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A major step forward for Doha Metro

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SPORT | Page 11
Qatar real GDP
growth ‘to accelerate
to 7% this year’
Latest Figures
Vol. XXXVI No. 9651
March 4, 2015
Jumada I 13, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
A major step
forward for
Doha Metro
GT Business on
Islamic Finance
Starting today, Gulf Times Business will publish every week an
exclusives page on Islamic Finance,
an industry, Ernst & Young says, is
set to more than double to $3.4tn
between 2014 and 2018. The first of
its kind in the Gulf by any English
language daily, GT’s unrivalled editorial coverage will provide readers
with the latest local, regional as well
as global news and analyses; views
and comments, including a special
educational section explaining key
Shariah finance terms and FAQs.
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People demonstrating against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Capitol
Hill in Washington yesterday.
Netanyahu draws rebuke
from Obama over Iran speech
rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday warned the US
that it was negotiating a bad deal
with Iran that paved the way to a “nuclear nightmare”, drawing a rebuke from
President Barack Obama and exposing
the depth of a US-Israeli rift.
Delivering dueling messages within
hours of each other, Netanyahu made his
case against Obama’s Iran diplomacy in a
speech to Congress that aligned himself
with the president’s Republican foes.
Obama responded in the Oval Office, declaring in a frustrated tone that Netanyahu offered “nothing new”.
In its response, the Iranian government
39-minute speech as “boring and repetitive”, the state news agency Irna said.
“If the deal now being negotiated is
accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons - it will all but guarantee that Iran
will get those nuclear weapons, lots of
them,” Netanyahu said.
In an appearance boycotted by dozens
of Obama’s fellow Democrats, Netanyahu said Iran’s leadership was “as radical as ever”, could not be trusted and the
deal being worked out with world powers would not block Iran’s way to a bomb
“but paves its way to a bomb”.
Netanyahu both inveighed against the
emerging terms of a deal and suggested
broadening the scope of negotiations
to require a change to Iran’s regional
posture - an idea swiftly rejected by the
Obama administration as de facto “regime change” in Tehran.
In a 10-minute rebuttal to Netanyahu’s address, Obama said the prime minister offered no viable alternatives. “The
alternative that the prime minister offers
is no deal,” he said. Page 12
The newly-accepted package
calls for turnkey construction of a
fully automated driverless metro
n a major step towards realising
Doha Metro, one of the largest single metro systems in the world, a
five-member consortium, led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has received
a “letter of conditional acceptance”
from Qatar Rail for a systems package
for the metro system.
The consortium comprises Mitsubishi Heavy industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Hitachi, Kinki Sharyo and
Phase 1 of the Doha Metro network
will be launched in 2019. It is implemented by joint ventures involving local and international contractors.
This is one of the largest single metro systems in the world.
The Doha Metro network is implemented by joint ventures involving local and international contractors.
The newly-accepted package calls
for turnkey construction of a fully automated driverless metro system. Included are 75 sets of three-car trains,
platform screen doors, tracks, a railway
yard and systems for signalling, power
distribution, telecommunications and
tunnel ventilation. The package is expected to include a 20-year mainte-
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad
al-Thani and Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzō Abe at the agreement signing
ceremony in Tokyo last month.
nance deal once the systems are complete.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the
consortium leader, will supply the
power distribution system, platform
screen doors, tracks and tunnel ventilation work, and will undertake overall
project management and system integration. Mitsubishi Corporation and
Kinki Sharyo will jointly provide the
railway cars. Thales will supply the advanced Communications Based Train
Control (CBTC) signalling, telecommunications and security, integrated
operational control centre and automatic fare collection systems.
Hitachi will perform some project
management duties and handle facilities maintenance, including the supply
of special maintenance vehicles that
comprehensively inspect the safety of
infrastructure such as railway tracks
and electric train lines.
“The Doha Metro ongoing works
are being done according to our timeline that we set at the beginning of the
project,” said Qatar Rail’s CEO Saad
Ahmed al-Muhannadi.
“In 2013 and 2014, we signed many
agreements that reached a remarkable value promising to deliver the best
standards of metro railway in the near
future. With the five-member Japan
Consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries, we look forward to add
more value to our project....”
The Doha Metro will consist of four
lines – red, green, gold and blue – covering a total distance of 241km with
some 106 stations, of which 123km will
be constructed underground.
It will connect the main areas of
Doha, including Hamad International
Airport, the old city and newly-developing inner city areas such as West Bay
and Lusail.
After submitting its bid in March
2014, the consortium underwent 11
months of detailed negotiations. The
letter of conditional acceptance was
ultimately received after convincingly
demonstrating to the client the consortium’s high technical capabilities
and robust track record in the construction of metro systems.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
plan needed to
fight scourge of
terrorism: Qatar
atar has reiterated its
stance in condemning
terrorism in all its forms
and manifestations, and stressed
the fight against terrorism must
be through a comprehensive plan
and co-ordinated international
actions to address the root causes of terrorism.
HE the Assistant Foreign Minister for International Co-operation
Affairs Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani said the
scourge of terrorism and extremism arises and spreads out of
poverty, tyranny, oppression and
repression, adding these causes
must be taken into account in the
fight against this scourge which
cannot be eradicated through military solution alone.
Mohamed bin Abdulrahman
was speaking at the Human
Rights Council in Geneva on
Qatar’s efforts to address this
phenomenon cannot be dissociated from the international
community’s efforts, he said,
adding that Qatar launched initiatives and supported a number
of international mechanisms in
combating terrorism, in addition to supporting development
projects and programmes aimed
at poor communities and un-
employment problems in many
He pointed to Qatar’s pledge
to support “the Global Fund on
Community Engagement and
Resilience,” with $5mn, adding
that this fund is regarded as the
newest international mechanism
in combating terrorism by eliminating its root causes.
Mohamed bin Abdulrahman
also underlined Qatar’s initiatives, which include “Protecting Education in Insecurity and
Armed Conflict” programme and
the “Educate a Child” initiative.
He also said Qatar believes in
the right of all countries to the
peaceful use of nuclear power as a
non-negotiable right, particularly
for developing countries seeking
to achieve progress in economic
development in line with legal
commitments, the UN Charter
and international law, and in cooperation with the International
Atomic Energy Agency.
Addressing the Conference on
Disarmament in Geneva, Sheikh
Mohammed bin Abdulrahman
said Qatar has followed a firm
national policy on disarmament
issues stemming from its commitment to its responsibilities
towards preserving international
peace and security and its belief in
backing disarmament endeavours.
He noted that Qatar has joined
major international disarmament conventions, including the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical
Weapons Convention (CWC),
and the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
He pointed out that Qatar has
hosted many conferences and
seminars on disarmament issues,
most recently a seminar on CWC
and chemical safety and security
for Asian member states of the
Organisation for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The assistant foreign minister said the conference comes at
a critical point that sees an increase in regional crises and terrorist threats as well as a surge in
the risks of a spread in weapons
of mass destruction, which jeopardizes international stability
and security.
He said the Conference on
Disarmament must review the
expansion of its membership
to be more representative and
democratic to go in line with its
rules of procedure regarding the
periodical membership of the
He added that Qatar expressed
interest in joining the Conference on Disarmament as a member and submitted a request to
the conference’s general secretariat in June 2012 out of its belief
in the importance of the event in
forging significant agreements in
the field of disarmament.
Deputy PM meets envoys
Greetings sent
to Bulgaria
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani, HH the Deputy
Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad
al-Thani and HE the Prime Minister
and Interior Minister Sheikh
Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa
al-Thani yesterday sent cables of
congratulations to President of
the Republic of Bulgaria Rosen
Plevneliev on the occasion of his
country’s National Day.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah
al-Mahmoud yesterday met separately with ambassadors Saleh Mohamed al-Ameri of the
United Arab Emirates, Christophe Payot of Belgium and Askar Shokybayev of Kazakhstan.
The meetings reviewed Qatar’s relations with the three countries and ways of enhancing
Ministers meet
HE the Minister of State for
Defence Affairs Major General
Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah yesterday
met with Turkish Land Forces
Commander Gen Hulusi Akar and
his accompanying delegation.
During the meeting, the two sides
exchanged views on matters of
common concern. The meeting
was attended by Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Demirok and senior
officers of the armed forces.
z HE the Minister of Culture,
Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin
Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari met ambassadors of the member states of
the International Organisation
of La Francophonie (OIF). They
included French Ambassador Eric
Chevallier, Belgium’s Christophe
Payot, Canada’s Andre Dubois
and Swiss Ambassador Martin
Talks focused on cultural cooperation between Qatar and OIF
countries in addition to preparations for holding 2015 Francophonie Week in Doha next April.
The minister also met later Australia’s Ambassador Pablo Kang.
z HE Dr Hamad Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari also met Kubanychbek Taabaldiev, director of Kyrgyzstan’s
National News Agency (Kabar),
currently on a visit to Doha.
z HE the Minister of Public Health
Abdullah bin Khalid al-Qahtani
yesterday met visiting UAE
Minister of Health Abdul Rahman
bin Mohammed al-Owais. The two
sides reviewed bilateral co-operation and ways of developing them.
QRC holds ‘emergency
management’ course
atar Red Crescent (QRC) organised a week-long training
course titled ‘Health Management in Emergencies’ in Gaziantep,
The course will be attended by experts from several NGOs and international organisations to train relief
workers on handling issues of public
health at times of crisis.
The course was attended by 30
trainees, 15 of whom were from QRC
Mission in Turkey, in addition to QRC
doctors and health centre co-ordinators inside Syria and representatives
of several health organisations such as
Doctors Without Borders, Physicians
Across Continents (PAC), the International Islamic Relief Organisation, the
Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS)
and the Human Appeal International.
The participants were divided into five
six-member working groups, based on
profession, experience, and affiliation.
The course was conducted by six
QRC volunteers from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the Supreme
Council of Health (SCH), Qatar
Foundation for Social Protection and
Rehabilitation, and the Qatari Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.
The agenda involved workshops on
several significant topics, including
general principles of emergency management, healthcare in emergency, onsite systematic emergency response
and health facilities, food and nutrition, systematic response to chemical
accidents, psychological support and
health, application of epidemiology
in emergency, infection control, water
and environmental sanitation, sheltering, and camp building.
By the end of each day, a session
was held to review the practical experiences of the participants. The sessions included demonstrations about
the cases and situations faced during
actual relief activities. The programme
concluded with distribution of certificates to the trainees.
This course is part of QRC’s annual training programme on health
relief capacity-building in Qatar and
around the region. The first training of its kind to be introduced in
Arabic, the course was designed after the Health Emergencies in Large
Populations (HELP) course, which
QRC is authorised by the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) to instruct in the Mena region. QRC has already hosted three
programmes, in 2011, 2012, and 2013,
where the instruction was in English.
These courses cover a wide range of
topics, such as planning, food security,
public health, epidemic management,
healthcare systems, the international
humanitarian law, refugee protection,
psychological support, psychological
health, sheltering, and camp building
and management. They are targeted
for different health workers, including
doctors, nurses, nutritionists, environmental engineers, epidemiologists,
and public health professionals, as well
as relief workers in countries hit by
conflicts or natural disasters.
GCC judicial meeting ends
Deputy heads of Supreme Courts and Courts of Cassation in the GCC nations concluded their two-day meeting at
the Hilton Hotel in Doha yesterday. The meeting issued recommendations that included a draft strategic plan in
addition to a co-operation plan in the field of judicial inspection and set a five-year to implement it. The meeting
decided to assign a committee to study a paper submitted by Kuwait’s Court of Cassation, pertaining to training
judges of Supreme Courts and Courts of Cassation in the GCC countries. It also asked the GCC Secretariat General
to prepare a note on a decision of the Supreme Council taken at the 34th GCC Summit in Kuwait and to start a
permanent programme for youth in the GCC countries handling relief and humanitarian work.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Glass fishshaped
(Roman or
Syria or Egypt
in the 3rd–4th
MIA opens
he Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
will open its “Marvellous Creatures:
Animal Fables in Islamic Art” exhibition to the public today at the museum’s
Special Exhibitions Gallery. It will run until
July 11 and entry is free.
Under the patronage of Qatar Museums
Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint
Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the exhibition
focuses on the real and mythical animals
that appear in the legends, tales, and fables
of the Islamic world.
Divided into the natural quadrants of fire,
air, earth and water, these creatures introduce well-known and beloved classics including Kalila wa Dimna, the Shahnameh,
and One Thousand and One Nights.
The wide variety of objects presented
in the Marvellous Creatures exhibition –
manuscripts, textiles, ceramics, jewellery,
glass, and metalwork – dating from the
10th to the 19th centuries, demonstrate the
enduring appeal of these characters and
stories across diverse cultures and generations. The illustrations and motifs seen in
the exhibition reflect the diversity of Islamic art production.
The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through a vibrant sensory experience,
using storytelling in its variety of forms –
from colourful illustrations and visual displays, to audio stories and animation.
“The timeless tales of Kalila wa Dimna,
the Shahnameh, and One Thousand and
One Nights highlighted in the exhibition
will appeal across the community and di-
verse cultures, including children, young
people, and families,” said MIA director Aisha al-Khater.
“We hope that this exhibition successfully introduces these stories to our audience who will carry the meaning of the
tales into their own lives, and draw on their
artistic and literary heritage to better understand the natural world and their place
within it,” she added.
A series of child friendly and family activities at MIA such as interactive storytelling, late night family tours, puppet shows
and creative art workshops will also be held.
It also includes a workshop where children
can create their own marvellous creatures.
MIA is also offering the wider community a rich agenda of activities and seminars.
To open the show, a special “Shahnameh”
seminar will be delivered by renowned
scholars Dr Sheila Canby and artist Hamid
Rahmanian. The seminar will explore the
historic and artistic development of the
Shahnameh, the famed epic poem that tells
the stories of the heroes and rulers of ancient Persia.
Additionally, MIA will offer late night
tours, an evening talk titled: ‘Spot the Elephant: Royal Processions in Mina’i and
Lustreware’, and a Karagöz puppet show
called ‘Garbage Monster’ by the Istanbul
Karagöz Puppet Foundation.
A colourfully-illustrated exhibition album, highlighting key objects and stories
featured in the exhibition is also available
at the MIA Gift Shop.
The ‘Prince Dara Shikoh riding a royal elephant’ from a
Royal Album of Shah Jahan in Mughal, India (1628–30CE) by
Woven silk
tapestry known as ‘The
Franchetti Tapestry’ in
Safavid, Iran (Kashan)
in the 16th century.
A polychrome underglaze painted dish with
hare motif in Ottoman,
Turkey (Iznik) in the
16th century.
Planispheric astrolabe in
Safavid, Iran (Kerman) in
the 17th century by Hasan
Husni Al Husayni al-Kirmani.
Astrolabes were used to
project what the sky looked
like at a given time of day
or night, which assisted
navigation by the stars on
land and at sea, as well as
determining the direction of
prayer. The 46 star pointers
of this astrolabe contain
images of humans and
animals, as well as fish and
fish-tailed sea monsters
associated with ocean
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
‘Surge in job orders’ for Filipino workers
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
he Philippine Overseas Labour
Office (POLO) has recorded
a significant increase in the
number of job orders (JOs) from different recruitment agencies in Qatar
during the past few weeks.
“We now process more individual employment contracts for Filipino workers daily,” labour attache
Leopoldo De Jesus told Gulf Times.
This surge could be attributed to
the 94,289 visas reserved for Filipino
workers whom Qatar government is
expecting to be deploy soon, he explained.
The number of the visas reserved
is about half of the total Filipino expatriate population (188,000) in Qatar. The “positive development” may
also be a result of the Joint Committee
Meeting (JCM) on labour matters be-
Philippine labour attache Leopoldo De Jesus
West End Park cinema
to reopen tomorrow
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
creening of films will
resume at one of the
movie halls at the West
End Park, along with improved facilities tomorrow,
an official of the operator
told Gulf Times yesterday.
West End Park had been
closed for renovation for
more than a month. The second hall will also be ready
for screening films in a week
from now.
The previously unused
third and fourth halls, which
also has seating capacity for
500 each, are also expected
to open shortly, the offi-
cial said.Malayalam film,
Fireman will be the first
movie to be screened at the
hall tomorrow.
The timings are 2.15pm,
11.45pm. A Tamil movie,
Kaakichattai will be screened
at 6.45pm.
Taking into consideration
the low and middle income
expatriates, the new operators of the movie halls have
retained the ticket rate of
The opening of the two
movie halls at the West End
Park in December 2013 was
widely welcomed by Asian
expatriates, particularly because of the affordable ticket
tween Qatar and the Philippines held
early this month, according to the
senior Philippine labour official.
“We hope to meet the numbers
needed and send more Filipino workers to Qatar in the coming months,” he
De Jesus noted a huge demand for
skilled and semi-skilled Filipino construction workers, as well as professionals such as engineers, architects
and safety officers.
The Philippines is also set to deploy
nurses and other medical practitioners such as doctors, radiologists and
dentists, among others with various
private clinics expected to open across
the country soon. It is learnt that salary offers have remained attractive in
these fields for such workers.
Details of available JOs (as of Feb
26) indicating the position, name of
recruitment accredited agency, country of deployment and the number
of needed workers are posted on the
website of the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administrator (http://
These include Filipino sales persons, drivers, lifeguards, beauticians/
hairdressers, sales ladies, baby sitters,
baristas, florists, laboratory technicians, dental assistants, cooks, receptionists, service crews (fast food) and
a variety of categories.
Several job openings in Information
Technology, services and production
sectors for Filipino workers were also
mentioned during the JCM.
The deployment of Filipino workers undergoes a streamlined processing system (certified as ISO-compliant quality management system), in a
bid to protect their welfare.
De Jesus noted that the demand for
Filipino household service workers
has also significantly increased since
last year and continued to surge this
In a recent Gulf Times report, first
secretary and consul Gonaranao
B Musor disclosed that the figures
(94,289 visas), came from Labour and
Social Affairs Deputy Minister Hussein bin Youssef al-Mulla at the JCM.
The Philippines received 78,426 JOs
from Qatar last year.
The JCM was created through the
bilateral labour agreement between
Qatar and the Philippines signed on
May 10, 1997.
The Committee, comprising three
representatives from the two governments, is expected to meet every
two years. The third meeting will be
held in Manila later this year.
“The JCM is a forum that ventilates and handles outstanding issues
on both sides and therefore greatly
helps in establishing closer bilateral
relation and co-operation,” ambassador Crescente Relacion said. Musor had described the bilateral relationship between the two countries
as “very cordial.”
Justice Minister receives Chinese invitation
HE the Justice Minister Dr Hassan bin Lahdan al-Mohannadi has received an official invitation from Chinese
Foreign Minister Wang Yi, to participate in the 54th annual session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative
Organisation (AALCO), which will be held in Beijing next month. Chinese ambassador Gao Youzhen delivered the
invitation during his meeting with al-Mohannadi yesterday.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Educate A Child receives QIC donation
ducate A Child (EAC), a
programme of the Education Above All Foundation
(EAA), has received a donation of
QR1.5mn from Qatar Insurance
Company (QIC).
The donation was received at
the QIC offices at a ceremony
attended by Ali al-Fadala, senior deputy group president and
CEO of QIC Group, and Fahad
Hamad al-Sulaiti, deputy CEO
of EAA.
Launched in 2012 by HH
Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, EAC
is a global programme that
aims to significantly reduce the
number of children worldwide
who are denied their right to education. EAC, working with its
partner organisations, provides
children who are out of school
and often faced with extreme
poverty, cultural barriers and
conflict-affected environments,
with an opportunity to access
grant to
focus on
Arab family
atar National Research Fund (QNRF)
and Doha International Family Institute
(DIFI), members of Qatar
Foundation for Education,
Science and Community
Development (QF), have announced their collaboration
for the launch of a new research grant, Osra, focused
on the Arab family and
policy related issues.
Osra, which means family in Arabic, will prioritise
research aimed at developing knowledge about the
Arab family. Research areas
include marriage and family
structure, parenting, family-work balance, and family
laws and practices. The research findings funded under
Osra will assist the development of evidence-based
policies and programmes to
promote the well-being of
the Arab family.
QNRF is a member of Qatar Foundation Research and
Development (QF R&D) and,
by investing in cutting-edge
research, it supports QF in
its mission to build Qatar’s
innovation and technology
capacity, and help the nation develop into a hub of
research excellence.
DIFI supports QF’s mission
to foster a progressive society
by addressing the community’s immediate social needs.
DIFI’s vision is to be recognised as a global knowledge
leader on issues facing the
Arab family through research,
policy, and outreach.
Applications for the Osra
grant will open on March
16. The awards will comprise a one-year grant of
up to $50,000. Researchers
from Qatar and the Arab region are being urged to submit their proposals before
applications close on May 25.
To qualify for Osra funding, a research project must
be led by a Lead Principal
Investigator with a doctoral
qualification, who has at
least three peer-reviewed
scientific publications in a
relevant field, and is residing and affiliated to an institution in Qatar or another
Arab country.
In addition to its own
research activities, DIFI
promotes research on the
Arab family by providing research grants and organising
an Annual Conference on
Family Research and Policy.
Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie,
executive director of QNRF,
said the Osra grant addresses an area that has, in a large
part, been left unexplored in
the Arab region.
“QNRF aims to nurture
Qatar’s research environment
by addressing the key areas
outlined in the Qatar National Research Strategy and supports high-quality research
in fields relevant to Qatar
and its surrounding region.
Osra, no doubt, adds a new
dimension to the vast portfolio of QNRF-funded research
programmes,” he added.
Commenting on the Osra
grant, Noor Al Malki alJehani, executive director
of DIFI, expressed happiness to collaborate on the
new grant since it will unite
local, regional, and international partners in seeking
solutions to family-related
issues faced in the Arab
Established in 2006, DIFI
aims to support the 2004
Doha Declaration on the
Family by contributing to the
global knowledge base with
information about issues
facing the Arab family and
how they can be tackled.
Through developing and
disseminating high-quality
research, as well as encouraging knowledge exchange
on family-related issues
across an international and
interdisciplinary network
of researchers, DIFI makes
family issues a priority for
policy makers through advocacy and outreach at
the national, regional and
international level.
Ooredoo offers cash
prizes for Hala callers
o continue Ooredoo’s
ongoing celebration
of the biggest cricket
event this year, the company yesterday announced
an opportunity for all Hala
subscribers to win a host of
cash prizes just for making
an international call.
The competition aims to
reward all cricket fans who
share their excitement with
their loved ones overseas
about the 2015 ICC Cricket
World Cup, the company
has said in a statement.
The competition requires
Hala subscribers to call an
international number for
three or more consecutive
minutes in order to be entered into a free raffle draw.
Customers eligible to enter the draw will get a chance
to win one of 24 QR2,000
daily prizes, four weekly
prizes of QR10,000 and a
grand prize of QR100,000.
The competition will end
on March 28 and winners
will be notified by April 12.
Hala users subscribed to any
of Ooredoo’s portfolio of international money-saving
options, such as the Hala
India Key, Hala International Saver key and more,
will also be eligible for the
This is the latest in a long
line of offers for the cricket
season as the company is offering Mozaic TV Pehla Variety package customers access to a higher tier package
- OSN Pehla Spice Plus free
of charge, which includes
full coverage of the World
Cup on the OSN Sports
Cricket channel.
The ICC Cricket World
Cup is being hosted by Australia and New Zealand and
kicked off on February 14.
There are 49 matches being played across 14 venues, all available in HD via
Mozaic TV.
a quality primary education.
Commenting on QIC’s partnership in the EAC programme,
al-Fadala said: “We are very
pleased to have the opportunity to help and support the vital
work of the Education Above All
Foundation and, specifically, the
Educate A Child programme. We
recognise the important role education plays in children’s lives
and the need to ensure that every
child has access to a quality pri-
mary education; a fundamental
right that is denied to so many
children around the world.
“For QIC, operating in the
financial services sector, we
understand the importance
of education and training as
it is the skills and competencies of our employees that are
a key factor in our success. We
believe that access to a quality
primary education provides an
important foundation for future
learning and development.”
Speaking on the partnership with QIC, al-Sulaiti said:
“We are pleased to see Qatar
Insurance Company join the
growing number of Qatari organisations that support the
work of Education Above All
and its programmes. Financial
contributions are vital to the
success of programmes such
as Educate A Child and help
us reach our goal of provid-
Ali al-Fadala and Fahad Hamad al-Sulaiti during the signing ceremony.
ing quality primary education
to 10mn children by 2016.”
QIC’s sponsorship of EAC is
an important part of the group’s
wider commitment to a number
of corporate social responsibility-related initiatives, according
to a statement.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
HBKU offers new
PG programmes
amad Bin Khalifa University
(HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation, is launching three new postgraduate programmes at its College of Science and
Engineering (CSE).
Applications are now open for prospective students for the master’s and
PhD programmes in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS), Sustainable
Energy, and Sustainable Environment.
Classes will begin in fall 2015.
HBKU’s new master’s programmes will be taught over two
years, with the PhD programmes
taking three to four years to complete. The launch of these programmes is in line with Qatar
Foundation’s vision of establishing
education and research programmes
that support the human, social and
economic development of Qatar.
Highly experienced faculty will
be engaging the students in these
programmes. Students in these programmes will be given the opportunity to engage in groundbreaking,
cutting-edge research and will join
their faculty to work in laboratories
of prestigious research institutes
in Qatar and around the world. Expert faculty will integrate their research into their classes, creating
an enriching academic experience
for students that extend beyond the
One of these fields is biological and biomedical research and the
HBKU BBS programme is a multidisciplinary programme that will
expose graduate students to stateof-the-art basic, clinical, and translational life sciences research, in
collaboration with other universities
and research entities in Qatar and
“The current influx of biological
and biomedical researchers into Qatar
as well as the establishment of various biomedical and health sciences
institutes and national projects in
Qatar is a testament to the potential
that resides here,” said Dr. Mounir
Hamdi, dean of HBKU’s College of
Science and Engineering. “HBKU’s
BBS will train the next generation of
scientist to capitalise on the full spectrum of knowledge across a range of
interrelated fields and enable them
to translate research findings into
clinical benefits.”
Similarly, the newly launched Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Environment programmes will address
important issues facing the region in
energy and environment.
2016 Audi A6
sedan launched
Q-Auto, the official dealer for Audi in
Qatar, has announced the launch of
the updated 2016 Audi A6 sedan in the
Audi has updated the model with new
engines, transmissions, headlights and
an advanced infotainment system.
The new Audi A6 embodies Audi’s
brand values of lightweight, efficiency
and aerodynamics. The product
improvement gives the exterior a
clear lined, sportier look; with the
most prominent features being the
single frame grille, 3D bumper design,
tailpipes and LED headlights.
The exterior is enhanced by 10-spoke
V-design cast aluminium wheels,
further enhancing the model’s
appearance. The luxurious sedan also
sports an opulent and spacious interior.
The TFSI technology employed in the
latest model, allows for better fuel
utilisation and reduced consumption.
The updated 2016 Audi A6 sedan.
The top-of-the line 50 TFSI, a 3-litre
V6 engine, accelerates the new Audi
A6 with S tronic and quattro all-wheel
drive from 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds.
Ala Makey, sales manager, said,
“Packed with a range of upgraded
features, the latest A6 is a step ahead
of Audi’s world-renowned superior
technology. The model’s innovative
design features combined with an
upgraded dynamic engine promises
customers a spectacular road
performance and effortless driving.”
The Audi dealership gives customers a
number of options to purchase the A6
including in-house financing, a vehicle
leasing alternative and guaranteed
buybacks, where customers are able to
trade in their current vehicle following
a dealership evaluation.
The collaborators of the research programmes with officials.
Trauma Centre undertakes
research on injury prevention
he Trauma Centre
at Hamad General
Hospital (HGH) has
begun two important research studies for raising
awareness on prevention of
road traffic and workplace
injuries in Qatar.
The Trauma Centre was
$1.7mn in research grants
by the Qatar National Research Fund’s National Priorities Research Programme
(NPRP) for the two research
studies: Young Kids in Safe
Seats (Y-KISS) Qatar Project
- A Randomised Study to
Increase Child Restraint
Use in Qatar, and A Unified Registry for Workplace
Injury Prevention.
The research collaborators include representatives
from HMC, the Supreme
Council of Health, Primary
Health Care Corporation,
the Ministry of Labour, Qatar Red Crescent and the
Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JHIIRU) of the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public
Health based in Baltimore,
United States.
Dr Hassan al-Thani,
head, Trauma Centre,
HMC, said, “The two re-
search grants are an important embodiment of
our firm belief that our
most important work must
take place outside of the
confines of the operating
theatre, emergency room
and intensive care unit.
By that same token, our
demonstrates our understanding of the need for
multi-sector collaboration
and support to prevent
road traffic and workplace
injuries in Qatar. We welcome the expertise, wisdom, resolve and dedication of our collaborators
towards making our roads
and workplaces safer.”
“The Y-KISS study will
analyse the risk factors for
child passenger injury in
order to inform targeted
for families with the aim of
increasing the use of child
restraints and promoting children’s safety on the
roads,” said Dr Ruben Peralta, senior consultant surgeon and director of HMC’s
Trauma and Critical Care
Fellowship Programme, an
international expert in road
safety and lead principal
investigator of the study.
QPMC plans to develop
gabbro quarries overseas
atar Primary Materials Co (QPMC)
has highlighted its
vital role in country’s infrastructure development at
the 18th Gulf Engineering
Forum in Doha.
The listed company is
supporting the construction
requirements of the public
and private sector by supplying building materials
in large quantities.
Speaking at the forum
yesterday, QPMC director Navjot Singh said that
at its present capacity the
main QPMC plant is providing 1,000 tonnes of washed
sand per hour and annual
sales capacity of 6mn. “The
company also has a strategic stock of 1mn tonnes and
a supply capacity of sand
dunes of 1,200 truckloads
per day,” he added.
He stressed that the main
invites entries
for ad contest
Qatar General Electricity
and Water Corporation
(Kahramaa) has invited
entries for an advertising
competition from
Qatar-based students
on its theme of the
National Programme for
Conservation and Energy
Efficiency - Tarsheed.
The subject of the
competition revolves
around the creativity
of the design of an
effective print artwork
or television commercial
(TVC), reflecting
the importance of
conserving electricity
and water.
The purpose of the
is aimed at promoting
environmental awareness
and inculcating a culture
of efficient usage of the
natural resources in
order to have better life
and to achieve the slogan
of Tarsheed, Keep Qatar
Pulsing in line with Qatar
National Vision 2030.
The competition is being
organised under two
different categories.
The first category will
be visual advertising in
the TVC category in cooperation with the DFI.
The video entry should
not exceed 60 seconds.
Entries should be
sent until March 31.
The winners will
be announced and
honoured at Tarsheed
third Annual Celebration
on April 22.
Navjot Singh speaking at the Gulf Engineering Forum.
objective of the company
was to stabilise the prices of
the primary infrastructure
materials and establish quality standards for aggregates
and sand in the long-term,
The company has four divisions - Port Management,
Sahara washed sand, Nijian sand and logistics and
supply chain.
QPMC has operational
locations, spread over its
jetty stock yards in both Ras
Laffan and Lusail, Mesaieed
Port, Njian Sand (dune
sand) and Sahara Sand
Plant (for washed sands).
“QPMC aims to deliver
the capability to design, develop and operate jetties at
developers’ request for government projects. We also
store a strategic stockpile of
aggregates for the government in Mesaieed and de-
livering washed sand which
will regulate the market
for dune sand in Qatar,”
Singh added.
The company also plans
to provide cement silos and
discharge over 2mn tonnes
of imported cement annually to meet the expected
increased demand in the
local market.
Singh said QPMC also
has plans to develop gabbro
quarries outside the country
as well as to provide the sea
logistic supply chain. The
company will deliver comprehensive solutions for the
transport, storage and delivery of key primary materials
in the country.
Singh expressed the hope
that the forum would help
tackle the common GCC issues concerning infrastructure and challenges facing
the sector across the region.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Chamber for increasing
awareness on children
with special needs
A model of the ARES 150 Hercules patrol boat.
Rolls-Royce to power
Coast Guard vessels
olls-Royce has secured a £15.8mn
contract to supply Rolls-Royce
MTU high-speed engines and a
suite of waterjet propulsion systems for
17 fast patrol vessels for the Qatar Coast
Guard under construction at Turkey’s
ARES Shipyard.
The MTU 12V2000M84 diesel engines and Rolls-Royce Kamewa 50A3
series waterjets will be installed on five
24m ARES 75 Hercules patrol boats and
10 of the 34m ARES 110 Hercules design.
The two largest craft, the 47m ARES
150 Hercules design, will each feature
three MTU Series 4000 diesels and
twin 71S4 water jets with B4 boosters.
Don Roussinos, Rolls-Royce president (Naval), said: “The ARES Hercules
series patrol boats will be the first Qatar Coast Guard craft to feature RollsRoyce Kamewa waterjets; so, we’re delighted to welcome them as our latest
customer. This is not the first project
we have worked on with ARES Shipyard, but it is the largest and most important as it gives strength to our strategic decision to enter the Turkish and
Qatari markets.
“For optimum fuel economy at high
speeds, the combination of Rolls-Royce
MTU diesels and Kamewa waterjets are
major contributors to the enhanced effi-
ciency and performance of these highly
capable craft. In particular, our A3 model of waterjet offers high performance up
to speeds of around 45 knots.”
Kerim Kalafatoglu, ARES Shipyard
chairman and executive director, said:
“We have adopted an approach of continuous development in every project
that we work on and every boat that we
build. Our partnerships with prestigious suppliers, such as Rolls-Royce, are
a testament to our commitment to deliver quality vessels at the leading edge
of design and innovation.
“This contract for 17 craft for the
Qatar Coast Guard is the largest single
QC lends a helping hand to
Syrian refugees in Lebanon
atar Charity (QC) has announced the
allocation of over QR32mn out of a
total QR40mn for the implementation of projects for the benefit of Syrian
refugees in Lebanon.
The projects will be implemented by QC
and partners, including the Islamic Dawa Organisation and Human Appeal, and will cover
health, shelter, food and emotional support
in collaboration with the Federation of Relief
and Development Organisations in Lebanon.
The announcement was made during a
special charity evening organised on the
sidelines of the third conference to study the
situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
QC has allocated QR16.425mn for the
creation and processing of a model village
within the framework of the ‘Ray of Hope’
programme, which is implemented by the
Federation of Lebanese Associations.
QC has allocated another QR1.825mn for
the economic empowerment programme,
‘Support Productive Families’, which is also
implemented by the federation within the
framework of the Ray of Hope programme
- a comprehensive programme that seeks to
provide the basic necessities of life to Syrian
refugees in Lebanon.
QR1.825mn was also provided to support
a medical fund in order to provide medicines
and treatment to sick and wounded Syrian
refugees in Lebanon.
QC is supporting the ‘Smiles’ programme,
which provides special psychological support for children, at a total cost of around
The auction of the carpet from the Imam
Abu Darda Mosque.
The two projects came after the allocation
of QR560,000 as the price for the carpet of the
Imam Abu Darda Mosque, which was destroyed
and its carpet - along with its books - remained
under the rubble until the Federation of Relief
and Development Organisations pulled the carpet out and presented it at an auction held during a charity evening in Istanbul.
QC also allocated approximately QR2mn
for the ‘Five Fingers’ programme, an integrated development project aimed at the development of the five areas where there are
most Syrian refugees in Lebanon, in the area
of Arsal. These areas are in urgent need of
development due to the fact that they are isolated, surrounded by mountains and lacking
roads and infrastructure. The five areas targeted are Rabbit Valley, Al-Hosn Valley, Atta
Valley, Babain and Wara ul Hafr areas.
A number of training workshops and
charity dinners were organised and presentations and films highlighting the suffering
of the Syrian people were shown.
naval export order for a Turkish shipyard. It is one of the most significant
for fibre-reinforced plastic patrol boats
ever signed, and all will be built from advanced composite materials.” The scope
of supply for Rolls-Royce is extensive,
with a total of 46 engines and waterjets,
across three different sizes of craft.
With power outputs up to 2060kW,
the Kamewa A3 series deliver up to 3%
better energy-efficiency compared to
the earlier model. This, together with a
reduced footprint on the vessel, lower
weight and life-cycle costs, equates to a
substantial reduction in fuel costs and
CO2 emissions.
hildren with disabilities
should be given more support to be integrated within
normal schools when possible, Qatar
Chamber’s Education Committee
has proposed.
In a recent meeting, committee members led by QC vice-chairman Mohamed Ahmed bin Tuwar
stressed the need to exert more efforts to spread awareness among the
local and expatriate communities on
the issues related to such category
of people. Besides, normal students
should be instructed on how to deal
properly with their disability to help
them integrate at the school.
However, the committee saw that
the school curriculum for students
with disability should be modified to
accommodate for their capabilities.
should be given training on the best
practices and methods to be adopted
when dealing with such students.
The committee formed a specialised team to look into the possible
ways of supporting the persons with
disability where they will invite a
representative from the Supreme
Education Council to discuss the establishment of more education centres for children with special needs.
The committee will also organise
a workshop with the participation of
all stakeholders to devise a comprehensive strategy on how the private
sector could help in supporting the
persons with disability.
Qatar Chamber’s Education
Committee meet in progress in Doha.
In the meantime, the legal team of
the committee will hold a meeting
next week to look into the difficulties
and challenges facing Indian schools
in the country, in particular the
large numbers of students in a single school amount to 2,500-10,000
students, the constant hike of school
fees and the unavailability of timely
seats in some schools.
The committee stressed that the
rising rental rates of school buildings
is a key issue among such challenges
and should be addressed decisively
through protective legislations. A
questionnaire will be sent to all committee members to determine difficulties to be address and the possible
Eventually, the committee members agreed to ask the private business community to adopt a project to
establish a private company for the
manufacture and supply of school
furniture and equipments, and other
education resources.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Tehran rejects
Obama’s 10-yr
nuclear demand
as ‘unacceptable’
Montreux, Switzerland
ran yesterday rejected as
“unacceptable” US President Barack Obama’s
demand that it freeze sensitive nuclear activities for
at least 10 years but said it
would continue talks on a
deal, Iran’s semi-official Fars
news agency reported.
Iran laid out the position
as the US and Iranian foreign
ministers met for a second
day of negotiations and as
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered
a stinging critique of the
agreement that they are trying to work out.
Iran’s Mohamed Javad
Zarif and the US’ John Kerry
met a day after Obama told
Reuters that Iran must commit to a verifiable halt of at
least 10 years on sensitive
nuclear work for a landmark
atomic deal to be reached.
“Iran will not accept excessive and illogical demands,” Iranian Foreign
Minister Zarif was quoted as
saying by Fars.
“Obama’s stance ... is expressed in unacceptable and
threatening phrases ... ,” he
reportedly said, adding that
talks with Kerry in Switzerland would nonetheless carry
The aim of the negotiations is to persuade Iran to
restrain its nuclear programme in exchange for re-
lief from sanctions that have
crippled the oil exporter’s
economy, thereby reducing
the risk of war over the protracted stand-off.
The US and some of its allies, notably Israel, suspect
Iran of using its civil nuclear
programme as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies this, saying it is for peaceful purposes
such as generating electricity.
Speaking before the US
Congress in Washington,
Netanyahu warned Obama
against accepting a nuclear
deal with Iran that would be
a “countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare” by a
country that “will always be
an enemy of America”.
“If the deal now being
negotiated is accepted by
Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing
nuclear weapons - it will all
but guarantee that Iran will
get those nuclear weapons
lots of them,” the Israeli
leader said in a 39-minute
point-by-point critique of
Obama’s Iran diplomacy.
Kerry and Zarif held three
rounds of talks in the Swiss
lakeside town of Montreux,
negotiating during most
of Netanyahu’s extended
criticism of their efforts in
Netanyahu wants the Iranians stripped of nuclear
projects that might be used
to get a bomb. Washington
deems the Israeli demand
Netanyahu offers ‘no plan’ on Iran: US official
Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu failed
to offer an alternative in his
speech to the US Congress
on the ongoing nuclear
talks with Iran, a senior US
administration official said
“Simply demanding that Iran
completely capitulate is not a
plan, nor would any country
support us in that position.
The prime minister offered
no concrete action plan,”
the official said, speaking on
Netanyahu warned Congress against accepting a
deal with Iran that President
Barack Obama and his
administration are deeply
invested in negotiating,
arguing that the deal would
leave Iran with a “breakout
time” of a year, which he
said was too short.
Flying high
The solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 flying over Abu Dhabi. The plane made a third successful test flight in the UAE on Monday, ahead of a planned round-the-world tour to
promote alternative energy. Organisers hope that Solar Impulse 2 may head off around the globe as early as March 7 but caution that the launch is dependent on the weather, even in
the relatively cloudless Gulf.
Hadi wants reconciliation
talks moved to Saudi
emeni President Abedrabbo
Mansour Hadi called yesterday for troubled UNbrokered reconciliation talks to be
moved to Saudi Arabia if agreement cannot be reached on a venue inside Yemen.
The call came as at least 32 people were killed in clashes between
Shia Houthi gunmen and Sunni
tribesmen backed by Al Qaeda
militants in central Yemen, tribal
source said.
Meanwhile, the Al Qaeda
branch, which has sought to exploit the power vacuum, claimed
on Twitter that it carried out a
suicide car bombing of a Houthi
Yemeni President Abedrabbo
Mansour Hadi during a press
conference in Aden yesterday.
gathering in Baida yesterday “killing and wounding dozens.”
But medics reported that only
10 Houthis were killed and five
wounded, which witnesses confirmed.
The reconciliation talks, which
had been held in the Shia militia-
held capital, have broken down
since Hadi escaped to second city
Aden last month after weeks under house arrest.
Several Gulf Co-operation
Council states, led by Saudi Arabia, have moved their embassies
to Aden after an exodus of foreign
diplomats from Sanaa last month
over security concerns.
But the US, the first to close its
mission in Sanaa, announced yesterday that is not planning to follow its Gulf partners and move its
embassy to Aden.
The president had proposed
that the talks resume in Aden or in
third city Taez, which is also outside the control of the Houthis.
“As Aden and Taez are not accepted by some, I call for shifting
the talks to the headquarters of the
Saudi beheads
rapist, murderers
And Arab League chief Nabil
al-Arabi has invited Hadi to attend the annual Arab summit in
Cairo on March 28-29, presidency
sources said.
The Houthis named a “presidential council” after Hadi and
Prime Minister Khalid Bahah tendered their resignations in January
in protest at what critics branded
an attempted coup.
Hadi retracted his resignation
shortly after resurfacing in Aden,
while Bahah remains under house
arrest in the capital.
US Ambassador Matthew Tueller
threw his support behind Hadi after
talks in Aden on Monday, saying he
remains the “legitimate” leader.
Yesterday, Britain’s envoy also
met Hadi and made similar remarks.
S Korea, Saudi sign
MoU on nuclear ties
audi Arabia beheaded yesterday a
rapist and two murderers.
Saudi Mohamed bin Ali bin Mohamed al-Bishi was convicted of raping his
victim at gunpoint, the interior ministry
said in a statement carried by the official
Saudi Press Agency.
“He also committed a number of armed
robberies causing panic amongst the society. He had entered a number of homes by
force and tried to kidnap and rape women
and children,” the statement said.
Authorities carried out the sentence in
the southwestern region of Asir.
In a separate case, Hamoud bin Salih
bin Falih al-Zubi was executed in Riyadh
for gunning down a fellow Saudi during a
And another native of the kingdom, Falih
bin Misnad bin Rabea al-Inzi, was beheaded in Qassim region for a fatal stabbing.
GCC in Riyadh,” Hadi told tribal
He also called for the six-member GCC to sponsor the talks, an
aide said.
The Houthis, who control much
of northern Yemen and have set
up their own government institutions in the capital, have opposed
any change of venue for the UNbrokered talks.
The General People’s Congress
party of ousted Ali Abdullah Saleh,
who is widely accused of backing
the militia, has said it will boycott
any talks held outside Sanaa.
And it is by no means clear that
Riyadh will be any more acceptable as a venue to the Houthis or
their supporters.
The GCC has thrown its support
behind Hadi.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman receives South Korea’s President
Park Geun-hye in Riyadh yesterday.
outh Korea and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum
on nuclear co-operation
during a visit by President Park
Geun-Hye that began yesterday,
official media said.
The two sides reached a “memorandum of understanding in the
field of nuclear co-operation
programmes”, a partnership in
research and skills development,
the state Saudi Press Agency said.
South Korea’s Minister of
Science, ICT and Future Planning, Choi Yang-hee, signed the
memorandum with Saudi official
Hisham bin Abdullah Yamani,
SPA said.
Earlier, Jungho Lee, head of
the political section at Seoul’s
embassy, said there would be a
“framework agreement” on technical co-operation, research and
development and the exchange of
personnel in the nuclear field.
He said the agreement is between King Abdullah City for
Atomic and Renewable Energy
(K.A.CARE) and Choi’s ministry.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest petroleum exporter and entirely dependent on oil and gas for
its electricity production.
The late King Abdullah established K.A.CARE in 2010 to develop alternative energy, including atomic power.
SPA said the signing took place
after Park and King Salman held
talks on “aspects of co-operation”.
Ministers also signed two other
economic pacts, including one on
sea transport, SPA said.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Iraqi forces
try to seal off
IS fighters
around Tikrit
Army and militia sealing off
Tikrit, not yet gone in; battle
for Tikrit could decide move
on Mosul
housands of Iraqi soldiers
and Shia militiamen sought
to seal off Islamic State
fighters in Tikrit and nearby towns
yesterday, the second day of Iraq’s
biggest offensive yet against a
stronghold of the militants.
Iranian military commander
Qassem Soleimani, who has
helped co-ordinate Baghdad’s
counter-attacks against Islamic
State since it seized much of
northern Iraq in June, was overseeing at least part of the operation, witnesses said.
His presence on the frontline
highlights Iran’s influence over
the Shia fighters who have been
key to containing the militants in
In contrast, the US-led air
coalition which has been attacking Islamic State across Iraq and
Syria has not yet played a role in
Tikrit, the Pentagon said on Monday, perhaps partly because of the
high-level Iranian presence.
Iraqi military officials said security forces backed by the Shia
militia known as Hashid Shaabi
(Popular Mobilisation) were advancing gradually, their progress
slowed by roadside bombs and
They have yet to enter Tikrit,
the hometown of executed former
president Saddam Hussain, or the
nearby Tigris river town of alDour, which officials describe as a
major centre for the Islamic State
On the southern flank of the offensive, army and police officials
said government forces had surrounded and sealed off al-Dour,
but had not yet launched an assault on the town, a source in military operations command said.
To the north, they captured a
village close to Tikrit, the army
said. Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds
Force, was directing operations
on the eastern flank from a village about 55km from Tikrit called
Albu Rayash, captured from Islamic State two days ago.
With him were two Iraqi Shia
paramilitary leaders: the leader
of the Hashid Shaabi, Abu Mahdi
al-Mohandis, and Hadi al-Amiri
who leads the Badr Organisation,
a powerful Shia militia.
“(Soleimani) was standing
on top of a hill pointing with his
hands towards the areas where
Islamic State are still operating,”
said a witness who was accompanying security forces near Albu
Islamic State militants have
staged several suicide bomb attacks against the army and militia
in recent days. Twitter accounts
linked to Islamic State supporters named one as Abu Daoud alAmriki (American), suggesting he
was a US citizen, saying he had d
etonated a vehicle packed with
The offensive is the biggest in
the Salahuddin region north of
Baghdad since last summer, when
Islamic State killed hundreds of
Iraqi army soldiers who had abandoned their base at Camp Speicher outside Tikrit.
The Tikrit battle will have a
major impact on plans to move
further north and recapture Mosul, the largest city under Islamic
State rule.
If the offensive stalls, it will
complicate and delay a move on
Mosul. A quick victory would give
Baghdad momentum, but any
retribution against local Sunnis
would imperil efforts to win over
Mosul’s mainly Sunni population.
Iraqi government forces and allied militias fire weaponry from a position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin
province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from militants of the Islamic State (IS) group, on Monday.
Israelis must probe civilian
killings in Gaza war: envoy
UN envoy called on
Israel yesterday to investigate the killing
of more than 1,500 Palestinian civilians, one third of them
children, during the 2014 Gaza
war, and to make the findings
Makarim Wibisono, a former
Indonesian ambassador, issued
his first report to the UN Human Rights Council since becoming its special rapporteur
on human rights in the Pales-
Arab summit to mull setting
up a joint force against IS
he Arab League will consider setting up a defence unit to battle
the spread of the Islamic State
group at its annual summit later this
month, an official said yesterday.
Deputy chief Ahmed Ben Helli told
reporters that the March 28-29 meeting
in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm elSheikh will discuss an Egyptian initiative to create a “unified Arab force”.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah alSisi has called for such a unit to confront
security threats in the region where IS
holds swathes of Syria and Iraq and has
gained a foothold in Egypt’s neighbour
Libya. Last month Sisi ordered air strikes
in Libya after IS militants there beheaded
21 mostly Egyptian Christians.
Ben Helli said a united Arab force was
needed, even as a “symbolic” show of
deterrence at times of “conflict or disasters”.
“Such forces should be ready and
present so that they could symbolically
show that the Arab countries have a deterrent force and a peacekeeping force
that could step in at times of conflicts,”
he said.
Egypt court defers
parliamentary poll
n Egyptian court yesterday deferred a longawaited parliamentary
election due in March indefinitely after another court declared the election law’s provision on voting districts as
sources said.
Egypt has been without a
parliament since June 2012,
when a court dissolved the
democratically elected main
chamber, reversing a major
accomplishment of the 2011
uprising that toppled autocrat
Hosni Mubarak.
This delay prolongs a period in which President Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi has wielded sole
legislative authority and slows
Egypt’s progress towards democracy since its first freely
elected president was ousted
by the army in 2013.
The decision by Egypt’s
Administrative Court came
as expected after a ruling on
Sunday by the Supreme Constitutional Court against an
article on voting districts in an
election law which heralded a
likely delay to the poll.
The first phase of voting
was due to begin on March 22.
The spokesman for the High
Election Committee, which
said on Sunday it was working
on a new timetable, said yesterday a new date would be set after the law had been amended.
Sisi directed his government to change the law within
one month. Analysts say it
could be several months before elections were held.
According to one expert,
Sunday’s ruling requires the
government to merge or create new voting districts so
that each contains an equal
number of voters.
“If we assume the legal
committee finishes this work
within one month, a new period for nominations will have
to be opened, which will delay
us about three months,” Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University, said.
The election is the final
step in a political road map
the army announced in July
2013. Egypt’s leaders say the
election shows their commitment to democracy but
critics say Sisi, who as army
chief toppled his predecessor, has undermined
freedoms gained after the
Arab Spring revolt.
Ben Helli added that such a unit would
be tasked with “confronting threats that
undermine the stability of the countries
of the region, particularly the rise of terrorism”, a reference to militants.
In an interview on Saturday with the
Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel,
Sisi said that a joint Arab force could
get support from Arab League members
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United
Arab Emirates.
He said he discussed the creation of
such a unified force with Jordan’s King
Abdullah II who welcomed the idea and
said Arabs should press ahead to set up
such a unit.
Rival Libyan
forces carry
out air strikes
ival Libyan forces carried out tit-for-tat air
strikes on oil terminals and an airport yesterday, escalating their battle for control of
the oil-producing country days before UN peace
talks are to resume in Morocco.
The UN called for the hostilities to end in preparation for the negotiations, which it hopes will end
the war raging between Libya’s two rival governments and their armed forces four years after the
fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
Oil installations and key infrastructure are prime
targets in the conflict, which pits Prime Minister
Abdullah al-Thinni’s internationally recognised
government against Libya Dawn, the group which
took Tripoli and set up its own administration.
Fishy taxidermists
Police in Egypt’s Red Sea province yesterday uncovered a workshop where endangered fish were being
“embalmed,” the Interior Ministry reported.
A picture posted on the ministry’s official Facebook
page showed a row of shark-like fish, preserved with
their jaws gaping, in a dusty room.
