Oct 29 - Nov 04, 2001
Saudi Arabia slams Western media
Saudi Arabia has strongly attacked the Western media for
criticising its position on terrorism.
In a speech published on Thursday, Saudi Crown Prince
Abdullah bin Abd Ulaziz — who effectively runs the country — called it a
smear campaign inspired by hatred of Islam.
Several US senators, as well as the US media, have accused
Saudi Arabia of not doing enough in the war against terror — a charge it
"The vicious western media attack against the Kingdom is
only because of the ancient spite against Islam," the Saudi crown prince
was quoted as saying.
He said that his government would not compromise on the issue
of defending its religion or the nation — strong words from a strong leader
and ones which were dutifully reprinted by the government controlled-press.
The speech follows repeated accusations in the Western media
that Saudi Arabia is partly to blame for supporting extremist Islamic groups
outside the country.
Until recently, Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries
to maintain ties with Afghanistan's Taleban rulers.
Some US senators have also criticised Saudi Arabia for not
doing more to support the US led war on terrorism, but that charge has been
denied in public by both the Saudi and US governments.
Last Sunday, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said both
Egypt and Saudi Arabia had responded to every request the US had made of them.
But most Saudis find it hard to accept that hostile opinions
voiced in the Western media are not directed by Western governments.
Since they have never known a free press in their own
country, many assume that Western media criticism in some way reflects official
Riyadh boycotts German firm for Israel dealings
Saudi Arabia has placed a German firm on its blacklist for
having supplied the kingdom with wheat fibre from Israel, officials said
J. Rettenmaier & Soehne GmbH (JRS) was placed on the
blacklist following the shipment to Saudi Arabia of 24 bags of wheat fibre
bearing the "star of David and Hebrew inscriptions," said a statement
by the trade ministry.
The shipment had been seized by customs officials while the
Saudi importer of the wheat fibre has been summoned by authorities for
interrogation, it said.
"The German firm has been placed on the blacklist of
boycotted companies, and instructions have been given to quality control
laboratories to reject all its future shipments," a ministry spokesman was
quoted as saying.
Economic test for Egypt
The Egyptian government is facing the first serious test of
the new currency regime it introduced in August.
Egypt earns most of its dollars from foreign visitors, many
of whom are reluctant to travel following the 11 September attacks in the US.
There are no figures as yet as to how much tourism has fallen
in the past month, but officials forecast a 30% to 50% drop in the next year.
If the currency weakens as a result — as many analysts
think is likely — the government may be tempted to discard its new policy and
try and control the currency market.
Egypt devalued its currency by 6% in August, under pressure
from the financial markets. It also broadened the band within which the pound
traded against the US dollar.
By making it easier for Egyptians to buy dollars, the
previously flourishing local black market all but vanished.
However a weakening pound may tempt the government to
The currency fell close to the lower limit of its trading
band, at about 4.26 to the dollar in the immediate aftermath of the US attacks.
It has recovered, though some analysts forecast it could fall further.
Egyptian government officials now warn that tourism receipts
— about $3.24bn last year could fall between 30% and 50% in the next year.
Egypt does get foreign exchange from other sources, such as
exports and remittances from Egyptian workers in Arab Gulf states.
Tourism fell 20% in the year following the attack on tourists
at Luxor in 1997, but soon recovered, Navaid Farooq, Egypt analyst at US ratings
agency Standard &Poor's.
IMF grants 121 million dollars to Yemen
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has authorized 121
million dollars in disbursements for Yemen, after examining the country's
economic performance under a poverty reduction program.
Of that sum, 87 million dollars was provided under the
Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and an additional 34 million was
set aside under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), the IMF said Wednesday in a
statment. In all, the IMF has authorized some 303 million dollars for Yemen
under the PRGF and 59 million under the EFF.
"Yemen has successfully consolidated the gains achieved
in macroeconomic stability in recent years. Macroeconomic policies remain on
track and, despite setbacks in some areas, progress has been made in the
structural reform agenda," IMF Deputy Managing Director Shigemitsu Sugisaki
said in a statement.
"Accordingly, the IMF has decided to complete the
reviews and grant the necessary waivers with respect to the structural
performance criteria that were not observed," he added.
Summit on African economic plan discusses priority projects
A dozen African leaders attending a summit in Nigeria on an
economic rescue plan for the continent were Tuesday discussing funding and
identification of priority projects, officials told AFP.
Behind closed doors, heads of state and government at the
Abuja talks were considering how the African New Initiative (NAI) will be funded
and looking at priority projects to be executed, they said.
