Central Bank of Iraq Auctions $145,463,091 on 18 October 2017

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on October 18 registered $145,463,091 in sales, a 2.77% volume increase from the US $141,540,000 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on October 17.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on October 18 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the October 18 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3551.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2017 to October 18, 2017 saw an increase of 0.13% compared to the sales of US $13.9 billion in the same period in 2016. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2016 was US $14.55 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to October 2017, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.75 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

2016 January 2
2016 February 2.09 4%
2016 March 1.95 -7%
2016 April 1.94 -0%
2016 May 2.09 8%
2016 June 1.8 -14%
2016 December 0.4 -78%
2017 January 2.2 450%
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 1.2 20%


Source  :  Iraq News

Emirates offers 4-day UAE visa for Bangladeshis

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Web Report/Dubai
Filed on October 18, 2017 | Last updated on October 18, 2017 at 06.36 pm

The offer is valid for bookings made between October 8 and October 22, 2017, for outbound travel from October 15 to November 30, 2017.

Dubai-based Emirates airline, in a special offer, is offering a complimentary 96-hour UAE visa to all economy-class passengers travelling from Dhaka to destinations in Africa, Canada, Europe or US.

Passengers booking a business- or first-class service will also get a two-night stay at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, along with the complimentary visa facility, the airline announced.

The offer is valid for bookings made between October 8 and October 22, 2017, for outbound travel from October 15 to November 30, 2017.

Only one stopover in either outbound or inbound direction is permitted, and the stopover needs to be availed by November 30, the airline added.

Source  :  Khaleej Times

UAE issues warning against travelling to Madagascar

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Staff Reporter/Dubai
Filed on October 18, 2017 | Last updated on October 18, 2017 at 07.23 pm

The ministry is working with concerned countries to raise awareness on the disease, its symptoms and medical treatment.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has recently issued a warning to UAE nationals and residents about traveling to Madagascar, following the country’s report of an alarming increase of cases of bubonic plague.

The ministry also encouraged those who need to travel to Madagascar to take extra precautionary measures during their trip, which include maintaining close coordination with key agencies like the Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority – Abu Dhabi and General Civil Aviation Authority.

Dr Fatima Al Attar, Vice-President of the National Committee for International Health Regulations and the Control of Pandemics, confirmed the absence of infected cases in the country and that the ministry will soon issue a circular for health workers covering essential information on the disease – including standard definition of cases, diagnosis, isolation procedures, prevention of infection, treatment and follow-up of surrounding people.

The ministry has called upon on all travellers wishing to travel to the country to visit the ministry’s Traveler Health Clinics and health authorities throughout the country to learn more about the latest developments in the world, including Madagascar, for medical advice, vaccines and preventive and curative services.

Dr Fatima also pointed out that the ministry is currently working in close cooperation with the Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority – Abu Dhabi and General Civil Aviation Authority for preparation of awareness leaflets that can be distributed during the flights by civil aviation to those coming from the concerned countries, highlighting information and advice on the disease, its symptoms and how to obtain medical treatment.

The treatment of these cases is provided free of charge if they occur. She also highlighted the role of Traveler Health Clinics in the provision of health advice and safety requirements when traveling to Madagascar and the strengthening of shipyard and rodent control procedures, particularly in ships coming from these affected areas.

Al Attar explained that the health authorities in Madagascar have developed a system to prevent the spread of the disease globally by examining the departures from Madagascar, including the examination of temperature and patient history.

In case a passenger is suspected of exhibiting symptoms of the disease, the patient will be prevented from traveling and will be provided with an immediate treatment of antibiotics. The awareness effort also looks towards giving people surrounding by an infected person with preventive treatments to ensure non-contamination. She also stated that there are no direct flights between the UAE and Madagascar, except through indirect flights via domestic and international airlines through Kenya and Ethiopia.

Dr Fatima stressed that health security and risk prevention and pandemics is a national priority in the UAE.



Source  :  The Khaleej Times

Rome stumps up more Alitalia cash, extends sale deadline

Rome stumps up more Alitalia cash, extends sale deadline
The government has extended the deadline for finding a buyer for Alitalia. Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
10:19 CEST+02:00
String line Italian carrier Alitalia received a boost on Friday when Rome said it would add €300 million ($355 million) to a bridge loan package and extend its deadline for finding a buyer.

