News – 2011.08.25

Published: August 25, 2011
SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/

8.25.11 EDITION

Jobs and Houses Are Key Saudi Priorities: THE NATIONAL

Tom Arnold | 8/25/11

High youth unemployment and a lack of affordable housing are the biggest challenges for Saudi Arabia, the IMF says. But the kingdom has the fiscal power to meet the social priorities. SAUDIS SCRAMBLE TO MEET NEW LABOR DEADLINES: “The Saudization program required an across-the-board hiring system to increase employment of locals to 30%, but never exceeded a third of its goal. Nitaqat features a more nuanced system. There are 164 different quotas based on the performance of individual businesses that must employ a certain percentage of Saudis according to the size of their workforce and the type of services. On September 10, Saudi companies must demonstrate they have met the quotas,” but some say the deadline is an unrealistic goal,” writes Rob Wagner ( S&P PREDICTS FURTHER PROPERTY PRICE FALLS IN GULF REGION: Property Wire reports, “As markets in the GCC region mature, S&P said it expected to see greater emphasis on urban regeneration with ‘a pronounced shift away from high end residential development toward affordable housing’, particularly in Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Economy Likely To Outperform Emerging Markets In 2011: ARAB NEWS


“Various data suggest a modest slowing in the pace of domestic economic activity in the past few months in Saudi Arabia, as the impact of salary adjustments made earlier in the year fades and project activity cools. Looking ahead, lower oil prices and a weaker external environment might keep a lid on private investment growth in the second half, though the country’s fundamental strengths remain unimpaired, and the economy is likely to outperform most emerging markets this year.”

OPEC Unlikely To Cut Supply Early In Libyan Restart: REUTERS

Alex Lawler | 8/24/11

“OPEC’s Gulf members are unlikely to reduce oil output in the early phases of a restart of Libyan supplies, because it is unclear how long a significant recovery will take.”

Saudi Petchem Stocks Attractive: ARAB NEWS


“NCB Capital, Saudi Arabia’s largest investment bank and leading GCC wealth manager, said in a new report issued Wednesday that with the long-term advantages remaining intact, the bank believes the Saudi petrochemical stocks look attractive at current valuation levels. However, in the near term, concerns on the global economy could lead to weakness in petrochemical prices and demand.”  BOOST FOR SAUDI FOOD RETAILERS: “Saudi Arabian shares rose yesterday to their highest in a week as a series of equity upgrades by HSBC helped to lift sentiment,” writes Hadeel al Sayegh (Arab News).

Saudi Arabia Discovers 9,000 Year-Old Civilization: REUTERS


Saudi Arabia is excavating a new archaeological site that will show horses were domesticated 9,000 years ago in the Arabian Peninsula, the country’s antiquities expert said on Wednesday.

Low Rates Tempt Gulf Bond Issuers but Timing Key: ARAB NEWS


“Low US interest rates and a need for dollar funding will encourage borrowers in the Gulf to defy volatile global markets and issue bonds after a summer lull, as investors eye decent returns for relatively low risk.”

KSA to Host the First Saudi International IT Conference: BAHRAIN NEWS AGENCY


“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host the first Saudi International IT Conference scheduled to be held in the Conferences Hall in the Saudi capital Riyadh on 18th September 2011.”


Saudi Arabia Raises $54 Million for Somali People: PRESS RELEASE


“Today, the Saudi National Campaign for the Relief of the Somali People announced that it has raised $54 million in relief funding for the people suffering from famine in Somalia. In addition to financial assistance, donations including food, shelter materials and medical supplies have been distributed to the people of Somalia.”


Umrah Package Rates Touch All-Time High: SAUDI GAZETTE

Shahid Ali Khan | 8/24/11

“The round-trip Umrah-package rates from Riyadh to Makkah and Madina have touched all-time high, as holy fasting month of Ramadan has entered the last ten days.”

Saudi Woman Campaigner Briefly Arrested For Driving: AFP


“A Saudi mother was freed after she was briefly arrested in the western city of Jeddah on Wednesday for defying a ban on women drivers.”

