Iraq privatizes

Iraq seeks joint ventures

By Steve Negus, Iraq Correspondent
Published: August 29 2007 22:39 | Last updated: August 29 2007 22:39

Iraq’s ministry of industry and minerals would open up all 65 of its state-owned enterprises to joint ventures with international investors by the end of the year, the minister said on Wednesday.

“We have 65 facilities under our banner and all of them will be made available for joint ventures,” Fawzi Hariri told the Financial Times on Wednesday. He was speaking at a conference in Dubai on investment opportunities in Iraq.

Attracting foreign investment is seen as vital to the reconstruction of the economy, to creating employment and, the government hopes, to reducing sectarian violence.

Mr Hariri said that the ministry was already involved in discussions on investing in cement companies in the southern provinces of Karbala and Muthanna, in the northern governorate of Kirkuk and in the far-western district of al-Qaem on the Syrian border.

It has spoken to the French-owned Lafarge group and Egypt’s Orascom. Mr Hariri said on Wednesday that he also hoped to attract Mitsubishi from Japan, Dow Chemicals from the US and other companies to the ministry’s portfolio of petrochemical and heavy industry interests.

British Army deploys new weapon based on mass-killing technology

John Byrne
Published: Thursday August 23, 2007

Parliament not told, minister says

A new super-weapon being supplied to British soldiers in Afghanistan employs technology based on the “thermobaric” principle which uses heat and pressure to kill people targeted across a wide air by sucking the air out of lungs and rupturing internal organs.

The so-called “enhanced blast” weapon uses similar technology used in the US “bunker busting” bombs and the devastating bombs dropped by the Russians to destroy the Chechen capital, Grozny.

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