Posted by Joshua on Monday, May 25th, 2009
I am setting out for Syria today and will stop in Rome for several days followed by travel in Syria to Latakia and the Beit al-Murj in the mountains to visit Manar’s family. We will be continuing our on-going language experiment. Kendall Shaaban learned to speak ARabic passibly during the summer of 2007 when he spent two months in Syria. He promptly forgot how to speak on returning to the US. He has a good passive knowlege of Arabic because Manar speaks to him in Arabic at home. His accent when trying to speak now is very American. He will spend two months in a totally ARabic speaking environment this summer, playing with cousins and among family. Will his Arabic spring right back to what it was? He should learn new grammar rules and vocabulary as he develops speaking skills. We will see and I will report to you at the end of the summer. Little Jonah Firas does not speak any language yet, eccept for “biddi” and “dada’, etc.
Alex and Ehsani will pick up some of the slack on Syria Comment while I am out of commission. I am not sure when I will be able to post again and report on my first impressions from Syria.
News Round Up
Hezbollah Denies Involvement in Al-Hariri’s Killing
2009-05-24, By Alaa Shahine
May 24 (Bloomberg) — Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese group and political party, denied German newsmagazine Der Spiegel’s report that it was involved in the killing of Rafiq Al-Hariri, Lebanon’s former prime minister. The report is a “fabrication” intended to “influence the electoral atmosphere in Lebanon,” Hezbollah said today in a statement in Beirut. The Shiite Muslim group, which has representatives in the current Lebanese cabinet and parliament as well as an armed wing, and its allies may emerge strengthened in parliamentary elections taking place on June 7.
[SYR] Microsoft blocks Messenger access to Syria and Iran
Microsoft has confirmed that it is blocking Windows Live Messenger access to users in Syria and Iran in the Middle East, as well as Sudan, Cuba and North Korea. It cited that they are “subject to United States sanctions” without providing further details. Industry analysts questioned the timing behind move however, pointing out that many of these sanctions date back eight years or more.
Turkey Raises Water Flow to Syria as Wheat Crop Fails to Meet Expectations:Turkey has agreed to increase the water flow from the Euphrates River to Syria and Iraq, according to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu.
Economy: FDI Cross the USD 1 billion Mark for the First Time
Foreign Direct Investment crossed the USD 1 billion mark last year for the first time, according to statistics from the Central Bank of Syria
The Syrian Stock Market expands trading to three days in an effort to increase liquidity. It also opens up to foreign brokers. See the following article from syria-news in Arabic
جليلاتي: من شأن هذه المحفزات أن تنشط التداول
أكّد المدير التنفيذي لسوق دمشق للأوراق المالية د.محمد جليلاتي لـ”سيريانيوز” أنّ إدارة السوق لن تقف مكتوفة الأيدي تجاه ضعف التداولات التي تشهدها السوق منذ افتتاحها مطلع آذار الماضي، وأن هناك جملة من المحفزات -قيد النقاش حالياً- من شأنها تنشيط التداول عند اعتمادها.
ولم تُسجل سوق دمشق تداولات كبيرة خلال الجلسات السابقة، وبقي يحوم ضمن نطاق سقفه 3 ملايين تقريباً، ليسجل مؤخراً قفزة وصلت إلى 12 مليون ليرة تقريباً ثم عاد ليهوي مجدداً.
وكشف جليلاتي في تصريح خاص بـ”سيريانيوز” أنً إدارة السوق رفعت عدة مقترحات إلى هيئة الأوراق والأسواق المالية لأخذ الموافقة والمباشرة بتطبيقها في أقرب وقت، “وأهم هذه المقترحات هو السماح لشركات الوساطة المالية ممّن حصل على ترخيص (الوسيط لحسابه) بالتداول على أسهم المصارف -التي تحتاج إلى إعادة نظر- كصانع سوق”.