News-2013-01-07

Published: January 7, 2013

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

The State of Social Media in Saudi Arabia 2012

There has been many infographics released over the passed few months about social media in the Middle East, some have tapped into all social networks at large and others have taken one single social network and presented the audience with the usual; number of users, gender segmentation, age …

Saudi Arabia’s $220bn spending spree

Even at growth of 3.4 percent, Saudi Arabia’s economy will be the envy of most other large countries. That figure is above the average expected GDP (3 percent) of the G20 nations – of which the kingdom is one – according to Moody’s. And, waiting in the wings, is Saudi Arabia’s vast foreign …

Pilgrims add 3 per cent to Saudi GDP

Economists have estimated the Kingdom’s revenues from Haj and Umrah services in 2012 at more than SR 62 billion ($ 16.5 billion), 10 percent up from 2011 figures. They also said that Haj revenue accounted for three percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Fahd Al-Andeejani, …

Manama Dialogue 2012: Intervention and Mediation – Prince Abdulaziz Al Saud

Prince Abdulaziz’s remarks to the “Intervention and Mediation” plenary session served as a tour d’horizon of regional security concerns from the perspective of Riyadh, ranging from implications of the so-called Arab Spring to conditions vis a vis Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Iran. He also discussed …

Saudi Arabia’s ‘golden age of learning’ under King Abdullah

The major barrier in the progress of science in Muslim countries is the absence of a culture based on scientific research. There are no established research strategies, poor institutional support and insufficient integration among science-rich communities. Appointments and promotions in …

MENA water availability depleting fast

The Middle East and North Africa region is the most water-scarce region in the world, and based on current World Bank current estimates, water availability in the region is expected to fall by half by 2025 and will have reached absolute water scarcity by 2050. According to the …

Saudi non-oil business activity surges in Dec

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector accelerated last December from the preceding month’s one-year low, the SABB HSBC’s Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index latest survey showed Saturday….

Saudi says its air force has not struck al Qaeda in Yemen

Saudi Arabian fighter jets have not attacked al Qaeda targets in Yemen, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Saturday, denying a newspaper report that some strikes attributed to U.S. drones were made instead by the kingdom’s air force. Britain’s Times newspaper on Friday cited an …

Saudi’s Top Cleric Warns Against Mixing of Genders

While Al-Sheik has spoken out in support of granting women the right to vote in 2015 alongside men in the nation’s only open elections, he has criticized the decision to allow women to work in apparel stores, saying that it puts them in contact with men unrelated to them. ‘It is necessary …

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Iran should be key topic at Senate hearings

It is essential that the issue of war or peace with Iran be fully vented, especially with the U.S. national interest in mind. Although the president has skillfully avoided a specific commitment to military action by a certain date, the absence of a negotiated agreement with Iran regarding its …

New Iran sanctions target industry in bid for deal curbing nuclear program

New U.S. sanctions have broadened the front in the West’s escalating economic conflict with Iran, targeting large swaths of the country’s industrial infrastructure even as Iranian leaders are indicating a willingness to resume negotiations on the country’s nuclear program. With Iran’s …

Syria: A Two-Year Travelogue from Hell

Today, Syria is a devastated country. The cities have turned into battlefields, and in the places from which the Assad regime’s troops and militias were forced to withdraw, its air force is now incinerating the infrastructure. Nevertheless, after months of static conflict between unequally …

Defiant Assad nixes hopes for political solution to Syrian conflict

In a rare public appearance Sunday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dashed hopes that a negotiated settlement to the nation’s civil war would be feasible anytime soon, delivering a speech in which he offered no hint that he is prepared to surrender power, negotiate with his opponents or halt …

Obama to Name Hagel for Defense, Despite Opposition

President Obama has selected a former Nebraska senator, Chuck Hagel, as his next defense secretary, a White House official said Sunday, turning to a prominent Republican to lead the Pentagon as it faces of the challenge of winding down the war in Afghanistan and possible reductions in military …

