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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

#Iran: A visit from the sultan | The Economist - #Oman

Iran: A visit from the sultan | The Economist:

"
OMAN'S Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said (pictured on the left) has passed many messages between America and the Islamic Republic of Iran during their 34-year long antipathy. He lobbied the Iranians on behalf of the United States to release detained American journalist Roxana Saberi, and eventually pardon three young hikers who were accused of spying in 2009. He also negotiated the release of both Shahrazad Mir Gholikhan and Mojtaba Atarodi, Iranians whom America had imprisoned for allegedly trying to export to Iran night-vision goggles and high-tech lab equipment, respectively.

It is hardly surprising then that the arrival on August 25th of the 72-year-old sultan for a three-day state visit in the same month as the inauguration of President Hassan Rohani (pictured on the right), a more moderate man than his predecessor, has sparked regional media speculation that he brings with him another message from the Americans."

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Dubai court dismisses Kuwaiti Sheikh's $21 million claim against UBS | Reuters

Dubai court dismisses Kuwaiti Sheikh's $21 million claim against UBS | Reuters:

"A Dubai court has dismissed a Kuwaiti sheikh's $21.4 million claim against UBS AG (UBSN.VX) in which he alleged the Swiss bank failed to pay him for helping it become lead arranger on a $9 billion asset sale by Kuwaiti telecom operator Zain.

The case highlighted the complexity of doing business in the Gulf, where personal connections to high-ranking officials or executives are often valued in deal making.

But in a damning written verdict, Justice Sir David Steel described Sheikh Meshal - a member of Kuwait's ruling family - as a witness in whose evidence it was "difficult to have confidence ... his evidence in some respects did not just appear evasive but was demonstrably unreliable"."

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Dana Gas Egypt production reaches 200 million scfd - Emirates 24/7

Dana Gas Egypt production reaches 200 million scfd - Emirates 24/7:

"Dana Gas, the Middle East's leading regional private sector natural gas company, announced that it had achieved gas production level in Egypt of 200 million standard cubic feet per day (equivalent of 41,500 boepd, including over 8,000 barrels per day of associated liquids), the highest level for the company in the country in 2 years.

This represents a growth of 29% over the 2012 average, it said.

The company’s core operations in the Nile Delta and its Egyptian Bahrain Gas Derivatives Company (EBGDCo) Natural Gas Liquids extraction plant in Ras Shukheir remained stable and have not been impacted by the current events in Egypt.

Dana Gas is in discussions with the Egyptian authorities on its capital expenditure plans aimed at further increasing production and at resolving the issue of outstanding payments. This is in line with the Egyptian Government’s efforts to increase local hydrocarbon production to benefit the local population. The Company is conducting positive discussions with the relevant authorities and looks forward to an early resolution."

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Europe's Dirty Drugs Secret Stacey Dooley Investigates EP 2 BBC #Odessa #Ukraine



The 15 Countries With the Highest Smartphone Pentration

The 15 Countries With the Highest Smartphone Pentration:

"Nearly three out of four people in the United Arab Emirates owns a smartphone, making it the country with the highest smartphone penetration in the world. Following the UAE are South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The United States doesn't even fall into the top 10, finishing at No. 13 with just 56.4% penetration, according to Google's Our Mobile Planet report from Q1 of 2013.
"

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Brent oil hits six-month high amid Syria turmoil - FT.com

Brent oil hits six-month high amid Syria turmoil - FT.com:
"Brent crude hit a six-month high as the prospect of US military intervention in Syria unsettled the oil market.
ICE October Brent climbed more than $2 to as much as $113.05 a barrel as western powers readied a response to the suspected use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government in the country’s civil war.
Oil prices have been climbing steadily since the start of July as clashes between Islamists and the military in Egypt have raised concerns about the flow of oil through the Suez Canal and Sumed pipeline, key transit points for the global oil trade."