Proposals on these issues have been put to the leaders by an
NAI steering committee.
According to an official agenda, a copy of which AFP
obtained, other issues due for discussion were a name for the body set up to
implement the plan, its governing structure, its secretariat, a marketing
strategy and a program of work.
These institutions should be operating at least until the
next meeting of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The OAU first endorsed
the initiative in July, during the last summit of the pan-African body before it
is transformed into a more close-knit African Union.
On the issue of a secretariat for the organization, South
Africa has "graciously agreed" to host it, one source told AFP.
The summit was also expected to discuss a proposal by the
European Union to have permanent representation at the NAI secretariat.
Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo urged his colleagues
attending the meeting to prove cynics wrong and ensure that an economic rescue
plan for Africa succeeds.
"It is only when we demonstrate sufficient commitment,
responsibility and ownership that donors, partners and investors will respond
positively," Obasanjo said.
The summit was being held formally to launch the NAI, a plan
aimed at lifting the continent out of poverty and war and promoting sustainable
It was the first meeting since the OAU summit in Lusaka last
July 12 endorsed the NAI and approved the establishment of the Implementation
Committee of Heads of State and Government.
Israelis kill 15 Palestinians
Israeli soldiers killed 15 Palestinians in overnight and
early morning fighting on Wednesday, in the bloodiest day since the intifada
began 13 months ago.
A sixteenth Palestinian died in Ramallah of wounds sustained
in fighting four days ago.
The Israeli action comes despite reports that Israeli troops
will soon end their crippling siege of six Palestinian cities in the West Bank,
following massive international pressure.
Responding to U.S. demands for an immediate withdrawal, a
defiant Premier Ariel Sharon told the Israeli Knesset (parliament) the army
would stay until it achieved its mission, which he defined as "avoiding
terrorism and arresting terrorists".
"(Palestinian President Yassir) Arafat does not arrest,
so we arrest," he said.
Iraqis ponder Afghan conflict
Sabiha al-Dulaimi wipes her eyes, sighs heavily, and turns
For her, the scenes of wounded Afghan children being
broadcast extensively on Iraqi television are almost too painful to bear.
They bring back too many memories of her own tragedy a decade
ago. Mrs al-Dulaimi, who still dresses in black, lost four of her five children
when American bombs hit the el-Amiriya shelter on the outskirts of Baghdad
during US-led efforts to force Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991.
"May God destroy the Americans," she says.
Define terrorism, urges Gaddafi
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has entered the debate on
terrorism — telling a TV interviewer that the US might just as well bomb
London if it is serious about fighting terrorism.
"If the United States wants seriously to eradicate
terrorism, the first capital that should be pounded with cruise missiles is
London," Colonel Gaddafi said on the Arabic satellite news channel al-Jazeera.
"It is the shelter of terrorism," he added,
referring to charges that Islamic militants suspected of violence are protected
by Britain's policies on political asylum.
Colonel Gaddafi, who said that the US had the right to
respond to the 11 September terrorist attacks, called for an international
conference to define terrorism and then fight it.
Kuwait fears Bin Laden funding link
Kuwait's Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Ahmad al-Sabah
says his government believes some Kuwaitis have been trying to send money to
Osama Bin Laden's organisation, al-Qaeda.
Speaking to the BBC in Kuwait on Monday, he said Kuwait was
now trying to regulate certain Islamic charities which pro-Western Kuwaitis
suspect have been funding terror.
Saudi mufti bans killing non-Muslims
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Shaikh,
has issued a ruling banning the killing of non-Muslims in Islamic countries. The
statement follows a recent warning by Osama Bin Laden's organisation, al-Qaeda,
for all Britons and Americans to leave the Arabian peninsula.
Oil price hits new two-year low
Oil prices opened at their lowest level for more than two
years Wednesday, as sentiment was weighed down by plentiful reserves and
disagreement among producers about how to rein in supply.
A barrel of Brent North Sea crude for December delivery
opened at 20.66 dollars — its lowest opening value since August 1999, after
closing on Tuesday at 20.94 dollars. The New York light sweet crude November
contract ended Tuesday at 21.85 dollars a barrel, up nine cents.
Oil prices have fallen around 25 per cent since last month's
attacks on the United States, as investors expect demand to contract along with
global economic growth.
