Airbnb launches Arabic platform

The logos of Airbnb are displayed at an Airbnb event in Tokyo, Japan, June 14, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Airbnb launches Arabic platform

  • Airbnb has over 70,000 property listings in the region
  • Its website and mobile app will allow users to navigate the platforms in Arabic

Home rental company Airbnb launched an Arabic version of its global platform this week, in a bid to strengthen its presence in the Middle East and North Africa markets.

The US-based home-sharing company, which has over 70,000 property listings in the region, localized its website and mobile app to allow users to navigate the platforms in Arabic, and also allow them to book and pay in their local currencies.

“We want to inspire more Arabic speaking travelers to explore their favorite destinations through authentic, local stays and Experiences on the Airbnb platform,” Hadi Moussa, Regional Manager Middle East and Africa at Airbnb, said in a release.

“We want to create a true sense of belonging for them by ensuring they can do so in their native language going forward,” she added.


Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

Updated 18 June 2019
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Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

  • The PM said cabinet ministers need to be united and responsible
  • Lebanon’s debt is almost 150% of its GDP

BEIRUT, June 18 : Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri on Tuesday called for parliament to quickly approve the country’s 2019 budget and urged his coalition government to avoid internal disputes.
The cabinet this month agreed a budget plan that shrinks the projected fiscal deficit by 4 percentage points from last year to 7.6% by cutting spending and raising taxes and other fees.
“What I want during the debate is for us to be responsible and united, and not contradictory,” Hariri said in a statement, addressing cabinet ministers as to their comportment during the parliament debate.
Parliament’s finance committee is debating the draft budget and has suggested amendments, local newspapers reported. It will then put the budget to the full assembly to ratify it.
Parliament is mostly composed of parties that are also present in the coalition government and which supported the budget there.
Since the budget was agreed there have been fierce arguments between parties in the coalition over several subjects, though these have not targeted the budget.
Lebanon has one of the world’s heaviest debt burdens, equivalent to about 150% of GDP, and the International Monetary Fund has urged it to cut spending.
“We have held 19 cabinet meetings to agree on this draft budget and these sessions were not for fun, but for deep, detailed debate over every clause and every idea,” Hariri said.
“For this reason, I consider it the responsibility of each of us in government to have ministerial solidarity...to defend in parliament the decision that we have taken together,” he added.
After the 2019 budget is agreed, the cabinet must quickly start working on the 2020 budget and on approving the first phase of a program of investments toward which foreign donors have offered $11 billion in project financing. (Reporting by Angus McDowall, editing by Ed Osmond)