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Today's Dose of Wisdom: Business

We don't have a monopoly. We have market share. There's a difference.
Steve Ballmer

At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top - I'm afraid that's not quite right.
Bill Gates

If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.
Bill Gates

Business, that's easily defined - it's other people's money.
Peter Drucker

Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.
W. Edwards Deming

Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.
Evan Esar

Definition of a Statistician: A man who believes figures don't lie, but admits that under analysis some of them won't stand up either.
Evan Esar

Islamic Banking V

Qard Hassan (Good Loan)
This is a loan extended on a goodwill basis, and the debtor is only required to repay the amount borrowed. However, the debtor may, at his or her discretion, pay an extra amount beyond the principal amount of the loan (without promising it) as a token of appreciation to the creditor. In the case that the debtor does not pay an extra amount to the creditor, this transaction is a true interest-free loan. Some Muslims consider this to be the only type of loan that does not violate the prohibition on riba, since it is the one type of loan that truly does not compensate the creditor for the time value of money

Sukuk (Islamic Bonds)
Sukuk is the Arabic name for a financial certificate but can be seen as an Islamic equivalent of bond. However, fixed-income, interest-bearing bonds are not permissible in Islam. Hence, Sukuk are securities that comply with the Islamic law and its investment principles, which prohibit the charging or paying of interest. Financial assets that comply with the Islamic law can be classified in accordance with their tradability and non-tradability in the secondary markets.
Conservative estimates suggest that over US$500 billion of assets are managed according to Islamic investment principles. Such principles form part of Shariah, which is often understood to be Islamic law, but it is actually broader than this in that it also encompasses the general body of spiritual and moral obligations and duties in Islam.

Takaful (Islamic Insurance)
Takaful is an alternative form of cover that a Muslim can avail himself against the risk of loss due to misfortunes. Takaful is based on the idea that what is uncertain with respect to an individual may cease to be uncertain with respect to a very large number of similar individuals. Insurance by combining the risks of many people enables each individual to enjoy the advantage provided by the law of large numbers.

In modern business, one of the ways to reduce the risk of loss due to misfortunes is through insurance which spreads the risk among many people. The concept of insurance where resources are pooled to help the needy does not contradict Shariah. However, conventional insurance involves the elements of uncertainty (Al-gharar) in the contract of insurance, gambling (Al-maisir) as the consequences of the presence of uncertainty and interest (Al-riba) in the investment activities of the conventional insurance companies. These factors (uncertainty, gambling and interest) contravene the rules of Shariah. It is generally accepted by Muslim jurists that the operation of conventional insurance does not conform to the rules and requirements of Shariah.

Wadiah (Safekeeping)
In Wadiah, a bank is deemed as a keeper and trustee of funds. A person deposits funds in the bank and the bank guarantees refund of the entire amount of the deposit, or any part of the outstanding amount, when the depositor demands it. The depositor, at the bank's discretion, may be rewarded with a hibah (gift) as a form of appreciation for the use of funds by the bank. In this case, the bank compensates depositors for the time-value of their money (i.e. pays interest) but refers to it as a gift because it does not officially guarantee payment of the gift.

Wakalah (Agency)
This occurs when a person appoints a representative to undertake transactions on his/her behalf, similar to a power of attorney.

Next post: Islamic Equities

Too much Caffeine... actually helps!!


It was a long long day at work!!

Today's Dose Of Wisdom: The Virtues of Proactivity!

"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." Jerry Garcia.

This echoes the voices of millions! Especially in this region!

The Forgotten Millions - 30 years in the wrong direction


Thirty years ago, Iraq announced that there are NO iletirate people in the country. So, to be on the safe side, I'd say the literacy rate was more than 95%, and Iraq was going through what I would dare to call a renaissance.

Now, in the twenty first century, the new statistics are:

1 Million divorced women
2 Million Widows
4 Million Iletirate

Why?
Was it because of the 8-year war between iraq and iran?
Was it because of the Gulf war?
Was it beacause of the decade-long economical seige the world enforced on Iraq?
Was it because of the American invasion of Iraq?
Or, Was it because of the ongoing occupation, and the mess associated with it?

No matter the reason, or the excuses. No promise, no goodwill, nothing, can make us escape the bleak outlook of the Civilization of Iraq! A whole generation has been lost, and all we can say is God saves the one coming.

Iraq has always bounced back. History is there for everyone to see! This nation never dies. Shame on those who think it will, and shame on the world for watching while all sorts of dogs, and vultures tried to kill it.

A relationship in crisis!!


It's in times like these, that you know how much the morning's cup of coffee means to you, and you know that you should never take it for granted!

Life is short, learn to appreciate the ones, and equally the things you value the most.

I intend to do that immediately after Ramadan is over.

Americans flock to Jordan to study Arabic

AMMAN, Jordan - Young Americans studying Arabic like to joke that Jordan is "Middle East Lite" — a safe way into a tumultuous region without Lebanon's violence, Syria's tense relationship with the U.S. or the Gulf's conservative culture.

Drawn by that reputation, an increasing number of Americans interested in Arabic have been flocking to Jordan.
The capital, Amman, lacks much of the history and color that attract Americans to Cairo, the most popular destination for foreign students who want to learn Arabic. But Amman comes without the air pollution and crowds that plague Egypt's capital. It also feels more Western with its clean streets and numerous American shops and fast-food restaurants.
"I've traveled to Morocco but not to the heart of the Middle East, and Jordan was that good entry point," said Liza Hester, an Arabic student from Maine's Colby College.
She speculated that places like Egypt and Yemen would be more difficult to navigate and said her college would not give her credit for Arabic classes taken in countries on the U.S. State Department's travel advisory list, such as Syria and Lebanon.
Jordan, perhaps best known as home of the ancient red rock city of Petra, has generally been safe for foreigners despite an occasional flare-up in violence. A Palestinian gunman wounded six people outside a popular Roman amphitheater in Amman earlier this summer, while triple hotel blasts claimed by al-Qaida in Iraq killed 63 people in 2005.
But such attacks have done little to damage Jordan's image as a placid island of stability.
Amman has also become a doorstep to neighboring Iraq: Construction has boomed with Iraqi investments and Iraqi refugees have flooded in. Westerners traveling to Baghdad or using the Jordanian capital as a base for operations in the wartorn country are also common.
Still, Amman remains far sleepier than other Arab capitals.
"Amman is like the Kansas City of the Middle East," Kelly Nau, a 26-year-old Los Angeles native who came to Jordan to work as a nurse, said between puffs from a waterpipe at one of the city's stylish cafes.
It may not have the "allure of Damascus, Beirut or Jerusalem," but, Nau adds: "It is stable."
More than 300 Americans are expected to study Arabic at the University of Jordan in the fall, making up over half of this year's class of 600 students.
The size of the program has tripled since the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, said Tawfiq Omar, the academic adviser for foreigners learning Arabic at the university.
It is the largest of more than 30 Arabic language programs offered in Jordan. Many charge about $2,000 per year in tuition — less than the cost of many programs in countries like Egypt and Syria, which have also seen an increase in Arabic language students from the U.S. since the 2001 attacks.
For some, the cheap tuition means money left over to party in Amman's nightclubs and Irish pubs. Others get jobs waiting tables in the city's restaurants or write English speeches for Jordanian officials to pay the bills.
Jordan's moderate government has encouraged Americans to visit the country, hoping the exchange will reduce misconceptions about the Middle East. The country's youthful Queen Rania launched a Web site on YouTube earlier this year devoted to breaking down negative stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims.
"I want the people to know the real Arab world, unedited, unscripted, unfiltered," said the queen in one of her videos.
The Jordanian government's moderate politics has made the country a sort of diplomatic "Middle East Lite" for the U.S. as well.
Jordan, which signed a peace deal with Israel in 1994, is one of America's most reliable allies in the region and rarely adopts controversial positions on issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian crisis or the Iraq war.
A large number of Jordanians in Amman speak at least a little English, which makes the transition easier for Americans who come to the country to learn Arabic for the first time. Also, many signs in the country are posted in both English and Arabic.
Even the country's summer weather is fairly moderate, a rarity in a region where temperatures regularly soar above 100 degrees Fahreinheit.
"The lovely climate is the main reason I came here. But the people are also very welcoming," said Mariam Shaheed, a Texas native who came to Amman over the summer to improve her Arabic.

