Where the U.S. plan intends to give ownership to a democratically elected government, the Saudi royal family collects all revenue and administers it on behalf of the kingdom. Some Islamic critics, following edicts that say buried treasures, like gold and salt, should be shared among the people, claim the Saudi royal family has grabbed too much oil booty for itself. Critics of the U.S. plan, however, say the proposed production-sharing
The issue is significant, because although strict conformity to Shari'a is not needed, it could help win hearts and minds. But it isn't clear-cut: Shari'a legal opinions regarding oil vary, not only among the four schools of Shari'a jurisprudence, but even within them.
The Dinar Soars
As Saddam's regime fell, the Iraqi currency rallied: a dollar used to buy 3,000 dinars but now buys only about 600. But that's nothing compared to eBay, which has been gripped by Saddamania, driving dinars bearing his picture to parity with the greenback.
Miss Piggy must be outraged
In the words of the two grumpy Muppets that Thomas and Florian Haffa acquired with the rest of the Jim Henson Company while building Germany's EMTV empire, it must be "like a kind of torture to have to watch this show." Last week the Haffas were fined €1.4 million for misleading investors and inflating share prices with rosy €300 million profit forecasts while EMTV was actually headed for a €1.4 billion loss. Not a huge fine, but perhaps a huge precedent for the 2,000 EMTV shareholders now filing civil suits, says Theodor Baums, architect of the government's plans to make executives more accountable.
"Germany's regulations are outdated," he says, "and executives can't be held liable in a civil court until they are penalized by a criminal court." That should change soon, as lawmakers catch up to international standards. Meanwhile, if this sentence survives appeal, many titans of Germany's now-defunct Neuer Markt have a new reason for stage fright.
The Bottom Line
Mr. Brown is not really the rather dour person he tries to present to us, but rather a romantic character
BRIDGET ROSEWELL, economist for the Greater London Authority, on the British Chancellor's highly optimistic growth forecasts