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Swinging Ukraine: Russia rejects customs union with EU-looking neighbor — RT Business

Swinging Ukraine: Russia rejects customs union with EU-looking neighbor — RT Business:

"Russia says it won’t let Ukraine into its Customs Union, if it seals a trade agreement with the EU. This is likely to end long negotiations with Ukraine over its membership of the Russian-led club, as Kiev is expected to team up with the EU in November.

Further talks on a compromise for Ukraine’s participation in both  - a trade alliance with the EU and the customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus - are senseless, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said after the Russian-Ukrainian talks.

"We were holding negotiations on the basis that they sign this agreement [with the EU -" Kommersant"].  Parallel to that they say what they want to join the Customs Union. They can speak about it, but can they do it? We realized that we did not see a compromise after we analyzed absolutely everything”, business daily Kommersant quotes Shuvalov. "

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Dubai Shares Decline Most in World on Prospect of Syria Strike - Bloomberg

Dubai Shares Decline Most in World on Prospect of Syria Strike - Bloomberg:

"Dubai’s stock index plunged the most in the world as the Obama administration vowed to hold Syria’s government liable for chemical weapons attacks and Iran warned a U.S. attack could engulf the region.
The DFM General Index tumbled 7 percent, the most since November 2009 and the steepest slump among more than 90 global benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg, to 2,549.61 at the close in Dubai. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest publicly traded developer, lost the most since January 2010, and Gulf Navigation Holding (GULFNAV), whose tanker fleet ship oil and gas, slid 9.4 percent. The seven Persian Gulf benchmarks fell.
“It’s down to geopolitics with respect to what is happening in Syria,” Talal Touqan, head of research at Al Ramz Securities LLC, said by phone from Abu Dhabi. “Foreigners are apparently selling and exiting the market.”"

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Small uptick Monday keeps UAIndex above the 4,000 level - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

Small uptick Monday keeps UAIndex above the 4,000 level - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Monday’s trading closed at 4,037.02, up +0.30% on relatively small trading volume.

Agrogeneration topped Monday’s Best Performing list, up +1.40% on trading of 34,047 shares.

On the Worst Performing list, KSG Agro was bottom-feeder, down -6.37% on trade of 11,147 shares.

Monday’s Volume Leader was Agroton, down -3.61% on trade of 150,674 shares"

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Iran in Oman talks to export $60 bn worth of gas - FRANCE 24

Iran in Oman talks to export $60 bn worth of gas - FRANCE 24:

"The Gulf sultanate of Oman is in talks to buy Iranian gas in a 25-year deal worth around $60 billion, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday.

Zanganeh said Iran and Oman had "signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a gas pipeline" under the Sea of Oman, on the east of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The construction would "soon" commence once "research on different routes" is completed, he said while hailing the agreement as "the largest economic deal" between Iran and Oman, which enjoys good ties with Tehran unlike other Gulf countries."

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ECONOMICS - Lira, stock market plunge to record lows during Turkish Central Bank governor’s interview

ECONOMICS - Lira, stock market plunge to record lows during Turkish Central Bank governor’s interview:

"Stock market tumbled during a live interview with the Central Bank governor, despite his optimistic and confident remarks about the pace of markets.

The lira plunged down to 2,0335 against the dollar while Governor Erdem Başçı was speaking live on the television, while the stock market plunged to its lowest point this year, sinking to 66,752 points. The lira was around 2,0051 before the interview began.

Başçı’s dollar estimation: 1.92

Even Başçı’s optimistic forecasts regarding the future of currencies and general outlook of main financial indicators couldn’t save the Turkish currency from slide and did not soothe investors concerned over the Syrian crisis and the possibility of future Fed liquidity withdrawal."

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BUSINESS - Turkish minister hopes UAE firm’s exit motives not political

BUSINESS - Turkish minister hopes UAE firm’s exit motives not political:

"The Turkish energy minister has said he hopes the Abu Dhabi firm’s consideration to exit the coal-fired power plant project in Turkey were not “political,” adding Turkey had already started talking with other countries.

