North Africa/Middle East

Qatar National Bank QPSC, the Middle East’s biggest lender, asked a U.S. court to order Eritrea to pay nearly $300 million of debt after the Horn of Africa nation refused to participate in two lawsuits, Bloomberg News reported. The Doha-based bank requested a judgment by default from a federal court in Washington on Friday after Eritrea failed to respond to the bank’s claim seeking to enforce a U.K. ruling in 2019. QNB alleges that President Isaias Afwerki’s government went to drastic lengths to avoid being served with key documents.
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Consumer prices in urban parts of Egypt rose at their fastest pace since December as food costs climbed and recent hikes of electricity and tobacco took their toll, Bloomberg News reported. The annual inflation rate accelerated to 5.4% in July compared with 4.9% the previous month, according to data from the state-run statistics agency CAPMAS on Tuesday. Prices rose 0.9% on a monthly basis, from 0.2% in June. The quickening followed increases in power bills and cigarette costs in the North African nation in recent weeks against a backdrop of surging global commodity prices.
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There was a 38% increase in the number of Israelis filing for bankruptcy and opening debt cases with legal aid in 2020 during the coronavirus crisis, a market study has found, the Jerusalem Post reported. Oded Chen law firm, one of the country’s leading law firms in the field of insolvency, bankruptcy and debt cancellation, found that approximately 24,000 debt cases were opened with legal aid in 2020, of which about 9,000 were bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings of individuals.
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Saudi Arabia is set to impose one of the world’s most sweeping vaccine mandates in an attempt to combat hesitancy toward the Covid-19 shots in the kingdom, as governments globally try to confront a new surge in cases of the Delta variant, the Wall Street Journal reported. People in Saudi Arabia will need to show proof on a mobile app that they have received at least one vaccine dose to enter public and private institutions beginning Sunday, including schools, shops, malls, markets, restaurants, cafes, concert venues and public transportation. From Aug.
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The executive regulations of the Bankruptcy Law approved by Kuwait's National Assembly a year ago were enforced as of Saturday, meaning 80,000 debtors breathed a sigh of relief as no more arrest warrants will be issued against them, Gulf News reported. The new law abolished Article 292 of the Procedure Code and does not treat failure to pay debt as a criminal offense, unless it is fraudulent.
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B.R. Shetty, the founder of stricken UAE hospital operator NMC Health, has sued auditor EY, two former top executives of his companies and two banks in a U.S. court, seeking $8 billion in damages for an alleged multibillion-dollar fraud at his group, Reuters reported. EY said in a statement: "We believe this case is without merit and we intend to defend it vigorously." Several companies linked to the Indian entrepreneur ran into trouble last year after short-seller Muddy Waters questioned NMC's financial statements.
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The chief executive of Unilever on Thursday said the global consumer goods giant remains “fully committed” to doing business in Israel, distancing himself from this week’s announcement by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand that it would stop serving Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem, the Associated Press reported. But CEO Alan Jope gave no indication that Unilever would force Ben & Jerry’s to roll back its controversial decision.

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Israel’s aviation industry is in danger of collapse, airline company heads told the country’s coronavirus airport commissioner, the Jerusalem Post reported. A solution to allow air travel, despite fears of new coronavirus variants and rising case numbers, must be found quickly, the airline heads told Maj.-Gen. (res.) Roni Numa ahead of the coronavirus cabinet’s meeting. Numa met with the heads of El Al, Israir, and Arkia and international carriers in order to hear their feedback and ask for solutions ahead of the meeting.

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After Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont-based ice-cream company and wholly owned subsidiary of global consumer-products giant Unilever that prides itself on its progressive politics, announced Monday that it is cancelling its license with its Israeli affiliate, a move that amounts to a boycott of Israel, a wave of legal and regulatory issues for its Dutch-American parent was triggered, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Israel’s prime minister vowed Tuesday to “act aggressively” against the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, as the country’s ambassador to the U.S. urged dozens of state governors to punish the company under anti-boycott laws, the Associated Press reported. The strong reaction reflected concerns in Israel that the ice cream maker’s decision could lead other companies to follow suit. It also appeared to set the stage for a protracted public relations and legal battle.

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