The Pentagon on Friday welcomed Saudi Arabia's pledge to commit ground forces to fight Islamic State jihadists in Syria, should the US-led coalition ever send in combat troops. Saudi Arabia has been part of the coalition since late 2014. "We welcome the announcement by Saudi Arabia that they6 days agoAFP
The planned “North Thunder” military exercise is a clear message to Iran and the countries in the region it supports that any hostile intentions and actions will be firmly dealt with, an expert has said. The military drill is scheduled to be held in the northern region of Saudi Arabia in the next few days and a number of countries will be participating in it, local media reported on Tuesday. Military experts have warned that the next probable threat to the Gulf states is likely to come from the northern areas, after Iran demographically occupies Iraq and uses that country as its military arm to meddle in the affairs of neighboring countries and drain Gulf states’ resources.
Kurdish forces backed by Arab rebel groups on Wednesday seized most of a key military airport and the adjacent town in northern Syria from rival anti-government factions, a monitoring group said. The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and its Arab allies expelled Islamist and other rebel fighters from the town of Minnigh and overran "more than half" of the nearby air base, north of Syria's second city Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Clashes were ongoing inside the airport, where Islamist rebels were trying to maintain a grip on the last military air base they hold in Aleppo province, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
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New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) The construction of India's strategic petroleum storage in Karnataka's Mangaluru with the assistance of the UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is proceeding on schedule and will be completed soon, the government said on Wednesday. According to an Indian petroleum ministry release here, this was mentioned by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in his meeting here with United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, ahead of the India visit of Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
By Katie Paul RIYADH, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's three telecom operators are in talks to create a company to own and manage their mobile transmitter towers in a move that could cut costs and lower tariffs in the kingdom, a Saudi financial news website reported on Wednesday. Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) in November said it was considering selling its towers, most likely to a tower company which would lease these back to the seller.
Qatar signed a long-term deal with Pakistan on Wednesday to export liquefied natural gas, according to state media in the Gulf. The deal will see Qatar export up to 3.75 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year, according to Pakistan's petroleum minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The Qatar News Agency (QNA) confirmed the deal had been signed in a statement posted on its website.
Syrian Kurdish separatists on Wednesday opened a representation in Moscow amid a push by the Kremlin to have them included in Syria peace talks despite Turkey's objections. "This is a historical moment for the Kurdish people," Merab Shamoyev, chairman of the International Union of Kurdish Public Associations, said at the ceremony in an industrial neighbourhood in southeast Moscow. "Russia is a great power and an important actor in the Middle East.
* Turkey, Russia exchange barbs over downed plane * Russian sanctions depress bilateral trade * Executives fear being barred from Russia: bank source (Releads with source at bank, possible buyer) By Oksana Kobzeva and Margarita Papchenkova MOSCOW, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Turkish conglomerate Fiba Group has put up for sale a bank it owns in Russia, two banking sources told Reuters, a decision that may be due partly to a row between Moscow and Ankara over the shooting down of a Russian warplane. One of the sources said Fiba Group's decision to sell Credit Europe Bank was prompted by fears among the unit's senior executives that their Russian entry visas might not be renewed because of the diplomatic dispute.
New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS/WAM) Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is on a three-day visit to India, on Thursday visited Rajghat and laid a wreath at the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Sheikh Mohamed, who observed a minute's silence in respect, also planted a sapling at the site and watered a tree that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had planted on a visit to India. "The world is in much need today for the principles and values that Gandhi lived by," Sheikh Mohamed wrote in the guestbook.
South Korea announced on Wednesday it would completely shut down all operations at a jointly run industrial park in North Korea to punish Pyongyang for its latest rocket launch and nuclear test. WHAT IS KAESONG? Kaesong is formally labelled as a special administrative industrial region of North Korea.
Ramallah, Feb 11 (IANS) The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday in a press statement that the Israeli walls and fences will not make peace with Palestinians. "It is bridges of peace that bring security to all," said the statement, which also warned of the consequences and implications of the annexation and "colonialist walls mentality" adopted by Israeli government as a policy to anchor the occupation, Xinhua reported. The ministry's statement came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported a plan to surround "the entire State of Israel with a fence" to keep out refugees, drawing the analogy that the people of neighbouring countries are like "predators".
