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Last updated: Friday 23 Dec, 2005-12.30 P.M (PST)



In oC




Today 12 26 38 Sunny
Tomorrow 11 27 38 Sunny
Day after 11 28 38 Sunny
Today 1 20 87 Sunny
Tomorrow 2 20 87 Sunny
Day after 2 21 87 Sunny
Today 0 18 59 Sunny
Tomorrow 0 18 59 Sunny
Day after 0 21 59 Sunny
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updated: Fri - Sun 23-25 Dec, 2005




KARACHI         - 021 LAHORE          - 042 ISLAMABAD    - 051 FAISALABAD   - 041 MULTAN          - 061 PESHAWAR    - 0521 CANADA          - 1 KUWAIT           - 965 INDIA               - 91 IRAN                - 98 U.K                   - 44 U.A.E                - 971 U.S.A                - 1





Nov 28 - Dec 04, 2005


Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) which, is likely to have the management control of PTCL affairs in Pakistan, has offered to extend its value-added services in UAE, by introducing multiple options to make payments, besides the scratch cards. Customers using these options will get to use 10 per cent extra credit, an Etisalat official was quoted as saying.

Mohammed Al Fahim, Executive Vice-President, Marketing, Etisalat, said in Dubai : "As part of extending the services, we are offering multiple options to recharge and to pay bills. There are eight ways to transact Etisalat. Using some of them, such as, e4me portal, channels of leading banks and paying at any Emirates Post outlet will get the customer 10 per cent extra credit free of charge."

He explained: "Etisalat's eShop,, allows customers to create a user ID and transact on all their Etisalat accounts from their PC. Topping-up credit on a 'Wasel' account through this web site will get the customer 10 per cent extra for free. Bills for postpaid accounts can also be paid through this portal."

He added: "Customers can use various bank channels to transact on their Etisalat accounts. Using a bank channel to recharge Wasel will get the customer 10 per cent extra credit for free."

Customers can use the ATM, contact centres or IVR, SMS banking, or visit the bank counters, depending on the channels made available to the customers by each bank. These facilities are currently offered at Citibank, Mashreqbank, Habib Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirates Bank, with many other banks waiting to sign up to the service.


BP presented "a futuristic scene" illustrating how real-time oilfield data integration is enabling the recovery of more oil and gas from its reservoirs at the exhibition held on the sidelines of the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) that concluded last week.

Using new holopro screens, BP portrayed a "fieldofthefuture" monitoring centre set up in the Middle East region.

"I believe BP is leading the industry in developing field-of-the-future technologies and applying them in our key oil and gas operations and developments around the world", said Dr Andrew Brayshaw, BP's director for new business development in the Middle East.

He added: "BP is at the cutting-edge of integrating these new technologies. We currently have five pilot schemes implementing fieldofthefuture technologies, with plans to raise that to twelve over the next two years.''

Explaining fieldofthefuture, Dr Brian Hunter, BP country manager in Qatar said it is "...a combination of new surface and subsurface monitoring techniques, in parallel with latest developments in digital technology communications. This is enabling better decisions to be taken and acted on rapidly and effectively. It is also leading to a deeper understanding of oil field reserves and how each well is performing; driving increased operating efficiencies, reduced operating costs per barrel, higher production and improvements in ultimate recovery."

BP said independent experts believed such innovative technologies would help reduce costs by between 10% and 25%, boost production by as much as 7% and improve oil recovery.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) estimates that such well monitoring and petroleum reservoir imaging technologies could expand global oil reserves by 125bn barrels by 2013.

"Equally important is how to make better use of our highly trained engineers, geoscientists, researchers and operators. By moving data to people rather than people to data, we can make better use of our experts' know-how, no matter where they are in the world. Through broadband communications, a wealth of global expertise can be brought to bear instantaneously on fields anywhere," Dr Hunter said.

The BP-operated Valhall field in Norway is the world's first operational fieldofthefuture.

Regarding the application of such technology in the Middle East, Dr Brayshaw said: "BP has a proven track record in applying latest technologies in an innovative way to achieve world-class recovery factors on its giant fields - such as at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. If requested, we would be excited to share our technologies and global expertise with national oil companies around the region to push the technical limits of oil recovery."

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani who is in Iran held talks with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. After the meeting, Ahmadinejad expressed pleasure over meeting "a good friend from the brotherly and friendly country of Iraq". He recalled Talabani's struggles against the former Iraqi dictatorship alongside his "other combatant brothers", saying, "Iraq has moved toward freedom and independence through the efforts of these people."

The Iranian president noted that Iran and Iraq enjoy deep-rooted ties with very similar civilizations, adding that religious, cultural and historical affinities between the two neighboring countries have paved the way for the establishment of friendly bilateral ties in all fields.

