Saudi Arabia’s health officials have stressed that there is no threat to Haj pilgrims from the possible outbreak of a new virus in the Kingdom.
“There have been two cases of flu over a period of time. This is normal,” health ministry spokesman Khaled Al-Mirghalani told AFP.
“There are no changes to the conditions put by the Health Ministry to pilgrims,” he said.
However, authorities will remain alert to the situation, he added.
Ziyad Memish, the undersecretary for preventive medicine at the ministry, said the “new virus has been in the Kingdom for three months.” But he added that the situation was “stable and no new cases have been recorded.”
More than $250 billion of investments in Middle Eastern rail projects is expected in the next three years, as the region undergoes major changes to its transport infrastructure.
The region has one of the lowest density rail networks in the world, with just under 34,000 km of track over a landmass of 15 million square km.
The boom in the construction of railway infrastructure is expected to double the track network to 67,000 km and create huge opportunities for local and international businesses.
This year, there are currently $156bn worth of rail projects planned or under way in the region, according to projects tracker MEED Projects.
Governments in the Mediterranean need to get creative if they want major oil firms to help them tap the full potential of recent undersea gas finds, a leading industry expert told a conference in Beirut.
Speaking at the European Mediterranean Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Summit in this Cypriot resort town, Doha-based energy economist Roudi Baroudi cited two key hurdles to the launch of full-scale exploration and development in the near future.
Europe’s financial crisis, he explained, would lead to decreased energy demand, necessarily making investment in Mediterranean gas less attractive until conditions change.
More importantly, however, he warned that political risk heightened by the so-called “Arab Spring and political feuding in the East-Med” would dissuade international oil companies from diving into new projects in the region.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced it will fly daily between Abu Dhabi and Istanbul from January 1, 2013.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline launched services to Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, with four non-stop flights a week in June 2009, increasing to five services per week later that same year.
The daily service will support traffic growth between Abu Dhabi and Turkey and connecting traffic to onward destinations across the GCC, Indian Subcontinent, North Asia and Australia.