“The deadline for the procedure of ceding assets belonging to Alitalia and other societies of the group … has been extended to April 30, 2018,” the government said in a statement.

Alitalia, struggling to compete with low-cost rivals, went into administration at the start of May after staff rejected job and salary cuts as part of a two-billion-euro rescue plan.

In May, Rome said it would provide a €600 million loan to keep the carrier’s planes in the air for around six months, staving off liquidation of the flagship airline.

Those interested in making binding offers for the whole airline were initially given until October 2nd, then October 16th prior to Friday’s move which Rome put down to market conditions.

Irish no-frills carrier Ryanair expressed early interest but two weeks ago said it was dropping the idea as it struggles with the fallout from thousands of cancellations of its own flights owing to a pilots’ shortage.

If no Alitalia buyer ultimately materialises, the administrators will wind up the airline.


Source : The Local Italy

Australian Airports Association calls for funding boost for regional airports

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A file image of an RFDS aircraft taking off from an unpaved runway. (RFDS)

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) is calling for a broadening of government support to fund improvements to regional airstrips to the tune of $160 million over the next four years.

The AAA on Wednesday launched its “Protect Regional Airports” campaign in partnership with the Australian Logistics Council, Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) and Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

As part of the campaign, the group is calling for the Regional Aviation Access Programme (RAAP) to be extended for a further four years, as well as the establishment of a new program to broaden the number of remote and regional airstrips eligible for government support.

Under the AAA proposal, the RAAP would be extended at $15 million a year for the next four years, while the proposed new airport grants program would fund regional airports (and not just remote airstrips) with $25 million a year for four years.

The AAA has called for the Commonwealth to contribute half the money while state and local governments to contribute the other half, with the funds used to address local challenges such as the lack of lighting, runway improvements and more essential animal fencing.

“However, we would like to see that all applicants need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, to allow for special provisions where an equal contribution arrangement may not be possible, particularly in very remote areas,” AAA chief executive Caroline Wilkie said in a statement.

“To continue being a successful and prosperous nation, the back bone of Australia, the regions, need equitable access to markets, health care, exports and produce all of which are facilitated by regional airports.”

The AAA’s Regional Airport Infrastructure Study found regional airports faced a significant funding shortfall in the years ahead to maintain existing facilities and upgrade their airfields to cope with the expected growth in the sector.

The study, conducted by ACIL Allen Consulting and published in September 2016, estimated regional airports with fewer than 500,000 passengers movements a year spent $185 million in 2014/15 to maintain and improve operations.

However, expenditures for regional airports were expected to rise by 38 per cent over the next decade, putting even more pressure on already stretched budgets, with 61 per cent of the nation’s regional airports running budget deficits in 2014/15.

Further, some 40 per cent of regional airports expected to have persistent budget deficits over the next 10 years.

“We know that many of these airports are doing it tough,” Wilkie said.

The RAAP is a government scheme that offers funding for upgrades to remote aerodromes (the Remote Access Upgrade Program, or RAU), inspection and related services at aerodromes in remote indigenous communities (Remote Aerodrome Inspections, or RAI), and subsidised flights to remote communities (the Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme, or RASS).

The 2015/16 federal budget allocated $33.7 million to be spent over four years towards grants to regional airports for safety and access upgrades. The funding was generally provided on a matching co-funding basis with applicants.

Applications for the final round of remote airstrip upgrade funding closes on Friday, October 20.

RFDS chief executive Martin Laverty said the remote access upgrade program was an essential part of delivering healthcare in the bush.

ALC chief executive Michael Kilgariff said the council was proud to support efforts to secure greater investment and funding support for a safe and sustainable regional airport network.

RAAA chief executive Mike Higgins said “serviceable runways are essential, particularly in rural and remote locations beyond the range of EMS helicopters”.


Source  :  Australian Aviation

Potential Socceroos selection on offer for Sydney derby midfielders

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Dominic Bossi

The four central midfielders clashing in Saturday night’s Sydney A-League derby could be rewarded with more than just bragging rights with a potential international call-up in the offing for one of the defensive midfielders.

