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QATAR | Page 28
2 – 8, 28
26, 27
1 – 8, 16 – 20
9 – 16
1 – 12
SPORT | Page 1
MH370 mystery
persists, a year on
Families marked the first anniversary
of the disappearance of flight MH370
yesterday as a report said the battery
on its black box locator beacon had
expired, but shed no new light on the
cause of the disaster. Page 14
MALAYSIA | Aviation
Prime Minister
arrives in Algeria
Yemen’s defence minister has fled
Houthi-controlled Sanaa for Aden,
officials said yesterday, in a move
expected to bolster President AbdRabbu Mansour Hadi in his struggle
with the Shia group. The Houthi
militia seized the presidential palace
in Sanaa in January and confined the
president to his private residence.
Hadi managed to escape from the
Houthis two weeks ago. Page 10
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QATAR | Tour
Yemen’s defence
minister flees Sanaa
Vol. XXXVI No. 9656
March 9, 2015
Jumada I 18, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
Commercial plaza
to pioneer latest
cooling technology
In brief
REGION | Conflict
Latest Figures
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of
Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser
bin Khalifa al-Thani arrived in Algiers
yesterday evening on an official visit
to Algeria to take part in the 32nd
session of the Council of Arab Interior
Ministers. Sheikh Abdullah and the
accompanying delegation were
welcomed upon arrival at Houari
Boumediene International Airport by
Algerian Prime Minister Abdulmalik
Sellal. Page 2
215 teams from 70 schools
in National Destination
Imagination tournament
ton fires
Sri Lanka
Promised to offer a “unique worldclass shopping experience”,
Katara Plaza is to be operated by
Ali Bin Ali Group
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and South Korean President Park
Geun-hye during the official reception ceremony for the latter at the Emiri Diwan
yesterday. After the reception ceremony, HH the Emir and President Park held a
session of official talks. President Park left Doha later yesterday after her three-day
official visit to Qatar.
South Korea emerges as Qatar’s
second largest trade partner
E the Minister of Energy and
Industry Mohamed bin Saleh
al-Sada said yesterday that exports to South Korea represented 20%
of Qatar’s total exports.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) represented a third of those exports.
Speaking at the Qatari-South Korean Economic Forum, the minister
said that bilateral trade volume was at
$27bn in 2013, making South Korea the
second biggest trade partner of Qatar.
He said there were 34 Korean companies operating in Qatar with a combined capital exceeding $1bn. Joint
Qatari-Korean companies numbered
115, with a capital of $2bn.
Addressing the forum, Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI)
chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim alThani praised the contribution of Korean companies in the establishment of
many development projects not only in
Qatar, but also in other GCC states.
South Korean President Park Geunhye attended the forum with representative of 80 Korean companies.
Page 2, Business page 1
atara Plaza, Qatar’s first “openair, air-conditioned” commercial plaza, will open in September next year across a 38,000sqm area
in Katara, the Cultural Village, it was
announced yesterday.
Promised to offer a “unique worldclass shopping experience”, Katara Plaza is to be operated by Ali Bin Ali Group
which has signed an agreement with
Katara Plaza will have the French
department store Galeries Lafayette as
anchor tenant, Middle East’s first evian
Spa and a dedicated children’s mall.
The project will “offer a relaxed atmosphere and designated spaces for
shoppers, featuring some of the most
famous brands in the world, along with
recreational experiences, in line with
culture and entertainment”.
Katara Plaza is to have a “pioneering”, air-conditioned and open space
that provides year-round comfort utilising a state-of-the-art system that
uses the latest ground cooling technology, thereby presenting a perfect blend
of artistic architecture, innovation and
maximum comfort.
“The Ali Bin Ali Group recognises the
tremendous potential for growth available in the Qatari market, supports the
National Vision 2030 and promotes the
country’s status as a true trendsetter in
Dr al-Sulaiti and Nabeel Ali bin Ali flanked by other stakeholders in the Katara
Plaza project at the announcement yesterday.
the Gulf region,” vice chairman and executive vice president Nabeel Ali bin Ali
told a press conference.
Work on Galeries Lafayette has already begun with the world-famous
architect Bruno Moinard, who “intrinsically blends luxury and art, taking on
the creation of the stores”.
Katara Plaza will welcome one of
the very few exclusive evian Spas in the
world. The French natural mineral water
brand evian has developed a full exclusive spa concept “based on its core values of purity, health, and youthfulness”.
The evian Spa Doha will “literally
transport the customers to an evian
universe and its French Alpine birthplace, offering an unparalleled experience that goes beyond those offered in a
classical spa”, officials said.
The children’s mall is to be designed in
the form of two big gift boxes wrapped in
red and gold, a first for the Middle East.
“The uniqueness of the design reflects
Qatar’s inclination towards developing
landmarks of modern architecture.”
Katara Plaza project will provide residents of Katara Hills project with the
opportunity of first-hand experience of
this environment.
Katara general manager Dr Khalid
bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti said the cultural
district offered a “unique and unprecedented model” in investment-based
cultural projects.
“Katara is the embodiment of the
insightful vision of the Qatari national
leadership in pursuing the transition from a hydrocarbon economy to a
knowledge economy,” he said.
“The cultural district, which is already a meeting point for all cultures
in the world, also provides all means
of tourism, entertainment, shopping,
through new projects,” he added.
Pointing out that Katara received
as many as 14mn visitors during 2014,
up from the 7mn in 2013, Dr al-Sulaiti
added that the success of Katara Plaza
project was assured, given the cultural destination’s immense popularity
across the region and the world. Page 3
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Qatar and S Korea boost
ties with signing of MoUs
atar and South Korea
yesterday signed several
agreements as the two
countries sought to boost ties.
The agreements were signed
in the presence of HH the Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad alThani and visiting South Korean
President Park Geun-hye at the
Emiri Diwan.
Among the pacts were a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for co-operation in
diplomatic training between the
Diplomatic Institute at Qatar’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
the National Diplomatic Academy in the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Korea
and an MoU between the Qatar’s
Ministry of Energy and Industry
and the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning
for co-operation in the field of
human resources development
and research in the peaceful uses
of nuclear energy.
Another MoU was for cooperation in the field of tourism
between Qatar Tourism Authority and South Korea’s Ministry
of Culture, Sports and Tourism,
an MoU in the field of education
between the Supreme Education
Council (SEC) and South Korea’s
Ministry of Education.
Earlier, the Emir and the South
Korean president held official
The talks were attended by
HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani and
several ministers.
On the Korean side, the talks
were attended by the official delegation accompanying President
Park Geun-hye.
At the outset of the session,
HH the Emir welcomed the Korean president and the accompanying delegation, and expressed
his delight at the visit, which
represents a good opportunity
for the completion of the talks
held during the Emir’s visit to
South Korea last November.
The Emir hailed the outstanding relations with South Korea
going back more than 40 years.
He said the two countries have
consolidated the ties and reiterated support for the strategic
partnership between the two
He affirmed Qatar’s keenness to promote co-operation
between the two countries and
enhance the bonds of friendship
between the two peoples.
For her part, President Park
Geun-hye expressed gratitude
and appreciation to HH the Emir
for the warm hospitality and
reception, hailing Qatar’s keenness on the participation of Korean companies in joint ventures
and expressing confidence on
the consolidation of co-operation in various fields.
Talks during the session dealt
with bilateral relations and
Qatar condemns
attack in Mali
Qatar has condemned the attack
targeting a restaurant in Bamako,
Mali on Friday night that killed
five civilians, including members
of the UN Mine Action Service in
Mali and the European Union, and
injuring many others.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed in
a statement yesterday Qatar’s full
solidarity with the Malian, French
and Belgian governments, and its
support for the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Mali
and the UN mission to help the
authorities and the people of Mali
in their efforts aimed at achieving
peace and stability. The statement
also expressed sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
It also reiterates Qatar’s rejection
of all forms of violence whatever
its cause and motives.
PM leaves
for Algeria
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin
Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani yesterday left for Algeria to take part in
the 32nd session of the Council of
Arab Ministers of Interior.
Ties reviewed
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the two countries’ delegations hold talks at the Emiri Diwan.
HE the President of the Administrative Control and Transparency
Authority Abdullah bin Hamad
al-Attiyah yesterday met British
Ambassador Nicholas Hopton.
During the meeting, they discussed issues of common interest.
z HE the Minister of State for
Defence Affairs Maj Gen Hamad
bin Ali al-Attiyah met yesterday
Italy’s Special Envoy for Libya
Ambassador Giuseppe Buccino.
Talks covered issues related to the
current situation in Libya.
HE the Assistant Foreign Minister
for International Co-operation
Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin
Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani
also met Grimaldi.
HH the Emir and the South Korean president look on as ministers from the two countries sign MoUs.
prospects of developing them
in various fields in addition to a
number of regional and international issues of mutual concern.
President Park Geun-hye was
accorded an official reception
ceremony when she arrived at
the Emiri Diwan.
Later, the hosted a luncheon
banquet in honour of the South
Korean president.
The banquet was attended by
several ministers and businessmen. (QNA)
z The Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) and
the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) signed
an MoU with the aim of facilitating co-operation between the two
sides to support industrial sector
in the GCC countries.
GOIC Assistant Secretary
General for Industrial Projects
Sector Dr Ali Hamed al-Mulla
and KOTRA Vice-Chairman
Wansug Yan signed the MoU.
The MoU aims to boost co-od-
ination between the two organisations, notably hosting conferences, participating in researches
or working papers and providing
technical support. It also aims at
exchanging technological information and statistical data in economic and industrial areas
Both parties agreed on the
need for co-operation in the
area of consultation and survey
of industrial potential (IPS),
with the participation of KOTRA into interactive Industrial
Market Intelligence Portal (IMI
Plus) by providing data and information and supporting researchers.
They also agreed to exchange
professional expertise in order to
build knowledge through holding seminars, conferences and
z The Qatari-South Korean Economic Forum began a meeting in
Doha yesterday.
It was attended by the South
Korean president. Business
Page 1
z The Chief Executive Officer
(CEO) of Qatar Media Corp, HE
Sheikh Abdurrahman bin Hamad
al-Thani yesterday met Saudi Ambassador Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
al-Aifan. Talks dealt with the
media relations between the two
Students visit NHRC
The South Korean president inspects a guard of honour upon her arrival at the Emiri Diwan.
The Qatar National Human
Rights Committee (NHRC) works
independently and transparently
at all levels, a senior official said
yesterday. Speaking to students of
Omar bin Abdul Aziz Independent
Secondary School for Boys during
their visit to the NHRC headquarters, Director of the Legal Affairs
Department Jaber al-Hwail said
the organisation works fairly and
upholds human rights issues.
The NHRC receiving A Grade accreditation from the International
Co-ordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions
(ICC) reaffirms the organisations’
transparent and neutral work at
local, regional and international
levels, he said.
Experts to give lectures
during GCC Traffic Week
he 31st GCC Traffic Week
opened at Darb Al Saai
yesterday evening, the
Ministry of Interior said.
This year the event is being
held under the theme ‘Your Decision Determines Your Destiny.’
The Director General of Public
Security Staff Major General Saad
bin Jassim al-Khulaifi opened the
event at 6pm in the presence of the
Director General of Traffic Brigadier Mohamed Saad al-Kharji,
along with top officials from GCC
countries, directors and officers of
different departments of Ministry
of Interior.
The week-long event includes
workshops for students on the
theme of the traffic week and
workshop on ‘Your Safety is Your
Choice’, free art and workshop on
traffic signals.
The activities include seminars on several related topics as
well. A seminar will be conducted
on ‘Driving Decisions and Their
role in Reducing Accidents’.
On the third day the seminar’s
topic will be ‘Common Traffic
Signals Among Communities’,
and on the fourth day ‘Motorcycles - Hobbies and Risks’.
Awareness lectures will be held
during the week. Dr Eissa al-Hurr
will lecture on the ‘Role of Family in Reducing Accidents’. Experts
from Qatar Lawyers Association
and Qatar Red Crescent are listed
to speak. Awqaf member Sheikh
Saaban al-Sinouhri will lecture on
‘Drivers’ Behaviour’.
Hamad Hospital’s Injuries
Unit will also present a lecture.
Qatar Awareness Group will
speak on ‘Rights of Persons With
Special Needs’.
Eid Charity, Mawater, different driving schools and other
agencies will showcase a variety
of events. Competitions will be
organised on the sidelines of the
Traffic Week, the MoI said.
Earlier in the day, the delegates from GCC countries visited
the headquarters of the General
Directorate of Traffic and were
briefed on its functions and sys-
tems. They also held talks with
Brig al-Kharji at his office.
During the meeting, the Traffic director-general described the
functions of the operations centre
and explained how a message about
an accident was conveyed to the
nearest patrolling team. He stressed
that the number of road accident
fatalities had declined considerably
although the population of Qatar
was growing fast, and pointed to the
ongoing expansion works in all sectors as part of preparations for the
2022 FIFA World Cup.
The delegates also paid a visit
to the National Command Centre
(NCC) where they were received
by Col Saeed Hassan al-Mazroui,
director of the Central Operations
Department. They listened to a
briefing on the work philosophy of
the departments and sections under NCC and procedural actions
taken from the time of receiving
reports and complaints to the delivery of services required.
The delegation members were
impressed by the unique advancements offered in service
sectors of the government.
The traffic exhibition, being held as part of the 31st GCC Traffic Week, was opened at Darb Al Saai in Doha yesterday evening by Staff Maj Gen Saad bin Jassim
al-Khulaifi, Director-General of Public Security, in the presence of Brig Mohamed Saad al-Kharji, director-general of the General Directorate of Traffic, along with
dignitaries from other GCC countries and directors and officers of different departments of the Ministry of Interior. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil.
The GCC delegates were received by al-Kharji, directors and officers.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Cooling technology
New Mers
case in Qatar
Dignitaries viewing a model of the Katara Plaza project yesterday. Katara Plaza, Qatar’s first “open-air, air-conditioned” commercial plaza, will open in September next
year across a 38,000sqm area in Katara, the Cultural Village. Promised to offer a “unique world-class shopping experience”, Katara Plaza is to be operated by Ali Bin Ali
Group which has signed an agreement with Katara. Katara Plaza will have the French department store Galeries Lafayette as anchor tenant, Middle East’s first evian Spa
and a dedicated children’s mall. The project will “offer a relaxed atmosphere and designated spaces for shoppers, featuring some of the most famous brands in the world,
along with recreational experiences, in line with culture and entertainment”. Katara Plaza is to have a “pioneering”, air-conditioned and open space that provides
year-round comfort utilising a state-of-the-art system that uses the latest ground cooling technology, thereby presenting a perfect blend of artistic architecture,
innovation and maximum comfort. PICTURE: Najeer Feroke
QU initiative to attract top students
atar University (QU)
has announced a new
initiative to attract highachieving secondary school students to make application for
early conditional admission to
undergraduate programmes for
Fall 2015.
Department of Admissions
director Nouf al-Kuwari explained that early conditional
admission is provisional admission pending successful completion of the final year of high
school and submission of all admission requirements. Students
granted early conditional admission will learn the successful
result on March 26, and will gain
placement in their first college
choice, she said.
Al-Kuwari said: “This initiative is just as exciting for us as the
students who will gain early admission. It is our way of promoting the qualities of perseverance
and determination to succeed to
students preparing for the next
phase in their academic journey.
It is also a motivating factor for
them to work hard and push for
excellence in their final scores.
We look forward to receiving
their applications and later to
welcoming them as the first early
admits to QU”.
All Qatari citizens as well as
Qatari parents’ children currently in the 12th grade who
have earned a minimum of 85%
in the 11th grade and 85% in the
first semester of their 12th grade
are eligible for admission consideration to the colleges of Arts
& Sciences, Business & Economics, Education, Engineering, Law, Pharmacy and Sharia
& Islamic Students; and 95%
for admission to the College of
In addition to fulfilling the
regular official requirements,
applicants seeking early conditional admission must also
submit, by March 19, a certified
copy of Grade 11 transcript and
Grade 12 transcript of the first
semester, as well as a copy of
their Qatar ID.
In its announcement, the
Department stressed that applicants who do not satisfy the
early conditional admission
minimum requirements will
still be considered for regular
First-Year admission upon submission all required documents
including final, official and certified high school transcripts
before July 7.
Qatari man, aged 69 years,
has been affected with
Middle East Respiratory
Syndrome Corona Virus (MersCoV) case, the Supreme Council
of Health (SCH) has announced.
The patient, who also has a
history of chronic illnesses, has
had fever for a few days. He developed sore throat and cough
and was referred to Hamad General Hospital. Upon assessment
and laboratory investigations,
the patient was diagnosed with
pneumonia and subsequently
confirmed as a Mers-CoV case
in the national reference laboratory. He is currently admitted in
ICU in critical condition.
The Rapid Response Team of
the SCH conducted an epidemiological investigation including
line listing of all close contacts to
the case and initiated screening.
Health education about appropri-
ate preventive measures was given
to the contacts along with close
follow-up for any symptoms.
The SCH has urged all community members to implement
all the recommended infection
prevention and control measures.
As a general precaution, anyone
visiting farms, markets, barns,
or other places where animals
are present should practise general hygiene measures, including
regular hand washing before and
after touching animals, and avoid
contact with sick animals.
People with diabetes, renal
failure, chronic lung disease, and
immunocompromised persons
are considered to be at high risk
of severe disease from Mers-CoV
infection. Therefore, these people should avoid contact with
camels, drinking raw camel milk
or eating meat that has not been
properly cooked.
Date set for verdict in
teacher murder case
he verdict in the murder
case of American expatriate teacher Jennifer Brown
by an African security guard has
been scheduled for April 14.
Based on the demand of the victims’ family, their lawyer sought
life imprisonment for the accused
yesterday during the hearing at the
Doha Criminal Court.
A representative of the US embassy was present in the court,
alongside the accused, his lawyer
and the representative of his embassy in Doha.
The defence argued that the
case should not be treated as premeditated murder but it should
be classified as beating that resulted in death. He said the accused did not have any intention
to kill the teacher.
The lawyer claimed that the
accused was called into the apartment by the victim, who asked
him to do some repair work.
“A fight started between them,
which made him beat her up.”
The defence lawyer also argued
that the accused was not carrying
a weapon with him and the knife
used in the crime was taken from
the kitchen of the victim.
Jennifer Brown was killed in
November 2012 in her apartment
at Al Sadd area.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Expanded ‘Bone and Joint Centre’ to open soon
Hamad Medical Corporation is getting ready
to open the expanded Bone and Joint Centre
outpatient clinic at Hamad General Hospital,
local Arabic daily Al Watan has reported.
The expanded facility will feature more
check-up rooms and surgery chambers,
which will help reduce the waiting period. At
present, the waiting time may extend up to
six months depending on the urgency and
severity of the case, according to the report.
The centre currently handles around 180,000
cases annually, and this is expected to
increase once the expanded facility starts
functioning, the daily added.
Ooredoo picks up award
for ‘connecting women’
oredoo yesterday announced that it was
honoured with the GSMA’s Connected
Women: Leadership in Industry Award,
for its work to empower women in Myanmar.
The ceremony was hosted during the Mobile
World Congress in Barcelona.
Ooredoo has worked to grow the female digital economy and empower women in Myanmar
through a variety of initiatives since the commercial launch of its services in August 2014, according to a statement.
These include educational outreach programmes that increase female digital awareness and access to mobile services such as the
maternal healthcare app, MayMay, community
initiatives that encourage women to become
digital entrepreneurs such as Geek Girls, and
promoting women as industry leaders through
Myanmar’s first ever Connected Women conference hosted in co-ordination with USAID
and the GSMA.
Dr Nasser Marafih, Group CEO of Ooredoo,
said: “We are delighted that our efforts in Myanmar have been recognised with this prestigious award. We believe every woman should
have an equal opportunity to access the benefits
of using a mobile phone. Working to address
this, we have taken the lead in providing life-
A representative of Ooredoo with the award.
enhancing services for women, supporting the
greater economic inclusion of women and accelerating the female digital economy not just
in Myanmar but across all the markets that we
operate in.”
Ross Cormack, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar who
collected the award, added: “Our team in Myanmar are pioneers, developing innovative solutions
that speak to real issues affecting women in the
Myanmar market today. In addition to the positive impact these initiatives are creating in our
market, the ideas are also scalable and we are in
the process of adapting some of these for rollout
across Ooredoo’s global footprint.”
Ooredoo is a committed partner to the GSMA’s
Connected Women programme, which is focused
on the socio-economic benefits of greater inclusion of women at all points in the mobile industry,
from consumer to employee to leaders. Working
with the GSMA’s Connected Women programme,
Ooredoo is currently undertaking a study in Myanmar that will offer critical insights into the
socio-economic benefits of greater inclusion of
women in the nation’s telecommunications sector. The findings will be used to develop initiatives
and services specifically tailored for female consumers and employees.
Ooredoo has partnered with leading international organisations to help further its efforts in
this area. It is one of 10 global companies working with the World Bank Group on the SheWorks
partnership to implement measures that enhance
women’s employment opportunities.
The GSMA awards have recognised excellence
and achievement across the mobile world for 20
years. This was the first year that the awards recognised leadership in connecting women.
Community Policing dept honours Sheikh Thani
heikh Thani bin Abdullah alThani has been honoured by
the Community Policing Department in recognition of his humanitarian initiatives and contributions to the society.
The Community Policing officials
headed by the department’s director
Lt Col Ahmad Zayed al-Mohannadi
met Sheikh Thani, to express their
happiness on him winning the International Dentons Award 2014
for Social Impact, for his social, humanitarian and charitable activities
around the world.
The executive director of the
Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of
Persons with Special Needs Ameer
al-Mulla was also present.
Lt Col al-Mohannadi lauded
Sheikh Thani saying he would make
all Qataris proud. “We are more
happy as his humanitarian services through his establishments are
reaching different sectors of the society,” he said.
Al-Mohannadi reiterated that
Community Policing of the Ministry
of Interior is committed to working
in collaboration with all stakeholders, in order to ensure security and
stability through communal contri-
Community Policing officials with Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah al-Thani at the
honouring ceremony.
butions and co-operation.
Sheikh Thani thanked the initiatives of Community Policing and
expressed his pleasure over the support of the MoI for humanitarian
services and social work.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Health centres to implement
triage system by mid-2016
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
he triage system will be
implemented at all the
health centres under the
Primary Health Care Corporation
PHCC) by mid-2016.
Triage will be followed by
the clinical information system
(CIS) which is expected to be
completed by the end of 2016.
The triage system has already
been in place in 10 health centres. Out of them, four centres
have also implemented the CIS.
“We are working on collecting
data and comments from patients
and staff to gain better evaluation
of the service and to conduct the
necessary staff training before
starting the next phase of the
project at the remaining health
centres,” Mariam Ali Abdulmalik,
managing director, PHCC, told
reporters yesterday.
The official said that the new
system has given opportunity to
patients according to priority of
Two health centres soon
Primary Health Care Corporation ( PHCC) will open two
health centres by the end of the
second quarter of this year, a
top PHCC official has said.
Flora R Asuncion, assistant managing director, clinical affairs, operations and workforce development, PHCC, said that two health
centres, to be built by Ashghal,
will replace the health centres at
Al Karana, Al Ghwaireya.
She also said that four more
health centres are expected
to be completed by the end of
this year. “With this the total
number of health centres that
are expected to open this year
comes to six,” she added.
the cases. She said, “Before the
introduction of triage system,
there were varied waiting times
that could sometimes be too
long. In the old system, priority
to see the doctor was on the basis
of first come first serve regard-
Mariam Ali Abdulmalik, second left, speaking at a press conference while other PHCC officials look on.
PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil
less of the urgency of the case.
Thanks to the introduction of
this service, patients with more
urgent and critical needs are given priority.”
Abdulmalik pointed out that
there are five levels in the triage
system to determine the urgency
of seeing a doctor according to
clinical needs.
She said, “The number of patients who were able to see the
doctor within less than 30 minutes was 13,547, which is 54% of
all levels. The number of patients
who were able to see the doctor
within 30-90 minutes was 9,657,
which is 39% of all levels. The
number of patients who were
able to see the doctor within 2-4
hours was 1,168, which is 5% of
all levels.”
The official pointed out that
the implementation of new systems will ensure provision of
safe and efficient health care to
patients. She noted that there
were short-term challenges
but with positive impact on the
Aspire for Education meet to address learning disabilities
nternational experts will address the topic “Academic
support - collaboration for
success” at the Aspire for Education II conference, set to begin
at Aspire Academy from today.
The two-day event takes place
under the patronage of HE the
Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed Abdul
Wahed Ali al-Hammadi.
Studies show that between 10%
and 15% of students are affected
in a range of areas such as atten-
tion span, memory and linguistic
ability. If teachers fail to respond
in the right way, it can be highly
detrimental to a child’s education, but it also works both ways.
That’s why Aspire for Education
II will also address these “hidden
disabilities” at the conference,
according to a statement.
“We want to raise awareness
for people with learning disabilities and tell these students
that they are not alone with
their challenges. On the other
Bank launches
Ikea offer
hand, we want to make academic
support specialists aware that
providing specialised services
for students with special educational needs requires the collaboration of the entire school
staff and families,” said Badr alHay, director of education and
student care at Aspire Academy.
“We strongly believe in collaboration between all school
professionals to give students
the opportunity to enjoy a positive learning experience in a safe
school environment. We hope
this conference will offer participants a chance to share knowledge and experience to improve
the quality of academic support services and enhance their
awareness among schools, families and society,” added al-Hay.
Around 200 delegates from Qatar, the Arab world, Gulf region and
other parts of the world are gathering at Aspire Academy this month
to attend lectures and workshops
that will address this major topic.
Top experts have been invited
to speak, including Kathy Perez
(US), an acclaimed educational
consultant, author and motivational speaker specialising in innovative instructional strategies,
literacy for struggling students
and leadership development.
Other prominent speakers
are Dr Gad Elbeheri, an expert
in dyslexia from the Australian College of Kuwait, and Dr
Moayyad al-Homidi from KAU
University in Saudi Arabia.
Qatar’s first private
bank, has expressed
pride in being the exclusive financial services partner with Ikea - the world’s
biggest furniture retailer,
which celebrates its second
anniversary in Qatar.
Commercial Bank customers can benefit from the
‘Shop Now, Pay Later’ interest free payment offer when
they use their Commercial
Bank credit cards for shopping at the Ikea store at Doha
Festival City.
The offer is available at 0%
interest for up to 24 months
on all purchases of QR400 or
more at Ikea. There is no need
for additional documents or
Dean Proctor, EGM, head
of retail and enterprise banking, Commercial Bank, congratulated Ikea on reaching
the milestone of two years of
business in Qatar. “We are
immensely proud of our exclusive financial services partnership with Ikea, which has
been a huge success so far and
we look forward to a long and
lasting partnership that will
benefit all our customers in
the future.”
All Commercial Bank credit
cardholders including Diners Club, Visa or MasterCard
holders can benefit from the
‘Shop Now, Pay Later’ offer.
Commercial Bank also has a
dedicated kiosk in the Ikea
store where non CBQ customers can apply for a Commercial Bank credit card onthe-spot.
James McGowan, regional
brand communication manager, Ikea – Qatar, UAE, Egypt
and Oman, stated that Ikea
entered Qatar with an ambition to serve customers
with affordable products and
“Ikea products are now
even more affordable for
Commercial Bank customers
with ‘Shop Now, Pay Later’
available throughout the year.”
Commercial Bank Credit
Cardholders continue to enjoy the widest range of benefits, including 0% Buy Now
Pay Later at over 200 other
retail outlets, exclusive offers on travel, dining and
shopping in Qatar and overseas, complimentary access
to over 500 executive airport
lounges worldwide, complimentary travel insurance and
much more.
Commercial Bank also
offers a reward points programme, allowing reward
points to be earned when
using their Credit Card for
retail purchases. The reward
points can be redeemed
against gift vouchers, free
flights, hotels and charitable
With Commercial Bank reward points, customers can
book flights to any destination, with any airline, with no
blackout dates and no hidden charges or taxes through
their first-to-market FlyMiles
programme as well as redeem
reward points against a wide
variety of partners, which
include electronics, fashion,
jewellery, department stores,
home furnishing, sports and
leisure, spas and more.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Almuftah Trading launches new range of ACs
Journal publishes issue on
sovereign wealth funds
Almuftah Trading, a home appliance distributor, has launched a new line-up of environment-friendly air-conditioners
from Sharp. Almuftah Group managing director Ibrahim Almuftah described the product launch as “in line with our
efforts to provide the best products to the local market, we are proud to be part of the global movement to tackle
climate change.” Sharp Middle East Free Zone deputy managing director Shogo Hara stated that Sharp aims to meet
the latest global standards on energy efficiency. General manager (air-conditioning development) Masataka Ohnishi
explained that the new air-conditioners utilises eco-friendly R410A refrigerant instead of the ozone-depleting R22
refrigerant. General manager Kezong Yang added that the new 1.5 ton-capacity AHA/AU 18 EZN 2 and the 2
ton-capacity AHA/AU 24 EZN 2 air-conditioners features an easily removable fan, motor, filter and louvers making
them more service-friendly. These units also come with thermal cut-off fuse to help in avoiding fire accidents.
nternational Review of
Law journal (IRL) has
published a special issue
on sovereign wealth funds
dedicated to the exploration of emerging global
legal sovereign wealth funds
The IRL, published on
the online
publishing platform of
Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals (BQFJ), is accessible to all with free to
read articles.
BQFJ is collaboration between Qatar Foundation and
Bloomsbury Publishing.
With SWFs increasingly
demonstrating their global
appeal, the need to understand legal and regulatory
issues has been the stimulus
to publish the document.
IRL SWF investments are
now being felt far and wide
in virtually all international
investment markets as well
as through SWFs’ ambitious private investments
in finance, real estate, agri-
culture, energy exploration,
transportation, infrastructure
development and technology.
The online publishing of
the special issue supports the
mission of Qatar Foundation
for Education, Science and
Community Development
(QF) in its quest to enhance
transfer knowledge.
Several legal questions that
are challenging, intricate and
novel have arisen with respect to SWF investments.
This special issue brings together eminent scholars who
tackle these complexities and
offer insightful analysis and
The cutting edge topics in this issue include: the
connection and interplay
between SWFs and global
financial institutions with
respect to anti-corruption
measures and economic
policy in developing states;
SWFs as ‘investors’ in international trade and the scope
and substance of procedural
rights in the framework of
the World Trade Organisation and General Agreement
on Trade in Services; the
definition of ‘investor’ and
the identity of SWFs and
State Owned Enterprises in
the context of global trade
and international investment treaties; SWFs and restrictions on foreign investment, sovereign immunity,
taxation and corporate social
responsibility; Committee
on Foreign Investments in
the United States review of
SWF transactions in light of
recent case developments in
the United States focusing on
‘due process’ considerations;
and a discussion of incipient
SWF shareholder activism,
the ensuing impact on United States securities law and
proposals for amending the
current regulatory structure.
Professor Joel Slawotsky, the journal issue’s guest
editor of the International
Review of Law Special Issue: Emerging governance
issues of sovereign wealth
funds, said, “It has been a
distinct pleasure working
with QScience, IRL and our
distinguished authors. This
issue will serve as a vibrant
platform for further scholarship and will also advance the
discourse in both the private
and government sectors.”
Dr Christopher Leonard,
head, academic and journals
publishing of,
said: “Some of the wealthiest
nations on Earth are ensuring
their future financial security
through the means of sovereign wealth funds, and we are
delighted to offer this latest
research into SWFs for free, for
all to read on”
The journal covers issues
concerning financial security, trade and investment,
which constitute an integral
part of QF’s strategic goal to
support the Qatar National
Vision 2030 of transforming
Qatar from a hydrocarbon to
knowledge-based economy
and its key pillars including
economic diversification.
Gord and Saudi Council of
Engineers sign agreement
The Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) has signed a
memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gulf
Organisation for Research and Development (Gord).
The agreement was signed by SCE chairman
Hamad bin Nasser El-Shakawi and Gord founding
chairman Dr Yousef Alhorr.
The strategic partnership aims to build
new channels of co-operation and promote
sustainability on a large scale through effective
initiatives for reducing energy consumption
and carbon emissions, encouraging the use of
environmentally safe materials and supporting
green building projects. These, in turn, will help
achieve economic and environmental balance
and maintain urban identity in Saudi Arabia.
SCE and Gord will work on research and
development programmes related to
environmental issues and human resources
development within the real estate sector.
SCE will hold seminars and interactive training
workshops in collaboration with Gord to refine
the skills of professionals working within the
construction industry in Saudi Arabia and provide
them with the knowledge needed to develop and
apply sustainability concepts in future projects.
El-Shakawi said: “We are pleased and confident
that such collaboration with Gord will create
a positive impact on our continuing efforts
to develop the capabilities of practitioners
concerned, such as engineers and related
professionals, making them more proficient with
environmental sustainability concepts.
Dr Alhorr said: “We will be collaborating with the
Saudi Council of Engineers to put the Gulf region at
the forefront of the ecologically sustained countries
of the world. This huge stride will be achieved
through spreading the standards of sustainability,
solidifying the culture of creativity and innovation,
encouraging openness to experience exchange and
benefiting from successful trials.”
Grand Mart Group and Smile officials at the launch event.
New retail chain brand
from Grand Mart Group
launched a new brand
of retail chain, Smile. The logo
was unveiled by Grand Mart
Group chairmen Sheikh Jassim
Thamer Issa al-Thani (Qatar)
and Mohamed Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz al-Duaij
Group vice chairman Ashraf
Chakarath announced that Smile
is going to make the largest human Smiley on March 27. The
store is to be opened on April 16.
Smile has partnered with Reach
out to Asia.
Group general manager Vivek
Verma revealed plans to add a total of 300,000sqm of retail space
across GCC countries in three to
five years. Marketing head Vivek
Pateshwari said the Smile e-
commerce portal is set for a beta
launch on April 16.
Project manager Masud Khan
said they have opened a toll free
number (8001801) for customer
service and feedback. Purchase
head Muneesh Sharma claimed
that Smile “will be the best in
terms of price, quality and service.”
Ready to eat self-heating
foods and American products
Asher’s ice cream and Alaska
Glacier Water are among the
products to be offered by Smile,
he added.
Managing partner Rajesh K
Nedungadi, executive director
Noushad V K, operations director Shaukathali Chakarath, and
business associate and advisor
George Shaju were also present
at the launch event.
Restaurant and lounge open at The Torch Doha
The Torch Doha, a member of Leading Hotels of the
World, has announced the opening of Panorama
Restaurant & SKY Lounge, introducing a ‘bistronomy
concept, a combination of French bistro with a twist
and gastronomy. ‘The restaurant is located on the
50th floor and offers a 360 degree panoramic view of
Doha. Specialty chef Vincent Denayer emphasises on
seasonal produce, high-quality European ingredients
and adds a Mediterranean twist to traditional recipes.
SKY is a high-end lounge serving a combination of
gastronomy bites, innovative mocktails, premium cold
beverages and signature tea. SKY is located on the 51st
level, at the very top of The Torch Doha. “Guests can
unwind with a great food and beverage selection and
splendid views from a height of 300m,” added hotel
manager Sherif Sabry.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Obama cites progress in US-Iran nuclear talks
he US and Iran have narrowed their differences in
nuclear weapons negotiations, President Barack Obama
said in the face of a renewed Republican warning yesterday that
any deal will face a tough congressional review.
“We have made progress in
narrowing the gaps, but those
gaps still exist,” Obama said in
an interview on CBS News’ Face
the Nation that was recorded on
Saturday and broadcast yesterday.
He nonetheless repeated he
was willing to walk away from
negotiations, which are scheduled to reach a framework deal
in late March, if Tehran does not
meet Washington’s demands.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell, a Republican, cautioned the Democratic president
not to make “the bad deal we all
anticipate he’s going to make”. He
said Obama “cannot work around
Congress forever”.
McConnell told CBS he was
hoping to get 67 of the Senate’s
100 members “to assert the
historic role of the Senate ... in
looking at matters of this magnitude”.
Sixty-seven votes are needed to
overturn any presidential veto of
legislation regarding an Iran deal.
The same number of votes are
needed for Senate ratification of
treaties negotiated by presidents
with foreign countries.
Arguing that Iran was “fomenting trouble” in other Middle Eastern countries including
Syria, McConnell also warned
that the Senate “cannot ignore
all of their other behaviour in
looking at the potential nuclear
The negotiations with Iran
centre on restricting its ability to
produce weapons grade nuclear
materials while allowing it to develop nuclear energy.
Defending the talks, which have
come under withering criticism
also from Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama told
“Iran has abided by the terms
of the agreement, we know
what’s happening on the ground
in Iran, they have not advanced
their nuclear programme, we’ve
been able to roll back their 20%
highly enriched uranium during
this period of time” of negotiations.
McConnell had planned to debate on the Senate floor this week
a bill requiring Obama to submit
any deal with Iran to Congress for
approval. But on Friday, he postponed it after Democrats objected
to the timing.
Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes
but Washington and others fear it
is covertly seeking the capacity to
build a bomb.
Yemen’s defence
minister escapes
Sanaa for Aden
emen’s defence minister
has fled Houthi-controlled Sanaa for Aden, officials said yesterday, in a move
expected to bolster President
Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in
his power struggle with the Shia
Muslim group.
Yemen is caught in a stand-off
between the president and the
Houthi clan, now the country’s
de facto rulers. They seized the
presidential palace in Sanaa in
January and confined the president to his private residence.
Hadi managed to escape from
the Houthis two weeks ago.
Officials said Defence Minister General Mahmoud al-Subaihi
escaped in a convoy on Saturday
night, arriving in the southern
port city of Aden early yesterday.
They said the Houthis shot and
killed four of Subaihi’s security
guards in the western province
of Hodeida, where they attacked
a convoy in their search for the
Hadi, who resigned after the
Houthis seized the presidential
palace, has since re-claimed the
presidency and is seeking to set
up a rival power centre in the
south with loyalist army units
and tribes.
The Iran-backed Houthis
control much of the north while
several Gulf state embassies have
said they would operate from
Aden in the south after Hadi’s
Russian ambassador Vladimir
Dedushkin met with Hadi yesterday and affirmed his country’s
support, the first time a Russian
official has expressed a position
in the conflict in Yemen since the
power struggle started.
Dedushkin told reporters after the meeting that his country
had no doubt about Hadi’s legitimacy, the Yemen news agency in
Aden said.
The US and its Gulf allies fear
the spread of militant and sectarian violence in Yemen will push
the country towards a civil war
and unravel the state’s already
limited control over its strategically important territory be-
UAE to try Kuwaiti ex-MP
Abu Dhabi
he United Arab Emirates said
yesterday it will try a Kuwaiti
Islamist ex-MP in absentia for
allegedly “inciting sedition” in remarks he made about Abu Dhabi’s
crown prince.
Mubarak al-Duwailah has been referred to the Federal Supreme Court,
the UAE’s top court, for “allegedly
abusing religion to incite sedition,
harm national unity, (and) disturb
social peace,” WAM news agency reported Attorney General Salim Saeed
Kubaish as saying.
The former lawmaker was also
charged with “intentionally” spreading “false news... rumours... provocative and malicious propaganda”, Kubaish said.
Duwailah is a leading figure in the
Islamic Constitutional Movement, an
offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in
In a December television interview
on the Kuwaiti parliament’s Al-Majlis
television channel, Duwailah “falsely
alleged” that the UAE was against Sunni Islam, said the statement on WAM.
Duwailah was questioned by Kuwait’s public prosecution in January
on accusations that he insulted the
leaders of a friendly country and that
he endangered diplomatic relations
with the UAE.
He denied the accusations and was released on 5,000-dinar ($16,800) bail. No
charges have so far been pressed against
Duwailah in Kuwait, where he lives.
Yemen’s Defence Minister General Mahmoud al-Subaihi looks on upon his arrival in the Yemeni province
of Lahj yesterday. Subaihi was set to resume his duties from second city Aden after defecting from Shia
militia who control the capital.
tween oil giant Saudi Arabia and
an important Red Sea shipping
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the Sunni
Muslim militant groups battling the Shia Houthis since they
captured AQAP’s central Yemen
strongholds last year, attacked
a camp of Houthi fighters in
Yemen’s central province of Baida yesterday killing eight, tribal
sources said.
In Maarib, another central
Oman jails rights activist
who wrote letter to Obama
n Omani court jailed
a prominent activist
for three years yesterday for a range of offences including undermining
the state, a charge a newspaper said was related to an
open letter to US President
Barack Obama about human
rights in the country.
Lawyer Yaboub al-Harthi
said the Court of First Instance in Muscat had found
Said Jadad, who took part in
the 2011 Arab Spring protests, guilty of “undermining the prestige of the state”,
inciting the public to join an
illegal gathering and using
Bahrain to probe
‘waste’ of $1bn
of public money
Bahraini legislators plan
to investigate alleged
squandering of BD400mn
($1.06bn) of public funds by
government departments
and state-linked companies, a
Manama newspaper reported
The National Audit Court
(NAC) produced the figure
in its 2013/14 report, the Gulf
Daily News said and quoted
parliamentary economic
affairs committee member
Mohamed al-Ahmed as
saying that ministers would
be quizzed and committees
set up to investigate possible
tender violations.
The $1bn-plus would
represent a significant
proportion of the kingdom’s
gross domestic product
- pegged at $34bn by the
International Monetary Fund
last year - at a time when
the oil-producing Gulf Arab
state’s finances are under
increased pressure because
of a fall in crude prices.
The National Audit Office
told Reuters that the report
was not public and had been
distributed to select people
only. It declined to provide
more information.
The report by the NAC, set
up set up in 2011 to fight
corruption and increase
transparency in government,
alleges that money was
wasted at state-linked
companies including Bahrain
Petroleum Co (Bapco)
and Aluminium Bahrain
(Alba), the Gulf Daily News
the Internet to publish materials that disturb public
As well as the jail sentence, Jadad was also ordered to pay fines totalling RO1,700 ($4,470). The
court set a RO2,000 bail
for any decision to free him
pending an appeal.
The lawyer said Jadad intended to appeal against the
Omani online newspaper
Mowatin said the charge
of undermining the state
stemmed from a 2013 open
letter to Obama in which
Jadad had expressed “dismay” over US policies regarding human rights in the
Gulf region.
province, clashes between tribe
members loyal to the Houthis
and those against it resulted in
the killing of three Houthis before tribal leaders intervened to
calm the situation, the sources
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
EU accuses Syrian man of buying IS oil for govt
he European Union has
imposed sanctions on a
Syrian businessman who
it says bought oil for the Syrian
government from Islamic State
militants who have seized wide
areas of the country including its
oil-producing regions.
The businessman, George
Haswani, denied the accusation.
He told Reuters by phone that the
European Union had no evidence
to back up the claim and should
instead look for intermediaries he
said were smuggling oil to Turkey
on Islamic State’s behalf.
Islamic State has seized much
of eastern and northern Syria,
including areas at the borders
with Iraq and Turkey, declaring the territories part of its
Adding to its list of sanctions
on supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the EU
said Haswani worked as an intermediary to agree oil contracts
between Syria and Islamic State.
“George Haswani provides
support (for) and benefits from
the regime through his role as a
middleman in deals for the purchase of oil from ISIL (Islamic
State) by the Syrian regime,”
the EU said in its official journal
without detailing how it reached
its conclusion.
“He has close ties to the Syrian
regime,” the EU said, adding that
Haswani also goes by the names
Al Hasawani and Heswani.
Haswani’s HESCO Engineering & Construction Co is a major
business in Syria, the EU said.
Haswani said his company builds
oil and gas installations, and had
worked in Algeria, the United
Arab Emirates and Sudan.
Bashir campaign rally
UAE airlines suspend flights to
Erbil over security concerns
nited Arab Emirates
airlines Emirates, flydubai and Etihad Airways have suspended flights
to Erbil, the airlines said in
separate statements yesterday,
citing security concerns as Islamic State razes ancient cities
in Iraq’s north.
Budget carrier flydubai,
which was involved in a security incident in January when
bullets hit one of its planes
landing in Baghdad, temporarily suspended flights to Erbil
and Sulaimaniyah due to “expanded military activity in the
north of the country,” it said in
a statement.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad
Airways said it had suspended
flights to Erbil effective March 6
until further notice, due to the
“deteriorating security situation in Iraq.”
Emirates also suspended
flights to Erbil from March 7
and deferred plans to resume
flights to Baghdad, which it said
last month would recommence
eign Minister Philip Hammond.
“This listing gives yet another
indication that Assad’s ‘war’ on
ISIL is a sham and that he supports them financially,” Hammond said in a statement.
Haswani said he would sue the
European Union.
Damascus accuses the Turkish government, which is hostile
to Assad, of supporting Islamic
State in different ways, including
by allowing it to smuggle contra-
band out of northern Syria. Turkey denies the accusations.
A February report by the Paris-based Financial Action Task
Force said that Islamic State
had generated large amounts
of money by appropriating oil
fields and from criminal activity
such as theft and extortion.
The UN Security Council, meanwhile, has threatened
sanctions against anyone buying
oil from Islamic State.
Iraq calls for
air power to
protect its
Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses Sufi supporters during a campaign rally of the ruling National Congress Party for
the upcoming presidential election, in Omdurman yesterday. Bashir kicked off his re-election campaign on Thursday, ahead of polls
expected to start on April 2.
Haswani said his company was
currently building a gas installation in an area of central Syria that
falls under Islamic State influence,
adding “this is maybe how these
fantasies were constructed”.
Western officials have often accused the government of
buying oil from Islamic State,
but the EU announcement contains some of the most detailed
public accusations to date and
was welcomed by Britain’s For-
on March 1 after the flydubai
“We hope to be able to
resume services to Baghdad and
Erbil as soon as operating conditions allow,” Emirates said in
an emailed statement to Reuters.
An Emirates spokesperson
added: “We need to assess every
part of the operation and at the
moment, we are not ready to go
back in.”
Islamic State militants destroyed ancient remains of the
2,000-year-old city of Hatra
in northern Iraq, officials said
on Saturday. The militants also
looted and bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud
last week.
The attacks have forced
United Arab Emirates airlines to
examine their operations in Iraq
for the second time this year.
After the Baghdad airport
shooting, the General Civil Aviation Authority sent a flightsuspension directive to all UAE
carriers flying to Baghdad.
Flydubai is still flying to
Baghdad, the carrier confirmed,
while Etihad’s service to the
Iraqi capital remain suspended.
raq urged a US-led military
coalition yesterday to use air
power to protect the country’s
antiquities from Islamic State
militants looting and destroying
some of the world’s greatest archaeological treasures.
A government minister said
the coalition, which has carried
out 2,800 air strikes against Islamic State military positions in
Iraq and Syria since August, was
not doing enough to save Iraq’s
priceless heritage.
The ultra-radical militants attacked the 2,000-year-old city
of Hatra in northern Iraq on Saturday with bulldozers, officials
say, days after assaulting the
ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.
Video footage has shown them
ransacking a Mosul museum,
smashing statues and sculptures.
The destruction has drawn
global condemnation, with the
UN describing the damage to
Iraq’s rich history as a war crime.
But protests have not halted the
Iraqi Tourism and Antiquities
Minister Adel Shirshab said only
the US-led coalition could put
an end to the pillaging.
“Our airspace is not in our
hands. It’s in their hands,” he
told reporters. “I am calling
on the international community and coalition to activate its
air strikes and target terrorism
wherever it exists.”
Shirshab and the head of Iraq’s
state body for antiquities and
heritage said Iraqi authorities
were still trying to assess the full
extent of the damage in Hatra
and Nineveh.
“We have confirmation that
they bulldozed sites at Nimrud
and Hatra. What we don’t have
is information about the size of
the area which has been razed,”
said Qais Rasheed, head of the
antiquities board.
Both Rasheed and Shirshab
said coalition aircraft could have
monitored preparations for the
attacks and prevented them, especially at Hatra, a remote desert
site about 110km south of Mosul.
“It was possible to carry out
surveillance. Why didn’t this
happen?” Shirshab asked.
Archaeologists have compared
the assault on Iraq’s cultural his-
tory to the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas in
2001. But the damage wreaked
by Islamic State in Iraq, where
agriculture and writing were
pioneered by ancient Mesopotamian civilisations, may have
been more devastating.
Last week’s video showed
them toppling statues in the Mosul museum and smashing them
with sledge hammers and drills.
It also showed damage to a huge
statue of a bull at the Nergal Gate
into the city of Nineveh.
“Their battle is a battle for
identity, to empty the region,
primarily Iraq, of its human inheritance,” Shirshab told a conference to mark plans for the city
of Babylon to be listed as a world
heritage site.
It will join four other Iraqi
sites: Hatra, Samarra, the Erbil
citadel and Ashur, first capital of
the Assyrian empire.
Hatra dates back 2,000 years
to the Seleucid empire which
controlled a large part of the ancient world conquered by Alexander the Great. It is famous for
its striking pillared temple which
blends Graeco-Roman and eastern architecture.
Escalating air war not the answer: US general
Troops, militia make advances near Tikrit
raqi security forces and Shia
militia fighting the Islamic
State took control of the
centre of a town on the southern outskirts of Saddam Hussain’s home city Tikrit yesterday, security officials said.
Sending in more troops and
fighting fierce clashes, the army
and militiamen were still struggling to drive out Islamic State
militants entrenched in buildings in the western section of the
town of al-Dour, officials said.
Military commanders said
the army and militia, known as
Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) units, launched another
offensive late on Saturday to
break into the centre of al-Dour.
By yesterday they had succeeded in recapturing the cen-
Bomb blasts kill one,
wound 9 in Alexandria
eparate bomb blasts yesterday in Egypt’s port city of
Alexandria, including one
near a branch of a French supermarket chain, killed one person
and wounded nine, police said.
Since the military ousted
Islamist president Mohamed
Mursi in 2013, militants have repeatedly set off bombs in Cairo
and Alexandria, but the deadliest attacks have been in the Sinai
One bomb went off just metres away from a Carrefour supermarket in Alexandria, killing
a passenger on a minibus that
was driving past and wounding
six passers-by, police said.
Initial reports that the facade of the French supermarket
branch had been damaged were
later denied by police.
A separate bombing in the
Mediterranean city targeted
a police station and wounded
three bystanders, police said.
Later a third blast outside another police station in the city
caused no casualties or damage.
There was no immediate claim
of responsibility or clear motive
for the attacks.
Experts say those behind such
attacks that use home-made
bombs seek to sow fear among
foreign investors, particularly
ahead of a conference hosted by
Cairo to attract badly needed investment.
The March 13-15 conference in
the Red Sea resort town of Sharm
el-Sheikh is aimed at helping to
revive an economy battered by
four years of political and security unrest.
tral area where government
headquarters are located, but Islamic State insurgents were still
holding positions in the west.
“Daesh snipers are still targeting our troops from some of the
high buildings. We should be able
to take them out with helicopter
attacks this evening,” said Ahmed
al-Yasiri, a Hashid Shaabi leader
fighting in al-Dour. Daesh is the
Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
Officials said security forces
and Shia militia fighters had
also captured about third of
the village of Albu Ajil south of
Tikrit - hometown of the executed Sunni president.
Some Albu Ajil residents
were accused by authorities
and Shia militia groups of taking part in the killing of soldiers
from the nearby Speicher army
camp when Islamic State fighters overran Tikrit and northern
Iraq last June.
The US military’s top officer yesterday defended
the pace of the air war against Islamic State
militants, warning that escalating bombing raids
or sending in more American troops would be a
During a visit to a French aircraft carrier in the
Gulf taking part in the air campaign, General
Martin Dempsey appealed for “strategic
patience” in the fight against the IS group in
Iraq and Syria.
Expanding the air war could risk civilian casualties
and play into the hands of IS propaganda, he said
aboard the Charles de Gaulle.
“So we have a responsibility to be very precise in
the use of air power. And that means that it takes
time” to gather accurate intelligence on possible
targets, the general said.
“Carpet bombing through Iraq is not the answer.”
Women’s rally in Rabat
The tempo of military operations also depended
on the strength of the Iraqi army and the Baghdad
government’s willingness to reconcile with an
alienated Sunni population, he said.
The conflict could be decided on the battlefield
relatively quickly, but military operations were
only part of a broader effort, said Dempsey.
“I do think it’s going to require some strategic
patience,” he said, adding that “these underlying
issues have to be resolved”.
Dempsey spoke in the carrier’s hangar
alongside his French counterpart, General
Pierre de Villiers, who said he shared the
American general’s view.
The coalition faced a “paradox” as Western
countries wanted “quick results”, but the Iraqi
army had to be rebuilt before it could take back
territory from the IS extremists, de Villiers said.
Egypt schoolboy dies
after teacher beating
Women shout slogans during an International Women’s Day rally in Rabat yesterday.
Cairo schoolboy died yesterday after being severely beaten by his teacher
who has now been suspended,
Egypt’s education ministry said
as an inquiry was launched.
Corporal punishment is common in Egyptian schools, where
official negligence has been
blamed for the deaths in late
2014 of two children in accidents
because of badly maintained
The 12-year-old pupil died
“after being beaten by a teacher
the previous day”, a ministry
statement said.
It said the teacher has been
suspended and an “urgent inquiry” started to determine the
circumstances of the boy’s death.
The child had head injuries
and suffered a brain haemorrhage, forensics department
chief Hisham Abdel Hamid said.
The number of child abuse
cases in Egypt has reached
alarming proportions.
Between January 2014 and
the end of October, attacks
on children increased by 55%
compared with the average
over the previous three years,
the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood said in
It said 50% of the cases of violence against children were registered in schools.
In September, the director of a
Cairo orphanage was sentenced
to three years in jail for assaulting minors.
Video footage posted on the
Internet show him beating children who run away screaming.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Niger, Chad
open new
front against
Boko Haram
he armies of Niger and Chad yesterday
launched a major ground and air strike
against Boko Haram in northeastern
Nigeria, opening a new front in regional efforts to eradicate the Islamist militants.
The offensive announced by a source in the
Niger government came after Boko Haram
leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance
to the Islamic State group in an audio message.
“An offensive is underway against Boko
Haram,” the source told AFP. “Very early this
morning, the troops from Niger and Chad
began an offensive against Boko Haram... in
the area of Bosso and near to Diffa.”
Thousands of troops from Niger and Chad
have been positioned in Diffa for more than a
month in a bid to quash the Nigerian militant
group which has undermined security in the
region with cross-border attacks, kidnappings and killings.
The insurgency has also threatened Nigeria’s territorial integrity and triggered a massive humanitarian crisis
A resident of Diffa, located in Niger near
the Nigerian border, told AFP he saw troops
headed toward the frontier early yesterday
followed by the sounds of heavy arms fire.
“After some time, the detonations grew
further away, an apparent sign that the
troops were moving inside Nigeria,” he said.
Privately owned radio station Anfani,
based in Diffa, reported more than 200 vehicles, including those equipped with machine
guns as well as tanks, ambulances, water
tankers and transport trucks, in a convoy
moving toward the Nigerian border.
It also reported that aircraft had targeted
Boko Haram positions on Saturday and early
An aid worker told AFP that heavy arms
fire was coming from the direction of the
Doutchi bridge connecting Niger to Nigeria
yesterday morning.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau announced in an audio message on Saturday
night that his group has pledged allegiance to
Islamic State (IS), describing it as a religious
duty and saying it would “enrage the enemy
of Allah”.
The declaration raises the possibility that
Western powers, which have so far stayed out
of direct military operations in northeast Nigeria, might be pulled into the conflict.
Following the US-led invasion of Iraq, IS
sprang to worldwide prominence in June last
year when it overran large parts of Iraq and
Syria, declaring a “caliphate” in the two nations.
On Friday, the African Union endorsed the
creation of a regional force of up to 10,000
men to join the fight against Boko Haram.
The force, the idea for which was adopted
at an AU summit in January, will be based in
Chad’s capital N’Djamena, the pan-African
bloc’s Peace and Security Council said.
It will be mandated “to prevent the spread
of Boko Haram activities and other terrorist
groups” and “eradicate their presence,” the
body agreed in a meeting earlier week.
Diplomats said Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon,
Niger and Benin had committed to providing
troops, who would “operate freely” in a stillundefined region.
Regional efforts have however already been
underway to fight Boko Haram for several
weeks, particularly in the Gamboru area of
Nigeria on the border with Cameroon.
The borders of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and
Cameroon converge in the region around
Lake Chad.
The Islamists have apparently been pummelled out of captured territory by the Nigerian army and its regional allies and have
returned to their previous campaign of urban
guerrilla warfare.
With Boko Haram squeezed out of captured territory, security analysts have predicted a rise in bomb attacks in towns and
cities, including to disrupt elections in three
weeks’ time.
Nigeria postponed its elections initially
scheduled for February to March 28 after security chiefs said they needed more time to
weaken Boko Haram.
Shekau has vowed to disrupt the vote and
widespread attacks, especially near polling
stations, could prove disastrous.
A firefighter hoses down smouldering vegetation near Fishoek in the greater Cape Town area.
Pilot killed as helicopter
fighting wildfire crashes
Cape Town
helicopter pilot died yesterday in
a crash while fighting wildfires
in South Africa’s renowned Cape
Point nature reserve, officials said.
The pilot, named as Hendrik “Bees”
Marais, was among water-bombing firefighters hailed as heroes in a week-long
battle against blazes raging through
Cape Town’s scenic southern peninsula.
He died “when his Huey was in a
forced landing while on wildfire suppression duty in the Cape of Good Hope
section of Table Mountain National
Park,” Working on Fire spokesman Evelyn Holtzhausen said. Civil aviation au-
Zambian president
treated for malaria
thorities were working to determine the
cause of the crash, he said.
A luxury hotel and more than a dozen homes in upmarket villages dotted
along the coast of the peninsula were
destroyed in the fires, whipped up by
strong winds and high temperatures.
The threat to homes has been contained but the fires are still burning in
the nature reserve, which is covered with
flowering, shrublike vegetation known
as fynbos, part of the unique Cape floral
The southern peninsula, a mountainous spine of land running from the city
to the Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s most
southwestern tip, is known for its spectacular scenery and is a favourite international tourist destination.
ewly-elected Zambian President Edgar Lungu is being treated for malaria and doctors have advised him
to rest, the presidency said yesterday.
“I am feeling much better and I have been told I have high
levels of fatigue and should take some rest. There is nothing
to worry about,” Lungu was quoted as saying in a statement.
Earlier yesterday, Lungu had to leave am International
Women’s Day event in the capital Lusaka when he felt uncomfortable, the statement said, adding testing on the president showed “traces of malaria.”
Lungu, 58, assumed the helm of Africa’s second-largest
copper producer in January after winning a narrow victory.
His campaign tapped into the grassroots support base of
former leader Michael Sata, who died in office in October
aged 77.
Zambia has made progress in controlling malaria but the
mosquito-borne disease is still the biggest killer of Zambian
children below the age of five, according to the UN’s child
aid charity Unicef.
Militants hit UN as Mali hunts Bamako nightclub murderers
peacekeeper and two children died yesterday as militants shelled a UN base in
northern Mali, heightening security fears as police hunted jihadists who launched a deadly Bamako
nightclub assault.
The UN’s MINUSMA force said
more than 30 rockets were fired at
its barracks in the rebel bastian of
Kidal from 5.40am (0540 GMT).
“Once the source of the shooting
was established, MINUSMA force
soldiers immediately returned fire
2km from the camp, around 6am,”
the force said in a statement.
“An initial assessment revealed
the death of a MINUSMA soldier and that eight soldiers were
wounded. The rockets also hit Ki-
dal citizens outside the camp and
two deaths... were counted.”
The force said in an update on
Twitter that the victims were children and that three civilians had
also been injured.
A MINUSMA source told AFP
they were members of the nomadic
Arab Kunta tribe, which is spread
across the Saharan regions of Mali,
Algeria, Mauritania and Niger.
Their encampment near the UN
base was hit by stray rockets as the
attack got underway, the source
said. Sources inside the force also
said the slain peacekeeper was
Chadian, like the majority of personnel at the base.
It was not immediately clear who
was responsible, although Kidal is
the cradle of northern Mali’s Tuareg separatist movement, which has
launched several uprisings from
the region since the 1960s.
Tuareg and Arab militias - loyalist
and anti-government - have forged
a peace agreement with the Malian
government formulated earlier this
month in Algiers, although several
rebel groups are yet to sign.
“MINUSMA strongly condemns
these heinous acts of terror whose
sole purpose is to thwart all ongoing efforts to establish lasting
peace in Mali,” the force said.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other jihadist groups also
carry out operations in Kidal, including the 2013 murders of French
journalists Ghislaine Dupont and
Claude Verlon.
In Bamako, police in bulletproof
vests patrolled the area where a
masked gunman had burst into La
Terrasse, a popular venue among
expats, spraying automatic gunfire
and throwing grenades early Saturday.
Al Murabitoun, a jihadist group
run by leading Algerian militant
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, has claimed
responsibility for the attack, which
left a Frenchman, a Belgian and
three Malians dead.
It said in an audio recording carried by Mauritanian news agency
Al Akbar the operation was carried
out “to avenge our prophet against
the unbelieving West which has insulted and mocked him”.
Vehicle checks were stepped up
on the three bridges over the Niger river as detectives focused on a
black four-wheel drive apparently
used by the nightclub attacker and
an accomplice.
“We cannot say much more at
this stage but there are clues about
the vehicle used to transport the
author of the crimes committed in
Bamako,” a police source told AFP.
MINUSMA, which has around
10,000 personnel in Mali, said it
has made investigators and crimes
scene experts available to the authorities.
Police earlier announced they
had arrested two Malians soon after but later said the pair were not
involved, describing them as “not
terrorists, but bandits”.
The French victim has been
named as 30-year-old Fabien
Guyomard, a single man with no
children who had lived in Bamako
since 2007 and worked at US construction company ICMS Africa.
Mali’s prime minister and president visited eight people who were
being treated in hospital overnight,
including two Swiss weapons experts
advising the Malian government.
The pair were in a critical but
stable condition after being hit by
bullets, the Swiss military said in
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Obama in
Selma says
‘march is
not over’
S President Barack Obama rallied a new generation of Americans to the spirit of the civil
rights struggle on Saturday, warning
their march for freedom “is not yet finished.”
In a forceful speech in Selma, Alabama, on the 50th anniversary of the
brutal repression of a peaceful protest,
America’s first black president denounced new attempts to restrict voting rights.
And he paid stirring tribute to the
sacrifice of a generation of activists
who marched so that black Americans
could enjoy civil rights and opened
the road that eventually led him to the
White House.
“We gather here to celebrate them,”
he declared, standing on the spot where
Alabama state troopers launched an
assault on the marchers in scenes that
shocked America.
“We gather here to honour the courage of ordinary Americans willing to
endure billy clubs and the chastening
rod, tear gas and the trampling hoof,
men and women who despite the gush
of blood and splintered bone would
stay true to their North Star and keep
marching toward justice.”
After the Selma march and others
like it, then-president Lyndon Johnson
passed the Voting Rights Act that sought
to prevent racist officials from excluding
African Americans from the ballot.
That law, Obama said, is again under
threat from state governments seeking
to tighten voter registration rules in a
bit to restrict the size of the franchise.
“How can that be?” he asked, noting
that previous Republican presidents
Ronald Reagan and George W Bush who was present for the speech - had
renewed it.
“One hundred members of Congress
have come here today to honour people
who were willing to die for the right to
protect it,” he declared.
“If we want to honour this day, let
those hundred go back to Washington
and gather four hundred more and together pledge to make it their mission
to restore the law this year.
“That is how we honour this bridge,”
he said, in front of a crowd estimated
at 40,000, more than twice the population of what is still a very poor and
mainly black town.
After the speech, Obama greeted civil
rights veterans and he and Bush joined a
50-strong to group singing ‘Keep Your
Eyes on the Prize’ to walk across the
Edmund Pettus Bridge - named after a
Confederate general and Klu Klux Klan
“What an extraordinary honour this
has been, especially to have Sasha and
Malia here,” Obama told the group, referring to his daughters, whom he has
US President Barack Obama participates in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, along with (from left) his mother-in-law Marian Robinson,
daughter Sasha, First Lady Michelle Obama and US Representative John Lewis (D-GA).
cited a members of the generation that
must take the struggle forward.
The president and his wife, First
Lady Michelle Obama, paused halfway across the road bridge to hear
Georgia lawmaker and Selma marcher
Congressman John Lewis describe the
events of the day.
In his speech, Obama also addressed
recent incidents in which police killings
of unarmed black men and teenagers
had triggered protests and accusations
of deep-seated official racism.
“We just need to open our eyes and
ears and hearts, to know that this nation’s long racial history still casts its
long shadow upon us. We know the
march is not yet over, the race is not yet
won,” he said.
“We know that reaching that blessed
destination where we are judged by the
content of our character requires admitting as much, facing up to the truth.”
On March 7, 1965, some 600 peaceful
activists were attacked by police with
clubs and tear gas at the bridge, a seminal moment in America’s democracy.
Obama was introduced by Lewis, a
man he described as his hero, who as a
young man was one of those assaulted
on the bridge as he attempted to march.
“We come to Selma to be renewed,
we come to be inspired,” Lewis said.
“We were beaten, tear gassed, some
of us were left bloody right here on this
bridge. Seventeen of us were hospitalized that day. But we never became bitter or hostile.”
The history of what happened at
Selma on ‘Bloody Sunday’ has recently
returned to prominence thanks to an
Oscar-nominated film starring actor
David Oyelowo as civil rights leader
Martin Luther King.
But the president’s address also
comes as today’s rights leaders wrestle
with scandals over police treatment of
black Americans.
A probe by Obama’s Justice Department unearthed deep police racism in
Ferguson, Missouri, where a white policeman shot dead an unarmed black
teenager on August 9, sparking civil
unrest and a national outcry.
Despite what Attorney General Eric
Holder called a “searing report” into
Ferguson’s police department, which
Holder has not ruled out abolishing and
replacing altogether.
On the eve of the Selma anniversary,
protests broke out in the northern state
of Wisconsin after another unarmed
black teenager was shot by police,
which said he had attacked an officer.
The police violence in Selma and the
dignified determination of the marchers are widely seen as the factors that
made it possible to swing America behind civil rights measures like the Voting Rights Act.
That legislation, which prevents
states from limiting access to the ballot
through abusive measures, is still challenged regularly, mainly by southern
states seeking to make voter registration harder.
Crude train derails, catches fire
By Jeffrey Hodgson, Reuters
Canadian National Railway Co train
carrying crude oil derailed near the
northern Ontario community of
Gogama, with multiple cars on fire and some
leaking oil into a waterway, the company said
on Saturday.
There were no injuries reported from the
derailment, CN’s second in the region in just
three days and third in less than a month. It
was the latest in a series of North American
derailments involving trains hauling crude
oil, raising concerns about rail safety.
The railway said a bridge over a waterway
had been damaged and that five tank cars
landed in the water, with some on fire.
“CN emergency responders are acquiring
booms to contain crude oil movements in the
waterway,” CN spokesman Mark Hallman
said in an e-mail, adding that initial indications were that the waterway does not supply drinking water to Gogama.
Kelly Maixner’s team charges out of the chute at the 2015 ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race in downtown Anchorage, Alaska.
Alaska sled-dog race begins with ceremonial run
By Steve Quinn, Reuters
Juneau, Alaska
laska’s famed Iditarod Trail
Sled Dog race got underway
with a ceremonial run in Anchorage on Saturday with dozens of
mushers and dog teams beginning a
near 1,600km journey through the
snowy and sometimes unforgiving
This untimed 17.7km kick-off leg
serves as a curtain-raiser for a timed
competition that commemorates a
1925 mission that delivered diphtheria serum to Nome by sled-dog relay.
The timed portion of the race,
which typically lasts nine days or
longer, begins today in Fairbanks,
about 482km away.
Traditionally held in Willow, the
timed start was moved to Fairbanks
this year to accommodate an alternate trail selected after race officials
deemed sections of the traditional
path unsafe.
This year’s lineup features 78
mushers, nine more than last year,
and six ex-champions, with competitors traveling from as far as New
Zealand and Australia for the race,
which many Alaskans who have
endured long winter nights see as a
sign of impending spring.
“This can be the most beautiful
time here in Alaska,” race director
Stan Hooley said. “It’s a celebration
of something that is very good about
living in Alaska.”
On Saturday, Canadian Dan Cook,
one of 20 rookies in the lineup,
kicked things off before a roaring
crowd in downtown Anchorage, the
state’s largest city. Today, Cook will
be the first musher out of the gates
for the timed staggered start.
The timed race will take mushers,
each pulled by as many as a dozen
dogs, through 16 checkpoints toward Nome, on the Bering Sea coast.
Officials peg this year’s distance at
1,558km but that doesn’t factor in
topographical changes.
Most races last slightly longer than
nine days, though last year’s winner, Dallas Seavey, brought his dogs
across the finish line in eight days and
13 hours after facing daunting wind
gusts down the home stretch.
Each musher must take one 24hour rest and two separate eighthour stops. The winner gets $70,000
and a pick-up truck, and other top
finishers receive cash prizes from a
purse totalling more than $725,000,
the largest since racing began in 1973.
“Maintaining a competitive racing kennel and preparing for this
race is an extremely expensive proposition,” Hooley said.
Seavey, last year’s winner, posted
his second win in three years. His
father Mitch Seavey two years ago at
53 became the oldest musher to win
the Iditarod.
The Ontario Provincial Police said on
Twitter that two highways had been closed
near the derailment and posted a photo
showing clouds of black smoke.
CN said the crude oil on the train originated in Alberta and was destined for Eastern Canada.
It said the tank cars were the newer Casualty Prevention Circular 1232 model, which
are widely regarded as better-protected
against damage than older types.
Regulators and operators have criticised
earlier DOT-111 cars for being prone to puncture. The CPC 1232’s new safety specifications include a thicker tank, top-fitting protection and a pressure relief system.
The incident comes after another derailment on March 5 blocked CN’s main line in
northern Ontario.
CN said the latest derailment occurred
3.2km northwest of Gogama, which is some
600km north of Toronto. It occurred just
before 3am EST (0800 GMT) on Saturday
and affected rail traffic running between Toronto and Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Death row
Aussies in
bid to halt
Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creating a sand sculpture of the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 on Puri beach in the eastern Odisha state.
Tears for MH370 as mystery
continues on anniversary
Kuala Lumpur
motional families marked
the first anniversary of
the disappearance of flight
MH370 yesterday as a new report said the battery on its black
box locator beacon had expired,
but shed no new light on the
cause of the disaster.
Prime Minister Najib Razak
said his nation remained committed to the search for the
Malaysia Airlines jet, believed
to have crashed in the southern
Indian Ocean, and was hopeful it
would be found.
Next of kin, many of whom
have criticised Malaysia’s handling of the disaster, held ceremonies in Kuala Lumpur and
Beijing to remember the missing
and urge authorities to keep the
arduous and expensive search
going. “The only answer I want is
where is the plane, then only will
we know,” said Jacquita Gonzales, wife of the flight’s cabin crew
supervisor, Patrick Gomes.
“The whole world has heard
what he (Najib) has said, so they
can’t go back on their word.”
A report by an international
investigative team released yesterday raised no red flags relating
to the crew or the aircraft’s condition to indicate any cause for
the disappearance.
Wang Guohui (left), mother of Li Zhi, a passenger of the missing flight,
cries with daughter-in-law Catherine Gang during a gathering of
family members of the missing passengers at Yonghegong Lama
Temple in Beijing.
But it said the 30-day battery
powering the underwater locator beacon on the flight data recorder had expired.
Although the battery on the
plane’s cockpit voice recorder was
up to date, this could have contributed to the failure to find the
plane, said Gerry Soejatman, a Jakarta-based aviation consultant.
“My major worry is that
(search vessels) may have gone
over the aircraft but not heard
the pings because of this,” said
Soejatman, who added that the
report otherwise largely restated
what is already known about
MH370. A year-long hunt in the
deep ocean far off Australia’s
west coast, where satellite data
indicate the Boeing 777 crashed,
has yielded nothing yet.
“Together with our international partners, we have followed the little evidence that
exists,” Najib said in a statement.
“Malaysia remains committed
to the search and hopeful that
MH370 will be found.”
The plane inexplicably veered
from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing
route on March 8 of last year
with 239 passengers and crew
aboard. Relatives and friends of
the missing held an emotional
public remembrance in Kuala
Lumpur that included prayers
and live video links with other
next of kin around the world.
A temporary wall erected for
the occasion contained scrawled
messages such as “Never give up
hope” and “I miss you so much
brother and sister, please come
“My mother was on MH370.
It has been a year so far. It has
been a most painful year for
many of us, a never-ending battle,” said Grace Subathirai. “My
mother was my world, everything to me,” she added, her
voice breaking. In Beijing, relatives who have bitterly criticised
Malaysia’s national carrier and
government for their handling
of the crisis held a small protest
near the Malaysian embassy to
mark the anniversary. As a hefty
police contingent blocked off the
embassy, they shouted slogans
including “Fight to the end” and
“Malaysian government — apologise to us!”
Earlier yesterday, the relatives visited the Lama Temple, a
popular Tibetan Buddhist place
of worship and tourist site, to
discreetly pay their personal
respects. China’s ruling Communist Party commonly clamps
down on organised gatherings or
collective expressions of anger
as it seeks to enforce stability.
A small silent rally was also
held in Paris, with demonstrators submitting a petition to the
presidential palace signed by
more than 18,000 people demanding “the truth”.
Yesterday’s report said investigators had probed a range of
issues including the personal,
psychological and financial profiles of the jet’s captain Zaharie
Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot
Fariq Abdul Hamid, as well as
the backgrounds of the 10 cabin
crew. But although some suspicion had fallen on the cockpit
crew, the report mentioned no
evidence implicating either of
them. It also said that according to available data and maintenance records, nothing alarming
was detected in the plane’s major
mechanical systems.
It noted that as investigators still lack any trace of the jet
the probe remained a work in
progress. Some families still hope
their loved ones are alive, clinging to conspiracy theories of a
hijack or kidnapping, with many
rejecting the report’s findings.
“It’s nonsensical ass-shielding,” said Sarah Bajc, whose
partner Philip Wood was on
board. She ridiculed the report
for saying investigators had interviewed 120 people, which she
said was “less than our tiny underfunded private investigation
has done”.
n Indonesian court will
Thursday hear an appeal by two Australian
drug smugglers on death row
against President Joko Widodo’s refusal to grant them
clemency, a last-ditch effort to
halt the looming executions.
Myuran Sukumaran and
Andrew Chan, the ringleaders
of the so-called “Bali Nine”
drug smuggling gang, were
sentenced to death in 2006 for
trying to smuggle heroin out of
Their appeals for presidential clemency, typically a death
row convict’s final chance of
avoiding the firing squad, were
rejected by Widodo.
Widodo, a vocal supporter
of the death penalty for drug
traffickers, claimed that Indonesia is facing an “emergency”
due to rising narcotics use.
The Administrative Court
last month dismissed a bid to
challenge that decision, saying
clemency was the president’s
prerogative which it had no
right to overturn.
Their lawyers had since
lodged an appeal against that
dismissal and were awaiting
“The next hearing on Thursday will be the response from
the president’s team about our
challenge,” one of their lawyers, Doly James, said.
“The reason for the rejection of clemency was unclear, when we had been very
clear why these two deserved
clemency,” he said.
Indonesian authorities last
week moved the pair from
Bali to the prison island of
Nusakambangan, indicating
that they would soon be executed.
They are among a group of
drug convicts, including foreigners from France, Brazil,
the Philippines, Nigeria and
Ghana, who are expected to
be executed at the same time
on the island.
The looming sentences
have sparked diplomatic tensions between Australia and
Indonesia, with Canberra
warning that the execution
of the two Australians would
have implications, not just in
Australia but globally.
Widodo stood firm on the
executions, and last week rejected the offer of a prisoner
swap proposed by Canberra.
Australian Prime Minister
Tony Abbott at the weekend
said he had “requested a conversation” with Widodo.
“I’ve had several conversations already with him on this
subject. I’ve requested another one. At this stage, it hasn’t
been able to be arranged,” he
Cambodian government
seeks help to rebrand
Phnom Penh
ambodia wants help
and advertising agencies to rebrand its image from
a war-torn nation to businessfriendly country in a fastgrowing region, a media report
Minister of Commerce Sun
Chanthol on Thursday said
that he has been working with
David Puttnam, producer of
the Oscar-winning film The
Killing Fields and current British trade envoy to Cambodia,
according to the Cambodia
“I requested his support
to help brand Cambodia. He
came through with two big
companies: Ogilvy (& Mathers) and Brand Union, coming
to educate our people how to
brand our products and how to
brand the country as a whole,”
Chanthol said at a conference
on regional economic integration. Representatives from
both British advertising giants
visited with Puttnam in October, the report said.
Chanthol said the Commerce Ministry will meet Coca-Cola in late March to learn
from the multinational’s experience, “to talk about branding, how they brand Coca-Cola around the world, and at the
same time how we can brand
Cambodia as a whole.”
Blind children defy ‘bad karma’ to play in Thai orchestra
Nakhon Ratchasima
eftly feeling their way
along the bumps of the
braille score, the young
players of Thailand’s first blind
orchestra memorise scales, defying both their impairment and
ingrained negative attitudes towards disability.
It is rehearsal time just hours
ahead of a concert at an openair auditorium in a national park,
and around 30 fledgling classical musicians enthusiastically
strum, pluck and bow instruments they have held but never
“At first it was really hard for
me... I wanted to stop,” said Joe a
14-year-old budding cellist who
picked up the stringed instrument nine-months ago.
“But when I realised that others could do it, I gave it another
try,” he said, smiling broadly.
Official figures show that
Thailand is home to 1.8mn disabled people, of whom around
180,000 are blind, in a population of more than 64mn.
Yet campaigners say state
provision for disabled people
is poor, compounding a widely
held Buddhist belief in karma
that, in the minds of many, links
physical impairments with the
supposed ‘misdeeds’ of a past
The Thai Blind Orchestra,
made up of players aged between
eight and 15 years old, offers a
rare positive platform for disabled Thais.
The orchestra, who use donated instruments, were brought
together by a professional classical musician whose day job is
looking after elephants in the
Khao Yai national park in northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima
The seeds of the idea were
planted when the blind students
met their soon-to-be maestro,
Alongkot Chukaew, at his conservation classes in the park.
Teaching with the help of audible aids, including his guitar,
the 43-year-old Alongkot noticed music caught the attention
of the children.
He asked his music teachers to
play different instruments and
encouraged the youngsters to
follow the sound they liked best.
As their affinity with their
mushroomed, Alongkot introduced a
braille system for the students to
learn to read classical music.
Shown one-on-one how to
position their fingers on their
instruments, the children then
memorise both the notes and the
correct placement to make the
Joe (centre) playing his instrument during a concert at the Thai Elephants Research and Conservation Fund
in Khao Yai national park 180km northeast of Bangkok.
right sounds.
“It was hard because they
cannot see the demonstration of
where to put their fingers or hold
the bows,” Alongkot said. “But it
was fun.”
“Some people might not like
their performance, but the kids
are happy and have fun with
it,” he said, adding they are not
looking to compete.
Attitudes towards disability
across Southeast Asia are often
shaped by a sense of karmic
destiny. The same philosophy
that encourages people to do
good deeds so they may be rewarded on reincarnation also
leads people to believe that the
disabled suffer their impediments because of their actions
in a past life. It is something that
holds back progressive policies
and leaves many of the region’s
disabled in poverty or hidden at
home by ashamed families.
“Disabled people are the
poorest of the poor,” explains
a Thai double-amputee from
childhood who now campaigns
for improved rights.
“The belief in karma makes
disabled people think they
should just surrender and accept
their fate,” added the 48-yearold, who heads the Redemptorist
Foundation for People with Disabilities.
Activists say other countries
in the region such as Malaysia,
Singapore and Philippines tend
to have a better track record of
rolling out disability aids and
Suporntum blames Thailand’s
lag on years of political instability and short-lived governments
for hampering policy changes to
transport, education and health.
While the law codifies equality, in practice life remains at
best complex for many disabled
Most public transport lacks
wheelchair access, few state offices have ramps and there are
no braille signs and few voice
Jobs are also sparse while so-
cial opprobrium runs high.
But Suporntum sees some
reasons for hope, saying the ruling Thai junta is well placed to
drive through change, after it
vowed to make society more inclusive and include rights for all
in its reform agenda.
In January, a Bangkok court
ordered that lifts be installed at
19 more stations of the capital’s
elevated skytrain service within
a year — up from four currently
— an issue Suporntum has campaigned on for eight years.
But for real change to take
place Thailand must first shed
its preconceptions on disability,
says Rosalina Alexander McKay,
an activist from the Rainbow
Room Foundation in Bangkok.
“You don’t have to change the
belief system but you have to
change your ways of looking at
things,” adds Rosalina, who has
a seven-year-old daughter with
Down’s Syndrome.
As sighted volunteers prepare
to lead the orchestra to their
seats — and instruments — on
the open-air stage, cellist Joe
says he refuses to be held back by
received notions of karma.
“I cannot see but I have good
ears... that is my gift in music,”
he says, as the stage lights catch
his crisp white shirt.
“When we lose one thing,
there will always be a substitute.”
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Japanese officials
form ninja council
fficials in Japan are
enlisting one of the
country’s best-known
historical figures – the ninja,
martial arts master and stealth
agent of feudal times – to encourage tourism.
Governors and mayors from
prefectures around the country
traded their usual bland suits
for ninja costumes yesterday
to announce the launch of the
“ninja council”.
It sees local authorities
forming an alliance with tourism agencies to thrust ninjas –
usually known for their ability
to become unseen – into the
Ninjas are a “subject that
always comes up whenever we
go abroad to promote tourism”,
said Hiroshi Mizohata, former
head of the transport ministry’s Japan Tourism Agency.
The not-so-stealthy move
comes as local governments
turn to tourism as a promising
economic growth driver ahead
of the 2020 Olympic Games in
“Through ninja, we want to
revive our communities,” said
Eikei Suzuki, governor of Mie
prefecture, known for the “Iga”
school of ninja.
Governors and mayors from Mie, Shiga, Kanagawa prefecture
and former tourism agency chief Hiroshi Mizohata (right) pose in
ninja costumes during a press conference in Tokyo yesterday.
Teenagers ‘stopped’
at Sydney airport
ustralia said yesterday that it stopped two
teenage brothers at
Sydney Airport believed to be
heading to the Middle East to
fight, amid growing concern in
Western countries over young
people joining jihadist groups.
Immigration Minister Peter
Dutton said the two boys, aged
16 and 17 and from Sydney, had
tickets to an undisclosed Middle Eastern country and raised
the suspicions of customs officers on Friday night.
The case came as the families of three British schoolgirls
who left their London homes to
join Islamic State (IS) militants
in Syria in February criticised
authorities for not warning
them their children risked being radicalised.
“These two young men ...
are kids, not killers, and they
shouldn’t be allowed to go to
a foreign land to fight and to
come back to our shores eventually more radicalised,” Dutton told reporters. “In some
cases, these young people who
are going off to fight in areas
like Syria will be killed themselves and that’s a tragedy for
their families, for their communities, and for our country.”
The minister said a search of
the boys’ luggage raised more
questions about their trip and
they were referred to the federal police’s counter-terrorism
He said that the two youths
“had taken a very radical decision ultimately without the
knowledge of their parents”.
Dutton added: “Their parents, as I understand it, were as
shocked as any of us would be.”
An Australian Federal Police
spokeswoman said in a statement that the boys, whose
identities were not released,
were “arrested under suspicion
of attempting to prepare for incursions into foreign countries
for the purpose of engaging in
hostile activities”.
China asserts clout
on diplomatic stage
hina asserted its place
on the global diplomatic
stage yesterday, pledging to steadfastly support Russia
in the face of Western sanctions,
scolding regional rival Japan, and
making clear that it sees the US
as an equal.
Yi, speaking to reporters at a
packed annual press conference,
staunchly defended China’s national interests, while proclaiming that its rise is no threat to the
international order.
He stressed that Beijing would
not abandon old friends and allies such as Moscow, which is
beleaguered under sanctions
and international opprobrium,
and Pyongyang, in recent years
more often than not a headache
for China’s leaders rather than an
Chinese President Xi Jinping
is due to visit the US, the world’s
only superpower, later this year
and Wang emphasised that the
two countries are equals that
must work to overcome tensions.
The two presidents were expected to “inject new momentum into efforts to build a new
model of major country relations between China and the
United States”, Wang said, using
Beijing’s favoured description of
their ties, suggesting that they
are on the same footing.
“China and the United States
are two large countries,” he added. “It’s impossible for there not
to be any disagreements between
Wang vowed to deepen economic and diplomatic co-operation with Russia, even as it faces
Western sanctions over the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine.
Beijing and Moscow have
regularly used their veto power
on the UN Security Council to
thwart Western initiatives such
as on Syria’s civil war, and Wang
said that they would “continue to
carry out strategic co-ordination
and co-operation to maintain international peace and security”.
Sino-Russian relations were
based on “mutual need”, he said,
and they would work to increase
trade to an annual $100bn a year
while intensifying co-operation
in sectors including finance and
Oil and gas are crucial to Russia, which has suffered from the
plunge in global crude prices,
and Wang’s comments suggest
President Vladimir Putin – with
whom Xi has a strong personal
relationship – can count on Beijing’s support.
Wang stuck largely to Beijing’s
script, reserving his theatrics
for traditional bete noire Japan,
which received a finger-wagging
denunciation over what Beijing sees as its recalcitrance over
World War II history.
Japanese Prime Minister Shin-
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a press conference
yesterday as part of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing.
zo Abe will only be welcome at
commemorations Beijing plans
for the 70th anniversary of the
war’s end if he is “sincere” about
history, Wang said.
China-Japan relations have
plunged over issues including
territorial disputes and Japan’s
19th- and 20th-century invasions, while China’s Communist
Party regularly stokes nationalism as part of its claim to a right
to rule.
Abe is a nationalist who feels
Japan has apologised enough and
that after seven decades of peace
has earned a right to be more assertive of its interests, including
defence and sovereignty, as well
as how it sees its own history.
“This issue has been haunting
the China-Japan relationship,”
Wang said, pointing his index
finger in the air and referring to
the conflict, in which China says
more than 20mn of its citizens
“Those in power in Japan
should first ask themselves, what
they have done on this score,” he
He was also defiant over Beijing’s interests in the South
China Sea, almost of all which
it regards as its territory amid
disputes with Southeast Asian
Asked about reports Beijing
was reclaiming land in the area,
he said that China was “carrying
out necessary construction on its
own islands and reefs”.
“We have every right to do
things that are lawful and justi-
fied,” the foreign minister added.
A career diplomat and expert
on Japan, Wang assumed his position in March 2013 and is the
face of Chinese foreign policy,
the counterpart of officials such
as US Secretary of State John
He was speaking on the sidelines of the National People’s
Congress, China’s Communistcontrolled parliament.
China’s most influential foreign policy official, however, is
Yang Jiechi, a member of the
State Council, or Cabinet, who
was Wang’s predecessor as foreign minister.
Wang also stressed Beijing’s close historical ties with
Pyongyang, which go back to the
Korean War when Chinese forces
guaranteed its survival.
But he also illustrated the
challenge of dealing with the
nuclear-armed neighbour and
its youthful, often unpredictable
leader Kim Jong-Un, the third
generation in his family to helm
the country.
Three years after coming to
power Kim has yet to meet Xi,
but Moscow said in January that
the North Korean leader would
be among those attending ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
“As to when our leaders will
meet it will have to suit the
schedule of both sides,” he said,
implicitly acknowledging that no
such encounter was likely soon.
HK decision
was ‘correct’
No using Arabic for
terrorism detainees
A maximum security prison in
Australia has banned inmates
serving time for terrorism
offences from speaking Arabic,
media reported yesterday.
New South Wales AttorneyGeneral Brad Hazzard told News
Corporation that the restriction
applies to 13 inmates at Goulburn prison who are classified
as “extreme high risk”.
As of yesterday, they were
required to speak and write in
“While there is no known specific terrorist threat from inside
our prisons, these inmates’
communications from prison
have the potential to have
a direct impact on national
security and community safety,”
Hazzard told the media group.
“That’s why I want to make sure
we know at all times who they
are talking to and what they are
There would be exceptions
in some instances when a
translation could be obtained
immediately, he said.
At the Great Hall of China
Above: Chinese hostesses use a mobile phone to take a photo yesterday
outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Left: Security personnel guard behind a main gate of the Great Hall.
Below: A general view shows the third session of the 12th National People’s
Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall.
They were later handed back
to their parents and an investigation is ongoing, she said.
Dutton would not say if the
teens were linked to the Islamic
State (IS) group.
About 100 Australians were
fighting with Islamic State and
other terrorist groups in Syria
and Iraq, with another 150 supporting them at home, Prime
Minister Tony Abbott said last
Australia announced on
Tuesday that it was sending
another 300 troops to Iraq in
a joint mission with New Zealand to help train local forces
fighting to reclaim territory
seized by IS.
The nation has stepped up its
security measures amid fears
of heightened threats from
extremists, including revoking
citizenship for dual nationals
linked to terrorism.
China’s parliament chief said
yesterday that a ruling last year
on screening candidates who
want to run for election as Hong
Kong’s top official in 2017 was the
correct one, signalling no backing
down on a decision that sparked
protests in the city.
China has ruled the former British
colony since 1997 through a “one
country, two systems” formula
which allows wide-ranging
autonomy and freedoms not
enjoyed on the mainland and
specifies universal suffrage as an
eventual goal.
But the National People’s
Congress (NPC), China’s largely
rubber-stamp legislature,
said in August that it would
screen candidates who want
to run in the city’s election
for a chief executive in 2017,
which democracy activists said
rendered the notion of universal
suffrage meaningless.
Zhang Dejiang, who heads
parliament and is also the ruling
Communist Party’s third-ranked
leader, told legislators that the
decision was the right one.
The NPC has the right under
the constitution and the law to
make the “necessary” decisions
about how to promote this
development, he added.
New anti-graft law
China plans to enact specific
legislation to fight corruption, the
head of the country’s parliament
said as the government continues
its campaign against graft.
Zhang Dejiang, who is also
the ruling Communist Party’s
third ranked leader, made the
announcement at a full meeting
of the National People’s Congress’
roughly 3,000 delegates.
He gave no details, and it is
not clear how the new law will
differ from existing laws which
target things like bribery and
The party generally conducts its
own probes into corruption first
before handing over suspects to
Taiwan ship with 49 crew missing in South Atlantic
Taiwanese ship carrying
a crew of 49 has vanished
in the remote South Atlantic Ocean without any sign of
a mayday call but shortly after its
skipper reported it was taking on
water, authorities said yesterday.
The “Hsiang Fu Chun”, a
700-tonne squid fishing vessel, lost contact with its owners “soon” after reporting that
water was leaking on to the deck
around 3am on February 26, officials said.
The vessel, built 28 years ago,
was sailing about 1,700 nautical
miles (3,148km) off the Falkland
Islands when it vanished, ac-
cording to recorded satellite data.
Its crew is made up of a Taiwanese skipper and chief engineer, as well as 11 Chinese, 21
Indonesian, 13 Filipino and two
Vietnamese sailors.
Taiwan has launched a search
effort, and is appealing for assistance from Argentina and Britain
as well as other ships in the area.
“We still don’t know where the
ship is and what happened to it,”
Huang Hong-yen, spokesman for
the Fisheries Agency, told AFP,
adding that the government had
launched a search-and-rescue
effort “immediately” after the
ship’s owners said it had lost
He said there was no evidence
the boat had sunk.
The ship was equipped with a
system that automatically issues
a mayday signal when placed
under a certain water pressure,
but no such signal was sent, he
The remoteness of the location was hindering search efforts,
Huang added, citing Argentine
officials as saying it would take
six days for a boat and 11 hours
for a plane to fly to the area and
back again, even in good weather.
Weather conditions in the area
had been poor, he said, further
hampering the search.
He said three Taiwanese fishing vessels operating there, including a sister ship of Hsiang Fu
Chun, had been mobilised in the
“We’ll do everything we can
even though the search is like
searching for a needle in the
ocean,” he said.
He did not explain why it had
taken authorities so many days
to make the ship’s disappearance
Some Taiwanese media have
speculated that the vessel could
have lost power and be adrift, or
could have been hijacked by its
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Man held for trespassing
on roof of parliament
Cameron ‘is on
the side of women’
Teenagers bailed
after death crash
Two boys killed
as car hits tree
Student data loss
being investigated
Police arrested a man after he was seen walking
on the roof of parliament buildings for several
hours overnight. A police statement said they
had arrested the man on suspicion of trespass
and criminal damage at 0501GMT, having been
made aware of his presence on top of the Palace
of Westminster at 2115 GMT on Saturday night. “At
this stage it is too early to ascertain the reason
as to why the man was trespassing on the roof,”
the statement said, adding that police negotiators
had attended the scene. The roof has previously
been targeted by campaign groups, including
those opposed to a third runway at Heathrow and
by Greenpeace.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has insisted
David Cameron is a feminist and on the side of
women. She said the prime minister had done
a “huge amount” to get female MPs into the
Cabinet and denied the government’s cuts had
disproportionately affected women. But she
admitted the low turnout in recent years was
“disappointing” and said Parliament needed more
women MPs. She told Sky News’ Murnaghan: “ He
(Cameron) absolutely is a feminist. He is on the
side of women and he has done a huge amount
to get women into the Cabinet. You think about
all the women who are in the Cabinet at the moment, they are Conservatives.”
Five teenagers held on suspicion of dangerous
driving after four people died in a horrific crash
between two cars have been released on bail,
police said. Three 17-year-olds and a 68-yearold woman were killed by the collision which
took place in Powys, Mid Wales, as a number of
vehicles travelled in a convoy. Five male drivers, aged 17 and 18, from other vehicles, were
arrested, Dyfed Powys Police said. A spokeswoman said yesterday that they have released
on bail pending further inquiries. The accident
happened on the A470 near Storey Arms,
Brecon, between Libanus and RAC bends, just
before 10.15pm on Friday.
Two teenage boys were killed and two more are
fighting for their lives after the car they were
travelling in left the road “at speed” and hit a tree.
The boys are thought to have been picked up
by a 21-year-old without the permission of their
parents. The driver is seriously ill in hospital. The
accident happened at 1.50pm yesterday on the
A62 Gelderd Road, Morley, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Police said. Boys aged 13 and 14, both from the
Leeds area, were killed. Two 14-year-old boys
remain critically ill in hospital. Superintendent
Sam Millar of Leeds Police said: “This is a terrible
tragedy for two young boys who had their whole
lives ahead of them.”
An investigation has been launched by officials
following the loss of confidential student information from a school at a prison. Paper waste from
the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy, Dorset, was sent to the Young Offenders’
Institution (YOI) in Portland to be shredded. The
paper was then meant to be pulped and mulched
before being converted into fuel briquettes. But it
has emerged that a piece of paper with student
information reportedly relating to a recent school
trip failed to be destroyed properly. Parents of students affected by the apparent breach have been
contacted as the Prison Service said an inquiry
has been launched.
Family still
seeking justice
25 years after
woman’s killing
Guardian News and Media
ust days after burying her
daughter Heidi in a coffin decked with roses and
chrysanthemums before hundreds of mourners at a Bremen
cemetery, Annaliese Schnaars
received an unexpected knock
at her door.
“I remember it vividly,” her
daughter Barbara, 59, recalls.
“It was a woman from the crime
squad, bringing Heidi’s jewellery back. Her necklace and
trinkets were returned to us in
a bundle that was clumped together in her dried blood.”
That, she says, was “probably
the worst moment of it all”.
Days before on September
7, 1989, Heidi Hazell, 26, the
German wife of British army
sergeant Clive Hazell, had been
executed outside her married
quarters in Unna-Massen, a
Dortmund suburb.
Now, 25 years later, Hazell’s
family are seeking to have her
murder case reopened, claiming the German authorities
have done next to nothing to
solve the murder. They are
travelling to Belfast to pursue
their cause.
It was a balmy autumnal
evening when a man in British army fatigues approached
Hazell’s British-registered dark
blue Saab as she was parking it.
Within seconds, he had pumped
14 bullets from a Kalashnikov
through the car door and window, 12 of which went straight
into her upper torso.
An army sergeant who was
watching the television news
in his flat at the time, recalled
hearing “high velocity rifle
shots … spread over a period of
10 seconds or so”. During the
attack the car shot backwards,
mounted the pavement and hit
a tree. By the time the sergeant
had rushed out to help, the gunman had escaped in a getaway
Spent cases littered the
ground. “The front passen-
ger window was shattered … I
peered inside the vehicle and
saw a woman whom I later realised was Hazell, slumped at the
steering wheel,” he told police.
The following day the IRA
claimed responsibility for what
was its first and only murder in
West Germany of a British soldier’s wife.
In a statement the organisation said she had been mistaken for a soldier. “An IRA active service unit carried out last
night’s shooting,” it read. “The
outcome of last night’s attack
reinforces a warning we gave (in
1988) for civilians to stay well
clear of British military personnel.”
Margaret Thatcher, the then
prime minister, and opposition
leader Neil Kinnock led condemnation of the killing.
“The warm weather that
night meant many people were
out walking dogs or sitting on
their balconies,” said Melanie Anan, 41, Hazell’s niece.
“Between 30 to 40 people are
known to have witnessed the
crime, or the runup to it, some
of whom have not been questioned.”
Speaking for the first time
about her family’s struggle to
come to terms with Hazell’s
death, Anan said: “We want a
new investigation. We feel that
many aspects of the initial investigation were blocked.”
They are soon to lodge a request with Germany’s attorney
general to reopen the inquiry
and have been advised that with
so many holes in the original
investigation, they can be confident of success. They possess
three binders from the federal
prosecutor’s office containing
almost 700 pages of evidence
gathered by German investigators of a case that has never gone
to court.
Anan is due to address Stormont today, European Day for
Victims of Terrorism, after
which she and her husband
Joe are due to meet investigators from the Police Service of
Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Crufts contest
A woman holds her Komondor dog before it is judged at the Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, central England. Crufts is one of the largest dog
events in the world, with thousands of dogs competing for the coveted title of ‘Best in Show’. Founded in 1891 by the late Charles Cruft, the four-day show attracts entrants
from around the world.
Cabinet Office denies
Smith files cover-up
he Cabinet Office has denied attempting to cover
up information about
Whitehall’s knowledge of Cyril
Smith’s child abuse at the time
he was granted a knighthood.
Documents have revealed that
Margaret Thatcher was made
aware of allegations involving the
Liberal MP before he was given the
The papers, released to the Mail
of Sunday following repeated demands for disclosure, also show
that the country’s most senior
civil servant wrote to the director
of public prosecutions to find out
why Smith did not face justice for
alleged offences against teenage
The newspaper first requested
the documents under the Freedom of Information Act in April
last year but they were only released on Friday following an
intervention by the information
The 19-page dossier of information on the decision to confer
a knighthood on former Rochdale
MP Smith in 1988 included one
undated letter, marked secret,
from a member of the Political
Honours Scrutiny Committee to
Thatcher, warning of “the risk
that such an award could give rise
to adverse criticism”. In the letter
Lord Shackleton spelled out that
police had investigated Smith in
1970 for “indecent assault against
teenage boys” between 1961 and
1966, but the director of public
prosecutions (DPP) had decided
“there was no reasonable prospect
of conviction”.
The letter to the then prime
minister said the case was reported in the Rochdale Alternative Press and Private Eye, adding:
“One may regret this kind of press
reporting but it could be revived if
an award to Smith were made.”
Lord Shackleton said it would
be “slightly unfortunate” if this
“episode” stopped Smith receiving the honour but added: “We
oreign investors who buy
London properties but
leave them empty for more
than six months should face
having them seized by town halls
to rent out to ease the capital’s
housing crisis, a minister urged.
Simon Hughes called for existing powers to be reformed so
boroughs can gain control over
empty homes in just months
rather than years.
“Far too rarely are they used to
bring properties back into use,”
he told the Standard.
“The expectation would be
that if you buy somewhere,
whether you are an individual
owner or an oligarch from Russia, if it’s not being used you are
as much at risk of it being borrowed, taken, acquired on a temporary basis for a fixed term by
the local community for it to be
Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Hughes, who is also a
justice minister, stressed coun-
cils should only be allowed to intervene for properties genuinely
being kept empty rather than
those used as a second home or
as a London base for a company
or individual, even if it was just a
few times a year.
He said the time period after which town halls could step
in might vary from borough to
borough - “for new properties I
would think six months, for existing properties I would think a
He believes 12 months would
allow people time to renovate
existing properties, if they
want to use them, while newlybuilt homes should be ready to
live in.
Ownership of properties
would not change but the council could ensure they were rented out to stop the creation of
“ghetto” communities of empty
For older properties needing refurbishment the town hall
could recoup costs through rental income under the proposals,
which would be similar to existing Empty Dwelling Manage-
ment Orders which currently can
only be used for buildings unoccupied for at least two years.
Hughes, who also backs simpler compulsory purchase powers for councils, proposed five
other key changes to tackle London’s housing crisis:
z At least half of new housing
in each borough should be affordable.
z New homes should be advertised locally before overseas.
z Developers’ planning applications should include economic
viability assessments for affordable housing.
z The government should be
allowed to appeal against planning decisions if councils break
affordable housing commitments.
z The national planning policy framework should prioritise
housing need, over demand.
Ministers dispute that thousands of properties are left empty in London by investors, and
say the number of empty homes
has fallen to a 10-year low and
councils already have powers to
get them back into use.
Brockwell - wrote to the DPP on the
committee’s behalf to seek more information about Smith’s case.
He said: “The case for taking
the exceptional step of writing to
you in this way is to protect the
prime minister (and The Queen)
while also being fair to Smith.”
He said the committee wanted
to know “whether the case against
Smith was not well founded: or
whether it was a sound case, but
that the evidence was not likely to
stand up in court”. The newspaper
said no reply from the DPP is recorded in the file.
The papers were only released
following five requests by the Mail
on Sunday and the intervention of
the Information Commissioner.
Councillor caught
playing Scrabble
Powers for councils to
seize empty homes urged
London Evening Standard
felt it right to warn the honours
system would be at some risk if
the award were to be made and
The newspaper reported that
a second note to the prime minister, dated May 1988, admitted
the committee had “some hesitation” about the award but “so far
as we believe and have been able
to ascertain, his past history or
general character does not, in all
the circumstances, render him
unsuitable”. In another letter the
committee’s secretary said Smith
had been given the “benefit of the
doubt” because he had not been
The then cabinet secretary Sir
Robin Butler - now Lord Butler of
London Evening Standard
Simon Hughes: hoping to tackle housing crisis
playing Scrabble on
his iPad during a town
hall meeting says the fallout
from the incident has put
him off the word game for
Martin Elengorn, an opposition Liberal Democrat on
Richmond council, was photographed by a Tory rival who
circulated the picture among
council colleagues.
Elengorn spent 10 minutes
playing the game in the council chamber before a party
colleague passed him a note
warning he had been rumbled.
The 70-year-old veteran
politician, who is shadow
spokesman on environment
and planning, said he was a
lifelong Scrabble fan and described himself as a “competent” player.
He told the Standard he had
dipped in to a game to kill time
during an opening speech by
Conservative deputy council
leader Geoffrey Samuel.
Elengorn said: “No one is
too upset, but the whole affair has rather put me off
He added: “Councillor
Samuel gives a fiery performance, which is strong on bombast and the same every year.
“I heard every word of it
but it is less overwhelming
if I do something else rather
than stare into space.”
Samuel, who was opening
the annual budget and council
tax meeting, called Elengorn’s
behaviour “outrageous”.
He said: “This was the most
important meeting of the year.
We wanted a full and reasoned
debate and there was someone
who showed no respect to the
mayor and his constituents.
“I have spoken to friends
who were in the public gallery who said he was not the
only one playing games, but
he is the one where evidence
is incontrovertible.”
councillor Helen Hill, who took the
photograph, said: “I thought
it wasn’t the right time and I
wanted to make him aware he
was being watched.”
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Govt’s anti-extremist plan to push ‘British values’
Guardian News and Media
he Home Office is planning
a “more assertive” stance
against extremism, with
a series of measures including
penalties for benefit claimants
who do not learn English and
making visa applicants commit
to rule
out pact
with SNP
themselves to “British values”.
According to a copy of a new
leaked to the Sunday Telegraph,
people with radical views would
also be banned from working unsupervised with children under
the proposals, which are intended to address not so much terrorism, but the spread of extremist
thinking that eventually leads to
some people turning to violence.
“In the past, there has been a
risk that the government sends
an ambivalent and dangerous
message - that it doesn’t really
matter if you don’t believe in democracy,” the document says.
“We need to stand up and be more
assertive in promoting our values
and challenging the extremists who
fundamentally oppose them.
“This will include explaining
our foreign policy (and) promoting
mainstream voices supporting the
quiet majority in all communities
who oppose extremism.”
The Home Office refused to
comment, saying it does not talk
about leaked documents. Sources
have confirmed that the counterextremism strategy is due to be
published before parliament rises
Madam Butterfly hits 100
The star of Madam Butterfly joins young cast members at the Royal Albert Hall as the show
celebrates its 100th performance. Crowds have flocked to the show, which sees the hall flooded
to create a Japanese water garden. Pictured are Nam-Young Kim, who plays the title role in
Puccini’s tragedy, with William Parsons, Seth Stokes and Gabriel Pearce, who play her son.
he police have acknowledged that they should
have communicated more
directly with the families of three
teenage girls who are feared to
have travelled to Syria to join the
Islamic State.
Scotland Yard said that “with
the benefit of hindsight” letters
addressed to seven girls’ families
about a 15-year-old fellow pupil at Bethnal Green Academy in
east London who joined Islamic
State could have been delivered
directly to their parents.
Instead, they were given to
the schoolgirls to pass on, days
before three of them - Shamima
Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16,
and 15-year-old Amira Abase sparked a police hunt after they
flew from Gatwick to Istanbul on
February 17.
The force said that it now understood that not all of the letters
were passed on.
The families of the schoolgirls
say they were let down by the
Metropolitan Police and accuse
officers of covering up their errors since the girls went missing.
At first the force claimed that
the parents had already been
made aware by the school’s deputy head that the 15-year-old girl
had gone to Syria.
But it later issued a clarification stating that the deputy head
had merely told the families that
the girl had gone missing.
A spokesman explained that
officers from the Met’s Counter
Terrorism Command (SO15) held
a meeting with the seven girls on
February 5.
He said: “In this meeting an
osses at the Royal London hospital plan to create
a private patient wing to
raise revenue, rather than using the space to open more NHS
They are assessing whether
developing the unoccupied 15th
floor of the £650mn hospital for
private patients could generate
income to help reduce soaring
debts at its parent trust, Barts
The Royal London has been
redeveloped as part of a £1.1bn
Campaigners say the proposals are the latest example of
the “crippling” impact of PFI
repayments on Barts, which is
Britain’s largest trust and has
the biggest deficit in the NHS
at £93mn.
Confirmation of the plans
came as the Barts board expressed regret at a shortage of
high-dependency beds at the
Royal London, in Whitechapel.
Patients have complained
about planned surgery being
postponed due to the lack of recuperation beds.
Dr Ron Singer, chairman of
Newham Save Our NHS, told
the Standard: “The complicated
situation at Barts Health, particularly the new PFI building, is
merely an example of chaos that
is running through the whole of
the NHS.
“Trusts are in danger
of losing their dignity
by having to scrabble
around for money to
keep basic NHS services
“Trusts are in danger of losing
their dignity by having to scrabble around for money to keep
basic NHS services running.
Taxpayers’ money that is going
into the Royal London hospital
is being wasted in the sense that
the building is not being used to
Along with the Royal London,
new cardiac and cancer centres
at St Bartholomew’s hospital, in
Smithfield, are being developed
under the £1.1bn PFI deal that
will cost the trust a total of £7.1bn
— with annual repayments rising
to £274mn by 2048.
The Health and Social Care Act
allows NHS trusts to generate up
to 49% of income from private
patients. Chelsea and Westminster makes about £13mn a year,
the Royal Brompton £33.6mn
and UCLH £10.3mn.
Barts Health chief Peter Morris
confirmed the trust was “exploring the possibilities around private practice”.
There are also plans to convert the 14th floor at the Royal
London — which has also been
an “empty shell” since the new
hospital opened in 2012 — into
a centre for income-generating
Morris said: “We are keen
to drive revenues through that
space but in a way that is consistent with an academic health
institution and teaching hospital, and... can convert back
into NHS use if our successors
Benefit claimants would face
penalties if they refused to learn
English under the plans.
Staff at jobcentres would also
be expected to identify claimants who could become targets of radicalisation under the
plans.Getting permission to
come to visit the UK or to stay
could also become more onerous.
SO15 officer handed letters to
each of the girls, addressed to
their parents, requesting their
daughters’ further co-operation
as part of the investigation.
“We now understand that
these letters were not passed on
in every case.
“With the benefit of hindsight,
we acknowledge that the letters
could have been delivered direct
to the parents.
“However, the parents were already aware from the deputy head
that the 15-year-old girl had been
reported missing, all the teenagers
were all being co-operative, they
were all being treated as potential
witnesses and there was nothing
whatsoever to indicate that they
themselves were planning to travel
to Syria.
“Following this meeting, the
families of all of the girls who had
been spoken to were contacted
by the deputy head on the advice
of the police. They were made
aware that Girl 1 had been re-
ported missing. She asked them
to come back to the school or police with any information.”
Abase Hussein, the father of
Amira, believes his daughter
would still be at home if he had
seen the police warning.
“If we knew, this wouldn’t
have happened,” he told ITV
“We would have stopped
them. We would have discussed
it and taken away their passports
from them. This wouldn’t have
Halima Khanom, sister of
Kadiza Sultana, said: “We
wouldn’t have been here today
doing this if we’d got that letter
and known what was going on.”
Scotland Yard said the investigation into all of the missing girls
The spokesman said: “We will
continue to work with our partners and the authorities to combat this risk and prevent tragedies.”
Govt plans airline laws to stop Britons joining IS
Britain will introduce a package of new laws next week
to stop airlines carrying passengers who may be travelling
to join Islamic State militants
in Syria and Iraq, the Sunday
Times newspaper reported.
Thousands of foreigners from
more than 80 countries have
joined the ranks of Islamic
State (IS) and other groups
in Syria and Iraq, including
the Briton known as “Jihadi
John”, who has appeared in
multiple IS beheading videos.
The interior minister would
be able to prevent airlines
from carrying passengers,
including children, believed
to be travelling to take part in
“terrorism-related activity” on
known routes, such as those
into Syria, the newspaper
reported. The Home Office
confirmed the accuracy of the
reports. The rules, due to be
included in legislation being
put before parliament this
week, would require airlines to
seek permission to carry such
passengers. An automatic system based on passenger lists
provided by airlines would
flag high-risk travellers and
stop them boarding aircraft,
the report said.
Osborne planning
‘diverted profits tax’
Debt-hit hospital mulls
private wing to raise cash
London Evening Standard
of the need to tackle extremists in
Britain who gave “succour” to terrorists. It was not just “those who
break the law by committing acts
of violence”, who caused the problems, he said.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, the Home Office plans
would cover a whole range of institutions, including jobcentres
and passport offices.
Errors made
in runaway
case: police
he Scottish National Party
is not the “social conscience” of Labour, shadow energy secretary Caroline
Flint has said.
But she refused to rule out a
coalition after the election, in
which Labour is widely predicted to lose many of its Scottish
seats to the SNP.
Ed Miliband and other senior figures within the party have
come under increasing pressure
to end speculation that a pact
may be on the cards.
The prime minister has said
the Labour leader should explicitly rule out a deal with the SNP
“if he cares about this country”.
David Cameron’s remarks followed a suggestion by former
Tory chairman Lord Baker that
a grand coalition between the
Conservatives and Labour may
be necessary to avoid the SNP
holding the balance of power at
Flint said her party would take
no lectures from the SNP about
how it could “somehow be more
progressive then Labour”.
She told The Andrew Marr Show:
“ We are focused on winning a Labour majority government. Let me
say this. We do not want, we do not
need and we do not plan to have any
coalition with the SNP.
“There is going to be a choice at
this election between who will sit
in Number 10. It is a choice between
Labour or the Conservatives forming a majority government.
“Every vote that is cast for the
SNP makes it more likely that
David Cameron will retain the
keys to Number 10.
“The SNP is not the social
conscience of the Labour party.
They might like to see themselves like that but they are not.
“We are the party that will repeal the bedroom tax, we will raise
the minimum wage, we will freeze
energy prices, a policy the SNP do
not support, and we are a party
based on our record over 100 years
of supporting social justice and
success for working people.
at the end of the month, although
it is understood that the document leaked to the Sunday Telegraph has not yet been signed off
by both coalition parties.
In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday, Philip
Hammond, the foreign secretary,
would not comment directly on
the document but did say the government was increasingly aware
Osborne: targeting multinational companies
inance Minister, George
Osborne, is planning to
introduce a new “diverted
profits tax” targeting multinational companies judged to have
shifted profits overseas to avoid
tax, the Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing government
The 25% levy, more than corporation tax which is set at 20%,
would be part of the annual
budget due to be presented to
parliament by Osborne on March
18, the newspaper reported.
Google, and Facebook are among companies
that have been widely criticised
in Britain for tax avoidance and
that could potentially be affected
by the new levy, according to the
Sunday Times.
The budget will be Osborne’s
last before a national election
on May 7 in which his Conservatives face a tight contest
with the main opposition Labour Party. Polls suggest the
two parties are neck-and-neck,
while the picture is compli-
cated by a surge in support for
several smaller parties.
Against that backdrop, there
have been reports that Osborne
would come up with some popular and eye-catching measures in
his budget, while remaining focused on fiscal austerity aimed at
reducing a still-massive budget
The Financial Times reported on Saturday that Osborne
wished to “pull a rabbit out of a
hat” and Treasury officials had
been asked to present him with
options. However, Osborne
wanted any pre-election giveaway to be cost-neutral to fit with
the overall fiscal strategy.
The Sunday Times report also
said Osborne was in talks with
junior coalition partners the
Liberal Democrats about raising the threshold from which
people pay income tax, a measure that would reduce the tax
bill for hundreds of thousands
of people.
The threshold, currently set at
£10,000, is due to rise to £10,600
in April but the newspaper reported Osborne wanted to raise
it by a further £200 in addition
to what was already planned.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Greece warns
of vote ahead of
debt deal talks
reek Finance Minister
Yanis Varoufakis upped
the stakes sharply yesterday ahead of a crucial Eurogroup meeting today in Brussels
by raising the prospect of Greece
holding new elections or even a
referendum on any debt deal.
If eurozone ministers fail to accept seven major reforms Greece
has put forward to unlock the
next tranche of its much-needed
bailout, “there could be problems”, Varoufakis warned in an
interview with Italian newspaper
Corriere della Sera yesterday.
“We can go back to elections.
Call a referendum,” he told the
daily. “But, as my prime minister
told me, we are not glued to our
seats yet.”
The last time Greece threatened a referendum on its bailout
in November 2011, it sent global
markets into panic, infuriated
its European partners and led to
the fall of then prime minister
George Papandreou.
Varoufakis later slammed reports that he was calling for a
vote on whether to stay in the
Varoufakis: We can go back to elections. Call a referendum.
euro, claiming they were a part of
“willful attempts to undermine
the good course” of the Greek
government’s discussions with
its partners.
A source in the Greek government also denounced what it
termed a media “deconstruction
of Varoufakis”.
The finance chief has been
criticised in Greece for his media
omnipresence, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras telling him
and other ministers to give fewer
interviews, urging “fewer words
and more action”.
The thinly-veiled referendum
warning was echoed by Panos
Kammenos, the leader of the radical leftist Syriza government’s
coalition allies, the Independent
“If our creditors raise a question about the support of Greek
people, a referendum is an option,” Kammenos, the defence
minister, told the Agora newspaper.
In a statement released later
on Sunday, the Greek finance
ministry said that Varoufakis
was responding to a hypothetical question and that any referendum would “obviously regard
the content of reforms and fiscal
policy” and not whether to stay
in the euro, as Corriere della Sera
had suggested.
Most Greeks want the country
to keep the euro, but two-thirds
also continue to back the government’s tough stance to renegotiate the bailout package.
A referendum over a deal with
lenders that keeps the country
in the eurozone but falls short
of Tsipras’s promises could give
the government cover to accept
a deal even though it was elected
with a different mandate. But
even floating the idea of a referendum is politically risky.
Former prime minister Antonis Samaras, who is now head
of the main opposition party,
said a referendum would be “a
very bad development” and allow
the government to shrug off its
The now much-diminished
Greek Socialist PASOK party, also
in the opposition to Tsipras’ radical left alliance, said in a state-
A street vendor places price tags on Greek national flags, hanging on sale at a kiosk in Athens.
ment that Varoufakis’s statement
was “irresponsible, thoughtless
and contradictory”.
The huge public support enjoyed by the hard-left government has slipped markedly from
83% last month to 64%, according to a Marc poll published on
Varoufakis dismissed reports
that Greece was hoping to secure a new loan in his interview
with the Italian media, given on
the sidelines of a conference in
He said that the country would
“not return to the mechanism
of loans in exchange for a programme to be respected”.
And he accused the European
Union of hampering Greece’s efforts to pull clear of a deep recession by spooking investors with
warnings that Athens could crash
out of the eurozone.
There was further fighting
talk from Interior Minister Nikos
He told parliament on Friday
that Greece “is at war with the
lenders ... every month the leash
is getting tighter for us. But in
this war we won’t proceed like
happy scouts ready to follow
bailout policies.”
The Greek ministers’ comments came as the European
Central Bank (ECB) took a hard
line ahead of the Brussels meeting, saying that it would not allow Athens to take out any more
of the short-term loans it has
been using to keep public services going.
ECB director Benoit Coeure
told the German newspaper
Frankfurter Allegemeine Sonntagszeitung that “the ECB cannot finance the Greek government. We’re not allowed to. That
is illegal”.
However, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, as well as European Commission head JeanClaude Juncker, took a much
more conciliatory line, with the
Dutch finance minister responding “positively” to the reforms
proposed in a widely-leaked letter from Varoufakis, according to
Greek government sources.
The measures include plans
to streamline bureaucracy, raise
revenue from online gambling
and, in a suggestion that drew
scorn on social media, hire an
army of amateur tax sleuths – including tourists – to help clamp
down on tax dodgers.
Dijsselbloem stressed the need
to continue talks on the reforms,
the state-run Athens news agency said.
Juncker warned the EU on Saturday to recognise the gravity of
the situation in Greece – both for
the country’s impoverished citizens and for the wider risks to the
“We must be sure that the
situation does not continue to
deteriorate in Greece. What worries me is that not everyone in the
European Union has understood
how serious the situation is,”
Juncker told German paper Die
With reports last week of officials looking at borrowing money
from state pension funds and EU
farm subsidy payments to meet
the country’s huge debts, the
Greek daily Kathimerini warned
of “internal bankruptcy”.
It claimed that according to
official estimations, the Greek
public sector needs around €1bn
more than had been planned to
cover its obligations.
Belgian held on return from Syria
A young Belgian woman was detained at the country’s Charleroi
airport yesterday after being intercepted by Turkish authorities as
she sought to return from Syria with her four-year-old son, officials
The woman, who left Belgium with her child and partner last year
to go to Syria, was taken in for questioning upon her return, federal
prosecutors said, adding that the police wanted to talk to her about
her eight-month stay in the war-ravaged country.
It will then be up to an investigating judge to decide whether to take
the case further, amid mounting fears in Europe over young people
travelling to Syria to join jihadist groups.
Turkish authorities stopped the Belgian family on Thursday after
they crossed the border from Syria.
The woman and child were sent back to Belgium, while the man was
remanded in custody in Turkey.
“There is an investigation ongoing in Turkey for her partner,
who after all went to Syria and took part, it seems, in a number
of training exercises including in the use of weapons,” Belgian
Foreign Minister Didier Reynders was quoted as saying by public
broadcaster RTBF.
“So it’s normal to look into what his role was. And we will then see if
any investigations need to be carried out in Belgium as well.”
About the woman, the minister said: “There are certain questions
she needs to be asked.”
10,000 could be waging jihad: Valls
As many as 10,000 Europeans could be waging jihad in Iraq and
Syria by the end of this year, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls
warned yesterday, a three-fold increase on current numbers.
“There are 3,000 Europeans in Iraq and Syria today. When you do
a projection for the months to come, there could be 5,000 before
summer and 10,000 before the end of the year,” Valls told French
television channel iTele.
“Do you realise the threat that this represents?” he asked.
He said there were around 1,400 people who were either already in
these conflict zones, who had come back from there or who were
planning to go.
“There have already been nearly 90 French people who have died
out there with a weapon in their hand, fighting against our own
values,” Valls said.
France, along with Belgium, has seen the largest numbers of
volunteers leaving to join the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which
has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Asylum seekers’ home vandalised
An asylum seekers’ home in the Bavarian town of Hof has been
spray-painted with swastikas and racist slogans, police said
The incident, which bore the hallmarks of a far-right act, took place
at a youth hostel housing the asylum seekers, police in Bayreuth
Displaying swastikas, the symbol associated with the Nazis, is illegal
in Germany. Germany has recently experienced a huge rise in
asylum applications, partly because of the civil war in Syria.
Meanwhile, reports on German-born radicals travelling to the
Middle East to join jihadist groups has fuelled anti-immigration
sentiment across the country.
Stop austerity policies to halt rise
of far-right, says Podemos leader
By Julien Toyer, Inmaculada
Sanz and Carlos Ruano,
urope must stop its austerity policies or watch farright movements continue
to grow and pose a real danger to
democracy, said Pablo Iglesias,
leader of Spain’s Podemos party
that, like Greece’s SYRIZA, aims
to offer a leftist alternative.
In an interview with Reuters,
the 36-year-old whose Podemos
(“We Can”) party is leading some
election polls, also said that any
coalition between Spain’s centre-right and centre-left would
only prolong what he called the
country’s economic disaster.
Spain is emerging from a seven-year economic slump as one
of the eurozone’s fastest growing
nations. But the exit from recession has yet to ease the hardship
for millions of households and
nearly one in four of the workforce is still out of a job.
A weariness with austerity
has made voters across Europe
susceptible to the rhetoric of
anti-immigrant right-wing parties that are playing to their discontent with suggestions that
the European Union has let them
While the far-right has made
little ground in Spain – public
unhappiness has translated instead into anti-capitalist and
anti-establishment movements
– Iglesias said that he was concerned about the increased attraction for some voters of movements like Greece’s Golden Dawn
and France’s National Front.
