News – 2012.03.20

Published: March 20, 2012

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

3.20.12 EDITION

Eating Grit: CROSSROADS ARABIA

3/20/12

The dust storms have complicated life. Schools (most of them) have been closed. Visibility has been reduced greatly, so drivers are being warned to exercise caution. Air traffic, too, has been slowed. March in the Kingdom is still in it’s ‘In like a lion’ phase. The dust is so fine that it works its way through all but hermetically sealed doors and windows, adding a bit of minerals to the diet and a bit more wear on the teeth.

Oil Slips Towards $124 on Saudi, Libya Supplies: REUTERS

Jessica Donati | 3/20/12

Brent crude fell towards $124 a barrel on Tuesday as signs of increased supply from Saudi Arabia and a return to pre-war exports from Libya eased pressure on the market, while a slowdown in Chinese demand and a stronger dollar also weighed.

Soaring Economic Activity to Spur Saudi Cement Demand: ARAB NEWS

3/20/12

Heavy government spending and increased economic activity will see a strong demand for cement in 2012, according to a new report from NCB Capital. JEDDAH CEMENT CONSUMERS FEAR VENDOR MANIPULATION: Cement consumers in Jeddah have expressed fears that small traders will manipulate cement prices after the Ministry of Commerce and Industry fixed them at SR12 per bag for factories and SR14 for shops and street vendors, Mohammed Al-Sulami (Arab News) reports.

Kingdom’s Petchem Earnings To Grow Despite Weakness In Demand: ARAB NEWS

3/17/12

NCB Capital, Saudi Arabia’s major wealth manager, expects continued growth in the petrochemical sector’s earnings in 2012, though at a slower pace. In a new report issued yesterday, NCB Capital highlighted that despite the anticipated weakness in demand and prices of petrochemicals, the sector’s earnings are expected to be supported by the full year contribution from Saudi Kayan and Sahara’s Al-Waha plants, as well as the prevailing feedstock advantage.

Oil Giant Saudi Aramco Rethinks Global Comms Strategy: THE HOLMES REPORT

3/19/12

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, is rethinking its global communications strategy as it undertakes an ambitious corporate transformation.

Kingdom’s ICT Spending Reaches SR83bn in 2011; To Grow 12% in 2012: ARAB NEWS

3/20/12

The Communications and Information Technology Commission estimates that the volume of spending on the ICT services in the Kingdom rose to SR83 billion in 2011 compared to SR21 billion in 2002, an average annual growth rate of about 14 percent.

Saudi-Japanese JV Scales New Heights: ARAB NEWS

3/20/12

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has announced to confer the Monozukuri Nippon Grand Award on the Unicharm Gulf Hygienic Industries Ltd., a Japanese-Saudi joint venture based in Riyadh.

London 2012: Saudi Women Could Compete For the First Time: BBC

3/19/12

Saudi Arabia could be set to send female athletes to Olympics for the first time.

The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee has given a list of potential candidates for the London Games to the International Olympic Committee.

BAE Systems Honors Saudi Engineering Students: ARAB NEWS

Ghazanfar Ali Khan | 3/20/12

In an effort to recognize the contributions of Saudi engineering students and to encourage them to contribute to the development of the nation, BAE Systems Saudi Arabia honored 12 major model projects completed by engineering students of King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh on Sunday.

Saudi Electricity Picks Banks For Global Sukuk Roadshow: LONDON SOUTH EAST

Rachna Uppal | 3/19/12

Saudi Electricity Co can expect strong appetite for its debut foray into global debt markets, after the state-owned utility picked banks for roadshows ahead of a potential dollar-denominated Islamic bond.  SEC will hold investor meetings in Asia, the Middle East and Europe starting March 21 following which the company may issue a sukuk, subject to market conditions.