The ministry said two fishermen responsible for
the workshop had been arrested. Police seized 10
embalmed sharks, two turtles, three eels and 50
starfish as well as coral and other fish. The sharks
found were threatened with extinction, making it
forbidden to fish for them, the ministry said.
tinian territories last June.
US Secretary of State John
Kerry accused the forum on
Monday of being obsessed by
allegations of Israeli abuses and
said the US would defend Israel
against efforts to isolate it.
Some 2,256 Palestinians
were killed during the JulyAugust conflict, of whom 1,563
were civilians including 538
children, while 66 Israeli soldiers and five civilians died,
Wibisono said. Israel says it
launched the offensive after
rocket attacks by militants operating out of the Islamist Hamas-ruled strip.
“The stark disparity in casualty figures on the two sides ...
reflects the (skewed) balance of
power and the disproportionate cost borne by Palestinian
civilians, raising questions as
to whether Israel adhered to
the international law principles
of distinction, proportionality and precautions,” Wibisono
Most civilian victims were
“not simply bystanders on the
street in the wrong place at the
wrong time”, he said. “Most
victims were families killed in
missile strikes on their own
homes, usually at night.”
He interviewed victims in
Amman and Cairo or witnesses
on video calls in Gaza, as Israel had not let him go there.
A separate report on possible
war crimes committed by both
sides is to be issued by a UN
commission of inquiry soon.
Its chairman was forced to step
down last month.
Unexploded ordnance still
litters Gaza, causing further
casualties, he said, with an estimated 7,000 devices needing
to be defused. Some 100,000
people remain displaced while
450,000 are disconnected from
water mains.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Pro-opposition lawyer shot
dead in Mozambique
Firefighters battle wildfires
outside Cape Town
Decade-long jail sentence
sought for Simone Gbagbo
Congo warlord Lubanga is
liable for reparations: ICC
Verdict in Lagos church
collapse in two weeks
A well-known lawyer who defended the views
of the political opposition in Mozambique was
shot dead yesterday, hospital sources said. Gilles
Cistac, of French origin, had expressed support for
decentralisation policies advocated by the main
opposition party Renamo. He was shot dead in
Maputo as he entered a taxi by four men driving
past, reports said. He died at hospital. Police said
information on the incident was still scarce. Cistac
worked as a law professor at a local university and
had advised several government ministries. He
had publicly defended the views of Renamo leader
Afonso Dhlakama, who wants the southern African
country to be divided into “autonomous regions.”
South African firefighters were combating half a
dozen wildfires yesterday raging in a mountainous
area near Cape Town, on the south-western coast,
broadcaster eNCA reported. Reinforcements were
being sent from other provinces to increase the
number of firefighters, to about 400. The fires have
prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people.
A fireman sustained burns while dozens of people
were treated for smoke inhalation on Monday. Half
a dozen houses have been devoured by the flames.
Two tourist lodges have also been damaged. The
high temperatures and strong winds fanning the
flames were expected subside later in the week.
The cause of the fires was not immediately known.
Prosecutors in Ivory Coast asked judges yesterday
to sentence former first lady Simone Gbagbo to a
ten-year prison term on charges of “undermining
state security” during post-election violence in
2010-2011 that left nearly 3,000 dead. The wife
of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo is
also accused of “disturbing public order” and
“organising armed gangs” after her husband and
his supporters rejected results of December 2010
presidential elections. “Simone Gbagbo most
certainly participated in the composition of armed
gangs,” state prosecutor Simon Yabo Odi told the
court yesterday, adding “her men... participated in
an insurrectional movement.”
The International Criminal Court ruled yesterday
that convicted Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga
should “personally” be liable for reparations to his
victims, including paying to help reintegrate child
soldiers who served in his rebel army. ICC appeals
judges said the court’s trial chamber “erred in not
making Lubanga personally liable for collective
reparations”. Trial judges in March 2012 convicted
Lubanga of war crimes and sentenced him to 14
years in jail. “This context strongly suggests that
reparation orders are intrinsically linked to the
individual whose criminal liability is established in a
conviction and whose culpability for those criminal
acts are determined in a sentence,” the judges said.
A Lagos coroner said yesterday he would within
two weeks give his verdict into the causes of last
year’s deadly building collapse at the compound
of the powerful Nigerian pastor TB Joshua.
Coroner Oyetade Komolafe has been probing
the September 12 accident that killed 116 people,
but the inquiry was stalled by a three-week
judicial staff strike. Komolafe said the court
had been able to make up for “the lost ground”
caused by the strike. “Within the next two weeks,
all witnesses would have given their evidence
after which counsels to the parties will give
their final addresses and the court will give its
verdict,” Komolafe told a hearing in Lagos.
Nigeria repels
Boko attack
igerian troops backed by
civilian vigilantes yesterday claimed to have killed
more than 70 Boko Haram fighters in a foiled attack to capture the
strategic town of Konduga near
A would-be suicide bomber was
shot and killed before he could
ram his explosives-laden car into
a military checkpoint in the town
during the attack on Monday, witnesses said.
Around 150 Boko Haram fighters entered the fishing town with
a large herd of cattle pretending
to be herders and opened fire on
troops stationed in the town, leading to a six-hour gun battle.
“At the last count 73 Boko
Haram gunmen were killed in the
foiled attack,” a civilian vigilante,
Butari Mala, told AFP.
“Among those killed was a suicide bomber who was shot inside
his car loaded with explosives before he could reach his target,” he
“The rest fled into the bush but
were pursued and bombarded by a
fighter jet that deployed from Maiduguri.”
A military source in Maiduguri,
who requested anonymity because
he is not authorised to speak to the
media, confirmed Mala’s account,
including the death toll.
The attack happened at about
7am (0600 GMT) and the gunmen abandoned the cattle as they
approached a military post, said
Konduga resident, Abba Kaka.
“Unknown to the Boko Haram
gunmen herdsmen in Konduga
had been asked to keep away from
some designated no-go areas,” he
“So when the gunmen came in
through these designated areas
it was clear to soldiers they were
not genuine herdsmen and they
met the soldiers waiting for them,”
Kaka said by telephone from Maiduguri.
Soldiers and vigilantes have repelled more than a dozen attacks
by Boko Haram on Konduga, which
is some 35km southeast of Maiduguri.
Troops and vigilantes have been
stationed in Konduga to prevent
it from being used as a launchpad
New beheading video echoes Islamic State
Nigeria’s Islamist sect Boko Haram has released a video purporting to show
it beheading two men, its first online posting using advanced graphics and
editing techniques reminiscent of footage from Islamic State.
The film, released late on Monday, shows militants standing behind the
two men who are on their knees, their hands tied behind their backs, with
one man standing over them, holding a knife.
One of the men is made to tell the camera that they had been paid by
authorities to spy on the militant group, before the film moves to another
scene showing their decapitated bodies. It was not possible to confirm the
film’s authenticity or date.
The footage will stoke concerns that Boko Haram, which evolved out of a
clerical movement focused on northeast Nigeria, is expanding its scope and
seeking inspiration from global militant networks including Al Qaeda and
Islamic State.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has said Boko Haram is allied to
both al Qaeda and its offshoot Islamic State, though that has not been confirmed by the group itself.
The Boko Haram film’s use of graphics, the footage of black-clad militants
with a black flag, and the editing to show only the aftermath of the beheading, were particularly reminiscent of footage from Islamic state, which has
seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and killed several hostages.
In the film, one of the men says he comes from Baga in Borno state, and
the other says he is from Michika in Adamawa state, both areas where the
army says it has recently recaptured territory from Boko Haram.
to attack the Borno state capital,
where the group was founded in
The latest defence of the town
comes after a number of claimed
Nigerian military successes, including the recapture of the town
of Baga, on the shores of Lake
Meanwhile, at least 19 civilians
were killed in a weekend attack by
Boko Haram on three remote islands in Niger with many victims
burnt alive, a local lawmaker said.
Sunday’s onslaught took place
on three islands located on Lake
Chad, said ElHadj Aboubacar, a
deputy from the town of Bosso in
southeastern Niger.
“We have been informed that at
least 19 people have died, most of
whom were either burnt alive or
drowned in the lake,” he told AFP.
There has been no official confirmation of the death toll but a
private radio station in Niger has
reported that two people were
killed in a fire after a remote island
village was attacked by Boko Haram fighters.
Aboubacar said the drowned
victims were mainly women and
children who tried to flee on a dugout which sank. He said two people
had been shot dead.
He said that according to witnesses, Boko Haram members
launched the raid on one island on
Uganda govt on defensive over
medical ‘brain drain’ allegations
Sunday evening, fired on locals,
pillaged shops and then set a village on fire. They then attacked
two other islands.
A joint military operation involving thousands of Niger and
Chadian soldiers is under way in
the area.
Soldiers, backed by armies from
neighbouring countries have been
involved in a fight-back against
the militants, whose attacks have
threatened regional security and
upcoming elections in Nigeria.
The conflict has killed more
than 13,000 people since 2009 and
forced more than 1mn to flee their
homes in northeast Nigeria.
Some 1mn people have been displaced within Nigeria and nearly
250,000 to surrounding countries,
the UN refugee agency UNHCR
Some 16,000 Nigerians had fled
to Cameroon’s Far North region, as
a result of recent violence in border
regions, it added in a statement on
its website.
“Given the rapidly evolving security situation in the region and
the prospect of new refugee influxes, we are discussing with authorities the feasibility of setting
up a second refugee camp, further
away from the insecure border,”
said UNHCR senior emergency
coordinator in Cameroon, Nasir
A Kenya Wildlife Service officer throws an ivory tusk onto a burning pile of 15 tonnes of elephant ivory that was burned yesterday
at the Nairobi National Park.
Kenya president destroys
massive ivory stockpile
enyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
yesterday set fire to a giant pile of
15 tonnes of elephant ivory, vowing
to destroy the country’s entire stockpile of
illegal tusks by the year’s end.
The 15 tonnes destroyed was worth
some $30mn on the black market and represented up to 1,500 slaughtered elephants
- and dwarfs the ivory burned by previous
Kenyan leaders.
“We want future generations of Kenyans, Africans and the entire world to experience the majesty and beauty of these
magnificent beasts,” Kenyatta said as he lit
a 3m tall pyre of tusks - which conservationists said was the largest ever burned in
“Poachers and their enablers will not
have the last word. We hope the rest of the
world will follow our action in the same
manner,” he said at the event, held on
World Wildlife Day.
“Elephant and rhino poaching is driven
Cash crop
ganda’s government yesterday hit back at
mounting criticism of plans to ‘export’ over 200
health workers to the Caribbean, insisting it was
only seeking to regulate an existing labour market and
prevent abuses. A plan to send at least 241 health professionals from the east African country, itself plagued
by a major shortage of doctors and nurses, to Trinidad
and Tobago has been met with fierce criticism.
The Institute of Public Policy and Research (IPPR), a
Ugandan think-tank, is challenging the exodus and seeking a court injunction to block what it has blasted as a
“state-facilitated medical brain drain” that violates the
right to healthcare. A ruling on the challenge, described
by activists as a key test case that could have repercussions in other developing nations, has yet to be made.
Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, insisted it was not “heartless”. “Ugandan workers have gone
abroad in an unregulated manner and this has led sometimes to elements of human trafficking,” permanent
secretary at the ministry, James Mugume, told AFP.
“Some people tell them they have a job as a nurse, but
when they reach their destination they find that actually there was no such position. So that’s why the foreign
ministry said ‘let’s ensure that we regulate’,” he added.
The overall objective, he said, was to prevent Ugandan professionals from ending up “on some rough boat
in the Mediterranean”. Officials also repeated that the
scheme was merely part of its bilateral cooperation with
Trinidad and Tobago, from which Uganda has also benefitted - with aid such as oil and gas industry training
and financial support for its police.
Ugandan activists insist their country can ill afford
to lose skilled staff and argue that more people will die
needlessly if the plan goes ahead. They point out that
Trinidad and Tobago already has a doctor to patient ratio that is 12 times better than Uganda’s.
by demand from international markets,”
Kenyatta said, calling for “effective and
collective action” as well as saying the inferno stood as a sign of Kenya’s “determination to put an end to poaching”.
Huge flames and thick plumes of smoke
reached high into the air from the pile of
yellow tusks at the burning site, in Nairobi’s national park, just on the edge of the
“We will burn the rest of the stockpile we
have within the year,” Kenyatta promised.
No official figures are available but the
total of seized ivory held in Kenyan is believed to be some 100 tonnes. Former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi set fire to
12 tonnes in 1989, while president Mwai
Kibaki destroyed five tonnes in 2011.
A sharp rise in poaching in Kenya,
which is home to an estimated 30,000 elephants and just over a thousand rhinos,
has sparked warnings from conservation
groups that the government is losing the
fight against the slaughter.
Ivory is sought out for jewellery and
decorative objects and much of it is smuggled to China, where many increasingly
wealthy shoppers are buying ivory trinkets
as a sign of financial success.
“Poaching and illicit wildlife trafficking have become growing challenges for
Kenya,” the president added. “These vile
crimes threaten biodiversity as well as human peace and security.”
Conservationists said the destruction of
the ivory sent a clear signal to both poachers and buyers.
“It’s a symbolic act to bring the world’s
attention to the elephant crisis, but it’s also
a clear message to people who buy ivory
that all they’re buying is a dead animal,”
said Ian Craig, chief executive of Kenya’s
Northern Rangelands Trust. “I would like
to see every tusk in Africa go up in flames.”
The UN estimates that up to 30,000 elephants are killed in Africa every year out
of a total population of not more than half
a million.
It is expected that the pyre will burn
for around five days until the tusks have
turned to worthless ash.
The burning comes after China on Friday launched a one-year ban on imports of
ivory carvings.
Tanzanian president pledges
crackdown on albino killings
Dar es Salaam
A farm worker harvests tobacco leaves at a farm ahead of the tobacco selling season that starts
today in Harare.
anzania’s President Jakaya
Kikwete has promised to end
a wave of killings of albinos,
saying the witchcraft-related murders were shaming his east African
Activists say attackers have killed
at least 75 albinos in Tanzania since
2000 to use their body parts in rituals.
“We will not allow things to escalate as they did in previous years,”
Kikwete said in a national address
late on Monday.
“I believe that with close cooperation between the government and society, we will succeed in ending these
killings of persons with albinism and
rid our nation of this shame.”
There are about 200,000 albinos
in Tanzania, most of them easily
recognisable as they lack pigment in
their skin, eyes and hair.
Witch doctors often tell clients
that albino body parts will bring
them luck in love, life and business.
Similar beliefs exist in other African
societies, but activists say attacks on
albinos are particularly prevalent in
“It is a false belief that if someone
has the body part of a person with
albinism, this will bring success in
business, fishing and mining activities. This is what has been fuelling
this ongoing evil,” said Kikwete.
Tanzanian police on Monday
banned a planned demonstration by
the Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS)
in the country’s commercial capital,
Dar es Salaam, citing security reasons, but Kikwete said he had agreed
to meet albino leaders next week to
discuss possible solutions to the killings.
Kikwete said more than 40 albinos
have been killed since 2007 but insisted that his government was taking action to end the murders. He did
give details on how the government
would stop the killings.
The murders have been concentrated in gold-rich regions and fishing communities surrounding the
country’s Lake Victoria area where
superstitious beliefs are rampant.
Activists say most attacks are not
reported to the police.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Ebola survivors
seek treatment
By Carola Frentzen, DPA
(From left) Guinean President Alpha Conde, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management
Christos Stylianides, Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma and Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso address a press conference at the Egmont
palace in Brussels.
Ebola-ravaged nations
look for helping hand
frican and European leaders
yesterday warned against a relaxation of efforts in the fight
against Ebola, at a conference in Brussels on eradicating the disease and
helping the worst-affected countries
to recover.
An outbreak of the haemorrhagic
fever has ravaged Guinea, Sierra Leone
and Liberia over the last year, leading to more than 9,500 confirmed and
suspected deaths, according to the
World Health Organization.
“Our three countries are beginning
to triumph over the deadly disease
that has threatened the sovereignty
of each of our states,” said Liberian
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, warning however that more work is needed
to bring new infection rates down to
“This is the essential first step to
economic recovery,” she added.
“We should not assume the worst
is over,” added EU foreign policy chief
Federica Mogherini, who opened the
conference with a minute’s silence for
the victims of Ebola. “We are all too
aware now of what a virulent and contagious disease this is.”
“Nobody can afford to drop their
guard. The last mile may well be the
hardest,” UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon said in a statement.
Guinean President Alpha Conde
said it was “easier to move from 100
to 10 [new infections] than from 10 to
The one-day conference, being held
under the patronage of the European
Union, is being used in part to make
sure financial pledges for the fight
against Ebola are met.
A reminder of the disease’s pervasiveness came at the weekend, when
the vice-president of Sierra Leone
was reported to have placed himself in
quarantine after one of his bodyguards
died of Ebola.
The conference is also about how to
help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia
recover from the outbreak, which has
decimated their economic growth and
overwhelmed their health sectors.
Sirleaf yesterday joined forces with
the anti-poverty organization Oxfam
to call for donors to support her government’s call for $60mn to fund water and sanitation facilities for schools.
“The lack of clean water, hand
washing and sanitation facilities are
major stumbling blocks in helping our
children develop life-changing habits
which will enhance their health for the
long term,” Sirleaf said in a statement.
More than 150 delegations were expected at the Brussels talks, with 69
countries and major international organizations represented - amounting
to more than 600 delegates, according
to a European Commission official.
The work will continue on July 2021, at an Ebola recovery and reconstruction conference being hosted
by the African Union in Equatorial
Guinea, the organization’s Social Affairs Commissioner Mustapha Sidiki
Kaloko announced at the start of the
Brussels talks.
The meeting, in Malabo, is to focus on investment in public health,
strengthening health systems and response to disease outbreaks, he said.
Stakeholders will also discuss the
establishment of a “voluntary reserve
health workforce that can be called on
at any time to respond to health and
emergency threats,” as well as efforts
to set up an African centre of disease
control and prevention, Kaloko added.
“We all have to learn lessons (from
the Ebola outbreak), especially the
fact that we were too late,” said Germany’s Ebola envoy Walter Lindner.
“The most important thing is to react
faster to a future crisis,” he added.
ainkillers have brought little relief
to Victoria Gildor, a 37-year-old
Ebola survivor trying to cope with
the after effects of the virus.
Gildor was released from a clinic in the
Liberian capital Monrovia in January, but
she said she has faced health issues ever
since. “My hair is rooting up from my
skull and I also experience severe pain in
my joints,” Gildor said. “My eyes are always feeling painful, like I have drops of
sand on them.”
Amie Kollie, a 20-year-old survivor,
has also experienced problems with her
eyes and joints since being discharged
from an Ebola management centre in
October.“I find difficulty in walking because of pain in my right knee,” Kollie
said, adding that she feels pain in her eyes
and can’t see clearly.
Gildor and Kollie are hoping that a new
clinic for survivors in the West African
country, opened last month in Monrovia
by the medical charity Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF), may be able to help
them cope.
“MSF’s goal with the clinic is to offer
a physical and psychological clinical response to the survivors,” said Leen Verhenne, the MSF’s emergency relief coordinator in Liberia.
Ebola, a virus transmitted through
contact with blood and other bodily fluids, causes massive haemorrhaging and
has a fatality rate of up to 90% if left untreated.
The most recent outbreak in West Africa, which began in March last year, is
the worst outbreak since Ebola was discovered in 1976.
Around 30% of victims have survived
the virus since then, but little is known
about its long-term health effects, and
doctors and researchers are still trying to
find out what causes the post-recovery
health issues being reported today.
“We don’t have a clear picture of what
exactly is the cause of these symptoms,”
Verhenne said.
In the case of eye and vision problems,
Verhenne said the cause appears to be
some kind of uveitis, or inflammation of
the eye, which can cause blindness if not
treated promptly.
“Whether that is due to some kind of
immune reaction of the body or a continuous inflammatory process of the ebola
viral disease itself is unclear,” she said.
An MSF specialist team deployed in
Monrovia visited around 250 Ebola survivors and said that many continue to
feel ill, even after they have recovered.
Around 60% of the survivors they treat
report extreme joint pain, and around
50% say they are constantly tired or exhausted. More than 20% report problems
with their eyes and 10% suffer from hearing difficulties.
Survivors also report psychological
problems. Around a fifth of the patients
show symptoms of post-traumatic stress
disorder, and around the same number
are depressed. Others say they suffer
from nightmares and memory loss.
Experts worry that these after effects
will further strain already overloaded
health services in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - the three countries hardest
hit by the outbreak.
“We estimate that many survivors will
have increased medical needs, which
could be financially challenging,” said
Melissa McRae, a doctor working for the
Red Cross in Sierra Leone.
McRae said that additional medical
services are being offered to Ebola survivors and are improved on a regular basis.
The hope, she said, is that the survivor
clinics will benefit the greater health systems of affected countries.
Many Ebola survivors have also suffered stigmatization, making daily life an
emotional challenge after the virus.
“Some Ebola survivors report being
evicted from their homes or shunned by
neighbours,” said Ebola expert Vincent
Koch from the British charity Oxfam.
As the MSF medical team and survivors
work together to cope with the effects of
the virus, survivors can at least take comfort in the fact that they will not likely
have to endure Ebola again in the near
future. “We ... anticipate that survivors
are immune to the disease,” McRae said,
acknowledging that the immunity’s duration is still unknown.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Former speaker will
plead guilty to fraud
ormer house speaker Gordon Fox has
agreed to plead guilty to charges of
bribery, wire fraud and filing a false
tax return following an investigation that
included a dramatic federal raid on the
Statehouse, according to court documents
unsealed yesterday.
The details from the documents bring
an end to nearly a year of speculation
about what the FBI, Internal Revenue
Service and state police were investigating
when they raided Fox’s home and Statehouse office March 21, 2014.
A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for noon in US district court in
Fox is accused of receiving $52,500 in
cash and checks in 2008 to help grant a
liquor license to a bar near Brown University when he served as vice chairman of
the board of licenses for the city of Providence. He’s also accused of making about
28 interbank transfers totalling $108,000,
taking the money from his campaign account and using it to pay for personal expenses.
The government is recommending a
three-year prison sentence.
“Former Speaker Fox looted his cam-
Former Rhode Island house speaker
Gordon Fox.
paign account repeatedly,” said US attorney Peter Neronha, adding that Fox acted
as though his official position on the board
of licenses were for sale.
Prosecutors say the personal expenses
included mortgage payments, car loan
payments, his American Express bill and
purchases at Tiffany’s, Urban Outfitters,
TJ Maxx, Target, Walmart and Warwick
Animal Hospital. They say the diverted
funds represent about 15 percent of the
campaign donations he received, and he
overstated the account balance in campaign finance reports to hide his actions
from the board of elections.
He’s accused of filing false tax returns by
knowingly failing to include the personal
income he received from the bribe and the
fraudulent transfers.
Fox, once considered among the most
powerful politicians in state politics, was
forced to resign his speakership after the
raids, when federal agents were seen carting out boxes of evidence from his home
and office at the Statehouse.
The Democrat announced he was stepping down as speaker the following day,
but he finished out his term in the House,
representing a neighbourhood on Providence’s upscale East Side. That term ended in January.
Since the raids, investigators have
mostly refused to detail what they were
looking at. However, other information
has trickled out about the investigation
and about how Fox managed his campaign
finances and business affairs.
Fox is an attorney with a solo law practice and had held a seat in the part-time
General Assembly since 1992. He became
the state’s first openly gay House speaker
in 2010, making a salary of $30,000 annually. He and his husband also owned a
Providence hair salon that closed its doors
a few months before the raids.
In his law practice, Fox had represented
businesses before the city’s board of licenses and performed loan closings. He
paid a $1,500 civil fine to the state ethics
commission before the raids happened
last year for failing to disclose more than
$40,000 in loan closing work he did for a
Providence economic development agency.
The state board of elections, which enforces campaign finance laws, said it had
been contacted by law enforcement about
Fox the same day as the raids.
An analysis of his campaign finance
records done in May 2014 showed that 90
expense checks out of 1,000 were unaccounted for over a six-year period, with
about half of those unaccounted for in 2012
and 2013 alone. Campaign finance records
showed that Fox’s campaign account had
$244,000 in it as of Sept. 30, 2014.
Fox also had a Statehouse employee doing his campaign books and acted as his
own campaign treasurer, practices criticized by watchdog groups.
In June, Fox disclosed to the ethics commission that he had received a personal
$10,000 loan from a registered legislative
lobbyist in 2009 and had not paid it back
over a period of years. He had not disclosed it in any of those years.
in trial of
white racist
killer begins
Olathe, Kansas
Kansas police officer
about finding a young
boy and his grandfather shot in
the head outside a Jewish community centre, the first witness
of many planned for a hearing
in the case of a white supremacist charged with killing three
people in a Kansas City suburb
last April.
As many as 22 witnesses
could be called to testify in
the case against Frazier Glenn
Cross Jr, 74 as a judge weighs
whether or not he should stand
Cross was known to law enforcement as a former senior
member of the Ku Klux Klan
who had repeatedly expressed
hatred for Jewish people when
he showed up in the Kansas City suburb of Overland
Park on April 13 and went on a
shooting spree.
Cross, also known as Glenn
Miller, is charged with capital
murder in the killings of Reat
Underwood, 14, and his grandfather William Corporon, 69,
outside the Jewish centre, and
murder in the killing of Terri
LaManno, 53, who was shot to
death outside the nearby Village Shalom Jewish retirement
Overland Park police detective Marty Ingram testified
yesterday that he was off duty
but working as a security guard
at the Jewish Community
Center of Greater Kansas City
when shots rang out. He told
the court that when he went
into the parking lot to investigate he found Corporon and
Underwood both shot in the
Ingram said he and other
witnesses rushed to a nearby
location where other officers
had apprehended Cross, and he
heard Cross say “Heil Hitler,”
and then ask: “How many...
Jews did I kill?”
Though the victims were all
shot at Jewish facilities, none
of them were Jewish.
With several witnesses and
other evidence to present,
prosecutors have indicated
the hearing could last three
days, Johnson County District Court spokeswoman
Lisa Taylor said. The judge in
the case will decide if Cross
should be arraigned and tried
on the charges, and Cross
would then enter a plea, Taylor said.
Peanuts may reduce
risk of heart disease
People leave the funeral for three-year-old Elijah Marsh in Toronto. Elijah Marsh died last week after wandering from an apartment building where he was staying, wearing
only a T-shirt, diaper and boots during bitterly cold weather in Toronto.
ating peanuts, in small
amounts, may reduce the
risk of mortality, especially death from cardiovascular
disease, a new study yesterday
The report compiles research
from people of varying races,
including Caucasians, African
Americans and Asians, all from
low income backgrounds.
Researchers found that consuming peanuts regularly reduced mortality among men
and women from all groups, and
suggests that eating the nuts which are relatively affordable
- can be an inexpensive and nutritious way to reduce mortality and cardiovascular disease
around the world.
The study, published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine includes more than 70,000
Caucasians and blacks in the
United States and some 130,000
Chinese people in Shanghai.
“We found that peanut consumption was associated with
reduced total mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in
a predominantly low-income
black and white population in
the US, and among Chinese men
and women living in Shanghai,”
said senior author Xiao-Ou
Shu, associate director for Global Health at the VanderbiltIngram Cancer Center (VICC).
There was a reduced risk of
total mortality of in 17 to 21% of
participants, the study showed.
The risk of death from cardiovascular disease was slashed
by between 23 and 38% .
But co-author William Blot
warned that because the data
was from observational epidemiological studies and not
randomised clinical trials, “we
cannot be sure that peanuts per
se were responsible for the reduced mortality observed”.
“The findings from this new
study, however, reinforce earlier
research suggesting health benefits from eating nuts, and thus
are quite encouraging,” added
Why would GOP candidate for governor kill himself?
Jefferson City
issouri’s auditor, who fatally
shot himself in an apparent
suicide, had vowed to take
down the state’s most powerful politicians and donors, including his fellow Republicans, when he launched an
anti-corruption campaign for governor
last month.
But in his final days, Tom Schweich
described having knots in his stomach
over what he thought was an anti-Semitic whisper campaign by a GOP consultant who now runs the state party.
His intensity had served him well in
the past — he was proud of exposing
corruption in his four years as auditor.
But his tendency to fixate on issues also
sometimes made it hard for him to get
over political attacks, say some of his
advisers and colleagues.
Schweich left behind a wife and two
children — and a seemingly rising political career — when he died Thursday
at age 54.
He said his audits exposed more than
30 “corrupt government officials” who
allegedly stole taxpayer money. But
his promised gubernatorial campaign
against corruption had barely begun.
Announcing his candidacy last
month, Schweich had vowed to bring a
never-before-seen “level of intensity,
tenacity, transparency, and rigor” in a
quest to root out “rampant corruption
in Jefferson City”.
As evidence of his grit, Schweich
touted his work in the US state department co-ordinating an anti-drug initiative in Afghanistan.
“Negotiating with Afghan warlords
prepared me well for Missouri politics,”
he said.
He took specific aim at the state’s top
political donor, retired investment mogul Rex Sinquefield, who largely bankrolled the campaign of his GOP gubernatorial rival Catherine Hanaway, a
former state House speaker and federal
Schweich said the $900,000 Hanaway accepted from her “billionaire patron” made her “bought and paid for”
by Sinquefield, who employs an “army
of mercenaries” to exert his influence
over elected officials.
“Nothing is too dishonest for them,
and apparently nothing is too petty
for them, either,” Schweich said last
month. “It’s corrupt, and there’s a lot
more corruption going on in that camp
that we’ll be talking about in the days to
Missouri auditor Tom Schweich announces his candidacy for governor.
Hanaway generally deflected Schweich’s accusations, and Sinquefield
has defended his political endeavors.
“Undoubtedly, rooting out corruption is a very good thing,” Hanaway told
reporters and editors at the Capitol in
mid-February. “But I have a question:
Isn’t that his job now?”
In the ensuing days, Schweich became increasingly focused on another
man — John Hancock, a consultant
who did opposition research for Hanaway last year and was elected February
21 as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.
Schweich, an Episcopalian, told The
Associated Press he believed Hancock
had been telling Republican donors
and activists that Schweich was Jewish,
which he perceived as an anti-Semitic
Hancock told the AP after Schweich’s
death that it’s possible he may have told
some people Schweich was Jewish,
“but I wouldn’t have said it in a derogatory or demeaning fashion”, he said.
Schweich confronted Hancock in
November about the alleged comments, but their tension was not resolved. As the date approached for the
party chairman’s election, Schweich
reached out to other Republicans — including US senator Roy Blunt and some
state party committee members — to
try to rally people against electing Hancock.
Some Republicans declined to get involved in what they viewed as personal
Eventually, Hancock’s alleged comments “became some kind of a hurdle” to Schweich, said state Republican
Party Secretary Pat Thomas, who was
among those to whom Schweich had
On Monday, Schweich outlined the
whole ordeal to an AP reporter, saying
he planned to hold a press conference
about it the next day — even though
his advisers said it was a poor political move. Schweich described having
knots in his stomach for the past week,
because he was so worked up over it. He
didn’t follow through on the press conference, telling the AP he was still try-
ing to get a prominent Jewish person to
stand with him first.
Then, on Thursday morning, Schweich talked twice over the phone with
the AP to invite a reporter to his suburban St. Louis home for an afternoon
interview, saying he was ready to go
public with his accusations. He said he
was also inviting a reporter from the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch.
Police say authorities received an
emergency call about the shooting just
minutes after those phone calls.
Hancock emailed state Republican Party officials Friday saying he
was “sad to have learned that some of
(Schweich’s) final moments were spent
thinking of an ongoing disagreement
with me.”
Hancock said he had “mistakenly believed that Tom Schweich was Jewish,”
and that Schweich “had mistakenly believed that I had attacked his religion.”
“We may never know what drove
Tom to take his own life —but it seems
clear that there were deeper and more
profound issues than a minor political
squabble,” Hancock said.
On Friday, governor Jay Nixon appointed one of his own longtime aides
— John Watson — to serve as auditor
until Nixon chooses a permanent replacement.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Clinton e-mail latest
drag on election bid
illary Clinton’s 2016 presidential
campaign has not officially begun, but suggestions she may have
violated federal records laws are the latest
kink in her nascent White House bid.
Reports that Clinton used only personal
e-mail accounts when secretary of state
have left her exposed to legal challenges
and potentially more consequential allegations of evasiveness and political plotting.
Amid suggestions Clinton may have
breached the Federal Records Act -- which
calls for official correspondence to be retained — Clinton allies are fighting a rearguard action.
“Like secretaries of state before her, she
used her own e-mail account when engaging with any department officials,” said
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill.
“Both the letter and spirit of the rules
permitted state department officials to use
non-government e-mail, as long as appropriate records were preserved.”
State separtment spokeswoman Marie
Harf said the department “has long had
access to a wide array of secretary Clinton’s records — including e-mails”.
Hillary Clinton testifies before the senate
foreign relations committee.
As the early frontrunner to win the
Democratic nomination for the race to replace Barack Obama as president, Clinton
was always going to attract opponents’
Latest polls show she has a nearly 40
point lead over rivals in her party.
But Republicans were quick to characterise Clinton’s use of private e-mail as
evidence that she will do anything to realise her political ambitions.
Clinton’s potential rival Jeb Bush pointed to his own decision to selectively re-
lease thousands of e-mails from his time
as Florida governor.
“Hillary Clinton should release her emails. Hopefully she hasn’t already destroyed them,” said Bush spokeswoman
Kristy Campbell.
“Governor Bush believes transparency
is a critical part of public service and of
At the same time, a political group allied
with Bush served the State Department
with a freedom of information request to
release e-mails from staff to Clinton’s private address.
‘America Rising’ director Colin Reed
accused Clinton of an “intentional and
unlawful effort” to hide correspondence.
Clinton’s foes also raised the possibility that her actions could have made the
hacking sensitive, classified exchanges
easier for foreign governments.
“The Chinese government probably has
it now,” said Reed.
Republicans hope that the revelations,
first reported by the New York Times, could
weaken Clinton’s support among women,
neutralising a major electoral advantage.
“One of the things that women tend to
like about women candidates is that they
don’t seem like a typical politician,” said
Katie Packer Gage, a consultant who was
Republican Mitt Romney’s deputy cam-
paign manager in the 2012 presidential
“When Hillary is viewed in that light
she is very strong with women,” she told
AFP. “But when you start to demonstrate
times when she has behaved very much
like a typical politician, where she has
lacked transparency... it really diminishes
her with women.”
The e-mail revelations are also likely
to fuel the Republican campaign to hold
Clinton’s feet to the fire over the death of
US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
Clinton’s e-mails have figured in a Congressional Select Committee’s investigation into the incident, which was blamed
on Islamic militants.
Clinton was accused of not doing
enough to protect the diplomatic facility.
A Democrat on that panel, Elijah Cummings, said it had been known for “for
several years” that Clinton used private
He called on Republicans to allow the
release some of her correspondence supplied to the committee, lifting the veil of
I believe, Cummings said, the panel
should “make them available to the American public so they can read their contents
for themselves”.
Spy dome
pursue new
leads on
researchers at Harvard for the
first time are scanning
the brains of healthy patients
for the presence of a hallmark
protein called tau, which forms
toxic tangles of nerve fibres associated with the fatal disease.
The new scans are part of a
large clinical trial called AntiAmyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s or A4, the
first designed to identify and
treat patients in the earliest
stages of Alzheimer’s, before
memory loss begins.
Patients accepted into the
A4 trial already have deposits of beta amyloid, the other
protein associated with Alzheimer’s. The addition of the tau
scan will allow scientists to get
a much clearer picture of the
events that lead to Alzheimer’s.
The disease affects 5mn Americans, and 16mn are projected to
be afflicted by 2050.
Dr Reisa Sperling of Massachusetts General Hospital
in Boston, who is leading the
1,000-patient trial, said tau
is commonly found in small
amounts in healthy people
over age 70, but it is generally
confined to an area of the brain
called the medial temporal lobe.
When amyloid is present, it
somehow opens the door for
tau to spread to other parts of
the brain, causing widespread
cell death and cognitive decline.
“Tau is the actual bad actor on the front line that tears
up the brain. Being able to see
it in living humans is a breakthrough,” said Dr. Keith Johnson, director of molecular neuroimaging at Massachusetts
General, who is leading the
imaging portion of the A4 trial.
In the study, patients will be
offered treatments to remove
amyloid from the brain in the
hopes of keeping tau in check.
Several companies have developed drugs aiming to remove
amyloid and alter the course
of Alzheimer’s, but all failed
to show a significant benefit.
Sperling and other researchers
believe that’s because the drugs
were introduced too late after
the onset of disease.
In 2012, Eli Lilly’s solanezumab failed to slow the disease
in patients with two trials of
patients with mild to moderate
symptoms. But combined results showed the drug appeared
to slow cognitive decline by
34% among patients who started with only mild symptoms.
Patients in the A4 trial will
be randomized to receive Lilly’s
anti-amyloid drug or a placebo
for about three years. Lilly is
funding the trial, along with the
National Institutes of Health
and several philanthropic organizations.
Researchers plan to do tau
imaging on up to 500 patients
in the A4 trial. The tau imaging will be paid for by the
Accelerating Medicines Partnership, which is sponsored
by the National Institutes of
Health and the Alzheimer’s
Arthur Canter, 67, a retired
executive from Boston, will
be the first A4 patient to be
scanned for tau. Canter, who
has a sharp memory and quick
wit, already has amyloid building up in his brain.
Canter fully expects his scan
will show deposits of tau forming as well. His mother, 91, has
Alzheimer’s, and his father
showed signs of dementia when
he died in his 70s from an unrelated condition.
‘Maternity hotels’
raided in California
Los Angeles
The Canadian Forces Station Leitrim in Ottawa. The base is part of the Communications Security Establishment’s (CSE) network. The CSE collects foreign security
intelligence by combing the Internet and airwaves of the world.
Ex-CIA chief Petraeus to plead
guilty in affair-related case
ormer CIA Director David Petraeus has agreed to
plead guilty to a single
charge relating to mishandling
classified information in a case
arising from the ex-US army
general’s extramarital affair
with a female army reserve officer, the justice department
said yesterday.
Petraeus’s guilty plea were
filed in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina. The retired four-star general agreed
to plead guilty to a charge of
unauthorised removal and retention of classified material.
A law enforcement source
said Petraeus is pleading guilty
to a misdemeanor charge and
is unlikely to be sentenced to
serve prison time. The source,
who asked not to be identified,
said it was possible that under
the agreement Petraeus might
be able to retain his US security clearance.
Petraeus faces a maximum
sentence of one year in prison.
But under the deal prosecutors have agreed not to oppose
a sentence calling for no prison
time, and the government and
his lawyers are recommending
the court impose a $40,000
fine and two years of probation.
Petraeus holds a senior post
at private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and
will stay in his role of Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, the company said.
A justice department investigation into Petraeus had
focused on whether he gave his
mistress, Paula Broadwell, access to his Central Intelligence
Agency e-mail account and
other highly classified information.
Petraeus quit his post as CIA
director in November 2012 after the extramarital affair became publicly known. Petraeus
also was one of the leading US
military commanders of recent
times, having served as commander of American forces in
both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Petraeus had previously said
he did not provide classified
information to Broadwell, who
was writing his biography, titled All In: The Education of
General David Petraeus, along
with another author at the
time of the affair.
Court documents filed as
part the deal indicate that
Petraeus’s mishandling of
classified information took
place both while he was in
the military and later when
he served as CIA chief under
president Barack Obama.
The plea deal enables
Petraeus to avoid a potentially
embarrassing criminal trial
in which details of his affair
promised to figure prominently.
An attorney for Petraeus,
Robert Barnett, declined comment. Broadwell’s lawyer also
declined comment.
ederal agents raided
about 20 Southern California locations yesterday suspected of involvement in “maternity tourism”
schemes offering travel and
lodging services to pregnant
foreign women seeking to give
birth in the United States, US
immigration officials said.
Authorities say the so-called
maternity hotels targeted in
the sweep catered largely to
women from China who paid
$15,000 to $50,000, depending
on services provided, in hopes
of obtaining US citizenship for
their children.
Based on the results of previ-
Mall evacuated over
security threat
David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell
ous investigations, the women
apparently pay cash for prenatal medical treatment and
actual delivery of their babies,
according to a statement issued
by the US Immigration and
Customs Enforcement Agency,
or ICE.
The locations searched included apartment complexes
and other sites in Los Angeles,
Orange and San Bernardino
counties that were suspected
of housing foreign clients, ICE
No criminal arrests were
anticipated from the raids, but
investigators were seeking evidence related to such possible
criminal offences as visa and
tax fraud, money laundering
and conspiracy, according to
the agency.
mall in Canada’s port
city of Halifax, which is
home to the navy’s Atlantic fleet, was shuttered yesterday over a potential threat,
police said.
“At 9am police received information about a potential threat
to the Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth,” Halifax police Constable Pierre Bourdages told AFP.
He said a “heavy police presence” was dispatched to the
mall as a precaution, while the
mall itself was closed for the
day as the investigation turned
to a residential neighbourhood
a short distance from the complex.
The scare comes after secu-
rity officials last month warned
shoppers in Canada and the
United States to be on their
guard after an Islamic militant
group posted a video calling for
attacks on western malls.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebaab insurgent group specifically threatened the Mall
of America in the US state of
Minnesota, Canada’s massive
West Edmonton Mall, London’s famous Oxford Street
shopping hub and two malls
in France: Le Forum des Halles
and Les Quatre Temps.
Also last month an American woman and a Canadian
man were arrested and charged
with plotting a Valentine’s Day
massacre at another mall in
Halifax.A third suspect in that
case was found dead at his parents’ home.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Two more Rouge
suspects charged
with crimes
against humanity
Phnom Penh
n investigating judge
at Cambodia’s UNbacked court yesterday charged two more former
Khmer Rouge cadres with
crimes against humanity, days
after the country’s premier
warned prosecuting further
suspects could ignite a civil
Mid-ranking regime cadres Meas Muth, an ex-navy
commander, and Im Chaem,
a female former district official — both believed to be in
their seventies — were charged
in absentia by international
co-investigating judge Mark
Harmon, the court said in a
It was the first time Muth
and Chaem have been publically named as suspects by the
tribunal, despite having been
under investigation for some
But a Cambodian judge also
on the tribunal did not sign off
on the charges against the two
suspects, reflecting wider unease over the reach of any fresh
probes into a regime that massacred up to 2mn Cambodians
in the 1970s.
Cambodian judges outnumber their international
counterparts on the tribunal
and can vote down a move to
formally indict the pair at a
later stage.
Critics also claim strongman Prime Minister Hun
Sen — himself a former regime cadre — is attempting to
thwart the trials of lower level
The prime minister has repeatedly said that the current
case against former top regime
leaders would be the last.
So far only three people have
been convicted by the hybrid
tribunal, which was set up in
2006, including life sentences
for the two most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders
handed down last year.
Im Chaem and Meas Muth
have both been charged with
crimes against humanity and
homicide, while the ex-navy
commander is also charged
with war crimes, the court said
in a statement.
“Decisions on whether
these cases will end up with
indictments or dismissals are
expected next year,” said court
spokesman Lars Olsen.
Led by “Brother Number
One” Pol Pot, who died in 1998
without ever facing justice,
the Khmer Rouge dismantled
modern society in Cambodia
in their quest for an agrarian
Marxist utopia.
In its historic debut trial,
the court in 2010 sentenced
former Tuol Sleng prison chief
Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch,
to 30 years in prison — later
increased on appeal to life —
for overseeing the deaths of
15,000 people.
Folk songs festival
‘Quan ho’ folk singers perform on a boat during the annual quan ho folk songs festival in the Lim region, northern province of Bac Ninh, Vietnam yesterday. Vietnam’s ‘quan
ho’ folk songs were listed in 2009 by Unesco as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Australians to be moved to
Indonesia execution site
NZ manager blamed
over religious insult
New Zealand bar manager facing jail in Myanmar over religious
insult claims was solely responsible for using a Buddha image in a controversial
drinks promotion, his colleague told a court yesterday.
Philip Blackwood, a general manager of the VGastro bar in Yangon, has been
held in the city’s notorious
Insein prison along with the
bar’s owner and manager,
both Myanmar nationals,
since posting the offending mocked-up photo of the
Buddha wearing DJ headphones in December.
The poster triggered a minor storm of controversy
in Myanmar, where surging
Buddhist nationalism and religious violence has sparked
international concern.
with Tun Thurein, the bar’s
40-year-old owner, and
manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin,
26, have all denied insulting religion during the trial,
although the New Zealander
has admitted posting the
picture without intending to
Bar owner Tun Thurein
made a personal appeal to
the court yesterday, saying
Blackwood was responsible
for the Facebook posting.
“It was not my instruction. I wasn’t involved at all.
We are not guilty,” he told the
court, asking for the release
of himself and the other Myanmar national.
wo Australian drug smugglers on death row in
Indonesia will be transferred today from their jail on
Bali to an island off Java where
they will be put to death, an official said.
Andrew Chan and Myuran
Sukumaran, the ringleaders of
the so-called “Bali Nine” drug
trafficking gang, will be flown on
a military aircraft, with a second
plane escorting them, said Momock Bambang Samiarso, head
of the Bali prosecutor’s office.
Officials are yet to announce
a date for their executions, but
the transfer indicates it is imminent. Their lawyers said that
pushing ahead with the transfer
and executions would amount to
a “miscarriage of justice” as legal
challenges are still ongoing.
The men, in their early 30s,
were convicted of trying to
smuggle heroin out of Indonesia
in 2005 and sentenced to death
the following year.
They recently lost their appeals for presidential clemency,
typically a death row convict’s
last chance to avoid the firing
Raji Sukumaran (left) is surrounded by the media as she visits her son
Myuran Sukumaran, one of the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug
trafficking gang on death row, at Kerobokan jail in Denpasar, Bali yesterday.
squad, and their looming executions have strained ties with
Australia, a neighbour and key
They are among a group of 10
drug convicts expected to face
a firing squad in the upcoming
batch of executions. Officials
have not confirmed the nationalities of the others, although
convicts from France, Brazil and
the Philippines are among those
who recently lost their appeals
for presidential clemency.
Australia, Brazil and France
have been piling diplomatic
pressure on Jakarta, but President Joko Widodo has been a
vocal supporter of the death
penalty for drug traffickers,
saying Indonesia is facing an
“emergency” due to rising narcotics use. Following a meeting
of officials yesterday, Samiarso
told reporters that “the co-ordination has been completed” and
the Australians will be transferred today.
They are being moved to Nusakambangan island, which is
home to several prisons. Five
people, including foreigners,
were put to death on the island
in January, sparking a diplomatic
Attorney-General Mohamed
Prasetyo said yesterday that
execution preparations were
“95%” complete, and the last
stage was gathering all the
prisoners on Nusakambangan.
Some of them are already on
the island.
Authorities must give convicts 72 hours notice before
they are put to death.
The Australians’ legal team
has recently launched several
attempts in the courts to save
them from the firing squad,
and their lawyer Todung Mulya
Lubis said that moving forward
with the executions would be a
“miscarriage of justice”.
He said that the legal team
had not been notified of the
transfer, but added: “It is not
fair, it is not justice, if they go
ahead with the transfer, with
the executions, if there are still
legal processes.
“What is the point of having
all this legal recourse available,
provided to you by the law, if
they do not respect that.”
Judges have already thrown
out an application for a second
judicial review of their cases,
as well as a challenge to Widodo’s decision not to grant them
The lawyers have lodged an
appeal to the decision to dismiss
that challenge, which has not yet
been ruled on.
Australian Prime Minister
Tony Abbott has repeatedly
called for Jakarta to halt the executions, and vigils have been
held in Australia calling for
Widodo to show mercy.
Brazil and France have also
been ramping up pressure, with
Paris summoning Indonesia’s
envoy and the Brazilian president refusing to accept the credentials of the new Indonesian
Uighur migrants
held in Thailand
take case to court
Shipping containers
‘but no MH370
debris in hunt’
A Thai court will decide this month
whether to release 17 Uighurs from
the western Chinese region of
Xinjiang, including 13 children, who
have been detained for the past 11
months in Bangkok, a lawyer for the
group said yesterday. Hundreds of
people have been killed in unrest
in Xinjiang in the past two years,
prompting a crackdown by Chinese
authorities. Small numbers of
Uighurs, a Muslim people from Xinjiang who speak a Turkic language,
have been trickling out of China to
Southeast Asia with some ending
up in Thailand. “The court will hold
an urgent hearing on March 24
and decide whether to release the
group of 17, including a four-monthold baby, who are all from the same
family,” Worasit Piriyawiboon, a
lawyer for the group, said. “They
would be released immediately
if the court finds they have been
detained illegally.”
Under Thai law, court approval
must be sought for detention
periods over seven days.
The family, who use the surname
Teklimakan, entered Thailand in
March 2014 and were caught in
the town of Aranyaprathet, close to
Thailand’s border with Cambodia.
They were charged with illegal
entry and the adults fined 20,000
baht ($618), said Worasit. The
family are currently being held at
Bangkok’s Suan Plu Immigration
Detention Centre.
Student protesters defy deadline to disperse
tudent protesters calling for education reform
yesterday defied an order
to disperse in a tense standoff
with hundreds of riot police in
central Myanmar.
Some 200 young activists -many sporting bandanas with
the fighting peacock symbol
of student protest -- chanted
“we are unified!” as they maintained a sit-in at a monastery
compound in the town of Letpadan.
The group, which has been
joined by around a dozen
monks, has been tightly encircled by security forces since
Authorities in the formerly
army-run nation have vowed
to halt the activists’ planned
march to the nation’s main city
Yangon, some 130 kilometres
further south and the scene of
previous major student-led
“The police are still blocking
our way. We will not move from
here until we get our demands,”
student leader Min Thwe Thit
He said some protesters had
decided to go on hunger strike
to underscore their calls to be
Myanmar students and Buddhist monks shout slogans during a protest march in Letpadan town, some
130 kilometres north of Myanmar’s main city Yangon yesterday.
allowed to continue marching.
The situation remained
tense yesterday evening after
the group, which is protesting
without permission, ignored a
deadline to disperse by 4pm local time (0930 GMT).
“They need to stop. If they
don’t follow what we say, we
need to take action against
spokesman Ye Htut.
He urged the protesters to
halt their rally and await the
deliberations of parliament,
which is rethinking a controversial education bill that the
students say is undemocratic.
Student activism is a potent political force in Myanmar
with young campaigners at the
forefront of several major uprisings, including a mass 1988
demonstration that prompted
a bloody military assault under
the former junta.
Authorities have appeared
particularly keen to avoid any
large gathering of students in
Yangon, where major protests
have previously erupted.
Some half a dozen police
vans were seen in the centre of
the city yesterday evening after
a small group of activists briefly gathered in the city.
Students have rallied for
months against the education
legislation, calling for changes
to the new law including decentralising the education system, giving students the right
to form unions and teaching in
ethnic minority languages.
They have been joined by
ordinary people and monks in
their march, which began in
the central city of Mandalay in
The student group has been
camped at the monastery since
suspending its march last week
after negotiations with the
The protesters have asked
the home affairs ministry for
permission to continue their
march and to play protest songs
and wave their flag, according
to Min Thwe Thit.
The rallies initially began
in November before flaring
up again this year, with several different student groups
launching marches from across
the country, where protests
without permission often result in arrests.
government has undertaken
a wide range of reforms since
replacing military rule in 2011
and ending the country’s decades of isolation.
But rights groups and opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi have raised concerns that
reforms are stalling.
The intensive underwater hunt
for missing plane MH370 has so
far turned up just a few shipping
containers -- and no sign of the jet,
the head of the Australian agency
leading the search said yesterday.
The plane vanished a year ago Sunday carrying 239 people en route
from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is
believed to have gone down in one
of the deepest and most remote
areas of ocean far off the Western
Australia coast. Chief commissioner
of the Australian Transport Safety
Bureau (ATSB) Martin Dolan said
that while several manmade items
-- mostly shipping containers -- have
been detected during a sonar
search, they had found nothing resembling debris from the Malaysia
Airlines jet.