“It is very important to accept
the hand outstretched by those
like us who are pro-European,
Iglesias: One should ask
(German Chancellor Angela)
Merkel if she’d rather sit down
with Marine Le Pen or with me.
those who defend the European
project,” said Iglesias, a university professor, from his office
overlooking the Square of Spain
in central Madrid.
Otherwise, he warned: “Perhaps in one year’s time (France’s
far-right leader) Marine Le Pen
will have a seat at the Eurogroup.
One should ask (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel if she’d
rather sit down with Marine Le
Pen or with me.”
He told Reuters that while Podemos was cautious of opinion
polls that put the party ahead of
the ruling’s People’s Party (PP)
and the opposition Socialist Party, it is nonetheless aiming to win
an absolute majority in the general election that is expected to
take place by the end of the year.
“I have the impression that if
it doesn’t happen there could be
in this country a grand coalition
like those which have ruled in so
many other European countries,”
Iglesias said. “They would continue the policies that have taken
us to disaster.”
Spain’s €1tn debt is nearly
100% of GDP and interest payments are becoming one of the
biggest parts of the country’s national budget.
Podemos has called for a re-
structuring of the debt and while
Iglesias acknowledged this and
other economic steps could face
resistance – Greece’s new SYRIZA government is struggling to
wrest control of economic policy
from international creditors – he
said that the EU would have to
listen “seriously” to its fourthbiggest economy.
“The austerity policies are
taking us closer to chaos and we
can do things better than what
has been done,” he said.
Podemos, which produced a
major shock by winning five seats
in elections for the European
Parliament in May last year, plans
to achieve economic growth by
boosting public spending and internal demand.
It has said in its election manifesto it would reform the tax
system to shift the burden from
labour to capital, hike tax rates
for the wealthiest and give tax
inspectors greater powers to fight
tax evasion and increase the government’s revenues.
The party came under fire for
pledging to default on the national debt and nationalise the
country’s main utilities.
Since then it has rowed back
on those pledges in a move that
analysts say demonstrates its
ambition to capture centre-left
votes too.
In addition to now saying it
would talk to creditors about
debt restructuring, Podemos
says it would discuss with energy
and water companies how to provide a cheaper service for those
who are in a situation of poverty.
Iglesias said he would also
make a priority of stopping house
A recent poll showed one in
four who voted for the socialists
in 2011 would cast their ballot for
Spanish newcomer Ciudadanos jumps in polls
Support for Spanish political newcomer Ciudadanos (“Citizens”) has surged
in the last two months to put it neck-and-neck with the leftist Podemos,
the conservative leaders and the socialist opposition, according to a poll
published by El Pais yesterday.
Spain, like many of its eurozone neighbours, has seen austerity-weary
voters turn away from traditional political parties in search of an alternative after a more than six-year economic slump and a slew of corruption
The survey shows the country heading for a potential four-way split vote in
the national election expected at the end of the year.
Ciudadanos, led by 35-year-old lawyer Alberto Rivera and, until recently,
focused solely on the region of Catalonia, would take 18.4% of the national
vote, the poll showed, compared to 18.6% for the ruling People’s Party (PP).
The surge in support from 8.1% in January and 12.2% in February places the
party, which has drawn disenchanted voters from both the left and right, as
potential king-makers in the rising possibility of a hung parliament following the election.
Although Podemos (“We Can”) is still seen winning the next election, support dropped sharply from a month earlier, with 22.5% saying they would
vote for the party, down from 27.7% in February.
Some 20.2% said they would vote for Spain’s traditional left, the Socialists.
In an interview with Reuters, Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos, said any
coalition between Spain’s centre-right and centre-left would only prolong
what he called the country’s economic disaster.
The PP’s absolute majority in Parliament has helped it pass unpopular
economic reforms in the midst of a prolonged recession, though the poll
suggests pacts will have to be struck to form a stable government after the
next vote.
Ciudadanos’ more moderate, consolatory tone with parties which Podemos dismisses as “the caste”, could help lay the way for a broader coalition.
It could also ease concerns that Spain was heading in the same direction as
Greece in electing a leftist anti-establishment party that pledges to restructure the country’s debt and tax the wealthy.
However, pollsters have warned of the difficulty of estimating Parliamentary seats so early in the year given neither Podemos nor Ciudadanos existed
at the last election at the end of 2011.
Podemos if the election was held
In the case of the former communists of Izquierda Unida, the
ratio would be closer to one in
Pony-tailed Iglesias, who was
known for his appearances on
political TV shows before founding Podemos a year ago, said last
month the party was now the
only real opposition to the centre-right government of Rajoy.
A Metroscopia poll released by
Spanish newspaper El Pais yesterday showed Podemos would
win a general election if it was
held today, ahead of the socialists, the PP and other anti-establishment party Ciudadanos, for
which support has also surged in
recent months.
Vatican receives ransom demand for stolen Michelangelo letters
Vatican City
Lombardi: did not say why the
Vatican had not disclosed the
theft before.
he Vatican said yesterday
that it had received a ransom demand for the return
of two rare documents written by
Renaissance master Michelangelo that were stolen from its archives nearly 20 years ago.
The theft of the two documents – one a letter including the
signature of the artist who painted the Sistine Chapel, designed
part of St Peter’s Basilica and
sculpted statues such as David
and the Pieta – had not been
made public before yesterday.
Following a report by the Rome
newspaper Il Messaggero yesterday, spokesman Father Fed-
erico Lombardi said a cardinal in
charge of St Peter’s Basilica had
been contacted recently by a person who offered to get the documents back for what Lombardi
called “a certain price”.
Il Messaggero said the person, described as a former Vatican employee, had asked for
Lombardi said the cardinal
“naturally refused because these
are stolen documents”.
The spokesman said a nun who
worked in the Vatican archives
informed officials in 1997 that
the documents were missing.
He did not say why the Vatican had not disclosed the theft
While the newspaper spoke
of only one letter signed by
Michelangelo, who lived from
1475 to 1564, the spokesman said
that two documents had gone
He added that Vatican police
were now investigating the case
together with their Italian counterparts.
Neither the spokesman nor the
newspaper disclosed any details
of the documents, which were
taken from the archives of the
Vatican department that looks
after the upkeep of the basilica,
known as the Fabbrica di San Pietro.
They contain numerous documents concerning the history,
design and construction of the
largest church in Christendom.
It took more than 100 years to
build and was completed in 1626.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
party HQ
Greece’s ruling party
headquarters yesterday in
support of hunger strikers protesting against conditions in the
country’s maximum-security
A group of 50 anarchists burst
into the offices of the radical left-wing SYRIZA party in
downtown Athens yesterday,
forcing staff to leave the building, party officials said.
“I was inside my office giving my first official interview to
a radio station,” the party’s new
spokeswoman Rania Svigou told
“I had locked the door so I
wouldn’t be disturbed. Then I
heard banging and shouting.”
she said.
“I finished the interview and
went out to see what was happening and they told us to get
out,” she added.
Svigou said party workers did
not call the police.
SYYRIZA has often criticised
heavy-handed policing of antiausterity protests in the past.
The anarchists hung banners
from the building’s balconies
calling for the abolition of the
controversial C-type jails, where
the country’s most notorious
criminals and terrorists are held.
The protesters also demanded
the release of Savvas Xiros, the
bomb-maker of the extreme
left-wing 17 November terrorist group, who is serving life in
prison and is in ill health.
Juncker rekindles talk of
a European Union army
should have its own army,
the leader of the bloc’s executive said in an interview published yesterday, reviving the
long-debated idea amid fresh
tensions with Russia.
“A joint EU army would show
the world that there would never
again be a war between EU countries. Such an army would help
us to shape a common foreign
and security policy and to seize
together Europe’s responsibility
in the world,” European Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker was quoted as saying by
the German newspaper Welt am
“You do not have a European
army to deploy it immediately.
But a common army of Europeans would convey to Russia that
we are serious about the defence
of EU values,” he added.
Juncker said a common EU
army could serve as a deterrent
and would have been useful during the Ukraine crisis.
“With its own army, Europe
could react more credibly to the
threat to peace in a member state
or in a neighbouring state.”
Juncker also said that a joint
EU force would also lead to more
efficient spending on military
equipment and drive further integration of the bloc’s 28 member states.
“Such an army would help us
design a common foreign and
security policy,” the former Luxembourg prime minister said.
“Europe’s image has suffered
dramatically and also in terms of
foreign policy, we don’t seem to
be taken entirely seriously.”
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen offered him
backing yesterday, arguing in the
Deutschlandfunk broadcaster
for increased links between the
German military and other European armed forces.
“This intertwining of armies,
with a view to one day also having a European army, is in my
view the future,” she said, arguing that such moves would also
“strengthen the European pillar
in the transatlantic [Nato] alliance”.
Relations between Moscow
and the West have reached their
worst point since the fall of the
Soviet Union, over the crisis in
Welt am Sonntag quoted the
head of the German parliament’s
foreign policy committee, Norbert Roettgen, as saying that an
EU army “is a European vision
whose time has come”.
The newspaper said that
former Nato secretary general
Javier Solana would present a
report today in Brussels entitled
More Union in European Defence
calling for a new European security strategy including military
capability to intervene beyond
EU borders
However, the idea of an EU
army is likely to meet resistance
in some of the bloc’s member
It earned a swift rebuke yesterday from the eurosceptic UK
Independence Party, which has
been gaining ground in Britain
ahead of a general election to be
held in May.
“A European Army would be
a tragedy for the United Kingdom. We have all seen the utter
mess the EU has made of the eurozone economy, so how can we
even think of trusting them with
this island’s defence,” the party’s
defence spokesman, EU parliamentarian Mike Hookem, said in
a statement.
UKIP members have also argued in the past that a European
army would be a “threat” to the
Nato military alliance, whose
members include the US and
all EU countries except Austria,
Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta
and Sweden.
Juncker told Welt am Sonntag
that a European army should not
be a competitor to Nato.
EU countries have traditionally been loath to transfer defence powers to Brussels.
The bloc established the concept of European Union battlegroups in 2007 to provide a
quick military intervention in
crisis situations, but they have
never been deployed.
EU leaders have said they
want to boost the common security policy by improving rapid
response capabilities.
But Britain, along with France
one of the two main military
powers in the bloc, has been
wary of giving a bigger military
role to the EU, fearing it could
undermine Nato.
Juncker: a common EU army could serve as a deterrent and would
have been useful during the Ukraine crisis.
Rebel sniper kills Ukrainian
serviceman, says military
Russian navy
in Black Sea
Russian warships and aircraft
were spotted in the Black Sea
area where a Nato exercise was
planned, but acted in line with
international rules, a US officer
said yesterday.
“They have their plans, we
have ours,” Rear Admiral Brad
Williamson said aboard a US
cruiser docked in the Bulgarian
Black Sea port of Varna, the BTA
news agency reported.
The US is due to take part in the
exercise today alongside Nato
partners Bulgaria, Romania and
Turkey amid tensions raised by
the Ukraine crisis.
The training has been planned
since last year.
ne Ukrainian serviceman has been killed and
three wounded as a result
of fighting in separatist eastern
territories in the past 24 hours
despite a ceasefire deal, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy
Lysenko said yesterday.
Attacks have fallen significantly in the past two weeks, but
accusations of continued violence on both sides show the fragility of the peace accord agreed
in Minsk last month, which
calls for the withdrawal of heavy
weapons from the frontline.
“There is increased activity of
sniper groups. The serviceman
who was killed died at the hands
A truck passes by a pro-Russian rebel’s tank with a gas mask placed on its barrel in the village of
Molochnoye, northeast of Donetsk.
of a sniper,” Lysenko said in a televised briefing.
He added that while the Minsk
agreements were broadly observed along the front lines, and
the intensity of provocative attacks had dropped significantly,
rebels continued to fire on government positions.
Kiev accuses the separatists
of using the ceasefire to regroup
their forces and rearm for a further offensive, a charge the rebels
deny, saying they have withdrawn heavy artillery in accordance with the Minsk peace deal.
“Illegal armed groups are actively involved in combat training, gathering resources and
rebuilding technical readiness,”
Lysenko said, adding that rebels
had been tracked amassing
combat equipment around their
stronghold of Donetsk.
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe,
which monitors the pull-back
of weapons, has said it cannot
fully confirm withdrawal on both
sides as it has not been given access to all the locations where
some weapons have been moved.
The ceasefire between Kiev
and the pro-Russian separatists
in Donetsk and Luhansk regions
came into effect three weeks ago,
the latest effort to stop bloodshed
in the country where over 6,000
have been killed in 11 months.
As part of the agreement, the
two sides also agreed to withdraw heavy artillery from the
frontline to create a 50km buffer
zone although each has accused
the other of violating the commitment.
Officer admits involvement in Nemtsov murder
Russian court has charged
two men with the murder of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, including a former police officer from
Chechnya who confessed to his
involvement in what investigators said was a contract killing.
Four others denied any connection to the killing of Nemtsov
who was shot four times in the
back on February 27 while walking with his girlfriend along a
bridge outside the Kremlin in a
brazen assassination that has
sent shivers through the country’s opposition.
Interfax news agency quoted a
law enforcement source as saying
that a sixth suspect threw a grenade at police who came to arrest
him in the Chechen capital and
killed himself with another grenade on Saturday.
In Moscow, masked, heavily armed police marched the
five handcuffed suspects through
hallways packed with journalists
and into two separate courtrooms
where they were placed inside
defendants’ cages and ordered to
be held for around two months
pending the investigation.
According to documents read
out in court, the accused are
charged under a section of the
Russian criminal code which
the murder was carried out by
a group of people for financial
gain, the Interfax news agency
The charges also involve extortion and banditry. Investigators
said that they were still seeking
others who may have been involved.
However, as in a string of other
killings of Russian opposition
figures, officials have yet to shed
light on who might have ordered
the murder of the 55-year-old
Nemtsov, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin.
Zaur Dadayev, a decorated
former deputy commander in
a Chechen police unit born in
1982, and Anzor Gubashev, 31,
who worked for a private security company in Moscow, were
arrested on Saturday in the province of Ingushetia which neighbours Chechnya.
They were both charged with
murder but Gubashev denied involvement.
“The participation of Dadayev
is confirmed by his confession,”
said presiding judge Nataliya
Mushnikova, according to state
news agencies.
Court spokeswoman Anna
Fadeyeva told the RIA Novosti
news agency that the other three
men were only considered suspects at this stage.
They are Gubashev’s younger
brother Shagid, Ramzat Bakhayev, 45, and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, 34.
The men are all from the volatile northern Caucasus region
where Russia has fought two devastating wars against Chechen
rebels and where security forces
continue to clash with Islamist
“The suspects denied their
involvement in this crime but investigators have proof of their involvement,” a representative for
the probe told the court.
emerged as to the possible motive
the men could have had in killing
the former prime minister turned
charismatic opposition leader
who was one of the last outspoken opponents to Putin.
Nemtsov’s allies believe his
assassination was a hit ordered
by the top levels of government
determined to silence dissenters.
The allegation has been strenuously denied.
The murder in one of the most
heavily policed parts of the Russian capital sent shockwaves
through an opposition which has
seen several critics of the Kremlin
killed in recent years and which
accuses Putin of steadily suppressing independent media and
opposition parties.
Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna
Nemtsova, in an interview with
CNN from Germany, said that
the murder was obviously “politically motivated”.
“I think that now, Russia has
crossed the line after this murder,
and people will be frightened to
express their ideas which contradict ... the official standpoint.”
Her comments echo those
heard from Kremlin critics such
as activist Alexei Navalny, who
accused “the country’s political
leadership” of ordering a hit on
Nemtsov, who had long complained of being followed and
having his phone tapped, had
spoken of his fear of being killed.
Putin has described Nemtsov’s
killing as a tragedy that brought
disgrace on Russia and vowed
that everything would be done to
bring to justice those who committed a “vile and cynical murder”.
Many Russians say that failing
direct involvement, Putin is still
to blame for whipping up hatred
against the opposition by regularly referring to them as a “fifth
column” of traitors and spies – a
message spread daily by all-powerful state media.
He first used the term fifth
columnist – which originated
during the Spanish civil war and
refers to a group of people undermining a nation from within
– after he ordered the annexation
of Crimea in Ukraine last year,
plunging relations with the West
to lows not seen since the Cold
Investigators have suggested Nemtsov’s killers wanted to
destabilise Russia while Kremlin-loyal politicians have referred
to a Western plot.
Investigators say they are also
probing the possibility that he
was assassinated for criticising
Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict or for his condemnation of
January’s killings at the Charlie
Hebdo satirical weekly in Paris by
Islamist gunmen.
Zaur Dadayev (above) and Anzor Gubashev (right), charged
with the murder of Nemtsov, are seen inside the defendants’
cage at the Basmanny district court in Moscow.
Tamerlan Eskerkhanov (left), Shagid Gubashev and Ramzan Bakhayev (right), detained over the killing of
Nemtsov, hide their faces inside a defendants’ cage at the Basmanny district court in Moscow.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Tamil Nadu
By Umaima Shafiq
Call taxi
Police have arrested a couple
for swindling millions of rupees
from investors by enticing
them into a call taxi service in
Narmadha, 34, and Bharat
Kumar, 24, had launched the
India Track Call Taxi service in
2010 with 170 cars and 12 staff
and an office at Brindavan Road
in Koyambedu.
The business partners floated
a scheme promising to pay
Rs5,000 for every Rs100,000
invested in the business. The
couple initially kept their
promise, but the investors
smelled a rat when payments
stopped in August 2014, and
the firm’s cheques bounced.
At least 50 people are thought
to have fallen for the scheme.
Based on investors’ complaints,
the Central Crime Branch police
arrested the couple.
In a separate incident, a
man who deceived several
businessmen posing as a
vigilance officer was arrested in
Shamugham, 35, was caught
by a decoy police team at
businessman Tirumurugan’s
house from whom he had
demanded money to avoid
‘legal action.’ Police also
recovered several fake ID cards
from Shanmugham showing
him as government officer and
Kerala DGP seeks action against former colleague
olice in Kerala have
launched action against
their former director general in a case related to a millionaire businessman who allegedly
rammed his SUV into a security
guard killing him in Thrissur.
The move came after an audio
CD was released on Friday by the
Kerala government’s chief whip
P C George, forcing the current
Director General of Police (DGP)
K S Balasubramanian to take action against his former colleague
M N Krishnamurthy, who retired
last month.
The CD, released at a press
conference here, revealed a
conversation between Krishnamurthy and Jacob Job, the suspended superintendent of police
(SP). The two were heard discussing about the sensational
case which is being investigated
by the police.
In the case, Mohamed Nisham, the businessman, is alleged to have first assaulted the
security guard and later rammed
his luxury vehicle into him at a
posh villa complex.
The guard died of his injuries a
few days later in hospital.
In the CD, according to
George, the retired DGP is heard
speaking on behalf of Balasubramanian, his successor, in an
effort to save the businessman
from the legal consequences of
his actions.
“I have submitted a
report to this effect to
the government. The
government has also begun
steps to take it forward”
Balasubramanian said action
against the former DGP has been
launched. “I have submitted a
Modi calls for efforts to end all
forms of discrimination and
injustice against women
New Delhi
Four people were arrested in
a suspected case of honour
killing of a 19-year-old girl at
Udaikulam village in Sivaganga
district about 450km from
Chennai last week.
Thangaraj, the girl’s father
reportedly murdered Tamilselvi
and burnt her body with the
help of his friends at the village
graveyard. He immediately
surrendered to police. He
was reportedly angry that
Tamilselvi had been having an
affair with a lower caste boy
with whom she had tried to
elope twice.
Police have begun
investigations by collecting the
bones at the graveyard and
other forensic evidence.
School girl
A nine-year-old girl died of
electrocution while washing
her hands at a water tank in her
government school at Vellore,
about 150kms from Chennai.
Archana reportedly stepped
on a live wire connected to the
motor which pumped water to
the tank.
Though the headmaster rushed
to pull out Archana, he too
was electrocuted. Arachana’s
parents, along with local
villagers and other parents held
a protest on the campus. Local
police have launched a probe
into the matter.
The organs of popular
cinema editor Kishore, who
was declared brain dead at
Chennai’s Vijaya Hospital on
March 6 after a stroke, have
been donated by his parents.
Kishore, 36, had won a National
Award for his work in the 2011
Dhanush-starrer Aadukalam.
He was also a part of several
hit films like Ethir Neechal,
Udhayam NH4, Aarohanam and
He has over 30 films to his
jumps to death
A 24-year old software engineer
jumped to his death from the
terrace of his three-storey
office building reportedly over
a failed love affair at Alandur in
Chennai last week.
Balakrishnan jumped as his
colleagues were taking a
lunch break. However they
did not know the identity of
Balakrishnan’s girlfriend. Even
his parents who are farmers
in coastal Ramanathapuram
district were clueless about
Balakrishnan’s motive for
his post as superintendent of
police at Thrissur where the
murder took place and was later
suspended after being found
closeted with the businessman
for over an hour without any police official who was part of the
probe team.
Job is known to be close to the
Kerala Congress (Mani), the party of George.
Police have been rocked by
these actions, as there have always been tensions between the
top officials. This is perhaps the
first instance in recent times
when it has come out in the open.
The decision of Balasubrama-
nian to take this up very strongly
with the government appears to
have come as a blow to Krishnamurthy, who retired on February
28 and was all set to get a postretirement post.
All eyes are now on how the
opposition is going to take this
up as the budget session of the
Kerala assembly is underway.
Chandy has said that he suspects that the audio CD revelation is part of a larger game plan
to defame his government.
But the irrepressible George
has threatened to reveal more
about Balasubramanian in the
coming days.
PM: our heads
hang in shame
over crimes
against women
Man held for
honour killing
of daughter
Film editor’s
organs donated
report to this effect to the government. The government has
also begun steps to take it forward.”
Asked if he suspects a conspiracy, the DGP smiled and said,
“You can come to your own conclusions.”
He added that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home
Minister Ramesh Chennithala
have already come out with their
statements, absolving him of any
wrong doing.
Both Chandy and Chennithala
have said there could be a conspiracy behind this.
Job was first transferred from
Women take part in India’s first-ever “Stilleto Run”, organised by women’s fashion brand Elle, on
International Women’s Day in Bengaluru yesterday.
rime Minister Narendra
Modi yesterday deplored
crimes against women in
the country as he made assurances that his government was taking
measures to protect them.
Modi’s statement came on the
International Women’s Day and
during an ongoing controversy
over a government ban on broadcast of a documentary about the
December 2012 gang-rape of a
Delhi student.
India has seen widespread anger over sexual violence since the
2012 crime. Activists say sexual
attacks targeting women and girls
continue in India despite tougher
anti-rape laws.
In his message, Modi said he
saluted the “indomitable courage and stellar achievements of
But he added: “Our heads
hang in shame when we hear
of instances of crime against
“We must walk shoulder-toshoulder to end all forms of discrimination or injustice against
women,” Modi said.
The government is setting up
centres to provide assistance,
legal advice and psychological
counselling to women who face
violence or abuse. A helpline will
also be started where victims can
seek counselling and referral to
Modi said his government had
also launched the Beti Bachao,
Beti Padhao (Save the Daughter,
Teach Daughter) campaign earlier
this year to stop female foeticide
and ensure education of girl children.
India’s Daughter, a documentary made by British filmmaker
Leslee Udwin, which has already
been broadcast on BBC, was to be
telecast on NDTV channel on International Women’s Day.
The government banned the
film saying it contained offensive remarks about women by a
convicted rapist as well as two
defence lawyers who were interviewed in the documentary.
Also yesterday, President
Pranab Mukherjee termed equality, liberty and dignity as women’s
“sacred rights”, and asked the
people to reaffirm their commitment to ensure gender equity and
empowerment of womenfolk in
Puraskar’ and ‘Nari Shakti Puruskar’ for the year 2014 on the
occasion of the International
Women’s Day, the president said
women’s rights are not a privilege
that they should seek.
“They have been a key element
in the codes of conduct that our
ancient societies prescribed for
themselves more than 3,000 years
ago,” Mukherjee said.
“Let us, on International
Women’s Day, reaffirm our commitment to ensure gender equity
and empowerment of women in
India to enable them to realise
their full potential and participate meaningfully in all aspects
of our country’s development,”
the president said.
Mukherjee said there were,
nevertheless, enduring societal
perceptions and attitudes which
inhibit the pace of improvement
in the condition and position of
women in our society and economy.
Meanwhile, over 30 organisations and NGOs came together
to “assert women’s freedom” and
asked Modi to take action against
those threatening the rights of
The event, titled “Aath (8)
March, Saath (together) march,”
included street plays and interactions to empower the women
residents of the national capital
and to inform them of their rights.
It was organised at Jantar Mantar
in central Delhi.
“It is a very challenging time
(for women) and we are here to
assert the women’s freedom,”
Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the
All India Progressive Women’s
Association (AIPWA) said.
Krishnan blamed the central
government for failing to keep a
check on rightwing radicals who,
due to their orthodox mindset,
discourage women’s freedom and
SpiceJet operates all-women crew flights
On the occasion of International Women’s Day yesterday,
budget carrier SpiceJet said it
was operating 16 all-women crew
flights across India and on its
international routes. “The first
such all-women crew Bombardier
Q400 flight, SG 1, took-off from
Chennai at 0040 hours bound for
Colombo, under the command
of Captain Aarti Pushpala, cabin
crew-in-charge Sheeba Singh, and
their all-woman crew,” the airline
announced in a statement. The
morning shift of SpiceJet’s Flight
Support Centre, the operational
nerve centre of the airline, was
also handled by an all-women
team led by Aditi Chauhan,” it
added. In another unique initiative, the airline also handed over
its official twitter handle to four
of its selected women staff. This is
an all-day live interactive chat session answering questions about
women in aviation.
NRI sets up institute to train
nurses in advanced skills
By Ashraf Padanna
businessman B R Shetty
yesterday said he would
set up an institute to train Gulfbound nurses in advanced skills
in association with the government of Kerala.
The Nursing Institute for Career Enhancement (NICE) will
start functioning here in May.
Shetty, who runs the Abu
Dhabi-based New Medical Centre group and the Sree Uthradom
Thirunal (SUT) hospital here,
said nurses joining NICE would
learn international best practices.
They will also be offered skills
in critical care nursing, quality and patient safety, training in
English and Arabic communica-
tion and soft skills, personality
development and work ethics.
NICE prepares them for
the necessary licensing exams
for international placements.
Through the four-month programme, candidates will pass
out with international certifications for nursing.
It also assures 100% placements in reputable hospitals in
India, the Middle East and other
The state-run Kerala Academy for Skills Enhancement
(KASE) is also planning similar
facilities in association with other groups to improve the quality
of manpower exports.
“Nurses from Kerala have already cast an indelible imprint
on the health sector across the
globe with their adept and selfless service. However, many of
them are not aware of the over-
seas placement procedures,” said
Shetty, who also heads the UAE
“This has been the main
concern that we jointly want
to address and ensure a fulfilling career for the nurses. The
world-class academy will impart
international quality skill sets
relevant today.”
The four-month course is
tailor-made for certified graduate or diploma nurses with an
experience of at least two years.
Recruitments will begin in November.
The KASE has already invited
applications from certified nurses from across the country. The
Centre for Excellence is being set
up at the Kinfra Park in Kazhakootam on the city’s outskirts.
On successful completion,
NICE will arrange suitable
placements for these nurses.
Shetty addresses a meeting after signing an agreement with the Kerala government to train Gulf-bound
nurses in advanced skills. Also seen are the state’s Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, Labour Secretary
Tom Jose and SUT group CEO Sudhakar Jayaram.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Actor arrested for
pub brawl, gets bail
Defence ministry under
monkey attack: Parrikar
TN minister sacked
after official’s suicide
Arun Kumar Singh
new Indian envoy to US
Mulayam recovering
well, say doctors
Bollywood actor Aditya Pancholi was arrested
yesterday after a brawl in a Mumbai pub, officials
said adding he was later granted bail by a court.
“Aditya Pancholi was arrested after he had a fight
with one of the bouncers at a pub,” an official
said. The incident occurred around Saturday
midnight at the Trilogy Pub in Hotel Sea Princess,
adjacent to Juhu Beach. An allegedly inebriated
Pancholi asked the DJ to play some favourite
Hindi songs which he rejected. Pancholi had
a loud argument with the DJ and as he was
escorted out by the security staff he abused and
pushed the security guard and hit him on the
head with his mobile phone.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said yesterday
that his ministry is under “attack” by monkeys,
adding two troopers were always on duty outside
his office to ward off simians. Parrikar said soon
after he took over as defence minister and visited
his office, he thought the two troopers were
sentries posted for security. The minister said he
later realised that their primary task was to ward
off and shoo away monkeys from slipping into the
building. “Monkeys from actual Ram Sena and not
the Karnataka-based Rama Sene,” Parrikar said in
jest, referring to the Hindu rightwing organisation
Sri Rama Sene which he, as the former chief
minister, banned from Goa.
Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister “Agni” S S
Krishnamoorthy, who came under attack after an
engineer in his department committed suicide, has
been dropped from the cabinet. A statement from Raj
Bhavan on Saturday night said Governor K Rosaiah
had accepted Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s
recommendation to drop Krishnamoorthy
from the council of ministers. Krishnamoorthy’s
portfolio has been given to R Vaithialingam,
who is also the minister for housing and urban
development. Krishnamoorthy’s ouster follows
demands by political parties for his sacking after
Muthukumarasamy, an engineer in the agricultural
department, committed suicide last month.
Arun Kumar Singh, currently India’s envoy to
France, has been appointed the next ambassador
to the US, the government announced yesterday.
Singh, an Indian Foreign Service officer of the
1979 batch, is expected to take up his assignment
shortly, the statement said. He replaces S
Jaishankar, who was appointed foreign secretary
on January 28. Singh had earlier served as deputy
chief of mission in Washington from October
2008 to April 2013. Prior to that, he was India’s
ambassador to Israel. He became ambassador
to France in April 2013. He has also served at the
important Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran division
at the external affairs ministry.
Samajwadi Party chief and parliamentarian
Mulayam Singh Yadav has recovered “well”
from suspected swine flu, doctors at the
Medicity Medanta hospital in Gurgaon
said yesterday. His son and Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, along with
parliamentarian wife Dimple Yadav, visited him
yesterday. Yadav, a former federal minister
and Uttar Pradesh chief minister, was admitted
to the hospital early Saturday for suspected
swine flu. According to the doctors, some test
reports are still awaited. A K Dubey, medical
superintendent of the hospital said: “Yadav’s
condition is much better compared to Saturday.
Delhi seeks
report from
Kashmir on
Alam release
New Delhi
he central government
yesterday sought a report
from Jammu and Kashmir
on the release of separatist leader Masrat Alam from preventive
“The Centre has asked the
state government to send a report on the issue,” a home ministry official said.
Alam, who was arrested during the 2010 unrest in the Kashmir Valley for allegedly inciting youth, was released by the
newly-installed coalition government of the Bharatiya Janata
Party and the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday.
At least 112 people were killed
in bloody clashes between unruly mobs and security forces during the unrest in the valley.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohamed Sayeed has said all separatist leaders under detention
would be released. In Patna,
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar targeted the BJP and Prime
Minister Narendra Modi for the
release of the hardline leader.
“The BJP is responsible for the
latest happenings in Jammu and
Kashmir as it is in power there.
The party has to explain to the
people the release of a hardliner
by the state government,” Nitish
Kumar said.
He said the BJP was in so much
hurry to grab power in Jammu
and Kashmir that it compromised
with the ideological principles of Shyama Prasad
Mukherjee was the
founder of Jan Sangh,
the predecessor of the
BJP, and had launched
a massive agitation
that grants
special auto n o m o u s
status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“What is happening in Jammu
and Kashmir is the result of the
BJP’s hunger for power,” Nitish
Kumar said, describing the alliance between the BJP and the
PDP as “unprincipled and opportunistic”.
Slamming the BJP for joining
hands with the PDP, which Modi
had called a ‘baap-beti’ (fatherdaughter) party during assembly
elections, Nitish Kumar said:
“This is playing with the nation
and betraying its people.”
Nitish Kumar also questioned
Sayeed’s statement thanking
militant outfits and Pakistan for
the peaceful assembly polls in
the state.
Analysts said Sayeed will need
all his experience as a mature
politician to keep the ruling alliance on an even keel as controversies rattle the government
even before it starts delivering
on promises of peace and development.
The BJP dismisses the PDP
idea that some of the top separatist leaders like Alam and
Mushtaq-ul-Islam are political
“These people are not political
prisoners. They have committed crimes against the state and
need to be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land. We
will not allow their release at any
cost,” a top BJP leader said in Srinagar.
The problem for Sayeed is that
his party’s political interests are
at conflict with those of his alliance partners in the BJP, despite
the two having taken over two
months to work out a common
minimum programme (CMP).
“Development and peace
are our CMP, but that cannot
happen by compromising the sovereignty and integrity of the country,”
said another top
BJP leader in
New Delhi.
Protesters demonstrate against the mob killing of a man accused of rape in Nagaland, in Tinsukia, Assam, yesterday.
22 arrested after mob
lynches rape suspect
Police say they are
struggling to identify people
directly involved in the
murder of Syed Farid Khan
olice arrested 22 people
yesterday over last week’s
storming of a high security prison in Nagaland and
subsequent lynching of a rape
suspect, an act of mob violence
that sparked protests in a region
divided on religious and ethnic
Several thousand people in
Nagaland’s Dimapu town attacked the prison to drag out a
rape suspect, beat him to death
VHP leader Togadia banned
from entering Karnataka town
he Karnataka government has banned Vishva
Hindu Parishad (VHP)
international working president
Pravin Togadia from entering the
coastal district of Udupi in a bid
to maintain peace and law and
order in the area, police said.
“We have banned Togadia’s
entry into this temple town till
March 13 under section 144(3)
of the Criminal Procedure Code
(CrPC) to ensure peace and social harmony,” Udupi Superintendent of Police K Annamalai
The temple town is about
400km from Bengaluru.
Though the ban sparked protests by rightwing activists in
the coastal region, including
Mangaluru, the police were firm
on not allowing the controversial
leader from entering the district
or the pilgrim town.
“We have permitted the organisers of Hindu Samjotsava to
hold a rally in the city peacefully
tomorrow, but barred Togadia
Togadia: controversial leader
from entering the district, as we
do not want him to cause trouble
by making provocative speech
against anyone irrespective of
religion, castes and community,”
Annamalai said.
The district authorities also
stepped up vigil in the town
and the venue by deploying additional force to regulate the
crowds at the rally and monitor
their movement through closed
circuit television cameras.
Togadia was banned from entering Bengaluru a month ago for
a similar rally on an order from
the state government, which was
upheld by the Karnataka High
The organisers, however, defied the ban and screened a video
clip on Togadia’s fiery speech at
the fag end of the event on February 9 when most of the people
gathered for the occasion had
disbursed and the police were
caught off-guard.
“The organisation has gone to
the high court for lifting the ban
and allowing Togadia’s entry,
claiming that he did not create
any law and order during his earlier visits to the state, including
the coastal region,” Annamalai
The case is slated for hearing
here today.
“The ban on our leader is unwarranted and is aimed at hurting the sentiments of thousands
of people at the behest of the
Congress government, which
is anti-Hindu,” VHP’s district
president Suprasad Shetty told
reporters at Udupi.
Togadia addressed a similar
rally at Udupi in 2003 without
causing provocation or law and
order problem.
and tied the body to a clock
tower on Thursday, forcing authorities to impose a curfew to
restore order.
“Twenty-two people have
been arrested for rioting and
attacking the prison complex,”
state’s top police officer L L
Doungel said.
Police said they were struggling to identify people directly
involved in the murder of Syed
Farid Khan, 35, who had been
accused of raping a 19-yearold Naga tribal woman multiple
Hundreds of riot police have
been patrolling the streets of
Dimapur district since the incident amid heightened tensions. Inspector General of Police Wabang Jamir said mobile
phone and Internet restrictions
remained in place but a roundthe-clock curfew would be partially lifted.
The lynching comes as India is in the midst of a raging
controversy over a government
order to ban the broadcast of
a documentary about the December 2012 fatal gang-rape of
a young student in New Delhi.
India has seen an outpouring
of anger over frightening levels
of violence against women since
the 2012 attack, which sparked
shock both within India and
around the world.
But the lynching is also linked
to ethnic tensions in Nagaland,
whose indigenous tribal groups
have for years accused growing
numbers of Muslim migrants
Maken takes charge
from neighbouring Assam and
Bangladesh of settling on their
land and eating into resources.
Nagaland’s government initially said Khan, a native of Assam, was a Bangladeshi immigrant.
Assam Chief Minister of
Tarun Gogoi on Saturday
branded the incident “barbaric,
heinous and inhuman” while
Amnesty International urged
justice for those responsible.
“Violence against women
needs to be tackled with swift
and effective responses from
the state, not with barbarism
by self appointed vigilantes,” it
said in a statement.
Khan’s brother, a sergeant in
the army, has accused police of
falsely implicating his brother in
the rape to try to root out nontribals from Nagaland, which is
predominantly Christian.
The largest Naga tribe has
previously campaigned to evict
Bengali-speaking immigrants
from their territory.
The woman, who cannot be
named for legal reasons, said
Khan had given her Rs5,000 after the attack in return for her
“It was only after the incident, he gave me the money to
keep silent, so I took the money
and gave it to the police station,”
the woman told the NDTV network.
Jamir said the woman’s initial medical report “confirmed
rape and other ... injuries on her
Renowned journalist
Vinod Mehta dies
New Delhi
Congress leader Ajay Maken, former chief minister Shiela
Dikshit and others wave to supporters at an event where
Maken took charge of the party’s state unit, in New Delhi
yesterday. Maken said the party faced “unprecedented
inod Mehta, one of
journalists and commentators with a career spanning four decades, died in New
Delhi yesterday. He was 73.
Mehta died at the All India
Institute of Medical Sciences
of multiple organ failure after ailing for the past several
months, hospital spokesman
Amit Gupta said.
He launched several prominent newspapers and magazines, including Sunday Observer, The Pioneer and Outlook.
Friends, colleagues and
admirers mourned Mehta’s
death, hailing him as an irreverent political commentator
and bold journalist.
“An iconic editor and friend
passes away. Brave and irreverent till the end, Vinod Mehta,
RIP” senior journalist Rajdeep
Sardesai tweeted.
“Frank and direct in his opinions, Vinod Mehta will be remembered as a fine journalist
& writer. Condolences to his
Mehta: gifted writer
family on his demise,” Prime
Minister Narendra Modi wrote
on Twitter. Born in Rawalpindi,
Mehta’s family moved to India
when he was only three years
old. He grew up in Lucknow,
studying in the La Martinere
School and Lucknow University.
His big moment came in
1974 when Mehta, at age 32,
took up editing Debonair, a
men’s magazine in India which
boasted of serious articles as
well as centre-folds.
A gifted writer, Mehta authored a biography of Bollywood actress Meena Kumari
and Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of slain prime minister
Indira Gandhi. His much acclaimed memoir, Lucknow Boy,
came out in 2011.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Evidence markers are placed near bodies at a
crime scene where six people were murdered
outside a bar in Tegucigalpa. The World Health
Organisation said in December 2014 that there
are 103.9 homicides per 100,000 people in
Honduras, 15 times the world average.
Cash seized from magnate
vanishes from court safe
Brazil secures car quota
extension with Mexico
Scientists question rush
to build Nicaragua canal
Flooding in Argentina
kills 12, many evacuated
A corruption probe has taken a surprising turn
in Brazil with the disappearance of money
seized by court order from Eike Batista, once
the country’s richest man and now accused of
insider trading. According to the news weekly
Veja, part of the $40,000 seized at Batista’s
mansion has gone missing from a court safe
in Rio, along with some $200,000 taken
from a Spaniard accused of drug trafficking.
The court in question is headed by Judge
Flavio Roberto de Souza, who was removed
from the Batista case on March 3 after being
photographed behind the wheel of the mining
magnate’s impounded Porsche Cayenne.
Brazil has negotiated the renewal of its car
quota treaty with Mexico, Brazil’s foreign
ministry said yesterday, trumpeting a deal
designed to protect its struggling automotive
sector. The original 2012 treaty imposed tariffs
of up to 35% on exports above an annual limit
of about $1.5bn, with free trade of vehicles
allowed after its expiration on March 19 this
year. The two countries have now agreed to
renew the treaty for four years, a Brazilian
foreign ministry spokesman said, adding that
the quota amount and other details will be
released in a press briefing with authorities
from both countries today.
A consortium of environmental scientists has
expressed strong concern about the impact of
a controversial Central American canal across
Nicaragua. The path of the Nicaragua Interoceanic
Grand Canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans will cut through Lake Nicaragua -- Central
America’s main freshwater reservoir and the
largest tropical freshwater lake of the Americas.
This plan will force the relocation of indigenous
populations and impact a fragile ecosystem, feel
scientists. “The biggest environmental challenge is
to build and operate the canal without catastrophic
impacts to this ecosystem,” said environmental
engineer Pedro Alvarez of the Rice University.
Flooding from heavy rains has left 12 people
dead in Argentina, officials said yesterday.
Swollen rivers in the past weeks have also
forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
The civil defence agency of the northern
province of Cordoba said 10 victims have
been found there, the most recent of them
a farmworker who was caught in a swollen
creek in El Fortin, some 700kms north of the
Argentine capital. A total of 1,434 people have
been evacuated in Cordoba, where it rained as
much in the past few weeks as all of last year.
Those evacuees include all 1,000 people in the
town of Idiazabal, which is completely flooded.
America, EU
in race to
Cuba ties
he EU’s talks with Cuba
this week on normalising
ties set up a potential rivalry with the US as businesses
on both sides of the Atlantic eye
the island’s post-thaw potential.
The talks were the third round
in a nearly year-old series of
meetings on normalising relations, which the European Union
suspended in 2003.
But they were the first since
the historic US-Cuban rapprochement announced on December 17 after more than five
decades of Cold War isolation.
US President Barack Obama’s
declaration that “it’s time for a
new approach” toward the communist regime followed in the
footsteps of the EU’s own rapprochement with Cuba, which
the bloc launched in April 2014,
aiming to persuade Havana to
improve its human rights record.
The EU welcomed the US-Cuban thaw as “historic,” but is now
faced with a situation where its
own talks risk taking a back seat.
That was underlined when
Cuba postponed the latest round
of EU talks in December, when
its secret negotiations with
Washington were in full swing.
Some of the 28 EU members
reacted to the US rapprochement
by demanding that the bloc accelerate its own Cuba talks.
Spain, which counts Cuba as
a key trade partner, urged fellow members to “give EU businesses the chance to compete
with American companies” on
the island.
“It’s clear the Europeans see
the US as an ally but also as a
competitor in terms of investment and trade with Cuba. It’s
about political interests, but it’s
clearly about economic interests
too,” said Peter Schechter, Latin
America director at the Atlantic
Council, a US think tank.
Speaking at the talks in Havana, the EU’s chief negotiator,
Christian Leffler, denied the bloc
was in a race with the US.
“It’s not a competition between the US and the European
Union. A more active (American)
presence... can contribute to
reinforcing the positive atmosphere,” he told journalists.
But in a sign of Europe’s eagerness to keep pace, French
President Francois Hollande announced this week he will visit
Cuba on May 11, the first visit ever
by a French president and the first
by a European or American leader
since the US rapprochement.
The EU appears to have fewer
obstacles in its path than the US,
where Obama needs the blessing of the Republican-controlled
Congress to lift the crippling
trade and financial embargo
slapped on Cuba in 1962.
While Washington and Havana have held two rounds of
talks on reopening embassies,
among other matters, thorny
issues remain untouched, such
as compensation for American
property nationalised after the
Cuban Revolution and Cuba’s
removal from the US blacklist of
state sponsors of terrorism.
But as the talks wrapped up
in Havana late Thursday, Leffler
said the EU faced obstacles, too.
He said the EU and Cuba had
to overcome “differences of interpretation” on key issues, including Havana’s refusal to sign
certain human rights treaties
and its reluctance to open up
“co-operation with all components of Cuban society.”
The parallel negotiations
“complement rather than contradict each other,” said Marc
Hanson, a Cuba specialist at
the Washington Office on Latin
America think tank.
“The important thing is that
these conversations with the
Europeans show Washington
that a serious dialogue with the
Cubans is perfectly possible.”
Colombia’s lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle (centre) speaks to reporters flanked by Colombia’s negotiators in Havana.
Colombia, Farc take a
‘giant’ step toward peace
olombia’s government
and Marxist Farc rebels
announced they had
reached a deal on demining, a
stride forward on a key issue to
negotiate peace after decades of
Army and Farc leaders met
for the first time in what one
diplomat called “unprecedented” talks.
“The government and the
Farc have agreed to ask (Norwegian People’s Aid) to lead
and co-ordinate a cleanup and
for mines in rural areas as part
of the armed conflict,” a state-
Ecuador buffs up image
to woo foreign miners
ebranding itself as a mining-friendly jurisdiction,
Ecuador has high hopes
that incentives and tax benefits will polish its tarnished
image and attract $5bn worth
of investment over the next five
years, a senior minister said.
The small Andean nation believes that incentives passed
in October will attract foreign
miners to help develop its gold
and copper riches. They include
30-year investment contracts
that promise tax stability, and
accelerated depreciation.
“We have made the decision
that mining constitutes a central axis of our development
plans,” said Rafael Poveda, minister of strategic sectors, which
includes Ecuador’s mining ministry.
“We want mining to constitute the axis which will allow us
to improve living conditions for
communities and 15mn Ecuadorians,” he said at Toronto’s Pros-
pectors and Developers Association of Canada conference.
The country sponsored “Ecuadorian Day” at this year’s
show, which included a speech
by the minister of mining and
project presentations.
While a handful of foreign
miners have ventured into Ecuador in the past decade, investment has been minimal.
“We have made the
decision that mining
constitutes a central axis
of our development plans”
The country’s reputation took
a hit in 2013, when large Canadian-based producer Kinross Gold
pulled out of the largest gold
project, Fruta del Norte, saying
the government refused to compromise on a 70% tax.
When Kinross sold the highgrade venture last October, to a
company belonging to the wellregarded Lundin family, the deal
sparked some optimism even
though the $240mn price tag
was a fraction of the $1.2bn Kinross paid in 2008.
“I went down and met them
(the government) before I did
the deal. I got a very strong feeling that they are committed to
getting the mining sector going
finally,” Lundin Gold Chairman
Lukas Lundin said in an interview.
Odin Mining and Exploration,
whose biggest investor is Canadian mining magnate Ross Beaty,
is exploring for copper and gold
in southern Ecuador.
Still, the country faces hurdles.
Ecuador’s mining projects
face tax rates that are among the
highest of any in the region, with
the government’s take around
51%, according to a study by
consulting group Wood Mackenzie last June.
While the country has some
it remains to be seen if Ecuador
has learned from past mistakes,
said John Gravelle, global mining
leader at consultancy PwC.
“You have to make sure that
the price is right to justify what
the geopolitical risk is,” Gravelle
ment from the parties said, read
out by Cuban diplomat Rodolfo
Lead government negotiator
Humberto de la Calle, a former
vice president, stressed that:
“our goal is to put an end to the
conflict... so the demining proposal is a first step, but a giant
one toward peace.”
“The government and the
Farc will be working together
on the cleanup and clearing of
some rural areas.”
President Juan Manuel Santos, in Monteria, Colombia,
called it “extremely important.
“And it is a much needed sign
that in fact we are on the way to
ending a conflict that has bled
us dry for over 50 years,” Santos
The Colombian conflict has
killed 220,000 people and uprooted more than 5mn since the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (Farc) was launched
in 1964.
The peace talks, which began
in November 2012, have produced partial accords on several
issues, but have yet to yield a
final deal.
Benitez said the sides agreed
to the demining arrangement “as
part of the de-escalation, and as
a confidence-building measure...
as well as to create better safety
conditions for rural people.”
Farc lead negotiator Ivan
Marquez said the deal “begins
the cleanup and demining of
our fields.”
“It is positive to be able to say
The good life
that the working group on issues
as critical as the final bilateral
ceasefire, and mutual commitment to laying down arms, has
started to work at a good pace,
and with some moving closer,
and more trust, among (enemy)
fighters,” Marquez added.
The Farc declared an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire on
December 20, but Santos has
rejected a bilateral ceasefire
without a definitive peace deal.
Negotiators seeking to end the
more than five-decade guerrilla
war at talks in Havana are under
growing international pressure
to guarantee justice for crimes
committed during the conflict.
Last month, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan warned
during a visit with both sides
Peru pulls out envoy
in Chile spying row
A zookeeper carries a one-month-old lion cub at the African
Safari zoo park in Puebla, Mexico.
that the International Criminal
Court could step in if the final
peace deal did not bring justice
for victims of the conflict.
Cuba and Norway are guarantors of the Colombian peace
process under way in Havana.
Now in recess, the full-fledged
talks are due to resume on March
17. The Farc admits its insurgency - Latin America’s biggest
- has affected civilians, but denies having committed crimes
against humanity or violated
international humanitarian law.
The National Liberation
Army (ELN), a much smaller
rebellion, is not part of the dialogue with the FARC. The ELN,
however, is in preliminary talks
with Bogota on a peace process
of its own.
he Peru government
said it was withdrawing its ambassador
from Chile, amid an intensifying diplomatic spat that
was sparked by accusations of
military espionage.
Peru is prosecuting two
in its navy and investigating a
third for allegedly spying for
neighbouring Chile.
The case has soured relations just a year after an international court decision that
settled a festering maritime
boundary dispute had raised
expectations their long history
of mutual distrust was past.
Peru has urged its southern neighbour to carry out an
investigation to find those responsible for the spying and to
guarantee that it won’t happen
In announcing the decision
to withdraw its envoy, Peru’s
foreign ministry reiterated its
demand Chile swiftly hand
over results of its investiga-
tions into the spying allegations.
Peru would “proceed with
withdrawing its ambassador from Santiago” until it
deemed itself satisfied, the
foreign ministry stated. Chile
responded by saying it would
not comment on the sovereign
decision of another country.
“This is a matter which falls
exclusively to Peru,” Chile’s
foreign minister, Heraldo Munoz, said of Lima’s decision to
pull its ambassador out. “In as
much as we will not comment
on the sovereign decision of
other countries, we don’t accept that other countries pass
comment on sovereign decisions our country might take.”
It is not the first time the two
countries have been embroiled
in rows over spying. In 2010, an
officer in the Peruvian air force
was jailed for 35 years for selling information to Chile.
The head of Peru’s military
courts has said that the trial
of the two naval officers might
not wrap up until August and
that ongoing investigations are
probing whether high-ranking
officers were also involved.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Festival of dance
Artist in
hiding after
iron clad
Pakistani dancer Sheema Kirmani and her troupe during the festival of theatre, dance and music, organised by Tehrik-e-Niswan, a cultural action group working on women’s
development through theatre and television, to coincide with International Woman’s Day, at the Art’s Council in Karachi yesterday.
Pakistan govt moves
to widen the tax net
Tax collection is vital to boost the
akistan has begun chasing wealthy
tax-dodgers who enjoy lives of extravagance and luxury, but revenue
officials face huge challenges in trying to
force the very richest — and most influential — to pay up.
Pakistan’s tax-to-GDP ratio of 9.5%
is among the lowest in the world and the
government is under pressure from foreign donors and lenders, including the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), to
increase collection to boost the struggling
Revenue authorities say they have identified about a quarter of a million new taxpayers who they project will add around
Rs14bn ($140mn) to government coffers.
Broadening the tax base and improving
the economy after years of drift and sluggish growth under the last government
was a key pledge in Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif’s 2013 election campaign, when he
was swept to power for a third time.
Currently less than 1% of Pakistanis pay
income tax and the government collected
just $8bn in total income tax in the 201314 fiscal year — barely enough to cover just
the country’s defence expenditure of $7bn.
The finance ministry is aiming to boost
the tax-to-GDP ratio to 15% in the current
fiscal year ending June 30.
Residents shopping at a mall, in Islamabad.
As part of those efforts, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) is compiling lifestyle and vehicle data to try to trace unregistered taxpayers, including wealthy
landlords and businessmen zipping between their luxury homes in imported
“We are collecting information from
the vehicle registration authority, car
manufacturers, utility companies, telecom
companies and property registration offices and tracing people who are not paying any tax,” FBR spokesman Shahid Hussain told AFP.
The data is used to generate profiles of
potential taxpayers, after which demands
are issued for them to pay income tax.
“FBR has already issued notices to 261,250
potential tax payers,” Hussain told AFP, adding that that new taxpayers have paid 570mn
rupees since the crackdown started.
It is not just dodgy businessmen who
have been caught — several lawmakers
have been found paying either no tax or
very little and not filing their mandatory
annual tax statements.
The FBR has taken punitive measures
against some “chronic defaulters”, freezing nearly 300 bank accounts, seizing
more than 100 vehicles, putting 78 properties up for sale and issuing arrest warrants in 40 cases.
“Employing information technology, the FBR is creating a central database
which would contain information about
all taxpayers and nobody will be left undetected,” Hussain said.
A new FBR department tasked with
broadening the task net started working
in July 2013 and within one year it started
showing results, he added.
But Pakistan is a country where wealth
and political influence go hand in hand.
For generations, landowners and industrialists have given patronage to political
parties and scant attention has been paid
to their assets by the taxman.
Changing this privileged arrangement is
a tricky proposition.
Umar Cheema, an investigative journalist for Pakistani daily The News who has
done several major exposes on tax-dodgers, says the FBR’s commitment is encouraging, but he does not expect them to net
any big fish.
“FBR is after those who can’t influence
them,” Cheema told AFP, citing several
well-known tycoons considered among
Pakistan’s richest whose names were
missing from a list of the country’s top 100
“It can be done only by waging a war
against tax cheaters without discrimination
of good and bad cheaters,” Cheema said.
Pakistan’s central bank said in a recent
report that tax revenue growth was not
keeping up with budget targets.
The tax take grew 11.7% in the first
quarter of the current fiscal year, against
an annual target of 26.9% — but this was
only half the growth of the same period
during the previous fiscal year.
young Afghan artist
who walked through the
streets of Kabul wearing a suit of armour in protest
against sexual harassment has
gone into hiding after receiving
death threats.
Kubra Khademi, 27, had
walked around in the costume
in central Kabul on February
26 hoping to cast a spotlight
on groping and inappropriate
touching of women in public
spaces in Afghanistan.
The suit was fashioned at
a cost of 500 Afghanis ($10)
by a local blacksmith, said
She then decided to take it
out for a run. After removing
her coat in the street, the young
artist, who was wearing a hijab,
said she found herself harassed
from all sides and was forced to
flee after jeers and stones were
hurled her way.
“It did go according to what
I was expecting. The crowd was
coming at me and sort of pushing me,” she told AFP on International Women’s Day, adding she
had to escape the area in a taxi.
Khademi said a painful event
from her early childhood had
evoked her bold protest.
“This piece is about what
happened to me when I was
four or five years old. Somebody touched me and then he
just walked away. I was just a
female for him. He didn’t care
how old I was,” she said.
Afghan artist Kubra Khademi
“I was feeling guilty. Why
did it happen to me? It was my
fault. And I said: ‘I wish my underwear were made of iron’.”
Now in hiding in the suburbs
of Kabul, Khademi lamented:
“These things happen daily,
every moment, every hour in
my city.”
She added she had received
both insults and death threats
over e-mail and had been
forced to leave her home.
A few days after Khademi’s
performance, some male activist carried out their own unique
form of protest, donning the
all-encompassing burqa to
show solidarity with women
they said were being oppressed
by the garment.
“We wanted to tell officials
that miseries of Afghan women cannot be felt by marking
Women’s Day in big halls with
empty speeches. In order to feel
them you have to put yourself
in their shoes, come out on the
streets with burqas on,” said
Basir, a 29-year-old activist
who goes by one name.
“And we also wanted to really experience as a human being how a woman feels under a
Prison rioters set
policeman on fire
ioting prison inmates in
killed two policemen and
set another on fire after taking them hostage yesterday, in
a dramatic episode that left 20
others wounded before they
attempted to escape, officials
said. The inmates attacked the
police as they were conducting
a search for knives, cellphones
and other contraband in a prison in Shibirghan, the capital of
Jawzjan, provincial police chief
Faqir Mohamad Jawzjani said.
“They first took three officers hostage and later killed two
of them and mutilated their
bodies,” he said.
“They burned the third officer alive. He was taken to the
hospital with around 75% of
burns on his body and is in a
very critical condition,” Jawzjani said, adding that five officers were wounded trying to
rescue their colleagues.
He said one prisoner was also
killed and 15 were wounded after the prisoners tried to escape
the compound.
Abdulhai Hayat, the head of
Jawzjan’s provincial council
confirmed the incident, and
added that local elders intervened to end the crisis.
“The situation is now calm,
but the prisoners are on hunger
strike,” he said.
The prison compound holds
around 800 inmates, both
criminals and the Taliban from
both Jawzjan and neighbouring
Sari Pul provinces.
A group of unknown gunmen
have attacked a building in the
capital Kabul, killing six people
and wounding five others.
A statement issued by the
Afghan Ministry of Interior
states that people were busy
offering evening prayers when
unidentified gunmen stormed
the building and opened fire at
them, leaving six prayers killed
and five others wounded.
Sectarian fissures: banned group on defensive
he Islamist group Ahle Sunnat
Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) is banned in
Pakistan for its links to militant
groups, but in the past few months has
faced its own deadly threat.
A recent wave of assassinations,
many by gunmen on motorbikes, has
hit the radical organisation hard, even
by the standards of the widespread sectarian violence in Pakistan.
“At least 25 of our workers and leaders have been killed since the beginning
of 2015, mostly in Karachi, but also in
Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar and
parts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces,” says Hafiz Oneeb Farooqi, an
ASWJ spokesman.
An ASWJ regional secretary was
killed in the southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday. Last month the Karachi chapter chief, Aurangzeeb Farooqi, escaped the fifth attempt on his life.
The government and security agen-
cies “all have a fair idea who are our
killers and from where they get the support” but do nothing, Islamabad-based
Farooqi says.
“They promise to punish our killers, but it never happens,” he says.
“We are being targeted because we are
peaceful and struggling by political
But few outside the organisation
share this benign view of the ASWJ.
The banned group is known for its
belligerence towards Pakistani Shia
Its leadership is made of former
members of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan
(SSP), a militant outfit designated in
2002 as a terrorist group by the government.
Analysts say the ASWJ is also a political front for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ),
an extremist group that has claimed
deadly attacks against Shias in Pakistan
and neighbouring Afghanistan.
Arif Rafiq, a political analyst with the
US-based Middle East Institute, says
that violence between ASWJ and Shias
resulted in approximately 2,300 deaths
between 2007 and 2013.
There were around 150 targeted killings of Sunni Deobandis in 2012 and
2013 in Karachi alone, he says.
“There have been four mass casualty
attacks on Shia Muslims in Pakistan
this year,” Rafiq says.
“Shia militants generally respond by
killing ASWJ and other Sunni Deobandi
activists, clerics, and militants.”
In January, at least 60 Shia worshippers were killed in a mosque attack
in Shikarpur during a Friday prayer
meeting. Two weeks later another Shia
mosque was targeted in Peshawar, again
during Friday prayers, killing 20 people.
The recent attacks on ASWJ members “are part of a trend of high levels
of sectarian, targeted killings in Karachi
that have been going on since 2009”,
Rafiq says.
He says it is not just the groups
themselves that are to blame, however,
and that most mainstream political
parties “aid and abet sectarian actors”
for political gains.
“There is no doubt that the Shias are
under attack and the government has
failed to protect them from the extremists groups,” says Allama Amin Shaheedi, a prominent leader.
ASWJ is also a political front for
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ)
The ASWJ was “fooling everyone,
saying one thing and doing another”,
he says. “They say they are not involved
in the attack but their leaders give
speeches saying Shias are heretics and
thus are to be killed.”
“The government should clarify its
policy on banned groups like the ASWJ,
and tell the nation why they are allowed
to hold meetings and rallies.”
He says military dictator Ziaul Haq,
who ruled Pakistan from 1978-1988,
strengthened these radical groups for
political purposes.
“Because of this some state institutions started supporting these groups
and now have failed to protect the Shias.”
“Groups like ASWJ have patronage
of some government officials and individuals,” says Shaheedi, the deputy
head of pro-Shia party Majlis Wahdate-Muslimeen.
He accused Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz, the party of current
prime minister Nawaz Sharif, of being
sympathetic towards such groups.
He quotes the Urdu saying “in this
bathhouse, everyone’s naked, i.e. everyone is equally exposed as guilty.”
“I think that applies toward the issue
of sectarianism in Pakistan,” Rafiq says.
Farooqi says he believes “a third
force” is behind the killings of ASWJ
members and Shias to “push Pakistan
towards a civil war”.
This damaging sectarian divide
comes despite the December Peshawar
school attack, in which more than 130
students were killed.
The government and the military
joined hands against extremist groups
in the wake of the massacre, especially
against the Pakistani Taliban and Sunni
extremist groups like LeJ.
The government launched an unprecedented anti-extremism television
campaign with the message: “No to
But Rafiq says the political class is
too closely connected to the ASWJ for
such a message to be effective, while
the Pakistani military has “a tiered approach toward militancy”.
