ARABIALINK Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/
Saudi Arabia Issues Its First Sovereign Islamic Bond: NEW YORK TIMES
Sara Hamdan | 1/25/12
Saudi Arabia issued its first government-backed Islamic bond this week, for its aviation agency, setting a benchmark for pricing of conventional and Islamic bond issues this year because of its size. At 15 billion riyals, or $4 billion, it was the largest Islamic bond, or sukuk, ever issued within the kingdom. The sukuk, guaranteed by the Saudi Ministry of Finance, was oversubscribed three times, and the Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation will use the proceeds to finance the expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jidda, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia, after Riyadh.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah began detailed discussions on the Kingdom’s Trade Policy Review at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on Wednesday. Al-Rabiah is heading the Saudi delegation participating in the policy review meetings. U.S. STATEMENT ON THE TRADE POLICY REVIEW OF SAUDI ARABIA: Participating in Saudi Arabia’s first Trade Policy Review since the Kingdom joined the WTO in 2005, Ambassador Michael Punke, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Permanent Representative to the WTO, provides an overview of the U.S.-Saudi trade relationship.
AP Interview: Saudi Warns Of Mideast Nuclear Race: BOSTON GLOBE
AP | 1/25/12
An influential member of the Saudi royal family warned Wednesday that unless the Middle East becomes a nuclear weapon-free zone, a nuclear arms race is inevitable and could include his own country, Iraq, Egypt and even Turkey. Prince Turki Al Faisal said the five permanent U.N. Security Council members should guarantee a nuclear security umbrella for Mideast countries that join a nuclear-free zone — and impose “military sanctions’’ against countries seen to be developing nuclear weapons.
With its latest acquisitions from Washington and Europe, the Saudi Air Force will have more fighter-bombers of more advanced models that the Israeli Air Force. Deep concern over this was recently relayed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Ayesha Daya | 1/26/12
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. will invite contractors this month to prequalify to bid to build the $7 billion Jazan refinery in the Red Sea province, the Middle East Economic Digest reported, citing contractors it didn’t identify. The plant will have a 400,000 barrel-a-day capacity.
Saudi Oil 30-Year Output High Amid Gulf Tensions: SUSRIS BLOG
William Ryan | 1/24/12
Saudi Arabia’s monthly crude oil production jumped 7.3% in November topping 10.04 million barrels per day, a 30-year high mark, according to data compiled by JODI. The output numbers “came with an increase in exports and a decrease in domestic consumption,” according to Bloomberg Television’s Lara Setrakian who added, “it reflects OPEC as a whole.”
Saudi Hospital Wins Global Recognition for IT: TRADE ARABIA
King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSH&RC) in Riyadh and Jeddah has achieved Stage 6 on the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), which scores hospitals on the use of IT. CLEVELAND CLINIC TRAINING PROVIDERS IN SAUDI ARABIA: Cleveland Clinic has signed an affiliation agreement with professional managed healthcare company Healthcare Development Holding Co. to provide medical education and training to healthcare providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reports Fierce Healthcare.
Nine Held in Qatif as Police Raid Hide-Out: ARAB NEWS
Police have arrested nine suspects involved in recent shoot-outs with security patrols in the Qatif governorate in the Eastern Province.
Kingdom Wants Prisoner Swap Accord With Iraq: ARAB NEWS
Saudi Arabia has asked Iraq to sign a bilateral agreement to exchange prisoners, local Arabic daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported Wednesday, quoting an official source at the Iraqi Embassy in Riyadh.
Andrew Davenport | 1/26/12
For me, a first time attendee and speaker at the annual Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh, it has been a fascinating event with real insights into entrepreneurship in the Middle East. While having a strong international (mostly US) flavor, it was established by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority as an unashamed attempt to bring a profile and focus to attempts to raise the competitiveness of this resource rich middle income economy.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) launched a new initiative – dubbed the “Entrepreneurship Village” – on the final day of the Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh.
Abraaj May Invest in Egyptian, Saudi Arabian Companies: BUSINESSWEEK
Abraaj Capital Ltd., the Middle East’s biggest private-equity company, is in “advanced stages” of investing $20 million in small and medium-sized Egyptian companies and is also targeting investments in Saudi Arabia.
SOMALIA: U.S. SPECIAL FORCES FREE TWO AMERICAN HOSTAGES IN RAID
U.S. special operations forces swooped into Somalia on Wednesday and rescued two hostage aid workers after killing their nine kidnappers, a rare and daring raid in the Horn of Africa nation to free foreign captives. American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, of Denmark, humanitarian aid workers for a Danish demining group, were rescued three months after they were kidnapped on October 25 in the town of Galkayo in the semi-autonomous Galmudug region of the Horn of Africa country, Reuters reports.
UNITED STATES: THE FUTURE OF MILITARY: MORE DRONES, FEWER TROOPS
The plan, to be unveiled by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday and in budget documents next month, calls for a 30% increase in the U.S. fleet of armed unmanned aircraft in the coming years, defense officials said. It also foresees the deployment of more special-operations teams at a growing number of small “lily pad” bases across the globe where they can mentor local allies and launch missions, the Wall Street Journal reports.
EGYPT: COUNTRY BARS SAM LAHOOD FROM LEAVING
Officials of the group, the International Republican Institute, said the Egyptian authorities had blocked its Cairo chief, Sam LaHood, from boarding a flight at the airport several days ago. His father is Ray LaHood, the transportation secretary and a former Republican congressman from Illinois. Officials of the group said Egyptian legal authorities told them four others, including two other Americans, had been barred from travel outside the country as well. COUNTRY PROTESTERS PLAN SIT IN UNTIL ARMY LEAVES: Egyptian youths camped out on Thursday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and vowed to stay put until the army hands power to civilians, a day after a mass demonstration marked a year since an uprising which brought down Hosni Mubarak, Arab News reports.
PAKISTAN: CLOSURE OF SUPPLY ROUTES COSTS US 6 TIMES MORE PER ROUTE
The U.S. is paying six times as much to send war supplies to troops in Afghanistan through alternate routes after Pakistan’s punitive decision in November to close border crossings to NATO convoys, the Associated Press has learned. ‘NEW NORMAL UNCLEAR’ FOR US AND PAK: With Pakistani disapproval of U.S. leadership soaring to an all-time high of 85% last year, hopes for achieving some normalcy between the nations appear somewhat grim. But Gallup data also show a sizable percentage of Pakistanis (43%) believe it is very important for Western and Muslim societies to get along — suggesting this hope is not completely dead, Gallup reports.
TURKEY: GCC-TURKEY MEET WILL BOLSTER TIES
Prince Saud Al-Faisal, foreign minister, will co-chair the ministerial meeting between the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Turkey in Istanbul on Saturday, Arab News reports.
QATAR: RESEARCHERS FIND POTENTIAL NEW OVARIAN CANCER TREATMENT
A medical college in Qatar said that its researchers have made a possible breakthrough in the way ovarian cancer is treated, Gulf News reports.
ENERGY: IN STATE OF THE UNION, A GOOD START
The very fact that energy played a prominent role in the president’s framing of key measures to help build an “America built to last” is important and correct. Affordable and reliable energy has always been a staple of American economic growth and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. With all of the other issues plaguing government right now, energy could easily have been downgraded to a lesser priority, but it wasn’t, CSIS writes.
OPINION: HOW THE ARAB SPRING CAN SAVE SYRIA
The Arab League observer mission to Syria—sent under an agreement with the Syrian government to withdraw forces from the cities, release all political prisoners and allow monitors and journalists free movement throughout the country—has utterly failed and should not be extended, Kate Seelye (National Interest) writes.
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