Hezbollah: Hostage swap of Syrian soldiers, rebels launches Harasta deal

Lebanon’s Hezbollah members carry Hezbollah flags in southern Lebanon May 26, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Hezbollah: Hostage swap of Syrian soldiers, rebels launches Harasta deal

BEIRUT: Syrian insurgents freed 13 soldiers in return for the release of five rebels on Thursday, the first step of a deal over Harasta town in eastern Ghouta, a Hezbollah media unit said.
Around 1,500 Ahrar al-Sham fighters and 6,000 family members will evacuate the town on Thursday, said the military media unit run by Hezbollah, which fights alongside Syria's army.
The evacuation marks the first such negotiated withdrawal in eastern Ghouta near the capital, where the army and its allies have waged a fierce offensive since last month. 

 
 


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 2 min 4 sec ago
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.