While far from the forefront of their minds, Western Sydney Wanderers’ defensive midfielder duo Kearyn Baccus and Chris Herd and Sydney FC workhorses Brandon O’Neill and Josh Brillante could find themselves in the frame for a shock selection to the Socceroos squad with Australia coach Ange Postecoglou facing a potential dearth in his defensive midfield stocks.

The Socceroos will be without Mark Milligan for their first-leg play-off match against Honduras, while captain Mile Jedinak remains in doubt having been restricted to just 45 minutes of football for his club, Aston Villa, due to injury.

Of concern for Postecoglou is the lack of young defensive midfielders in the national team set-up which means Postecoglou could be forced to look for local options to bolster his stocks for the crucial qualifier.

Brillante and Baccus have had the brightest starts to the season having impressed significantly in possession. The two are the leading Australian centre-midfielders with completed passes from the opening two games of the season.

Alongside Melbourne City’s Luke Brattan and Austria-based James Jeggo, the four in the engine room in the Sydney derby are the best domestic candidates. O’Neill says the only chance he and his partner Brillante have of staking a claim for Socceroos selection lies in continuing their form at club level, beginning with the derby.

“Me and Joshy are concentrating on our roles at Sydney FC but it would be lovely if that happens. Me and Joshy would be the first ones to put our hands up,” O’Neill said. “What an honour it is to play for your country. We’d obviously jump at that situation, but first and foremost our job is at Sydney FC to make sure we do our jobs and make sure we win football matches.”

Postecoglou has shown his willingness to throw debutants into high-pressure games, putting his faith in Matt Jurman to start in both of the Socceroos’ recent play-off games against Syria. While none of the quartet have been selected during this World Cup qualifying campaign, two of those that are set to run the middle of the park at Allianz Stadium featured significantly in the early days of Postecoglou’s tenure as Socceroos coach.

Four of Brillante’s five appearances for the national team came in 2014 where he played as a defensive midfielder and right fullback under Postecoglou. All of Herd’s three games for Australia were under Postecoglou. The Wanderers midfielder was part of the 2015 Asian Cup squad but withdrew early from the tournament after sustaining an ankle injury during a warm-up at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

Neither O’Neill nor Baccus have been capped at senior international level, though the Sydney central midfielder represented Australia at youth level, making two appearances for the Olyroos. Baccus has pledged his allegiance to Australia over his country of birth, South Africa, who have been hot on the heels of the 26-year-old.

The Durban-born Baccus rejected a call-up from South Africa in March when he was given an opportunity to be part of their World Cup qualifying campaign. In April, Baccus told Fairfax Media that was largely due to his long-term goal being to represent the Socceroos.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

BHP labelled Australia’s ‘worst tax dodger’ by former treasurer Wayne Swan

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 Adam Gartrell

Former treasurer Wayne Swan has launched another extraordinary attack on mining giant BHP, labelling it Australia’s “worst tax dodger” and linking a million dollar bonus to the company’s CEO to his success at minimising tax.

Under the cover of parliamentary privilege, Mr Swan called BHP “a fiscal termite eating away at the foundations of our corporate tax system” and rubbished the company’s claims to be a global leader in tax transparency and corporate responsibility.

The world’s biggest miner has been in a long-running dispute with the Australian Tax Office over assessments spanning 11 years that total $661 million in primary tax, plus interest and penalties that take it to more than $1 billion. Under dispute is the margin on mark-ups on commodities sold to its Singapore marketing business, which many argue is a ploy to avoid tax in Australia.

BHP strongly denies this accusation.

But Mr Swan said the BHP dispute accounted for a quarter of the ATO’s total $4 billion total corporate tax disputes, and accused the company of “pillaging the Australian Treasury and short-changing the Australian people, pure and simple”.

The backbench Labor MP – who clashed with the resources sector over his failed mining tax – also took aim at the company’s “self-righteous” leadership, claiming chief executive Andrew Mackenzie’s latest million dollar bonus was linked to tax evasion. Tax representation is listed as one of Mr Mackenzie’s performance indicators in the company’s 2017 annual report.

“In essence, BHP’s board have awarded their CEO a million dollar bonus for a billion dollars avoided in tax,” Mr Swan said.

“A million dollar bonus for organising aggressive tax minimisation through a tax haven resulting in one of the largest tax disputes in Australian history. A million dollar bonus for enhancing transparency and tax reputation when the company’s current tax affairs can only be described as a high farce.”