Larger, more political groups like the
Pakistani Taliban are seen as the major
security threat, while smaller sectarian
militant groups are not a top priority, he
But the reality on the ground is that
they are closely linked.
Most of the LeJ and Pakistani Taliban fighters were at some point ASWJ
members, according to security officials.
“ASWJ radicalizes young men and
feeds LeJ with foot soldiers and militants,” Rafiq says.
If it does not address that reality,
“the jury is still out” on whether the
Pakistani state has the will to root out
sectarianism, he says.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Copters supplied by foreign firm
worth 1.2bn pesos ‘defective’
By Joel M Sy Egco
Manila Times
he P1.2bn helicopter
project awarded by the
Department of National
Defence (DND) to a foreign supplier should be stopped, as it
not only violates the terms of
the agreement, but has also delivered old, refurbished units, a
source said yesterday.
In an interview with Manila
Times, the source, who was
privy to the deal, noted that the
contract was for 21 UH-1H helicopters. But what was delivered
to the Philippine Air Force (PAF)
were the older UH-1D helicopters. These units, the source
said, are not reliable because
their parts are already “obsolete.”
“If DND awarded the contract
to a qualified supplier, the helicopters should have been fully
operational by 2014 and those
helicopters should have been
used during the Mamasapano
incident,” the source added.
He said the helicopters delivered by Rice Aircraft Services
Inc and its Canadian partner,
Eagle Copters Ltd, are not yet
operational since they are not
equipped with protective parts
such as intake screen and other
features that will allow them to
fly under Philippine conditions.
The source said President Benigno Aquino was hoodwinked
into believing that the aircraft
delivered were UH 1H models.
“The age of UH 1D is older
than UH 1H and the manufacturer (Dornier) is no longer existing and no helicopter parts
are being manufactured specifically for UH 1D. This model is
using Bell spare parts specifically designed for UH 1H, thus
there is always an issue of safety,” the source explained.
“The UH 1H is a Vietnam
War veteran while the UH 1D
was used by the German armed
forces. What they do now is that
they put in UH 1H parts in UH
1D choppers. There are discrepancies and these would be unsafe,” he said.
Documents showed that negotiation for the contract was
headed by Fernando Manalo,
defence undersecretary for finance, munitions, installation
and material. The contract was
approved by Defence Secretary
Voltaire Gazmin in 2013.
In his July 2012 State of the
Nation address, the president
boasted that 21 refurbished UH
1H choppers were on their way
to the Philippines.
The source said Aquino lied.
“It was farthest from the
truth. First, it was the UH1D
model, not the UH1H. Second,
we only have nine helicopters
delivered as of now and all of
them have issues. They can only
fly. If they can fly for training,
they will not be effective for
mission,” he added.
The Manila Times was furnished voluminous documents
about the project since its inception up to the commission
of several violations as stated
in various communications
between the DND and the supplier.As part of a “cover-up” by
defence officials, four units of
the helicopters under scrutiny
were presented last year during the PAF anniversary. But the
aircraft would not even start because of engine problems.
The source alleged that highranking DND officials compelled PAF officials to “accept”
the “defective” aircraft.
The joint venture of Rice
Aircraft Services Inc and Eagle
Copters Ltd, according to the
source, defrauded the government by submitting the state-
ment of compliance during the
negotiation, stating that they
will comply with all requirements for procurement of 21 refurbished UH1 helicopters.
“This act deprived the government the opportunity to
negotiate the project with a
qualified supplier who can deliver superior quality of Bell
UH1H instead of UH1D,” the
source said.“The joint venture
companies also deprived PAF
the chance to acquire better
UH1H, necessary to carry on
with its missions and enhance
its capability as part of the AFP
modernisation programme,” he
Of the 21 “refurbished” helicopters, nine have been delivered and at least one more is
waiting to be “accepted.”
Documents obtained by this
newspaper also showed that
Rice Aircraft Services Inc and
Eagle Copters committed the
following violations: misrepresentation during the negotiation that they have the capacity to deliver within 180 days
21 refurbished helicopters; failure to refurbish helicopters at
the approved facility; failure to
support the end-user with the
necessary manuals for UH 1D
Women’s Day march
because the Dornier class manuals were written in German;
and failure to supply repairs and
maintenance on the discrepancies of the accepted UH1D,
making the units unavailable to
fly for a long time in violation of
the warranty clause stipulated
in the terms of reference.
The source said the helicopters delivered were incompatible with night vision goggles
and lacked crash-worthy and
self-sealing fuel cells.
All units delivered to PAF
showed discrepancies immediately after a few hours of flying
time. “Non-compliance with
those requirements (in the contract) is highly disadvantageous
to the government whereby the
pilots or the end-users of those
helicopters will be having a hard
time to fly during nighttime
and their safety is at stake,” the
source said.
Because of these discrepancies, he added, the contract for
the procurement of the 21 refurbished UH 1 helicopters should
have been terminated and notices to qualified suppliers
should have been sent pursuant
to procurement laws.
Under the contract, the supplier must deliver the aircraft on
or before September 21, 2014.
But since it failed to deliver
within the allowed period of extension, the supplier had been
paying the corresponding Liquidated Damages (LD) pursuant
to the terms of reference of the
project.After the maximum allowable LD, the contract shall
be terminated pursuant to the
“In this case, the supplier had
been paying LD since September 2014. The LD had reached
its maximum amount as of November 2014. There was no termination made by DND (that is)
continuously conducting inspection and acceptance of the
UH 1D,” the source said.
The defence department had
held three public biddings for the
Huey acquisition project but all
failed because the bidders failed
to comply with some requirements. On the third attempt, only
Rice Aircraft participated but
eventually failed.
The DND then resorted to a
negotiated contract with Rice
Aircraft. Section 53 of the implementing rules of the procurement
law permits agencies to enter into
negotiated contracts when there
has been a failure of public bidding for the second time.
Binay assets
probe sought
By Jomar Canlas
Manila Times
he Court of Appeals (CA)
has officially issued an
order for examination of
Vice President Jejomar Binay’s
bank accounts.
In granting the petition of
the Anti-Money Laundering
Council (AMLC), the CA also
ordered inspection of the bank
deposits of Binay’s wife, children and a law office connected
to him.
According to sources of Manila Times, Binay’s personal
assets are now under scrutiny
to determine if the funds are
ill-gotten or not.
The sources said a resolution to look into Binay’s assets
was penned and signed by Associate Justice Eduardo Peralta,
the senior member of the CA’s
regular division.
The order has been released
and sent to the banks where the
vice president has accounts,
according to the sources.
They said the court’s order
also mandates the banks to
report to the CA the amounts
transacted in all of Binay’s bank
The sources added that the
bank accounts of Binay’s wife
Elenita and son, Makati Mayor
Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay
Jr will also be laid bare.
Aquino ‘will try his best’
to pass Bangsamoro law
By Jefferson Antiporda
Manila Times
Activists march on to the presidential palace in Manila to mark International Women’s Day yesterday. The group wants Philippine
President Benigno Aquino to resign, saying he had not done enough for women’s rights in the country.
he Volunteers Against
Crime and Corruption
(VACC) yesterday said
it is possible that President
Benigno Aquino will use the
resources within his reach to
convince lawmakers to pass the
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
According to Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the
VACC, Aquino has the means to
compel lawmakers to approve
the BBL. He said the Disbursement Acceleration Programme
(DAP), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme
Court (SC), has taken a different form.
The VACC was reacting to a
recent statement issued by Malacanang that the executive will
not revive the Priority Development Asistance Fund (PDAF)
for lawmakers who will support
the passage of the BBL.
PDAF, popularly known as
pork barrel, was also declared
illegal by the SC.
Malacanang said it is not the
Benigno Aquino
practice of the Aquino administration to dangle funds before
lawmakers to push for a piece of
But Jimenez scoffed at the
“How can you believe a discredited administration that
always lies (in its) statements
for self-preservation?” he said.
Jimenez added that given the
current situation of Aquino,
who is about to end his term,
there is no doubt that he will
use resources and funds to influence lawmakers into passing
the BBL.
But he said he has faith in
the lawmakers, in protecting
the public from a law that is
expected to bring “catastrophe” to the country. “Aquino
is a lame duck president and
he will try to move heaven
and earth just to have the BBL
passed, in order to show that he
has achieved something in his
term,” Jimenez added.
Meanwhile, Prof Ramon
Casiple, a political analyst, in
a separate interview said there
are many ways available to the
executive branch to help it convince lawmakers into giving the
president what he wants.
He noted that the “patronage
system” did not disappear
Casiple said there are still
funds that Malacanang can offer to senators and congressmen and this time, there is
no way to trace it because it
is not specified in the budget.
He mentioned the president’s
social fund, special purpose
funds and other funds that are
also considered as the presidential “pork.”
He added that Aquino can
give favours or grant requests
of lawmakers to appoint some
of their friends to different government agencies.
US role in disastrous raid comes under scrutiny
disastrous raid on alleged
militants has ignited the
worst political crisis yet
for Philippine President Benigno
Aquino -- and questions about
the extent of any US role in the
operation are deepening his discomfort.
Some Philippine lawmakers are asking whether the US
military played a leading role in
the operation in January, which
ended with 44 police commandos dead in a field in the country’s Muslim-majority south.
They point to reports that a US
drone was overflying the area at
the time, and said to be beaming back real-time images to US
commanders as the fiasco unfolded.
Senate president Franklin
Drilon, a powerful member of
Aquino’s ruling Liberal Party,
is one of at least five senators
to have raised questions about
what the US knew.
“Did the FBI (Federal Bureau
of Investigation) know beforehand about this operation?”
Drilon asked the head of the
police commando unit Getulio
Napenas, who lost his job over
the affair, in one hearing.
“Or any US armed forces personnel, did they know about this
operation beforehand?”
Under the terms of an antiterrorism training deployment,
the US is not permitted to engage
in combat in the Philippines.
A US government official said
that its troops helped evacuate
casualties, but that the operation was “planned and executed
by Philippine authorities”, and
declined to comment further.
Philippine Foreign Affairs
Secretary Albert del Rosario,
meanwhile, declined to give a
direct answer when asked about
any US role, speaking only in
generalities about American
help to Manila in suppressing
“With the US, we have very
close counter-terrorism cooperation,” del Rosario, who has
repeatedly said elsewhere that
the operation was led by the
Philippines, said via text message.
The pre-dawn raid by police
commandos on a secluded farming village controlled by rebels
in the south was meant to be a
surprise attack to capture or kill
two men on the US government’s
global list of “most wanted terrorists”.
Even though one of the alleged
militants was reported killed,
hundreds of rebels quickly outnumbered the police, trapping
a big group in a cornfield and
slaughtering the 44 commandos
during a day-long battle.
The botched operation has
File photo shows US military personnel (left) help their Philippine counterparts prepare to load an injured
police commando from one stretcher to another and onto a waiting US military helicopter in the town of
Mamasapano, on the southern island of Mindanao, following clashes with rebels.
seriously damaged Aquino, and
also forced his national police
chief to resign.
But many politicians, traditional media and netizens are
broadening the net to encompass possible US involvement as
they probe the affair.
Both houses of parliament
have launched inquiries into the
raid, and those investigations
have unsuccessfully sought to
get specifics on US involvement.
In the hearings, broadcast live
on television, authorities have
declined to give a full explana-
tion on the extent of any US role,
citing security issues.
In one instance, Napenas began detailing some of the US involvement, stating that American “counterparts” provided
intelligence, training and maps.
But before he could elaborate,
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima,
who was at the hearing, quickly
intervened to silence him.
“May I interject? May I just
remind the officer that he is already dwelling on matters of
diplomatic relations and military intelligence,” she said.
In another hearing, Napenas
confirmed a US helicopter was
brought in to evacuate the casualties, although authorities have
refused to disclose where it came
Philippine and US authorities
have also said the severed finger from a corpse believed to be
from the killed militant, Malaysian national Zulkifli bin Hir, was
given to the FBI.
The FBI said it did a DNA test
on the finger, which showed it
was likely from Zulkifli.
US military involvement in the
Philippines is not unusual, as the
two nations are longtime allies.
Until last month, the US had
a unit of about 500-600 special
forces in the southern Philippines that trained local troops to
fight militants but was itself not
allowed to be engaged in combat.
Senator Grace Poe, another
powerful Aquino ally and tipped
by some to succeed him as president next year, sought answers
in one of the congressional inquiries about the reports that a
US drone monitored the battle.
Those reports said the drone
fed footage back to a Philip-
pine command centre in which
US authorities helped to direct
the police commandos into, and
through, the deadly battle.
“I am concerned because actual participation, if any, of US
forces in the operation of a purely
law enforcement operation, like
service of warrants to accused,
albeit known terrorists who are
themselves wanted criminals in
the US, should not be allowed,”
Poe said via text message.
Aquino’s critics have called
on him to resign, but the biggest potential consequence
could be the damage the affair
has done to his efforts at ending a decades-long separatist
rebellion in the south that has
claimed tens of thousands of
lives. A plan to secure a peace
treaty with the nation’s biggest rebel group before his term
ends in mid-2016 is in jeopardy,
as some politicians in Congress
use the botched raid to fan opposition to the deal.
Ramon Casiple, an independent political commentator, said Aquino needed to give
a detailed response or risk allowing anti-US sentiment to
build. “The senators and the
public are (also) asking if we
were dictated upon... it’s a
question of sovereignty,” he
“Why was a foreign government allowed to bring their war
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Nepal airport struggles
to handle air traffic
lights resumed in Nepal’s
only international airport
after four days of shutdown yesterday, as controllers
struggled to deal with incoming
air traffic, authorities said.
“For the next few days, we’ll
be operating around 100 flights
a day” with an average 175 passengers each, said Teknath Sitaula, deputy director of the
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, up from the normal 70 to 80
flights daily.
As the passenger numbers
piled up, the airport authorities decided to provide 24-hour
service until March 11.
All flights to and from Tribhuvan International Airport
were halted on Wednesday after an Airbus A330 operated by
Turkish Airlines burst a tyre
on landing and got stuck at the
edge of the runway.
No one was injured but specialist equipment had to be
brought it from India to tow the
plane clear late Saturday.
The Nepal Airlines Airbus
A320 was the first flight yesterday to be cleared for takeoff on
its Kathmandu-Delhi route. The
plane left for Delhi at 10.22pm.
The airport authorities issued an
all-clear an hour after the Turkish aircraft was finally towed
away to the domestic parking
area at 7.30pm on Saturday.
The rescue team toiled for
more than 50 hours to move
it from the runway, according to Birendra Kumar, general
manager, airport.
“After checking all necessary
systems, we issued flying permission to the airmen,” he said.
said that around 1,000 people
were deployed to retrieve the
disabled plane.
An estimated 50,000 travellers were stranded at Kathmandu
airport since Wednesday.
“We are ready to permit additional flights for international
airlines if they need them to
handle the rush,” Kumar said.
The authorities said the work
to relocate the disabled aircraft
would not have been possible
if the Indian and Turkish teams
had not arrived here to help
out in the operation.
Tibetans warned
against protests
on anniversary
epalese authorities have
warned Tibetan groups
against holding protests to mark this week’s anniversary of the 1959 rebellion
against China’s rule in Tibet,
an official said yesterday.
Extra security will also
be deployed on the capital’s
streets to shut down any protests tomorrow for the 56th
anniversary of the failed uprising, Kathmandu’s chief district
officer Ek Narayan Aryal said.
“We have told them (Tibetan groups) that such activities will not be allowed,”
Aryal said. “It is against Nepal’s commitment to (the)
one-China policy.”
Nepal, home to around
20,000 Tibetans, is under intense pressure from its giant
neighbour China over the exiles, and has repeatedly said it
will not tolerate what it calls
“anti-China activities”.
Karma Dawa, manager of
Kathmandu’s Tibetan Refugee
Centre, said it was not planning any protests at this stage
given the security crackdown
in recent years.
“Security is tighter ... right
now we are only planning a
prayer service for our martyrs
in the morning,” Dawa said.
Some nine Tibetans were
arrested last year near the
Chinese consular offices in
Kathmandu during the run-up
to the March 10 anniversary of
the failed uprising that led Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai
Lama to flee his homeland.
In 2013, a Buddhist monk in
Kathmandu set himself on fire
in the lead up to the anniversary over perceived persecution
of ethnic Tibetans in China.
Passengers are seen at Nepal’s only international airport, the Tribhuwan International Airport, after it resumed services to all incoming and
outgoing international flights, yesterday.
Bangladesh building second
railway link with India
By Mizan Rahman
angladesh is building
a second cross-border
railway link with India
frontier in a bid to boost bilateral trade and businesses,
officials said.
The Bangladesh Railway (BR)
has undertaken a 4.8bn taka
project for laying nearly 10km
Akhaura-Agartala dual-gauge
railway track to connect with
the India’s northeastern states,
they said.
“If the cross-border railway
link between Bangladesh and
India is set up, it will be the
second effective railway corridor of the two neighbouring
countries,” said a senior railway
ministry official.
He said they had already got
assurance from India of necessary funds for the railway
project. The Indian govern-
ment is expected to provide
nearly 4.23b taka as grant.
A senior Indian High Commission official in Dhaka said
that they are considering funding of the Akhaura-Agartala
railway project.
“If the cross-border railway
link between Bangladesh
and India is set up, it will
be the second effective
railway corridor of the two
neighbouring countries”
“We have sought some information from the BR. We are
discussing with our Bangladesh counterpart to finalise the
financing,” the official said.
After five decades of discontinuation of the cross-border
train service, the first railway
link between Dhaka and Kolkata was reopened in April 2008
through Darshana point in
Bangladesh and Gede in India.
Now passengers can easily move from Dhaka to Kolk-
Despite ban, bonded labour
remains rampant in Nepal
hen Nepal’s Maoistled government outlawed bonded labour
in 2008 and promised to compensate victims, farmworker
Hiralal Pariyar was elated to
walk away from a life spent in
But the compensation never
came, leaving a homeless and
penniless Pariyar little choice
but to return to his old landlord.
“Nothing has changed in six
years. From the day I was born
until now, the landlord has owned
my life,” the 38-year-old said.
More than six years after it was
outlawed, bonded labour remains
rife in Nepal, where landless
farmworkers known as “haliyas” (ploughmen) are born into
slavery and passed on from one
generation of landlords to the next.
Many hoped for change when
a newly-elected government led
by former Maoist rebels freed
them from bondage in September
2008, months after Nepal cast
off a 240-year-old monarchy
and became a republic.
The Maoists had promised to
end centuries of inequality and
write a constitution that would
transform a country where one
out of four people survive on
less than $1.25 a day.
But lawmakers have spent
years squabbling over the
charter, frustrating millions of
Nepalis including haliyas.
Successive administrations
have pledged reparations for the
haliyas, but no one has received
any financial compensation and
a long-promised programme of
land ownership reform has yet
to materialise.
This has meant their lives
have remained much as they
were before being ‘freed’ — they
are still reliant on landlords.
Pariyar’s calloused hands and
chronic shoulder pain testify to
a life spent pulling the plough.
A sixth-generation bonded
labourer, he started working
when he was just 13, clocking
15-hour days in exchange for
room and board.
In all those years, little has
changed in his village, Thehe,
perched on a ridge in the Himalayas and home to segregated
haliya settlements with no
electricity or running water.
Like Pariyar, most haliyas belong to the impoverished Dalit or
“untouchable” community and
are forbidden to work indoors.
Although the ties connecting
landlord and labourer are binding,
they are rarely intimate.
“They see us as untouchables, they don’t interact with
us, they only care if we come
to work or not,” said Nani Biswokarma, a 23-year-old haliya
working in Baraunsi village in
Nepal’s remote northwest.
The mother of two said she
worried “all the time” about
her children’s future.
“We have no money, no
house, no land, nothing — we
can’t afford to educate them,”
she said.
“I want them to have better
lives but I can’t see how it will
Parbat Sunar was one of a
handful of haliya children able
to attend school thanks to a
bargain his family struck with
their landlord.
“This country’s laws were
written solely for the benefit of
the upper castes. All the land belonged to them, haliyas had no
option, we had to agree to their
terms to survive,” said Sunar,
28, who now heads a non-profit
group fighting for haliya rights.
Laxman Kumar Hamal, a
government official responsible
for haliya resettlement, blamed
a lack of money for the delay.
“I know it’s taken years, we
are trying to resettle them but
we have budget constraints and
cannot purchase land for all of
them in one go,” Hamal said.
“We hope to resettle more
haliyas in the months to come,”
Hamal said.
Although the 2006 peace deal
between the Maoists and the
state underscored the need for
a “scientific land reform programme ... ending (the) feudalistic system of landholding”, no
political party has asked landlords to hand over land to haliyas.
Sunar says just 80 of the
19,000 haliya families identified by the government had
received land.
“We had high expectations
from lawmakers after their claims
of building a new Nepal, but they
have done nothing,” he said.
As Pariyar dragged a plough
across his landlord’s hilly plot
on a wintry morning, he said
nothing would make him happier than to see the practice end.
“But I can no longer imagine
a day when I will be out of this
prison,” he said.
“I don’t even dream of it any
ata (375km) using the Maitree
Express every week. The train
has capacity to carry 650
passengers daily.
A senior railway ministry official said, “They are ready to
start the project soon after getting funding confirmation from
the Indian side. We have already
sent a project proposal to the
planning commission.”
A planning commission
(PC) official, however, said the
project would not be approved
until the BR confirms the funding by the Indian government.
“The project evaluation
committee (PEC) of the PC has
taken it into consideration. But
the BR has to finalise the fund
deal with India first to get approval from the commission,”
he said.
Officials said India is keen to
set up the Akhaura-Agartala
railway link to establish a crossborder link mainly to be used
to carry goods from the Chittagong port to India’s north-
eastern seven-sister states.
Besides, the distance from
west India to northeast India
will be reduced remarkably if
the proposed railway line is
The distance between Kolkata and Agartala is 1,700 km.
If the railway link is established, the distance would be
reduced to 350km if passengers
from here could move through
The official said: “The proposed train through the Akhaura-Agartala frontier would
carry freight first as India wants
to use the Chittagong port for
its freight trades. Gradually,
the route will also be used for
passenger services.”
Currently, Bangladesh and
India have also cross-border
bus services through three
frontiers: Dhaka-Kolkata via
Benapole border, Dhaka-Shiliguri via Burimari customs
point and Dhaka-Agartala via
Akhaura customs points.
Lankan graft panel
summons former
ministers, lawmaker
Five former ministers
and a lawmaker were
yesterday summoned by the
Bribery Commission over
ongoing investigations into
disproportionate assets cases,
while two fresh complaints have
been filed against two ministers,
local media reported.
Former ministers Johnston
Fernando, Reginold Cooray, Rohitha
Abeygunawardena and Lakshman
Wasantha Perera and lawmaker
Sajin Vass Gunawardena were
summoned by the commission, The
Sunday Times reported.
A source said Fernando had been
asked to produce details of his
assets before the watchdog.
The complaint against Minister of
Industry and Commerce Rishard
Bathiudeen was that he amassed
wealth illegally, after entering
The complaint was lodged
against Bathiudeen on Friday
by a businessman from Moosali,
Mannar, who claimed that the
minister or his family did not own a
motorcycle before 2000, but now
owned mansions in Puttalam and
Colombo, and land in Puttalam and
in Mannar.
Petitioner Rasik Mohamed Quaithir
Khan, 49, stated that the minister
owns a luxury mansion worth
millions in Colombo. He requested
the commission to obtain the
declarations made by Bathiudeen
to the election commissioner in
2000, 2001, 2004 and 2010, to
compare the assets.
However, Bathiudeen in a
statement to the commission, said
that the allegations were politically
“The allegations are politically
motivated and are made by a
former candidate who contested
the 2013 Northern PC elections
under Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
and lost,” he said.
Earlier this week, a complaint was
also filed against Minister Rajitha
General Fonseka
to become Field
Former army commander
General Sarath Fonseka is likely to
be promoted to the rank of Field
Marshal by President Maithripala
Sirisena, media reported
This will be in appreciation of the
duties discharged by General
Fonseka in the separatist war
against the LTTE. The president is
likely to decorate him as the Field
Marshal at a ceremony to be held
on March 22, Daily News reported.
General Fonseka led the war
against the LTTE and played a
major role in militarily defeating
them. Former president Mahinda
Rajapakse stripped him of his
titles shortly after the latter
stood against him at the 2010
presidential election.
After the end of Rajapakse’s rule
following the 2015 presidential
election, President Sirisena
restored the rights of General
Fonseka withdrawing all cases
filed against him by the previous
Nutty headgear
A Sri Lankan fruit vendor waits to sell peanuts in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s economy grew by a
blistering 8% in the first two years after the end of a decades-long Tamil separatist war in
2009, but growth has since moderated. The International Monetary Fund is forecasting a
growth rate of 6 to 7% this year, down from an estimated 7.4% last year.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
P.O.Box 2888
Doha, Qatar
[email protected]
Telephone 44350478 (news),
44466404 (sport), 44466636 (home delivery)
Fax 44350474
Need to overhaul
Qatar’s public
transport system
An efficient and reliable public transport system
is an inevitable component for a country like Qatar
which is growing by leaps and bounds. However,
the public transport bus services by Mowasalat,
completing a decade this October, is yet to see
significant improvement in connectivity, commuters
As pointed out by Gulf Times on Saturday, many
believe that the bus services, which cover close to
90 routes, are operated in an unscientific manner. It
is true that the road works and the construction of
activities of the proposed Doha Metro, taking place in
and around Doha and its suburbs have been delaying
most of the bus trips with passengers ending up
spending double or treble the time usually taken to
reach their destinations.
The road works and those for the Doha Metro
network are vital for the continued growth of Qatar,
so they cannot be put off or delayed any further.
But some clever and scientific planning, steeped
in common sense and logic, could go a long way
in alleviating the traffic congestion caused by the
infrastructure development activities.
One of the
main problems is
Mowasalat’s insistence
to operate almost 99%
of its schedules from
the Central Bus Station
in Doha, requiring
passengers who want
to travel to any place
other than those in the
vicinity or on the way
to the bus station to take two buses to reach their final
Though passengers have repeatedly pointed out this
issue, no action has so far been taken to resolve this
anomaly. For example, a passenger from the Industrial
Area who wants to travel to Al Khor, Mesaieed or
Wakrah has to come first to Doha to get buses to Al
Khor or Al Wakrah.
Similarly, those who need to go to Shahaniyah or
Dukhan from the Industrial Area or Al Wakrah should
take a Central Bus Station bus for the onward journey
to the western side, though the road connectivity
in Doha and suburbs has shown remarkable
improvement over the last two years, especially after
the opening of a number of new roads.
“Why should we unnecessarily travel to the bus
station located in the crowded Doha city for reaching a
place like the Industrial Area?” this question posed by
a worker of an electrical firm, whose accommodation
is in Umm Salal, ought to be considered seriously by
Instead of operating all buses to the Industrial
Area through the existing routes of either Musheireb
(south)- Jaidah flyover signal-Salwa road-Vegetable
Market area or through Muntazah Street, Medical
Commission and Abu Hamour some should be
operated through the Airport Road, Najma, Gulf
Cinema Signal, Mall Signal, Al-Thumama Signal and
further through the existing connection of the F-Ring
This is just one suggestion. Regular passengers
would definitely have many. Mowasalat urgently need
to listen to them. The grievances of passengers point
to the necessity or rather inevitability of starting
public transport buses from locations other than the
Central Bus Station in Doha to improve the services.
Machiavellian lesson for
European leaders today
Machiavelli demonstrates
that manipulation can
work only if the ruler can
convincingly pretend not
to be engaging in it
By Harold James
iccolo Machiavelli is
trending. More than 500
years after writing his
famous treatise The Prince,
Machiavelli has re-emerged as one
of Europe’s most popular political
thinkers. And, indeed, his book – one
of the earliest political “how to”
manuals – has some useful advice
for economic policymakers at a time
when they are facing extraordinarily
confusing challenges.
Monetary authorities have
turned to Machiavelli to help them
understand European Central Bank
(ECB) president Mario Draghi’s policy
approach. France’s new economy
minister, Emmanuel Macron, is likely
using Machiavelli’s ideas – on which
he wrote his master’s thesis – to
help shape his plan to modernise his
country’s economy. An influential
Moscow think tank called Niccolo M
advises the Kremlin on policies like
offensive military communication
technologies and hybrid warfare.
But Machiavelli is poorly
understood. The most notorious
chapter of The Prince, Chapter XVIII,
which explains the circumstances
in which it is permissible – and
even desirable – for rulers to break
promises, appears to argue that the
most successful rulers think “little
about keeping faith” and know “how
cunningly to manipulate men’s
minds”. The chapter has been widely
interpreted to mean that leaders
should lie as often as possible.
Machiavelli’s message, however,
was more complex. With an expert
analysis of the wider implications of
deception and “spinning” the truth,
he demonstrates that manipulation
can work only if the ruler can
convincingly pretend not to be
engaging in it.
In short, leaders must cultivate
a reputation for being dependable
and sincere – a lesson that Russian
President Vladimir Putin clearly never
took on board.
Democratic politics and modern
policymaking are based on promises.
Political parties and candidates use
promises to woo voters, and then to
win support for policies. People will
not respond to implausible pledges,
especially if the politicians making
them seem unreliable.
Europe cannot afford
to be an island of
relative stability in a
sea of chaos
A variation of this conundrum
emerges in monetary policymaking.
In the jargon of modern monetary
technocrats, the issue is how to
“anchor expectations”. Forward
guidance (a promise about future
interest rates) is not effective when
policymakers have to admit that
circumstances may force them to
change their minds – and their
policies – without warning.
Machiavelli saw a need for the
appearance of consistency, with
officials projecting the virtues that
would underpin that image, thereby
creating a solid foundation for
effective policies. “To those seeing and
hearing him, the ruler should appear
to be all mercy, all faithfulness, all
integrity, all humanity and all religion.
And there is nothing more necessary
than to seem to possess this last
In other words, politicians should
never seem – much less say – that
they do not believe in anything.
Yet modern politics tends to begin
with pragmatism and proceed to
broken promises. Europe likes to style
itself as a postmodern construct, but
one of the features of postmodernism
is the reduction of political life to the
playing out of cosmetically charged
narratives or the convening of
constantly changing focus groups.
The malleability of postmodern
politics stands in stark contrast
to the resoluteness that prevailed
under Winston Churchill, Konrad
Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Alcide
de Gasperi and even Jacques Delors.
The perception that fundamental
convictions guided these leaders
is what enabled them to engage in
political trickery effectively.
Of course, the politics of conviction
cannot thrive on words alone. The
only way to be consistently and
deeply Machiavellian is to take
action to build and maintain the right
This lesson could be key for
European leaders today, at a time
when so many are groping for a sense
of what being European really means.
The notion that, at its core, Europe
should be focused on something as
mundane as tweaking fiscal rules
seems disappointing, to say the least –
especially as the continent confronts
an intensifying humanitarian crisis,
caused by the influx of refugees from
war-ravaged countries like Libya and
With the Islamic State threatening
to drive an ever-increasing number of
such refugees to Europe, and the crisis
in Ukraine likely to add to the human
flood, Europeans are feeling pressure
to think beyond the fiscal challenges
they face. That pressure is all the
more intense, given that the countries
most affected by this humanitarian
challenge – Greece, Italy, and Spain –
also incurred the most damage from
the financial crisis.
It is time for European leaders
to step up, showing the kind
of conviction that Machiavelli
would have promoted, to end the
humanitarian crisis. First, they
must ease the suffering of refugees
by including or integrating them in
a constructive way. Such an effort
would demand substantial financial
injections into the countries on the
front line of the crisis.
If handled correctly, the refugees
could become a badly needed source of
dynamism for weak economies and a
solution to the problem of population
At the same time, Europe’s leaders
must work to curb the influx of
refugees, by developing a political
programme to end the violence that
is driving despairing people by the
millions to their countries’ borders.
Europe cannot afford to be an island of
relative stability in a sea of chaos.
Probably the best way to make
Europe credible is to stake out a
position that is genuinely bold, one
that both advances its interests
and upholds its deeper values.
Machiavelli’s metaphor for the
mystery of effective political conduct
provides a potent template.
Europe needs to be both a fox and a
lion. - Project Syndicate
zHarold James is professor of history
and international affairs at Princeton
University, professor of history at
the European University Institute,
Florence, and a senior fellow at the
Centre for International Governance
Many believe
that the bus
services are
operated in an
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Women marching to commemorate International Women’s Day in Tunis yesterday.
It’s time to step it up for gender equality
By Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
New York
f we look
at the
the latest
YouTube clip,
March 8 –
International Women’s Day – may
seem a bad time to celebrate equality
for women. But alongside the stories
of extraordinary atrocity and everyday
violence lies another reality, one where
more girls are in school and more
are earning qualifications than ever
before; where maternal mortality is at
an all-time low; where more women
are in leadership positions, and where
women are increasingly standing up,
speaking out and demanding action.
Twenty years ago this September,
thousands of delegates left the
historic Fourth World Conference
on Women in Beijing on a high.
The overwhelming feeling was that
women had won a great victory. We
had indeed – 189 world leaders had
committed their countries to an
extraordinary Platform for Action,
with ambitious but realistic promises
in key areas and a roadmap for getting
If countries had lived up to all those
promises, we would be seeing a lot
more progress in equality today than
the modest gains in some areas we
are currently celebrating. We would
be talking about equality for women
across the board – and we might be
talking about a saner, more evenly
prosperous, more sustainably peaceful
Looking today at the slow and
patchy progress towards equality, it
seems that we were madly ambitious
to expect to wipe out in 20 years
a regime of gender inequality and
outright oppression that had lasted in
some cases for thousands of years.
Then again – was it really so
much to ask? What sort of world is
it that condemns half its population
to second-class status at best and
outright slavery at worst? How much
would it really cost to unlock the
potential of the world’s women? And
how much could have been gained! If
world leaders really saw the Beijing
Platform for Action as an investment
in their countries’ future, why didn’t
they follow through?
Some women are taking a seat at
the top table. There were 12 female
heads of state or government in 1990,
and 19 in 2015. But the rest are men.
Eight out of every 10 parliamentarians
worldwide are still men.
Maternal mortality has fallen by
45%; but the goal for 2015 was 75%.
There are still 140mn women with no
access to modern family planning: the
goal for 2015 was universal coverage.
More girls are starting school and
more are completing their education;
countries have largely closed the
“gender gap” in primary education.
Many more girls are entering
secondary school too, but there is
a wide gap between girls’ and boys’
More women are working:
Twenty years ago, 40% of women
were in waged and salaried
employment. Today that proportion
has grown to some 50%. But at this
rate, it would take more than 80
years to achieve gender parity in
employment, and more than 75 years
to reach equal pay.
This year marks a great opportunity
for the world’s leaders, and a great
challenge. When they meet at
the United Nations in New York
in September, they will have the
opportunity to revisit and re-commit
to the goals of Beijing.
Now, we call on those leaders to
join women in a great partnership for
human rights, peace and development.
We call on them to show an example
in their own lives of how equality
benefits everyone: man, woman and
child. And we call on them to lead and
invest in change at a national level to
address the gender equality gaps that
we know still persist.
We must have an end point in sight.
Our aim is substantial action now,
urgently frontloaded for the first five
years, and equality before 2030. There
is an urgent need to change the current
trajectories. The poor representation
of women in political and economic
decision-making poses a threat to
women’s empowerment and gender
equality that men can and must be
part of addressing.
If the world’s leaders join the world’s
women this September; if they genuinely
step up their action for equality, building
on the foundation laid in the last 20
years; if they can make the necessary
investments, build partnerships with
business and civil society, and hold
themselves accountable for results, it
could be sooner.
Women will get to equality in the
end. The only question is, why should
we wait? So we celebrate this year’s
International Women’s Day, confident
in the expectation that we will have
still more to celebrate next year, and
the years to come.
zPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is UN
women executive director. Each
year International Women’s Day
is celebrated on March 8. The first
International Women’s Day was held
in 1911.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
A sun-powered flight around the globe
Two Swiss aviators are
planning to show that the
sun is as powerful as jet
engines and kerosene
By Thomas Burmeister
Basel, Switzerland/DPA
near-failure of a previous
record attempt gave Swiss
aviator Bertrand Piccard the
idea for his current plan to
circle the world in a solar-powered
Piccard nearly dropped from the sky
shortly before completing the world’s
first non-stop trip around the world in
a balloon in 1999.
When he landed in the Egyptian
desert, the balloon’s propane gas tank
was nearly empty.
“At that time, I swore that I would
make the next circumnavigation of
the earth without relying on fuel,” he
has said.
Sixteen years later, Piccard and
Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg are
setting out to turn this vision into
reality, by attempting to be the first
to take the 35,000-kilometre trip in a
solar aircraft.
Following several successful tests,
they are scheduled to start their
airplane, the Solar Impulse 2, from
Abu Dhabi on the coast of the Arabian
Gulf today, if weather conditions do
not cause further delays as they have
done over the past week.
Piccard and Borschberg are going to
take turns flying the one-seater in 12
legs, keeping the Solar Impulse 2 in the
air for 25 days.
Their route will bring them to
Oman’s capital Muscat, and on to
India, China and the US.
The pilots are planning to launch
their Atlantic crossing in New York.
On the last stretch of their trip,
they will fly across southern Europe
or northern Africa, before landing the
The solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 flying over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The plane has made
three successful test flights in the United Arab Emirates ahead of a planned round-the-world tour today to promote
alternative energy.
Gulf in late July or early August.
The Solar Impulse 2 flies with four
propellers that are powered with
17,248 solar cells.
Piccard and Borschberg practiced
for their global trip in 2013, when they
crossed the North American continent
in several legs with a prototype.
Although the Solar Impulse 2 is
more advanced than its predecessor
model, it is not capable of flying
around the world in one go.
This has to do with human
limitations and with the plane’s
maximum speed of 140 kilometres per
hour, according to the Swiss aviation
“Our aircraft could be in the air
non-stop for a month,” Borschberg
said about the Solar Impulse 2, whose
wingspan of 72 metres is wider than a
jumbo jet.
However, no pilot could endure the
long time it takes for the relatively
slow plane to complete its trip around
the earth, Borschberg explained.
Piccard is convinced that sunpowered aircraft will one day fly at
jet-engine speeds and will be able to
carry people or cargo.
“It took less than 100 years from the
Wright brothers to planes with 400,
500 or even 600 people on board,” he
said, referring to the US aviators who
developed powered flight in the early
20th century.
Piccard’s own family history is also
full of pioneering feats.
His grandfather Auguste Piccard
Bertrand Piccard, one of the two Swiss pilots of Solar Impluse 2, sits in the cockpit
before a test flight at Abu Dhabi’s Al-Bateen airport.
developed a balloon that allowed him
to become the first man to reach the
stratosphere. Bertrand’s father Jacques
Piccard built submarines and was
the first to descend to the Marianas
Trench, the deepest point in the
Like his forebears, Bertrand Piccard
is not only interested in records, but
also in technological and scientific
The Solar Impulse 2 project would
demonstrate “how clean technology
can reduce the use of natural resources
and the dependence on fossil
energies”, his team said in a statement.
To prove this point, Piccard and
Borschberg are ready to endure being
locked into a cockpit that measures
only 3.8 square metres.
However, the aircraft has been
improved over the prototype. It has
a built-in toilet, a business class seat
for resting as well as an autopilot,
allowing the pilots to fly long stretches
across oceans.
Weather report
Three-day forecast
Tips for a good
Dear Sir,
The article “10 ways to make
relationship last forever” (Gulf
Times, March 8) made interesting
reading. Being born into a family
where our parents quarrelled at
times in front of my brother and me
despite they being good-natured
persons, I have learnt not to make
the same mistake.
In the article, the writer Barton
Goldsmith says: “Never argue in front
of the kids. The greatest gift parents
can give their children is to have a
good relationship with each other.
When you argue, your children can
become very anxious about what will
happen to the family and to them. Also
never use the D word (divorce); it is
far too threatening and toxic.” Sound
advice indeed.
I realised just after my marriage
that my wife and I had vastly
different kinds of upbringing.
Reacting immediately to each other’s
mistakes resulted in altercations
in the beginning. Then we became
tolerant to each other. I had already
made up my mind not to utter any
harsh words in front of our children. I
practised silence in certain situations.
She followed suit, realising what I
was trying to achieve. It yielded good
I treat her with dignity and help
her in all household work. I do not
talk ill of others to her and lecture
her about issues at my workplace.
We ensure that the words we speak
at home are filtered well from our
thoughts. So, the home has become
a place of peace and love. We do
not show off our love and nor do we
get angry in public. There is only
one life. Why should one make it
complicated? Our attitude to our
family life matters a lot.
C Robinson
[email protected]
Extend ‘free’ offer
to all tenants
Dear Sir,
I agree with RJ, pleading for equal
treatment between old and new
tenants by the Ezdan management in
their housing complex in Al Wakrah
(Gulf Times, March 8). I hope the
management will extend the “free
months” offer to tenants who
renewed their leases on time under
the new rates. Some people, it seems,
discontinued their leases and renewed
after a gap to take advantage of the
“free” offer.
High: 25 C
Low : 16 C
We look forward to a fair decision
from the management.
Poor visibility expected at places at
first due to fog
(Full name and address supplied)
High: 32 C
Low : 19 C
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your letters
By e-mail
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of the writer, address and phone
number. The writer’s name and
address may be withheld by
Wind: NE-SE 03-12 KT
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Around the region
Abu Dhabi
Live issues
Kuwait City
Most families have deep, dark secrets
By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H
Hopson and Ted Hagen
Tribune News Service
o you have a big secret that
you guard, concerning one
of your close relatives?
Maybe someone in your
family has a criminal record. Or, you
might have someone who is having
an affair or has children by a married
If so, you you’re likely in very good
Most families do have stories hidden
beneath the surface. The pressure
arises when you have to decide
whether to stay quiet or speak up.
“I went all the way through college,
never telling anyone my dad was a
chronic gambler,” says a woman we
know who runs a large community
bank. We’ll call her Charlotte. “My
dad was so addicted to gambling that
he once robbed our church treasury.”
Charlotte goes on to say, “After
college, I used to be fearful my
co-workers, or, God forbid, my
boss would find out. I’m in the
banking business, so I want to look
Charlotte finally came forward with
her secret. Why? “My boss told us
at a party that his grandfather used
to gamble his Social Security cheque
away in Las Vegas,” says Charlotte.
“I chimed in that my dad had similar
issues. Why be embarrassed? This
wasn’t my weakness.”
Some family secrets, however, pose
more power to damage someone. For
example, if you’re hiding a person
who’s peddling drugs or killing
domestic animals, you have way more
to lose.
A woman we know says she’d love
to expose her uncle who is beating his
It’s difficult to confront some
individuals, especially if no one will
back you up. Sure, you can point the
finger of blame or tell the whole town
about someone’s crazy behaviour. But
the potential backlash can make you
think twice about speaking up.
“My belief is that if you become
creative enough, there are ways to
shout for help,” says a friend of ours
who is a counsellor. We’ll call him
Robert. “One of my clients said her
neighbour was bragging that he was
killing every cat he could find. Cats
were dead in the middle of the road,
cats were dead in neighbourhood
yards, but no one would do a thing.”
Robert advised his client to write
an anonymous letter to the local
animal shelter. He told his client to
ask that authorities write a letter to
every household on her street. The
letter would not mention any names,
but it should simply point out the
authorities were aware of this crime.
The neighbourhood letter was mailed
a year ago, says Robert.
This warning document must have
reached the culprit, Robert told us.
“My client says no more dead cats
have been found in her area after the
letter was sent.”
While every strange secret cannot
be exposed in this world, it pays to
make a ripple to stop someone if you
“My uncle was molesting my cousin,
his daughter,” says a friend of ours we’ll
call Paul. The cousin begged Paul not
to report it or tell any adults, for fear of
breaking up her family. “This was three
years ago,” Paul said. He did what he
felt was the next best course of action
in light of his cousin’s request. “I went
to my uncle to inform him that I was
texting all of my cousins every week. I
told him I would keep a careful eye on
his daughter, just in case she needed me.
I explained to him that young girls need
a watchful eye, because of predators
and such. My cousin told me he never
touched her again.”
Paul, who just turned 20, says he has
tried to persuade his cousin, now 19,
to report her father to the police. Until
recently, she had refused to tell any
adults in the family that she had been
molested. As noted, she felt she would
be causing her family to crumble. Paul
says she is presently in counselling and
his cousin has asked her therapist to
help her share her story with the local
“I gave her my word that I would
back her up, every step of the way,”
says Paul. “Believe it or not, most of
our family members are begging us
to stay quiet. Thankfully, a few are
with us one hundred per cent. This
isn’t easy for us, but we will make sure
this secret does not stay hidden. This
secret is a crime.”
zJudi Light Hopson is the executive
director of the stress management
website USA Wellness Cafe at www. Emma Hopson
is an author and a nurse educator. Ted
Hagen is a family psychologist.)
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Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
(From left) Various performances highlighting the culture and heritage of Turkey were held on the occasion.
Ministers, dignitaries and officials attending the event at Katara.
A celebration of Qatar Turkey Year of Culture
large number of distinguished invitees from Qatar and Turkey took part in
a private gala at Katara recently to
celebrate Qatar Turkey 2015 Year
of Culture in the presence HE the
Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz alKuwari, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr
Mohamed bin Abdul Wahed Ali alHammadi and Turkish Minister of
Culture and Tourism Ömer Çelik.
The event was aimed at highlighting the strong relationship
between Turkey and Qatar.
Held in Qatar under the patronage of Qatar Museums chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa
bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani,
Qatar Turkey 2015 Year of Culture is the fourth consecutive
Year of Culture following Qatar
Japan 2012, Qatar UK 2013 and
Qatar Brazil 2014. It celebrates
relations between Qatar and
Turkey through cultural partnerships between organisations,
institutions and individuals from
the two countries.
A highlight of the gala was
Turkish music as singers, musicians and dancers transported
the audience to Istanbul, its palaces and mosques as well as Anatolian villages. The evening was a
reflection of the cultural diversity
of Turkey, shaped by people, geography and history. Festive folk
dances alternated with reflective
and spiritual opuses played with
Ney, a traditional flute, as well as
more upbeat popular music.
While an orchestra delighted the
audience with traditional classical
and popular music, artists Garip
Ay and Ahmet Sula offered a feast
for their eyes with Ebru art (marble
painting) and calligraphy demonstrations on stage.
Reflecting on the Years of Culture in general and Qatar Turkey
2015 in particular, HE Sheikha Al
Mayassa said: “I’m excited and
proud to celebrate the strong artistic heritage and links between
Qatar and Turkey this year. Doing so will promote mutual understanding and strengthen our
existing ties. It will also support
and inspire the next generation
of cultural audiences and ideas. I
look forward to what promises to
be an incredible year.”
On his part, Çelik said, “As the
Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, I
am confident that these strong
and powerful relations will also
further strengthen in the field of
culture and arts. The Republic of
Turkey and the State of Qatar are
keen to strengthen their fraternal and brotherly relations. 2015
will improve the recent political
and economic relations through
a cultural dimension and will be
recalled as an important year for
mutual recognition of our countries’ cultural and artistic values.”
ExxonMobil Qatar and Qatar
Museums share a long-term relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. The
company is supporting Qatar
Turkey Year of Culture as its
platinum sponsor.
Qatar Turkey 2015 Year of Culture is also supported by Qatar
Airways as official airline and W
Doha Hotel as hospitality sponsor.
Turkish Businessmen Association-Qatar holds seventh general assembly
Turkish ambassador Ahmet Demirok delivers a keynote speech during the general assembly.
Turkish Businessmen Association (TBA-Qatar) president Sezai Arli (seated, centre) joins other TBA members and officials during the group’s
seventh general assembly held recently in Doha in the presence of Turkish ambassador Ahmet Demirok, who lauded the success of Turkish
businesses in Qatar as well as the “excellent relations” between the two countries. TBA-Qatar facilitates and promotes the interests of its
members such as Turkish companies based in Qatar and Turkish professionals serving non-Turkish entities in Qatar.
215 teams from 70 schools in National
Destination Imagination tournament
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
ome 215 teams from 70
schools in Qatar will participate in the National
Destination Imagination (Wajeh Wujhatak) finals at Qatar
National Convention Centre on
March 21.
Organised by Al Faisal Without Borders Foundation (ALF),
the event will see 1,200 students
in the country showcasing their
skills on how to come up with
creative and innovative solutions from the challenges that
will be given to them.
ALF general manager Abdullatif al-Yafei said the prestigious
tournament would also provide
students with the opportunity
to harness their talents and
learn how to work as a team.
Al-Yafei stressed that the
programme aims to support Qatar National Vision 2030, especially in building an education
system that keeps pace with the
modern world.
“This system encourages
analytical and critical thinking
as well as creativity and innovation,” he said. “It is through
this unique programme that
ALF hopes to shed light on the
importance of providing an opportunity for students to experience and develop imaginative
and original ideas.”
He thanked HE Sheikh Faisal
bin Qassim al-Thani, chairman
of the Board of Trustees of ALF,
for fully supporting the initiative. The foundation, he said,
got the rights to implement the
programme for the Middle East,
which began in 2013.
Competing teams from different schools will present solutions to “multi-disciplinary
challenges” given to them.
Acclaimed filmmaker
recounts journey
Abdullatif al-Yafei and Ali Mare speak to the media at a press conference yesterday.
Judges will select the winners
based on creativity, originality
and innovation.
ALF executive director Ali
Mare echoed the statements of
al-Yafei, saying students would
learn about collaboration and
how to accept others’ opinions
and ideas.
He observed that many students do not totally absorb the
information they get in school,
whether it is about culture,
technology, math or science,
among others.
“By using these challenges,
they start to know the value of
it and start to use it. It actually
enhances the education system
through these programmes,”
noted Mare.
Depending on the challenge,
whether on engineering, art, etc,
students must either produce or
design a structure with certain
specifications or they will be
asked to design a tool to disable
the structure without affecting
its strength or condition.
“Talent development and
teamwork are key aspects that
underpin Destination Imagination (DI) to ensure that students
recognise their abilities, use
them to the full and applaud the
abilities of others,” he said.
Mare said the programme
received “an overwhelming
positive response” since it was
introduced to Qatar schools
last year.
The number of participating
schools in the tournament has
significantly increased from seven in 2014 to 70 this year. From
200 students, the number rose to
1,200. Registered teams competing also rose from 34 to 215.
“This year, we have the prospect of sending 150 students in
22 teams to the global finals in the
United States as DI has really captured the imagination of schools,
students and their parents across
the country,” he added.
Some 200 volunteers, along
with 215 team managers, are also
expected to take part in the national finals to ensure its success.
ALF enlisted five schools in
Jordan to participate in DI this
year. It comprises 175 students
in 25 teams, three of which will
be sent to compete in the global finals.
The programme also provides teachers with the required
training on how to manage, lead
and advise students in further
developing their skills.
“Teachers will learn how to
deliver the information in a creative way,” said al-Yafei. “They
will see the benefit of changing
their way of educating children
and these will improve the education and all.”
Due to the exemplary growth
of the programme in the region,
Qatar was chosen to host the 2016
DI invitational tournament next
year. ALF estimates that about
150 schools, 3,500 students in
500 teams will participate in this
four-day competition.
This cross-cultural exchange
will open doors in terms of
communication, openness and
knowledge. Some 50 teams from
Mexico, Poland, Turkey, China,
the US, Canada, Guatemala,
Korea, Singapore and Brazil will
take part.
alestinian filmmaker and
Doha Film Institute (DFI)
artistic adviser Elia Suleiman shared his own journey to
becoming a filmmaker at Qumra
in a candid and inspirational
master class yesterday.
The session was the second
in a series of five master classes
taking place during Qumra, a
new event presented by DFI dedicated to supporting emerging
Suleiman recounted memories
of his early life growing up in Palestine, his passion for telling personal stories and the filmmakers
who inspired him along the way.
During Qumra, Suleiman will
also be mentoring four filmmakers whose projects are participating in an intensive development programme, including
Ahmed al-Baker’s sci-fi drama
In Search of Adam (Qatar), Susan
Youssef’s drama about searching
for identity in Marjoun and the
Flying Head Scarf (Lebanon, the
Netherlands, US, Qatar), Khalifa
al-Muraikhi’s desert set drama
Sahaab (Qatar) and Mahmoud
al-Massad’s dark comedy Blessed
Benefit (Jordan, the Netherlands,
Germany, the UAE, Qatar).
Suleiman grew up in Nazareth,
Palestine, where there was only
one cinema and very little in the
way of an artistic scene. After
dropping out of school, he went
to New York as an illegal immigrant at age 21 where he started
working odd jobs and got his first
experience of cinema.
“My student friends would
sneak me into film classes in NYU
to watch a movie. I got in through
the fire escape and had to leave before the lights went up but it was
the beginning of my cinema-viewing experience and I got the feel of
what makes an image an image.”
Elia Suleiman speaks at the
second Qumra master class.
Suleiman made his first film at
age 30. At that time, he didn’t really know how to write a script or
make a movie, learning the technical headings in a script from reading Roman Polanski’s China Town.
“My English wasn’t so great
and I didn’t understand the technical part of a script – the camera movements, but I copied the
headings after reading the script
for Polanski’s China Town and I
began knocking on doors.”
Suleiman’s first film, Introduction to the End of an Argument,
caused a lot of controversy but also
became an instant hit on the festival circuit as it was a very fast collage of images, a non-linear structure that ridiculed and mimicked
the stereotypical images of Arabs
in the Western media and the history of Middle East politics.
From there, Suleiman was commissioned as one of five Arab filmmakers to express his thoughts and
feelings about the Gulf War and its
impact on Arab people, culture
and intellectual thought in The
Gulf War…What Next?.
After deciding he was sure he
wanted to become a filmmaker,
Suleiman began to see a lot of films
back in New York to educate himself in cinema. He was fascinated
with the work of Japanese and Tai-
wanese directors such as Yasujirô
Ozu and Hsiao-Hsien Hou.
Moving from making a short to a
large-scale feature with 70-80 locations with a huge crew presented
its own challenges. After being
turned down by multiple producers
in France, Suleiman had no choice
but to produce the film - Chronicle
of a Disappearance - himself.
Suleiman starred in the film
along with his family members,
relatives and other non-actors.
The film, which saw him return
to the West Bank after a long absence, conveyed the feelings of
restlessness and uncertainty that
arose from the occupation.
Though it won the Best First
Film prize at the Venice Film Festival, Suleiman said Arab audiences rejected the film, saying it
was offensive.
Later, Suleiman caught on to
personal, semi-autobiographical
storytelling and decided that he
needed to live, and that his aimless wandering and daydreaming
became partially research.
Suleiman then went on to discuss the very personal nature of
The Time That Remains, which
is based on Suleiman’s father’s
diaries and the recollection of the
events of 1948 and the creation
of the state of Israel, in which his
father, as part of the resistance,
was caught and tortured.
Wanting to stay as true to the
real-life events as possible, Suleiman recalled he “checked on every location my father described
in his diary. A lot of the locations
are still in my neighbourhood and
we shot scenes in the exact same
place that they happened”.
Reflecting on his personal journey to becoming a filmmaker,
Suleiman added: “I am still not utterly convinced I am a filmmaker
the way I see other filmmakers.”
China exports
pick up, but
imports slide
Apple leaps into
new territory
with smartwatch
Monday, March 9, 2015
Jumada I 18, 1436 AH
Mena insurance
premiums may
outgrow region’s
gains, says QFC
Qatar eyes major investments in S Korea
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
Geun-hye: Support for Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
atar is looking to becoming a major
investor in South Korea’s automobile, shipbuilding, and aviation industry, as well as capital investment through
multiple sovereign wealth funds, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said.
Geun-hye said this to a high-level delegation of Qatari and South Korean businessmen in the presence of HE the Minister
of Energy and Industry, Dr Mohamed bin
Saleh al-Sada and Qatar Chamber chairman
Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani at the
Four Seasons in Doha.
She also noted that South Korea is “very
competitive” in the car manufacturing and
the shipbuilding industry as well as information technology (IT) and the telecommunications sector. “We are keen to become the business hub of north eastern Asia
through a free trade agreement with China”
the South Korean president said.
Geun-hye noted that both Qatar and
South Korea are currently discussing the
“integration of the country’s capital investment strength and SK’s state-of-the-art
technical skills.”
“This highlights one of the important focal points of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani’s visit to Korea last year,
which aims to find more investment opportunities through our country’s investment
agency and the Qatar Investment Authority.
“Aside from investment opportunities,
we are also discussing possible joint investments that could further penetrate the market,” she said.
This was reiterated by al-Sada, who
stressed that Qatar is looking towards South
Korea “for further diversification of our
“Qatar is aiming continuously to diversify its sources of income and also to achieve
sustainable economic development in order
to reduce the use of hydrocarbons as the
only source of income of the economy,” alSada said.
He added, “Increasing the economy’s
income is an added value to Qatar’s GDP
growth that is why we are aiming to reinforce our partnership and co-operation
with our friends and partners in South Korea.”
Geun-hye assured South Korea’s support to Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup
in 2022, particularly preparations related to
infrastructure and construction works.
Citing the staging of the Seoul Olympics
in 1988 and the 17th staging of the FIFA
World Cup in South Korea in 2002, the president said South Korea was able to “achieve
a lot of economic income” from the two
“These events have created a lot of job
opportunities, increased consumption,
and strengthened our brand image and national trademark. I am truly convinced that
the hosting of the 2022 World Cup will be
a good opportunity for Qatar’s economy,”
she said.
Geun-hye added, “Korea has experience
in holding big ticket events like the World
Cup in terms of infrastructure building and
services, and we would like to become Qatar’s partner for this milestone.”
She added that South Korea is also keen
on expanding economic co-operation in
information and communications technology (ICT), medical sector, public health,
research and development (R&D), and other
industries “as suggested by the Emir” during his recent state visit to South Korea.
“Korea is also keen on building a new
smart city in Qatar based on its competitive
edge in the field of ICT and running other
smart technologies in the hope of expanding
co-operation horizons,” she added.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
QIIB honoured for
Qatar CSR initiatives
IIB was honoured for its
corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives
at a ceremony at the Qatar University (QU) recently.
QU’s College of Business and
Economics partnered with the
Qatar CSR Network in organising the event, which also saw the
launch of the ‘CSR Report Qatar
The event was attended by
many dignitaries including HE
the President of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, Abdullah bin
Hamad al-Attiyah, who was
honoured as the ‘CSR Person of
the Year’.
Diplomats and senior officials
also attended the ceremony.
QIIB chief of human resources
and general services Ali Hamad
al-Mesaifri received the award
from QU president Prof Sheikha
Abdulla al-Misnad.
Al-Mesaifri said, “At QIIB we
are very pleased with this award,
especially that it is given at an
important venue at the national
academic institution that we respect and appreciate a lot.
“We believe that our first role
is to serve the society by offering
Islamic products and services of
high quality, on appropriate and
equitable terms and conditions,
which will meet our customer
needs and add value to them.”
“We consider ourselves responsible for developing these
products and services on a permanent basis to keep pace with
the growing needs of the society
in general and various segments
in particular. The primary focus
is on financing key segments,
especially in small and medium
projects, which provide numerous opportunities for growth
and are beneficial to the society.”
For long, QIIB had been engaged in CSR initiatives in Qatar.
The bank has co-operated and
still is co-operating with major
institutions engaged in community services at various spheres,
including health, education,
charitable and social activities,
and culture and sports.
The QIIB official also focused
on the leading role played by it
in human resources, especially
in recruiting, training and placing Qataris in suitable positions
within the bank.
The two recruitment drives
held by QIIB in 2013 and 2015
have seen the placement of more
than 120 Qataris, both male and
female, in suitable positions in
the bank.
Al-Mesaifri (right) receives the award from Prof al-Misnad.
Drydocks World floats 2nd
debt restructuring: Sources
ubai’s Drydocks World, owner
of the Middle East’s largest
shipyard, will ask creditors to
amend the terms of its $2.3bn restructuring deal originally signed in 2012,
two sources aware of the matter said
The move comes as Dubai World,
a state-owned conglomerate which
is also Drydocks’ parent company, is
close to finalising a revision of its own
$14.6bn debt pile which stems from
loans renegotiated in the wake of the
emirate’s financial crisis at the turn of
the decade.
Drydocks may be hoping Dubai
World’s success in reshaping its repayment schedule, combined with Dubai’s
resurgent economic picture and ample
liquidity within the local banking sector, will help persuade creditors to grant
it a revision.
“A second restructuring will be
about what is affordable—getting the
company on a stable platform,” said one
of the sources.
With Drydocks also considering how
to grow outside Dubai once again, having fallen into difficulty originally by
over-leveraging as part of a South East
Asia gambit, it is keen to ease restrictions placed on its overseas expansion
by the previous restructuring deal, said
a third source with knowledge of the
Drydocks World chairman Khamis
Juma Buamim did not respond to requests for a comment.
Talks will focus on the $800mn
tranche of Drydocks’ restructured
debt, which is set to mature in August
2017, according to Thomson Reuters
Drydocks would pay off a portion of
the amount and would look at all options for the remainder including extending the maturity and securing a
Ships are lined up at Dubai Drydocks World in Dubai (file). Drydocks may be hoping Dubai World’s success in reshaping its repayment schedule, combined with Dubai’s
resurgent economic picture and ample liquidity within the local banking sector, will help persuade creditors to grant it a revision.
better interest rate for the facility, said
the second source, adding official talks
would start towards the end of this year
or the beginning of next year.
