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News U Wish to read 26 July 2015

Sunday, 26th July 2015

Note: News U Wish to Read is a daily  press review compiled and only covers articles published in the press, in the UAE, India and world around. Its purpose is to keep us informed of important news items which we all wish to not miss. Enjoy  reading the below news items and links. More sections will come as it take shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.


Iran seeks $85 billion investment for petrochemicals sector

Iran is looking for US$85 billion in investment for its petrochemicals sector and aims to increase production by a third this year. Moayed Sadr Hossein, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s petrochemical subcommittee, was quoted as saying by the official Fars news agency yesterday that the country needs such an investment, some of which has already been earmarked for this year. Of all the country’s export sectors, the petrochemicals one is expected to get the quickest boost from the agreement to lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, which was reached earlier this month by the United States and five other countries involved in negotiations. The government’s National Development Fund of Iran has already committed $5bn to the sector, and a further $2.5bn is needed to boost production from 45 million tonnes annually to 60 million tonnes, according to Abbas Shari Moqaddam, the head of National Petrochemical Company (NPC). NPC had previously targeted a production rate of at least 50 million tonnes annually by next March.

Published: 26th July 2015

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UAE’s move to axe fuel subsidies a long-term gain that will outweigh short-term pain

Motorists may wince, but the UAE’s move to remove subsidies on fuel prices has long been expected. Paradoxically, falls in global oil prices made it inevitable. And the possible short-term pain is more than outweighed by the long-term benefits for national development and the environment. UAE petrol and diesel prices are set by the government, and, despite an increase in 2010, have been well below global levels. This leads to large losses for the government-owned retailers Enoc, Adnoc and Emarat. Adnoc has the advantage of producing its own oil, but Enoc and Emarat have to buy theirs on the open market. Fuel prices have not exactly been “deregulated”, as reports had it – they will still be set monthly by a government committee, but now will follow global price levels. I have long advocated this move, but the timing is good. The fall in global oil prices puts stress on government budgets across the Arabian Gulf, encouraging governments to search for savings. It also means that fuel prices will not increase by much initially. Current pre-tax US prices for regular petrol are about Dh2.20 per litre, implying that UAE prices could rise about a quarter from the current Dh1.72 per litre level. With petrol comprising about 3 to 4 per cent of an average UAE family budget, that suggests that the fuel price increase could lead to a one-off increase in inflation of just under one percentage point. The overall inflation rate was 4.2 per cent last month. On the other hand, diesel prices could actually fall. The standard price outside Abu Dhabi is at Dh3.42 per litre, well above US pre-tax rates of about Dh2.26 per litre. Diesel, used in buses and lorries, is the main influence on commercial transport rates, and hence affects the prices of goods in shops.

Published: 26th July 2015

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Oil price sentiments are still downbeat

They could remain so given that higher Iranian supply will only come by late 2016. The oil market is languishing and the trend is downward judging by the movement of benchmark crude prices. The price of Opec’s basket of crude oils posted $53.79 a barrel on July 20, down from $64.96 on May 6. Brent crude oil prices posted $56.67 a barrel, down from $69.63 during the same period. The reasons are many. Most importantly, concerns about more than 2 million barrels a day (mbd) of oversupply is what really matters. Opec production is now 31.7 mbd according to IEA and 31.4 mbd according to Opec, which is well above the ceiling of 30 mbd decided by the organization. Production in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and UAE rose last month. Other factors weighing on oil prices are the Greek crisis and its possible impact on growth in the Eurozone. Even the EU bailout deal may not be met with a popular acceptance for its severe austerity measures. The relative slowdown in China may not only impact oil demand but also the filling of China’s strategic petroleum reserves.

Published: 26th July 2015


Politics & Economy

Abu Dhabi economy grows 2.2% thanks to diversification

Abu Dhabi’s economy grew at an estimated 2.2 per cent last year despite the collapse in oil prices as its diversification efforts paid off, according to a report from Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi. The emirate, the world’s eighth-biggest producer of oil, said its GDP rose to Dh952.6 billion in 2014 from Dh931.7bn in 2013, when GDP rose 2.4 per cent. The share of non-oil activities in GDP at constant prices increased to 49.5 per cent in 2014 from 38.7 per cent in 2004. Away from oil, construction was the biggest contributor to growth. Construction had a 9.6 per cent share of non-oil GDP, while finance and insurance accounted for 7.2 per cent of the non-oil economy. Crude oil, the lifeblood of many economies in the region, fell more than 50 per cent last year amid a drop in demand from emerging markets such as China, the world’s second-largest economy, and an increase in production in the US. The UAE’s federal government relies on oil revenues to fund more than 60 per cent of its budget. Despite that drop, the UAE economy is estimated to have grown more than 4 per cent last year. As a result of the oil slump, many economists – including those at HSBC, Standard Chartered and the IMF – have lowered their growth forecasts for Arabian Gulf countries this year. The IMF cut its estimate of the UAE’s GDP growth to 3.2 per cent. In January, the ratings agency Moody’s estimated that Abu Dhabi’s economic growth rate would slow this year – to below 3 per cent.