“I wish that TAQA [Abu Dhabi National Energy] company’s choices weren’t based on political reasons,” the Energy Minister Taner Yıldız told reporters, commenting on the several media reports that have claimed that TAQA, the state-owned oil explorer and power supplier, may exit the $12-billion energy project.

“It seems like the latest incidents in Egypt and Syria have put TAQA in a position to make choices about its energy investments from its perspective,” Yıldız said."

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Ukraine to stop being Russia’s strategic partner after signing Association Agreement with EU » Interfax News Wire

Ukraine to stop being Russia’s strategic partner after signing Association Agreement with EU » Interfax News Wire :: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia:

"Ukraine will stop being Russia’s strategic partner and will virtually lose the status of subject of international law following the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union, Russian presidential aide Sergei Glazyev said.

“Having signed the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukraine deprives itself of the sovereign right on all issues of trade policy we have given to the Customs Union,” Glazyev said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 (Russia 24) TV channel.

“Ukraine will stop being our strategic partner and it will disappear as a subject of international law because it will have to coordinate all its action in the trade sphere with the EU,” Glazyev said. “Ukraine will not be able to make a step towards us if the EU does not allow it to do. We do not understand why Ukraine is giving up its sovereignty voluntarily to Brussels, rejecting cooperation with us on preferential terms,” he said."

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Russia: Ukraine Can't Be In Both EU, Customs Union

Russia: Ukraine Can't Be In Both EU, Customs Union:

"
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) meets with his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Azarov, in Gorki on August 26.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov says Ukraine cannot be in the European Union and the Russian-led Customs Union at the same time.

Shuvalov made the remark after talks between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in Moscow.

Earlier, Medvedev urged Azarov to discuss "the legal, organizational, and economic consequences" if Kyiv signs a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

Moscow wants Kyiv to abandon a possible association agreement with the EU and is pushing it to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan instead."

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Market Buzz: Stocks shaky on Syria — RT Business

Market Buzz: Stocks shaky on Syria — RT Business:

"Russian floors could gain on high oil prices which have risen as the civil war in Syria heightens.

“Russia is winning from the high oil prices,” Slava Smolyaninov, Deputy Head of Research at UralSib Capital, told Bloomberg.

High oil prices could carry equities in recovery from Monday’s weak performance. The MICEX fell 0.3 percent to 1,386.63 and the dollar-based RTS dropped 0.3 percent to 1,324.03.

Gazprom, Russia’s largest natural gas producer, increased 0.29 percent to 132.47 rubles and Lukoil, the country’s second-largest oil company, jumped 0.11 percent to 1,942.62 rubles."

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Emirates, flydubai services cut by Dubai Airport repairs | GulfNews.com

Emirates, flydubai services cut by Dubai Airport repairs | GulfNews.com:

"Emirates Airline and flydubai are facing a reduction in services next summer due to runway repairs at Dubai International Airport.
The northern and second runways at the world’s second busiest airport are scheduled to undergo maintenance repairs from May 1 to July 20.
A spokesperson for Dubai Airport said airlines were informed earlier this year that capacity would be reduced by 28 per cent during the 80-day repair period."

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Corporate governance cannot be a one-way street | GulfNews.com

Corporate governance cannot be a one-way street | GulfNews.com:

"Since 2008, corporate governance has received an increasingly higher profile in global businesses. In April, a report by the Red Flag Group, a compliance consultancy, criticised the corporate governance procedures of UAE companies, suggesting that Dubai- and Abu Dhabi-listed companies were still operating to a ‘box-ticking’ model of corporate governance.
But there have been indications that this is a priority for the government; recent initiatives to develop anti-bribery and corruption legislation, as well as proposed changes to foreign company ownership, suggest recognition at the highest levels of the importance of corporate governance. This is sound policy; international trade and finance hubs such as the UAE need to command the trust and confidence of many diverse regions if they are to attract trade and investment.
Whilst globalisation has meant that companies, markets and ways of doing business have changes, contemporary thinking on corporate governance has not necessarily evolved at the same rate. Therefore the frameworks which guide how companies function are not always attuned to the environments in which they operate."