Dubai Motor Show
The 6th Middle East International Motor Show organised by the
Dubai World Trade Centre from November 8-12, 2001 will showcase the latest
models, concept cars and designs from the titans of European automobile
The leading continental automobile manufactures, renowned for
their precision engineering and innovative designs including Mercedes, BMW,
Porsche, Peugeot, Audi and Volkswagen to name a few, will exhibit their latest
models at the Motor Show.
The all-new BMW 7-Series will be the star attraction at the
BMW Group stand at the Motor Show. A refined 8-cylinder, 4.4 litre engine
producing 333 horsepower, and the world's first 6-speed automatic transmission
powers the car. BMW will introduce the much-awaited MINI in the Middle East
region for the first time at Dubai Motor Show.
Abu Dhabi Fund takes interest in Aqaba projects
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development intends to help finance five
infrastructure projects in Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) at a total cost of
$250 mln. , an official from the fund stated Sunday.
Fund Technical Advisor Jareer Al-Dajani said ASEZ was moving
in the right direction and all means of success that encourage investment are
there including investment laws and legislation, sea, land and air transport
facilities as well as the distinctive geographic location.
Dajani is currently on a visit to ASEZ , accompanied by
expert delegation to study the five projects presented by ASEZ . A delegation
from the fund had already met ASEZ President and listened to a briefing on the
zone's future plans and objectives designed to attract local and foreign
Saudi Basic Industries Co
The Saudi Basic Industries Co. (SABIC) said Sunday it posted
a net profit of 501 million dollars in the first nine months of this year, a
plunge of 37 per cent from the same period last year.
The corporation's sales in the first nine months rose to 6.1
billion dollars compared to 5.66 billion in 2000. Total production in the first
nine months was 26.3 million tons, an increase of 27 per cent over the same
period last year. Sales reached 20.6 million tons, also an increase of 27 per
Kuwait supports OPEC moves to raise oil prices
Kuwait has said it supports OPEC moves to push world oil
prices up into the cartel's price band of between 22 and 28 dollars a barrel.
"Since the last OPEC meeting, oil prices have been on a
continuous decline. We therefore support any decision by OPEC members to
increase oil prices to the lowest half of the the price range," Kuwaiti Oil
Minister Adel Al-Sebeih told reporters Saturday night.
"The continued decline in oil prices will have a
negative impact on OPEC member states and will undoubtedly lead to action to
raise prices," he said upon his return from an OPEC monitoring committee
meeting in Vienna.
OPEC's price per barrel has lingered around 20 dollars for
more than three weeks, below the 22-dollar floor of its target band and in
theory triggering an automatic 500,000 barrels-per-day cut.
Headline Engineering, one of the leaders in the UAE's
construction sector, has been awarded the contract to detail, fabricate and
construct the new Grand Hyatt Hotel, located adjacent to Wafi City.
The hotel is anticipated to be operational by Q1, 2002. To
manage the more than 1400 tons of steel required to construct the hotel,
Headline has partnered with Tekla Middle East to deploy Tekla's Xsteel solution,
the industry-leading application for modelling and detailing of steel
One of the most critical components of the Grand Hyatt
construction is the creation of shop drawings, or the blueprints that detail the
steel frame that supports the hotel building. Headline utilized Tekla Xsteel to
create three-dimensional shop drawings at a rate four times faster than with
traditional construction software, enabling the building fabrication to begin at
an accelerated pace.
The Saudi stock market rebounded strongly to close the week
Thursday up 3.9 per cent, mainly on encouraging nine-month profits for a
majority of listed firms, Bakheet Financial Advisors (BFA) said.
"The Saudi stock market witnessed a positive recovery
this week and compensated for part of its losses" following the September
11 terror attacks on the United States, BFA said.
The NCFEI all-shares index closed at 2,381.14 points, up from
2,292.42 points the previous week, the BFA reported. The index is now 5.4 per
cent higher than at the start of the year.
Oman signs $345 mln airports deal
Oman signed a 345-million-dollar deal Wednesday with a
consortium led by the British Airport Authority (BAA) to develop and manage the
sultanate's two main airports, which are in the process of being privatized, the
official ONA news agency reported.
The consortium, which also includes ABB Equity Ventures and
the Omani Bahwan Trading Co., last month won preferred bidder status for
developing and managing Seeb international airport in Muscat province and
Salalah airport, some 1,000 kilometers (450 miles) south of the capital.
The agreement was signed by BAA's international director,
Terry Morgan, and Oman's ministers of economy and transport, Ahmad bin Abdul
Nabi Meki and Malek bin Suleiman Al-Maamari.
Double standards again
To deny the Palestinians international protection is to
become an accomplice to Sharon and his army of death.