PREPARATIONS IN S. ARABIA
Saudi Arabia, preparations have been made for Ramazan, with Imams,
Muazzins and hundreds of laborers and dozens of crews making sure that
mosques are ready to receive the faithful that will make them their
second homes over the coming holy month. The Department of Mosques has
directed that arrangements be made for all the mosques to accommodate
the additional rush of worshippers during Ramazan.
officials have been instructed to keep the mosques tidy and ensure
adequate supplies of power and water during the holy month to meet the
requirements of the increased number of Muslims who go for Taraweeh,
which follows the regular Isha prayers. Midnight prayers, (Qiyamul
Layl) will be conducted from 1 a.m. from the 20th day of Ramazan until
the end of the holy month.
maintenance crews have been asked to be on duty at nights to guarantee
continuous water and power supply to all the places of worship. It's a
big job. The department maintains nearly 1,000 mosques in Riyadh
alone. In remote areas, some mosques were constructed by
philanthropists who also provide for their maintenance.
for women are being built inside mosques lacking separate prayer halls
for both sexes. Some of the mosques are busy replacing old carpets
with new ones while others are being renovated to give them a fresh
facelift during the holy month. "Everyone likes to come to the
mosques for prayers during the holy month; therefore, we expect a
larger congregation for Taraweeh prayers," said Abdul Aziz, Imam
in a mosque in Nasseriyah, Riyadh. He added that the holy month not
only affords a good opportunity for Muslims to greet one another but
also to perform good deeds that will be richly rewarded by God.
are making every effort to give the worshippers a conducive
environment to offer their prayers at the mosque with serenity and
sanctity," the Imam said. Tents are being constructed adjacent to
the mosques to enable worshippers to break their fast during the
month. Arrangements have been made for all those who come for Maghrib
prayers during Ramazan to have their breakfast in these cozy tents.
Refreshments for Iftar are provided either by the mosques or by area
maintenance contractor who looks after mosques in the Aziziya district
said that his company has instructed its labor force to work at the
mosques late into the night during the month. "These laborers are
expected to keep the places of worship neat and tidy, ensure a
reliable supply of water and power and illuminate them," the
BETWEEN OMAN AND THE US
United States and Oman yesterday announced that they had reached a
free trade agreement. "This is a high-quality, comprehensive free
trade agreement that will contribute to economic growth and trade
between both countries," said US Trade Representative Rob Portman.
has now negotiated free trade agreements with five countries in the
Middle East. Three of these, including the one with Oman, are awaiting
George W Bush has called for the creation of a Middle East Free Trade
Area by 2013, and Portman said the agreement with Oman is an important
step in the process
METHANOL TO PROPYLENE
first time ever in the world, an Iranian company, Fanavaran
Petrochemical Complex, in cooperation with a German company, Lurgi
will change methanol to propylene, Jalil Ebrahimpur, the managing
director of Fanavaran complex said..
contract on principled engineering of the project to convert methanol
into propylene has been finalized and it will be put on tender within
the next three or four months to choose the contractor, he explained.
He put the construction costs of the unit at 115 million euros,
stating converting methanol into propylene or vise versa is being
carried out for the first time in the world.
Petrochemical Complex and German Lurgi will hold 50 percent share each
in the project, he further stated. Ebrahimpur predicted that the unit
would start production in the next four years. Also in his remarks,
the managing director announced that the carbon monoxide unit of
Fanavaran with the production capacity of 140,000 tons would be soon
commissioned. He further declared that the complex's acetic acid unit
with a capacity of 150,000 tons would launch production before March
conclusion, Ebrahimpur named establishment of methyl STAT monomer
unit, at the cost of 130 million euros, as the future plan of
Fanavaran Petrochemical Complex.
Finance House, Bahrain (KFH-Bahrain), a leading provider of Islamic
commercial and investment banking services, announced plans for the
establishment of a state-of-the-art industrial park in Bahrain to be
known as the KFH Industrial Oasis following a meeting between
Abdulhakeem Alkhayyat, general manager of KFH-Bahrain and Minister of
Industry and Commerce Dr. Hassan Abdullah Fakhro.
meeting was attended by Osama Alkhaja, head of corporate finance at
KFH-Bahrain and Nader Al-Moayyed, undersecretary at the Ministry of
Industry and Commerce. The project, a first of its kind in Bahrain, is
aimed at driving further economic diversification in the industrial
sector, generating greater inward investment and stimulating job
creation in Bahrain by capitalizing on the ongoing expansion in the
industrial sector and fast growing demand for industrial based
real-estate projects in Bahrain.