Qatar's World Cup organisers said on Wednesday that six labourers building stadiums for the 2022 tournament suffered work-related injuries last year but there were no fatalities. Qatar has been widely condemned for its treatment of almost two million foreign workers. Critics have estimated that several thousand workers could die in the run-up to the World Cup because of labour conditions in Qatar on direct or indirect tournament projects.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for the efforts the Kingdom has exerted in assisting coalition forces against Daesh. Speaking to reporters following talks with Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir held at the headquarters of the State Department in Washington, Kerry said: “Let me thank King Salman and Saudi Arabia for the strenuous efforts they have made in assisting coalition forces against Daesh and their being prepared to include their troops as part of the coalition.
* Sees larger drop in 2016 non-OPEC supply of 700,000 bpd * OPEC output rises in January, increasing supply glut * Says low oil prices hurting world economy (Adds details from report, quotes) By Alex Lawler LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - OPEC pointed to a larger oil supply surplus on the world market this year than previously thought as Saudi Arabia and other members pump more oil, helping to make up for losses in non-member producers hurt by the collapse in prices. OPEC's 2014 strategy shift to defend market share and not prices helped deepen the decline. OPEC also cut its forecast for world economic growth in 2016 to 3.2 percent from 3.4 percent and said low oil prices were hurting the economy, in contrast to previous price slides that were supportive of global growth.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party's Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, following a video clip that showed his minister's involvement in a bribe demand. "Kejriwal should resign on moral grounds. Seven MLAs of AAP have gone to the jail and approximately 32 (AAP) people have criminal cases against them, what kind of government is this," Upadhyay said, talking to IANS.
The defeat on Tuesday in the Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka brought the Indian players down to earth after the auction euphoria of the Indian Premier League (IPL) barely two days before the game. None of the new-found IPL millionaires was playing at Pune, though the highest-paid Indian, Pawan Negi, was in the squad. Dominated by the IPL rejects -- Secuge Prasanna, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Dishamantha Chameera and Sanchitha Senanayake - the islanders nearly bowled the Indians out for less than a hundred before coasting to a five-wicket victory.
Mumbai, Feb 10 (IANS) Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan are praying for the recovery of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, the soldier who was rescued from under an avalanche on the Siachen glacier, in what many have called a 'miracle'.
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 10 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday urged party leaders in Kerala to stop fighting among themselves ahead of the assembly polls, saying only "the Congress can defeat the Congress". "The Congress is like a family and can fight (within), but it should not be done (now) as elections are around the corner," he said here. "Only the Congress can defeat the Congress in Kerala.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) In the midst of political controversies between India and Pakistan, six Indian directors including Aparna Sen, Tanuja Chandra and Ketan Mehta and six Pakistani directors of the likes of Mehreen Jabbar, Sabiha Sumar and Meenu Farjad are coming together on a common platform for an apolitical exchange to mark the onset of the 70th year of the country's Partition. After the launch of Zindagi channel which brought Pakistan's TV content closer to Indians in 2014, Zeal For Unity (ZFU) is the second initiative by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) to use the strength of creative thought leadership from both the countries to bridge the divide between the two.
Iranians waved "Death to America" banners and took selfies with a ballistic missile Thursday as they marked 37 years since the Islamic revolution, weeks after Iran finalised a nuclear deal with world powers. In the capital, hundreds of thousands converged on the historic Azadi (Freedom) Square, where President Hassan Rouhani was set to make a speech. Many demonstrators carried the traditional placards reading "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" while others carried the Iranian flag.
Mumbai, Feb 10 (IANS) Actor Sidharth Malhotra says he doesn't have any special plans for Valentine's Day and will be working on his film "Baar Baar Dekho" with Katrina Kaif. At the trailer launch of his film "Kapoor and Sons", Sidharth was asked how he intended to celebrate Valentine's Day. "As of now, I'll be travelling and shooting for 'Baar Baar Dekho', so sadly with the whole crew," he said.
* Syria says Saudis cannot bear costs of intervening * Government forces aim to open highway south * Idlib's time will come, says minister By Laila Bassam and Tom Perry DAMASCUS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The Syrian government expects a tough battle for Aleppo, the city that has become the focal point of the country's long civil war, but is confident of victory and says it won't be a long fight. Damascus aims to seal the border with Turkey, a major sponsor of the insurgents fighting President Bashar al-Assad, and to retake rebel-held areas of what was Syria's biggest city and industrial hub before the conflict began in 2011. "These battles are not easy, but the day will come, God willing, when all Aleppo - its rural areas and the occupied part of the city - will return to state authority," Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said in an interview on Wednesday.
