News-2013-02-25

Published: February 25, 2013

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SBRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC

Saudi Arabia Completes Regulations for 3 of 5 New Mortgage Laws

Saudi Arabia issued final regulations on real-estate financing, leasing and supervision of financial companies as the kingdom works to ease a housing shortage by opening up its mortgage market and enacting the country’s first home-loans law.The regulations outlining three of the five laws that …

Not bad: GCC trumps world and MENA in inflation stakes

The GCC region witnessed a moderate 3.0 percent inflation in consumer prices during 2012, down from 3.7 percent in 2011, according to QNB Group analysis. This is relatively low when compared to the global average inflation of 4.0 percent and the MENA region’s 10.4 percent, according to IMF …

A day in the life of King Abdullah

King Abdullah feels happy when he sees a Saudi citizen doing something good. If the citizen does something bad, he feels angry inside, but does not show it. This is his main problem, he keeps anger bottled inside and does not vent it. If he vents his anger, he does so in a way that does not …

The American Dream

When I spoke to many Saudi students who have come to the US on King Abdullah’s scholarship program, they were all happy, appreciative and comfortable with their surroundings although they were a long way from home and came from a very different cultural background. They did not feel intimidated …

U.S. Oil Demand Fell to 18-Year Low for January, API Says

U.S. January oil demand fell to the lowest level for the month in 18 years as a weak economy reduced consumption, the American Petroleum Institute reported.Total petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, dropped 1.7 percent from a year earlier to 18 million barrels a day, the industry-funded …

Saudi personal income levels show sharp rise

Saudi Arabia’s per capita income rose 27.2 percent from 2010 to 2011 following an increase of 17.1 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to a report by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).Preliminary figures indicate that expenditure on GDP increased by 31 percent to SR 2.239 billion, …

Arab Perspectives on Iran’s Role in a Changing Middle East

Worries among Gulf states, particularly Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, about the expansion of the Arab uprisings to their own Shi’a populations have also increased these countries’ incentives to highlight a perceived Iranian threat. But this picture masks a far more complex reality in Arab …

Saudi sets out roadmap for major renewable energy programme

Saudi Arabia has published a roadmap for its renewable energy programme, aimed at reducing the amount of oil it burns in power stations, and targets issuing final bids for the first plants within three months. The world’s top oil exporter aims to install 23.9 gigawatts (GW) of renewable …

Vertical shift gains pace in Saudi cities

The phenomenon of building owners demolishing their old buildings and erecting new multiple-floor units has increased during the last five years in old districts in the Kingdom’s larger metropolises. The number of applications for licenses to reconstruct old buildings has increased by 300% …

Silenced for Intolerance

A piece in the Arabic Al-Jazirah newspaper (translated here by Saudi Gazette) reports that the Ministry of Islamic Affairs has banned an imam from preaching from the pulpit (minbar) for lashing out at a female school principal who was doing her job. The imam didn’t like that she was following …

Mena business travel ‘on the rise’

More than 43 per cent of Mena business travelers reported an increase in travel budgets during 2012, as against 35 per cent in 2010 and 41 per cent the previous year, according to a recent survey. The outlook for next year is optimistic, said the 2012 YouGov Travel Oracle report, with nearly …

Saudi Government to Block 1,400 Local News Sites

The Saudi government is going to block access to 1,400 unlicensed local news websites, an official said. Tariq al-Khatrway, head of the e-publishing department at the Ministry of Culture and Information (MOCI), told the attendees of a panel on new media in Riyadh that his department has …

How to Save Syria from Al Qaeda

Tactically, President Obama is operating true to form in Syria; he’s wisely avoiding ever creeping military measures on behalf of rebels, many of whom might well turn out to be even worse than the already viperous President Assad. But also typically, the Obama team seems to be without a …

Prisoner’s death fuels Palestinian protests, as Israel braces for more

The death of a Palestinian prisoner under Israeli interrogation after a week of demonstrations for the release of four other inmates on hunger strikes triggered fresh clashes Sunday and heightened concerns in Israel about a swelling wave of unrest in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority …

Iran’s Nuclear Program Revisited, Again

This week, the United States and Iran will once again resume a complicated diplomatic ritual. Along with representatives from Europe, China and Russia, they’ll start new, so-called six-party talks, over Iran’s much disputed nuclear program. The impasse over Iran’s nuclear ambitions has dragged …

Cheniere: First LNG Export Facility to Start in Late 2015

Cheniere Energy Inc. reiterated that it will be ready to begin producing liquefied natural gas at its terminal in Sabine Pass, La., in late 2015, a step that will lead to the first exports of natural gas extracted in the contiguous U.S. The announcement underscores how Cheniere, the only …

Afghanistan Order U.S. Troops From Key Province

The ban was scheduled to take effect in two weeks in the province, Maidan Wardak, which is seen as a crucial area in defending the capital against the Taliban. If enforced, it would effectively exclude the American military’s main source of offensive firepower from the area, which lies …

Dubai skyscrapers dominate ranking of world’s tallest hotels

Dubai is now home to six of the world’s seven tallest hotels, as rising room rates encourage developers to restart stalled projects and reach for the sky. Four years after a property crash saw hospitality projects across the city grind to a halt, cranes are appearing on hotel construction sites …

New Uniforms for Turkish Airlines Create Uproar

This being Turkey, where seemingly trifling matters can become bitter contests over identity, mock-ups leaked to the news media have caused quite a stir, eliciting passionate reactions from the secular and the pious, and from those who support the traditions of modern Turkey and others who are …

Haia approves regulations for sales women in lingerie shops

President of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) Abdul Latif Al-Asheikh has approved the procedures and regulations governing women’s work in lingerie shops.The Haia has also instructed its branch offices across the Kingdom to be vigilant that the privacy of …

‘Make Me a Muslim’: Young British women are converting to Islam

Growing numbers of young British women are converting to Islam. Shanna Bukhari, a 26-year-old Muslim from Manchester, sets out to find out why girls are giving up partying, drinking and wearing whatever they want for a religion some people associate with the oppression of women….

SCTA shuts down 11 hotels without permits in Makkah

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities in Makkah shut down 11 hotels and furnished apartments in the holy city for operating without tourist licenses and failing to apply safety measures required by the Civil Defense, the SCTA announced Sunday. The hotels and apartments were …

Saudi TSP: Tornado Upgrades, Including Storm Shadow’s Stealth Strike

On Feb 19/10, Defense News reportedthat Saudi Arabia’s fleet of Tornado low-level, medium-range strike fighters would soon be receiving a pair of significant enhancements: MBDA’s stealthy Storm Shadowmedium range cruise missiles, and the MBDA/Boeing Brimstone anti-armor missile. The Storm …

Video: Saudi rehab center boasts success

More than 3,000 Saudis have benefited from a program offered by a rehabilitation center in the kingdom, encouraging its patients to abandon extremist ideologies. A total of 92 percent of those who underwent a period of counseling at the Prince Mohamed bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care, …

Memories of Peak Oil

Total output in the Middle East in the decade after 2001 — despite continued politically induced underperformance of the oil industry in Iraq and production problems and trade sanctions affecting Iran — rose by 17 percent. High flyers in other regions included Canada (output was up 37 …

Saudi to fine staff who quit under new plan

Workers who receive training funded by their employer will be fined if they resign, under a proposal being considered by the Ministry of Labour in Saudi Arabia.With skilled employees in high demand in the oil-rich Gulf nation, businesses are increasingly investing in training, including …

El Classico in Mecca?

Spanish sports newspaper Marca reports that Real Madrid and Barcelona will play a friendly match in the holy city of Mecca in 2016 as part of the opening ceremony for the new high-speed train line that will be built by a Spanish consortium in western Saudi Arabia. Some people were surprised …

Soitec to offer technology training to Saudi students

Soitec, a world leader in semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, and Medina College of Technology (MCT) have signed an agreement to cooperate in the field of concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology. This three-year agreement will foster applied research in the …

TASI – 2/25/13 – up .02%

Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC