Month: August 2011
If you’re looking to bank in the Middle East – the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) may be just the place to be. For the third year in a row, they have been ranked as one of the “World’s 50 Safest Banks” and the safest bank in the Middle East. This according to Global Finance.
The selection of the world’s 50 safest banks comes from a comparison of the long-term credit ratings and the total assets of the 500 largest banks in the world. The ratings come from Moody’s, S&P and Fitch.
Certainly, NBAD is thrilled with their most recent rating. As Michael Tomalin, the Group Chief Executive of NBAD said, “We are delighted that NBAD has been recognised as one of World’s 50 Safest Banks and the safest bank in the UAE for the third year in a row, and we proud to be listed as the safest bank in the Middle East especially as it comes during a period of unprecedented market turbulence.”
Even during the recent global financial crisis, NBAD has worked hard to continue to achieve its goals. As Abdulla M.S. AdulReheem, the Senior General Manager and Group Chief Operating Officer of NBAD, said, “NBAD has remained and strengthened its position in the league of the safest institutions in the world by virtue of the prudence exercised in the conduct of its business.”
Oman may have its issues, but it also has a geopolitical heritage of which to be proud. And now, others will be able to benefit from it too. This heritage is about to be presented at an international forum, that according to a Gulf News article, “promises to give new impetus to the government’s goal of promoting the Sultanate as a geo-tourism destination.” That has to be good news for the people of Oman as a whole.
The conference – the third of its kind – will take place between October 30th to November 1st of this year in Muscat. The Advisor for the UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks, Professor Ross Dowling will be convening this Geo-tourism conference along with Oman’s Ministry of Tourism. It is expected that there will be approximately three hundred delegates in attendance.
It is hoped that the forum will “not only provide a platform for the launch of a number of geo-tourism trails in the capital region, but also highlight the potential for the establishment of geo-parks, caving sites, and other attractions based on the country’s rich geological heritage.”
In this venture, Oman has much of which to be proud, including being home to the world’s biggest ophiolite (measuring in at 600km in length and 150km in width). It is believed that this belt holds “a potential trove in mineral deposits.” Indeed, as Acting Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Mohammad Ali bin Said, said, “the Sultanate’s natural wonders are a core element of the national tourism strategy. Few destinations in the region can match the diversity and powerful imagery of our landscapes, so we are very delighted to host this event.”
In line with the protests that have swept the Middle East this summer, Israel saw 300,000 people take to the streets on Saturday night, demanding social reforms. 200,000 people took to the streets in Tel Aviv, while another 30,000 people marched in Jerusalem.
Demanding Lower Prices
Demonstrators are, among other things, demanding lower costs for housing and for food in the wave of terrible economic crunches for many in Israel. Protesters have even been setting up camp in city centers throughout the country, camping in key locations to protest the cost of living.
One of the movement organizers, 33 year old Baroch Oren, said that the movement was nothing short of “a revolution.” He said, “There has been nothing like this for decades – all these people coming together, taking to the streets, demanding change.”
When evaluated in purely economic terms, Israel’s annual economic growth is seen as healthy. The growth includes an average 4.5% since 2004, with falling unemployment from 11% to 6%.
The public, however, doesn’t feel these positive numbers and says that this growth has failed to benefit them.
Mark Regev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, said that the government is aware that it needs to bring down the prices for housing and consumer products. He has said that a team of ministers, academic experts and business people would be meeting as early as Sunday to discuss how to act, and that Mr. Netanyahu will also be prepared to meet with protesters.