6.4 quake strikes
off Indonesia, no
reports of damage
An earthquake measuring 6.4
magnitude struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra yesterday,
the US Geological Survey said, but
there were no reports of damage
or casualties. The quake was 37km
deep and centred 179km offshore.
It was felt by people on land but
there was no panic, Indonesia’s
disaster agency said.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Key warns
rime Minister John Key
has warned New Zealanders not to take the law into
their own hands as locals continued to take car keys off tourists because of dangerous driving of rental cars.
There have been at least five
reports of local people in the
South Island taking the car keys
off foreign drivers in the last
“I really would advise people not to do that,” Key said. “I
think people taking the law into
their own hands is not sensible
... some terrible incident could
occur as a result.”
The incidents have been
prompted by a series of fatal accidents involving tourists unused to driving on the left-hand
side of the road.
In the most recent accident on
February 21, a five-year-old girl
was killed after a Chinese driver
allegedly crossed the centre line
– hitting the car in which she
was a passenger.
More than 36,000 New Zealanders have signed an online
petition calling for tourists to be
tested before being allowed to
drive in the country.
The petition was started by
nine-year-old Sean Roberts
whose father died in a 2012 accident involving a foreign driver.
Key said that the government
was considering whether there
was more that could be done to
improve road safety.
But he said local drivers were
also to blame. “If you look at accidents caused by people being
on the wrong side of the road,
while it’s absolutely true that
some of those are foreign drivers, it’s equally true that a larger
number are actually New Zealanders on the wrong side of the
N Korea threatens US
with pre-emptive strike
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong leaves after his address to
the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. Ri
warned yesterday that his country had the power to deter an
‘ever-increasing nuclear threat’ by the United States with a
pre-emptive strike if necessary.
orth Korean Foreign
Minister Ri Su-yong has
said that his country had
the power to deter an “ever-increasing nuclear threat” by the
United States with a pre-emptive strike if necessary.
His rare speech at the UNbacked Conference on Disarmament drew a rebuke from US
Ambassador Robert Wood, who
urged Pyongyang to stop making
threats and rid itself of nuclear
Ri said joint military exercises
currently being staged by South
Korea and the US were “unprecedentedly provocative in nature
and have an especially high possibility of sparking off a war”.
“The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) cannot
but bolster its nuclear deterrent
capability to cope with the everincreasing nuclear threat of the
US,” he told the Geneva forum.
“Now the DPRK has the power of
deterring the US and conducting
a pre-emptive strike as well, if
North Korea fired two shortrange missiles off its eastern
coast on Monday, South Korean
officials said, in a move seen as
a defiant response to this year’s
US-South Korean military exercises.
Pyongyang regularly denounces the annual drills, which
it views as a preparation for war.
The missiles landed in the
sea between the Korean Peninsula and southern Japan early
on Monday after travelling for
about 490km, according to
South Korea’s defence ministry.
Ri, speaking in Korean, did not
refer to the firing.
Takashi Uto, Japan’s parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, told the forum the
missile firing was a “clear violation” of UN Security Council
US envoy Wood said the exercises with South Korea, held for
almost 40 years, were “transparent and defence-oriented”.
“We call on the DPRK to immediately cease all threats,
reduce tensions and take the
necessary steps towards denuclearisation needed to resume
credible negotiations,” Wood
said, referring to six-party talks
that collapsed in 2008.
“We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state and
Ex-principal sorry for sex abuse at top school
former headmaster at
one of Australia’s most
schools has apologised after revelations that boys were
groomed for sex by paedophile
teachers while he was in charge.
Knox Grammar in Sydney,
whose former pupils include
the late former prime minister
Gough Whitlam and Hollywood
star Hugh Jackman, has been
the focus in recent days of a national enquiry into institutional
responses to child abuse.
The royal commission has
heard disturbing claims of
abuse at Knox which allegedly
happened between the 1970s
and 2012, with one ex-student
saying the school harboured “a
large paedophile cohort”.
Ian Paterson was the principal for 30 years until 1998 and
it is alleged that he failed to tell
police about incidents of abuse
and provided references for
teachers later charged with sex
In a witness statement to the
commission, Paterson admitted that he made mistakes and
said that he was sorry for the
pain inflicted on boys under his
care at the day and boarding
“I should have known and I
should have stopped the events
that led to the abuse and its
tragic consequences for these
boys in my care and their families,” he said. “My abject failure
to provide for you a safe and secure place at Knox strikes at the
very heart of a responsibility of
a headmaster.”
“I commend your courage in
coming forward,” he added, referring to pupils who said they
were abused. “Knowing that
I was your headmaster when
much of this abuse occurred is
Paterson has not been implicated in the abuse of boys under
investigation, but the commission on Monday heard evidence
that he inappropriately touched
a girl on stage during rehearsals for a musical with another
school in 1989.
Paterson’s statement came
before he is due to give evidence
about his knowledge and management of teachers accused of
abusing children while he was
in charge.
Australia opened the Royal
Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual
Abuse in April 2013, after more
than a decade of pressure to investigate claims of paedophilia
in religious organisations,
schools and state care.
The commission’s hearings
have covered damaging allegations of child abuse involving
places of worship, orphanages,
community groups and schools
dating back decades.
In September last year, it was
extended by a further two years
to deal with the thousands of
victims who have come forward.
3,800 couples in mass ceremony
Gapyeong, Korea
housands of couples took
part in a mass wedding
yesterday at the South
Korean headquarters of the Unification Church – the third such
event since the death of their
“messiah” and church founder
Moon Sun-myung.
Around 3,800 identicallydressed couples – mostly young
and some who had met just days
before – participated in the ceremony in Gapyeong, east of the
capital Seoul.
Mass weddings, often held in
giant sports stadiums with tens
of thousands of couples, have
long been a signature feature of
the church founded by Moon in
Moon died in September 2012,
aged 92, of complications from
pneumonia. His 72-year-old
widow Hak Ja Han presided over
yesterday’s ceremony.
The church’s mass weddings
began in the early 1960s.
At first, they involved just
a few dozen couples but the
numbers mushroomed over the
In 1997, 30,000 couples tied
the knot in Washington, and two
years later around 21,000 filled
the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.
matched by Moon, who taught
that romantic love led to sexual
promiscuity, mismatched couples and dysfunctional societies.
Moon’s preference for crosscultural marriages also meant
that couples often shared no
common language.
The majority of couples participating yesterday were already married, but had done so
before joining the church and
chose to renew their vows as full
Around 800 new couples
married yesterday had chosen
to be “matched” just four days
before at an “engagement cere-
mony” presided over by Moon’s
widow, though in recent years
matchmaking responsibilities
have largely shifted towards parents.
Michael Schroder, a 20-yearold from London, said he had
been “extremely nervous” before being paired off with his
new Japanese wife, Atsumi Sato,
“But now I’m just very happy
and very excited,” Schroder said.
Sato said she had been unable
to sleep all night, “so I’m really
tired, but happy as well”.
Those who choose to be
matched by the church must
confirm under oath that they are
virgins, and after their wedding
the couple must refrain from
sexual relations for a minimum
of 40 days.
Revered by his followers but
denounced by critics as a charlatan, Moon was a deeply divisive
figure who was once imprisoned
in the United States for tax evasion.
A newlywed couple takes a selfie after a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at
Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeong.
The teachings of the Unification Church are based on the
Bible but with new interpretations, and Moon saw his role as
completing the unfulfilled mission of Jesus Christ to restore
humanity to a state of “sinless”
While it claims a worldwide
following of 3mn, experts suggest the core membership is far
Uber Technologies Incorporated has been told to suspend a free
ride service in Japan over the possible infringement of unlicencedtaxi restrictions, Kyodo News said yesterday, a blow to the
company’s hopes in a potentially big market.
The transport ministry believes Uber’s free taxi-like service in
southern Japan, which matches passengers via a smartphone app
with private drivers, may violate Japan’s Road Transportation Law,
Kyodo said, citing unnamed ministry officials.
The US company did not immediately respond to a message
requesting comment on the report.
Uber’s pilot project, conducted jointly with an affiliate of Kyushu
University, began on February 5 in Fukuoka with the aim of
collecting data on traffic demand, Kyodo said.
Xinhua relaunch on barred networks
China’s official news agency Xinhua has re-launched its Englishlanguage presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, it
announced – all of which are blocked in China.
As a key element of their grip on power Beijing’s Communist
authorities maintain a vast censorship system known as the “Great
Firewall”, which blocks all three of the social networks, among
many other sites.
Visitors pay their respects to Australia’s Anzac soldiers as they pin a poppy to the Wall of Remembrance
in front of the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship in Sydney.
But they met fierce resistance
and the warring sides soon hit a
stalemate, with the bitter campaign dragging on for months.
ANZAC and allied troops
eventually pulled out at the end
of 1915, but not before terrible
losses on both sides.
Poppies to commemorate Gallipoli campaign
the allied expedition landing at
The plan was a strike to open
the Dardanelles sea passage to
the allies and so capture Constantinople – the metropolis
now known as Istanbul – from
the Ottoman allies of Germany.
This undated handout picture
released by the Australian
Museum shows the jaws of a
Goblin Shark.
Japan tells Uber to halt pilot service
housands of poppies
were added to a memorial
“wall” at Sydney’s Circular Quay yesterday in memory
of Australian and New Zealand
soldiers who died in World War
I’s Gallipoli campaign.
The 2m structure in the shape
of a “100” marks the upcoming
century since the April 25, 1915
landing of troops on the peninsula in what is now Turkey.
The 11,500 poppies on the
wall will commemorate each
of the ANZAC (Australian and
New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers who died in the campaign.
“We have an obligation to not
just settle for the broad brushstrokes of our history,” said
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson. “But to
remember every single one of
these men and 25 women nurses
in the First World War who gave
their lives for us.”
More than 60,000 Australian
and New Zealand troops joined
we will do what is necessary to
defend ourselves and our allies,”
he added.
Later at the UN Human Rights
Council, Ri rejected the findings
of an inquiry last year based on
testimony from defectors and
people still in North Korea.
Its report said violations committed by the state may amount
to crimes against humanity and
called for prosecutions.
“The hostile forces are only
interested to hear from such
scum of mankind as the socalled ‘defectors from the North’
who fled abandoning their parents, wives and children after
committing crimes at home,” Ri
He called on the forum to address “brutal torture crimes” he
said were committed by the US
Central Intelligence Agency.
The poppy memorial will
be moved onto the cruise ship
Queen Elizabeth which leaves
Sydney today to travel to Gallipoli.
The “wall” was started in
Auckland on Friday when the
cruise liner was in New Zealand.
Five sickened after puffer fish meal
Five Japanese men became sick after eating poisonous puffer fish,
an official said.
The men, all in their 40s and 50s, dined at a restaurant in western
Wakayama city on Friday night, the city’s health official said.
They were taken ill early the next day, experiencing breathing
difficulties and vomiting, the official said.
The city shut down the establishment for five days from Sunday,
she said.
rare sea creature described as an “alien of the
deep” has been found off
Australia and delivered to a museum which showed off its fleshy
snout, nail-like teeth and flabby
pink body yesterday.
The prehistoric-looking goblin sharks live on deep sea bottoms and little is known about
their lives.
The museum said the body
of the shark, which had died by
the time it was given to the local
aquarium, had nonetheless been
well kept and would be an asset
to its collection.
“It’s pretty impressive, it’s
not hideous … it’s beautiful,”
said the Australian Museum’s
fish collection manager Mark
McGrouther, who described its
teeth as looking like “little daggers”. “They are not caught terribly often. They are not encountered terribly often at all.”
McGrouther said this was only
the fourth goblin shark to be acquired by the museum in Sydney,
with the first two collected in the
The latest was picked up by
a fisherman in January. It was
found near Eden, off Australia’s
southeast coast, at a depth of
about 200m and delivered to a
local aquarium which kept it in
excellent condition for the museum.
McGrouther said he was
“thrilled” to handle the shark,
which is found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
The species, whose scientific
name is Mitsukurina owstoni, is
thought to be a living fossil dating back some 125mn years.
The animal’s jaw mechanism,
which shoots forward when it
detects prey and then retracts
under its fleshy, spade-shaped
snout, fascinates McGrouther.
“I suspect because it has got
soft, flabby musculature, it
doesn’t need much energy ... so
it will swim slowly over the bottom just using its snout like a
metal detector,” he told AFP. “It
will be sweeping over the bottom
and when it detects a small fish,
or a crab or a squid it will shoot
those jaws out ‘wham’ and capture whatever it is.
“It will spear it with those
sharp pointed teeth and then just
wolf it down whole.”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Hunt apologies over
baby unit deaths
New cancer care centre
at Royal Marsden in Sutton
Mistake to meet patients in
McDonald’s, admits dentist
Cable favourite to replace
Clegg as LibDem leader
Conductor Rattle
heads to London
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has described the
unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother
at a maternity unit as a “second Mid Staffs”
as he apologised to the families of those who
died. Yesterday’s report into serious incidents
at Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Cumbria,
between 2004 and 2013 uncovered a series
of failures “at every level” from the maternity
unit to those responsible for regulating and
monitoring the trust which runs the unit. Paying
tribute to the “courage” of the families affected,
Hunt likened the problems found at the hospital
to the Mid Staffs Hospital scandal, where at least
1,200 patients died because of poor care.
A new cancer centre is to be opened at a leading
London hospital, it was announced yesterday.
Maggie’s, the charity which offers emotional
and practical support to people with cancer,
is building the centre at the Royal Marsden. It
means the 50,000 cancer patients the hospital
sees each year could benefit from specialist
aftercare. The centre will be built on the Royal
Marsden’s site in Sutton and is expected to open
its doors by early 2017. It will be designed by
London-based studio Ab Rogers Design, whose
clients include the Tate Modern. The garden will
be designed by Piet Oudolf, who worked on the
New York High Line.
A London dentist admitted she had made an “error
of judgment” by meeting patients in a McDonald’s
restaurant. Anca Claudia Macavei was suspended
after a woman claimed she had tried to fit a dental
bridge in the Cannon Street branch of the fast-food
chain in February 2012. The patient complained to
the General Dental Council and a committee ruled
Macavei should be struck off. But the Romanian
dentist denies doing work on the patient’s teeth
in the restaurant. She said: “I have never treated
patients in McDonald’s. I just met the patients
there. It’s an open place to meet...My argument in
the high court is that it is disproportionate to throw
away a dentist’s career over a mistake.”
Vince Cable is the runaway favourite to succeed
Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader if he is
ousted after the general election, a poll revealed.
Of Londoners who expressed a view, 46% said the
business secretary would make the best leader if
Clegg fell on his sword in May. The YouGov survey
for the Standard found the chief secretary to the
Treasury, Danny Alexander, would be the best
placed to challenge Cable, if he manages to avoid
losing his seat to the SNP, with support from 27%
of those who gave a view. Former party president
Tim Farron is on 11%, while both Energy Secretary
Ed Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton, and
Health Minister Norman Lamb are on 8%.
International conducting star Simon Rattle
said he hoped to make the concert experience
more theatrical to attract younger audiences, as
the London Symphony Orchestra announced
yesterday he would become its fulltime music
director in 2017. Rattle, 60, who will combine his
new job with his current role as principal conductor
of the Berlin Philharmonic until 2018, said he had
learned a lot since joining the German ensemble
more than a decade ago. “It’s been fascinating to
work in such a different type of culture,” Rattle,
whose move to London was one of the worst
kept secrets in music, said at a news conference
announcing his appointment by the LSO.
Jailed Rolf
of CBE
Travel misery
Secret service
‘told Tanzania
to stop Jihadi
John in 2009’
isgraced former children’s entertainer Rolf
Harris has been stripped
of the CBE awarded to him by the
The move comes after Harris
was jailed for nearly six years for
a string of sex attacks on girls as
young as seven years old.
The paedophile, 84, had his
honour annulled at the order of
the Queen.
An official announcement in
the London Gazette states: “The
Queen has directed that the appointment of Rolf Harris to be a
commander of the Civil Division
of the Most Excellent Order of
the British Empire, dated June 17,
2006, shall be cancelled and annulled and that his name shall be
erased from the Register of the said
Harris has already been stripped
of honours in his native Australia.
He received his CBE from the
Queen in 2006, after he painted
her portrait the previous year to
mark her 80th birthday.
Harris had previously been
awarded an MBE and an OBE.
But there have been calls for the
Australian to be stripped of the accolade after he was unmasked as
a predatory paedophile and found
guilty of 12 indecent assaults last
Harris was described at London’s Southwark Crown Court as
a “Jekyll and Hyde” character who
used his celebrity status to prey on
young girls.
During sentencing last year,
Justice Sweeney told Harris: ‘’Your
reputation lies in ruins. You have
been stripped of your honours
and you have no one to blame but
Normal protocol sees honours
from Buckingham Palace forfeited
in circumstances where the person
is considered to have brought the
system into disrepute.
A recommendation is made by
the Honours and Appointments
Secretariat to the Forfeiture Committee to revoke an honour if a
person has been found guilty of a
criminal offence.
The decision must be approved
by the Queen.
Dar es Salaam
Passengers wait at the Eurostar train terminal at St Pancras International station in London
after a fatality on the line in Kent, southeast of London. Eurostar suffered 17 cancellations
after a person was hit by a train and killed on the English side of the cross-Channel service.
May renews immigration
pledge ahead of election
ritain’s governing Conservatives plan to renew a
failed pledge to reduce net
migration below 100,000 a year
if they are re-elected in May,
a senior minister said, despite
current levels running at around
triple that.
Immigration is one of voters’
top concerns ahead of what is
expected to be a close-fought
election and the Conservatives
are under pressure from the
rise in popularity of the UK Independence Party (Ukip), who
want strong curbs to immigration.
The Conservatives, neckand-neck with the opposition
Labour party in many polls,
have been embarrassed by a
failure to meet Prime Minister
David Cameron’s 2010 pledge to
reduce the net number of people
coming to Britain “to the tens of
Official data last week showed
a net 298,000 people moved to
Britain in the year to September
2014, a 40% rise from the previous 12 months and more than
when the Conservative-led coalition government took power in
“It’s important that this
is not just an issue that is
talked about, but we make
an impact”
“I think we will keep the target,” Home Secretary Theresa
May, seen as a potential future
party leader, said in an interview
with the Times published yesterday.
“It’s important that this is
not just an issue that is talked
about, but we make an impact.
People need to know that a future Conservative government
would continue to bear down
on the system so that we control
the numbers.”
She added: “Uncontrolled
immigration makes it more difficult to maintain social cohesion.
“It has an impact on public
services, it can also drive down
wages at the lower end of the income scale.”
Among measures May would
like to consider are bonds, where
migrants would be asked to put
up money to enter Britain that
would be repaid when they left
if they had not accessed public
services or welfare, the newspaper reported.
But Ukip viewed May’s reaffirming of the pledge as a gift.
“Thanks so much Theresa
May for keeping the migration promise so you can break
it again if re-elected. We are all
most grateful,” Patrick O’Flynn,
Ukip’s economic spokesman
and a member of the European
Parliament, said on Twitter.
ohamed Emwazi, the
Briton identified as Islamic State killer “Jihadi
John”, was denied entry to Tanzania in 2009 at the request of British security services, a Tanzanian
police source said yesterday.
The source’s version of events
tallies with e-mails published by
London activist group Cage last
week that they said were from
Emwazi, recently named as the
militant shown beheading American, British and Syrian hostages on
IS videos.
Security officers at Dar es Salaam airport refused to allow entry
to Emwazi and two friends - another Briton and a German - because they were on an official immigration stop list, said the source
who spoke to Reuters on condition
of anonymity.
Immigration officials said the
request came from British intelligence rather than the international
police organisation Interpol, the
source added. British security officials would not comment on the
“When Emwazi and his friends
were told they would not be allowed to enter Tanzania, they
caused a commotion and tried to
force their way out of the airport,”
the source said.
“I think the stop order against
Emwazi and his friends was issued
at the request of the British intelligence service.”
In meetings and e-mail exchanges with Cage between 2009
and 2012, Emwazi said he and two
friends had gone to Tanzania in
August 2009 for a safari holiday
after he completed his studies in
Snow covered fields
computer programming at London’s University of Westminster.
He told Cage he was deported
from Tanzania to Britain via Amsterdam, and quizzed by agents
from Britain’s MI5 domestic security service who told him they believed he was attempting to reach
Somalia to join the militant group
Al Shebaab, something he denied.
Court documents from 2011
have also shown that Britain suspected him of being part of a network involved in procuring funds
and equipment “for terrorism-related purposes” in Somalia.
Senior Tanzanian law enforcement officials, including the acting
director of criminal investigation
(DCI), Diwani Athumani, have declined to comment on the events of
The Tanzanian source said
Emwazi and his friends were arrested for disturbing the peace at
the airport and detained for several
Emwazi condemned 9/11 attacks: recording
The London graduate believed
to be Islamic State executioner
“Jihadi John” once denounced
the 9/11 attacks and the 2005
bombings in the British capital,
according to an audio recording
released yesterday. Kuwaitborn Mohamed Emwazi was
identified by media and experts
last week - and now, reportedly,
also by his parents - as the
knife-wielding masked man
in online videos showing the
beheadings of at least five IS
hostages. In a conversation with
a member of British rights group
Cage, Emwazi described how
in 2009 he was interviewed by
a British officer, reported to be
from domestic spy agency MI5.
Asked about his views on the
New York and London attacks
and the war in Afghanistan,
Emwazi - speaking in a London
accent - condemned the loss
of life, but complained that his
interrogator did not believe him.
“I said, after what I told you, after
I told you that what’s happening
is extremism, this and that, and
you’re still suggesting that I’m
an extremist?” he said. “And he
started going on trying to put
words into my mouth to say:
‘No you’re doing this, this and
this, and we’re going to keep a
close eye on you Mohamed—we
already have been and we’re
going to keep a close eye on
Worker suspended
over free lunch ‘theft’
London Evening Standard
A sheep forages for food in the snow covered fields near
Kinnaird in Scotland yesterday.
hours at the Stakishari Ukonga police station. They were then picked
up by local immigration officials
and taken for further questioning
before being deported on a KLM
flight, the source added.
Since his unmasking as “Jihadi
John”, there has been much media
speculation about when and where
Emwazi was radicalised.
The British court documents
show British officials believe he
was an associate of Bilal al Berjawi,
a leader of the Somali-based militant group Al Shebaab who was
killed in a US drone strike in 2012.
But Cage, which has released
what it said was an audio recording
of Emwazi made after he returned
to Britain in 2009, has said Emwazi
complained to them about being
harassed by MI5 who he said had
tried to recruit him.
The police source said Emwazi
was not mistreated by Tanzanian
officials in Dar es Salaam.
kitchen supervisor who
works at Harrods has
been accused of theft
and suspended after trying to
take her half-eaten lunch home
from the canteen.
Anthea Harding, 41, has
worked as a team leader in
a branch of Subway at the
Knightsbridge store’s staff restaurant for the past 14 months.
For lunch on February 3, she
chose chicken and mushroom
pie filling, mashed potatoes and
baked beans as part of her staff
The mother-of-one worked
through her break and grabbed a
few mouthfuls. She left the rest
— which she said was worth no
more than £1 — in its box.
She said: “At the end of my
shift I wrapped it in my apron
and went home. I got to the
ground floor and there were
plain-clothes security doing
checks. They said I wasn’t allowed to take food out — it’s
considered theft and I would
be contacted by the manager.”
Harding, who lives in
Bloomsbury, was suspended
after a meeting with bosses.
She is waiting for a hearing
with her employer, Eurest, to
learn whether she will lose her
£7.50-an-hour job.
“They took all my cards
away, my Harrods card, my ID
store card,” Harding said. “I am
a workaholic and have sat at
home for a month. I can’t stand
it, I don’t want to go and sign
on — I just want to get back to
She said she was unaware
of a company policy that free
lunches must be eaten on the
A letter to her from Harrods said: “A member of security checked your bag and then
asked to check your apron. It is
alleged that you concealed a box
of food from the staff restaurant
in your apron, you did not declare this item and did not pay
for it.”
Eurest said: “A formal disciplinary process is now under
way.” Harrods declined to comment.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Woman was stabbed to silence her, court told
he Winchester Crown
Court was told that a
stabbed to death as she tended
her horses in a New Forest field
by a man recruited by a former
lover’s son to “silence” her and
stop her accusing him of indecent assault.
Pennie Davis, 47, who worked
at a supermarket, was found dead
by her husband on September 2 in
a field at Leygreen Farm, Beaulieu,
Justin Robertson, 36, of no fixed
address , who denies murder and
conspiracy to murder, was traced
by police after he dropped a set
of car keys at the murder scene,
Winchester Crown Court was
Benjamin Carr, 22, of Edward
who ‘neglect’
child abuse
could face jail
rime Minister David
promised tough action
against teachers and social
workers who fail to protect
children in their care, as a new
report identified hundreds
more potential sex abuse victims.
Under the proposed new
measures, the crime of “wilful
neglect”, which carries a maximum jail term of five years, will
be extended in England and
Wales to cover children’s social
care and education.
Individuals and organisations found not to have taken
adequate measures to protect
children could also face unlimited fines.
The announcement came as
a report found that as many as
373 girls may have been subjected to “indescribably awful”
sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire, southern England, over
the last 16 years.
The findings follow a string of
similar investigations across the
country that have revealed widespread sexual abuse of children,
many of whom were being monitored by local authorities.
“Today, I am sending an unequivocal message that professionals who fail to protect
children will be held properly
accountable and council bosses
who preside over such catastrophic failure will not see rewards for that failure,” Cameron
“Children were ignored,
sometimes even blamed, and
issues were swept under the
carpet - often because of a
warped and misguided sense of
political correctness,” he added.
“That culture of denial which
let them down so badly must be
The report into abuse in Ox-
fordshire accused authorities
of “serious failings” in the way
they treated claims by young
girls that they were being
abused by gangs of men.
Victims were plied with
drugs and alcohol before being
forced into prostitution, raped
and drugged, the report said but the local council failed to
recognise the scale of the problem.
“What happened to the child
victims of the sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire was indescribably awful,” said Alan
Bedford, the author of the independent review.
Maggie Blyth, independent chair of the Oxfordshire
Safeguarding Children Board
(OSCB) that had some responsibility for the girls, apologised.
“It is shocking that these
children were subjected to
such appalling sexual exploitation for so long. On behalf of
the Oxfordshire Safeguarding
Children Board I would like to
apologise,” she said.
The report has echoes of another investigation that last
year identified at least 1,400
potential victims of child sexual exploitation in the northern
English town of Rotherham.
The inquiry detailed gang
rape, kidnapping and trafficking
of girls as young as 11 between
1997 and 2013, but said local officials failed to act against the
mainly South Asian men responsible for fear of being seen
as racist.
Similar cases of widespread
sexual abuse of children sometimes by organised gangs
- have been revealed in recent
years in the cities of Derby and
Under the government’s
plans, a new national whistleblowing helpline will be set up
for public sector workers and a
mechanism put in place to claw
back pay-offs for those who
failed to protect victims.
Road, Southampton, and Samantha Maclean, 28, of Beech Crescent,
Hythe, are also charged with conspiracy to murder, which they deny.
Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, said: “Penelope Davis went
to tend her horses in a field at a
farm near Beaulieu on the edge of
the New Forest. Whilst there and
alone in a small paddock within
the horse field, she was attacked
and repeatedly stabbed by the defendant, Justin Robertson.
“Penelope’s body was found
later that same afternoon lying
in the field by her husband, Peter Davis, who had left work and
come to give her a hand with the
“They had only been married
for a matter of months.”
Smith continued: “The defendant, Justin Robertson, had agreed
to kill Penelope Davis for money.
He had agreed to kill her for the
defendant Ben Carr. It was he, Ben
Carr, who had the plan, Robertson
and Carr carried out that plan to
kill Penelope Davis with the help
of their fellow defendant Samantha Maclean.”
Smith said Carr had wanted
Davis “silenced” because he believed she would make an allegation to police that he had
indecently assaulted someone,
a complaint she had previously
He said: “Why would Carr want
boy of 15 was stabbed to
death as he rode a bicycle
with friends down a busy
London street.
CCTV images show Alan Cartwright being ambushed by a gang
and knifed once in the chest. The
schoolboy managed to continue
cycling for a short distance along
Cale-donian Road, Islington, before collapsing. Paramedics tried
to save him but he died at the
Detectives are hunting three
youths who stepped out into Caledonian Road, near the junction
with Copenhagen Street, as Alan
and three friends cycled past. One
stabbed Alan, who was leading
the group, while a second lunged
at one of his friends, knocking
him off his bike. A third suspect
dragged another friend off his cycle.
Detective chief inspector Chris
Jones, leading the murder inquiry,
said: “The footage of the suspects
attacking Alan and his friends
is truly shocking. Alan stood
no chance of defending himself
against his attacker, who casually
stepped out in front of him and
stabbed him in the chest.
“This was just such a senseless
level of violence, an unprovoked
attack on a 15-year-old boy who
was just cycling his bike down the
road. A dreadful, awful incident
which took place on a really busy
road with a lot of people present.”
The CCTV images show Caledonian Road full of cars and pedestrians.
Two of the friends’ bikes were
stolen in the attack and police are
trying to trace them. One is a red
Specialized Hard Rock mountain
bike which had black electrical
tape on the frame. The other is a
black and red Specialized Vita bicycle.
Detectives believe Alan and his
friends may have been deliberately targeted for their bikes, and
urged anyone who had been offered them for sale to contact police.
Jones said: “We have already
and anger” towards Davis after
she made a complaint to police
about the allegations of sexual assault against him when he was 14.
Smith said police took no further
action on the complaint and added
that Carr “strenuously and consistently” denied the allegations.
Smith said Davis repeated the
allegations against Carr in August
last year after she found out that
Timothy Carr was to marry his
new partner, Alison Macintyre.
World War II fashion exhibition
Models dressed in 1940s style clothing pose during a photo call for the exhibition ‘Fashion on the Ration - 1940s Street Style’ outside the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in
London yesterday. The exhibition, which explores how fashion survived and even flourished under the strict rules of rationing during World War II, will be open to the public
from tomorrow to August 31, 2015.
Police find body parts
in search for missing girl
he family of missing Bristol teenager Becky Watts
said they are “devastated”
after police searching for her announced they had found body
Avon and Somerset police
stressed that no formal identification had taken place but said the
16-year-old’s family had been told
and were being supported.
In a statement, some members
of the girl’s family said they were
at a loss to understand “why anyone would want to hurt our beautiful Becky in such a brutal way”.
Two people, a 28-year-old man
and 21-year-old woman, continued to be questioned on suspicion of the kidnap and murder
of Becky, who vanished 12 days
ago. As a result of the find of body
parts, a further five people, four
men in their 20s and a 23-yearold woman, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
In a statement on the latest
development, detective superintendent Mike Courtiour said:
“As a result of new information
received, we attended a house at
Barton Court in the Barton Hill
area of Bristol.
“The information suggested
that Becky’s body had been cut up
and a search at the new location
resulted in the discovery of body
“Although formal identification procedures have not yet been
completed, we have made Becky’s
family aware of this discovery.
As a result of this latest development, a further four men
and a woman have been arrested
on suspicion of assisting an offender.
“They remain in police custody
at this time as do the man and the
woman arrested on suspicion of
Becky’s murder,” he said.
He added: “This is devastating news for Becky’s family and
friends and our thoughts are
with them. We will continue to
offer every support we can to
spoken to a number of witnesses
who have provided helpful information, however I would like
to re-appeal to anyone who may
know something about Alan’s
murder and the robbery of the
“I am really interested to know
where these cycles have gone.
Identifying and arresting the
suspects is our absolute priority.
We are working tirelessly and the
investigation is moving at a fast
“I would like to reassure anyone
who is worried about contacting
the police that they will be treated
with the utmost sensitivity.”
A post-mortem examination
concluded that Alan died from a
single stab wound to the chest.
Friends and relatives of the
Holloway High School pupil paid
tribute to him as a “funny, funloving” teenager. His older sister
Cherrie Ives said: “He was every
sort of personality you can think
of, all wrapped in one. He had his
moments, but he beat them with
his laughter and his jokes and
them during this terrible ordeal.”
Becky left home on February 19
with her phone, laptop and tablet
computer but did not tell anyone
where she was going.
A statement released by Becky’s
mother Tania, grandmother Pat
and brother Daniel said: “We are
at an utter loss to understand why
anyone would want to hurt our
beautiful Becky in such a brutal
“We are grateful to the police
for all they have done and are continuing to do in this investigation.
“Whilst there are people in
custody, none of whom are connected to the Watts family, we
will not be making any further
comment and we ask that our
privacy is respected at this horrific time.”
Detectives have seized a black
Vauxhall Zafira - registration
HY06 HYA - and say they want
to speak to anyone who had ever
owned the car or had seen it between February 19 and 23.
Police have put up a white tent
outside a property in Barton Court
while forensic teams continue
their work. The property is a midterrace home close to Cotton Mill
Lane, where police were carrying
out searches.
Officers have also previously
carried out searches at her home
in Crown Hill, St George, and at
a house in Wilton Close, Southmead.
MPs ‘may have to quit
Westminster Palace’
Police hunt youths as
teen knifed to death
London Evening Standard
Davis killed? The answer to that
question, which will remain at the
heart of this trial, probably lies in
the fact that Carr believed that
Davis was going to go to the police,
as she had done before, and allege
that he had previously indecently
assaulted (someone).
Smith said Davis knew Carr because she had been in a relationship with his father Timothy from
about 2006 to 2012.
He said Carr had a “lasting hate
John Bercow: seeks Parliament repairs
awmakers might have to
abandon the Houses of
Parliament in London’s
Westminster unless a large
amount of money is spent on
the building within the next 10
years, according to the Speaker
of the House of Commons, John
Repairs would cost as much
as £3bn, experts say, double the
amount cited in a 2012 report on
modernising the gothic-revival
palace which has problems with
heating, sewage and limited capacity for computer cabling.
The 150-year-old palace was
built on an eight-acre estate on
the banks of the River Thames
after an earlier parliamentary
palace was destroyed by fire.
It incorporates the clock tower
known as “Big Ben” and is one of
London’s top tourist attractions.
But, the main debating chamber lacks enough seats for all of
Britain’s 650 elected members of
parliament, meaning many have
to stand or even sit on the floor
during popular debates.
A recent television documentary showed water damage to
the building’s gothic arches and
crumbling walls.
In a speech on Monday night,
Bercow, who presides over the
elected lower chamber, said it
would be a “huge pity” if parliament had to “abandon this site
and look elsewhere in order to
serve the public interest properly” before the 200-year anniversary of the 1834 fire.
“Yet I will tell you in all candour that unless management
of the very highest quality and a
not inconsequential sum of public money are deployed on this
estate over the next 10 years that
will be the outcome.”
A world heritage site, the Palace of Westminster is considered
to be one of the finest examples
of 19th century neo-gothic Victorian architecture. The oldest
building on the site, Westminster Hall, dates from 1099 and is
still in daily use.
“This is a fabulous institution
located in awesome surroundings. It must not have the ethos
of a museum,” Bercow said, calling for bold leadership to push
through modernisation.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Thousands pay homage
to slain Putin opponent
housands of mourners
turned out yesterday to
pay a last homage to slain
Russian opposition leader Boris
Nemtsov, gunned down near the
Kremlin in the most stunning
assassination of Vladimir Putin’s rule.
Crowds thronged the Russian
capital to mourn the 55-year-old
former deputy prime minister, a
long-time Putin critic and anticorruption crusader who was
laid to rest at a Moscow cemetery.
The funeral caused a fresh
spat between Russia and the
European Union, which condemned what it called “arbitrary” bans after Russia blocked
prominent figures from Poland
and Latvia from attending.
Russian opposition leader
Alexei Navalny was also unable
to attend as he is behind bars,
but speaking from jail he accused “the country’s political
leadership” of ordering a hit on
Putin himself has branded
the killing a provocation and
his spokesman said of Navalny’s
charge: “I am not going to comment on such lunacy.”
Moscow has pledged a full investigation as speculation swirls
about who was behind the assassination.
Clutching flowers and candles, mourners formed a huge
queue outside the Andrei Sakharov Rights Centre in central
Moscow where Nemtsov’s body
lay in state.
As Bach’s St Matthew Passion
played, well-wishers filed past
the flower-covered coffin, many
crossing themselves and weeping.
For four hours, Nemtsov’s
coffin stood in the centre of a hall
at a human rights centre named
after Soviet dissident Sakharov.
The casket lid was open, revealing Nemtsov’s head and
upper body. Photographs of the
55-year-old hung on the walls.
Nemtsov’s mother Dina Eidman, dressed in black, stood
stooped over the coffin. His
former partner Yekaterina Odintsova, with a black headscarf
pulled over her blonde hair,
stood nearby.
The Russian government sent
two deputy prime ministers.
Also attending were former
president Boris Yeltsin’s widow
Naina and former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, former British
prime minister John Major and
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.
Putin, who was hosting the
authoritarian leader of Belarus,
Alexander Lukashenko, did not
attend the funeral at Moscow’s
Troyekurovskoye cemetery.
Lit candles are seen on the
ground as people line up to
attend a memorial service
before the funeral of Nemtsov.
Right: Pallbearers carry
Nemtsov’s coffin after the
memorial service at the Andrei
Sakharov rights centre.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated
calls for the perpetrators to be
brought to justice.
“And I hope – and we will
work toward this – that those
who think differently in Russia
have an opportunity to articulate their thoughts, although I
know that this is anything but
easy,” she said.
Many mourners blamed Putin
for the murder, saying that the
Kremlin – locked in a bitter confrontation with the West over
the Ukraine conflict – whipped
up hatred against dissenters.
“We came because we feel
ashamed of our country, of our
people, that we let such a thing
happen,” said one mourners,
Dmitry Afanasyev. “Putin is to
blame. But we are too.”
“The shots were fired not only
at Nemtsov but at all of us, at
democracy in Russia,” Gennady
Gudkov, a prominent Kremlin
opponent, said in a speech delivered next to the coffin. “We
never thought this could happen, but it did. Rest in peace my
friend, your work will be continued.”
A journalist and Nemtsov ally,
Vladimir Kara-Murza, wept as
he said friends had sought to
convince the slain politician to
leave the country but he had refused.
“We witnessed how arguments had turned into bullets
in a dispute with opponents,”
Kudrin said at the coffin. “Boris,
we are with you.”
Navalny pointed the finger
at Putin in a strongly-worded
statement posted on his blog:
“I believe that Nemtsov was
killed by members of a government (special services) or pro-
government organisation on the
orders of the country’s political
leadership (including Vladimir
Nemtsov, who served in Boris
Yeltsin’s government in the
1990s, was gunned down shortly
before midnight on Friday while
walking across a bridge just a
short distance from the Kremlin
with his Ukrainian model girlfriend Anna Duritskaya.
Putin, whose rule has seen the
steady suppression of independ-
ent media and opposition parties, promised an all-out effort
to catch the killers.
Friends said Nemtsov had
been working on a report containing what he described as
proof of Russian military involvement in the bloody uprising by pro-Moscow militias in
eastern Ukraine.
A posthumous award, the Order of Freedom, was bestowed
on Nemtsov by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“For we Ukrainians, Boris will
forever remain a Russian patriot
and a friend of Ukraine,” he said.
“He proved with his life that one
can be both.”
Polish parliamentarians in a
resolution said they shared “the
grief and sadness of the family,
friends and all those who hold
close the ideals of freedom, democracy and peace”.
Nemtsov’s girlfriend Duritskaya, who was by his side on
Friday but was unhurt and is the
chief witness in the murder, has
been allowed to return to Kiev.
Investigators said yesterday
that Duritskaya “could know
some circumstances that have
searching the Moskva River under the bridge where Nemtsov
was killed.
Investigators have floated
several possible motives, including that Nemtsov might have
been a “sacrificial victim” to sow
The murder took place in Russia’s most heavily policed area,
near the Kremlin walls.
Some observers have suggested that low-level criminals, not
professional hit men, may have
carried out the killing.
Since Putin came to power in
2000, a string of prominent opposition figures have been murdered including journalist Anna
Politkovskaya and activist Natalya Estemirova.
On Sunday, tens of thousands
of people joined a memorial
march in Moscow, numbers not
seen at opposition rallies since
anti-Putin demonstrations in
2011 and 2012.
Nemtsov was later buried at
the Troyekurovskoye cemetery,
on the outskirts of Moscow.
Journalist Politkovskaya, shot
dead in 2006, is buried at the
same cemetery.
Though he became an ardent Putin critic, Nemtsov also
maintained friendships with
people from the Yeltsin era who
remained loyal to the Kremlin
under Putin.
Among those Yelstin-era allies paying their respects were
German Gref, head of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank
by assets, Kudrin, a former finance minister still close to the
Kremlin, Anatoly Chubais, head
of a state-controlled technology firm, and Sergei Kiriyenko, a
former prime minister who runs
the state atomic power firm.
It has long been rumoured
in Moscow that when Yeltsin
stepped down in 1999 he extracted a promise from Putin
that his circle would be protected.
The killing of Nemtsov, whom
Yeltsin at one point groomed as a
successor, may be seen by some
in the old Yeltsin milieu as a betrayal of a deal.
Court fines
for flying
over Paris
French court has fined a
British journalist €1,000
($1,100) for flying a drone
over central Paris and confiscated the machine, as authorities scramble to explain a recent
series of mysterious overflights.
Tristan Redman, 34, from the
Qatar-based Al Jazeera, was arrested last month in the Bois de
Boulogne park on the western
edge of the French capital along
with two other journalists.
The two others were released
and Redman pleaded guilty to
flying a drone over the capital,
which is illegal under French law.
Their arrest followed two
nights of unexplained drone
sightings over the French capital, although a source with
knowledge of the case said the
journalists were not involved in
the earlier incidents.
Those mysterious sightings
were made near the US embassy,
not far from the Invalides military museum, the Eiffel Tower
and several major thoroughfares
leading in and out of the French
capital, police said.
Redman declined to comment
after the verdict but his lawyer,
Francis Szpiner, said the punishment was “disproportionate,
even if people are on edge in the
current context”.
“These were just journalists who wanted to do their job,”
added the lawyer.
France was put on high alert
after jihadist attacks in and
around the French capital in January left 17 people dead.
Redman received the drone
from the station’s London bureau in November and was compiling a package on drone flights
with the help of two freelancers,
one British and one Belgian.
Police have been unable to
catch any of the operators of
the night-time flights and it is
unclear whether they were the
work of pranksters, tourists or
something more malicious.
French authorities were first
alerted to mystery drone flyovers in October, when staterun power company EDF filed a
complaint with police after detecting the small aerial vehicles
zipping over seven atomic plants
across the country.
The sightings continued into
November, and altogether some
20 flyovers took place over nuclear plants.
Then on January 20, a pilotless aircraft briefly flew over
the presidential palace in Paris,
shortly after the jihadist killings.
And in late January, small
drones were also spotted near a
bay in Brittany that houses four
nuclear submarines – one of the
most protected sites in the country.
Three dead in shelling blamed on rebels
hree Ukrainian servicemen were killed and nine
wounded as pro-Russian
rebels shelled government positions despite a ceasefire deal,
the military said yesterday, announcing Kiev’s highest casualty toll in several days.
The losses underscore the fragility of a two-week-old ceasefire agreement which Ukrainian
President Petro Poroshenko has
called the last chance for peace
between Kiev and the separatists he says are being armed by
After the separatists initially
ignored the ceasefire to launch
one of the biggest offensives of
the war, fighting finally slowed
down dramatically last week.
In recent days both sides have
been withdrawing artillery from
the front line, the next stage in
a peace agreement brokered by
France and Germany.
Both sides still accuse each
other on a daily basis of breaking the truce, however, and yesterday’s shelling appeared more
intense than in previous days.
In rebel-held Donetsk, among
the ruins of the city’s airport,
Debris of missiles, shells and rockets fired by Ukrainian forces on
the frontline city of Pervomaisk are displayed at the foot of a statue
of former Soviet Communist leader and revolutionary Vladimir
Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin.
artillery fire was heard coming
towards rebel positions from the
direction of Ukraine’s frontline
stronghold of Pisky.
“We have no mortar rockets
anywhere here. We have already
withdrawn everything bigger
than 100mm in accordance with
the Minsk agreements,” said the
Donetsk rebels’ self-styled defence minister Vladimir Kononov.
“If the Ukrainians continue to
shoot ... you just heard incom-
ing fire ... then I think it will lead
to an end of the ceasefire,” he
said among the loud explosions.
In Kiev, a military spokesman
said rebels had shelled Ukrainian positions 22 times over the
past day.
“An intensification of the
enemy’s military operations
was observed on the evening of
March 2. They shot at Pisky with
mortar bombs and with an antiaircraft system at Avdiyivka,”
said Ukrainian military spokes-
man Anatoly Stelmakh, naming
two towns that have suffered
heavy damage in the conflict.
Ties between Russia and the
West have plummeted to Cold
War-era lows over the violence,
and Washington and Brussels
accuse Moscow of arming the
separatists and reinforcing their
ranks with Russian troops.
Russia has repeatedly denied
Some in Kiev have voiced
worries that the rebels are using
the ceasefire to prepare for more
attacks around the strategically
important Ukrainian-held port
city of Mariupol in southern
Donetsk province.
Rebels deny planning an attack on Mariupol, saying that
they want to take control of the
port through negotiations.
Continued violence, including the rebels’ storming of a
strategic transport hub in Debaltseve on the fourth day after
the ceasefire had been due to
take effect, slowed implementation of the peace deal reached in
the Belarus capital Minsk.
The agreement outlines the
ceasefire and withdrawal of
heavy artillery, and calls for
progress to be monitored by the
OSCE European rights and security watchdog.
Debris from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 laid out in a hangar on Gilze-Rijen airbase.
Bereaved view MH17 wreckage
Gilze-Rijen Airbase,
The Netherlands
he first of around 500 relatives of those killed in the
shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over
Ukraine visited the wreckage at a
Dutch airbase yesterday, investigators said.
The wreckage was brought
to the Gilze-Rijen base in the
southern Netherlands late last
year as part of a probe into what
exactly shot down the Boeing 777
in July, killing all 298 people on
Around two-thirds of those
killed were Dutch, while citizens
from a total of 11 countries died in
the disaster.
Pieces of the plane’s fuselage have been laid out in hangars at the base where they can
be viewed by the bereaved until
Saturday and by journalists yesterday.
Some 50 relatives saw the
trucks carrying the wreckage arrive at the base in December, but
this is the first time they can see
the plane parts up close.
“There are about 500 people coming, not only from the
Netherlands but also from other
countries,” said Sara Vernooij of
the Dutch Safety Board (OVV),
which is leading the probe into
the crash.
Ukraine and the West accuse
Russia of supplying pro-Kremlin
insurgents with the missile that
downed the jet. But Moscow and
the separatists deny responsibility and have instead pointed the
finger at Kiev.
The Dutch are leading international efforts towards a criminal
prosecution, if the culprits can
be identified.
from Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, the United States, Britain and
Russia have already carried out a
preliminary investigation of the
wreckage, the OVV said.
The three-dimensional reconstruction of part of the aircraft
will begin later this month, focusing on the cockpit and business class section, the OVV said.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
tested at
home and
very meal that goes before
Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan is rigorously tested both at home and
abroad for fear of possible assassination, his personal doctor
And now a special food analysis laboratory will be built at
Erdogan’s controversial presidential palace to make sure all
his food is safe to eat, Cevdet Erdol told the Hurriyet newspaper
“It’s usually not through bullets that prominent figures are
being assassinated these days,”
Erdol said.
Currently, samples of the
president’s food are analysed in
laboratories in both Ankara and
Istanbul and during his visits
abroad, he said.
Erdogan’s opponents accuse
him of increasing megalomania,
and the authorities of setting up
a cult of personality around the
man who has ruled Turkey either
as president or prime minister
since 2003.
Erdogan’s 1,150-room palace,
which opened last year on the
outskirts of Ankara, has been
condemned by critics as an absurd extravagance that shows he
is slipping further towards authoritarian rule.
Erdol said a fully-equipped
lab will soon be built at the grandiose complex, where every dish
will be inspected by medicallyqualified professionals.
There is also a five-member
emergency team on duty at the
heavily-guarded palace 24 hours
a day, analysing everything he
eats and drink to guard against
radiation, chemical materials
and bacteria.
“Fortunately, we have not had
any serious incidents so far,” Erdol said.
Turkey’s eighth president
Turgut Ozal survived an assassination attempt in 1988 when a
right-wing gunman shot him at
a party congress.
Family members have long
believed that Ozal, who died in
office in 1993 of an unknown
cause, was poisoned, but a court
in 2012 ruled out the possibility.
Five-time prime minister Bulent Ecevit, who died in 2006,
survived nine assassination attempts, most notably in the
western city of Izmir and New
York, where bullets narrowly
missed him.
In 2006, former Russian spy
Alexander Litvinenko died from
radioactive poisoning in London, three weeks after he drank
tea infused with polonium-210
at a luxury hotel.
Nobel Peace Prize panel
chairman is demoted
orway’s Nobel Peace
Prize committee has demoted its controversial
chairman Thorbjoern Jagland
in a move unprecedented in the
long history of the award.
The organisation, which said
the former Norwegian prime
minister would remain as a committee member, gave no reason
for its decision.
However, the renowned diplomat had drawn sharp criticism shortly after becoming
chairman in 2009 for awarding
the prestigious Nobel to newly
elected US President Barack
The move stunned the world
and the recipient alike, as Obama
had been in office less than nine
months and the United States
was still waging simultaneous
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
After six years at the helm
of the high-profile committee,
the 64-year-old Jagland will be
replaced by deputy head, Kaci
Kullmann Five, the organisation
“There was broad agreement within the committee that
Thorbjoern Jagland was a good
chair for six years,” Kullman Five
told reporters, but declined to
comment on the discussion.
Some right-wingers are criti-
French court has delivered a six-month suspended sentence to a
“compulsive” postman who
stole some 13,000 letters and
stored them secretly in his attic
for more than a decade.
The retired postman, 62,
from northeastern France, was
also fined €4,000 ($4,500).
His employer, La Poste, has
agreed to return all the stolen letters, the oldest of which
dates back to 2001.
After years under suspicion,
the unnamed postal worker
was caught red-handed in 2011
when La Poste laid a trap by
planting a letter filled with a
powder that stained his hands
and clothes.
The police then found his
haul in the attic: 13,694 letters
– many never opened – and
some 6,000 postcards.
His lawyer David Jeanmaire
told AFP the man suffered from
a “compulsive hoarding disorder”.
“He told police he was at-
cal of Jagland and gained a new
representative this year to give
them a 3-2 majority.
Jagland is also head of the
47-nation Council of Europe,
and critics say that creates a
conflict of interest.
“The committee chooses a
leader every year. This year is a
new committee,” Kullmann Five
said, declining to give the reasons for ousting Jagland. “Jagland has been a good leader for
six years.”
No serving chair has ever been
ousted since the awards were
first made in 1901, even with
changing governments and political majorities.
Commentators and former
Nobel laureates alike had
mocked the committee’s decisions under Jagland’s stewardship.
Hitting back at critics after Obama’s prize, Jagland said
that the organisation wanted to
praise the US leader’s early vision of a world free of nuclear
weapons and capture “the spirit
Jagland: remains a member of the committee.
of the times, the needs of the
Last year, a federal study estimated that the United States will
spend $1tn upgrading its nuclear
arsenal over the next three decades.
A year after Obama received
the prize, the committee also
drew Beijing’s ire for handing
the prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a move that
effectively put Norway-China
relations on ice.
“For Beijing, the change of
committee chair can be interpreted as a sign that its pressure
is paying off,” Nobel Peace Prize
historian Asle Sveen told AFP.
In 2012 Jagland became the
face of a body that handed the
award to the increasingly unpopular EU for its commitment
to “peace and reconciliation,
democracy and human rights”.