Among the banks involved in the previous restructuring were DBS, HSBC,
Mashreq and Standard Chartered. The
existing deal also includes a $1.5bn portion due in 2027, according to Thomson
Reuters data. There was no indication
the company would seek to amend the
terms of that part of the deal.
McKinsey has been hired by Drydocks to look at its business, according
to the first source, although the source
was unaware of the scope of the consulting firm’s mandate.
In October 2014, the company also
hired Duncan Sawyer, a former PwC
director who worked in debt restructurings for the professional services
company. His role is executive director
of strategy and change management,
according to his LinkedIn profile.
Saudi outpaces India to become
top defence importer, says IHS
Saudi Arabia overtook India to become the world’s
biggest weapons importer in 2014, a year when
global defence trade rose for the sixth straight year
to a record $64.4bn, research company IHS said
The growth in supplies was due to expanding
demand from emerging economies for military
aircraft and rising tensions in the Middle East and
Asia Pacific, IHS, a provider of global market and
economic information, said.
The US remained the top defence exporter in 2014,
ahead of Russia, France, Britain and Germany, a
top-five ranking unchanged from 2013, IHS said in
an annual defence trade report.
“Growth in Saudi Arabia has been dramatic and,
based on previous orders, these numbers are not
going to slow down,” an IHS statement quoted its
senior defence analyst Ben Moores as saying.
Saudi imports rose 54% between 2013 and 2014,
and based on planned deliveries imports will grow
52% to $9.8bn in 2015, IHS said, without stating the
2014 sales. One out of every $7 spent on defence
imports in 2015 will be spent by Saudi Arabia, it said.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are part of a US-led coalition involved in air strikes on Islamist State militants
in Iraq and Syria.
“When we look at
the likely export
addressable opportunities at a global
level for the defence
industry, five of the
10 leading countries
are from the Middle
East,” Moores said.
One out of every $7
“The Middle East is
spent on defence
the biggest regional
imports in 2015 will be market and there are
spent by Saudi Arabia, $110bn in opportuniaccording to IHS
ties in the coming
The top five importers in 2014 were Saudi Arabia,
India, China, the UAE and Taiwan. The 2013 rankings were India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Taiwan and
Saudi Arabia and UAE together imported $8.6bn in
defence systems in 2014, more than the imports of
Western Europe combined, IHS said. The biggest
beneficiary of the Middle Eastern market was the
US, with $8.4bn worth of Middle Eastern exports in
2014 after $6bn in 2013.
The IHS survey does not include munitions, small
arms, homeland security or intelligence programmes.
As in its first restructuring, and Dubai World’s amended debt deal, Drydocks will probably use Dubai’s Decree
57, a law brought in by the authorities
in December 2009 to implement reorganisations of units within the Dubai
World umbrella in the absence of effective local bankruptcy law.
This would be the first time a Decree
57-administered restructuring would
have to be reworked, although the first
source believed there would be no legal
issues hindering this. The company has
been gradually recharting growth, buoyed by a strengthening local economy.
The maritime sector accounts for 4.6%
of Dubai’s total GDP, according to government data.
Drydocks World said last month it
had nine rigs in its shipping yard, a new
record for the company, while last year
it was commissioned to build a $730mn
oil rig, the largest rig ever built for the
North Sea, it said at the time.
Egypt targets FDI
worth $60bn
over four years
Egypt wants to attract foreign
direct investments worth
$60bn and to get an average
growth rate of 7% over the
next four years, the country’s
planning minister said.
Ashraf al-Arabi also said
Egypt was targeting lowering
unemployment—now at about
13%—to below 10% over the
coming four years.
Egypt is gearing up for a
much-heralded investment
conference in Sharm el-Sheikh
later this week. It hopes to
attract billions of dollars
in investments to lift the
economy, which has been battered by four years of turmoil
since the 2011 uprising that
toppled then-president Hosni
“We’re targeting foreign direct
investments worth $60bn
starting from 2015-16 to the
end of 2018-19,” al-Arabi told
Reuters in an interview that
took place on Saturday.
“Targeting an average 7%
growth rate over four years
means reaching 10% in 201819 and this is a big challenge
but we are working on it.
We’re working on decreasing
the budget deficit to below
10% in the same period, as
well as the unemployment
rate to below 10%,” he said.
Al-Arabi said the government
had finished work on a new
electricity law that will open
the door to private sector
investment in the new and
renewable energy sector. He
expected the law to be issued
- by President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi - within this month.
Al-Arabi also said the government had completed work on
a new civil service law, that
gives public sector employees the option to retire at 55
instead of 60 without losing
any benefits. He said the law
had not been changed since
Egypt suffers from a bloated
state bureaucracy, with over
6mn employees. Al-Arabi said
he expected the law to be
issued by presidential decree
within days.
‘Mideast oil, gas transaction
activity dampened in 2014’
espite substantial oil and
gas reserves and production, transaction activity
in the Middle East was relatively
low in 2014, Ernst & Young (EY)
has said in its Global Oil and Gas
Transactions Review 2014.
In the Middle East, transaction activity in 2014 was quiet
and only upstream witnessed
any deal activity.
From an upstream perspective, while the number of transactions decreased from 32 to 12
from 2013 to 2014, the total value
was only marginally down at almost $600mn.
In terms of the upstream sector, Middle East transaction
value relative to the total global
upstream transaction value represented less than 0.3% in 2014,
which is the lowest share over
the past five years. The deal activity was geographically spread
over the Middle East region with
countries such as the UAE and
Iraq being the locations of multiple transactions, the report
Consistent with the past three
years, no midstream transactions were completed in 2014.
This is a result of the very high
level of state ownership of these
strategically important assets
and therefore little, if any, availability in the market, EY said.
Finally, in the downstream
sector, again, there were no
transactions in the Middle East
which is against a backdrop of
only very limited transaction activity in 2012 and 2013.
David Baker, EY Mena oil and
gas transactions leader, said,
“Prior to the drop in oil price
in the second half of 2014, oil
price had been unusually stable
over past the three years, largely
trading around $100-120 a barrel despite some major geopo-
litical events. When oil price did
dip, the speed and extent of the
price correction took many by
surprise. The industry has responded by making a number of
recent announcements regarding projects and capital expenditure cuts.
“Globally we are expecting a
strengthening oil and gas M&A
market in 2015 as companies reallocate capital to optimise their
portfolios, remove underperforming and lower yield businesses, and pursue opportunistic acquisitions.”
In terms of timing, the drop in
oil price is expected to affect the
industry in the following order;
oil field services, exploration
and production (E&P) then midstream/downstream. Oil field
services, beginning with entities
aligned to discretionary capital
expenditure (seismic/exploration), are likely to be affected
first, followed by onshore drilling and then development.
E&P will also clearly be impacted, beginning with the
highly leveraged E&P entities
and those with disproportionate
exposure to high marginal cost
production. On the other hand,
the price drop may be beneficial
to midstream/downstream businesses. However, the businesses
embedded in integrated oil companies may come under further
pressure to de-capitalise their
value chains.
“Looking forward, there are a
number of potential refinery upgrade and expansion projects in
the region that could drive some
future transaction activity. The
future of transactions in the oil
and gas industry will largely be
dependent on how much the oil
price fluctuates and the length of
time it takes for the price to stabilise,” Baker added.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
GCC chemical industry’s R&D
spend at QR1.33bn in 2013: GPCA
he GCC’s chemical industry invested an estimated
QR1.33bn ($367mn) on research and development (R&D) in
2013, according to the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA).
This constitutes 0.8% of global
R&D investment, GPCA said.
Nearly 80% of the GCC (Gulf
Cooperation Council) region’s major petrochemical and chemical
producers have made innovation
strategy a key business priority,
indicating that the advancement,
improvement and modernisation of
the sector are a top priority, GPCA
According to the GPCA Innovation Survey 2015, the number of
companies that have formulated
an explicit innovation strategy has
doubled from 21% in 2010 to 41%
in 2015. Additionally, 38% of surveyed companies in the GCC region’s chemical industry are seriously considering implementing an
innovation strategy and expect it to
remain a priority over the next ten
“Over the last four decades, the
GCC’s petrochemicals industry
has evolved from humble beginnings into a multibillion dollar
industry, which has a more than
140mn-tonne capacity that has applications in host of sectors,” said
Dr Abdulwahab al-Sadoun, GPCA
secretary general. “And as growth
forecasts indicate stable progress,
the latest GPCA Innovation Survey shows that the region’s petrochemical producers are increasingly
looking towards applying a meaningful innovation mandate to stay
relevant in the face of rising market
Now in its second edition, the
GPCA Innovation Survey tracks the
perceptions and priorities of the region’s top petrochemical producers.
This year, the survey spoke to
some 24 manager-level or above
executives in the GCC, representing
70% of GPCA full member companies.
“R&D investments are traditionally seen as indicators to an organisation or country’s openness to innovation,” Dr Sadoun said. “While
the GCC’s spending on R&D may
be perceived as low, implementing innovation into operations is
a long-term programme that requires careful planning. Over the
last five years, the industry has
implemented ambitious training
programmes, collaborated with
countless universities and unveiled
five impressive research institutions, signalling that innovation is
something that top management
takes very seriously. Innovation,
after all, will ensure that the industry can weather the storm of oil
price fluctuations.”
The GPCA Innovation Survey
2015 will be unveiled at the Research
& Innovation Summit in Dubai next
An aerial view of Qapco’s facilities in Mesaieed. Nearly 80% of the GCC region’s major petrochemical and chemical producers have made innovation strategy a key business
priority, indicating that the advancement, improvement and modernisation of the sector are a top priority, according to the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association.
Mena takaful market to fare well on personal lines: QFC
Foreign insurers losing
ground in Mena on high
losses, says QFC study
Picture appears to be bit rosy for Islamic insurance in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), especially owing to personal
lines of business, according to a Qatar Financial Centre (QFC)
“Takaful market is still not expected to capture its potential but
the assessment is slightly more favourable than in 2014,” the
QFC said in its Mena Insurance Barometer 2015.
It found 22% of respondents expect Takaful insurance to
under-perform the market as a whole in terms of growth,
down from 32% in 2014.
The slightly more favourable overall assessment compared
with the 2014 barometer is a reflection of strong personal lines
growth, also driven by improvements in profitability, according
to the QFC.
“The principle of mutuality can be most effectively applied in
personal lines such as motor and medical insurance where
portfolios are relatively homogenous,” it said.
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
oreign insurers are not expected
to make greater inroads into the
Middle East and North Africa
(Mena), where their market share have
been stagnating on high losses and
competitive disadvantages in the personal lines, a Qatar Financial Centre
(QFC) study has found.
The majority of surveyed executives
continue to expect erosion of foreign
insurers’ market share in light of significant losses recently suffered by some
global insurers operating in the region,
said the QFC in its Mena Reinsurance
Barometer. Moreover, in a number of
fields, local insurers have stepped up
the game, both in terms of underwriting
capacity and expertise, it said.
“We remain very confident about
the Mena insurance market’s potentials and prospects. However, generally speaking, foreign insurers are facing tougher competition from local
and regional carriers who have grown
in sophistication and are able to offer
increasing levels of capacity,” Michael
S Jensen, AIG Property Casualty, man-
‘Personal risk, medical, motor cover offers profitability’
The majority of surveyed executives continue to expect erosion of
foreign insurers’ market share in Mena
aging director Mena, said in the report.
The barometer found that only 32%
of respondents expect non-Menabased insurers to gain market share
over the next 12 months, marginally
down from 35% in 2014.
Those who anticipate an increasing
share of foreign players point to their
specific competitive advantages such
as superior financial security, technical
expertise, customer focus and distri-
bution know-how, it said. In addition,
the rapidly growing expatriate community tends to prefer to deal with insurers
from their home countries, it found.
Finding the increasing general market trend towards more specialty lines
in the commercial space, as professional indemnity insurance; the study
said “in this area foreign insurers are
considered well ahead of their local
Transport, insurance, telecom buy interest lifts QSE
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
Buying interests in transport, insurance
and telecom stocks kept up the bullish
momentum, albeit at lower levels, on
the Qatar Stock Exchange yesterday.
Domestic institutions turned upbeat
as the 20-stock Qatar Index (based
on price data) rose a mere 0.04%
to 12,144.01 points amid lower trade
volumes. The index that tracks Shariahprincipled stocks was seen melting
against wee gains in other indices in the
bourse, which is, however, down 1.15%
Foreign institutional investors were
net buyers, amid lower exposure, in
the market, where real estate stocks
together cornered more than 48% of
the total trading volume.
Market capitalisation was up 0.03%,
or QR23mn, to QR660.74bn mainly on
0.59% jump in small cap stocks; even as
micro and large caps were down 0.2%
and 0.03% respectively.
The Total Return Index rose 0.04% to
18,571.66 points and the All Share Index
by 0.03% to 3,208.87 points while the
Al Rayan Islamic Index fell 0.28% to
4,361.48 points.
Many executives also continue to feel that Shariah-principled
insurance offers no genuine differentiation and does not live
up to the concept of mutuality, given conflicting interests of
policyholders and shareholders, it said.
However, most survey participants seem to agree that the
principle of takaful, if applied properly, is valid and promising,
as demonstrated by some Asian markets such as Malaysia.
In many cases, takaful insurers continue to lack a distinct and
compelling value proposition. The business tends to be driven
by short-term profit maximisation rather than a sustainable
approach to sharing surpluses and losses with policyholders,
according to Yassir Albaharna, CEO, Arig.
Echoing similar lines, Chérif Chentir, chief underwriting officer
(Middle East and South Eastern Europe), Scor Re, said the
results over the last 10 years for takaful Insurance companies
in the Mena region have in general not been satisfactory and
by far lower than those of conventional insurers in the region.)
Transport stocks surged 1.25%, followed
by insurance (0.75%), telecom (0.51%)
and industrials (0.47%); while realty
shrank 0.87%, followed by banks and
financial services (0.21%) and consumer
goods (0.19%).
Major gainers included Doha Bank,
Industries Qatar, Gulf International
Services, Ooredoo, Nakilat, Milaha and
United Development Company; even
as QNB, Commercial Bank, Aamal Company, Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding,
Barwa and Ezdan bucked the trend.
Domestic institutions turned net buyers
to the tune of QR10.14mn against net
sellers of QR17.16mn the previous trading day.
Foreign institutions were also net
buyers to the extent of QR15.07mn
compared with net sellers of QR16.25mn
on Thursday.
However, Qatari retail investors
turned net profit-takers to the tune
of QR13.84mn against net buyers of
QR26.54mn last Thursday.
Non-Qatari individual investors also
turned net sellers to the extent of
QR11.35mn compared with net buyers of
QR6.9mn the previous trading day.
Total trade volume fell 15% to 5.34mn
shares, value by 25% to QR251.1mn and
transactions by 1% to 3,887.
The banks and financial services sector
reported a 63% plunge in trade volume
to 0.78mn stocks, 68% in value to
QR46.99mn and 65% in deals to 517.
The industrials sector saw its trade
volume plummet 38% to 0.7mn equities
and value by 43% to QR54.19mn, while
transactions were up 2% to 1,031.
The consumer goods sector’s trade
volume tanked 31% to 0.24mn shares,
value by 12% to QR15.75mn and deals by
15% to 274.
The market witnessed a 16% shrinkage
in the telecom sector’s trade volume
to 0.49mn stocks and value by 2% to
QR13.02mn but on a 97% jump in transactions to 534.
However, there was a 61% expansion in
the real estate’s trade volume to 2.58mn
equities and value more than doubled
to QR87.81mn on more-than-doubled
deals to 1,245.
The insurance sector’s trade volume
gained 4% to 0.24mn shares and value
by 9% to QR14.41mn, while transactions
fell 22% to 101.
Although the transport sector’s trade
volume was flat at 0.3mn stocks, there
was more than doubling of value to
QR18.94mn on 23% surge in deals to 185.
In the debt market, there was no trading
of treasury bills and government bonds.
ersonal risk cover as medical and
motor insurance are expected to
be opportunities as well as profitability for the insurers in the Middle
East and North Africa (Mena), a Qatar
Financial Centre study has found.
“The prospect of additional and
broader compulsory schemes coupled
with continued population growth
ranks first among the future opportunities and is expected to boost personal
lines insurance business such as medical and motor insurance,” QFC said in
its Mena Insurance Barometer 2015.
Personal lines business continues
to be viewed more favourably, also in
comparison with last year’s barometer,
it said, adding 77% of executives polled
describe profitability as average, up
from 67% in 2014. The effect of regu-
latory tightening started to make itself
felt in 2014, raising the five-year average of profitability, it said.
“Personal lines probably offer the
biggest potential for insurance in the
region. On the one hand, their growth
is fuelled by compulsory insurance requirements. On the other, awareness
is improving as insurers introduce
and market new products,” according
to Khalid al-Mughesib, adviser at the
Office of HE the Minister of Finance
of Qatar and vice chairman of the National Health Insurance Company.
Profitability expectations in personal lines have improved more noticeably over the past 12 months
(with the share of those anticipating
increased profitability almost doubling), largely attributable to regula-
tory measures in Saudi Arabia, it said.
Initially, these measures put pressure on profitability as medical and
motor insurers were required to increase technical reserves, it said,
adding in the meantime, the positive
effect from higher technical rates is
starting to filter through.
In addition, the ‘back-to-technical
basics’ effect from eroding investment returns is even stronger in personal lines business which is largely
retained by insurers, the study said.
“Social inflation, for example in the
provision of healthcare services, remains a severe concern and a number
of interviewees question whether the
most recent rate increases will be sufficient to offset this adverse inflationary impact,” it said.
Rebounding Mobily stocks
buoy Saudi market spirit
continued rebound by telecommunications firm Mobily after
its shock earnings restatements
buoyed Saudi Arabia’s bourse yesterday, while Egypt rose after strong economic data.
Most Gulf markets moved little because of uncertainty about oil prices.
Cheap oil has dampened trade in
most Gulf markets for the last several
months, and the latest oil price move
was negative: Brent crude fell 1.2% to
below $60 a barrel on Friday, posting its
biggest weekly loss since January.
But the spectacular recovery of
shares in Mobily (Etihad Etisalat) galvanised the Saudi market, whose main
index rose 0.7% to 9,579 points in active
trade, breaking technical resistance on
the February peak of 9,544 points.
The index faces stronger resistance
on its 200-day average, now at 9,664
points; any break would suggest the
market’s longer-term uptrend might be
Mobily jumped its 10% daily limit
to 42.50 riyals, the highest level since
it began plunging in late January in response to the company’s announcement of a fourth-quarter loss. It had
risen by the same margin on Thursday
as trade in the shares resumed after a
week-long suspension.
Mobily faces an uncertain future; it is
the subject of a regulatory investigation
over its earnings restatements and has
said it expects to breach loan covenants.
But some investors are betting that
its underlying business is healthy and
that the appointment of Suliman bin
Abdulrahman al-Gwaiz as its new
chairman will ensure benign treatment
from bank creditors and the government. Al-Gwaiz is also governor of a
huge state-owned fund, the General
Organisation for Social Insurance.
Egypt’s market gained 0.7% in a
broad rise after the government said on
Saturday that the economy had grown
a robust 4.3% in the quarter ended in
Also, the government is continuing to
announce new projects that it plans to
present at its international investment
summit on March 13-15. On Saturday, the
transport ministry said it would present
six projects worth $2.5bn, according to
the Daily News Egypt newspaper.
SODIC, Egypt’s third-largest listed
real estate developer, rose 2.9%, adding to a 0.7% gain on Thursday after it
posted a net profit of 154.3mn Egyptian
pounds ($20.2mn) in 2014 against a loss
of 477.1mn pounds in the previous year.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Dubai’s index
edged down 0.2% to 3,741 points; Abu
Dhabi’s index edged up 0.1% to 4,594
points; Kuwait’s index slipped 0.4% to
6,514 points; Oman’s index was flat at
6,526 points, while Bahrain was flat at
1,467 points.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Avago’s ambitions may spark more semiconductor deals
New York
Avago Technologies may be one of
the pacesetters among companies
looking to make a purchase in the
semiconductor industry after its
advanced talks last month to acquire
Freescale Semiconductor fell through.
Demand for cheaper chips and new
products to power Internet-connected
gadgets is expected to drive chip
industry consolidation beyond NXP’s
$12bn purchase of Freescale announced
this week, analysts said.
“The pace of M&A in semis has been
elevated,” said Jefferies analyst Mark
Lipacis. “We expect more of the same.”
Avago’s main business is its wireless
segment, which last quarter accounted
for about 40% of revenue, and it sells
radio frequency chips for products such
as Apple Inc’s iPhone.
The company, which has a market
cap of $32bn, could now look at
expanding in areas ranging from analog
semiconductors to radio frequency
technology, and could roll up several
smaller analog companies or pursue a
larger acquisition, Reuters reported.
It couldn’t be learned what companies
Avago was pursuing.
Deals that could occur over the next
few years are in the range of $600mn
to $2bn to $3bn.
Analysts see companies that make
chips for connected devices as top
contenders for deal activity. Relatively
small chipmakers with annual sales
below $1bn in markets from the auto
industry to consumer gadgets are in
the crosshairs of larger players awash
in growing amounts of cash and rising
stock prices not seen in more than a
With steady demand from automakers,
makers of consumer electronics and
data center operators, chip companies
have cut costs in recent years and
returned growing amounts of cash
to shareholders who, in turn, have
rewarded those companies’ stocks.
Chipmakers that roughly fit the
target model for potential deals, in
terms of size and products, include
smaller companies such as Micrel,
Intersil, Atmel, M/A-COM and Silicon
Laboratories, analysts said.
These companies make a variety
of chips that manage power, allow
wireless communication and control
devices, among other things.
Features such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth that
once required chips sold by separate
companies can now be squeezed
onto single pieces of silicon made by
industry leaders’ technology.
The firms could pursue mergers with
smaller peers or could also become
targets for larger chipmakers such as
Intel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments
and Skyworks Solutions , according to
Micrel in January said its board had
hired a bank to review strategic
alternatives and to maximise
shareholder value.
Nearly all the deals announced so
far have driven up shares of the
acquirers, which gives other companies
confidence to pursue M&A since
investors reward them for it.
“So far the reaction to these deals has
been very positive,” said RBC analyst
Doug Freedman.
Shares of NXP surged 17% this week
after it said it would buy Freescale to
create a combined company valued at
moe than $40bn while cutting costs
and growing market share.
Worldwide semiconductor M&A
reached $31bn last year, the most since
2011, Thomson Reuters data show. In
the 12 months through March 2, 472
chip M&A deals were made worldwide,
up from 383 in the previous year.
Tim Wilson, a venture capitalist at
Artiman Ventures who specializes
in chips, expects large chipmakers
to buy startups with specialized
technologies, many focusing on
emerging areas such as wireless
home appliances and other connected
devices that fly under the banner of
the “Internet of Things.”
For example, top mobile chipmaker
Qualcomm in October agreed to buy
Britain’s CSR for $2.5bn to bolster its
offering in Bluetooth, another shortrange communication technology.
“If you look at what’s being acquired,
everyone is filling in product gaps,”
Wilson said.
Fed dashes big payout hopes
of Goldman shareholders
Neil Woodford,
Irish state
fund to back
Malin IPO
New York
eading British fund manager Neil Woodford and
the Irish state’s new strategic investment fund are among
the investors who have committed to purchasing shares in life
sciences company Malin, the
Irish firm said last week.
Malin, set up by a number of
former Elan executives to invest in privately held life science
assets, plans to raise between
€275mn and €325mn in one of
Europe’s biggest biotechnology
Malin said cornerstone investors, including the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and
Woodford Investment Management, the firm set up last year
by star fund manager Woodford,
would account for more than
half of the estimated placing.
“The commitment by a select
group of key investors, notable
for their business acumen, longterm approach to investing and
enviable track record, reflects
their collective confidence in
Malin’s board,” Malin chairman
John Given said in a statement.
Woodford, a favourite among
investors who achieved near
cult-like status during his time
at Invesco Perpetual due to his
strong track record, will own a
little over 20% of Malin stock,
a source close to the company
ISIF will take a mid-to-high
teen percentage, the source added, in what will be one of its first
investments since it subsumed
the Irish state’s pension reserve
fund with the aim of deploying
over €7bn to support economic
Other investors include Peter Loescher, a former Siemens
chief executive and ex-president
of Merck, who will join fellow industry veterans, directors Kelly
Martin and Bob Ingram, who
oversaw Elan’s sale in 2013, at
Malin has said it will invest in
companies for which an initial
public offering (IPO) or trade
sale is premature and provide the
long term capital and industry
experience it says venture capital
and private equity funds cannot
oldman Sachs Group’s cushion of extra capital in the latest
Federal Reserve stress test isn’t
enough for the firm to match last year’s
payout of dividends and share repurchases.
The Fed projected last week that
Goldman Sachs’s total risk- based capital ratio would fall to 8.1% in a severe
economic downturn, weaker than what
the central bank estimated in last year’s
test and barely above the 8% minimum.
The figure was below Goldman Sachs’s
own calculation of 13%, as well as those
of analysts including Credit Suisse
Group’s Susan Roth Katzke, who estimated 11.3%.
Goldman Sachs’s narrow buffer in
the Fed’s eyes would leave the New
York-based firm with less than $1bn in
excess capital to pay out to shareholders beyond the dividends the firm has
been disbursing. That’s dwarfed by the
$5.47bn it returned through buybacks
in 2014, and the $6.5bn that Katzke estimated the bank would return over the
next five quarters.
“We remain cautious on Goldman Sachs” as it seeks approval for its
capital plan, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods
analysts led by Brian Kleinhanzl said
in a report Friday. “The narrow buffer
over minimum requirements increases
the possibility share repurchase announcements come in below our expectations.”
The firm could boost its buffer over
the minimum ratio by issuing preferred
shares, which may allow it to return
more capital than the test results would
indicate, Kleinhanzl wrote. Goldman
Sachs’s lowest ratio probably occurred
early in the testing period before recovering, meaning the firm could structure
its capital plan to increase buybacks in
later quarters, Matt O’Connor, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, said in a note.
The Fed test was tougher than many
analysts anticipated for firms most reliant on investment banking and trading. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley,
and JPMorgan Chase & Co all fell closer
to the minimum than Katzke predicted
on at least one measure and appear to
lack room to match the payouts she estimated they would request.
“The tests are set up with the contemplation of which businesses may
have more risk than others, and it’s
Goldman Sachs Group headquarters in New York. The bank’s cushion of extra capital in the latest Federal Reserve stress test isn’t enough for the firm to match last year’s
payout of dividends and share repurchases.
clear from the results that the test is
more punitive to businesses with bigger trading platforms than others,” said
Devin Ryan, an analyst at JMP Group.
David Wells, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on
the test results or the company’s plans.
The bank, which currently pays a 60cent quarterly dividend, released its
own estimates last week in New York.
The gap in the total risk-based capital
ratio occurred as the Fed assumed lower
capital levels and higher risk-weighted
assets than the company did. The firm’s
projections for other key capital measures also exceeded the Fed’s.The test
results released for banks Thursday
show whether they have enough capital
to withstand nine quarters of stressful economic conditions. The second
round, to be announced March 11, assesses their ability to weather losses
and still pay dividends, buy back stock
or make acquisitions.
Banks submitted those capital plans
to the Fed by January, and are allowed to
modify their designs in the week before
the central bank releases its rulings.
Firms can ask for permission to return
capital through buybacks and dividends or lay out plans to raise equity.
Banks model their losses and capital
ratios using the scenario developed by
the Fed. While commercial banks such
as Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co
had a larger buffer than Goldman Sachs
in the stress test, the excess was less
than the lenders’ own estimates.
Citigroup’s estimate of how it fared
under the severely adverse scenario
showed a minimum Tier 1 leverage ratio
of 6%, compared with the Fed’s 4.6%.
The firm’s common equity Tier 1 ratio
of 8.2% was more generous than the
Fed’s 6.8%. Portales Partners downgraded the New York- based bank to
underperform Friday, saying it’s weaker-than- expected capital ratios reduce
how much Citigroup can pay in dividends and buybacks.
Wells Fargo’s 8.9% leverage ratio
compared with the Fed’s 6.4%, while
it’s common equity Tier 1 ratio of 9.1%
compared with regulators’ 6.9%.
JPMorgan and Bank of America Corp,
the nation’s largest lenders, also were
more optimistic than the Fed in the severely adverse scenario. JPMorgan projected a minimum Tier 1 leverage ratio
of 6%, compared with the Fed’s 4.6%.
The firm’s common equity Tier 1 ratio
of 6.9% was more generous than the
Fed’s 6.3%.
Bank of America estimated minimum Tier 1 leverage ratio of 5.9%, compared with the Fed’s 5.1%. The firm’s
common equity Tier 1 ratio of 7.8% was
higher than the Fed’s 7.1%.
Central bank’s higher real rate to
fuel private bond flops in China
Hong Kong
A forklift maker, a leather producer and
a textiles company have missed payments on privately sold bonds in China
this year, as the central bank’s failure to
cut borrowing costs in line with slowing
inflation wrecks profits. HSBC Holdings is forecasting more defaults after
consumer price increases in the world’s
second-biggest economy cooled to 0.8%
in January, the slowest since 2009. Rates
on the benchmark one-year lending rate
after accounting for living costs rose to
a five-year high at 4.59%. Prices received
by manufacturers dropped 4.3% last
month, matching January’s decline that
was the biggest since 2009, according to
a Bloomberg survey.
The People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC)
two interest-rate cuts in three months
have failed to lower borrowing costs for
small- and medium-sized enterprises,
which account for 70% of economic
output. While larger state enterprises
can rely on preferential loans from
government banks, delinquencies in the
private-bond market have prompted authorities to ban individuals from buying
such notes, backtracking from a goal of
expanding the market set up in 2012.
“One thing that worries me is falling
inflation, which raises the real value of
debt,” said John Zhu, Hong Kong-based
economist at HSBC. “China’s producer
price index, an indication of selling prices
for goods produced by many SMEs, has
been in negative territory for over three
years. As a result, profits of those companies have fallen sharply and therefore
more failures may occur.”
Suqian Chief Leather Co, based in
the eastern province of Jiangsu, said
it wouldn’t be able to pay noteholders
who exercised a February 5 sell option,
people familiar with the matter said.
NBO Machinery Equipment Co, a forklift maker based in the eastern province
of Anhui, faced difficulty paying principal
and interest on a bond that could be
sold back on February 4, China Business News reported, citing underwriter
Capital Securities Corp NBO may fail to
pay another security puttable on April
3, it said. A person who answered the
phone at Capital Securities declined to
transfer the call to someone in a position
to comment. Two calls to NBO went
unanswered. Dongfei Mazuoli Textile
Machinery Co, also based in Jiangsu,
couldn’t pay principal and interest on
securities as of January 25, according to
a January 27 report on Tencent Holdings’ A person in the company’s finance department declined to comment.
“We expect more defaults in China’s
private bond market this year as many issuers, mostly small and medium enterprises,
are facing a liquidity crunch,” said Ivan
Chung, a senior vice president at Moody’s
Investors Service in Hong Kong. “Compared
to 2012, when the private bond market was
established, refinancing conditions for those
borrowers are now tougher as investors
become more aware of the risks.”
The average yield for private notes in
China is 9.21%, according to UBS Group.
Borrowing costs have also jumped
for lower-rated companies in the public
bond market, as the slowest economic
growth in more than two decades dents
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
China vows co-operation with Russia despite West’s sanctions
Gazprom to pay Saipem for
vessels at dropped project
ussia’s state-run gas exporter, OAO
Gazprom, hasn’t stopped spending money
on a cancelled $45bn Black Sea gas pipeline.
The company is paying Italy’s biggest oil and gas
contractor, Saipem, the costs of two pipe-laying
ships hired to build the South Stream project even
though they’re standing idle, said two people familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified
because the information isn’t public.
Although neither company would comment on
the current payments, it shows how South Stream
is still a drain on resources three months after
President Vladimir Putin announced Gazprom
would drop the project.
The pipeline was scrapped as the crisis in
Ukraine, where the European Union accuses
Putin of backing rebel fighters, soured relations between Russia and Europe.Gazprom said
it’s spending €569mn ($633mn) on the defunct
project in the six months to the start of April.
Gazprom hasn’t stopped spending money on a
cancelled $45bn Black Sea gas pipeline.
All contracts are suspended for now, Gazprom’s
press service said in response to questions, declining to comment on payments to contractors.
Saipem referred to statements made last month
that the South Stream contract was still under
suspension, pending a decision from the client.
Saipem, controlled by Italy’s state-run oil
producer Eni, was the main contractor at South
Stream and had two deals worth €2.4bn.
The Milan-based company was supposed to
build the first line of the undersea pipeline, starting last year, and provide support services for
construction of the second line in the link.After
canceling South Stream, Putin proposed an alternative route to Turkey. Gazprom will use most
of investments already made in South Stream for
the new link, according to the company.
Saipem may get a deal similar to the South
Stream agreement - to lay the first undersea
line of the Turkish pipeline, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported last month, citing two
people it didn’t identify. The company declined
to comment.Gazprom is paying Saipem hundreds of thousands of euros per day as the vessels
are docked in a Bulgarian port, waiting for the
planned start in building the Turkish link, Interfax news service reported last month, without
identifying the source of information.
South Stream Transport, a Gazprom unit
which would operate the 931-kilometre undersea
part of the project, reckoned to cost as much as
€14bn, signed contracts with more than a dozen
companies from Germany to Japan.
Company spinoffs
are on the rise,
reveals insider
trading study
Over the past year, a
record 266 companies
have spun off divisions in
a trend bankers are calling
“Spinmania.” If history
is any guide, about 35
of those deals will have
leaked undetected to
inside traders.
A new study by a team
of finance professors
suggests one in eight
corporate spinoffs and
divestments in the US
between 1996 and the
end of 2013 was preceded
by suspicious trading
in options markets. The
Securities and Exchange
Commission hasn’t
brought a single case
relating to such trading
then or since, according
to the report, due to
be published later this
“Spinoffs are
accompanied by a
fairly predictable pop in
the parent company’s
share price,” Marti
Subrahmanyam, a senior
professor at New York
University’s Leonard
Stern Business School
who co-authored the
study, said in a telephone
interview. “Yet there
seems to be little focus
on this area. Authorities
need to adopt a more
systematic approach and
acknowledge that every
type of announcement
is fraught with the
possibility of insider
Regulators on both sides
of the Atlantic have
made tackling insider
trading a priority in recent
years, with high-profile
scalps at hedge funds
SAC Capital Advisors
LP and Galleon Group
in the US, and Moore
Capital Management in
the UK. Those actions
have centered on illegal
trading on tips about
mergers and acquisitions,
where the impact of an
announcement on a
company’s share price
tends to be larger than
in a spinoff. Spinoffs are
when a company divests
part of its business,
usually via a sale or
distribution of new shares,
to create a new company.
Patrick Augustin of McGill
University in Montreal,
Subrahmanyam and
Menachem Brenner of
NYU Stern and Jianfeng
Hu of Singapore
Management University
analyzed trading in stocks,
options, bonds and credit
default swaps ahead of
426 such deals in the 18
years to December 2013.
They found a “statistically
abnormal” jump in the
volume of options traded
in the five days before a
spinoff announcement
13% of the time. There
were no significant
corresponding increases
in the trading of any other
One reason for the spike
in options may be that
the returns available to
traders with advance
knowledge of a spinoff
tend to be much lower
than for those who get
wind of a merger or
acquisition. A parent
company’s stock price
undergoes an average
“abnormal return” of
2% when a spinoff is
announced, versus a jump
of about 16% in the target
company of a takeover
approach. Options can
boost those returns. Since
many are traded over-thecounter and away from
registered exchanges,
they are also harder for
the authorities to monitor.
The report follows a
similar study published
in May by Augustin,
Subrahmanyam and
Brenner into insider
trading ahead of standard
M&A transactions. It
found suspicious trading
activity before deal
announcements about a
quarter of the time.
The new study is
particularly timely.
Spinoff numbers are at
an unprecedented high
as activist shareholders
push to squeeze value
by breaking-up unwieldy
Last year, according
to data compiled by
Bloomberg, 248 spinoffs
were announced globally
- the most on record.
In September, online
marketplace EBay said
it would spin off its
payments division PayPal
and German drugmaker
Bayer announced plans
to list its plastics unit. Two
months later, consumer
group Unilever Plc said
its sandwich-spread
operations in the US and
Europe will become a
standalone unit.
There’s no indication of
improper trading before
those announcements.
Despite this surge, cases
involving trading ahead of
spinoffs are largely nonexistent. Since 1995, the
SEC has filed just two such
cases and both concerned
the illegal purchase
of shares rather than
options. One was against
Galleon fund manager
Raj Rajaratnman, who
bought 3.25mn shares in
Advanced Micro Devices
Inc before it spun off its
manufacturing business
in October 2008. The
other related to a
psychiatrist who invested
in a Florida technology
company in 1996 after a
client tipped him off to a
forthcoming spinoff.
John Nester, a spokesman
for the SEC in Washington,
declined to comment on
the report.
China vowed yesterday to plough ahead on
economic and diplomatic co-operation with
Russia despite Western sanctions against Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, stressing their
relations are based on “mutual need”.
“The practical co-operation between China
and Russia is based on mutual need, it seeks
win-win results and has enormous internal impetus and room for expansion,” said Beijing’s
foreign minister Wang Yi.
As well as sanctions, Vladimir Putin’s Russia
is facing a sharp decline in its rouble currency
amid an economic crisis fuelled largely by
plunging oil prices.
Both countries are permanent members of
the UN Security Council, where they have in
the past jointly used their veto power against
Western-backed moves such as in the civil war
in Syria.
Wang told reporters on the sidelines of the
National People’s Congress, China’s parliament,
that Beijing and Moscow will “continue to carry
out strategic coordination and co-operation to
maintain international peace and security”.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Beijing turns to Japan for lessons on economic history
Chinese regulators are turning to
Japan for lessons on economic history,
determined to keep the world’s second
biggest economy from taking the same
path of recession and deflation that has
blighted its neighbour for the past 20
Beijing views Tokyo’s handling of the
liberalisation of capital flows and the
yen over 30 years ago as key factors
that led to the creation and subsequent
bust of the asset bubble in Japan in
the early 1990s, according to Japanese
government and other sources who
are in direct contact with Chinese
“They aren’t a single bit interested
in Japan’s successes. Their biggest
interest is in Japan’s mistakes,” one
China-based source who is directly
in touch with Chinese regulators told
Reuters on condition of anonymity.
“Japanese and Chinese economies do
share many similarities, so I assume
there is quite a lot to learn from our
Chinese policymakers and analysts at
government think-tanks are already
well versed in the experiences of Japan
and other countries, and the sources
say two-way communication at both
government and private-sector level
continued even through a chill in
diplomatic ties after a territorial spat
in 2012.
But as economic growth slows and
signs of deflation emerge, China’s
interest in Japan has increased notably
around policy details, according to the
sources. At an annual parliamentary
meeting that began on Thursday, China
announced an economic growth target
of around 7% for this year, down from
7.4% in 2014, already the slowest in 24
China is carrying out three key financial
reforms Japan undertook over the past
decades – liberalising interest rates,
internationalising its currency and
opening up its capital account.
These reforms should help develop
the economy, but mis-steps could have
huge repercussions.
Chinese policymakers see the 1985 Plaza
Accord between Japan and the Western
powers, which effectively approved a
stronger yen and the opening up of the
capital account during the 1980s and
1990s, as pivotal events for Tokyo which
ultimately led to the Japan’s “lost two
decades”, sources say.
The surge in the yen that followed
the agreement hit the country’s main
exports; Japanese auto makers,
for example, started shifting more
production overseas. This started
to hamper economic growth and
prompted the Bank of Japan to ease
monetary policy.
However, much of the cash from the
easing, along with hot foreign money
that followed the liberalisation of the
capital account, flowed into stocks,
property and other assets, often
magnified through leveraging.
“China is already applying lessons from
Japan’s experience. Even when growth
is slowing, Chinese policymakers aren’t
taking policy measures that could
heighten financial imbalances. That’s
very wise of them,” Bank of Japan
board member Takahide Kiuchi told a
news conference in Maebashi, north of
Tokyo, on Thursday.
He said that even when asset bubbles
were forming, Japan wasn’t able to
tighten monetary policy because of
the impacts it would have on the US, its
biggest partner.
“One of the lessons from Japan’s
experience is that achieving domestic
economic stability should be the top
priority for policymakers (rather than
international considerations),” Kiuchi
added. China has other challenges that
echo Japan’s past. Its property market
has cooled since the government
tightened policy to prevent overheating
and due to oversupply, and that,
coupled with economic slowdown, is
raising fears of a rapid rise in bad loans
at banks and a further dent in local
government finances.
Sources said regulators have also
been asking how Japan dealt with
bank bankruptcies, and that could
be a signal Beijing is preparing for a
likely consolidation in the fragmented
banking sector once interest rates are
“It makes perfects sense for them
to look to Japan rather than other
countries since our financial systems
are very similar,” said another
Shanghai-based source.
Like Japan, Chinese firms rely heavily
on bank loans to meet their financing
needs as opposed to debt or equity
issues. Also China heavily regulates its
banking sector, for example by limiting
the number and locations where banks
can open branches, similar to Japan in
the 1970s and 1980s.
“The consolidation in the banking
sector Japan saw in the 70s and 80s
was mainly a result of stronger banks
rescuing weaker ones so they could
expand their network. It’s possible this
kind of move will happen in China,” the
source said.
On the surface, government relations
between Tokyo and Beijing remain
cool after Japan nationalised disputed
islands in the East China Sea in 2012,
which triggered anti-Japan protests in
China and a boycott of Japanese goods.
But the sources say communication
between the countries remained
frequent, though often at low-key,
private meetings.
“There’s very frequent exchange of
views. But it usually takes an informal
setting because at times it’s hard to
meet publicly in big, public events,”
said one Japanese policymaker with
knowledge of bilateral exchanges.
China exports rise, but imports
fall signals economic weakness
Japan PM
hina’s exports picked up in the
first two months of 2015, propelled by February’s exceptionally strong performance that was inflated by the timing of Lunar New Year,
while a slide in imports pointed to persistent weakness in the economy.
Data released by the General Administration of Customs yesterday showed
that China posted a record trade surplus of $60.6bn last month.
Exports rose 15% during the January-February period from a year earlier,
quickening from a 6.1% annual rise in
the whole of 2014 as demand from major markets improved.
February exports jumped 48.3%
from a year earlier, the strongest rise
since May 2010 and comfortably beat
market expectations of 14.2%, but customs office cautioned about reading
too much into the figure given seasonal
It said local exporters usually make
concentrated shipments ahead of the
long Lunar New Year holiday. The
new year fell on February 19 this year,
whereas in 2014 it occurred on January
31. January exports fell 3.3% from a year
Analysts tend to look at the combined trade data for the two months to
help smooth out distortions caused by
the holiday.
“We don’t expect the sharp rise
in February exports to be sustained
as global demand could only recover
steadily,” said Nie Wen, an economist
at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.
In February, exports to the US – China’s largest export market – jumped
48.5% from a year earlier but fell
slightly from January, according to customs data.
Exports to the Europe Union – the
second largest market – rose 44.1%
year-on-year but was also down
China’s imports tumbled 20.2% in
the first two months from a year earlier, signalling stubborn weakness in
the world’s second-largest economy
that may require more policy support,
analysts say. Imports inched up 0.4%
in 2014.
“The sharp decline in imports highlights slackening domestic demand, so
Piles of steel pipes to be exported are seen in front of cranes at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. China’s exports jumped 48.3% in February from a year earlier,
while imports fell 20.5%, producing a trade surplus of $60.6bn for the month, the General Administration of Customs said yesterday.
we expect the government to take more
policy measures to stabilise economic
growth,” Nie said.
A 20.5% slide in February imports
was the sharpest since the global financial crisis.
Imports have been weaker than exports, highlighting the need to spur domestic demand amid fears of deflation,
as some short-term investors pull out
of the country - illustrated by sustained
capital outflows in recent months. Despite the solid trade surplus, a string of
weak data has put some pressure on the
yuan against the dollar. But analysts
say the yuan’s modest fall versus the
dollar may not help exporters much,
given that it has risen against other
Indeed, a private manufacturing
survey showed export orders shrank
in February despite a slight pick-up
in factory activity. The government
has set an economic growth target of
around 7% for this year, below the 7.5%
goal that was narrowly missed in 2014,
but analysts believe more policy support is needed to arrest the slowdown.
Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng
said on Saturday that he was confident
of meeting annual trade growth target
of 6.1% in 2015.
China plans to run its biggest budget
deficit in 2015 since the global financial crisis, stepping up spending as
Premier Li Keqiang signalled that the
lowest rate of growth in a quarter of
a century is the “new normal” for the
The central bank has cut interest
rates twice since November, on top of
a cut in bank reserve requirements in
early February, amid concerns about
deflationary risks as growth slows.
Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday
pledged to continue his reforms to revive the flagging
economy, promising to lift Japan
out of “a period of darkness” if
his party wins key local elections
next month.
The popular, conservative
premier addressed the annual
convention of his Liberal Democratic Party laying the groundwork to push controversial legislation, including bills to expand
the role of the Japanese military.
“By winning the upcoming
elections, let us bring the dawn,
a new morning to Japan, as we
emerge out of a period of darkness,” Abe said.
Dozens of gubernatorial,
mayoral and local assembly elections will take place in mid-April
across the country.
The ruling party is seen as
enjoying wide popular support,
while the opposition bloc remains divided into small groupings.
Since returning to power over
two years ago, Abe has issued a
series of big-spending stimulus programmes to boost the
economy, assisted by aggressive
monetary easing by the Bank
of Japan, headed by Haruhiko
Kuroda, named by the premier
Big businesses and urban
areas, like Tokyo, are seen to
have benefited from Abe’s programmes, dubbed “Abenomics”,
while rural economies have remained slow.
While share prices are trading around a 15-year high, the
world’s number three economy
is experiencing low growth,
fuelling doubts over Abe’s bid to
lift Japan out of two decades of
At the party convention, Abe
also said he remained committed
to pushing bills that would allow greater roles for the Japanese
military, including more overseas missions.
Foreign banks tighten lending rules for China firms
Shanghai/Hong Kong
ome banks are adopting stricter lending criteria for China’s
state-owned enterprises (SOEs),
demanding collateral from some companies they used to deem as safe as
government debt, as Beijing tries to reform its bloated firms and the economy
Singapore’s DBS Group, which recently suffered a loss on a bad loan to
an SOE-related firm it had assessed as
risk-free, plans to launch a ‘decision
grid’ to assess the creditworthiness of
SOEs, according to draft internal risk
guidelines reviewed by Reuters.
A banker at Taiwan’s Chang Hwa
Commercial Bank said that from the
beginning of this year his bank would
only lend to state-owned Chinese
companies that provide collateral, in
recognition that SOEs were no longer
risk free. Such changes in policy suggest some foreign banks are preparing
for a rise in defaults in the world’s second-largest economy, which is growing
at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century and where the government is trying
to make the state sector more efficient.
DBS will now lend more conservatively
to SOEs seen as receiving less government support, as China plans to prioritise SOEs in strategic sectors.
The January-dated DBS document
said: “Not all SOEs receive the same
degree of government support. It is
our further belief that the differentiation of such support will widen in the
future as the government continues to
pursue market economy.”
DBS will now divide SOEs into tiers
according to their likely level of government support, with subsidiaries
considered more risky than top-level
holding companies.
Group companies that are not consolidated into the parent SOE’s financial statements will be evaluated as an
ordinary borrower, the decision grid
shows. DBS effectively acknowledges
that lenders can no longer take for
granted implicit support from above.
“Compared to ordinary corporates,
implicit support obtained from the
parents of SOEs are subject to higher
risks because of the risk of policy and
people changes,” the document said.
A DBS spokeswoman declined to
comment publicly on the specifics of
the policy change.
“It is still business as usual for us in
China. With slower regional economic
growth, we continue to be disciplined
and watchful of risks in all the markets
we operate in,” she said in an emailed
statement. A spokeswoman for Chang
Hwa Commercial Bank did not return
calls seeking comment.
The changes at DBS and Chang
Hwa are evidence of a broader trend to
tighten lending in China among foreign
banks, and the practice of demanding
collateral is likely to increase so they
can recover some value when loans go
bad. Global bank Standard Chartered
said on March 4 in its annual results
statement it had increased the level of
collateral it holds by 4%, in response to
rising bad loans in China, India and the
commodities sector. “The requirement
for more collateral is essential,” said
Jiahe Chen, chief strategist at Cinda
Securities. “As the economy falters
and SOEs become more market-orientated, there will be more defaults.”
“Perhaps for Chinese banks the government still have some arrangements,
but for foreign banks the impact of the
market is more severe,” he added.
About 70% of loans made in the
fourth quarter of last year in China
were collateralised, with the borrower
typically pledging land or manufacturing plants, according to a survey
of 2006 industrial firms published by
Professor Jie Gan of the Cheung Kong
School of Business.
DBS’s decision to change its risk assessment procedures for loans to SOEs
was galvanised in part by a large loss
it suffered on a loan to Yantai Penghui
Copper, a company backed by the city
of Yantai in China’s Shandong province, sources with direct knowledge of
the matter told Reuters.
People use Development Bank of Singapore ATMs at a branch in their
headquarters in Singapore. Some banks are adopting stricter lending criteria
for China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs), demanding collateral from some
companies they used to deem as safe as government debt, as Beijing tries to
reform its bloated firms and the economy slows.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Currency chaos
puts travel sector
into turmoil
The W Barcelona hotel, operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, stands in Barcelona. Hotels which covers both luxury and budget classes include Starwood’s W, IHG’s
Indigo, Citizen M, and Moxy.
Hotel investors battle for
yield as sector heats up
nvestors are expected to pump more
money into buying, converting or
building hotels in 2015 than in any year
since the start of the global financial crisis, with a focus on budget and ‘buzz’.
In a sector enjoying the benefits of
economic recovery and growing traveller
numbers, yields are attractive compared
to alternative real estate like office, industrial or retail.
“It’s not about people loving hotels, it’s
about investors searching for a return on
their money which they can’t get these
days on government bonds,” said Nick
Skea-Strachan of law firm BLP at this
month’s IHIF hotels conference in Berlin.
But investors say there are signs of
overheating in some areas, making it more
challenging to hit target returns that are
typically around 6.5 to 7.5%.
That is forcing them to seek out niches and jump on new trends like lifestyle
hotels, serving a generation of travellers
looking for a hip place to hang out, not just
somewhere to sleep.
Typically featuring smaller rooms,
local-themed design and buzzy lounges,
lifestyle covers both luxury and budget
classes and includes hotels such as Starwood’s W, IHG’s Indigo, Citizen M, and
Moxy. Hilton, Best Western and Germany’s Steigenberger are among those
recently announcing new brands in this
Examples of the genre include the privately owned 25 Hours Hotel in Berlin,
where visitors flock to a 10th floor bar and
restaurant that overlook the neighbouring
Liran Wizman, a developer and owner
who is opening two W hotels in Amsterdam this year that will be managed by
Starwood, told Reuters he had shifted
his focus in the past couple of years from
mid-scale hotels to lifestyle, which now
makes up half his portfolio.
Prestige ‘trophy’ hotels in cities like
New York, London and Paris will continue
to be in demand, executives at the Berlin
conference said, as institutions or high
net worth individuals seek assets that will
still be standing in 50 years’ time.
But with travellers still keeping an eye
on costs, the higher yields right now are in
the budget sector. Chains such as Marriott say growth in their room numbers will
be mainly at the economy end.
“There’s a shortage of good quality
Social Finance plans
to raise $500mn
through IPO this year
New York
Social Finance, the onlinelending platform known as
SoFi, is planning an initial public
offering that would value the
company at $3.5bn, people with
knowledge of the matter said,
almost triple what it received in
a recent funding round.
The company may raise $500mn
this year, said the people, who
asked not to be named because
the information is private.
The company plans to file its
prospectus confidentially in the
second quarter and proceed
in the second half, the people
said. That timeline may change
depending on market conditions.
SoFi would follow onlinelending pioneer LendingClub
Corp in tapping public markets.
LendingClub was the first
marketplace lender to hold an
IPO, and now has a valuation
of about $7.4bn. SoFi, with 200
employees, started in 2011 as a
peer-to- peer lending company
for Stanford University students
and graduates - with funds
crowd-sourced from the school’s
alumni. It has since expanded
nationally with offerings including
mortgages and personal loans.
SoFi is planning to work with
Goldman Sachs Group Corp
and Morgan Stanley on the
IPO, said the people, though
Chief Executive Officer
Michael Cagney hasn’t decided
which firm will be the lead
bank. Goldman Sachs has a
history with the company, the
people said: it helped SoFi to
raise $200mn last month at
a valuation of $1.3bn, from
investors including Third
Point Ventures and Wellington
Management Co.
A representative for SoFi
declined to comment, as did a
spokesman for Goldman Sachs.
A representative for Morgan
Stanley wasn’t immediately
reachable for comment.
So far, SoFi has generated more
than $1.75bn in loans, saving
borrowers an average $11,783,
according to its website.
Student loans are a ripe area for
startups. The climbing cost of
college has helped swell total
student debt to almost $1.2tn,
with the federal government
holding or backing more than
$1tn of that amount, the US
Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau said last year. More
than 90% of all loans for
the last academic year were
government backed, according
to the College Board.
Under the Jumpstart Our
Business Startups Act,
companies with less than
$1bn in revenue can file for
an IPO with the US Securities
and Exchange Commission
privately and work out the
details with the SEC outside the
public eye.
economy product, I think we’ll see more
build in that sector,” Patrick Fitzgibbon,
senior vice president development, Europe & Africa at Hilton, told Reuters.
Consultants Christie + Co suggest
those seeking higher yields should consider southern Europe such as Portugal,
Italy, Greece and Spain, where budget
hotels can account for up to 58% of supply and where assets are often in need of
some work.
In a report, it said prime hotel yields can
vary between 14 and 18% in Greece.
Another consultancy, HVS, said high
prices in cities such as London and Paris
were leading investors to look at hotels in
smaller towns and cities.
That is especially visible in Britain,
where occupancy rates and revenue per
available room in cities such as Manchester and Edinburgh have been rising as
consumers take more mini-breaks.
The branded hotel groups have been
moving to an ‘asset-light’ strategy in recent years, leaving it to others to own the
hotel real estate, while they manage them
under franchise or lease contracts.
Property giant Jones Lang LaSalle predicts $68bn in hotel real estate transactions in 2015, a 15% increase on 2014, and
the best year since 2007.
Of that around $24.7bn is expected to
be invested in Europe, the Middle East and
Africa, with North American and Chinese
investors set to be the major drivers.
“Yields are coming in and are relatively
low from a historical perspective, but still
offer a premium to general and commercial real estate,” Marc Socker, MD hotel
fund management at Invesco Real Estate
told Reuters.
Invesco has 31 hotel assets worth $1.5bn
in Europe, accounting for 20% of its total
European real estate assets under management.
Socker said the premium could be
around 100 to 150 basis points, as a result
of operating agreements that allow investors to assume different levels of risk.
According to a report by HVS, investment volumes in European hotel real
estate rose 83% in 2014. Investors from
North America, looking increasingly at
Europe as prices rise at home, accounted
for 26% of the total investment on the
continent, up 13 percentage points from
2013, it said.
Qatar Airways is getting in on the act,
announcing the purchase of the Sheraton
Skyline at Heathrow airport, which it will
rebrand as the Oryx, as part of the airline’s
plans to expand in travel-related business.
hether it’s the soaring Swiss franc, the
plummeting rouble
or the sliding euro, recent currency chaos has thrown the
travel sector into turmoil as
holiday-makers dodge costly
tourist traps and hunt for bargains.
“In principle currencies always have an impact on travel
and tourism,” said Taleb Rifai,
head of the UN World Tourism
Organisation, at the Berlin tourism fair (ITB) this past week.
The rule is simple, he said: “A
weaker currency attracts people
to your country and prevents
you from travelling.
“A stronger currency encourages you to travel,” Rafai
added, and makes vacationing at home costlier in relative
terms. When the Swiss franc
suddenly soared against the
euro after the Swiss National
Bank abandoned attempts
to hold down the currency
in January, leisure and travel
provider Pierre & VacancesCenter Parcs Group soon
found that Swiss customers
hunted euro-priced holidays
in France and Germany.
“Naturally we had to react,”
said Joachim Quadt, sales director for Germany and Switzerland. In February the company offered discounts to tour
operators for Swiss sites, in
Swiss francs.
Switzerland Tourism is also
seeking to convince the Swiss
to spend their holidays in their
own country.
Russia’s recent standoff
with the West over Ukraine,
and the punishing impact of
sanctions and falling oil prices,
have also made for some cheap
holidays for those undeterred
by the geopolitical tensions.
For only about €90 or $100,
visitors can buy a three-night
package in a four-star Moscow
hotel, with breakfast, a city
bus tour and museum admissions thrown in.
Sergei Korneyev of the Russian federal tourism agency
said the recent fall of the rouble is a “rare opportunity”
to attract tourists to Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the
“Golden Ring” of ancient cities northeast of the capital.
“We don’t know what the
situation will be tomorrow,
that’s why we have to use this
chance today,” he said, welcoming an unusual influx of
travel professionals to the
Russia stand at the ITB. A major exchange rate shift “is one
element whose effects are felt
quickly,” as the rise or fall in
purchasing power becomes
“immediately apparent”, said
Dan Nguyen of Canadian regional agency Tourism Quebec.
Thus Quebec hopes to take
advantage of the weakening
Canadian dollar against the
greenback to attract more US
To draw visitors from south
of the border, the tourist office has launched advertising campaigns and joint programmes with tour operators
and purchased banner ads on
the websites of major online
travel agencies.
American, Swiss and British
travellers to arrive in greater
numbers to take advantage of
their currencies strengthening
against the euro, which Friday
fell to an 11-year low against
the dollar.
“But it would be too simple
to say that demand depends
solely on the development of
exchange rates,” insisted Petra
Hedorfer, head of the German
National Tourist Board.
“We have long-term strategies” which do not change
with every wobble of the euro,
said Hedorfer.
UNWTO chief Rifai advised
that “what you need is a solid
industry, to keep moving, keep
adjusting (to currency fluctuations), but never be deterred
and never try to make dramatic changes in your strategy
because of this.”
German tour operators argue that some of the best deals
can be had in packages as the
mass-market providers have
often already factored in, or
hedged against, currency fluctuations.
“In the current main booking phase for the summer,
these price and exchange rate
developments actually play
into the hands of the tour operators,” said Norbert Fiebig,
president of the DRV federation of travel agents.
“The package deals can be
offered through travel agents
at low prices as the tour operators have generally hedged
against fluctuating foreign
currencies. “Individual services such as flights, hotels or
rental cars ... may at times
cost significantly more than
the complete packages of the
tour operators. That means
package tourists enjoy a clear
Bank of Canada watchers lament
lack of anchors in Poloz era
ank of Canada Governor Stephen
Poloz has made life more challenging for financial market forecasters, with an approach some say lacks
enough guideposts to allow them to
properly model the path of future interest rate moves.
In addition to ditching the forward
guidance pioneered in Canada by predecessor Mark Carney, now governor of
the Bank of England, Poloz has left some
economists and strategists feeling less
confident about what economic indicators they should work from and how
much they will influence policy.
“To some extent, the market’s at sea
right now, trying to figure out what we
should be listening for or looking at,” said
Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Financial Group. “Even something as fundamental that most of us thought was an
anchor, like core inflation, basically got
brushed aside.”
The central bank shocked markets in
January by cutting rates in response to
plunging oil prices, a move made even
with core inflation above the bank’s 2%
The bank, which has an inflationcontrol mandate, has said the strength in
core is due to temporary effects.
Poloz said at the time of the rate cut
that he recognised there might be market
consternation at the lack of foreshadowing, but that the benefit to the economy
of swift action would outweigh shortterm volatility.
Poloz: Keeping market forecasters in the dark.
A Bank of Canada spokeswoman said
the central bank looks at a broad range of
indicators when assessing the economy,
publicly discussing the data it reviews
and how it interprets them. She noted
Poloz has highlighted the importance of
the markets interpreting economic data
for themselves.
But market watchers say uncertainty
resulting from less explicit guidance has
changed the dynamic of rate forecasting
in Canada, with speeches by Poloz and
other bank officials being given far more
weight than in the past.
“Every indication we’ve had since
Governor Poloz has taken over is if you
don’t listen to him, you do so at your own
peril,” said Royal Bank of Canada chief
economist Craig Wright. “It’s not just
the governor, but the deputy governors
and senior deputy governor, as well. Each
speech is an event.”
Wright and other economists said that
while the bank does not want to confuse
the market, other factors have muddied
the waters, including the unknown fallout of crude’s dramatic price drop on oilexporting Canada.
“It remains uncharted territory,” said
National Bank Financial chief economist
Stefane Marion. “There’s no way that
models are built for that.”
They also note that with about 1-1/2
years of leadership under his belt, Poloz
is a relative newcomer who has made
some clear breaks from the style favoured
by Carney. “He surprised everybody
a month ago and that means a couple
of things,” said Carl Weinberg, chief
economist at High Frequency Economics. “Most importantly, we don’t
fully understand what he thinks, and
we may not be privy to all the information that he has.”
