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Kuwait freedoms make austerity drive tricky for government

*Kuwait slower than rest of Gulf to push austerity. *Kuwait has history of labour disputes. KUWAIT, May 2- A three-day strike by oil workers in Kuwait last month over pay reforms shows the government faces considerable opposition as it prepares to push through painful and controversial cuts to longstanding welfare benefits.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia isn’t the only country looking to kick its crude addiction

Saudi Arabia’s plan to diversify its economy away from oil grabbed the headlines this week, but other crude exporters have similar plans.

Source: CNBC.com

AP Interview: Saudi prince unveils plans to welcome tourists

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— Saudi Arabia has plans to issue select visas to welcome tens of thousands of tourists a year as part of a sweeping national reform plan aimed at showcasing the country's rich heritage, including pre-Islamic sites, and encouraging Saudis to spend some of their tourist money at home. A day after Saudi Arabia outlined its Vision 2030...

Source: The Associated Press

IMF expects $500B revenue loss for Mideast oil exporters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— Oil exporting countries in the Middle East lost a staggering $390 billion in revenue due to lower oil prices last year, and should brace for even deeper losses of more than $500 billion this year, the International Monetary Fund said Monday. IMF Director for Middle East and Central Asia Masood Ahmed said these losses translate into...

Source: The Associated Press

EXCLUSIVE-Iran struggles to find enough ships for oil exports

LONDON, April 19- Iran faces a struggle to increase oil exports because many of its tankers are tied up storing crude, some are not seaworthy, and foreign shipowners remain reluctant to carry its cargoes. Tehran is seeking to make up for lost trade to Europe following the lifting of EU sanctions imposed in 2011 and 2012, which deprived it of a market that accounted...

Source: Reuters

Protesters acquitted of blockading London arms fair

LONDON— A British judge has acquitted eight protesters who blockaded the entrance to an arms fair, accepting their argument that they acted to stop illegal weapons trading. The defendants from Britain, Bahrain, Belgium, Chile and Peru were charged with "willful obstruction of the highway" after blocking the entrance to the huge Defense and Security Equipment...

Source: The Associated Press

Surging oil production, low prices to challenge Doha meeting

DOHA, Qatar— OPEC isn't what it used to be. Ahead of a planned meeting of most of the cartel and other major oil producers in Qatar to approve a freeze on oil production, some OPEC members are pumping record levels of crude even as prices wallow at less than half their level two years ago— a clear sign of the dissention gripping the group. The gathering follows a surprise...

Source: The Associated Press

Panama 'consequences' if no improvement: OECD’s Gurria

The Panama Papers scandal highlights how much progress the world has made in combating tax havens, the head of the OECD told CNBC on Friday.

Source: CNBC.com

These countries could threaten Doha oil deal

Hopes of an oil production freeze at a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers this coming Sunday are looking increasingly over-optimistic.

Source: CNBC.com

France seeks G20 tax haven blacklist, EU sanctions on evaders

PARIS, April 11- France will seek tougher EU sanctions on people who help to facilitate tax evasion and a G20 blacklist of uncooperative tax havens, the Finance Ministry said on Monday following the Panama Papers leaks. Since signing up in principle last year, Panama has rowed back, saying it could not meet all the reporting standards required for automatic...

Source: Reuters