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HSBC: Soaring Oil Prices Stimulate Flow of Liquidity into Lebanese Market

The increase in regional oil prices will stimulate the flow of liquidity in the Lebanese banking sector and thus assign a good sum of money for infrastructure projects, said a chief banker.

“The banking sector is liquid enough to be a strategic partner in Lebanon’s growth,” Simon Cooper, deputy chairman and chief executive officer of HSBC in the MENA region, told The Daily Star in an interview published on Wednesday.

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Arab Forum for Environment and Development Concludes Consultation Meetings on Green Economy in Cairo, Beirut, Amman

The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) concluded Wednesday in Amman a series of consultation meetings to discuss the first draft of its upcoming report on an Arab Green Economy, due to be released in October 2011. The AFED report will address the transformations needed to achieve desired economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals in Arab countries. The report will address the enabling strategies and development policies for navigating a green transition in eight sectors: energy, water, agriculture, tourism, waste management, industry, cities/buildings, and transportation. The Arab Green Economy report is the fourth annual report by AFED, and follows publication of three reports, Arab Environment: Future Challenges in 2008, Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries in 2009, and Water: Sustainable Management of a Scarce Resource in 2010.

The consultation meeting in Amman was hosted by the University of Petra (UOP), under the patronage of its President H.E. Dr. Adnan Badran, Former Prime Minister of Jordan and Chairman of AFED Board of Trustees. Fifty officials, authors, experts, business executives and civil society organizations from Jordan and abroad addressed urban city planning, green buildings and tourism. They included H.E. Mr. Khaled Irani, Former Minister of Environment and Energy, H.E. Ms. Suzanne Afanah, Former Minister of Tourism, the report’s main editor Hussein Abaza, and a wide spectrum of participants from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Oman, UAE, Morocco, United Kingdom, USA and Sweden. The meeting discussed specific strategies to institutionalize green practices that reduce energy and water consumption and enhance the quality of life, while promoting economic growth and employment.

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Denmark's Noma Named Best Restaurant for 2nd Year

Denmark's Noma restaurant was named best in the world for a second year running Monday in an international poll dominated by European establishments but with new entries from China, Peru and Russia.

The Copenhagen restaurant of chef Rene Redzepi was voted number one in the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2011, a list compiled by more than 800 international restaurant industry experts for Britain's Restaurant Magazine.

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US Economists Fear Spillover From Japan

Turmoil in Japan could spell higher costs and choppy sales for U.S. firms, according to a survey of trade economists published Monday, showing jitters and uncertainty about impact of the crisis.

Businesses can expect to see a significant spillover from the triple disaster this year and next, but with the impact varying vastly from sector to sector, according to a survey by the National Association for Business Economics.

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Raya al-Hassan Holds Talks with World Bank, IMF Officials

Caretaker Finance Minister Raya al-Hassan participated in the joint semi-annual gathering of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund held in Washington, the National News Agency said Monday.

As part of her meetings last week, the minister held talks with Deputy Managing Director of the World Bank Nemat Shafik and officials from IMF’s Middle East and North Africa department, NNA said. She briefed them on the Lebanese macro-finance situation and discussed with them the Arab revolutions and their dramatic effects on the economy.

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Top G20 Economies Face Scrutiny Over Imbalances

Seven of the world's leading economies including China and the United States faced deep scrutiny over fiscal and financial imbalances Saturday as the G20 group announced a new framework for assessing potential risks to the global economy.

A Group of 20 delegation member told Agence France Presse the seven "included the G5" -- the United States, France, Britain, Japan and Germany -- and "two big emerging countries," suggesting China and India.

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Gold Price Hits Record High As Global Inflation Spikes

The price of gold reached a record high close to $1,480 an ounce in trading Friday with investors piling into the safe-haven precious metal amid spikes to global inflation and fresh Eurozone debt worries.

Gold struck an all-time peak of $1,479.35 an ounce in early Asian trade, beating the previous high reached Monday by just over a dollar.

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Sony Eyes Two-Week Summer Break to Save Energy

Sony said Thursday it was considering having all its employees in Japan take two-week summer vacations to save energy, amid power shortages in the aftermath of the March 11 disasters.

By shutting down offices, air conditioners, elevators, and other facilities, the electronics giant believes it could save up to 25 percent of the power it normally consumes during the peak summer months, said a Sony spokesman.

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Bank Audi: Lebanon’s Banking Sector Not Influenced by Regional Turmoil

Adviser to the Chairman of Bank Audi Freddie Baz has assured that the regional turmoil will not have a strong impact on the Lebanese banking sector, since it has one of “the best democratic systems in the region.”

“We can say that Lebanon is still in better shape than many countries in the region,” Baz said during an interview with The Daily Star newspaper published Thursday.

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Tokyo Stocks lifted as Yen Weakens

Tokyo stocks closed higher Wednesday on a weaker yen, after shares dipped in and out of positive territory amid caution over the unfolding impact of the March 11 disasters, dealers said.

The Nikkei 225 index added 85.92 points, or 0.90 percent, to 9,641.18. The Topix added 6.08 points, or 0.73 percent, to 844.59.

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