Al-Jawad Group, are the organizers of the cricket
bonanza while other sponsors include Hanco, Radisson Hotel, La Sani
and Arab News.
Led by Inzemam ul Haq, the Pakistan squad is
comprised of flamboyant Shahid Afridi, Yousuf Youhana, Abdul Razzaq,
Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt, Muhammad Sami
and offspinner Arshad. Pakistan side, it is learnt performed Umrah
before entering into the arena.
SAUDI CHANNEL WINS GOLD
Saudi Television's sports channel has won the
golden prize at the international festival for sports media and
television in Iran.
Prince Sultan ibn Fahd, chief of the Youth Welfare
Presidency, has congratulated Culture and Information Minister Iyad
Madani on the victory.
The channel won the prize for a program on the
organization of the Islamic Solidarity Games in Saudi Arabia in April
Prince Sultan also congratulated all staff of the
Culture and Information Ministry, especially those of the Sports
Channel for their outstanding performance at the festival.
"It reflects the high standard achieved by the
Saudi media with its various branches as a result of the government's
CrimsonLogic, which has been working with regional
enterprises for the past five years, says it is currently involved in
e-government projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Iran.
V. Mathivanan, CEO of CrimsonLogic has said that
they were actively exploring other nationwide projects relating to the
judiciary, trade processing, e-government initiatives and security in
Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Syria and the UAE.
Singapore has secured a strategic partnership with Kuwait to assist
the country in developing e-government strategies and formulate a
technology master plan for its public sector agencies. While the
parties concerned are not in a position to disclose the details of the
agreement, Singapore says it is providing consultation support on
Jordan is another country that worked with
Singapore during the launch of its e-government initiatives. In 2004,
the two nations used the World Economic Forum as the platform to sign
the Singapore-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (SJFTA) and the Bilateral
Investment Treaty (BIT). The SJFTA is Singapore's first
government-level agreement with a Middle Eastern nation and Jordan's
first such initiative in Asia. The agreement aims to provide a
platform for economic negotiations and partnerships between Singapore
The partnership covers a broad range of economic
activities and it forms part of a broader framework on closer economic
ties between the two nations. It also includes a technical support
agreement that was signed in October 2003. Singapore is keen to share
ideas and work on e-government projects in the Middle East. As part of
the year-long technical support agreement, the two countries have
exchanged know-how on the planning and delivery of e-government
systems, said, Samantha Fok, deputy director, enterprise development
industry group at Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).
"In the IT realm, Singapore is renowned for its speed of adoption
and robust technology infrastructures, fueled by the combination of
close public and private sector co-operation. Many Singaporean ICT
companies have demonstrated their expertise in vertical sectors like
e-government, healthcare, logistics and financial services both
locally and across other Asian countries.
Through our talks with government officials from
the Middle East, such expertise coincides with their vision of
narrowing the digital divide and goals to develop vibrant business
communities beyond traditional oil exports," Fok adds.
Kuwait and Jordan are not the only regional
countries the Asian IT hub wants to work with. Global research firm
IDC claims the MENA region is now the third fastest-growing IT hotbed
in the world, behind only China and India. It also forecasts the
region's technology market to grow from US$6.9 billion in 2003 to
US$13.4 billion by 2008 and Singapore is keen to secure a piece of the
Singapore's senior minister Goh Chok Tong, who
recently visited the Middle East, says the region has a significant
business potential for his country's ICT companies in their bid to
expand beyond local shores.
"As proven in more developed countries,
technology can undoubtedly serve as a key enabler for governments and
businesses to achieve greater operational efficiencies. Evidenced by
optimistic projections for IT spending in the next five years, the
Middle East is no exception," he adds.
The Middle East and Singapore share many
similarities in their goals and plans to improve access to ICT,
bridging the digital divide and empowering local communities to use
ICT for their own development, according to Fok.
"Through such shared vision, we see strong
commonalties to work together, to establish collaborative links and
develop global alliances. More importantly, we are committed to
incorporating ICT into the government sector, as well as businesses
because we believe this will help to spur socio-economic development
and will build a competitive edge for the countries," she
IRAN TO PRODUCE FOKKER PARTS
Managing Director of Iran Aircraft Manufacturing
Industries Company (HESA) said that following the negotiations held
with the Rekkof Aircraft Manufacturing Company, successor of the
former Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, his company will produce
the aircraft parts in Iran. He added, "It was also decided that
for the time being, the Dutch company sells Iran about 30 percent of
the parts needed to manufacture the aircraft in the country."
