The latest news... and forthcoming events

The latest news... and forthcoming events
22 March 2011

BE IT political insurgency or nature's fury, turmoil has been sweeping the globe – from Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and Oman to Japan and New Zealand... the list is long.

Stock markets are feeling the pain, as experts fear a slowdown of the economic recovery process. Oil prices are rising as unrest in Libya and Bahrain heightens supply disruption and investors fret over the impact of energy demand from quake-hit Japan.

Here are some of the items making the headlines this week and what to look out for this coming week:

The week that was...

Libyan uprising and massacre

Massacre in Libya continued with explosions and heavy anti-aircraft fire reverberating as allied warplanes continued to patrol the skies, pummelling the country's air defences. The air strikes on Libyan troops marching to Benghazi allowed revolutionaries to recapture their stronghold.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vowed to defeat the Western powers' "terrorism" as the allies hit a diplomatic hurdle with the Arab League hitting out at the "bombardment of civilians". A growing number of countries enforced a Libyan no-fly zone. Do you know anybody staying in Libya and trying to leave the country? Let us know of their experience.

Bahrain unrest

Bahrain, the one-time financial centre of the Gulf, declared Marshall law after about 1,000 Saudi soldiers, part of a GCC force, entered Bahrain to protect government facilities following unrest by the country's Shi'ite Muslim majority. The state of emergency is expected to last three months. Do you think  what is happening in Bahrain is justified?

Japan in crisis

The triple disaster – earthquake, tsunami and threat of nuclear radiation – continued to cripple Japan.

Analysts said the cost of rebuilding Japan would worsen the country's debt, even though damage to the economy may be limited. The Tohoku region badly affected by the disaster accounts for about 8% of gross domestic product and is host to factories that make everything from cars to beer, as well as energy infrastructure. What do you think of Japan's present crisis... how is it going to affect the vibrant economy?

Saxo Bank censored

On Sunday, Dubai's financial regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, censored the local unit of privately-held Danish lender Saxo Bank for its failure to comply with rules on anti-money laundering controls.

An investigation found that Saxo Bank Dubai Limited referred clients to its parent, Saxo Bank in Denmark, and did not carry out sufficient client checks. Is DFSA's stand justified? cashy welcomes your opinion.

Etisalat walks away from Zain deal

Etisalat, the Gulf's largest telecom firm, scrapped its $12 billion offer to buy a controlling stake in Kuwaiti rival Zain, citing Zain's divided board, extended due diligence and regional unrest.

It last year offered to buy a 46% stake in Zain for 1.7 dinars a share in a deal that would have given Etisalat even greater command of the market.

Mixed fortunes for Dubai

Dubai's stock market index made its largest gain in 15 months as investor fears that political unrest would spread to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia eased. It climbed 4.3% to 1,513 points, trimming 2011 losses to 7.2%. Abu Dhabi’s index rose 1.5% to 2,666.

Meanwhile, ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said Dubai had recovered from the economic downturn, as data put economic growth at 2.2% for 2010 and pencilled in a 2.8% rise for 2011.

At the same time, inflation in Dubai edged up 0.9% on an annual basis in February – the highest level in a year – as food and transportation costs rose. Do you really believe that Dubai is out of recession? cashy thinks perhaps not.

The week ahead... 

The future of plastic

Today and tomorrow you can find out all you want to know about the world of plastic cards – from credit and debit cards to pre-paid cards. The conference, at the Westin hotel opposite Dubai Media City, has a free exhibition for visitors to see different types of card products and technology.

Earth hour

On Saturday, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour. At the InterContinental Dubai Festival City there will be an evening of dining by candlelight to support the environmental awareness initiative. The Anies buffet costs AED 225 ($61.48) and dinner starts at 7pm. Call 04-701 1127 to book. Are you taking part in Earth Hour? Tell us below!

Music in the park

On Friday, pack a picnic and enjoy an afternoon of a gifted musical ensemble playing alongside the Dubai classical guitar orchestra. The concert begins at 3.30pm and entry is just AED 3 ($0.82) to get into Safa Park. Not a bad idea to enjoy concert in open space and for almost free.

Abu Dhabi festival

A bonanza for lovers of music, ballet, opera and other arts, the festival runs until 4 April. Most events are held at the Emirates Palace Hotel or Abu Dhabi Theatre. To see what offers are available or to buy tickets go to Time Out or call 800 4669.

Boost your business success

Doing Business in the UAE can, at times, be confusing and frustrating. Are there ways to boost your chances of UAE business success? This seminar says so.

It's on Monday from 6.30pm to 10pm at Media Rotana, Tecom, Al Barsha Dubai. It costs AED 120 ($32.79) for Heels and Deals members and AED 150 ($40.98) for non-members. Register before Thursday at the Heels and Deals site.

Sharjah art biennial 2011

Organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, the 10th annual event will run until 16 May, with many free and reasonably-priced exhibitions and events across a range of disciplines, including art, film and music. For more info, check out the official website.

Pic credit: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What do you think of the week’s headlines? Are you going to be attending any of the upcoming events? Share with cashy...

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