the LNG market could hit US producers hard.

Exports of American liquefied natural gas to the three top importers in Asia hit a record in February, reaching 3.2 million tons in February amid colder than usual weather for that time of the year. The February export amount was two and a half times greater than the previous monthly record set by US exporters.
Also on rt.com Russia ready to supply LNG to fuel-hungry Pakistan
LNG exports to Asia also surged by as much as 67% last year, which is certainly good news for producers and liquefiers. What’s not so good is that exports to Asia represented about half of all US LNG exports last year.

It’s obvious that Asia is the key market for LNG exporters: the continent is currently moving from coal to gas for its power generation and will drive demand for the commodity for probably decades to come. The problem with that, for US LNG producers, is that they’re not alone on the market.

The biggest threat comes from Qatar—reigning top LNG exporter and low-cost producer—which recently announced plans to expand its production capacity significantly.

Read more on Oilprice.com: Iran could soon officially return 2 million Bpd of oil to global markets

In February, Qatar announced the final investment decision on what it says will be the world’s largest LNG project, boosting the tiny Gulf nation’s annual total from 77 million tons to 110 million tons—a 40-percent capacity increase. The capacity increase will cost $ 28.75 billion and should become operational by 2025.

Yet there is something even more significant in the Qatari project than its sheer size. The North Field East Project will feature a carbon capture and sequestration system, according to operator Qatar Petroleum. This means that the gas produced there will have a lower carbon footprint than LNG produced without a CCS system, which is most LNG today.
Also on rt.com US LNG exports fall from record highs
Here’s why this is important. Last year, French Engie canceled a $ 7-billion deal for the acquisition of a stake in the Rio Grande LNG project of NextDecade. The cancellation, according to media reports, came after pressure from the French government, which was worried about the emissions footprint of the natural gas that would be liquefied at the facility.

Now, Europe is not Asia, for sure, but it is quite a big LNG buyer, too, and another key market for US exporters of the super-chilled hydrocarbon fuel. Besides a big buyer of LNG, Europe has also been a source of a stable stream of bad news that could be summed up with three words: European Green Deal.

The EU’s energy transition plan involves ambitious emission targets, and these targets will likely make the bloc picky about the sources of its natural gas, which, according to the man who heads the green push, Frans Timmermans. Timmermans recently said gas has no viable future in Europe’s energy mix, and that was nothing if not a warning.

US gas producers and LNG companies may need to stop and take a look around while there’s still time. Asia and Europe are the biggest export markets for their product. Even if political pressure on the EU and Germany works and Germany gives up the Nord Stream 2 pipeline—the chances of that are still slim—this doesn’t mean US LNG will start flowing massively into the EU. It means that it will still have to compete with Qatari and, ironically, Russian LNG on the continent. And the importers will require the LNG equivalent of a clean bill of health: low emission footprint.
Also on rt.com The future of US liquefied natural gas hangs in the balance
Back to Asia, buyers are also starting to pay attention to the emission record of the LNG they buy, at least according to Europe-based MiQ, an independent global certifier of methane emissions. Certainly, not all Asian countries are ready to afford the premium that the cleaner gas carries, but buyers in the three biggest importers could be ready, and soon. After all, Japan, South Korea, and China all have ambitious emissions-cutting programs. 

US LNG producers could simply cough up the money for CCS systems or other emissions-reduction measures. Only “simply” is not simple at all. US LNG is already more expensive than Qatari LNG in many export markets. Investing in its emissions footprint will only increase its cost, reducing its competitiveness.

Things are even more interesting for the Biden administration, however. As Reuters’ Kemp noted in his column, the administration will need to square its global emissions-reduction agenda with promoting US LNG globally—two mutually exclusive issues.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

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Footballers’ Qatar World Cup protests are far too late… and far too futile

Joshua Kimmich said at the weekend that protests from fellow footballers, including his own German national team, are “10 years too late”. It is difficult not to agree.

This most recent set of World Cup qualifiers have seen pre-kick-off action taken by Norway and the Brazil 2014 winners, as a reaction to a recent report from The Guardian that claimed up to 6,500 workers have been killed constructing stadiums and infrastructure since the Gulf state won the rights to host the 2022 edition a decade ago. 

Probed on the matter ahead of his country’s 1-0 away win over Romania, Kimmich was bang on the money when he said: “I think we’re 10 years too late to boycott the World Cup.

“It wasn’t allocated this year, but a couple of years ago. One should have thought about boycotting back then.”
Also on rt.com ‘10 years too late’: Germany ace points out virtue signaling farce of footballer protests over Qatar World Cup human rights abuses
Moved to the middle of the European and American winter to avoid red-hot temperatures – another sticking point that will severely hamper club seasons – Qatar 2022 will get under way in around 20 months’ time. 

