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More than 61,000 Turkish nationals have traveled to Mecca this year to perform the hajj, a ritual compulsory for all Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey.
04:55 GMT
Turks are expected to spend $1.1 billion on pilgrimages to the holy city of Mecca this year.
Lebanon's economy is expected to grow 1.5 to 2 per cent and inflation is not expected to exceed 4 per cent in the year 2014, despite the fall-out from the war in neighbouring Syria,
04:55 GMT
Lebanon's economy has been hard hit by the war in Syria, which started in 2011 and has repeatedly spilled over into the small Mediterranean country
 nation of two million residents, of whom merely 280,000 are citizens, Qatar’s football history is virtually non-existent.
04:55 GMT
In time, Qatar’s soccer ambitions may indeed turn out to be harmless. For now, however, the Gulf kingdom’s global ambitions, whether in sport, finance, or politics, are fueling credible suspicions about less than innocent ulterior motives.

September 2, 2014

Flights will start to Oslo and Brussels on September 2 (File/AFP)
12:29 GMT
The biggest Middle Eastern airline, Emirates, added two more destinations to its network this week including Oslo and Brussels.
Emirates NBD will expand operations in Saudi, according to the company's CEO, Shayne Nelson (File/AFP)
12:03 GMT
Dubai's largest bank, Emirates NBD, is looking to increase its presence in Saudi Arabia, CEO of the company announced.
One of campaigners’ key demands is that the ministry should not be responsible for preparing, implementing and monitoring executive regulations.
11:58 GMT
Egypt’s manpower ministry and many labour activists agree that the country’s labour legislation is inadequate and needs reform. But bigger questions remain.
Siemens will construct static var compensators across several substations in Saudi Arabia (File)
11:39 GMT
German technology giant Siemens won two contracts with Saudi Electricity Company to construct static var compensators (SVCs), across the kingdom.
Oman, one of the Gulf’s least developed states, makes arguably the most interesting case study in how ports can help influence economic policy and even political directi
11:12 GMT
While economic growth and job creation will be the underlying drivers of GCC port development strategy, much will also hinge on how these strategic assets integrate into new, efficient transport networks being built.
Total earnings across the GCC rocketed by 11 percent to $33 billion in comparison to the same period in 2013 (File/AFP)
11:03 GMT
UAE corporate earnings increased by 16 percent in the first half of the year, surpassing the average growth rate for the GCC region.
Saudi Arabia's economy should gather pace for the second half of 2014 (File/AFP)
09:32 GMT
How well is Saudi Arabia's economy doing? It's time to have optimism towards the non-oil economy as it transitions into the labour market to turn favourable for 2015.
The mall is one of five projects opened in Dubai (Image: Nakheel)
09:09 GMT
Major Dubai developer Nakheel officially opened the Jumeirah Park Pavillion as the first of five malls to be launched in the emirate.
Residential properties posted a 34.5 percent growth in July - a significant increase from 2013 (File/AFP)
08:42 GMT
Residential property prices increased by 34.5 percent in July, compared to the previous year.
Price hikes resulted in fewer property sales in Q2 across the MENA region (Image: Dubai Marina)
08:17 GMT
As developments are on the rise across the MENA region, the increase of prices have diverted first time buyers from purchasing new homes.
The new iPhone will simplify mobile payment by including a special communication chip, along with a fingerprint recognition reader that debuted on the most recent iPhone,
05:56 GMT
Apple plans to enable its next iPhone to become a mobile wallet by allowing owners to securely make mobile payments in a store with the touch of a finger,
The statement added that regardless of ownership, whether it is the husband, wife or minors, the property will be taxed.
05:50 GMT
“Incapable citizens” should submit requests to the Real Estate Taxation Authority (RTA).

He said laboratory tests before arrival were “strictly required” by the Labor Ministry for all foreigners coming from West Africa.
05:35 GMT
The Kingdom on Monday stopped granting visas to workers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the countries worst-hit by the deadly Ebola virus.