From Yahoo News "An AP report"
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080902/ap_on_re_mi_ea/jordan_mideast_lite;_ylt=Alpp.s5BFMMfUmWVsBHpRUxvaA8F

Atlantis of Dubai

Not like the ones you see in ads!!! But these are from a real experience!! Beautiful place. Just beautiful






Status Update

Weather: 2.5
Nothing much changed for the past two weeks. Still, it is not that hot during the night, which means I can walk outside without hating that I was ever born!

Health: 5
No Cough!! But I’m losing weight!! What a waste of resources.

Finance: 6
Again, same forecast as two weeks ago! I actually thought of having this review before Eid, because I’m not going the bloody money leak affect my score!!

Social: 6.5
Yesterday, I had a nice iftar with the company, in the awesome The Palace Hotel, in Burj Dubai Downtown!. What a nice hotel. Today, I’m having a big FAT Iftar with the Gang!! So these two deserve a 0.5-point push!

Professional: 9
Still good.

Insomnia: 4
Slightly better than last week! And it is promising of getting even better.

Overall: 5.5
So, out of the red zone! And into the Yellow-reddish one! I’m contemplating starting a revolution during Eid Holidays. The scene is set. I just need to take advantage!

Ahmadinejad speaks to the UN General Assembly

Ahmadinejad finally spoke before theUN General Assembly. I remember one at one stage the Iranian president was not granted a visa to enter the US to have such an opportunity. I thought, at that time, and I still feel the same that it is impolite, irresponsible & condecending behavior from theUS part.

If you claim to be a global power, an avid supporter of peace, and a host of the nations' podium (The UN), then you shouldn't act like an angry wife, and deny someone admission to the nations' home! I think if they want to behave in this childish way, the UN headquarters should be moved to some other mature state.

Now, I'm not a fan of Ahmadinejad. I believe he is overexcited, rushes things, and puts himself and his nation in awkward situations!

However, in this speach, I haven't seen any unreasonable statements, or any non-evedince based claims.

He touched base on several issues, both while addressing the UN, and talking to Larry King!

1. On the global policeman attitude of the united states, He said:

"As long as the aggressors, because of their financial, political and propaganda powers, not only escape punishment, but even claim righteousness, and as long as wars are started and nations are enslaved in order to win votes in elections, not only will the problems of the global community remain unsolved, but they will be increasingly exacerbated"

One will need to look at the post 9/11 world, and count the number of Iraqis & Afghans who died without a purpose .

2. On the Palestinians situation, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he said:

"Palestinians have undergone 60 years of carnage and invasion ... at the hands of some criminal and occupying Zionists. Zionists in Israel have forged a regime through collecting people from various parts of the world and bringing them to other people's land, by displacing, detaining and killing the true owners of that land.
The Security Council cannot do anything, and sometimes under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murders."

I don't think anyone, at these times, can turn a blind eye to the suffering of the palestinians. Just because Europe & The United States are being extra polite with the Jewish state, it doesn't make the atrocities the palestinians suffer less inhumane.

On the Jews he said:

"We have no problems with Jewish people. There are many Jews who live in Iran today ... but please pay attention to the fact that the Zionists are not Jews. They have no religion ... they just have -- wear masks of religiosity. How can you possibly be religious and occupy the land of other people?"

Therefore, I think the Anti-Defamataion League should know better that calling him anti-semitic! I don't see them getting worked up everytime Mr. Bush decides to label people, as terrorists or Villains left right and center. Or, when he declares a crusade!!!
3. On Iran's Nuclear program, he said:

"Their concerns about us are not new. They've always been concerned. They were the ones who inspired Saddam [Hussein] to attack Iran and get us involved in an eight-year war. The terrorist groups that killed our president, our prime minister, our officials, are now freely asked to live in the Western countries.
The nuclear issue, has been politicized and is not a legal struggle at all, noting the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog group, has not detected any noncompliance or deviation on the part of Tehran"

Beat that!! You wanted inspector, you got it. You want to check on us, you got it. Nothing we do is against the international law, so what the hell is all the fuss about? Meanwhile, the west still doesn't see a problem with Israel being a nuclear power, and not signing any treatment to control the spreading of nuclear weapons!

4. On the American-Iranian Dialogue, his words were:

"I have said that, in fact, on this very trip, currently in New York, that I am ready to speak with the presidential candidates before the press. I believe that we've really done whatever we could do in this respect"

So for a country who supports democracy and dialogue, the US government should be the initiator of such a dialogue. Insteas they are shying away from it! I wonder why? In fact, during his speech at the UN, no more than a note-taker was representing the US delegate! The perminant member of the United Nations... Talk about denial!

5. On Homosexuality in Iran, he said:
"We do pay attention that in Iran nobody interferes in the private lives of individuals. We have nothing to do with the private realm of people. This is at the non-private, public morality. In their own house, nobody ever interferes."

Well, I think here, he was caught off guard! I don't think anyone can deny the presence of Homosexuals in their society, and I don't think that Iran doesn't interfere with people's private life!

All in all, I think he was being reasonable. Not "on fire" as he usually is, which I think is good for his people. Sadly, I don't think anything he said will change the leading powers' plans for the region. It most probably will not be more than a cry which will fade away in a week or two. Probably just before the next speech Bush will grace us with regarding Iran or the Axis of Evil!

It's funny how differently this label "Axis of Evil" is conceived when he said it, as opposed to how it sounds when Dean Obeidallah or the rest of the Axis of Evil comedians say it.

Finally, I think I have to say, we still love Americans. Just not those sitting in Washington DC!


Today's Dose of Wisdom! History

History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.
Konrad Adenauer
(True...)

History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
Napoleon Bonaparte
(I think this is the best qoute about history)

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
Winston Churchill
(So..., was it?)

History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions.
Ted Koppel
(What do you think Mr Goerge W. Bush?)

Olmert grows a conscience


"The state of Israel does not allow pogroms against non-Jews," Olmert said. Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting, he said settlers who take the law into their own hands will be punished." Ehud Olmert.

Strong words from the prime minister soon to be the X. Certainly, it's kind of him to say that, but the question is; would he have said that provided he stayed the prime minister of the Israeli state for a longer time!

Then comes out Yisrael Meidad, and says that Olmert is blaming the wrong side!

"Violence begets violence, and in my indication and sources, the violence started from the Arab side," He said.

I wonder if Yisrael Meidad had in mind the past 60 years, and the thousands of palestinians who were killed all across Palestine, and those who are currently being starved to death in Gaza when he said that.

I'm all for his theory. However, he needs to remember that this theory works both ways. So, you can not blame the palestinians for the settlers' madness, and blame them for the rockets they fire at the settlements next to Gaza, after being seiged, killed, and starved by the israeli "defence" army.

Even a cat would go violent, if you put it in a corner, and make it feel that its kittens are threatened! Let alone being killed.

So, no applause for Olmert, because it's a little bit too late!




Today's Dose of Wisdom! Mark Twain

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
(Oh Mark you sure hasn’t seen any of the 21st century)

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
(That’s what everyone should do)

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."
(Absolutely true)

"A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain."
(Tough break Lehman)

Mark Twain US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)

Best Global Brands 2008, The power of the brand

I’ve always been amazed by the way brands impose themselves on one’s choice. I’ve always heard, and sometimes actually uttered the question; why would I buy a T-shirt for 800 AED ( around 218 USD)? It can not be that good?!?! I always realize that the best answer is THE BRAND!

So, what does that mean? My friend says, that driving a Mercedes-Benz is a status Symbol! That means, it marks your rise to a certain social status. Just like wearing a Rolex, carrying around a Louis Vuitton, or a wearing a Lacoste Polo shirt (Funny, I just called it a Polo shirt. Good for Ralph Lauren!!).

