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Malawi to feed poor with cash from selling president's jet

By Mabvuto Banda / 6 Sep 2013

Malawi plans to use the $15 million it gained from selling its presidential jet to feed the more than 1 million people suffering chronic food shortages, the Treasury said on Thursday.

Malawi angered Western donors, whose aid typically accounted for about 40 percent of the budget, when the government of late President Bingu wan Mutharika bought the 14-passenger Dassault Falcon 900EX aircraft in 2009.


Saudis are world’s biggest spending travelers: Study

Source : SG and Agencies / 3 Sep 2013

The Saudis are the biggest spending tourists in the world, spending a whopping $6,414 for each of their overseas trip compared to the global average of $2,501, followed by the Australians who come close second with an average of $3,962 spent on each trip, Visa's latest Global Travel Intentions Study said.

According to the Study, travelers are expected to spend more on their next trip by an average of five percent this year.


Falling Pakistan rupee raises pilgrimage cost

By Irfan Mohammed / 3 Sep 2013

The continuing depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the dollar has had an impact on the cost of Haj for Pakistanis. This is in addition to an increase in Haj expenses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Some 143,368 pilgrims are scheduled to arrive from Pakistan next week.

The falling rupee has also had a negative impact on the cost of oil, resulting in an increase in airfares.


Saudi dates reach world markets with wrong ‘certificates of origin’

By Muhammad Al-Harbi / 31 Aug 2013

Abdul Aziz Al-Twaijri, a member of the National Council for Palms and Dates, has alleged that huge quantities of Saudi dates are being sold in European markets with a “country of origin” label other than that of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on the sidelines of Buraidah Dates Festival, Al-Twaijri said the Saudi produce was being accessed to Asian and European markets through neighboring countries such as UAE, Jordan and Turkey. 


Gulf’s entry-level job market is recovering, say experts

By Paul Crompton / 31 Aug 2013

The Gulf’s job market for entry level professionals and graduates is showing signs of recovery, although there is a widening skills gap, according to recruitment firms and specialists based in the region.

“We’ve seen an increase over the last six months of graduate and entry-level positions, there just seems to be a bit more buoyancy in the market in general. Obviously, there are a lot more graduates now,” said Bobbi Hartshorne,

Head of Education Partnerships at Dubai-based Laimoon, a regional online recruiting site.


Egypt to launch economic stimulus plan

Source : Reuters / 29 Aug 2013

Egypt’s interim cabinet will approve a plan on Wednesday to stimulate the economy over the next nine months, al-Ahram newspaper quoted Planning Minister Ashraf al-Arabi as saying.

The government has said it plans to avoid raising taxes or cutting spending to reduce the country’s mushrooming budget deficit, and instead will use aid pledged by Gulf Arab states to spur growth.


Hundreds of mosques under renovation

Source : Arab news / 29 Aug 2013

The renovation of 647 mosques is currently under way, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments and Call.

“Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s program for the renovation of mosques is progressing steadily,” said Undersecretary for Administrative and Technical Affairs Abdullah Al-Huwaimel.


Protests, Ramadan dent growth in Turkish tourist arrivals in July

Source : Reuters / 24 Aug 2013

The number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey grew at its slowest pace for eight months in July, as the impact of anti-government protests and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan took their toll, data showed on Friday.

Foreign arrivals rose 0.48 percent year-on-year last month to 4.59 million people, according to the Tourism Ministry figures, the lowest rise since November. The number of visitors rose 4.93 percent the previous month.


UAE education is fourth most expensive in the world

By Cleofe Maceda / 23 Aug 2013

International students looking to study and live in the UAE continue to pay among the highest premiums in the world.

The cost of studying in the UAE is equivalent to about half (51 per cent) of the gross domestic product (GDP) per person, or nearly $28,000 (Dh102,760) per year, making it the fourth most expensive country for foreigners to study and live in, according to the latest research by HSBC.


Aid lacking in flood-hit Pakistan, fresh rains due


By Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio / 22 Aug 2013

Saleema Bibi died at the age of just 29 when the roof of her house in Talwandi village in northeast Pakistan’s Sialkot district collapsed under heavy monsoon rains. Her husband and three children were badly injured.

“The roof of our house, where we all were sitting on a cot-bed, caved in after failing to withstand torrential rain that lasted for five hours,” sobbed Bibi’s husband, Muzzamil Raza, describing the tragedy that hit his family on Aug. 14.


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