Kingdom Taking Tough Measures Against Economic Crimes: ARAB NEWS

3/20/12

The dramatic development in the techniques, means of communication and settlement of payments, accompanied by expansion of a continuous liquidity of the global financial situation, has led to a range of diversified methods used in cross-border money laundering operations. SAMA Gov. Fahd Al-Mubarak commented on such developments at the inauguration of the 4th Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering Seminar held at the Institute of Banking yesterday.

Large Saudi Youth Delegation To Visit Indian Technology Hubs: PROKERALA NEWS

3/20/12

Promoting youth relations between India and Saudi Arabia, a 45-member delegation of Saudi youth will be visiting India for the first time for a 10-day forum that will engage people from both countries on the Indian experience in technical education.

Drake & Scull Saudi Awarded AED135m Contract: ARAB NEWS

3/20/12

Drake & Scull Saudi has recently been awarded a AED135 million contract to provide turnkey MEP solutions to a high-profile project in Jeddah — the Assila Towers, which consists of a 5-star hotel and serviced apartments operated by Rocco Forte Hotels, a major luxury hotel brand in Europe.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

IRAN: SWIFT EXPELS 30 IRANIAN BANKS

A global communication network vital to the banking industry announced on Thursday that it was expelling as many as 30 Iranian financial institutions — including the Central Bank — crippling their ability to conduct international business and further isolating the country from the world economy, Rick Gladstone and Stephen Castle (NYT) report.

INTERVIEW: KHALAF AL HABTOOR

Khalaf Al Habtoor needs little introduction. The founder and chairman of the Dubai-based Al Habtoor Group is as renowned in the Arab world for his straight, no-nonsense opinions as he is his vast business interests. He believes the GCC is the only collective group of countries that can successfully oust Syrian president Bashar Al Assad from power, says Nakheel’s decision to try to charge residents in its Shoreline development for beach access risked ruining the reputation of the emirate and warns caution for those looking to invest in the Middle East. Yet he is still most at ease talking shop, Claire Ferris-Lay (Arabian Business) writes.

AFGHANISTAN: US OFFERS CONCESSIONS ON NIGHT RAIDS

The Obama administration is offering to cede some control over nighttime missions into Afghan village homes, U.S. officials say, in a bid to ease tensions with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that took on new urgency with the deadly rampage in a Kandahar village last week, Adam Entous (WSJ) reports.

PAKISTAN: DRONES AT ISSUE AS U.S. TRIEDS TO MEND FENCES

Making up is never easy. But as Pakistan and the United States try to restart their troubled relationship after a year of spectacular crises, the difference could come down to drones, Declan Walsh, Eric Schmitt and Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud (NYT) report.

ISRAEL/PALESTINE: SETTLERS TAKING OVER SPRINGS IN PALESTINE

Israeli settlers have taken over dozens of natural springs in the West Bank, limiting or preventing Palestinian access to much-needed water sources, a United Nations report said on Monday, Google/AP reports. US WARGAME SEES PERILS OF ISRAELI STRIKE ON IRAN: A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials, Mark Mazetti and Thom Shanker (NYT) report.

BAHRAIN: ARCAPITA BANK FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY IN US COURTS

Arcapita Bank, a Bahraini investment firm heavily invested in the United States, filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection Monday in a bid to turn the debt-heavy company around, AP reports.

LIBYA: NATO MUST PROBE CIVILIAN DEATHS, AMNESTY SAYS

Amnesty has called on Nato to investigate civilian deaths from its bombing campaign in Libya last year, BBC reports.

IRAQ: DOZENS KILLED IN ATTACKS ACROSS IRAQ AHEAD OF ARAB LEAGUE SUMMIT

At least 48 people were killed across Iraq on Tuesday by a series of bombings and shootings, despite tight security ahead of next week’s meeting of the Arab League, Alice Fordham and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) report.

SYRIA: OPPOSITION GROUP ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

US campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says elements of Syria’s opposition have carried out serious human rights abuses, including kidnapping, torture and execution, BBC reports.

/The daily news is provided as a service of the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC. Visit www.SUSTG.org for more information and to get a free email subscription to the News Review./</h4></div>