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Gov’t rejects splitting working hours; suggests relocations to ease Cairo traffic

CAIRO: The Ministry of Administrative Development criticized a proposal to split the working hours of government employees into morning and evening sessions to help ease Cairo’s heavy traffic, saying it doesn’t take into consideration the personal lives of these employees, especially women. By creating a morning and an evening slot, the proposal suggested, less people …

Heba Fahmy

SBI, Invest AD launch $100 mln frontier Africa fund

JOHANNESBURG: Abu Dhabi financial services firm Invest AD and Japan’s SBI Holdings launched a $100 million Africa fund on Monday, the latest push into the poorest continent’s fast-growing frontier markets. The new fund, jointly capitalized by the government-owned Middle Eastern group and the Japanese financial services conglomerate, would invest in Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia and …

Reuters

Qatar hoping to prove it can host a cool World Cup

DUBAI: Qatar has promised it will keep fans and players cool if it wins the right to host the 2022 World Cup. This week, it will get a chance to prove it. The country will host a FIFA delegation starting Tuesday and the highlight is expected to be a tour of a specially-designed stadium for …

AP

Coppola wins Venice film fest’s Golden Lion for ‘Somewhere’

US director Sofia Coppola on Saturday won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival for "Somewhere," a father-daughter drama set in the lonely world of Hollywood moviemaking. "From that first enchanted screening it grew and grew in our hearts, in our minds, in our affections," said jury president Quentin Tarantino, Coppola’s former boyfriend, as …

Daily News Egypt

Dubai World reaches $24.9 bln debt deal

DUBAI: State-owned conglomerate Dubai World reached a formal deal to restructure almost $25 billion of liabilities, partly easing recently heightened concerns over the Gulf emirate’s debt woes. While Dubai World’s agreement with most of its creditors is seen as a positive step for Dubai, the announcement on Friday came just days after a unit of …

Daily News Egypt

Egypt transport chiefs to seek French investment: agency

CAIRO: Egyptian transport officials including the transport minister will visit France next week to discuss potential investment in subway, rail and other transport projects, the state news agency said on Saturday. Egypt, faced with a growing population and public discontent after a series of fatal rail, road and sea accidents, is eager to upgrade its …

Reuters

Egypt plans to tender eight trade zones next month

Egypt’s Trade Ministry plans to tender 500 million square meters of land for specialized trade zones next month, part of a plan to boost internal trade and lure more investment, the state news agency reported. The eight zones, located in six governorates, are expected to attract about LE 750 million ($132 million) worth of investments, …

Reuters

Egypt’s foreign reserves rise to $35.53 bln at end-Aug

Egypt’s net foreign reserves rose to $35.53 billion in August, from $35.28 billion a month earlier, the Central Bank of Egypt said on its website on Tuesday. Net foreign reserves were $32.91 billion in August 2009, Reuters reported. Year-on-year growth in fell to 7.9 percent in August 2010 compared to 11.5 percent in July 2010. …

Daily News Egypt Authors

Middle East, Africa funds sit on cash, wait for recovery

DUBAI: Equity funds investing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are sitting on high cash piles, signaling a lack of conviction and absence of viable opportunities in a region touted as the next big emerging play. Research suggests MENA funds are holding as much as a quarter of their assets in cash against …

Reuters

Egypt signs deal to allow farmland access in Sudan

CAIRO: Egypt’s government signed a deal to allow Egyptian companies access to farm land in Sudan, the first deal of its kind between the two countries, an agriculture ministry official said on Monday. The agreement would allow Egyptian firms to grow crops on 1 million feddans (1.04 million acres) of land, said Saad Nassar, advisor …

Reuters

Growing Islamic finance should diversify, regulate: analysts

KUWAIT CITY: Islamic finance, which prohibits charging interest, is set to double in size in five years, but the one-trillion-dollar industry must diversify and regulate to realize its full potential, analysts and economic reports say. Diversification into new territories is also necessary to reduce the risk of exposure and utilize their full potential, they add. …

AFP

ICLD to resume sit-in for unfulfilled gov’t pay promises

CAIRO: Information Centers for Local Development (ICLD) workers are threatening to resume sit-ins after the Eid holiday following the government’s failure to uphold pay promises. ICLD worker Abdel-Meneim Sharaf Eddin wrote on his blog that workers will not collect their July and August salaries because they have not been increased to the figures agreed on …

Sarah Carr

Troubled Afghan bank faces another day of long queues

KABUL: Customers of Afghanistan’s biggest bank queued again Sunday in the hope of withdrawing their savings, though lines were shorter days after corruption allegations appeared in US newspapers. Security appeared to have been stepped up at the head office of Kabul Bank, with armored vehicles parked outside as crowds thronged the banking chamber. Many customers …

AFP

At least 43 killed in violence in Sudan’s Darfur

CAIRO: Clashes in a refugee camp in Sudan’s restive Darfur region left six people dead, UN-African Union peacekeepers said, days after violence elsewhere in the area claimed the lives of at least 37 people dead. The spokesman for the UNAMID mission, Chris Cycmanick, said Saturday the fighting took place in the Hamidia refugee camp in …

AP

Should you buy Vimpelcom ahead of Africa foray?

