FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil speaks during a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo
Lebanon's Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil speaks during a meeting in Beirut. REUTERS

Lebanon finance minister, World Bank urge formation of government



The World Bank and Lebanon's caretaker finance minister jointly called on Friday for the formation of a new government after half a year of political stalemate, saying a new administration was needed to halt "confusion" over the economy.

Almost seven months since the parliamentary election, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has hit a wall in his efforts to form a national unity government as political factions jostle for positions in a new cabinet.

Finance Minister The World Bank estimates Lebanon's national debt will stand at 155 percent of gross domestic product by the end of 2018 and World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Ferid Belhaj said in a statement a new government was needed soon, "to put an end to the confusion over the financial and economic situation and to produce a climate of confidence regarding the future of projects scheduled for Lebanon".

Politicians have repeatedly warned there is a risk of economic crisis if a government is not formed soon.

The World Bank has committed $2.2 billion for projects in Lebanon including transport and job creation. But around $800 million is unused while awaiting government approval and Lebanon must pay commitment fees on it.

Members of the outgoing cabinet have remained in office in a caretaker capacity but are unable to take major decisions until a new cabinet is named.

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More than $11 billion of international donor funding pledged in April is also contingent on a new government making a tangible commitment to economic reform.

Mr Belhaj and another World Bank official two weeks ago said Lebanon was losing momentum and there was a risk donors might start losing interest.

Lebanon has the world's third highest debt-to-GDP ratio and a new government must be in place before Lebanon embarks on major fiscal reforms. The International Monetary Fund said in June these reforms are urgently needed to put the debt on a sustainable footing.

The World Bank estimates Lebanon's national debt will stand at 155 percent of gross domestic product by the end of 2018 and that a rise in current spending will increase the fiscal deficit to 8.3 percent of GDP in 2018, from 6.6 percent in 2017.

The Specs

Lamborghini LM002
Engine: 5.2-litre V12
Power: 450hp at 6,800rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 4,500rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual
0-100kph: 9 seconds (approx)
Top speed: 210kph (approx)
Years built: 1986-93
Total vehicles built: 328
Value today: $300,000+

HER FIRST PALESTINIAN

Author: Saeed Teebi

Pages: 256

Publisher: House of Anansi Press

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

What are NFTs?

Are non-fungible tokens a currency, asset, or a licensing instrument? Arnab Das, global market strategist EMEA at Invesco, says they are mix of all of three.

You can buy, hold and use NFTs just like US dollars and Bitcoins. “They can appreciate in value and even produce cash flows.”

However, while money is fungible, NFTs are not. “One Bitcoin, dollar, euro or dirham is largely indistinguishable from the next. Nothing ties a dollar bill to a particular owner, for example. Nor does it tie you to to any goods, services or assets you bought with that currency. In contrast, NFTs confer specific ownership,” Mr Das says.

This makes NFTs closer to a piece of intellectual property such as a work of art or licence, as you can claim royalties or profit by exchanging it at a higher value later, Mr Das says. “They could provide a sustainable income stream.”

This income will depend on future demand and use, which makes NFTs difficult to value. “However, there is a credible use case for many forms of intellectual property, notably art, songs, videos,” Mr Das says.

Ashes 2019 schedule

August 1-5: First Test, Edgbaston

August 14-18: Second Test, Lord's

August 22-26: Third Test, Headingley

September 4-8: Fourth Test, Old Trafford

September 12-16: Fifth Test, Oval

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Akeed

Based: Muscat

Launch year: 2018

Number of employees: 40

Sector: Online food delivery

Funding: Raised $3.2m since inception

UK - UAE Trade

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and the UAE in 2022 was £21.6 billion (Dh98 billion). 

This is an increase of 63.0 per cent or £8.3 billion in current prices from the four quarters to the end of 2021.

 

The UAE was the UK’s 19th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022 accounting for 1.3 per cent of total UK trade.

Company profile

Date started: January 2022
Founders: Omar Abu Innab, Silvia Eldawi, Walid Shihabi
Based: Dubai
Sector: PropTech / investment
Employees: 40
Stage: Seed
Investors: Multiple

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Tips for used car buyers
  • Choose cars with GCC specifications
  • Get a service history for cars less than five years old
  • Don’t go cheap on the inspection
  • Check for oil leaks
  • Do a Google search on the standard problems for your car model
  • Do your due diligence. Get a transfer of ownership done at an official RTA centre
  • Check the vehicle’s condition. You don’t want to buy a car that’s a good deal but ends up costing you Dh10,000 in repairs every month
  • Validate warranty and service contracts with the relevant agency and and make sure they are valid when ownership is transferred
  • If you are planning to sell the car soon, buy one with a good resale value. The two most popular cars in the UAE are black or white in colour and other colours are harder to sell

Tarek Kabrit, chief executive of Seez, and Imad Hammad, chief executive and co-founder of CarSwitch.com

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Porsche Taycan Turbo specs

Engine: Two permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors

Transmission: two-speed

Power: 671hp

Torque: 1050Nm

Range: 450km

Price: Dh601,800

On sale: now

Dunki

Director: Rajkumar Hirani 

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

How to donate

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
6025 – Dh20
6027 – Dh 100
6026 – Dh 200

FIXTURES

Thu Mar 15 – West Indies v Afghanistan, UAE v Scotland
Fri Mar 16 – Ireland v Zimbabwe
Sun Mar 18 – Ireland v Scotland
Mon Mar 19 – West Indies v Zimbabwe
Tue Mar 20 – UAE v Afghanistan
Wed Mar 21 – West Indies v Scotland
Thu Mar 22 – UAE v Zimbabwe
Fri Mar 23 – Ireland v Afghanistan

The top two teams qualify for the World Cup

Classification matches
The top-placed side out of Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong or Nepal will be granted one-day international status. UAE and Scotland have already won ODI status, having qualified for the Super Six.

Thu Mar 15 – Netherlands v Hong Kong, PNG v Nepal
Sat Mar 17 – 7th-8th place playoff, 9th-10th place playoff

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

The bio:

Favourite holiday destination: I really enjoyed Sri Lanka and Vietnam but my dream destination is the Maldives.

Favourite food: My mum’s Chinese cooking.

Favourite film: Robocop, followed by The Terminator.

Hobbies: Off-roading, scuba diving, playing squash and going to the gym.

 

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

How to come clean about financial infidelity
  • Be honest and transparent: It is always better to own up than be found out. Tell your partner everything they want to know. Show remorse. Inform them of the extent of the situation so they know what they are dealing with.
  • Work on yourself: Be honest with yourself and your partner and figure out why you did it. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help. 
  • Give it time: Like any breach of trust, it requires time to rebuild. So be consistent, communicate often and be patient with your partner and yourself.
  • Discuss your financial situation regularly: Ensure your spouse is involved in financial matters and decisions. Your ability to consistently follow through with what you say you are going to do when it comes to money can make all the difference in your partner’s willingness to trust you again.
  • Work on a plan to resolve the problem together: If there is a lot of debt, for example, create a budget and financial plan together and ensure your partner is fully informed, involved and supported. 

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

The stats and facts

1.9 million women are at risk of developing cervical cancer in the UAE

80% of people, females and males, will get human papillomavirus (HPV) once in their lifetime

Out of more than 100 types of HPV, 14 strains are cancer-causing

99.9% of cervical cancers are caused by the virus

A five-year survival rate of close to 96% can be achieved with regular screenings for cervical cancer detection

Women aged 25 to 29 should get a Pap smear every three years

Women aged 30 to 65 should do a Pap smear and HPV test every five years

Children aged 13 and above should get the HPV vaccine

THE BIO

Favourite car: Koenigsegg Agera RS or Renault Trezor concept car.

Favourite book: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes or Red Notice by Bill Browder.

Biggest inspiration: My husband Nik. He really got me through a lot with his positivity.

Favourite holiday destination: Being at home in Australia, as I travel all over the world for work. It’s great to just hang out with my husband and family.

 

 

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

Safety 'top priority' for rival hyperloop company

The chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Andres de Leon, said his company's hyperloop technology is “ready” and safe.

He said the company prioritised safety throughout its development and, last year, Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsurance companies, announced it was ready to insure their technology.

“Our levitation, propulsion, and vacuum technology have all been developed [...] over several decades and have been deployed and tested at full scale,” he said in a statement to The National.

“Only once the system has been certified and approved will it move people,” he said.

HyperloopTT has begun designing and engineering processes for its Abu Dhabi projects and hopes to break ground soon. 

With no delivery date yet announced, Mr de Leon said timelines had to be considered carefully, as government approval, permits, and regulations could create necessary delays.

'Ashkal'

Director: Youssef Chebbi

Stars: Fatma Oussaifi and Mohamed Houcine Grayaa

Rating: 4/5

EA Sports FC 24

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: EA Sports
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 3.5/5