Arab News - Worldwide Lat South Africa
Established in 1975, the Saudi-based Arab News is the Middle East’s newspaper of record and the biggest English language daily in the Kingdom.
Digital video game spending hits record high under virus lockdown - Arab News
SAN FRANCISCO: Spending on digital video games hit a record high $10 billion in March as people stuck at home under coronavirus lockdowns turned to gaming, market tracker SuperData reported on Thursday.Money spent on major console games leapt to $1.5 billion …
DUBAI: One of the biggest private employers in the Middle East has no plans to cut salaries or lay off any of its 44,000 workers, but the pandemic is changing its thinking about food security, retail and tourism. Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates hundreds of grocery stores and more than two dozen malls in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. In Gulf Arab states, it has more than 19,000 employees, mostly from the Philippines, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Egypt. The workers salaries provide vital income for their families at home. We have taken a decision that we are not going to furlough people ... and we are not going to touch the basic salaries, said the Chief Executive Officer Alain Bejjani. It means a lot, during tough times, to make sure that we are one family and we are dealing with our people in the best possible way. Bejjani spoke to The Associated Press from the companys busiest store, a massive Carrefour hypermarket in Dubai that received 22,000 customers daily before the pandemic. Even amid Dubais 24-hour curfew, the store remains busy. Security guards test peoples temperature before entering, and in line with government orders, gloves and masks are worn by all. The company, named after its Emirati billionaire founder, owns and operates 300 of the French-based Carrefour stores. Its largest markets are the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but its reach extends to Pakistan, Kenya and Uzbekistan. Because the UAE, where the company is based, imports most of its produce, Majid Al Futtaims policy of stockpiling a three-month supply of basic goods proved crucial when nervous shoppers rushed to stock up goods . Then came a massive surge in online grocery orders Carrefour has seen a 300 percent surge in the UAE, a 700 percent increase in Egypt and a 1,000 percent increase in Saudi Arabia. Food security and strategic stock is very important for us, Bejjani said on Sunday, adding that the company is looking to further increase its stockpile period. Bejjani said the company is talking to the governments in countries where it operates about food security, particularly because of some delays in the supply chain due to lockdowns and social distancing measures in Europe, and because countries are now keeping more stock domestically. Bejjani said its unclear whether people will come out of this pandemic with the same spending patterns and whether business travel will rebound. Whats clear, he said, is that online shopping and customer experiences in stores are going to matter more than ever. People are going to rethink their consumption patterns, he said. Carrefour is the companys most popular brand, but Majid Al Futtaims crown jewel is Dubais Mall of the Emirates, where the busiest Carrefour branch is located, with its indoor ski slope. However, lockdowns across the Mideast have shuttered malls, in line with government orders. Only the hypermarkets inside remain open and Bejjani said the company has forfeited rent payments from mall tenants until they reopen. Last year, a company audit showed Majid Al Futtaim generated $9.6 billion in revenue and earned $1.25 billion in profit before taxes and other costs. As other arms of the company take a hit, its Carrefour stores are busier than ever. To keep up with demand, the company reassigned around 1,000 of its employees from cinemas and entertainment outlets to its grocery business. A big part of our effort today is invested in making sure that were in the flow of whats happening and we understand how things are going to evolve, Bejjani said.
Houthi militia breach cease-fire 241 times — Arab coalition - Arabnews
RIYADH: The Houthi militia has breached a cease-fire 241 times since its implementation, the Arab coalition fighting to restore the internationally-recognized government in Yemen said. The Arab coalition announced a two-week cease-fire on April 9, in an effor…
JERUSALEM: The Israeli government approved a tight quarantine of several areas of Jerusalem on Sunday, including the historic Old City, in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the citys most susceptible neighborhoods.A ministerial committee approved the shutting down of movement in and out of several predominantly ultra-Orthodox areas of the city in order to contain the disease that has already resulted in over 100 deaths in Israel and almost 6,000 around the Middle East, about three quarters of which come from Iran.The measure faced resistance from ultra-Orthodox ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government who rejected singling out their constituency.Israels Health Ministry has documented over 10,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and over 100 deaths. Roughly a fifth of all cases in Israel are in Jerusalem, the ministry said.A large percentage of the COVID-19 cases are in the countrys largely insular ultra-Orthodox community, which for weeks did not adhere to government orders to maintain social distancing.The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, who recover within a few weeks.But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death, particularly in elderly patients or those with underlying health problems. Starting on Sunday, residents of four areas of Jerusalem would not be permitted to leave their neighborhoods for provisioning, and could only move to other areas for essential work and medical care.Meanwhile, Israels President Reuven Rivlin turned down a request from Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz for a two-week extension to form a new coalition government.The announcement by Rivlin means that Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a midnight deadline on Monday night to reach a power-sharing deal. If they fail, the country could be forced into a fourth consecutive election in just over a year.Gantz asked Rivlin for the extension on Saturday night, claiming he was close to a deal with Netanyahu.But in his response, Rivlin said the extension would not be possible under the current circumstances.Gantz last month was given the task of forming a government after a narrow majority of MPs said they backed him to become prime minister.