“The EU is clearly not the
‘champion of peace’ that Alfred Nobel had in mind when
he wrote his will,” Archbishop
Desmond Tutu wrote in an open
Merkel to examine German immigration reform
hancellor Angela Merkel
said yesterday that she
wants to examine plans
for a sweeping reform of Germany’s immigration laws proposed
by one of her coalition partners
while rejecting talk of a split in
her government on the issue.
“I have to first form an opinion,” she said about the Social
Democratic Party’s (SPD’s) call
to introduce a points system
for those seeking to immigrate
to Europe’s biggest economy.
“Now let’s see what we can do in
relation to immigration.”
The immigration reform plan
“is not part of our coalition
agreement, so this means there
is no dispute”, the chancellor
But she acknowledged the
problems caused by the increasing number of refugees arriving in Germany, especially for
regional governments, saying
the issue was high on Berlin’s
Thomas Oppermann, who
Postman who stole
13,000 letters fined
Newly appointed chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Kaci
Kullmann Five (left) and secretary of the committee, Olav Njolstad,
arrive for press briefing yesterday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute
in Oslo.
tracted by the colour and shape
of certain letters, like a magpie
drawn towards shiny objects,”
said Jeanmaire. “If it was just
for stealing money, he would
have opened everything, and
above all, he would have got rid
of the letters.”
Jeanmaire said the postcards
were a way for the postman to
“travel by proxy”.
“His behaviour was a little
curious,” conceded a lawyer
for La Poste, Sandrine Crucy,
though she said he still had
material concerns and used the
money to fill up his car.
More than 550 customers
were listed as claimants in the
trial in the town of Thionville,
although the court only awarded damages to a small group
totalling around €900.
Since 1790, postal workers
in France have taken an oath to
scrupulously protect the items
they carry and the secrecy of
In December, more than
23,500 undelivered letters were
found in the home of a postwoman in Gironde in the Bordeaux region. She is currently
facing trial.
leads the SPD in the lower house
of parliament, prepared a paper
on a new immigration law similar to Canada’s points-based
system to attract hundreds of
thousands of skilled workers to
Oppermann said Germany
needs 300,000 to 400,000
skilled immigrants each year.
“This points system is not
necessary to attract workers to
Germany,” said Michael GrosseBroemer, the politician in Merkel’s Christian Democratic
Union (CDU) responsible for
relations between the coalition
“We don’t need a new law,” he
said. “We have a good immigration law. We could, however, reform the existing one.”
Interior Minister Thomas de
Maiziere, also of the CDU, said
yesterday that that there was no
need for a new law.
Immigration has re-emerged
as an issue in Germany after
a recent push for measures to
control a migrant influx that
has been spearheaded by two
populist, right-wing groups: the
Alternative for Germany (AfD)
Merkel: let’s see what we can do in relation to immigration.
and the anti-Islamist movement
The AfD has been chipping
away at support for the major
political parties with opinion
polls showing it could enter parliament at the next election in
Canada is not a good example
for regulated migration, GrosseBroemer argued, saying that
the country had just changed
its points system and rejected
changes in line with Germany’s
own residence law.
The German residence law,
which requires proof of a job
among other measures, offers
the best opportunities for immigration, Grosse-Broemer said.
The CDU politician agreed
that Germany desperately needs
skilled workers, but he pointed
to the fact that industrial associations are happy with the law
as it is.
CDU general secretary Peter Tauber had called for a new
immigration law at the start of
2015, but Grosse-Broemer denied yesterday that there is any
conflict within the CDU over the
The CDU and its Bavarian
sister party, the Christian Social Union, are more concerned
about improving the existing
rules as well as better integration
of foreigners than introducing a
new law.
Yesterday German police
reported a spike in illegal immigration into Germany with
57,000 cases recorded in 2014,
a 75% increase on the previous
Meanwhile, 2.3mn checks
were carried out for undocumented immigrants at the
country’s borders in 2014, and
30,000 attempted illegal entries
into Germany were uncovered,
up from 17,000 in 2013, police
The vast majority of the illegal
immigrants came from war-torn
countries with Syria accounting
for 14,029, Eritrea 7,945 and Afghanistan 3,756.
letter with two former laureates.
A former leader of Norway’s
Labour Party who has served as
prime minister, foreign minister and speaker of parliament,
Jagland spent much of his career trying to bolster support for
Norway to join the EU.
Yesterday’s action raised
questions of whether the Nobel
committee – which has been
awarding the peace prize almost
every year since 1901 – will begin to show more political colour.
Traditionally its five members
are appointed by parliament
but claim total independence in
their decision making.
Jagland’s demotion reflects
a shift into a majority of committee members nominated by
right-wing parties, which won
Norway’s 2013 general election.
“This can be interpreted as
an attempt by the rightist government to exert more political
control over the committee than
has been customary,” Sveen said.
Others expressed more grave
“This introduces a new principle by which we associate the
chair of the Nobel Committee
with the new majority’s political colour,” wrote Harald Stanghelle, editor of daily newspaper
Aftenposten. “This raises the
question: Is the Nobel Committee as independent of a political
point of view as it should be?”
Refugee camp cleared
from Dresden square
A protest camp set up by refugees in a central square of the
eastern German city of Dresden
was cleared by authorities yesterday following a legal battle.
The refugees and their supporters – who spontaneously set up
tents, toilets and other facilities in
the square following a march on
Saturday that called for tougher
laws on immigration – did not
resist the clear-up after an objection they had filed was rejected
by a court.
They were allowed to continue
their protest without tents, which
a female organiser told DPA they
intended to do.
The city authorities had given the
refugees until 1900 GMT on Monday to clear the tent protest, but
a legal objection by organisers
delayed the clear-up until a court
ruling yesterday.
Two dozen right-wing extremists
attempted to storm the refugee
camp on Monday evening following a weekly demonstration by
the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement,
but they were quickly stopped
from doing so by police.
Dresden has emerged as a hub
for anti-Islamic feelings, with
some 6,000 people taking part in
the latest PEGIDA march there.
Taxis block Brussels streets
in anti-Uber protest action
p to 1,000 Belgian and
French taxis blocked
roads around the EU
headquarters in Brussels yesterday in protest at competition
from the car-sharing service
Uber, local media reported.
The US-based company, operating in cities around the world,
allows customers to hail cabs
via a phone application and uses
software to connect them to
available cars, keeping costs low.
But the service has drawn opposition from established transport firms.
Police said yesterday that up
to 650 taxis had gathered near
the EU institutions in the Belgian
capital at noon, blocking several
of the city’s transport axes, Belga
news agency reported.
But organisers put the number
at 1,000.
The drivers displayed the
words “No to Uber” on their
windscreens, Belga reported.
thrown near the EU institutions.
The Belgian chauffeurs are
protesting at proposed new laws
which they argue would deregulate the market in Uber’s
favour and cut into the income
of regular taxi drivers, according
to Philippe Lescot of the CSCTranscom trade union.
Brussels’ Transport Minister Pascal Smet outlined plans
last week for taxi reform in the
Belgian capital from the start of
2016, including conditions under
which Uber could operate.
French drivers joined the protest, arriving from cities including Paris, Aix en Provence and
Lille in the hope of raising their
concerns with the European Union, Belga wrote.
But the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, said
taxi regulations are primarily a
matter of national concern, so
long as they comply with overarching EU rules.
“Our Belgian, French, German
governments and others are encouraging unfair competition,”
said Eddy Maillot, a trade unionist from the southern French region of Var, arguing that licenced
taxi drivers face additional costs
that are not being taken into account.
Customers of services such as
Uber could find themselves unable to claim damages in the case
of an accident and may be faced
with widely differing tariffs between peak hours and quiet periods, Maillot told Belga.
The company has rejected allegations that passengers are uninsured.
“From the moment you get
into an Uber to the moment
you’re dropped off, your ride is
covered by our commercial insurance. That goes for every trip
in every city around the world,” it
wrote to customers last week.
Facing legal action in Germany, France and the Netherlands,
Uber has promised to create
50,000 jobs this year in European
cities that are willing to let them
take root.
Smet has said he is aware that
Uber and rivals risk creating
poorly paid jobs and said Uber
would only be allowed to operate
according to set criteria – notably keeping a register of all drivers, vehicles and journeys made
and paying tax in full.
Taxi drivers line a street in central Brussels during a protest against
online ride-sharing company Uber.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Want debate on rights of
political parties: Congress
Aadhar-linked ration
cards in Maharashtra
IIT launches project
for urban areas
Village launches drive
against female foeticide
Vistara to launch maiden
services to northeast
V M Sudheeran, the head of the Kerala unit of the
Congress, yesterday called for a debate on the
rights and responsibilities of political parties visà-vis the judiciary. The Kerala High Court, hearing
a petition on Monday against Sudheeran’s
circular on bar licences, said that anybody who
was well-informed about the law would not
have issued such a circular. “The issue is not just
pertaining to Congress alone, this is for all political
parties. Jurists, legal experts, politicians and civil
societies should start a debate on the rights and
responsibilities of political parties,” Sudheeran
said. He issued a circular in 2014 asking the
Congress-led local bodies not to give no-objection
certificates (NOCs) for bar licences.
The Maharashtra government has decided to issue
Aadhar-linked ration cards, Chief Minister Devendra
Fadnavis said yesterday. The Rs174 crore two-phase
initiative aims to curb fake beneficiaries and bring
transparency in the public distribution system. “The
state cabinet has taken a revolutionary decision to
provide Aadhar-linked ration cards and connect all
public distribution system (PDS) outlets across the
state with a mobile terminal technology-enabled
biometric network,” Fadnavis said in a statement.
Maharashtra will be among three states, including
Punjab and Gujarat where the scheme of Aadharlinked ration cards is being implemented to strictly
monitor the benefits under the National Food
Security Act, 2013.
Experts at the Indian Institute of Technology,
Kharagpur, have launched a Rs25 crore project aimed
at transforming and enhancing living conditions in
cities through inter-disciplinary research and new
technologies. Called ‘Future Of Cities’, the mammoth
project, supported by the ministry of human
resource development, involves 59 key researchers
and 32 research modules. Under way in cities like
Kolkata, the venture has identified four actionable
areas - planning and policy, design and development,
habitation and maintenance and governance.
Through design innovations, data collection and
research, experts are seeking solutions to issues like
road safety, transport, buildings, waste management,
and optimum use of space.
Khaps, the body of village elders in northern
India often associated with regressive social
diktats, may be turning a new leaf after
widespread criticism of their practices. At least a
start has been made in a western Uttar Pradesh
village where a sarv (larger) khap panchayat
decided to launch a campaign against female
foeticide and has announced a cash reward of
Rs2,100 for families with three daughters. This,
a member of the sarv khap panchayat said, was
being done “after realisation that girls were
as important as boys.” Sarv khap panchayat
general secretary Subhash Baliyan said the
decision was taken at Nala vllage in Shamli
district of western Uttar Pradesh.
Tata’s full service passenger carrier Vistara
yesterday announced its foray into the northeast
with the addition of Guwahati and Bagdogra to
its domestic network. The airline will commence
services from April 2 on Delhi-Guwahati-BagdograDelhi route. “We’ve had lots of customers asking
us to fly to the eastern India over the past month,
so we’re delighted to launch this new route in
response to the customer demand,” Vistara chief
executive Phee Teik Yeoh said in a statement. “The
addition of this route reaffirms our commitment
to promote regional connectivity in India, and
contribute to the government’s efforts to boost
trade and opening up development avenues for
people in these regions.”
Auction of
starts today
Probe team
now focuses
on defence
ministry leak
New Delhi
he finance ministry is expected to closely watch
the e-auction of radio frequency spectrum, or airwaves,
for telecom operators that commences today, seen as crucial for
the government to be able to meet
its fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of
A mock auction was conducted
yesterday. “It went off smoothly.
We are all set for tomorrow,” a
senior official in the Department
of Telecommunications said.
The government is being advised on the process by Mjunction Services, an information
technology and Internet company promoted 14 years ago as a
50:50 venture by Steel Authority
of India Ltd and Tata Steel.
The auction is crucial for the
government as it has budgeted
for Rs43,161.72 crore non-tax
receipts under “other communications”, which includes proceeds from this process, entry
fee from new operators and related levies.
Accordingly, collections from
spectrum assume greater significance since the fiscal deficit
target of Rs512,628 crore, as per
the revised budget estimates has
already been breached in the first
10 months of this fiscal.
The latest data by the Controller General of Accounts shows
that the deficit during AprilJanuary 2014-15 was Rs568,000
crore, reaching thereby nearly
110% of the original budget estimate.
In 2013-14, the government
was able to garner Rs40,113 crore
from communications department.
In the latest round of auctions,
a total 103.75 MHz has been earmarked in the 800MHz band,
177.8 MHz in 900MHz band,
99.2 MHz in 1,800MHz band and
5MHz in 2,100 MHz band.
There are fears that secrets
may have fallen into the
hands of foreign intelligence
New Delhi
A man, who is one of seven people arrested on suspicion of running a scam to steal documents from
the oil ministry, covers his face as he boards a police vehicle next to plainclothes policemen, outside a
court in New Delhi.
ndia has widened an investigation into leaks of confidential
documents from its oil ministry to include the defence ministry, raising fears that other secrets
vital to national security may have
fallen into the wrong hands.
The scandal has engulfed the
oil ministry since the arrest two
weeks ago of low-level staff suspected of stealing secret documents and selling them to journalists who styled themselves as
high-profile industry consultants.
So far, investigators have focused on how that information
was, in turn, used by some of India’s biggest oil companies to preempt unfavourable decisions or
hurt rivals.
There are also fears that secrets
may have fallen into the hands of
foreign intelligence agencies, with
investigators saying the group’s
network extended across the government.
“These men had tentacles
spread in multiple government
offices and it was easy for them to
form a network,” said one police
officer involved in the investigation, who declined to be identified
because he was not authorised to
speak on the record.
Among the documents recovered are correspondence signed
by Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s top aide, proposals for the
annual budget and a presentation
on the foreign unit of state oil firm
Over the weekend, investigators found documents on India’s coal production and power
projects. Details of a defence
ministry audit are also believed
to have been leaked by a casual
worker employed by the government’s audit office.
“Yes, it is a threat if the information goes into the wrong
hands,” said C Uday Bhaskar, a
defence expert and director of the
Society for Policy Studies. “Any
information deemed to be restricted can be used by an inimical, hostile entity.”
India will spend $40bn on defence in the next fiscal year and, in
a pivot away from its former reliance on Soviet hardware, has become a key market for US, French
and Israeli suppliers.
“We were concerned that crucial documents had been leaked,
but the defence ministry has always been very strict about its recruitment procedure,” said ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar,
adding that the ministry’s own
security setup was “foolproof.”
The security aspect of the
leaks, not previously reported,
could inject fresh urgency into
the investigation which has led to
more than a dozen arrests.
Those arrested are journalists
Santanu Saikia of Indianpetro.
com, Prayas Jain of Metis Energy,
and Lokesh Sharma of Infraline
They are suspected of trespassing, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy but have not been
formally charged.
Saikia, as he was taken to court,
said he had been framed. All
three protested their innocence
at a hearing where they were remanded in judicial custody until
March 6.
The three websites published
analytical reports based on leaked
documents and provided them to
corporates too.
One senior oil ministry source,
who sought anonymity because
the matter is sensitive, said the
Intelligence Bureau had tracked
Saikia’s phone and found that
he talked regularly to foreigners
about Indian policy.
Police have also arrested officials from some of India’s largest
oil companies, including Reliance
Industries, Essar Oil, Cairn India, Jubilant Energy and Reliance
In stock exchange filings
last week, Reliance said it had
launched an internal inquiry. Essar, Reliance Power and Cairn say
they will co-operate with investigators.
NRIs can take advantage of gold bonds scheme
he Narendra Modi government’s first full-year
budget has brought out
political reactions on expected
lines. The right-of-centre BJP
and its allies have hailed it as
path-breaking while those on the
other side of the spectrum - the
communists, the socialists and
the Congress - have called it procorporate and anti-poor.
The truth, perhaps, lies somewhere in between and much like
the pudding, the proof of any
budget is not in the promise it
holds but in the reality check
when the year comes full circle.
For, even if all of what Finance
Minister Arun Jaitley promised
gets implemented, you still have
to see what is on ground at the
end of the year to actually give the
final verdict. For example, how
many people/families get covered
under the new Rs200,000 insurance scheme at an annual premium of Rs12 for accidental deaths.
However, if one were to go by
the headlines the morning after
budget day, Jaitley is a winner all
the way. Here’s a sampling: “It
Isn’t Big, But it’s Full of Bang”
(The Economic Times), “Jaitley
lights growth fuse” (Hindustan
Times), “Make it, India”, (The
Times of India). The list goes on.
Of all the contrarians, those
from the left, who are tireless
in their espousal of causes concerning the poor and the working
class, can safely be ignored. One
has to only look at what they did
for 34 years in West Bengal. As
Jaitley himself pointed out during
one of his recent speeches in the
Rajya Sabha, there are only two
frontline states with a revenue
deficit and they are not Bihar and
Uttar Pradesh but West Bengal
and Kerala and “you can see what
kind of ideology led to this state
of affairs in these two states, especially a state like Kerala which
is the best on all other social parameters.”
The corporates, of course, are
quite happy. If Infosys boss Vishal
Sikka is of the view that “Jaitley has dexterously reinforced
the government’s commitment
to transform the nation by ease
of conducting business,” ICICI
Bank chairman Kundapur Vaman Kamath feels that the finance
minister “has delivered with a
path-breaking reformist effort.”
Even Jaitley’s immediate predecessor Palaniappan Chidambaram had to confine himself to complaining that Jaitley’s opening
remarks about how the Congress
government had left the economy
in a shambles were not called for.
Chidambaram also found fault
with the devolution of greater
economic freedom to the states as
Jaitley had hiked the states’ share
of divisible federal taxes from 32%
to 42%. But this is of a piece with
Modi’s stated aim of empowering
the states. (It is another matter
that the number states ruled by
the Congress Party is dwindling
by the day and, therefore, the
party does not get to have a say in
the economic affairs of the coun-
Delhi Diary
By A K B Krishnan
try either at the Centre or in the
Chidambaram criticises Jailtey
for being pro-corporate - and by
curious extension anti-poor - and
cites the finance minister’s move
to reduce corporate tax from 30%
to 25% over the next four years
as an example. He says the move
will cost India a whopping $32bn
in taxes. But the former minister
fails to mention that Jaitley had
qualified this reduction by saying
that most corporates enjoy several
exemptions under one pretext or
the other and this had been leveraged to the fullest extent and
also has a tendency to encourage
corruption. The tax cuts will depend on the extent of elimination
of these exemptions. It is up to
Chidambaram and his Congress
Party to keep a close watch on
what sort exemptions are eliminated and which corporates are
the beneficiaries. They should
then raise the alarm if they find
that discretions are at play in either removing or maintaining the
Two other legislations that
Jaitley has mooted - jail terms
up to 10 years apart from fines
and penalties for ‘black’ money
hoarders and a stringent bank-
ruptcy law - are certainly not
something the corporates, or at
least some of them, would have
welcomed with both hands, but
Chidambaram and others like him
would reserve their comments on
There was a time when India’s
foreign exchange reserves were
good enough to last just three
days’ import bills. Remittances
from non-resident Indians were
then seen as manna from heaven.
The highest non-taxed interest
rates in the world were on offer for
deposits and bonds. In short NRIs
were the toast of finance ministers for more than a decade in the
1980s and 1990s.
But as the markets opened up
and the economy grew exponentially, the NRI lost her exalted
position in the annual budgets of
successive governments. Finance
ministers barely touched upon
NRI remittances though it still
brings in around $8bn a year.
This year, too, the finance minister did not have anything specific for the NRI but his proposal to
float sovereign gold bonds and get
banks to provide interest on gold
deposits would gladden many an
NRI heart. Although jewellery,
which accounts for much of NRI
gold purchases, is still out of the
purview of these measures, pure
gold in the form of coins and ingots could soon be deposited with
designated banks for specific periods to earn interest. The quantum of interest is still not decided
but traders are of the view that
anything below 5% would not
have the desired result.
Some like HDFC’s Deepak
Parekh would still be disappointed because there were no “big
bang” reforms. But the last word
on budget 2015-16 should go to
Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG
Enterprises which is into power
generation, IT, infrastructure
and tyres. A great, commendable budget, said Goenka, adding,
“Jaitley is no Jet Li”!
Rahul goes on
‘sulk leave’
The jokes have been coming
thick and fast, one better than the
other. On television channels, the
print and social media, the party
circuit. After all, much of what
Rahul Gandhi thinks or does are
mirth-provoking. Remember the
famous “escape velocity” theory
that he propounded to explain
the empowerment of lower class
A fellow-Keralite called to remind me of the blockbuster Mohan Lal starrer Pattana Pravesham where the protagonist tells
his equally jobless associate of
how he had plans to take leave and
enjoy once he gets a job. Another
friend asked how one can go away
when one has not arrived in the
first place!
The Congress is in a quandary,
as it has been for quite some time
now, on what to make of its vicepresident’s sudden disappearance
- for want of a better description from the scene when his presence
was most in need. This was the
moment when the party wanted
its leader to think on his feet and
lead from the front.
The budget session of parliament was about to begin and the
understrength opposition had to
close ranks and stand up as one
man in the Lok Sabha to fight
what it sees as Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s attempt to bulldoze his way through with some
important but controversial legislation. But then the man who was
supposed to lead the charge goes
on, what one commentator said
tongue in cheek, “sulk leave.”
Well, if you have a political party as your family business, then
such things are possible. And unlike other CEOs, you don’t even
need to leave a forwarding address. So Rahul “sightings” had
been a favourite pastime among
Indians most of last week - from
the hills of Uttarakhand to Laos to
Bangkok to Vienna.
Rahul apparently is sulking
because he is not getting his way
through in his attempt to restructure the party. He feels there is
a lot of deadwood and wants to
throw it out. But the so-called
deadwood is not all that dead. It is
fighting back.
From the reactions that Congress leaders of various vintage
have been giving to the media,
there is no escaping the fact that
two factions have emerged within the party, one calling for status
quo ante and the other egging
Rahul Gandhi to take over the
party reins. The buzz here is that
a section of senior leaders have
been antagonistic towards Rahul
ever since he famously said on
national television in September
2013 that the ordinance aimed
at negating a Supreme Court order barring convicted lawmakers from contesting elections
“should be torn up and thrown
away.” The then government
headed by Manmohan Singh
did indeed throw away the ordinance almost overnight and this
did not go down well with these
old guards who feared it would
disrupt their cosy club cutting
across party lines.
Reports suggest that Rahul will
move to the top when the All India Congress Committee meets
in Bengaluru in March-April. It’s
about time too, if you ask me. India’s GOP has been having a torrid time on various election fronts
for quite a while now. If Rahul’s
takeover can somehow revive the
party - and that’s a big ‘IF’, I may
add - India would be better off
with a stronger and more credible
opposition that is the hallmark of
a robust democracy.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
could cut rains
by fifth in India,
say scientists
arge-scale deforestation
could cause monsoon rains
to shift south, cutting
rainfall in India by nearly a fifth,
scientists say.
Deforestation has long been
known to cause temperature increases in local areas, but new
research published yesterday
shows a potentially wider impact
on monsoon rains.
While releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, deforestation also causes changes in
how much light reflects off the
earth’s surface and the amount
of moisture in the atmosphere
from plants transpiring.
Researchers from the Indian
Institute of Science in Bengaluru
used a model simulating atmosphere circulation, as well as
photosynthesis, transpiration,
warming of the ocean surface
and ice melt.
“We wanted to get a basic
understanding of the effects of
large-scale deforestation at different locations on monsoon
rainfall,” the authors said in a
They performed three deforestation experiments, removing
all trees in tropical, temperate
and high-latitude areas to look
at the impacts.
Deforestation in temper-
ate and high latitudes caused
changes in atmospheric circulation resulting in a southward
shift in the monsoon rains.
This would translate to a significant fall in precipitation in
the northern hemisphere monsoon regions of East Asia, North
America, North Africa and
South Asia, and moderate increases in rainfall in the southern
hemisphere monsoon regions of
South Africa, South America and
“Our study is showing that remote deforestation in mid- and
high-latitudes can have a much
larger effect on tropical rainfall
than local tropical deforestation,” the statement said.
The South Asian monsoon region would be affected the most,
with an 18% decline in precipitation over India, the scientists
wrote in the paper published in
the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The authors said that evaluations of the climate benefits of
planting trees on bare or cultivated land or in deforested areas must include remote impacts
such as rainfall.
The study noted that land
used for crops and pastures has
increased globally from 620mn
hectares in the 1700s - or about
7% of the global land surface to 4,690mn hectares in 2000,
about a third of the world’s land
No more beef in
aharashtra has introduced a ban on beef so
strict that even possession could land you in jail for
five years, media reports and the
chief minister said yesterday.
Hindus consider cows sacred,
and several states already ban
their slaughter.
But the latest measures in Maharashtra go even further, making the sale or possession of beef
an offence punishable by a fiveyear jail term or a Rs10,000 fine.
The Indian Express newspaper
said the measures became law
after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to a legal
amendment - which was passed
by the state assembly two decades ago, but was never sent to a
president for approval.
The measures include a ban on
the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, hitherto legal with a vet’s
certificate, although it will still
be legal to slaughter buffalo.
Maharashtra’s Chief Minister
Devendra Fadnavis tweeted his
thanks to the president, saying “our dream of ban on cow
slaughter becomes a reality
The ban didn’t go unnoticed
and led to an acrimonious debate
on the social media with #BeefBan top-trending on twitter.
“In Maharashtra, all chicken,
goats and sheep are currently
thinking - Why should gais
(cows) have all the fun? #BeefBan,” Ramesh Srivats said on
The decision led to many angry exchanges on social media
with people on different sides of
the divide citing personal freedom, religious beliefs, history,
environment and even animal
rights to make their point.
Unseasonal rain hits Bengaluru
Vehicles are stuck in traffic after roads were flooded following a 40-minute unseasonal rain early yesterday in Bengaluru. With over 5mn vehicles plying in the city of
10mn people, hundreds of policemen were deployed to tackle traffic at many intersections.
Deeply pained by rift
in party, says Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister to take
naturopathy treatment in
Bangalore for high sugar
New Delhi
elhi Chief Minister
Arvind Kejriwal yesterday said he was “deeply
hurt and pained” by the open
warfare within the Aam Aadmi
Party as it braced for a makeor-break leadership meeting
The party, which scored a
spectacular electoral win in
Delhi early last month, also announced that Kejriwal was going away to Bengaluru today for
10 days of naturopathy treatment for his persistent high
sugar levels.
“I am deeply hurt and pained
by what is going on in the party.
This is betrayal of trust that (the
people of) Delhi reposed in us,”
Kejriwal tweeted, adding he
won’t allow “people’s trust to
be broken.”
“I refuse to be drawn in this
ugly battle. Will concentrate
only on Delhi’s governance,” he
Less than a month after it
stormed to power winning 67
of the 70 seats in Delhi, the AAP
is split between senior leaders
Yogendra Yadav and Prashant
Bhushan on the one hand and
Kejriwal backers on the other.
Kejriwal’s comments appeared to indicate that he was
distancing himself from his
known supporters in the party
who have threatened to act
“tough” against Bhushan and
Yadav for allegedly challenging
the chief minister’s leadership.
Bhushan, an eminent Supreme Court lawyer, and Kejriwal were among those who
founded the AAP in 2012 - and
quickly made a mark in Delhi
and nationally.
In a sign that tempers were
cooling, no AAP leader yesterday reiterated any of the aggressive statements against Bhushan and Yadav.
Today, the AAP’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) will meet
here to discuss the party’s internal strife.
Kejriwal supporters are gunning for both Bhushan and Yadav, particularly the latter. But
after Kejriwal’s comments and
other saner voices, it is not clear
what turn the meeting will take
Yesterday, Prashant’s father
Shanti Bhushan, also a leading
lawyer, urged his son, Yadav as
well as Kejriwal to “stick together.”
“Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan
and Yogendra Yadav must stick
together,” he told reporters.
“Kejriwal should continue
as all-India convener. Prashant
Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav
must support him.
“I refuse to be drawn
in this ugly battle. Will
concentrate only on Delhi’s
“That’s the best for the party,
and such a stand will achieve
the goals for which the party
was set up. There should be no
rift,” said Shanti Bhushan, who
himself has made critical comments against Kejriwal earlier.
Yadav, a well known election
analyst and who has come under intense attack from Kejriwal
loyalists, yesterday said that he
new documentary based
on the fatal gang-rape of
a woman in New Delhi in
2012 highlights gender inequality and sex crimes in India, with
the seeming lack of remorse
among those convicted of the
crime shocking even the film’s
Leslee Udwin’s India’s Daughter features conversations with
Mukesh Singh and fellow convicts who raped and tortured a
23-year-old woman on a moving
bus in December 2012, sparking
nationwide protests and forcing
India to toughen anti-rape laws.
The film will have its world
premiere on March 8, showing in
India as well as Britain, Denmark
and other countries simultaneously on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Comments released to the
media showed that in the film,
Singh blames the victim for the
crime and resisting rape.
“I got an insight and an un-
derstanding into the way he
views women. That is what is
extremely shocking, not what
he did,” Udwin told reporters in
New Delhi yesterday.
“Mukesh’s attitude is: Why
(are people) making a fuss about
us, everybody is doing it.”
Udwin, producer of the 1999
British cult comedy East is East
and its sequel, said she was inspired to make the film after
watching thousands of people
taking to the streets across India in protest against the Delhi
The British filmmaker worked
with an Indian journalist for two
years to film the hour-long documentary, culled from 31 hours
of interviews with convicts in
Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Four men including Singh
were sentenced to death, but
their execution was later stayed
on appeal by the Supreme Court.
One of the defendants hanged
himself in prison, while another,
who was under 18 at the time
of the attack, was sentenced to
three years in juvenile detention.
Singh’s comments in India’s
Daughter grabbed headlines
in newspapers yesterday and
sparked outrage on social media.
“A decent girl won’t roam
around at 9 o’clock at night. A
girl is far more responsible for
rape than a boy,” Singh says in
the film, according to a statement by the filmmakers.
A rape is reported on average
every 21 minutes in India while
acid attacks, domestic violence
and molestation are common.
“As a woman I know women
are undervalued, that men accord us not enough respect or
value,” said Udwin, a rape victim
India’s Daughter was embroiled in a separate controversy
after a newspaper alleged the
documentary was filmed without the permission of Tihar jail
authorities. Udwin denied this.
“I wrote a letter to Tihar’s
director general saying that the
film will be in public interest and
there won’t be any unnecessary
sensationalism. I was given the
permission and I interviewed
these convicts from October 8 to
10, 2013,” she told reporters.
So he has decided to opt for
naturopathy... The treatment
will start on Thursday,” an AAP
official said.
In Kejriwal’s absence, Deputy
Chief Minister Manish Sisodia
will officiate as chief minister.
Kejriwal, who became chief
minister of Delhi a second time
last month, has been a longtime diabetic.
Officials in Bengaluru said
Kejriwal will reach today
evening and will be admitted to
the Jindal Naturecure Institute
on the outskirts of the city.
The institute, spread over
10 acres of lush greenery, provides relief, prevention and cure
of specific diseases through a
non-invasive, drugless therapy
which combines nature cure
with yoga and other drugless
regiments, its website says.
The AAP, born from the anticorruption campaign of activist
Anna Hazare, was founded in
2012 and came to power in Delhi
after the very first election it
contested in December 2013, albeit with Congress backing.
Kejriwal quit as chief minister
on February 14, 2014, leading to
President’s Rule in Delhi. He
took oath exactly a year later after leading the AAP to a thumping victory.
Sahara’s London
hotel put up for sale
Film on gang-rape stokes
debate on male mindset
New Delhi
and Prashant Bhushan desired
“internal democracy” in the
“I and Prashant Bhushan had
raised voice for internal democracy in the party. There is nothing wrong in that. I will see if
action happens against me.”
In what was viewed as a veiled
attack on Kejriwal, Bhushan
and Yadav have been quoted as
questioning the party’s “one
person-centric” approach in internal communications
leaked to the media.
Unlike Yadav, Bhushan yesterday refused to speak to the
media on what he said were the
party’s internal affairs - a stand
he has maintained for weeks.
Yadav is being accused by
a section of the AAP of trying
to oust Kejriwal as its national
convener. AAP leaders appealing for peace deny this.
Amid the unprecedented crisis, AAP leaders said on Monday
that when the national executive meets today, they would act
“tough” against those challenging the Delhi chief minister.
Meanwhile, the AAP said
yesterday that Kejriwal would
fly to Bengaluru to take 10 days
of naturopathy treatment for
high sugar levels.
“His sugar level is above 300.
New Delhi/ Mumbai
Leslee Udwin, director of the documentary India’s Daughter
speaks during a press conference in New Delhi yesterday.
ondon’s landmark Grosvenor House hotel has
been put up for sale after its owner, part of troubled
conglomerate Sahara which has
been trying to raise funds for
its jailed boss Subrata Roy, was
placed into administration by
Consultant Deloitte said yesterday it had been appointed administrator of Sahara Grosvenor
House Hospitality Ltd, which
owns the long leasehold title to
the hotel. Property consultant
Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) will advise on the sale.
Sahara, which has been trying to raise $1.6bn to free Roy
by refinancing overseas hotels
including Grosvenor House and
New York’s Plaza, said the administrator was hired after Bank
of China’s loan on the London
hotel was declared in default.
“However, this action by the
administrator does not preclude
us to keep working on the refinancing transaction but now we
would have to proceed with re-
financing transaction with the
consent of the administrator
which we will be taking,” it said.
Sahara said the administrator
would give “the control back to
the Sahara directors,” after it gets
the loan refinanced, which it said
would be done soon.
The 494-room Grosvenor
House hotel, operated by Marriott International Inc, is expected
to fetch in a sale more than the
£470mn ($722mn) Sahara paid
for it in 2010.
“We will be approaching investors in the Middle East, Asia
and the US where the major
sources of outbound capital are
currently sitting,” Mark WynneSmith, global CEO of JLL’s hospitality and hotels group, said.
“These types of assets don’t
appear in the market very frequently so when they do clearly
there is a lot of interest and excitement about the fact that it
might change hands.”
Sahara, whose assets stretch
from a Formula One team to TV
channels, bought the central
London hotel in 2010 and was in
talks to refinance it along with
two other overseas hotels to raise
money to bail Roy.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Argentine ex-president
Menem tried for corruption
Kirchner moves to
nationalise railways
Mexico willing to renew
Brazil pact ‘with changes’
Sabotage causes oil leak
in Peruvian rainforest
Policemen to be charged in
duo’s disappearance, death
Argentina’s former president Carlos Menem is back
on trial for corruption charges, two years after he
was convicted of arms trafficking. Menem, who
served from 1989 to 1999, went on trial alongside
his former economy minister Domingo Cavallo
and eight other former cabinet members, charged
with using state funds to bribe high-ranking
officials during their decade in power. Menem
was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2013 for
trafficking arms to Croatia and Ecuador, the first
time a democratically elected former president
was convicted of a crime in Argentina. But he never
did prison time because he remains protected by
legislative immunity as a senator.
Argentina has launched the nationalisation of its
railroads, taking over three key lines and cancelling
all contracts with the companies involved without
compensation. After President Cristina Kirchner
unveiled plans to “recover” the country’s railroads
from private management, the government
published a notice in its Official Bulletin announcing
the first takeovers and cancelling the relevant
contracts. “The state isn’t going to pay private
companies anymore,” Transport Minister Florencio
Randazzo told Radio la Red. “The state is in a
position to be more efficient than the private sector.
We are not going to compensate anyone because
no compensation is due,” said the minister.
Mexico is willing to extend an auto export quota
pact with Brazil for up to two more years, provided
restrictions are eased when the current agreement
ends at midnight on March 18, an official said. The
accord, signed in 2012, limits the automotive trade
between Mexico and Brazil under an annual quota
system. “Provided the quotas are increased from
this year, it’s possible to consider maintaining a
temporary regime for exportation of light vehicles
without tariffs for each country ... for one or two
years,” the official said. Mexico’s proposal will likely
face opposition from the Brazilian government,
which plans to push for a reduction of the export
quotas to ease its widening trade deficit.
An alleged sabotage on a pipeline led to a leak
of about 30,000 litres of oil in the Peruvian
rainforest, of which about 8,000 litres are
believed to have reached the river Patuyacu,
the news agency Andina reported. Andina
cited the pipeline operator, the Argentinianbased Pluspetrol, as saying that the pipeline
had been cut through. The hole had already
been fixed and the leak had not reached
indigenous communities in the area, the firm
said. Local communities have repeatedly
protested over the environmental risks of
oil extraction in the north-eastern Peruvian
department of Loreto.
Eight policemen in Venezuela are to be charged
after two men were taken into custody then
found shot dead in bushes, the country’s
public prosecutor’s office said. Venezuela has
the second worst homicide rate in the world,
according to United Nations, and government
officials acknowledge police are often involved
in violent crime. Alejandro Garcia, 22, and Jose
Frias, 20, were picked up by police on February
16 in western Zulia state “and then disappeared
until the following day when they were found
in bushes with various gunshots,” the public
prosecutor’s office said. One civilian is to be
charged along with the eight policemen, it said.
Obama hopes
for US embassy
in Cuba before
April summit
Obama said he hopes the
US will open an embassy
in Cuba by the time of a Western
Hemisphere summit in Panama
in mid-April.
In an interview with Reuters,
Obama also cautioned that it will
take more time to fully establish
normal relations with Cuba after
more than a half-century rupture.
“My hope is that we will be
able to open an embassy, and that
some of the initial groundwork
will have been laid” before the
April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Obama said.
“Keep in mind that our expectation has never been that we
would achieve full normal relations immediately. There’s a lot
of work that still has to be done,”
he said.
In a historic agreement,
Washington and Havana announced on December 17 that
they planned to restore diplomatic relations following 18
months of secret talks.
Two rounds of “normalisation”
talks in Havana and Washington
have since made quick progress
toward renewing official ties.
Cuba is keen to have Washington’s official recognition of
its one-party system run by the
Cuban Communist Party, while
the Obama administration believes establishing formal
relations will strengthen
its hand in Latin America
where longstanding US efforts to isolate Cuba have
failed resoundingly.
After the “last round of
talks on Friday, the head
of the US division at the
Cuban foreign ministry, Josefina Vidal, told
Cuban state media that
Havana was willing to
restore diplomatic relations as soon as the
Obama administra-
tion declares its intent to take
the Caribbean island off a list of
state sponsors of terrorism.
It is the first time Cuba has
said publicly it is willing to restore relations before it is removed from the list.
While critics, including some
members of Congress, have called
the end of US attempts to isolate
Cuba a gift to the authoritarian Cuban government, Obama
said there are already signs it is
prompting Havana to liberalise.
“We are going down a path in
which we can open up our relations to Cuba in a way that ultimately will prompt more change
in Cuba. And we’re already seeing it,” the US president said.
“The very fact that, since our
announcement, the Cuban government has begun to discuss
ways in which they are going to
reorganise their economy to accommodate for possible foreign
investment, that’s already forcing
a series of changes that promises
to open up more opportunities
for entrepreneurs,” he said.
“And that’s always been the
premise of this policy; that, after
50 years of a policy that didn’t
work, we need to try something
new that encourages and ultimately I think forces the Cuban
government to engage in a modern economy. And that will create more space for freedom for
the Cuban people,” Obama said.
Both US and Cuban negotiating teams came out of Friday’s
talks in Washington in an upbeat
mood but did not set a date
for formal renewal of diplomatic relations that were
severed in 1961.
The two countries,
politically at odds since
soon after Cuba’s
1959, currently
have diplomats
working in each
other’s capitals,
but they operate from what are
known as Interests
Lava pours out of the Villarrica volcano in southern Chile yesterday.
Thousands evacuated as
volcano erupts in Chile
olcano Villarrica in
southern Chile erupted
in the early hours of yesterday, sending a plume of ash
and lava high into the sky, and
forcing the evacuation of nearby
The volcano, located near the
popular tourist resort of Pucon
around 750km south of the
capital Santiago, is one of South
America’s most active. It last
erupted in 2000.
A column of ash and rock
Brazil truck drivers’
strike diminishes
Sao Paulo
ome truck drivers in Brazil
continued blocking roads
yesterday, slowing grains
deliveries to southern ports, even
as adherence to the strike diminished and a key highway in top
soy state Mato Grosso opened.
Nationwide, there were 18
roadblocks over rising freight
costs by the end of the day on
Monday, well below peaks of
more than 100 a week ago, federal highway police said.
With the two-week-old protests concentrated in the south,
however, the situation at No. 2
soy exporting port Paranagua
remained critical, a spokesman
On Monday just over 700
trucks arrived at the port, less
than half the normal amount for
this time of the year. With stocks
running out, the port can only
guarantee exports of soybeans
and soymeal through today, the
spokesman said.
In the state of Rio Grande do
Sul, where protests have turned
violent, police arrested 20 people on Monday and 11 roadblocks
remained yesterday, local highway police said.
BRF SA, the world’s largest
poultry exporter, said on
Monday it had reopened
plants that were closed due
to the strike
Seventy percent of operations
at the Rio Grande port were affected by the strike, a spokesman said. The port plans to finish an analysis of grains stocks
by tomorrow and was not at risk
of running out before then, he
The BR-163 highway, a key
soybean corridor in the centrewest state of Mato Grosso, was
completely clear for the first
time since protests ignited on
February 17, highway operator
Rota do Oeste said yesterday.
Truckers in the state said protests had paused temporarily for
government negotiations. “It’s
a truce due to the meeting in
Brasilia,” said trucker Junior Boscoli of Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato
Grosso, on the phone from Brazil’s capital.
Besides slowing grain deliveries, the movement has blocked
meat exports and left some grocery stores with bare shelves.
BRF SA, the world’s largest poultry exporter, said on
Monday it had reopened plants
that were closed due to the
strike. Meat processor JBS SA
obtained an injunction guaranteeing security so its trucks
could get access to the Itajai port in Santa Catarina, a
spokesman said.
Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff on Monday signed into
law a new truckers’ bill to lower
toll costs, waive fines for overweight trucks charged in the past
two years and build more rest
stops on federal highways.
Some drivers said the bill did
not address their main demands
to lower diesel fuel prices and
raise their payments to cover
particles shot up to 3km into the
sky overnight. Although the initial violent eruption was shortlived, intermittent clouds of
steam and gas continue to issue
from the volcano.
A major lava flow is not expected, said Luis Lara, head of
national geological service Sernageomin yesterday morning,
but that could change.
“After an eruptive pulse, which
was pretty intense but very short
at 3am (0600GMT), the volcanic
system remains unstable and it
is possible that something similar could occur again in the next
few hours,” he said.
Some 3,385 people had been
evacuated as a preventative
measure, said Interior Minister
Rodrigo Penailillo. There were
no reports of any injuries.
Ash from the volcano was for
now well under the flight paths
used by commercial airliners,
and flights were unaffected, said
Juan Carlos Rojas, air transit
head at the government’s civil
aeronautics division.
Following an emergency
meeting with police and military in the presidential palace
in Santiago yesterday morning, Chilean President Michelle
Bachelet said she would travel
Pena Nieto in Britain
immediately to the affected region.
Chile, situated on the socalled Pacific Rim of Fire,
has the second largest chain
of volcanoes in the world
after Indonesia, including
around 500 that are potentially active.
In 2011, the eruption of Puyehue sent an ash cloud into the
atmosphere that disrupted
flights in neighboring Argentina
for months.
Villarrica national park in
the Los Rios region of Chile is a
scenic area of lakes, temperate
rainforest and volcanoes that is
Argentina’s Falklands
banknote a stunt: UK
Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto visits the Buckingham
Palace picture gallery along with Queen Elizabeth yesterday.
The president and his wife are guests of Queen Elizabeth
during their three-day state visit to Britain.
one of Chile’s top tourist attractions.
Over 2,000 people were
evacuated from Pucon, which
normally serves as a centre for
hotels and adventure tourism,
including dozens who climb
snowcapped Villarrica every
Holidaymaker Edward Reilley
said he was in the nearby town
of Villarrica.
“The volcano is quiet now,
very calm. You wouldn’t know
anything had happened,” he
said. Tourists were trying to
leave but locals didn’t seem
worried, he added.
ritain yesterday derided a new Argentine
banknote featuring the
disputed Falkland Islands as a
stunt and said it had no intention of discussing sovereignty
over the archipelago with Buenos Aires.
Tensions over the Falklands,
known as Las Malvinas in Argentina, still crackle more
than 30 years after Argentine
forces seized them and the
then prime minister Margaret
Thatcher sent a task force to
retake them. More than 600
Argentine servicemen and 255
British died in the brief war.
Hit by high inflation, Argentina issued a new 50-peso banknote this month described by
the central bank as a reminder
of the South American country’s “undying claim” to Las
“On the issue of the 50-peso
banknote, we can’t stop the
Argentinian government from
these stunts,” Hugo Swire, a
minister of state at the Brit-
ish Foreign Office, said when
asked about the note in parliament.
“It’s worth a whopping
£3.72 ($6) according to today’s exchange rate,” he added.
“And I think it probably has the
equivalent political value.”
The note features a map of
the islands, 300 miles off the
Argentine coast and 8,000
miles from Britain, on one side
and an image of a gaucho who
rebelled against British rule
there in 1833 brandishing an
Argentine flag on the other.
Swire said the Argentine
embassy had recently sent a
book and a letter to the British parliament, complaining
about a lack of dialogue on
“It (the book) ignores the
inconvenient truth that some
people on the islands can trace
their Falklands ancestry back
through nine generations,
longer than the current borders of Argentina have existed,” said Swire.
There would be no sovereignty talks with Argentina in
line with the islanders’ own
wishes, he added.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Pakistan, India hold
first talks in a year
akistan and India held their first
high-level talks for nearly a year
yesterday, hailed as “positive and
constructive”, with the two sides agreeing to work together to address mutual
Indian foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is visiting Pakistan for the
first senior-level dialogue between the
nuclear-armed rivals since their prime
ministers met in New Delhi last May.
Relations between the two countries,
always fraught, soured further last August amid increased firing along their
borders and a row over a Pakistani diplomat meeting Kashmiri separatists.
Jaishankar, India’s top official for foreign affairs, met his counterpart Aizaz
Ahmed Chaudhry and said afterwards
talks were held “in a very positive and
constructive atmosphere”.
“We agreed to work together to find
common ground and narrow our differences,” he told reporters.
“I reiterated our known concerns on
cross-border terrorism including on the
Mumbai (attacks). We agreed that ensuring peace and tranquillity on the border
was vital.”
The 2008 attacks on Mumbai, blamed
on Pakistan-based militants, have been
a perennial thorn in relations in recent
India has been infuriated at Pakistan’s
failure to either extradite or prosecute effectively the alleged masterminds of the
carnage, which left 166 people dead.
Chaudhry while addressing a separate
Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry with his Indian counterpart
Subrahmanyan Jaishankar.
news conference said, “overall, the tone
of the meeting was positive”.
“I held detailed discussions with Mr
Jaishankar today in a cordial and constructive atmosphere,” he said.
“Both sides recognised that the two
countries need to work together to address mutual concerns and make efforts
to promote peace and development.”
He said the talks focused on bilateral
and regional issues including Kashmir,
over which the two countries have fought
two of their three wars.
“I told my Indian counterpart that the
leadership and people of Pakistan are
deeply attached to the cause of Jammu
and Kashmir and we need to make a concerted effort to resolve this dispute and
indeed other disputes,” Chaudhry said.
He said the situation along the two
countries’ de facto border, the Line of
Control, was also raised.
Chaudhry said “both sides would reflect on the discussions held today and
then take a decision that how to proceed
Analysts said the visit would help warm
“I think this will lower tensions and
create (an) environment for the two
countries to engage with each other on
the issues of concern,” Talat Masood, an
analyst and retired Pakistani army general, told AFP.
“Real progress can be achieved if the
two countries try to cooperate with each
other instead of undermining each other.”
Jaishankar’s trip is part of a tour that
also includes Bhutan, Bangladesh and
Afghanistan. But Pakistan-India issues,
which tend to dominate regional politics,
were clearly prominent on the agenda.
He is also due to meet prime minister
Nawaz Sharif as well as the de facto foreign minister Sartaj Aziz, according to
Pakistani state media.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s surprise move to invite Sharif to his
swearing-in ceremony last May spurred
hopes of a resumption of long-stalled
But India abruptly cancelled a planned
round of dialogue between foreign secretaries in Delhi in August after Pakistan’s
high commissioner met Kashmiri separatists.
The meeting with pro-independence
leaders in the Indian-administered part
of the disputed Himalayan territory infuriated New Delhi but Pakistan defended it
as a “longstanding practice”.
Pakistan and India have traded blame
for an upsurge in firing and shelling which
started in October.
Both Modi and Sharif attended a summit of the South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation bloc in November
but did not hold one-on-one talks.
The cricket World Cup brought an unexpected opportunity for a thaw, with
Modi phoning Sharif last month to wish
his team well in the tournament.
Jaishankar’s visit was announced
shortly afterwards.
Avalanche victims
Kabul must
stamp out
rights abuse,
says HRW
he United States and
other aid donors should
press Afghanistan to
prosecute government and security force officials guilty of
serious human rights violations, Human Rights Watch
said yesterday.
Holding powerful individuals accountable should be a top
priority, the rights group said
in a report, as impunity fuels
support for the Taliban and
raises concern about efforts to
train and supply Afghanistan’s
security forces.
“The United States, which
helped install numerous warlords and strongmen after
the overthrow of the Taliban,
should now lead an international effort to support the new
government to remove serious human rights abusers from
their ranks,” said the group’s
deputy director for Asia, Phelim Kine.
The report entitled ‘Today
We Shall All Die’ (http://hrw.
on abuses committed in eight
provinces and lists the police
chief of Kandahar province as
among those who should be
prosecuted for extrajudicial
Kandahar’s police chief,
general Abdul Raziq, told reporters last July he had ordered
his men to kill “terrorists” and
not take them prisoner because
“they will be released anyway”.
He later retracted the comments but other senior policemen echoed them and villagers
say such killings continue.
A spokesman for Raziq denied the allegations in the report.
“War is war, and we kill
Taliban during fights,” said the
“They also martyr (kill) our
policemen, but I’m committed
to Afghan law and never step
beyond it,” the spokesman cited Raziq as saying.
In another example cited by
the rights group, a former commander of police in Uruzgan
province who received US support remains at large despite
killing dozens of civilians.
A spokesman for Uruzgan’s
governor acknowledged the
accusations but said the commander and his forces had left
the province.
Afghan officials said yesterday they were setting up emergency power lines to supply
the capital Kabul a week after
deadly avalanches caused by
heavy snow plunged the city
into darkness.
Around 300 people across
Afghanistan died during the
avalanches, the bulk of them in
the mountainous province of
Panjshir, around 150km north
of Kabul.
Some 1,250 houses were also
destroyed by the huge sheets
of snow, which engulfed whole
villages as they swept down
from the mountain peaks after
days of heavy blizzards.
The blizzards cut power supplies to Kabul and neighbouring provinces after the snowfall damaged cables running
through the Salang Pass, part
of the Hindu Kush mountain
range that connects the capital
to the north.
“We are working to set up
three emergency power lines
within two or three days to Kabul because repairing the main
lines will take at least three
weeks,” Wahidullah Tawhidi,
a spokesman for the government owned Breshna electricity company told AFP.
“The emergency lines will
add around 170MW of power
to 120MW that we already
produce through hydropower
plants and diesel generators,”
he said adding the generators
cost them around $60,000 a
day to supply.
Kabul — with a population
of roughly five million — needs
around 500MW of electricity
that is imported mostly from
Central Asian countries, mainly neighbouring Turkmenistan.
Despite billions of dollars in
projects to support power supply to the country, Afghanistan
ranks among the countries
with the lowest electricity production per capita in the world.