So, the list is there for all of you socialites & brand-oriented to pick your brands, and stick to the right stuff!

According to Interbrand, Coca-Cola sits on the top of the list with a brand value of (66,667,000$), and from second to fifth you can find (IBM, Microsoft, GE & Nokia). Now, I wouldn’t go through the full list, but I want to point out some very interesting findings.
Apple is at 22! Rising rapidly from 34. This is actually an indication of the rising power of apple in the face of Microsoft’s monopoly-like approach to the market.

Google Jumped 10 places from the twentieth to the tenth position! What a jump! I personally think they would do a lot better, if they make their homepage more interactive just like yahoo.

Marlboro dropped four spots from 14 to 18, which begs the question, are people getting more aware of the risks of smoking, or is it just my imagination?

H&M the apparel brand made it to spot 22 as debutant! Again, as a DEBUTANT! Now, that is impressive.

HSBC of HSBC holding, dropped four spots to 27, despite being the biggest company in the world.

Thomson Reuters came 44th, a big jump from the 76th place in 2007, I think the merger had a big influence on the rank.

Merrill Lynch, the troubled company fell down 12 spots!! 22 to 34. It definitely doesn’t help their case.

IKEA is in spot 35. Good for them.

Ford drops 8 spots to 49, Blackberry is a debutant at 73.

Surprisingly, Marriot, Visa, Ferrari, FedEx & Giorgio Armani are also new debutants!!

Nintendo is there while Playstation is not!! Sony, however, is at 22!

Finally, McDonald’s remains in spot 8. I guess people still like Junkie stuff!!

For the full list follow the link below.

http://www.interbrand.com/best_global_brands.aspx?langid=1000

Afghanistan's Biggest Crisis




It was on the top news on the BBC Arabic TV, and it wasn’t just a headline, they published a full report and interviews on that crisis.

Before telling you what was the crisis that will destroy Afghan’s future, let’s take a brief look on Afghan’s past and present.

In 1979, the Soviet invaded Afghanistan with more than 10000 troops backed by anther 10000 from the Parcham faction. The Soviet occupation resulted in the killing of 60000 to 2 million Afghan civilians, 5 millions fled the country to it’s neighbors and other parts of the world. The Soviet troops withdrew in 1989, that’s when the civil war started.

The civil war continued until 1994, that’s when 10000 people where killed and Taliban developed as a politico-religious force, in 1996 Taliban seized Kabul and by the end of the year 2000 Taliban has controlled 95% of the country.

In 2001, the US troops invaded Afghanistan backed by the NATO forces and occupied Kabul, the occupation is still present in Afghanistan, hundreds of people die every day, and millions have been killed within 30 years.

So, from the above information, we can see that Afghanistan has been a happy country since forever, it has a strong economy and stable political environment these days and has reached the top of the world, only one problem they still can’t solve, THERE ARE NO ACTRESSES IN AFGHANISTAN.

Yes, the biggest challenge that faces Afghan’s government and social agencies is to find more actresses to work in the Afghan cinema. In one of the interviews on the BBC, a movies producer was talking about this “CRISIS” and he got so emotional, I felt that he was going to cry, the poor guy couldn’t find a woman to part in his latest movie.

I know it’s not that important subject to write about, but I just find it really frustrating how these so called artists tries to act like they are living in a deferent world, a world full of rainbows and butterflies. And please don’t get me started on the Iraqi artists.

No offence to any nationality, I think there are an uncountable number of issues we have to take care of before we start searching for actresses for the “poor” Afghan producer.

And BBC, you should know better….

Smiling Face or World War II...?



Whenever you see a clock or a watch in an advertisement or on a display, you see the time displayed is 10:10, so what is the deal with time?

There are three possible stories to justify this,

1- To "frame" the logo of the watch maker. The hands at that number cause the eyes to look right at the logo!
2- The hands on the dial indicating 10:10 also represent a smiling face, sells better than watches indicating e.g. 08:20.
3- During the Second World War, Japan was the main manufacturer of clocks and watches, and when the US bombed Hiroshima islands, the impact of the explosion was so much that all the clocks and watches stopped at that particular time, and that time was 10 minutes past 10. So, in order to mark the gruesome bombings and remember the same, all over the world the clocks and watches at any shop show this time.

A lot of people supports the third story as the actual reason for that, I myself, support the “frame the logo” story, I don’t know, it just makes more sense to me than the other romantic stories.

Today's Dose of Wisdom

"As one's gifts increase, his friends decrease." Khalil Jobran

Sad but true!

Dubai - Vertical city 2.4 km high

I've been trying for 2 days to find the right words to describe this project, or just say anything about it, seriously anything, i just couldn't, but then i remembered the saying "1 picture is worth a 1000 words" so here's what i'm going to say....


No further comments.....

They Just Don't Get It....

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- To borrow a line, it's not that I think Barack Obama and John McCain don't care about what's happening on Wall Street. I think they just don't get it.

Or, maybe they do get it but are unwilling to talk about what's really a complicated problem that calls for a solution requiring everyone to pitch in.
Instead both candidates have offered "blame game" rhetoric on the stump and little more in the form of written policy.
Listen to the Democrat talk about Wall Street, and you'll hear what the Republican thinks and be told that the crisis is the Republican's fault.
Listen to the Republican talk, and you'll hear him call the economy "fundamentally sound," blame Wall Street's woes on "unbridled corruption and greed" and propose the formation of a commission.
Sorry, guys, but how about a plan?
For all of the issues facing the next president, the collapse of the American financial industry is moving up the priority list.
Want southern Texas to rebuild after Hurricane Ike? It will take U.S. banking muscle, through loans and credit, to get it done. You might want American International Group Inc. to be a working insurance company, too.
Want to send more troops to Iraq or, perhaps, pull them out? Both plans will cost money that the government will have to borrow on credit that may or may not be there at all if it's forced to prop up insurance and mortgage companies.
All roads lead to Wall Street -- even Pennsylvania Avenue.
It's one thing to not have a plan and quite another to have one that shows a lack of understanding of the financial mess and how we arrived here. But before we look at what the candidates have been saying, let's get one thing straight: Though a lack of regulation did have a central role in the financial crisis, it's not a complete explanation, and a response to that factor will not be the whole solution.
Deregulation didn't push homeowners to take on mortgages they couldn't afford. It didn't push ratings agencies to sign off on the junk. The government can't make business decisions for businesses. That's not how it works. Wall Street needs the ability to take risks. Business ownership is risk.
Obama, after a weak stump attack against "predatory lenders" early in the campaign, has, in the last few weeks, spelled out more than McCain has. He's talked about strengthening capital requirements on mortgage securities and derivatives, rigorously managing liquidity risk, and investigating ratings agencies and their potential conflicts of interest with companies they rate.
There's not much to criticize there, and that's the problem. Obama is echoing what people in the current administration -- people like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke -- have been saying. There's nothing new. Obama's "plan" is a bunch of warmed-over ideas.
The bad news is that, as weak as Obama's plan is, it's better than McCain's. Aside from his idea to create a 9/11-style commission to find out what went wrong and propose changes, McCain wants a safety-and-soundness regulator for every financial institution.
Again, that's not bad, but it's hardly radical. And it doesn't reflect the immediate problem that firms like Bear Stearns Cos., Lehman Brothers and perhaps Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are tumbling dominos.
Considering his record, McCain should know better. He's consistently voted for less regulation, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. But it's not like McCain hasn't been out front. He warned about the looming risk at Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in 2003.
Obama doesn't have McCain's record, but that's no excuse. He wants to be president. He should learn or get some advisers who know finance and are willing to give us more than what was in the paper this morning.

For the full story please refer to www.marketwatch.com or simply click on the headline.

Your Facebook is you new CV!!!


Your CV, whether based on a template from Microsoft database or carefully architected to show the best in you, might become an obsolete methodology of assessing you as a potential employee in a company!!

