Saudi Arabia’s Hadaf approves 33 new professional certificates

Saudi Arabia’s Hadaf approves 33 new professional certificates
The qualifications are linked to the requirements of the labor market with the aim of raising the efficiency of the national workforce. (File/SPA)
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Updated 06 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Hadaf approves 33 new professional certificates

Saudi Arabia’s Hadaf approves 33 new professional certificates
  • New qualifications include cybersecurity, technical information security, information and communication technology, risk management
  • The program is open to any citizen

RIYADH: The Saudi Human Resources Development Fund (Hadaf) approved 33 new professional certificates, increasing the overall number to 78, SPA reported.
New qualifications include cybersecurity, technical information security, information and communication technology, risk management, information systems, and artificial intelligence, Hadaf said in a statement.
The certificates also cover accounting and legal disciplines, business and project management and operations management, investment and financing operations, portfolios, planning and scheduling, the statement added.
The qualifications are linked to the requirements of the labor market with the aim of raising the efficiency of the national workforce.
The program is open to any citizen.


Lebanese drivers queue for hours as fuel crisis worsens

Lebanese drivers queue for hours as fuel crisis worsens
Updated 48 min 7 sec ago

Lebanese drivers queue for hours as fuel crisis worsens

Lebanese drivers queue for hours as fuel crisis worsens
  • Some stations rationed the amount of fuel sold to customers, mostly taxi drivers

BEIRUT: Motorists queued for hours at gas stations across Lebanon on Tuesday as fears of an imminent end to the country’s subsidy on fuel increased demand for a commodity already in short supply.

Payment delays are also keeping urgent oil stocks on offshore tankers, meaning that many gas stations are facing critical supply shortages.

Queues extended into streets as drivers waited to fill their cars. Some stations rationed the amount of fuel sold to customers, mostly taxi drivers. Other stores closed down entirely.

However, Fadi Abu Shakra, representative of the union for fuel distributors and gas stations in Lebanon, said that the confusion and fear surrounding gas supply was “unjustified.”

He denied news reports that oil companies have notified distributors of an end to fuel subsidies.

Georges Brax, a member of the gas station owners’ syndicate, said: “The fact is, some stations have been running on very low fuel stocks due to the rationing of credits, which has forced some of them to close.”

He added that more stations will open their doors as soon as importing companies begin distribution, warning that the problem is not with importing companies or station owners, but with the Central Bank of Lebanon.

“It is necessary to speed up the opening of credits for ships that have reached regional waters, which have prior approval so that they can unload their cargo, thus easing market tension,” he said.

Brax added: “We have to get used to this reality, because for weeks we have been facing the same problem and the fuel has not been cut off.”

However, he added that, given the complexity of the issue, “in the short term, subsidies will not be lifted.”

But the panic of the Lebanese seems justified as subsidies on food and over-the-counter medicines are being gradually lifted.

Caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni has warned that Lebanon will “run out of money” to afford basic imports by the end of May if its remaining foreign currency reserves are not rationed.

According to Wazni, delays in launching the plan are costing the government about $500 million per month.

Bechara Asmar, head of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers, said that there is “chaos in the markets and in all sectors,” and that “citizens are standing in queues in front of bakeries, fuel stations, supermarkets, shops and pharmacies to secure their daily needs.”

He added: “There is no plan yet to protect low-income people who can no longer afford their basic needs. Who is responsible? Is the Bank of Lebanon solely responsible? Or is it collusion between some merchants, importers, mafias, money whales and officials?”

Some of Lebanon’s fuel supply is also being smuggled to Syria.

An investigation by North Lebanon First Investigative Judge Samaranda Nassar revealed that “smuggling of fuel from the north into Syria in large commercial quantities through several smuggling lines has been going on for about two weeks.

“The new line passes through the town of Baino toward old Akkar, Al-Qamou’a, Hermel and then into Syria,” a report said.

Nassar issued 15 arrest warrants in absentia in six cases relating to fuel smuggling.

A gas station in the border area of Al-Arida was also closed after it was established that the owners “had filled tanks with fuel to be smuggled into Syria.”


Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm
Updated 11 May 2021

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm
  • Turkey’s Karadeniz supplies electricity to Lebanon from power barges

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Karadeniz, which supplies electricity to Lebanon from power barges, told Beirut to halt action by the Lebanese prosecutor to seize its vessels and said it must draw up a plan to settle arrears to avoid a cut in supplies, a spokesperson said.
The spokesperson for Karpowership, a unit of Karadeniz that operates floating power plants, was speaking on Tuesday after Lebanon’s Finance Ministry cited a lawmaker saying the country had been threatened with a cut to its supplies.
A Lebanese prosecutor issued a decision last week to seize the barges and fine the firm after TV channel Al-Jadeed reported corruption allegations tied to the power contract. The firm denies the charges and says it has not been paid for 18 months.


El-Sisi green-lights Egypt’s Suez canal expansion after ship blockage

Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal. (Reuters/File Photo)
Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 11 May 2021

El-Sisi green-lights Egypt’s Suez canal expansion after ship blockage

Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • The 200,000-tonne MV Ever Given got diagonally stuck in the narrow but crucial global trade artery in a sandstorm on March 23
  • Revenues rose almost 16 percent in April to $551million

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi approved Tuesday the widening and deepening of the southern part of the Suez Canal, after a stranded mega-ship crippled the critical maritime artery for six days in March.

“What you heard today is about the upgrade in the southern stretch, where the problem (the grounded vessel) happened,” El-Sisi said from Ismailia, where the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is headquartered.

The major engineering enhancement “will lead to improvements in the ability of the guide (SCA) and the captain of any ship to navigate inside the canal,” said SCA head Osama Rabie, who presented the expansion plan to El-Sisi in a televised address.

Rabie said the upgrades would stretch “from the 122-kilometer mark to the 162-kilometer mark” and would include a 10-kilometer "duplication of the canal from the 122 to the 132-kilometer mark.”

The project will last 24 months, he added, with the widening extending lanes “by 40 meters (131 feet) to the east and deepening from 66 feet (20 meters) to 72 feet.”

El-Sisi said the work would improve the canal, “taking into account the growth of global trade.”

The 200,000-tonne MV Ever Given got diagonally stuck in the narrow but crucial global trade artery in a sandstorm on March 23, triggering a mammoth six-day-long effort by Egyptian personnel and international salvage specialists to dislodge it.

Egypt lost between $12 million and $15 million in revenues for each day the waterway was closed, according to SCA figures.

After the vessel was freed, Sisi pledged investment to avoid any repetition of the canal closure.

The mega-ship has since been impounded in a lake between two stretches of the canal amid a compensation dispute.

A court in Ismailia last week rejected an appeal from the ship's Japanese owners against its seizure.

Egypt spent more than $8 billion on an expansion of the northern section of the canal in 2014-15.


Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
Updated 11 May 2021

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
  • The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter

RIYADH: Egypt’s unemployment rate reached 7.4 percent of the total labor force in the first quarter of 2021 — up from 7.2 percent in the previous quarter.
The new data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), reflects the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.
The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter, representing a decrease of 2.3 percent, Al Arabiya reported.
The labor force in urban areas reached 13,034 million, with 16,250 million living in rural areas.
Gehan Saleh, economic affairs adviser to Egypt’s prime minister said in April that the second stage of the country’s economic reform program would be launched soon.
She said the plan aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and tackle unemployment through job-creating investments.


Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang
Updated 11 May 2021

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang
  • It is the latest ruse by smugglers trying to avoid hefty import duties for the precious metal by employing increasingly intriguing methods

DUBAI: Indian customs have foiled an attempt to post gold from Dubai disguised in containers of the popular Tang drink.

After sieving the contents of the drink mix, Chennai customs officials discovered it had been mixed with gold granules, according to a statement from the Commissioner of Customs at Chennai International Airport.
Officials probing the racket found that the address of the receiver had been misused.
It is the latest ruse by smugglers trying to avoid hefty import duties for the precious metal by employing increasingly intriguing methods.
Earlier this year officials at Chennai airport also nabbed two men trying to smuggle gold through the airport underneath their wigs.
The hapless pair were nabbed after their unusual hairstyles caught the attention of officials.

They were found to be carrying two gold paste packets weighing almost 700 g