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Business Middle East

  • JERUSALEM-- He has been the poster boy for Israel's powerhouse technology industry and a leading proponent of a great dream _ to end the world's addiction to oil. But on Tuesday, Shai Agassi stepped down as chief executive of Better Place, the Israel- based electric car company he founded with great fanfare five years ago.

  • DUBAI, Oct 2- Al-Futtaim Group and Emaar Properties, two real estate developers from the United Arab Emirates, plan a 5 billion Egyptian pound tie-up to build a retail and entertainment complex outside Cairo, Al-Futtaim said on Tuesday.

  • The Dow and S&P 500 turned negative while the Nasdaq cut its gains in late morning on Tuesday, with materials and energy shares leading declines on the S&P. **ARQULE INC $2.21 down 55.5 pct The biotechnology company and Japan's Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd. **FORD MOTOR CO, $9.78, down 1.6 pct.

  • "Expect Rafa to be one of many great stories in January, including a formidable title defense from our brilliant reigning men's champion, Novak Djokovic, and some major challenges from the great Roger Federer, U.S.

  • Global economic activity has slowed this year, curbing fuel demand growth in Asia, Europe and the United States. Supportive to oil prices, the euro rose for a second straight session on growing expectations the euro zone's fourth-largest economy Spain is ready to seek a bailout.

  • TEHRAN, Iran-- Iran's president on Tuesday blamed the steep drop in Iran's currency on "psychological pressures" linked to Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program and Iran's increasing bitter political battles.

  • *IPO likely to be single listing on Iraq bourse. Zain Iraq, owned by Kuwaiti telecom group Zain, still needs to convert to a joint stock company in preparation for the float, Hisham Akbar, Zain deputy chief executive and chief operating officer, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

  • Qatar has placed orders for 60 Dreamliners- 30 firm and an option for 30 more- and selected General Electric Co's new-generation GEnx engine for the aircraft. "We have informed Boeing that we will not take delivery until the 787 s have the new modified shaft," said Baker, who has often been outspoken about planemakers Airbus and Boeing and other industry issues.

  • MOSCOW, Oct 2- Russia's second largest oil producer, LUKOIL, has signed an agreement with Ivory Coast to explore for oil off the West African country's shore, the company said on Tuesday. LUKOIL's production in Russia has been falling due to declining output at depleted oilfields in Western Siberia.

  • JERUSALEM, Oct 2- Electric car venture Better Place said it had replaced chief executive officer Shai Agassi with the CEO of its Australia unit, five years after Agassi founded the company. Agassi set up Better Place with the aim of using new technology to make electric cars more affordable and more convenient than gasoline-powered cars.

  • BEIRUT-- An American freelance journalist who has been missing in Syria since mid-August has been shown in a video clip posted online, blindfolded and saying "Oh, Jesus" in a frightened voice in the custody of armed men. Tice, a 31- year-old former Marine, had been reporting on Syria's civil war for The Washington Post, McClatchy Newspapers and others.

  • BERLIN/ LONDON, Oct 2- France and Germany have collided over the location of the headquarters for a new aerospace giant to be formed from a planned merger of Europe's EADS and Britain's BAE Systems, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

  • STOCKHOLM, Oct 2- IKEA, the world's biggest furniture retailer, has come under heavy criticism in its home market Sweden after it airbrushed women out of its latest catalogue in Saudi Arabia, raising questions about its policies towards gender equality. "And if there is any country in the world that needs to know IKEA's values, it is Saudi Arabia.

  • LONDON, Oct 2- Barclays has promoted two of its top consumer banking bosses to its executive committee as the British bank's new boss puts more focus on traditional banking after criticism of its rapid growth in higher risk investment banking.

  • TEHRAN, Iran-- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the steep drop in Iran's currency Tuesday to "psychological pressures" linked to Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies have imposed the punishing measures to try to persuade Iran to negotiate over its nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at developing atomic weapons.

  • By Christopher Johnson and Alice Baghdjian. LONDON, Oct 2- Brent crude oil consolidated around $112 a barrel on Tuesday as investors weighed a weaker outlook for fuel demand and sluggish economic growth against the risk of possible supply disruptions.

  • JERUSALEM-- Israeli electric car company Better Place is replacing its founder and chief executive, Shai Agassi. The chief executive of Better Place's Australian business, Even Thornley, will take over. Agassi, a former top executive at German software maker SAP, will remain on Better Place's board.

  • DUBAI, Oct 2- The Abu Dhabi index hit a 14- month on Tuesday, lifted by real estate stocks which gained on the prospect of consolidation in the struggling sector. Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate were the main drivers, together accounting for nearly 75 percent of all shares traded on the bourse.

  • GENEVA, Oct 2- The United Nations human rights office called on Tuesday for the immediate release of prominent activists and journalists it said had been arrested or intimidated as part of an apparent clampdown on critical voices ahead of next year's presidential election.

  • BAGHDAD-- Iraq on Tuesday signed a $14 million deal with a U.S. consortium to modernize a major port in the country's southern province of Basra in a move aimed at developing key infrastructure neglected during years of war and sanctions.