Published: 25th July 2015

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UAE residents fear rising cost of living

The increase in fuel prices will further exacerbate the rising cost of living, which could result in people being forced to consider leaving the UAE, expatriates said.  Although residents welcomed moves by the Government to deregulate the cost of petrol as a means of reducing the number of gas-guzzling 4x4s on the road and force motorists to downgrade to more fuel-efficient cars, they are worried about the effect the increase will have on their finances.  “People move to Dubai for many reasons, but one of them is for the low fuel costs,” said South African mother-of-two Ilse Onderweegs, who had noticed the cost of living rising month by month, from groceries to childcare and schooling. “If things increase much more we will have to re-assess if it is worth staying. At the moment it is getting harder. “Over the years costs have increased dramatically – increased fuel prices will mean increases in flight tickets and food, because most things need to be imported to the UAE. “My kids are both in school from September. I will need to do more lifts and club together with other parents that live close by. “It will also mean the kids will be restricted to fewer school activities. Schooling is already very expensive in Dubai.”

Published: 23rd July 2015

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Forget about investing in glittering gold for now

In the backdrop of rising interest rates in the United States and thereby stronger dollar, much more downside is expected in the yellow metal.  Gold seems to have lost favour among investors, in the backdrop of rising interest rates in the United States and therefore a stronger dollar. Much more downside is expected in the yellow metal, analysts say, which could push more investors away from the non-dividend paying asset. International spot gold has continued its rout, and on Thursday it extended losses for a tenth straight session, it’s biggest since 1996. Gold was at $1,100 (Dh4,037) an ounce, down $300 from levels seen in 2013. However, the current rout was triggered after China on July 17 disclosed that their reserves were up by 60 per cent at $1,658 as of end of June, much lower than analysts expectations. “The [China] news disappointed the market as people thought they had bought more gold because their share of gold of total currency reserves were pretty low,” Carsten Menke, commodity analyst with Bank Julius Baer & Co told Gulf News from Zurich. “On Monday morning, after Asian trading started we had a huge fall in gold price. The speed and magnitude pointed to short selling by hedge funds in Asia,” Menke said. A more significant technical development was that the sell-off on July 20 was preceded by large redemptions from gold ETFs, almost 504,000 ounces were withdrawn from global gold ETF’s on July 17, the largest one-day decrease since July 2013, said Cesar Perez, Global Head of Investment Strategy, J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

Published: 25th July 2015

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‘61,000 Indian millionaires shifted overseas in last 14 yrs’


India has seen the second-biggest outflow of high net worth individuals in last 14 years, with as many as 61,000 millionaires shifting base to abroad due to reasons like tax, security and child education, says a report. A joint report by New World Wealth and LIO Global said the change in domicile, along with a rise in second citizenship applications, has increased dramatically since the turn of the century.  Some 61,000 uber-rich Indians have changed domicile between 2000 to 2014 — second only to China which saw an outflow of 91,000 ultra-rich persons in the same period, the report said. “Indian HNWIs tend to move to the UAE, the UK, the US and Australia,” the report said, adding that Chinese HNWIs mainly moved to the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. Overall, the UK has seen the biggest inflow of HNWIs from abroad and the figure stood at 1.25 lakh over the past 14 years.  Other countries that saw significant HNWI outflows include France (42,000), Italy (23,000), Russia (20,000), Indonesia (12,000), South Africa (8,000) and Egypt (7,000). The factors of the outflow, according to the report, include turmoil in home country, security concerns and optimising education of children. Most of the HNWIs who moved into the UK came from Europe, Russia, China and India. There were also substantial numbers that came from the Middle-East and Africa, the report added. In terms of inflows of HNWIs, the UK was followed by the US and Singapore.

Published: 26th July 2015

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Community, Environment & Society

Tough UAE social media law could see expats deported for saving someone’s photo

Phone and computer users have been warned against falling foul of the 2012 law against cybercrime.  Simply possessing on an electronic device a photo taken without the subject’s consent is an offence for which expatriates could be deported, a leading prosecutor said. Mohammed Al Dhanhani, head of the family prosecution service in Abu Dhabi, also said more people were being ordered to leave the country because they had insulted their spouse on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.

Article 21 of the Federal Decree No 5/2012 on combating cybercrimes

One is punished by a jail sentence of no less than six months and a fine that is of no less than Dh 150,000 and not more than Dh 500,000 or by either of those two punishments whoever uses an information network or automated information system or one of the information technology methods to attack the privacy of a person in the unwarranted circumstances legally by one of the following methods:

  1. Eavesdropping, intercepting, recording or disclosing conversations, communications, audio and video material.
  1. Taking photographs of others, creating electronic photos of others, disclosing, copying or saving them.
  1. Publishing news, electronic photographs or photographs or scenes, comments, data and information even if they are authentic.

