With only 0.3% of its population wired to the net, Syria lags far behind all its Arab neighbours. The number of Syrian web sites is still very low, not numbering more than three hundred, the country has no real web portal to speak of and until last December, no e-commerce site.


Ghassan Al Rifai, Syria's newly appointed minister of economy arrived in Damascus earlier in the week, after a thirty year journey in the World Bank. According to the Bank's press release, Ghassan El-Rifai joined the World Bank in 1972 through the Young Professionals Program.

Iraq and Syria agreed on Friday to invest in joint industrial ventures in a further improvement of ties after years of tension, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said.
A Damascus meeting next week, will discuss Cyprus' future energy needs with both Syria and Egypt, its prospective suppliers of gas, Cyprus energy minister said.
A delegation from Japan's Bank for International Cooperation will be visiting Damascus this month to finalize the legal aspects of Japan's USD70 million financing of Lattakia's port extension.

By Mouaffaq Nyrabia *

Within the scope of the program of the Danish Foreign Ministry (DFM) to promote reform in the Middle East, the Danish Cultural Institute in Syria organized recently a seminar in Damascus. A number of Danish scholars and representatives from the DFM participated in the event, as did scholars from Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Egypt. No official representative from any Arab government was present.