A survey carried out by a major job site "CareerBuilder.com" showed that 22% of hiring managers do check the applicants' social networking profiles to better write down a shortlist of candidates!! 9% said that they will soon be doing the same.

This means that pretty soon one in three interviewers will probably be holding a print out of your Facebook profile instead of your CV. I would imagine questions they'll ask will be something like; "So, you say here that Matchbox Twenty is one of your favourite bands. Why is that? Are you a sarcastic person?" Or, "I've seen so many guys on your friends' list as opposed to girls! Are you Gay or something?!?"

So, after reading a lot of, and listenting to even more tips on how to build your CV, now you need to know how to make your facebook (Originally a way out of your reality, and a way to stay in touch with your friends) employer friendly!!

Those control freaks said that things which make them drop a candidate from a shortlist were some of the following:

1. Posted information about drinking habits and the use of drugs.
2. Information or photos of a Provocative nature.
3. Poor communication skills (I still don't know how they measure that! English?)
4. Discriminatory remarks related to race, gender, or religion.
5. An unprofessional screen name!!
6. Lying about qualifications.

However, factors which make them decide favorably on a specific candidate where:
1. A background supporting the candidate's qualification.
2. Good communication skills.
3. A site conveying a professional image. Seriously, who wants to be professional on facebook?!?
4. A wide range of interests.

Now it looks like people will start censoring their Facebook, friendster, Myspace, etc accounts to avoid being totally screwed up by them.
At one point of time, I had a feeling that the CIA can make a good use of it, but i never thought employers will start looking at these things.

For middle easterners it's probably still early to worry about that, because most of the short listing is still based on what is known as (Vitamin Waw), but the future can never be too far!

I'm going to work on my facebook right away.






.... Thursday!!


25,000 people lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers, some 40 of those are based here in Dubai, in the DIFX!! Their office was operational only for a short period, before the doors were locked and visitors were not allowed in. It seems like the current crisis is causing a premature climax & END OF THE STORY!

Interestingly enough those 40+ will not be asked to leave the country, as other unemployed exapts are! They will be given financial assistance, and their kids tuition fees will be covered by the government!!! Some big financial institutions have started interviewing them, and some already joined other companies!

And you people say that traders have no heart!! This is so sweet of them!... Is oprah Involved in this?

OR, are they that desparate to keep people pouring in?! Especially after what has been said about 90% of foreign funds being pulled out of UAE!

This last piece of information I heard from someone, and I need to verify!!

Ms Livni! Congratulations


Livni edged out Mofaz to the prime minister position in Israel.. This should be a very interesting peace in the news for the peace-high Palestinian! It said that Ms Livni is a moderate. The question is, how liberate she needs to be to be able to commission a peace treaty!? Look at Olmert, he seemed like a decent enough guy. But no such luck!

“The national responsibility (bestowed) by the public brings me to approach this job with great reverence,” Ms Livni said, shortly after official results were announced.

I personally think she should be proud. After all she was chosen by the people of her country. What an honour indeed.
Associated press describes Ms Livni as:

"A fast-rising star in Israel’s political firmament, Ms Livni is Israel’s lead negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians and a rare female power figure in a nation dominated by macho military men and a religious establishment with strict views on the role of women. A lawyer and former agent in the Mossad spy agency, she is eager to continue the low-decibel diplomatic efforts."

She is indeed a heroine in her people's eyes! Did everything to protect her country, and to work in its best interest! No matter what her ideological background she is a heroine of the Israelis.

And though it remains unclear whether Ms Livni makes the cut, or fails in striking any meaningful deal with the arabs (Purposefully or unpurposefully!), it remains a fact, that we need more people like her in the arab world's governments!!

Picture by Ronen Zvulun/ Reuters

Which day was the darkest Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or....?

Dow Jones industrial average closes down 451 points or 4% at around 10610, another black day for Wall Street or should I say RED.

AIG bailout didn’t do the job, Fed’s lending AIG $85 billions could get the investors to feel secured a against another financial disaster, as this loan will not rescue AIG, it will just give the insurance giant time to sell assets in an appropriate price, which is expected to be $150 billions.

The fears didn’t only hit the Dow Jones Index, NASDAQ Composite fell 104 points or 4.9%, S&P 500 declined 47 points or 3.9%.

Apparently no company was out of doubt, merger speculations has sent Morgan Stanley down 40%, while Goldman Sachs declined 24.4%.

All this chaos and uncertainty reminded the investors of their all time safe haven, Gold. Prices of gold futures soared $70 or 9% today to $850, the biggest gain in one day since 1980, while oil ended up $6 at $97, this was of course accompanied with a Dollar decline across the board.





Source: http://www.marketwatch.com/

Islamic Banking IV

Islamic banking posts continues.....

Hibah (Gift)
This is a token given voluntarily by a creditor to a debtor in return for a loan. Hibah usually arises in practice when Islamic banks involuntarily pay their customers interest on savings account balances

Ijarah
Ijarah means lease, rent or wage. Generally, Ijarah concept means selling benefit or use or service for a fixed price or wage. Under this concept, the Bank makes available to the customer the use of service of assets / equipments such as plant, office automation, motor vehicle for a fixed period and price.

Advantages of Ijarah:
The following are the advantage of Ijarah to lessee:

1- Ijarah conserves capital as it may provide 100% financing.

2- Ijarah enables the Lessee to have the use of the equipment on payment of the first rental. This is important since it is the use (and not ownership) of the equipment that generates income.
3- Ijarah arrangements are flexible because the terms and rental provision may be tailored to suit the needs of the Lessee. Therefore, it aids corporate planning and budgeting.

4- Ijarah is not borrowing and is therefore not required to be disclosed as a liability in the Balance Sheet of the Lessee. Being an "off-balance-sheet" financing, it is not included in the computation of gearing ratios imposed by bankers. The borrowing capacity of the Lessee is therefore not impaired when leasing is resorted to as a mean of financing.

5- All payments of rentals are treated as payment of operating expenses and are therefore, fully tax-deductible. Leasing therefore offers tax-advantages to profit making concerns.

6- There are many types of equipment, which become obsolete before the end of their actual economic life. This is particularly true in high technology equipment like computers. Thus the risk is passed onto the Lessor who will undoubtedly charge a premium into the lease rate to compensate for the risk. A Lessee may be willing to pay the said premium as an insurance against obsolescence.

7- If the equipment use is for a relatively short period of time, it may be more profitable to lease than to buy.

8- If the equipment is for short duration and the equipment has a very poor second hand value (resale value), leasing would be the best method for acquisition.

Ijarah-Wal-Iqtina (Lease To Own)
A contract under which an Islamic bank provides equipment, building, or other assets to the client against an agreed rental together with a unilateral undertaking by the bank or the client that at the end of the lease period, the ownership in the asset would be transferred to the lessee. The undertaking or the promise does not become an integral part of the lease contract to make it conditional. The rentals as well as the purchase price are fixed in such manner that the bank gets back its principal sum along with profit over the period of lease.

Musharakah (Joint Venture)
Musharakah is a relationship between two parties or more, of whom contribute capital to a business, and divide the net profit and loss pro rata. This is often used in investment projects, letters of credit, and the purchase or real estate or property. In the case of real estate or property, the bank assess an imputed rent and will share it as agreed in advance.All providers of capital are entitled to participate in management, but not necessarily required to do so. The profit is distributed among the partners in pre-agreed ratios, while the loss is borne by each partner strictly in proportion to respective capital contributions. This concept is distinct from fixed-income investing (i.e. issuance of loans).

Wait for chapter V.....

Violet Hill

"I took my love down to violet hill...
There we sat in snow
All that time she was silent still...
So if you love me, won't you let me know!" Chris Matin


Lehman Brothers: The latest Victim of the Credit Crunch

Lehman Brothers, the fourth biggest investment bank in the US has filed for bankruptcy a few days ago.

Founded in 1850, is a global financial-services firm. The firm does business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales, research and trading, investment management, private equity, and private banking. It is a primary dealer in the U.S. Treasury securities.