MOSCOW: Russian mobile phone operator Vimpelcom is in talks with Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris about buying Italy’s Wind and 51 percent of Orascom in Egypt, denting the share price. Shares in the company are down around 10 percent since the discussions were first revealed last month, while the group’s bonds plunged 1-1.5 percent as jitters …

Daily News Egypt

Dana Gas makes new gas discovery in Egypt

UAE-based Dana Gas said on Sunday it had made another gas discovery in Egypt, the firm’s fourth gas find in the country. The well, South Abu El Naga-1ST in the Nile Delta region, has preliminary estimated reserves of 50 to 90 billion standard cubic feet of gas, with 1 to 2 million barrels of associated …

Reuters

Growth in a Buddhist economy

NEW YORK: I have just returned from Bhutan, the Himalayan kingdom of unmatched natural beauty, cultural richness, and inspiring self-reflection. From the kingdom’s uniqueness now arises a set of economic and social questions that are of pressing interest for the entire world. Bhutan’s rugged geography fostered the rise of a hardy population of farmers and …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Arab League notes pessimism in region about Mideast talks

CAIRO: Arab League chief Amr Mousa said on Wednesday that there was widespread pessimism in the region about new peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Egypt’s state MENA news agency reported. He said that an Arab League committee, which in July gave its backing to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to resume direct negotiations …

AFP

Algeria drops Orascom Tel ads from state TV: source

ALGIERS: Algeria has dropped Orascom Telecom’s adverts from all of the country’s terrestrial television stations, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said, the latest move in a long-running dispute. Egypt-based Orascom Telecom has been locked in a disagreement over its Algerian unit since the Algerian government last year hit it with a back …

Reuters

Desertec seeks new shareholders, in talks

BERLIN: Desertec, the world’s most ambitious solar power project, is courting new shareholders in the Middle East and North Africa in an attempt to broaden its geographical reach, its chief executive told Reuters. "There are a number of interested parties," Paul van Son, head of the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) — the project’s executive arm …

Daily News Egypt

Abbas, Barak held secret meeting in Jordan, says Israeli media

JERUSALEM: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak have met secretly in Amman ahead of Middle East peace talks that start in Washington this week, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. The two met on Sunday in a private home in the Jordanian capital, where Barak also held talks with King Abdullah II. …

AFP

Egypt pound hits new 3-1/2 yr low to dlr

The Egyptian pound traded as low as 5.7055 to the dollar on Tuesday, its weakest since January 2007. "Foreigners are going out of the stock exchange," said a forex dealer at an Egyptian bank, putting selling pressure on pounds as they exit Egyptian equities. He added that the pound remains above its support level of …

Reuters

Libyan leader seeks EU cash to prevent “black Europe”

ROME: Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, on a visit to Rome, said Monday the EU should pay Libya "at least five billion euros a year" to stop clandestine immigration and avoid a "black Europe." Kadhafi’s visit to mark the second anniversary of a friendship treaty with former colonizer Italy had already stumbled into controversy after he …

AFP

Sawiris faces new creditor tussle over Wind Hellas

LONDON: Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris will struggle to pull the same rabbit from the hat that last year left him in control of ailing Greek telecoms group Wind Hellas at the expense of creditors. Greece’s third-largest mobile phone operator needs new money barely nine months after junior lenders lost more than €1 billion ($1.3 billion) …

Daily News Egypt

RIM suggests forum on BlackBerry solution in India

Research in Motion offered on Thursday to lead an industry forum to look at India’s need to have "lawful access" to BlackBerry’s encrypted mail and messenger in the latest effort to stave off the blocking of the popular service in the world’s fastest growing telecoms market. Executives of the Canadian firm have been meeting government …

Daily News Egypt

300 new schools to open this year, no increase in tuition fees, says minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister of Education Ahmed Zaki Badr, announced that 300 new schools around the country will start operating for the first time in the new academic year this September. All school maintenance work, repairs and renovations have been completed, Badr said at a press conference upon inspecting schools in Fayoum, according to a statement …

Safaa Abdoun

Piraeus renames investment fund manger|

Fenex Kato for Investment Funds Management, which manages the shares of Piraeus Bank’s investment fund, was renamed Piraeus-Egypt for Securities Portfolio and Investment Funds Management, the bank said in a statement. Piraeus- Egypt for Securities Portfolio and Investment Funds Management Company also manages Piraeus Bank’s monetary fund in addition to individual and corporate various portfolios …

Daily News Egypt Authors

South Valley Cement H1 net profit falls

Egyptian group South Valley Cement posted a 13 percent fall in net profit to LE 78.4 million ($13.8 million) for the first half of 2010, the stock exchange said on Monday. The firm made LE 90.1 million in the same period a year earlier, the bourse said, without giving details. In May, South Valley’s shareholders …

Reuters

Egyptian Resorts to take back land plot

CAIRO: Real estate firm Egyptian Resorts said on Sunday its board of directors agreed to take back a piece of land the company had sold for about $11 million after the buyer failed to meet some sale requirements. The firm, which makes most of its money selling land to developers, has not sold any plots …

Daily News Egypt