The World Beyond The Weekend Economist

The World Beyond The Weekend Economist is a part of the greater Weekend Economist, which is an interactive space aimed at being both a source of information and a place for discussion on developing stories related to Economics, Business, Finance, Technology and Geo-politics. On this site we will highlight interesting articles worth reading by providing a short introduction to the story, followed by a direct link to the article in question. Please feel free to post your comments and/or send us your suggestions for interesting articles worth commenting on and linking to by emailing us at Also of interest might be our other two blogs, the flagship Weekend Economist "Quaerere Verum" and WE Technology, Strategy & Business. We hope you enjoy our site(s), Benjamin Valk & Jeroen van Bommel.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

#28 Libya's New Global Oil Companies

Large oil companies such as France's Total and Spain's Repsol are well-known names. Mabruk Oil and Akakoss Petroleum Operations, not so much. But these are the new names of Total and Repsol, believe it or not. Well at least in Libya.

Large foreign firms working in Libya's oil industry have had to change their names to new ones reflecting the country's history and geography, the National Oil Corporation said. France's Total has become "Mabruk Oil," the word Mabruk, which means "congratulations" in Arabic, being a popular boy's name in Libya. Repsol of Spain becomes "Akakoss Petroleum Operations" -- a reference to the Akakoss mountains in the south of the country -- while the Italian natural gas firm ENI has opted for "Mellita Gas," named after the region where it operates west of Tripoli. Germany's Veba has chosen "Al-Harruj Petroleum Operations" after another southern Libyan mountain range.

#27 Taliban Recruiting Children for Dirty Work

The Taleban and Al-Qaida have stooped to a new level, allowing for a 12 year old boy to decapitate a "traitor." The incident occurred in Pakistan, which is rapidly proving to be one of - if not the single largest - hotbed for Islamic terrorist recruits.

The footage shows Nabi making what is described as a confession, being blindfolded with a checkered scarf. "He is an American spy. Those who do this kind of thing will get this kind of fate," says his baby-faced executioner, who is not identified. A continuous 2 1/2-minute shot then shows the victim lying on his side on a patch of rubble-strewn ground. A man holds Nabi by his beard while the boy, wearing a camouflage military jacket and oversized white sneakers, cuts into the throat. Other men and boys call out "Allahu akbar!" — "God is great!" — as blood spurts from the wound. The film, overlain with jihadi songs, then shows the boy hacking and slashing at the man's neck until the head is severed.

A Pashto-language voiceover in the video identifies Nabi and his home village of Kili Faqiran in Baluchistan province, which lies about two hours' drive from the Afghan border. A reporter went to the village, and Nabi's distraught and angry father, Ghulam Sakhi, confirmed his son's identity from a still picture that AP made from the footage. He said neighbors had told him the video is available at the village bazaar, but he had no wish to see it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

#26 South Korean National Responsible for Virginia Tech Massacre

According to Virginia Tech President and officials, Virginia Tech senior from South Korea was behind the massacre of at least 32 people locked inside a campus building in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. The Virginia Tech Police Department identified him as 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui, a senior in the English department, of Fairfax County.

Monday, April 16, 2007

#24 British Reporter Executed in Gaza?

A Palestinian group claims it has killed the abducted BBC reporter, Alan Johnston. A statement was released and signed by the Palestinian Jihad and Tawheed Brigades, an organization named after an Iraqi al-Qaeda group.

In the message, the group said the British and Palestinian governments were responsible for Johnston's killing, and vowed to release a video of the execution. Excerpt from the statement can be read here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

#24 Terror Plan Turns Sour

Hamas has repeatedly talked about a "truce" with Israel, which the world has urged the Israelis to accept as a sufficient alternative to recognition for now. The latest news is that the term "truce" is the perfect word to use, as it is inherently a temporary phenomenon. Hamas has been rearming, regrouping and becoming ever more powerful and ready to combat the Israelis in the soon to come renewed confrontation.