But there is no point in acting as though The Guardian have broken a bombshell scoop that has those within the game and who support it dumbfounded in disbelief. 

They merely provided the figures, while the mistreatment of migrant workers said to be living in subhuman conditions, risking life and limb for a pittance (and in some cases reportedly going unpaid for months), has long been one of football’s dirtiest secrets that most have chosen to ignore. 

Take Barcelona legend Xavi, for example. Heading to play for and then coach Al-Sadd following a glittering career, the South Africa 2010 king has been accused of becoming a shill for the country whenever challenged on human rights abuses towards not just migrant workers, but also women and the LGBTQ community.

He will be an ambassador for the competition, but also acts as an unofficial tourism board proponent whenever not claiming that the country’s politics system works better than its counterpart in Spain.

Laughably, he was the lucky winner of a $ 266,000 Doha Bank lottery jackpot in 2017, but that makes perfect sense when privy to the sweetheart fluff he comes out with in its defense. 

“When you walk around Doha and meet its people, their passion for football is clear. I really didn’t know what I was going to find when I first moved here, as it was a completely new experience for me, leaving Barça after 25 years, to go to a part of the world with a different culture and traditions,” he wrote as part of a letter to MARCA late last year.

“But I must admit that I like pretty much everything about living in Qatar. The weather is incredible, with sun almost every day, and it is a very relaxing place to work as the people are very respectful and friendly. It is also a very safe country with very little crime, making it a great place to raise a family,” he added.

Yet even in light of damning recent figures and boycott calls, any attempts to call off 2022 altogether are futile. 

Despite his successes with La Roja, Xavi might be a little embarrassed to face his Qatari overlords should it happen. But, as a staunch Catalan, he might lose little sleep over Spain choosing not to board the plane, for example. 

With La Liga opening opening the world’s first La Liga Lounge in Doha in 2017, though, and other dealings, further conflict would be caused between the ever-quarrelling championship’s organizers and the Royal Spanish Football Federation – making it an idea unlikely to be even entertained. 

Closer to heart, the Barca team he expects to one day take over as manager would struggle to get sponsorship from huge firms such as Qatar Airways, whose logo ran across the iconic Blaugrana shirt in the mid-to-late 2010s, if needed in the future.

Less likely still to not go are reigning rulers France.

The inextricable link with Qatar through QSI has transformed Paris Saint-Germain and therefore Ligue 1 in bringing big-name stars such as Neymar to France, and therefore increased global attention, immediately putting out any flames of rebellion. 

Daily Mail writer Martin Samuel has highlighted the English FA’s coziness with the regime too. He pointed to how its then-chairman Greg Clarke signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the FA’s Qatari counterpart in 2018, while also mentioning that Qatar has its claws in the Champions League, Europa League, Serie A and Bundesliga in addition to the already-mentioned top flights.
Also on rt.com ‘There are wars with fewer deaths’: Fans react as Germany football team denounces Qatar human rights record – by wearing t-shirts
Lastly, even if big nations were to drop out, others would still go wishing to take advantage of increased chances to win FIFA’s showpiece tournament, which remains the ultimate achievement in international football.

Ruled by crackpot president Jair Bolsonaro, who has influence over the CBF and celebrated on the Maracana pitch when the boys in yellow and green won the Copa America in 2019, record five-time winners Brazil would receive little discouragement from a leader dubbed a mass murderer over his coronavirus negligence. 

Fans would still flock to Qatar en masse too, with attending a World Cup forever high up bucket lists no matter the shady circumstances behind its realization. 

Too little, too late. And futile. 

By Tom Sanderson 

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Bye-bye, Dubai: Tennis great Roger Federer cancels tour plans again after blowing match point to lose to world no.42 at Qatar Open

Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer has withdrawn from a tournament after seeing his comeback event end prematurely at the Qatar Open, squandering a set lead and a match point to lose against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Taking part in his first tournament in 14 months, the 39-year-old lost his quarter-final match to the world number 42 6-3, 1-6, 5-7 in one hour and 50 minutes.

Basilashvili turned out to be a resiliently tough opponent for Federer, saving seven out of 10 break points, including a match point at 4-5 in the decisive set.

Federer’s unexpected loss was not the only upset for his devoted fans, as the two-time Grand Slam winner swiftly announced his withdrawal from next week’s ATP 500 event in Dubai.

It’s been great to be back on the ATP Tour,” the beloved veteran wrote on Twitter. “I loved every minute playing in Doha once again.

A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here. I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and, as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week.”

Elsewhere in Doha, Russian stars Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev reached the doubles final by beating Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin.

The in-form duo recovered from 4-1 down in the second set and saved two set points at 5-4 to clinch a 7-6, 7-6 victory.