In the North Sinai, Jihadis Stand Down the Egyptian Government

Cairo-based diplomats believe that dozens of radicals from across the Middle East have flocked to the barren wilderness, and are taking up the banner of local extremists. Egypt’s military, which is prevented from having any presence near the Israeli border due to the 1979 peace treaty signed …

Bahrain rejects jailed opposition activists’ appeal

Bahrain’s highest appeal court has upheld the sentences of 13 activists for their part in anti-government protests in 2011, lawyers say. This was their last possible chance of getting their convictions overturned, their defence lawyers said. Some of the activists received life sentences …

Defense Firms Seek Alternatives as U.S. Cuts Military Spending

‘What we’re about to go through happens once every 20 to 30 years in the industry, and it requires different thinking and behavior to succeed,’ says Erich Fischer, a partner at consulting firm Booz & Co. The challenge stems from the Obama administration\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s …

Afghanistan’s IED Complex: Inside the Taliban Bombmaking Industry

The U.S, government has spent more than $21 billion since 2006 in tackling the IEDs, which it considers a strategic weapon that will remain ‘an enduring threat.’ Marred with questions of inefficiency and mismanagement, the effort is led by JIEDDO, Joint IED Defeat Organization. The group has …

An excerpt from Fred Kaplan’s “The Insurgents”

It was a moment of unaccustomed triumph for the US military, still haunted by the defeat in Vietnam. But to Nagl, it also signaled the end of the era that made the triumph possible. Tank-on-tank combat had been the defining mode of warfare for a modern superpower; now it teetered on the verge …

Officials: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills 17 in Pakistan’s tribal region

A suspected U.S. drone strike killed 17 people and wounded three Sunday in Pakistan’s volatile tribal region, Pakistani intelligence officials said.The strike occurred in Babar Ziarat, which borders the Pakistani provinces of North and South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, the officials …

Al-Jazeera hopes Current TV purchase will give it access to more American homes

Al-Jazeera will pay an undisclosed sum — unconfirmed reports said $500 million — for Current TV, the little-watched but widely distributed cable network co-founded by former vice president Al Gore. Al-Jazeera doesn’t want Current for its name or programming; it wants Current’s entree into …

Pakistani girl shot by Taliban leaves British hospital

A Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education has been discharged from a specialist British hospital after doctors said she was well enough to spend some time recovering with her family. Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban in …

Saudi Arabia, Egypt Call for Peaceful Handover in Syria

Saudi Arabia and Egypt yesterday called for a ‘peaceful handover’ of power in Syria, signaling closer cooperation as violence mounts with more than 60,000 people reported killed since the protests against President Bashar al-Assad began nearly two years ago.’A peaceful exit is an Arab and …

Lebanon’s economy rated as “high risk”

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services ranked Lebanon in the high-risk group eight in its latest Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment. In a report published Thursday that maintained Lebanon’s banking sector rating as BB negative, the agency said Lebanon scored respectively 9 – extremely …

Kuwaiti tweep sentenced to two years in prison after insulting emir in 140 characters

A Kuwaiti court on Sunday sentenced an opposition youth to two years in jail for writing tweets deemed offensive to the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state, a rights activist said. Rashed al-Enezi, who was in the courtroom to hear the sentence, was arrested by police and taken to jail, the head …

Saudi signs $470m King Faisal hospital HQ contract

Jeddah’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH &RC) will have a new headquarters at a cost of over $470m. The contract was signed by health minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah with a Saudi company. The first phase of the project, to be completed in three years, will …

Saudi Arabia secures diesel imports for this year amid rising fuel needs

Saudi Arabia’s state-run Saudi Aramco has secured diesel imports for 2013, thus boosting Asian product premiums. The country used to be a key exporter of oil products but is increasingly importing more oil products due to strong domestic demand. Saudi Aramco Product Trading Co., the …

Jeddah animal and bird souk: A haven for the rare and wonderful

It is no place for the faint-hearted. But come every Friday, lovers of the animal kingdom congregate in this spot to view and buy rare and common creatures from the Kingdom. At the Animal and Bird Souk in south Jeddah, where domesticated animals are marketed throughout the week, a unique …

TASI – 1/7/13 – up .15%

Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC