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China panda baby boom aids against extinction

BEIJING: China’s panda population is booming this year thanks to a record number of births in captivity, a rare accomplishment for the endangered species known for being poor breeders. The most recent addition — the birth of female twins — brought the total number of births this year to 19, surpassing the record of 18 …

DNE

Ramsis Hilton to get a facelift

Tarek Moharram, managing director of the Arab International Company for Hotels and Tourism, which owns the Ramsis Hilton Hotel, signed on Sunday a renovation contract with Mohamed El-Taher Frahan of EHAF Consulting Engineers. The renovation project will cost an estimated $52 million and is set to start in January 2011, to be completed over three …

DNE

Israel starts 600 new settler homes since freeze end

JERUSALEM: Israeli settlers have started building at least 600 homes since the end of a building ban on September 26, a pace four times faster than before the freeze began last year, Peace Now said Thursday. "In our estimation, building has started on between 600 and 700 new housing units in less than one month, …

DNE

DR Congo ex-vice president loses bid to end war crimes trial

THE HAGUE: Democratic Republic of Congo former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba lost a last-ditch bid on Tuesday to stop his war crimes trial when world court judges dismissed his "abuse of process" appeal. "The Appeals Chamber confirms the impugned decision and dismisses the appeal," Judge Anita Usacka said in The Hague, two-and-a-half years after Bemba …

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Israel’s Peres cancels Morocco visit after royal snub

JERUSALEM: Israeli President Shimon Peres has cancelled a trip to Morocco after his requests to meet King Mohammed VI were spurned, an Israeli official said on Monday. The Israeli leader was to have attended a gathering of global figures at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Marrakech from October …

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Time to find a second Earth, WWF says

PARIS: Carbon pollution and over-use of Earth’s natural resources have become so critical that, on current trends, we will need a second planet to meet our needs by 2030, the WWF said. In 2007, Earth’s 6.8 billion humans were living 50 percent beyond the planet’s threshold of sustainability, according to its report, issued ahead of …

DNE

Iran arrests top reformist from banned party, trails 5 spies

TEHRAN: Iran has arrested a top reformist from a banned political party which backed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in last year’s presidential election, the ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday. Ali Shakouri-rat, a leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, was "arrested yesterday (Tuesday) night for security reasons," the news agency quoted Tehran prosecutor …

DNE

Synovate restructures regional operations, names new CEO

Global market research company Synovate has restructured its regional operations, the firm said in a statement, which includes appointing Tamer El-Naggar to the newly created role of CEO, Business Units, MENA effective Jan. 1. The firm has created a new cluster of Business Units comprising the Middle East and North Africa, part of a wider …

DNE

Transport minister denies Railway Authority bond issue

The Minister of Transport has denied recent media reports that the Railway Authority is considering issuing LE 10 billion bonds to finance a number of investment projects, Al-Shorouk newspaper reported, citing Minister Alaa Fahmy. According to Beltone Financial’s market report, there is neither a plan nor an intention to issue bonds, Fahmy explained adding that …

DNE

‘Christian Returnees’ issue injunction against interior ministry

  CAIRO: A group of Christians who converted to Islam and then back to Christianity issued an injunction against both the Minister of Interior and the head of the Civil Status Organization for not implementing a court order that allows them to be identified as Christians on their ID cards.   The group, dubbed the …

DNE

Khattab receives Order of Merit of the Italian Republic

CAIRO: Minister of State for Family and Population Moshira Khattab received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic — the highest badge of honor in Italy — on Monday evening in a small ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Cairo. “Carrying this prestigious Order of Merit is an honor to my country as it …

DNE

US criticizes ‘unbalanced’ probe into Gaza flotilla raid

GENEVA: The United States on Tuesday criticized a UN probe into Israel’s storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, urging the Human Rights Council to prevent the report from being used to torpedo peace talks. "We are concerned by the report’s unbalanced language, tone and conclusions," US ambassador Eileen Donahoe told the Human Rights Council. "We …

DNE

Syria: Agriculture gets helping hand

As Syria braces for a third successive season of drought, Damascus has introduced a raft of measures to support the agricultural sector, including adjustments to farmers’ financing terms and new irrigation schemes. In early July, the government announced plans to reschedule farmers’ debts for the second consecutive year, after fears about poor wheat, barley and …

DNE

We won despite key figures absence: Al-Badri

CAIRO: Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri highlighted that his side pulled off Sunday’s 2-1 home victory over Heartland in the CAF Champions League without a number of key figures. The Red Devils secured qualification for the competition’s semi finals upon beating the Nigerian side. "We miss a number of regular players either through suspension or injury, …

DNE

Asia shrugs off global banking shake-up

HONG KONG: Asian banks’ shares rallied on Monday as regulators and investors shrugged off the biggest revamp to global banking rules in decades, confident that regional lenders were already in good shape. The stricter new rules — known as Basel III — were agreed on Sunday at a meeting in Switzerland of international central bankers …

DNE

Aramco, Total name new CEO for Jubail refinery

KHOBAR: A new chief executive officer has been named for a venture between state oil giant Saudi Aramco and France’s Total, industry sources said on Monday. Said al-Hadrami, a board member of Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (SATORP) replaces Salem Shaheen as president and chief executive of SATORP, sources said. A company spokesperson …

DNE

Abu Dhabi: Evolving insurance market

ABU DHABI: Regulations enforcing higher capital standards in the UAE’s overcrowded insurance market have reduced the amount of insurance brokers, while slower growth in commercial business means the sector is looking to opportunities in the retail segment. “The number of brokers has decreased by 20 percent compared with 2008,” the Insurance Authority said recently. Put …

DNE

Zidan finally back to Dortmund

CAIRO: Mohamed Zidan has finally returned to Borussia Dortmund after clearing up confusion over his military status. Over the past weeks, the Egypt forward was nursing a knee injury in his homeland as he was resolving problems related to his mandatory military service. After finishing the required paperwork, Zidan issued a travel clearance and flew …

DNE

Hamas vows more deadly attacks on Israelis

JERUSALEM: Hamas vowed to press its campaign of deadly attacks on Israelis aimed at protesting a new round of Middle East peace talks set to kick off in Washington on Thursday. "The resistance operations will continue," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri following two shooting attacks on West Bank roads in 24 hours that killed …

DNE

Iran offers joint nuclear fuel production with Russia

TEHRAN: Iran has made a proposal to Moscow to jointly produce nuclear fuel for its Russian-built Bushehr plant and future facilities; the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization was quoted as saying Thursday. "We have made a proposal to Russia for the creation of a consortium, licensed by that country, to do part of the …

DNE

Egypt bans nitrogenous fertilizers exports

Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture banned public sector companies from exporting nitrogenous fertilizers, extended until the ministry studies local market conditions and production sufficiency to cover domestic demand. The ministry obliged companies to deliver its production to Credit Agriculture Bank. The decree includes Abu Kir, El Nasr, El Delta Fertilizers, Kema and Egyptian Chemicals Company, reported …

DNE

Israel, Greece to set up joint security committee, says report

JERUSALEM: Israel and Greece are to set up a joint committee to promote strategic and security cooperation between the two countries, public radio said on Wednesday. The decision was taken during a historic two-day visit to Athens by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from which he returned early on Wednesday. The committee is to study …

DNE

Jordanian UN officers abducted in Darfur freed

KHARTOUM: Two Jordanian officers from the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) who were abducted at gunpoint have been freed, Jordanian and Sudanese officials said on Tuesday. "First Lieutenant Ahmad Qeisi and First Lieutenant Nabil Kilani have been released," Jordanian Information Minister Ali Ayed said in a statement carried by the state-run Petra …

DNE

Charitable Giving

InterContinental Hotels Group Cairo Citystars organized a food donation initiative to deliver food supplies to four villages in Sakkara. The hotel joined forces with Resalet Nour Ala Nour Charity association and visited four underprivileged villages in Sakkara district on the outskirts of Giza governorate to distribute basic food supplies that would be sufficient to support …

DNE

Jordan sends aid to Pakistan

AMMAN: A Jordanian plane carrying 3.5 tonnes of food and medical supplies left for Pakistan on Sunday to help aid millions of people hit by devastating floods, an official said. "The plane also carries a 25-member medical team, including nine doctors, as well as 21,000 typhoid and cholera vaccines," Brigadier Mohammad Mheisen of Jordan’s Royal …

DNE

Ghazi Al-Gosaibi, Saudi diplomat, minister, poet, dead at 70

Popular Saudi minister and poet Ghazi Al-Gosaibi, who as envoy to Britain sparked outrage with an ode to a Palestinian suicide bomber, died Sunday at age 70, official Al-Akhbariya TV said. He died of cancer in Riyadh’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital, where he had been admitted about a month earlier, members of his entourage told …

DNE

Obama team under fire for imam’s trip to Mideast

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration drew fire Tuesday from conservative lawmakers for sending to the Middle East the imam who backs controversial plans for a mosque next to the site of the September 11 attacks in New York. "Imam Feisal (Abdul Rauf) will be traveling to Qatar, Bahrain, and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) on a …

DNE

Egypt July core annual inflation rises to 7.08 pct

Egypt’s core annual inflation rose to 7.08 percent in the year to July from 6.70 percent in June, the central bank said on its website on Tuesday. Four analysts polled by Reuters had forecast core annual inflation rising to an average of 7.1 percent. Forecasts ranged from 6.9 percent and 7.2 percent. Core inflation strips …

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