SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/
Boom in Credit for Saudi Arabia: THE NATIONAL
Private-sector credit growth in Saudi Arabia accelerated at its fastest rate in more than two and half years last month as the kingdom’s banks benefit from government injections of cash into the economy.
The 2nd US-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum brought together well over a thousand people to explore the commercial expansion in Saudi Arabia and what it means for investment and partnerships for American business people. Samra Al-Kuwaiz was a leading member of the Saudi delegation to that Forum and SUSRIS had an opportunity to talk with Ms. Al-Kuwaiz about her perspective on women in business in Saudi Arabia, how she became involved in the business sector, changes and empowerment for women in the Kingdom and her experiences in Atlanta at the US-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum.
CGES: Saudi Government Nets $81.6 Billion in 2011: OIL & GAS JOURNAL
With a surge in the OPEC basket price to an all-time high of $107/bbl, the government of Saudi Arabia in 2011 realized a budget surplus of almost $82 billion, according to a report from the Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES).
Saudi Power Output to Top 120GW by 2030: TRADE ARABIA
Extensive industrial development across Saudi Arabia is set to boost the Kingdom’s total power production capacity to more than 120 gigawatts by 2030, said an expert ahead of a major energy event in Riyadh.
The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a Saudi-based charity, has sent urgent relief assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, IIRO’s Secretary General Adnan bin Khalil Basha said on Wednesday.
Tadawul Bonanza Shows Rising Confidence: ARAB NEWS
The second highest volume of 732.4 million shares traded in the Saudi stock market’s history yesterday signaled confidence creeping back into the market.
The rise in oil prices is good news for GCC economic growth and financial markets. The Saudi Taduwal index in particular could have a lot further to rise. I don’t say that with any great unique insight. However what strikes me is that all the hallmarks of previous rampant bull markets are in place again. Retail investor interest in the market is high.
Tim Berger | 2/28/12
The majority of the film clips posted on the Selwa Video You Tube channel are comprised of films taken in Saudi Arabia between 1937 and 1940 by Tom Barger, Les Snyder and Jerry Harriss. They are among the few moving pictures that record that critical and brief moment in the country’s history when an ancient pastoral way of life was coming to an abrupt end, to be replaced by an industrial society.
Saudi Justice Minister, Dr. Mohammed al-Issa, has said that female lawyers in the kingdom would soon be able to practice their profession at the ministry and across investigation and prosecution offices.
Saudis Split On Admitting Women into Islamic Police: EMIRATES 24|7
Saudi people have been split on government plans to break a long-standing ban and allow women to join the Gulf Kingdom’s feared religious police, with one branding women as troublesome and anther calling for dismantling that force.
Asma Alsharif | 2/29/12
Female participation in sports has long been a controversial issue in the conservative Islamic kingdom, which on February 15 was lambasted by Human Rights Watch for never having sent a woman athlete to the Olympics.
Mobile Telecommunications Co. of Saudi Arabia, known as Zain Saudi, is in talks with lenders to refinance its $2.5 billion Islamic loan facility that matures in July, two people familiar with the matter said.
Saudi To Honour $3.7 Bn Aid Pledge To Egypt: GOOGLE NEWS
AFP | 2/29/12
Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that it would honour a pledge of $3.75 billion in aid to Egypt, after complaints by the Egyptian premier that donor countries were failing to respect their commitments.
Counterfeiter To Languish In Saudi Jail: SAUDI GAZETTE
In a landmark judgment, Saudi Arabia’s Board of Grievances (BOG) has upheld the recommendation of the Ministry of Information to mete out a jail sentence against a trader of pirated goods. The conviction has been seen by the Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAA) as a precedent for merchants to strictly comply with the Kingdom’s piracy laws, while serving as a deterrent to would-be violators.
What Did Saudi Arabia Say To Assad? – OpEd: ARAB NEWS
Tariq Alhomayed | 2/29/12
Saudi Arabia has said, over and over again, that its religious and moral duty behooves it to take the stand it has adopted today against the Assad regime, and this is in order to protect the unarmed Syrians, and to protect Syria itself from who knows what awaits it, in light of Assad’s brutal repression.
