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  • DUBAI, May 25- A $16.5 billion metro railway project planned for Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca has been delayed so that its financing can be restructured, an official said on Wednesday, but he later retracted the statement. New budgeting constraints have caused changes to the Mecca plan such as modifications to the design of the metro stations, Abdelfattah...

  • TEHRAN, Iran— An Instagram account associated with a powerful general who leads an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard briefly was inaccessible on the application. Qassem Soleimani, who heads the elite Quds Force focusing on foreign operations, was inaccessible Wednesday, then later restored. Iran's semi-official Fars news agency described it as...

  • *Camp lies on Greece's main rail route to rest of Europe. IDOMENI, Greece, May 25- Greece has sent in police and bulldozers to clear out Europe's biggest refugee camp because of the deteriorating humanitarian conditions there, but the operation should also unblock a vital artery for the ailing economy. Greece lies at the epicentre of two of the biggest challenges...

  • TEL AVIV, Israel— Bio Blast Pharma Ltd. on Wednesday reported a first-quarter net loss of $4.6 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the Tel Aviv, Israel- based company said it had a net loss of 32 cents. Keywords: Bio Blast Pharma, Earnings Report.

  • DUBAI, May 25- Saudi Arabia may need to change its currency's peg to the U.S. dollar if economic conditions shift, researchers at the Saudi central bank suggested in a paper that could shape debate among policymakers as the kingdom grapples with low oil prices. But the collapse of oil prices since 2014, which created a $100 billion state budget deficit, has fueled...

  • DAYTON, Ohio— A solar-powered airplane has taken off from the Ohio hometown of America aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright on the latest leg of its journey around the world. The plane was expected to make at least one more stop in the United States— in New York— before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa. The globe-circling voyage began...

  • *Saudi-Iran split on OPEC role, wider political issues. But the development will do little to repair dialogue, let alone help clinch a production deal, when OPEC meets next week amid rising political tensions between arch-rivals Iran and oil superpower Saudi Arabia, OPEC sources and delegates say. OPEC has no supply limit, having at its last meeting in December...

  • Flames rise from a storage tank filled with crude oil at an oil facility in northern Libya's Ras Lanouf region after it was set ablaze following fresh attacks launched by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists to seize key port terminals, on January 21, 2016.

    More than two-thirds of Gulf banks reported an increase in unpaid loans in the first three months of the year and more defaults are likely.

  • *Mass transit scheme was to cost $16.5 billion. DUBAI, May 25- A $16.5 billion mass transit project planned for Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca has been delayed so that its financing can be restructured, the head of the implementing body said on Wednesday. The Mecca plan includes building a metro rail system with 182 kilometers of track and 88 stations, according...

  • DUBAI, May 25- More than two-thirds of Gulf banks reported an increase in unpaid loans in the first three months of the year and more defaults are likely as oil-dependent governments slash spending to adjust to lower crude prices. "The days of double-digit profits and expansion plans are gone," said one United Arab Emirates- based banker. National Commercial Bank,...

  • LONDON, May 24- Oil reversed early losses to turn positive on Tuesday, as investors awaited crude oil inventory data from the United States that was expected to show a shrinking supply overhang. Brent futures had gained 26 cents to $48.34 a barrel by 1242 GMT, after closing down 37 cents in the previous session. The American Petroleum Institute releases inventory...

  • *$186.5 billion raised to invest in private debt at March 2016. LONDON, May 24- Demand from sovereign wealth funds seeking higher returns than those on mainstream bonds is helping drive a boom in specialist private debt vehicles that can provide loans for everything from aircraft leasing to lawsuit financing. Once a niche sector, the private debt industry's...

  • DUBAI, May 24- Dubai has opened what it said was the world's first functioning 3 D-printed office building, part of a drive by the Gulf's main tourism and business hub to develop technology that cuts costs and saves time. This one used a special mixture of cement, a Dubai government statement said, and reliability tests were done in Britain and China.

  • *$186.5 billion raised to invest in private debt at March 2016. LONDON, May 24- Demand from sovereign wealth funds seeking higher returns than those on mainstream bonds is helping drive a boom in specialist private debt vehicles that can provide loans for everything from aircraft leasing to lawsuit financing. Once a niche sector, the private debt industry's...

  • DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— Officials in Dubai have announced a new, $270- million project to build homes and shops along part of the under-construction Dubai canal. The project called Marasi Business Bay will be built by Dubai Holding, a conglomerate controlled by the emirate's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Business Bay is a neighborhood of...

  • ATHENS, May 24- Greek port workers will walk off the job on Thursday for 48 hours to protest against the sale of the country's two biggest ports, which Athens has promised to international lenders in exchange for much-needed bailout loans. The left-led government halted the sale of its two main ports in Piraeus and the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki when it...

  • TEHRAN, May 24- Hopes that Iran would quickly reintegrate with world markets after its nuclear deal, bringing investment and opportunities to a young population, are turning to frustration. An opaque business environment in Iran and political uncertainty in the United States are to blame. Tehran's hotels are buzzing with businessmen keen for a slice of a big...

  • DOHA, Qatar— The oil market is slowly recovering from its steep drop over the past two years but crude is still not trading at a "fair price" to encourage necessary investment, Qatar's energy and industry minister said Tuesday, ahead of next week's meeting of OPEC producers. Speaking to The Associated Press from his high-rise office in the capital, Doha, Mohammed bin...

  • BERLIN, May 24- Strong private consumption and higher construction investment drove a 0.7 percent rise in German gross domestic product in the first quarter, more than offsetting the effects of weaker foreign trade, data showed on Tuesday. The German government's increased spending on refugees and the European Central Bank's ultra-low interest rates were...

  • RAMALLAH, West Bank— A gated community of villas with well-tended flower gardens near the West Bank town of Ramallah may help explain why Palestinians almost universally believe there is corruption in the government of President Mahmoud Abbas. Nader Said, a veteran pollster, surveyed 1,200 people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last month.