Lucknow, Feb 10 (IANS) Following a complaint and an internal probe, the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has held the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for Deoband assembly by-polls in Uttar Pradesh guilty of making a hate speech with the aim of dividing the voters on religious lines. Social activist Shehzaad Poonawalla had made a complaint before the minorities panel seeking action against Rampal Singh Pundir for his inflammatory speech. The panel will now contact Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, vide a letter seeking action against Pundir, an official said.
The UAE and India are set to unveil a series of new agreements which will strengthen their strategic partnership in new areas, a top Indian official said, as His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, began a three-day official visit to India on Wednesday. The memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that will be signed between the two countries range from infrastructure investment, cooperation between financial and insurance agencies and renewable energy to cyber security, forging stronger cultural links and exchange of skill sets, Anil Wadhwa, Secretary East, Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said on Wednesday.
(Corrects CIB Q4 profit to 1.15 billion pounds from 1.5 billion, and annual increase to 11 pct from 46 pct) DUBAI, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Middle East may come under pressure on Thursday after oil prices reversed back near $30, although Egypt may find support from a blue-chip lender's strong earnings. Dubai's index, which has been outperforming its regional peers, could weaken after the largest listed real estate developer, Emaar Properties, posted earnings at the low end of expectations. Emaar reported near-flat quarterly net profit of 1.03 billion dirhams ($281 million), after taking a writedown related to a fire at one of its hotels on New Year's Eve.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday greeted the Iranian government and its people on the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in their country. "On behalf of the government and the people of India and on my own behalf, it is with great pleasure that I convey warm greetings and best wishes to Your Excellency and to the government and people of Iran on the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran," the president said. The president extended his greetings in a message to his Iranian counterpart Dr Hassan Rouhani.
South Korean companies prepared Thursday to begin pulling out of a jointly-run industrial zone in North Korea after Seoul shut it down to punish Kim Jong-Un's regime for its recent nuclear test and rocket launch. Wednesday's announcement to close the Kaesong complex took many by surprise, given that South Korea had always allowed it to remain open despite serious provocations in the past. Defending what it called an "unavoidable" decision, the South said North Korea had been using the hundreds of millions of dollars in hard-currency cash that it earned from Kaesong to fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday launched a bitter attack on NATO ally the United States over its support of Syrian Kurdish groups, saying it was creating a "pool of blood" in the region. In an impassioned and sometimes angry address, Erdogan asked whether the United States was an ally or was working with groups Ankara lists as terror organisations. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia to be terror groups allied to Kurdish rebels inside Turkey, a position not shared by Washington.
Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said Wednesday he had lost an appeal against his exclusion from elections for the powerful Assembly of Experts. "Based on news we have received, Sayyad Hassan Khomeini's qualification for candidacy for the Assembly of Experts has once again not been approved by the Guardian Council," he wrote on instant messaging service Telegram. The Guardian Council, a conservative-dominated committee that decides who can run for public office, has barred hundreds of candidates from standing for the assembly on February 26, the same day as parliamentary polls.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) The BJP on Wednesday sought Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's resignation after the Delhi High Court set aside a trial court order to the CBI to release documents seized during a raid at the state secretariat. In an order on Wednesday, Justice P.S. Teji said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will retain the documents seized by it during a raid at the office of Rajendra Kumar, principal secretary to Kejriwal, on December 15, last year. "The Bharatiya Janata Party welcomes the high court decision.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday called on Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, soon after he arrived here on a three-day visit. EAM @SushamSwaraj calls on Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Al Nahyan," external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted with pictures of the two leaders. Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke protocol as he received the crown prince on his arrival here.
(Repeats Tuesday item) * Namazi was left behind in U.S.-Iran prisoner swap * Prisoner advocated U.S.-Iran rapprochement through business * Dubai-based executive may be pawn in Iran power struggle By Paul Taylor BRUSSELS, Feb 9 (Reuters) - When Iran and the United States sealed the implementation of a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme with a prisoner exchange last month, Siamak Namazi was among the detainees some expected to be freed by the Iranian authorities. The businessman with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship was on a list of four prisoners to be released published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency and the Tabnak website on the day of the swap, Jan. 16. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters the following day he had commitments from Iran that Namazi's case would be resolved.
