Week in pictures: March 9 - March 15 2012
Arabian Business presents a visual guide to the biggest stories in the region over the last seven days
The former president of Saudi Aramco brushed off Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz.\nSpeaking on the sidelines of a Dubai conference, the ex-chief of the world’s richest company said he did not think closure was likely, and would not be a disaster for oil-producing Gulf countries even if it happened.\n“No one will allow the closure,” Abdallah Jum’ah told Arabian Business, “the world will not allow it.” David Richards, chairman of the English Premier League, apologised after an embarrassing speech in Doha, where he claimed that soccer had been stolen from the UK by governing bodies FIFA and UEFA, and called on Qatar to relax its alcohol laws ahead of the World Cup in 2022. (Getty Images) The UAE will join some of the world’s top soccer teams at this summer’s Olympic Games in London after the squad qualified following a dramatic 3-2 victory over Uzbekistan. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction. (AFP/Getty Images) Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said it stands ready to fill any oil supply gap - "perceived or real" - as oil prices rally on fears of a potential loss of Iranian output. (Getty Images) Eight police offers were injured when a driver rammed into a motorcade escorting a Qatari delegation into the royal palace in Brussels, according to reports this week. (AFP/Getty Images) Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo, which launched a US$487m initial public offering (IPO) last year, is being courted by Gulf investors eager to access the luxury European market, a senior company executive told Arabian Business. UAE deliveries of Apple’s latest iPad device could be delayed following news the technology giant has run out of stock for online pre-orders, a local retailer said. A total of 430 boats and yachts valued at a staggering AED960m (US$260m) are on display in Dubai this week at the emirate’s 20th annual Dubai International Boat Show. Dubai’s Emirates Airline plans to hire 3,800 new cabin staff this year, in addition to the 4,000 hired last year, taking its total number of in-flight crew to nearly 20,000, it was announced. Organisers of Abu Dhabi’s Madonna concert have warned fans that tickets bought from unauthorised sellers will not be honoured and touts that sell tickets at inflated prices may be banned from future events. The Gulf should join the US and Europe in creating a ‘Marshall Plan’ to aid post-revolution countries that are moving towards democracy as a result of the Arab Spring, the former head of Al Jazeera said. Shares in Emirates NBD will be in focus after sources said Dubai's largest bank, which has been grappling with impairments, plans to lay off up to 15 percent of its workforce. A female medical researcher from Saudi Arabia, Hayat Sindhi, is planning to develop a portable MRI scanner in a bid to ease the process of diagnosing organ, bone and tissue diseases for people in the Arab world. As the wait for Saudi Arabia’s much-anticipated mortgage law continues, one of the kingdom’s most senior banking officials, Saudi British Bank's David Dew, has claimed that the new legislation will not automatically lead to a flurry of lending from the local banking sector. Saudi royal Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been ranked as the Arab world’s wealthiest billionaire, according to a report published in US-based Forbes magazine. The long-term maintenance and sustainability of Dubai’s building stock is the current pressing priority of the emirate’s real-estate sector, HE Marwan Bin Ghulaita, the CEO of RERA, said at the MEFMA Annual Conference 2012 at the World Trade Centre. Abu Dhabi developers Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate announced this week they were in talks over a possible merger. The UAE's economy grew an estimated 3.3 percent in 2011, the economy minister was quoted as saying this week, slower than analysts had expected but still more than double the pace seen in the previous year. Twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s government-backed media free zone, plans to be profitable by 2016, the company’s new CEO told Arabian Business in an interview. Dubai International Airport could overtake Hong Kong International Airport to become the third largest aviation hub in the world this year, with its CEO expecting an 11 percent rise in annual passenger traffic. (ITP Images) A Saudi Arabian princess and four other royals have sued hotel group Wyndham Worldwide Corp after jewellery and cash worth $16m was stolen during a 2010 visit to London. Du, the UAE's second telecoms operator, could finally equal rival Etisalat for mobile phone market share by the end of 2012, analysts at Frost & Sullivan have said.