News from the MENA region

France warns Iran over nuclear deal as deadline nears

France, Iran indicate talks may be extended beyond June 30

Ex-UEFA chief says Qatar 2022 vote must be reviewed amid FIFA scandal

Lennart Johansson, former president of UEFA, wants to see new bidding process for 2022 tournament

Tony Blair said to step down as Middle East envoy

Diplomatic sources say the former British prime minister will step down at the end of June

Bosch registers 7% sales growth in the Middle East 

Supplier of technology and services says sales exceed $257m across 15 countries, with UAE the largest market

Prince Ali says FIFA corruption scandal is ‘sad day for football’

Jordanian challenging Sepp Blatter for presidency says scandal is proof that change is needed at top of governing body

Saudi’s Alhokair plans to build Egypt shopping mall

Egypt’s MNHD approves offer from unit of Saudi retailer to build mall at its Teegan development, east of Cairo

If you want Qatar contracts, give us flight slots, says airline CEO

Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker makes comments as Dutch gov’t takes tougher line against growth of Gulf carriers

Seven members of Yemeni family killed in Saudi-led strike

Residents say family was killed in strike on border village in northern Yemen as heavy clashes continue

Five minutes with… Iranian-born filmmaker Babak Anvari

UK-based, BAFTA-nominated director has been classed as one of the ‘rising stars in the world of film and media’

Oman cuts defence, subsidy spending, keeps investing as oil sags

Sultanate sees net oil revenues slump by 35% to $4.35bn in the first quarter of this year

Thousands turn up for funeral of Saudi suicide attack victims

Friday’s attack was one of the deadliest assaults in recent years in the largest Gulf Arab country

US comedienne Ellen DeGeneres visits Dubai restaurant

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has private dinner at The Act restaurant at the Shangri La hotel

New Saudi airline says to start flying in November

Dammam-based Saudi Gulf Airlines announces launch date after receiving regulatory approvals

Dubai’s bourse to add trading-at-last session

Dubai Financial Market will add a five-minute ‘trading-at-last session’ to its daily routine

Hilton announces plan for new Dubai World Central hotel

Hotel giant says Hilton Dubai World Central will have 535 rooms; slated to open in early 2019

Arabtec shares drop on $36bn Egyptian deal speculation

Dubai’s index falls 1.7% as most stocks decline; Arabtec stock sinks 3.3%

Gulf blue chips commit to training 49,000 young people

Prominent firms stump up support for new youth unemployment target for WEF’s Regional Business Council

UAE approves plan for national database of medical records

UAE’s PM Sheikh Mohammed says plans to improve the UAE healthcare sector ‘will never stop’

Abu Dhabi bank part of $400m deal to finance new aircraft

National Bank of Abu Dhabi is one of two banks picked by International AirFinance Corporation for loan for five aircraft

New Dubai Wharf homes set for sales launch

Dubai Properties unveils new residential tower for Dubai Creek project; sales to start on Thursday

Jordan targets energy diversification with bumper investment deals

Renewable energy, shale exploration and electric vehicle contracts form bulk of $10bn deals signed on first day of WEF

Abu Dhabi’s Kizad sees $322m new investments in Q1

Nine companies sign agreements to take plots at Khalifa Port’s Industrial Zone in first quarter of 2015

Etihad plans to add fourth daily flight to Bangkok

Abu Dhabi airline says it will operate a total of 28 flights to holiday hotspot from July 1

Japanese car giant says MidEast sales up by 18%

Nissan delivers more than 185,000 vehicles to customers in region in financial year; eyes 240,000 by 2017

Work starts on putting together Dubai theme park rides

Key components arrive for rides which will form part of the $2.85bn Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park

Emirates announces launch of Android app for passengers

Technology aims to help passengers to plan their journey; follows recent launch of Apple Watch app

Qatar Executive expands deal to buy Gulfstream jets

Business jet division of Qatar Airways will purchase total of 30 aircraft, up from 20 in initial agreement

DP World extends Race to Dubai golf sponsorship deal

Port operator adds further five years to sponsorship agreement for DP World Tour Championship

Dubai’s Abraaj invests $30m in fund to help regional SMEs

Company says it is a cornerstone investor in Auvest fund to suppport small businesses in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia

UAE’s Mubadala says Thai oil field to start production in June

Mubadala Petroleum chief exec outlines plan for its 10,000 barrels-per-day Nong Yao oil field in Thailand

Saudi business optimism for Q2 prospects falls – survey

Dun & Bradstreet Business Optimism Index shows drop in confidence in both oil and non-oil sectors amid continuing oil price volatility

Public pressure grows on Gulf sovereign funds with cheap oil

SWF managers face growing pressure from politicians and the public to prove they’re investing national reserves wisely

Revealed: The Arab world’s top 10 most stylish women

Saudi regulator cancels Arabian Contracting float plans

Capital Market Authority says it has taken the action at the request of the Saudi advertising firm

Gulf banks increase lending footprints in Asia, Africa

There’s an emerging trend in international capital markets: the rise of the Gulf as a syndicated loan market for Africa and Asia

flydubai announces plan to launch fourth Pakistan route

Low-cost carrier says it will start flights to Quetta from June 11; will also increase flights to Multan

UAE’s RAKBANK makes offer to buy RAK National Insurance

Lender says it is looking to buy all or some of the shares of the insurance company

Emirates NBD, Abraaj said to mull IPO of payments firm

Sources say Network International, one of the region’s largest payments processing firms, could be valued at over $1bn

Carrefour launches Nepal donation drive in the UAE

Hypermarket operator Majid Al Futtaim announces campaign in partnership with the Emirates Red Crescent

Emirates adds Benfica to sports sponsorship portfolio

Dubai airline inks deal with Portguese football giants for three-year shirt sponsorship

Youth unemployment high on agenda at Middle East summit

World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will be held at the Dead Sea in Jordan from Thursday

Saudi Arabian Airlines fined $1.6m for breaking EU aviation law

Saudi national carrier is first big non-EU carrier to be fined for breaching carbon emissions rules

Saudi Arabia advertises for eight new executioners

Gulf kingdom is recruiting extra staff to carry out an increasing number of death sentences

Kuwait’s KFH may sell properties, cut small number of jobs

Kuwait Finance House may auction real estate assets of offer them to be run by other operators

Pressure group, unions want FIFA sponsors to act on Qatar

New FIFA Now to work with unions to rally sponsors over rights of workers employed on Qatar construction sites