"The freedom of the Iraqi nation and government and the establishment of a national government in Iraq are regarded as a victory for Iran and the Iranian nation supports this process," he underlined.

"The Iranian nation views the victory of the Iraqi nation as its own victory and we hope Mr. Talabani's trip to Iran will lead to the expansion of ties in the economy, policy, oil, power, transportation, and other fields."

Responding to a question on accusations of Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs, Ahmadinejad said that those who are troubled by the deep ties between Iran and Iraq do not want to see this relationship expand.

"It's quite interesting that those who make such remarks have themselves sent hundreds of thousands of troops to Iraq and bully the nation.

"But the important thing is that these remarks will not influence the growing trend of ties between Iran and Iraq. The Iraqi nation is independent, powerful and democratic and the expansion of such ties will benefit all regional states as well as the two countries."

The Iranian president stressed that Iran strongly supports the political process in Iraq that has led to the formation of the Iraqi national government, and the Islamic Republic also supports Iraq's efforts to maintain its territorial integrity and attain full sovereignty.

"A democratic, independent and progressive Iraq will be the best friend of Iran and today the two nations show an unswerving determination to expand and deepen bilateral ties.

"We believe the Iraqi government will be able to determine its own fate. The Iranian government and nation will stand beside the Iraqi government," Ahmadinejad said.

For his part, Talabani said he had come to Iran to express his gratitude to Iran, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian president and all other Iranian fighters who "gave us great support during our struggles" and to pursue the trend of strong historical and strategic ties between the two countries.

He noted that Iraq seeks to deepen its political, economic, commercial and cultural ties with Iran.

"Our relationship with Iran began 20 years ago and now both countries are strongly willing to expand bilateral ties," Talabani said.

In a separate meeting with Talbani, Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said Iran's firm policy is to give all-out support to the Iraqi nation and government.

He called on the two countries to use their potential in the economic, political and cultural spheres to strengthen ties.

The Iraqi president noted that the expansion of Iran-Iraq ties would benefit the entire region.


Rumors that IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei has sent a secret letter to Iran are completely false and part of the psychological operations against Iran meant to undermine its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, an Iranian nuclear official said.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that so far Iran's technical cooperation with the agency has been close, balanced, and based on mutual understanding.

"The rumors spread over the past few days are a response to this logical approach by Iran," he said. "The IAEA has not expressed the slightest objection to Iran's recent cooperation and our country, based on its legal rights, has taken all necessary issues into consideration in order to cooperate transparently with the agency."

The current atmosphere at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, which is scheduled to host a session of its Board of Governors on November 24 in which Iran's nuclear dossier will be discussed, is unprovoked, and experts at the agency have not shown any sign of annoyance concerning ElBaradei's recent report on Iran, the source added.

"It's only the Western media that are trying, as they have previously done, to impose a political atmosphere on the technical and legal process of talks by members of the agency's Board of Governors."

The official noted that ElBaradei's recent report could not serve as a means to judge that Iran has adopted an uncooperative attitude, since it was brief and had not mentioned any new ambiguity but referred to the process of clearing up previous ambiguities as positive and progressive, and finally had not asked Iran to go beyond the regulations of the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Referring to the recent announcement that Iran had handed over a document to the IAEA which describes how to make what could be the explosive core of an atom bomb, he said, "This issue shows Iran is assured about its nuclear program and seeks to cooperate transparently with IAEA inspectors.

"The volume and type of documents Iran has presented are such that the agency has not shown the slightest doubt about them; however, U.S. media apparently claim that these documents are an indication that Iran is producing a nuclear bomb."

He stated that the only important subject that ElBaradei mentioned in his report is the necessity of cooperation to clear up the issue of the Lavizan site, insisting that inspections of Lavizan, like the previous inspections of Parchin, will confirm that this is "a propaganda ambiguity" against Iran.

The source went on to say that Iran has organized three approaches for the IAEA meeting on Thursday: First, Iran will continue its technical approach with the agency and will try to avoid giving the IAEA any pretext by paying attention to its technical and legal demands.

Second, Iran is going to welcome proposals for ending the stalled talks and starting constructive negotiations without preconditions on how to continue its nuclear activities in other stages beyond the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility's work, he added.

Third, Iran will study any proposals for joint ventures which guarantee Iran the right to produce nuclear fuel inside Iran, he noted.

By comparing the last IAEA meeting, the report which was presented to the Board of Governors, and its resolution in September with the recent report, one could conclude that there will be a more balanced atmosphere at the next IEAE Board meeting on Thursday, unless some hands behind the scenes influence the participants to adopt a non-technical approach, he said in conclusion.