BHP declined to comment on Mr Swan’s speech but a company source dismissed his claims around executive remuneration as ridiculous.

In its latest economic contribution report the company described its dispute with the ATO as “complex”.

“BHP does not agree with the ATO’s position. Consequently, we have objected to all of the amended assessments and intend to continue to defend our position, including by initiating court action if necessary,” it said.

BHP said it has paid $66 billion in taxes and royalties to Australian governments in the past decade.

It paid a corporate effective tax rate of 34.5 per cent in 2017, higher than the general corporate rate of 30 per cent. Once royalties are included, the rate increases to 46 per cent.

Mr Swan made the claims during a debate on the government’s next tranche of company tax cuts, which he said was part of the “toxic foreign import” of trickle-down economics.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Trade in petroleum products to be regulated

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman chairs the weekly session of the Cabinet at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Tuesday. — SPA

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The Council of Ministers on Tuesday approved the law for trading in petroleum products.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman chaired the weekly session of the Cabinet at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad said in a statement to Saudi Press Agency following the session that the new law aims at regulating all commercial activities related with trade in petroleum products including its use, sale, transport, storage, distribution, import and export.

Petroleum products, which are priced by the State, will be used only for the designated fuel purposes.

The value of petroleum products will be in conformity with global prices.

The General Customs Department will collect the amount equal to the difference between the price set by the State for the product for export and its price in international market. The amount will be transferred to the State treasury.

At the outset of the session the King briefed the Cabinet on the outcome of his phone conversation with US President Donald Trump. The King reaffirmed the Kingdom’s support and welcomed the firm strategy announced by the US president toward Iran.

The King also briefed the Cabinet on the results of his meeting with Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait, during which they reviewed bilateral relations and discussed overall developments in the region.

The King also spoke about his phone calls with President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine and Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi.

During the phone talks with Abadi, the King stressed the Kingdom’s support for Iraq’s unity, security and stability, and the adherence of all parties to the Iraqi constitution to serve the interests of Iraq and its people.

The Cabinet authorized the minister of economy and planning or his deputy to discuss and sign a memorandum of understanding with the government of South Korea for cooperation between the two countries in implementing the Saudi Vision 2030.

It also authorized the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources or his deputy to discuss and sign a framework agreement with the government of Morocco for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The Cabinet approved the creation of the board of directors of Saudi Railways Organization for a period of one year under the chairmanship of the minister of transport with seven board members.

It also approved the appointment of seven new members to the board of directors of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage for a period of three years.


Source  :  Saudi Gazette

Haramain train reaches Makkah

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Saudi Gazette report

MAKKAH — The Haramain High Speed Train arrived on Tuesday in Makkah for the first time, paving the way for the formal launch of the much-awaited operation in the near future.

The train started its trial run from its main station in Jeddah and reached Rusaifa Station at the entrance of the holy city.

Romaih Al-Romaih, president of the Saudi Public Transport Commission and Saudi Railways Organization, and Bashar Al-Malik, CEO of Saudi Railway Company (SAR), and senior executives of the Saudi-Spanish consortium, which is implementing the giant project, arrived in Makkah on the board the train, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Speaking to reporters, Al-Romaih said the train reached the Makkah station for the first time in the final phase of the experimental operation of the train.

The train is scheduled to begin operation in first quarter of 2018.

The Haramain High Speed Railway links the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City of Rabigh. The 450-km-long railway, with fully electrified double tracks, is estimated to cost SR37.5 billion. The project includes trains traveling at a speed of 320 km per hour and fitted with the highly advanced equipment and devices. There will be 35 trains and a special train for the elderly people.

The state-of-the-art railway has five stations —two terminus stations in Makkah and Madinah, and two central stations in Jeddah and Rabigh, in addition to a fifth station at King Abdulaziz International Airport built by the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

The Jeddah station will be the main station, with the central control room. The Rusaifah station is 4 km away from the Grand Mosque.

The railway, which will bring about a dramatic change in the transportation of pilgrims between the two holy cities, is expected to carry three million passengers a year, besides helping to relieve traffic congestion on the expressways.


Source  :  Saudi Gazette

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