News – Saudi Arabia – 2011-12-23

December 23, 2011

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

12.23.11 EDITION

Saudi Plan For GCC Is Welcome: THE NATIONAL

12/22/11

Saudi plan for a confederation-style ‘union’ of Gulf states is good news, despite doubts

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia dropped a “surprise of great proportions” at the opening of the 32nd summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council states (GCC) which wrapped up on Tuesday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, wrote Mohammed Al Hammadi, an Emirati journalist, in the opinion pages of the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper Al Ittihad yesterday.

China Replaces Iran Oil With Mideast, Africa, And Russia: AL ARABIYA

12/23/11

China has bought enough spot crude from the Middle East, Africa and Russia in January to replace lost Iranian oil supply, trade sources said on Friday, putting it in a strong position as it tussles with the Islamic Republic over payment terms for 2012 contracts.

Saudis Kicking Off Major Move Into Solar: THE NATIONAL

Florian Neuhof | 12/23/11

Saudi Arabia will take the first step to becoming a large-scale producer of solar power next year as it uses the private sector to build a first batch of solar parks.  A steep increase in demand for electricity and rapidly falling prices for photovoltaic panels have convinced decision-makers in the kingdom to reduce their reliance on fossil fuel-based power generation, setting the scene for sustained investment in alternative energy.

Saudi Arabia Leads Online Jobs Boom In November: ARABIAN BUSINESS

Andy Sambidge | 12/23/11

Recruitment activity in the Middle East rose by 28 percent in November compared to the same month last year, according to latest data supplied by recruitment firm Monster Worldwide.

Saudi Arabia Ends An Almost Decade-Old $560 Million Aid Program To Bosnia: AL ARABIYA

12/22/11

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced the end of its almost decade-old aid program to Bosnia, saying it had disbursed more than half a billion dollars in total.  Riyadh launched the aid program in the first year of the 1992-95 war in the Balkan country and said total payments came to $560 million (430 million euros).

Projects Worth SR550bn Stalled, Contractors Ask Govt To Step In: ARAB NEWS

P.K. Abdul Ghafour |12/22/11

Saudi contractors have estimated the total value of delayed public projects at nearly SR550 billion ($147 billion) and asked the government to take immediate measures to scale down its negative impact on the Kingdom’s progress and welfare of its people.

SR3,000 For Saudis In Pvt Sector Soon: SAUDI GAZETTE

Saleh Al-Zahrani |12/22/11

The Ministry of Labor is working on a new program to set the minimum salary for Saudi nationals working in the private sector at SR3,000. The program is expected to be implemented by Rabi Al-Thani 1433H (March, 2012).

Qatar Steel Ups Stake In Saudi Firm: TRADE ARABIA

12/22/11

Qatar Steel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Industries Qatar, increased its stake in South Steel of Saudi Arabia to 29.74 percent, the company said on Thursday, a nearly nine percentage point increase in ownership.

Saudi Luxury Development Stuck In Sand: THE NATIONAL

Kevin Brass | 12/23/11

Emaar Properties is struggling to sell homes in its first developments in Saudi Arabia, one of the key markets in the Dubai developer’s international expansion plans. The developer expects to begin handing over apartments and villas in the kingdom in the next few weeks in the first phases of the 6 billion riyal (Dh5.87bn) Jeddah Gate and 4.6bn riyal Al Khobar Lakes developments.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

EGYPT: ACTIVISTS GATHER FOR MASS RALLY AGAINST ARMY

Egyptian protesters gathered in Cairo for a mass rally on Friday against the military’s handling of protests that killed 17 people and drew international criticism of the ruling generals. Protesters who fought soldiers and police in the capital for five days until calm was restored this week want the ruling military council to cede power more swiftly than planned, Reuters/MSNBC reports.

ENERGY: TOP 5 ENERGY STOCKS FOR 2012

“It’s been a chaotic year in the energy world. To help make some sense of it and figure out where you should be investing now, Motley Fool polled their energy writers to come up with their top five energy stocks for 2012.”

SYRIA: CAR BOMBS KILL 40, WOUND 100 IN DAMASCUS

Two booby-trapped cars blew up at security sites in Damascus on Friday, killing a number of civilians and soldiers, state television said, in the worst violence to hit Syria’s capital during nine months of unrest against President Bashar Assad, J Post reports.
Syria’s Dunia television channel put the number of dead from the blasts at 40 with 100 wounded and said most of the casualties were civilians. Dunia cited information from its own correspondents at the scene.

PAKISTAN: US REPORT FAULTS BOTH SIDES

A United States military investigation has concluded that checks and balances devised to prevent cross-border mishaps with Pakistan failed to avert a deadly NATO airstrike last month in part because American officials did not trust Pakistan enough to give it detailed information about American troop locations in Afghanistan, the NYT reports. ARMY CHIEF SAYS COUP REPORTS ARE SPECULATION: Pakistan’s powerful military pledged on Friday to continue supporting democracy, reiterating it was not planning a takeover as tensions grew over a controversial memo alleging an army plot to seize power, Reuters reports.

TURKEY: FIRING BACK AT FRANCE, PM CITES ALGERIAN ‘GENOCIDE’

Turkey’s leader accused France of “genocide” last century during the war in Algeria, a ratcheting up of rhetoric over controversial French legislation that would criminalize any public denial of what the bill calls the Armenian genocide last century in Ottoman Turkey, CNN reports.

IRAQ: CRISIS SIMMERS AS PROTESTS FROM SUNNI STRONGHOLDS BEGIN

Several thousand Iraqis in Sunni Muslim strongholds protested on Friday against Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, responding to his moves against two Sunni leaders and taking to the streets a day after fatal bombings hit the capital Baghdad, Ghazwan Hassan (Reuters) reports.

ISRAEL: ATTACKS ON EUROPEAN CRITICISM OF SETTLEMENTS

Israel denounced European criticism of settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on Wednesday, saying the “bickering” of European Union members of the UN Security Council was making them “irrelevant.” Haaretz reports.

OPINION: DON’T STOP AT IRAQ: WHY THE U.S. SHOULD WITHDRAW FROM THE ENTIRE PERSIAN GULF

In the Atlantic, Toby Jones, wonders what the United States’ strategic priorities are in the Gulf? Are we there to secure access to oil? Protect friendly regimes from unfriendly ones? American policymaking is muddled, a combination of concern about energy security, Iranian aggression, and terrorism. This uncertainty is perilous. And the reality is that none of these challenges really require a significant military presence. Indeed, if recent history is any guide, a large military footprint in the Gulf will generate more rather than less risk.

 

/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>

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