Iran has stepped up its month-old commercial attack on South Korea and is now barring local newspapers from advertising South Korean goods, it is reported.

Tehran began imposing an informal import ban on most South Korean goods in October in apparent retaliation for Seoul's stance against Iran's nuclear program.

South Korea, which exports around $2 billion worth of goods to Iran each year, sided with Washington and the European Union in backing a tough resolution against Iran at a meeting of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog in September.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's board is due to meet again to discuss Iran.

"We received a verbal order on Thursday from the Supreme National Security Council, ordering us not to publish South Korean companies' adverts," a newspaper editor, who asked not to be named.

Another editor said the advertisement ban was clearly aimed at the upcoming IAEA meeting.

Despite several high-level complaints by Seoul, Iranian officials have refused to acknowledge that any restriction on South Korean goods is in place.

But an Asian diplomat told Reuters last week that all but a few components essential for Iran's automobile and electronics industries were being blocked.

South Korean companies with sizeable markets in Iran include Hyundai, Samsung and LG. Earlier this month Iran removed LG as sponsor of a four-nation soccer tournament held in Tehran. A similar informal import ban has also been in place on British goods for about a month, diplomats and industrialists say.

Iran denies accusations by the United States that it is seeking nuclear bombs, saying its nuclear program is solely for generating electricity.


Saudi Aramco has earmarked over SR18 billion ($4.8 billion) to establish and operate an oil refinery in the Western region, according to a statement by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu.

The refinery, which involves a capital investment of SR18.75 billion, will have a capacity of 400,000 barrels per day of petroleum products and will create 750 new jobs.

"The project will contribute to the development and progress of the industrial town of Yanbu in the west of the Kingdom," the Royal Commission said. "This is one of the projects at Yanbu-II industrial city launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah a few months ago, and it is considered one of the largest in the Western region," said a source at the commission.

The commission has allocated a 400-hectar land for setting up the project in the new industrial city. "The project is in the initial stage and is expected to be completed and begin operation by the end of 2007," the source said.

The announcement on the new refinery follows a statement by Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, who said the Kingdom was committed to increasing its production from 11 million to 15 million barrels per day.

He said the country had plans of constructing export refineries to process heavy and sour crudes. Saudi Arabia has eight refineries with a capacity of around 1.75 million barrels per day.

Yanbu-II is expected to attract investments worth SR115 billion when it is complete in 2020. King Abdullah, while he was crown prince, laid the foundation stone of the new industrial city. He also launched a number of industrial projects worth SR44 billion by RC, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and a group of private companies.

Yanbu-II will cover an area of 66 square kilometers and is expected to house 34 basic and secondary industries and 224 light industries.

Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (Yansab) is another major project under construction in Yanbu-II. SABIC has 55 percent stake in Yansab, which will float 35 percent of its capital in an Initial Public Offering.

This SR19 billion project will have a production capacity of over four million tons annually of ethylene, propylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene glycol, benzene, toluene, butane, and zaylene. To be completed by the end of 2007, Yansab will employ 1,500 workers.

The Royal Commission plays a vital role in the Kingdom's economic and industrial development by its excellent management of the twin industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu.

The two state-of-the-art cities were instrumental in attracting a large amount of domestic and foreign investment and transfer of foreign technology.

The two cities make 60 percent of the total contribution of the industrial sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) or 14 percent of the non-oil GDP. Yanbu-II will create thousands of job opportunities.


The government intends to establish seven new universities, privatize 20 state-owned corporations and expand women's participation in developmental activities by 30 percent under the recently launched five-year plan.

The 8th Five-Year Development Plan (2005-2010), which was approved by the Council of Ministers last Monday, also targets the establishment of a knowledge-based economy and development of mining and tourism sectors.

"The 8th plan includes establishment of seven new universities and about 50 colleges of technology with specializations required by job market and the private sector," said Ahmed Al-Hekami, deputy minister of economy and planning.

At present there are 11 government-run universities in the Kingdom including the recently established universities in Qassim, Taif and Madinah. Efforts are also under way to establish the King Saud University of Health Sciences in Riyadh after the government gave approval for it.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has ordered the opening of three new universities in Jizan, Hail and Al-Jouf in order to create higher education facilities for students in the three regions. Efforts are under way to establish several new private universities and colleges within the next five years.

The Ministry of Economy and Planning, which prepared the new five-year plan, has also set out a 20-year long-term strategic plan for the Kingdom with the objective of strengthening its position in the comity of nations by 2025.

According to Economy and Planning Minister Khaled Al-Gosaibi, the long-term plan aims at increasing oil and gas production, creating new sources of income, developing service institutions, encouraging new joint stock companies and the merger of existing firms and promoting manpower development programs.