Is it also punishable by a jail sentence of no less than one year in and a fine of no less than Dh 250,000 and no more than Dh 500,000 or by one of those two punishments, whoever uses an automated information system or one of the information technology methods to conduct an amendment or an edit to a recording or picture or scene, with the intention to defame or offend another person, or to breach their privacy.

Published: 19th July 2015

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All you need to know about passport renewal in UAE

Some missions can issue a passport within minutes, others within days, others in weeks or months.  How long does it take to renew your passport here in the UAE? Days? Weeks? Months? Minutes? Yes, apparently in one case, it could take a few minutes, Gulf News has learnt. Getting a new passport can be arduous for some residents, especially those who need to travel and forgot to renew their travel documents. While some have to take a day off work to apply for a new passport and receive it days or weeks later, there are those who can get their actual ordinary passport within minutes, and yet others within three business days.

Published: 25th July 2015

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Passport issuance of different missions in UAE

Different missions have different policies that influence the processing time and delivery of passports.

DISCLAIMER: The TIME mentioned below takes into consideration the actual processing of the passport, issuance and, in some cases, delivery. This is not an exhaustive list as there are many more foreign missions in the UAE.


Time: 20 minutes

Validity: 10 years

Cost: Dh485


Time: Minimum 7 working days (Dubai-issued passport)

Minimum 3 working days for passports under Tatkal scheme (Urgent or emergency cases)

Validity: 5-10 years

Cost: Dh337 (36 pages); Dh432 (60 pages Jumbo passport)

Published: 25th July 2015

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Of ethics & value systems

By Peter Drucker

To be able to manage yourself, you finally have to ask, “What are my values?” This is not a question of ethics. With respect to ethics, the rules are the same for everybody, and the test is a simple one. I call it the mirror test. In the early century, the most highly respected diplomat was the German ambassador in London. He was clearly destined for great things—to become his country’s foreign minister, at least, if not its federal chancellor. Yet in 1906 he abruptly resigned rather than preside over a dinner given by the diplomatic corps for Edward VII. The king was a notorious womaniser and made it clear what kind of dinner he wanted. The ambassador is reported to have said, “I refuse to see a pimp in the mirror in the morning when I shave.” That is the mirror test. Ethics require you ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to see in the mirror in the morning?” Ethics is only part of a value system—especially of an organisation’s value system. To work in an organisation whose value system is unacceptable or incompatible with one’s own condemns a person both to frustration and to nonperformance. Organisations, like people, have values. To be effective in an organisation, a person’s values must be compatible with the organisation’s values. They do not need to be the same, but they must be close enough to coexist.

Published: 25th July 2015

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Etihad performs a perfect flight

It is easy to imagine a perfect flight: watching our favourite film on the entertainment system, having an empty seat next to us so we can stretch out and enjoying the view from the window as we land.  For airlines, a perfect flight is very different, it involves maximising efficiency to save time and fuel and, in doing so, cutting the carbon footprint. On May 24, Etihad Airways operated just such a perfect flight, a special Boeing 787 Dreamliner service from the carrier’s Abu Dhabi base to Washington DC. By altering ascent and descent, perfecting the route, optimising ground handling and other measures, the 13-and-a-half-hour flight saved 4,100 litres of fuel and 10.7 tonnes of carbon emissions. Achieving this required collaboration with 30 services, from ground handling to air navigation.

Published: 25th July 2015

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UAE insurance company launches car breakdown app

An insurance company has launched a road assistance mobile application for reporting a car breakdown. The AssistPal app has been launched by Oman Insurance Company to offer its motor insurance customers services such as tyre changes, battery jump starts and roadside recovery. AssistPal will send the vehicle’s exact location via the phone’s GPS feature.  “Once help is on the way, drivers can track the real-time location of the assigned service provider on the map,” said Haris Mylonas, executive vice president at OIC’s consumer division. The app’s release follows the signing of a new contract between OIC and the International Travel Assistance Company, which will provide roadside and travel assistance to OIC customers.

Published: 21st  July 2015

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Sports – Campaign PASS

Campaign PASS (Promote All Sports Simultaneously) is an initiative started through my blog to promote all sports(other than cricket – which gets lot of attention) and sports personnel associated to give them more exposure.

We could have avoided hockey mess if Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had been sports minister

Independent India’s first winner of an individual Olympic silver medal should have been the county’s minister of state (MoS) for sports and not for information and broadcasting. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the silver medallist for double-trap shooting at the 2004 Athens Olympics, would have known the effort required to perform at the highest level in international sports. He would not have let egocentric officials like Hockey India (HI) chief Batra run amok, sacking the very coaches who were successfully striving to get India back to its Olympic best.

Published: 25th July 2015

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Hope you enjoyed reading the above news items and links. More sections will come as it take shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.


Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

26th July 2015

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