September 1, 2014

Traffic congestion and journeys in old – and not necessarily reliable – vehicles are a way of life in many parts of the Middle East.
20:49 GMT
Whether you’re a tourist or a resident, transport challenges are a way of life in the Middle East – just as they are in many other parts of the world. But technology is beginning to have an impact on this space.
Expo Centre Sharjah saw a 25 percent rise in visitors for 2014 (File)
11:49 GMT
Expo Centre Sharjah is high in demand for events with a 25 percent rise in visitors for the first half of 2014.
Abu Dhabi's economy continues to expand in all sectors including tourism, retail and real estate (Image: Gobash)
11:01 GMT
The UAE's economy is continuing go grow in both the retail and real estate markets, which means there is room for more investment.
There is no need to increase oil production. Instead, Saudi Arabia should use its resources better (File/AFP)
10:26 GMT
Norway makes good use of its oil and gas industries respectfully. There is room for investment with the large income obtained from the energy sector. Why doesn't Saudi Arabia live off Norway's example?
The summit will have a mix of lectures and presentations (File/AFP)
09:27 GMT
The upcoming Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit in Saudi Arabia will be much more than an event. It will help enhance business solutions and improve technology across the kingdom.
Abu Dhabi has 157 hotels and hotel apartments across the city (Image: Trip Discovery)
08:45 GMT
Hotel occupancy in Abu Dhabi rose by three points in July while in industry saw a hike in guest arrivals by 26 percent in July, compared to the previous year.
The Starbucks program is currently available in Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt (File/AFP)
08:15 GMT
Global coffee chain Starbucks launched a 'Branded Solutions' scheme, where businesses in the MENA region can supply quality coffee to the workplace.
Phase two of the expansion will include new retail stores spread across 100,000 square feet over two floors (File)
07:41 GMT
Organizers have launched the second phase of expansion for Dubai Festival City. The large-scale refurbishment program started in 2014.
Gulf Air made redundant over 25 percent of staff in 2013, but promised no more job cuts (Image: Gulf Air)
07:17 GMT
Bahrain's national airline has cut year-on-year losses by 30 percent and increased overall revenue by 10 percent in H1, according to a report by Gulf Daily News.
The Saudi Ministry of Housing has rejected more than 300,000 applications for housing, while accepting more than 620,000 applications deemed eligible for the housing aid.
04:55 GMT
The shunned applicants argued that most of the rules by the Ministry of Housing are not clear.
The company responded to the campaigners by pointing out that the term “Turkish” is referred to the method of grinding the beans.
04:55 GMT
A group of Israelis on Facebook are calling on local supply chain Strauss to rename its brand of Turkish coffee, saying that the product should not be sold in Israel under a name that refers to Turkey.
Incidents of sexual assault  have harmed Egypt’s tourism reputation recently, said head of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism, Ilhamy Zayat.
00:42 GMT
The Chamber of Hotels will meet this week to study Ministry of Tourism resolutions to confront sexual harassment and assault in the tourism sector.