There are signs that investors’ frustrations at being blindsided by January’s
rate move have not fallen on deaf ears.
On Wednesday, for instance, the bank
delivered a concise, plainly worded policy announcement.
David Rosenberg, chief economist
at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, said
Wednesday’s statement and comments
made by Poloz in late February have
helped to re-establish markers that
markets can focus on.
The bank has made very clear that if
growth is at, or above, 1.5% in the first
half of the year, rates will not be cut further, and that it is looking at a base case
assumption of Brent crude at $60 a barrel, he said.
“I was actually very encouraged by the
tone and by the clarity,” he said. “I’m actually feeling as though we have parameters that we can invest around.”
Still, analysts and markets are not forgetting the shock of January’s cut and the
potential for further surprises.
“We’ve had Poloz do a U-turn, so sure,
we have a sense of what he’s saying today,” said Emanuella Enenajor, Canada
and US economist at Bank of AmericaMerrill Lynch. “But how confident are we
that there’s not another 180-degree turn
three months from now if the data start
to look soft?”
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Company Name
Company Name
Zad Holding Co
Widam Food Co
Vodafone Qatar
United Development Co
Salam International Investme
Qatar & Oman Investment Co
Qatar Navigation
Qatar National Cement Co
Qatar National Bank
Qatar Islamic Insurance
Qatar Industrial Manufactur
Qatar International Islamic
Qatari Investors Group
Qatar Islamic Bank
Qatar Gas Transport(Nakilat)
Qatar General Insurance & Re
Qatar German Co For Medical
Qatar Fuel Co
Qatar Electricity & Water Co
Qatar Cinema & Film Distrib
Qatar Insurance Co
Ooredoo Qsc
National Leasing
Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Dev
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdi
Al Meera Consumer Goods Co
Medicare Group
Mannai Corporation Qsc
Masraf Al Rayan
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
Industries Qatar
Islamic Holding Group
Gulf Warehousing Company
Gulf International Services
Ezdan Holding Group
Doha Insurance Co
Doha Bank Qsc
Dlala Holding
Commercial Bank Of Qatar Qsc
Barwa Real Estate Co
Al Khaleej Takaful Group
Aamal Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Saudi Hollandi Bank
Al-Ahsa Development Co.
Al-Baha Development & Invest
Ace Arabia Cooperative Insur
Allied Cooperative Insurance
Arriyadh Development Company
Fitaihi Holding Group
Arabia Insurance Cooperative
Alabdullatif Industrial Inv
Al-Ahlia Cooperative Insuran
Al Alamiya Cooperative Insur
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Dev
Al Babtain Power & Telecommu
Bank Albilad
Alujain Corporation (Alco)
Aldrees Petroleum And Transp
Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & C
Alinma Bank
Alinma Tokio Marine
Al Khaleej Training And Educ
Abdullah A.M. Al-Khodari Son
Allianz Saudi Fransi Coopera
Almarai Co
Saudi Integrated Telecom Co
Alsorayai Group
Al Tayyar Travel Group
Amana Cooperative Insurance
Anaam International Holding
Abdullah Al Othaim Markets
Arabian Pipes Co
Advanced Petrochemicals Co
Al Rajhi Co For Co-Operative
Arabian Cement
Arab National Bank
Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co
United Wire Factories Compan
Astra Industrial Group
Alahli Takaful Co
Aseer Trading Tourism & Manu
Axa Cooperative Insurance
Basic Chemical Industries
Bishah Agriculture
Bank Al-Jazira
Banque Saudi Fransi
United International Transpo
Bupa Arabia For Cooperative
Buruj Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Airlines Catering Co
Methanol Chemicals Co
City Cement Co
Eastern Province Cement Co
Etihad Atheeb Telecommunicat
Etihad Etisalat Co
Emaar Economic City
Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insu
United Electronics Co
Falcom Saudi Equity Etf
Filing & Packing Materials M
Wafrah For Industry And Deve
Falcom Petrochemical Etf
Gulf General Cooperative Ins
Jazan Development Co
Gulf Union Cooperative Insur
Halwani Bros Co
Hail Cement
Herfy Food Services Co
Al Jouf Agriculture Developm
Jarir Marketing Co
Jabal Omar Development Co
Al Jouf Cement
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co
Knowledge Economic City
Kingdom Holding Co
Saudi Arabian Mining Co
Malath Cooperative & Reinsur
Makkah Construction & Devepl
Mediterranean & Gulf Insuran
Middle East Specialized Cabl
Mohammad Al Mojil Group Co
Mouwasat Medical Services Co
The National Agriculture Dev
Najran Cement Co
Nama Chemicals Co
National Gypsum
National Gas & Industrializa
National Industrialization C
National Shipping Co Of/The
National Petrochemical Co
Rabigh Refining And Petroche
Al Qassim Agricultural Co
Qassim Cement/The
Red Sea Housing Services Co
Saudi Research And Marketing
Riyad Bank
Al Rajhi Bank
Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Saudi British Bank
Sabb Takaful
Saudi Basic Industries Corp
Saudi Cement
Saudia Dairy & Foodstuff Co
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co
Al Sagr Co-Operative Insuran
Saudi Advanced Industries
Saudi Arabian Coop Ins Co
Salama Cooperative Insurance
Samba Financial Group
Sanad Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Public Transport Co
Saudi Arabia Refineries Co
Hsbc Amanah Saudi 20 Etf
Saudi Re For Cooperative Rei
Saudi Cable Co
Saudi Chemical Company
Saudi Ceramic Co
Saudi Electricity Co
Saudi Fisheries
Al-Hassan G.I. Shaker Co
Dur Hospitality Co
Arabian Shield Cooperative
Saudi Investment Bank/The
Saudi Industrial Development
Saudi Industrial Export Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Securities Group Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co Ksc
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
Mena Real Estate Co
National Slaughter House
Amar Finance & Leasing Co
United Projects Group Kscc
National Consumer Holding Co
Amwal International Investme
Jeeran Holdings
Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C
Nafais Holding
Safwan Trading & Contracting
Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate
Gulf Finance House Ec
Energy House Holding Co Kscc
Kuwait Slaughter House Co
Kuwait Co For Process Plant
Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K
National Ranges Company
Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser
Al-Themar Real International
Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
Warba Insurance Co
Kuwait United Poultry Co
First Dubai Real Estate Deve
Al Arabi Group Holding Co
Kuwait Hotels Co
Mobile Telecommunications Co
Al Safat Real Estate Co
Tamdeen Real Estate Co Ksc
Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co
Kuwait Cement Co Ksc
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Kuwait Portland Cement Co
Educational Holding Group
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Kuwait China Investment Co
Kuwait Investment Co
Burgan Bank
Kuwait Projects Co Holdings
Al Madina For Finance And In
Kuwait Insurance Co
Al Masaken Intl Real Estate
Intl Financial Advisors
First Investment Co Kscc
Al Mal Investment Company
Bayan Investment Co Kscc
Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae
Coast Investment Development
Privatization Holding Compan
Kuwait Medical Services Co
Injazzat Real State Company
Kuwait Cable Vision Sak
Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Aviation Lease And Finance C
Arzan Financial Group For Fi
Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co
Manafae Investment Co
Kuwait Business Town Real Es
Future Kid Entertainment And
Specialities Group Holding C
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Al-Dar National Real Estate
Kgl Logistics Company Kscc
Combined Group Contracting
Zima Holding Co Ksc
Qurain Holding Co
Boubyan Intl Industries Hold
Gulf Investment House
Boubyan Bank K.S.C
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Al-Safat Tec Holding Co
Al-Eid Food Co
Qurain Petrochemical Industr
Advanced Technology Co
Ekttitab Holding Co S.A.K.C
Kout Food Group Ksc
Real Estate Trade Centers Co
Acico Industries Co Kscc
Kipco Asset Management Co
National Petroleum Services
Alimtiaz Investment Co Kscc
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Kuwait Reinsurance Co Ksc
Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport
Human Soft Holding Co Ksc
Automated Systems Co
Metal & Recycling Co
Gulf Franchising Holding Co
Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co
National Mobile Telecommuni
Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc
Housing Finance Co Sak
Al Salam Group Holding Co
United Foodstuff Industries
Al Aman Investment Company
Mashaer Holdings Co Ksc
Manazel Holding
Mushrif Trading & Contractin
Tijara And Real Estate Inves
Kuwait Building Materials
Jazeera Airways Co Ksc
Commercial Real Estate Co
Future Communications Co
National International Co
Taameer Real Estate Invest C
Gulf Cement Co
Heavy Engineering And Ship B
Refrigeration Industries & S
National Real Estate Co
Al Safat Energy Holding Comp
Kuwait National Cinema Co
Danah Alsafat Foodstuff Co
Independent Petroleum Group
Kuwait Real Estate Co Ksc
Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc
Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind
Al Nawadi Holding Co Ksc
Kuwait Finance House
Gulf North Africa Holding Co
Hilal Cement Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Voltamp Energy Saog
United Finance Co
United Power Co
United Power/Energy Co- Pref
Al Madina Investment Co
Taageer Finance
Salalah Port Services
A’saffa Foods Saog
Sohar Poultry
Shell Oman Marketing
Shell Oman Marketing - Pref
Smn Power Holding Saog
Al Shurooq Inv Ser
Al Sharqiya Invest Holding
Sohar Power Co
Salalah Beach Resort Saog
Salalah Mills Co
Sahara Hospitality
Renaissance Services Saog
Raysut Cement Co
Port Service Corporation
Packaging Co Ltd
Oman United Insurance Co
Oman Textile Holding Co Saog
Oman Telecommunications Co
Sweets Of Oman
Oman Orix Leasing Co.
Oman Refreshment Co
Oman Packaging
Oman Oil Marketing Company
0Man Oil Marketing Co-Pref
Oman National Investment Co
Oman National Engineering An
Oman National Dairy Products
Oman Medical Projects
Oman Ceramic Com
Oman Intl Marketing
Oman Investment & Finance
Hsbc Bank Oman
Oman Hotels & Tourism Co
Oman Holding International
Oman Fiber Optics
Oman Flour Mills
Oman Filters Industry
Oman Fisheries Co
Oman Education & Training In
Oman & Emirates Inv(Om)50%
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
Oman Europe Foods Industries
Oman Cement Co
Oman Chlorine
Oman Chromite
Oman Cables Industry
Oman Agricultural Dev
Omani Qatari Telecommunicati
National Securities
Oman Foods International Soa
National Pharmaceutical-Rts
National Pharmaceutical
National Packaging Fac
National Mineral Water
National Hospitality Institu
National Gas Co
National Finance Co
National Detergents/The
National Carpet Factory
National Bank Of Oman Saog
National Biscuit Industries
National Real Estate Develop
Natl Aluminium Products
Muscat Thread Mills Co
Muscat Insurance Company
Modern Poultry Farms
Muscat National Holding
Musandam Marketing & Invest
Al Maha Petroleum Products M
Muscat Gases Company Saog
Majan Glass Company
Muscat Finance
Al Kamil Power Co
Interior Hotels
Hotels Management Co Interna
Al-Hassan Engineering Co
Gulf Stone
Gulf Mushroom Company
Gulf Invest. Serv. Pref-Shar
Gulf Investments Services
Gulf International Chemicals
Gulf Hotels (Oman) Co Ltd
Global Fin Investment
Galfar Engineering&Contract
Galfar Engineering -Prefer
Financial Services Co.
Flexible Ind Packages
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Financial Corp/The
Dhofar Tourism
Dhofar Poultry
Aloula Co
Dhofar Intl Development
Dhofar Insurance
Dhofar University
Dhofar Power Co
Dhofar Power Co-Pfd
Dhofar Fisheries & Food Indu
Dhofar Cattlefeed
Al Batinah Dev & Inv
Dhofar Beverages Co
Computer Stationery Inds
Construction Materials Ind
Cement & Gypsum Pro
Marine Bander Al-Rowdha
Bank Sohar
Bankmuscat Saog
Bank Dhofar Saog
Al Batinah Hotels
Majan College
Areej Vegetable Oils
Al Jazeera Steel Products Co
Al Sallan Food Industry
Acwa Power Barka Saog
Al-Omaniya Financial Service
Taghleef Industries Saog
Gulf Plastic Industries Co
Al Jazeera Services
Al Jazerah Services -Pfd
Al-Fajar Al-Alamia Co
Ahli Bank
Abrasives Manufacturing Co S
Al-Batinah Intl Saog
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
National Takaful Company
Waha Capital Pjsc
Union Insurance Co
Union National Bank/Abu Dhab
United Insurance Company
Union Cement Co
United Arab Bank
Abu Dhabi National Takaful C
Abu Dhabi National Energy Co
#N/A Invalid Security
Sorouh Real Estate Company
Sharjah Insurance Company
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Ras Al Khaima Poultry
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Rak Properties
Ras Al-Khaimah National Insu
Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics
Ras Al Khaimah Cement Co
National Bank Of Ras Al-Khai
Ooredoo Qsc
Umm Al Qaiwain Cement Indust
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
National Marine Dredging Co
National Corp Tourism & Hote
Sharjah Islamic Bank
National Bank Of Umm Al Qaiw
National Bank Of Fujairah
National Bank Of Abu Dhabi
Methaq Takaful Insurance
#N/A Invalid Security
Gulf Pharmaceutical Industri
Invest Bank
Insurance House
Gulf Medical Projects
Gulf Livestock Co
Green Crescent Insurance Co
Gulf Cement Co
Foodco Holding
Finance House
First Gulf Bank
Fujairah Cement Industries
Fujairah Building Industries
Emirates Telecom Corporation
Eshraq Properties Co Pjsc
Emirates Insurance Co. (Psc)
Emirates Driving Company
Al Dhafra Insurance Co. P.S.
Dana Gas
Commercial Bank Internationa
Bank Of Sharjah
Abu Dhabi Natl Co For Buildi
Al Wathba National Insurance
Intl Fish Farming Co Pjsc
Arkan Building Materials Co
Aldar Properties Pjsc
Al Ain Ahlia Ins. Co.
Al Khazna Insurance Co
Agthia Group Pjsc
Al Fujairah National Insuran
Abu Dhabi Ship Building Co
Abu Dhabi National Insurance
Abu Dhabi National Hotels
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Abu Dhabi Aviation
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
United Paper Industries Bsc
United Gulf Investment Corp
United Gulf Bank
United Finance Co
Trafco Group Bsc
Takaful International Co
Taib Bank -$Us
Securities & Investment Co
Seef Properties
#N/A Invalid Security
Al-Salam Bank
Delmon Poultry Co
National Hotels Co
National Bank Of Bahrain
Nass Corp Bsc
Khaleeji Commercial Bank
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Investcorp Bank -$Us
Inovest Co Bsc
Intl Investment Group-Kuwait
Gulf Monetary Group
Global Investment House Kpsc
Gulf Finance House Ec
Bahrain Family Leisure Co
Esterad Investment Co B.S.C.
Bahrain Duty Free Complex
Bahrain Car Park Co
Bahrain Cinema Co
Bahrain Tourism Co
Bahraini Saudi Bank/The
Bahrain National Holding
Bankmuscat Saog
Bmmi Bsc
Bmb Investment Bank
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Bahrain Islamic Bank
Gulf Hotel Group B.S.C
Bahrain Flour Mills Co
Bahrain Commercial Facilitie
Bbk Bsc
Bahrain Telecom Co
Bahrain Ship Repair & Engin
Albaraka Banking Group
Banader Hotels Co
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Lt Price
% Chg
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Faster inflation surge across Latin
America thwarts hunt for growth
inflation in three of Latin
America’s leading economies is tying the hands of policy
makers seeking to revive sluggish growth.
Brazil, Colombia and Chile
since Thursday have reported
consumer prices rose more than
analysts expected in February.
Brazil posted its fastest annual
inflation in almost a decade and
Colombia breached the upper
limit of its target range for the
first time since 2011.
Currencies throughout the region are weakening against the
US dollar, exacerbating inflation
already fanned by factors such as
higher electricity and fuel rates
in Brazil and a one- time surge in
food costs in Colombia, said Ramon Aracena, chief Latin America economist for the Institute of
International Finance. Making
matters worse for policy makers, economic growth in Latin
America slowed from 6.3% in
2010 to an estimated 0.81% last
year, according to a Bloomberg
survey of analysts.
“More inflation limits the response capacity of central banks
to react to stimulate the economy,” Aracena said by telephone
from Washington. “In the short
term this adjustment generates higher inflation. Over the
next quarters it will increase the
competitiveness of these economies,” he said about weaker currencies benefiting exporters.
Brazil’s real on Thursday
closed above 3 per dollar for the
first time in a decade, boosting
the price of imports from whiskey to machinery. It depreciated
1.7% to 3.0532 at 4.10pm local
time on Friday, contributing
to a 26% decline in the past six
months. That’s the worst performance among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
The Colombian and Chilean
pesos fell 25% and 6.6% respectively over that period.
“The pass-through from currency depreciation may be higher than what people imagine it
is, and what the authorities have
been saying,” Alberto Ramos,
A shopper is handed a free sample of Cafe Canaan coffee at a promotional stand inside a Rio de Janeiro supermarket. Policy makers in Brazil, which is Latin America’s largest
economy, have raised the benchmark interest rate in four straight meetings to the highest level in the Group of 20 nations after accounting for inflation. The move hasn’t yet
contained consumer prices, which surged 7.70% in February from last year, the biggest increase since May 2005.
chief Latin America economist
at Goldman Sachs Group Inc,
said by phone from New York.
While sellers may be able to
absorb a currency depreciation
of 5% to 10%, they must pass
costs on to customers with a
30% fall, he said.
Policy makers in Brazil, which
is Latin America’s largest economy, have raised the benchmark
interest rate in four straight
meetings to the highest level in
the Group of 20 nations after accounting for inflation. The move
hasn’t yet contained consumer
prices, which surged 7.70% in
February from last year, the big-
gest increase since May 2005.
Annual inflation in Colombia
accelerated to 4.36% last month,
its fastest pace since 2009 and
above the target range of 2% to
Colombia’s rising cost of living
leaves policy makers little room
to react to falling oil prices that
have caused the central bank, the
Finance Ministry and analysts to
slash their forecasts for growth
this year. The central bank forecasts an expansion of 3.6% in
2015, which would be the slowest in six years. Oil accounts for
about half of Colombia’s exports.
Rather than follow Brazil’s
lead, Colombia should leave its
key rate unchanged until inflation
begins to slow toward the midpoint of the target range, central
bank co-director Carlos Gustavo
Cano said on Thursday in an emailed response to questions,
adding that his opinion doesn’t
necessarily reflect that of the
board. Inflation expectations are
“firmly anchored” around 3%, he
wrote before the February inflation data was published.
Consumer prices in Chile increased more than analysts expected in February for the fifth
time in seven months, with core
inflation accelerating at the fastest annual pace in at least four
The central bank left its key
interest rate at 3% in February
for the fourth month following eight cuts in the 12 months
through October, with one policy
maker citing a “significant risk”
that inflation will remain above
the target for a prolonged period,
according to the minutes of the
February 12 meeting published
last week. Chile, which is Latin
America’s wealthiest country,
last year grew at its slowest pace
since 2009, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
While inflation rates in Chile
and Colombia probably are close
to peaking, they could edge
higher in Brazil and cause further increases in the key rate,
said David Rees, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London.
Analysts surveyed by Brazil’s
central bank expect borrowing
costs to rise another 0.25 percentage point this year to 13%.
Whereas much of Brazil’s inflationary pressures stem from
one-time price increases such as
food and energy, Chile is struggling to contain core inflation
that excludes fuel prices and
seasonal items including fresh
fruit, said Rees.
“That’s going to snuff out any
hopes that there had been in the
markets for further rate cuts,” he
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Bank inspectors beckon Ireland’s
shadow lenders into the light
resh from putting the squeeze
on banks to behave themselves,
regulators are now scrutinising
so-called shadow banks, alternative
lenders like investment funds that are
doing big business out of countries
such as Ireland.
The third biggest shadow banking
market in the eurozone behind Luxembourg and the Netherlands, Ireland has
amassed €2.9tn of assets, according to
data from the European Central Bank
(ECB), by way of business-friendly
laws and tax exemptions.
It’s also the eurozone’s largest centre
for what are known as financial vehicle
Corps, holding companies for assets
that investors set aside with a view to
re-selling. These were used by banks
during the financial crisis as a way to
offload dangerously creaky US subprime mortgages.
Non-bank lenders are a growing
source of credit in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis, when banks cut off
lending to meet strict new rules on risk
and interest rates plumbed record lows.
While some funds now make loans directly to businesses, most buy loans and
securities from banks and companies as
a way of passing on credit to them.
The ECB is not unhappy with the
sector’s development and indeed
wants to develop more of this US-style
market-based funding to reduce the
zone’s reliance on banks.
But with shadow banking more than
doubling to €23tn over the past decade
and likely to outgrow the regular banking
industry within five years at that pace,
the ECB also needs to make sure that it
isn’t hiding any risky practices that could
destablise the financial system.
As a result, Ireland has started to
probe an area hitherto largely uncharted. “We do have a team of economists
that is looking at what I would call the
regulatory perimeter — activity that
is not quite in the regulatory spotlight
but is in the penumbra,” said Gareth
Murphy, head of markets supervision
at the Irish central bank and responsible for overseeing investment funds in
the country.
“We are a good way down the road in
terms of understanding the challenges
of mapping this area.”
Just defining the shadow banking industry is difficult.
Nearly half — around 44% — of
what would be deemed shadow banks
in the eurozone belong to institutions
for which there is no detailed balance
sheet information.
The ECB believes that a large chunk
of those institutions are holding companies based in Luxembourg and the
Netherlands that are unlikely to even
plans to join
UK challenger
banks with
2015 launch
The headquarters of IKB Deutsche Industriebank in Dusseldorf. IKB became the first European bank to topple due to losses accumulated in a Dublin-listed conduit
which invested in US subprime mortgages.
be involved in lending. In continuing
its efforts to better define the industry,
European regulators are also hoping to
better trace risk between trading partners. While it may be able to quantify
an entity’s assets, the accompanying
risk exposure can still be hard to assess because these lenders often filter
that through derivatives. They also
may have links outside the eurozone
to groups for which no information is
Yet even when financial entities
are compelled to report information,
problems arise.
New rules for reporting derivative
trades came into effect in Europe last
year with over 4.5bn individual pieces
of data collected in the first six months
from February, a source with knowledge of the operation told Reuters.
But many of the data fields were returned blank, the source said, meaning
regulators still don’t have enough information to make a thorough analysis.
ESMA, the regulator tasked with implementing the reporting regime for
derivatives, declined to comment.
Another attempt at finding clarity is
regulators’ demand since last year that
European hedge fund managers report
their exposures and risk profiles.
And under more new European
rules, funds that lend securities or cash
via repurchase agreements will have to
report details of those trades from 2017.
However, while Ireland’s central bank
tries to sketch the true profile of some
7,000 funds and financial vehicle Corps
already in the country, the government
continues to try to attract more.
Over the years Ireland has already
adapted laws and taxes to make itself
a location of choice for these types
of lenders, which can load up on debt
with minimal amounts of equity. Now
it plans to unveil a new strategy next
week to raise the numbers employed
by what’s known as the International
Financial Services Sector (IFSC) by
10,000 over five years from 35,000
currently. Simon Harris, the junior
minister of finance who will make the
announcement, rebuffs any suggestion
that the presence in Ireland of “brass
plate” style companies with no staff or
offices, makes it a weak link in global
financial stability.
“The type of stuff that we are trying to attract into this country I don’t
believe there are any kind of regulatory
concerns with,” said the 28 year old,
Ireland’s youngest member of parliament. “We are talking about jobs with
substance. We are talking about wellregulated products.”
Other Irish politicians say more
needs to be done, and point to the fact
that Dublin-based off-balance-sheet
vehicles were a key link between Europe and the US subprime crisis.
IKB, a German small-business lender became the first European bank to
topple due to losses accumulated in a
Dublin-listed conduit which invested
in US subprime mortgages. SachsenLB,
another German bank, also ran aground
after failing to refinance a Dublin-based
structured investment vehicle.
IKB and SachsenLB were regulated
in Germany and cost German taxpayersbns of euros when they fell.
Since then, banks have been forced
to hold much more capital to cover
risky investments. But tougher rules on
what kind of lending they can undertake have encouraged money to flow
into the shadow banks instead.
“The suggestion is that our regulation is a lot tighter and that is true
for the banks but it is not true for the
IFSC,” said Pearse Doherty, finance
spokesman for Sinn Fein, Ireland’s
most popular opposition party.
“We need a proper open debate
about what kind of investment strategy do we want. There is no point doing
this when things go belly up, if things
go belly up, because that is what will
new online British bank
expects to launch for
small and medium-sized
business customers later this
year after securing its first phase
of funding and starting its application for a banking licence, it
said yesterday.
CivilisedBank joins a handful
of other so-called “challenger”
banks aiming to break the dominance of Britain’s big five lenders, seeking to benefit from lower
costs, new technology, no legacy
issues and encouragement from
CivilisedBank said it will
not have branches but operate
through a network of local bankers backed by a technology platform being rolled out for the first
time in Britain. Banks using the
software platform include BNP
Paribas and Alpha Bank, it said.
The bank said it will initially
target owner-managers of medium-sized UK businesses by offering business current accounts
with deposits, transaction banking, overdrafts, foreign currency
exchange, investments, savings
and loans. At a later date it plans
to target the UK retail market
with specific savings and investment products.
Barclays, Lloyds Banking
Group, HSBC and Royal Bank of
Scotland have long dominated
British banking, and Santander
now rivals them on the High
Street. Those five control more
than 80% of the personal current account market and over
85% of small business banking.
Regulators and politicians
have tried to make it easier for
new firms to break that stronghold, and in recent years Metro
Bank, Aldermore, Shawbrook
and OneSavings have launched
and there are more than 20 other
firms such as Atom Bank applying for licences. Many are targeting specific regions or niche
Most challenger banks are
planning to operate online and
use new technology allowing a
quicker and cheaper platform.
CivilisedBank’s chairman is
Chris Jolly, who has held senior
roles in real estate and at Merrill
Lynch, Commerzbank and Societe Generale. Its chief executive
is Gordon Dow, previously managing director for private banking at Santander.
M&S breaks with tradition to get more agile on style
Venerable British firm under threat
from nimbler rivals; core clientele
increasingly fashion-conscious;
M&S hires former Next sourcing
gurus, poaches other staff; bid
to lift proportion of products
designed in-house
hoppers usually blame dowdy
clothes and tired stores for the
painful decline of Britain’s former
retail powerhouse Marks & Spencer.
But the parts of the business that customers never see could hold the key to
its revival.
After hiring new designers, overhauling its online offering and giving
a facelift to stores, M&S still needs to
push home its most ambitious project:
overturning more than a century of retail history by taking full control of its
supply chain.
The drive to design more products
in-house and then source them faster
and more flexibly is a radical departure
for a company that, since its founding
in 1884, has relied on third-party suppliers to create, manufacture and ship
most of its garments.
Long-term relationships with those
mostly British-based firms, based on
big orders and long lead times, helped
M&S keep prices down and build a reputation for quality.
But as its most loyal customers —
women aged 50-plus — have become
more fashion-conscious, the middlemen have hampered M&S’s ability to
quickly refresh supplies of fast-selling
items before shopper interest tails off.
“There’s a killing to be made if they
can serve older women better,” said
Patsy Perry, a lecturer in fashion marketing at the University of Manchester.
“Unless you have money to buy designer clothes, it’s hard to find what you
After hiring new designers, overhauling its online offering and giving a facelift to stores, M&S still needs to push home its
most ambitious project: taking full control of its supply chain.
want on the high street unless you want
to look like your daughter.”
Even as new M&S womenswear collections won praise from the fashion
press, shoppers often found the clothes
were sold out in their size or were not
appropriate for the weather.
In contrast, nimble retailers like
Zara-owner Inditex, H&M and Next,
which have more direct control over
factories, replenish their stores faster
and offer a more frequent turnover of
Pressure mounted on M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland after a mild winter and delivery problems at the new
online distribution centre hit Christmas trading, leading to a 14th consecutive quarterly sales decline in the clothing side of the business.
But investors seem prepared to give
Bolland more time after his revamp of
the supply chain started to bear fruit.
M&S’s gross margin — gross profit as
a percentage of sales — rose 150 basis
points to 53.7% in the first half of 2014,
helped by sourcing gains, but still lags
an estimated 64% at Next and 59% at
While taking tighter control of the
company’s supply chain started several
years ago, the final push is being marshalled by Hong Kong-based brothers
Neal and Mark Lindsey, whom Bolland
appointed as joint sourcing directors
last year.
The pair previously worked at Next,
where they pioneered “virtual manufacturing”, a process that enables designers to produce patterns and layout
plans for cutting fabric so they can give
precise instructions to distant factories.
Adopting the Next model is a big shift
for M&S, which until recently ordered
most of its stock through so-called full
service vendors — companies that designed, made, shipped and warehoused
products before sending them to M&S
for sale.
Relationships with those suppliers often went back decades, and with
one, Dewhirst, to the founding of the
company: Michael Marks borrowed five
pounds from wholesaler Isaac Dewhirst
to launch a chain of penny bazaars in
the northern city of Leeds. Dewhirst
also introduced Mr Marks to Tom
As competition mounted in recent
decades, M&S pushed partners like
Dewhirst to move production overseas:
78% of its general merchandise now
comes from Asia compared to just 22%
from Europe, including Turkey, Italy
and Britain.
M&S has already taken control in the
last few years of most logistics for the
40,000-odd shipping containers it fills
a year, leaving detailed product design
and factory liaison as the last jobs to
come in-house.
“All of us had to learn how to manage the supply chain, how to manage
third-party logistics providers, how to
manage freight, how to manage working capital on a much earlier purchase
than previously,” said Zen Yaworsky,
head of supply chain operations at M&S
until 2010.
“M&S now have to develop negotiation capability to go into a factory
and negotiate from a position of intelligence,” said Yaworsky, who runs his
own consultancy.
That is easier said than done, ac-
cording to experts who used to help
M&S do just that.
“At a board level, it makes a lot of
sense. At the operational level, it is a lot
more difficult,” said Bill Mills, a textile
industry consultant who used to manage factories for M&S suppliers Courtaulds and Coats Viyella.
“On the one level there are some cost
savings, but on the other hand M&S
will have to place resource in their buying offices, whether that be UK or local, to manage the factories. It is not a
M&S says it is already making big
progress. It has halved the number of
fabric suppliers in the last couple of
years, so it can secure better prices at
higher volumes from preferred mills.
Bolland, in the job since 2010, wants
to increase the proportion of products
designed in-house to 60% by 2017
from 25% last year. He recently poached
Next’s head of menswear design Simon
Hawksworth and last year hired two top
buyers from Next.
The first garments sourced by the
Lindsey brothers are coming into
stores for the spring/summer season:
“Spring/summer is bought at the moment with at least a lot more flexibility
than it was done last year,” Bolland told
analysts in January.
A bigger proportion of orders will
be left “open to buy” depending on
demand and M&S is moving to deliver
new products in 12 phases a year, up
from six to eight, with some coming on
a three-weekly basis — closer to Zarastyle “fast fashion”.
But that is unlikely to be enough to
regain the role of Britain’s omnipotent,
omnipresent retailer.
“They recognise the need to be different, more flexible. But there is a
new trading environment and they will
probably end up stabilising the business rather than recapturing what it
once was,” said one former M&S manager who now works as a consultant.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
director says
should be
thrown out
Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a screen displaying apps available for the Apple Watch at a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California on October 16, 2014. Apple’s hotly-anticipated
smartwatch is expected to debut today.
Apple takes leap into new
territory with smartwatch
San Francisco
pple’s hotly-anticipated smartwatch is expected to debut today
as the trend-setting firm sets
out to make stylish wrist-worn computers must-have accessories for modern lifestyles.
Industry trackers say Apple Watch
will star at a media event being held at
the same San Francisco theatre where
the California tech giant introduced
the iPad.
The company announced its plans
for Apple Watch last year to much fanfare and has said it would begin shipping in April.
It will mark Apple’s first new product
type since the iPad in 2010.
Apple has indicated that the entry
price would be $349 in the US, and that
two different sizes would be available in
three collections, including the “Apple
Watch Edition,” featuring 18-karat gold
cases in yellow or rose, sapphire crystal
and finely crafted bands and closures.
The Apple device will connect with
the iPhone, and also have a range of
apps and sensors, notably for health
and fitness.
The watch is also expected to include
map software that guides people to
destinations with gentle “taps” on the
Fitness apps on the Apple Watch and
its rivals could spell trouble for makers
of fitness bands from companies like
Jawbone, Fitbit and Nike.
“Apple is poised to once again show
how computing platforms are won
or lost on the one-two punch of eager consumers and hungry ecosystem
partners,” said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey.
Apple reportedly had to scale back
health tracking features on the watch
after some sensors didn’t rise to the
It remains unclear whether Apple —
a latecomer to the wearables segment
— would do for smartwatches what the
iPod did for MP3 players and the iPad
did for tablet computers.
Apple enters a segment crowded
with vendors ranging from South Korean giants Samsung and LG, to Japan’s Sony and startups such as Pebble.
Motorola, acquired by Chinese giant
Lenovo last year, also produces a smartwatch, and China’s Huawei introduced
its version at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month.
Apple’s chief executive Tim
Cook has revealed little about
the sophisticated wrist wear,
but has said that he “can’t live
without it”
Pebble, which burst on the scene
with a crowd-funded smartwatch in
2012, this month broke the record on
the Kickstarter platform with more
than $16mn raised.
Research firm Strategy Analytics
predicts Apple will set fire to the market from the outset, projecting sales of
15.4mn units worldwide in 2015, to give
Apple a 55% market share.
“The Apple Watch is the catalyst to
ignite the global smartwatch market,”
said Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston.
“Apple’s famous brand, loyal fan
base, deep retail presence and extensive
apps ecosystem will ensure healthy uptake for its watch.”
Still, he said Apple may see a few
glitches that need to be ironed out.
“Apple’s first-generation Watch is
not yet perfect,” Mawston said in a
“Apple will need to upgrade tangibly its second-generation watch to
stay ahead of competitors later this
He noted that rival models are more
attractive, have a longer battery life and
offer more affordable prices.
But Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri
Scribner predicted an even bigger
splash for the Apple Watch, with sales
of 17.6mn units this year.
By 2018, Scribner said, one of every
four iPhone users will also have an Apple Watch, making the segment worth
some $26bn for the company.
In a research note, Scribner said the
Apple Watch should be a “catalyst” to
expand the market, with wrist-worn
devices gradually becoming a complement to smartphones.
Others say it’s not yet clear if the
smartwatch will become the musthave accessory for consumers, particularly if the pricing remains at current
Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said Apple’s loyal
consumer base will deliver a certain
number of sales but won’t guarantee
widespread adoption.
“There will be 10mn people who will
buy it because it’s from Apple,” Kay
said. “But the larger question is whether this category really has legs.”
A key question is whether Apple can
create the same kind of buzz and energy
around a new product without its legendary leader Steve Jobs, who died in
“Steve could distort reality and tell
everyone it was the next big thing, and
people would believe it,” said Kay.
“They’ve never done it without
Steve. So this is the challenge for Tim
ormer Goldman Sachs
Group director Rajat Gupta
said his insider-trading
conviction should be thrown
out because prosecutors failed to
prove their case under a sweeping appeals court ruling last year.
Now serving a two-year prison sentence for insider trading,
Gupta claimed the government
didn’t show he got a personal
benefit for passing tips to billionaire friend Raj Rajaratnam.
Prosecutors must prove that
element, the US Court of Appeals in New York ruled in December, in a blow to a series of
cases won by Manhattan US
Attorney Preet Bharara. Gupta,
66, also a former McKinsey & Co
managing partner, is the highestprofile executive convicted in the
US crackdown on insider trading
at hedge funds and lost earlier bids
to reverse the 2012 verdict.
Jurors convicted “Gupta without finding that his tips were part
of an agreed-upon exchange of
tips for consequential benefits,”
defence lawyer Gary Naftalis said
on Thursday in a filing seeking to
have the conviction tossed out
and Gupta freed from prison.
Gupta was convicted of passing tips to Rajaratnam, cofounder of Galleon Group LLC,
about Berkshire Hathaway’s
$5bn investment in Goldman
Sachs and the bank’s financial
results for two quarters in 2008.
Gupta surrendered in June to a
federal prison in Massachusetts.
He’s scheduled to be released in
March 2016. Rajaratnam, 57, is
serving an 11-year sentence in the
same facility for masterminding a multimillion-dollar insider
scheme. Prosecutors argued at
the trial that Rajaratnam had a
prior business relationship with
Gupta and had promised to name
Gupta chairman of a new Galleon fund. US District Judge Jed
Rakoff, who presided over the
case, told jurors that the benefit
Gupta received didn’t need to
be financial but could include
“a good relationship with a frequent business partner” or “future financial benefits.”
That standard is “now invalid,”
Naftalis wrote in the new filing
with Rakoff. “Merely showing
that a tipper and tippee maintained a mutually-beneficial personal relationship” isn’t enough
to convict, he said.
Naftalis said Gupta never profited and that $10mn he invested
with Rajaratnam was wiped out
in the 2008 financial crisis. He
cited the testimony of Ajit Jain,
Berkshire Hathaway’s reinsurance chief and a close friend, who
said that Gupta told him during a
2009 luncheon that Rajaratnam
had “swindled or cheated” him.
Qualcomm’s quiet man Mollenkopf chases growth after tough year
San Francisco
In Steve Mollenkopf’s first year at the helm
of Qualcomm Inc, the chipmaker disclosed
regulatory investigations in China and
the US, lamented licensees that failed to
pay in full, and lost crucial business from
Samsung Electronics Co, one of its biggest
Revenue this fiscal year is estimated to
increase just 3% as the smartphone market matures and chip competition rises.
That’s a turnabout from the three-year
period before Mollenkopf was promoted
to chief executive officer, when Qualcomm
more than doubled sales. Now, Mollenkopf’s goal is to convince the mobile-phone
industry that it can’t keep innovating
without Qualcomm’s chips, while bringing
new business into the fold from markets
like cars and servers, he said.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be successful in the handset space,” Mollenkopf,
who joined the company in 1994 and
became CEO on March 4, 2014, said in
an interview. “Looking forward we’re in
a position where that continues to be a
good business, but now we want to figure
out how to grow in other areas.”
It’s a typically measured response, even
as the company faces what may be the
most challenging time in its history.
In February, one cloud began to lift
when Qualcomm agreed to settle an
antitrust investigation in China by paying
a $975mn fine and offering discounted
license fees on phones for that market.
The settlement helped allay concern that
the company wouldn’t be allowed to collect royalties in the world’s largest phone
market and, for now, shifts investor focus
back to whether it can rekindle growth.
“It could have been so much worse,”
said Mike Green, a fund manager at American Money Management LLC. “We’re
dealing with the Chinese rule of law. They
dealt with it.”
Green said he cut his holdings in the
stock by a third last year on concern that
the China investigation would undermine
Qualcomm’s licensing business. He now
wants Mollenkopf to deliver on his promise to look outside the smartphone market
to boost chip sales and royalty revenue.
The market hasn’t reflected Mollenkopf’s confidence. In the past 12 months,
Qualcomm’s stock has lost about 7% of
its value, compared with a 24% rally in the
benchmark Philadelphia Stock Exchange
Semiconductor Index.
Shareholders and employees looking
for rousing speeches in the face of adversity are looking at the wrong man. Rarely
displaying any emotion other than wry
amusement, Mollenkopf isn’t the type to
shout or bang his fist on a desk. Qualcomm employees and former executives
cited all-hands meetings they left feeling
like they’d sat through an informative college lecture, rather than a call to arms.
In smaller meetings, Mollenkopf prefers
to listen and question rather than dominate.
He expects subordinates to make decisions
for themselves and act on them, according
to ex- Qualcomm employees who’ve worked
with him, who asked not to be named
speaking about their former colleague. It’s a
reflection of how he works himself.
Mollenkopf’s goal now is to convince the mobile-phone industry that it can’t keep
innovating without Qualcomm’s chips, while bringing new business into the fold
from markets like cars and servers.
His self-assurance has already helped
Qualcomm make a lot of money. When he
was promoted to head the company’s chip
division in 2008, he inherited a group that
had been investing in a technology that it
bet would be the heart of new speedier 4G
phone services. Mollenkopf argued that an
alternative, called LTE, was going win the
race to adoption. He prevailed, and Qualcomm ended up with more than 90% of
the market for chips that run smartphones
linked to the fastest data networks.
“I knew what it felt like when something
looked like a threat could be an opportunity,” Mollenkopf said. “I’m pretty determined. We turned it into the opportunity.”
According to Mollenkopf, it’s just a matter of time before chips built on ARM Holdings Plc technology — such as Qualcomm’s
— grab market share in tablets, personal
computers and eventually servers. If that
prediction bears out, it could spell the end
of Intel Corp’s more than three decades of
dominance of the semiconductor industry.
Like every other chip company,
Qualcomm has its eye on the Internet of
Things, the term for the push to connect everyday items to the Web using
increasingly specialised chips. According
to Mollenkopf, the proliferation of such
smart devices and electronics will create
a market for his technology of 5bn units
by 2018, dwarfing even the 1.5bn mobile
phones the company expects to be sold
next year.
Still, investors want more concrete
evidence that this potential is going to
turn into revenue. Qualcomm has efforts
to get its chips into new industries such as
automotive, home entertainment, medical
devices and even robots. “I’d like to see
some continued wins,” said Michael Shinnick, a fund manager at Wasatch Advisors
Inc. “That would give greater confidence.”
Shinnick sold his Qualcomm holdings
last year on concern that the setbacks in
China might undermine the company’s
licensing business. He’s now considering purchasing the stock again. While he
doesn’t expect a return to double-digit
annual percentage growth in revenue, he
said the company has the opportunity to
use more of the cash it generates to buy
back stock.
Mollenkopf’s push into new industries
will need to be supported by the chip
business’ continued success in mobile.
After Qualcomm led the LTE market for
more than two years and provided processors for almost all flagship smartphones,
Samsung, the world’s largest supplier of
the devices, decided not to use a Qualcomm chip in its new Galaxy S6. The
South Korean company, also the world’s
second-largest chipmaker, is opting for an
in-house design.
Mollenkopf’s reaction? He’ll win the next
one. The company is planning to begin
offering an improved version of its own
processors later this year. The 810 model
rejected by Samsung works fine — “we
just wish it had won one more design,”
Mollenkopf told analysts on a conference
call in February.
Qualcomm gets the majority of its profit
from licensing technology to handset
makers, whether they use its chips or not.
The company has generated more than
$30bn in revenue in the past five years
from that business, inviting challenges to
those royalty payments, which can equal
as much as 5% of the selling price of every
phone sold.
While Qualcomm has resolved the
Chinese investigation, it’s also facing an
investigation by the US Federal Trade
Commission of its licensing division
regarding fair and reasonable commitments, and the European Commission is
examining rebates or financial incentives
related to the company’s baseband chip
Handling those and persuading phone
makers to sign royalty agreements is the
job of Mollenkopf’s second-in-command,
Derek Aberle, a lawyer who rose through
the ranks of Qualcomm’s licensing organisation. “I wanted to have a president that
brought something different than what I
had,” said Mollenkopf. “He’s a very creative
business executive.”
Aberle helped find a solution that would
mollify Chinese regulators and avoid
the type of concessions that would give
customers elsewhere in the world room to
demand similar deals, according to American Money Management’s Green.
Like his boss, whom Microsoft Corp
approached as a candidate to become
CEO last year before Qualcomm promoted
him, Aberle remains dispassionate and
measured in every answer he gives.
As long as the company’s leadership
can deliver a return to growth and keep
the lucrative licensing dollars flowing, investors say they don’t care that
Qualcomm’s leadership team is short on
“I look at the numbers,” Green said. “I
don’t need those smoke blowers.”
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
ECB glimpse of Cyprus debt mountain shows bank-cleanup limit
There was a time when a Cypriot on a
moderate income could take a gamble on
foreign real-estate worth more than his
life savings.
One banking crash, 3 1/2 years of
recession and an international bailout
later, 58-year-old Stelios Charalambous is
among the Mediterranean island nation’s
many debtors who realise that time has
passed. “I took a €70,000 loan six years
ago from a cooperative bank in the days
when no one asked you many questions,
and I bought six plots of land in Romania,”
the Nicosia-based chiropractor said in an
“Now I’m earning half what I was and
no one wants to buy my Romanian land. I
realised I could afford to pay my children’s
university expenses or my loan. I chose
my kids and no one can blame me.”
The European Central Bank, which
held a policy meeting in the euro area’s
easternmost capital on Thursday, cares
about such cases as they add up to
almost €900bn ($1tn) of soured credit in
the region and hobble lenders’ ability to
serve the economy. Yet Cyprus, where
non-performing exposures account for
more than half the country’s loan-book,
also shows how politics can get in the way
of a cleanup.
The nation made euro-era history
in March 2013 when it imposed capital
controls for the first, and so far only, time
in the single currency’s existence. The
measures came alongside a €10bn rescue
led by the euro area, the merger of the
country’s two largest lenders, and the
seizure of almost half the savings of some
21,000 customers.
The crisis gave birth to a new class
of individuals and small businesses that
could not, or would not, service their debt,
turning Cyprus into the country with the
highest bad-debt ratio in the currency
bloc. That meant banks had to tie up large
chunks of their capital in loss provisions
instead of making fresh loans to companies and households.
To relieve the blockage, a new foreclosure law enabling banks to seize property
from defaulters was introduced in 2014,
only to be held up repeatedly by opposition politicians nervous of the impact on
businesses and families. Implementation
— and the disbursement of further bailout
funding which is contingent on the law —
is still pending.
The economic slump and legal uncertainty created a “perfect storm” for the
banks, Euan Hamilton, head of restructuring and recoveries for Bank of Cyprus,
said in an interview.
“I sometimes say the national sport
of Cyprus is not repaying your bank,”
said the former Royal Bank of Scotland
Group executive. “We aren’t interested in
mass foreclosure; there’s no benefit for
the bank. What we don’t want is people
saying ‘I’m not paying my mortgage and
you can’t do anything about that.’ We’re
pretty stuck until something is done.”
The political sensitivity of non-performing loans can also be seen in other
bailed-out nations. In Ireland, which suffered
a property collapse forcing it to accept an
aid program in 2010, moves by the banks to
foreclose have unleashed popular protests.
The new Greek government plans to change
its law to make foreclosure more difficult.
More than a third of loans by Irish
banks are judged as non-performing, and
in Greece the number is at least 42%. ECB
data show that euro-area bank lending
has contracted for more than 2 1/2 years
amid the drag of bad debt and pressure to
shrink balance sheets.
“A large amount of NPLs diverts
management attention from its primary
role, which is to give loans,” said Marios
Clerides, general manager of Cyprus’
Cooperative Central Bank. “The political
debate over foreclosure has created a lot
of wait-and-see attitudes.”
That standoff threatens to undermine
the ECB’s plans to revive the euro-area
economy and inflation through massive
monetary stimulus. When policy makers
meet in Nicosia, they should put the
finishing touches to a €1.1tn bond-buying
programme that’s scheduled to start this
Purchasing managers indexes published on Wednesday showed the euroarea recovery remaining fragile even as
the outlook brightens.
The challenge for the ECB is that the
primacy of local law limits its influence
over how lenders and borrowers resolve
their differences.
Its yearlong bank asset review through
last October helped establish a new
European definition of non-performing
loans as being any credit more than 90
days overdue. Beyond that, supervisors
can only gradually work down the level of
bad debt on a bank-by-bank basis. A single
European solution lies beyond their scope.
The ECB has encouraged banks to
negotiate with debtors as best they can,
split the assets off into a “bad bank,” or
package the debt and attempt to sell it in
Europe’s infant distressed-debt markets.
“It would be better for the banks to sell
these loans, one way or another,” ECB
Executive Board member Peter Praet said
last month. “It can be through assetmanagement companies, as they do in
Spain very successfully. They can try by
asset-backed securities, or any other way,
but they have to find a way.”
As individual debt sales can be slow and
complex, in Cyprus as in Italy some bank
executives are holding out for the creation
of a bad bank, which could remove problem assets from lenders and eventually
wind them down. Spain, Ireland and Slovenia have already set up such an entity.
“Banks end up being part of whatever
political strategy there is in the country,”
said Bridget Gandy, managing director for
financial institutions at Fitch Ratings in
London. “You can’t tackle the issue of bad
debt in isolation from what’s happening
in the economy and in politics. It’s a very
slow-burn process.”
Aussie dollar losing a cent
frees billions for banks
very cent Australia’s currency
drops is freeing up billions of
dollars in funding for the nation’s
banks, the biggest such gains in at least
five years.
The four biggest lenders borrow
abroad to cover the majority of their
non-deposit funding needs and declines in the Aussie cut the amount of
collateral they need to post on the related cross-currency swaps used to hedge
offshore bond issues. The cash that
frees up helps reduce their requirement
to sell bonds.
“For every one cent decline in the
Australian dollar, I estimate Westpac
and Commonwealth Bank get a A$1bn
inflow,” Brian Johnson, a Sydney-based
analyst at CLSA Ltd said by phone.
“National Australia Bank and ANZ
would get half of that.”
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender, got a
A$10.4bn ($8.1bn) funding contribution from collateral revaluation as of
December 31 with the currency recording its biggest half-year drop since
2008. The boost is timely as record
low interest rates are spurring credit
growth and pushing savers to seek
higher-yielding alternatives to deposits, making bond markets more important for banks.
The Aussie fell almost 13 cents versus
the greenback to 81.75 US cents in the
second half of last year, a drop unseen
since the currency tumbled more than
25 cents to 70.27 cents in the final six
months of 2008 when credit markets
seized up. The Aussie bought 77.16
cents as of 5pm on Friday in New York.
Australian banks repatriate the funds
they raise in offshore markets through
cross-currency swaps, and the amount
of collateral they have to provide under
these arrangements moves about as
A 5% fall in the Australian dollar leads to an annual inflow of A$2bn to A$3bn, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group said in
a regulatory filing in October.
foreign-exchange markets shift. A 5%
fall in the Australian dollar leads to an
annual inflow of A$2bn to A$3bn, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group
Ltd said in a regulatory filing in October.
ANZ’s Head of Group Funding Luke
Davidson said that the falling Australian dollar has benefits both for the
economy and the nation’s banks, with
foreign profits worth more in Aussie
dollar terms and banks receiving collateral inflows from cross currency swaps
used to hedge offshore bond issues.
National Australia Bank Ltd has experienced collateral inflows following
the decline in the currency, Melbournebased spokesman Bill Kyriakopoulos
said. Westpac Banking Corp and Commonwealth Bank declined to comment.
The four biggest banks raised
A$24.8bn in the domestic bond market
last year, and the equivalent of $57.8bn
in international markets, according to
data compiled by Bloomberg. Commonwealth Bank forecast that the 2015
wholesale funding requirement for all
of Australia’s banks would be about
A$115bn to A$130bn, according to a report released in February.
The Aussie dollar has plunged as
the price of major Australian exports
such as iron ore and coal dropped, although the currency’s decline has been
less than the central bank would like.
It fell to a 5-1/2 year low of 76.26 US
cents on Feb. 3 when the Reserve Bank
of Australia cut its benchmark interest
rate for the first time since August 2013
to boost economic growth, and swap
markets are pricing in further reductions to the cash target from an already
record low 2.25%.
The funding boost from a weaker
Aussie will come in handy for Australia’s biggest lenders as interest rates on
deposits have followed the RBA benchmark to record lows, forcing investors
to seek yield elsewhere. Term deposits with lenders stood at A$534.4bn
as of January 31, down from a peak of
A$546.5bn in August 2013, central bank
data show.
The average yield premium over the
swap rate on financial company bonds
in Australia has fallen to 95 basis points
as of March 5, down from 103 at the end
of 2013, according to a Bank of America
Merrill Lynch index.
Credit growth has also revived with
outstanding business loans climbing
5.5% in the 12 months to January 31,
the fastest pace since February 2009,
central bank data show. Mortgages increased 7.1%, holding at the quickest
pace in four years, the data show.
“A falling Australian dollar against
other key currencies can have a large
impact on Australian dollar collateral
inflows and in turn on bank funding
tasks,” Tano Pelosi, a portfolio manager
at Sydney-based Antares Capital, said
by phone. “A lowering in the funding
requirement coupled with favourable
credit market conditions should see the
Australian banks become more strategic in their approach to debt issuance.”
Statoil delays
Snorre projects
orwegian energy firm
Statoil has postponed
two of its biggest offshore developments as low oil
prices spur cost cuts, it said.
Statoil delayed the concept
selection for the Arctic Johan Castberg project by more
than a year to the second half
of 2016 while a similar decision
on extending the lifetime of the
Snorre field to 2040, was also
delayed a year.
“We have made significant
progress in reducing costs for
Johan Castberg,” Statoil said on
Friday. “However, current challenges in relation to costs and oil
prices require us to spend more
time to ensure that we extract
the full benefit of the implemented measures.”
Statoil had estimated Castberg, one of the world’s northernmost oil finds, would cost
around $15bn while building a
new platform at the Snorre field
would cost around $4bn.
Castberg, with up to 650mn
barrels of oil equivalent, could
cost over $70 per barrel to develop
while the Snorre expansion could
cost over $80 per barrel, analysts
said. Brent crude currently trades
around $60 per barrel.
“These projects were already
on the watch list before the oil
price started dropping and there
has been quite a debate about
both of them for a long time,”
said Kjetil Bakken, an analyst at
brokerage Carnegie. A final investment decision on Castberg
is now scheduled for the fourth
quarter of 2017 while production
is expected to start in the fourth
quarter of 2022.
A delay at Snorre could jeopardise the entire project because the expansion depends
on the lifespan of the field’s
other platforms, licence partners have said.
Fed weighs more ambitious goal for sweet spot on employment
New York
s the US jobless rate
reaches the range that the
Federal Reserve defines as
full employment, some Fed officials are asking a question: How
low can you go?
Their answer: less than the
5.2% to 5.5% the Fed currently
defines as the lowest that can be
achieved without heating up inflation. Some Chicago Fed economists say this sweet spot, often
called full employment or the
natural rate of unemployment,
may be as low as 5%.
Their boss, Chicago Fed president Charles Evans, is among
policy makers who have lowered
their estimates for the normal
rate. “I now think that it might
be something more like 5.0%,”
Evans said in a speech last week.
He’s not alone. “A few” members of the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee
lowered their estimates in light
of “continued softness” in inflation, according to minutes of the
January 27-28 meeting, which
didn’t identify the officials.
The question is more than
academic: It may influence how
much longer officials keep interest rates near zero, where they
have been since December 2008.
Policy makers will next estimate
their view of long-run unemployment at the March 17-18
meeting in Washington, and are
likely to lower the goal, said JPMorgan Chase & Co economist
Jesse Edgerton in New York.
If officials shift their views,
“you would argue to hold rates
lower for longer,” said Edgerton,
a former Fed economist.
Right now, investors see the
Fed keeping rates low even longer
than policy makers themselves
do. Futures based on the federal
funds rate imply a rate of 0.51% in
December 2015. Fed officials expect the benchmark funds rate to
trade in a range between 1% and
1.25% by the end of 2015, according to the median estimate of their
quarterly forecasts in December.
One reason the long-term unemployment rate may be lower
than officials currently estimate:
Demographic changes mean the
out-of-work population includes fewer hard-to-employ
groups such as teenagers and is
more dominated by older, bettereducated people.
That implies more room for
the unemployment rate to fall
because those people are more
likely to have skills that are in
demand. Such changes in the
labour force mean the jobless
rate representing full employment has dropped as much as
0.6 percentage point since 2000,
according to the research by the
Chicago economists.
“This is a matter of debate and
continuing discussion,” Atlanta
Fed President Dennis Lockhart
said February 6, adding he is
“certainly sympathetic” with the
idea of a lower rate.
The Fed’s definition of full
employment is taking on added
urgency as joblessness has fallen
more quickly than policy makers
expected. The Labour Department reported on Friday that
unemployment fell to 5.5% in
February, the lowest level since
May 2008. The jobless rate will
be 5.4% at the end of the second
quarter and 5.3% at the end of the
third, according to the median
estimates of 65 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News February 6 to February 11.
Getting the unemployment
target wrong could be a costly
mistake. The Fed’s mandates
from Congress include price
stability, which it defines as 2%
inflation, and maximum sus-
tained employment. Declaring
full-employment victory while
the jobless rate remains too high
could leave the central bank with
monetary policy that’s too tight
and limits job growth. Aiming
for a too- low jobless rate might
cause the Fed to be late dealing with inflation or asset-price
“The Fed’s idea” of long-term
unemployment “is somewhat
self-fulfilling, and is another
reason to err on the side of expansionary policy,” said Laurence Ball, an economist at Johns
Hopkins University in Baltimore
who’s researched the natural
rate. “If the Fed guides unemployment to 5.3% and keeps it
there, that may become established as the sustainable level of
The absence of any inflationary pressure suggests there is
still considerable slack in the
job market, said Gary Burtless, a
Brookings Institution economist
in Washington who previously
was with the US Labour Department.
The Fed’s preferred measure
of inflation, based on consumer
spending, rose 0.2% in January
from a year earlier, the smallest 12-month gain since Octo-
Chicago Fed president Charles Evans, is among policy makers who
have lowered their estimates for unemployment rates that can be
achieved without heating up inflation.
ber 2009. The gauge hasn’t been
above the central bank’s 2% goal
since March 2012.
“Where’s the acceleration that
is supposed to accompany our
declining unemployment rate?”
Burtless said.
One official who’s skeptical of
that view is James Bullard, president of the St Louis Fed. He’s
worried the Fed will err on the
side of keeping rates low for too
long, and he predicts unemployment will fall below 5% in the
second half of the year.
“The last two times that we’ve
had unemployment go below
the natural rate” were “associated with a bubble,” Bullard said
in a Bloomberg News interview
in New York in January. In 2007,
pushing the federal funds rate
down “ended in global macroeconomic disaster.”
Bullard favors moving more
quickly than most of his colleagues to raise interest rates,
saying “the die is already cast”
that unemployment will go below the rate that is consistent
with stable inflation.
William Dickens, a visiting
scholar at the Boston Fed, isn’t
so sure, saying “there are mixed
signals as to whether we are at
full employment.”
While his research indicates
“we are at the natural rate now,”
the lack of certainty suggests
holding off on rate increases, said
Dickens, a Northeastern University professor and Brookings Institution senior fellow.
“Don’t fire until you start seeing real signs of price inflation,
there is sufficient uncertainty”
about where full employment is,
he said.
Robert Hall, an economics
professor at Stanford University
in California and chairman of
the National Bureau of Economic
Research committee that determines when recessions begin
and end, said the “ambiguous results” from research on the natural rate of unemployment call for
Fed restraint.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Doha Bank planning to launch ETF on QSE
Doha Bank is planning to launch an exchange
traded fund (ETF) on the Qatar Stock Exchange
The proposed ETF, which will track the
20-stock Qatar Index and is pending regulatory
approvals, have Amwal and the Group Securities as fund manager and liquidity provider
“Once approved by QFMA (Qatar Financial
Market Authority), the (proposed) ETF product
would list on the QSE and provide investors
with exposure to the index benchmark with a
single trade,” Doha Bank group CEO R Seetharaman said.
A signing ceremony to mark the appoint-
ment of Amwal as fund manager and the licensing of the index benchmark from QSE was held
yesterday in the presence of QSE CEO Rashid
Bin Ali al-Mansoori and Amwal CEO Fahmi
The Group Securities will provide regular
bid and ask prices and interact with the fund
manager to manage the supply of ETF units on
the bourse, Seetharaman said, adding Amwal
will ensure the ETF passively managed strategy
is in line with global ETF standards.
The ETFs once approved by the regulators,
enables investors to trade the index as a single
security, it complements the underlying 20
shares and provides an opportunity to look at
alternative trading strategies, according to alMansoori. “The growth in ETFs internationally
is unbridled and we have an exciting pipeline of
ETFs being developed here in Qatar,” he said.
Amwal has established new benchmarks
through pioneering initiatives in investment
and asset management within Qatar and the
wider Middle East and North Africa region,
Amwal chairperson Sheikha Hanadi Nasser bin
Khaled al-Thani said.
“The (ETF) products provide easy access for
those wishing to take long exposure to Qatar
markets but will also attract intraday traders
looking for arbitrage,” according to Hamad alMaadadi, chairman of The Group.
From left: Seetharaman, al-Mansoori and Alghussein announcing the launch of Doha Bank ETF.
Mena insurers’ premiums may
outgrow region’s growth: QFC
HIA wins ‘Strategic
Project of the Year
Award’ in New York
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
conomic headwinds from
weaker crude and stiff
from across the world have not
dampened Middle East and
North African (Mena) insurers,
whose premiums are expected to
outgrow the region’s economic
growth, according to Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).
However, insurance regulation in the region was found to be
“inadequate” on lack of solvency
margins, “insufficient” minimum capital requirements and a
general lack of cohesion, transparency, consultation and implementation as well as dearth of
local talent remains a challenge.
Nevertheless, over the next
12 months, medical insurance is
expected to be the fastest growing line of business in the Mena
region; followed by motor, engineering, whose rankings were
unchanged from the previous
year’s barometer.
