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Abu Dhabi, Industry

Industrial production is a central part of Abu Dhabi`s ongoing effort to diversity ist economy away from hydrocarbons income. Non oil actıvivities\ which accounted for 39.8% of GDP in 2007, have seen steady growth in recent years. Manufactoring in particular has made a significant contribution to economic growth, increasing 16.5% per year on average during 2002-07, according to the `Abu Dhabi Economic and Social Report 2008`, an annual growth ın the non oıl sector (13.3%) and in services in particular (12.4%) over the same period. Manufactoring will thus play an increasingly vital role in Abu Dhabi`s economy as the government continues to move ahead with diversification plans.
The emirate`s long term diversification strategy is delineated by the government`s investments in industrial firms over the past 10 years. Such investments spiked duriong the early part of this decade nearly doubling in 2003 and again in 2004 as the private and public sectors both turned their attention toward manufactoring, particularly in energy intensive industries. According to the government`s vision for diversification, it is not simply a matter of moving away from oil and gas, but rather exploiting the emirate`s competive advantage in the energy sector by investing in related industries. Wıth this in mind the emirate is putting much emphasis on downstream industries that rely heavily on hydrocarbons, such as petrochemicals.
To be continued…

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Turkish police used water cannons and pepper spray on Tuesday to disperse hundreds of demonstrators protesting the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Istanbul.

Masked protesters shattered windows of banks and a McDonald’s restaurant as they ran through the streets behind Istanbul’s Taksim square, less than a kilometre away from the venue of the IMF meeting. Store owners shuttered their shops along the tourist route of Istiklal Street on Tuesday.

The IMF is meeting in large part to find ways to prevent a financial crisis like the one that swept across the globe last year from happening again.

Last week, IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn talked openly about a plan that would see banks contribute to an insurance policy against a future economic collapse.

Thailand, Tourism

For many decades, golden beaches and temples have drawn tourists to the country from afar. despite what is likely to be a short term slowdown, the resurgent tourism industry is set to grow at a brisk pace over the coming decade, as a new markets open up and operators offer an increasingly wide variety of products.

Tourism is one of the largest sectors of the economy and a key foreign currency earner. In 2009 the industry is expected to contribute directly $17bn to GDP, 6,5% of the total, according to the World Tourism and Travel Council, a forum for business leaders. Some 1.87m people are employed in the sector, representing 5.1% of all employment. However the World Tourism and Travel Council`s benchmark measurements of tourism`s impact on the economy take a account of the broader contribution of tourism directly and indirectly across all sectors. It therefore estimates that the industry`s net contribution to GDP is $37bn, or 14,8% of the total, providing upward of 4 millions job and accounting for $5 bn of capital investment and $1bn of government expenditure in 2009 alone. Visitors are expected to spend $19.8bn on goods and services in the country, with domestic tourists adding another $15bn. As a comparison, tourism accounts for 3.2% of global GDP, contributing 9.5% directly and indirectly. The figures for South East Asia are 3.7% and 10.2% respectively. Thailand`s tourism sector is the second largest in the region and one of the top 30 in the worl both in absolute terms and as a contributer to GDP.

By the World Tourism and Travel Council`s measure of total demand, Thailand has a 24,44% market share in South east Asia. The World Tourism and Travel Council expects real growth to be very robust from 2009 onword, with the sector expanding at an annual average of 5,6% to $35bn, and its broader contribution to GDP rising 6,1% a year, to $83bn. By 2019 direct industry employments should reach 2.3 miilion, with just over 5 million employed by tourism related business. Government investment is expected to grow 4,1% a year to $2bn. Thailand is therefore ranked in the top 25 countries in the world in tems of forecast tourism growth over the next decade outstripping the global average of 4%. This is particularly remarkable given the industry`s advanced state of development.

To be continued…

(AP) Late-night host David Letterman acknowledged on Thursday’s show that he had sexual relationships with female employees and that someone tried to extort $2 million from him over the affairs. CBS says an employee has been charged with attempted grand larceny in the case.