They will face Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald in the final, who sent home top-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-3, 6-4 in their semi-final match.
Also on rt.com Russian tennis star Rublev stands to scoop $ 103,070 by playing just two games in Qatar – as legend Federer finally returns (VIDEO)

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Roger Federer changes comeback plans as Swiss pulls out of Dubai after Qatar Open issue

Roger Federer has confirmed that he has decided to pull out of the Dubai Tennis Championships following his defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Qatar Open, in order to prioritise his recovery. The Swiss legend made his return to the court for the first time since the Australian Open in January 2020 following a hefty lay-off after knee surgery.
Federer edged Brit Dan Evans in the Round of 16 before his Georgian opponent rained on his parade yesterday, coming from behind to beat Federer 3-6 6-1 7-5.

Before the venture, which Federer described as a “stepping stone”, the 20-time Grand Slam champion outlined his hopes of competing at the French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics.

In order to achieve that, there is an understanding that Federer may have to sit out other parts of the ATP Tour, including Dubai.

Federer confirmed on Twitter that he’s decided to withdraw, in order to look after his own condition.

He said: “It’s been great to be back on the @atptour, loved every minute playing in Doha once again. A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here.

“I’ve decided it’s best to go back to training and as a result, I’ve decided to withdraw from Dubai next week.”

The 39-year-old also admitted after his defeat to Basilashvili that he was experiencing shoulder pain, after playing back-to-back days in Doha.

“The whole shoulder has muscle pain, but that comes I think with the pressure,” Federer said. “When you’ve got your back against the wall, you’ve got to crank one out. Overall the body is actually fine. I’m happy — it could be much worse.”

It’s not the first time this season that Federer has decided to pull out of a competition, having also withdrawn from the Miami Open.

Federer has already hinted that he will feature at the French Open where Rafael Nadal could win his 14th title, which could prove to be a record-breaking 21st major.

“What comes before the grass courts are the clay courts,” Federer said. “So from that standpoint, I have no choice but to play on clay if I want to play matches.

“It could be good for me, the clay. It could be bad for me, the clay. So I will only know in practice, but I don’t think it’s going to be bad, to be honest.”

Federer was not afraid to admit that he wasn’t too disheartened by his elimination in Qatar, given that he wanted to ease his way back into action.

Speaking to reporters after the loss, Federer said he was “already over it” and labelled the experience regarding his return as “positive”.

The seasoned veteran was able to get back-to-back three-set matches under his belt in his bid to regain full fitness.

In today’s semi-finals in Doha, Roberto Bautista Agut takes on Andrey Rublev after beating Dominic Thiem yesterday while American Taylor Fritz looks to edge Basilashvili.

Roger Federer surprised by new pain suffered in Qatar Open exit to Nikoloz Basilashvili

Roger Federer admits he was surprised to feel pain in his shoulder in his second match back from his knee injury. Federer exited the Qatar Open on Thursday with a three-set defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili. World No 42 Basilashvili won 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 and will play Taylor Fritz in the semi-final.
Federer was playing his second competitive match since two knee surgeries which kept him out of action for 14 months.

The Swiss made his return on Wednesday, beating British No 1 Dan Evans in three sets.

He made a fine start against Basilashvili, with a comprehensive first set performance.

But Federer clearly tired as the match progressed and Basilashvili saved one match point before getting over the line.

Speaking afterwards, Federer explained how his shoulder unexpectedly troubled him during the encounter.

“I honestly expected to feel this way,” Federer said.

“The whole shoulder, I feel the muscle pain around that.

“I didn’t expect that, I’d been serving the whole time but I think that comes with the pressure. In matches you just go that extra 5 per cent.

“Overall, the body is actually fine. I’m happy. I felt fine, a little stiff in the morning but that’s totally normal, I think.”

Federer is pleased to have played back-to-back matches but admits he is some way off being at 100 per cent.

“I’m happy that I was able to play back-to-back three set matches against top players,” he continued.

“That’s a big step forward for me. I’m not at 100 per cent yet, I can see it, I can feel it.

“Important to be 100 per cent by the grass. This is a stepping stone. I’m happy with how I felt on court.”

Meanwhile, Basilashvili recorded his first ever win over Federer in his second meeting against the 20-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion.

And the Georgian says it was a dream come true to beat the 39-year-old great.

“Thank you. For sure [it is a special moment],” Basilashvili said.

“It’s unbelievable, he’s one of the greatest of all time in tennis.

“To just play [against] him means so much to me. I’m very happy that he’s come back and is playing again and for sure to win against him is a dream come true for me.

“He was always my idol and I’m sure to many tennis players and fans, he’s an unbelievable player so I’m extremely happy.”

Roger Federer admits he is not pain-free after Dan Evans comeback win at Qatar Open

And he was thankful to play again in front of his adoring fans.

“Thank you very much, I appreciate it thank you. It feels good to be back,” he said.

