In Thursday's Middle East papers

21 August 2008 05:30  [Source: ICIS news]


Front Page

Sheikh Saud Bahwan passes away
The Saud Bahwan Group on Wednesday announced the demise of its Chairman, Sheikh Saud Salim Bahwan, 68, following a brief period of illness. He was hospitalised in Paris, where he died at dawn on Wednesday.

Poetry evening at Salalah festival enthrals visitors
Al Morooj Amphitheatre hosted the fourth poetry evening on Tuesday. A number of Omani poets like Sarah Al Buriki, Hassan Bin Ali Al Rowas, Said Bin Mohammed Al Rashidi, Mohammed Bin Hamaad Al Ka’abi and poets from UAE also took part in the event.


Fannie, Freddie shares plunge on bailout fears
Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dove to their lowest levels in more than 18 years on mounting fears of a government bailout that would wipe out shareholders of the two US housing finance giants.

Pak FDI zooms 76% to $341m
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into Pakistan during the first month of the fiscal year 2008-09 increased by 76.1% to $340.7m as compared to the corresponding month of 2007-08, when it stood at $193.5m, the latest State Bank of Pakistan figures show.


Front Page

153 killed in Madrid airline crash
Investigators on Thursday sought to determine what caused a Spanish tourist jet to break up in flames as it took off from Madrid's airport, killing 153 people in the country's worst air disaster in decades.

Georgia membership process for NATO ‘kicked off'
The official process for Georgia gaining membership to NATO ‘kicked off’ with the establishment of a NATO-Georgia commission in Brussels, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband argued in an interview published Thursday.


Abu Dhabi’s external trade up 36.6%
Abu Dhabi’s external trade in July 2008 rose by 36.6% over the same period in 2007 as the emirate emerges as a new trading hub in the region, said the General Administration of Customs Abu Dhabi.

Emaar Mushrif Heights reaches listing quota despite online glitch
The web page handling the online registration for prospective investors in Mushrif Heights, an integrated-community project by Emaar Properties to be launched on Saturday, suffered systems error on Wednesday but the listing quota was reached.


Front Page

Consumers differ in opinion about cause of rising price
While everyone is affected by the rising prices of commodities, especially vegetables and fruits, consumers differ in their opinion about the cause of the hike, reports Al-Seyassah daily. Some consumers appealed to the government to increase sales outlets and allow more importers to compete with traders while some others attributed the problem to the high cost of transportation, as well as demand and supply factors.

Labour court rules for Bangladeshis
The Labour Court at the Ministry of Social Affairs has ruled in favour of about 750 Bangladeshi workers who some time ago had complained of non-payment and underpayment of salaries, a Bangladeshi embassy official told the Arab Times on Tuesday.


GCC must rethink dollar peg for FX union
Gulf Arab states should consider dropping their pegs to the weak US dollar to have more tools to control inflation and achieve single currency criteria, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) economists said.

Iskan profits hit KD4.7 m
Kuwait based ISKAN Housing Finance Company announced on Tuesday its results for the first half of 2008, representing an increase of 48% in profits, recording a net quarterly profit of KD 4.7m. A company press release showed that shares profits were 16.15 fils each, compared to the same period in 2007 where profits reached KD 3.2m, of 11.3 fils per share, reflecting the strong performance of Iskan’s overall strategy and plans to expand investment in the near future with its extensive experience.


Front Page

Fake-degree mill in US leads to Saudi inquest
A long list of people who had purchased or attempted to purchase fake university diplomas in the United States has spurred the Saudi education authorities to launch an investigation into the issue of Saudis and expatriates who may be working in the Kingdom on counterfeit certificates.

SRMG announces members of its board of trustees
The Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) has announced the names of the members of the newly constituted board of trustees.


CMA allows stocks swaps with foreign investors
The Capital Market Authority (CMA), the Saudi stock market regulator, has decided to allow authorized persons to enter into swap agreements with non-resident foreign investors, whether institutions or individuals, to transfer the economic benefits of the Saudi companies’ shares listed on the Tadawul. Authorized persons retain the legal ownership of the shares in accordance with conditions and requirements stated in the board resolution, the CMA said in a statement on the bourse website.

