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Last update: Tue, 03 May 2016 11am

Middle East

World - Middle East

Kuwait oil union rejects minister's appeal to cancel strike KUWAIT CITY: The oil workers union Saturday turned down an appeal from Kuwait's acting oil minister to call off a total strike in protest at alleged pay cuts and to accept negotiations.Anas al-Saleh, in a statement cited by the official KUNA news agency, urged workers to "give priority to the public interest and resort to reason and wisdom by sitting at the negotiations table."The union, however, immediately rejected the minister's call as offering nothing new and said the strike will go ahead from Sunday morning."The strike will go ahead as planned," union chief Saif al-Qahtani told AFP, holding oil companies and the minister responsible for the strike and the potential losses from it.The minister assured the workers there will be no reduction to their salaries and other benefits.State-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp on Thursday reviewed "maximum" contingency plans in the face of the total strike threatened by oil workers.Hit by the ...

World - Middle East

Saudi construction industry output to reach $148bn in 2020 ISLAMABAD: The outlook for Saudi Arabian construction remains bright as the industry's output value is forecast to rise at a 7.05 percent by 2020, compared with 6.35 percent during the review period (2011-2015).According to a report from Timetric's Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), Saudi industry is consequently set to rise from a value of $105.6 billion in 2015 to $148.5 billion in 2020, measured at constant 2010 US dollarexchange rates, Saudi Gazette reported.The growth will be ...

World - Middle East

Iraq parliament cancels session as MPs challenge speaker BAGHDAD: Iraq's parliament canceled a session on anti-graft reforms on Saturday, state TV said, as some MPs disputed the legitimacy of the speaker to chair the meeting in an escalation of a political crisis crippling state institutions. The session is the third canceled this week as politicians bicker over a plan to overhaul Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's cabinet by bringing in technocrats in a bid to stem corruption.The session was scrapped because "parliament couldn't be ...

World - Middle East

Yemen peace talks set to resume amid shaky ceasefire DUBAI: A concerted United Nations effort aimed at ending nearly 13 months of war in Yemen sees peace talks resuming on Monday, but with a ceasefire barely holding.Previous attempts have failed to stop the fighting which has killed thousands of people, forced almost 2.8 million from their homes and raised regional tensions.A ceasefire that came into effect on Sunday at midnight to pave the way for the talks in Kuwait has been violated numerous times.But ...

World - Middle East

18 dead in week of Saudi floods, rain: civil defence RIYADH: Eighteen people have been killed during heavy rains and floods over the past week in Saudi Arabia, the civil defence agency said on Thursday.In a statement, it said the toll covered much of the country, from Riyadh to Hail, Mecca, Medina, Al-Baha, Asir, Najran and Jazan.The agency said it rescued 915 people.Among the dead were two people reported by state television earlier Thursday as killed in the southwestern Jazan region, which borders Yemen.The pair ...

World - Middle East

Iraq PM to attend parliament for cabinet vote BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will attend parliament on Thursday for a vote on a new cabinet lineup, after two previous sessions ended in chaos, the speaker's office said.Abadi has called for the current cabinet of party-affiliated ministers to be replaced by a government of technocrats, but has faced significant resistance from the powerful parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.The political row comes at a critical time for Iraq, ...

World - Middle East

Syria peace talks resume as violence surges GENEVA: A new round of peace talks to end Syria's five-year civil war is set to begin in Geneva on Wednesday, as a surge in violence in northern Aleppo province threatened a fragile truce.The United Nations-brokered talks are aimed at forming a transitional government followed by general elections to end a conflict that has killed more than 270,000 people and displaced half of the country's population.The fate of President Bashar al-Assad remains a stumbling block, ...