The 158-year-old bank, with a Market Cap. Of USD180 millions (As of Sep 15, 2008), which has weathered previous financial upheavals and saw its offices destroyed in the September 11 World Trade Center attacks, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after reporting around USD6.5 billions up to Q3 this year, which grants protection while it works out a plan to pay back creditors. Leaving 25000 unemployed person in the US alone.

The investment giant was in negotiations with Bank Of America and Barclay’s Bank for a buy out before both of the banks pull out of the talks, Bank Of America preferred to buy the next biggest victim of the credit crunch, Merrill Lynch, the deal worth USD 50 billions.

Lehman collapse was a disaster, it pulled down the global markets with at least 3%, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 504 points or 4.4% on Monday, 15-Sep-2008, the worst decline since September 11, 2001 .

The Middle East markets tumbled too. And it’s not just Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, American International Group (AIG), and Washington Mutual are in danger too.
The important thing to notice here, is that this is a domino effect, so unless something serious done about that, like what the US government did with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. So, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sources: http://www.abclocal.go.com/
http://www.wikipedia.com/
http://www.cnn.com/
http://finance.yahoo.com/

Today's Dose of Wisdom!

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." Albert Einstein

Works every single time!!

WHO!? KNOWS BEST!!



You know! I've been searching for a role model my whole life. Somebody to give me guidance every step of the way! Because you know, life is so complicated. It can grind you, and turn you into a half-chewed peanut! Especially when family is involved!


And so, MTV Arabia, the new innovative & groundbeaking TV channel introduced to us someone arguably the best since Mr. Perfect, to show us what is it like to run a family, and how to pick the best for your kids!


Hulk Hogan, ladies & gentlemen! The ultimate father! The ultimate family man!


This is a guy who was big enough a loser that he couldn't manage a career in acting or sport, and ended up starring in that pathetic so-called sport which we know as WWF! Now I know that there are a lot of people who enjoy watching it, but I assume they know it's just bad acting! Low budget versions of the Hulk, Superman, or even Rocky! Those who believe it's actually real, make me want to shoot myself in the head.


Hulk Hogan knows best! This is the best joke of 2008! A WINNER!... Exactly how low will the TV industry go!


I bet you that Carmen Electra or Jenna Jameson will soon have her reality TV show called The Perfect Mother!


A radio station in Dubai, which airs a daily commercial for the show, had to fine tune it after the latest twists in that screwed-up family's life! Instead of inviting us to tune in to watch Hogan run the family in the BEST way possible, now they are inviting us to see how the way he ran the family led to its break up! As in teaching us a lesson!


But what do I know?!!? Media Knows Best!

Natalie The virgin Bunny Ranch Virginity Auction

Natalie Dylan the 22 year old gorgeous girl is selling her virginity on a site called bunnyranch.com. She started by saying that she is going to auction her virginity online and sleep with the highest bidder. But now, she says that being the highest bidder doesn’t mean that you are going to sleep with her, instead she’s going to choose the guy she likes the most among the bidders.

(In my opinion, this is a new type of prostitution, I mean people, she is asking for money in exchange for sex.)

Natalie said she’s been forced to sell herself because her stepfather took out a student loan in her name, so she’s unable to finance her education. She said:

“I don’t have a moral dilemma with it. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to capitalize on my virginity? I understand some people may condemn me. But I think this is empowering. I’m using what I have to better myself.”
(Poor little baby)

In order to prove that she’s a virgin, Natalie took a lie-detector test, and believe it or not she is telling the truth. She’s still a virgin. One of the questions that really convinced me that she’s telling the truth was, have you ever tried to lose your virginity? The answer was no, and I really believe her cause she’s really hot if she actually tried, she would've succeeded, I mean look at her…

Natalie already has her bachelor’s in women’s studies from Sacramento State. In January she starts working on getting her master’s in marriage and family therapy.

(Watch out American families, a new marriage counsellor is on her way to help you create big happy families)


In the end, I just have one question, can morals get any lower???

Trading The Financial Markets: The Arabic Version

I was reading through the internet and talking to people (you know in everyday life) couldn’t help but notice that all those who posted comments or wrote articles about trading in the financial markets, they all agree that whoever works in the financial markets is fraud, that's not true, guys we have got to open up a little, most of the Jordanians thinks that these markets are like gambling, well, if you wanna gamble sure you can, but it also stands on a very strong scientific ground, it's a real science.

The second thing I've noticed, is that most of us think it's vague, no one really know what's going on, that's not true either, it's so clear and you can easily figure out how you made your money or how you lost them, but what makes it vague is that 90% of those who "invest" in these markets don't know anything about investing or about the financial markets, yes when a taxi driver takes his children’s food money and go gamble it in the markets and loose it that’s what I’m talking about, and no offence taxi drivers! It was just an example, so the normal result is that they not understand what's going on and think that everyone wants to rope their money.

In most of the (developed) countries there is something called Funds, these funds collect money from those who don’t have time to trade and study the markets or who don’t have the knowledge or the resources to trade in the markets, they pool the money they collected and starts trading or more investing it, and as a reward they take part of the profit, there are many kinds of funds which defer by the investing strategy, I will be post more about these funds later, but for now, for the love of God people open up and start taking responsibility for your mistakes.

Did You Know?


Did you know that...


A 1,200-pound horse eats about seven times its own weight each year.


A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.


A newborn kangaroo is about 1 inch in length.


A rat can last longer without water than a camel can.


A single little brown bat can catch 1,200 mosquitoes-sized insects in just one hour.


A woodpecker can peck twenty times a second.


All pet hamsters are descended from a single female wild golden hamster found with a litter of 12 young in Syria in 1930.


An albatross can sleep while it flies. It apparently dozes while cruising at 25 mph.


An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 650 volts.


Certain frogs can be frozen solid then thawed and continue living.


Dragonflies are one of the fastest insects, flying 50 to 60 mph.

9/11: Seven years on!


On the occasion of 9/11 we remember two things:

1. Those who died in that tragic event.
2. The safe world that George W. Bush & the American Administration built in the aftermath!!

It's sad how the memory of some is dishonoured by the actions of others!


Today's Dose of Wisdom

"We have the best Congress that money can buy". Will Rogers.

Well said!!

Who said that?!

It was the first day of a school in USA and a new student named Chandrasekhar Subramanian entered the fourth grade. The teacher said, 'Let's begin by reviewing some American History. Who said 'Give me Liberty, or give me Death'? She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Chandrasekhar, who had his hand up ’Patrick Henry, 1775' he said.

'Very good!' Who said 'Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the Earth?' Again, no response except from Chandrasekhar.'

Abraham Lincoln, 1863' said Chandrasekhar.

The teacher snapped at the class, 'Class, you should be ashamed. Chandrasekhar, who is new to our country, knows more about its history than you do.' She heard a loud whisper: 'F**k the Indians,'

'Who said that?' she demanded.

Chandrasekhar put his hand up. 'General Custer, 1862.'

At that point, a student in the back said, 'I'm gonna puke.. .’ The teacher glares around and asks 'All right! Now, who said that?'

Again, Chandrasekhar says, 'President George H.W. Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, Jan 1992.

'Now furious, another student yells, 'Oh yeah? Suck this!'

Chandrasekhar jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher,

'Bill Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!'

Now with almost mob hysteria someone said 'You little shit. If you say anything else, I'll kill you.'

Chandrasekhar frantically yells at the top of his voice, 'Michael Jackson to the child witnesses testifying against him- 2004.

'The teacher fainted. And as the class gathered around the teacher on the floor, someone said, 'Oh sh*t, we're f**ked!'

And Chandrasekhar said quietly, 'I think it was George Bush, Iraq, 2007.'


This is hilarious stuff!! lool

My Grandma Used To Say...

Work hard now, it will make your life easier later.

this phrase is very famous in Jordan, and I think in many other Arab countries. But what does it mean?

I’ll tell you. It means while your are in preliminary school you have to study hard to make it easier on you to work your way up through high school. But when you are in high school, you have to study hard to make your way through to university, and when you finally make it to university, you have to study hard in order to graduate with at least good grades to make it easier on you to get a job or continue your post graduate studies . Until now ít's totally true, and I agree with it 100 %.