Activist starts epic cycle ride
Avalanche victims wait to receive relief goods, delivered by an Afghan army helicopter, at Araab village in the Paryan district of Panjshir province. The Afghan government
delivered aid to avalanche victims and their families in the mountainous province of Panjshir, where last week close to 200 people were killed, in some of the worst
avalanches there for 30 years.
A British Pakistani charity worker has embarked on an epic cycle
ride to raise funds for an orphanage centre in Pakistan. On behalf
of Mercy Worldwide Trust, Amer Nazir and his support cyclists
have started the first leg of the 12,000 mile charity ride from Luton,
planning to cross 33 borders, covering over 12,000 miles in about 10
months. During the reception at the Pakistan High Commission over
the weekend, friends, volunteers and well-wishers came together to
send off the cyclists and vowed to support them.
Mercy Worldwide Trust plans to build a state-of-the-art orphanage
in between Islamabad and Jhelum and has already raised around
£300,000 for this project. The group leading the effort comprises
professionals and businessmen from various parts of the UK who
are motivated by their desire to help their motherland.
Syed Fariquain Hussain Shah, the chairman of the trust, said in an
interview that the orphanage will be built to accommodate those
children whose parents have died, those who cannot afford a
decent upbringing or those children who have been abandoned in
the streets. Shah, who has volunteered in Pakistan for nearly four
years, said that studies show Pakistan’s orphans are amongst the
most vulnerable and they are open to all kinds of abuses, including
recruitment for terrorist purposes.
Afghan army suffering heavy combat losses: US
fghan security forces are suffering
heavy casualties on the battlefield
and large numbers of troops are resigning or deserting their units, a new report said yesterday.
The US military also has overestimated
the size of the Afghan police and army by
a significant margin, the special inspector
general for Afghanistan reconstruction,
John Sopko, said in a report to Congress.
The Afghan army “continues to suffer
serious combat losses”, SIGAR wrote. Between October 2013 and September 2014,
more than 1,300 Afghan army troops were
killed in action and 6,200 were wounded.
The Pentagon insists the Afghan forces
are holding their own against Taliban insurgents after the bulk of Nato combat
forces withdrew last year. But senior US
officers have voiced concern over the “unsustainable” casualty rate.
Apart from high causalities, the Afghan
national security forces face a persistent
problem trying to retain those who joined
the police and the army, the report said.
“Attrition continues to be a major challenge for the ANSF,” it said. “Between September 2013 and September 2014, more
than 40,000 personnel were dropped from
ANA (Afghan National Army) rolls.”
The high attrition rate has plagued Kabul
for years and Nato advisers have struggled
to stem the problem.
The report also sharply criticised the US
military mission in Afghanistan for revising the estimate for the total strength of the
Afghan army.
Commanders informed the inspector
general of the lower number only hours
before its report to Congress was due to be
The Afghan army now stands at 169,203
troops, a drop of 8.5 percent or about
15,000 soldiers. That marked the lowest
troop strength for the Afghan army since
August 2011.
The United States and its allies have
poured huge sums into training and arming the Afghan forces and the inconsistent
accounts on the size of the army represent
“long-standing and ongoing problems
with accountability and personnel tracking”, the inspector general said.
Given that an accurate accounting of
the ANSF’s size was a key factor in assessing the pace of a US troop withdrawal
and that Washington was paying to train
and equip the Afghan troops, “these inconsistencies are deeply troubling,” the
report said.
US policymakers need accurate data on
the Afghan security forces to make “informed decisions”, it stressed.
In January, the US commander in Afghanistan, general John Campbell, was at
odds with the inspector general after his
office initially refused to allow the public
release of facts and figures about the Afghan forces.
But Campbell reversed his decision days
later and most of the data was released.
Afghan policemen at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
exploration in
‘disputed’ sea
he Philippines has suspended operations at a
South China Sea natural gas project because it is also
claimed by China and the dispute is before a UN tribunal, its
contractor said yesterday.
UK-listed Forum Energy said
the Philippine energy department’s order halted its exploration activities at the Reed Bank
section of the sea, as of December 15 last year.
“Forum... today confirms
that the Philippine Department
of Energy has granted a force
majeure on Service Contract 72
because this contract area falls
within the territorial disputed
area of the West Philippine Sea,”
said its mother firm Philex Petroleum.
The area “is the subject of an
UN arbitration process between
the Republic of the Philippines
and the People’s Republic of
China”, according to the Philex
disclosure released by the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday.
West Philippine Sea is the
term used by Manila to refer to
waters in the South China Sea
that fall within its continental
China claims most of the
South China Sea, which is believed to hold vast oil and gas
resources — even waters approaching the coasts of its
The claim conflicts with
those of the Philippines, as well
as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam
and Taiwan.
The Philippines last year
filed a formal plea to the UN
tribunal challenging China’s
China has refused to participate in the proceedings. The
tribunal is expected to deliver a
verdict next year, but lawyers
say any ruling against China
will not be enforceable.
Julius Cesar Trajano, a senior
analyst at Singapore-based S
Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said suspending exploration was in keeping
with the Philippine government’s decision to resort to UN
“It’s a show that they are respecting the process,” Trajano
When asked about the ruling,
foreign department spokesman
Charles Jose referred to the UN
Convention on the Law of the
activity (in the area) will take
place in accordance with the
national interest, following
Philippine laws and in conformity with international law,
including UNCLOS,” he said.
Forum is majority-owned by
Philex Mining, the country’s
biggest mining firm. It estimates the undersea field contains about 73.6bn cubic metres (2.6tn cubic feet) of natural
It has drilled three exploration wells at the site since 2012,
and had planned to drill two
more this year.
All exploration work has
since been suspended until
further notice by the Philippine
government, the company said.
Reed Bank falls within the
Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, as it is 245 kilometres
northwest of the major western
Philippine island of Palawan.
No reason was given for the
long delay in announcing the
Flower festival
A float of the Baguio Country Club at this year’s Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio City. The float is one of 16 that was paraded
along Session Road to the Athletic Bowl at Burnham park, in the City of Pines and summer capital of the Philippines.
Arrest after wife identifies husband’s hired killer
Manila Times
San Fernando City
olice operatives have arrested the suspected killer
of a 22-year-old security
guard, who was shot in front of
his wife in a parking lot of a
downtown restaurant in this city,
a senior police officer said.
Guard of honour
Supt. Julius Suriben, city police chief, said Lorenzo Mendoza of Barangay Pias has been
detained, for the murder of
Mark Brian Domine, who was
identified by Angel, wife of the
victim, as the gunman.
“The motive was personal
and business-related,” said
Suriben, who did not elaborate.
The couple were preparing
President Benigno Aquino and visiting Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Matthew Festing (third left),
review honour guards upon arrival at the presidential palace in Manila yesterday. Festing arrived in Manila on Sunday for a
one-week official visit.
Tearful reunion for senator, son
enator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr had an emotional
reunion with his son Jolo
Revilla at the Asian Hospital and
Medical Centre in Muntinlupa
City (Metro Manila) yesterday.
According to Lolit Solis, talent
manager of the Revillas, Jolo and
his father wept when they saw
each other.
She said Jolo kept saying
“Sorry Papa, sorry Papa.”
“Father and son cried. Jolo
said, ‘Sorry Papa, sorry Papa,’
because he must have felt that
he has brought another problem
to the family. Bong, on the other hand, said, ‘Sorry also, son,
sorry also, son,’ because maybe
in his mind, he is also guilty for
what is happening to the family
since he is still in prison,” Solis
told Manila Times.
“It was tearful to watch them,”
she said.
Revilla was given a five-hour
furlough by the anti-graft court
Sandiganbayan to visit the Cavite vice governor, who was reported to have accidentally shot
himself on Saturday.
Also in the hospital were Revilla’s wife and Rep. Lani Mercado; their children Bryan, the
eldest, and Inah, who is now
based in Davao; the senator’s
sister Andeng Henares; and
Jolo’s girlfriend, actress Jodie
Santa Maria.
Solis narrated that before the
senator arrived, the Revilla family was worried because Jolo spit
“Then Jolo asked for food.
After he ate, when he was being given a sponge bath by Jodie,
Jolo said, ‘Why is it like this? My
stomach seems to be bloated?”
According to Jolo’s doctor, a
bloated stomach is a sign that
shells at the scene of the crime.
In Camarines Sur, police
have launched a manhunt for a
set of twins, who were tagged as
the main suspects in the killing
of a man inside a cockpit in Milaot town on Monday.
Supt. Primop Golingay, Camarines Sur Police Chief, declined to give the names of the
Senators resist pressure for
nod to Bangsamoro law
By Jefferson Antiporda
& Reina Tolentino
Manila Times
By Reina Tolentino
Manila Times
to board their motorcycle when
Mendoza approached and shot
Domine at close range. He died
on the way to the hospital.
Investigators are preparing
murder charges against Mendoza, who was allegedly hired
to kill Domine.
Insp. Vanessa Gabot said the
killer used a revolver, but investigators failed to recover empty
something is not right.
They, however, could not
schedule a CT scan until 8pm to
9pm of Monday, by which
time the senator would have returned to the Philippine National Police Custodial Centre where
he was being detained.
Solis said Jodie left the room
when the senator arrived but she
was called back by Jolo.
The young Revilla was reportedly cleaning his caliber .40
Glock pistol at his parents’ home
in Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa
City when the gun went off, hitting him on the right chest.
The National Capital Region
Police Office (NCRPO) is investigating the incident.
Revilla is one of three senators detained at Camp Crame
for plunder charges in connection with the multi-billion pork
barrel scam. The other two are
Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Juan
Ponce Enrile.
he Senate will not be
pressured into passing
the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a rush
because lawmakers will have to
make sure that the measure is
“fair, inclusive and constitutional,” senators said yesterday.
Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of
the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs,
said the chamber will not compromise a just BBL for the sake of
“The version of BBL that we
should pass should not just be for
expediting the process, it should
also be inclusive, it should be
just, constitutional and equitable. The accomplishment of this,
will last many lifetimes, it’s a
legacy that we should not really
waste just for the sake of political expediency,” Poe added.
The senator was reacting to
reports that President Benigno
Aquino wants the BBL passed
before his term ends in 2016.
Acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto also vowed that
he will not allow the BBL bill to
be rushed.
He said the measure needs to
be scrutinized, to ensure that it
will achieve its goal to provide
lasting peace in Mindanao.
“We have been facing this
problem for 40 years and we
should not rush things. We want
lasting peace in Mindanao and
not the peace found by the fallen
44 in a memorial park,” Sotto
The minority leader was referring to the 44 members of
the Philippine National PoliceSpecial Action Force (PNP-SAF)
killed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) while on
a mission to capture terrorist
Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan in
Mamasapano, Maguindanao on
January 25.
Sen. Francis Escudero, meanwhile, said it is not advisable to
set a timeframe within which the
BBL bill should be passed because there are many issues that
need to be answered in the aftermath of the bloody clash.
“Are we talking to the right
people or dealing with the entire
community of the BBL area and
its residents?” Escudero said. “I
once said that I have doubts if
the MILF can truly represent the
BBL area and its residents, including the indigenous peoples,
the Christians and other groups
also endemic to the area.”
He insisted that the tragic
incident raised the need to
scrutinise the MILF’s capability to supervise and control its
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano
said while every member of
Congress is supportive of the
peace process, he believes that
legislators also want to ensure
that the BBL will be a quality
legislation that can really serve
its purpose of providing lasting
peace in Mindanao.
He added that Congress
should choose quality over
speed in dealing with the Bangsamoro law.
“We are not sure that BBL
is really the solution in having
peace in Mindanao, that is why
we need to scrutinise the measure thoroughly and carefully,”
Cayetano said.
Fire leaves thousands homeless in Manila
housands of people
were left homeless in an
overnight fire that razed
houses in a slum area in the
Philippine capital but left no
one injured, a local official said
The blaze began late Monday
in Parola compound in Manila’s
district of Tondo and was put
out only early yesterday, according to Johnny Yu, chief of
Manila Disaster Risk Reduction
office. More than 10,000 people
were left homeless, Yu said.
Based on an initial investigation the fire could have been
caused by a stove left unattended in one of the razed shanties, he said. The victims were
temporarily sheltered in nearby
schools and public gymnasiums, Yu said.
Smoke from a fire engulfs a slum area in Manila yesterday.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
UN urges Colombo to
free Tamil prisoners
top United Nations official urged Sri Lanka’s new
government yesterday to
immediately release Tamil detainees and demilitarise former
conflict areas to build confidence ahead of a fresh probe into
alleged war crimes.
Jeffrey Feltman, the UN’s under-secretary general for political affairs, said the government
of President Maithripala Sirisena, which came to power earlier
this year, should make concessions to win the trust of minority Tamils who remain largely
sceptical about his intentions.
He said the UN was encouraged by the new government’s
commitment to ethnic reconciliation and accountability
for the alleged atrocities committed in the final stages of a
separatist war that ended in
May 2009.
“I have urged government
leaders to take steps in the short
term to address issues regarding land, detentions, disappearances, and the military posture
in civilian areas,” Feltman said.
Tamils complain that thousands of their loved ones have
gone missing while hundreds are
thought to be in custody without
trial. The military still occupies
large extents of land belonging
to Tamils.
“There is a trust deficit that
the Sri Lankans themselves must
overcome,” Feltman told reporters in Colombo at the end of a
four-day visit for talks with local
But he added that Sirisena’s
government had the support of
the international community,
unlike the previous administration, to ensure reconciliation
and lasting peace six years after
the end of a bitter war.
Feltman arrived in Sri Lanka
as the UN Human Rights Council delayed releasing a report
on alleged war crimes by forces
under the command of former
president Mahinda Rajapakse.
The UN has given more time
to the new government to establish a credible domestic mechanism to probe allegations that up
to 40,000 Tamil civilians were
killed by Rajapakse’s troops.
While moderate Tamils have
generally accepted the approach
of the new government, hardliners want an international
“In Jaffna, I heard scepticism,”
Feltman said referring to resi-
China says
loans made
‘based on
Jeffrey Feltman addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday.
dents in the Tamil heartland in
the island’s north. “The government must find short-term steps
to overcome that scepticism.”
He said military deployments
should not affect civilian life, a
long standing demand of the international community which
has called for demilitarisation of
the former war zone.
Feltman said the UN was prepared to give unspecified technical support requested by Sri
Lanka’s foreign minister at the
UN rights council in Geneva on
Rajapakse, who ruled for a
decade, insisted that no civilians
were killed while crushing Tamil
rebels and refused to cooperate
with any foreign probe.
The UN estimates at least
100,000 people were killed in the
37-year conflict.
hina’s loans to Sri Lanka were made based
on consensus through
talks between the two countries and at Sri Lanka’s request, the Chinese Foreign
Ministry said yesterday, after
Sri Lanka’s foreign minister expressed concern about
the loans.
The minister, speaking in
Beijing over the weekend, said
Sri Lanka’s finance minister
would visit Beijing to discuss
the roughly $5bn owed to
Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Hua Chunying
said the loans were made on
the principle of mutual benefit and would help promote
development in Sri Lanka.
“The loans are extended at
the request of Sri Lanka and
based on consensus through
consultations,” she told a daily
news briefing.
“The loan arrangements are
for the whole nation and peo-
ple and have played a positive
role in the economic and social
development of Sri Lanka,”
Hua added.
New Sri Lankan President
Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China with his re-examination of certain projects
that China has invested in, including a $1.5bn “port city” in
the capital Colombo.
India, which lost out to
China in infrastructure development on the Indian Ocean
island, was particularly concerned about the security
threat posed by Chinese ownership of land, aggravated by
the docking of Chinese submarines in Colombo last year.
India had grown increasingly wary of former president
Mahinda Rajapakse’s pursuit of
closer ties with China, which
became a key supporter of the
island’s economy after its 26year civil war ended in 2009.
minister will visit Beijing after President Maithripala
Sirisena’s state visit to China, slated for March 26-28,
Samaraweera added.
Mt Everest FBI team to help probe murder of
US citizen blogger in Bangladesh
prepare for
new season T
By Pratibha Tuladhar/DPA
limbers in Nepal are
gearing up to scale the
world’s highest peak
as the new climbing season
But after a year marked by
tragedy for foreign climbers and Sherpas alike, doubts
persist over this year’s expeditions to Everest.
Sixteen Sherpa climbers
were killed in an avalanche in
April, which led to all expeditions being called off for the
rest of the year.
“It was the saddest season
for us last year, but we have
to resume work because this
is what we do for a living,”
said Lhakpa Sherpa, a fourtime Everest summiteer and
climbing guide.
“I’ll be heading back to the
mountains with my friends in
mid-March,” he said.
In the wake of the accident, Sherpas protested
against safety conditions and
what they saw as inadequate
compensation offered by the
government, prompting the
establishment of a mountaineers’ relief fund for future
The avalanche wasn’t the
only tragedy to strike climbers
trekking across the so-called
roof of the world.
Some 40 people from several countries died when a blizzard wiped out visibility on
the popular Annapurna route.
Hundreds more had to be rescued from 5,400m up near the
Thorong La pass.
But with climbers, Sherpas
and the Nepalese authorities
hoping for a better 2015 season starting in April, there are
doubts about who is even allowed to climb Everest.
After the expeditions were
cancelled last year, the government decided to extend the
climbing permits by five years
instead of returning the money paid for the 2014 season.
But the move has caused
considerable confusion about
arrangements for this year.
“Last year, the government extended the permits
for five years but they didn’t
say if it was for individual
climbers or a team,” said
Sanjaya Baral Kaju, of Asian
Six of his foreign clients
who could not climb last year
were returning this year, he
said, and asking for guarantees
that this year they will be able
to make their expedition to the
“But the government still
hasn’t clarified a number
of things regarding climbing fees and extensions,” he
Until 2014, a climber joining a team paid $10,000, while
an individual climber paid
The payment system was
changed this year, with the
every climber would now pay
“Now, the government
hasn’t said whether those who
paid $10,000 in a group last
year will have to pay $1,000
more to go up as an individual,” Kaju said. “Small details
are still unclear.”
In another example, foreign
climbers had already paid for
liaison officers in 2014 and it
wasn’t clear if they would have
to pay again, he said.
Meanwhile, tour operators
were having to make outlays
for the season ahead. From
around mid-March, Sherpas begin setting ropes and
ladders for the climbing that
starts in April.
The April-May spring season is the most popular time
for climbing Everest, with
more than 530 people making
the ascent in 2013.
The preparations this year
have also been complicated by
a change of route to avoid the
section where the deaths occurred last year, known as the
Khumbu icefall.
As Sherpas check every rope
and every ladder to ensure the
safety of future climbers, the
authorities’ lack of attention
to detail is frustrating people
like Kaju.
“It has left us in confusion.
We’re being told the cabinet
will make a decision and we’re
waiting,” he said.
he United States is
sending a team of federal investigators to
Bangladesh to help probe the
murder of a visiting American
blogger by suspected Islamist
militants, Dhaka police said
Avijit Roy, known for his antireligious blog posts and books
including the best-selling “The
Virus of Faith”, was hacked to
death with a machete as he returned home from a book fair
with his wife in Dhaka last
The family of the 43-yearold US citizen has accused
Bangladeshi authorities of failing to do enough to protect him
after he received death threats
for his anti-religious writing.
Bangladesh’s elite security
force on Monday arrested radical
Islamist Farabi Shafiur Rahman,
the chief suspect in the murder,
who they say sent Roy several
death threats.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team will arrive in
Dhaka later this week, Dhaka
Metropolitan Police spokesman
Monirul Islam said.
“They will mainly sit with local investigation agency,” he told
The United States has condemned Roy’s killing as a
“shocking act of violence” and
an assault on free speech.
A court yesterday remanded
Farabi in custody for 10 days for
“He has confessed that he
threatened Avijit Roy ... Intense interrogation of Farabi
could lead to important clues,”
Islam said.
“Initial information indicates this was done by extremist
religious group,” he added.
Roy, the founder of the Mukto-Mona (free mind) blog, was
born in Bangladesh to a family of
scholars but moved to Atlanta in
the southern US state of Georgia
around 15 years ago.
He and his blogger wife, who
was also badly injured in the attack, were hauled off their rickshaw by two assailants in the
The murder triggered outrage
in Bangladesh, where bloggers
and secular activists threatened non-stop protests until the
killers were arrested.
Police have also launched
an investigation into claims
that Roy’s blog was shut down
just two and a half hours
Police escort Farabi Shafiur Rahman, centre, as he appears in court
following his arrest over the machete murder of an American blogger
in Dhaka yesterday.
before he was murdered.
“We’ve also found the MultoMona blog site closed. We’re trying to find out whether the BTRC
Protest against acid attack
Nepalese youth activists holding posters as they take part in a protest against an acid attack on two schoolgirls in Kathmandu
yesterday. Two teenage Nepalese schoolgirls suffered burn injuries after a boy hurled acid at them on February 15. The girls, aged 15
and 16, were admitted to a hospital with burn injuries.
(local telecoms regulator) shut it
down or it was hacked by other
people. It’s an important part of
the investigation,” said Islam.
Khaleda Zia
appeals against
arrest warrant
Former Bangladesh prime
minister Khaleda Zia appealed to
a court yesterday for withdrawal
of the arrest warrant issued
against her in two graft cases.
The Bangladesh National Party
(BNP) chairperson will not be
attending the hearing scheduled
for today, her lawyer Sanaullah
Miah said after submitting the
plea to the Dhaka’s Third Special
Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar
Judge Jamadar had cancelled
Zia’s bail and those of two others
on February 25 following their
failure to appear at successive
hearings in the corruption cases
involving the misappropriation
of funds from the Zia Orphanage
Trust and Zia Charitable Trust.
“BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia will
not be going to court tomorrow
(Wednesday) because there is no
security,” Miah said.
“We have pleaded against the
arrest warrant. We are also
waiting for the pleas we filed
against these cases at High
Court,” he added.
BNP sources said Zia is unwilling
to leave her Gulshan office now
as she has information that the
government will either arrest her
in the two cases or will not allow
her entering her office once she
leaves it.
She has been staying at her office
since January 5 after calling for
an indefinite transport blockade,
to pressure the government to
call fresh elections under a nonpartisan regime.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
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Growth-oriented India
budget fails to draw
NRIs in bigger picture
The calculated balancing act vis-à-vis growth and
social welfare in India’s federal budget for 2015-2016
has come in for wide-ranging praise from economists
and investors. But the first full-year budget, since
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) stormed to power last May with the
strongest election mandate in 30 years, has ended up a
huge disappointment for the millions of Indian expats,
especially those working in the Gulf.
NRI remittances have steadily been rising over the
decades in sharp contrast to volatile FDI (foreign
direct investment) inflows. From just $2.1bn in the
1990-91 fiscal year, accounting for just 0.7% of India’s
gross domestic product, inflows swelled to $66.1bn in
2011–12 to account for 4% of the GDP. Remittances
topped $70bn in 2013-14, according to World Bank
data. For an estimated 30mn Indian expats, whose
remittances currently account for around 5% of the
$2tn Indian economy, the unspoken status quo in the
budget has been a big damper.
The NRIs, who pumped around $71bn in 2013-14,
made India the largest receiving nation in the world.
“Your sustained remittances over the years have
contributed to our foreign exchange reserves and are a
valuable livelihood source for millions of dependents
in India,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
said in Muscat during a
recent visit.
Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley did not reveal any
specific NRI-related
proposals in his budget
speech, according
to Doha Brokerage &
Financial Services (DBFS) managing director and CEO
Prince George. There were expectations that the NRIs
would be treated as “far-away residents” and that
there would be some positive proposals vis-à-vis their
remittances and investments. “That announcement
was not forthcoming. That was the one major
disappointment because this has been promised by
Jaitley in his various speeches overseas, particularly in
New York and Australia,” Kochi-based George said.
Over the years, various federal governments in India
have tried to widen the revenue base by trying to tax
NRIs. In 2002, the Vijay Kelkar Committee report
had recommended that the income accruing to NRIs
from their investments in India should be brought
within the tax net. The Congress-led government
backtracked in 2012 on a proposal in the Direct Tax
Code Bill requiring NRIs to pay taxes on their global
income if they stayed in their home country for more
than 60 days in a financial year. In October last year,
the BJP-led government quietly decided to impose a
service tax on foreign remittance fees to India at the
rate of 12.36%.
Though lacking in such big-bang reforms as freeing
up the labour market, the budget seeks to go big
on infrastructure upgrade and increasing the state
revenue; even if it means slowing down a bit on fiscal
rectitude. It now aims to bring the budget deficit down
from 4.1% to 3.9% of output this year, not the 3.6%
originally planned.
In a wider sense, the growth-oriented,
domestically-driven BJP might not have a compelling
reason to factor in the millions of low-paid Indian
expat workers in the “bigger picture”. But the NRIs,
who have been pumping in steadily rising remittances
(easy money to support the Indian economy) over
the decades - no matter how topsy-turvy the global
economic currents be - deserve a better deal.
A new agenda on migration
in the making for Europe
When asylum seekers reach
European shores, the EU
should take collective
financial and administrative
responsibility for processing
and accommodating them,
regardless of where they
By Peter Sutherland
n the last year, more than 4,000
men, women, and children have
lost their lives attempting to
cross the Mediterranean Sea
from Africa to Europe. Their tragic
deaths have done nothing to slow
the human tide, which is swelling by
the week, as smugglers on the coast
become increasingly brazen and cruel.
Thousands of migrants have been
rescued from the frigid waters since
the beginning of this year alone.
Against this backdrop – and that
of the fear sown by the terrorist
attacks in Paris and Copenhagen – the
European Union is set to develop a new
– and critically important – agenda on
migration. When EU commissioners
gather to debate how to proceed,
they must overcome the temptation
to grasp at short-term, knee-jerk
solutions, and instead develop a truly
creative, comprehensive plan of action
both at home and abroad.
The last time Europe faced such
a turning point on migration was in
2011, when the Arab Spring triggered
a flood of new arrivals fleeing violence
and chaos in North Africa. But the
moment for bold action – the creation
of a Mediterranean Marshall Plan
that would channel investment into
immigrant integration – passed
without being seized. Instead, the EU
made a few bureaucratic tweaks to its
asylum system and consumed itself
with debates about non-issues, such
as migrant “welfare cheats.”
Europe is in
desperate need of a
dramatically different
approach to diversity
In 2014, the EU’s emergency
funding for migration and asylum
totalled a mere €25mn ($28mn) – a
pathetic exercise in collective action,
albeit one supplemented by funds
from member states. Last fall, Italy’s
bold Mare Nostrum sea-rescue
operation, which had saved hundreds
of lives, was replaced by a far feebler
EU initiative that has struggled to
carry out its mission.
Adding to the problem is an
imbalance of commitment and
compassion within the EU itself.
Sweden and Germany have taken in
the majority of asylum seekers from
Syria and elsewhere, while most other
EU member states have admitted
few or none. The UK, for example,
offered just 90 resettlement spots for
Syrian refugees last year. (By contrast,
Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan are
spending billions of dollars to host
nearly 4mn refugees.)
Greece, Italy, and Malta have
borne the brunt of the impact of
accommodating new arrivals, with all
of the financial, social, and political
costs this entails. As a result, the
ongoing tragedy in the Mediterranean
is placing EU solidarity under serious
Continued inaction will not make
the problem go away, nor will it
benefit European leaders in their next
domestic elections. “Cracking down
on smugglers,” the go-to solution for
many in the EU, will take many years
to have an impact, given the instability
of many North African governments.
Meanwhile, further destabilisation of
the Middle East – a very real prospect
– could compromise the security
of tens of millions of people who,
under international law, would have a
legitimate right to claim asylum.
A better, more active approach is
needed. The immediate necessary
response is resource-intensive but
operationally viable: a robust joint EU
sea operation with an explicit rescue
When asylum seekers reach
European shores, the EU should take
collective financial and administrative
responsibility for processing and
accommodating them, regardless
of where they disembark. And it
should take solidarity a step further
when it comes to Syrians, equitably
distributing the responsibility to host
them across all member states.
Meanwhile, in order to lighten
smugglers’ boats, the EU should
commit to resettling many more than
the 30,000 Syrian refugees it has
pledged to accept thus far. A number
closer to 250,000, at least, would
seem fair – given the millions being
sheltered by Lebanon, Turkey and
Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers
should intensify talks with African
countries in order to establish
new, legal, and safe means for
those at risk who want to cross the
Mediterranean. This could entail
extending humanitarian, labour
and family-reunification visas, with
applications processed overseas.
The EU should consider longerterm goals, like creating a common
Mediterranean market to allow North
African economies to grow, eventually
transforming the region into a
destination for migrants rather than a
transit zone.
Most important, Europe needs
to strengthen itself from the inside
out. The continent is in desperate
need of a dramatically different
approach to diversity. The countries
of the EU have two options: they can
either make a vain attempt to revert
to outdated, mono-ethnic models
of statehood, or they can accept
diversity with the realisation that
their national cultures will not only
survive, but flourish.
Doing so would in no way entail
compromising any core European
values. But it would require a
commitment to respect all who adopt
those values, regardless of their race or
religion. Some see the Mediterranean
as Europe’s soft underbelly. But it
is the failure to build stable, diverse
societies that is the continent’s true
Achilles heel.- Project Syndicate
zPeter Sutherland is UN Special
Representative of the secretary-feneral
for International Migration.
NRI remittances
have steadily
been rising over
the decades
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Officer workers are pictured through building windows during dusk in Tokyo. Japanese remain sensitive to inequality, driving even the richest to avoid ostentatious
displays of wealth. One simply does not see the profusion of mansions, yachts and private jets typical of, say, Beverly Hills and Palm Beach.
Inequality is on the rise in Japan
By Yuriko Koike
ix months after Thomas
Piketty’s book Capital in
the Twenty-First Century
generated so much buzz in
the US and Europe, it has become
a bestseller in Japan. But vast
differences between Japan and its
developed counterparts in the West,
mean that, like so many other Western
exports, Piketty’s argument has taken
on unique characteristics.
Piketty’s main assertion is that the
leading driver of increased inequality
in the developed world is the
accumulation of wealth by those who
are already wealthy, driven by a rate
of return on capital that consistently
exceeds the rate of GDP growth.
Japan, however, has lower levels
of inequality than almost every
other developed country. Indeed,
though it has long been an industrial
powerhouse, Japan is frequently
called the world’s most successful
communist country.
Japan has a high income-tax rate for
the rich (45%), and the inheritance tax
rate recently was raised to 55%. This
makes it difficult to accumulate capital
over generations – a trend that Piketty
cites as a significant driver of inequality.
As a result, Japan’s richest families
typically lose their wealth within
three generations. This is driving a
growing number of wealthy Japanese
to move to Singapore or Australia,
where inheritance taxes are lower. The
familiarity of Japan, it seems, is no
longer sufficient to compel the wealthy
to endure the high taxes imposed upon
In this context, it is not surprising
that Japan’s “super-rich” remain a lot
less wealthy than their counterparts
in other countries. In the US, for
example, the average income of the top
1% of households was $1,264,065 in
2012, according to the investment firm
Sadoff Investment Research. In Japan,
the top 1% of households earned
about $240,000, on average (at 2012
exchange rates).
Japan is frequently
called the world’s
most successful
communist country
Yet Japanese remain sensitive to
inequality, driving even the richest to
avoid ostentatious displays of wealth.
One simply does not see the profusion
of mansions, yachts and private jets
typical of, say, Beverly Hills and Palm
For example, Haruka Nishimatsu,
former president and CEO of Japan
Airlines, attracted international
attention a few years ago for his
modest lifestyle. He relied on public
transportation and ate lunch with
employees in the company’s cafeteria.
By contrast, in China, the heads of
national companies are well known for
maintaining grandiose lifestyles.
We Japanese have a deeply ingrained
stoicism, reflecting the Confucian
notion that people do not lament
poverty when others lament it equally.
This willingness to accept a situation,
however bad, as long as it affects
everyone equally is what enabled Japan
to endure two decades of deflation,
without a public outcry over the
authorities’ repeated failure to redress it.
This national characteristic is
not limited to individuals. The
government, the central bank, the
media and companies wasted far too
much time simply enduring deflation
– time that they should have spent
working actively to address it.
Japan finally has a government, led
by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that
is committed to ending deflation and
reinvigorating economic growth,
using a combination of expansionary
monetary policy, active fiscal policy,
and deregulation. Now in its third
year, so-called “Abenomics” is
showing some positive results. Share
prices have risen by 220% since Abe
came to power in December 2012.
And corporate performance has
improved – primarily in the export
industries, which have benefited
from a depreciated yen – with many
companies posting their highest
profits on record.
But Abenomics has yet to benefit
everyone. In fact, there is a sense that
Abe’s policies are contributing to
rising inequality. That is why Piketty’s
book appeals to so many Japanese.
For example, though the recent
reduction in the corporate-tax rate
was necessary to encourage economic
growth and attract investment,
it seems to many Japanese to be a
questionable move at a time when
the consumption-tax rate has been
increased and measures to address
deflation are pushing up prices.
To address this problem, the
companies that enjoy tax cuts should
increase their employees’ wages to
keep pace with rising prices, instead
of waiting for market forces to drive
them up.
Herein lies the unique twist that
Piketty’s theory takes on in Japan:
the disparity is not so much between
the super-rich and everyone else, but
between large corporations, which
can retain earnings and accumulate
capital, and the individuals who
are being squeezed in the process. Project Syndicate
zYuriko Koike, Japan’s former defence
minister and national security adviser,
was chairwoman of Japan’s Liberal
Democratic Party’s General Council
and currently is a member of the
National Diet.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
No hiding from sustainable development
Growing environmental
threats are forcing their way
into the headlines whether
politicians and land
developers like it or not
By Jeffrey D Sachs
New York
ne year ago, I was in Brazil to
launch the Brazilian chapter
of the UN Sustainable
Development Solutions
Network (SDSN), an initiative of UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The
main message I heard that day was
that Sao Paulo was suffering from a
mega-drought, but that state and local
politicians were keeping it quiet.
This is a reality around the world:
too many political leaders are ignoring
a growing environmental crisis,
imperilling their own countries and
In the case of Brazil, state and local
officials had other things on their
mind in 2014: hosting the World Cup
soccer tournament in June and July
and winning elections later in the
year. So they relied on a time-tested
political tactic: hide the bad news
behind a “feel-good” message.
Some places have been even more
foolish than simply ignoring the risks.
North Carolina’s coastlands, like
coastal areas around the world, are
threatened by rising sea levels caused
by human-induced climate change.
Yet in 2012, land developers convinced
the state legislature to bar the use of
scientific evidence on rising sea levels
in the state’s coastal management
policies, at least until 2016. The issue
is equally flagrant at the federal level:
US Congress members, on the take
from Big Oil, simply deny the reality of
climate change.
But growing environmental
threats are forcing their way into the
headlines whether politicians and land
developers like it or not. The bad news
about mega-droughts and freshwater
scarcity stretches from Brazil to
California to conflict-ridden countries
in the Middle East.
Sao Paulo’s metropolitan region of
20mn people is now on the verge of
water rationing, an unprecedented
threat for one of the world’s leading
In California, this winter has been
another dry season in a bitter fouryear drought, one of the most severe in
the region’s history.
In Pakistan, the minister of water
and energy recently declared that,
“under the present situation, in the
next six to seven years Pakistan can be
a water-starved country”.
In Iran, the Hamoun wetlands
bordering Afghanistan are
disappearing, posing a grave threat to
the local population.
Looking back, it is also clear that a
decade-long drought in neighbouring
Syria helped to trigger the unrest that
escalated into a catastrophic civil
war, with at least 200,000 Syrians
dead and no end to the violence in
sight. The drought had displaced an
estimated 1.5mn people and caused
food prices to soar, leading to a spiral
of protest, crackdown and eventually
war. Though drought does not explain
all of the ensuing violence, it certainly
played a role.
Each of these droughts reflects
a complex mix of factors: longterm climate change, short-term
or decade-long weather patterns,
growing populations’ rising demand
for freshwater, mismanagement of
local resources, and, of course, a lack
of political attention and will. Every
drought must therefore be confronted
locally, addressing local realities.
Yet the global message is also
clear: the world’s growing population
(now at 7.3bn, but likely to reach 8bn
by 2024 and 9bn by around 2040),
human-induced climate change, and
the overuse of freshwater for irrigation
and urban needs (especially when
cities are built up in dry regions) are all
fuelling the potential for catastrophe.
Recent research indicates that these
trends are likely to intensify. Almost
all studies of human-induced climate
change show that the Mediterranean
region, including security hotspots
like Libya, Egypt, Israel, Palestine
and Syria, is likely to experience a
further significant decline in rainfall,
compounding the drying trend that
has occurred during the past quartercentury.
Likewise, a recent study by my
colleagues at Columbia University’s
Earth Institute has shown that
human-induced climate change is
likely to cause increasingly frequent
Dear Sir,
It is commendable that Maersk
Oil and Vodafone have joined hands
with the General Directorate of the
Traffic Department to help address
one of the most pressing challenges
in Qatar – road safety (Gulf Times,
February 26).
Awareness of traffic rules and signs
and improving one’s driving skills will
help to avoid and reduce accidents not
only in Qatar but everywhere in the
According to the United Nations,
traffic accidents are fast becoming a
global epidemic with 1.3mn people
losing their lives and 50mn seriously
injured each year on roads.
So it is absolutely essential
zJeffrey D Sachs is professor of
sustainable development, professor
of health policy and management,
and director of the Earth Institute at
Columbia University. He is also special
adviser to the UN secretary-general on
the Millennium Development Goals.
Weather report
road safety efforts
mega-droughts in the American
southwest and Great Plains states in
the second half of this century.
In September of this year, world
leaders will gather at the UN to adopt a
set of Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) to address these rising threats.
The SDGs will not ensure global
action, but, as US president John
F Kennedy once said about UN
agreements, they can serve as a lever
to help move the world toward action.
That is why it is so important to start
planning for the SDGs now.
Ban launched the SDSN to help
countries achieve the new goals. Its
key members include universities and
think tanks around the world, with
leading businesses and NGOs serving
as important partners.
National and regional SDSN
chapters are being formed worldwide,
in the Americas, Europe, the Middle
East, South Asia, East Asia, Africa and
Oceania. The goal is to ensure strong
participation in the SDSN in every
country by the time the SDGs are
adopted in September.
This spring and summer, in
countries around the world, SDSNaffiliated institutions will invite
governments to begin brainstorming
about how to achieve sustainable
development in their cities, countries,
and regions.
Many politicians, no doubt, will
be grateful for the support of their
universities, NGOs, and leading
businesses. And those who want to
hide from reality will find that they no
longer can.
That is because our new reality is
one of droughts, heat waves, extreme
storms, rising sea levels, and unstable
climate patterns.
Unless we act with foresight
and base our actions on scientific
evidence, water stress, food insecurity,
and social crises will not be far behind.
In other words, today’s mounting
threats cannot be covered up. The Age
of Sustainable Development must be
built on openness, participation, and
science. - Project Syndicate
Three-day forecast
that awareness programmes and
workshops on road safety should be
organised regularly, with children
as their prime focus as they are
going to be tomorrow’s drivers . In
this regard, the joint efforts of the
Traffic Department, Maersk Oil and
Vodafone are highly commendable.
As part of the joint initiative,
students were given one-to-one
coaching in the Students-for-RoadSafety simulator that uses an artificial
intelligence engine to recreate
common mistakes made by drivers
in Doha, such as tailgating, failure to
indicate, flashing lights and cutting
across lanes at roundabouts. Such
efforts will help make a meaningful
difference to people’s road behaviour
in Qatar.
Suraweera Bogahage
Theoretical Division
Qatar Driving Learning Institute
An account
of success
Dear Sir,
holders. There are other benefits like
overdraft facility to one member of
family, preferably a women, thereby
empowering them as well.
Kudos to Indian banks and the
finance ministry.
High: 27 C
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Strong wind and high seas to the
north by afternoon
A record 130mn new bank accounts
have been opened under a new scheme
introduced by the Indian government
in the last six months with $2mn
coming in as deposits, as announced
by the Indian president.
The government has been seeking
to provide universal access to banking
facilities in the country. Meeting this
unprecedented target in less than six
months is no small achievement.
Banks in India have once again
proved their mettle by excelling the
target set by the finance ministry.
The scheme to extend banking
services carry various benefits
like rupee debit cards with $1,600
accidental insurance to all account
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Kalyan Mahalingam
(e-mail address supplied)
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Around the region
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Beware the gravitational pull of mediocrity
By Oliver Burkeman
New York
n the early years of the last
century, Spanish philosopher
Jose Ortega y Gasset proposed a
solution to society’s ills that still
strikes me as ingenious, in a deranged
way. He argued that all public sector
workers from the top down (though,
come to think of it, why not everyone
else, too?) should be demoted to the
level beneath their current job. His
reasoning foreshadowed the Peter
Principle: in hierarchies, people “rise
to their level of incompetence”. Do
your job well, and you’re rewarded
with promotion, until you reach a job
you’re less good at, where you remain.
In a recent book, The Hard Thing
About Hard Things, the tech investor
Ben Horowitz adds a twist: “The Law
of Crappy People”. As soon as someone
on a given rung at a company gets as
good as the worst person the next rung
up, he or she may expect a promotion.
Yet, if it’s granted, the firm’s talent
levels will gradually slide downhill. No
one person need be peculiarly crappy
for this to occur; bureaucracies just
tend to be crappier than the sum of
their parts.
Yet it’s wrong to think of these
pitfalls as restricted to organisations.
There’s a case to be made that the
gravitational pull of the mediocre
affects all life – as John Stuart Mill
put it, that “the general tendency
of things throughout the world is
to render mediocrity the ascendant
power among mankind”. True, it’s
most obvious in the workplace
(hence the observation that “a
meeting moves at the pace of the
slowest mind in the room”), but
the broader point is that in any
domain – work, love, friendship,
health – crappy solutions crowd out
good ones time after time, so long as
they’re not so bad as to destroy the
People and organisations hit
plateaux not because they couldn’t
do better, but because a plateau is a
tolerable, even comfortable place.
Even evolution – life itself! – is all
about mediocrity. “Survival of the
fittest” isn’t a progression towards
greatness; it just means the survival of
the sufficiently non-terrible.
And mediocrity is cunning: it can
disguise itself as achievement. The
cliche of a “mediocre” worker is a
Dilbert-esque manager with little to
do. But as Greg McKeown notes, in
his book Essentialism: The Disciplined
Pursuit Of Less, the busyness of the
go-getter can lead to mediocrity, too.
Throw yourself at every opportunity
and you’ll end up doing unimportant
stuff – and badly. You can’t fight this
with motivational tricks or cheesy
mission statements: you need a
discipline, a rule you apply daily, to
counter the pull of the sub-par. For a
company, that might mean stricter,
more objective promotion policies.
For the over-busy person, there’s
McKeown’s “90% Rule” – when
considering an option, ask: does it
score at least 9/10 on some relevant
criterion? If not, say no. (Ideally, that
criterion is: “Is this fulfilling?”, but the
rule still works if it’s “Does this pay
the bills?”)
Mediocrity is no mere character
flaw, but a deep tendency of the
universe, to be ceaselessly fought,
with no hope of final victory. Sorry, I
don’t make the rules.- Guardian News
and Media
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Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
QP hosts farewell reception for ambassador al-Malki
atar Petroleum (QP) yesterday hosted a farewell
reception in honour of
Abdulaziz bin Ahmad al-Malki
on the occasion of his appointment as Qatar’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary
to Italy.
The reception was attended by
Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, president
and CEO of QP, as well as by the
corporation’s executive vicepresidents, vice-presidents and
other top officials.
During the event, al-Kaabi
hailed the personal and professional qualities of al-Malki during his years of service at QP. He
also expressed gratitude and appreciation for his valued contributions over the years as well as
his able leadership of several QP
joint ventures and subsidiaries.
Group photograph with ambassador al-Malki and al-Kaabi.
Prior to his appointment as
ambassador extraordinary and
plenipotentiary to Italy, al-Malki
served as director of the office
of the chairman of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority. He started his
career with QP with a number of
senior positions in various departments. He has chaired the
board of directors of Qatar Fertiliser Company, Amwaj Catering Services and Freej Real Estate
Al-Malki was also a member of the board of directors in a
number of companies like Gulf
International Services and Nebras Power. He has also chaired
and served as member in a
number of committees within
QP and in a number of government and sporting bodies.
British Festival
celebrates strong
Qatar, UK ties
he British embassy in
Doha, in collaboration
with the British Council,
has announced the return of the
British Festival.
The 2015 edition of the festival was launched yesterday and
would continue until April 5. It
includes over 40 events and various promotions, which will bring
together Qatari, British and international audiences to enjoy
the best of what Britain has to
offer in arts, education, science,
sport and business.
At the launch of the British
Festival, British ambassador to
Qatar Nicholas Hopton said:
“We are delighted and proud to
launch the British Festival 2015 in
Qatar. Following the tremendous
success of Qatar UK 2013 Year
of Culture and last year’s British
Festival 2014, this year’s festival
is a continuing celebration of the
strong ties and ongoing exchanges between Qatar and the United
“Our programme of arts,
education, science and sporting events is designed to bring
British and Qatari individuals
and institutions together and to
create opportunities for them to
exchange knowledge and ideas.
We hope this festival will reach
a wide audience, building on existing collaborations and creating new ones,” said Martin Hope,
director of British Council Qatar.
This year’s official sponsors
are Ezdan Holding Group, Qatar
Shell, Charles Russell Speechlys, Vodafone Qatar, BAE Systems and Al Balagh Contracting
& Trading Company. The festival
is supported by numerous local
Qatari and British partners.
The events for this year’s festival will embrace the UK and
Qatar partnership, emphasising
connections and common interests. Events will cover a wide
scope, including art, education,
science, sports and business.
One of the key events will be
a concert performed by awardwinning five-piece traditional
Scottish band, Breabach, who
will perform a selection of traditional Scottish folk music, with a
unique and contemporary edge,
accompanied by Qatari musician Mohamed al-Saigh. It will
take place on April 5 at Al Rayyan
Theatre, Souq Waqif.
Other events include the Study
in the UK Exhibition, hosted at
Radisson Blu Hotel from March 16
to 18. It will invite students with
a keen interest in studying in the
UK to explore the wide range of
courses available and meet representatives of UK universities.
The David Batchelor “Flatlands” Exhibition will take place at
the Virginia Commonwealth University Gallery from March 25 to
April 21. David is a Scottish artist
and writer who primarily explores
the notion of colour and responses
to colour within society.
A UK Alumni event on March
28 will provide a networking opportunity for UK alumni, with
guest speakers.
The Qatar National Philharmonic Orchestra will present a
Proms Night on April 3. Scottish-born conductor Bob Ross
will direct the Philharmonic
through a British-style Proms
night programme featuring surprise, special guest appearances.
A café scientifique at Qatar University with Dr Maggie
Aderin-Pocock, one of the UK’s
leading space scientists, will celebrate the International Year of
Light 2015.
There will also be a debate between top UK and Qatari university debaters in partnership with
Qatar Debate, Debate Mate and
Georgetown University School of
Foreign Service in Qatar.
The events also include the
Hadaf five-a-side schools football tournament for Qatari and
British schools at the International School of London.
As part of British Festival 2015,
a number of hotels will be running promotions from until April
5, including Grand Hyatt, St Regis
Doha, Hilton, W Hotel, Marriott,
Sheraton and Oryx Rotana.
Many of the UK’s retail brands
present in Qatar will also be offering customers special events and
promotions during the festival.
There is also an online competition, giving participants a
chance to win two return economy class tickets to London donated by British Airways.
“Also look out for our special
MINI from Alfardan Automobiles.
If you see it, take a photo and upload the picture on to our social
media platforms. We want to
see pictures of this iconic British
brand in iconic locations around
Qatar,” the organisers have said.
For more information about
British Festival Qatar 2015, visit
Facebook (
britfestqa), Twitter ( or Instagram
The festival was launched in the presence of several officials and dignitaries.
A section of the gathering.
Qatar Career Fair launches youth HMC observes Heart
empowerment programme
Failure Educational Day
atar Career Fair (QCF), a
member of Qatar Foundation, has launched its
groundbreaking youth empowerment programme, QCF Ambassadors.
The ceremony was held at
Hamad Bin Khalifa University
(HBKU)’s Student Centre and
attended by more than 230 high
school students from 18 independent schools across the country, as well as academic advisers
and career guidance counsellors.
Through the programme, QCF
supports Qatar Foundation’s
strategic objective to unlock human potential and equip Qatar’s
youth with educational capacities and personal development
and leadership skills to enable
the nation achieve a knowledgebased economy.
The QCF Ambassadors initiative takes its inspiration from
QCF’s motto, “Your Future in
Your Hands”.
Each participating school will
select five to six students from
the 10th and 11th grades to take
part in workshops on self-development, leadership, strategic planning, team building and
problem solving, as well as help-
Some of the participants of the programme.
ing with confidence building and
critical thinking.
The project will feature yearround training sessions, workshops and presentations that
will promote career development while raising awareness of
the importance of planning for
the future.
Participants will be provided
with opportunities to explore the
local job market, learn about different work environments and
receive training from some of the
most prestigious companies in
Qatar. Further, participants will
receive information on how to
prepare resumes, conduct job interviews and deliver presentations.
Abdulla al-Mansoori, director of Qatar Career Fair, said:
“Through this programme, we are
aiming to encourage young men
and women to start taking the
initiative, while simultaneously
promoting a culture of leadership
and creativity. We are also hoping
to raise awareness of the different
social initiatives in Qatar.
“QCF Ambassadors’ is presently for high school students
but over time we plan to involve
older age groups, such as university students. This programme
is important as every participating student will become an ambassador for QCF and help raise
awareness of career development
among their classmates.”
amad Medical Corporation (HMC)’s Heart
Hospital recently held
Heart Failure Educational Day
to highlight technological advances and state-of-the-art
management techniques for
patients with heart failure.
The daylong event was organised by the Cardiology Department at Heart Hospital and
was attended by more than 150
participants, including cardiology physicians, specialists, residents, fellows, nurses and other
allied health professionals.
Attendees had the opportunity to engage in discussions
and update their knowledge on
different methods used around
the world to improve the quality
of life for heart failure patients,
with a special focus on introducing efficient management
approaches to minimise recurrent hospital admissions.
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the
heart muscle is unable to pump
enough blood to meet the body’s
needs, resulting in occasional
fatigue, shortness of breath and
other symptoms that would
prompt a hospital visit.
Dr Amr Badr
Dr Nidal Asaad, director of the
Adult Cardiology Programme
and senior consultant at Heart
Hospital, said: “Heart failure
patients are very unique patients. They have multi-system
problems and require dedicated
and prompt medical care. We
have organised this day to ensure
that all our staff members who
are involved in providing care to
these patients are well-educated
and duly informed about current
global trends in management.”
event, local cardiology experts
delivered insightful lectures
and dynamic presentations
covering topics such as the role
of imaging in heart failure diagnosis and management, telemonitoring for patients with
advanced heart failure, and
cardiac devices used to manage
heart failure patients.
Dr Amr Badr, consultant cardiologist and head of the Heart
Failure Programme at Heart
Hospital, said: “This event was
an opportunity for us to share
the achievements made under
the Heart Failure Programme
at the hospital. The programme
was initiated two years ago to
provide specialised care to advanced heart failure patients.”
Tele-monitoring was among
the latest technologies highlighted at the event, which involves
remotely monitoring a patient’s
vital signs. “It is an innovative and
promising approach in the care of
people with heart failure. Telemonitoring allows physicians
to check how their patients are
doing, while patients are within
the comfort of their homes. This
technique is designed to provide
convenience to patients as well
as physicians who can monitor
the patients more efficiently,” Dr
Badr explained.