Letterman told his story during a taping of his show, mixing in jokes to an audience that seemed confused about what it was. He called it a “bizarre experience” that left him feeling disturbed and menaced.

In a release from the show’s production company, Letterman said he referred the matter to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. An investigation ended in an arrest Thursday after Letterman issued a phony $2 million check to keep the matter silent.

Letterman said he called his lawyer to set up a meeting with the man, who threatened to write a screenplay and a book about Letterman unless he was given money. There were two subsequent meetings with the man, the last one resulting in the check being delivered.

He told the audience that he had to testify before a grand jury on Thursday.

“I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family,” he said. “I felt menaced by this, and I had to tell them all of the creepy things that I had done.”

“The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show,” he said.

“My response to that is yes, I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Yes, it would, especially for the women.”
Whether they wanted to make the relationships public was up to them, he said.

“It’s been a very bizarre experience,” he said. “I felt like I needed to protect these people. I need to protect my family. I need to protect myself. Hope to protect my job.”

Letterman mixed in jokes while telling the story, keeping his audience off guard.

“I know what you’re saying,” he said. “I’ll be darned, Dave had sex.”

It was not immediately clear when the relationships took place; Letterman and longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko married in March. The couple began dating in 1986 and have a son, Harry, born in November 2003.

CBS spokesman Chris Ender said Thursday that “Letterman’s comments on the broadcast tonight speak for themselves.”

After nearly 15 years in second place to NBC’s Jay Leno in the ratings, Letterman took over the top spot this summer after Conan O’Brien became “Tonight” show host.

Letterman’s CBS “Late Show” has been on the air since 1993 and before that, he had a late-night show on NBC from 1982 to 1993.

Alicia Maxey Greene, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, declined to comment.

Letterman was also the victim of a 2005 plot by a former painter on his Montana ranch to kidnap his nanny and son for a $5 million ransom. The former painter, Kelly A. Frank, briefly escaped from prison in 2007 before being recaptured.

Another alleged extortion scandal surrounding a public figure, Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, similarly forced him this summer to acknowledge an affair.

 All I want to say about the Latterman’s last night; guys, the audiance made me scare., don’t you feel same?

Indonesia, Tourism

With much of the country`s rich cultural diversity and exotic landscapes still undiscovered by foreign travellers, Indonesia is one of the world`s few major economies with obvious tourism appeal that has yet to unlock its true potential. Receiving an avarage of around 6 m tourists annually.

Despite the global economic crisis, the government is still expecting positive growth in 2009. The majority of Indonesia`s foreign visitors arrive from the eastern hemisphere, with Singapore and Malaysia heading the league table. Malaysians generally prefer visiting more diverse destinations, with one-third staying in Jakarta and another third visiting Bali or Batam. Japan is the third largest source of tourists to Indonesia. Of European countries , Indonesia is most popular among Germans.

Bali is still the only Indonesian destination that enjoys truly global recognition , but with the world`s longest coastline, the country`s potential for additional development is vast. Batam is still the number two destination, with visitor`s arriving in 2008.

Ten of years after political upheaval and a major domestic financial crisis, Indonesia is today holding its head high as one of the more politically stable and one of only a few countries anticipated to experience economic growth, in the South-east Asian region. With 17,508 islands, 6000 of which are inhabited, 300 ethnicities and 250 languages, Indonesia`s democratic process, which is today predicated on decentralised empowerment, is a remarkable achievement.

Indonesia projects the modern face of Islam and is an increasingly vocal member of international and regional organisations including the G-20, Association of South East Asian Nations and the UN Security Council. The country has firmly returned to global political and economic prominence for the right reasons. Key to this newfound stability and success has been the popularity both domestically and abroad of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the first president to complete a full term in office since the fall of the Suharto regime. On his way to being re-elected for a sevond successive term, he`s tenure has focused on fighting the corruption that has plagued the country in the past and stimulating economic growth and maintaining the country`s overall macro economic stability through sound policies and reforms. The results have been evidenced with GDP growth, employment, and social spending all reaching their highest levels since the 1997 – 98 financial crisis.

