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Egypt’s Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali has been selected as the new chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), which sets the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) political direction and overall policy priorities. The chairmanship lasts for a term of up to three years.

Egypt
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Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of 32-year-old Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Al-Maktoum, daughter of the federal Vice President, prime minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR). On 4 March, the American-registered yacht Nostromo was reportedly boarded by an armed group some 50 miles off the coast of India. On board were Sheikha Latifa, US-French duel national Hervé Jaubert, Finnish citizen Tiina Jauhiainen and three others.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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One of the region’s strongest financial systems has weaknesses to address despite its successful management of last month’s mini-crisis.

Kuwait
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Saudi Arabia has again been included on a priority watch list by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Washington says this is due to its lax attitude to the protection of intellectual property rights. In a report issued on 30 April, the kingdom was listed among ten priority countries. Among the criticisms levelled at Saudi Arabia are its failure to take action against pirate satellite company BeoutQ, a lack of effective protection for pharmaceutical products and long-standing concerns about counterfeit goods.

Saudi Arabia
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Indonesian energy firm Valco is at the heart of a $1bn investment in two coal-mining firms in a deal that shows Gulf SWFs are still hard at work.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Concern over the sultanate’s current account and other balances are being reflected in an upturn in sovereign and corporate debt issuance. The most eye-catching deal of the Omani summer was a $3.6bn loan agreed by the government with a group of unnamed Chinese financial institutions. Finalised in July and unveiled in August, the five-year unsecured loan was only marketed to Chinese lenders; it is something of a departure for the sultanate, which has tended to rely on financial aid from rich regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, or loans from western lenders.

Oman
Issue 1021 - 08 September 2016

King Salman: Back home

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King Salman returned to the Kingdom in mid-August after several weeks in Morocco. Soon after his arrival he ordered a month’s extra pay for Saudi military and security personnel actively involved in operations in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia
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A report by the Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat that the suspected mastermind of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing had been handed over to Saudi authorities threatens further complications in Riyadh’s relations with Iran and the United States, ahead of congressional votes on the nuclear deal and President Barack Obama’s scheduled 4 September meeting with King Salman Bin Abdelaziz at the White House. Ahmed Al-Mughassil, a senior leader of Iranian-backed Saudi group Hizbollah Al-Hijaz, had been living in Beirut under Lebanese Hizbollah’s protection.

Saudi Arabia
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Moves by JMP members to renegotiate an Aden port deal with Dubai giant DP World could herald further investigations into deals made by outgoing president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen
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On 5 March, Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah was re-appointed by his uncle, the emir, to the post of prime minister. He will be tasked with forming his seventh government in five years, despite heavy opposition from several MPs and youth activists

Kuwait
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Ministerial grillings: The government survived its latest brush with the National Assembly, following a marathon grilling session by MPs on 30 April of prime minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, oil, electricity and water minister Bakheer Al-Rashidi and social affairs and labour minister Hind Al-Sabeeh. The questioning was followed by votes of no-confidence in Al-Rashidi and Al-Sabeeh on 10 May which they survived; Sheikh Jaber managed to avoid a vote as MPs had failed to reach the required ten votes to table it.

Kuwait
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Abu Dhabi sent a formidable delegation to pay respects following the death of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said, headed by United Arab Emirates Armed Forces deputy supreme commander and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ), and his brothers Sheikhs Hazza, Saif, Tahnoun and Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Mansour Bin Zayed is believed to have particular responsibilities for Oman. In parallel, ‘Mother of the UAE’ Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak visited newly installed Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq’s wife Sayyida Ahad Bint Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Busaidiyah.

Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 961 - 09 January 2014

British visa woes in Saudi

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It seems that British business has been having trouble getting visas to Saudi Arabia. Two UK trade missions in the autumn had to be delayed because of a change in visa regulations, which has added new layers to the application process.The Department of Trade and Industry (UKTI) told GSN its trade mission was postponed while still in the planning stage because of changes in rules regarding visas for trade missions. “A new trade delegation is due to visit the country in February 2014,” a spokesman said.

Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia National Guard commander Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah gave a late February interview to Okaz/Saudi Gazette in which he described his father’s daily routine, which includes waking for the Fajr prayer, reading the Quran, sleeping again and then performing the Dhuhr prayer.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 863 - 24 October 2009

Carriers tap ECA money

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The UAE’s two leading airlines have tapped nearly $650m in bond and debt facilities backed by export credit agencies (ECAs), reflecting the attractiveness of long-term ECA support at a time when commercial debt remains scarce and highly priced.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)