REVVING UP | Page 18
EU bets
on 5G to
catch up
Aston Martin’s
crossover coupe
targets women
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Jumada I 13, 1436 AH
GCC aluminium
industry posts 31%
growth in 2014
Ooredoo unveils
strategy at MWC
to tap $10bn B2B
market in Mena,
Southeast Asia
Bank lending in Qatar is expected to rise by 9% in 2015, 10% in 2016 and 11% in 2017 driven by project lending and expanding population. PICTURE: Nasar TK
Qatar real GDP growth
set to accelerate to 7%
in ’15, 7.5% in ’16: QNB
atar’s real GDP growth has been forecast to
accelerate to 7% in 2015, 7.5% in 2016 and
7.9% in 2017 as the government continues
to invest heavily in the non-hydrocarbon sector despite lower oil prices, QNB has said in a report.
In its ‘Qatar Economic Insight 2015’, QNB said
the Barzan project is expected to drive growth
in the hydrocarbon sector, which may grow by
0.8% in 2015, 1.8% in 2016 and 1.9% in 2017 despite declining oil production due to maturing
oil fields.
The non-hydrocarbon sector is projected to continue its double-digit growth on large investments
in construction, financial services and real estate.
The large influx of expatriate workers, driven by
major investment projects, will add to aggregate
demand, putting moderate pressure on domestic
Counterbalancing this, foreign inflation is expected to slow in 2015-17 as international commodity prices fall on weak global demand, record
food harvests and a stronger dollar.
Overall inflation is projected to slow to 2.5% in
2015 as rising rents (with a lower weight in the basket) are expected to be partly offset by lower international food prices, before accelerating to 3.2% in
2016 and 3.3% in 2017.
Lower hydrocarbon revenue and rising capital
spending are expected to tip the fiscal balance into
deficits of 2.2% of GDP in 2015, 3.4% in 2016 and
3.7% in 2017, QNB said.
Hydrocarbon revenue is expected to decline with
lower oil prices and crude oil production, but this
will be partly offset by higher non-hydrocarbon
revenue, supported by better corporate tax collection.
The government is expected to increase its capital spending while stabilising current expenditure
with further expenditure rationalisation, QNB said.
The government plans to change its fiscal year to
a calendar year basis starting with the 2016 budget,
with an interim extension of the 2014-15 budget by
nine months to cover the remainder of 2015.
Bank lending is expected to rise by 9% in 2015,
10% in 2016 and 11% in 2017 increasingly driven by
project lending and the expanding population.
Deposits are projected to grow steadily by 11.3%
in 2015, 11.5% in 2016 and 12.5% in 2017 on strong
population growth and higher non-hydrocarbon
“The outlook for banking is positive with low
provisioning requirements and efficient cost bases
will support strong bank profitability,” QNB said.
Qatalum sees demand rising
6% as autos dominate
luminium demand is growing
6% a year with the automobile
market taking up more than
half of output at Qatar Aluminium
(Qatalum), the joint venture of Qatar
Petroleum and Norsk Hydro.
Automobile customers account for
60% of Qatalum’s products, chairman Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Shaibi
said yesterday at a conference in
Doha. The drop in oil prices has not
affected demand as the company is
operating its factory at capacity, he
Aluminium prices have climbed
4.2% in the past year, outperforming
copper, gold and Brent crude, as Ford
Motor Co introduced aluminiumbodied F-150 pickups compared with
a mostly steel predecessor.
Qatalum will wait to expand until
stockpiles decline more, chief ex-
ecutive officer Tom Petter Johansen
said in an interview. “There is still a
lot of aluminium in stock globally,”
Johansen said. “The stock should go
down before we push more metal into
the market.”
Aluminium for delivery in three
months dropped 0.4% to $1,793.50
a metric tonne on the London Metal
Exchange yesterday.
Aluminium prices have
climbed 4.2% in the past year as
Ford introduced F-150 pickups
with aluminium body
Inventories of the metal in warehouses monitored by the LME stand
at 3.9mn tonnes, double the combined total held in copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc.
Qatalum built its plant in Qatar with plans to double production
to 1mn tonnes a year. Output was
612,000 tonnes last year and another
plant won’t be built for at least two
years, Johansen said.
Automobile companies are targeting
aluminium to reduce emissions and
improve fuel efficiency, Citigroup said
in a report dated March 3. “The most
promising sector is the automotive
sector,” Johansen said. Lower oil prices
may reduce the fuel-efficiency driver
behind auto aluminium demand, David Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup, said
in the report. Brent crude has dropped
45% in the past year.
At the same time, manufacturers
are trying to develop alloys that contain more recycled metal, Wilson said.
“At a 75% recycled metal content rate,
current aluminium auto body usage
projections would add only 800kt to
primary aluminium demand by 2020,
not a volume to drive market deficits,”
he said. Page 20
Ooredoo sees significant opportunities
for growth across its business-to-business (B2B) customer base in the Mena
region and Southeast Asia, seeking to
tap the estimated $10bn market with
an enhanced strategy unveiled at the
Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona yesterday.
The company already has a strong
presence in the B2B market, generating more than $1bn revenue from B2B
services in 2014, with nine-month
year-on-year growth up 10% and B2B
customers up 25%.
However, with an estimated 9mn companies present in its core markets of
Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Indonesia, Oman and Myanmar, Ooredoo
is looking to build upon its leadership
position in the coming years and fully
realise its opportunities.
Ooredoo Group CEO Dr Nasser Marafih
said, “Ooredoo is aiming to make
2015 a year of ‘smart solutions’ and in
particular we are targeting growth in
the B2B sector. After significant investment in bigger, faster networks, and
the development of key infrastructure
such as data centres, Ooredoo is ideally
positioned to be the business partner of
choice in the Middle East, North Africa
and Southeast Asia. We see huge opportunities for growth in smart business
services, as companies in our footprint
continue to invest in ICT to support
their wider ambitions.”
The company has assembled a dedicated team of more than 1,100 business
service professionals as part of its
At the Mobile World
Congress, Ooredoo
has a special M2M
demonstration area
showcasing some of
the cutting-edge
solutions already
being implemented by
the group, including
new innovations for
the energy, transport
and financial sectors.
It will also display the
latest generation of
“smart solutions.”
“Ooredoo Business” unit, aiming to
enhance the company’s corporate focus
across its primary markets. Ooredoo
has also established a Sales Academy
where more than 600 sales team members are being trained in best-in-class
sales techniques for business services.
Reflecting the success of this approach,
Ooredoo Business has signed numerous
landmark agreements over the past 12
months, including a major deal to provide embedded data solutions with Intel
devices in Indonesia and a total Cloud
and VPN infrastructure solution of some
87 sites for Poulina Holding in Tunisia.
In Qatar, Ooredoo recently signed an
agreement to build an exclusive global
media solution for Al Jazeera, which will
connect its main hubs in Europe, the
Middle East, the Americas, Asia and Africa, as well as linking various bureaus
around the world.
Ooredoo offers a broad portfolio of
solutions, including connectivity,
convergence and cloud services, and
is applying its expertise to innovative
new areas, such as machine-to-machine
(M2M) communications.
One of Ooredoo Business’ first major
launches is a pan- regional cloud-based
M2M platform with Ericsson, which enables companies to implement vertical
“Internet of Things” solutions quickly
and more easily. With a “build once, deploy many” approach and by adopting a
cloud-first principle for all of its product
management, Ooredoo has cut time to
market by 75% and reduced its costs to
deliver these solutions. Page 20
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
QIB-UK opens its
new HQ in London
atar Islamic Bank (QIB) has opened the new
headquarters in London for its subsidiary QIBUK, whose focus is on supporting the investment and trade flows between the two countries.
Based in London’s affluent Mayfair district, the
purchase of new five-storey premises at 43 Grosvenor
Street reflects the bank’s commitment to serve high
networth (HNW) clients.
Through its HNW relationship management team,
and with the support of product specialists in real
estate finance, trade finance, and treasury, QIB-UK
strives to deliver tailor-made solutions in a Shariahcompliant manner to its customers.
“London is one of the important cities in the global
financial markets and QIB is proud to be strategically
placed in one of the preferred tourism, cultural and
economical destinations. This allows us to provide our
clients with top class financial services and personalised banking solutions,” QIB Group CEO Bassel Gamal
Bert de Ruiter, CEO of QIB-UK, said the move
perfectly fits in with its ambition to deliver top-end
customer service and solutions and that “with the
purchase of these premises, we are also demonstrating our belief in the strength of the London property
Qatari interest in the UK have surged in recent years,
with Qatari visitors increasing year on year for several
reasons such as tourism, seeking higher education,
or looking to diversify their investments. QIB-UK
has worked closely with Doha-based QIB to develop
financing solutions that suit these new financial requirements.
QIB-UK is offering unique real estate investment
opportunities for clients looking to purchase premium
properties in London and has put in place team of real
estate specialists to ensure clients are well placed to
get the best real estate opportunities in the market.
The bank’s network not only gives access to exclusive residential and commercial real estate opportunities but also gives its clients privileged introductions
to opportunities in the London real estate market.
“We position ourselves as a niche private bank offering bespoke real estate finance solutions and personalised banking services, such as preferential deposits
in multi-currency and tenors, to the HNW customers
from Qatar with an interest in the UK,” according to
Bert de Ruiter.
Based in London’s affluent Mayfair district, the purchase of new five-storey premises at 43
Grosvenor Street reflects QIB-UK’s commitment to serve high networth (HNW) clients.
Myanmar, Bangladesh,
Cambodia, Djibouti have
world’s lowest labour costs
By Arno Maierbrugger
Gulf Times Correspondent
A new study shows that three Asian
countries, Myanmar, Bangladesh and
Cambodia, and the small East African
nation of Djibouti, have the world’s
lowest labour costs measured as a
combination of wages, employment
regulations, social security
contributions and labour productivity.
The study was released in February
by Verisk Maplecroft, a UK-based risk
analysis and strategic research firm,
and ranked Myanmar 171, Bangladesh
170 and Cambodia 169 on a list
comprising 172 economies. Myanmar
is only beaten Djibouti which comes
in last.
The 10 highest labour-cost countries in
the study are all in Europe, with the top
five most expensive being Italy, France,
Belgium, Spain and Finland. Gulf
Cooperation Council countries are in
the midfield, but a meaningful average
of labour costs is hard to determine
there because of large differences
in wages between expatriates,
lower-skilled migrant workers and
native workers and the absence of
comprehensive surveys and statistics.
As for East Asia, the study is
interesting for showing how the labour
cost environment has changed over
the years. China, which used to be
among the cheapest countries in the
world in terms of labour costs up until
the late 1990s, has massively lost
ground in the low-cost manufacturing
space due to rising wages and higher
social security contributions by
employers. As a result, China is now
placed 64 in the global labour costs
ranking, way ahead of, for example,
Thailand, which occupies rank 93 on
its way to become a middle/income
Rising wages have contributed to the
changes: The average monthly salary
in China is now around $450 plus 20%
contribution to social security, while in
Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangladesh
average salaries are all significantly
lower with no social security
component to be paid.
In Cambodia, the minimum wage for
textile and shoe workers, which make
a huge chunk of the entire workforce
in the country, has been set at $128
monthly as of last November. For other
industrial sectors there is no minimum
salary regulation. In Bangladesh, the
minimum wage for garment workers
was raised by 77% to $68 per month
in 2013, while the monthly wage for
all economic sectors not covered by
industry-specific wages remains at a
meagre $19.
In Myanmar, there is no minimum
wage regulation at all although talks
and surveys are ongoing in order to
introduce basic wages. Currently,
public employees receive at least $60
monthly, and day labourers can count
on $1.70 to $2 a day plus subsidies and
allowances in some cases.
However, the authors of the
study point out that while cost
competiveness is attractive for
many investors seeking countries
to manufacture goods cheaply, this
benefit comes with risks related to
poor working conditions, health and
safety, child labour, human trafficking
and possible strikes as it happened in
Cambodia’s garment industry in the
past years.
“The true cost of business in emerging
economies is more than the direct
expenses associated with the labour
force,” says Charles van Caloen, Senior
Analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, adding
that “It is essential for companies to
understand and price in risks such as
strikes, disruptions and poor worker
health when making market entry or
strategic sourcing decisions.”
However, in the long run – as a
normal development cycle – low-cost
countries will attract more and more
investment that, in turn, will drive
development and increase productivity
and wages, as it happened with China,
and investors looking for low-cost
sourcing will likely move on, the study
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
QPMC seeks stable
material prices
atar Primary Materials Company (QPMC) has said it seeks to
“stabilise the prices of primary
infrastructure materials and establish
quality standards for aggregates and
sand” in the long-term as part of its role
in the country’s infrastructure development.
“QPMC’s plant capacity provides
1,000 tonnes of washed sand an hour
with annual production sales of capacity of 6mn tonnes, along with a stock of
1mn and an unlimited supply capacity
of sand dune with 1,200 truckloads per
day,” QPMC director (Operations) Navjot Singh said during a presentation at
the 18th Gulf Engineering Forum at the
St Regis Hotel.
Also, Singh said QPMC plans to provide cement silos at the company’s gabbro berths to store and discharge more
than 2mn tonnes of imported cement
annually to meet expected increase in
He noted that the company also has
plans to develop gabbro quarries outside
Qatar, as well as provide the sea logistic
supply chain. QPMC plans to deliver
comprehensive solutions for the transport, storage, and delivery of key primary materials in Qatar, Singh added.
During the forum, Singh highlighted
QPMC’s role in infrastructure development of both Qatar and the region by
providing primary materials for both
the public and private sector.
His presentation also showcased QPMC’s four divisions, namely Port Management, Sahara Washed Sand, Nijian
Sand, and Logistics & Supply Chain.
Sunil Kambrath receives the award from Frost and Sullivan at a
ceremony in Dubai.
GWC receives ‘Leading
Domestic Logistics
Service Provider’ award
QPMC director of Operations Navjot Singh delivers a presentation during the 18th Gulf Engineering Forum at the St Regis Hotel.
He also focused on the company’s
improved performance, operational
locations, jetty stock yards in both Ras
Laffan and Lusail, its Mesaieed Port,
Njian Sand (Dune Sand) and Sahara
Sand Plant (for washed sands), and emphasised on its strategic stock pile.
Singh said QPMC focuses on providing efficient port service at the gabbro
berths and develop them for handling
larger import volumes of materials.
“We aim to deliver the capability to
design, develop, and operate jetties at
developers’ request for government
projects. We also store a strategic stockpile of aggregates for the government
in Mesaieed and deliver washed sand
which will regulate the market for dune
sand in Qatar,” he said.
After Singh’s presentation, a sen-
ior QPMC delegate visited the exhibition held on the sidelines of the forum,
which witnessed the participation of
the Gulf engineering societies and a
number of sponsors and companies.
The 18th Gulf Engineering Forum
gathered more than 40 theme papers
presented by specialists in the infrastructure sector and senior engineers in
the GCC countries.
Gulf Warehousing Company
has been recognised during the
“GIL Global Practices Award” in
recognition of the company’s
efforts in “setting the standard of
the logistics industry in Qatar,”
the company said in a statement.
GWC Director of Business
Solutions Sunil Kambrath
received the “Leading Domestic
Logistics Service Provider of the
Year 2015” award from Frost and
Sullivan in a ceremony held in
Dubai on February 16.
Kambrath said, “Over the last
10 years, GWC has grown to
play an integral role within
Qatar’s economy, aiding multiple
developmental projects of
government agencies and
ministries, major corporations
and new small and mediumsized enterprise (SME) startups.
“We will remain steadfast in our
commitment to providing worldclass services to the country,
and in our continuing efforts to
further develop and upgrade
these services regionally and
internationally,” he added.
GWC Group CEO Ranjeev
Menon said the award reflects
the company’s year-long
achievements as GWC earned
a net profit of QR140.3mn,
gross revenues at QR673.3mn,
earnings per share at QR2.95,
and total assets of QR2.1bn all
in 2014.
“In the decade since our
establishment, we have laid the
foundations necessary to launch
ourselves into the future, paving
a path with considerable efforts
and substantial investments
that have enhanced our
infrastructure and service
capabilities,” Menon explained.
He added, “Today, our scale of
operations is unmatched, which
has given us the competitive
advantage across all our service
The Frost and Sullivan GIL
Global Best Practices Awards
celebrated its sixth consecutive
year in 2015, bringing together
a global network of thinkers,
visionaries, and thought leaders
working together to leverage
innovation as a resource to
address global challenges.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Turkish inflation edges up in Feb
Turkish inflation rose slightly less than
expected in February but remained
significantly above the central bank’s
target, limiting its room to make the deep
interest rate cuts demanded by President
Tayyip Erdogan.
Seeking to boost flagging growth ahead
of a June general election, Erdogan has
warned that defending high interest
rates amounts to treason, ratcheting up
pressure on the central bank and telling
Governor Erdem Basci to “shape up”.
Consumer prices rose 0.71% month-onmonth in February, statistics institute
data showed yesterday, just below a
Reuters poll forecast of 0.75%. On an
annual basis they rose to 7.55% from
7.24% in January.
Economists said the data showed there
was probably room for a small interest
rate cut in March but this was unlikely to
be deep enough to satisfy Erdogan.
Concerns about central bank
independence have unsettled investors
and the lira weakened to a fresh record
low on Tuesday, partly due to US dollar
strength but also because the data added
to concerns about pressure on the central
bank as it showed inflation sharply above
its 5% target.
The weakness of the lira, energy price
rises and poor weather helped drive
monthly inflation, which was led by a
2.59% increase for food and non-alcoholic
drinks and a 1.77% transport price rise.
But economists pointed to a decline in
annual core inflation, which excludes
elements such as food and energy prices,
to 7.73% from 8.63% a month earlier as a
positive development.
“The central bank could point to
the continued improvement in core
indicators and go for a measured rate
cut at the March MPC if global risk
appetite and the dollar-lira rate allows,”
said Is Invest economist Muammer
In the minutes of its latest meeting, the
bank said it expected core inflation to
continue to fall and it would use policy
tools to support the economy if an
additional slowdown in external demand
pulled inflation lower. The central bank
trimmed all of its main interest rates last
month as inflation fell, but drew fire from
a government seeking to boost growth
ahead of a parliamentary election in June
for not cutting them sharply enough.
Iraq, banks in talks
for $6bn bond issue
raq is discussing a possible bond issue
worth nearly $6bn with Deutsche Bank
and Citibank as part of its efforts to cover a
huge projected budget deficit this year, Finance
Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said.
State revenues have tumbled along with falling oil prices just as Iraq faces a costly military
campaign against Islamic State militants in its
northern and western provinces, leaving a likely 25tn Iraqi dinar ($21.4bn) shortfall.
To fund the deficit, Zebari said the finance
ministry was looking at measures including the
bond issue, borrowing from state banks, and
converting some Iraqi bank assets held with the
central bank into bonds.
It might also consider raising money through
forward sales of oil if the cabinet rejects plans
for the 10-year bond issue. Officials say Prime
Minister Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet sees the
proposed 9% interest rate as prohibitively high.
The sharp fall in oil prices forced Zebari
into several revisions of the 2015 budget, each
time trimming projected revenue from crude
exports. The final version was based on a $56
price per barrel and exports of 3.3mn barrels
per day. Oil exports so far this year have been
below 2.6mn bpd, due partly to bad weather at
the main southern export terminal and disappointing shipments from the north through a
Kurdish-run pipeline. But Zebari said volumes
were rising.
“I think people are now realising that this is a
realistic budget,” he told Reuters in his Baghdad
ministry office.
He said a proposal to convert 50% of assets
held by state banks in the central bank into
bonds will raise around $5bn, and Iraq will also
use its Special Drawing Rights to raise $1.8bn
through the International Monetary Fund.
The government is also introducing taxes
on imported cars, SIM cards and the Internet.
It hopes to borrow $6bn from state banks and
save $2bn by trimming allowances to betterpaid state employees.
“All in all, we’ve tried through our own
means to cover the projected deficit,” he said.
Zebari, a Kurd serving in the Baghdad federal government, said authorities in the capi-
Zebari: Weighing all options to fund the deficit.
tal and in the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government remained committed to an
oil export deal despite disputes over volumes
shipped and payments.
Kurds have complained that Baghdad has
not honoured its commitments to pay them
a portion of government expenditure, while
Baghdad says only a fraction of the expected
oil from its northern fields has been transported for export via Turkey. “We are dealing with different expectations and mistrust.
But the deal is holding. The talks are continuing,” he said. Zebari said the government had
transferred 250tn Iraqi dinars to the Kurds so
far this year, a fraction of the amount originally
envisaged. He hoped another payment would
be made soon and that another round of talks
would take place.
“It should be as soon as possible if both sides
want to salvage this deal. It has not collapsed,
but because of the two factors – the expectations and mistrust – it is difficult.”
Turkey bourse to go public to boost equity market
urkey’s stock exchange Borsa
Istanbul said yesterday it
plans to go public, in Ankara’s
latest move to bolster its $220bn equity market that has punched below
its weight for years.
Borsa Istanbul, the country’s only
stock exchange, plans to list up to
43% of its capital through the sale of
most of the shares now held by the
national Treasury. Turkey has joined
the list of the world’s top 20 econo-
mies, thanks to years of solid growth,
but its equity market has not kept up,
with the bulk of trade centred around
a handful of large-cap stocks.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
said in January he wanted Istanbul
to break into the ranks of the world’s
top ten financial hubs, an ambitious
target given the challenge from other emerging market rivals such as
Dubai. At $220bn, Turkey’s stock
market is world’s 29th largest, lagging behind some emerging market
rivals. The Johannesburg market is
worth more than four times that,
even though South Africa’s economy
Gulf markets mixed
on data, dividends
Gulf stock markets were mixed yesterday, guided by
economic data and dividends, while Egypt edged up
on the back of property stocks after reports about
plans to build a new $80bn capital city from scratch.
Saudi Arabia’s main stock index rose 1.1% after strong
purchasing managers index (PMI) data. Growth in the
kingdom’s non-oil private sector accelerated to a fourmonth high in February as lavish handouts to citizens
by the new king buoyed the economy despite the
plunge in oil prices, the SABB HSBC survey showed.
“The latest whole economy PMIs from the Mena
region provide further evidence that the fall in oil
prices hasn’t caused activity in the Gulf economies to
collapse, as some had feared,” Jason Tuvey, Middle
East economist at London-based Capital Economics,
said in a note.
Investors’ attention shifted back from the property
sector to banks and petrochemicals which had
traded nearly flat in the previous few sessions.
Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries rose
1.4% as Brent oil recovered some of Monday’s losses,
jumping 2%. Alinma Bank, which will pay a dividend
of 0.5 riyal per share next week, was the most traded
stock and jumped 2.2%.
Other Gulf markets were less positive. Qatar’s index
fell 1.3% because of Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan,
which dropped 2.7% as its shares no longer carried
the 2014 dividend of 1.75 riyals.
Petrochemicals-to-metals conglomerate Industries
Qatar, which went ex-dividend a day earlier, was
down a further 2.7%.
In the United Arab Emirates, business activity growth
in the non-oil private sector slowed to a five-month
low in February but remained strong and above the
average for 2014, according to the HSBC PMI survey.
Abu Dhabi’s market edged up 0.2% on the back of
First Gulf Bank, which rose 1.4%. The lender will pay
a dividend of 1dirham per share on Thursday. Union
National Bank, which will make its annual payout of
0.25 dirham next week, jumped 2.8%.
is less than half the size of Turkey’s.
“There is a mismatch between
the complexity and size of the Turkish economy and the size of its
capital markets,” consultancy Oliver
Wyman said in a 2014 report, which
also said Turkey’s equity market
could easily double in size.
The bourse, which has previously
said it planned to privatise, did not
say how it would spend the proceeds from the capital raising.
But it could look to bolster its
technology as other exchanges
around the world have been doing,
to help it to compete for business
from hedge funds and high-frequency traders.
It could also extend the reach of
its own equity investments. Borsa
Istanbul already has stakes in smaller exchanges in central Asia and
eastern Europe, including in Kyrgyzstan and Montenegro.
The public offering is expected to
be completed by the end of this year,
with a possible extension through
2016, it said. The Treasury owns 49%
of the exchange, with 36.6 owned by
the bourse itself. Nasdaq OMX owns
5%, while the Turkish Capital Markets Association owns 1.3%.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
SIB to meet investors
for potential sukuk
GFH plans $230mn
sukuk issue in 2015
Oman plans 1st sovereign
sukuk by mid-2015
IDB sets IPT for benchmark
dollar-denominated sukuk
Doga to launch Turkey’s
debut takaful product
Sharjah Islamic Bank is planning to meet fixed
income investors starting tomorrow ahead of
a potential US dollar benchmark sukuk issue,
a document from lead arrangers showed. The
UAE-based bank has picked Abu Dhabi Islamic
Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates
NBD, HSBC, KFH Investment and Standard
Chartered to arrange the sukuk sale, it showed.
Benchmark size is traditionally understood to
mean upwards of $500mn. Investor meetings
will be held in Asia and Europe, and a transaction
will follow subject to market conditions, as per
the document.
Gulf Finance House (GFH), the Bahraini Islamic
investment firm, plans to make a $230mn sukuk
issue this year to help it fund acquisitions of
two to three regional companies, the bank’s
chairman told Reuters. The bank sold $170mn
of convertible sukuk murabaha last year to
raise money for the investments, Ahmed Khalil
al-Mutawa said. The paper was converted into
equity in the same year. In addition to the funds
raised through sukuk last year and this year, the
rest of the money needed for the acquisitions is
likely to come from bank borrowing, al-Mutawa
Oman plans to make its first sovereign issue of
Islamic bonds, a 200mn rial ($520mn) issue, by
mid-2015 to help finance a budget deficit caused
by the plunge of oil prices, the head of its central
bank said last Sunday. “The issue will be through
the central bank for the local market,” central
bank executive president Hamood Sangour
al-Zadjali told Reuters. The issue would boost
Oman’s fledgling Islamic banking industry,
giving it a pricing benchmark and a liquidity
management tool. “We have Islamic banking
units - they would like some liquidity invested in
it,” al-Zadjali said.
Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB)
has opened books after setting initial price
thoughts for a potential dollar-denominated
sukuk, which could price as early tomorrow,
a document from lead arrangers showed. IDB
has set initial price thoughts for the senior
unsecured five-year sukuk issue at around 10
basis points over midswaps, the document
showed. The AAA-rated IDB on February 24
said it had picked CIMB, Dubai Islamic Bank, GIB
Capital, HSBC, Natixis, NCB Capital, National Bank
of Abu Dhabi, RHB Islamic Bank and Standard
Chartered to arrange roadshows.
Turkey’s Doga Group plans to enter the takaful,
or Islamic insurance, market in the coming
months with what would be the country’s first
such product. Its Doga Sigorta insurance unit
is close to signing a co-operation deal with
reassurance companies such as Swiss Re and
others from the Gulf and Malaysia, the unit’s
chairman Nihat Kirmizi told Reuters in a recent
interview. An alternative to conventional
insurance, takaful follows religious guidelines
including bans on interest and pure monetary
speculation and a prohibition on investing in
industries such as alcohol and gambling.
Scholar ethics rule pushed globally by Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia is pushing for its one-year old rules overseeing Islamic scholars to be implemented globally in a
push for more rigid governance.
The Southeast Asian country, the world’s largest market for Islamic debt, established the industry’s first
code of conduct in December 2013 for experts who
vet financial products for conformity with Shariah
law and is targeting their adoption overseas, Aznan
Hasan, president of the Association of Shariah Advisors in Islamic Finance, said by e-mail on Monday. The
rules cover accountability and salaries, said Aznan.
Islamic finance institutions require rulings from scholars, known as fatwa, before they can sell securities
or funds in an industry that Ernst & Young projects
will double to $3.4tn in assets by 2018. Ensuring that
consistent standards are adopted would require coordination between the key markets of Asia and the
Middle East along with effective sanctions to ensure
“It’s admirable that ASAS has sought to formalise a
professional code of conduct and ethics,” Gregory
Man, a lawyer who advises on sukuk transactions
National carrier Qatar Airways has found a special place as being a major growth airline.
Qatar ranked 4th
in Islamic markets
with full marks in
growth momentum
atar was ranked fourth
among 57 Islamic economies in the Islamic
Growth Markets Investment Index and its national carrier Qatar
Airways found a special place as
being a major growth airline.
The index, which ranks countries investment potential relatively within Organisation of
Islamic Co-operation (OIC)
member country grouping, is
based on a set of nine metrics
covering country’s growth fundamentals, growth momentum,
investment momentum and relative country risk.
“Qatar scored 100 marks
(out of 100) in growth momentum,” said the index, prepared
by Thomson Reuters in partnership with Dinar Standard,
an Islamic markets research
and advisory firm. Qatar was
the only country to score 100
marks among the 57 OIC countries.
The GCC (Gulf Co-operation
Council) economies led by the
UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are
on the top 10 list.
Among the GCC countries,
the UAE was ranked third, Saudi
Arabia (seventh), Kuwait (thirteenth), Oman (fourteenth) and
Bahrain (eighteenth).
Within food and agriculture
investment index in the Gulf
economies, Qatar was ranked
ninth behind Saudi Arabia
(third), the UAE (fourth), Kuwait
( sixth) and Oman (eighth).
Within the travel and transportation investment index in
the GCC, Qatar was ranked sixth
against the UAE ( fourth), Saudi
Arabia (fifth), Oman (seventh),
Kuwait (tenth) and Bahrain
Within the plastic and rubber
investment index in the GCC,
Qatar was ranked sixth compared with Saudi Arabia (third),
the UAE (fifth), Kuwait (sev-
enth), Oman (ninth) and Bahrain
Qatar was seen as potential
key market for transport allied services (airline leasing and
services) and plastics (raw materials and eco-friendly products).
Energy is the largest OIC sector cluster owing to aggregate
score from exports volume, imports and domestic consumption.
Sector cluster exports were
the highest within OIC worth
$1.3tn in 2013, representing 43%
of global exports, which more
than doubled between 2009 and
Primary opportunity areas identified are in renewables
sector EPC (engineering, procurement and construction)
services & O&M (operation &
maintenance companies); solar/
wind farm; bio-energy innovative solutions; and energy storage solutions.
Food and agriculture is the
second largest OIC sector,
whose exports stood at $118bn
in 2013, representing 8% of global exports and grew 42% during
Domestic demand from the
food sector across OIC is the
highest among all clusters and
estimated at $974bn, which is
16% of global food consumption,
the index said.
Driven by fast growing demographic, middle class, urbanisation and global expansion of domestic companies,
primary opportunity areas are
in retail (super/hyper markets), edible oil production,
halal meat, prepared cereals,
diary, cocoa and its products
and sugar and sugar confectionery.
The third largest cluster of
travel and transport saw $192bn
worth exports, representing 6%
of global exports.
with Norton Rose Fulbright, said in a February 19
e-mail from Dubai. “Having said that, the code should
really be a case of simply formalising what I would
generally view as the expectation of Shariah advisers
by Islamic finance market participants.”
Islamic law forbids the payment of interest and
involvement in businesses deemed as unethical
such as those associated with gambling, alcohol or
prostitution. It promotes risk-sharing and discourages
speculation. Funds raised from Shariah-compliant
bonds have to be used in an ethical manner and
the underlying assets backing the debt also have to
conform to religious principles.
Scholars overseeing investment products have come
under scrutiny because they tend to sit on multiple
Shariah boards, leading to concerns about conflicts of
interest and excessive salaries. One industry expert
was advising 101 institutions, Islamic standardssetting bodies and other entities, according to a 2011
report by [email protected], a research firm based near
Frankfurt. In Malaysia, a global Islamic finance hub,
the central bank restricts Shariah advisers to only
one board for each type of financial institution they
represent. In a move to further tighten oversight,
regulators prescribed jail terms and fines for errant
scholars in 2013.
Mobily woe is a
warning as Saudi
market open nears
audi Arabia’s secondbiggest phone operator
is bearing the brunt of a
clean-up by the market regulator before the bourse is opened to
foreigners for the first time.
Mobily, as Riyadh-based Etihad Etisalat Co is known, is being
investigated by a team appointed
by the Capital Market Authority
for suspected market violations,
according to a statement on the
regulator’s website on February
26. The announcement came a
day after the company’s shares
were suspended from trading as
the CMA sought an explanation
for a discrepancy in its 2014 interim results.
The inquiry has thrown into
turmoil a company that’s talking
to lenders about conditions on
10bn riyals ($2.7bn) of its mostly
Islamic debt. It’s also a signal
to outsiders that the kingdom,
whose index is the second-best
performer this year among 93
gauges tracked by Bloomberg
in dollar terms, is committed to
improving its regulatory track
record before the $540bn market opens to foreigners in the first
half of this year.
“The CMA is sending an important message that nothing is
going to be taken lightly, especially as the market is opening,”
John Sfakianakis, the Riyadhbased head of Middle East at
Ashmore Group, which has about
$99bn of assets under management, said by phone on Sunday.
“They don’t want to have this
Mobily’s shares have plummeted 56% since the end of October, compared with a 6.8%
decline through yesterday in the
Tadawul All Share Index. They
will remain suspended until the
company explains why it reported a net loss of 913mn riyals for
2014 in a statement on February
25, after posting a preliminary
profit of 220mn riyals for the
period a month earlier, a CMA
spokesman said by telephone
yes2terday from Riyadh.
Mobily’s acting chief executive
officer Serkan Okandan declined
to comment by telephone from
Riyadh on Sunday. The company
said it’s committed to fully cooperate with authorities, according
to a statement posted on the Saudi Arabian stock exchange today.
“Mobily underestimated the
severity of the misrepresentation
of their numbers,” Ahmed Shehada, the head of advisory and
institutions at NBAD Securities
in Abu Dhabi, said by phone on
Sunday. “It has gotten too big for
the CMA to neglect it.”
The CMA’s Board of Commissioners assigned a team “to
review the company’s financial
statements and all other related
documents, conduct site visits,
hear all concerned parties’ statements and obtain copies of documents that the team deems necessary,” according to a statement
on its website.
For all the attention it’s garnering from the case, the market regulator has some way to go
to catch up to peers. While the
Saudi exchange is the biggest
in the Arab world, it ranks fifth
out of the six Gulf Cooperation
Council nations for quality of
stock-market regulation, according to World Economic Forum data.
“It’s a step in the right direction in terms of providing confirmation that there is a regulator,”
Shehada said.
The CMA started procedures
in November to determine if
Mobily violated rules after the
company sought a trading halt
to provide more time for its audit committee to work on the results. Mobily has since lost about
$9.2bn of its market value.
FAQs: Agency
„ Can the bank in its capacity as an agent of another firm
take a nominal percentage in return for its collecting sums of
money for that firm?
It is lawful for the bank to serve as an agent for another firm in
which case it is permissible for it to accept a fee in return for its
„ Is it permissible to appoint one person as an agent for two
different operations, i.e. to make a purchase on behalf of the
bank or to sell to a client on credit?
There is no legal impediment to granting agency to one person
for purchasing and then selling.
„ Is it necessary that an agent specify at the time of purchase
that he is the bank’s agent?
It is not a Shariah requirement that the agent specify at the time
of purchase that he is serving as the bank’s agent. However, for
purposes of documentation it is better for the agent to do so.
„ What acts may the commissioned agent perform on behalf
of the grantor?
Commissions are fiduciary relationships in which the agent
acts on behalf of the grantor in: 1) Contractual dealings: buying, selling, trading, leasing, transferring, cancelling, deferring, renting, borrowing, lending, repaying a debt, guaranteeing, collateralising, and the like; 2) Legal dealings: litigating,
conducting a marriage or divorce, witnessing, establishing
proof, punishing, and the like; 3) Religious dealings: perform-
ing Haj or Umrah, distributing zakat and charity, and the
like;4) Personal dealings: gifting, running errands, and the
„ Is it lawful for the bank to grant agency to someone to sell
goods on its behalf to different parties, if the lowest price for
the sales and the time within which all payments are to be
collected is specified?
An agency accepts conditions related to time, place, deeds,
amounts and deadlines in addition to all other conditions
agreed to between the principal and the agent.
The agent must make every effort to realise the rights of the
principal. However, he is not to be responsible for any loss unless he is guilty of negligence or deliberately acting contrary to
the conditions stipulated by the principal.
„ Is it lawful to take a service charge for processing documents as an agent for a payer or payee bank?
It is lawful for the bank to accept a fee for the services it performs as an agent on behalf of the payer or payee bank.
„ If a company appoints an agent, is it lawful to stipulate that
the agent only ship the goods in one of the company’s own
It is permissible for a principal to stipulate that an agent only
use the principal’s means of transport.
Source: Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance via Bloomberg
‘Aqd: A contract. Plural: Uqud. Aqd Sahih: Legal Contract
‘Illah: Underlying reason, effective cause, ratio legis. Ma’na and
sabab are synonyms.
‘Urf: Common acknowledgement, customary practice.
‘Urf fasid: Disapproved custom, which conflicts with the shad’a
and is therefore rejected.
Source: Taha Publication via Bloomberg
Amanah: Not a contract as such, but a feature or a requirement in some specific contracts that impose on one
of the parties to disclose the actual cost price, such as in
a Murabaha sale as compared to a negotiated price sale
(Musawwamah) with no requirement for such disclosure.
Amanah relates to the part of the buyer/seller relationship
that is based on trust. This might occur where the financial
institution buys goods from a third party vendor on the request of the institution’s customers, which will subsequently
purchase the goods from the financial institution. Upon purchasing the goods from the vendor, the financial institution
assumes risks relating to the specified asset until the point of
purchase by the buyer.
An Amanah, or trusteeship, is required of the seller/financier
to disclose the actual cost of the goods purchased from the
vendor before selling it to the customer at cost plus mark-up.
Another example of Amanah being introduced into an Islamic
financial arrangement would be Wadiah Yad-Amanah, which
is where a bank as the custodian undertakes the task of safekeeping the assets or funds deposited by a customer in a safe
custody contract, based on trusteeship.
It is executed between two parties, namely the depositor
(owner) and the bank (custodian). The liability of the custodian
triggers only in cases of negligence and misconduct. This is to
distinguish between safe custody contracts, which are based on
liability, and this safe custody contract, which relies on trusteeship. It establishes the liability of one of the parties, whereby
a contract that is featured as Amanah will not inflict any legal
liability on the part of the custodian, except in the case of negligence and misconduct.
Arbun: Arbun (Urbon, Arboun, Arboo) is a down-payment
with revocation option akin to a call option in the conventional
sense. However, the contract is about a sale of a good for which
the down-payment is part of the price, while the option is about
the right to purchase and the price for this right is lost. In classical Fiqh it is controversial, but it is accepted at the Hanbali
School of Islamic law. The Shariah position is that classic
scholars did not permit Arbun with the exception of the Hanbali
School. For the sake of Islamic Finance it seems that modern
scholars tend to accept Arbun much more than the scholars did
so in history.
Source: Certificate in Islamic Finance and Banking: Book 2 via Bloomberg
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Australia central bank leaves interest rates at 2.25%
that, having eased monetary policy
at the previous meeting, it was
appropriate to hold interest rates
steady for the time being,” governor
Glenn Stevens said in a statement.
“Further easing of policy may be
appropriate over the period ahead, in
order to foster sustainable growth in
demand and inflation consistent with
the target.
“The board will further assess the
case for such action at forthcoming
The wait-and-see approach comes as a
decade-long mining investment boom
Australia’s central bank left interest
rates unchanged at 2.25% yesterday,
but gave a clear signal that further
easing was on the cards to help drive
down the dollar and spur the economy.
The Reserve Bank of Australia last
month cut rates for the first time in 18
months, dropping its cash rate by 25
basis points to a historic low of 2.25%
to help drive growth.
“At today’s meeting the board judged
to exit
after rules
aiwan has ordered Alibaba Group Holding to
withdraw from the island
within six months because the
online retailer had violated investment rules required for a
Chinese company, an economics
ministry official said on Monday.
Alibaba has been fined
T$120,000 ($3,824) and must
withdraw or transfer its holdings
from its operation in Taiwan,
Emile MP Chang, acting executive secretary for the Investment
Commission, told Reuters.
The commission falls under
the ministry of economic affairs
and has authority over the review of Chinese investments in
Chinese investments into the
island are regulated strictly because mainland China is still
considered a political enemy
despite growing trade and economic ties since the late 2000s.
China deems Taiwan a renegade
province and has not ruled out
the use of force to take it back,
particularly if the island makes a
move toward independence.
Yesterday at a university event
in Taipei, Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma started a
speech by remarking on Alibaba’s situation: “It’s very strange.
In China, we’re viewed as a foreign company. In Taiwan, we’re
seen as a Chinese company.”
Alibaba has been fined
$3,824 and must withdraw
or transfer its holdings from
its operation in Taiwan,
acting executive secretary
for the Investment
Commission, said
Ma did not elaborate on his
company’s relations with authorities in Taiwan, where he
is viewed as a celebrity among
the young because of his business success and affable manner
in his public speaking engagements.
The Alibaba Group on Monday
said it intends to set up a T$10bn
fund to support the growth of
entrepreneur-run businesses in
Chang said the Investment
Commission had been looking
into the Alibaba situation since
September and had requested
documents from the company
to clarify its shareholding, but
those documents had not been
“We will actively communicate with the authority and
provide the required supporting
materials to comply with the latest requirements,” Alibaba said
in a statement late on Monday.
“Since Alibaba Group, the
parent company of Alibaba.
com, went public in the US last
September, the authority took a
different view about the internal
structure of Alibaba Group and
deemed it as a mainland Chinese
The Chinese e-commerce
giant entered Taiwan in 2008
through Singapore-registered Singapore E-commerce Private Ltd, which Alibaba says established operations in
Taiwan in accordance to regulations at the time.
The company said it will continue to clarify the issues and, if
necessary, will take proper actions to protect the legitimate
interests of
Sydney but were more varied in other
Balancing this concern, the bank has
been keen to see the Australian dollar
drop further from its historic highs of
recent years. It reiterated yesterday
that the currency was “above most
estimates of its fundamental value”.
“A lower exchange rate is likely to be
needed to achieve balanced growth in
the economy,” it said.
Keeping rates on hold saw the
currency rise to 78.28 US cents from
77.69 US cents.
Greg Gibbs, head of Asia Pacific
markets strategy at RBS, said the
statement gave “unusually clear
guidance.... that they are highly likely
to cut again”.
“By providing this guidance it appears
the RBA is keen to keep a lid on the
Australian dollar,” Gibbs said.
ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan
said the central bank’s strong
easing bias suggested a cut at the
next meeting in April. “Recent data
suggests that more easing may be
required beyond April if the economy
cannot generate the growth in
activity necessary to stabilise the
unemployment rate,” he said.
Stevens said last month that the RBA
was conscious that interest rate cuts
could be less effective than in the past
in summoning additional growth in
The central bank has already
cut forecasts for 2015 economic
growth and inflation and warned
unemployment will likely rise as the
economy transitions away from a
mining investment boom.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics
releases first quarter gross domestic
product data today.
Sharp to tap banks for
second bailout in 3 yrs
fades, with growth slowing, inflation
low and unemployment at a more
than 12-year high. The RBA noted that
commodity prices, such as for major
exports iron ore and coal, had slumped
in the past year, while growth in key
market China was also slowing.
Australian stocks, which had been
edging towards the 6,000 point mark
for the first time since 2008 in morning
trade, fell on the announcement.
Amid fears that a fresh rate cut would
inflame an already booming property
market, the RBA noted that dwelling
prices continued to rise strongly in
apan’s loss-making Sharp Corp will
seek new funds for further restructuring from its two main lenders, a
source with direct knowledge of the matter said, with a debt-to-equity swap seen
by bankers as the most feasible option.
In what would be its second bailout
in three years despite extensive restructuring, the electronics manufacturer
is hoping to raise as much as ¥200bn
($1.7bn), most of it through a debt-equity
exchange, the Nikkei business daily reported.
Shares in the company, which last
month warned of its third annual net loss
in four years and said it was working on
a fresh plan to overhaul its businesses,
tumbled as much as 10%.
Fierce competition from Apple Inc,
Samsung Electronics Co as well as cheaper Chinese makers has hammered Japan’s
once mighty consumer electronics firms.
But while rivals like Panasonic Corp and
Sony Corp have made progress in turning around some operations, Sharp, once
Apple’s most favoured screen supplier,
has not.
“It looks difficult for the company to
survive on its own (even after an aid package),” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund
manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management,
adding that the company had made a
huge mistake in banking its growth plans
on small to mid-sized flat panels whose
prices fall 20 to 30% a year.
“In the end, Sharp may have to obtain
support from some company,” he said.
Sharp is looking to request aid from
Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and plans to meet with the
lenders this week, a source with direct
knowledge of the matter told Reuters, declining to be identified because a formal
decision has not been made.
Sharp said in a statement it was con-
sidering various options but that nothing was decided. Representatives for
both banks said Sharp has yet to make a
Banking sources said a debt-to-equity
swap was the most realistic option, given
that Sharp raised over ¥100bn through
new share issues in 2013 and that it has
some $8bn in outstanding debt.
But they added that no decisions had
been made to proceed along those lines or
on any potential funding amount.
In addition to a $1.3bn debt-to-equity
exchange, Sharp may close up to four
plants, exit its solar panel business and
seek funds from other electronics firms
such as Samsung, which holds a 3% stake,
domestic media said.
Its net loss for the year ending in March
is set to balloon from an earlier forecast of
a ¥30bn loss, with the Nikkei reporting
a loss of more than ¥100bn while Kyodo
news agency said it was likely to be near
In its profit warning last month, Sharp
said it would unveil a new business plan
in May after a supply glut had squeezed
sales of its smartphone displays in China, the business line it had counted on
for growth. Screens account for roughly
around four fifths of its operating profit.
In recent years, Sharp has cut thousands of jobs and withdrawn from solar
panel production in Europe – moves that
followed a ¥360bn bailout from its banks
in 2012. It has also taken in equity investments from Samsung and Qualcomm Inc.
Underlining Sharp’s fall from grace,
rival screen supplier Japan Display last
month booked a stronger-than-expected
rise in quarterly profit on higher demand
from Apple and Chinese smartphone
Japan Display is also looking at building a plant to supply smartphone screens
for Apple and is negotiating with the US
company for investment in the project,
a person familiar with the situation has
Canon has funds for more
acquisitions, says CEO
anon Inc Chief Executive Fujio Mitarai said his
company had the funds and willingness for more
acquisitions this year after a planned 23.6bn Swedish crown ($2.8bn) takeover of network video surveillance
leader Axis AB.
Mitarai has been leading efforts to find higher-growth
businesses to complement Canon’s imaging expertise, and
help the Japanese company expand beyond a camera market under attack from smartphones sporting competitive
image-capturing capabilities.
Canon’s offer for Axis represented a premium of nearly
50% to the stock price before the announcement, a price
some analysts said was high enough to ward off rival bids.
“If you buy a cheap company, you need to spend on
drastic restructuring,” Mitarai told Reuters in an interview
yesterday. “I only buy good companies, even if they’re
Canon, which earned over 80% of revenue overseas
in 2014, said it would pay for its biggest purchase ever in
cash. It held ¥845bn ($7.05bn) in cash and cash equivalents
at the end of December.
Mitarai said Axis’ high growth would help Canon recover its cash position in two to three years. He said the pair
plans to come up with a long-term growth strategy in the
next two to three months.
He also said the company was interested in acquiring
more businesses serving other businesses – or “B-to-B”
companies – so it can expand further beyond consumertargeted cameras.
“We have room to buy and plenty of willingness to buy. The
question is whether there are appropriate targets,” he said.
Canon reported a slight increase in fourth-quarter operating profit, as a depreciating yen and rising sales of office equipment such as photo copiers offset weakness in
cameras. It also announced an increase in its regular divi-
Rising rates in Singapore
sting mortgage borrowers
Mitarai: Exploring higher-growth businesses.
dend. Asked whether Canon could cancel treasury shares
to further increase returns to shareholders, Mitarai said
there were no plans to do so as the global economy had not
fully recovered from the financial crisis.
“We are not considering cancelling now,” he said. “Ever
since the ‘Lehman shock’ global financial markets are still
carrying risk,” Mitarai said, referring to the bank collapse
widely regarded as triggering the crisis.
Japan’s government has been calling on companies to
improve return on equity (ROE) and attract more foreign
investment. But Mitarai, who headed the Keidanren business lobby from 2006 to 2010, said he could not fully endorse a push to boost ROE alone.
“Until we make a complete recovery from ‘Lehman
shock’, my priority will be to protect the company by deliberately securing a high capital ratio and ensuring it can
run on its own funds,” he said.
he era of ultra-easy money is
drawing to an end for Singapore
mortgage holders, with domestic
interest rates rising at their fastest pace
in a decade in a country that already
ranks among the world’s most expensive places to live.
The three-month Singapore interbank offered rate (Sibor), used to set
floating-rate mortgages, climbed to
0.78756% yesterday. It has gained 33
basis points so far this year, exceeding all the annual increases since 2005.
Analysts expect the rate to end 2015 at
around 1%. The surge has been fuelled
by the Singapore dollar’s weakness
against the greenback. A softer Singapore dollar can put upward pressure
on local interest rates as investors seek
higher yields as compensation for holding a weakening currency.
Exacerbating the Singapore dollar’s
fall and boosting Sibor, the central bank
in late January allowed the currency
to appreciate at a slower pace. Most
economists polled by Reuters expect
the Monetary Authority of Singapore
to further ease policy next month. Analysts say three-month Sibor may stabilise as the Singapore dollar adjusts to
the policy shifts. Mortgage borrowers
will probably feel more impact from the
rising Sibor in the second half of 2015,
as interest rates on mortgages tend to
be set every three months, said Michael
Wan, an economist at Credit Suisse.
Singapore’s real estate has already
been stung by government measures
aimed at cooling the market, particularly in the high-end private-homes
segment. Higher mortgage rates will
dampen the broader home market
dominated by government-built housing now in the private sector and owned
by ordinary Singaporeans. The impact
on discretionary spending by households will likely be more evident in the
second half, Wan said.
The outstanding amount of household mortgages rose nearly 37% to
S$216.7bn ($158.84bn) at the end of
2014 from 2010 in a period of near
zero interest rates. A typical floatingrate loan for a government-built flat is
worth about S$300,000 with a tenure
of around 25 years.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 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
Securities Group Co
Viva Kuwait Telecom 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
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Company Name
Exxon Mobil Corp
Microsoft Corp
Johnson & Johnson
General Electric Co
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Chevron Corp
Procter & Gamble Co/The
Jpmorgan Chase & Co
Verizon Communications Inc
Intl Business Machines Corp
Pfizer Inc
Coca-Cola Co/The
At&T Inc
Merck & Co. Inc.