August 31, 2014

Today we have our “actual selves” and our “digital selves” and surely our existence in the digital world requires more protection.
15:40 GMT
In May this year, a European court issued a ruling that supports his right and it has started a chain reaction that will affect everyone and everything on the Internet.
As of yet, says Emirates NBD, there are few details on which projects will be included in the new investment plan, or which sectors Algiers intends to target.
15:18 GMT
The Algerian government announced a new five-year investment programme last week, and is aiming to spend $262 billion between 2015-2019 in an effort to diversify its economy.
the founder and CEO of HotelTonight, says whenever he gets an application from anyone claiming to want to work for “HotelTonihgt” — he puts it straight in the bin.
15:04 GMT
To exclude someone simply because they have transposed two letters makes even less sense now than it ever did.
Qantas Group declared a before tax loss of 642 million Australian dollars (Dh2.2 billion) and a statutory after tax loss.
14:33 GMT
“People who once flew on Qantas operated aircraft who suddenly fly on the Emirates operated aircraft are seeing a big improvement in quality. Instead of booking on the Qantas website they are now just jumping on the Emirates website.”
Hotel occupancy in Dubai slid by 4.6 percent in July (File/AFP)
11:31 GMT
Dubai's hotel sector barely managed to break even in July. Occupancy levels slid by 4.6 percent due to a summer slowdown including the month of Ramadan.
Flydubai will launch three new routes to East Africa in September (File/AFP)
10:38 GMT
Flydubai added three new routes to East Africa, which will be launched in September making it the first Emirati carrier to fly to Rwanda and Burundi.
The wind farm will save up to $475,000 annually in the tiny islands (File/AFP)
09:58 GMT
One of the UAE's biggest clean energy companies, Masdar, has developed Samoa's first wind farm on the island of Upolu.
The Airbus A350 is due to be launched later this year (Image: Gulf Business)
09:36 GMT
Qatar Airways prepared to receive the Airbus A350 Xtra Wide Body aircraft for delivery by the end of 2014.
Although there is a growth in the housing market, occupier activity levels in the office remain low in Bahrain (Image: Al Shorfa)
09:06 GMT
A healthy economy fuelled by stability and job creation led to growth in Bahrain's real estate market, according to an industry expert.
More than half of the UAE will be hiring over the next three months, according to a recruitment portal (Image: File)
08:48 GMT
The UAE is the place to job hunt! According to a leading recruitment portal, over 60 percent of the UAE's employers will be hiring over the next three months.
Saudi, Bahrain and the UAE pulled their ambassadors out of Qatar in a diplomatic row earlier this year, straining GCC relations (File/AFP)
08:11 GMT
GCC leaders agreed to improve relations and develop principles between nations, including the reinstatement of Bahrain, Saudi and Emirati ambassadors to Qatar "any time".
There could be a possibility of overheating in the market according to the Qatar National Bank's report (Image: Real Estate Qatar)
07:45 GMT
Real estate prices in Qatar continue to rise with average prices of both commercial and residential properties increasing by 20 percent since September 2008, according to data from the Real Estate Price Index.
Tourism is expected to be boosted by the move (Image: PortofSohar)
07:13 GMT
With Oman's cargo authorities shifting port activities from Muscat to Sohar, it will not only boost the economy but also create a positive future for the country's industrial development.
The irrigation minister added that additional studies would determine whether the projected height of the dam – along with its storage capacity – would have any negative consequences for Egypt.
04:55 GMT
Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia’s construction of the $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile.
GCC equities in general continue to show characteristics that will continue to make them attractive to investors over the rest of this year.
04:55 GMT
While the Iraqi conflict has also kept some international investors at bay and risk premiums across the region elevated, the political backdrop seems to have improved in a number of countries in the region.
With a population of 1.8 million, Gaza is a densely populated coastal strip of urban warrens and agricultural land that still bears the scars of previous rounds of fighting.
04:55 GMT
Any effort to rebuild Gaza will be hindered by a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007
Samsung said the Gear S will start selling from October. It did not give details on pricing or where it will be available.
01:58 GMT
The world’s biggest smartphone maker has been pushing hard to develop the wearable devices market as it looks to counter slowing earnings in its mobile division

