1:37 am - Friday November 6, 2015

Turkey facilitating transfer of Iraqi Kurdish fighters to Kobani, FM says

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday that Turkey was facilitating the passage of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters to Kobani to aid Syrian Kurds defending the town against Islamic State militants.

Davutoglu, speaking at a news conference, did not provide details on the transfer of the fighters. Earlier, the U.S. military said it had air-dropped arms to the Syrian Kurds in Kobani. Saudi Arabia’s biggest bank has responded to criticism of its operations from Islamic scholars by pledging to convert itself into a full-fledged Islamic bank within about five years.

The decision, made as the bank launches a $6 billion initial public offer of its shares, the largest-ever equity sale in the Arab world, shows how Saudi Arabia’s conservative brand of Islam can have a big impact on business decisions in the kingdom.

State-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) , which has about $116 billion of assets, currently has a mixed business – most of it conforms to Islamic principles such as bans on interest payments and pure monetary speculation, but some of it involves conventional banking. Some other banks in Saudi Arabia are also mixed.

Last week some members of Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, said investing in NCB’s share offer was not permissible because too much of its business was non-Islamic.

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