Intel Corp
Walt Disney Co/The
Visa Inc-Class A Shares
Cisco Systems Inc
Home Depot Inc
United Technologies Corp
Mcdonald’s Corp
Boeing Co/The
American Express Co
3M Co
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Unitedhealth Group Inc
Nike Inc -Cl B
Du Pont (E.I.) De Nemours
Caterpillar Inc
Travelers Cos Inc/The
Lt Price
% Chg
FTSE 100
Company Name
Wpp Plc
Wolseley Plc
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
Whitbread Plc
Weir Group Plc/The
Vodafone Group Plc
United Utilities Group Plc
Unilever Plc
Tullow Oil Plc
Tui Travel Plc
Travis Perkins Plc
Tesco Plc
Standard Life Plc
Standard Chartered Plc
St James’s Place Plc
Sse Plc
Sports Direct International
Smiths Group Plc
Smith & Nephew Plc
Shire Plc
Severn Trent Plc
Schroders Plc
Sainsbury (J) Plc
Sage Group Plc/The
Sabmiller Plc
Rsa Insurance Group Plc
Royal Mail Plc
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-B Shs
Royal Dutch Shell Plc-A Shs
Royal Bank Of Scotland Group
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc
Rio Tinto Plc
Reed Elsevier Plc
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc
Randgold Resources Ltd
Prudential Plc
Petrofac Ltd
Persimmon Plc
Pearson Plc
Old Mutual Plc
Next Plc
National Grid Plc
Mondi Plc
Meggitt Plc
Marks & Spencer Group Plc
London Stock Exchange Group
Lloyds Banking Group Plc
Legal & General Group Plc
Land Securities Group Plc
Kingfisher Plc
Johnson Matthey Plc
Itv Plc
Intu Properties Plc
Intl Consolidated Airline-Di
Intertek Group Plc
Intercontinental Hotels Grou
Imperial Tobacco Group Plc
Imi Plc
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hargreaves Lansdown Plc
Hammerson Plc
Glencore Plc
Glaxosmithkline Plc
Gkn Plc
G4s Plc
Friends Life Group Ltd
Fresnillo Plc
Experian Plc
Easyjet Plc
Dixons Carphone Plc
Direct Line Insurance Group
Diageo Plc
Crh Plc
Compass Group Plc
Coca-Cola Hbc Ag-Cdi
Centrica Plc
Carnival Plc
Capita Plc
Burberry Group Plc
Bunzl Plc
Bt Group Plc
British Sky Broadcasting Gro
British Land Co Plc
British American Tobacco Plc
Bp Plc
Bhp Billiton Plc
Bg Group Plc
Barclays Plc
Bae Systems Plc
Babcock Intl Group Plc
Aviva Plc
Astrazeneca Plc
Associated British Foods Plc
Ashtead Group Plc
Arm Holdings Plc
Antofagasta Plc
Anglo American Plc
Aggreko Plc
Admiral Group Plc
Aberdeen Asset Mgmt Plc
3I Group Plc
#N/A Invalid Security
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Inpex Corp
Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd
Sekisui House Ltd
Kirin Holdings Co Ltd
Japan Tobacco Inc
Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd
Toray Industries Inc
Asahi Kasei Corp
Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd
Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
Kao Corp
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Astellas Pharma Inc
Eisai Co Ltd
Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd
Fujifilm Holdings Corp
Shiseido Co Ltd
Jx Holdings Inc
Lt Price
% Chg
Lt Price
Dow Jones Indus. Avg
S&P 500 Index
Nasdaq Composite Index
S&P/Tsx Composite Index
Mexico Bolsa Index
Brazil Bovespa Stock Idx
Ftse 100 Index
Cac 40 Index
Dax Index
Ibex 35 Tr
Nikkei 225
Japan Topix
Hang Seng Index
All Ordinaries Indx
Nzx All Index
Bse Sensex 30 Index
Nse S&P Cnx Nifty Index
Straits Times Index
Karachi All Share Index
Jakarta Composite Index
Company Name
Bridgestone Corp
Asahi Glass Co Ltd
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Meta
Sumitomo Metal Industries
Kobe Steel Ltd
Jfe Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd
Sumitomo Electric Industries
Smc Corp
Komatsu Ltd
Kubota Corp
Daikin Industries Ltd
Hitachi Ltd
Toshiba Corp
Mitsubishi Electric Corp
Nidec Corp
Nec Corp
Fujitsu Ltd
Panasonic Corp
Sharp Corp
Sony Corp
Tdk Corp
Keyence Corp
Denso Corp
Fanuc Corp
Rohm Co Ltd
Kyocera Corp
Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd
Nitto Denko Corp
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Nissan Motor Co Ltd
Toyota Motor Corp
Honda Motor Co Ltd
Suzuki Motor Corp
Nikon Corp
Hoya Corp
Canon Inc
Ricoh Co Ltd
Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd
Nintendo Co Ltd
Itochu Corp
Marubeni Corp
Mitsui & Co Ltd
Tokyo Electron Ltd
Sumitomo Corp
Mitsubishi Corp
Aeon Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Gro
Resona Holdings Inc
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdin
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Gr
Bank Of Yokohama Ltd/The
Mizuho Financial Group Inc
Orix Corp
Daiwa Securities Group Inc
Nomura Holdings Inc
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdin
Ms&Ad Insurance Group Holdin
Dai-Ichi Life Insurance
Tokio Marine Holdings Inc
T&D Holdings Inc
Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd
Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd
Sumitomo Realty & Developmen
East Japan Railway Co
West Japan Railway Co
Central Japan Railway Co
Ana Holdings Inc
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
Kddi Corp
Ntt Docomo Inc
Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc
Chubu Electric Power Co Inc
Kansai Electric Power Co Inc
Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc
Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc
Tokyo Gas Co Ltd
Secom Co Ltd
Yamada Denki Co Ltd
Fast Retailing Co Ltd
Softbank Corp
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Zee Entertainment Enterprise
Wipro Ltd
Ultratech Cement Ltd
Tech Mahindra Ltd
Tata Steel Ltd
Tata Power Co Ltd
Tata Motors Ltd
Tata Consultancy Svcs Ltd
Sun Pharmaceutical Indus
State Bank Of India
Sesa Sterlite Ltd
Reliance Industries Ltd
Punjab National Bank
Power Grid Corp Of India Ltd
Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd
Ntpc Ltd
Nmdc Ltd
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd
Lupin Ltd
Larsen & Toubro Ltd
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd
Itc Ltd
Infosys Ltd
Indusind Bank Ltd
Idfc Ltd
Icici Bank Ltd
Housing Development Finance
Hindustan Unilever Ltd
Hindalco Industries Ltd
Hero Motocorp Ltd
Hdfc Bank Limited
Hcl Technologies Ltd
Grasim Industries Ltd
Gail India Ltd
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
Dlf Ltd
Coal India Ltd
Cipla Ltd
Cairn India Ltd
Bharti Airtel Ltd
Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd
Bharat Heavy Electricals
Bank Of Baroda
Bajaj Auto Ltd
Axis Bank Ltd
Asian Paints Ltd
Ambuja Cements Ltd
Acc Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
A trader stands under the German share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The DAX closed down 1.14%
at 11,280.36 points yesterday.
Europe markets fall; eyeing
central bank stimulus
urope’s main stock markets
slipped yesterday after recent
strong gains, with traders sitting
tight as the eurozone awaits fresh central bank stimulus.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.74% to close at 6,889.13
points after reaching a record intraday high on Monday.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index sank 1.14%
to close at 11,280.36 points, and in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.98% to 4,869.25
The euro increased to $1.1214 from
$1.1182 late in New York on Monday.
“Equities have surged higher in recent weeks on hopes central banks’
record low interest rates, combined
with the use of unconventional policy
tools such as quantitative easing, will
continue to drive yield-seeking investors into the stock markets and provide
stimulus for economic growth,” said
Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at trading group.
The European Central Bank will unveil tomorrow the details of the bond
purchase programme it is embarking
on later this month.
Greece is also likely to be at the top
of the agenda after the recent eurozone
deal to extend the aid programme for
the debt-wracked country, followed
by the latest talk of a possible third
bailout, according to Spain’s economy
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development yesterday said it
would begin funding critically needed
investment in cash-strapped Greece as
Athens nears the end of a massive bailout programme.
The EBRD said the programme
would cover the next five years until
2020 but declined to give a figure for
its potential investment after reports it
could be as much as €1.0bn.
European markets also ended the
day following a slump in US stocks
after the key indices climbed to fresh
heights on Monday.
Around mid-day in New York the
Dow Jones Industrial Average was
down 0.77% at 18,147.70 points, and
the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.64%
to 2,103.76 points, after both finished
at records on Monday.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite
Index fell 0.83% to 4,966.66 points,
the day after topping 5,000 for the first
time in 15 years.
On the banking front in London,
shares in Barclays closed down 3.22%
to 254.30 pence after the embattled
British bank said it had fallen into a net
loss last year, hit by huge costs linked to
Company Name
Aluminum Corp Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of East Asia
Bank Of China Ltd-H
Bank Of Communications Co-H
Belle International Holdings
Boc Hong Kong Holdings Ltd
Cathay Pacific Airways
Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd
China Coal Energy Co-H
China Construction Bank-H
China Life Insurance Co-H
China Merchants Hldgs Intl
China Mobile Ltd
China Overseas Land & Invest
China Petroleum & Chemical-H
China Resources Enterprise
China Resources Land Ltd
China Resources Power Holdin
China Shenhua Energy Co-H
China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd
Citic Ltd
Clp Holdings Ltd
Cnooc Ltd
Cosco Pacific Ltd
Esprit Holdings Ltd
Fih Mobile Ltd
Hang Lung Properties Ltd
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
Henderson Land Development
its alleged role in the rigging of foreign
exchange markets.
“The additional foreign exchange
provision is unwelcome, whilst other
regulatory discussions which may lead
to further fines lurk in the background,”
said Richard Hunter, head of equities at
Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.
On the other hand in Lisbon, shares
in Portuguese banks BPI and BCP soared
following the publication of a letter
showing that businesswoman Isabel
Dos Santos, daughter of the Angolan
president, proposed studying a possible
merger of the pair, which would create
the largest private bank in Portugal.
On the Lisbon exchange yesterday
shares in BPI surged 9.04% while BCP
climbed 2.40%, with the PSI Index
overall slumping 0.34%.
Dos Santos, who holds an 18.6%
stake in BPI, is making a countermove
to a takeover bid by Spain’s CaixaBank,
BPI’s top stockholder with 44.1% of
The Angolanbnaire said in her letter to the presidents of the three banks
that the Spanish bank’s bid “does not
reflect correctly the value” of BPI or
“its growth potential”.
Also on the upside in London, British American Tobacco shares rose
0.28% to 3,767 pence after it outlined
plans to take control of its Brazilian
unit Souza Cruz.
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Hong Kong & China Gas
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clear
Hsbc Holdings Plc
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
Ind & Comm Bk Of China-H
Li & Fung Ltd
Mtr Corp
New World Development
Petrochina Co Ltd-H
Ping An Insurance Group Co-H
Power Assets Holdings Ltd
Sino Land Co
Sun Hung Kai Properties
Swire Pacific Ltd-A
Tencent Holdings Ltd
Wharf Holdings Ltd
Lt Price
% Chg
Doha Securities Market
Saudi Tadawul
Kuwait Stocks Exchange
Bahrain Stock Exchage
Oman Stock Market
Abudhabi Stock Market
Dubai Financial Market
Lt Price
“Information contained herein is believed to be reliable and had been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The
accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. This publication is for providing information only and is not intended
as an offer or solicitation for a purchase or sale of any of the financial instruments mentioned. Gulf Times and Doha Bank
or any of their employees shall not be held accountable and will not accept any losses or liabilities for actions based on
this data.”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Asia markets
struggle as
Wall St rally
Employees pass through a security check at the National Stock Exchange in Mumbai. The Nifty increased 0.4% to a record 8,996.25 points yesterday.
India’s Nifty hits record
high; rupee weakens
ndian stocks rose, with the CNX Nifty
index topping 9,000 mark for the first
time, amid expectations that Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s first full budget
will make the South Asian nation the fastest growing in the world.
Reliance Industries, the owner of the
world’s largest refining complex, climbed
the most in year as CLSA Asia-Pacific
Markets advised investors to buy.
Tata Consultancy Services surged to an
all-time high, leading Tata group companies higher. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries gained to a two-week high after buying GlaxoSmithKline’s opiates business in
The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose
0.5% to 29,593.73 at the close, a onemonth high, while the Nifty increased
0.4% to a record 8,996.25.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday projected a wider fiscal deficit and
boosted funding for infrastructure by
25% to $11.3bn, in an effort to boost Asia’s
third-biggest economy.
“People are digesting the complex
budget and seeing good things from
it,” Jim O’Neill, the former chairman of
Goldman Sachs Asset Management and
a Bloomberg View columnist, said in an
interview to Bloomberg TV India today.
“There’s quite a lot of potentially very important things in the medium to long term
that will positively benefit India.
This is helping sentiments get better
and better.”
Spending on roads, ports and power
plants will climb 25% from the amount
actually delivered in the year ending on
March 31, Jaitley said. India’s economy
is projected to grow as much as 8.5% in
the year starting April 1, according to the
latest government estimates, the fastest
pace among the world’s biggest emerging
In comparison, China’s government
may set a growth target of about 7% for
this year, the official Xinhua News Agency
The forecast, which would be below
the 2014 target, may be announced at the
start of the National People’s Congress on
“We might be in the very early stages
Emerging stocks ease
to one-week low
merging stocks eased to a
one-week low yesterday,
developed peers, though currencies traded mixed despite the
dollar index easing off 11-year
The overall emerging share index fell 0.2%, dragged down by
Chinese stocks falling 2.6% on
a raft of new initial public offerings that have fanned concerns
about tighter liquidity.
In Russia, dollar-denominated and rouble-based stocks rose
as much as 1.9%, getting a helping hand from oil rising above
$60 per barrel and progress in
talks over gas supplies from
Moscow to Kiev. The rouble also
strengthened against the greenback.
Ukrainian dollar bond prices
rose by 0.7-1.5 cents in the dollar and yield spreads over US
Treasuries were at their tightest
since mid-February after parliament approved a raft of austerity
measures on Monday afternoon.
Kiev hopes this will help it
clinch a $17.5bn bailout package
to pull the country back from the
brink of bankruptcy.
Polish stocks eased, while
the zloty traded flat against the
euro as the central bank started a
two-day meeting.
A Reuters poll showed the
bank is widely expected to cut
rates by 25 basis points to counter a long decline in consumer
of India having multiple years of growth
above the Chinese level,” O’Neill said. “If
that is the case, people might be gradually
re-rating their GDP and their earnings
Reliance surged 4.2%, the most since
March 2014. The stock trades at 11.3 times
projected 12-month earnings, a 32% discount to the Sensex, after lagging behind
the 41% advance in the Sensex over the
past year. CLSA analyst Vikash Kumar
Jain advised investors to buy “this weakness” in the stock.
The shares can rally 39% over the next
12 months, Jain estimates.
Tata Consultancy advanced 4% to an
all-time high. Tata Metaliks soared 16%,
the most since October 22. Tata Elxsi Ltd
jumped the by limit 20%. Tata Sponge
Iron increased 18%, the most since July
24. Tata Global Beverages jumped 3.3%.
Sun Pharmaceutical rose to its highest level since February 5, while Cipla increased 2.1%. Housing Development Finance Corp, the biggest mortgage lender,
climbed 2.1%.
Mahindra & Mahindra, the largest maker of tractors, dropped 3.6% after sales fell
10% last month. Tata Motors, owner of
Jaguar Land Rover, slid 1.9% after it said
JLR India sales declined to 179 units in
February from 190 a year earlier.
Foreigners bought a net $79.2mn of local shares on March 1, taking this year’s
inflows to $4.5bn, the second- highest
among eight Asian markets tracked by
Bloomberg, after Taiwan.
The Sensex has gained 7.6% this
year and trades at 16.6 times projected
12-month earnings, compared with the
MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s multiple
of 11.8.
Meanwhile the rupee weakened to
61.9150/9250 per dollar versus Monday’s
close of 61.8650/8750 per dollar, as dollar
purchases by importers offset dollar sales
by foreign banks amid a rise in the NSE
share index to a record high.
The benchmark 10-year bond yield
ended up 1 basis point at 7.75% as uncertainty over when RBI may ease rates
dampened sentiment.
The benchmark five-year rate ended up
5 basis points at 7.10%, while the one-year
rate gained 2 basis points to 7.76%.
India’s one-day cash rate rose
to 7.35/7.40% vs Monday’s close of
sian equities were
mostly lower yesterday after healthy gains
in the previous session attracted profit-takers, offsetting a strong lead from Wall
Shanghai tumbled 2.20%,
or 73.24 points, to 3,263.05
after rallying Monday in response to the Chinese central
bank’s weekend interest rate
cut. Hong Kong shed 0.74%,
or 184.66 points, to end at
Tokyo closed flat, slipping 0.06% or 11.72 points to
Monday at a seven-year high—
fell 0.42%, or 24.98 points,
to 5,933.90 after the Australian central bank kept interest
rates on hold, confounding expectations for a cut to another
record low.
However, Seoul finished
0.23%, or 4.57 points, higher
at 2,001.38.
In other markets, Wellington was flat, edging up 0.99
points to 5,893.67; Contact
Energy rose 0.33% to NZ$6.11
and market heavyweight
Fletcher Building was unchanged at NZ$8.63.
higher, putting on 4.41 points
to 9.605.77; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co
rose 1.01% to Tw$150.5 while
smartphone maker HTC fell
3.02%to Tw$144.5.
Manila was marginally
higher, ticking up 2.59 points
to 7,776.51; Philippine Long
Distance Telephone fell 0.13%
to 3,096 pesos while GT Capital Holdings rose 3.87% to
1,260 pesos.
Singapore closed up 0.54%,
or 18.22 points, to 3,422.11;
oil rig maker Keppel Corp
rose 0.91% to Sg$8.84 while
DBS Bank declined 0.10% to
Jakarta edged down 3.21
points to 5,474.62; auto maker
Astra International gained
1.59% to 8,000 rupiah, while
cigarette maker Gudang Garam fell 0.05% to 55,000 rupiah.
0.23%, or 4.12 points, to
Banking rose 1.63% to 9.35 ringgit, AMMB Holdings went
up 0.94% to 6.43 while Sime
Darby dropped 0.64% to 9.32
Bangkok slid 1.22%, or 19.30
points, to 1,562.84; Bank of
Ayudhya fell 7.88% to 55.50
baht, while oil company PTT
Exploration and Production
dropped 3.06% to 111baht.
US shares added to their
six-year bull run Monday,
with the Dow and S&P 500
again ending at record highs,
while the Nasdaq surged above
5,000 for the first time since
2000, when the dot-com bubble burst.
jumped 0.90%, the Dow rose
0.86% and the S&P advanced
The gains came on a stream
of merger announcements,
including the $16.7bn acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor by NXP Semiconductor, in
a deal that links two Nasdaq
On currency markets, the
dollar fetched ¥119.76, down
from ¥120.17 in New York,
while the euro rose to $1.1194
from $1.1182.
The greenback was also at
6.2748 yuan, against 6.2850 in
US trade, levels not seen since
October 2012 and well up from
6.2668 on Friday before the
rate cut.
In Sydney investors reversed early gains after the
Reserve bank of Australia held
rates at record lows.
“The market was expecting another cut and because
that didn’t come through, and
given that the RBA didn’t deliver, you’re getting a selloff,”
Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based
head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors,
told Bloomberg News.
Dollar bulls undone as Yellen turns foe, not friend
Janet Yellen is turning from
currency traders’ best friend to
their biggest foe.
The most popular trade in the
$5.3tn-a-day foreign-exchange
market has been betting on
a stronger dollar, leaving
investors exposed when the
Federal Reserve chair damped
speculation last month of an
imminent increase to interest
As the dollar slowed its advance,
an index of currency returns
snapped a record winning
streak, prompting traders to
reassess how much higher the
greenback can go.
“Currency managers had been
doing well because they’ve been
long dollars, and the dollar had
been pretty much on a straightline trajectory higher,” said
Adam Cole, the global head of
currency strategy at RBC Capital
Markets in London. The dollar’s
slowdown is “a major factor
behind returns looking less
positive,” he said.
While Bloomberg’s Dollar Spot
Index climbed to a record on
Tuesday, the measure is rising
at the slowest pace since June
and speculators including
hedge funds are paring bets
on how much the currency will
Yellen told Congress last
week she won’t be locked
into a timetable for boosting
borrowing costs, just days after
minutes of the Fed’s January
meeting underlined the damage
a stronger dollar can do to the
As the dollar slowed its advance, an index of currency returns snapped a record
winning streak, prompting traders to reassess how much higher the greenback can go
Parker Global Strategies’gauge
of 14 top currency funds fell
0.1% in February, ending seven
months of gains, the longest run
in data going back to 2003. The
index rose to a 3 1/2-year high
in January as investors boosted
long- dollar positions, or bets the
US currency would appreciate.
That wager worked out until the
Fed undermined speculation it
was planning to raise its zeroto-0.25% target rate in the next
couple of policy meetings.
The minutes of its more recent
gathering, published February
18, described the strong dollar as
“a persistent source of restraint”
on US exports, while Yellen
told lawmakers on February
24-25 not to assume an increase
was imminent if the Fed drops
a pledge to be “patient” on
tightening policy.
The resulting pause in the
dollar “accounts for some of
that disappointment in the
performance” of foreignexchange funds, said Ian
Stannard, Morgan Stanley’s head
of European currency strategy
in London.
Longer-term, though, he said the
strong-dollar “trend should stay
in place,” and predicted a gain of
about 20% on a trade-weighted
basis during the next three
Bloomberg’s dollar index - which
tracks the greenback against 10
major peers including the euro,
yen and pound - rose 0.4% last
month, the smallest advance
since it declined in June. The
gauge had surged 16% from the
middle of last year through the
end of January. On Tuesday,
it edged to its highest level
since data began in 2004. The
prospect of the Fed’s first rate
increase in almost a decade has
lured cash to the dollar as other
central banks across the globe
Policy makers from the
euro region to China and
Canada have been lowering
borrowing costs or circulating
unprecedented amounts of
money in their economies,
which tends to debase their
The dollar is forecast to
strengthen versus all but
four of its 31 major peers by
December 31, according to
strategist estimates compiled
by Bloomberg. At the end of last
year, it was predicted to drop
against 13 of them.
Still, traders have pushed out
their expectations for a Fed rate
increase, which is lessening
the currency price swings that
traders exploit for profit.
JPMorgan Chase & Co’s index of
anticipated global volatility fell
to a low for the year of 8.93% on
February 25, based on closing
prices. The measure peaked
at a 1 1/2-year high of 11.52% in
January and was at 9.34% as of
7:13 a.m. in New York.
Futures prices signal a 17%
chance policy makers will
boost rates to at least 0.5% by
June, down from 44% odds six
months ago, data compiled by
Bloomberg show.
For the dollar to make the
“next leg” higher, investors
would need to “bring forward
their expectations for the first
rate hike,” Peter Dragicevich,
a strategist at Commonwealth
Bank of Australia in London, said
by phone on Monday.
While bullish-dollar bets remain
the biggest position in the
market, investors are reducing
the amount they’re speculating,
according to data from the
Commodity Futures Trading
Commission in Washington.
Net longs on the dollar versus
eight major peers fell for the
past three weeks to 404,276
contracts as of February. 27,
down from a record 448,675 in
“They’ve been taking risk off the
table because they’re seeing
no clear or strong direction by
the Fed that rates are going
higher sooner than later,” said
Paresh Upadhyaya, the Bostonbased director of currency
strategy at Pioneer Investment
Management, which oversees
about $250bn. “There’s been
some frustration.”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Barclays bank slides into annual net loss on huge costs
“Often a high yield reflects risk, however, in our view the cash
generating ability of Taylor Wimpey has never been stronger and
it remains wedded to its soft volume cap of 14,000 units, which
provided strong dividend visibility in current market conditions,”
they said. Housebuilding has moved up the political agenda in
Britain ahead of a general election in May, as the supply of new
homes continues to lag demand.
The ruling Conservative Party said on Monday that 200,000
homes would be made available to first-time buyers in England
by 2020 if it won the election, while the opposition Labour Party
also said housing would be a top priority.
Barclays fell into a net loss last year, the British bank said yesterday, hit by huge costs linked to its alleged role in the rigging of
foreign exchange markets.
Barclays reported a loss after tax of £174mn ($268mn, €239mn)
for 2014 compared with a net profit of £540mn the previous year.
It has set aside £1.25bn “for ongoing investigations and litigation
relating to Foreign Exchange”, including £750mn for the final
quarter of 2014, the bank said in an earnings statement.
Barclays had announced in October a provision of £500mn for
any eventual costs and fines linked to the probes.
The latest announcement from Barclays—which was at the heart
also of the 2012 Libor interest-rate rigging scandal—comes as global regulators investigate the alleged rigging of foreign exchange
markets around the world.
In Britain, watchdogs the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial
Conduct Authority have launched probes into the alleged manipulation of the £3tn-a-day forex market.
“We remain focussed on addressing outstanding conduct issues,
including those relating to Foreign Exchange trading,” chief
executive Antony Jenkins said in yesterday’s results statement.
“I regard the behaviour at the centre of these investigations as
wholly incompatible with our values, and I share the frustration of
colleagues and shareholders that matters like these continue to
cast a shadow over our business.”
Barclays, which has been plagued by scandals in recent years, set
aside another £200mn for compensation costs arising from the
mis-selling of payment protection insurance.
The bank added yesterday that adjusted pre-tax profit—after
stripping out charges and other exceptional items—rose 12% to
£5.5bn in 2014.
Jenkins launched plans in May to shrink Barclays’ investment
bank in a radical restructuring which will axe 19,000 jobs across
the group by 2016, as he shakes up the scandal-tainted company.
The Libor scandal meanwhile erupted when Barclays was fined
£290mn in 2012 by British and US regulators for attempted
manipulation of Libor and Euribor interbank rates between 2005
and 2009.
The scandal sparked the resignations of three Barclays senior
board members, including ex-chief executive Bob Diamond, who
was formerly head of the investment bank unit.
Best Buy
Best Buy Co, the largest US consumer electronics chain, yesterday reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on a
strong holiday season and said it would buy back stock for the
first time since 2012.
Chief Executive Officer Hubert Joly said on a conference call that
Best Buy planned this year to start a cost-cutting effort to save
$400mn over the next three years. It will also focus on improving merchandising, opening new store-in-store formats under
its television and kitchen businesses and increase private-label
products this fiscal year.
Best Buy authorized a $1bn share buyback over three years and
announced a special dividend of about $180mn, or 51 cents per
share, from proceeds from settlements of a lawsuit on price-fixing
of TFT-LCD panels.
Best Buy’s sales at stores open at least a year increased 2% during
the fourth quarter ended on January 31, slightly more than the
1.9% rise estimated by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.
US same-store sales rose 2.8%, the second straight quarter of
growth after three quarters of decline.
Net income attributable to Best Buy shareholders jumped to
$519mn, or $1.46 per share, from $293mn, or 83 cents per share, a
year earlier.
Excluding special items, the company earned $1.48 per share
from continuing operations. Analysts on average had expected
$1.35, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said it benefited from increased sales of highermargin products such as large-screen TVs and mobile phones
during the holiday shopping season.
Revenue rose about 1% to $14.21bn. Analysts had expected
A 15% rise in earnings at Glencore’s trading division partially offset
a hit last year from the slide in commodity prices, leaving the mining company’s core profit just two% lower.
Swiss-based Glencore makes about a quarter of its earnings from
commodities trading, which differentiates it from mining rivals
and has allowed it to withstand a steep fall in oil and metal prices
slightly better than its peers.
Glencore posted 2014 adjusted earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $12.8bn, in line with
expectations. Earnings at its trading division rose to $3.0 while
mining earnings fell 7% to $9.8bn.
The company has also been helped by its relatively small
exposure to iron ore, the first major commodity to start a violent
downward spiral two years ago.
Still, the more widespread slide in oil and metals prices last year
forced Glencore to take a $1.1bn accounting hit, with about half
stemming from a pause in the development of iron ore projects it
inherited from Xstrata in 2013.
The rest of the charge was largely due to an oil exploration
project in Cameroon and lower platinum prices.
Glencore is more heavily exposed to oil, coal and other metals
such as copper, and they have caught up more recently with the
trend set by iron ore. Glencore’s shares slumped to a record low in
January after copper prices plunged.
“We still believe we have exposure to the right commodities,”
Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg told Reuters. “We know there are
a lot of traders and hedge funds shorting copper at the moment
but we think this should not last.”
“Because of the resilience of the trading division our earnings are
down only a little, much better than our peers in the industry,” he
said in a telephone interview.
The company announced a full-year dividend of $0.18 per share,
nine% higher than the year before though also in line with
expectations. Some of the assets Glencore inherited from Xstrata
after it took it over the rival mining company in 2013 have proved
loss-making and difficult to manage.
Besides the iron projects, the Koniambo nickel mine in the South
Pacific territory of New Caledonia has suffered technical setbacks
while an inherited stake in platinum producer Lonmin has lost
roughly half of its value since 2013.
Eager to get out of the platinum market, Glencore announced
last month its intention to distribute its 23.9% stake in Lonmin to
Travis Perkins
Travis Perkins, Britain’s biggest supplier of building materials, cautioned that trade could be disrupted ahead of the May 7 general
election as customers hold back on big purchase decisions.
The group, which runs 18 brands including Travis Perkins, Wickes,
City Plumbing, Keyline, Tile Giant and BSS, across 1,900 UK outlets, said that if previous national elections were anything to go
by, the six to eight weeks leading up to the poll were likely to see
more subdued demand.
“Just working on experience of different elections, it just goes a
little bit quiet,” Chief Executive John Carter told Reuters yesterday after Travis Perkins posted a 15% rise in 2014 earnings.
“The important thing is that we are still confident of increasing
our earnings during 2015 by low double digit (percentage),” he
Carter did not specify why customers might hold back on big
purchases, but the level of uncertainty surrounding the election
has not been seen in Britain since the 1970s.
The poll is likely to be the closest in memory because of the rise
of anti-Europeans and Scottish nationalists, with no clear winner
in prospect.
Adjusted earnings per share were 119 pence in 2014, ahead of
an average analyst forecast of 116.3 pence, according to Reuters
data, and 103.6 pence made in 2013.
Adjusted profit before tax rose 12.8% to £362.3mn ($558mn) as
revenue increased 8.4% to £5.6bn, with sales from outlets open
over a year up 7.3%. The firm is paying a total dividend of 38
pence a share, up 22.6%.
About 80% of Travis Perkins’ business comes from the repair,
maintenance and improvement (RMI) market, with the balance
from the new-build market. Carter is one year into a five-year plan
that aims to modernise the group’s main general merchanting
operation, transform Wickes and reconfigure its plumbing and
heating businesses. Travis Perkins entered the FTSE 100 index of
Britain’s largest companies in June last year and its shares have
increased 16% over the last six months.
China’s, the biggest e-commerce rival to Alibaba Group
Holding, posted a 73% rise in revenue for the three months
through December, topping estimates as it expanded sales across
more consumer goods categories.
Revenue for’s fourth quarter rose to $5.6bn versus the
$5.3bn average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Thomson
The Beijing-based company said yesterday it expected revenue of
between 34.8bn yuan and 35.8bn in the first quarter of 2015.
The company moved more goods than ever during the fourth
quarter, which included the annual Chinese shopping extravaganza known as Singles Day, with gross merchandise value reaching
85.8bn yuan, an increase of 119%.
Excluding certain items such as stock-based compensation
expenses, recorded a profit of 83.8mn, with a margin of
0.2%, in line with what executives had forecast. runs second place to Alibaba in China, with little love lost
between the two companies’ founders.
Its business, like’s, is built on selling products it purchases through its own logistics network; Alibaba by contrast has
grown its business quickly by connecting sellers to buyers rather
than stocking its own merchandise., which has sought to differentiate itself by touting the
authenticity of its products, said it is pushing into categories
beyond its traditional stronghold of consumer electronics. The
e-tailer recently inked an exclusive online deal with Maotai, for
instance, to distribute the luxury sorghum spirit across China, a
liquor market wracked with counterfeits.
Seeking a leg up over its much larger competitor, paired
up with Alibaba rival Tencent Holdings Ltd, maker of the popular
Weixin messaging app, to expand its sales on mobile devices. said the value of goods sold over Weixin and Mobile QQ,
another Tencent chat app, doubled from the July to September
quarter, although it declined to specify the exact value.
Taylor Wimpey
British housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it had seen a strong start
to the spring selling season as it posted a 68% rise in 2014 profit
and more than doubled its final dividend.
The company said investments in land over the last five years
were enabling it to improve profitability and returns to shareholders as the market recovered.
“The beginning of spring selling season has seen trading at the
better end of expectations,” Chief Executive Pete Redfern said
Redfern said Taylor Wimpey had improved its operating margin
by 430 basis points to 17.9% in 2014. Adjusted pretax profit came
in at £450.1mn ($691mn), broadly in line with market expectations.
The group, which completed 12,454 homes across the UK in 2014,
proposed a final dividend of 1.32 pence per share, up from 0.47
pence a year ago, in addition to special payouts including 7.68
pence per share payment already announced which will be paid
in July. Redfern said the group would announce another special
dividend at its half-year results of around the same level as the
July payout.
Analysts at Jefferies said the highlight of the results was the
doubling of the dividend.
British interdealer broker Tullett Prebon reported lower-thanexpected full-year revenue, hurt by low interest rates and a
regulatory crackdown on risky trading.
The company said it would not return to shareholders the
$100mn settlement it received for the alleged poaching of its staff
by US rival BGC Partners.
Tullett, whose brokers match buyers and sellers of currencies,
bonds and swaps, said it would use the funds for investments,
including acquisitions.
Tullett’s stock fell as much as 5.2%, making it the biggest percentage loser on the FTSE-250 index yesterday.
Some investors might be disappointed that the award of $100mn
is not finding its way back to investors via a special return,
Liberum analyst Justin Bates wrote in a note.
The company’s revenue fell 12.5% to £703.5mn ($1.1bn) in the
year ended December 31, missing analysts’ average estimate of
£708.4mn, according to Thomson Reuters SmartEstimates, which
is weighted to forecasts by top-rated analysts.
Interdealer brokers’ revenues have slumped in recent years as
their investment banking clients are being forced by regulators to
reduce risky trading activities.
They have also been hit by regulators pushing to make markets
more transparent by getting more derivatives trading onto
electronic platforms.
Paddy Power
Paddy Power will return €392mn ($439mn) to shareholders after
the Irish company could not find any compelling acquisitions to
spend its cash on following a year of record profit growth.
The move to hand shareholders back €8 a share, on top of a 13%
increase in full-year dividends, pushed shares 8% higher and
comes after Chief Executive Andy McCue took over in January
following Patrick Kennedy’s ten years in charge.
The cash return is equivalent to more than 10% of the market
value of the bookmaker and moves it from a net cash position
to one of net debt of around one times earnings before interest,
taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).
“All we’re saying is that right now, nothing looks better than our
organic strategy. That may change,” Chief Financial Officer Cormac McCarthy told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“Giving back money to shareholders and taking on very modest
debt doesn’t mean we’ve no flexibility. We could gear up to three
times, we’re only gearing up to between zero and one times and
that debt will pay down very quickly if we want it to.”
One of the best performing stocks in Europe over the last five
months, Paddy Power shares were 8.65% higher at an all-time
high of €72.9 by 0850 GMT.
McCue, the former head of Paddy Power’s UK and Irish retail
operations, said a business reorganisation would include a moderation in headcount growth, with economies of scale set to fund
increased in-house product development.
Some secondary products including Paddy Power In-Play, a
betting product it sought to roll out on Facebook, have been
Paddy Power will also review its Italian business, which is seeing
slower than expected growth. Asked if the company was committed to Italy which it entered in 2012, McCarthy said it would take
“a good hard look”.
Rotork, a maker of valve controls and actuators, reported a 2.3%
rise in pretax profit, helped by strong sales to power markets.
Shares in the company rose more than 9% in early trading, making it one of the top percentage gainers on the London Stock
Rotork’s full-year pretax profit rose to £141.2mn ($217.28mn) from
£138.0mn a year earlier.
Revenue rose 2.8% to £594.7mn at the company, which makes
valve controls and actuators for oil and gas, water, power and
nuclear plants. Sales to the power market rose 16%, it said.
Rotork, which generated 57% of revenue from the oil and gas sector during the year, said it was yet to see any noticeable impact in
customer orders due to the sharp decline in the oil price.
However, the company warned that the oil and gas sector may
become more challenging in the near term.
The FTSE-250 company also said its chairman of 17 years, Roger
Lockwood, would retire in April, and be replaced by former IMI
chief Martin Lamb.
Lamb was appointed to Rotork’s board in June as a non-executive
Rotork shares were up 6.37% at 2,602 pence at 0839 GMT.
US generic drug maker Mylan is still on the prowl for more deals,
after completing the multibillion-dollar acquisition of some of
Abbott Laboratories’ non-US businesses just last week.
Chief Executive Heather Bresch, on a call after the company
posted fourth-quarter results on Monday, raised the prospect of
another “material transaction” by the end of 2015. She did not
offer details.
The company forecast 2015 revenue of $9.6bn to $10.1bn and
adjusted earnings of $4 to $4.30 per share. Analysts on average
expect revenue of $9.8bn and a profit of $4.16 per share for the
year. In February, Mylan, which also sells specialty products, said
it would buy privately held Indian drugmaker Famy Care’s female
health businesses.
The company said it still expects to launch a generic version of
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ top-selling multiple sclerosis
drug, Copaxone, in the second half of the year, despite a US
Supreme Court ruling in favor of Teva in January.
Net profit attributable to the company’s common shareholders
rose to $189.2mn, or 47 cents per share, in the fourth quarter,
from $180.2mn, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, the company earned $1.05 per share,
matching the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 15% to $2.08bn, edging past the Wall Street estimate of about $2.06bn.
The Abbott deal, unveiled in July, allowed Mylan to purchase
Abbott’s specialty and generics business in developed markets
outside the US, as well as move its tax address to the Netherlands.
Italian eyewear group Luxottica is to more than double its dividend payment to €1.44 per share, it said after reporting a 10% rise
in full-year operating income and record cash flow.
Shares in the maker of Ray Ban and Oakley sunglasses have
gained 23% so far this year, supported by expectations of higher
dividends and a boost to US sales—which account for more than
half of group revenue—from the strong dollar.
Luxottica also said it would ask shareholders to approve a small
buy-back of 2.08% of outstanding shares.
The stock reached a record high of €56 by Monday’s close.
But while the world’s biggest eyewear company was able to crank
up dividends as solid cashflow helped cut debt, some analysts
voiced caution.
Citi said in a report the dividend per share, comprising ordinary
and extraordinary dividends of €72 cents each, might disappoint
as reserves potentially available as dividends left room for up to
€3 per share.
“Whereas fast money might take some profit tomorrow following
the strong rally, our focus is on tomorrow’s investor day and next
week’s roadshow in London,” the broker said, adding there was
room for a fat dividend in 2016.
Luxottica is scheduled to host an investors’ day on Tuesday that
will be the first for the two new CEOs.
The company, controlled by founder Leonardo Del Vecchio, last
year paid a dividend of €65 cents on its 2013 results.
Co-chief executives Massimo Vian and Adil Khan forecast solid
revenue growth this year and an increase in profitability that
would be twice as fast. They reiterated the group target of doubling sales to 15bn euros over the next 10 years.
Sausage-skin maker Devro’s full-year profit slumped, hurt by
costs related to investments in manufacturing technology and
the strength of the pound against various currencies.
Shares in the company fell as much as 9% and were among the
top percentage losers on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
The maker of edible collagen casings for bratwurst, salami and
chorizo said pretax profit fell 94% to £2.2mn ($3.4mn) for the year
ended December 31.
Revenue fell 4% to £232.3mn.
Devro, which earns only about 10% of its revenue in sterling, said
its net foreign exchange loss in 2014 compared with 2013 was
£4.3mn. It expects a further exchange impact of between £1.0mn
and £2.0mn in 2015.
The company said its 2014 effective rate of tax in the Czech
Republic was low as it benefited from an investment incentive
scheme. However, the benefit is likely to end in 2015 due to the
higher profits now generated in the region.
“Whilst underlying momentum is hugely encouraging, the combination of further forex headwind and guidance of higher interest/
tax charge means there is about 7% downside risk to our full year
2015 EPS,” analyst Sahill Shan of N+1 Singer wrote in a note.
The brokerage said it expects Devro’s full-year earnings to be
closer to 15 pence per share for 2015 versus its earlier estimate of
16.1 pence.
The company, which sells collagen products to food manufacturers and in some markets, local distributors, is moving from
higher-cost production lines to new low-cost technology.
Merck KGaA said underlying core profit would rise slightly this
year, or at worst stagnate, as the German firm develops a cancer
treatment and its best-selling drug Rebif battles stiff competition.
Sales of Merck’s multiple sclerosis medicine Rebif slipped 5% in
the last three months of 2014, after adjustments for currency
fluctuations. While this was a smaller decline than expected, the
company predicted more sales falls this year.
The established injectable multiple sclerosis drug is under threat
from new oral treatments for the debilitating disease, such as
Novartis’s Gilenya, Sanofi’s Aubagio and Biogen Idec’s Tecfidera.
Merck, which makes drugs, high-tech chemicals and laboratory
supplies, said fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation, amortisation (EBITDA) and one-off items rose 10.5%
to €878mn ($983mn).
Earnings were lifted by strong demand for the liquid crystals
used in the latest high-definition TVs and mobile devices, and was
above the €870mn expected on average by analysts in a Reuters
Equinet Bank analyst Marietta Miemietz said while the results
were strong the earnings projection was somewhat below her
expectations. She attributed this to higher corporate overhead
costs and an “element of conservatism” on Merck’s part.
After years of setbacks in drug development, Merck scored a
rare success in November when it bagged Pfizer as development
partner for an experimental cancer immunotherapy.
The new cancer treatment is part of a class of drugs known as
anti-PD-L1 therapies which work by blocking a tumour’s ability to
evade the immune system’s defences.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Russia oil
output to
decline by
8% in two
years, says
top Lukoil
Rouble fall makes steel mills
in Russia as world beaters
he collapse of the rouble, which
has pushed up prices for millions of Russians as the economy
slides into recession, hasn’t been bad
for everyone. The country’s steel mills
are suddenly world beaters.
Producers including PAO Severstal
and OAO Novolipetsk Steel pay wages
and other costs, including transportation, in roubles while earning dollars or
euros for exported steel. That’s allowing them to undercut rivals like ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, while maintaining profitability.
“This is fantastic time for the Russian steel industry,” said Kirill Chuyko,
head of equity research as BCS Financial Group. “Most of the companies are
enjoying the best profitability since the
2007 and 2008 pre-crisis commodity
boom due to the rouble’s decline.”
Even before the rouble’s 47% decline last year, the industry was in good
Output in 2014 reached the highest since the global financial crisis as
demand at home was high and started
to recover in European export markets.
Russia’s steelmakers have invested billions in upgrading Soviet-era mills,
and the nation produces more than
any other country in Europe, one of its
main export markets.
Now, the rouble’s slide has cut costs
for Russian mills by almost half in dollar terms.
Making hot rolled coil, a benchmark
product, now costs $244 to $250 a metric ton in Russia compared with $405
per ton in Brazil and $434 per ton in
China, according to CRU Group, an industry consultant.
Russia’s economy may contract 4%
in 2015 after the US and Europe imposed sanctions on the economy and
oil prices fell to about $60 a barrel.
That has yet to feed through to the steel
industry, which isn’t affected by the
measures designed to punish Russian
actions in the Ukraine.
Russia produced 70.65mn tons of
steel last year, the second highest output since the collapse of the Soviet
Union in the early 1990s, World Steel
Association data show. Even as demand
shrinks at home, exports are likely to
A worker watches molten steel fall into the continuous casting machine at the metallurgical mill operated by Novolipetsk Steel in Kaluga, Russia. Producers including
Novolipetsk Steel and Severstal pay wages and other costs, including transportation, in roubles while earning dollars or euros for exported steel.
Steel prices have softened in the past
year, exports of hot-rolled coil from
Russia have dropped more than 27%
in the last 12 months to $382.50 per
ton, according to Metal Bulletin data.
Nonetheless, currency devaluation
means producers have never been more
profitable since at least 2008.
The profit margin for Severstal or
Novolipetsk Steel is near 30%, according to Morgan Stanley, which bases its
estimates on earnings before interest,
tax, depreciation and amortization.
Severstal’s Ebitda margin climbed to
32% in the fourth quarter, the highest
since 2002, when the company started
to report financial results.
“In the condition of falling prices at
export markets, Russian steelmakers
are benefiting due to rouble weakening,” NLMK CFO Grigory Fedorishin
said in an interview.
That’s been reflected in the share
prices of steelmakers. Severstal and
OAO Magnitogorsk have more than
doubled in the last 12 months. NLMK
added 63%. BCS recommended to buy
all Russian steel names last month because domestic prices in Russia are yet
to catch up with exports.
The competitive position of Russian
steelmakers has been noticed by such
rivals as ArcelorMittal, the world’s
largest producer, based in Luxembourg.
“Russian steel exports are very competitive, the rouble has depreciated a
lot,” Aditya Mittal, chief financial officer at ArcelorMittal, said on a conference
call this month. “The Russian economy
has fallen into recession, which means
lower domestic consumption, which
means more tons to exports.
Russian domestic steel demand may
fall by about 7% this year, meaning that
the country may boost exports by as
much as 4mn tons, Dmitry Popov, an
analyst at CRU Group, said by e-mail.
Morgan Stanley estimates Russian steel
export may jump 16% to 28.8mn tonnes
this year, or 44% of output, the bank’s
analysts said in a January 28 report.
That will put strong pressure on
prices in Russia’s traditional export
destinations such as Europe, North
Africa and Middle East as well as new
ones like India, Popov said.
Since Ukraine in a similar position
to Russia – its currency has weakened
66% in 12 month – the two countries
together will help the net steel export
from the former Soviet Union jump
12% this year, according to CRU. Together, Ukraine and Russia account for
16% of global steel exports, second only
to China.
ArcelorMittal will compete because
it has stronger exposure to the high value-added segments such as automotives and appliances, Mittal said.
The rouble has weakened 2.4% this
year against the dollar. First-quarter
cash costs in Russia may decline even
further but it’s hard yet to say how
much the domestic market may shrink
or exports be boosted, Severstal’s management said on a February 18 call.
Moscow sends mixed signals on gas talks with Ukraine
ussia will consider offering
Ukraine a discounted price for
gas but believes Kiev should pay
for supplies to eastern Ukrainian regions controlled by Moscow-backed
rebels, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said yesterday.
The minister’s comments sent mixed
signals about Moscow’s stance in gas
talks between the two countries, which
are complicated by the conflict in eastern Ukraine where the separatist rebels
are fighting government forces.
His remarks on the rebel-held east
may mark a change of position in Moscow, with Kremlin-controlled gas producer Gazprom having recently said
supplies for such regions could be exempted from the contract with Kiev.
Russia meets around a third of Europe’s gas demand and about 40% of
that transits via Ukraine.
Moscow agreed last year to provide a
discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic metres of gas for Ukraine until the end
of the first quarter. Further supplies
are expected to be discussed later this
Novak, fresh from another round of
talks in Brussels mediated by the European Commission, said yesterday
that Moscow could consider another
discount for Ukraine, starting from the
second quarter, through reducing an
export duty on gas.
“We, obviously, will look into the
possibility of providing such a discount, depending on our budget and
market environment,” he told Rossiya
24 TV channel. “In theory, there is such
a possibility... it is a matter of separate agreements.” Novak added that
Moscow would also take into account
a change in contract prices for gas for
Ukraine which are revised regularly
according to a formula pegged to the
prices of crude oil and oil products with
a lag of six to nine months.
“(Oil) prices have fallen and the period that will serve as a basis (for pricing)
saw lower prices of oil and oil products,” he said in an interview.
Ukraine has been paying $329 per
1,000 cubic metres of Russian gas in
the first quarter.
But the minister appeared to take
a less conciliatory stance later in the
day, saying that Kiev should pay for the
supplies of Russian gas to rebel-held
regions of Ukraine.
“That’s because it (gas) is supplied to
the territory of Ukraine. That’s logical,”
Interfax quoted him as saying.
Gazprom started direct supplies to
east Ukraine last month at the pace of
Novak: Considering another discount for Ukraine.
up to 12mn cubic metres per day, saying
that Kiev had halted its own deliveries
A spokesman for Ukrainian gas com-
pany Naftogaz told Reuters yesterday:
“We are paying only for gas which enters Ukraine via already agreed points
of entry.”
ussian oil output will decline by 800,000 barrels
per day (bpd), or around
8%, in the next two years as
companies reduce drilling in Siberia due to low oil prices and
sanctions, a top oil executive told
Leonid Fedun, vice president and a major shareholder
of Russia’s largest private oil
company Lukoil, also said he
expected refining in the country to drop by the same amount
in the next few years due to recent tax changes.
Despite falling oil prices and
adverse economic conditions,
Russian oil output has been rising and increased last year to a
post-Soviet annual record of
10.58mn bpd. Oil and gas sales
account for a half of Russian
budget revenue.
Output from Russia, one of
the world’s biggest oil producers
along with Saudi Arabia and the
US, has been steadily rising since
2009 after a slump the previous
However, Fedun, Lukoil’s
second-largest shareholder after the company’s head Vagit
Alekperov, said he expected production of oil, Russia’s key export commodity, to fall.
“Everyone will reduce production because everyone is reducing drilling,” Fedun said.
The estimate is one of the most
pessimistic yet by a Russian oil
executive since the country was
hit by Western sanctions over
the Ukraine crisis and a steep
drop in oil prices.
Russian President Vladimir
Putin has said he expected the
economy to recover in two years’
Russian oil production,
concentrated in West Siberia,
is expected to remain steady
at between 526 and 528mn
tonnes (10.56-10.60mn bpd)
this year, energy ministry
forecasts show.
The ministry has played down
any major risk to domestic output due to sanctions and oil price
Fedun said Lukoil’s output
was likely to stay flat or drop in
2015 as the company was drilling
fewer wells in Siberia.
He also said the company will
halt production at its Ukhta oil
refinery, with a capacity of up
to 4mn tonnes a year, in northern Russia due to a low profitability.
Lukoil will maintain its dividend, Fedun added, even if oil
prices fall to $40 per barrel because it was benefiting from
lower capital expenditure due to
the steep rouble devaluation.
Earlier yesterday, Lukoil said
its 2014 net income fell 39% due
to weaker oil prices and noncash impairment losses.
Fuel shortages hit Nigeria as currency woes hurt importers
Nigeria’s naira hit a record low of 206.60 to the dollar in February, down 20%
since its devaluation in November, and the central bank scrapped biweekly
currency auctions in February to protect its haemorrhaging foreign reserves.
Oil-rich Nigeria’s main cities are facing
acute gasoline shortages as importers
feel the pinch of a plummeting local
currency, tighter credit lines and unpaid
government subsidies, oil traders and
local industry sources said.
As queues of double-parked cars
stretch outside filling stations in the
capital Abuja, empty tanks elsewhere
are forcing consumers onto the black
market just weeks before presidential
elections on March 28 in Africa’s
biggest economy.
“I have spent 12 hours here,” taxi driver
Bartholomew Odey Akpa told Reuters
on Monday. “I work at the airport as a
car hire ... and there is no fuel for me
to go.”
Nigeria exports around 2mn bpd of
crude but a neglected refining system
means it is almost wholly reliant on
imports for the 40mn litres per day of
gasoline it consumes.
The picture is an unwelcome one
for President Goodluck Jonathan,
who faces former military leader
Muhammadu Buhari in what is
expected to be the tightest election
battle since the end of military rule in
Nigeria’s state oil company tried to
reduce panic buying on Friday by
announcing additional supplies but to
little avail.
Obafemi Olawore, the executive
secretary of the Major Oil Marketers
Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), said
they began receiving the stop-gap
gasoline yesterday.
Gasoline is heavily subsidised by
the government via the Petroleum
Products Pricing Regulatory Agency
(PPPRA), and Jonathan’s own efforts to
scrap them in early 2012 caused riots.
Credit problems due to erratic subsidy
payments have been magnified by
the plunge in global oil prices and
the country’s currency, leading to the
buying freeze.
“It’s a mess for financing ... I don’t think
there is enough product on the way to
fill up the tanks,” a trader said.
Nigeria’s naira hit a record low of
206.60 to the dollar in February, down
20% since its devaluation in November,
and the central bank scrapped biweekly
currency auctions in February to
protect its haemorrhaging foreign
The move left importers with no choice
but to pay higher interbank rates,
further complicating financing.
“Marketers who handle about 50% of
the market are not importing, as the
banks are not opening letters of credit
for them,” an industry source said.
Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
said yesterday 320.8bn naira had been
paid to marketers in December last year
from the country’s rainy day fund, the
Excess Crude Account.
“Last week we met the marketers
and negotiated the terms of payment
of the 185bn naira,” she told a press
She said the government will begin
issuing Sovereign Debt Notes (SDN) to
marketers on Wednesday to repay the
remaining capital. SDNs, which serve as
guarantees for marketers’ imports, are
expected to be treated like cash.
MOMAN’s Olawore said a more
immediate payment covering part of
foreign exchange and interest costs
was expected.
“We were told ... the letters of credit
would be reopened now that a payment
was promised,” Olawore said. Further
subsidy payments are expected
throughout March.
