/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/
KSA Cellular Market Most Competitive In Region: SAUDI GAZETTE
Saudi Arabia has the most competitive cellular market in the region according to the Arab Advisors Group’s Cellular Competition Intensity Index for 2011.
Standard & Poor’s rating agency released a report on Monday that found banks in Saudi Arabia to be among the most profitable and efficient in the Gulf region, thanks to the kingdom’s petrodollar-flushed economy and tax-free business environment.
Based on the micro-finance concept, Bab Rizq Jameel’s productive household program provides interest-free loan of SR5,000 to a group of three to five women to start their own micro projects, such as selling accessories, wedding accessories, gift wrapping, embroidery, perfumes and perfume mixtures, makeup and other fields. The program includes several stages, the first of which starts with a loan of SR2,000, and reaches SR6,000 for every woman. The idea of this program is similar to Grameen Bank loans, but is an interest-free loan. Since 2004, a total of 109,832 females have benefited from the program.
Saudi Clerics Tap into Social Networks: FINANCIAL TIMES
Abeer Allam | 7/6/11
Saudi clerics are embracing social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, attracting thousands of fans. Liberals, activists, and youths seeking to meet members of the opposite sex may have been the early adopters, but the clerics now compete for influence. Profile pictures of sexy western stars have given way to portraits of bearded men wearing the traditional white or red and white check head dresses, or ghutra, posing with a thoughtful gaze.
Top Indian Refiner Seeks More Saudi Crude: TRADE ARABIA
“India’s Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) will ask Saudi Arabia for extra crude in August, a source at the state-run refiner said following others in the energy-hungry Asian giant who have grasped the OPEC member’s offer to boost supply.”
“Saudi Arabia set higher-than-expected official selling prices (OSPs) for most grades in August, a move that is likely to set a floor for values of Middle East crude in the coming month.”
MD Rasooldeen | 7/5/11
“The Kingdom will host the first ever international conference on halal food in the Saudi capital on Feb. 12, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority announced here on Tuesday.”
“The money exchange operators in Makkah have urged the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) to reconsider its new regulations to impose a new ceiling of minimum SR2 million capital for each firm. They called on the central bank to exempt them from the purview of the new condition, which is difficult to meet for many of the firms which have been operating for decades.”
Ghazanfar Ali Khan | 7/7/11
“A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah made an emergency landing at Chennai airport in India after pilots noticed smoke coming from the cockpit.”
“Saudi Arabia’s ailing Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz has undergone an operation in a New York hospital, an official at the kingdom’s consulate in the US metropolis told AFP on Wednesday.”
SYRIA: MORE PROTESTS, CLASHES
“Syrian protesters hurled stones and set roadblocks of burning tires against government forces trying to enter a key opposition city Thursday, nearly a week after a massive protest against the regime of President Bashar Assad, activists said,” AP reports. SYRIA ‘BEGINS TO IMAGINE FUTURE WITHOUT ASSAD’: “In the 41 years since the Assad family seized power in a coup led by Bashar’s father, Hafez, it has tried to equate the country with the ruling family: “Syria, al-Assad.” Soldiers are told to pledge allegiance to the leader, not the country. Statues of Hafez tower over city centres. “But now, across the country, and right here in the capital, Damascus, this vision is being torn apart: people are beginning to imagine a Syria separate from Assad rule,” the Guardian reports.
LIBYA: REBELS ‘LACK WEAPONS, NATO SUPPORT’
“Rebel leaders in Misrata say progress towards the capital Tripoli is being hampered by a lack of ammunition and inadequate support from NATO,” BBC News reports.
TURKEY: HIGH-SPENDING ARAB TOURISTS FLOCK TO TURKEY
“Muslim but non-Arab Turkey has become a hot destination for Arab tourists and investors in recent years, emerging as a regional power in the Middle East under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party,” Reuters reports.
EGYPT: SOME RACE TO CAPTURE SPIRIT OF TAHIR SQUARE
“Several universities and archives have rushed to record interviews with protesters and collect artifacts, digital and otherwise, of the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak. With the future still uncertain, the effort is fraught with tension and risk for participants,” Molly Hennessy-Fiske (LAT) reports.
PAKISTAN: AS NUKE ARSENAL GROWS, SO DO U.S. FEARS
“As Pakistan tries to add to its stockpile of nuclear bombs, domestic terrorists are launching more sophisticated attacks on the country’s military bases. Together, those trends are raising fears that terrorists might target Pakistan’s widening network of nuclear facilities,” NPR reports.
FINANCE: HEDGE FUNDS IN MENA ‘BIGGER THAN THOUGHT’
“As much as $10bn was invested in hedge funds focused on the Middle East and North Africa before the 2008 financial crash, says a report by Hedgefund.net, a US-based research house. The downturn caused a dramatic outflow as investors took fright. Assets under management reached a low of under $4bn in the first quarter of 2009 and are now only slightly greater. Yet $4bn is much more than most estimates of hedge fund assets in the region,” FT Beyond Brics reports.
OPINION: STOP SEARCHING FOR AN OBAMA DOCTRINE
“Every few months, commentators find a new grand strategy that animates Barack Obama. First he was the antiwar candidate, because his rise in the Democratic primaries had much to do with his early and consistent opposition to the Iraq war. But even some on the right, including Robert Kagan, pointed out that he was interventionist on other issues, such as Afghanistan. Some criticized his multilateralism, pointing to his offers of engagement to all comers, from Iran to Russia to China. More recently, watching his vigorous outreach to Asian countries threatened by China, the scholar Daniel Drezner concluded that the new grand strategy was one of “counterpunching.” So what is the Obama Doctrine? In fact, the search itself is misguided,” Fareed Zakaria (Washington Post) reports.
/The daily news is provided as a service of the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC. Visit www.SUSTG.org for more information and to get a free email subscription to the News Review./</h4></div>