Monday, November 12, 2007


Saudi Arabia's deputy defence minister, Prince Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz (C), meets with Kuwaiti First Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah (L) and Omani Defence Minister Badr bin Saud al-Busaidi (R) on the sidelines of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) defence ministers' meeting in Riyadh

Gulf armed forces are ready and prepared for the possibility of a US-Iran war as tension mounts between Tehran and Washington over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Friction between the two states has been intensifying in recent weeks with US President George W. Bush emphasizing the severity of the situation when he spoke to a press conference on October 17.
Iran has continuously asserted that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only. Many, including the US, remain unconvinced.

Pro-US nations in the GCC consist of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.



Saudi Arabia is rapidly catching up when it comes to accessing the internet and the good news doesn't stop there. Greater online access has fuelled a revolution that extends across all areas including government services, e-commerce and personal use.

The number of internet users in the Kingdom has grown from 200,000 in 2000 to 4.8 million users by the end of 2006. By December 2006, internet penetration reached 20%, while the forecast for 2007 is 35%.

The market size for e-commerce in Saudi Arabia is estimated to be around US$15bn by end of 2007.

This is expected to grow at a healthy rate over the next three years due to several factors.

These include the increase in the number of internet users, their awareness of the internet and online services, and the government issuance of the e-transactions act and e-crime act, which will increase internet users' confidence in online shopping. The demand for online transactions as well as for other e-commerce activities is expected to increase at a very healthy rate as a result.


A bridge under construction in the Dubai Marina area of Dubai has killed seven people, according to police and eyewitness reports.

Up to 24 people have been injured in the accident, which took place at 6.20pm on Thursday evening.

The workers were employees of the Wade Adams Group, a Middle East-based contracting company, N.M. Naushad, the company's human resources director told Associated Press, without confirming the number of dead and injured.

In the immediate aftermath of a confused and unfolding situation, it was reported that scaffolding supporting the half completed bridge collapsed after a concrete pillar gave way.

The seven dead were killed instantly, according to Jamal Al Merri, deputy commandant of Dubai Police.


Housing expenses across the Gulf continue to make the largest dent in regional salaries, forcing more and more people to share accommodation to make ends meet.

Qatar and the UAE have the highest rents in the region with a majority of 66% and 58% respectively paying more than $750 per month.. 26% of UAE residents pay above $1,250 per month, while this figure rises to 40% in Qatar.

Oman, Qatar and the UAE have experienced the largest rent hikes, with 42%, 32% and 23% of tenants shouldering increases of 20% or more.

The majority of Bahraini residents reported no increase at all, with just 9% experiencing a 20% rise or higher. Some 34% of Saudis say they experienced no increases.

Despite rising rents, the majority of respondents said they had not bought property. Some 88% of UAE respondents live in rented accommodation, compared to just 3% who owned their own homes. Kuwait and Qatar reported similar figures.

Bahrain is home to the largest number of buyers, where 11% of respondents own homes. It is closely followed by Oman at 10% and Saudi Arabia at 7%.

41% of Omani and 31% of Bahraini residents said it felt like a good time to buy, but that property was unaffordable at current prices.

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