Saudi banks limit loans as borrowing costs increase
Getting a loan has just got harder for consumers, corporate, and even financial institutions themselves according to local banks which are reporting stiff demands for credit amid an increasing lack of deposits.


Front Page

No talk of enrichment suspension in Geneva: SNSC chief
Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili said here on Monday that the suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment program was not discussed during his talks in Geneva with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Shajarian gives concerts in Sulaymaniyah
Mohammadreza Shajarian (2nd from right) and his band Ava perform at Sulaymaniyah’s Art Hall on July 20. They were invited by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s wife to perform concerts over two days at the newly established hall, which opened on April 1, 2008. (Mehr/Ahmad Motallaii)


Tense WTO talks begin on global trade deal
Ministers from 35 key nations began critical talks here on Monday to clinch a global trade deal after seven years of confrontation, crisis and caustic comment.

Soccer complicates Russian economic picture
Early evidence of a Russian economic slowdown or just the side-effects of a better than expected showing in the Euro 2008 soccer championship? Unexpectedly weak economic data has economists puzzled.


Front Page

Spain mourns air crash victims
Spain has declared three days of mourning after more than 150 people were killed when the aircraft they were in crashed in Madrid during takeoff.

Russia vows missile pact response
Russia has vowed to respond to the signing of a US-Poland missile defence deal and "not only by diplomatic protests".


US woes rattle Asian stock markets
Asian stocks have fallen to a two-year low, due mainly to fears the US government will have to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two troubled US mortgage giants.

Vital oil route 'set to reopen'
A vital oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea oilfields, through Georgia, to Turkey's west coast is set to reopen soon, according to Turkey's energy minister.


Front Page

Diplomatic ties, new army chief top Cabinet agenda
Lebanon's government will meet Thursday with two issues high on its agenda; appointing a new Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) commander and issuing an executive decree to establish diplomatic ties between Beirut and Damascus. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who visited President Michel Sleiman at the presidential palace on Wednesday

Koura psychiatrist shoots woman and her family, then himself
A psychiatrist committed suicide Wednesday morning after shooting dead a father and his two daughters.


Bassil vows to cut Lebanese land-line rates further
Telecommunication Minister Jebran Bassil said on Wednesday that the ministry and Ogero, the state-owned land-line company, are planning further cuts on the fixed telephone charges. "The ministry had previously cut the rates on the fixed telephone lines and we intend to reduce these rates even further.

GLC: Acceptable wage adjustment or general strike
The General Labour Confederation (GLC) warned again on Wednesday that it will not hesitate to call for a general strike if the government does not approve an acceptable minimum wage and across-the-board salary increment. GLC president Ghassan Ghosn, said the trade unions insist on their demands.


Front Page

Blaze horror for workers
A Devastating fire in Manama yesterday gutted a three-storey building, being used as a labour accommodation and resulted in two other buildings being evacuated.The fire, which started at around 2.30 pm near the Fareeq Al Fadhel Ma'atam, made more than 150 people homeless, said some of the people who escaped from the blaze.

New BD5m mall opening soon
A new BD5m shopping complex will open in November in Malkiya, it was announced yesterday. The Reef Shopping Mall, built on an area of 5.4 hectares, will include a hypermarket, shopping outlets, food court, multipurpose halls and a medical complex among other facilities, said Northern Municipal Council chairman Yousif Al Boori.


150 firms to take part in major GCC-EU expo
More than 150 companies are set to take part in a major two-day GCC-EU economic and trade exhibition in London. The event opens on November 12. The GCC Chambers Federation is co-ordinating the exhibition with the GCC General Secretariat and the EU Chambers Union.

Saudi allows foreigners to buy shares
Saudi Arabia yesterday said it would allow foreigners to buy shares listed on its stock market through licensed intermediaries, a major step toward opening the largest Arab bourse to foreign capital. The stock market, Tadawul, has been the least open among GCC bourses to foreign investors, up to now giving foreigners access to stocks only through select funds.

By: Staff Reporter
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