Abu Dhabi, Feb 10 (IANS/WAM) The cooperation between India and the UAE in the energy sector is expected to grow following the visit to India of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, beginning Wednesday. The visit comes six months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to strengthen bilateral ties and increase investments between the two countries.
Long seen as a destination strewn with shortcomings, Iran is making a fresh pitch for tourists, with the recent lifting of economic sanctions providing an opportunity to cash in. The tourism industry has been overlooked by successive governments in Tehran but the deal Iran struck with world powers over its nuclear programme last summer could change that. Along with nine companions including Americans and Germans, China-based Frenchman Yannick Lequelenec said he aims to make "one unique journey" every year.
(Releads with Security Council meeting, Syrian minister, reports from aid workers) * Kerry seeking ceasefire, access for aid * Major powers meeting in Munich on Thursday * Little hope of breakthrough * Source says Russia pushing for battlefield victory * Syria says no halt to offensive By Michelle Nichols, Tom Perry and Humeyra Pamuk UNITED NATIONS/DAMASCUS/ONCUPINAR, Turkey, Feb 10 (Reuters) - W orld powers pressed Russia on Wednesday to stop bombing around Aleppo in support of a Syrian government offensive to recapture the city and a Western official said Moscow had presented a proposal envisaging a truce in three weeks' time. Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing for a ceasefire and more aid access to Aleppo, where rebel-held areas are being cut off and the United Nations has warned a new humanitarian disaster could be on the way.
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* Says U.S. stance turning region into "sea of blood" * Says Turkey should respond with own proposed solution * U.S. envoy summoned over support for Syrian Kurds * Turkish army says soldier killed in clash with Kurds (Adds Erdogan comments on safe zone) By Daren Butler ISTANBUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan upbraided the United States for its support of Syrian Kurdish rebels on Wednesday, saying Washington's inability to grasp their true nature had turned the region into a "sea of blood". Turkey should respond by implementing its own solution, he said, alluding to the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria - something Ankara has long wanted but a proposal that has failed to resonate with the United States and other NATO allies.
* Kerry pushing for ceasefire * Major powers meeting in Munich this week * Source says Russia pushing for battlefield win * Syria says offensive will continue By John Irish and Louis Charbonneau PARIS/UNITED NATIONS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Major powers meeting in Germany on Thursday aim to revive Syria peace efforts, but with Russia backing a government push for a military victory, opposition delegates and Western officials see little hope of a diplomatic breakthrough. United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura halted the first attempt to negotiate an end to Syria's war in two years after an unprecedented offensive by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against Western-backed rebels supported by Russian air strikes.
The Kingdom’s decision to sever ties with Iran following attacks on its diplomatic missions in Tehran and other cities is a sovereign act aimed at preserving its security and stability, Vice-Prime Minister of Mauritius Showkutally Soodhun has said. Talking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette during his recent visit to the Kingdom, Soodhun said Saudi Arabia’s decisive action was aimed at stopping Iran’s intervention in the internal affairs of other countries and putting an end to its aggressive policies. “Iran is known for its intervention in the affairs of the Arab and Islamic countries.
* French foreign minister questions U.S. "commitment" * Says Russia, Iran have noticed * Comments come as Fabius steps down from post (Adds details, quotes) PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday questioned the commitment of the United States to resolving the crisis in Syria, saying its "ambiguous" policy was contributing to the problem. "There are ambiguities, including among the actors of the coalition ... I'm not going to repeat what I've said before about the main pilot of the coalition," Fabius told reporters, in a clear reference to the United States. "But we don't have the feeling that there is a very strong commitment that is there." Fabius, who separately announced on Wednesday that he was leaving the French government, as expected, ahead of a wider reshuffle of ministerial posts, said he did not expect U.S. President Barack Obama to change his stance in the coming months.
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside the order of the trial court directing the CBI to release the documents seized during the raid at the office of Rajendra Kumar, principal secretary to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on December 15, 2015. The court's order came on a CBI plea challenging a trial court order directing the probe agency to release the documents. The CBI, however, said the documents seized from the office of Rajendra Kumar "prima facie reflect criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct and abuse of official position by the accused people".
Saudi Arabia's Bank Albilad plans to issue 1 to 2 billion riyals ($267-533 million) of sukuk by the end of the second quarter of 2016 to finance expansion, chief executive Khaled al-Jasser told CNBC Arabia. The bank plans to open 25 new branches and hire more employees, which Jasser said would likely increase costs this year by 15 to 17 percent. Given weak market conditions, Jasser said the bank would prefer not to distribute dividends at the moment.
