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Paper wars hot up as IHT and FT plan UAE debuts

April 27, 2008 10:00 by

IHT and FT plan UAE debuts
The International Herald Tribune and the Financial Times, two publications with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world, will soon make their UAE debut. At a celebration on Wednesday of the 30th anniversary of Khaleej Times, company executives are expected to announce a publishing partnership with the International Herald Tribune (IHT), which is owned by the New York Times Company. Meanwhile, the Financial Times, the UK-based global business daily owned by Pearson, is launching a Middle East edition April 29.

The papers would arrive just weeks after the launch of The National, an English-language paper published six days a week by the Abu Dhabi Media Company, and only a few months after Dubai-based Arab Media Group relaunched one of the country’s dailies as a business publication, Emirates Business 24/7.

Fraudster held over investment scam
A fraudulent investor who cheated UAE nationals and expatriates across the country has been detained by police in Abu Dhabi, Arabian Business reports. It says the man, identified only as AAG, was arrested in a joint operation by the Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution and Abu Dhabi Police after luring residents to invest in a false company on the promise of 30-40% returns per month.

Investigations were still at the preliminary stage, the source said, promising “severe punishments” against fake companies which “harm the national economy directly and tarnish the UAE stature.”

Airlines flay US security plan
The airline community has condemned the latest US Government proposal that will make biometric exit procedures mandatory for all non-US citizens exiting the US, further complicating travel in and out of the US.

The proposed rule, to be enacted later this year, requires “commercial air carriers and vessel owners and operators to collect and transmit the biometric exit information to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with passenger manifest information already being collected and submitted by the carriers no later than 24 hours after air carrier staff secure the aircraft doors on an international departure, or for sea travel, no later than 24 hours after the vessel’s departure from a US port”.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has criticised the move. “The US Government plan would require airlines to invest billions in new equipment and the staff to operate it,” IATA said in a statement, which has been obtained by Gulf News.

Saudi inflation jumps to 10 per cent
Inflation in Saudi Arabia jumped to almost 10 per cent in March, its highest since at least the oil boom of the 1970s, raising pressure on the state to offset price pressures on the oil exporter’s 25 million people. Inflation accelerated for a 10th straight month to 9.6pc in the year to March 31, compared with 8.7pc in February.

Saudi inflation almost doubled in the six months to March, says Gulf Daily News, driven mainly by surging rents and food prices. The rental index of the largest Arab economy soared 15.8pc last month, while food and beverage costs rose 14.2pc. The rental index includes fuel and water costs.

Kuwait preps third telecom IPO
Kuwait could launch a much-delayed IPO for the country’s third mobile operator by June and the new firm may be in business as early as October, Trade Arabia reports. The government is offering 50 per cent of the operator to the public. It sold 26 per cent of the firm to state-owned Saudi Telecom for KD248.7 million ($934.9 million) last November. Kuwait had initially targeted February for the IPO.

Kuwait is already home to Mobile Telecommunications Company, the third-largest Arab telecoms company, as well as National Mobile Telecommunications Co (Wataniya), a unit of Qatar Telecommunications.

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