“I’m happy to be standing here regardless of if I won or lost, but obviously winning feels better.

“It was a great match, Dan played a good match too. He’s been a wonderful training partner with me the last two weeks, we played over 20 sets.

“It’s great fun and thank you for the people who came out.”

Roger Federer sends warning to Big Three rivals with Dan Evans win on Qatar Open comeback

Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer could be capable of troubling Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon later this year, if Wednesday’s hard-fought victory over Dan Evans is anything to go by. Federer was making his first on-court appearance in over 13 months but faced little difficulty in recapturing the incredible qualities that have been on show for the duration of his 23-year professional career.
After a torrid 2020 in which the 39-year-old endured two knee operations, subsequently ruling him out of action for the vast majority of the year, he went into Wednesday’s clash with a point to prove as he eyes a return to the top of the world rankings.

The challenge posed by Evans threatened to derail the optimism around Federer’s comeback, and the British No 1 did put up a spirited battle, but was ultimately defeated at the hands of his more experienced counterpart.

Any suggestion that the 20-time Grand Slam champion was going to steamroll to victory was promptly extinguished during the first set, with the veteran failing to break Evans once in the opening stages.

However, his overall performance proved that he has every chance of pulling yet another Wimbledon success out of the bag in four months’ time.

Perhaps the main area under the microscope on Wednesday was his movement and positioning, with the nature of his long-term injury carrying the threat of hindering the Swiss heavyweight’s physical capabilities.

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Despite his recent inactivity, he appeared to be having no trouble in dancing around the court, scarcely finding himself physically unable to answer the questions asked by Evans.

Federer had previously claimed that he was hoping to reach peak fitness in time for Wimbledon, but did not look a million miles away in the Qatar heat, suggesting that his preparations for a return to the Grand Slam circuit are progressing nicely.

He was able to rush to the net when needed in order to play crucial drop shots while also performing well from the baseline.

Federer’s technical ability also remained largely intact, with the decorated star serving excellently as usual.

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Both players struggled to get the better of each other without the ball in hand, an indicator of high quality with regards to their respective service games.

Evans turned on the style as he claimed the second set to force a tiebreak, calling his opponent’s hunger and desire to win into question.

It would have been all too easy for Federer to lie down and hide behind the excuse of inactivity after the match, but there was no such indication from the experienced head who fought tooth and nail until all was said and done.

He battled Evans all the way to seal victory and never once looked happy to accept defeat, which is exactly what you would expect from a player of his calibre.

Not many people would cast doubt over the mental strength of Federer but Wednesday’s performance proved that he is still fully focused on returning to his best, with his impressive resilience in the face of recent adversity clearly on show.

Although Federer’s performance was far from perfect, with his decision making letting him down at times, the qualities that have brought so much success over the years were there for all to see.

His ability to move around the court with grace, as well as his impeccable service game and shotmaking, have stayed with him despite the lengthy injury woes that plagued last year’s campaign.

It remains to be seen how he will fare at the All England Club later this year, but if he can continue to work hard and build on each performance in the tournaments between now and then, he will have the likes of Djokovic and Nadal looking nervously over their shoulders.

'Incredibly happy' Roger Federer sends classy message to Dan Evans after Qatar Open win

Federer also had a word for his fans, who came out in force to support him.

“Thank you very much, I appreciate it thank you. It feels good to be back,” he added.

“I’m happy to be standing here regardless of if I won or lost, but obviously winning feels better.

“It was a great match, Dan played a good match too. He’s been a wonderful training partner with me the last two weeks, we played over 20 sets.

“It’s great fun and thank you for the people who came out.”

Roger Federer watches on as Dan Evans beats Jeremy Chardy to set up Qatar Open clash

Dan Evans set up a blockbuster second round clash with Roger Federer at the Qatar Open after going the distance against Jeremy Chardy. World No 6 Federer was watching on as the pair fought for over two hours in 26 degree heat.

Federer has not played a competitive match in over a year because he underwent surgery on a knee injury.

The Swiss star will make his eagerly-anticipated return to action against Evans in the next round.

Federer knows all about his upcoming opponent, especially after sitting through the Brit’s battle with Chardy, having trained with the Brit ahead of the tournament.

The pair practiced together in Dubai and met up again in Doha to prepare for the ATP 250 event.

Evans won the first ATP title of his career at the Murray River Open in Melbourne last month but his search for a second is all the more difficult given his early meeting with Federer.

The 30-year-old was on the ropes in the opening stages of his clash with Chardy and was forced to save six break points.

But shortly after that he nudged ahead and went on to win the first set 6-4, fighting off four more break points in the eighth game.

Chardy responded well in the second set a stormed to a 6-1 victory.

It looked like the tie may have been heading the way of the Frenchman but Evans found another gear in the decider.

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