Iranian experts are not facing any problem in
producing the aircraft inside Iran; the country is even capable of
manufacturing larger aircraft, the official also asserted.
He commented that currently Iranian experts produce
some of the parts of the Iranian aircraft called Iran 140; whereas in
the past, the country imported all the aircraft parts from its
producer, Ukraine, for assembling only. However, right now, we are
even manufacturing parts for the fuselage of the aircraft.
He further explained, "The central wing of
Iran 140 (the connecting point of two wings) is in fact the most
sophisticated part of building the aircraft as well as the attachments
for engines are made by Iranian technicians.
Iranian Minister of Roads and Transportation
Mohammad Rahmati had earlier said that Iran was negotiating with the
Netherlands over the purchase of the Rekkof Aircraft Manufacturing
Company, adding, "The aircraft will be produced in Iran by the
Iranian experts and marketed under an Iranian name".
He had also stated that the company manufacturing
Fokker planes was bankrupted in 1996 and is currently operating under
the name of Rekkof. It is now looking for an Iranian partner to
produce Fokker in Iran, he added.
NON-OPEC SUPPLY LIKELY TO RISE
Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise strongly next
year, almost meeting world oil demand growth and meaning very little
need for extra OPEC crude, OPEC headquarters said.
In a monthly report, OPEC's Vienna secretariat said
a balanced world market next year would require 29 million barrels
daily of the cartel's crude, only 100,000 bpd more than this year and
a million barrels a day less than its latest estimate for the group's
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries pumped 30.01 million bpd in June, the report said, up
slightly from May.
OPEC blames refinery bottlenecks in consuming
countries for high oil prices of now at $58 for U.S. crude, saying
that it is pumping more than enough crude to meet world demand.
The group has opened up the taps to build up world
oil inventories ahead of peak winter demand but refined product
premiums have helped sustain high crude prices.
The report projected 2006 world demand growth at
1.54 million barrels a day or 1.9 percent, reaching 85.2 million bpd,
from this year's growth of 1.62 million bpd, 2 percent.
The report downgraded OPEC's forecast for demand
growth in 2005 by 150,000 bpd and cut the projected call on OPEC crude
by 260,000 bpd to 28.9 million.
OPEC's estimate of the call on its crude during the
peak fourth quarter of this year was reduced by 120,000 bpd to 30.49
The revisions were a result of lower-than-expected
Chinese demand growth of 2 percent from January-May. Chinese oil
demand in the first half of last year shot up 19.5 percent.
Non-OPEC supply, including OPEC gas liquids, next
year is expected to rise by 1.43 million bpd to 54.76 million from
990,000 bpd of growth this year, the report said.
That means the net call on OPEC crude in 2006 is
projected at 29 million bpd on average, a million barrels daily less
than actual output last month.
BRUNEI REAPS OIL BONANZA
Brunei reaps oil bonanza amid diversification plans
Brunei, Southeast Asia's third largest oil producer, is reaping a
bonanza from soaring oil prices but the government is adamant this
will not distract from long-term plans to diversify the economy.
While the oil and gas sector is likely to remain
the main growth engine for the next several years, Brunei's absolute
ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, said last week he would implement
wide-ranging reforms to attract foreign investments and develop other
The Malay state on the northern tip of Borneo
island posted a budget surplus of $750mn last year, thanks to oil
prices surging above $50 a barrel, the regional business magazine Asia
And with prices skyrocketing this year to new
records of above $60 a barrel, observers admit the windfall for the
country will continue.
"As I see it, the oil and gas sector will
continue to be the main driver of growth in the next several
years," an Asian diplomat based in the Brunei capital of Bandar
Seri Begawan told AFP, requesting not to be named.
"And oil prices rising to record highs will
certainly boost Brunei's economy in terms of revenue. Having said
that, this should not lure the government into complacency and slacken
on its planned diversification."
The government, in Brunei's 2005 Yearbook, had the
"Whilst Brunei enjoys benefits in the short
term, the country needs to ensure the long-term sustainability of its
business, and excessively high oil prices are detrimental to
that," it said.
Sultan Hassanal, in a speech marking his 59th
birthday on July 15, said the country can not ignore the changes
brought about by globalization, and must develop new industries and
attract foreign investors to be competitive.
He announced a series of financial reforms and
ordered the government to cut down on bureaucratic red tape to ensure
a conducive environment for investors.
