Iraqis Take Half of the Year Off, Saudi King Sacks Officials and the 'Business of War': Top 10 Business Stories on Al Bawaba This Week

Published April 27th, 2017 - 06:59 GMT
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Follow Al Bawaba Business on Twitter and Facebook for breaking business news, photos and reports on topics that move the Middle East. (Al Bawaba)

From Saudi King’s dismissal of his top officers to Qatar Airways chief’s rant about Trump’s anti-competitive practices; from Iraqis being the ‘laziest’ employees in the world to a scandalous advertisement in Bahrain that lets you ‘win a maid’ (yes, really!), here are this week’s top 10 business stories from Al Bawaba.

1. Iraqis took half of the year off in 2016 and some are calling them the ‘luckiest’ employees in the world

A report revealed that Iraqis took half of last year off due to religious festivals, national events, heatwaves, weekends, and well, explosions. Older Iraqis are calling them ‘lazy’, while the media are labeling them the ‘luckiest’ employees in the world. 

2. Saudi Arabia's expats can’t work in malls anymore

Ah, Saudi! All you can read about Saudi Arabia these days are the draconian measures the country is taking to dispose of what’s left of its expat community. You see, Saudi Arabia has a vision for 2030 under which it has to reduce the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals from 11.6% to 7%. Saudi Arabia has spared no effort in applying the directives of the Saudi Vision 2030, and its latest step towards ‘saudizing’ jobs in the country was by blocking foreigners from working in malls.

3. Saudi King Salman sacks top officials, appoints his son as Saudi ambassador to the US

King Salman first appoints his pilot son as Saudi ambassador to the US. Then he sacks key officials, including the head of the Saudi army, his civil service, information and technology ministers. He restores benefits to government employees, appoints a new head of the army and new chief for the agency that manages Saudi Arabia's foreign investments. What’s happening in Saudi Arabia? And why is it all happening now?  

4. Do you live in Dubai? Here’s how much your salary should be  

The cost of renting an apartment in Dubai is the fourth-highest in the world, knocking off rents in cities like London, Miami, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Paris. In fact, researchers in a recent study rank Dubai in the top priciest markets in the world, and you’d be surprised to know that most expats in Dubai don’t earn the minimum salary mentioned in the study.  

5. Bahrain agency launches a 'win a maid' contest and it’s the most horrible thing in the world

Bad story with a happy ending because: 1) Bahrainis took to social media to denounce the ‘win a maid’ contest, and 2) Bahraini authorities took swift and firm measures against the company that stands behind the cruel ad and suspended its license.   

6. UAE professionals are the most connected in the world according to LinkedIn

Members in the UAE have an average of 211 connections which apparently makes them the most web-connected globally according to a report by professional networking site LinkedIn. LinkedIn also said it has hit the 500-million member milestone across 200 countries with 22 million members in the MENA region. Do you use LinkedIn? How many connections do you have?

7. UAE bans fruits, vegetables from five Arab countries including Lebanon and Jordan

Earlier this week Jordan said it was investigating a reported ban by the UAE on Jordanian fruits and vegetables. While Jordanian authorities are still denying the reported ban, the UAE has confirmed that it will enforce a ban on vegetable and fruit imports from five Arab countries including Jordan and Lebanon starting from May 15. The reason why the UAE is banning fruits and vegetables from these countries will blow your mind.

8. Turkey ventures into the business of war with a ‘Made in Turkey’ torpedo

In its latest news, Turkey made the headlines with a brand-new product line in weaponry: the Turkish-made torpedo. The torpedo was developed by a Turkish defense contractor and will be shown for the first time at a defense fair in Istanbul in May this year. 

9. What does Russia want from the Middle East? A question to ponder…

This story is an interesting op-ed about Russia’s agenda in the Middle East. The columnist phrases it perfectly: After almost two decades of relative political obscurity, Russia is back, and has once more set its sights on a global role beyond the classic trade of goods and services with geopolitically strategic economies. Then again, non-economic elements are almost always present when it comes to such a specific commodity as weaponry.” This is a very intelligent piece and a must-read if you’re interested in Russian politics in the Middle East. 

10. Qatar Airways chief talks of ‘war with the Americans’, rants over Trump's protectionism 

Akbar Al-Baker is not happy and he’s not trying to hide it. Actually, at Dubai’s Arabian Travel Market exhibition on Monday, the airline veteran certainly seemed to have headlines in mind, but he completely lost it when he was asked about Trump and competition from US airlines. His speech included the words “wicked” and “bullies”. A must-read. 

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