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                     Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
                       Aug. 21, 1995, V3, #152
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Israel's Coca-Cola Concession to Export to Russia

Coca-Cola Israel will export 8 million cans of the beverage to Russia with Russian writing on the cans. The Israeli subsidiary won the concession in a bid against European Coca-Cola concessionaires. The Coca-Cola and Sprite drink cans will be marketed in Moscow.

Joint U.S.-Jordanian Maneuvers Under Way

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

US and Jordanian military maneuvers are underway in southern Jordan. The military exercises were previously scheduled but come amid increased tensions with Iraq over the defection last week of a top-ranking Iraqi military officer. Iraq is denying US reports of unusual military movements in the south near the Kuwaiti border.

The joint maneuvers, known as "Infinite Moonlight," are underway in southern Jordan and should last another two weeks. At the same time, the US military says it is moving supplies closer to the area after reporting unusual troop movements in southern Iraq.

Diplomats in the region say they have not seen anything threatening in southern Iraq. Baghdad says the reports are more of American saber rattling. The official party newspaper Al Thawra calls the US build-up "the croaking of frogs."

But tensions have increased in the region after a close confidante and son-in-law of Saddam Hussein defected with his family and his brother who led the Presidential Guards. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan directed Iraq's secret weapons programs before he fled Baghdad amid reports of family feuds and turmoil in Saddam Hussein's inner circle of power.

Gen. Hassan told a news conference in Jordan he now wants to overthrow Saddam Hussein and end Iraq's political and economic isolation.

Expatriate Palestinians Apprehensive Over Investing in Autonomy

By Jennifer Griffin (Amman)

As Israel and the PLO continue talks on expanding Palestinian self-rule to the West Bank, investors are positioning themselves to profit from the new peace. Palestinian business leaders in Jordan say they need more assurances before they invest their money.

Palestinian political analyst Labib Kamhawi says Jordanian investors have millions of dollars to invest, but they want to see a new legal framework in the territories to protect their business deals.

"The euphoria which accompanied the return of Arafat to Gaza quickly subsided and was slaughtered by the harsh fact, the harsh realities of life inside the Strip, inside jericho, and inside the West Bank. People are not extremely confident about the professional abilities of Arafat's administration to run the country on a modern and equitable basis."

Many investors and analysts like Kamhawi say they are concerned the former Israeli-occupied territories are being run by decree, with Arafat acting as tribal chief.

"It's rampant public corruption and when there is such rampant corruption in such a volatile environment, the private capital runs away."

Recently, Arafat asked a conference of business leaders in Jordan why they were not investing in the West Bank and Gaza. Investors told him they needed some assurance of governmental accountability.

Businessmen say they are not sure which laws apply in the occupied territories, and wonder to whom they should apply for licenses: Israel or Arafat? Some banks have reopened in Palestine but few are lending money because there is no legal mechanism for them to pursue debtors.

Those who are investing focus on areas sure to make money, such as telecommunications and electricity.

After the Israel-PLO peace accord was signed in Oslo in 1993, a group of wealthy Palestinians pooled their resources and set up the Palestine Development and Investment Company, or Padico.

The group of tycoons is sometimes described as the Rockefellers and Trumps of the Palestinian Diaspora. They raised $200 million dollars for business ventures in Palestine by selling shares in their investment company.

Investors willing to risk putting their money in the uncertain economies of the West Bank and Gaza believe the potential rewards could be high. Padico's chief executive, Yousef Ghanem, says those who wait will be the losers. In two to three years, he says, all the best projects will be taken.

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