Industrial Oasis will comprise of 155,000 sqm2 of land to be located
within the Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP), a newly
established area located in the Hidd industrial zone, which focuses on
the technology, manufacturing and service sectors and has been
designed to attract investors with value added activities. BIIP covers
over 250 hectares with 25.5km of readily equipped infrastructure such
as roads, street lighting, sewage systems, landscaping and
investments to be undertaken by KFH-Bahrain will be about $25 million
for the development of the necessary infrastructure, which upon
completion will be sublet to potential local and international
tenants. Target companies include a broad range of businesses from
those in the region to Fortune 500 companies and other international
firms engaged in manufacturing and service-oriented industries.
and its sole distributor in Qatar, Abdullah Abdulghani and Brothers,
yesterday launched Yaris, an all new hatchback. The 1.3-litre VVT-I
(variable valve timing intelligent) engine gives the vehicle a
class-leading power and acceleration, AAB general manager Dr Mohamed
Abdullah al-Dorani, told a press conference. "Yaris has enormous
appeal for trend-setting owners who demand a vehicle that expresses
their personality and lifestyle without compromising style, quality
and handling," the general manager said.
vehicle, which is already popular in Europe, will be sold in Qatar at
prices ranging from QR44,000 to QR51,000. The exterior of the new low
budget vehicle is designed with a powerful form and unique body
proportions, which portrays sophistication and quality beyond its
class with driving-oriented styling, he said.
interior is both roomy and sporty, Dr Dorani said. There is a
surprisingly large cargo area. The rear seats are equipped with slide
and tilt down mechanism that provide various seat arrangements and
large cargo space.
removable deck box can also be used to stow small items. Yaris is
designed with superior comport which is achieved with a newly
developed next generation air conditioning unit and uniquely designed
front and rear seats that provide comfort that surpasses other
vehicles in its class, he added. Toyota is committed in providing
world class products and "we at AAB are equally committed to
support these exciting models with the best after sales
the beginning of the year, the company has launched many
"outstanding models" like Lexus GS300/430, Toyota Avalon,
Hiace buses and vans, followed by the Fortuner, Innova and Hilux last
month. "With the introduction of the new Yaris, we are catering
to yet another segment of youngsters who have been waiting for a
compact car of dynamic styling from Toyota, he said. There would be a
lot more new launches next year, he said.
press conference was attended also by marketing division manager
Sushil Sindhakar, and Toyota sales manager Hisham Ismail. In the
evening, the vehicle was launched at a glittering function in the
presence of a number of dignitaries.
Qatari banks were in a consortium that closed the $100mn Al Musharaka
Sukuk for the Kuwait-based Investment Dar Company in Bahrain last
week. They are QNB Al Islamic (senior lead manager), Commercial-bank
Al Safa Islamic and Doha Bank (co-managers). A release issued by Arab
Banking Corporation, whose Islamic banking division was the mandated
lead manager to the issue, said the Sukuk placement received strong
support from the market. The deal was closed at the Gulf Convention
Centre at Bahrainís Gulf Hotel At the signing ceremony, Adnan al-Musallam,
chairman and managing Director of The Investment Dar Company commented
on the outstanding performance of the company and thanked the
investors for their support and the teams of both organisations who
worked on this financing.
Corp, BP Plc and Chevron Corp are among at least 49 companies that
registered to bid for exploration rights in Libya, as the north
African country steps up efforts to develop Africa's largest crude-oil
Oil Corp, Libya's state-owned energy company, issued badges yesterday
for representatives of 49 companies to attend the country's second
auction since oil was discovered in 1959, at 5pm local time in
Tripoli. Libya will offer permits to search for oil and gas in 26
onshore and offshore plots covering about 100,000sq km (38,600sq
miles), nearly the size of Cuba. The government of Moammar Gaddafi,
Libya's leader since 1969, seeks to attract $30bn of investment to
raise production this decade to 3mn bpd, from 1.7mn now. Libya is the
eighth-largest oil producer of the 11-member Organisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries. "Libya remains one of the most attractive
areas in the world to explore in," said Craig McMahon, analyst at
energy consultants Wood Mackenzie, in a telephone interview from
Edinburgh. "Capital and operating expenditures are low."
of the plots offered are in areas already producing oil such as Sirte,
in the centre of the country; Ghadames, in the west; and Murzuq, in
the south-west. The others are in Cyrenaica and Kufra, in the east.
