Monday 15 September 2014

Conventional banks' sukuk to push limits of Islamic finance

Islamic bond programmes from a trio of big conventional banks are set to expand the boundaries of Islamic finance, helping open the market to first-time issuers while testing the banks' ability to win over industry purists. Since June, France's Societe Generale, Bank of T


Wearables – consumer fad or business innovation?

Are wearable technologies a consumer fad or a business phenomenon? Thanks to the buzz around Google Glass, the Pebble smartwatch and various fitness tracking devices, consumers have become more aware of the burgeoning technology, with some incorporating wearables into their daily lives.


Obama picking his targets, while missing the point

For the 20 years between 1991 and 2011 - the interval between Operation Desert Storm and the final withdrawal of U.S. forces after a lengthy occupation of Iraq - Washington policymakers, Republican and Democratic, relied on various forms of coercion to align Iraq with American expectations of h


Islamic State's Twitter silence raises questions

Islamic State's Twitter users, which have trumpeted the group's violent acts and worldview on the social media service, have gone abruptly quiet in past days. Several accounts affiliated with the militant group appear to have gone dormant, according to US government sourc


Gaza faces huge challenges to rebuild after war

Fifty days of war in one of the most densely-populated parts of the world have left swathes of Gaza in ruins. With the economy reeling under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, the enclave now faces an almost impossible task of rebuilding. To do it, Gaza will have to find billions of f


For Assad, US plan will weaken one foe but bolster others

By striking Islamic State in Syria, the United States would be weakening one of President Bashar Al-Assad's major enemies. But the new US strategy may still unnerve Assad by helping other opponents determined to overthrow him. The US strategy for tackling Islamic State in Syr


Proposed Philippines ban spooks nickel

News that the Philippines was preparing to follow Indonesia in banning exports of unprocessed minerals caused panic in the London nickel market last week. The Philippines has emerged as the main supplier of nickel ore to China's massive nickel pig iron (NPI) sector after the


Islamic State's fund raising poses a challenge

Sometimes they came pretending to buy things. Sometimes they texted, sometimes they called, but the message was always the same: "Give us money." Months before they took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, Islamic State militants were already busy collecting mon


Retail makeover as millennials follow own beat

Alison LePard, a 19-year-old college sophomore from Wellesley, Massachusetts, says that when she shops for clothes and accessories, her goal is a look that is uniquely hers. So she does a lot of mixing and matching. "I don't blindly follow what they put out," LePard


Worst time for Saudi Arabia's giant new oil refinery

If you could pick the worst set of circumstances in which to start up a giant, export-oriented oil refinery, you might well have them right now. Saudi Aramco and joint venture partner Sinopec have started test runs at their 400,000 barrel per day (bpd) Yanbu refinery, located in

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