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Next MiSK Global Forum gathering unveiled

August 30, 2017 rbksa 0
Arab News
Thu, 2017-08-31 03:00

RIYADH: The MiSK Global Forum, the flagship platform of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s foundation, has announced details of its main annual gathering titled “Meeting the Challenge of Change.”
Taking place in Riyadh on Nov. 15-16, the event marks a major evolution of the international platform focusing on youth, knowledge and innovation.
Assembling some of the world’s sharpest thinkers and innovators, it will give participants the opportunity to explore, experience and experiment with ideas and trends emerging in the knowledge economy, and the impacts they will have on the next generation.
Last year, the MiSK Global Forum saw addresses by the CEOs of global tech giants Siemens and Cisco, the co-founder of Pixar Studios, leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, inspirational figures from sports and culture, and senior international policymakers.
This year’s gathering will unveil important new initiatives and reports, including the first annual Global Youth Index, and host interactive workshops, seminars and master classes.
Prepared in association with Populus, the index will reveal young people’s confidence and preparedness for the fourth industrial revolution from 21 of the world’s most significant economies, including all G-20 nations.
Shaima Hamidaddin, executive manager and project leader for the MiSK Global Forum, said: “We are expanding the ambition and scope of the MiSK Global Forum. We are set on becoming the pre-eminent global platform to discuss vital issues relating to young people, their future and the knowledge economy.
“Young people are coming of age in a world that is more connected and more fundamentally changing than at any time in human history. The fourth industrial revolution, of transformative technologies, is disrupting economies and will affect the way we live, learn, work and contribute to our communities.
“The MiSK Global Forum’s annual gathering brings together some of the world’s sharpest minds in order to gain a deeper understanding of how to meet the challenge of change. It will be practical, focusing on helping each young person to develop their own plan to meet this pressing goal.”
Established in 2016, the forum is a flagship platform of the non-profit MiSK Foundation, established by the crown prince to discover, develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the knowledge economy.
MiSK pursues these goals by both establishing its own programs, and via partnerships with local and global organizations that help develop intellectual capital and unlock Saudi Arabia’s vast potential.

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M.J. Akbar leads Indian government’s Hajj Goodwill Mission

August 30, 2017 rbksa 0
Thu, 2017-08-31 03:00

JEDDAH: Nearly 200,000 Indians are performing Hajj this year. Of that number, 170,000 have come from India through the Hajj Committee of India (HCI).
The remaining Indian pilgrims have undertaken the journey from within Saudi Arabia.This year, the Government of India’s Hajj Goodwill Delegation is being led by Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar. He arrived in Mina on Wednesday afternoon.
“I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending me on his Hajj goodwill mission,” M.J. Akbar wrote on his official Twitter account.
Excellent arrangements have been made for all pilgrims and the Indian diplomatic mission staff has gone the extra mile to ensure that all comfort and facilities are provided to the pilgrims.
Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed told journalists on Wednesday that the movement of Indian pilgrims from Makkah to Mina went according to plan.
“Our pilgrims were provided with air-conditioned buses for their travel from Makkah to Mina,” he said.
Once in Mina, the pilgrims were taken to their respective tents where they engaged in prayers and supplications.
The ambassador praised the Saudi authorities for the excellent arrangements.
The Indian minister called on Saudi Hajj Minister Dr. Muhammad Saleh Binten in Makkah in a formal visit on Tuesday.
The selection of M.J. Akbar, a high-profile minister in the Narendra Modi government, has sent strong signals of the deep attachment that
India has for its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
The Indian mission, led by Ambassador Ahmad Javed, includes Consul General Noor Rahman Sheikh and Hajj Consul Shahid Alam.

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Sacrificial animals’ prices soar ahead of Eid Al-Adha

August 30, 2017 rbksa 0
Thu, 2017-08-31 03:00

RIYADH: Prices of sacrificial animals are soaring as residents throng to Riyadh’s cattle markets ahead of Eid Al-Adha on Friday.
The markets are swarming with buyers and sellers, and the festive mood is evident, with public sector offices having started the Eid Al-Adha holiday last Friday, while a six-day holiday will begin on Thursday for the private sector.
Residents browse for cattle to slaughter, an important ritual during this festival of sacrifice. Goats, sheep, cows and camels are among the animals slaughtered in commemoration of the Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his son Ismail to show obedience to Allah.
At the last minute Allah changed his mind, ordering Ibrahim to sacrifice a sheep instead.
The tradition of sacrificing an animal during this holiday commemorates this noble gesture.
But many people are concerned about the soaring prices. Shabbir Ahmed, a buyer in Al-Azizia district, which has a big cattle market, said prices at the market are higher than in previous years.
Mahmoud, a trader at the market, cited hikes in fodder prices as the reason for the soaring animal prices. 
The Kingdom imports a huge number of sacrificial livestock for Eid Al-Adha, given the number of pilgrims who perform Hajj every year.
Municipalities across the Kingdom have mobilized efforts to organize slaughterhouses, allocate points for slaughtering, and temporarily allow public kitchens to undertake the process to avoid the hazards of random slaughtering.
The price for slaughtering is fixed at SR100 ($26.67) in most of the Kingdom.