"We see about 20 good blocks here," said Stuart Wilcox,
commercial adviser for Santos Ltd, one of three Australian companies
registered to bid, in an interview in Tripoli. The auction comes amid
surging oil prices. Rising demand worldwide pushed crude-oil prices to
a record of more than $70 a barrel on August 30. Companies registered
for yesterday's auction include eight from the US, 14 from Europe and
14 from Asia. Another five companies registered from the former Soviet
Union, three from Australia, two from Canada, two from South America
and one from Africa.
total number of participants may be larger, as companies not
represented may be part of bidding consortiums. A total of 62
companies had asked for bidding packages, National Oil said. Libya has
been increasing efforts to woo international companies since the US
eased sanctions last year, which had been imposed in 1986 when the
country was accused of supporting terrorism. Removing the sanctions
allowed US oil companies to return to Libya. In January, Occidental
Petroleum Corp, Chevron and Amerada Hess Corp won alone or with others
11 of the 15 permits auctioned, in the first bidding round since oil
was discovered in Libya 46 years ago. Until then, the nation awarded
blocks after talks with companies.
will be at least as competitive this time," said Akira Kato, head
of the London office at Japan's Teikoku Oil Co, which didn't take any
of the plots in January. "Weíll be more aggressive this
time.íí About 60 companies bid in the first auction, offering
Libya's government 61.1 to 89.2% of any production and paying $133mn
in signing bonuses."
a country slightly larger than Alaska, has proven crude-oil reserves
of 39bn barrels, equivalent to more than five years of US consumption.
Libyan Energy Secretary Fathi Ben Shatwan told Bloomberg on September
19 that potential reserves may top 100bn barrels as only 30% of the
territory is covered by agreements with oil companies.
told a political rally two days ago in Sirte that having good ties
with the US was in Libya's interest. "Dealing with the US is not
about sentiment, itís based on mutual interests," he said in a
speech broadcast on television. "The US, especially its oil
companies, need Libya, and Libya needs the US."
began lifting the sanctions gradually after Libya agreed in 2003 to
pay $2.7bn to the families of those killed in the 1988 bombing of a
Pan American jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, and to end programs to
develop weapons of mass destruction. Libya will hold four auctions in
2006 and 2007, offering exploration permits in 261 plots, National Oil
Corp's head of planning, Tarek Hassan-Beck, told the World Petroleum
Congress on September 26 in Johannesburg. US companies that registered
delegates yesterday are Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Occidental,
Marathon Oil Corp, Hess, Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Pioneer Natural
companies include BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni Spa, Statoil ASA,
Norsk Hydro ASA, Repsol YPF SA, RWE-DEA AG, BG Group Plc, Gaz de
France, Wintershall AG, OMV AG and Hellenic Petroleum SA. No European
companies won a permit in Libya's first auction. Other applications
include Canada's Petro-Canada and Verenex Energy Inc, Australia's
Santos, Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Oil Search Ltd, Russia's Gazprom,
Lukoil, Tatneft and Itera Holding Ltd, and Ukraine's NAK Naftogaz
Ukrainy. The largest oil companies from India and China -Oil and
Natural Gas Corp and China National Petroleum Corp - were among Asian
companies to register. Malaysiaís state-oil group Petroliam Nasional
Bhd and Indonesiaís PT Pertamina also applied. Asian bidders also
include Japanís two biggest oil explorers, Inpex Corp and Japan
Petroleum Exploration Corp.
Khan, ABC Islamic Bank managing director said, "This marks the
culmination of a very successful transaction and is the result of some
serious effort put in by everyone over the summer.
is a debut issue for The Investment Dar and it speaks volumes for the
company and the quality of its management. The ceremony is our way of
saying thank you to the company for entrusting us with this task, and
to all the investors for making this a landmark transaction."
first World Islamic Economic Forum called for the establishment of an
Islamic common market and floated a series of initiatives to boost
business cooperation amongst Muslim nations. A declaration issued at
the end of a three-day meeting listed the initiatives and urged the 57
governments of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to
facilitate trade and business environments.
called for governments to "consider the establishment of an
Islamic Free Trade Agreement through regional and sub-regional FTAs in
a step-by-step, time-bound process that would ultimately lead to an
Islamic Common Market," said the declaration.
forum, which had debated poverty alleviation in Muslim countries,
called for the creation of a World Islamic Economic Development
Corporation to promote investment and infrastructure development
projects in OIC countries.
