• The Mercosur trade group of four South American nations has signed a free trade agreement with the Palestinian Authority. It's the first trade deal between the Palestinian territories and a bloc of nations outside the Arab world.

  • CAIRO — Several thousand women demanding the end of military rule marched through downtown Cairo on Tuesday evening in an extraordinary expression of anger over images of soldiers beating, stripping and kicking female demonstrators in Tahrir Square.

  • Liquidity woes may push Dubai’s second tallest skyscraper, the Pentominium, past its completion date as developer Trident struggles with financing, the project manager said. The planned 516m tower in Dubai Marina was scheduled for completion in 2013 but saw work suspended in August amid wider financing concerns.

  • A new exploration frontier off the coast of Angola that may be similar to oil fields found in Brazil is to be opened after the government of the African country awarded drilling rights to some of the world’s largest energy groups. Britain’s BP, Total of France and Norway’s Statoil all secured licences to explore in Angola’s pre-salt deposits – a layer of salt accumulated millions of years ago under the sea.

  • BP will close the chapter on more than 40 years of history after deciding to shut down its solar business, once regarded as one of its flagship alternative energy divisions. The group has told staff that it had made the decision after the business became unprofitable.

  • Saudi Arabia's largest dairy company said Wednesday it is buying Argentine farm operator Fondomonte S.A. for $83 million in a bid to secure access to animal feed. The acquisition will give Riyadh-based Almarai Co. control of roughly 30,000 acres of farmland in the South American nation. Almarai said the deal is in line with the desert kingdom's policy of "securing supplies and conserving local resources."

  • WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hackers in China broke through the computer defenses of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last year and were able to access information about its operations and its 3 million members, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

  • Rep. Barney Frank was "upstaged by his own chest" during a speech he gave Monday with erect nipples. According to the Huffington Post, his appearance “raised questions about how cold it was in the House chamber.” Why do nipples harden in the cold? No one knows, but it's probably for the same reason that cold gives you goose bumps.

  • Mahiki, the Mayfair club made famous by regulars such as Prince Harry, is hoping to shake-up the Gulf’s nightlife scene with the launch of its Dubai venue and infamous open-door policy. The owners of the venue are mulling a regional-wide expansion, and said Dubai’s clubbing scene had become a “spectator sport” thanks to strict door policies that bar entry for certain customers. The London club has previously pledged to allow entry to anyone, whether “fat, thin, bald, ugly or old”.

  • For the GCC’s super-rich residents that are bored with their 150-ft yachts, private jets and luxury speedboats, now there's another toy on offer – a personal submarine. Dutch company U-Boat Worx is targeting the region’s wealthiest residents with its range of private submarines, with prices starting from €730,000 ($951,371) per craft.

  • Football legend Cristiano Ronaldo will be in Dubai Mall next week to raise funds for international charity Save the Children. The Real Madrid player, who will also be participating in this year’s Dubai Sports Council's (DSC) Sixth Dubai International Sports Conference, will meet fans in the mall on December 27, and sign 10 charity t-shirts for winners of a Dubai Mall competition.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.