BAGHDAD, Nov 27 (Reuters) – British lender Standard
Chartered launched banking operations in Iraq on
Wednesday, saying it hoped to benefit from large infrastructure
projects in a country trying to rebuild after years of conflict.
Standard Chartered is one of a small number of foreign banks
with operations in Iraq, which is seeing rapid economic growth
fuelled by oil production but also its worst upsurge in
sectarian violence in at least five years.
BAGHDAD/LONDON (Reuters) – Jewish books and documents found by U.S. soldiers in the flooded headquarters of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and sent to the United States for restoration have touched off a dispute between Baghdad and Iraqi Jews who fled the country.
After a $3 million restoration, the collection has been put on display at the Washington-based National Archives. But bowing to demands from Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslim-led government, the United States says it will return the collection next summer. Some of the artifacts date to the 16th century.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been quietly reining in their clerics on concerns that preachers could use their influence to stir up trouble and inflame sectarian divisions at a time of high tension over the crises in Syria and Egypt.
DUBAI/KUWAIT (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been quietly reining in their clerics on concerns that preachers could use their influence to stir up trouble and inflame sectarian divisions at a time of high tension over the crises in Syria and Egypt.
Authorities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to a powerful conservative clergy, have declined to respond to local media reports in recent months which said nearly 20 clerics had been sacked or suspended.
KUWAIT (Reuters) – A Kuwaiti lawmaker has filed a request to question the prime minister in parliament over housing and graft, in a sign of renewed political discord in the major Gulf oil producer.
The move against Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, a senior ruling family member, comes just two days after the opening of parliament, where officials have said tackling a shortage of government-funded housing is a priority.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank AUBB.BH (AUB) is looking for acquisitions in its existing markets and in new ones as it tries to build a network across the Middle East, its chief executive said.
Its desire to expand across borders reflects a trend among Gulf banks, which are increasingly outgrowing their home markets. Rising trade and travel among the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are also pushing the region’s banks to become more international.
KUWAIT, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Kuwait, one of the world’s
richest countries per capita, must make tackling a shortage of
government-funded housing its top priority, officials in the
Gulf Arab state said at the opening of parliament on Tuesday.
Accustomed to a welfare state which is generous by
international comparisons, Kuwaitis say they may have to wait
for up to 20 years on the housing list.
KUWAIT, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Kuwait’s prime minister has
called the Gulf Arab state’s welfare system unsustainable and
said the major oil producer needs to cut spending and the
consumption of its natural resources.
In some of the strongest comments yet from a senior
government official on Kuwait’s rising spending bill, Sheikh
Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah said a “transformation” was needed to
avoid future problems.
KUWAIT (Reuters) – Mobile telecommunications group Zain (ZAIN.KW: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) wants to expand in North Africa by taking controlling stakes in companies or winning management contracts in the region, the Kuwaiti group’s chief executive said.
Expanding abroad would appear to mark a reversal of Zain’s strategy after it sold most of its Africa assets to India’s Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $9 billion in 2010, and attempted unsuccessfully to offload its stake in Saudi affiliate Zain Saudi 7030.SE in 2011.
KUWAIT (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign minister on Thursday deplored what he called an international failure to tackle the humanitarian crisis in war-ridden Syria, saying food and medicine are running out and snipers are shooting pregnant women.
Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey, which has received more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, would keep its border with Syria open to people fleeing the violence but said the world needed to share the humanitarian burden.