floated plans for a global Islamic businesswomen's network and an
education trust to be funded by Muslim entrepreneurs emphasizing
science and information technology arenas. The forum pledged to
"establish relevant task forces each led by a prominent Islamic
business leader to develop specific practical implementation
plans" for the initiatives. The declaration was delivered to
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, also the current
chairman of the OIC. The forum, which gathered over 500 delegates from
44 countries including government officials and business leaders, was
billed as the Davos of the Muslim world, after the World Economic
Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The concept of a World Islamic Economic
Forum emerged from an OIC meeting of business leaders held here in
2004. Delegates agreed to make the forum an annual event, with the
next meeting slated for 2006 in Pakistan, to be alternated with
organizers include Malaysia's foreign affairs ministry, Pakistan's
Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Morocco's Islamic Center for
Development and Trade and Malaysian think tank the Asian Strategy and
foreign policies have a principled stability, so the government acts
within the same framework, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani said. †In a meeting with Swiss Ambassador Philippe Welti,
he stated that Iran is determined to develop its nuclear expertise and
to possess the nuclear fuel cycle, adding that Iran would not accept
being dependent on other countries for nuclear fuel.
Islamic Republic of Iran voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment to
prove its goodwill to the world, but, unfortunately, the nuclear
negotiation partners proved that they were actually seeking to violate
Iranís inalienable nuclear rights, Rafsanjani noted.
crisis in the neighboring country, he said that the Islamic Republic
of Iran is working for peace and freedom in Iraq and respects its
territorial integrity, adding that the military occupation of the
country must be ended.
conclusion, Rafsanjani stated that Iran has only offered the Lebanese
and Palestinian people intellectual and humanitarian support, saying
that Iran defends the Palestiniansí rights in its policies as well.
†For his part, the Swiss ambassador called bilateral relations
between Iran and Switzerland satisfactory and said that the Swiss
government was making serious efforts to improve technical and trade
cooperation between the two countries. †On Iranís right to possess
the complete nuclear fuel cycle, Welti stated that bilateral
confidence is a matter of great significance for both sides, adding
that misunderstandings should be resolved.
PM'S TERMINATION CALL REJECTED
President Jalal Talabani rejected on Monday a call by his party's
official spokesman for Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari to be sacked,
saying the country needed stability ahead of a key referendum and an
election. "We don't think this is the time to change the
government now," Talabani, a Kurd, told a news conference in
Prague after talks with Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Earlier Azad
Jandayani, official spokesman of Talibani's Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan, told Al Jazeera television that the coalition of Kurds and
Shiites which dominates the government should meet to sack Jaafari, a
Jandayani later told Reuters he had not been speaking to Al Jazeera in
his official capacity. "This is my personal point of view. I do
not represent the party in this, and I stand by my own point of
view," he said.
due to hold a referendum on a new constitution on Oct. 15, followed by
a parliamentary election in December. Talabani, a Kurd, said the
present government should remain in place until they were over.
"This coalition government must respect the agreements signed by
both sides," he said, adding that he believed the referendum
would go smoothly and the constitution would come into force. The
U.S.-backed government is dominated by Kurds and Shiites at the
expense of the once dominant Sunni Arab minority, which fears that if
the constitution is approved at the referendum they will be
marginalized even further.
a Shiite, and Talabani have long had serious differences. Last week
Jaafari dismissed accusations by Talabani that he was monopolizing
power as the government tried to promote unity ahead of the
referendum. After the referendum, which is widely expected to ratify
the constitution, December's election is likely to see a reshuffling
of the balance of forces in the ruling coalition.
VEHICLES HIT QATAR ROADS
48,000 new vehicles have hit Qatari roads so far this year and about
65,000 new drivers have joined the country's burgeoning number of
motorists during the same period. They as well as the road projects
currently underway in Doha have all contributed to the traffic jams
witnessed in the capital city in the last few days, Director of the
Traffic and Patrol Department, Col Mohamed Saad al-Kharji, said.
Talking to reporters after signing a contract with TRL, a UK-based
transport research laboratory, to conduct studies on car accidents in
Qatar, he said that his department would benefit from the expertise of
the British on tackling road accidents. Petroleum major ExxonMobil is
sponsoring the TRL survey. The Minister of State for Interior affairs,
HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani, was present at the agreement
signing ceremony. Col al-Kharji said the National Campaign for
Fighting Car Accidents had ìstarted to produce results, as there was
only one case of death in a car accident during the last week. The
first phase of the study will last three months during which it will
evaluate the general reasons for car accidents in Qatar and the best
ways to create awareness about safe driving among motorists, said the