News – 2012.04.23

Published: April 23, 2012

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

4.23.12 EDITION

Saudi Arabia, UAE Feature as Popular Destinations for Aspiring Immigrants: AL-ARABIYA


Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates feature in the top ten list of countries people want to emigrate to, according to results of a poll released on Friday. The United States ranked the highest in being the most preferred destination for aspiring immigrants, with 150 million out of the 640 million surveyed by Gallup. The organization interviewed 452,199 adults 15 or older between 2009 and 2011 in 151 countries. 150 MILLION ADULTS WORLDWIDE WOULD MIGRATE TO THE U.S.: About 13% of the world’s adults — or more than 640 million people — say they would like to leave their country permanently. Roughly 150 million of them say they would like to move to the U.S. — giving it the undisputed title as the world’s most desired destination for potential migrants since Gallup started tracking these patterns in 2007, Gallup reports.

Positive Steps: Interview with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al Assaf: KIPP REPORT

Eva Fernandes | 4.22.12

The industrial sector is the real excitement for us, which is growing at a rate of 15 per­cent, which is not a joke. The other one is service sector, like the financial services or the restaurant and hotels or other services in the economy. A particular sector that we are excited about is the mineral resource sector, as you know we are going through huge investments in the mineral resource centre, particularly Phosphates, bauxite, and aluminum and other basic minerals, and core extractions such as cement. We are having a number of initiatives in that area, which, in my view, will lead to a si­tuation in the future where the mineral re­sources or the minerals will contribute to the GDP of the country.

Islamic Banking Grows 10 To 15% Annually: IF Chairman: ARAB NEWS

P.K. Abdul Ghafour | 4.22.12

Islamic banking and finance, with a total asset of $1.4 trillion and more than 1,000 institutions operating in many countries worldwide is all set for a big take off, says Professor Khurshid Ahmad, chairman of the Islamic Foundation UK and the Institute of Policy Studies in Pakistan and author of several books on the topic. Speaking to Arab News after giving a lecture on “Global economic crisis and the role of Islamic Economics” at the Islamic Development Bank headquarters here, Ahmad said Islamic banking and finance makes an annual growth of 10 to 15 percent when conventional banks make less than one percent. “According to an IMF study, the institutions that were least affected by the global financial crisis were Islamic banks because they engage mainly in asset-based financing,” said Ahmad, who is a winner of King Faisal International Prize and IDB Prize.

Al-Qaeda Wants Diplomat Swapped For 15 Terrorists: ARAB NEWS


Al-Qaeda has demanded the release of 15 terrorists including six women in Saudi Arabian jails as part of a swap deal to free diplomat Abdullah Al-Khalidi, local daily Al-Watan reported yesterday. The Saudi Embassy and Yemeni authorities have been trying to pinpoint the location and secure the release of Deputy Consul Al-Khalidi since he was abducted in Aden on March 28. The six women terrorists Al-Qaeda wants to be released are Haila Al-Qusayyir, Najwa Al-Saedi, Arwa Baghdadi, Hanan Samkari, Najla Al-Rumi and Haifa Al-Ahmadi. Others in the list include Faris Al-Zahrani, Nassir Al-Fahd, Abdul Kareem Al-Homaid, Abdul Aziz Al-Towailaei, Sulaiman Al-Olwan, Waleed Al-Sinani, Ali Al-Khodair, Muhammad Al-Soqabi and Khalid Al-Rahshid, an informed source told the local daily.  SAUDI DIPLOMAT MAY BE FREED SOON, YEMENI TRIBAL HEAD SAYS: A Saudi Arabian diplomat who was kidnapped last month by al Qaeda-linked militants is in “good health” and could be released within “the coming hours”, a powerful tribal leader in southern Yemen said on Monday, Reuters reports.

High Oil Prices Threatened By … High Oil Prices: PEAK OIL NEWS


Energy economists at Raymond James Financial Inc. have dramatically cut their medium-term price forecast, citing eroding growth in demand and booming U.S. production from tight oil plays like North Dakota’s Bakken. The U.S.-based brokerage slashed its 2013 forecast for WTI prices to $90 (U.S.) a barrel from $105, and its long-term target to $90 from $125 (U.S.) a barrel. It also cut its forecast for Brent crude. In part, the lower forecasts are the result of “demand destruction” as consumers adjust to $100 oil by driving less or buying more efficient cars. But the bigger story is the dramatic growth from U.S. and Canadian tight, light oil production, as companies adopt the drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that resulted in the shale gas revolution. While the growth in production is a real phenomenon, Raymond James analysts have made a “mind-boggling” forecast: the U.S. supply will grow from 5.1 million barrels a day in 2010 to nine million by 2015. The additional four million barrels in production is enough to drive down global prices, analyst Alex Morris said. And Raymond James is not alone in its bearish assessment of future crude prices.