Rabat, Feb 11 (IANS) Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar said on Wednesday that his country supports Saudi Arabia against any interference in its internal affairs. "We reiterate our full support of Saudi Arabia against any interference in its internal affairs," Xinhua quoted Mezouar as saying during a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel bin Ahmad Al-Jubeir. Mezouar said Morocco also stands with Saudi Arabia against the growing threats that undermine peace and stability in the Gulf region, and "firmly rejects any use of sectarianism as a tactic to interfere in Gulf countries' affairs".
Jerusalem, Feb 11 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the parliament on Wednesday that the situation is not yet right for a two-state solution aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a statement from his office read. In a speech during a special Knesset (parliament) session, Netanyahu said he supports the two-state solution, as he stated in his seminal 2009 Bar-Ilan speech in which he acknowledged it officially for the first time, but the Palestinians do not accept Israel's basic principles, Xinhua reported. "I have clarified what is needed to end the conflict between us and the Palestinians, acknowledgment and demilitarization," Netanyahu said on Tuesday evening, according to a statement from his office.
Seoul, Feb 10 (IANS) South Korea's parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution condemning North Korea's rocket launch, calling for effective sanctions against Pyongyang. The National Assembly called an emergency plenary session on the final day of the five-day Lunar New Year holiday, passing the resolution with 241 votes in favour and seven abstentions, Xinhua reported. The resolution said Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test and long-range missile test clearly violated UN Security Council resolutions, denouncing the reckless provocative acts threatening peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the international community.
DUBAI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock index edged lower in early trade on Wednesday in response to a fresh slide of oil prices, while Egypt's market moved little. The Saudi stock index lost 0.6 percent to 5,852 points in the first half-hour of trade; it has minor technical support at the early February low of 5,834 points. Any break would trigger a minor double top formed by the end-January and February highs and pointing down to about 5,600 points. Petrochemical shares held up, with Saudi Basic Industries climbing 0. ...
Chennai, Feb 10 (IANS) There is an incredible demand for dubbed entertainment content in the country, says Sashi Kumar and his team of writers who have lent the magic of words to the Tamil and Telugu dubbed versions of Ryan Reynolds-starrer "Deadpool". Sashi represents Sound and Vision India, the country's biggest film dubbing company. "The demand for dubbed English films in the regional market is amazing.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Wednesday slammed as "hypocritical" calls by some countries urging Ankara to open its borders to Syrian refugees while failing to demand Russia halts punishing air strikes. Turkey is under mounting pressure to open its border to people fleeing a Russian-backed assault by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the north of the war-torn country. On a visit to the Netherlands, Davutoglu insisted the borders of his country had always been open to those fleeing Syria's civil war.
(Adds analyst, background) CAIRO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Egypt's annual urban consumer inflation fell to 10.1 percent in January from 11.1 percent the previous month, the statistics agency CAMPAS said on Wednesday, after the country raised interest rates and moved to control prices of essential food. The central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points in December, citing inflationary pressure. In November, Egypt's government said it would control prices of 10 essential goods, and the army rolled out trucks to distribute subsidised food.
The Saudi-backed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad said they would attend peace talks later this month but called on U.S. President Barack Obama to show more strength with Russia to stop an aerial bombardment of their positions in Syria. When asked if the opposition would attend peace talks later this month, spokesman Salim al-Muslat told Reuters: "Yes we will go. When asked again whether he would go to peace talks, he said "We will go to peace talks.
The United Arab Emirates plans to release new risk management and corporate governance rules for banks by the end of this year, a senior central bank official said on Wednesday, as a looming economic slowdown threatens to pressure credit quality. "We are changing the UAE regulatory framework that will be consistent and transparent as per international standards," James O'Brien, head of regulatory development at the central bank, told a conference of regional regulators. Banks were hit hard by the UAE's financial crisis of 2009, as credit problems spread from small firms to large government-linked companies.
The Saudi economy will continue to slow in 2016, as the private sector gradually adjusts to the new norm of fiscal deficits and lower spending announced by the government, Jadwa Investment has predicted in a report. The report comments on the reduction in the level of spending outlined in the 2016 Saudi budget: “This move underscores the government’s determination and ability to support economic activity despite the prevailing subdued oil pricing environment.” According to the report, as oil prices fall year-on-year, the fiscal deficit will remain in double digits, but that the government is expected to gradually diversify its revenue base and consolidate its spending. The report added that price increases for domestic energy products mentioned in the budget is a welcome move that points to the start of a new trend of reform in domestic economy policymaking.
