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Thursday 8th of December 2016

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GCC countries 2017 Financial Budgets & Plans

It is at this time when all GCC countries 2017 Financial Budgets & Plans are planned, reviewed and finalised. We reproduce excerpts of selected media in an effort to try and bring the feel of the prevailing atmosphere. Oman’s Finance Ministry is looking at cutting expenditure again in the state budget for next year to reduce a deficit caused by low oil prices, sources briefed on the ministry’s thinking told Reuters last Tuesday. Gulf Business reported that a draft budget for 2017, foresees a 5 per cent cut in spending from this year’s budget, and no increase in revenues, the sources said. The draft assumes an average oil price of $45 per barrel. The ministry declined to comment on its 2017 budget plan, which is expected to be released around the end of this year or early next. The 2016 budget envisaged state expenditure of OMR11.9bn – down 11 per cent from actual spending in 2015 – and revenues of OMR8.6bn; officials said their 2016 economic plans also assumed an average oil price of $45. The Financial Tribune Saudi Arabia will fall into recession next year for the first time since 1999, according to a new analysis. The kingdom’s non-oil sector [ . . .]

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TransSaharian Ridge, from Algiers to Lagos

The MENA African region southern flank is bordered by an area labelled by all as the Sahel. It is the Sahara’s southern edge best known for its Touaregs ‘Blue Men’ nomadic inhabitants. Could Algeria as advised by Professor J.L Guigou, think tank IPEMED president, borrow one of the two proposed paths that cross its territory with the first leading to industrialization of the North of Africa, from Egypt to Morocco, with Algeria at the Centre or opt for the second path, that is according to a North-South axis, along the Transsaharian Ridge, from Algiers to Lagos, contributing to the development of the Sahel, while linking North Africa to the Sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, BROOKINGS produced this article on the Sahel as in a way a vivid reminder that this region is still as dependent as it ever was on international aid. Written by Jaime de Melo and posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2016, pleading for an international action towards helping to secure some decency into the life of people of the region.

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Most Influential Languages in the World of Today

The WEF published this article written by Kai Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative on December 2, 2016. It is as per its title about the most influential languages in the world of today with nevertheless an idea of their respective standing in the future. The MENA region with its predominant language that is Arabic is among the lot. However it is as for other parts of the world being subjected to a certain Englishasition to varying degrees in extent and / or penetration. For instance, in the GCC countries’ sectors of government, business and education, health, etc. we could safely say that the widely spread English language derives principally from its effective usage by their populations vast majority of migrant workers. The superficial presence of the French language in the North-West African Maghreb countries is more and more noticed to be dwindling down from the double effect of decades of mediocre Arabisation programmes of education and an opening to the world of Asia and the Pacific countries. These are the most powerful languages in the world . . .

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In solidarity with Doha News

In solidarity with Doha News, we reproduce this article of Medium.com that is clearly about an act of blocking the free exercise of the profession and mission of journalism in its latest form of expression, i.e. E-Journalism.  We also “believe in the importance of a free press, and are saddened by this fact that Qatar, home of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom and Al Jazeera, has decided to take this step.”   Doha News is scaling back — for now It’s been five days since authorities in Qatar blocked access to dohanews.co inside the country. We’ve since come to understand that this was an intentional act, in part due to issues with our licensing.   We’re continuing to speak to officials this week to see how we can resolve the problem. At the same time, we reject the idea that our news website should be blocked over licensing concerns — this is a clear act of censorship, and a fairly unprecedented one in Qatar. In the interest of protecting our team, we will be reducing the number of articles we publish until we can resolve the problem and get dohanews.co unblocked. Many of you have expressed solidarity with us  [. . .]

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Filipino Overseas Contract Workers

Here is an interesting article published on Quartz.com on November 27, 2016. It is written by Therese Reyes and Isabella Steger. It is about the Overseas Filipinos living in a wide range of countries, working and transferring their remittances back home. They are, according to Wikipedia, known by a variety of terms with slightly different and sometimes overlapping meanings. The most commonly and officially used phrase is Filipino Overseas Contract Workers, acronym’d as OCWs. In the MENA region, the OCWs number was fast approaching a total of 2 million mark prior to the drop in oil price of June 2014. These are concentrated mainly in the GCC countries with a predominant presence in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. TradeArabia reported on March 30, 2016 that OSN, a leading pay-TV network in MENA region, has increased the breadth of content for OSN Pinoy subscribers with the roll out of six new channels taking the overall number of OSN Pinoy channels to 15. But, Filipinos working abroad say they’re coming home to a better Philippines . . . Ever since Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines in May, Ces, a 32-year-old Filipino domestic worker in . . .

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5 Reasons we should all be climate optimists

This article written by Nina Jensen, CEO of WWF-Norway was published on 30 November 2016 on the WEF website. We republish it here for its good meaning of possibly the ultimate cause of all humanity that is to salvage what remains of the earth’s to date. It has been denied for years but more and more evidence is showing that climate change is definitely upon us. Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather around longer-term average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. Certain human activities have also been identified as significant causes of recent climate change, often referred to as global warming: Wikipedia. Here are therefore these proposed 5 Reasons we should all be climate optimists . . . 5 reasons we should all be climate optimists The world is changing rapidly, and there are endless opportunities for losing sleep at night; [. . .]

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On the way home

 

Mo Farah

 

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