SR63Bn Maaden Investment Big Boost for Mining Sector: EURASIA REVIEW


Total investment of Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) has reached SR63 billion, its CEO Khaled bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer announced yesterday during a meeting with Riyadh Gov. Prince Sattam.


John Burgess | 4.21.12

Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is being reined in by its new chief, Saudi Gazette reports with a republishing of a release from the Saudi Press Agency. Saudi Gazette/Okaz also report that the Commission (alternatively, Hai’a or Haya) is taking a dim view of mall owners hiring their own look-alike religious police. These rent-a-religious-cops have no authority, but take on the cloak (and short thobes) of the official anti-vice body. They lack the training that the proper officials are being given and may not understand what moral policing is actually about. Instead, they seek to impose their personal views of proper behavior.

Saudi Shares Rise to 2-Week High on Quarterly Earnings Optimism: BLOOMBERG

Zahra Hankir | 4.21.12

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index advanced to the highest in almost two weeks as first- quarter profit at companies including Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) beat estimates and after oil rose for the first time in three days yesterday. The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) climbed 1.4 percent to 7,618.07 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, the highest since April 9. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemicals company, whose profit last week exceeded analysts’ forecasts, increased 2 percent. Saudi Telecom, the kingdom’s largest phone- service provider, rose to the highest in more than a year after quarterly net income surged 60 percent.

Saudi Women Expanding Wealth Management Role: ARAB NEWS

Khalil Hanware | 4.21.12

A prestigious forum is being held in Jeddah today to help women in the Kingdom to improve their understanding of real estate investments, focusing particularly on the British market. It will take place at Dar Al-Hekma College, a private, non-profit institution of higher education for women. “This is the first of its kind event in Saudi Arabia. This is an educational initiative to equip Saudi women with a tool to invest in real estate in the UK,” said Azeemeh Zaheer, vice president of London-based Gatehouse Bank and a key presenter at the special forum.

Saudi’s Samba Posts 2 Percent Increase in Q1 Net Profit: KIPP REPORT


Saudi’s Samba Financial Group posted first-quarter net profit of 1.145 billion Saudi riyals ($305.32 million), it said on Saturday, nearly matching analysts’ forecasts. The kingdom’s second largest listed lender by market value said that its first quarter net profit increased by 2 percent year-on-year, due to a jump in operating income.

Saudi’s Kingdom Holding Q1 Net Profit Up 11.3 Pct: REUTERS

Amena Bakr | 4.21.12

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding, the investment vehicle of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said on Saturday its first quarter net profit rose by 11.3 percent year-on-year to 100.8 million riyals ($26.88 million).

Saudi Group to Unveil Key Housing Projects: TRADE ARABIA


Mizat Development Company, a leading Saudi real estate company, is set to showcase its major housing projects at the upcoming ‘Riyadh Exhibition for Real Estate and Urban Development 2012 (Restatex 2012).’ The Saudi group said it plans to introduce its Darat Al-Hada project, which is located in one of the finest residential neighborhood in Riyadh, having 98 housing units on an area that exceeds 40,000 sq m.

Habtoor Leighton Lands US$153m Jeddah Airport Deal: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Ed Attwood | 4.23.12

A joint venture including UAE-based Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) has won a key contract to help redevelop Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport. HLG’s share of the US$765m contract to design and build a new maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the kingdom’s largest airport is worth US$153m. The contractor’s joint venture partners in the deal are TAV and Al Rajhi. The client is Saudi Aerospace and Engineering Industries, part of Saudi Arabian Airlines Group.

