Saturday, November 17, 2007

Leftovers: November 11 - 17, 2007

Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ali Al-Timimi
by Ross E. Getman from Blogger News (US)
Last week FBI Director Mueller gave a speech in which he warned against the need to guard against spies at universities, who for example, may have access to pre-patent, pre-classification biochemistry information ... the Wall Street Journal reported that a senior U.S. law-enforcement official said the interrogation of [Saud Memon] yielded intelligence that Memon was aiding al Qaeda to develop anthrax strains.

Why Mareb is seen as a haven for Al Qaeda
by Nasser Arrabyee from The Yemen Observer (Yemen)
Sheikh Abu Hassan al-Sulaimani, who runs a Salafi teaching centre, said that very na├»ve young people carry out bombings and suicide operations and sabotage acts. The process begins when they start calling others kafirs (infidels). “They judge that the rulers and society are kafirs (infidels),” he said in reference to young people who think wrongly that they will get happy life with beautiful girls (hur al-ein) in paradise as soon as they die in a suicide bombing.

Record number of Chinese Muslims to make Mecca pilgrimage
by Jiang Yuxia from Xinhua (China)
A record 10,700 Chinese Muslims are expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Association of China (IAC) said here on Wednesday. China has more than 20 million Muslims, mainly living in Xinjiang, Qinghai, Ganshu, Ningxia, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia and Henan. Starting in 1985, nearly 100,000 Muslims have fulfilled their pilgrimages.

Hotels in Saudi expecting more pilgrims
from AME Info (UAE)
Saudi Arabia's Rezidor Hotel Group is anticipating greater participation in the religious tourism market, Malaysia Sun reported. Tourist numbers are expected to grow by about 20% annually over the next decade. The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world's fastest growing hotel companies and it plans to open three new properties in the holy cities by 2010.

Worker Rights Society Denied Permission
by Lulwa Shalhoub from Arab New (Saudi Arabia)
Anees Al-Ansari, founder and president of the Saudi Society of Labor, received a telephone call last week from the Ministry of Labor informing him that the organization had been denied permission, as there are already other bodies that play a similar role. “I was very disappointed to know that we were rejected. It isn’t like we live in an ideal society with no employment problems.”

Democracy Without Liberty Is Not the Answer
by Marvin Olasky from TownHall (US: Virginia)
Foreign policy realism should not mean accepting dictatorships as inevitable. Instead we need to use all instruments available to promote religious and intellectual liberty. This will be a difficult process, but we have no alternative, for dictatorship means disaster for Muslim countries and more terrorism throughout the world -- and so does democracy without liberty.

Cisco Shareholders Shelve Human Rights Resolution
by Richard Martin from InformationWeek (US: New York)
A shareholder resolution calling on Cisco Systems to actively ensure that its technology sold overseas is not used to censor Internet content was rejected on Thursday. Just over half of the Cisco shareholders voted against the proposal, 28.5% voted for the proposal and 21% abstained. A similar proposal last year received support from 20% of the shareholders.

Teens in D.C. for lobbying lessons
from JTA (US: NY)
Some 300 Jewish high school students are in Washington to learn to lobby. They met with their representatives on Capitol Hill to discuss Iran, the upcoming peace conference in Annapolis and keeping U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia from being used to attack America or its allies.

Students Warned of Problems in US Visa Renewal During Winter Break
by Raid Qusti from Arab News (Saudi Arabia)
In 2006, 11,000 visas were issued to Saudi students in comparison to 4,539 in 2001. The rise in the number of Saudi students is attributed to the King Abdullah Scholarship Program, which provides government-paid scholarships to high school graduates, university graduates, as well those seeking higher education in foreign universities.

November 14, 2007 Press Briefing by Dana Perino
from The White House (US)
There is an element there that -- of extremists, especially in the Northwestern Territories, that tries to infiltrate these areas where they have been filled with despair. Part of the support that we give to Pakistan is to help lift these people up out of poverty so that they can reject extremism and terrorism ... We believe the best way for Pakistan to have a stable and prosperous future is to fully establish democracy. And that's going to take some time.

'Open' Saudi Arabia falls short of billing
by Claudia Cattaneo from The Financial Post (Canada)
As the host of the Third OPEC Summit, the Saudis recruited global PR firm Hill & Knowlton to hold Western-style press conferences to get their message across in Arabic and English. Reporters who were promised unprecedented access, complained that the effort falls short of the billing. Photography of oil facilities remains barred while organizers could not guarantee interviews with key OPEC officials.

UK Chancellor Hosts High Level Group On City Competitiveness
from Mondo Visione (UK)
Kitty Ussher announced the launch of the consultation on the potential for the Government to become an issuer of wholesale sterling denominated Sharia'a- compliant investment certificates or 'sukuk' ... The joint Treasury - Debt Management Office consultation document on sukuk issuance, launched today, seeks views on the advantages, disadvantages and risks of the Government becoming an issuer of Islamic financial instruments.

Saudi Pak Bank purchase deal likely in two weeks
from The Peninsula (Qatar)
A consortium including Japan's Nomura Holdings and Bank Muscat could sign a deal within two weeks to buy a majority stake in Pakistan's Saudi Pak Bank for as much as $218m. As no new banking licences are being issued, except for Islamic banking, foreigners must buy their way into the market. The consortium, led by Pakistani financier Shaukat Tarin, also includes International Finance Corp (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm.

U.A.E. May Peg to Currency Basket, Al-Suwaidi Says
by Seyoon Kim and Matthew Brown from Bloomberg (US: NY)
Gulf Arab states include the emirates and Saudi Arabia, which together earn more than $1.2 billion a day from oil sales. A move away from the dollar may see the countries' sovereign wealth funds, which hold an estimated $2 trillion, diversify their holdings. "It's not my prediction but everybody is expecting that the U.S. dollar will go down further," al-Suwaidi said today. "It will trigger a review."

Airbus A380 gets first VIP client
from (UK)
Airbus has identified the customer for the first VIP A380 aircraft (the ‘Flying Palace’) as Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud -- founder of diversified private investment firm Kingdom Holding Company which concentrates on activities in the banking, hotel, and real estate sectors. He already owns a private Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

Maserati to set up regional office in Dubai
by Robert Ditcham from Gulf News (UAE)
Overall, the GCC represents some 5.5% of global Maserati sales, up from 3.5%-4% in 2006. The region's share is expected to climb to 7% in 2008. "The future is also to grow our business in countries like Saudi Arabia where we have huge potential, but have still to prove ourselves," area manager Umberto Maria Cini.

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