Mourad Haroutunian | 2/29/12
Kingdom Holding Co., an investment company controlled by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is seeking to sell bonds for the first time, joining an increasing number of Saudi Arabian companies aiming to tap the debt market.
A German state minister says he finds Saudi Arabia a fertile land for initiating green projects.
Australia scored three goals in five whirlwind minutes to come back from behind and dump Frank Rijkaard’s Saudi Arabia out of the running for 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualification in Melbourne today. Australia trailed 2-1 at half-time but hit back with three second-half goals to run out 4-2 winners, as Oman leapfrogged the Saudis to claim the second Group D qualifying spot.
SYRIA: 7,500 KILLED BY ASSAD
Syria’s brutal crackdown on anti-regime activists has killed more than 7,500 people in the last 11 months, the United Nations has claimed, Daily Mail reports. GROUND ASSAULT LAUNCHED: Syrian security forces have launched a ground assault on the besieged city of Homs, in an attempt to overrun rebel-held districts that have endured nearly a month of bombardment that killed hundreds and left residents in desperate peril, VOA reports.
IRAN: UNITED STATES CONSIDERS NEW MESSAGE
Complaints from Israel about the U.S.’s public engagement with Iran have pushed the White House to consider more forcefully outlining potential military actions, and the “red lines” Iran must not cross, as soon as this weekend, according to people familiar with the discussions, Carol Lee and Jay Solomon (WSJ) report. IRANIAN’S OUTLOOK FOR US ACTIONS: Iranians’ already low approval of U.S. leadership did not get worse after the U.S. toughened sanctions in late 2011. Eight percent of Iranians approved of U.S. leadership in late 2011 and early 2012 — one of the lowest ratings the U.S. receives worldwide. While nearly half of Iranians (46%) support cutting ties with countries that impose economic sanctions on Iran, nearly one in three (31%) do not, showing a sizable minority of Iranians still value relations, Julie Ray (Gallup) writes.
UNITED STATES: 10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT DRONES
When drones were created, how they’re used, and what their future looks like, by Micah Zenko (FP)
AFGHANISTAN: FORCES FACE THREAT FROM WITHIN
Afghanistan must act quickly to tackle infiltration of its security forces or another fatal attack on Western forces could undermine ties with NATO, a senior Afghan defence ministry official said on Wednesday, in a rare admission of the threat within, Reuters/NYT reports.
EGYPT: CONFUSION OVER ARREST OF MAN IDENTIFIED AS AL-QAEDA COMMANDER
Doubts have emerged over the identity of a man arrested at Cairo airport on Tuesday, suspected of being a top al-Qaeda militant. Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi was detained on arrival from Pakistan and taken for questioning, security officials said. But he told reporters at the airport that he was not Saif al-Adel, an al-Qaeda commander whose real name the US lists as Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi, BBC reports. MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD CONSOLIDATES POWER: Egypt’s newly elected upper legislative chamber chose a member of the country’s most powerful Islamist group to lead it Tuesday, extending the control of parliament by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Washington Post reports.
QATAR: LEADER OF ARAB WORLD IN YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP
One in three Qatari nationals between the ages of 15 and 29 (33%) say they plan to start a business in the next 12 months, the highest percentage to say so in the Arab world in 2011. Across the Arab League, a median of 9% of young people are aspiring entrepreneurs, Gallup reports.
ISRAEL: IN CITY, A TRIBUTE TO PALESTINIAN DOCTOR
The municipality of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa took the exceptional step of naming a square in memory of their father, Fouad Ismail Dajani, a respected Palestinian physician who founded the first private hospital in Jaffa in 1933, Washington Post reports.
AFGHANISTAN: THE DEATH OF A STRATEGY
The reality, however, is that the strategy developed under General Stanley McCrystal has been dying for a long time and for many more reasons than the growing distrust between U.S. and ISAF personnel and the Afghans. It was already clear in 2009 that the odds of success were no better than 50 percent, Anthony Cordesman (CSIS) writes.
BAHRAIN: HUNDREDS RAILROADED IN UNJUST TRIALS
Bahrain has routinely convicted hundreds of opposition activists and others of politically motivated charges in unfair trials, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should void the convictions in trials before Bahrain’s military and civilian courts that fell far short of international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said.
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