Saudi Hacker Dies of Asthma Attack: AL ARABIYA


A Saudi hacker known just as “Cyber Terrorist” died in Riyadh after suffering an apparent acute asthma attack caused by the dust storm that hit the Saudi capital last week, UAE’s al-Bayan newspaper reported on Saturday. The 28-year-old hacker was known for penetrating the most well protected sites including Microsoft, Kaspersky, Milworm, besides the server of another hacker known as the king of hackers Kevin Mitnick. In addition to numerous Jewish sites, banks and major companies, he was also able to hack into the site of the Danish cartoonists who drew caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

‘Lulu to Open UK Logistics Centre’ – British Ambassador: ARABIANSUPPLYCHAIN.COM


Sir Tom Phillips, British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, revealed that Lulu Hypermarkets KSA is planning to open a logistics centre in the United Kingdom, the Arab News reported today. “I am delighted to have a relationship with Lulu, which is looking at opening a logistics centre in the UK,” said Phillips, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of British Week, a major food festival hosted by Lulu Hypermarkets in Riyadh and Dammam.

France Telecom Unit Opens Saudi Office: TRADE ARABIA


Orange Business Services, an arm of France Telecom-Orange and one of the Middle East’s major ICT employers, has announced the opening of its new dedicated office in Saudi capital Riyadh. Announcing the Saudi foray, Orange Business Arabia said the new office will help address the specific and significant ICT market opportunity in Saudi and also strengthen its position within the domestic market through closer proximity to customers.

Tharwa Saudi Sells Plots for $58m: TRADE ARABIA


Tharwa Investment Company’s Saudi unit sold 44 plots for over SR220 million ($58.7 million) in the Dhahran Views project at an auction recently. The company announced today that it had deposited the final payments for the exits of the Shariah-compliant Dhahran real estate portfolio into the clients’ accounts, recording overall returns of 37 per cent, it said.

Saudi Building and Interiors Exhibition Set To Open: AME INFO


Under the auspices of H.R.H. Prince Mishaal Bin Majed Bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Jeddah, the annual Saudi Building & Interiors Exhibition in conjunction with Machinery Showcase will open on Sunday, 22 April, 2012. The four-day event, held at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Jeddah Centre for Forums & Events, will run daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. till Wednesday 25 April. More than 150 exhibitors from countries like China & Turkey, who have their dedicated pavilions, as well as from Bahrain, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Spain and UAE are taking part in the show with their most advanced products and services. There is an increased focus this time on value engineering and Green buildings.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG


Given America’s new oil rush, it would seem the best of times for gas prices. But with $4-per-gallon sticker shock, it might feel like the worst of times.

How can this be? Peak Oil News writes.


As Syria’s revolution drags into its second year amid few signs that a U.N.-mandated cease-fire plan will end the violence, evidence is mounting that Islamist extremists are seeking to commandeer what began as a non-ideological uprising aimed at securing greater political freedom, Liz Sly (Washington Post) reports.


Two months after a new president took office, Yemen’s fledgling interim government has found itself overwhelmed by a set of dangerous new challenges to the country’s stability, including a series of a bold attacks by a resurgent militant movement in the south and a festering political standoff in the capital, Kareem Fahim (Washington Post) reports.


The U.S. and Afghanistan reached a deal Sunday on a long-delayed strategic partnership agreement that ensures Americans will provide military and financial support to the Afghan people for at least a decade beyond 2014, the deadline for most foreign forces to withdraw, Chicago Sun-Times reports. FIRST FEMALE DIRECTOR RISKS LIFE TO WORK EVERY DAY: Afghanistan’s first female director, risks death to go to work each day – shooting a film in Kabul is a brave act of defiance. Here she talks passionately about women’s equality and her fear that the return of the Taliban could kill Afghan cinema forever, Guardian reports.


Many ask whether the radical changes of the Arab Spring will hit Gulf States. The question has two dimensions: the first asks about desire for change in the Gulf, with all its implications. The second dimension is more analytical: it asks whether the ongoing changes in some Arab countries can spread to neighboring regions, and under what specific circumstances, Mohamed Al-Rumaihi (The Majalla) writes. ‘WHY ARAB WOMEN HAVE NO VOICE’: Is the Arab Spring a movement leading to more freedom and equal rights? Not for women, according to Amal al-Malki, a Qatari author who is very concerned about the rights of women in the Arab world.

She is largely skeptical of recent developments and says, if anything, the Arab Spring has only highlighted the continuing “second-class citizenship” of women in the region, Al Jazeera reports.


US oil major Exxon Mobil did not make the final list of 47 pre-qualified bidders for the next round of Iraq energy exploration rights because it had signed a deal with the semi-autonomous Kurdish north, an Iraq oil official said, Reuters reports.

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