August 28, 2014

CEO of Jannah Hotels and Resorts, Imad Darwish, said there is a greater need of hotels ahead of Dubai Expo 2020 (Image: File)
11:55 GMT
Jannah Hotels and Resorts is planning to expand across the UAE by introducing more apartment hotels and brands to the company.
Number plates in Dubai haven’t changed for decades
11:55 GMT
Vehicles registered in Dubai will soon have number plates with new designs as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is working on plans to replace the existing designs and colours.
The new models of watches are available throughout the GCC (Image: Casio)
11:46 GMT
Casio Middle East unveiled two new Edifice time pieces throughout stores in GCC countries.
Petrochemicals supported the uptrend of the kingdom's stock market (File/AFP)
11:33 GMT
The Tadawul All-Share Index breached 11,000-mark with a six-year high. Strong global demand for petrochemicals supported the increase.
Saudi Arabia's unemployment rate is believed to be around 11.4 percent (File/AFP)
10:46 GMT
Saudi authorities denied reports that a proposal to reduce public sector working hours to 40 a week was being scrapped.
Shayne Nelson said that the UAE attracted safe investments from the likes of Iraq and Syria (File/AFP)
10:22 GMT
With turmoil continuing in the Middle East, the UAE has been the safe haven for many people in terms of property and flights, according to a senior banker.
The objectives are to acquaint the Indian community in Bahrain and nearby countries with the various investment opportunities in India
09:50 GMT
A key meeting in Bahrain next week will see discussions between Bahraini and Indian business leaders on bilateral trade and investment opportunities.
DP World is a global marine terminal operator with around 65 locations across six continents (Image: File)
09:43 GMT
Global marine terminal operator DP World has reported profit attributable to owners of the company before separately disclosed items of $332 million for the six months to 30 June, 40.8 per cent ahead of the first half of 2013 on a like-for-like basis.
The economic outlook for Saudi Arabia remains favorable, with GDP growth expectations to stay above 4 percent in 2014 and 2015
09:26 GMT
Dun & Bradstreet South Asia Middle East Ltd (D&B) in association with the National Commercial Bank released the D&B Business Optimism Index (BOI) survey for Saudi Arabia for Q3, 2014. The BOI survey highlights the weakening of optimism levels of both the hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon sectors.
“My Sun: The Source of My Energy”, the campaign was launched late Tuesday
08:26 GMT
Households in Jordan can save up to 90 per cent of their monthly electricity bill by installing photovoltaic systems to produce energy from solar power, according to organisers of a campaign to encourage the usage of such systems at homes.
The new system is due to be launched on October 1 (Image: Internations)
07:44 GMT
Bahrain is due to launch a high tech visa system, which will enable visitors from 102 countries to apply for and secure their visas online.
The Kingdom’s annual rate of energy consumption exceeded 5 percent while the economic growth rate reached 4 percent
07:13 GMT
Although the Kingdom has the largest oil reserves in the world and occupies the fifth place in terms of natural gas reserves, yet according to a report by oil specialist the Kingdom faces many challenges as a result of a number of different factors, including its need to meet the requirements of development.
Dubai Expo 2020 is expected to host up to 300,000 visitors during peak time (Image: Khaleej Times)
06:58 GMT
Planning for Dubai Expo 2020 has entered the next phase, organizers said in a statement Wednesday.
MPs criticised the government approach in dealing with several large-scale investments in renewable energy
06:19 GMT
The Lower House on Wednesday referred the draft renewable energy law to its Energy Committee giving it urgency status, after dozens of MPs took part in the “first reading” of the bill.

