Trump blasts Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, says they should face banking regulations

Trump blasts Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, says they should face banking regulations
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A man makes a purchase from a Pennsylvania Lottery machine, left, next to a Bitcoin ATM machine in a Sheetz convenience store in Pittsburgh, on July 9, 2019. Sheetz, a Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain, is putting Bitcoin ATMs in six shops around the state and one in North Carolina, giving customers the ability to buy and sell the cryptocurrency with US dollars. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Trump blasts Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, says they should face banking regulations
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A 3-D printed Facebook logo is seen on representations of the Bitcoin virtual currency in this illustration picture. (REUTERS/File Photo)
Updated 12 July 2019

Trump blasts Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, says they should face banking regulations

Trump blasts Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra, says they should face banking regulations
  • Facebook said last month it would launch its global cryptocurrency in 2020
  • Bitcoin, the best-known digital coin, was created in 2008 as an alternative to currencies controlled by governments and banks

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized Bitcoin, Facebook’s proposed Libra digital coin and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to US and global regulations if they wanted to “become a bank.”
“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International,” he added.
Facebook said last month it would launch its global cryptocurrency in 2020. Facebook and 28 partners, including Mastercard Inc, PayPal Holdings Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc, would form the Libra Association to govern the new coin. No banks are currently part of the group.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest US bank by assets, plans to launch its own digital coins.
Trump’s comments come one day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook’s plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.
Powell said the Fed had established a working group to follow the project and was coordinating with other countries’ central banks, several of which have also expressed concern about Facebook’s digital currency project.
The US Financial Stability Oversight Council, a panel of regulators that identifies risks to the financial system, is also expected to conduct a review.
Facebook, the White House and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve declined to comment.
Bitcoin, the best-known digital coin, was created in 2008 as an alternative to currencies controlled by governments and banks, but crypto trading and digital currencies remain largely unsupervised. The market has also faced allegations of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Trump’s series of tweets on cryptocurrency also come on the heels of an event at the White House where the president criticized large technology companies that he said treated conservative voices unfairly.
The Internet Association, a trade group representing major tech firms like Facebook, Twitter and Google, said: “Internet companies are not biased against any political ideology, and conservative voices in particular have used social media to great effect.”


French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia

French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia
Updated 14 April 2021

French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia

French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia
  • The new additions will bring the group’s total properties in the Kingdom to 16

DUBAI: French group Louvre Hotels has announced plans to open 31 new properties across the Kingdom by 2025, as the global hospitality sector slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new hotels will open by the end of 2025, the group announced, adding 6,552 rooms to its current inventory in the Kingdom.

Five of the new properties will be launched this year, with investment from private sector partners, in key destinations across Saudi Arabia:

Golden Tulip Riyadh (Phase 1: 94 rooms) and Golden Tulip Unaizah (84 rooms) were scheduled to open during Q1, and will be joined by the Tulip Inn Dammam Corniche (70 rooms), the Tulip Inn Al Balaad Madinah (150 rooms) in Q3, whil the Golden Tulip Umm Al Qurah (454 rooms) will open in Makkah during Q4.

“Saudi Arabia is a key market for our international expansion, particularly as the country places more importance on travel and tourism with such a vast array of spectacular destinations within the Kingdom,” Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, CEO of Louvre Hotels Group, said in a statement.

The new additions will bring the group’s total properties in the Kingdom to 16.


Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries

Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries
Updated 14 April 2021

Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries

Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries
  • Operating at 50-60% of pre-pandemic levels
  • Seeks delays in some Boeing and Airbus planes

DUBAI: Bahrain’s Gulf Air has made good progress in its efforts to delay some Airbus and Boeing aircraft deliveries, its acting chief executive said on Wednesday.
The state-owned carrier has been seeking to push back the delivery schedule of some new jets amid a slump in global travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had to go renegotiate the delivery dates. We haven’t canceled anything,” Acting CEO Waleed Abdulhameed Al-Alawi told an online event organized by aviation consultancy CAPA.
“We have actually negotiated with the main suppliers Boeing and Airbus and we’ve got good progress with these two scenarios.”
Al-Alawi told Reuters in January the airline would receive some aircraft this year but was seeking delays in Airbus A320neo and Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries.
“At the moment no airline would be keen on receiving aircraft or accepting delivery flights to park these airplanes because of costs,” he told the CAPA event.
The state-owned carrier was currently operating at about 50 percent or 60 percent of its pre-pandemic levels, he said.


SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends

SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends
Updated 14 April 2021

SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends

SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends
  • Eligible shares will be entitled to a dividend of SR1.5 per share

DUBAI: The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) has approved cash dividends amounting to SR4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) to shareholders for the second half of 2020.
Eligible shares will be entitled to a dividend of SR1.5 per share, representing 15 percent of the nominal share value, the company said in a statement. It will be distributed on May 3, 2021.
The announcement brings the total dividend for last year to SR9 billion at SR3 per share.
CEO Yousef Al-Benyan highlighted the company’s resilience amid the pandemic, recording an improved performance in sales volumes to SR117 billion.
“Our resilience is defined by our sound business model, operational efficiency, and effective customer engagement,” he said.
SABIC’s production levels increased by 0.8 percent in 2020 compared to pre-pandemic figures, Al-Benyan added.


Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti

Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti
Updated 14 April 2021

Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti

Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti
  • DP World and Djibouti have since 2012 been locked in the dispute over DP World’s concession to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal

DUBAI: Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, is seeking $210.2 million in damages from Djibouti’s government in an ongoing legal battle over port concession rights, documents related to the dispute, seen by Reuters, showed.

DP World and Djibouti have since 2012 been locked in the dispute over DP World’s concession to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal, which is located in the Horn of Africa along key trade routes at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. Djibouti seized the terminal from state-owned DP World in 2018.

The London Court of International Arbitration has previously ruled that DP World’s concession to operate the terminal is legal and binding and ordered it be restored.

DP World is now seeking damages for the estimated loss of revenue and management fees from 2018 to March 31 this year through the same court while still seeking to restore the concession, the documents showed.

If the concession is not restored, DP World estimates losses in excess of $1 billion, including future profits, one of the documents showed.

A decision on DP World’s claim by the London court is expected on June 29.

“If today DP World wants to again begin other proceedings, they are free to do so, but Dijbouti has already made its position clear and in our view this matter is settled,” said Alexis Mohamed, chief adviser to President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who won a fifth five-year term in elections held last Friday.

DP World said it remained the legal holder of the concession and alleged that Djibouti had acted illegally in seizing the terminal from the Dubai state-owned company.


Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales

Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales
Updated 14 April 2021

Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales

Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales
  • The Riyadh-based chain managed to boost earnings despite being impacted by a drop in school supplies sales linked to the switch to home learning

DUBAI: Retailer Jarir Marketing reported a 6.3 percent rise in first quarter profits to SR276.6 million ($73.7 million) driven by smartphone and computer sales.
The Riyadh-based chain managed to boost earnings despite being impacted by a drop in school supplies sales linked to the switch to home learning, it said in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.
The stock gained about 0.5 percent in early trade.
The company, known popularly as Jarir Bookstore, reported an 8.1 percent increase in overall sales to SR2.53 billion.
It said that despite the negative impact of the pandemic on school and office supplies, other sectors helped to improve the overall performance of the group over the quarter.
Jarir was established in Riyadh in 1974 as a small bookshop and expanded in the following decades into other retail segments such as toys, electronics and office supplies.