The first Sudanese investment forum will be opened at Jeddah Hilton on Dec. 10 on the sidelines of a three-day Sudanese agricultural and industrial exhibition.

Sudan's ministers of finance, investment, trade, agriculture and industry as well as its central bank governor and a large number of businessmen and top business executives will take part in the two events.

The exhibition and the forum offered a good opportunity for Saudi businessmen to know about Sudanese goods and investment prospects in the African country.


The Central Haj Committee held a meeting with Prince Abdul Majeed, the Makkah governor, to discuss preparations for Haj. The committee discussed the services provided to pilgrims and ways to ensure that pilgrims perform the ritual in peace and comfort.

The ministry allocated SR800 million for the first stage of developing and expanding the Jamarat area and SR400 million for services in Arafat.


The glittering gold and fascinating diamonds' jewelry estimated at a value of $1 billion went on sale at Middle East's biggest jewelry and watch exhibition in Manama.

Attractive models and alluring stands were decorated with some of the most expensive jewelry in the world.

Over 500 exhibitors from 28 countries displayed diamond, gold, and silver jewelry and watches, with many of them reporting sales even before the week long exhibition was officially opened, as collectors swamped the floors to buy hard-to-find exotic items.


The annual automobile extravaganza ended on Friday night, with a record turnout of visitors and many major brands launching their new models during its six-day run. Most of the exhibitors said going by inquiries they were optimistic about increased car sales in the coming year

The show - 27th annual edition of the Saudi International Motor Show - was also noted for recording trade inquiries and prospective sales, according to some of the exhibitors.

Visitors to the show said the latest, most luxurious, prestigious, and futuristic cars and their accessories on display impressed them. The show was held with the support of the Ministry of Transport and Jeddah Traffic Department, and organized by Al-Harithy Company for Exhibitions Ltd. (ACE).

The opening day of the motor show on Nov. 13 saw the launch of three cars - Nissan's Tiida, Toyota's Yaris and Honda's Civic.

"Alhamrani United Company plans to go straight to the top of the small car sales charts in the Kingdom with the launch of Nissan Tiida, a compact duo that delivers interior roominess, high quality interiors and comfortable stress-free environment at an economy price tag," Ahmed A. Alhamrani, vice president of Alhamrani group of companies, said,

Toyota Motor Corporation introduced the Yaris Hatchback. "Yaris already has a successful track record in Japan and Europe where it quickly set new standards for compact cars with its compact body size, roomy interior for the driver and all passengers, and excellent fundamental performance," said Adnan M. Al-Qahtani, general manager (marketing), Abdul Latif Jameel Import and Distribution Co. Ltd.

Honda has an impressive line of vehicles. Honda dealer Abdullah Hashim Company displayed an attractive range of motorcycles, power products, and marine motors, in addition to automobiles.

Last year, the show attracted nearly 110,000 visitors. This year the number far exceeded last year's mark. Many exhibitors said that the attendance was more than they had anticipated - and in some cases more than they had planned for. "The upgrades to the layout which was much more open this year, contributed to the free movement of visitors. The atmosphere and appearance was on a par with motor shows worldwide," said Nikitas Daskatakis, director premium brands for General Motors dealer and importer Aljomaih Automotive Company.

"We're participating for the first time in such an exhibition and are thrilled to see the terrific visitor response," said Muayyad Obeid of Al-Rassam Auto, dealer of safe SUV, Deer pickup, Sing SUV and So Cool pickup. Al-Rassam introduced Chinese 4X4 cars in the Kingdom six months ago. Khaled M. Emam, sales manager, Peugeot, said, "European cars have a good local presence and such shows are the right platforms to reach buyers." "For such a gigantic event this space is small. Hats off to the organizers for successfully organizing such a spectacular show," said Sadiq Ahmed Hafeez, marketing supervisor for Nissan cars.

The Hall 1 of the Jeddah International Exhibition and Convention Center, the exhibition venue, displayed the latest models of volume-production vehicles while Hall 2 showcased light commercial vehicles. Autocare - the after-market showcase for spare parts, garage equipment, gadgets and trade services related to the automotive industry - was featured in Hall 3, while heavy commercial vehicles were exhibited in the outdoor plaza. At the entrance of the venue, banks, insurance, leasing and investment firms beckoned the visitors with a variety of attractive offers.

The venue had a specially designed family zone that took care of the buyer's family.

A special driving track built with over a kilometer of obstacles to test off-road vehicles was another major source of attraction. A 4x4 off-road test drive circuit, replicating a regular terrain, was a popular feature of the show. Live action zones featured remote control F1 car racing, ATV motorbike stunt driving, and Challenge Land Junior Competition.


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