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Korean Missiles, Killer Storm, & Kuroda Spark Biggest Buying-Panic In Tech Stocks Since Election

August 30, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

For today’s stock market recap, see yesterday!


In a comedic case of deja vu, somebody flicked the “DUMP VIX, BUY NASDAQ” swicth at exactly the moment US equity markets opened…


The Dow fell back into the red into the close and there was some selling pressure ahead of tomorrow’s month-end, but still, everything but The Dow just went straight up…


On a bed of momentum ignited by Kuroda and his magical USDJPY levitation…


With FANG stocks and Biotechs…

Pushing Nasdaq up almost 3% from yesterday’s lows – the biggest swing higher since the election last year (Nov 10th)

On the week, it’s pretty clear where the malarkey is (NOTE the selling as Europe opens and panic-buying as US opens)


Nasdaq and The Dow managed to get back into the green for August (which seemed to be critical for the machines), but the S&P remains down 0.5% still…


Spot The Odd One Out…


The S&P closed above its 50DMA…


Treasury yields went absolutely nowhere today – trading in an incredibley narrow range!


The Dollar index extended yesterday’s gains, erasing the post-Yellen J-Hole losses…


USDJPY (cough Kuroda cough) has just exploded since yesterday’s open…Someone was willing to pile in to every dip for 2 big figures straight up..



WTI fell further as RBOB rallied but the afternoon saw volatility in the energy complex amid headlines on refiners restarting…


Gold and Silver drifted modestly lower on the day…

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UN chief: $4 million dispersed for energy-strapped Gaza

August 30, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday announced that $4 million would be dispersed to help UN agencies in the Gaza Strip deal with the enclave’s chronic electricity crisis. Speaking at a school in Gaza City on the final day of his first Israel-Palestine tour, Guterres described the situation in Gaza as “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen”. He also urged Israel and Egypt to lift their 10-year-long blockade of Gaza, which effectively bars access to the coastal enclave by air, land and sea. Since March, the people of Gaza have been forced to get by on about four hours of electricity a day after the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority reduced electricity payments to Israel — which […]

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Lukoil To Sell Oil Its Trading Arm Due To Russia Sanctions

August 30, 2017 Tsvetana Paraskova 0

Russia’s second-biggest oil producer Lukoil is studying the possible sale of its oil trading arm, Switzerland-based Litasco, fearing that the new U.S. sanctions on Russia will make it more difficult for the oil trader to raise new financing, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing industry sources. Litasco’s sale could take place sometime at the end of this year, a senior industry source told Reuters, adding that this could be the first move to Lukoil selling more assets abroad to focus on upstream in Russia. “One of the reasons…

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Sanders, Warren Tied For 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination; Zuckerberg A Long-Shot

August 30, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Despite Silicon Valley’s hopes, Mark Zuckerberg remains an outside long-shot bet to get the Democratic Presidential nomination for the 2020 election. The front-runners are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, with Joe “soul of the nation” Biden in 4th …

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Watch Live: President Trump Explains His Tax Reform Plan

August 30, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In what is speculated to be a speech heavy on populist rhetoric and light on actual details, Trump will take the stage in Springfield, Missouri this afternoon to kick off what will undoubtedly be a long slog by Republicans to pass a tax reform bill. 

Undoubtedly the decision to start the tax legislation discussion with a rally-type event is an effort by the Trump administration to garner public support in advance… something that never happened with the Obamacare repeal effort and was frequently blamed for the epic failure of Congress to pass the legislation.

Of course, the real question is whether tax reform is even possible given the fractured Republican party in the House and a very narrow Republican majority in the Senate.  Certainly recent history would suggest not so much.

Tune in below for the live feed:


* * *

For those who missed it, below is our preview of today’s speech from earlier this morning.

