Saudi Arabia has opened applications for a permanent residency program designed to attract foreign investment to the kingdom, but it will cost a hefty 800,000 riyals ($213,000). There’s also a cheaper option, with a one-year renewable residency costing 100,000 riyals. The so-called premium residencies will allow foreigners to buy property and do business without a Saudi sponsor, switch jobs and exit the kingdom easily and sponsor visas for family members, according to the website for registrations. Along with paying high fee, applicants must be at least 21 years old, prove financial solvency and have a clean criminal record and bill of health. The program approved in May is the latest sign of how the quest for non-oil revenue is prompting Gulf nations to rethink the role of foreigners in their societies. It’s a landmark move in a region where many overseas workers are subject to some of the world’s most restrictive residency rules. The United Arab Emirates approved a plan to allow wealthy foreigners to apply for a 10-year stay, while Qatar passed a law that’ll grant some permanent residencies. The idea for a long-term Saudi residency program was first floated in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as a part of his plan to reduce the economy’s reliance on oil and boost foreign direct investment. At the time, he estimated the program would generate about $10 billion in annual revenue by 2020. Wh..
Saudi to charge $213,000 for permanent residency in step to boost economy2019-06-23
Dairy milk with 30% less sugar!2019-06-11
Chocolate maker Mondelez has stripped down sugar content by 30% in a new variant of Cadbury Dairy Milk, India’s largest chocolate brand, making it the first in the Rs 10,000-crore domestic chocolate market to do so. The existing Cadbury Dairy Milk will continue to sell in its current form. India and UK are the first two markets of Mondelez to do so. “We are empowering consumers to snack right; this is the first time ever we are doing something like this,” Mondelez India president Deepak Iyer said. The 70-year-old Cadbury Dairy Milk, the compa..
Leonardo masterpiece 'being kept on Saudi prince's yacht'2019-06-11
The world’s most expensive artwork – Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece Salvator Mundi – has reportedly been installed on Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s superyacht. The location of the painting has been a mystery since it was sold for a record $450m (£350m) at auction by Christie’s in New York in 2017. On Monday, Artnet, an art industry news service, reported that the 500-year-old painting was being kept on Prince Mohammed’s €500m (£440m) 134m yacht, Serene. Artnet said “two principals involved in the trans..
Egypt asks Christie's to cancel sale of Tutankhamun statue2019-06-11
Christie’s in London is being pressured to cancel the auction of a statue of Tutankhamun’s head after Egyptian authorities claimed that the bust might have been stolen from the Karnak temple in Luxor. The 28.5cm-high statue is more than 3,000 years old and “exudes strength and serenity”, according to the Christie’s listing. Christie’s plan to sell the bust as part of the private Resandro collection, which will be auctioned off in July. Other items include marble heads dating from ancient Rome, a painted wooden Egyptian coffin, and a bronze Egyptian cat..
Auto companies slam brakes on production2019-06-10
India’s top manufacturers of passenger vehicles and two-wheelers have announced factory shutdowns stretching over several days in the ongoing quarter, which could help them reduce unsold inventory in a weak market but make it tough for the automobile industry to achieve its production and growth targets. More than half a million passenger vehicles worth $5 billion (nearly Rs 35,000 crore) are lying unsold in dealerships at the beginning of June. In the two-wheeler segment, the number is as high as 3 million, valued at about $2.5 billion. Seven of the top 10 passenger ve..
Govt mulling tax on cash withdrawal of Rs 10 lakh a year2019-06-10
The government is looking at the possibility of introducing a tax on those withdrawing Rs 10 lakh in cash a year as it seeks to discourage the use of paper currency, crack down on black money and promote use of digital payments for all manner of transactions. Government sources told TOI that another proposal under consideration is mandating Aadhar authentication for all high- value cash withdrawals, which it believes will make it easy to track individuals and tally tax returns.
MOVE OVER, ‘MADE IN CHINA’. IT’S THE ‘MADE IN BANGLADESH’ ERA NOW2019-06-09
When Chinese businessman Leo Zhuang Lifeng arrived in Dhaka 22 years ago, only one of the two luggage conveyor belts in the airport was functioning. The lighting wasn’t working properly, either. The rundown airport in the capital of Bangladesh prepared many Chinese and foreign businessmen for what they were about to experience in the country, which was still an economic backwater at the time, with frequent power outages and inadequate infrastructure. Zhuang, now 51, landed in Dhaka in 1997 to set up garment factories there, taking advantage of the low labour cos..
Population is not a problem, but our greatest strength2019-06-09
When all political parties agree on something, you know you might have a problem. Giriraj Singh, a minister in Narendra Modi’s new cabinet, tweeted this week that our population control law should become a “movement”. This is something that would find bipartisan support — we are taught from school onwards that India’s population is a big problem, and we need to control it. This is wrong. Contrary to popular belief, our population is not a problem. It is our greatest strength. The notion that we should worry about a growing population is a..
Draft bill proposes 10-year prison term for dealing in cryptocurrency2019-06-08
Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years. The "Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019" draft has proposed 10-year prison sentence for persons who "mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies. Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology, a distributed l..
Who spiked my beer?!2019-06-08
Why does beer cost so much in India? More than half the retail price goes to state and central governments through value added tax(VAT) and excise duty. With only 5% alcohol in beer on average, the drink attracts the highest taxation of any beverage in the country! ₹100 being the average price for a pint of beer for which the cost of production is ₹10 approximately.
A midsummer delight for cooling appliances and beverages companies2019-06-08
This summer has been the best in three years for the cooling appliances and beverages sectors, with heatwave across the nation, a delayed monsoon and stable prices driving demand for air-conditioners, refrigerators, cola and cold beverages. Sales of air-conditioners and refrigerators increased 15-18% on year during March to May, as per industry estimates. Cola makers’ business has grown 10-15%, driven to a large extent by low and no-sugar variants on a smaller base compared to the larger core business, prompting companies to step up production in peak season, beverage industry official..