August 27, 2014

Residential rents dropped by 2.9 percent in the first half of 2014 (File/AFP)
12:26 GMT
Dubai residential rents have dropped slightly in the first half of 2014 by 2.0 percent according to a recent report from the Phidar's House Price Index.
Construction represents an increasing share of overall gross domestic product (GDP)
11:55 GMT
The construction sector grew 2% while the cost of key materials including cement, ready mixed concrete, and reinforcement steel grew over 6% in the last quarter,
The new Geant supermarket will be the biggest in Abu Dhabi (Image: Geant)
11:30 GMT
Aldar Properties announced another significant phase in the pre-opening of the widely anticipated Yas Mall, due to launch in November 2014.
A draft of the new labour law initially stipulated a 40-hour working week, down from 48
10:26 GMT
A plan by Saudi Arabia’s labour ministry to give two days off a week in the private sector is being shelved following tremendous pressure from investors and the business community.
Prince Faisal bin Salman praised the holy city for its efforts to encourage young people into business (File/AFP)
09:54 GMT
Prince Faisal bin Salman said Medina is an investment-friendly province and called for young people to put their ideas into viable projects.
The completion of the refurbishment is set for 2016 (Image: MAF)
09:12 GMT
Mall of the Emirates has entered the second phase of a major refurbishment plan, carried out by leading developer, Majid Al Futtiam (MAF).
The new guide also includes information on small-business growth
08:41 GMT
Research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group published a new guide to Saudi Arabia's economy and finance.
The project is due to be completed in late 2015 (Image: Tecom Investments)
07:50 GMT
Tecom Investments launched a new 440-villa project close to its DuBiotech business park in Dubai, due for completion in Q4, 2015, according to the National.
MAF Properties aims to double its business to $12 billion by 2018 (Image: Gulf Business)
07:29 GMT
Majid Al Futtaim Properties' success is continuing to grow with 17 operational malls across the MENA region. CEO George Kostas talks about how he runs the company so successfully.
The Index posted a monthly average of 33.4 in the first half of 2014, increasing by 16.5 percent from the second half of 2013
07:17 GMT
Byblos Bank/AUB Consumer Confidence Index improved marginally in January and February, picked up pace in March and April, and regressed in May and June 2014.
That occupancy rates have dropped by 50 percent over the past week
06:57 GMT
Children’s new bedtimes for school are keeping families away from entertainment venues, leading to a sharp dip in revenues following an extravagant 100-percent occupancy rate during Ramadan and Eid.
A Kuwaiti man withdraws cash from an ATM machine (File/AFP)
06:55 GMT
Bahrain's Gulf Finance House Wednesday signed a $105 million deal with Kuwait Finance House in the wake of the global finance crisis, which hit the Middle East.
Dubai’s households spend between Dh37,000 and Dh85,000 each year
06:24 GMT
Dubai’s impressive average spending power of Dh53,000 ($14,400) per household per year has seen the retail sector riding a wave of growth to reach record figures, a report said.
The King described the future vision entailed in the 10-year economic plan as “the most important strategic initiative for the future of Jordan and Jordanians
06:17 GMT
His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday stressed his full support to all the committees entrusted with preparing a future vision of the national economy, coupled with an executive plan, urging them to place the interests of Jordanians at the core of their work.

August 26, 2014

Adnoc will take over 75 service stations in agreement with Emirates General Petroleum Corporation (Image: Znews)
11:42 GMT
Abu Dhabi's Adnoc Distribution has bought 34 Emarat service stations and a fuel depot in Sharjah.
Up to 70 percent of Saudi Arabia's produce is imported, making it ideal for global markets (File/AFP)
11:08 GMT
Food imports have a key role to play in Saudi Arabia's booming agriculture industry. While the Kingdom emerges as a key player for food trade, it is because almost 70 percent of it is imported.
The national parliament, early this month, passed the SSP 11.279 billion, up by 8% SSP 0.876 billion from the 2013/14 budget
10:02 GMT
A large portion of South Sudan's annual budget is spent on salaries and operational costs with very little on development projects, a local think tank said in a policy paper.
The program is intended to cut down unemployment among less educated Saudis
09:46 GMT
The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting a program for training Saudis with high school education or less in coordination with public and private sector agencies.
A construction site in Beirut displays a huge banner for a building, August 12, 2013 (File/AFP)
09:31 GMT
Figures for construction permits being issued in Beirut dropped slightly by 0.2 percent in 2014. Numbers varied for other cities and towns across Lebanon.
A happy worker is a hard worker: Investing in employees means they'll do a better job (File/AFP)
09:09 GMT
While the UAE's GDP growth rate is above five percent, more job opportunities are emerging. This is why it is vital to keep employees happy.
A 5.6 percent increase in growth this year could be good news for Dubai (File/AFP)
08:38 GMT
Dubai could be headed for some optimism in the future with a 5.6 percent rise in growth if the economy continues to say vibrant and healthy.
In July this year, there were 2.9 million scheduled flights and 395 million scheduled global airline seats
08:29 GMT
That old saying, '€˜There’s no such thing as bad publicity’, probably applies to what the aviation industry has flown through in recent months.
Almost 60,000 Chinese tourists checked into Abu Dhabi hotels in H1, an increase of 189 percent from the previous year (File/AFP)
08:05 GMT
Abu Dhabi has seen a huge rise in Chinese visitors in H1 according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority following a Chinese Visitor Summit in the Emirate.
CEO of Emirates NBD, Shayne Nelson, said in-market mergers  work better monetarily (File/AFP)
07:31 GMT
It's getting too crowded in the UAE banking sector with too many lenders competing with one another to please a small population, according to a senior banker.
The Kingdom’s external debt went up by JD1.15 billion during the first six months
07:10 GMT
Jordan’s public debt reached over JD20 billion by the end of June, according to recent official data.
Oman uses two different contracts to sell its crude
06:58 GMT
Oman's crude oil exports to China have continued to soar amid the economic giant’s rising demand for energy and its increasing reliance on Middle Eastern oil supplies.
Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner with the Sudan in investments
06:56 GMT
Saudi investments in the Sudan are expected to cross $13 billion (SR48.75 billion) in the next few months, particularly following a decision on canceling entry visas for Saudi investors.
Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Mott MacDonald are a few of the firms to win contracts (File/AFP)
06:52 GMT
The UK's top construction firms have won infrastructure contracts worth $1.65 billion to build roads, hotels, museum projects and drainage networks for World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