Later this afternoon, at 2:30pm to be exact, President Trump will take the stage at the birthplace of ‘Mainstreet USA’, Springfield, Missouri, to kickoff his push for tax reform.  But, if you’re expecting details on exactly what your future effective tax rate might be and/or how your mortgage interest deduction might be impacted, then you’re likely in for a ‘yuge’ disappointment. 

As Politico points out this morning, Trump’s tax speech has been drafted by White House aide Stephen Miller, the leader of the nationalist arm of the White House staff, as oposed to Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn which means it will be heavy of the populist flare and light on the details.

President Donald Trump will launch a major push for a sweeping tax overhaul with a speech Wednesday in Missouri aimed at convincing his base — and the rest of the nation — that he has a fresh vision for “unrigging” the American economy and isn’t just repackaging the trickle-down economics of past Republican presidents.


Wednesday’s speech in Springfield is being built around the sale of tax reform as a populist policy, according to five senior administration officials.  The tax speech is being drafted by senior White House aide Stephen Miller, a leader of the nationalist wing of the administration.


“One of the keys to selling tax reform is the president making the point that tax reform will unrig this economy by stripping out the special-interest deductions and carve-outs that riddle this code,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers that is spending heavily to push changes to the tax code.


“This won’t be a speech about specifics but instead about the case that we have to get growth faster and wages faster and get people to focus on that and the impact on workers’ take-home pay,” a senior White House official said. “It’s about faster growth on the corporate side and making the individual side much simpler and easier.”

After a briefing with White House aides yesterday, Axios similarly framed today’s tax speech as the “why not how” speech:

A “why not how” speech: Trump won’t mention specific tax rates or show his hand on controversial issues like whether to allow companies to fully expense equipment; instead he’ll explain why tax reform is needed.


Theme: “Springfield is the place where Route 66, commonly referred to as the Main Street of America, got its start,” said an official on the call. “And now it’s going to be the place where America’s Main Street begins its comeback.”


Bottom line: Many of the big issues on tax reform remain unsettled; and tomorrow’s speech by the president won’t provide any clarity on those. The White House wants Congress to take the lead and own these difficult decisions — e.g. the fight over full expensing — but expect Trump to put more gusto into his tax reform sales pitch than he did with health care. (He’s genuinely enthusiastic about tax cuts whereas he never was with health reform. Whether he can remain focused, however, and avoid detours into rants about “fake news” and his myriad enemies, is another question.)



Meanwhile, after an abysmal failure on the Obamacare repeal effort, it seems that the Trump White House is becoming better at the whole ‘political thing’ and has even polled which phrases are best for selling tax reform to the public.

In Trumpian style, he’ll try out new phrases for selling the policy like “Jump-start America” and “Win again.”


Republicans have polled the phrase “tax reform is about unrigging the economy,” and it’s done well with swing voters, people familiar with the data said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been using the phrase repeatedly.

So what actual details might we get, if any?  Beyond highlighting a couple of deductions that may be eliminated (sorry about that electric car deduction, Elon) and calling for ‘lower’ tax rates for corporations and middle-income folks, not much.

The speech is expected to frame the issue around wiping out some deductions that benefit mostly higher-income taxpayers, making the U.S. corporate system more globally competitive and simplifying the individual system. He is expected to discuss lower rates for middle-income taxpayers as an instant pay raise for everyday Americans, while arguing that lowering the corporate tax rate would make it easy for companies to expand — improving Americans’ quality of life.


Trump, however, is not expected to go into much detail about deductions and loopholes on Wednesday as congressional Republicans and the White House continue to haggle over which ones to target. The administration is leaving much of the detailed work to Hill Republicans on the major tax-writing committees.


Among possible deductions that the White House could support eliminating are those for the use of electric cars, historic preservation and fashioning a ranch into a cattle-breeding facility.


Some Senate Republicans and the White House want to continue the practice of businesses deducting the cost of investments along a steady schedule, which could allow for a bigger cut in the top corporate rate from its current 35 percent level, administration officials said.

Of course, the real question is whether tax reform is even possible given the fractured Republican party in the House and a very narrow Republican majority in the Senate.  Certainly recent history would suggest not so much.

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Is Cactus Gas The Future Of Biofuel?

August 30, 2017 Haley Zaremba 0

The prickly pear cactus (locally known as nopal) is ubiquitous in Mexico. Farmed in massive quantities across the nation, it’s a local food staple, an ancient sacred symbol, and the centerpiece of the nation’s flag. Now, it could be the key to the nation’s energy future. In the past, the spiny outer layer of the cactus has always been a waste product, but no longer–a group of scientists in Mexican green energy start up Suema discovered a way to turn it into a completely sustainable biogas. The pilot project dedicated to developing…

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