Gulf in the News – November 15, 2013

Saudi Arabia wins U.N. Human Rights Council seat

Source: Al Arabiya (Read full story)

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday won a seat at the Human Rights Council, the U.N.’s highest rights monitoring body, Al Arabiya correspondent reported. China, Russia and Cuba were also elected, raising speculations of potential battles over human right issues to be considered by the council in the future. The U.N. General Assembly elected 14 seats on the 47-member council which is taking on increased diplomatic importance because of Syria’s civil war and other conflicts. The council, which will start work on Jan. 1, will be one of the most polarized since it was created in 2006.

Iran freezes expansion of nuclear facilities: IAEA

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Iran has not expanded its nuclear facilities in the last three months, a UN atomic watchdog report said Thursday, in a possible confidence-building measure by Tehran before talks next week. The International Atomic Energy Agency said only four new uranium enrichment centrifuges were operating at Iran’s Natanz plant and no additional machines at the Fordo facility. It added that Iran has also not begun operating any new-generation IR-2M centrifuges and that “no… major components” had been installed at a reactor being built at Arak. The faster IR-2M centrifuges are of concern to the international community because in theory they shorten the time needed by Iran to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb.

Vodafone Qatar says first half revenue up 33pc to QR925m

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

Vodafone Qatar yesterday announced its financials for the half-year ended 30 September 2013 and said that its revenue during the period has reached QR925m ($254m), up 33 percent year-on-year. The company reported a distributable profit of QR41m ($11.26m). The results were announced at a press conference following the Board meeting chaired by Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors. Present at the meeting were CEO of Vodafone Qatar, Kyle Whitehill, CFO of Vodafone Qatar, Steve Walters, and Head of Investors and Shareholder Relations at the company, Khalid Barzak.

Kuwait calls for preventing armed groups from possessing WMDs

Source: Kuwait News Agency (Read full story)

The State of Kuwait has affirmed its unwavering support for disarmament of weapons of mass destruction and coordination with the international community to prevent armed groups from acquiring such lethal arms. The renewed stance came in a statement by the Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Jassem Al-Bedaiwi, to KUNA on sidelines of the 12th Republic of Korea-United Nations Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues (November 14-15), held on Jeju island. Prospects that WMDs may end up in hands of such groups are forecast to increase drastically as long as such weapons remain in possession of some states, Ambassador Al-Bedaiwi warned in the remarks on Friday.

Background – Dubai Airshow 2013: Focus on U.S.-U.A.E. Aviation & Aerospace

Source: US- UAE Business Council (Read full story)

This year’s Dubai Airshow will be the key global showcase for displaying the world’s cutting-edge defense and aerospace technology.  There is growing anticipation for announcements regarding significant orders of commercial aircraft, and Airshow attendance is expected to reach record-breaking numbers. Both of these items illustrate the growing importance of the Gulf region to the civil and defense aerospace industries, and underscore how the mutually-beneficial U.S.-U.A.E. aerospace relationship has grown over the past decade to become a greater source of economic activity and job creation.

GCC expects 450m air passengers by 2020

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

Airport security will be a major challenge for the GCC countries as they continue to expand the capacity of their airports, a senior official of the Dubai Civil Engineering Authority has said. Governments and airport authorities will have to take strict security measures to manage the huge flow of people in the years to come. Official figures suggest that the number of passengers to GCC airports is expected to reach 450 million by 2020. The Gulf airports also saw a 10 percent increase in their development and capacity in the last decade.