August 25, 2014

The Specialist Services deal follows a previous project triumph for the same development by Leighton Offshore (File/AFP)
12:42 GMT
Dubai's Specialist Services won a contract from Petrofac to build local equipment and control rooms for its Island Surface Facilities Project.
Saudi Arabia's coffee industry is worth $267 million annually (File/AFP)
12:20 GMT
They say it's a sign of good hospitality when you offer visitors a cup of coffee! Saudi Arabia is the largest coffee consuming country in the world with an industry worth $267 million.
Historically the Gulf corporates have enjoyed abundance of bank liquidity and bank funding
10:55 GMT
The context of the Middle Eastern debt market, bank lending has been a dominant component. The debt issuances, to date have been dominated by the banks and the government related entities (GREs).
The U.S. is the sixth-largest means for electronic cash transfers to Lebanon (File/AFP)
08:58 GMT
World Bank figures showed a decrease in the cost of sending remittances for the U.S. to Lebanon at 10.19 percent in Q2.
Around 607 apartments will be leased out at the Gate Towers development on Al Reem Island (Image: Urbanarches)
08:41 GMT
Abu Dhabi's leading property development company, Aldar Properties, secured a bulk deal to lease 607 apartments to hospital employees working for a medical clinic.
CEO of Dubai Chamber, Hamad Buamim, said the "future of business is very promising" in Africa (Image: Wikipedia)
08:22 GMT
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has joined forces with the Economist Intelligence Unit to check out Sub-Saharan Africa for potential for investment.
Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa who chaired the meeting said settlement disputes needed to be fast tracked (Image: 4photo)
07:58 GMT
Bahrain will overhaul trade laws to increase foreign investment and clean up dispute settlement processes, according to a cabinet meeting hosted by Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Hotel revenues went up by 10.9 percent in the first half 2014 (File)
07:31 GMT
Dubai's hotel industry welcomed over 5.8 million tourists in the first half of the year with revenues reaching £3.18 billion, up by 10.9 percent.
FM contracts are becoming more integrated, more metric-based, and crucially, longer in duration
07:08 GMT
Facilities Management (FM) services contracts in the UAE could be valued at approximately AED20 billion per annum by next year, according to G4S, a leading global security and outsourcing group in UAE.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad bought the 33.3 percent stake in Darwin Airline last November (File/AFP)
07:01 GMT
Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways welcomed a review process by Switzerland's Federal Office of Civil Aviation regarding a deal to buy 33.3 percent of Swiss carrier, Darwin Airline.
Dubai’s top 10 tourism source markets remained for the most part unchanged compared to the previous year
06:48 GMT
Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s primary source market as more than 5.8 million tourists stayed in Dubai hotels during the first half of 2014.
The tour also included a discussion of Masdar City’s role in advancing renewable energy adoption globally
06:23 GMT
The UAE and India are expected to enhance their co-operation in the field of renewable energy and sustainability.

August 24, 2014


The STRs are designed to flag questionable financial activity and 354 were registered between January and June this year compared with just 237 in the first six months of last year.
21:28 GMT
A spike in the number of suspicious transactions related to money laundering and terrorism financing has been recorded in Bahrain in the first half of this year, a report said.