News from the MENA region

Qatar’s QIB posts 15% rise in Q1 net profit

Qatar Islamic Bank, the Gulf state’s largest sharia-compliant lender, makes $92m profit in three-month period

Bahrain’s largest lender eyes $5bn sale, merger deal

Sources say Ahli United Bank is evaluating sale or merger with a strategic peer

Saudi rights lawyer detained by authorities, says wife

Waleed Abu al-Khair said to have been detain after court appearance on sedition charges

70% of Arabs call for more film and TV censorship

Survey revealed adults want more regulation of violent and romantic content

Egyptian court jails 119 Mursi supporters

Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to three years in jail related to protests held in October

Abu Dhabi’s Hakkasan signs partnership with MGM Resorts

Will focus on the design, development and management of luxury non-gaming hotels, resorts and residential offerings

Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar is replaced

Former US ambassador warned months ago of a “major shift” from US

UAE reports decline in human trafficking cases

The federal government authority is planning to increase its campaign to crackdown on the practice

Etihad, Fiji Airways sign codesharing agreement

Abu Dhabi carrier’s revenue from codeshare and equity partners increased by 23% to $223m in Q1

Dubai’s DIB gets nod to raise foreign ownership limit

Dubai Islamic Bank increases limit by 10% to 25% following completion of all regulatory formalities

Five minutes with: Jeremy Paxman

Ruthless interviewer proves equally prickly when the tables are turned

Obama has been “stupid and short-sighted” on Bahrain – former US ambassador

Exclusive: Senior former diplomat says America has not been supportive enough of the government

Saudi’s Ma’aden says Q1 net profit hit by falling metal prices

Saudi Arabian Mining Co posts 48% slump in first quarter net profit to just over $33m

Tony Blair charity accused of links to Muslim Brotherhood

Two advisors to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation allegedly have ties to the Islamic extremist group

Oman extends ban on recruiting foreign labourers, maids

Ministry of Manpower announces plan to extend suspension for at least another six months from May 4

Saudi court orders liberal internet forum to close

Free Saudi Liberals website reportedly closed for publishing anti-Islamic material

Saudi police seize drugs worth $267m, arrest six

Drugs were being smuggled into the country from neighbouring Bahrain, says interior ministry

Realty check: Dr Anas Kozbari

In a rare interview, Dr Anas Kozbari, the chief executive of Invest Group Overseas, explains why his firm is back investing in the Dubai market, and his plans to expand both abroad and at home

Kuwait opposition calls for elected government, reforms

Opposition Coalition sets out wide-ranging proposal for reform including parties and great powers for parliament

UAE food suppliers could face up to 3yrs jail, fines for selling rotten produce

A new draft law will be debated by the Federal National Council on Tuesday

Ten consortiums shortlisted on $16bn Makkah Metro

Phase one had been split into two contracts with the aim of speeding up work and completing the project on time

Dubai to build 19 footbridges by the end of 2015

Comes just weeks after it launched a crackdown on jaywalking

Gulf owners planned to flip Leeds Utd “like an off-plan apartment”

Exclusive: GFH Capital booked $10m profit just weeks after purchase

InterContinental Doha announce expansion plans

Plans also 120 new rooms, a 20-room spa, a Cigar Club and a new beach restaurant and bar

Iran rejects US ban on pick for UN envoy, vows legal action

Washington banned Iran’s chosen envoy over hostage crisis role

Abu Dhabi rents rise nearly 10% in Q1, says CBRE

Report says off-island locations becoming more popular as affordability fast becomes concern in UAE capital

Kuwait mulls legal action over sports stadium fiasco

Report on problems that have marred the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium project to be sent to the Public Prosecution for investigation

Gulf cities at ‘tipping point’ on smart urban design

Senior Atkins exec says Dubai is spurring ‘appetite for world class urban development’ across the Gulf region

Gulf banking revenues outperform global rivals in 2013

New report also says loan loss provisions and profits varied significantly by country in Gulf region

SYSTRA-Parsons JV wins $234m Doha Metro deal

Company says contract covers design reviews, work supervision and testing of Phase 1 of transport project

Dubai’s HMH says Oman dry hotel to open in Q3

CEO says Coral Muscat Hotel & Apartments is entering its final stage of development

Dubai’s MAG Group acquires land for Dallas project

Conglomerate is set to develop mixed-use commercial, residential project in US state of Texas

Siemens wins $590m Saudi power plant order

Energy firm says to supply six gas turbines, three steam turbines and nine generators for Rabigh 2 plant

Work starts on Audi workshop as part of $245m UAE expansion

Audi dealer Al Nabooda Automobiles says new facility is slated for completion by the beginning of 2015

Dubai’s biggest bank expands with Egyptian HQ

Emirates NBD says new subsidiary aims to become one of the biggest players in Egyptian banking sector

Oman plans LPG plant aimed at local market

Oman Gas Company to build processing plant and export facility at Salalah port

Ashoka launches Gulf platform for social entrepreneurship

The Arab World Social Entrepreneurship Programme aims to help social innovators in healthcare, environment and women participation

Saudi’s Khodari says labour reform impact to start fading in H2

Construction major has been at the centre of the upheaval caused by stricter rules on hiring foreign workers

Nakheel’s profit jump may boost Dubai

News may support expectations of significant increases in the quarterly profit of listed firms like Emaar, Deyaar and Union Properties