Iraq's cabinet named an interim central bank chief on Tuesday after the bank's well-respected governor, who was on an overseas trip, was suspended amid a currency manipulation probe.
The move followed the announcement of an inquiry into allegations that officials at the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) had intentionally weakened the value of the Iraqi dinar against the US dollar.
"The cabinet decided to authorise Abdelbassit Turki, the head of the Board of Supreme Audit, to run the central bank indefinitely," Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's spokesman Ali Mussawi said, adding that Sinan al-Shabibi had been suspended from his post by the anti-corruption watchdog.
Mussawi said the investigation had been launched because of "what happened with the dinar exchange rate with the dollar" and that a parliamentary report had blamed "the chief of the bank and several other people."
Qatar has launched a $254 million plan to rebuild and modernise Gaza, the biggest injection of reconstruction aid for the Palestinian enclave since it was devastated in an Israeli military offensive nearly four years ago.
Projects announced at a news conference by Qatari ambassador Mohammed Al-Amadi will require the cooperation of Israel and Egypt to admit building materials and heavy machinery to Gaza, which is under a partial blockade.
Amadi said this had been arranged. Work would begin on site within three months, starting with a highway that will run the length of the Mediterranean coastal strip.
Leading international oil firms will get first-hand information about the initial findings of Lebanon’s massive gas wealth under the sea during a meeting in London on Wednesday.
Multinational oil companies such as Exxon, Shell and Mobil will take part in the meeting. It will also be attended by Lebanese officials and senior executives from the British-based company Spectrum, which has been surveying 3,000 kilometers of Lebanon’s territorial waters.
David Rowlands, the CEO of Spectrum and one of the key speakers at the briefing, told The Daily Star over the telephone that 65 representatives of companies will attend the meeting.
Brent futures held steady near $114 on Tuesday as expectations Europe's financial crisis is on the mend renewed hopes of a revival in oil demand growth, while simmering tension in the Middle East provided additional support.
Asian shares, the euro, base metals and gold all rose after Moody's Investors Service affirmed its investment grade rating on Spain, helping ease investor worries of a worsening crisis in the region. Oil was also supported by supply concerns as the European Union slapped fresh sanctions on Iran.
Brent slipped 12 cents to $113.88 a barrel by 0432 GMT. The November contract, which expired on Tuesday, went off the board 73 cents lower at $115.07, while the December one settled 40 cents lower at $114.00. U.S. oil gained 18 cents to $92.27.
At least five protesters were arrested and several injured in Kuwait as police tried to break up an opposition protest late on Monday, witnesses said.
Authorities had asked opposition lawmakers to call off the demonstration over political reforms, but at least 5,000 people gathered in a square near parliament that has been the site of several anti-government protests since last year.
Although major oil producer Kuwait has not experienced the mass Arab Spring protests seen elsewhere across the region, tensions have escalated between an elected parliament and a cabinet chosen by the prime minister, who is appointed by the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
US President Barack Obama has hit out at Republican Mitt Romney during a feisty 90-minute encounter in the second of three pre-election debates.
Mr Obama – widely perceived to have lost their first encounter – came out swinging in New York on the economy, tax and foreign policy.
But the former Massachusetts governor accused Mr Obama of broken promises and a record of failure.
The number of Arab millionaires investing in Britain in exchange for permanent residency has increased in the wake of the Arab Spring as investors look to flee political turmoil in their home country, financial advisors have told Arabian Business.
Rich Arabs are increasing making use of investor visas that allow wealthy foreigners to live in the UK in return for buying at least £1m (US$1.6m) of gilts or shares and bonds in British companies.
“We have seen a rapid growth of Middle Eastern clients investing in the UK and taking advantage of the UK immigration opportunities available under the Investor and Entrepreneur visa categories,” said Carl Thomas of Visalogic.