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Saudi MERS infections soar ahead of hajj pilgrimage RIYADH: MERS coronavirus infections have soared in Saudi Arabia ahead of the hajj pilgrimage, forcing the closure of a major hospital's emergency ward in Riyadh and killing three people, officials and the press said.The Saudi Gazette said Thursday authorities shut the emergency ward at the King Abdulaziz Medical City, one of the capital's largest hospitals, "after at least 46 people, including hospital staff" contracted the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.The closure was confirmed to AFP by a hospital employee.The health ministry has said it registered 21 confirmed MERS infections, all except one of them in Riyadh, between August 9 and 15.There was no immediate explanation for the difference in the figures.Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said late Wednesday the hospital "has faced a spread of the coronavirus during the past few weeks, which started as one case." However, in remarks carried by the official SPA news agency, he gave reassurances that the ...

Egypt's Sisi imposes tough anti-terrorism law CAIRO: Under pressure from a jihadist insurgency, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has boosted police and judicial powers with a new anti-terrorism law that also imposes hefty fines for "false" media reports.Rights groups, which have accused Sisi of imposing a repressive regime since the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, fear the new law could be used to further muzzle dissent and target critics.Sisi ratified the law on Sunday, as the country faces a ...
Qatar to launch major labour reform for migrant workers DOHA: Qatar on Tuesday officially launches one of its most "significant" labour reforms to guarantee migrant workers' wages, but rights groups are concerned over implementation of the new regulations.The Wage Protection System (WPS) aims to ensure that migrant labourers, many working on 2022 World Cup-related projects, will finally receive their pay on time.Under the new system, workers will be paid either twice a month or monthly, and the wages electronically transferred direct to their bank ...
Iraq parliament meets to discuss anti-corruption reforms BAGHDAD: Iraq's parliament met Tuesday to discuss Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's reform programme aimed at curbing corruption and reducing government waste that has sparked widespread anger and weeks of protests.The session opened with 297 of 328 MPs in attendance, according to parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi.Abadi on Sunday proposed a series of measures aimed at curbing corruption, streamlining the government and improving services after protests and a call from Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali ...
Iraqi PM bids to cancel posts of deputy PM and vice president BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on Sunday for the multiple positions of vice president and deputy prime minister to be cancelled, as part of an initiative to improve state finances and reduce corruption.The measure, announced in an online statement, follows weeks of protests in Baghdad and southern cities demanding better government and a call on Friday by Iraq's leading Shi'ite cleric for Abadi to do more.Iraq's system of sharing out government posts along ...
Jordan condemns arson killing of Palestinian child AMMAN: Jordan on Friday condemned as an "ugly crime" an arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers that killed a Palestinian toddler in the occupied West Bank and wounded four family members."This ugly crime could have been avoided if the Israeli government had not ignored the rights of the Palestinian people and turned its back on peace... in the region," government spokesman Mohammed Momani said.Momani, who is also minister of state for media affairs, said Jordan ...
Israel PM approves 300 settler homes in occupied West Bank JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday approved the "immediate" construction of 300 settler homes in the occupied West Bank as his government came under pressure from right-wing Jewish groups."After consultations in the prime minister's office, the immediate construction of 300 homes in Beit El has been authorised," a statement from Netanyahu's office said, adding that planning for another 504 homes in annexed East Jerusalem had also been approved.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015 ...


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Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.197 bln
Exports $1.729 bln
Imports $3.926 bln
WeeklyNovember 23, 2015
Reserves $19.713 bln