The Indonesian city of Padang was in chaos on Thursday — fires burning, dazed residents wandering the streets, thousands of people reportedly trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings — after a powerful earthquake struck the island of Sumatra.

The quake, which hit Wednesday evening just off Padang with a magnitude of 7.6, has killed at least 200 people, according to Priyadi Kardono, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency. The death toll was almost certain to rise, he said, as rescuers dug into collapsed homes, hospitals, offices and a school.

On Thursday morning, just as the airport was reopening and rescue teams were setting to their heavy, horrible work, the city was rattled by another quake, this one registering 6.6.

The epicenter was 140 miles southeast of the Padang quake, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center quickly issued a bulletin saying that the quake had struck “too far inland to generate a destructive tsunami in the Indian Ocean.”

Padang, a port city of 900,000, is on the west-central coast of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island. The western coast is stippled with dozens of volcanoes, and Padang also sits alongside the Sunda Trench, part of the notorious Ring of Fire, the volatile network of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches that partly encircle the Pacific Basin. The ring — and Sumatra in particular — is a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Elsewhere in the basin, on Tuesday, an underwater earthquake measuring 8.0 created a tsunami that sent massive walls of water crashing into the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

Reports from government officials, the police, aid workers and news agencies showed Thursday that at least 122 people had been killed by the tsunami — 83 on Samoa, 30 on American Samoa and 9 on Tonga.

There also were reports of 145 people injured, some of them critically, and dozens of villages were demolished throughout the islands. Many beachside resorts were wiped out, along with homes, boats and businesses. Widespread devastation also was seen on television footage from the American Samoan capital, Pago Pago.

“It is the worst one we have had,” said Lilo Malava, the police commissioner of Samoa, in a telephone interview.

The tsunami — described by the governor of American Samoa as a series of four major waves — arrived with so little warning that many residents and tourists were caught unawares.

Filipo Ilaoa, deputy director of the American Samoa office in Honolulu, said that the tsunami struck the territory’s coast in “a matter of minutes” after the quake and that many residents would not have had much time to run for higher ground.

“American Samoa is a small island, and most of the residents are around the coastline,” he said. “There was no warning or anything at all. By the time the alert was out of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, it had already hit.”

New Zealand and Australia dispatched cargo flights and observation planes to the Samoas. And President Barack Obama authorized federal funds to supplement local relief and recovery efforts on American Samoa, a U.S. territory.

The epicenters of the Samoan and Indonesian quakes were located about 6,000 miles apart but brought back vivid memories of the horrific tsunami that ravaged South Asia and Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004. Nearly a quarter-million people across the Indian Ocean region were killed.

The undersea earthquake that caused the Samoan tsunami and the Wednesday-evening quake in Indonesia, while from similar causes, were not directly connected, according to Julie Dutton, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.

Both occurred in spots where one plate of the earth’s crust is subducting, or sliding beneath another plate. In spots, the two plates can become stuck until accumulating pressure leads to a sudden heaving release of energy. Under the sea, if the quake is around a magnitude of 8.0 or stronger and the seabed shifts in a way that moves a lot of water, the result is the high-energy waves of a tsunami.

The deeper the epicenter under the seabed, the less potential there is for a tsunami. In Sumatra, the depth of the epicenter was 49.7 miles, according to the United States Geological Survey. In Samoa, it was just 11.2 miles below the seabed. For coastal areas close to the epicenter of a strong undersea earthquake, there is also little time for a formal tsunami warning to be sounded, Ms. Dutton said.

The United States was concentrating its rescue efforts on American Samoa, sending two cargo planes from Honolulu to the area on Wednesday, said Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re looking at both an airlift and a sealift,” Mr. Fugate told reporters in a conference call. “This will not be a short-term response.”

Mr. Fugate said that it was clear the tsunami had caused a “major disaster” but that it was too early for his office to provide or confirm estimates of deaths, injuries or property damage.

In Sumatra on Wednesday, officials feared the death toll was likely to rise. Priyadi Kardono, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said Thursday that at least 200 people had died.