The region’s insurance penetration levels, however, remain
woefully low with 2013 premiums accounting for just 1.3% of
GDP, a fifth of the global average.
“This gap is narrowing however, as Mena insurance markets
outpace regional GDP growth.
Between 2008 and 2013, total non-life and life insurance
premium volumes in the region
expanded from about $30bn to
more than $50bn,” QFC said, releasing the Insurance Barometer,
ahead of the official opening of
Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, deputy CEO, QFCA; along with Akshay Randeva (director, Strategic Development), QFCA; and Kai-Uwe Schanz,
chairman and partner, Dr Schanz, Alms & Company; releasing the 2015 barometer.
global insurance seminar MultaQa today.
Over the next 12 months, sliding oil prices are not expected to
have any material adverse impact on infrastructure and construction projects in the Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC), it
“The region’s strong fundamentals remain intact...Insurance penetration is on the
rise, demographics are favourable, and the ability of most Gulf
countries to withstand shortterm volatility in oil pricing is
strong,” QFC Authority CEO and
board member Shashank Srivastava, said.
Participants continue to con-
sider the region’s strong economic and direct insurance market growth as its most important
current strength, followed by
a massive pipeline of major infrastructure and construction
projects and the region’s relatively moderate natural catastrophe exposure.
“Given the strong pipeline of
major construction and infrastructure projects as well as additional compulsory insurance
requirements, premium growth
is poised to outperform GDP
growth over the foreseeable future,” Younis Jamal, CEO Takaful
International Company, said.
On profitability, barometer
found, over the next 12 months,
engineering as the most profitable line of business; followed by
marine cargo and life insurance
(especially group life); while
property insurance is considered
the least profitable area.
On the weak regulatory environment in the Mena, Fareed
Lutfi, secretary general, Emirates Insurance Association,
viewed that in the Middle East,
insurance supervision tends to
be more of a challenge than insurance regulation.
“Many authorities simply
lack the resources and specialist
expertise to effectively implement and enforce regulations,”
he said.
On the issue of local talent,
barometer said many insurers
continue to depend on expatriate staff, which most interviewees do not consider sustainable.
Some executives said insurers themselves are to be blamed
for this as they generally fail to
nurture local talent and don’t
invest in the development of
management; while some others
bemoan the ‘poaching’ culture
in the market, coupled with employee opportunism.
“Insurers struggle to successfully compete with the public
sector when it comes to attracting and retaining local talent,”
according to Jason Light, CEO,
Emirates Insurance Company.
amad International Airport (HIA) has won the
‘Strategic Project of the
Year Award’ at the 2015 Global
Projects of the Year Awards ceremony, which took place in New
York City recently.
The ceremony took place
during the eighth Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum organised by CG/LA Infrastructure, with the winners being
selected by industry executives
from around the world.
Out of five nominees shortlisted in the category of ‘Strategic project of the year’, HIA was
announced as the winner.
HIA chief operating officer
Badr al-Meer said: “This award
is one that makes HIA and Qatar proud. As the world’s latest
state-of-the-art airport hub and
gateway to Qatar, Hamad International Airport is a key part of
Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
Following a decade of pioneering design, engineering and construction work, HIA is a flagship
national project and one of the
most ambitious and strategic
global projects undertaken, as
has been attested by this award.”
The forum had more than
400 executives participating
from 40 countries with project
presentations from some 28
different countries including
Qatar. The theme of this year’s
event was “Build, build, build:
generating global growth” and
focused on infrastructure as the
catalyst for the growth of key
economies around the world,
including Qatar.
“It is an honour to recognise
Ooredoo supports global launch of Cisco’s ‘Mobility IQ’
oredoo is among three global companies
that are supporting the global launch of
Cisco’s Mobility IQ, breakthrough mobility software that “unlocks the power of visual
network knowledge and drives unparalleled business outcomes for service providers.”
The global launch was held at the Mobile World
Congress 2015 that concluded in Barcelona recently. The others supporting the initiative are
Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, and Italy’s Telecom Italia.
Mobility IQ combines data from Wi-Fi, 3G, and
LTE network activity for real-time visibility into
the network, user, and business intelligence.
With these insights, service providers and
their business customers can deliver valuable,
new, differentiated mobile services in marketing
and managed services to their customers, while
achieving new levels of network operational efficiency.
Demonstrating the strong opportunity for
Middle East service providers, the Middle East
and Africa (MEA) will post the world’s fastest
growth rates for mobile data traffic to 2019, increasing 15-fold, according to the Cisco Visual
Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic
Forecast, 2014-2019.
Thanks to increasing mobile devices, machineto-machine connections, and mobile broadband,
MEA is also posting the world’s fastest growth in
mobile connection speeds and IPv6-capable devices.
By 2019, mobile data will represent 40% of
MEA’s total data traffic; worldwide Wi-Fi offload
traffic will exceed cellular traffic.
Ooredoo Group chairman HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani with Ooredoo Qatar CEO Sheikh Saud bin Nasser al-Thani, al-Sayed and
other Ooredoo and Cisco executives among others during the global launch of Cisco’s Mobility IQ in Barcelona recently.
One of the world’s best-connected countries,
Qatar ranks third in the Middle East and Africa in
active mobile broadband subscriptions at 76.8%
in 2013, according to International Telecommunications Union’s State of Broadband 2014.
Ooredoo aims to make Qatar the world’s best
broadband country, with 100% 4G+ LTE-Advanced mobile broadband and fiber optic network
penetration in 2015.
In line with Ooredoo’s vision of enriching
people’s lives, the company has deployed the
advanced ICT infrastructure for Qatar’s megaprojects, with business intelligence opening up
opportunities in retail advertising, safety and security, and Smart Cities.
Waleed Mohamed al-Sayed, Ooredoo Qatar
chief operating officer, said, “As the number one
fastest-growing telecommunications company in
the world by revenue, Ooredoo has been a leader
in innovation and disruption when it comes to
offering superior experiences to our customers.
Mobility – Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G – are key in delivering on our vision of enriching people’s lives and is
at the heart of everything we do.
“Our strategy of deploying Wi-Fi alongside our
cellular networks is a major first step. Deriving
knowledge from the network is the next key aspect of helping our consumers and business partners excel in their business outcomes. That is why
we share Cisco Mobility IQ’s vision for real-time
intelligence that is highly visual and easily configured for each business customer, while integrating Wi-Fi and cellular insights. We are committed to exploring the possibilities of pushing
this vision and are excited to take this journey.”
Cisco Qatar general manager Mohamed Hammoudi said, “Our service provider customers in
Qatar can now take a great leap forward by using
Mobility IQ to transform their networks to deliver
profitable business outcomes, in line with our
service provider strategy. Both service providers
and their customers have a powerful new solution that helps them to understand their own networks better and optimise service delivery, and as
a result increase revenue.”
Ooredoo Kuwait, Ericsson to deploy 1st LTE Advanced Small Cell solution
Ooredoo Kuwait, a member of Ooredoo Group, has
announced its partnership with Ericsson to deploy the
first LTE Advanced Small Cell solution during a signing
ceremony held at the World Mobile Congress held
in Barcelona, Spain. “This milestone is the latest in a
successful ten-year partnership between Ooredoo Kuwait
and Ericsson,” the company said in a statement.
The World Mobile Congress was attended by Ooredoo
Kuwait general manager and CEO Mohamed bin
Abdulla al-Thani, corporate communications director
Mijbil Alayoub, chief sales officer Tamer Shibil, and CEO
Consultant Dr Hamad Alnuaimi.
“Kuwait has witnessed an exponential growth of data
traffic in the LTE network. The overall data traffic since
2013 grew by seven folds, or 600%. We are positive
that this partnership with the reputable Ericsson will
further boost our capacity and provide a differentiated
user experience to our customers in Kuwait,” al-Thani
said. Rafiah Ibrahim, president Ericsson Region Middle
East and East Africa, said, “Mobile broadband is now an
integral part of our everyday lifestyle where constant
connectivity is expected anytime, anywhere. By
introducing our integrated LTE advanced small cells
into the LTE network, we are able to provide Ooredoo in
Kuwait with more reliable and higher capacity network
that will continue to support their customers’ connected
By integrating Small Cell solution as part of the macro
Ooredoo Kuwait and Ericsson officials during the ceremonial cutting of cake marking the
mobile network, Ooredoo Kuwait can cost-effectively
provide increased network capacity and improved coverage. partnership for the deployment of the first LTE Advanced Small Cell solution in Kuwait.
Al-Meer: Proud winner.
these project sponsors who are
systematically changing the
economic, competitive, and opportunity landscapes of their
countries. Their innovative ways
of directing, designing, and
funding infrastructure builds are
changing the way we think about
infrastructure development and
will leave a lasting impact on the
industry,” said Norman F Anderson, president and CEO of CG/
LA Infrastructure.
Conveniently located within
an eight-hour flight for more
than two thirds of the global
population, Hamad International Airport “redefines” customer experience for business
and leisure travellers.
The airport’s passenger terminal complex has been designed
to provide passengers with a
seamless and hassle-free experience from arrival and transfers
to boarding, achieving minimal
connection times of just 30 minutes. This has been achieved with
the integration of the latest technology from check-in terminals,
and security scanners to fully automated baggage systems.
IBQ announces
two senior
International Bank of Qatar (IBQ)
appointed Abeer al-Emadi as deputy
head of Operations and Ahmed
Hashem as deputy head of Corporate
This recent senior executive appointment strongly underlines the
bank’s commitment to developing
and expanding its Qatari workforce in
senior positions.
Al-Emadi has been with IBQ since
1999. This promotion is a testament
to her strong leadership, her vast
experience in operations and her
unrelenting commitment to the
In 2011, Abeer won the ‘Leadership’
Award at the Qatari Businesswomen
Awards. Abeer is a role model to all
IBQ employees and she plays an
important role as a mentor to many of
the bank’s Qatari employees.
Hashem’s career at IBQ started in
2003 with a number of summer
internships taken while he was still
studying economics. He has occupied
various roles and with more than
10 years of experience in corporate
banking with the bank, this promotion reflects Hashem’s “consistently
strong performance and firm market
Jabra Ghandour, managing director of IBQ, said: “We congratulate
Abeer and Ahmed for achieving such
well-deserved promotions. At IBQ, we
recognise the importance of encouraging promising young local talent to
realise the nation’s vision for human
capital development”.
Saleh al-Kawari, assistant general
manager, head (Human Resources
& Governmental Affairs) at IBQ,
said: “Through our Qatari Development Programme, we firmly believe
that by attracting, motivating and
developing the right talents, we
ensure a promising future for IBQ.
Qatari employees are provided with
training and development so that,
with the right skills, they can enjoy
a rewarding long-term career and
professional development opportunities at the bank.”
NBA | Page 8
TENNIS | Page 7
CRICKET | Page 4
Cavs bounce
back as Hawks
Britain, Aussies
and Kazakhs in
last eight
face do-or-die
Monday, March 9, 2015
Jumada I 18, 1436 AH
Messi breaks Spanish
hat-trick record as
Barcelona go top
Page 9
Maxwell ton fires
Aussies past Lanka
On a night when the 40,000 crowd were thrilled by a feast of batting, it was Maxwell’s
deployment of the full array of shots in his prodigious armoury that proved decisive
Sanga hits
patch as he
nears ODI
Australian batsman Glenn Maxwell
swings away as Sri Lanka
wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara
(R) and Angelo Mathews (L) look
on during their World Cup Group A
match in Sydney yesterday.
ustralia stormed into the World Cup
quarter-finals with a 64-run victory
over Sri Lanka, fired by a spectacular
maiden one-day international century from Glenn Maxwell at the Sydney Cricket
Ground yesterday.
Sri Lanka signalled that they are also in fine
form for the knockout stages by having a good
crack at what would have been a record run chase
with Kumar Sangakkara becoming the first man
to score three successive centuries at a World
They were always up against it after Maxwell’s 53-ball 102 had helped Australia to 376-9,
however, and it is the co-hosts who are now almost certain to finish second in Pool A and avoid
champions India or South Africa in the quarterfinals. On a night when the 40,000 crowd were
thrilled by a feast of batting, it was Maxwell’s
deployment of the full array of shots in his prodigious armoury that proved decisive.
His hundred came off 51 balls, just one shy of
the record for the quickest World Cup century,
and he shared a 160-run partnership with Shane
D. Warner c Prasanna b Malinga ....................... 9
A. Finch st Sangakkara b Prasanna ................ 24
S. Smith c Perera b Dilshan ................................ 72
M. Clarke b Malinga ............................................. 68
G. Maxwell c Malinga b Perera ....................... 102
S. Watson c Chandimal b Perera ...................... 67
J. Faulkner run out (Mathews) ........................... 0
B. Haddin c Perera b Mathews ......................... 25
M. Johnson not out ..................................................3
M. Starc run out (Perera/Mathews) .................. 0
X. Doherty not out .................................................. 0
Extras: (b1, lb1, w4) ................................................ 6
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) ...................................376
Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner), 2-41 (Finch), 3-175
(Clarke), 4-177 (Smith), 5-337 (Maxwell), 6-338
(Faulkner), 7-368 (Watson), 8-373 (Haddin),
9-374 (Starc)
Bowling: Malinga 10-0-59-2 (1w); Senanayake
9-0-59-0; Mathews 7-0-59-1 (2w); Prasanna 100-77-1; Perera 9-0-87-2 (1w); Dilshan 5-0-33-1
Sri Lanka
L. Thirimanne c Haddin b Johnson ................... 1
T. Dilshan lbw b Faulkner ................................... 62
K. Sangakkara c Finch b Faulkner ................104
M. Jayawardene run out (Clarke) .....................19
A. Mathews c Haddin b Watson ....................... 35
D. Chandimal retired hurt .................................. 52
T. Perera c Doherty b Johnson ........................... 8
U. Tharanga c Warner b Faulkner ..................... 4
S. Prasanna b Starc ................................................. 9
S. Senanayake c Doherty b Starc .......................7
L. Malinga not out ................................................... 0
Extras (b2, lb5, w4) ................................................11
Total (9 wkts, 46.2 overs) ................................ 312
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Thirimanne), 2-135
(Dilshan), 3-188 (Jayawardene), 4-201 (Sangakkara), 5-283 (Mathews), 6-293 (Perera),
7-305 (Prasanna), 8-307 (Tharanga), 9-312
Bowling: Starc 8.2-0-29-2 (1w); Johnson 9-062-2 (2w); Watson 7-0-71-1; Doherty 7-0-60-0;
Maxwell 6-0-35-0; Faulkner 9-0-48-3 (1w)
Result: Australia won by 64 runs
Watson, who hit 67 to celebrate his recall to the
Maxwell was dropped by a back-peddling
Sangakkara on 95 and there was a nervous wait
on 99, his chance of sharing the World Cup
record with Irishman Kevin O’Brien disappearing when the umpire ruled a leg bye off the 50th
ball he faced.
The century came up soon enough with two
runs to mid-off, though, and his emotional celebration after reaching the milestone in his 43rd
one-day innings was a graphic illustration of
what it meant to a player often dismissed as a
Steve Smith (72) and skipper Michael Clarke
(68) had earlier steadied the innings with a partnership of 134 after openers David Warner (nine)
and Aaron Finch (24) had been dismissed inside
the first 10 overs.
Maxwell hit 10 fours and four sixes in his innings and the pyrotechnics continued when Sri
Lanka came out to bat, Tillakaratne Dilshan setting the tone by spectacularly hitting six fours off
Mitchell Johnson’s third over.
Johnson had already dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne caught behind for one in his opening
over to bring Dilshan and Sangakkara together at
the crease.
he World Cup will be the last
assignment for Kumar Sangakkara in one-day internationals and the Sri Lankan
left-hander has ensured he will sign
off on a high, at least on the personal
Sangakkara, 37, scored 104 against
Australia at the Sydney Cricket
Ground yesterday for his third consecutive hundred in the World Cup
and also became the second batsman
after India’s Sachin Tendulkar to cross
14,000 runs in the 50-over format.
Considered by many as the most
elegant left-handed batsman of the
current era, Sangakkara is expected to
continue playing test cricket for some
time and his retirement will leave a big
void in the Sri Lankan batting line-up.
“He’s certainly as good as any player
I’ve played against. He’s a wonderful
batsman,” Australia captain Michael
Clarke said of Sangakkara a day before
their Pool A match against Sri Lanka.
“His statistics show that in both
Test and one-day cricket. He’s an absolute gentleman, a lovely, lovely guy.”
After a low-key start to the tournament when he scored 39 and seven in
his first two matches, Sangakkara has
scored 107 not out against Bangladesh,
followed by an unbeaten 117 against
England before scoring his 24th ODI
hundred yesterday.
Clarke considers him one of the alltime best batsmen.
“Yeah, I think Kumar and Jacques
Kallis are probably two guys I’ve
looked up to and think that if they
played for different countries, they
would be—they could quite easily be
regarded as the best ever,” Clarke said.
“But I think he’s batted number
three his whole career, for a lot of his
career in test and one-day cricket. It’s
a really tough position.
“He’s scored runs all around the
world against some very good bowling
attacks. I think he’s a world class player. He’s been No. 1 batter in the world
for a long, long time.”
While Clarke would have preferred
a soft performance from Sangakkara
on Sunday, the wicketkeeper-batsman
was out to make him nervous even after Australia amassed 376-9 batting
Sri Lanka looked firmly in the chase
while Sangakkara, who hit 11 fours in
his 107-ball knock, was at the crease.
He stitched together a 130-run
stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan (62)
for the second wicket in 19.5 overs and
another 53 for the third with Mahela
Jayawardene (19) before holing out in
the deep trying to hit James Faulkner.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Taylor pulls no punches after Zimbabwe exit
Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor plays a
shot while being watched by Ireland
wicketkeeper Gary Wilson during the
World Cup game between the two sides
in Hobart on Saturday. Zimbabwe lost by
five runs to bow out of the event. (AFP)
imbabwe’s elimination from
quarter-final contention at
the World Cup after defeat
to Ireland on Saturday illustrated their continuing struggle to
compete at the top level of cricket in
recent years.
For brutal honesty in defeat,
though, stand-in captain Brendan
Taylor has shown himself to be in a
league of his own at the tournament.
Taylor had already fired a volley at
the side, talking of “mental flaws”
after they blew a strong position to
come up 21 runs short of beating Pakistan in their previous Pool B match.
And there was no pulling of punches on Saturday after they went into the
final over against Ireland needing
seven runs to win, only to lose two
wickets in the first three balls and fall
to a five-run defeat.
Those results, combined with defeats to South Africa and West Indies,
along with their solitary win over
United Arab Emirates, made Zimbabwe the first Test-playing nation to
be eliminated from contention for
the knockout stages.
“We’ve been very disappointing, there’s no doubt about that, we
came here to win three games and we
haven’t done that,” Taylor said, summing up the country’s ninth World
Cup campaign.
“There’s been positions against
South Africa, against West Indies,
against Pakistan, where we could have
got over the line if we’d been smarter
as batters. Hold our catches, put our
bodies on the line when we field. And
at times we’ve been very sloppy and
that’s come back to haunt us.
“We’ve played some excellent
cricket for 80 percent of the time
we’ve been here but that 20 percent
is why we’re not going to progress.”
Taylor described the fielding
against Ireland as “below poor” and
“shambolic”, particularly in the two
or three “lives” they gave to Ed Joyce,
who won the man of the match award
for his innings of 112.
Taylor’s frustration was particularly evident over the way the Zimbabweans gave up such a strong position in the final over at Hobart’s
Bellerive Oval.
“It’s basically six singles, we
weren’t making smart decisions as
batters, we’re going to be asking ourselves these questions for a long time
to come,” he said. “We were sloppy in
many ways, in our bowling, our fielding and our shot selection. At the
Maxwell lifts a ‘massive
weight’ off his shoulders
‘Having Watto there was special. He’s been there for me over the last couple of tough weeks off the
field, he’s been there with me through thick and thin. I shared a little special moment with him out
there... Hopefully it’s going to open the floodgates a little bit and I can stop getting out in the 90s’
Australia batsman Glenn Maxwell gets a
hug from teammate Shane Watson (right)
after reaching his maiden ODI century in
the World Cup match against Sri Lanka at
the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. (AFP)
t took him 45 matches, 43 innings
and two-and-a-half years but
Australia’s Glenn Maxwell finally
got a one-day international century yesterday and it was quite a relief.
The 26-year-old had come close before
with three scores in the 90s, most recently with a 95 in the tri-series final against
England just before the World Cup.
In the last match against Afghanistan, he was not so far off either, notching up 88 as Australia romped to victory
on the back of a World Cup record tally.
He finally crossed the milestone with
two runs from the 51st ball he faced
against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket
Ground, helping his country to a 64run victory that fired them into the
“It was a massive weight (off my
shoulder),” Maxwell told reporters. “It
was a lot of fun and it was nice having a
good wicket to play on and the top order
set it up absolutely beautifully for us.
“It was basically the blueprint for
what we should model our one-day
game on and top order did a great job to
set it up for us.”
His 53-ball 102 was not just a brilliant
innings but an important one, forming
the large part of the 160-run 13.4-over
partnership with Shane Watson that
was responsible for Australia’s victory.
Maxwell praised Watson for helping
him break through for his first century.
“Having Watto there was special. He’s
been there for me over the last couple of
tough weeks off the field, he’s been there
with me through thick and thin. I shared a
little special moment with him out there..
“Hopefully it’s going to open the
floodgates a little bit and I can stop getting out in the 90s.
“He played beautifully and having
chats to him off the field has been really good for me. It was a really special
partnership we had together, I think we
put on 160 and it was a lot of fun.”
Maxwell was saddled with the nickname ‘The Big Show’ after receiving a
million dollar Indian Premier League
contract in 2013 just a few months after
his international debut.
That and his flamboyant batting
have attracted the ire of some in Australia, including former Test skipper
Kim Hughes who branded his Test performance against Pakistan last year as
On his day, however, he is one of the
most talented batsmen in the game,
able to conjure up almost unbelievable
shots to send the ball to the boundary
all around the ground.
He showed the full range yesterday
with a brutal assault which fell just
one delivery short of the record for the
quickest World Cup century.
Asked what bowlers and fielders should do to get him out, Maxwell
cracked a huge smile. “Why would I
give that up? Change the rules, put 10
on the fence?” he suggested.
Spinner Sachithra Senanayake, who
played for the first time for Sri Lanka in
the tournament, said it was difficult to
contain Maxwell.
“Actually, I feel so bad. The way
Maxwell is hitting, the players like
Maxwell, AB de Villiers, they are taking
so many runs,” said Senanayake, who
went wicketless for 59 off nine overs.
“If they are playing 50 balls they are
easily getting 100 runs. It’s a very bad
point for us, so we had to do something
new for them. It’s hard.”
Australia skipper Michael Clarke
said Australia were put under pressure
by Sri Lanka’s stout-hearted batting
response, led by Kumar Sangakkara,
who scored his third consecutive century at the tournament with 104 and
also went through the 14,000-run barrier in ODIs.
“I thought they played really well,
the whole Sri Lankan innings. We were
under pressure, no doubt about it,”
Clarke said. “We had to continue to
take wickets. It shows how far the game
has come now that you can even think
about chasing 375 runs.”
On his own run-a-ball innings of
68, Clarke said: “I would have liked a
few more runs, but yeah it was nice to
spend some time in the middle.
“I thought I had been batting pretty
well at training and it was nice to contribute when the team needed me.
“I don’t feel stressed from what people write or say, I think it might have
taken me a few years but I’ve learned to
ignore a lot of it and laugh at a lot of it.
“That’s probably the only reason I’m
still playing this great game of cricket at
the highest level. When I was younger I
probably took a lot of it to heart.”
very top level, you need to be on top
of these key aspects.”
Even his own fine innings of 121
against the Irish, his seventh oneday international century, was little
consolation to Taylor.
“I hit it nicely, but, again, getting
out at the wrong time,” he said.
“New batter coming in in the power
play, all those little things add up, it’s
Taylor said he was hoping skipper Elton Chigumbura would be
back from a muscle tear to face world
champions India in Zimbabwe’s final
match in Auckland next Saturday.
“It’s another opportunity to try
and get all three departments right
and if we do, we’ve beaten India before back home so we have that belief
we can do it,” he said. “There’s a lot
to play for, a lot of pride at stake, we
want to try and finish on a high note.”
for more
bat & ball
in ODIs
akistan coach Waqar
Younis has urged the
International Cricket
Council (ICC) and its
member boards to sit down and
have a rethink on balancing the
50-over format for the good of
the game.
The former Test captain said
he had no doubts that bowlers
are suffering in one-day cricket
due to the change in laws.
Improvement in skills, better
bats and fielding restrictions
have all contributed to making
it a nightmare for bowlers,
according to the 43-year-old
former Pakistan fast bowler.
He has no qualms about
the shortest Twenty20 format
which according to him was a
“three-hour cinema”.
“But for real cricket which is
one-day cricket there is a need
to balance the game,” Younis
said. “Bowlers are suffering
as pitches have gone very flat
around the world.
“Bowlers just have an opportunity in first six to seven
overs than it is a batsmen’s
game. We are seeing that in this
World Cup. Cricket has changed
since our times but there is a
real need to balance it and the
administrators need to start
thinking again.”
The former captain felt cricket in Pakistan also needed to
catch up with changing times.
Younis and captain Misbahul-Haq have come under fire
for not playing wicketkeeper
Sarfraz Ahmed in the first four
games of the World Cup with
allegations of nepotism and
favoritism in the dressing room.
Younis said he was used to
such flak. “There is nothing new
and we are used to these sort
of things,” he added. “I know
it is an emotional time for the
country and I guess everyone
can’t be happy.
“We are trying to do our best
and people who understand
the game will appreciate that.
I am a patriotic Pakistani and I
will never do any harm to my
country or team and we are
trying to do everything to make
our people feel proud of us.”
Pakistan have bounced back
at the World Cup with wins
over Zimbabwe, United Arab
Emirates and South Africa after
losing their first two games to
India and West Indies by big
But he advised his countrymen to temper their hopes.
“I don’t want to give big hopes
to anyone although I am hopeful
for good things to come,” Younis
said. “I don’t want to think too
far ahead but the last week has
been good for us and now we
are quietly confident, we have
started to get our self-belief
back in the dressing room and in
players that they have the ability
to do well.”
There were no clear favourites too for Younis and despite
the strong starts for co-hosts
New Zealand and holders India,
he felt the knockouts will be the
real pressure time for teams.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Vettori sets up NZ’s
crushing victory
over Afghanistan
Left-arm spinner scythes through Afghan top order to finish with figures of four for
18 in 10 overs and become the first New Zealand bowler to take 300 ODI wickets
Harmison revelling
in career switch
cold Saturday in Ashington on England’s
north east coast is
a far cry from some
sun-baked cricket pitch in the
Tropics but for Steve Harmison
there is no other place he
would rather be as he upholds
a family tradition.
In his prime Harmison was
one of cricket’s elite fast bowlers, taking 226 Test wickets
for England and starring in
a side that included Andrew
Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen,
Michael Vaughan and James
Anderson. Now, with his
cricketing whites retired for
good, he is forging a career
as a football manager in the
former mining heartland of
northern England.
The Newcastle United fan
has returned to run hometown club Ashington FC of
the Northern League Division
One, the ninth tier of English
football, where he stewards a
team of teachers, bricklayers,
students, sports coaches and
factory workers.
With England cricketers
toiling at the World Cup,
Harmison is embroiled in a
relegation struggle, although
since he took over last month,
the 36-year-old has overseen a
change in fortunes with three
victories and two defeats. His
side are also in the semi-final
of the Northern League Cup.
His aching back, a legacy of
the punishing strain of bowling balls at nearly 100mph,
still causes him pain, but the
camaraderie of a team environment makes up for it.
“I’ve always been asked if
I miss playing (cricket). No,
not one bit,” Harmison, who
retired from cricket in 2013,
told the Sunday Times. “But
I miss the dressing room like
you’ve never seen.
Ashington holds a special
place in Harmison’s heart. He
was born in the town and his
father was a stalwart for the
club as a player and later an
assistant manager.
Najibullah’s six off
Southee lands on
McLean Park roof
Daniel Vettori celebrates with teammates after
dismissing Afghanistan's Usman Ghani (left) during
yesterday's World Cup match in Napier. (Reuters)
aniel Vettori became the first
New Zealand bowler to take 300
one-day international wickets
as the Black Caps made short
work of Afghanistan to remain unbeaten
after five World Cup matches yesterday.
Left-arm spinner Vettori scythed
through the Afghanistan top order, using
his guile on a pitch producing no turn, to
finish with remarkable figures of four for
18 in 10 overs as Afghanistan were dismissed for 186. Along the way he became
the 12th player, and only the fifth spinner,
to take 300 ODI wickets.
On a run-laden McLean Park pitch in
Napier, New Zealand needed only 36.1
overs to overhaul Afghanistan’s total.
The World Cup co-hosts, who had already qualified for the quarter-finals, have
yet to be taken the distance in the field
and the 47.4 overs bowled to Afghanistan
is the most they have sent down in any
match in the tournament.
But the result was never in doubt when
Brendon McCullum, with his trademark
aggressive approach, blazed away at the
top of the New Zealand innings slamming
42 off 19 deliveries to get the chase off to a
rollicking start.
When he was bowled by Mohammad
Nabi, trying to belt his opposing captain
J Ahmadi lbw Boult ...................................... 1
U Ghani b Vettori ........................................... 0
N Mangal b Vettori ....................................... 27
A Stanikzai c Guptill b Boult..................... 9
S Shenwari c Taylor b Anderson ............ 54
M Nabi c Taylor b Vettori ........................... 6
A Zazai lbw Vettori ....................................... 0
N Zadran c Vettori b Milne ........................ 56
D Zadran c Ronchi b Boult ........................ 1
H Hassan c Milne b Anderson ................. 16
S Zadran (not out) ......................................... 2
Extras (lb-5, w-9) ........................................... 14
Total (all out, 47.4 overs) ........................... 186
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-6, 3-24, 4-49, 5-59,
6-59, 7-145, 8-151, 9-166
Bowling: T Southee 10-0-43-0; T Boult
out of the ground, New Zealand were already a quarter of the way to their target
after fewer than six overs.
The pace slowed from nine to 5.19 runs
an over after McCullum’s dismissal as
New Zealand coasted to victory with their
middle-to-lower order not getting the
lengthy time at the crease they wanted
before the knockout phase.
Kane Williamson, in his understated
manner, contributed 33, Martin Guptill
reached 57, his highest score of the campaign, and Grant Elliott made 19.
10-2-34-3 (w-2); D Vettori 10-4-18-4; A
Milne 10-0-38-1 (w-4); C Anderson 6.4-038-2 (w-3); G Elliott 1-0-10-0
M Guptill (run out) ........................................ 57
B McCullum b Nabi ....................................... 42
K Williamson c Shenwari b S Zadran ... 33
R Taylor (not out) .......................................... 24
G Elliott (run out)........................................... 19
C Anderson (not out) .................................. 7
Extras (lb-2, w-4) ........................................... 6
Total (4 wickets, 36.1 overs) ..................... 188
Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-111, 3-143, 4-175
Bowling: D Zadran 9-0-51-0 (w-3); S Zadran 10-2-45-1; H Hassan 7-1-36-0; M Nabi
7.1-0-39-1 (w-1); S Shenwari 3-0-15-0
Guptill and Elliott were both needlessly
run out when time and runs were not an
issue, leaving Ross Taylor (24 not out) and
Corey Anderson (seven not out) to see
New Zealand home.
It was never going to be easy for Afghanistan who were already jet-lagged
having crossed the Tasman Sea twice in
the week to meet their gruelling World
Cup schedule ahead of this game.
They won the toss, elected to bat, and
then had few answers to the menacing attack that greeted them.
Trent Boult dismissed Javed Ahmadi in
the second over, Vettori removed Usman
Ghani at the start of the third and by the
time the 20th over was completed they
were 59 for six.
Nawroz Mangal was bowled for 27 to
become Vettori’s milestone dismissal and
four overs later Mohamed Nabi and Afsar
Zazai went in successive balls to give the
spinner have four wickets for five runs.
Najibullah Zadran avoided the hattrick as he joined Samiullah Shenwari to
rescue the innings with an Afghanistan
record seventh-wicket partnership of 86.
The 22-year-old Najibullah reached 56,
the second-highest score of his fledgling
15-match career, before he was caught on
the boundary by man-of-the-moment
Vettori at third man.
Afghanistan’s leading batsmen at the
World Cup, Shenwari added 54 and was
on track to get his side past 200 until he
played a rash shot and was caught by Taylor off Anderson.
For New Zealand, Trent Boult joined
Vettori in the impressive bowling stakes
with three for 34 off his 10 overs.
Although competition debutants Afghanistan were heavily outclassed they
can take credit in knowing they pushed
the tournament co-hosts closest to the
50-over limit. Their innings lasted nine
balls longer than Sri Lanka and more than
70 deliveries longer than Scotland, England and Australia.
ajibullah Zadran
wrote himself into
cricketing folklore
yesterday when he
deposited a delivery from Tim
Southee onto the roof of the
Harris Stand at McLean Park,
a shot with a distance of close
to 100 metres.
It was one of two sixes the
22-year-old hit off Southee,
the World Cup’s joint top
wicket-taker who had destroyed England’s batting
line-up just over two weeks
ago with seven for 33.
Najibullah also had a particular liking for Adam Milne’s
express pace, hitting the fast
bowler for four boundaries in
his run-a-ball 56.
The left-hander’s aggressive
innings rescued Afghanistan
from 59 for six as he combined
in a 86-run partnership with
Samiullah Shenwari, who went
on to make 54 as the associate
nation were dismissed for 186.
“He’s an aggressive player,”
Afghanistan captain Mohamed
Nabi told reporters in Napier
of Najibullah. “We put him in
to use him in the last 10 or 15
overs to hit the big shots.
“We did not give him the
platform for him to do that.
Every match he has been under pressure after losing early
wickets and low scores, but
today he played really well.”
While Afghanistan eventually lost to New Zealand by
six wickets, they earned some
praise from their opponents,
with man-of-the-match Daniel Vettori stating they had
spent a lot of time analysing
Nabi’s side.
“There is a lot of respect
for that Afghan team,” Vettori
said. “We scouted them pretty
hard. They have got a nicely
balanced line-up and you saw
that today with the way they
were able to counter attack. I
think that is the beginning of a
very good team.
“They have got firepower
all through their batting order and their bowling line-up,
particularly their three fast
bowlers are very impressive.
“When you have three guys
who run it at 140 (kmph) that
is going to give you the ability
to win games at the top-tier
level. They have the makings
of an exceptional side.”
Najibullah Zadran's aggressive
run-a-ball 56 helped Afghanistan recover from a precarious
59 for six to post a modest 186
World Cup proper starts in quarters, says Vettori
ew Zealand completed
their fifth straight win in
the World Cup when they
swept aside Afghanistan
yesterday but felt the tournament
has yet to properly begin, according to team veteran Daniel Vettori.
In all five games, including
against Australia and England,
New Zealand have bowled out the
opposition inside 50 overs with an
aggressive attack blending Vettori’s spin with swing bowlers Tim
Southee and Trent Boult.
Vettori, who racked up another
milestone in his stellar career when
he took his 300th ODI wicket at
McLean Park yesterday—returning figures of four for 18—said the
focus was what lies ahead for the
team rather than individual feats.
“It’s purely about winning games,
and that’s what we’ve been able to
do so far, and we can hopefully continue in the important knockout
stages,” he said.
The quarter-finals “is where it
really starts”, and form through the
pool stages could not be a consideration, he said dismissing South
Africa’s shock 29-run loss on Saturday to Pakistan.
“All the teams that eventually
make it (to the play-offs) have got
match winners. So you can’t sit
back and say a team’s not in form
or haven’t played well because you
go into it thinking that a team’s going to play their best.
“Anyone you would come up
against in that quarter-final is going to be a tough opposition. We
look at it through I suppose a positive prism that they’ve got good
players. There is no real thought
that they’re out of form or not
playing well.”
The 36-year-old Vettori is New
Zealand’s most accomplished ODI
bowler and yesterday became the
12th player and first New Zealander to reach the 300-wicket milestone.
He finished his 291st ODI with
302 wickets, at an average 31.62,
and such was the comprehensive
nature of New Zealand’s win that
he did not have a chance to add to
his 2,213 ODI runs.
Vettori returned to regular appearances in the New Zealand team
late last year after being sidelined
by injury for much of the previous three years and went into the
World Cup not thinking he would
be a central wicket-taker.
“I suppose I went into the World
Cup not really thinking about that
that much,” he said. “I think we
are caught up in the middle of the
World Cup. There is an important
game on Friday (Bangladesh), and
probably the most important game
of our careers the following Satur-
day” in the quarter-finals.
“So maybe in a month or so there
will be a chance to look back on it.
India are the only other unbeaten
side in the tournament, having won
all four of their Pool B matches,
while several potential contenders
have suffered hiccups.
South Africa were beaten by India, then crashed to a 29-run loss
on the Duckworth/Lewis method
to Pakistan, who were abysmal in
their first two matches, losing to India and West Indies before sneaking
home against Zimbabwe.
“We’re just looking at it as we’re
trying to win games, regardless of
the situation,” Vettori added.
“I think it’s important that we
keep thinking that way, because
if we get caught up in working
through a checklist in what’s right
and what’s wrong in trying to win
a World Cup it’s not going to work.
It’s just purely about winning
NZ or Australia? Tough to choose, says Nabi
Afghanistan skipper Mohamed Nabi could not
separate New Zealand and Australia when it
came to choosing between the form teams in
the World Cup yesterday.
The Afghans played the two frontrunners
and World Cup co-hosts in quick succession
and were soundly beaten both times. After
losing to Australia by a massive 275 runs last
Wednesday in Perth, they suffered a six-wicket
thrashing by New Zealand in Napier yesterday.
“New Zealand, they’re quite good. Also Australia,” Nabi diplomatically said when asked to
rate the two sides.
“I’m not saying that Australia is the best or
New Zealand is the best, both of the teams are
quite good and quite balanced,” he added.
Afghanistan, making their World Cup debut,
scored a historic win over Scotland and were
impressive when losing to Sri Lanka before falling apart against Australia and New Zealand.
Nabi believed more substantial performances by the top order Afghanistan batsman
would have made a difference.
Against Australia they were 103-6 and
against New Zealand the situation was more
dire at 59-6. “In the whole tournament, the top
five batsmen didn’t click in five games,” he said.
However, he saw positives against New
Zealand with Najibullah Zadran and Samiullah
Shenwari putting on an Afghanistan seventhwicket record partnership of 86.
“Maybe the top order will learn from that as
well—getting in and taking responsibility.”
With Afghanistan set to bow out of the tournament after their last Pool A match against
England in Sydney next Friday, Nabi
felt they would leave without showing their
true potential.
“We expected a lot at the tournament to
play good cricket and to show it to the world.
We showed in the bowling, we have good fast
bowlers and we have good fielders as well.
But we didn’t show our talent on the batting
side,” he said.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
World Cup is over and
out for England if they
lose to Bangladesh today
But even if England win, there are no guarantees they will progress. Then they must beat
Afghanistan and trust that New Zealand, in their last pool match, defeat Bangladesh
By Vic Marks in Adelaide
The Observer
here is one simple, dreaded
outcome. If England do not
beat Bangladesh in Adelaide
today they are out of the World
Cup. They would depart—after completing their obligations against Afghanistan—ridiculed and unloved.
The something-must-be-done brigade would, understandably, be on the
march, picking up masses of recruits
from every quarter along the way.
But even if England win, there are no
guarantees. Then they must beat Afghanistan and trust that New Zealand,
in their last pool match, defeat Bangladesh. No wonder there is a bit of tension in the air.
England are quite capable of losing
this kind of match. They did so in the
last World Cup against Bangladesh after a tepid display in Chittagong. Less
than 12 months ago they contrived to
lose to the Netherlands in the World
T20—although by that stage they were
already out of the tournament.
Within three weeks Ashley Giles
was out of a job and replaced by Peter
Moores, who was described by Paul
Downton as “the outstanding coach
of his generation. This is the future”.
Downton might hesitate to use such
language just now.
The implications of an England defeat
in Adelaide could be wide-ranging. The
new ECB chairman, Colin Graves, a successful businessman like his predecessor, is not the sort of man to shirk taking
decisive action if the product is failing.
For all his good cheer he may have more
in common with Henry VIII than Harry
Hill. He tends to get what he wants.
Moores has not been in his post for 12
months, but if England, with all their resources, fail to make the quarter-finals
Graves might take a view. He could easily
bracket Moores alongside Mickey Arthur
(when in charge of Australia), Iain Duncan
Smith and David Moyes as a leader unlikely to deliver and dispense with him swiftly.
If that were the case Downton would not
be sitting too comfortably either.
If this sounds a cold and ruthless
course of action, there may be some
consolation for Moores, who was sacked
by the ECB after 18 months at the helm
in 2009, especially if he ponders the
words of Tommy Docherty, who once
said: “In football, with a good contract
and a bad team you’re made for life.”
It’s not quite that simple in cricket,
where the salaries are not so mouthwatering, but Moores would, at least,
be compensated for any early departure. Or given another job.
Moores would much prefer a passage to
the quarter-finals, after which anything,
theoretically, is possible even though this
England side has been roundly thrashed,
rather than just defeated, by every Test
nation they have encountered.
There are uncomfortable decisions
to be made before the match against
Bangladesh. Gary Ballance, catapulted
into the side for the first game against
Australia, has failed four times. That
punt, to which the tour selectors have
obstinately adhered, has not worked.
They will have to replace him, presumably with Alex Hales who has been
banished to the sidelines for most of
the past two months.
It is a lot to ask of Hales, but England
find themselves with little alternative.
To give him the best chance of success he surely has to be given a familiar
role—unlike on the tour of Sri Lanka—
as an opening batsman.
An alliance with Moeen Ali should
encourage spectators in Adelaide to
turn up promptly because anything
could happen. Moreover, Bangladesh do
not possess the most potent of opening
bowlers in the tournament. In this case
Ian Bell would drop down to No. 3.
There is more agonising to be done
over the bowling attack, which has
been devoid of variety and vim, let
alone the discipline one expects from
experienced internationals. This week
Stuart Broad, with unusual candour,
shared how he has suffered since being
hit on the head when batting against
Varun Aaron of India last summer.
“I have had nightmares about it,” he
said. “Times when I have felt the ball
just about to hit my head in the middle of the night.” He has been working
with a sports psychologist to try to resolve this problem.
This helps to explain how Broad
seems to have lost his nerve when facing pace bowling. His innings against
New Zealand in Wellington was one
of a rank tailender. Thus Broad is a diminished cricketer and he should be
assessed differently.
He is now a specialist bowler full
stop and as such he cannot be considered an automatic choice. In this tournament he has two wickets at 92 runs
apiece and an economy rate of 6.27
(mind you, Jimmy Anderson’s numbers
are almost the same).
In Broad’s case the knowledge that
he has the yips as a batsman is bound to
affect his overall confidence, even when
he has the ball in his hand. Indeed, the
news of his plight, one that deserves
Five things that have gone wrong for England in the World Cup
England’s batsmen and bowlers appear to be playing a different game to their rivals but the malaise
can be traced back to misplaced priorities over the
years, writes Ali Martin of the The Observer.
1. Timidity with the bat
England’s use of statistical analysis was a key component in their three Ashes victories under Andy Flower
but there is a sense that it has weighed too heavily on
their approach to batting in one-day cricket. Graeme
Swann, who raised the issue last summer, claimed
the team were too self-congratulatory when setting
Sri Lanka 309 in Wellington, a score captain Eoin
Morgan later insisted was above par because “the
stats back that up”. Only they know if a run rate of
just under four an over between overs 10 and 35 was
down to the computer’s printout or the struggle for
form engulfing Gary Ballance and the captain himself.
Either way, those sides who have regularly screamed
past 300 have picked up at around two runs more
an over during this period. Against Australia England
buckled under the weight of a huge target—a theme
in this World Cup—while New Zealand’s attack were
simply too good in Wellington. As such, the totals
against Scotland, 303 for eight, and Sri Lanka were
greater disappointments when there were more runs
in the pitch.
2. Lack of lateral movement
While New Zealand duo Tim Southee and Trent Boult
have shared 23 wickets in four matches by getting
it to hoop around, England’s chief purveyors of the
moving ball, James Anderson and Chris Woakes, have
much sympathy since it requires considerable bravery just to go out there
when the nerves are shredded, poses
the question whether he should have
been included in the squad at all.
There is certainly a case for Eoin
Morgan having some variety at his
disposal in the field. This might mean
including James Tredwell or even Ravi
Bopara and Chris Jordan, who have not
played for weeks.
In contrast to England, Bangladesh
can turn up with uncluttered minds,
fresh from a calm run-chase against
Scotland. In Nelson on a benign surface, not so different from the one anticipated in Adelaide, their bowling was
not threatening, but their experienced
batsmen were. Tamim Iqbal suggested
that he was coming into form, while
Mahmudullah, the impish Mushfiqur
Rahim and the imperturbable Shakib
al Hasan all played with a freedom and
flair, which has generally eluded the
England camp in this tournament.
to date found the phenomenon elusive. Stuart Broad
has looked short of form since September’s knee
operation, while Steven Finn continues to confound.
As a result, all four members of the seam attack have
been eminently more hittable and have gone at more
than six runs an over, removing that most valuable of
weapons: pressure. Their one true test of nerve at the
death came in the opening fixture against Australia,
when a pre-planned barrage of short, slower balls was
hit to all parts by Glenn Maxwell. Against Sri Lanka
in Wellington, the lack of penetration defending 310,
albeit in the face of some masterful batting from Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara, was deeply
3. Absence of variety
England’s all-right-arm seam attack has, by virtue of
the above, looked even more one-dimensional than
was feared at the naming of the squad back in December. The hope that Nottinghamshire’s left-armer
Harry Gurney could stake a claim proved in vain
when he went around the park in three outings on the
one-day tour of Sri Lanka. It left the selectors without
the option for a contrast of angle. Their remaining
seam option now is Chris Jordan, another right-armer,
albeit one who picks up wickets every 32 balls, the
best rate of the group. Spin bowlers have not taken
the clobbering on antipodean pitches that some
expected either, with Daniel Vettori, Imran Tahir and
Rangana Herath all keeping it tight and picking up
key scalps. Meanwhile, England’s one true specialist,
James Tredwell, who has the fourth-best strike rate of
international spinners to have bowled more than 300
overs in one-day cricket, is yet to be picked.
4. Muddled thinking
The primacy of Alastair Cook in the pre-Christmas
tour to Sri Lanka was the catalyst for a top-three
merry-go-round in which Moeen Ali replaced Alex
Hales as opener and Ian Bell moved to No3. He was
then dropped before finally being restored to the top
for the Tri-Series after the captain had finally been
hooked from the stage. James Taylor thought he
had nailed down first-drop during that time, only for
Gary Ballance, with only one innings in four and a
half months, to get the nod on the eve of the tournament as Ravi Bopara, an almost ever-present up to
that point, was axed. Since then England have stuck
rigidly to the same side, despite the glaring issue of
Ballance’s loss in form.
5. Cram before the exam
Ashley Giles, since losing his job as limited overs coach
in April 2014, has lamented a 16-month stint in which he
was rarely granted his first choice squad as the one-day
legs of tours were used as a chance to rest and rotate
with back-to-back Ashes series on the horizon. By bringing the Test series in Australia forward by 12 months—
the shockwaves from which are still being felt—England
cleared the decks for a winter of white-ball cricket. But
having given one-day cricket second tier status for so
long—a runners-up spot in the 2013 Champions Trophy
demonstrated what a full strength side could achieve—
this 50-over-only diet was more akin to a last-minute
cramming session than a period of fine-tuning, throwing up more questions than answers and leading to the
necessary but far-from-ideal change of captain just two
months before the tournament.
(Top) Bangladesh
players warm up
during a training
session ahead of
their World Cup
Pool A clash against
England, to be played
at the Adelaide Oval
today. England must
win the game to
keep their slender
hopes to make the
quarterfinals alive.
(Left) England’s
Moeen Ali takes
a catch during a
training session at
the Adelaide Oval
yesterday. England
are likely replace
the out-of-form Gary
Ballance with Alex
Hales, who will open
the batting with Ali.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
India’s Saina goes down to
Marin in All England final
‘I lost to her every time before, so to beat her like this, and in this tournament, is very special indeed’
Birmingham, England
champion Chen
hopes to emulate
legend Lin
Andalucian who created one of
the biggest sensations
in badminton history last year,
created another by becoming the
first Spaniard ever to win an AllEngland title.
Marin did that with a 16-21,
21-14, 21-7 women’s singles win
over Saina Nehwal, the world
number three from India.
And it was a remarkable result for someone from a country
where until now little badminton
has been played, and one which
follows her startling capture of
the world title in Copenhagen
last year.
What made it all the more
stunning was that Marin had
never beaten Nehwal before and
that she did so this time, having looked headed for defeat at a
game and 6-10 down.
But she transformed both
the tactical emphasis and the
emotion of the match, and well
before the end Nehwal’s skills
and movement seemed to have
strangely evaporated.
“This is quite amazing for
me,” said Marin. “I lost to her
every time before, so to beat her
like this, and in this tournament,
is very special indeed.
“It was special when I won the
world title - so many people met
me at the airport - and this feels
very special too. We shall see
how people react this time.”
Nehwal, who now has to be
content with being the first Indian woman to reach this final,
nevertheless started well, moving into a three-point lead at
once, and extending it to nine
points before consolidating it to
20-11, at which stage it seemed
that the match night become
very one-sided.
Deceptive That was because in the process Nehwal also showed how she
might be tactically superior.
She often kept the shuttle low
and flat, away from Marin’s fine
smashing and, when she lifted
the shuttle, she usually moved it
form side to side and was mostly
accurate enough.
Nehwal was also often better at the mid-court pushing
and jabbing exchanges, and
Spain’s Carolina Marin poses for photographers on the podium after victory in the women’s singles final of the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships 2015 at the
National Indoor Arena, Birmingham yesterday.
it became unclear how Marin
was going to get back into the
It was not until the Spaniard
won the point which earned her
the serve at 9-15 that she managed to land one of her powerful
and deceptive round-the-head
smashes for a winner.
But Marin started to come
good when she won five points
in a row before losing the first
And from the mid-stage of the
second game she started to hustle and dictate much more, improving greatly in the mid-court
exchanges, and fighting much
Even then Marin went 6-10
down in the second game, at
which point thoughts of winning the title which had been
her childhood dream might
well have come into Nehwal’s
But when Marin had hit a
trademark smash followed by a
kill to reach 17-13, she showed a
fist and strutted provocatively
across the net, and from the then
on the emotions of the contest
changed, as well as its tactics.
Unstoppable -
And once Marin had closed
out the second set after a rat-atat mid-court exchange she got
completely on top, and Nehwal
seemed unable to respond. “I
just lost focus and began hurrying, which was not right,” Nehwal said.
“Playing against top players anything can happen at any
stage, and you can always get
nervous at some point in time.
That’s what happened here.”
By the change of ends in the
decider Marin had become unstoppable.
She finished with a fierce se-
quence of attacks and when she
had won threw herself on the
floor and covered her eyes, before leaping up to begin a series
of embraces.
“At 9-11 in the second I heard
my coach calling to me,” she
said. “I stuck to my game plan
(speeding the rallies up more)
and tried to make less mistakes.
I could feel it was beginning to
work but then it started working
very quickly.”
Earlier, the three-year run
of Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana
Natsir as All-England mixed
doubles champions came to an
Hamilton feeling ‘stronger than ever’
rivalry revived
in Brazil Stock
Car series
champion Lewis Hamilton says he is going into
the new season mentally
stronger than ever after learning
to keep his personal and professional life apart.
Hamilton won 11 of the 19
races last year on his way to a
second title. However, he and
on-off girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger have separated since she
watched him win the Abu Dhabi
season-ender and title last November.
“I think last year, I adapted ...
a mental attitude that was kind
of, I would like to say, impenetrable,” the Mercedes driver told
British reporters before heading to Australia for the March 15
“In the previous years it has
been the case where it (personal
issues) has affected my life in
general but I feel that I still carry
that kind of mentality from last
year. “Having been in this position before, I feel stronger than
ever so I don’t feel that it’s going
to be a problem.”
The Briton started the 2014
season, the first of the new V6
turbo hybrid era, with some
pundits suspecting his team
mate Nico Rosberg might get
the better of a man who so often
wears his heart on his sleeve and
lives in the public glare.
end when they were beaten by
Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, the
Olympic and world champions.
The top-seeded Chinese pair
overcame the fourth-seeded
Indonesians 21-10, 21-10, thus
maintaining China’s chances of
winning four of the five titles, as
well as Zhang Nan’s hopes of becoming the first man to win two
titles at the same All-England
championship for 13 years.
Zhang was due to play later in
the men’s doubles, the last final,
and China also had players competing for titles in the men’s singles and women’s doubles.
World number one Chen
Long hopes to emulate his
legendary compatriot Lin Dan
after regaining an All-England
Open men’s singles title which
some doubted he could capture a second time.
The 26-year-old from Hubei
repelled a brave challenge
from Jan Jorgensen, the world
number two from Denmark,
15-21, 21-17, 21-15, and spoke
after Sunday’s win of trying to
reach the five titles which Lin,
the Olympic champion, has
won in Birmingham.
“Jorgensen is tough but Lin
Dan is right up there,” said
Chen, indicating the ceiling.
“Lin Dan is on the highest
level,” he added, despite having beaten the 31-year-old Lin
in two comfortable games in
Saturday’s semi-finals.
“I want to catch Lin Dan’s
record, but for the moment
physical condition is the
most important thing. I need
to keep healthy and not get
These words suggest that
it may be Chen rather than
Lin - trying to return to more
regular competition to bid for
a third gold medal - who is at
the moment regarded by the
Chinese camp as a better bet
for success in Rio next year.
He certainly showed patience,
a good temperament, and an
excellent defence and counter-attack, despite phases late
in the second game when it
seemed Jorgensen might be
capable of a surprise.
The 27-year-old from Aalborg
fought tenaciously and
produced some sublime moments, both with disguised
net shots and brilliantly
ambushing attacks, when an
upset seemed not impossible.
But Chen gradually imposed
his familiar mid-court containing game, mixed in with
darting counter-attacks. He
did that by getting forward a
little more and moving to the
net earlier, often smothering
Jorgensen’s intentions.
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton
Instead, Hamilton won more
of the mind battles between the
two title rivals, stepping up a
gear in particular after they collided in Belgium.
Everything aligned for the
double champion last year and
he said that was a rarity.
“It’s like once in a blue moon
that it’s all in line but I still feel
like I’ve got enough in place to do
what I need to do and to be the
best I can be,” said the 30-yearold.
“It’s not easy to better a season like last year. In terms of
performance, it was the best year
that I think I’ve ever had, but it
doesn’t mean I can’t beat it so
that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Hamilton is also negotiating
his own contract extension with
Mercedes, with the existing one
running out at the end of the
year, and he said that was progressing well.
“Hopefully we’re in the final
stages. I don’t really know what
the timeline is for that but we’re
not rushing, but we’re very much
in the last stages of it,” he said.
“So for the foreseeable future,
I’m committed to this team.”
More than 25 years have
passed since the names
Prost and Senna shared one
of Formula One’s most celebrated intra-team rivalries at
McLaren -- the partnership is
now set to resume on March
22 in the first round of Brazil’s
2015 Stock Car Series in
Goiania, in Brazil.
Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna will be on the same team
sheet for Prati-Donaduzzi
Racing, reports Xinhua citing
event organisers.
Frenchman Prost is the son of
four-time F1 world champion
Alain and Senna the nephew
of Brazil’s three-time title winner Ayrton. The pair will travel
together to Brazil on March
16 after competing against
each other in the Formula
E - the world championship
for electric vehicles - in Miami
two days earlier.
“It’s going to be a great experience. We have known each
other for a long time and
we get along well. I confess
that I still get goosebumps
when I’m in pit lane and I see
his helmet. It makes me remember my dad and Ayrton,”
33-year-old Prost said.
Zou defeated, but
China and Tso go on
champion Zou Shiming’s failure to win
the IBF flyweight
world title on Saturday does
not mean China’s dream of
having a professional world
champion is over, says veteran
promoter Bob Arum.
The 83-year-old Top Rank
chief, already eyeing a comeback fight for Zou, turned his
attention to the next in line for
a shot at glory - Hong Kong’s
“Wonder Kid” Rex Tso.
Tso, 27, fighting on the
Amnat Ruenroeng-Zou undercard, prevailed on points
in a brutal 10-round super
flyweight eliminator against
Michael Enriquez of the Philippines.
Arum announced after the
fight that Tso would challenge
Kohei Kono, Japan’s WBA super flyweight champion, at the
same Cotai Arena in Macau on
July 18, and become the first
ever boxer from Hong Kong to
fight for a world title.
“Rex Tso put on a wonderful
display,” said Arum. “He better get used to all the attention
because a lot more is coming.”
“Next step: win a world title,” Tso told reporters. “After
that, help to popularise boxing
in Hong Kong and China.
“When people think of Hong
Kong, I don’t want them to just
think of Bruce Lee. I want them
to think of Rex Tso.”
Arum said that they would
look for an opponent for Zou’s
comeback fight on the same
“(Zou) Shiming knows like
all of us that all great fighters
suffer a loss,” said Arum of the
fighter he described last year as
the “poster boy” for the rise of
professional boxing in China.
Zou was fast-tracked by
Arum, his Top Rank organisation, and Hall of Fame trainer
Freddie Roach to a world title
shot in just his seventh pro
But the man from Guizhou’s
inexperience showed on Saturday as he was outmanoeuvred,
outboxed and outfoxed by the
IBF world champion Amnat.
“It is part of life,” Zou, 33,
told reporters afterwards.
“Without losing you cannot
fully enjoy the sweet taste of
Roach, in the middle of
training Manny Pacquiao to
fight Floyd Mayweather in
their May 2 megafight, said the
slippery Thai had surprised
“He was running a lot, very
defensive. He was a very awkward guy to fight. I didn’t see
any of that on the tapes we
watched,” Roach told AFP. “My
game plan sucked.”
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Wins for Rayyan
and Al Shamal
Rayyan’s Bolds score game-high 24 points against Sadd, Hunter excels for Shamal
By Sports Reporter
Leon Hunter of Shamal dunks the ball against QSC in their
Qatar Basketball League game yesterday.
rmond Bolds scored a
game-high 24 points
and Dominic Davon
chipped in with 22
as Al Rayyan defeated Al Sadd
76-67 in the Qatar Basketball
League yesterday.
In a see-saw match, Al Rayyan led 20-14 after the first quarter only for Al Sadd to mount a
spectacular rally in the second
during which they scored 29
points to go ahead 39-35.
But Al Ryyan pulled up their
socks and managed to overturn
the lead, albeit only by a point
(56-55) by the end of the third
quarter, and motored along to
clinch a well-deserved win.
Bolds scored nine field goals,
which included two threepointers, and scored off all the
four free-throws he took.
Davon also excelled with a
100 percent free-throw conversion (7 out of 7) and also shot a
three-pointer. Salem Abdulla
with 14 and Aloysius Ewing Jr
with 10 also made an impression in the game.
For Al Sadd, Sulaiman Abdi
and Rashad Woods scored 19
apiece, while Tyrone Anderson
had 13.
In another match, Al Shamal
staged a fine rally to beat Qatar
Sports Club 79-70, thanks to a
fine contribution of 27 points by
Anthony White.
Qatar Sports Club took a
slender 25-23 at the end of the
first quarter and continued to
lead 41-40 after the second before Al Shamal got their act together.
They scored 24 points in the
third period to lead 64-60 and
maintained the momentum to
close out the match comfortably in the end.
Leon Hunter II also excelled
for Al Shamal with 22 points,
while Kamal Hachad scored 15.
For Qatar Sports Club, Mile Ilic
had 22, while Wallace Cox and
Winder O’Brien scored 19 and
16 respectively.
By Sports Reporter
Kuwait City
he first FIA Sport Regional Congress for the
Middle East and North
Africa Region (MENA),
held in Kuwait over a period of
three days, concluded its activities yesterday, with the adoption
of recommendations and studies that serve the best interest of
motor sport and promote future
races and championships in the
MENA region.
After deliberations held during
the MENA meeting last Friday,
the representatives of 19 ASNs
discussed, in training workshops
organised over the following two
days, the major obstacles hindering the development of motor sport in the MENA countries,
including the organizational,
technical and logistical support provided by the FIA to these
countries in championships and
They have also deliberated on
the mechanism used to define the
tracks of cross-country rallies of
the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) in Dubai, Qatar and
In fact, as these countries have
open desert spaces, the organizers will have to deploy additional
efforts to limit violations during
the race. Therefore, it was agreed
to adopt the last Qatar International Rally as a positive model
to be applied to rest of the MERC
rallies. The attendees discussed
as well ways to prevent any attempt to bypass the laws on the
tracks of cross-country rallies.
Furthermore, all the participants underscored the importance
of having a Baja Cross-Country
Championship organized particularly in the North Africa region
and the need to activate such a
championship by attracting a significant number of competitors,
so as to allow it to grow to reach a
size comparable to that of international championships.
