Author: Gordon Platt

TOUGH TIMES AHEAD FOR YEMEN’S NEW PRESIDENT

By Gordon Platt

Yemen's new president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the former vice president, won a one-man election to a two-year term.

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A head for heights: Dubai’s Burj Khalifa

Photo Credit: RAHHAL/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, has a new president: Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the former vice president, who won a one-man election to a two-year term. His predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, stepped down after 33 years in power, following 12 months of protests. The transition, which included immunity for Saleh, was arranged by Arab Gulf states.


The election was marred by violence, including a car bombing that killed 26 people. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took credit for the attack, which underscored the problems facing Hadi, including a secessionist movement in the south and widespread rebellions and corruption.


In neighboring Saudi Arabia, Kingdom Holding received the final license needed to build Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, which will be the world’s tallest building at more than one kilometer (1000 meters) in height. As a contrast, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai—currently the tallest manmade structure in the world—stands at 829.84 meters and One World Trade Center in New York will stand at 471m (or 541.3m including the radio antenna) upon completion.


Saudi Binladin Group won the contract to build the tower in Kingdom City, Jeddah Economic Company’s 5.3 million-square-meter urban development in the north of Jeddah overlooking the Red Sea.


Dubai raised $675 million to complete the first phase of the Al-Sufouh tram project. The facility comprises a $401 million 13-year loan guaranteed by the export credit agencies of Belgium and France, and a $274 billion six-year Islamic ijarah dual-currency loan split evenly between dirhams and dollars.


Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Batelco sold its 43% stake in its Indian affiliate S Tel for $175 million, the same price it paid for the holding in 2009. Batelco says the sale will help offset declining revenue.


This year’s Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain is scheduled to take place April 20–22. The race was called off last year amid civil unrest. This year’s slogan for the race is “UniF1ed—One Nation in Celebration.”