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 10 (IANS) Ahead of assembly elections in Kerala, the two known factions of the CPI-M in the state have decided to work together, setting aside their internal issues. The majority faction in the Communist Party of India-Marxist is led by former state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, while former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan heads the other. The Vijayan faction, which more or less controls the party, had decided to teach Achuthanandan a lesson after he walked out of the party state conference last year.
Saudi and Zambian representatives discussed bilateral cooperation in agriculture, grain trade and investment at a meeting here. Saudi businessmen present at the discussion expressed their willingness to invest in Zambia’s agricultural sector in the interest of strengthening the food security initiative. A Zambian delegation headed by Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda is in the capital and met with Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Faris, director general of Saudi Grains Organization (SGO), on Tuesday seeking cooperation to further enhance bilateral ties.
Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) US President Barak Obama has proposed $19 billion for the US space agency in the fiscal 2017 budget - a little less that $19.3 billion NASA received for the fiscal 2016. According to the initial numbers released by NASA, while $5.6 billion are earmarked for science, $3.3 billion are for deep-space exploration programmes like Mars. The proposed budget also lists $5.1 billion for space operations, including $1.4 billion for upkeep of the International Space Station (ISS) and $1.2 billion for the Commercial Crew programme to replace the space shuttle, the US space agency said in a statement.
Visakhapatnam, Feb 10 (IANS) As the International Fleet Review concluded, the massive warships lined off the Visakhapatnam coast bid adieu to the coastal city in an impressive and first ever Passage Exercise (PASSEX). The 54 foreign and Indian ships that were anchored for review by President Pranab Mukherjee sailed out of Visakhapatnam on Tuesday evening. The Passage Exercise was conducted in two groups, centred on Indian Naval aircraft carriers - INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat.
Neil Nitin Mukesh is afraid of being alone -- it is such fears and more that a string of Bollywood stars have shared ahead of the release of "Neerja" -- a biopic on a fearless woman. The celebrities shared their fears as part of a unique social media campaign made for the Sonam Kapoor starrer "Neerja", which encourages unleashing one's fears and exhibiting courage. Produced by Atul Kasbekar under the banner of Fox Star Studios, the film, which is slated to release on February 19, revolves around the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in Pakistan and how a flight attendant named Neerja Bhanot saved the lives of 360 people on board the air craft.
Madrid, Feb 10 (IANS) Real Madrid face being without two key footballers for their next two games as Gareth Bale and Marcelo both look likely to miss Saturday's La Liga game. Real are to play against Athletic Club Bilbao at home, and the first leg of their European Champions League last-16 tie away against Roma the following week. Left back Marcelo suffered a shoulder injury as he fell awkwardly during Real Madrid's hard-fought 2-1 win away to Granada on Sunday night and his place on the left will either be covered by Nacho Fernandez or Danilo, reports Xinhua.
No cases of Zika virus have been found in the Kingdom so far, a senior health official has said. “We have been strictly implementing the measures advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the spread of Zika in the Kingdom,” said Prof. Hayel Matar Al-Abdali, director of the department in charge of combating infectious diseases at the Health Ministry. Zika’s symptoms are similar to that of dengue, the official said while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
KFSH Blues, Pak Shaheen, Lahore Badshah and Fast have qualified for the semifinals of the Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz Saturday League, which is being organized by Riyadh Cricket Association (RCA).
Mumbai, Feb 10 (IANS) A new TV show "MTV Girls On Top" will celebrate girl power and attempt to shatter longstanding stereotypes and question taboos surrounding women in Indian society. Starting from March 7 on MTV, the show will talk about the issues women face in the country. The show will feature the journey of three girls who try to survive in Mumbai - dealing with job issues, love issues and also domestic issues.
Thai police have broken up a major fake passport ring led by an Iranian known as "The Doctor" which sent thousands of passports to Middle Eastern customers trying to enter Europe, officers said Wednesday. The kingdom has long been a hub for a forged document industry serving human traffickers and other criminals. Five years of investigation culminated in Monday's arrest of the alleged Iranian mastermind Hamid Reza Jafary, police said.