They also agreed that all this
could only be achieved through
joint action by organizers, participants and media.
The FIA accredited training
team explained the mechanism
according to which ASNs could
apply for FIA support and the
modalities of this mechanism,
with the help of FIA representatives who were ready to answer
any enquiries by attendees.
In fact, in order to benefit
from the support of the FIA,
the ASN is required to submit a
thorough study of prospective
activities pertaining to the races
and championships it organizes.
Then, the FIA takes the appropriate decision after consideration of the aforementioned
Kilty storms to 60m win
ritain’s Richard Kilty
made a fine addition to
his world indoor gold
as he won the 60-metre race at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in
Prague yesterday.
Kilty clocked 6.51sec as he
beat Germany’s Christian Blum
(6.58) and Julian Reus (6.60).
He was the only Briton running in the finals after Chijindu
Ujah had been disqualified for
a false start. Sean Safo-Antwi
failed to reach the finals by a
hundredth of a second.
“My second gold medal indoors, now I am ready to show
something outdoors too and I am
working on it very hard,” said the
25-year-old Kilty.
“Maybe there were some people who thought I was just lucky
in Sopot (in 2014) but I am confident and this confirmed I am in a
good shape.”
Dwain Chambers did not make
it to Prague as the British federation decided to sideline the controversial 36-year-old legend.
Other major absentees on the
shortest track included French
sprinters Christophe Lemaitre and defending champion
Jimmy Vicaut. Dafne Schippers
equalled this year’s world-leading time of 7.05sec to take 60m
gold. “Every medal counts and
I appreciate this gold a lot,” said
the Dutch European 100m and
200m champion.
Schippers revealed new plans
ahead of the world outdoor championships in Beijing in August. “I
will focus on heptathlon now. I
already train for the multi events.”
FIA Sport Congress
for MENA region
concludes in Kuwait
Richard Kilty of Great Britain poses on the podium after winning
the 60m final at the European Athletics Indoors Championships in
Prague on Sunday. Richard Kilty of Great Britain won ahead Christian
Blum of Germany and Julian Reus of Germany. (AFP)
Britain’s 19-year-old sprinter
Dina Asher-Smith equalled the
British record at 7.08sec to come
second ahead of Germany’s Verena Sailer, the 2010 European
outdoor champion (7.09).
Russian high jumper Daniyil
Tsyplakov took the honours
ahead of Italy’s Silvano Chesani
and Greece’s Adonios Mastoras
who shared second with all three
clearing 2.31m.
Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski
took gold in the men’s 800m at
1min 46.67sec ahead of Ireland’s
Mark English and Thijmen Kupers of the Netherlands.
Selina Buechel of Switzerland won women’s 800m in
2min 01.95sec, beating Olympic bronze medalist Yekaterina
Poistogova from Russia and defending champion Nataliya Lupu
from Ukraine. British star Jenny
Meadows did not start in the finals after grappling with a heavy
cold for several days.
The home crowd went crazy
when Jakub Holusa edged past
Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Ozbilen in
a nerve-wracking finish to take
the 1500m gold in a national
record of 3min 37.68sec. Britain’s
Chris O’Hare was third.
Dutch runner Sifan Hassan
lost nine seconds against her
world-leading time but won the
women’s 1500m comfortably
in 4min 09.04sec after taking a
massive lead from the start.
Russia’s Ilya Shkurenyov won
the heptathlon with a worldleading 6,353 points, beating
Arthur Abele of Germany and
Dutch defending champion Eelco Sintnicolaas.
Adding to Russian joy, Yekaterina Koneva dominated the
women’s triple jump with a
world-leading 14.69 metres
ahead of Gabriela Petrova from
Bulgaria and Hanna Knyazyeva
from Israel.
And Anzhelika Sidorova of
Russia won women’s pole vault
gold in 4.80m ahead of Greece’s
Ekaterini Stefanidi and Sweden’s
Angelica Bengtsson.
The gold in the final 4x400metre relays went to Belgium
with the three Borlee brothers,
and to French women.
Holmes seizes
command with
ace, 4-birdie run
Doral (Florida)
B Holmes fired a hole-in-one and birdied four
of the last five holes to seize a five-stroke lead
after Saturday’s third round of the World Golf
Championships event at Doral.
Holmes, seeking his fourth career US PGA title, birdied the 14th through 17th holes before a
closing bogey as he fired a two-under 70 to stand
on 11-under 205 after 54 holes in the Cadillac
Championship. “A win is a win, so if that happens, that would be great,” Holmes said. “But I’m
just going to go out and control what I control
and do my routines and have fun and whatever
happens happens.”
Reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson
blasted a bunker shot 43 feet for a birdie to finish
his round of 70 and grab a share of second with
fellow American Dustin Johnson on 210 with
compatriot Ryan Moore fourth on 211.
“Just trying to hit one close to make an easy
par, but for it to actually fall in, obviously dinner is going to taste really good tonight,” Watson
said. Johnson aced the par-3 fourth hole only to
have Holmes match his feat about 20 minutes
later, both of them using 7-irons to solve the 227yard hole.
“The wind was coming, kind of down and hard
off the right,” Holmes said of his ace. “I was actually aiming right at it. And well, I was planning
on the wind moving it, and I thought if I hit it
perfect it would stay straight and it did.
“So one of the rare times you get a hole-in-one
where you actually hit it just like you want to.”
There had not been an ace on the hole in 25
years. South African Louis Oosthuizen, Swede
Henrik Stenson and American Bill Haas were on
212 with England’s Lee Westwood, Australian
JB Holmes of the US watches his tee shot on the
seventh hole during the third round of the World
Golf Championships — Cadillac Championship at
Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course
in Doral, Florida, on Saturday. (AFP)
Adam Scott, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and American
Webb Simpson on 213.
World number one Rory McIlroy fired a 72 and
was 10 shots off the pace, but much happier than
Friday, when he hurled his 3-iron into a pond after plunking a shot into the water.
“It was all right,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I hit
it a little better. Controlled my ball flight a little
better. Hit some shots that were quite pleasing.
“It’s a tricky day out there with the wind. It
would have been nice to shoot something under
par, but even par out there isn’t that bad a score.”
McIlroy says his iron shots are the major flaw
he sees in his game as he nears next month’s
Masters and his bid for a third consecutive major title, one that would also complete his career
Grand Slam.
“My iron play just isn’t really where I want it
to be,” he said.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Qatar’s Mohamad al-Obaidly and Khalid al-Kuwari with the Qatar Sailing and Watersports Federation board member and head
of the Aqua Bike and Formula One Hassan Ahmad Bilal (L) on day one of the UIM Nations Cup World Series Grand Prix of Qatar
yesterday. The event will end on March 11.
Visiting faculty from Georgetown University and delegates from the Qatar Stars League (QSL) and the Qatar
Football Association (QFA) pose on day one of a five-day executive education course which is being organised
by Josoor Institute – a centre of excellence for the sports and events industries in the Middle East and North
Africa (MENA) region. The course will enhance leadership and senior management skills through a range of
teaching and workshop sessions and bespoke training exercises. The various topics that will be discussed in
sessions spread across the week include business acumen, strategy, people and leadership, entrepreneurship
& innovation, management skills/communications, project management, financial management, customer/
client experience.
Britain, Australia,
Kazakhstan in last 8
safety and security
‘I was playing confidently and consistently and that was the key I think’
ndy Murray sealed a
quarter-final berth for
Great Britain in the
Davis Cup yesterday as
Australia and Kazakhstan also
joined already qualified France
and Serbia.
Defending champions Switzerland kept their quarter-final
hopes alive by drawing level 2-2
with Belgium in Liege.
Scot Murray, the world
number five, claimed a 7-6 (7/4),
6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over US
number one John Isner in Glasgow. The win clinched a 3-1 triumph and set up a final eight
meeting in July against last
year’s runners-up France who
advanced 3-2 past Germany in
Bob and Mike Bryan had
kept the United States in with a
chance of a dramatic fightback
as they held off a strong challenge from Jamie Murray and
Dom Inglot to win 6-3, 6-2, 3-6,
6-7 (8/10), 9-7 on Saturday.
Faced with a 2-0 deficit after Friday’s singles matches, the
Bryan brothers knew another
loss would condemn the USA to
an embarrassingly quick defeat.
The world’s number one doubles team got the job done, but
not without a scare as Murray,
the brother of Davis Cup teammate Andy Murray, and Inglot
recovered from two sets down.
Switzerland, missing big guns
Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, drew level 2-2 in Liege after
Henri Laaksonen survived a fivesetter against Belgian Steve Darcis 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.
Michael Lammer will bid to
seal the winning point for the
Swiss when he plays David Goffin in Sunday’s final reverse singles. The winner will face either
Canada or Japan.
Canada were in control in
Vancouver after Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil outlasted
Japan’s Go Soeda and Yasutaka
Great Britain’s Jamie Murray, Liam Broady, James Ward, Andy Murray, captain Leon Smith and Dominic Inglot pose for a photograph after
victory over the USA in the Davis Cup in Glasgow yesterday.
Uchiyama 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
to put the hosts up 2-1.
That means 2014 US Open
runner-up Kei Nishikori, ranked
fourth in the world, will be fighting to keep Japan alive when he
takes on world number six Milos
Raonic in Sunday’s first reverse
singles match. Both Raonic and
Nishikori won singles matches
on Friday.
In Ostrava, Bernard Tomic
beat Lukas Rosol in straight sets
to give Australia an unbeatable
3-1 lead over the Czech Republic.
In a clash of the teams’
number-one players, Tomic,
the 22-year-old world number
38, saw off 29-year-old Rosol,
ranked 31, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6
(7/5) in two hours and 13 minutes.
“I was playing confidently and
consistently and that was the key
I think,” said Tomic.
“I’m happy with the way I did
it today.”
Australia now take on Kazakhstan who squeezed past Italy
3-2 in Astana. Aleksandr Nedovyesov, 28, sealed the winning
point for the Kazakhs, beating
Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 4-6,
6-3, 7-5 after Mikhail Kukushkin
earlier beat Andreas Seppi 7-6
(10/8), 6-0, 6-4.
Serbia, who had advanced unbeaten on Saturday, completed a
5-0 rout over Croatia in Kraljevo
with Filip Krajinovic easing past
Franko Skugor 6-4, 6-2 and
Viktor Troicki beating Mate
Delic 6-4, 6-3. World number
one Novak Djokovic and Nenad
Zimonjic had sealed a quarterfinal berth on Saturday by beating Franko Skugor and Marin
Draganja 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.
Djokovic had easily beaten
Mate Delic on Friday as the 2010
winners grabbed a 2-0 lead over
a Croatia team missing injured
US Open champion Marin Cilic.
Serbia will next face South
American opposition with Brazil
leading Argentina 2-1 in Buenos
Aires after Marcelo Melo and
Bruno Soares defeated Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and Carlos
Berlocq 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in doubles.
Wozniacki triumphs in Malaysian Open
Danish star Caroline Wozniacki won the Malaysian Open after dispatching Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru yesterday.
The top-seed lost the first set, but managed to overcome the initial
setback and win the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
“I kept making you (Dulgheru) run because I knew that you would
eventually get tired, but well done and good luck in your next tournament,” said Wozniacki.
With the win, she has managed to atone for her first-round early exit
last year in the same Malaysian tournament.
Wozniacki qualified for the final after beating Taiwanese ace Su-Wei
Hsieh in straight sets at the semi-finals on Saturday.
She posted a selfie on Instagram after collecting her trophy and wrote
that she “couldn’t be happier” with her 23rd title.
“Thank you Malaysia for a great week, can’t wait to be back!”
The doubles title went to Liang Chen and Wang Yafan, who beat No.3
seeds Yuliya Beygelzimer and Olga Savchuk in the final, 4-6, 6-3, 10-4.
Just a few days earlier a title seemed totally unlikely for the Chinese
pair - they had to save six match points to win their quarterfinal match
on Wednesday.
Caroline Wozniacki poses with the trophy
after defeating Romania’s Alexandra
Dulgheru in the 2015 BMW Malaysia Open
final in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. (AFP)
In Frankfurt, hosts Germany
saved face by winning their final
reverse singles rubbers against
beating Nicolas Mahut 7-6
(8/6), 6-3, and Philipp Kohlschreiber sing off Gilles Simon 7-6
(7/5), 6-4.
France had assured themselves
of a quarter-final berth when
Julien Benneteau and Nicolas
Mahut posted a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
doubles success over Benjamin
Becker and Andre Begemann on
Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils had put France 2-0 up after
beating Jan-Lennard Struff and
Philipp Kohlschreiber respectively on Friday.
ith the growth of domestic football in Russia and
preparations to host several high-profile international sport events well underway, the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) this week
delivered their first safety and security workshop with the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) in Moscow.
As part of their commitment to safeguard sport, ICSS experts including Helmut Spahn (Director General, ICSS) and
Malcolm Tarbitt, (Executive Director – Safety and Security,
ICSS), as well as Birger Nass (Head of Stadium Infrastructure
& Security, Deutsche Fußball Liga), joined over 80 representatives from RFPL members to help enhance understanding and
share some of the latest trends in sport safety and security.
Under the theme of ‘Stadium Security in light of 2018 World
Cup preparation: Russian and International practices’, a range
of stakeholders from Russian football attended the workshop
including clubs, stadium directors, security officers, players unions, representatives of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Local
Organising Committee – including Alexey Sorokin (CEO, 2018
FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee) - and
the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation.
Topics that were discussed throughout the day included security operations, infrastructure and security design, fan management as well as legal, governance and regulatory matters.
Speaking following the workshop, Vitaly Mutko, Sports Minister of the Russian Federation, said: “On behalf of the Sports
Ministry of the Russian Federation and in my personal capacity
I am pleased to welcome all participants, organisers and guests
of the International Conference - Stadium Security in light of
2018 World Cup preparation: Russian and International Practices.
“In the nearest future an unforgettable festival is waiting for
us – 2018 FIFA World Cup. The best teams and their most committed supporters will come to Russia.
“This is a real global scale event, and there is a good reason
that audiences of the latest tournaments corresponded to more
than one billion people.
“The preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is well under
way. One of the most important aspects of successful hosting
the tournament is safety and security of the participants and
guests of our country.
“I am sure that by our joint efforts and taking into consideration the best international practices we shall host one of the
most spectacular and entertaining World Cup in the history of
World Football.
“I wish successful and effective work to all participants of
the Conference!”
Helmut Spahn, Director General of the ICSS, said:“This
workshop provided an excellent opportunity to meet and share
our insight with the RFPL, as well as other key stakeholders in
Russian football. On behalf of the ICSS, I would like to thank
them for welcoming us here today.
“With the continued growth of the RFPL, new stadia being
developed and the country preparing to host many high-profile
international events over the next few years, including the 2017
FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup, forums
like this provide an important platform to share knowledge and
develop a strong understanding about the main challenges and
trends that now face major event organisers.
“At the ICSS, we believe that governments and governing
bodies must take a lead and be at the forefront of the fight to
protect sport and I would encourage other organisations to
show same leadership in confronting the many new threats that
now face sport.”
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Cavaliers bounce
back as Hawks
grounded by Sixers
‘At one point I looked up at the scoreboard and saw they were shooting 27 percent’
Timofey Mozgov (L) of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brandan Wright of the Phoenix Suns fight for a rebound during the second-half of their NBA game at Quicken Loans Arena in
Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday. (AFP)
he Atlanta Hawks,
fresh off a victory over
LeBron James and
Cleveland, saw their
six-game win streak snapped
Saturday by the NBA’s secondworst team, Philadelphia, while
the Cavaliers ripped Phoenix.
Philadelphia’s Luc Mbah a
Moute and Hollis Thompson
each scored a game-high 19
points to spark the 76ers to a
92-84 victory over Atlanta, who
opted to rest three starters.
In Cleveland, Russian big
man Timofey Mozgov scored a
game-high 19 points to power
the Cavs past Phoenix 89-79.
The Hawks, who solidified
their spot as the top team in the
Eastern Conference by beating
Cleveland 106-97 on Friday,
squandered an 11-point lead after the first quarter against the
lowly 76ers, who had lost nine
of their prior 10 games.
Absences may have played a
part. Starters DeMarre Carroll,
Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap all
sat out for rest. Korver didn’t
travel to Philadelphia. Pero Antic was sidelined by a sprained
left ankle.
But the Hawks were also
hurt by some sloppy play. They
scored just 31 points in the second half. Jeff Teague scored 17
points while Dennis Schroeder
added 16 points off the bench
for the Hawks, but each had
five turnovers. “I was just making boneheaded mistakes on
the break,” Teague said. “I just
didn’t have it.”
The playoff-bound Hawks
fell to 49-13 and behind Golden
State (48-12) in the fight for the
NBA’s best overall record.
“It wasn’t our best night,”
said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. “Sometimes you learn
from those just as much or more
than your good nights.”
At Cleveland, Mozgov connected on 6-of-8 shots from
the floor and 7-of-8 free throws
in the triumph.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James added 17 points
while Kevin Love had 13 points
and 10 rebounds and Tristan
Thompson came off the bench
to score 15 points and grab 12
New Orleans
Sacramento 109 (OT)
NY Knicks
The Cavaliers improved to
40-25, just ahead of Toronto and
just behind Chicago in the fight
for second place in the East.
James, who was sharply critical of himself after he coughed
up nine turnovers in the loss to
Atlanta on Friday, also had eight
assists on Saturday, matching
Mark Price’s Cleveland club
record of 4,206 careers assists.
“I think it’s a pretty cool feat,”
he said. The Cavs led by as many
as 32 points in the third quarter.
They scored just nine in the final
frame, but James was pleased
with the defensive effort that
had allowed them to build the
big cushion.
“At one point I looked up at
the scoreboard and saw they
were shooting 27 percent,” he
said. “That let me know that we
were in tune with the game plan.
We came out and executed. We
contested shots, rebounded and
we played some really good basketball.”
Markieff Morris scored 16
points to lead the Suns, who
fell to 33-31, 10th in the Western Conference and two games
behind Oklahoma City for the
eighth and final playoff berth in
the West.
Depleted Heat rally to top
Kings in overtime
Dwyane Wade scored 10 of his
28 points in overtime on Saturday to help the injury-hit Miami
Heat to a 114-109 NBA victory
over the Sacramento Kings.
Miami rallied from a 16-point
third-quarter deficit to beat the
Kings, despite having only nine
players available because of injuries. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game that
so many of his players were receiving treatment before tip-off
he wasn’t even sure who would
“We’ll go with who we have,”
Spoelstra said. “Whoever laces
them up, we’re going with the
mentality that is enough.”
It included Wade, back in ac-
tion one night after sitting out
Friday’s defeat at Washington
with a sore right hip.
Guard Goran Dragic was out
due to a sore back. An ankle
injury sidelined center Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng
missed his second straight game
with a thigh contusion.
Reserve center Tyler Johnson
helped fill the void, contributing 24 points, six rebounds and
six assists for the Heat.
With the win, Miami moved
into playoff position in eighth
place in the Eastern Conference,
with the same 28-34 record as
seventh-place Indiana.
But the two teams have
ninth-placed Charlotte on their
heels. “Definitely a must-win
when you look at the standings,”
Johnson said. “Every game is
important. We lose one and all
of sudden we’re out of the playoff picture.”
Michael Beasley scored 18
points and Mario Chalmers
added 12 with seven assists for
Miami. Sacramento’s DeMarcus
Cousins posted 27 points and
17 rebounds, but fouled out in
overtime. Rudy Gay also scored
27 for the Kings.
Canucks edge
Sharks 3-2
By David Pollak
San Jose Mercury News
t’s still too early to say that
one defeat can be devastating for the San Jose Sharks’
playoff hopes.
But San Jose dug itself an even
deeper hole Saturday night after
jumping out to a two-goal lead,
then making the kind of mistakes
it had been able to avoid of late and
eventually losing 3-2 to a Vancouver Canucks team that it has been
chasing in the Pacific Division.
The Sharks got early goals
from Melker Karlsson and Joe
Thornton before giving up
two to Radim Vrbata that were
sandwiched around one by Bo
Horvat. The loss prevented
the Sharks from building serious momentum off their previous two games, wins over the
Montreal Canadiens and these
same Canucks that had restored
dwindling confidence.
And that is exactly what coach
Todd McLellan said they needed
to do before the game.
“We’ve had a tendency to play
like waves here a little bit where
we build and crest and then
crash, and that can’t happen. It’s
not going to work that way in the
last 17 games if we want to get to
the second season.”
What the Sharks needed to
do, the coach added, was build a
wave “and ride it for a long period. And that is exactly what they
didn’t do.”
The Sharks got the opening
goal for a fifth consecutive game
at 7:58 when the rebound of a shot
by Marc-Edouard Vlasic caromed
directly to Karlsson in the left faceoff circle, and Canucks goalie
Eddie Lack had no chance to stop
the puck fired his way.
Then with Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa in the penalty
box for cross-checking Joe Pavelski, the Sharks took a 2-0 lead
on another soft rebound when
Pavelski’s shot ended up on
Thornton’s stick, and he hit the
wide open net in front of him at
11:51. It was the third consecutive game San Jose took a 2-0
lead, but this one didn’t last till
the end of the period.
With less than a minute left,
the Canucks took advantage
of a giveaway by Patrick Marleau in the neutral zone and
moved quickly into the offensive
zone where Nick Bonino headmanned the puck to Vrbata, and
St. Louis
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 2 (OT)
NY Islanders 3 (SO)
Los Angeles
San Jose
he banked it in off Sharks netminder Antti Niemi from behind
the net at 19:21.
McLellan dropped Marleau to
the third line for the second period, and midway through it he
had the perfect chance to redeem
himself. Instead, he missed an
easy tap-in on a pass from Scott
Hannan and the Sharks’ lead
stayed at 2-1.
That changed, however, on
another San Jose breakdown
when the puck skipped past
Brent Burns at the blue line and
he lost a foot race with Canucks
rookie Horvat, who beat Niemi
high on the short side at 16:24 to
tie the game at 2-2.
The Sharks looked as if they
may have broken that tie at 1:09
of the third period when Tommy
Wingels appeared to push the
puck across the goal line after a
scramble, but officials waived it
off saying the whistle had blown.
Vancouver took the lead for
the first time at 5:21, eight seconds after Burns was sent to the
penalty box for high-sticking.
Off the opening faceoff, Daniel
Sedin found Vrbata all alone to
Niemi’s left, and he lifted the
puck over the goalie sprawled on
the ice.
San Jose came close to tying
the game at 7:05 when Tomas
Hertl hit the post, but Vrbata
tucked the puck under Lack before it could cross the goal line.
The only lineup change for
the Sharks from Tuesday night’s
game was on the blue line where
Scott Hannan replaced Matt Irwin, who had to sit out the game
because of an upper body injury
suffered in practice Friday.
The Sharks also called up defenseman Taylor Fedun from
Worcester, and he could be another option if Hannan can’t return for today’s game against the
Pittsburgh Penguins. Fedun, 26,
has five goals and 29 points in 56
games with San Jose’s development team.
Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (No 53) is congratulated by his
teammate after scoring a goal during the second period against the
San Jose Sharks at San Jose. PICTURE: USA TODAY Sports
Darvish could face season-ending operation
New York
exas Rangers star pitcher Yu Darvish
might need season-ending surgery to
repair a torn ligament in his right elbow, the Major League Baseball club
said Saturday.
The 28-year-old Japanese right-hander underwent an MRI exam Friday that disclosed
the extent of damage to the ulnar collateral
ligament, an injury unveiled after Darvish went
only one inning Thursday in his pre-season debut due to tightness in his right triceps.
Darvish has talked over options with Rangers
team orthopedist Keith Meister but he plans to
seek second opinions from other surgeons before making a decision on how to proceed.
“I will be disappointed if I have to miss the
season, but I want to look at all options, including getting a second opinion, before I make a
final decision,” Darvish said in a statement. “In
the meantime, my heart is with my teammates
and our focus remains on accomplishing our
goals for the season.”
Darvish, who missed the last seven weeks of
the 2014 campaign with inflammation in his
right elbow, went 10-7 with a 3.06 earned-run
average over 22 starts last year. He has a 3925 record and a 3.27 earned-run average in 83
starts over three seasons with the Rangers.
With Darvish having rested and rehabilitated
his arm over the off-season only to be hurt at
the start of his season’s work, he might be faced
with “Tommy John” surgery, the ligament replacement solution named for the first pitcher
to undergo the procedure.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said
Darvish would have to avoid throwing for six
weeks and would need four months before he
could pitch in a game even if he chose not to
have surgery, but Daniels said he was concerned
that might only be “delaying the inevitable.”
If Darvish had the surgery soon, he could be
ready for the start of the 2016 campaign, Daniels said.
“That’s where we are as far as the process
and making that call, which is ultimately Yu’s
to make,” Daniels said in a posting on the team
“First things first. You hurt for the guy. He
has worked so hard to come back.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister told Darvish
that he and his teammates would be there to
support him whatever happens.
“I sat down with Yu, shook his hand, listened
to him and told him however this goes, whatever direction this goes, he has a group of teammates who care about him and are ready to open
their arms and wrap their arms around him and
take care of him,” Banister said.
Oakland Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick
is out with an right oblique strain and could
miss Opening Day, manager Bob Melvin said.
Reddick sustained the injury during defensive drills Friday. He will not be allowed to take
part in baseball activities for at least two weeks
and could be miss 4-6 weeks.
“After I got the MRI, they were telling me that
it could be two months,” Reddick said Saturday.
“So to hear this morning that it’s just 4-6 weeks
is actually comforting, something of a relief.”
Instead of wearing his trademark sideline
khaki pants, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh was in full baseball uniform as a guest
coach at the Athletics spring training camp
Saturday. Harbaugh, the former coach of the
San Francisco 49ers, was in Mesa, Arizona, for
the A’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
He was going to coach first base for an inning
or two at the invitation of his longtime friend,
Oakland manager Bob Melvin.
“How does it get any better than that?” a
grinning Harbaugh said before the game. “It’s
a beautiful day for baseball, and just to have a
chance to put on the uniform. I haven’t had a
baseball uniform on since American Legion ball.”
The Kansas City Royals signed free agent
right-hander Chris Young to a one-year major
league deal. The contract is for $675,000, with
up to $5.325 million in incentive bonuses, according to the Kansas City Star. Young, 35, went
12-9 with a 3.65 ERA for the Seattle Mariners
last season.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Messi hat-trick and
Suarez double move
Barca top of La Liga
‘Big teams will lose throughout the season and we have to be very careful’
Roma draw
again to boost
Juve title bid
isfiring Roma handed
leaders Juventus the
chance to stretch
their Serie A lead to
11 points after being held to their
eighth draw in nine consecutive
games yesterday.
Roma travelled to Chievo hoping to end their sorry run of results that has put champions Juventus, who host Sassuolo today,
within sight of a likely fourth
consecutive scudetto.
But despite creating a host of
chances at the Bentegodi stadium, Rudi Garcia’s men were
repelled at every turn as Chievo,
who are only six points clear
of the drop zone, held on for a
scoreless draw and a share of the
The result left Roma in second place, eighth points adrift of
Juve with Napoli only five points
adrift ahead of their home clash
against Inter Milan later in the
On an afternoon of dour draws
in Italy’s top flight—Cesena v
Palermo and Parma v Atalanta
finished scoreless while Empoli
were held at home by Genoa—
Udinese stuck out from the
crowd thanks to a precious 3-2
home win over Torino.
Torino travelled to the Friuli
stadium looking to benefit from
the momentum that in recent
weeks has seen the on-form
‘Granata’ qualify for the last 16
of the Europa League.
Giampiero Ventura’s men
opened the scoring on the quarter hour thanks to former Juve
striker Fabio Quagliarella but the
hosts hit back three times in succession to leave the visitors with
a mountain to climb.
Udinese veteran Antonio Di
Natale levelled Quagliarella’s
strike only two minutes later and
the hosts took the lead before the
half-hour when Cristian Molinaro turned into his own net
from a corner.
Udinese’s players mobbed
Molla Wague four minutes after
the restart when the Malian defender took their lead to 3-1 with
a bullet header from Di Natale’s
corner to claim his maiden goal
in Serie A.
Torino earned a lifeline when
second-half substitute Marco
Benassi met a Udinese clearance
from a corner with a drive which
took a deflection before beating
Orestis Karnezis in the Udinese
net on 69 minutes.
The goal was only validated
minutes later after the referee
consulted with his fourth official
following claims from Udinese’s
players the goal was offside, but
it was not enough to see Torino
avoid conceding their first defeat
since a 2-1 reverse to Juventus on
November 30.
Elsewhere, visitors Genoa got
off the mark at Empoli thanks to
on-loan AC Milan striker M’Baye
Niang’s well-taken individual
effort which beat Luigi Sepe at
the ‘keeper’s far post.
But Empoli levelled in bizarre
style in the 66th minute when a
corner curled in from the right
caught Genoa ‘keeper Mattia Perin unawares on his goalline, with
an alert Federico Barba guiding the
rebound from Perin’s fumble over
the line with his knee.
Napoli are unbeaten at home
since a 3-1 reverse to Juventus on
January 11 but Rafael Benitez’s
men have suffered two defeats,
away to both Palermo and Torino, in their past three games.
A win at the San Paolo for Inter, who sit ninth at 23 points behind Juventus, would see Roberto Mancini’s men move to within
sight of the league’s three Champions League qualifying places.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (right) and Luis Suarez celebrate a goal against Rayo Vallecano during their La Liga match in Barcelona yesterday. (Reuters)
arcelona moved to the top of La
Liga for the first time since early
November as Lionel Messi struck
his 32nd hat-trick for the club in
a 6-1 thrashing of 10-man Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at Athletic
Bilbao on Saturday handed Barca the
chance to overtake the European champions and Luis Suarez wasted no time in
taking advantage as he slotted home his
sixth goal in as many games.
Gerard Pique doubled the hosts’ advantage just after half-time before Messi
added a third from the penalty spot at
the second attempt thanks to a reprieve
from the referee after his initial effort was
saved by Cristian Alvarez and Tito had
been sent-off for a second bookable offence.
There was no controversy over the Argentine’s final two goals, though, as he
moved level with Cristiano Ronaldo on
30 league goals for the season.
Both sides ended with 10 men when
Dani Alves was shown a straight red card
for bringing down Alberto Bueno inside
the area and Bueno converted from the
However, Barca had the final word
when Suarez slammed home his second
of the afternoon from Messi’s through
“The objective is to be the leader when
the season ends,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique.
“I have always said the big teams will
lose throughout the course of the season
and it will continue to happen, therefore
we have to be very careful.”
Suarez has found his scoring touch in
recent weeks after a slow start to life at the
Camp Nou and was razor sharp in front of
goal just six minutes in as he rolled his de-
fender before flicking the ball past Alvarez
with the outside of his right foot.
Rayo competed well during the first 45
minutes, but were nearly undone by a
moment of genius when Messi lobbed
Suarez’s lofted pass over the onrushing
Alvarez only to see the ball float into the
Enrique’s men didn’t have to wait long
to make the game safe after the break,
though, as Jordi Alba’s header from Xavi’s
corner came back off the post and Pique
was on hand to force the ball over the line.
Rayo’s task became impossible seven
minutes later when Suarez was pulled
down by Tito inside the area and the defender was shown a second yellow card.
Messi’s yips from the penalty spot continued as, after missing five of his last 10
for club and country, Alvarez comfortably
saved his first effort.
However, referee Jesus Gil Manzano
ruled there had been encroachment by
Rayo players and gave Messi a second opportunity which he didn’t pass up.
The four-time World Player of the Year
was in the right place to slot home his
second moments later after Alvarez had
made a fine save to deny Suarez.
And Messi completed a 12-minute hattrick with a lovely feint to leave Alvarez
on the floor before rolling the ball into an
empty net.
The action continued in the final quarter as Manzano levelled up the numbers
by sending off Alves for a foul on Bueno
inside the box nine minutes from time.
The former Real Madrid midfielder
picked himself up to convert the penalty and extend his advantage as the topscoring Spaniard in the league.
However, it was Suarez who rounded
off the scoring in style in stoppage time
when he latched on to Messi’s neat pass
to round Alvarez and turn the ball home
from a narrow angle.
AS Roma’s Gervinho looks down after playing out a draw against
Chievo Verona in their Serie A match in Verona yesterday. (Reuters)
Berlusconi, Taechaubol sign preliminary
Milan stake deal, according to report
C Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi
has signed a preliminary agreement to sell 30% of the club
to Bee Taechaubol following a
meeting between the Italian media magnate and the Thai businessman, according to reports yesterday.
Speculation surrounding the sale or
part sale of the seven-time European
champions has swirled in recent months
with Taechaubol now touted as the leading contender to purchase a sizeable
share in the legendary Serie A club.
Last month Chinese billionaire Wang
Jianlin, who recently bought influential
Swiss sports marketing giants Infront for
1.05billion euros ($1.2billion) as well as
a 20 percent stake in defending Spanish
champions Atletico de Madrid, had entered the fray as a possible investor.
But a report in yesterday’s La Gazzetta
dello Sport claimed Berlusconi and Taechaubol held a meeting at Berlusconi’s
family home in Arcore last week where a
“preliminary agreement was put down in
black and white”.
It said a financial broker from the
Rothschild bank was in attendance for
the signing of a ‘memorandum of understanding’ between the parties and that
the proposal would “now go through a
process of due diligence”.
The deal would see Taechaubol acquire
a 30% share in the club at the end of May
for 250m euros. If Berlusconi goes back
on the decision he would be liable to pay a
penalty amounting to 10 % of the price of
the 250m euros stake.
Taechaubol, the executive director of
a south-east Asian private equity group,
admitted his interest in the club last
“I do not deny the interest for a possible share acquisition into such a prestigious club such as AC Milan, but at the
moment it’s only cordial and private discussions with representatives from the
AC Milan group,” he said on February 18.
Rumours of a possible deal between
the parties resurfaced at the end of last
week, prompting Berlusconi’s Fininvest
company to issue a statement which effectively suggested the former two-time
Italian prime minister wants to retain a
majority share in the club.
“Following the recent media reports,
Fininvest reiterates it is not interested in
selling majority shares of AC Milan,” said
the statement.
“All we can do is confirm what we already stated on February 14: that various
parties have shown an interest in investing in the club but that no concrete discussions have taken place.”
Club CEO Adriano Galliani would not
confirm the deal had been signed but
told Sky Sport: “I can’t speak about Milan because it is not up to me. Milan has
belonged to Silvio Berlusconi for 29 years,
so any kind of comment is up to Fininvest
and not me.”
Fininvest last month played down reports Berlusconi had rejected an offer of
970million euros ($1.1billion) for the embattled Serie A club but was willing to sell
a minority stake if it came with a pledge
to help build a new stadium.
The reports claimed Berlusconi rejected a Singaporean-led bid to buy the club
for 970million euros.
According to Gazzetta’s report on Sunday, the preliminary agreement between
Berlusconi and Taechaubol fixed the
value of Milan at 800m euros. The club’s
revenues in 2013-2014 were 254.6m euros
although its overall debt currently sits at
244m euros.
Gazzetta’s report on Sunday, however,
suggested Berlusconi has an alternative
plan to sell the entire club and has contracted the Lazard bank—who brokered
the deal between Inter’s former president
Massimo Moratti and Thohir—to find a
suitable buyer.
Late goals lift
their seven-game winless streak to an end with
a 2-0 victory over strugglers Lorient yesterday and leapfrogged Bordeaux into fifth place
in Ligue 1, closing in on the European places.
Yohan Mollo came off the
bench to break the deadlock with
just 15 minutes to go before MaxAlain Gradel made sure of all
three points in injury time.
Saint-Etienne, who needed a
late equaliser against third-tier
Boulogne in tomorrow’s Cup
clash, found Benjamin Lecomte
in defiant mood in the Lorient
But Mollo, who had only been
on the field a matter of minutes,
took his chance from just outside the box. His powerful shot,
deflected by Mehdi Mostefa,
beat the hapless Lecomte with a
quarter-of-an-hour left.
Africa Cup of Nations winner
Gradel grabbed his third goal in
as many games to seal the match
by tapping in a clever Romain
Hamouma cross in injury time.
Lorient, who had been reduced
to 10 men when Didier Ndong
was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 67th minute,
are now just two points above the
relegation zone.
Later on Sunday, Lyon, who
have managed a mere six points
from their last five league outings, travel to Montpellier, needing a win to overtake Paris SaintGermain.
On Saturday, PSG provisionally moved to the top of the table with a routine 4-1 home win
against struggling Lens.
Fourth-placed Monaco also
won, 3-1 away at Evian, to move
back to within six points of Marseille, who are third, with a game
in hand.
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
Make-or-break for
Manchester United,
Arsenal in FA Cup
‘I don’t believe too much in history. I just believe in the performance on the day’
League spot is
United’s priority,
says Van Gaal
he FA Cup could offer
him a trophy in his first
season in charge of Manchester United but Louis
van Gaal (pictured) says qualifying for next season’s Champions League is the top priority.
United have not won the oldest
cup competition in soccer since
2004 and host holders Arsenal
in the quarter-final on Monday,
hoping to move a step closer to
ending their wait to lift the trophy for a record 12th time.
But Van Gaal’s focus is on restoring United to Europe’s elite
club competition after the team
missed out this season following
their worst Premier League finish
in the previous campaign when
they were seventh.
The Dutch manager, who took
over at Old Trafford in the aftermath of that calamitous season,
says his side must treat the FA
Cup as a mere bonus and concentrate on finishing in the Premier League’s top four to secure a
Champions League spot.
“I always want to get the goals
what we have set. And the goals
we have set is the top four,” Van
Gaal said.
“A title is fantastic. When you
win the FA Cup you are not in the
Champions League which is important for the club, but you have
won a title. So for the players it
is fantastic, for the manager it is
fantastic but our goal is to reach
in our first year together a place
in the Champions League.”
United are fourth in the league
with 10 games remaining, 10
points adrift of leaders Chelsea
and one behind Arsenal in third,
whose own manager Arsene
Wenger once said that the “first
trophy is to finish in the top four.”
And Van Gaal agrees: “I think
that for a club the Champions
League is the highest level and
that’s why he is saying that.”
The Dutchman may have his
sights set on European football ahead of hunting domestic
silverware but he says it is still
important for his side to beat Arsenal at Old Trafford, as it could
affect their form for the rest of
the league campaign.
“Every match you play has an
influence in the next match. So
we are in a ‘rat race’ in the Premier League and the club who
wins the FA Cup match has a very
good feeling for the next matches,” Van Gaal explained. “It could
be damaging for the team that
loses, but you can also react.”
Defending FA Cup champions Arsenal and Manchester United are the two most successful teams in the history of the FA Cup with 11 titles each. (AFP)
he FA Cup has been an underdogs’ tournament this season,
but its first genuine heavyweight
clash arrives today when holders
Arsenal visit old rivals Manchester United in the quarter-finals.
The eliminations of Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and
Southampton have cleared the route for
United and Arsenal, and it is an opportunity that both teams are desperate not to
Recent events have left the FA Cup as the
last realistic opportunity for both sides to
apply a silver sheen to seasons that are rolling towards uncertain conclusions.
The pair remain well placed to qualify
for next season’s Champions League,
with Arsenal currently third in the Premier League table and United a point back
in fourth.
But Arsenal are on the brink of elimination from this season’s Champions
League after a 3-1 first-leg loss to Monaco in the last 16, while doubts continue
to dog United as they struggle for form
under Louis van Gaal.
Arsenal have won four matches in a row
in the league, but recent history has given
them reason to fear trips to Old Trafford.
Arsene Wenger’s side have not won
there since September 2006 -- a run of
10 matches that includes two FA Cup defeats and a scarring 8-2 annihilation in
the league in August 2011.
The Arsenal manager refuses to entertain talk of bad omens, however, saying:
“I don’t believe too much in history. I just
believe in the performance on the day. At
the moment we are doing very well away
from home.
“The size of the pitch is exactly the same
everywhere. It is just down to how much we
turn up and how much effort we put in to
win the game. Both teams will think, ‘If we
get over this hurdle, we have a good opportunity to win the competition.’
“We are confident from our Premier
League run, so we go to Manchester United to qualify and to give absolutely everything.”
With 11 titles each, United and Arsenal
are the two most successful teams in the
history of the FA Cup.
Their 14 previous encounters have
yielded some of the competition’s most
enduring moments, from Alan Sunderland’s late winner for Arsenal in 1979’s
Liverpool forced to replay
by dogged Blackburn
London: Liverpool were left frustrated by Championship side Blackburn
Rovers who defended heroically to
draw 0-0 at Anfield yesterday and
force a replay in their FA Cup quarterfinal. After an even first half Liverpool
dominated after the break but wave
after wave of attack was thwarted
by a Blackburn side who had already
accounted for Premier League sides
Swansea City and Stoke city in the
two previous rounds.
Kolo Toure headed against a post,
while Daniel Sturridge, Philippe
Coutinho and Raheem Sterling failed
to break down their second tier visitors despite relentless pressure.
‘Five-minute Final’ to Ryan Giggs’s sensational solo goal to settle the tournament’s last ever semi-final replay in 1999.
Arsenal endured a trophy drought of
nine years between beating United on
penalties in the 2005 final in Cardiff and
coming from behind to beat Hull City 3-2
at Wembley last May.
But it is even longer — 11 years—since
United last lifted the trophy and captain
Wayne Rooney is far from alone in Van
Gaal’s squad in having an FA Cup-shaped
hole in his collection of winners’ medals.
“We haven’t been to a final for a few
years. We want to try to win that game
and we are looking forward to that,” said
the England striker.
“Of course, I think it is a massive trophy.
It is a trophy that, growing up as a youngster, I used to love watching and I was fortunate enough to see Everton lift the FA
Cup in 1995 when I was nine years old.
“It is something which I would love to
do and hopefully it can be this year.”
Robin van Persie and Juan Mata are the
only members of the United squad to have
won the FA Cup, but Van Persie’s success
came with Arsenal in that 2005 final and
Mata’s was with Chelsea in 2012.
An ankle injury means that Van Persie will miss the reunion with his former
club, while centre-back Jonny Evans begins a six-match ban for spitting at Papiss
Cisse during United’s 1-0 win at Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Arsenal centre-back Gabriel has been
ruled out with a hamstring injury, while
goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (illness),
defender Nacho Monreal (back) and midfielder Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) face
fitness tests.
Kane could face tug-of-war
between Spurs and England
arry Kane’s brilliant form has put
him in the frame for his first senior England call-up but the young
Tottenham Hotspur striker could
still be caught in the middle of a tug-of-war
between his club and the England under-21
side this summer.
England manager Roy Hodgson, who said
last week that Kane was not guaranteed a
place in his next squad despite enjoying an
excellent season, was in the stands to see the
21-year-old score both goals in Tottenham’s
2-1 win at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
Kane’s brace took his goal tally to 16 in the
Premier League, one behind league-leading
goalscorers Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa,
and to 26 in all competitions this season.
His goalscoring exploits have led to increasing calls for Kane to be handed his first
senior cap.
England under-21 manager Stuart Pearce
says he “thoroughly deserves” a place in
Hodgson’s next squad for the Euro 2016
qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley on
Mar. 27 but still wants the Spurs man to be
available for the European under-21 Championships this summer.
This is at odds with the view of Totten-
ham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who
says Kane would benefit from a rest this
summer and plans to talk to the English
Football Association about the use of the
“The message coming out of his [Kane’s]
mouth at the moment is suggesting that he
wants to go to the under-21 tournament,”
Pearce told the BBC.
“Personally, and I’ve championed this all
along, I think the key to the senior squad
being successful is to make sure we win
trophies at the younger age group. The only
way you do that is you take your strongest
possible squad to the under-21 and the under-19 tournaments.”
Kane said that he would love the opportunity to make his England debut after his
virtuoso performance at QPR, where he
became the first Spurs player to score in six
consecutive Premier League away games.
Pearce believes that the under-21 tournament in the Czech Republic will be key to
the striker’s development and dismissed the
notion that he should be rested.
“If you want to put a good argument
against it—Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo—they don’t rest these players. They
play every game,” said Pearce.
“I never, ever hear either of the players
suggesting that they want to miss an Olympics or a World Cup.”
Villa could face
FA wrath after
Cup crowd chaos
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane celebrates his second goal against Queens Park
Rangers during their EPL match in London on Saturday. (AFP)
ston Villa will be braced
for a Football Association investigation after
their FA Cup triumph
over West Bromwich Albion
ended in alarming crowd scenes
on Saturday.
Albion manager Tony Pulis
criticised the stewarding at Villa
Park after ugly scenes involving
both sets of supporters of the
local rivals disrupted the home
side’s 2-0 quarter-final win.
Albion fans threw seats on to
the pitch and celebrating Villa
fans caused a short interruption
in play by invading the playing
surface in the dying minutes.
They were described as
“mindless idiots” by Pulis.
At the final whistle, a fullscale pitch invasion saw the
players of both teams engulfed
by fans in what Villa scorer and
captain, Fabian Delph, described
as “very, very scary” scenes.
He even said that, bizarrely, he
had been bitten during the chaos.
The scenes, reminscent of
some of the uncontrolled old
days of English football in the
1980s, seem bound to prompt
the wrath of the FA.
Pulis pointed a finger at Villa,
saying the club should before the
game have recognised potential
problems which could endanger
the players.
“It’s disgraceful. We don’t
want to see those scenes. They’ve
beaten us and, for that to happen, that’s just mindless idiots,”
he said.
“I actually think Villa should
look at the stewarding. It’s a
quarter-final of the FA Cup, a full
house, you know it’s going to be
tasty. You should have stewards
but the hierarchy at Villa should
recognise the need for stewards
at both ends of the pitch.
“It puts the players in danger
and we don’t want to see that.
We were seeing it in the 1970s
and 80s and we don’t want to get
back to that.
“I’m sure the FA will look at it
without me poking my nose in
too much.”
Villa manager Tim Sherwood
added: “I can’t condone the fans
entering the field, but I can understand their emotions, they’ve
just beaten their local rivals twice
in a week and once in the quarter-final of the FA Cup, so the
emotions are running very, very
Gulf Times
Monday, March 9, 2015
UDC sponsors the Emir Sword
Show Jumping Championship
‘It is an honour to be able to contribute to the preservation of this legacy and to support professional Qatari riders’
By Sports Reporter
Company (UDC), a
leading Qatari shareholding
and master developer of The
Pearl-Qatar, signed a sponsorship agreement with the Qatar
Equestrian Federation announcing the Company’s sponsorship
of the Emir Sword Show Jumping Championship 2015’s second category (b), which begins
on Wednesday and concludes
on Thursday, The two-day event
will be held in the indoor arena
of the QEF, under the patronage
of HH the Emir, and the participation of a large number of Qatari and resident horse riders.
The press conference announcing the sponsorship was
held at the Qatar Equestrian
Federation in the presence of its
General Secretary Khalid bin Safar al-Hajri, and Hussain Akbar
Al Baker, representing UDC in
his capacity as, Senior Events &
Marketing Manager, in addition
to officials from both establishments. UDC also received a token of appreciation in recognition of its contribution to the
success of the Emir Sword Show
Jumping Championship for the
third consecutive year.
During the press conference,
QEF General Secretary Khalid
bin Safar al-Hajri received UDC’s
sponsorship check, handed by
Hussein Akbar al-Baker.
The QEF General Secretary
emphasised in his address the
event’s importance as the richest Arabian race that holds a
Qatar Equestrian Federation general secretary Khalid al-Hajri (right) presents a memento to UDC’s Hussain Akbar al-Baker after signing the sponsorship agreement for the Emir
Sword Show Jumping Championship 2015 at the QEF premises yesterday.
AAB extend sponsorship
for Emir Sword C’ship
prestigious standing in the State
of Qatar, particularly as it bears
the name of HH the Emir Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
“HH The Emir Equestrian
Sword tournament continues to
grow in stature and in value benefiting from the generous support
of sponsors such as UDC whose
involvement helps the Qatar
Equestrian Federation maintain
the prestige of this wonderful celebration of the horse and
equestrianism in Qatar,” he said.
For his part, Hussain Akbar
al-Baker, said: “We at UDC look
at this tournament as one of the
most valuable sporting events
with Qatar emerging as an exceptional sporting hub in the region
and equestrian sports being part
of Qatar and the Arab world’s
“Horse racing is also more
than just a competitive and
popular sport; it is the true embodiment of a long tradition that
brings us closer to our Qatari
roots. In this sense, it is an honour to be able to contribute to the
preservation of this legacy and
to support professional Qatari
riders in showcasing their skills
and developing their immense
potential in addition to rewarding their season-long efforts and
achievements as they represent
the State of Qatar in various
sporting events, at regional and
international levels.”
As part of its Corporate Social
Responsibility, UDC is committed in serving the development
and well-being of the Qatari
community and therefore always
participates in supporting national initiatives that lead to the
enhancement of society.
Para dressage delivered top level
of sport with five triple winners
“We are the champions” - Freestyle is all about
interpreting the music and the para equestrian
dressage riders premiering at CHI AL SHAQAB
chose it accordingly. It was an exciting finale for
their first entry in Doha’s prestigious event with
convincing winners. All five grades presented
high level sport with the leaders set in stone from
day one. Three convincing first places for the
para legend Lee Pearson from Great Britain and
German Elke Philipps rounded off an event that
athletes consider a milestone for their sport. “This
CHI offered a great opportunity for para sports
in general”, said Dr. Jan Holger Holtschmid, chief
judge from Germany.
French chanson “Formidable” gave the
headline for Sanne Voets and Zoya Sollenburg
taking the win in Grade 3 on 76.417, completing their golden triplet in Doha. Last year the
European and world champion already had
chosen the music herself, following advice of
her friends. Over time she advanced the safe
test to the current technical level. “When we
get to Rio I will ask an expert for the music,”
said the Dutch who sees Doha as her rehearsal
for the Paralympics 2016 with two horses in a
full time programme.
Dutch grade 4 rider Frank Hosmar and Alphaville
N.O.P. finished on 75.333 for their freestyle,
making that their third overall win in Doha. The
judges liked their interpretation of his signature
music “Tainted Love” and “Slave To The Rhythm”,
giving her 79.333 for artistic value. The pair had
two little mistakes in canter in the beginning
of their performance but found their way to
convincing forward rhythm immediately. “He
felt so fluently in the trot, I can’t describe it”, the
tall athlete said afterwards. The gap to rivaling
Michele George from Belgium was wider on the
third day. Riding Saganne, the multiple Olympic
and World championship gold medalist had
chosen music from the award winning animated
film “Wallace and Grommit”. “I watched that with
my kids the other day and immediately liked it,”
she said. “But the mare was feeling the heat and
was a little tired.”
Rixt van der Horst completed the Dutch winners
trio, staying ahead again in grade 2. Riding black
gelding Uniek she scored 74.833 in front of Demi
Vermeulen (NED) getting very close (74.750). “I
was a little bit tense today, but he coped wonderfully”, van der Holst said on her partner of only 18
months. “He fits my handicap.”
Qatar’s Equestrian Olympic team
Qatar Equestrian Federation general secretary Khalid al-Hajri (right) shakes hands with AAB Board Member Abdulghani Abdullah Abdulghani
after signing the sponsorship agreement at the QEF premises yesterday.
By Sports Reporter
& Bros extended their
title sponsorship of
HH The Emir’s Sword
Show Jumping Championship,
which will be held from March
11 to 12 at the Qatar Equestrian
Federation yesterday.
AAB Board Member Abdulghani Abdullah Abdulghani
and QEF general secretary Khalid bin Safar al Hajri inked the
sponsorship agreement at the
QEF headquarters.
The highlight of the competi-
tion would be the presence of the
Qatar Equestrian team that has
qualified for Rio Olympic Games
In 2016.
Abdulghani said after the
signing ceremony, “HH the
Emir Sword Show Jumping is a
prominent and prestigious event
for the Qatari riders and it’s our
corporate-social responsibility
to support such events. We’re
proud of our relationship with
the QEF, which is doing a great
job of promoting our ancient
“We’re pleased to be the lead
sponsors for the event. We wish
all the success to the organisers and we’re looking forward to
extending our partnership with
the federation for a long time to
come,” added Abdulghani.
event’s importance as it
bears the name of the Emir
His Highness Sheikh Tamim
bin Hamad al Thani. “HH the
Emir Equestrian Sword Show
Jumping is the most prestigious event on the QEF calendar. It continues to grow in
stature and in value, thanks to
the backing by sponsors, and
we wish to extend our warmest feelings to them.
“Without their support, it’d
have not been possible to raise
the standard of the champion-
ship to where it is today.”
Hajri also said that the competition would have a great
deal of quality and depth. “All
the riders in Qatar would be
competing for various titles
and we expect the competition
to be quite hard. The Qatari
team riders, who qualified for
the Rio Olympic Games, would
also be contesting. So this
event has got a lot of added
“Abdullah Abdulghani & Bros
have been the trusted partners
with us in the growth of the
sport. We’re always grateful to
them for their committed support,” added Hajri.
Qatar Equestrian team that qualified for Rio Olympic Games 2016 strike a pose when they rode out
together at the CHI AL SHAQAB 2015 competition at Al Shaqab on Saturday.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Ogier pulls clear of
rivals; al-Attiyah
takes WRC2 lead
Gold medals
galore for Qatar
in taekwondo
‘Now we need to be clever for the last few stages’
Leon, Mexico
here was no stopping Sébastien
Ogier and Julien Ingrassia on the
second day of the 12th Rally Guanajuato Corona and the Volkswagen Polo R WRC crew extended their outright lead to a commanding 1min 15.2sec
after 18 special stages on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Nasser Saleh alAttiyah moved into a massive WRC2 lead
through the second Otates stage when
Ukrainian Yuriy Protasov hit trouble.
The WRC2 defending champion will
take an advantage of 7min 50.6sec over
Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs into the closing
three timed tests scheduled for later yesterday after the Peruvian incurred an additional 30-second penalty for changing
a flat tyre between stages and arriving late
at the control.
“I feel for Yuriy,” said al-Attiyah. “But,
this afternoon, we had been applying the
pressure. Now we need to be clever for the
last few stages.”
Finland’s Jari Ketomaa dropped behind
Fuchs with a broken drive shaft and Qatar’s Abdulaziz al-Kuwari rounded off the
top four, although the quartet of WRC2
drivers are all inside the overall top 10.
Ogier began the day with a lead of 13.5
seconds, but he attacked from the outset.
Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala blotted his
copybook on the first run through Otates,
tore a rear wheel off his Volkswagen Polo
R WRC and wrecked his chance of pushing Ogier for the outright lead. From
then on, it was plain sailing for the World
Champion and he is now just three stages
away from a hat-trick of Mexican victories.
“I am so happy with the way everything
is going,” said Ogier. “There is no need to
push. I just need to manage the car, take
no risks and stay out of trouble. There is
one long stage to go, but I have a gap and
can afford to drive safely.”
The battle for second place developed
into an all-Norwegian affair between
Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen.
The Citroen DS3 WRC driver managed
to stave off the Volkswagen challenge and
heads into the final day with a lead of 4.5
Welshman Elfyn Evans appears to
have the perfect strategy for success in
MexiCo Fourth overall last year after a
sensible and trouble free drive, the M-
Athletes in action at the 1st Qatar International Taekwondo
Championship at Aspire Zone yesterday.
By Sports Reporter
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah in action on Saturday.
Sport World Rally Team driver remains
on course for a repeat performance in the
lead Ford Fiesta RS.
A puncture cost Spaniard Dani Sordo
the opportunity to pressurise Evans, but
Sordo leads the way for a blunted Hyundai Shell World Rally Team challenge in
fifth overall. Czech driver Martin Prokop
holds sixth place for the Jipocar Czech
National Team.
Three special stages were scheduled
for later yesterday, before the official ceremonial finish in Leon. The action gets
underway with the daunting 55.82km
of the Guanajuatito stage from 09.53hrs
and that precedes the 11.59km of Derra-
madero at 11.16hrs. The competitive action draws to a close with the third run
through the television El Brinco Power
Stage at noon.
1. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia
(FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC 3hr 33min
2. Mads Østberg (NOR)/Jonas Andersson (SWE) Citroën DS3 WRC 3hr 34min
3. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ole Floene
(NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC 3hr
34min 47.1sec
4. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Daniel Barritt (GBR)
Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3hr 35min 56.0sec
5. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Marc Marti (ESP)
Hyundai i20 WRC 3hr 37min 38.0sec
6. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Jan Tománek
(CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3hr 38min
7. Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu
Baumel (FRA) Ford Fiesta RRC 3hr 44min
8. Nicolas Fuchs (PER)/Fernando Musano
(ARG) Ford Fiesta R5 3hr 52min 01.9sec
9. Jari Ketomaa (FIN)/Kaj Lindström (FIN)
Ford Fiesta R5 3hr 53min 06.9sec
10. Abdulaziz al-Kuwari (QAT)/Marshall
Clarke (GBR) Ford Fiesta RRC 3hr 53min
atar’s Abdullah Khalil
won gold in the children’s 31kg category at
the 1st Qatar International Taekwondo Championship, at the Indoor Hall of the
Women Sports Committee at the
Aspire Zone yesterday.
On the penultimate day of the
event, Khalil beat Lebanon’s Alex
Barakat 10-9 in a closely-fought
encounter. It was one of many
medals that Qatar won as the
youngsters put in an impressive
performance in the Juniors, Cadets and Children categories.
In the Cadets, Qatar’s Sally Amer and Nour Moustafa
clinched gold in the 55kg and
29kg categories respectively.
Later, Mayar Mukhtar added
one more gold to Qatar’s tally in
the Cadets female 59kg category,
after she beat Shamsa Albetaihi
of United Arab Emirates.
However, Qatar’s Anas Ben
Sahra had to settle for silver in
the junior’s 63kg category, after
he went down to Saudi Arabia’s
Ali Almabrouk 0-1.
There were more medals for
Qatar, with Mohamed Osman
and Ibrahim Ibrahim winning
bronze in the Cadet’s 57kg and
33kg respectively.
In the juniors, Uzbekistan
won four of the five gold medals on offer. Saidolim Numonov
(73kg men), Niyaz Pulatov (48kg
men), Kamronbek Yakhshiboev
(63kg men) and Vlada Pan (63kg
women) came out on top. Tunisia’s Ranya Naghmouchi won the
other gold on offer in the juniors
(49kg) catergory.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s
De Hyn Lee and Frenchwoman
Happy Neri were adjudged the
best male and female players respectively in the senior category.
South Koreans had dominated
at the senior level, having won
five gold and two silver. Qatar’s
Marim bin Aly also did her country proud by making the podium
with a bronze medal finish in the
senior Female -73kg category.
The Taekwondo championships
is being organised by the Qatar
Taekwondo and Judo Federation
(QTJF) under the umbrella of the
World Taekwondo Federation.
Over 800 athletes from 45 countries, representing different age
groups, and around 55 international judges are participating in
the championship, making it the
strongest Taekwondo tournament
ever in the history of the sport. The
event will conclude today.
West leads rivals in the fifth round of Qatar Superbike
By Sports Reporter
fter winning both the races of
the fifth round of the Qatar
Superbike (QSBK) at Losail
International Circuit yesterday, Anthony West continued his unstoppable form.
“My start wasn’t as good as the first
race. The track conditions were a bit
cold. We were spinning a lot hence
burning a lot fuel and almost didn’t
make to the finish though we had the
tank full. It’s always fun to be here, riding under the flood lights is quite different; the way you brake and judge the
corners is different to when you ride
during the day,” said West after the
West’s compatriot, Alex Cudlin
clinched second in both races. “To finish second in both races is nice. Anthony has been too strong this weekend.
He is really good at the beginning of
the races. Since I come from Endurance
background, I need to pace myself to
get more aggressive. It’s good to finish
second in both races with closed-up 8
points on Meshal, so I am now 15 points
behind him. I have to keep winning or
be in front of him” said Cudlin.
Meshal al-Naimi who finished third
in both races extended his gratitude to
his sponsor (Ooreedoo) for their continued support. “The race was difficult for me because my bike was slow. I
pushed harder to tackle Alex and get the
second position but his bike is way too
powerful. I retained my pace to at least
finish third and be on the podium. I am
happy to still have the lead in the championship” said al-Naimi.
In the Supersport class, the first
and second positions in both the races
were acquired by Saudi rider Abdulaziz
Binladen and Fahid al-Sowaidi. Ali alShammari was third in race 1 and Jassim
al-Thani in race 2.
QMMF president Nasser Khalifa alAttiyah said: “I am happy to see an increased number of female participants.
As portrayed in the QSBK standings,
Nina Prinz is among top 5 riders. Viktoria Kis is also seen giving good results,
securing the first position in the Losail
Asian Road Racing Series. Finishing
second and third were Shelina Moreda
and Manca Katrasnik. I am really glad
to see women get to the top and hope to
see the numbers increase in the nearest
In Qatar Challenge, championship
leader Mark Holroyd won the day ahead
of Talal Wehbe and Peter de Vido.
Trophies were presented by QMMF
board member Sultan Zaher al-Moraikhi, public relations manager Rashid
al-Sulaiti and Royal Motorcycle Club of
Jordan general manager Omar Zarour.
Anthony West (centre), Alex Cudlin (second from left) and Meshal al-Naimi (third from right) finished first, second and third in both the races of the fifth round of Qatar
Superbike at Losail International Circuit. (Below) QMMF board member Sultan Zaher al-Morraikhi and QSBK riders pose with banner to mark Women’s Day.
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