* But government feels under pressure to transform economy
RIYADH, July 23 - Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) aims to establish companies in areas including housing, petrochemicals and technology as it expands its investments locally and overseas, Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said.
* Other regional markets likely to benefit from halo effect
DUBAI, July 23 - Saudi Arabia's Savola Group has signed a non-binding agreement to sell its packaging business to Takween Advanced Industries, as it moves to focus on its core sectors of food and retailing, it said on Wednesday.
RIYADH/DUBAI - Saudi Arabia plans to open its stock market, the Arab world's biggest, to direct investment by foreign financial institutions in the first half of next year, the market regulator said on Tuesday.
* Regulator says to publish draft rules, hold 90-day consultation
DUBAI, July 21 - Saudi Arabia's economy is likely to grow 4.6 percent this year, more than previously estimated, helped by a robust performance of the private sector, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.
RIYADH - Saudi Arabia's Islamic Affairs Ministry is investigating 17 mosque imams in the capital Riyadh for not using their Friday sermons to denounce an al Qaeda attack this month, the English daily Arab News reported on Saturday.
RIYADH, July 19 - Saudi Arabia's Islamic Affairs Ministry is investigating 17 mosque imams in the capital Riyadh for not using their Friday sermons to denounce an al Qaeda attack this month, the English daily Arab News reported on Saturday.
DAMASCUS - Bashar al-Assad was sworn in for a new term as Syria's president on Wednesday, after an election which his opponents dismiss as a sham but which he said proved he had achieved victory after a "dirty war" to unseat him.
GAZA/JERUSALEM - A grim-faced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday of a protracted war in Gaza, dashing any hopes of a swift end to the three-week conflict as Palestinian fighters launched an audacious cross-border raid.