Saudi Arabia Denies Lifting Ban on Filipino Maids: ARABIAN BUSINESS


Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour on Wednesday denied media reports that it was set to life a ban on recruiting domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia.

High Internet Activity over Ramadan Period in Saudi Arabia, Says Effective Measure: AME INFO


Effective Measure, a specialist in digital audience measurement in the emerging markets, released data showing unusually high Internet activity over the Ramadan period in Saudi Arabia, with up to 700,000 unique browsers seen daily between 12AM to 3AM mid-Ramadan.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG


“With the capital now almost completely under rebel control, the Libyan war’s focus is quickly shifting to an all-out manhunt for fugitive leader Moammar Gaddafi,” Thomas Erdbrink and Liz Sly (Washington Post) report. “Wild rumors flew around Tripoli on Wednesday: He’s holed up in a network of tunnels linking the Rixos hotel, his Bab al-Aziziya compound and the sea. He’s at his farm near the international airport. He’s hiding among the animals at the Tripoli Zoo, which is located in a park that lies between the compound and the hotel, an area still under loyalist control.” REBEL COUNCIL TAKES LIBYAN SEAT AT ARAB LEAGUE: “The Arab League gave its full backing to Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people on Thursday and said it was time for Libya to take back its permanent seat on the League’s council,” Asharq Alawsat/Reuters report.


One of the best-known cartoonists in the Arab world has been beaten up by Syrian security forces, reports say. Ali Farzat, whose work is strongly critical of the government, was forced out of his car in Damascus, badly beaten and dumped at the side of the road, activists say, BBC reports.


What impact will the call by the United States and major European powers for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down–followed by heightened U.S. and EU sanctions–have on Syria-Iran relations? They will push Syria even more into the arms of Iran, writes Juan Cole (Informed Comment/Iran Primer). 7 POLICEMEN KILLED: Seven policemen died and nine were wounded when a suicide bomber blew up a minibus Wednesday night at a checkpoint near Ramadi, an Iraqi army spokesman said, Annie Gowen (Washington Post) reports.


“Israeli air strikes have killed five people in Gaza, while a barrage of rockets fired by Palestinian militants into Israel has wounded a baby,” BBC reports.


Matt Duss (FOREIGN POLICY) comments that, “The Iranian nuclear program, and the outstanding questions that the international community still has regarding its true nature, represents a continuing challenge to the United States and its allies in the region. But the prospect of an Iran with a nuclear capability is problematic enough without bringing in wild claims about the Iranian appetite for destruction. Indeed, by potentially engendering a hysterical overreaction, the pervasiveness of the “martyr state” myth actually detracts from our ability to develop policies to effectively meet that challenge.


“Eighty-three candidates have signed up for next month’s special Parliamentary elections to fill 18 seats vacated by al-Wefaq, the largest Shiite Muslim opposition group, Bahrain News Agency said today,” Donna Abu Nasr (Bloomberg) reports.


Police in Pakistan denied Thursday that an American development consultant kidnapped 12 days ago has been freed, retracting an announcement made hours earlier that an operation to rescue him was successful,” Richard Leiby (Washington Post) reports.


“Iraq and Kuwait, two countries that share a small border and big history of mutual suspicion and war, are at it again. This time they are arguing about Kuwaiti plans to build a mammoth port that Iraq claims interferes with its shipping lanes in the Gulf,” Asharq Alawsat/AP reports.


“Property prices and rents in the Gulf will continue to fall in the second half of 2011, according to the latest outlook report on the region from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s,” Property Wire reports.


“The idealism of the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, where the power of the street revealed the frailty of authority, revived an Arab world anticipating change. But Libya’s unfinished revolution, as inspiring as it is unsettling, illustrates how perilous that change has become as it unfolds in this phase of the Arab Spring,” writes Anthony Shadid (NYT).

“Though the rebels’ flag has gone up in Tripoli, their leadership is fractured and opaque; the intentions and influence of Islamists in their ranks are uncertain; Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi remains at large in a flight reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s; and foreigners have been involved in the fight in the kind of intervention that has long been toxic to the Arab world.

“Not to mention, of course, that a lot of young men have a lot of guns.”


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