"In a world characterized by globalization and
intensive competition, efforts to strengthen the national economy and
make it more competitive should be enhanced from time to time,"
"The government is not complacent, it is
implementing measures to nurture local entrepreneurship, intensifying
industrial activities and expanding opportunities for foreign
investments into Brunei."
Among Brunei's plans are to build a deep-water port
capable of handling bigger, next-generation oil tankers, and
developing the Sungai Liang Industrial Park that would use the
country's proven gas reserves to establish downstream and
The government is negotiating with potential
investors for an ammonia/urea and methanol petrochemical plant at
Sungai Liang, as well as with interested parties for the proposed port
The government also plans to develop tourism,
transportation and logistics and financial services as complementary
To strengthen the financial sector, Sultan Hassanal
said the Insurance Act, Banking Act, Financial Companies Act and Pawn
Broking Act are being amended to align local practices with global
He also endorsed a recommendation to merge two
local Islamic banks.
Meanwhile, Brunei's oil and gas sector will
continue to provide a comfortable base.
Petroleum exports totalled 1.4bn Brunei dollars
($800mn) in the fourth quarter of 2004, up 2.6% from the third
quarter, a special supplement on the oil and gas sector by the English
language daily Borneo Bulletin said.
The exports were up 36.6% compared with the fourth
quarter of 2003, said the report, which was timed for release on the
With total production of more than 200,000bpd as of
end 2004, Brunei ranks behind Indonesia and Malaysia as Southeast
Asia's third biggest oil producer.
It is also the world's fourth largest producer of
liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The oil and gas sector accounts for 93% of Brunei's
total exports, which totalled $8.56bn last year.
The sector received a boost in October when Brunei
Shell Petroleum - a joint venture between the Brunei government, the
Royal Dutch Shell Group and one of two oil producers in the country -
made a new discovery in the Seria North Flank.
Brunei Shell Petroleum estimates total recoverable
oil from the Seria North Flank at up to 100mn barrels.
Natural gas, however, should take on a larger
profile in the future as demand for cleaner fuel increases, the
government said, citing sharply rising demand from China, India, Japan
and the US in the next 10 years.
The nuclear issue has nothing to do with the
formation of President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet, Iranian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.
Commenting on the possibility that the European
Union would postpone the presentation of its plan on Iran's nuclear
program until the formation of Ahmadinejad's government, Asefi told
reporters at his weekly press briefing, "As the EU deadline
approaches, we enter a critical situation, so we have arranged
informal negotiations with the Europeans to expedite the matter."
The nuclear issue has nothing to do with the
formation of Ahmadinejad's cabinet because continuing the negotiations
is incumbent upon the next president, he added.
Iran will resume nuclear activities if the results
of the negotiations with the EU are not satisfactory, he explained.
However, Asefi expressed hope that the EU's plan
would clearly recognize Iran's legal rights and thus prevent the
negotiations from reaching an impasse.
The EU is supposed to present its plan between
August 1st and 6th, but if it does not recognize Iran's right to
enrich uranium, that would be unacceptable and Iran would then resume
enrichment activities at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF),
the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Asefi stated that Iran had no plan to negotiate
with the United States on the nuclear issue, adding that the members
of the Iranian nuclear negotiating delegation were appointed by the
Supreme National Security Council and not by the president and
therefore they would not be replaced.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that the
recent visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was a response
to the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi to Iraq and
said that satisfactory negotiations were held on oil, commercial
cooperation, industries, pilgrimages, and other topics.
Iran will not send pilgrim caravans to Iraq at this
point in time because of the security situation in that country, Asefi
Iran's close relations with Iraq have nothing to do
with the United States and will not have a negative impact on Iraq's
relations with the U.S., he added.
He went on to say that Iran had always sought
friendly relations with Muslim and Arab countries and had established
close relations with these countries during the presidencies of Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami.
The expansion of Iran's relations with Iraq will
also have a positive impact on its relations with other Arab
countries, Asefi added.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman also criticized the
U.S. and the EU for interfering in Iran's domestic affairs by meddling
in the legal case against imprisoned Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji.
The U.S. should not speak about the human rights
situation in other countries because it is itself guilty of
institutionalized human rights violations, he observed, adding that
the Ganji case is a domestic affair of the Islamic Republic and
hopefully an appropriate solution will be found.
The Judiciary is an independent organization and
Iran will not let any foreign country interfere in its domestic
affairs, Asefi emphasized.
Inputs from PAGE sources as well courtesy Tehran