But when you complete your study with at least BA or BSc, you need to find a job, and here comes the first shock. It’s not easy to find a good job even if your grades were high unless you are connected (talking about the Arab countries), and even if you were lucky and got that job, you will not be able to get better positions according to your knowledge even if you were super genius. But, say that you are not connected and you got lucky and got a job in a good company, how can you proceed to higher positions? Again, hard work. But even hard work will not get you to the top.

So, what's the right answer here?

I think the answer is that you have to be practical smart, and there is a big difference between practical smart and academic smart. I’ve seen a lot of academic smart people who are still struggling with low level jobs just because they are not smart (practically) enough to make their way to the next level.

So, back to our subject, you need hard work and smartness. But say you made it to the top management, is that the time they were talking about? When your life becomes easier and you get to rest? No! I don’t think so, because in order to keep your position, you need to work even harder and not be smart but genius, and work even in your sleep.

Ok, the next level, you are the owner of you own business, is that it? Is that what they were talking about? No, it’s not, because you will have to work like you’ve never worked before to keep the business going. It’s not going to be easy on you to work for someone else after you become your own boss, so you have to make it work. You have to win the battle.

Conclusion!!

You will never be able to rest and your life will never become easier, unless, you are lucky enough to be someone like Bill Gates, and retire in your early 50’s with a net worth of over than USD 45 billions.

So come to think of it, is it worth it to lose your best days in your youth trying to reach that point? I don’t think so.

And so
Live your life to the fullist, and don’t waste it perusing this illusion.

Analysis: Arabs' contribution to the global economy

Arabs contribute 6% of the total headcount of the human race, and throughout history this group had their fingerprints on some of the biggest achievements of the human race. However, during the past 70 years, I would say, arabs have gone through one of the worst periods of their long history. In a materialistic and all the more Capitalist world, it would be interesting to look at the arabs contribution to the world’s economy.

The table below shows the population’s contribution to the global economy’s growth (USD of profit/ person). The data is collected from Forbes magazine (Economical), and CIA Factbook (Population), and the computation is done by me. The table includes all Arab countries with companies ranked among the world’s top 2000, plus some, and not all, countries considered as key players in world’s economics.



The Anlysis:

1. Arabs (6% of the world’s population) contribute 41 companies (2%) of the world’s biggest 2000 companies.
2. Switzerland, with a 7.5 million population, contributes 37 companies compared to the 41 that 400 Arabs contribute.
3. The US contributes 30% of the total number of companies!! With 5% of the world’s population.
4. Israel with 0.1% of the population contributes 0.5%.
5. Jordan with 0.092 of the population contributes 0.05%. I personally think this is great!! If you consider how little resources the country have!! As compared to the GCC countries which contributed 35 companies, or when compared to huge countries like Egypt & Morocco!
6. The Swiss are awesome!!

I wouldn’t go into more details of the figures!! It’s pretty obvious. But the point is, we must do better!! .
Finally!!

Top ten companies!!

Sarah Palin & The middle East

For someone who thinks that whatever the outcome of the American Elections will not make a difference for the people in the Middle East, I think I'm reading way too much about it. But some things you just can not avoid! For example, there is Sarah Palin, who seems to be a popular choice among the Americans, who also saved McCain and raised his approval ratings.

Colored text below, are some facts stated on the (The Nation) website. It broadens our horizon regarding Sarah.


Sarah Palin took the biblical Queen Esther as her role model when she became governor, according to her former pastor--a report that suggests her ties to Jewish history are stronger than you might have expected.

Tough luck for the Palestinians!

the beautiful Jewish queen who persuaded the Persian king to save the Jews from annihilation and instead let them kill their enemies. The story is celebrated by Jews annually in the Feast of Purim.

Fair enough.

Another says "Every once in a while a woman comes along who is made for the times. Sarah Palin is such a woman. . . . Another woman, Esther, was brought on the scene by God at just the right time. God's timing was perfect for he used Esther to save the Jews"--and now he is using Palin to save the Republicans.
One problem with this view -that God sent Palin the way He sent Esther -- is that the Book of Esther never mentions God. It never says God sent Esther to save His people, or even that Esther's belief in God gave her the power to defeat her enemies. Somebody should point this out to the fundamentalists.


Now, here is the thing! For people who are avid supporters of secularism, and also critics of the arab "extremists" who "blatantly and shamelessly make everything about religion and Islam". How can you be a supporter of such an extremist & Fundamenalist character!?


The implications for Palin's Iran policy are clear. In the Bible, after the Jews are saved from annihilation, and after the first day of Jewish revenge against their enemies, the King tells Esther the Jews have killed 500 people, and asks what she wants to do next. Esther says she wants permission for a second day of killing - so the king grants the Jews the right "to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish the entire host of every people and province that oppress them, small children and women, and to take their spoils for plunder."
The Bible says the Jews then killed 75,000 more of their enemies. It doesn't say anything about Jewish casualties, which makes it seem like a one-sided slaughter. (This part usually doesn't get mentioned at the Purim carnival.)

I just think the world is not fair! I mean, reading about these things, and then watching CNN, Sky & Fox news makes me wonder, who is taking religion way too seriously when it comes to politics?! Americans, or the rest of the world?

For the full article:

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/356993/sarah_palin_and_the_jews

Middleeastern Trends

Copy & paste the link below:

http://www.makesurvey.net/cgi-bin/survey.dll/FCC21A83E70D4D449E5D553F9B095F64


As part of a project that I have started, I created s survey on the current Middleeastern trends. It contains bits and pieces of everything!

Consumer behavior, Media related trends, culture, habits, & some politics.

Any help on this issue is GREAT & is highly appreciated!

It will not take much of your time guys! Just five mintues. So please follow the link, and give me your valuable input.

http://www.makesurvey.net/cgi-bin/survey.dll/FCC21A83E70D4D449E5D553F9B095F64

Thank a lot!

Islamic Banking III

Investments through principles, continued..



Murabahah (Cost Plus)
This concept refers to the sale of goods at a price, which includes a profit margin agreed to by both parties. The purchase and selling price, other costs, and the profit margin must be clearly stated at the time of the sale agreement. The bank is compensated for the time value of its money in the form of the profit margin. This is a fixed-income loan for the purchase of a real asset (such as real estate or a vehicle), with a fixed rate of profit determined by the profit margin. The bank is not compensated for the time value of money outside of the contracted term (i.e., the bank cannot charge additional profit on late payments); however, the asset remains as a mortgage with the bank until the Murabaha is paid in full.
This type of transaction is similar to rent-to-own arrangements for furniture or appliances that are very common in North American stores.


Musawamah
Musawamah is a general and regular kind of sale in which price of the commodity to be traded is bargained between seller and the buyer without any reference to the price paid or cost incurred by the former. Thus, it is different from Murabaha in respect of pricing formula. Unlike Murabaha, however, the seller in Musawamah is not obliged to reveal his cost. Both the parties negotiate on the price. All other conditions relevant to Murabaha are valid for Musawamah as well. Musawamah can be used where the seller is not in a position to ascertain precisely the costs of commodities that he is offering to sell.


Bai salam
Bai salam means a contract in which advance payment is made for goods to be delivered later on. The seller undertakes to supply some specific goods to the buyer at a future date in exchange of an advance price fully paid at the time of contract. It is necessary that the quality of the commodity intended to be purchased is fully specified leaving no ambiguity leading to dispute. The objects of this sale are goods and cannot be gold, silver, or currencies. Barring this, Bai Salam covers almost everything that is capable of being definitely described as to quantity, quality, and workmanship.

Basic Features And Conditions Of Salam
1-First of all, it is necessary for the validity of Salam that the buyer pays the price in full to the seller at the time of effecting the sale. It is necessary because in the absence of full payment by the buyer, it will be tantamount to sale of a debt against a debt, which is prohibited, as the basic wisdom behind the permissibility of salam is to fulfill the instant needs of the seller.