It appears the time of confrontation has come very near. This, of course, means Hamas is feeling strong enough despite all the attempts to cripple them. A major suicide attack on Tel Aviv was prevented this Passover, as Shin Bet and IDF forces arrested 19 Hamas members in the West Bank city of Qalqilya for planning a car bomb containing some 220 lbs of explosives. The Hamas ring which the arrested members belong to was involved in some serious attacks, including the Dolphinarium attack of June 2001.

For some reason, the bomber (a holder of an Israeli ID, no less) did not carry out the attack in Tel Aviv, though he had made it to the center of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area with the vehicle. Instead, he returned to Qalqilya, where the bomb accidentally exploded. Perhaps a very welcome moment of moral cringing, but the fact remains that Hamas is still able to exert immense influence and be a major obstacle in any talk of peace.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

#23 Weekend Economist Dot Com

Dear Readers,

We would like to bring your attention to the recent launching of our new dot com site:!

This blog will continue to serve its current purpose. The Weekend Economist "Quaerere Verum" will also continue to operate as usual and remains the flagship of the Weekend Economist Group.

The principle function of the dot com site is to serve as an umbrella site for all the other elements of the Weekend Economist. Except for the blogs, for instance, the dot com site offers a WE Contribute section, where you can find out more about the Guest Authors and Editors that make up the Weekend Economist Group. The site also provides the latest news about what is going on at the Weekend Economist (WE News) and offers you a fun place to express your thoughts on world affairs in our global forum, sign our guestbook, or take part in a number of entertaining polls (WE Interact). In fact, there is a poll running right now about which global leader is most worthy of reverence, so please come and vote here! Additionally, WE Friends provides a number of links to sites that are well worth your time, while WE Sources is where we provide links to some of the world's top resources on financial, economic and political reporting. Finally, We Contact allows you to get in touch with us if you have any questions, requests, or would like to join the Weekend Economist Publishing Team.

So please have a look at our new site and explore, engage and interact! WE look forward to seeing you regularly,

The Weekend Economist Group

Sunday, April 1, 2007

#22 New Arab-Israeli War Looming?

For a while it looked like Sunni Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia were prepared to go as far as to side with Israel in order to counter the Shia Iran threat. Slowly this image is starting to show signs of deceit, with the Royals being seen increasingly often with smiling faces in public with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

In the meantime, while a Saudi Peace Plan very much worth debating but unacceptable for Israel in its current form is on the table, talk from the Kingdom is becoming more confrontational. Prince Saudi al-Faisal recently said "If Israel refuses (the peace plan), that means it doesn't want peace and it places everything back into the hands of fate. They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers but in the hands of the lords of war." In other words: accept the plan prima facie or face war.

Prince Saud also dismissed any further diplomatic overtures towards Israel, claiming "It has never been proven that reaching out to Israel achieves anything...Other Arab countries have recognised Israel and what has that achieved? The largest Arab country, Egypt, recognised Israel and what was the result? Not one iota of change happened in the attitude of Israel towards peace." Naturally this is an astonishing comment to make, since, for one, Egypt got back a piece of land larger than the entire size of Israel (the Sinai)!

From Iran, in the meanwhile, 'dirty' and accusatory language continues to emanate. Iranian Chief of Staff Gen. Hassan Fayrouz Abadi warned leaders of Arab countries that Israel is planning to launch a war this summer, proclaiming the "Zionists and the Quds (referring to Jerusalem) occupying regime intend to exercise a suicidal plan next summer, and this suicidal plan of the Zionists and American neoconservatives, the implementation of which would start from the occupied Palestinian lands, will not serve the interests of anyone in the world." The official went on to say the plan intends to “prevent the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq and the region and that it will pose a danger primarily to Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan and then Saudi Arabia and all other countries in the region.”

In case it escaped you, it is interesting to note that the countries mentioned in the official's list just so happen to be the same countries that were involved in the declaration at the Arab summit this week which warned Israel to accept peace or prepare for war.