Algeria bans wearing of full-face veils in administration

Not so many women wear the niqab in Algeria, where the hijab — a scarf that covers the head and neck, but leaves the face clear — is the most popular. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Algeria bans wearing of full-face veils in administration

ALGIERS: Algeria Prime minister Ahmed Ouayhia has banned female public sector employees from wearing veils that cover their faces.
In a letter sent to ministers and regional governors on Thursday, Ahmed Ouayhia cited reasons of identification for the move. Civil servants, he wrote, need to “observe the rules and requirements of security and communication within their department, which impose their systematic and permanent physical identification.”
Not so many women wear the niqab in Algeria, where the hijab — a scarf that covers the head and neck, but leaves the face clear — is the most popular.


Lebanon bank deposits up 4% on year

Updated 24 min 2 sec ago
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Lebanon bank deposits up 4% on year

BEIRUT: Bank deposits in Lebanon have risen by 4 percent on the year, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said on Thursday, and he maintained his economic growth outlook for 2018 at 2 percent.

In July Salameh had said he expected bank deposits to grow by more than 5 percent in 2018.

In October the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) halved their growth outlook to one percent for Lebanon, where public debt is about 150 percent of gross domestic product.

“Lebanese banks have succeeded in maintaining foreign exchange inflows into their sector supported by (the central bank),” Salmeh said in a televised speech at a Beirut economic conference.

With growth low and traditional sources of foreign exchange — tourism, real estate and foreign investment — undermined by years of regional tension, Lebanon increasingly relies on dollars expatriate Lebanese deposit in local banks.

The banks buy government debt, which finances the country’s eye-watering public debt and twin deficits.

The central bank also brings in dollars through complex financial operations with local banks to boost foreign currency reserves needed to defend the Lebanese pound’s peg to the dollar.

However, deposits have been growing at a slower rate since war broke out in neighboring Syria in 2011, and deposit growth rates are closely watched.