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Qatar-headquartered Al-Khalij Commercial Bank, which offers Islamic and conventional banking services, has bought the French branch of Lebanon's Banque Libanaise pour le Commerce (BLC). In 2007, Al-Khalij announced it was in advanced negotiations to buy the assets of BLC bank in the UAE, which has branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al-Khaimah and Sharjah. The final deal however, has been extended to include all of the bank's operations, including its business in Paris. The value of the deal has not been revealed. The

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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Saudi supertanker (VLCC) Sirius Star, carrying an estimated $100m worth of oil was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Kenya and headed towards the northern Somali coast. Bahrain’s Ebrahim Abdulaal Group of Companies (EAGC) has signed an MoU with London-based H Oil.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain
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Until Barack Obama makes key appointments to his foreign policy team, there is little way to gauge exactly how he is thinking about Iran. One early set of indicators will include his choice of leadership figures such as his secretaries of state and Defence.

Iran
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The ever hungry QIA plans to take advantage of the global property slump in its bid to diversify its asset base.

Qatar
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With the Obama camp keeping its cards close to its chest on key appointments and foreign policy, Gulf watchers have been left pondering what the US president elect intends to do in the region – whether Obama will opt for continuity or change, and how the anticipated strategic ‘pivot’ to Afghanistan will affect Gulf policy.

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QNB Al-Islami, fully-owned by Qatar National Bank (QNB), has opened its first branch outside Qatar in Sudan. Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) says it has suspended mortgage lending for ready properties to individuals. Private, joint-stock Unicorn Investment Bank (UIB) is establishing a new Islamic bank in Bahrain.

Bahrain | Qatar
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The impending official visit of the Jordanian royal couple to Doha signals another step in Qatar’s efforts to rebuild regional relations that were, in part at least, hurt by Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel’s irreverent reporting of regional leaderships.

Jordan | Qatar
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According to the latest Moody’s Investors Service report, Islamic finance is enjoying soaring demand, but requires more sophistication. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank chief executive Tirad Mahmoud has said that Islamic finance will continue to grow despite the current global financial crisis. Jeddah-based Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has announced plans to establish an Islamic bank. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to lend Tunisia a $195m to build two gas turbines.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Saudi Arabia | Tunisia
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KAF Apache support deal for DynCorp BAE Systems in Eurofighter Typhoon talks with Oman. Qatar-India defence co-operation

Kuwait | Oman | Qatar
Issue 841 - 21 November 2008

Hamad Bin Jassim, Fahd Bin Jassim

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Hamad Bin Jassim: New York and Cyprus, Fahd Bin Jassim: Qatar safe from turmoil

Qatar
Free

King Abdullah: Reaching out in the United States, CP Sultan: Meets Orange prince, Bahraini King, Princes: Marriages, travel, Princes Adila: Healthcare

Saudi Arabia
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Iraq is to hold its much-anticipated - and delayed - provincial elections on 31 January, with 444 seats to be contested by a growing number of political groups. The polls could set the tone of Iraqi politics for years to come, to an even greater extent than Barack Obama's investiture in Washington eleven days before.

Iraq
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The Lootah Group is one of the oldest merchant families in the UAE and joins a string of investors that have recently signed agreements in Somalia and its neighbouring countries. Despite a brutal civil war between Islamic insurgents and Ethiopian military forces, some areas of the fractured state remain relatively sheltered and are seen as ‘virgin territories’ ripe for exploration and investment.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 841 - 21 November 2008

MBR: Busy as usual

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Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR) has had his usual round of meetings in the first half of November

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 841 - 21 November 2008

The big gas ‘troika’

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It remains to be seen if anything concrete will emerge out of mid-November talks between Iran, Qatar and Russia about developing the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) as an organisation to co-ordinate gas projects and pricing world-wide, and to develop schemes between the three country ‘troika’.

Iran | Qatar