Business in Brief

Ariel to bring Israelis into Moscow high-tech

The Ariel University Center is slated to sign a partnership with Moscow's Skolkovo high-tech center tomorrow that would give Israeli start-ups access to billions in Russian funding. The agreement, with Ariel University’s technology transfer company, will create a center called Skolkovo Gateway Israel, and is intended to serve as a gateway to the Russian Silicon Valley. The money will come from a billion-dollar fund set up by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The partnership will also help pave the way for Israeli companies to enter Russia's 141-million-person market. (Guy Grimland )

'Strange shadows' slowing TA fast lane

The express lane to Tel Aviv has a lower capacity than expected, said Shapir Engineering, the company operating the project. It asked the government to reconsider its tender terms, allowing it to raise rates on the toll road at lower capacities. Traffic is slower than expected due to buses and strangely-shaped shadows under the bridges, a result of poor planning, it argued. The express lane has been open for eight months, and users pay a toll based on the amount of traffic in the lane at any given time - the heavier the traffic, the higher the toll. Shapir, which built the toll lane, got the state to change its tender terms a year and a half ago. (Avi Bar-Eli )

Shani to focus on economic concentration

Resigning Finance Ministry Director General Haim Shani will be concentrating on his task as head of the committee examining economic concentration for the next month, in order to expedite its work before he steps down. The committee is headed by Shani and Prime Minister's Office Director General Eyal Gabbai, who also is resigning. No one has been appointed in their stead at the committee's helm. The committee is scheduled to submit its interim report by early September, and it is expected to focus on three main fields: preventing groups from holding both financial companies and non-financial companies; breaking up companies with pyramid structures and redefining corporate governance at large institutions. (Moti Bassok )

Analyst: Gold could be in bubble territory

Gold prices hit a record high of $1,877 on Friday, leading some analysts to say the shiny metal could be in a bubble. The prices may be heading for a correction of about 8% next month, but the safe-haven metal may also rally to $2,400 an ounce next year as investors seek refuge amid global economic turmoil, a global head at INTL FCStone said yesterday. "Trees don't grow till heaven. I think buyers need to beware. We are in a 'caveat emptor' market," said Jeffrey Rhodes, global head of precious metals at the brokerage. "My problem is that people are buying gold and they don't understand why they are buying gold, and that's a big problem and that is a classic symptom of a bubble," said Rhodes. (Reuters )

Zelekha throws support behind Yachimovich
Former Accountant General Yaron Zelekha has thrown his weight behind MK Shelly Yachimovich in her bid to lead the Labor Party, with a personal donation of NIS 1,000 to her campaign. Zelekha is known for speaking out against corruption and the relationship between big business and government. Yachimovich came to Zelekha’s defense back in 2007, when then-Finance Minister Roni Bar-On decided not to extend his term at the treasury. ‏(Zvi Zrahiya‏)