2-Salam can be effected in those commodities only the quality and quantity of which can be specified exactly. The things whose quality or quantity is not determined by specification cannot be sold through the contract of salam.

3-Salam cannot be effected on a particular commodity or on a product of a particular field or farm.

4-It is necessary that the quality of the commodity (intended to be purchased through salam) is fully specified leaving no ambiguity which may lead to a dispute. All the possible details in this respect must be expressly mentioned.

5-It is also necessary that the quantity of the commodity is agreed upon in unequivocal terms. If the commodity is quantified in weights according to the usage of its traders, its weight must be determined, and if it is quantified through measures, its exact measure should be known.

6-The exact date and place of delivery must be specified in the contract.

7-Salam cannot be effected in respect of things which must be delivered at spot.


More to come…

Today's Dose of wisdom

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes". Oscar Wilde

This one still stands...

...

"As I understand it, sport is hard work for which you don't get paid". Irvin S. Cobb

This guy needs a serious update!!!

Jordan: Private hospitals deny accusations of discrimination!!

I have to say when I first read the title, I freaked out!!

It turned out that it wasn't as discriminatory as I thought, but it is even more inhumane!! OF course if it turns out to be true!

The private sector in Jordan rejected accusations of mistreating & overcharging non-Jordanian patients!!

My father used to say: Doctors are the worst & most merciless Businessmen on the face of earth!!

I just hope this is not true. Because really, we have some of the best doctors in the region in Jordan, and probably in the world. Also, we really need this Therapeutic Tourism!! Mush na2seen Masayeb!

For the full article follow the link below (From MENAFN-Jordan Times)

http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093211297

Jordan's Matrix Company, finally Hacked!!


I knew it!!... I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!!

aaaaaaaah, business in jordan!! The ever elusive dream!!

I heard they've passed new laws to regulate the operations of such ill-fated companies!

Yes, they have prevented a married guy from travelling for his honeymoon because he was involved in such business dealings and he owned people loads of money!! But somehow they failed to see this one coming!

Please raise Oil prices now, and hammer the last nail in people's coffin!

Eve's most elusive question answered... through science!!

The shutter covering the biggest enigma that has haunted Eve's life throughout history might have been finally revealed. Not through the countless romantic movies and soap operas the whole world was bombarded with!! From America, france, Arab world, Mexico, and finally Turkey!!

Why is he so detached! distant! Why doesn't he make a move! Why is he as frigid & indifferent as a mummy!!

Well, the answer is, it's not you!! It's me. This answer was always conceived as a screen men display to hide behind, and divert eve's attention from what is really going on!!

But a group of scientists from Sweden (Geeks is the word mostly used to describe them) have found out that the reason why some men behave in the way that annoys their partners the most is actually caused by their genetic archeticture!!.

Funny how answers to your questions come from the least expected source, ha!!

Those guys from Karolinska Institue studied the DNA of the XY coded creatures and have come up with this very interesting conclusion!!

Two positives, though, can be the next refuge for optimistic females:

1. The findings are considered to carry with them a Revolutionary Benefit!! Whatever that means
2. The infamous Gene is a small part of the whole process. Having a happy marriage, that is.

So, when the guy utters the famous line "it's not you!! It's me", he be might actually saying the truth, for a change!

This whole thing reminds of a saying, and I don't remember where I read it. But it goes something like this
"Men marry hoping that their women will not change, and they do! Women marry hoping their men will change, and they don't!!"

For those interested in the scientific details, you can follow the link below

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7593301.stm

Is This The Year Of The ‘Messiah’?


This is not about the religious figure. This is about one of the best young talents in the world of football. Lionel Messi. A fan myself, I decided I'll have a part of this blog following Lionel Messi's magic for the entire football season. I also hope, he will do enough to make me carry this tradition to the next year.

This is an article by Clark Whitney, a sport editor for the website Goal (http://www.goal.com/)

"It was a warm June afternoon in 2006. Having finished my classes for the day, I rushed to the nearest TV to tune in to the World Cup. Argentina were up against Serbia and Montenegro and the South American heavyweights were comfortably ahead 3-0. A foregone conclusion.
But there was good reason to keep watching. Shortly after tuning in, a substitution was made: Maxi Rodriguez was withdrawn for a young Lionel Messi, who was just six days shy of his 19th birthday.
Just four minutes into his entrance, the teenager was released down the left flank, creeping behind the defensive line. Having a nearly impossible angle wherefrom to shoot, he provided an inch-perfect pass across the face of goal. It evaded three defenders and the goalkeeper, but not Hernan Crespo, who tapped the ball into the net.
Then, in the 88th minute, Messi made a long run off the ball to receive a pass from Carlos Tevez just as he burst into the box. With just one defender to beat, Messi raced ahead and coolly knocked the ball past Dragoslav Jevric, capping a 6-0 rout. It was on this day that I became a Lionel Messi fan.
Lionel Messi’s talent is undeniable, although the extent of it is still heavily debated. Some hail him as the next Diego Maradona, while others think that he will never reach the heights of some of the great wide forwards, such as Maradona himself and, more recently, Cristiano Ronaldo. While I cannot compare Messi to the great Diego – I was just four years of age when Maradona left Napoli for Sevilla and entered the autumn of his career – I can compare Messi to Ronaldo.
I will be the first to admit that comparing players is generally a difficult and flawed process. After all, in spite of their having similar playing positions on the pitch, Messi and Ronaldo have different playing styles and talents.
Ronaldo is, marginally, the faster of the two, and is certainly stronger. He benefits greatly from the fast pace of the English game, as he is able to instantaneously transition from defence to lead a breakaway. However, he often wastes his strength and balance by falling when he could easily stay on his feet. As for his technical advantages, the Portuguese ace is far better in the air than Messi, and has a better shot. And yet, I have plenty of reason to believe that Argentine will emerge the better player at the end of this season.
To begin with, I doubt Ronaldo will be able to replicate last year’s success in the 2008-09 season. Missing the early stages of this season with injury has given him plenty of time to lose focus and brood over his failure to move to Real Madrid in the off-season. To add to this, he has received (and will continue to do so) every individual award imaginable for his performance last year. In addition, he also picked up winners’ medal for the Champions’ League and the Premiership with Manchester United. So, what else does he have to prove?
Plenty, if you ask me – he has never won anything with Portugal and his displays in important Premier League and Champions League matches have sometimes been far below his performance against low-level league teams. However, this knowledge will not weigh heavily on the mind of a self-assured, distracted, and discontented Ronaldo.
Messi, on the other hand, has everything to prove and, with Ronaldinho having left Barcelona, finally has his chance to do so. His dribbling is unmatched by anyone in the world and while he lacks Ronaldo’s flashiness, he is far more effective in one-on-one situations, and has the unique ability to take on several defenders at once. Moreover, his work rate exceeds that of Ronaldo’s by leaps and bounds.
The Argentine uses his diminutive stature to surprisingly good effect. Having a low centre of gravity, he is amazingly agile and has incredible balance. Unlike Ronaldo, Messi continues to play after contact with opposing defenders, using a combination of speed, balance, and ball control. Instead of trying to run behind a defensive line as Ronaldo does, the Argentine runs towards his opponents, cutting to the centre. In doing so, he puts himself in an ideal position for making plays. Instead of simply shooting (Ronaldo did manage 42 goals last year, but took 255 shots), the Barça winger creates openings and he does it with great efficiency.
While Ronaldo had only eight assists in 49 appearances, an injury-riddled Messi amassed 13 assists to complement his 16 goals in 38 appearances. He also initiated countless attacking moves that resulted in goals for his team but for which he was never credited with a direct assist.
Perhaps most importantly, Messi is a big-game player, whereas Ronaldo, as the argument goes, is not. Many are quick to hail the United ace for his 42 goals – a feat that is absolutely remarkable regardless of how they were scored – without considering the opponents against whom he scored. Ronaldo did indeed tally more strikes (eight) than any other in the Champions League, but, for example, he was surprisingly anonymous in both legs of the semi final against Barcelona, doing little more than missing an early penalty at the Camp Nou.
Against Chelsea, in perhaps the most important match of his life, the Portuguese again did little, but had a Gerd Mueller-like flash of brilliance and managed to score a great goal. Still, he could have cost his team the Champions’ League trophy with his missed penalty during the shoot-out if not for John Terry’s even less impressive effort moments later.
As for his outstanding total of 31 Premiership goals, 20 of them were scored against teams in the lower half of the table, and just three against the “big four”. Of course, the statistic of three goals in six matches is still very good, especially considering the fact that they were scored against top teams. However, we can’t say that Ronaldo truly led his team to any of their success last season. He helped very much, but in the important matches, he failed to perform to the best of his ability.
Messi, on the other hand, is a great leader and tends to play his best in important matches, although he still has much to prove. While Ronaldo failed to impress in either leg of the 2008 Champions League semifinals, the bullish Argentine was an omnipresent force at the Camp Nou and even put on a good showing at Old Trafford, although he could not save his team from a 1-0 defeat in the second leg.
Still, Messi has a record, albeit limited, of leadership and success. In 2005, he won the U-20 World Cup with Argentina, earning himself both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards. Last month, he led Argentina to the gold medal at the Olympics, providing a perfect assist to Angel Di Maria for the tournament winner. He also won the 2006 Champions League with Barcelona, although he only participated in 7 of the 13 matches during that competition. Ultimately, he still has much to prove for both club and country, which will provide plenty of motivation to the 21 year old.
Judging from his performances at the Olympics, it seems as though Messi is finally coming of age. That said, the young “Messiah” has plenty of room for growth and may not peak for another two to three, or even five years. And yet, barring injury, I still think he will win the 2009 Ballon D’Or."


