Saudi Hunting Sanctuary “Mahazah” wins best wildlife sanctuary in GCC States

Riyadh, 13 Rabi’I,1437 AH, 24 December,2015 , SPA — The General Secretariat of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for Arab States announced that “Mahazah” hunting sanctuary has won the Council’s Award as the best wildlife sanctuary in the GCC countries, within framework of its awards for environment and wildlife for the year 1436 AH. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has won five awards out of seven branches.
On this occasion, Prince Bandar bin Saud bin Mohammed, President of Saudi Wildlife Authority, explained that the declaration of Mahazah Protected Area as the best wildlife sanctuary in the GCC states was the result of the efforts of the state under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince and the Deputy Crown Prince in supporting the Authority’s efforts in maintaining and developing wildlife and restoring balance to the natural environments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its regional and international role in this area.
The Prince said that Mahazah Protected Area for hunting is one of the outstanding sanctuaries as it is the only fenced protected one in the Kingdom with an area of 2553 square kilo meters, confirming that resettlement in the protected programs has achieved steady successes.
14:36 LOCAL TIME 11:36 GMT

European stocks lifted by stronger commodity share prices

LONDON, Rabi’I 13, 1437, December 24, 2015, SPA — European shares rose on Thursday, boosted by a rise in the shares of commodity companies which climbed on the back of a further rebound in oil prices, Reuters reported.

Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 percent. In continental Europe, Spain’s IBEX advanced 0.7 percent while France’s CAC edged down 0.1 percent.

Germany’s DAX stock market was closed, while other markets were due to have a half-day for the holiday period.

Oil majors such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell climbed by around 1 percent, as U.S. crude prices rose for a fourth straight session.
12:06 LOCAL TIME 09:06 GMT

Japan cabinet approves record 97-trillion-yen budget for fiscal 2016

Tokyo, 13 Rabi’I,1437 AH, 24 December,2015 , SPA — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet Thursday approved a record 96.7-trillion-yen (799-billion- US dollar) budget for
the next financial year, with social security expenses and defence spending growing to record levels, dpa reported.
The government will allocate 31.97 trillion yen for social security expenses in the year starting April, up 1.4 per cent from fiscal 2015, to expand childcare and nursing care services to tackle a
rapidly ageing society.
Defence expenses will rise 1.5 per cent to 5.05 trillion yen for the fourth consecutive year of increase. Abe’s hawkish government wants to beef up defence capabilities to better protect its remote south-western islands amid concerns about China’s increasing assertiveness in regional waters.
The country’s tax revenue is expected to rise to a 25-year high of 57.6 trillion yen, based on a government projection pointing to a real gross domestic product increase of 1.7 per cent.
Abe’s government plans to submit the draft budget for fiscal 2016 to parliament on January 4 and seek its enactment by the end of March.
11:27 LOCAL TIME 08:27 GMT

Asian shares meander in thin trading

Tokyo, 13 Rabi’I,1437 AH, 24 December,2015, SPA — Asian shares meandered Thursday after early gains from an overnight surge in shares and oil prices faded in light holiday trading. Apart from Tokyo and Shanghai, most major regional markets will be closed on Friday, AP repoted.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.5 percent to 18,789.69 after spending most of the day in positive territory. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.1 percent to 3,594.79 and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4 percent to 1,990.65. But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent to 22,138.13 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.3 percent to 5,207.60 in half-day Christmas Eve sessions. Markets in Southeast Asia, Taiwan and New Zealand were higher.
Share prices in Japan fell back on Thursday after Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda, in a speech to business leaders, commented on the difficulty of attaining the BOJ’s 2 percent inflation target without faster wage increases — a persistent challenge in a country where companies are reluctant to invest more given the declining population and slow growth in demand.
11:22 LOCAL TIME 08:22 GMT