Saudi court clears Binladin Group in deadly crane crash

The collapsed crane, pictured here at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on September 12, 2015, killed at least 107 people and injured 400, just days before Hajj. (AFP)
Updated 02 October 2017
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Saudi court clears Binladin Group in deadly crane crash

RIYADH: A Saudi Arabian court has cleared the Binladin Group of responsibility for the 2015 collapse of a crane in Makkah which killed 100 people, the Saudi press reported on Monday.
The Saudi-based Binladin construction firm belongs to the family of the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
At least 107 people were killed and some 400 injured on September 11, 2015, when the crane toppled over near the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam’s holiest site, just days before the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The Binladin Group’s defense team claimed the group could not have predicted the severe thunderstorm and violent winds that caused the crane to fall, according to the Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat daily.
The verdict can still be appealed.
The Binladin Group was hit by a string of Saudi-issued sanctions after the crash.
The construction firm had been working for years on a multi-billion-dollar 400,000-square-meter (4.3-million-square-feet) enlargement of the Grand Mosque to accommodate the increasing numbers of Muslim pilgrims to the site.


China willing to invest $3 bln in Nigerian oil operations -NNPC

Updated 18 min 8 sec ago
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China willing to invest $3 bln in Nigerian oil operations -NNPC

ABUJA: China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.
During a visit to Nigeria’s state-owned NNPC, CNOOC Chief Executive Yuan Guangyu said the Beijing-based oil company had invested more than $14 billion in its Nigerian operations and expressed readiness to invest more.
Guangyu said Nigeria was their largest investment destination and also asked the NNPC to seek common grounds with CNOOC for enhanced productivity.
Nigeria has been holding talks with oil majors over new finance agreements for joint ventures since last year. The NNPC last year signed financing agreements with Chevron and Shell worth at least $780 million to boost crude production and reserves.
Other western oil companies, including ExxonMobil (XOM.N), operate in Nigeria through joint ventures with NNPC.