Personally I think Lionel Messi is - at the moment - better than C.Ronaldo, but eh! I'm just one guy, he has to prove it to the rest of the world :)

Islamic Banking II

Investments through principles

Bai' al-Inah (Sale and Buy Back Agreement)
The financier sells an asset to the customer on a deferred-payment basis, and then the asset is immediately repurchased by the financier for cash at a discount. The buying back agreement allows the bank to assume ownership over the asset in order to protect against default without explicitly charging interest in the event of late payments or insolvency.

Bai' Bithaman Ajil (Deferred Payment Sale)
This concept refers to the sale of goods on a deferred payment basis at a price, which includes a profit margin agreed to by both parties. This is similar to Murabahah, except that the debtor makes only a single installment on the maturity date of the loan. By the application of a discount rate, an Islamic bank can collect the market rate of interest.

Bai muajjal (Credit Sale)
Literally bai muajjal means a credit sale. Technically, it is a financing technique adopted by Islamic banks that takes the form of murabaha muajjal. It is a contract in which the bank earns a profit margin on the purchase price and allows the buyer to pay the price of the commodity at a future date in a lump sum or in installments. It has to expressly mention cost of the commodity and the margin of profit is mutually agreed. The price fixed for the commodity in such a transaction can be the same as the spot price or higher or lower than the spot price.

Mudarabah (Profit Sharing)
Mudarabah is an arrangement or agreement between the bank, or a capital provider, and an entrepreneur, whereby the entrepreneur can mobilize the funds of the former for its business activity. The entrepreneur provides expertise, labor and management. Profits made are shared between the bank and the entrepreneur according to predetermined ratio. In case of loss, the bank loses the capital, while the entrepreneur loses his provision of labor. It is this financial risk, according to the Shariah, that justifies the bank's claim to part of the profit. The profit-sharing continues until the loan is repaid. The bank is compensated for the time value of its money in the form of a floating rate that is pegged to the debtor's profits.

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Status Update

This is a periodic reminder of the dangling state of one's life! Hence the category name. It should be interesting checking it every once in awhile, and see how you felt during a certain point of time!!

Who knows, you might find a pattern!.. Probably then I'll understand what they mean by a down period!!

Anyway, without further due, here are the current scores! (on a scale from 1 to 10)

Weather: 2
Basically, it doesn't get worse than this! Once I step out, I started sweating like a pig!!.. God I hate sweating!
Health: 3
Been coughing since my last trip to Jordan! Not pleasant, I feel like my late grandfather! Or more like Ali!!
Finance: 6
Things are so stable! It shouldn't be, A fastening of the built scheme is currently under study.
Social: 6
Calm on all fronts! Can't complain though, it is Ramadan, and it is Dubai.
Professional: 9
Finally out of the shit hole! Just hope I don't lurch into another.
Insomnia: 2
This is serious stuff!.. It's 3:52 am now. This has to stop before next Sunday.

Overall: 4.7
Not so impressive. Makes sense though, that's exactly how I feel right now, I feel like a 4.7

Islamic Banking I

Wikipedia said;

Islamic banking refers to a system of banking or banking activity that is consistent with Islamic law (Sharia) principles and guided by Islamic economics. In particular, Islamic law prohibits usury, the collection and payment of interest, also commonly called riba in Islamic discourse. In addition, Islamic law prohibits investing in businesses that are considered unlawful, or haraam (such as businesses that sell alcohol or pork, or businesses that produce media such as gossip columns or pornography, which are contrary to Islamic values). In the late 20th century, a number of Islamic banks were made, to cater to this particular banking market.

Principles:

Islamic banking has the same purpose as conventional banking except that it operates in accordance with the rules of Shariah, known as Fiqh al-Muamalat (Islamic rules on transactions). The basic principle of Islamic banking is the sharing of profit and loss and the prohibition of riba (usury). Amongst the common Islamic concepts used in Islamic banking are profit sharing (Mudharabah), safekeeping (Wadiah), joint venture (Musharakah), cost plus (Murabahah), and leasing (Ijarah).
In an Islamic mortgage transaction, instead of loaning the buyer money to purchase the item, a bank might buy the item itself from the seller, and re-sell it to the buyer at a profit, while allowing the buyer to pay the bank in installments. However, the fact that it is profit cannot be made explicit and therefore there are no additional penalties for late payment. In order to protect itself against default, the bank asks for strict collateral. This arrangement is called Murabaha. Another approach is EIjara wa EIqtina, which is similar to real-estate leasing. Islamic banks handle loans for vehicles in a similar way (selling the vehicle at a higher-than-market price to the debtor and then retaining ownership of the vehicle until the loan is paid).
An innovative approach applied by some banks for home loans are called Musyaraka al-Mutanaqisa that allows for a floating rate in the form of rental. The bank and borrower forms a partnership entity, both providing capital at an agreed percentage to purchase the property. The partnership entity then rent out the property to the borrower and charges rent. The bank and the borrower will then share the proceed from this rent based on the current equity share of the partnership. At the same time, the borrower in the partnership entity also buys the bank's share on the property at agreed installments until the full equity is transferred to the borrower and the partnership is ended. If default occurs, both the bank and the borrower receives the proceeds from an auction based on the current equity. This method allows for floating rates according to current market rate such as the BLR (base lending rate), especially in a dual-banking system like in Malaysia.
There are several other approaches used in business deals. Islamic banks lend their money to companies by issuing floating rate interest loans. The floating rate of interest is pegged to the company's individual rate of return. Thus the bank's profit on the loan is equal to a certain percentage of the company's profits. Once the principal amount of the loan is repaid, the profit-sharing arrangement is concluded. This practice is called Musharaka. Further, Mudaraba is venture capital funding of an entrepreneur who provides labor while financing is provided by the bank so that both profit and risk are shared. Such participatory arrangements between capital and labor reflect the Islamic view that the borrower must not bear all the risk/cost of a failure, resulting in a balanced distribution of income and not allowing lender to monopolize the economy.And finally, Islamic banking is restricted to Islamically acceptable deals, which exclude those involving alcohol, pork, gambling, etc. Thus ethical investing is the only acceptable form of investment, and moral purchasing is encouraged. Islamic banking is an example of full-reserve banking, with banks achieving a 100% reserve ratio. However, in practice, this is not always the case.

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