| | FEBRUARY 20248IN FOCUSIRAN DRONE STRIKES BOOST OIL PRICES; BIDEN VOWS RETALIATIONEX-SANTANDER CEO JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ JOINS AON BOARDMissile strikes by Iran-backed militants in Jordan, killing U.S. troops, led to an early rise in oil prices. Brent traded at $84.03 per barrel, up 0.57 percent, and U.S. WTI futures increased by 0.6 percent to $78.48 per barrel. The White House reported three U.S. service members killed and several injured in an unmanned aerial drone attack near the Syria border on Sunday, marking the first American fatalities from enemy attacks since the start of Israel's war with Hamas on Oct. 7.U.S. President Joe Biden, in response to the drone attack on U.S. troops, stated the assault was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups in Syria and Iraq. He affirmed the commitment to holding those responsible accountable at a time and manner of their choosing. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the drone attack, also targeting two other bases, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza.The incident marks an escalation in the Middle East, following Israel's declaration of war on Hamas after a terror attack on Oct. 7. The conflict has resulted in over 26,000 casualties in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, recent attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels on an oil tanker in the Red Sea heightened tensions, with a Trafigura-operated vessel catching fire after being struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden. Jose Antonio Alvarez, former CEO of Banco Santander, has become a board member at Aon, a major brokerage firm. As a new addition to Aon's board, Alvarez, who served as CEO of Santander from 2015 to 2022, is expected to contribute valuable expertise to the brokerage. Lester B. Knight, the chair of Aon, expressed satisfaction in welcoming Jose Antonio to the board, citing his extensive experience as Santander's CEO and his global financial and management background as valuable assets for the company"."We're looking forward to gaining new insights from the experience he brings to the board, which will support Aon in the firm's work in helping clients make better business. We eagerly anticipate gaining fresh perspectives from his wealth of experience on the board, bolstering Aon's efforts to assist clients in making informed business decisions", commented Alvarez. Currently serving as the vice chair of Santander's board, he officially assumed his position at Aon on January 24.Expressing his outlook, alvarez stated, "I am excited about contributing new insights and expertise to support Aon in assisting clients amidst increased volatility. I look forward to building relationships and collaborating closely with fellow board members as Aon endeavors to foster innovation and growth, ensuring clients are well-informed, well-advised, and capable of making sound decisions on both a global and local scale".
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