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Caspian Sea Energy Profile: Increasingly Important Source Of Global Energy Production - Analysis Eurasia Review

Caspian Sea Energy Profile: Increasingly Important Source Of Global Energy Production - Analysis Eurasia Review:

"
The Caspian Sea region is one of the oldest oil-producing areas in the world and is an increasingly important source of global energy production. The area has significant oil and natural gas reserves from both offshore deposits in the Caspian Sea itself and onshore fields in the Caspian basin. Traditionally an oil-producing area, the Caspian area’s importance as a natural gas producer is growing quickly.

This report analyzes oil and natural gas in the Caspian region, focusing primarily on the littoral (coastal) countries of the Caspian Sea (Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran). A discussion of Uzbekistan is also included. While not a Caspian coastal state, a considerable amount of Uzbekistan’s territory, along with its energy resources, lies in the geological Caspian basins."

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Emal expansion on schedule - The National

Emal expansion on schedule - The National:

"Construction of Emal's phase two expansion is more than 70 per cent complete and on schedule to meet its deadline of December.

Officials credit the progress of the smelter to the partnership with Khalifa Port, which serves the development. By the time the project is finished, around 5,000 containers filled with equipment required for construction, will have been shipped through the port on route to the Al Taweelah complex.

"One of the reasons for this success is the partnership we have developed with Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), which has enabled the smooth and efficient transportation of the vital equipment needed to build one of the world's largest single-site aluminium smelters," said Yousuf Bastaki, Emal's vice president for projects, in a release yesterday."

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Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria - Telegraph

Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria - Telegraph:

"The revelations come amid high tension in the Middle East, with US, British, and French warship poised for missile strikes in Syria. Iran has threatened to retaliate.
The strategic jitters pushed Brent crude prices to a five-month high of $112 a barrel. “We are only one incident away from a serious oil spike. The market is a lot tighter than people think,” said Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review.
Leaked transcripts of a closed-door meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan shed an extraordinary light on the hard-nosed Realpolitik of the two sides."

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Saudi Gazette - GFH given BB- rating, ‘Positive Outlook’

Saudi Gazette - GFH given BB- rating, ‘Positive Outlook’:

"Gulf Finance House (GFH), the Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, said Monday that Capital Intelligence (CI) has accorded GFH a long-term and short-term corporate rating of BB- and B, respectively with a “Positive Outlook”.

In its report, CI noted that the bank’s ratings reflect a significant reduction in leverage as a result of debt repayments and substantial increases in equity. The rating agency has placed positive weightage on GFH’s successful restructuring of all its term debt with extended repayment periods, and the return to profitability in 2012.

Capital Intelligence also said fresh injections of capital through the bank’s convertible Murabaha program along with debt repayment have substantially improved GFH’s leverage."

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Saudi Gazette - IDB eyes $10b sukuk

Saudi Gazette - IDB eyes $10b sukuk:

"Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the AAA-rated multinational lender, will boost its sukuk program by more than 50 percent by year-end as demand for financing from member countries, including Turkey and Morocco, grows.

IDB aims to raise its medium-term note program to $10 billion from $6.5 billion, so that it is ready to tap the market at any time, said Abdul Aziz Al Hinai, vice-president of finance at IDB.

The increase will be the largest by value since the programme was started in 2005 by the almost 40-year-old bank."

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Saudi Gazette - SABB plans sukuk sale to bolster its capital

Saudi Gazette - SABB plans sukuk sale to bolster its capital:

"Saudi British Bank (SABB), an affiliate of HSBC Holdings, is aiming to sell an Islamic bond by year-end to strengthen its capital base, two banking sources aware of the matter said on Monday.

HSBC is advising SABB on the potential riyal-denominated sukuk issue to boost its Tier 2 capital position, the sources said, declining to be identified as the matter is not public.

SABB's total capital ratio - combining core Tier 1 and supplementary Tier 2 capital - was one of the lowest among banks in the Kingdom at the end of June, at 14.78 percent."

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