News from the MENA region

Al-Futtaim to invest $700m in Egypt after dispute settled

Dubai conglomerate says will pay the government $30.5m as part of settlement reached last week

Dubai’s Noor Bank eyes Turkish growth to beat competition

Move comes as banks in the UAE have been expanding heavily abroad, amid fierce rivalry at home among 51 lenders

Gulf agrees new contract for domestic workers – official

New contract entitles maids to a weekly day off, annual leave and limits the working day to eight hours – report

UAE jails man for 3 years for belonging to ‘secret organisation’

Man is also fined $136,000 for harming the reputation of the UAE by disseminating misleading information

UAE regulator expects five firms on secondary market by mid-2015

New platform aims to encourage many private companies, inclukding family-owned firms, to trade their shares

Hamilton wins F1 world title after Abu Dhabi victory

British driver Lewis Hamilton triumphs in showdown with Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg at the Yas Marina Circuit

UAE’s Abraaj says raises offer price for Egypt’s Bisco Misr

Investment firm says it is now offering price that makes deal worth more than $127m

Top UAE official rejects Amnesty Int’l claims of jail torture

Abu Dhabi’s Attorney-General strongly denies allegations made in recent report as ‘untrue’ and lacking credibility

StartUp Awards shortlist announced

61 nominees are in the running for trophies across 12 categories at the annual awards ceremony

Natixis says head of Middle East financial institutions resigns

French bank says it has not yet hired a replacement for Nadim Zaman who joined Dubai office in 2011

US-led strikes have killed 910 in Syria – monitor

Of those killed since the start of the campaign against ISIL two months ago, 52 are civilians and 785 are ISIL members, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

Oil up first time in 8 weeks on China rate cut, OPEC expectations

Brent crude returned to above $80 a barrel after a record drop of eight weeks in a row

Damac to release more villas at Akoya Oxygen

Short-term offer will be made during the International Real Estate & Investment Show in Abu Dhabi

US welcomes oil deal between Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad

The deal also will see development of an oil pipeline from Basra to the Turkish port of Ceyhan

Egypt hires German firm to bore transport tunnels under Suez Canal

It is hoped the $8bn project will raise gov’t revenues and foreign currency reserves

Saudi students in the US soars 22%

At nearly 54,000, the kingdom is the fourth highest exporter of students to the US

BMW intent on staying number one in the Middle East

BMW has the biggest market share for the premium car segment in the Middle East and seems to be breaking records every year. But for new regional managing director Johannes Seibert, there’s still plenty of work to be done to grow the brand even further.

Etihad and Alitalia sign major codeshare agreement

Alitalia to triple service frequency between Italy and Abu Dhabi in March 2015

Expats need to count the hidden costs of living in UAE – report

Economist report says expats should not assume they are going to pocket the difference of the UAE’s tax break

FIFA’s compliance chief to analyse 2018/2022 World Cup report

FIFA’s ethics judge and investigator agree World Cup bid report should be further reviewed

Abu Dhabi signs new multi-year F1 contract extension

Current agreement for the Yas Marina Circuit was due to expire after the 2016 race

Egypt says pardon for Al Jazeera journalists "being discussed"

President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has previously refused to intervene in the case

Kuwait Petroleum Corp unit signs $1 bln loan

Kufpec is responsible for exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas outside Kuwait

Top 10 tips to stay safe under the winter sun

As we’re out and about, we might forget about sun protection after the heat of the GCC summer has subsided

New York’s nightclub Provocateur announces opening in Dubai

Provocateur is comprised of two nightlife settings, the Café and the nightclub

QE2 fans, passengers and former staff voice concerns over state of the iconic ship

Messages sent to Arabian Business after latest images of legendary ocean liner showed it languishing in a Dubai port

QE2 fans voice outrage as new images show iconic ship left “to rot in obscurity” in Dubai port

Exclusive: Photos taken within the last few weeks show the legendary ocean liner still docked in Dubai, despite claims it was to be converted into a luxury floating hotel in Asia.

Dubai’s SKAI completes 30% of Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah

$1bn luxury residential and hospitality project is scheduled to open in 2016

Sold out! Abu Dhabi F1 sells all 60,000 tickets

Yas Marina Circuit will attract its largest ever crowd for this weekend’s race

Abu Dhabi International Airport inaugurates new VIP Terminal

Passengers of all classes can access the terminal by paying a fee.

Extremist minority have hijacked Arabs’ identity, Queen Rania tells Abu Dhabi media summit

Royal urged moderates to “fight for the future of Islam” and not be “complicit” with their silence

British freeclimber arrested in Dubai is released without charge

Professional adventurer was detained after scaling the city’s second tallest tower

Viva Kuwait chairman says telco to list Dec. 14

Announcement comes nearly 6 years after it raised $85.9m in an IPO

Bahrain investment firm Arcapita completes $100m fundraising

Move comes just over a year after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Qatar in talks to fund UK high-speed rail development plan

Saudi and Abu Dhabi investment funds have reportedly also met with Prime Minister David Cameron to help finance the project

No direct impact on Saudi budget from oil slide, says minister

Kingdom’s budgets “take all possibilities into consideration,” the finance minister claimed

Briton, Frenchman seen in ISIL video of beheadings

Believed to be among a squad of jihadists seen beheading Syrian soldiers

UAE online job ads decline for the first time in 6mths

The emirates was the only country in the Middle East survey to see a fall in job ads during October

Dubai to create the world’s longest graffiti scroll

Sheikh Hamdan announced the initiative, which is part of the UAE’s 43rd National Day celebrations

Saudis to open stock market to foreigners before April

At present, foreigners are limited to investing indirectly through swaps and exchange-traded funds

F1 countdown: Caterham to hold talks in Abu Dhabi with potential buyers

7 days to go: UK team went into administration last month but still aiming to make season-ender in the UAE

Gulf Arab leaders to hold summit meeting in Riyadh

Six-member group of Arab monarchies is trying to end a damaging internal rift