Even some of those with access to
financing were running down stocks,
fearing that a missed payment for
just one cargo could push them into
This has put the burden on crude-forproducts contract holders Sahara, Aiteo
and state trader Duke Oil, operating
through state agency Pipelines and
Product Marketing Co (PPMC), which
usually only import half of the country’s
Fear of chaos in both subsidy payments
and at import terminals after the
elections also caused shipments to
dry up close to the original poll date
of February 14. A similar move is
happening again.
“There is now a huge drive to get
product there before the election,” one
trader said. “It’s all going through the
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
The easiest way to get hacked: Use your phone at a phone show
If anyone attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week doubts how
easy it is to hack smartphones and tablets,
Filip Chytry and his team plan to set them
straight. By hacking into their devices.
Chytry’s company, Prague’s Avast Software s.r.o., is setting up a faux-fraudulent
wireless hotspot at its booth that will let the
company’s staff and onlookers track the
online activity of any device that connects.
The site will let Avast capture passwords, messages and other information
people type on the websites, and Chytry
can even create dead ringers for Gmail
or Facebook sign-in screens — down
to the little green padlock icon that
indicates a secure connection — that lull
people into a sense of safety. While the
data will not be stored, Chytry said, the
experiment demonstrates how vulner-
able mobile devices are to cybercrooks.
“People can see what can happen if they
use free networks in pubs, restaurants
or elsewhere,” said Chytry, a security
researcher at Avast who helped design
the exhibit. “It will show them that this is
a real problem.”
Mobile devices have long overtaken
personal computers as the main gateway
to the Internet, but few consumers
or even companies have given much
thought to securing them. They’re
always on, constantly used, and weakly
protected, inviting hackers to find ways of
exploiting their vulnerabilities.
Adoption of defence measures for
mobile devices has suffered from the tendency of users to value convenience over
security. And as the machines become
more central in people’s lives, they handle
ever more sensitive data, from calendars
to bank information to social network
Almost a quarter of mobile devices are
exposed to at least one security threat
after 30 days online, according to SkyCure
Ltd, an Israeli wireless security company.
That rises to more than two fifths after
four months. Some 7% of US Android
users were hit by malware last year, up
from 4% in 2013, according to a study by
Lookout Inc.
“There is growing awareness and
concern about the vulnerability of mobile
devices,” said Yaron Blachman, director of
cyber and technology consulting in Israel
at consultancy PwC. “We see it at every
company we work with.”
Mobile World Congress, the world’s
biggest wireless show, is particularly risky.
Trade shows offer criminals ideal conditions for scooping up information about
what attending executives say, write and
do behind closed doors, according to
people paid to expose security gaps. As
attendees scramble to pitch their products or transfer data to facilitate a deal,
they may be tempted to work around their
company’s protective umbrella.
Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs
in November uncovered a scheme it
called “Darkhotel.” Over at least two years,
criminals fooled guests at Asian luxury
hostelries into believing they were connecting to the venue’s official network.
The crooks used that access to upload
malware, disguised as benign updates,
which let them steal passwords and other
private information.
It’s almost certain that this kind of attack will be used in Barcelona, said Jayson
Street, a security tester for Pwnie Express,
a Boston company that sells devices to detect illicit network equipment. Street said
attackers often set up their equipment
before a conference opens, targeting the
show floor as well as after-work locations
such as bars and clubs.
“The attacker doesn’t have to be in the
same room, or even the same building,”
said Street, who has snuck into offices and
hotels from Lebanon to Las Vegas to place
cyber bugs, to show what gaps need to be
plugged. With a tiny antenna “I’ll be able
to attack from a mile away. Police can go
through the hotel looking for the bad guy,
but I’m somewhere across the street or
even further away.”
Defcon, a hacker conference where
Street frequently speaks, features a “Wall
of Sheep” that points out attendees who
have inadvertently exposed their data.
And Israeli startup Coronet Security
says it’s likely that celebrity nude photos
shared via the Web last year were stolen
when the victims connected to a wireless
network at the Emmy Awards.
The threat goes beyond Wi-Fi. Gemalto,
a Dutch maker of mobile SIM cards, last
week said Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters and the US
National Security Agency probably broke
into its network in 2010 and 2011 to steal
encryption keys that would let them listen
in on phone calls.
Because of the huge amount of wire-
EU bets on 5G to catch up
in mobile technology race
Europeans selling
mobile pay should
ask Africa for help
EU signed 5G agreement with
South Korea last year; EU in
talks with Japan, soon China;
region tries to claw back
competitiveness with US,
Asia; companies like Nokia,
Ericsson, Huawei working on
technology; mobile industry
hopes to have 5G networks in
place by 2020
he European Union is
looking to sign agreements with China and Japan and the US to co-operate on
developing the next generation
of mobile broadband as it seeks
to help its companies catch up
in the race to develop such technologies.
Europe, once a leader in the
1990s in the second-generation
GSM technology standard for
mobile phone networks moving into the digital era, has fallen
behind the US, Japan and South
Korea in the deployment of the
latest 4G standard for mobile
broadband services.
The region’s network operators including Britain’s Vodafone and Spain’s Telefonica were
slower to move to 4G than Japan,
Korea and the US and adoption
in Europe remains lower compared to other advanced economies.
European policymakers are
now trying not to repeat the
mistakes of the past and are
seeking to be at the forefront
of developing the standards
for 5G, which promises much
faster video downloads, denser
network coverage and the possibility of connecting billions
of everyday electronic objects to create “the Internet of
“With 5G, Europe has a great
opportunity to reinvent its telecom industrial landscape,”
Guenther Oettinger, the EU’s
Commissioner for the Digital
Economy and Society, told the
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday.
In June last year the European
Commission signed an agreement with South Korea in which
less traffic generated by the 80,000-plus
people crowding the Barcelona fair, some
of that will be handed over to older 2G
networks, which feature voice and messaging encryption that’s almost 30 years
old and can be cracked within seconds,
said Karsten Nohl, founder of SR Security
Research Labs GmbH in Berlin.
Even 3G or 4G networks, which feature
tougher security locks, can be risky. For
instance, when people roam abroad, the
host carrier asks the user’s home provider
for the encryption key associated with
an account to complete the communication. But such requests can be sent from
any network provider, and most carriers
don’t verify whether they are legitimate,
sometimes providing them to criminals,
according to Nohl.
“Mobile security is treated like security
in the early days of the car,” said Nohl.
“Nobody thought about seatbelts or airbags as long as every generation of cars
was faster and cooler than the last one.”
Visitors and employees stand in front of a digital information display about 5G networks for Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) in the Nokia
pavilion at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Europe, once a leader in the 1990s in the second-generation GSM technology standard
for mobile phone networks moving into the digital era, has fallen behind the US, Japan and South Korea in the deployment of the latest 4G
standard for mobile broadband services.
the two sides committed to cooperating on setting technical
standards and ensure the necessary radio frequencies are able to
support the new network.
“It is our intention to sign
similar agreements with other
key regions of the world, notably
Japan, China, and the US,” Oettinger said.
The Commission will soon
start formal discussions on 5G
with China, according to a person familiar with the matter,
which is also keen to have its say
on what 5G should do. China
is home to the world’s secondbiggest maker of mobile network
equipment, Huawei, and ZTE,
the fifth biggest. But the chief
executive of France’s Orange said
work remained to be done on 4G,
whose rollout across Europe has
been patchy and slow.
“We need to prepare for 5G
but let’s not jump too fast. We
should enjoy 4G,” he said.
Most industry experts expect
the first commercial deployments of 5G in the run-up to the
Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Much work remains to be done
to set technical standards for the
technology, and figure out exactly what it is supposed to do
that current 4G gear cannot, experts say.
In the meantime, compa-
nies that make mobile network
equipment such as Sweden’s
Ericsson, Huawei, Finland’s
Nokia and France-based Alcatel-Lucent are jockeying for position and carrying out experiments with operators to prepare
for 5G.
Japan’s NTT DoCoMo is already working with Nokia and
Ericsson to develop networks
running at high frequencies
for use in the 5G wireless era
— technology expected to be
showcased at the 2020 Tokyo
Meanwhile Huawei has said
it will invest $600mn in 5G research and expects to have a
network ready for deployment
by 2020.
“We are closely working with
our customers to get to 5G. It is
the only way to fully meet the
demand of machine to machine
technology,” said Huawei’s chief
executive Ken Hu.
The head of Nokia, Rajeev
Suri, said that he thinks the drive
to develop 5G technology promises to be a “three-horse race”
between Ericsson, Huawei and
his firm, leaving out the fourth
biggest equipment maker, Alcatel-Lucent.
“I don’t aspire only to be
third,” said Suri on a panel yesterday. “We will move up.”
s telecommunications carriers in Europe seek a share
of the billions of dollars
likely to flow to companies that
build mobile-payment systems,
Claudio Chiche has a few words of
advice: Ask Africa for help.
“I pay my electricity, water
and cable TV with my mobile
phone,” Chiche, chief commercial officer of Mozambique carrier Mcel, said on Monday as he
browsed handsets at the Mobile
World Congress in Barcelona.
“Here, I can’t do that.”
Apple chief executive officer
Tim Cook has declared 2015
“The Year of Apple Pay,” and
Samsung introduced a similar
service for its phones at MWC
this week. If those offerings gain
traction, carriers such as Vodafone Group, Deutsche Telekom
and Orange could fall far behind
in a market set to at least double in the next five years to more
than €50bn ($56bn) in Europe,
according to Forrester Research.
Samsung and Apple have
spurned wireless carriers, instead teaming up with creditcard companies such as Visa and
MasterCard, whose chief executive officer Ajay Banga is set to
speak in Barcelona yesterday.
In Africa, by contrast, it’s the
carriers — mostly units of the
European giants — that are leading the way. At least 40mn Africans use mobile wallet services
from Vodafone’s Vodacom and
Safaricom subsidiaries, units of
France’s Orange, and Millicom
International Cellular.
“A lot of the African markets
are much better and connected”
in mobile payments, said Greg
Reeve, chief operating officer
for mobile financial services at
Millicom, a wireless carrier with
operations in six African countries. “You have to then look at
more mature markets and say,
‘Why aren’t they doing something like that?’”
Vodafone’s Safaricom subsidiary has about 20mn mobilewallet users in Kenya — nearly
every adult in the country —
and its Vodacom unit has 7.6mn
customers for its M-Pesa pay-
ment service in five countries.
In Tanzania, an evolution of MPesa called M-Pawa allows customers to deposit cash through
a phone and earn interest of
about 5%. M-Kopa Solar allows
Kenyans to buy electricity and
light their homes using a mobile
The European carriers’ success in Africa was based on the
continent’s shortage of affordable banking services. Consumers
seized the opportunity to transfer money cheaply and quickly.
“It’s the only way I can send
my mother a weekly allowance,”
Faridah Atieno, a 41-year-old
nurse in Nairobi whose mom
lives a seven-hour drive away
near Lake Victoria. “Otherwise I
would be waiting to find someone
or going there once a month.”
Europeans, who mostly have
bank accounts and credit cards,
have shown little interest in mobile payments. Deutsche Telekom last May started in Germany a service called MyWallet
which the company says has been
adopted by fewer than 100,000
of its 39mn mobile customers.
Orange, which has more than
12mn users for Orange Money in
Africa and the Middle East, says
it has sold phones equipped with
mobile-payment technology to
3.5mn customers in France, but
it declines to say how many of
them actually use the service.
The company will expand its European mobile money products
this year and may offer customers services such as micro loans
of as much as 200 euros, said
Thierry Millet, vice-president of
mobile payments.
In 2013, Vodafone started in
Europe its SmartPass mobilepayment feature, which lets users make purchases of less than
£20 ($31) by tapping their phone
on a payment terminal. Last year
it added the capability for users
to add supermarket and gymmembership cards onto the
mobile wallet. The company declined to provide user numbers.
In the US, Apple Pay started
in October and now accounts for
$2 of every $3 of purchases using contactless mobile-phone
payments across the credit-card
networks of Visa, MasterCard
and American Express.
Apple’s looming watch incites upgrade frenzy for Android
s Apple prepares to release its
much-heralded smartwatch, rival gadget makers are racing to
upgrade their own devices to ward off
market-share losses.
By mid-2016, Apple will account for
15% to 20% of sales of the devices, estimates Transparency Market Research
analyst Saurav Kumar in Pune, India.
That will come partly at the expense of
current vendors, such as Motorola Mobility Holdings LLC and Samsung Electronics Co, he said.
With Apple expected to commandeer sales among its iOS-using crowd,
the competition for Android users is
heating up. Withings Inc, maker of the
Activité watches that work with iOS
phones, is releasing new software this
week that will make the devices compatible with Android phones. Rival
Pebble debuted a new watch last week,
while Motorola is pouring money into
its Moto 360, a watch based on Google’s
Android Wear operating system.
“We intend to continue to spend
heavily in this space,” Rick Osterloh,
president of Motorola Mobility, said in
an interview. “What the Apple launch
has done is raise awareness for the category in general, and it may improve
our sales by driving overall awareness.”
The market for watches that deliver
information from text messages and
e-mail alerts to pulse and steps walked
may reach $12.9bn by 2020 in the developed world, according to Analysys
Apple, which plans to ship the Apple Watch in April, will provide more
details about its device at a March 9
event in San Francisco, according to
a person with knowledge of the matter. The watch must be paired with an
iPhone, and while it will only work with
newer models, that still could eat into
the business of companies like Withings and Pebble, which also makes iOScompatible devices.
Withings, based near Paris, has at-
tracted more than $35mn in funding to
date. To help it expand, the company
may seek a fundraising round this year,
Chief Executive Officer Cedric Hutchings said in an interview.
“We are looking at this coming year
as an opportunity to accelerate even
more,” Hutchings said. Withings sells
a variety of Web-connected health
devices, though smartwatches are its
best-selling products, he said.
While the smartwatch market is
relatively tiny — at $130mn last year
in developed countries, according to
Analysys Mason — Apple could catapult the business as it did in the mobile
and music industries with its ubiquitous iPhone and iPod. Sales of smartwatches this year may surge 28-fold to
$3.6bn, said Enrique Velasco-Castillo,
an analyst in London at Analysys Mason. Apple will rapidly gain dominance,
he said.
“I’d expect that to happen relatively
quickly, because the awareness of consumers about smartwatches has been
brewing,” Velasco-Castillo said in an
interview. His firm predicts Apple will
sell as many as 6mn units in the first
year, even as its basic model starts at
$349, double the price of some other
Apple declined to comment for this
story, as did Samsung, which makes
the Gear line of smartwatches. While
most of the bigger players haven’t released sales numbers for their devices,
Samsung is seen as the market leader,
Transparency Market Research’s Kumar said.
Pebble, based in Palo Alto, California, also released new software last
week that structures app data feeds
around users’ timelines, so they can see
what appointments are coming up, for
instance, without opening individual
Apple’s Watch is likely to be the device of choice for people carrying multiple mobile devices, such as an iPhone
and an Android phone, said Werner
Goertz, an analyst at Gartner Inc For
other vendors, applications are key, he
“Whoever has the better and more
valuable applications is going to win
that race,” Goertz said.
Apple may have about 100,000 Apple Watch apps available when the device goes on sale, Trip Chowdhry, an
analyst at Global Equities Research,
said in a Feb. 22 research note after talking to about 500 Apple developers. An
average Apple Watch user will install
100 apps, he predicted.
Companies are also stepping up design and distribution efforts. Many
simply copy the smartphone experience - the way users interact with apps
and have to charge devices nightly, said
Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble. Instead, they should be creating something between a smartphone and a traditional watch, which doesn’t need to
be recharged all the time, and is simple
and easy to use.
A smartwatch “deserves something
that’s authentically designed to be on
the wrist,” Migicovsky said in an interview.
Pebble, which has sold more than
1mn watches, currently has about
6,400 apps and that number is growing
by 15% a month, he said. The company’s newest watch has a colour e-paper
display viewable in sunlight that will
help save battery life. It’s 20% thinner
and lighter than the prior Pebble sports
In January, Withings released the
water-resistant Activité Pop, which
has an eight-month-plus battery life.
Design and distribution will be increasingly important as Chinese vendors pour into the market, with smartwatches for as little as $30, Goertz at
Gartner said.
Smartwatches from Motorola Mobility, which Beijing-based Lenovo Group
Ltd bought from Google in October,
are available from retailers including
Bloomingdale’s and CostCo Motorola
is expanding into more stores in the US,
Latin America and the Asia Pacific region, President Osterloh said.
“It’s not a stretch to imagine that
more and more of these will be available
everywhere watches are sold,” he said.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Apple Car seen emerging as serious competitor by auto executives
Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple and Google
will emerge as competitors even as they
consider partnering with the two.
“If these two companies intend to solely
produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,”
Volkswagen chief executive officer Martin
Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very
interested in the technologies of Google
and Apple, and I think that we, as the
Volkswagen company, can bring together
the digital and mobile world.”
Apple has been working on an electric
auto and is pushing to begin production
as early as 2020, people with knowledge
of the matter said last month. Google said
in January it aims to have a self-driving
car on the road within five years.
The time frame — automakers typically
need at least five years to develop a car —
underscores the aggressive goals of the
two technology companies and could set
the stage for a battle for customers. Tesla
Motors and General Motors are both targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle
that can go more than 200 miles on a
single charge and cost less than $40,000.
“The competition certainly needs to be
taken seriously,” said Stefan Bratzel, direc-
tor of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences
in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “The
closer we get to autonomous driving, the
weaker the connection becomes between
the customer and the car. And Google and
Apple aren’t burdened with old technology but can start fresh.”
Tesla’s success in creating a start-up car
company has also shown that the traditional barriers of entry into the auto industry aren’t as difficult to overcome as some
thought. At the same time, automakers
have struggled to bring technical leaps to
car development, something that Silicon
Valley is also seeking to accomplish. For
example, Google has invested in develop-
ing an autonomous vehicle since 2010.
“We never underestimate any competition,” said Ian Robertson, Bayerische
Motoren Werke’s sales chief. “The entry
barriers, which were in the past maybe
more substantial, are now slightly lower.
But at the same time, the complexities of
the car industry are still there as well.”
An experienced automaker typically
spends five-to-seven years developing a
new vehicle from scratch, with just the
testing phase needed to get regulatory approval often taking three years.
Analysts estimate for a company from
outside the industry to build a car could
take a decade.
Apple, which posted record profit of
$18bn during the past quarter, in any case
has the funds to do it. The Cupertino,
California-based company has $178bn in
cash and CEO Tim Cook has been pushing
the iPhone maker to enter new market
segments to further envelop users’ digital
lives with Apple’s products and services.
“The traditional thinking in the automotive industry isn’t suited to exploit the
opportunities in the Internet community,”
Wolfgang Ziebart, Jaguar Land Rover’s
head of engineering, said in an interview.
“If you need committees and so on to
make decisions, then you’ve lost before
you started.”
Apple’s foray into cars follows a path
it’s taken to break into other industries.
The company wasn’t the first to make a
digital-music player or smartphone, and
only entered those markets once it had a
compelling product. Google says it’s seeking partners to help realize co-founder
Sergey Brin’s vision of safer and more
efficient mobility.
“The key element is to make sure that
when we’re working with them — and
we’re totally open to work with any of
them — it’s a real win-win,” said Didier
Leroy, Toyota Motor Corp’s European
chief. “The carmakers don’t want just
to become a kind of commodity, where
somebody will only deliver an empty box
and somebody will put in the box something which will be the real added value.”
Aston Martin unveils crossover
coupe to rev up lure to women
The Aston Martin DBX concept car is seen during the first press day ahead of the 85th International Motor Show in Geneva yesterday. The all-wheel-drive DBX concept is
equipped with electric motors and sports large wheels, narrow headlights and a gaping grille.
watch negative,” indicating that the rating could be reduced again soon. Aston
Martin is expected to continue burning
cash in 2015 and 2016 on developing new
models, according to the ratings firm.
The UK car maker’s strategy is focused on overhauling technology that
underpins its hand-made vehicles.
Daimler, whose Mercedes-Benz unit is
the world’s third-biggest manufacturer
of luxury vehicles, has an agreement
to acquire a 5% stake in Aston Martin
in exchange for providing the sportscar producer with components such as
engines and automotive electronics.
“We’re a small company and we can’t
afford all that technology needed today in the industry,” said Palmer in an
interview. “With Daimler, we have a
partner and a shareholder that doesn’t
want to buy us. This is great.” In addi-
Sceptical Audi returns to electric sports cars
More than two years since
abandoning electric cars, Audi
has returned with the R8 e-tron,
in a move that looks more like
an attempt to keep its options
open than a full conversion to
the technology.
Battery-powered cars have
failed to live up to their initial
hype, with drivers put off by
the slow rollout of recharging
stations, limited range and high
prices — despite generous sales
incentives in some markets.
By 2020, fewer than one
in 20 vehicles produced is
forecast to be equipped with
electrified powertrains, business
consultants KPMG said in a
survey in January.
Audi, the flagship brand of
German carmaker Volkswagen,
has been reluctant to embrace
the technology, arguing it was
better to make diesel cars
cleaner or focus on hybrids that
combine a combustion engine
with battery power.
It flirted with an electric R8
sports car in 2009, promising
a thrilling performance but an
underwhelming range of 134
miles. It wasn’t enough, and
Audi dropped the concept in
2012, the year rival Tesla’s Model
ston Martin Lagonda unveiled
a crossover coupe as the British
sports-car maker seeks to return
to profit by appealing to women and
buyers in emerging markets.
The all-wheel-drive DBX concept,
which debuted yesterday at the Geneva
International Motor Show, is equipped
with electric motors and sports large
wheels, narrow headlights and a gaping
grille. While the car’s not ready for sale,
Aston Martin plans to add a crossover
in a departure from its lineup of sports
coupes like the $280,000 Vanquish.
“The DBX Concept is more than a
thought starter for us and for our customers,” chief executive officer Andy
Palmer said. “We will, in due course, be
entering a car into the new DBX space.”
Aston Martin’s move is part of a surge
in elite crossovers, as high-end brands
respond to demand from wealthy consumers in China and other emerging markets, where sports cars are less
popular. Bentley will present the Bentayga later this year, which the British
marque boasts will be the world’s most
luxurious and expensive SUV. Maserati is finalising the Levante, and Jaguar
will start selling its first crossover, the
F-PACE, in 2016. They’re all following
Porsche, which now sells more SUVs
than pure sports cars.
The expansion is also key for Aston
Martin, which aims to boost sales to
7,000 vehicles a year by 2021 from about
4,000 now. But Palmer said the company doesn’t want more volume than that
in order to protect its exclusivity.
Aston Martin is one of the few global
luxury-auto brands that’s not part of a
larger group. Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini are all part of Volkswagen, while
BMW makes Rolls-Royce cars and Fiat
Chrysler Automobiles NV owns Maserati.
Aston Martin is controlled by Italian
private-equity firm Investindustrial,
with Kuwaiti companies Investment
Dar and Adeem Investment as its other
main shareholders. Palmer said the
company’s shareholding structure is
stable and that the company intends to
remain independent.
Standard & Poor’s cut Aston Martin’s long-term debt by one step to B-,
the sixth-highest junk level, on Feb. 13
and placed the company under “credit-
Daimler not
afraid of
from techies
The new Audi R8 e-tron electric car is seen during the first press day
ahead of the 85th International Motor Show in Geneva yesterday.
The carbon-fibre R8 e-tron surges to 100km an hour in 3.9 seconds,
compared with 3.2 seconds for the 540-horsepower model.
S came out with double the
However Tesla’s success, and
that of archrival BMW with its “i”
series of electric cars, appears
to have convinced Audi there is
a market for electric supercars
after all.
A fully electric R8 may also help
Audi get closer to meeting rigid
EU emissions limits. Audi came
18th last year in a survey of
Europe’s 20 top-selling brands’
average CO2 output, auto
industry forecaster JATO said
At the Geneva auto show,
Audi unveiled an emissionfree version of its €165,000
($184,619) R8 that can drive
450km (280 miles) before
needing to recharge, which
takes less than two hours.
The battery’s capacity has
almost doubled to 92 kilowatthours (kWh) from 49 kWh in the
aborted 2012 model, a source
close the matter said.
That has helped more than
double the range of the carbonfibre R8 e-tron which surges to
100 kilometres an hour in 3.9
seconds, compared with 3.2
seconds for the 540-horsepower
Audi may also launch two
battery-powered serial models
by 2018, a sports car and a
sports-activity vehicle with over
500km of range to rival Tesla’s
upcoming Model X SUV, two
company sources told Reuters.
However, analysts said Audi was
treading cautiously, not least
because it only plans to build
the R8 e-tron by request.
“Such projects are no
practicable means to leverage
electric driving over the
short term,” said PwC analyst
Christoph Stuermer. “They only
help minimise the business risk.”
Sales of the R8 e-tron probably
won’t exceed 100 a year
through 2022, research firm
IHS Automotive forecast.
By comparison, IHS expects
deliveries of Tesla’s Model S to
grow 14% to 41,396 cars by 2022
from 36,364 this year.
Electric supercars have a mixed
track record. Mercedes stopped
making the 416,000-euro SLS
electric drive last year due to
poor demand, while Porsche’s
€768,000 918 Spyder hybrid
sold all 918 models.
Analysts said the R8 e-tron,
Audi’s first all-electric
production car, could act
as a “halo” product to draw
customers to its showrooms and
help it gauge interest in more
battery-powered and hybridised
While Audi has incurred a
three-digit million-euro cost to
develop the model, there will
be no fixed production costs
because it will be custom-made,
one company source said.
tion to the DBX, Aston Martin presented
the £1.5mn ($2.3mn) Vulcan racing car
in Geneva. It plans to make 24 units of
the model and owners will be required to
take part in an “extensive and detailed”
training programme before driving the
Vulcan on their own.
erman car and truck
maker Daimler is not
afraid of new competitors
from the technology and telecoms industries, chief executive
Dieter Zetsche said yesterday.
“There is tremendous opportunity in the convergence of the
West Coast tech industry and
the auto industry with its huge
technological depth,” Zetsche
said at the Geneva auto show.
“We feel we are well equipped
to drive that development and
to lead it in many areas. We are
open and attentive to all intrusions from all sides,” he added.
Asked if Daimler would be
open to new forms of co-operation with the likes of Apple and
Google, Zetsche said they were
already cooperating on several
“We are open to any kind of
development,” he said, adding he
did not know if rumours about
Apple building a car were true.
“There is a lot of gamechanging underway. We are very
open to that,” Zetsche said, adding some of the hype of the past
had been quickly forgotten. “I
don’t think next year in Geneva
we will talk about the Apple and
Google car.”
Daimler was still pushing the
electric car, and there may be an
opportunity to build a large luxury electric vehicle since Tesla had
proved there was a market for it.
“We are investigating whether
this is a possibility for us as well,”
Zetsche said.
Separately, Daimler continues
to benefit from strong momentum in luxury-car sales in the
first quarter, the CEO said.
“It seems that strong momentum which is now continuing for
years, will continue in February
as well,” Zetsche said, adding
sales continued to rise even in
Russia where competitors have
seen deliveries drop off.
“We have to accept that the
overall economy will have an effect on sales; we are prepared but
we have not seen it yet,” he said
on Russia.
BMW CEO sees challenges
mounting for successor
he new boss of BMW will
have to cope with the rise
of electric cars, automated driving and new competitors,
as well as the traditional uncertainties over consumer demand
and fuel prices, its outgoing CEO
said yesterday.
Technological changes can
often wrongfoot entire industries, Norbert Reithofer told a
roundtable discussion at the Geneva auto show as he prepares to
hand over to Harald Krueger, the
German luxury car maker’s current head or production, in May.
Krueger will have the usual
problems associated with fluctuating oil prices and volatile
markets. But there are new issues he will have to face too.
“Alternative drivetrains and
networked and highly-automated cars will be the main challenges,” Reithofer said, adding
there was also the potential
emergence of new competitors,
such as technology firms Apple and Google. “Another topic
Reithofer: A word of caution.
will be new players entering the
field of autonomous driving who
have never built a car before.”
Being an established player
was no guarantee of success.
“The typewriter was replaced
by the personal computer and
many people underestimated
that. For me the auto industry is
not shielded from new entrants
who have know-how in software
and networked cars,” Reithofer
said. “They can emerge as very
serious competitors when I look
10 to 15 years into the future.
From BMW’s point of view we
have to take these competitors
very, very seriously.”
Asked whether he had met
Apple CEO Tim Cook on a recent
trip to Germany, Reithofer said
no. He declined to comment on
whether he had met Cook in the
Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s
management board member in
charge of the Mini brand, said the
auto industry was now more exciting than at any time in the past
30 years.
“Two worlds are colliding
here. Our world, focused on
hardware and our experience in
making complex products, and
the world of information technology which is intruding more
and more into our life,” he told
The winners will be those
companies that understand how
to build intelligent hardware,
he said, adding it increasingly
made sense for carmakers and
tech firms to co-operate.
“We need to get away from the
idea that it will be either us or
them ... We cannot offer clients
the perfect experience without
help from one of these technology companies,” Schwarzenbauer said, adding the dialogue
was well underway.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Mixed messages on
Greek bailout talks
Spanish minister says new
bailout being discussed;
Eurogroup spokeswoman
says no talks under way;
comments follow Tsipras’s
rejection of new programme;
Greece says can overcome
immediate funding crunch;
pledges to detail reforms at
next Eurogroup meeting
urozone countries are discussing a third bailout for
Greece worth €30bn to
€50bn, Spain’s economy minister said on Monday, but EU officials said there were no such
Speaking at an event in Pamplona, northern Spain, Economy
Minister Luis de Guindos said
the new rescue plan would set
more flexible conditions for
Greece, which had no alternative
other than European support.
But the spokeswoman for Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs
the eurozone finance ministers’
group, said there was no discussion of a third bailout and senior
eurozone officials concurred.
“Eurozone finance ministers
are not discussing a third bailout,” spokeswoman Simone Boitelle said.
Greek leftist Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras used a televised
address on Friday to deny his
country would need another international programme.
Greece has acute and immediate funding problems to overcome, despite the four-month
extension to its existing bailout it
negotiated with the eurozone last
month. To win that, Tsipras had
to give up on key pledges made
during his election campaign.
The extension averted a banking meltdown. But Greece still
faces a steep decline in revenues
and is expected to run out of cash
by the end of March, possibly
The new government in Athens sought to assure it can cover
Luis de Guindos, Spain’s economy minister speaks during a during a Bloomberg Television interview
at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2015. Speaking on Monday at
an event in Pamplona, northern Spain, de Guindos said the new rescue plan would set more flexible
conditions for Greece, which had no alternative other than European support.
its funding needs this month,
including repaying a €1.5bn loan
to the International Monetary
“We are confident that the
repayments will be made in full,
particularly to the IMF, and there
will be liquidity to get us through
the end of the four-month period,” Greek Finance Minister
Yanis Varoufakis said during a
late-night talk show on Greek
TV. “March is sorted.”
Most of Greece’s options appear to have been shut off, for
now at least.
A request for €1.9bn in profits
the European Central Bank made
on buying Greek bonds will
not be granted until Greece has
completed promised reforms.
Athens has also sought permission to issue more shortterm treasury bills, having
reached a cap of €15bn set by its
lenders. The eurozone has made
clear it does not want to see that
limit lifted.
Dutch Finance Minister Dijsselbloem offered a potential escape route.
He told the Financial Times
that Greece’s international
creditors could pay part of the
€7.2bn remaining in its bailout
pot as early as this month if Ath-
ens started enacting necessary
“There are elements that you
can start doing today. If you do
that, then somewhere in March,
maybe there can be a first disbursement. But that would
require progress and not just
intentions,” Dijsselbloem was
quoted as saying.
Greece is due to receive the
€7.2bn in remaining EU/IMF
bailout funds if it successfully
completes the programme. German Finance Minister Wolfgang
Schaeuble said last week no further aid would be paid out until
Athens fulfilled all the condi-
tions. Berlin has also ruled out
any debt write-down.
Longer-term, EU officials say
Greece — frozen out of the bond
market and unable to borrow —
will inevitably need a third support programme to buy time to
get back on its feet.
German Chancellor Angela
Merkel said Greece needed to
give more details on the reforms
it promised in return for the extension of its aid programme.
Varoufakis, who will outline
details of reforms at the next
meeting of eurozone finance
ministers on March 9, said he
would present the Eurogroup
with six reforms to see which of
those can be implemented immediately.
Markets are confident Greece
will not bomb out of the eurozone, given that Tsipras’s government has negotiated a bailout
extension and backed off major
election campaign pledges such
as ending austerity and renegotiating its debt pile.
But diplomats talk of impatience with the mixed messages
coming from the new government about its economic reform
intentions and its finger-pointing at European partners.
The European Commission
said it was seeking to maintain
EU unity after Tsipras accused
Spain and Portugal of conspiring
against it, triggering complaints
from Madrid and Lisbon.
Tsipras accused them of leading a conservative conspiracy to
topple his anti-austerity government because they feared
the rise of the left in their own
“By European standards,
this was very unusual foul play.
We don’t do that in the Eurogroup, that’s not appropriate,” a
spokesman for Schaeuble told a
news conference in Berlin.
Countries that had to implement their own reforms in return for outside help, such as
Ireland, Portugal and Spain,
have joined Germany in arguing
Greece should not get preferential treatment.
Swiss GDP beats
expectations in
Q4, firms fret
about franc
slowed less than expected
at the end of 2014 but the
mood among Swiss companies
has soured since the central
bank abandoned its cap on the
franc currency in January, data
showed yesterday.
Gross domestic product expanded by 0.6% in the final
quarter compared with the
previous three months, more
than the 0.3% forecast. Thirdquarter growth was revised upwards, to 0.7%.
“The government spending
and significant rise in exports
explain the major part of the
growth stability in the fourth
quarter,” Swissquote analyst
Ipek Ozkardeskaya said in a
The data for the three
months to December covers the
period shortly before the Swiss
National Bank’s (SNB) shock
decision on January 15 to drop
its 1.20 per euro cap on the national currency.
The cap’s removal sent the
Swiss franc soaring on foreign
exchange markets, creating
problems for exporters — the
engine of the Swiss economy
— and raising expectations the
central bank will lower growth
forecasts at its March 19 meeting.
A survey of nearly 3,000
businesses published yesterday by Swiss economic think
tank KOF, which is predicting
a 2015 recession in Switzerland,
showed companies in all sectors were more worried about
their economic prospects than
a month ago.
The fall in confidence during
February was especially noticeable among those active in
the construction, architectural
and engineering markets, KOF
Earlier yesterday, Swiss construction materials group AFG
announced it would cut 150200 jobs as it tries to manage
higher costs on the back of the
Swiss franc appreciation.
Companies struggling with
the currency’s surge have reacted by shedding jobs, freezing salaries and moving business units out of Switzerland.
Costly shift to new credit cards won’t fix security issues
A lighting show displays the company logo of HSBC at the bank’s
headquarters in Hong Kong yesterday. HSBC has not advertised
the events in mainstream financial or local media in its two “home”
markets of Hong Kong and Britain.
HSBC marks muted
150th birthday party
Hong Kong
SBC Holdings toned
down celebrations for
its 150th anniversary
yesterday, centring events on
Hong Kong where it was founded, after being rocked by allegations its Swiss unit helped
clients dodge taxes.
Celebrations include a light
show beneath its Norman Foster-designed Hong Kong headquarters, two giant grain of rice
sculptures and the issuing of a
commemorative HK$150 note.
But it has not advertised the
events in mainstream financial or local media in its two
“home” markets of Hong Kong
and Britain.
Senior executives at HSBC
discussed scrapping the plans,
after CEO Stuart Gulliver said
last month the tax scandal had
brought shame on the bank,
bank insiders told Reuters. But
they decided to go ahead given
money had been spent and clients invited.
The bank is downplaying
publicity especially in Britain,
where opprobrium was highest
over the Swiss scandal, one of
the insiders said.
A 40-foot-high grain of
rice sculpture was unveiled by
chief executive Stuart Gulliver
outside the Hong Kong office,
while Chairman Douglas Flint
presented a matching one inside the London headquarters.
The grain of rice acknowledges the bank’s roots as a
trade finance bank founded in
Asia. The HK$150 note marks
HSBC’s position as one of four
banks that print the territory’s
A 784-page history of
the bank entitled “The Lion
Wakes” will be published tomorrow.
HSBC opened for business
in March 1865 in Hong Kong,
still its most profitable market. The bank, whose name
derives from the Hongkong
and Shanghai Banking Corp,
moved its HQ to London in
1992 following its takeover of
Britain’s Midland Bank. Since
then it has grown to become
Europe’s largest bank, with
assets of $2.6tn at the end of
New technology about to be deployed by credit card
companies will require US consumers to carry a new
kind of card and retailers across the nation to upgrade
payment terminals. But despite a price tag of $8.65bn,
the shift will address only a narrow range of security
Credit card companies have set an October deadline
for the switch to chip-enabled cards, which come with
embedded computer chips that make them far more
difficult to clone. Counterfeit cards, however, account
for only about 37% of credit card fraud, and the new
technology will be nearly as vulnerable to other kinds
of hacking and cyber attacks as current swipe-card
systems, security experts say.
Moreover, US banks and card companies will not issue
personal identification numbers (PINs) with the new
credit cards, an additional security measure that would
render stolen or lost cards virtually useless when making
in-person purchases at a retail outlet. Instead, they will
stick with the present system of requiring signatures.
Anre Williams, president of global merchants services at
American Express, cited cost and complexity as reasons
for not issuing PIN numbers, which would require a
much larger investment by card issuers. “It is the PIN
management system that takes the effort,” Williams said,
in part because of the additional customer support it
Chip technology has been widely used in Europe for
nearly two decades, but banks there typically require
PINs. Even so, the technology leaves data unprotected
at three key points, security experts say: When it enters
a payment terminal, when it is transmitted through a
processor, and when it is stored in a retailer’s information
systems. It also does not protect online transactions.
“The simplest way to circumvent chip-and-PIN is to use
a stolen card number to make an online purchase,”
said Paul Kleinschnitz, a senior vice-president for cyber
security solutions at card processor First Data Corp
Analysts predict that credit card fraud at brick-andmortar retailers will fall after the introduction of
chip-enabled cards, but that online fraud will rise, as
has happened in other countries using the technology.
Research and consulting firm Aite Group estimates US
online card fraud will more than double to $6.6bn from
$3.3bn between 2015 and 2018.
Retailers and security experts say it would make
more sense for the US to jump instead to a more
secure system, such as point-to-point encryption. This
technology is superior to chip-and-PIN, which first was
deployed about 20 years ago, because it scrambles data
to make it unreadable from the moment a transaction
But the newer technology would cost as much as twice
what the chip card transition will cost, and does not have
the older technology’s long track record.
Moreover, some security experts say that mobile
payment services such as Apple Pay, a service from
Apple that stores data on the cloud, have the potential
in coming years to secure payments without the need to
swipe or tap a card at all.
The dispute over the effectiveness of duelling payment
security systems offers insight into a broader battle over
who bears liability for breaches: retailers or the financial
firms that extend the credit.
Currently, card issuers are generally liable for fraudulent
charges. After the October deadline, if a retailer is not
using a terminal that can read the new cards and a
security breach occurs involving a chip card, the retailer
will be liable, though consumers will still deal with their
banks in the event of a fraudulent charge. If the retailer is
chip-and-PIN enabled, the card issuer will be liable.
The liability issue has engendered anger on the part of
some retailers, but it has also provided an incentive for
compliance with the new standards.
“When banks and card companies are only concerned
about shifting the liability to the retailer, you have to
comply first,” Brooks Brothers chief executive officer
Claudio Del Vecchio said. “And then think of solutions
that will fix your problems.”
The clothing retailer expects to meet the October
deadline, but Del Vecchio declined to give details on the
cost involved.
Banks and card companies argue that chip-enabled
cards are a needed first step toward defending against
the use of lost, stolen, or counterfeit cards. “The first
thing we need to do as a country is secure face-toface transactions,” said Carolyn Balfany, senior vicepresident of product delivery for MasterCard, one of the
companies involved in setting the new standards known
as EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa.
And there are reasons that banks and card companies
haven’t yet embraced newer, more secure systems.
“A payment standard that is accepted globally will
substantially reduce transaction costs for them,” Rick
Dakin, chief executive officer of cybersecurity risk and
compliance firm Coalfire. “Also they have already done
the heavy lifting for EMV so they are ready and pushing
for it,” he said.
Dakin, who is advising a group of banks on payment
security, said no industry standard exists for the newer
point-to-point encryption systems, and banks and card
companies are hesitant to make large-scale investments
before the standards are set.
Banks and card companies said a chip card alone
can make stolen data less useful for hackers and the
technology has worked in reducing counterfeit card
fraud in Europe and elsewhere.
Security experts said the shift cannot prevent massive
consumer data breaches of the sort that recently hit
Target and Home Depot. But the technology will make it
more difficult to use stolen data.
With the October deadline approaching and the
upgrade costs hitting retailers’ income statements,
some merchants remain unaware of the required
changes, while others have renewed their focus on the
shortcomings of chip technology.
“As the deadline approaches, retailers realise they are
stuck with this massive investment they have to make
for a technology that does not solve the problem,” Dakin
The installation of 15mn payment terminals that can read
chip cards in the US will cost approximately $6.75bn.
Banks are expected to spend some $1.4bn to issue new
cards and another $.5bn to upgrade their Automated
Teller Machines according to Javelin Strategy &
The upgrade of a single payment terminal to chipand-PIN capability costs between $500 and $3000,
depending on features. It would cost between $1000 and
$4000 to install a point-to-point encryption terminal,
security experts said.
“The problem now is how do we allocate our capital in a
way that addresses EMV first and then immediately find
the funds to upgrade again and install a better solution,”
said Grant Shih, vice president for IT development at kids
clothing retailer Carter’s.
For some small merchants, however, the problem is even
more basic: Knowing what will be expected of them in
Six of 10 small retailers in Chicago interviewed by
Reuters said they had no idea about the deadline later
this year and have no plans to upgrade their payment
terminals. Three others said they had heard about the
shift, but that their businesses were small and hadn’t had
problems with fraud that would justify the expense of
installing new equipment. Only one business owner said
she would like to upgrade terminals, though she says
cost is an impediment.
Anne Manion, owner of the women’s clothing and
accessories boutique Girl Hour said she doesn’t think
small businesses are as exposed to data breaches as
large retailers are, but she is still thinking about reaching
out to her bank about upgrading terminals at two of her
“The cost implications are important and I’m going to
wait and see if by the end of the year there is a way to
rent these terminals instead of buying them,” she said.
Manion already pays a $500 fee every month for the two
card terminals she now has.
The Retail Merchants Association said it believes a
majority of small retailers are aware of the risks from
card fraud but haven’t started making the required
investments yet. The group is developing a plan to
explain the shift in liability and will start reaching out to
smaller merchants soon.
“Many small retailers have a tendency to wait until the
very last minute until they realize they absolutely have
to spend that money because for them cash is king,”
said Sarah Paxton vice-chairman of the Retail Merchants
Association, in Richmond.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Ooredoo’s Indosat, Ericsson launch cloud-based M2M platform in Indonesia
Ooredoo’s Indosat and Ericsson have
launched a cloud-based Machine-to-Machine (M2M) platform in Indonesia.
The Ericsson Device Connection
Platform (DCP), uses innovative technologies suited to developing markets, which
create connected solutions to existing
Indosat is the first member of Ooredoo
Group to launch this M2M platform with
Qatar, Algeria and Tunisia scheduled to
follow this year.
Ooredoo Group CEO Dr Nasser Marafih
said, “We are proud to offer this cuttingedge technology solution. Our cloudbased M2M service delivers a higher,
faster level of support and more agile
service for business customers. This
launch is the first in a series of group-wide
innovations that will deliver better results
for businesses.
“Additionally the platform will play a
key role in speeding up the implementation of smart city technologies, supporting our customer’s ‘Connected Lives’
and helping develop smarter economies,
smarter infrastructure, smarter environments and smarter governance in the
markets that we operate.”
In 2020, it is predicted that there will
be 50bn connected devices around the
world, enabled through the growing use
of IoT/M2M communication. In Indonesia,
IoT/M2M technology will drive business
growth in sectors such as banking, transportation, energy, and public services
through smart city.
To contribute to this growth Indosat
has a clear strategy and focus as well as
an extensive range of IoT/M2M products
and services from connectivity, managed
connectivity and end-to-end solutions
that are relevant and beneficial for
businesses, government and consumer
Alexander Rusli, Indosat president
director & CEO said, “One of Indosat’s
missions is to provide products and
services, which enhance the quality of the
communities we operate in. Our commitment extends further to promise delivery
of the best business customer experience
through these services. By partnering to
provide best M2M products and solutions
we have realized one of our missions and
commitments here in Indonesia.”
Thomas Jul, head, Ericsson Indonesia
and Timor Leste said, “M2M will enable
the full potential of our vision of the
Networked Society, where everything that
benefit for being connected will be connected. With Indosat we will explore the
opportunities that will arise with M2M and
empower people, business and society in
IoT/M2M platforms are increasingly
important and today offer businesses,
government and individuals countless
end-to-end solutions. They enable the
management of business processes
around the full life-cycle of the device
starting from the factory, including
logistics, day-to-day usage and retirement,
support of Business-to-Business (B2B)
processes such as procurement, billing/
charging, and even Business-to-Consumer
(B2C) processes such as retail towards
They enable real time monitoring of
IoT/M2M traffic, including volume and
advanced diagnostics, they also support
fraud detection features, including the
ability to set traffic caps and issue various
reports. Online ordering and trouble ticketing functions increase operational ef-
GCC aluminium industry
posts 31% growth in 2014
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
he aluminium industry in
the GCC region has seen a
31% growth in 2014 with
the production of 5mn tonnes of
primary aluminium compared
to the previous year, Qatar Aluminium (Qatalum) chairman
Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Shaibi
produced in the GCC now accounts for 10% of global aluminium production and this figure is
set to increase,” said al-Shaibi,
who spoke before participants of
the “1st Gulf Aluminium Casthouse (GulfCast) Conference”
yesterday at the Sharq Village &
Spa in Doha.
Al-Shaibi said infrastructure
growth and spending “will involve the continued consumption of aluminium products,”
as he cited statistics from the
World Bank, which estimated
that up to $500bn will be spent
by Gulf countries on infrastruc-
Qatar Aluminium (Qatalum) chairman Abdulrahman Ahmed
al-Shaibi speaking at the “1st Gulf Aluminium Casthouse (GulfCast)
Conference” in Doha yesterday. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
ture projects by 2020.
According to al-Shaibi, he
expects the 6% growth in the
global demand for aluminium
“to continue in the near future,”
adding that the recent reduction
in oil prices failed to upset pro-
duction and market consumption.
“The country’s competitive
and strong oil and gas industry,
bolstered further by strategic
sovereign investments, has allowed Qatar’s economy to re-
main strong enabling continued
growth,” he stressed.
Al-Shaibi also emphasised
that the Qatar National Vision
2030 has been the driver for
many projects as the country
embarks on long-term social,
economic, and human development strategies “to transform
Qatar into an advanced knowledge-based society capable of
sustaining its development.”
“At Qatalum, we have seen
a steady production increase
to above design capacity. One
hundred percent of Qatalum’s
ISO-certified liquid metal and
value-added products have led
to total exports of more than
2.5mn tonnes to 505 customers
in 52 countries since start up.
“Sixty percent of Qatalum’s
products are sold to the highly-demanding automotive industry. The high-performance
standard set by the Qatalum
Casthouse has seen rising customer satisfaction together with
on-time-delivery figures,” alShaibi explained.
He stressed that Qatalum’s
position on the global smelters commodity research unit
(CRU) cash cost curve improved
from 12th place in 2012 to fourth
place today, which reflects
“strong emphasis on improvement throughout the organisation.”
“This is an outstanding
achievement, which the Qatalum management should be
congratulated. Therefore, I am
sure you will agree that the aluminium industry future remains
bright both within Qatar and the
GCC region, with many opportunities open for consideration,”
al-Shaibi said.
The event, which runs from
March 2 to 4, gathered industry
experts in environmental, technological, and operational strategy, which could be adopted by
the aluminium industry in Qatar
and the region, al-Shaibi said.
“This technology transfer is
intended to further enhance the
already highly-efficient smelters
in the region to grow in productivity and gain a larger share of
the global market,” he added.
ficiency. The API offered allows customers
to integrate their back end systems and
processes with M2M Platform to access its
data and capabilities.
With the launch of this “innovative”
IoT/M2M service in partnership with
Ericsson, Ooredoo demonstrates the
company’s commitment to using its
bigger, faster network to provide nextgeneration services to customers across
its footprint.
Ooredoo is already working with a
number of leading organisations to support the development of smart cities, and
has signed a strategic alliance with KT
Corporation of Korea to introduce new
concepts and innovations.
NDSQ delivers two
Qatari-built mooring
tugs to NSW
akilat Damen Shipyards
Qatar (NDSQ) has delivered two new Qataribuilt mooring tugs to towage
operator Nakilat SvitzerWijsmuller (NSW).
The delivery of the two ASD
2810 tugs is part of a sevenvessel order that the yard is
currently working on for NSW.
The first of the new tugs, named
Umm Al Shubrum, completed
sea trials in Ras Laffan in midJanuary 2015. She was followed
in February by the second vessel, Al Kharsaah.
“Both vessels performed
exceptionally well during the
trials,” Nakilat Damen said in a
Both vessels will operate as
part of Nakilat NSW’s growing
fleet. NSW currently operates
over 30 vessels and performs
12,500 tug jobs per year.
These vessels will join
NSW’s existing vessels in the
Port of Ras Laffan. They will
be put to use assisting ships
entering and departing the
port. The Damen ASD 2810,
28 metres long with a beam of
10 metres, has a bollard pull of
45 tonnes and can travel at a
speed of 12.6 knots.
Niels Tinsfeldt, managing
director, NSW, said, “The Nakilat Damen Shipyards’ mooring
tugs introduced to NSW represent a very agile and strong
supplement to the tug fleet at
the LNG Port in Ras Laffan.”
The first two Stan Tug 1606
mooring boats, Ras Al Allaj Qatar and Al Esaiwed, were delivered in August 2014.
Aluminium demand not affected by oil price slump
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
The decline in oil prices has not
affected the demand for aluminium in
the GCC region, particularly in Qatar,
Qatar Aluminum (Qatalum) chairman
Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Shaibi said.
Speaking at the “1st Gulf Aluminium
Casthouse (GulfCast) Conference”
yesterday at the Sharq Village & Spa
here, al-Shaibi stressed that global
demand for aluminium is even expected
to increase.
“The growth in aluminium demand
globally over the last few years has been
around 6% and this rate is expected to
continue in the near future. Importantly,
we have seen this demand has not been
affected by the decline in oil prices,” alShaibi said.
Qatalum CEO Tom Petter Johansen
explained to Gulf Times that the
consumption of aluminium “is not directly
influenced by oil prices anymore.”
“The other part of it is that the cost of
producing aluminium is not influenced
by oil prices, and it’s rather the opposite.
The most important energy source
Qatalum CEO Tom Petter Johansen says the cost of producing aluminium is not
influenced by oil prices, and it’s rather the opposite.
for aluminium today is coal. Take for
example, China. Their aluminium industry
is fuelled by coal.
“The competitiveness of aluminium as a
material is increasing compared to other
materials due to lower energy prices,”
Johansen stressed.
Also, Johansen underlined the role of the
global automotive industry, which played
a significant role in the increase in the
demand for aluminium.
“We also see that with lower oil prices,
the automotive industry is booming. The
car manufacturing industry is doing quite
well and the consumption of aluminium
in this sector is increasing,” he said.
He also explained that automobile parts
made from steel are gradually being
replaced with aluminium, increasing
its competitiveness compared to other
materials used in the automotive
Describing aluminium as an energyintensive industry, Johansen noted that
aluminium still enjoys an advantage
over other industries due to competitive
energy prices.
“The reason why we have the 10% of the
global aluminium production in the Gulf
region is because of competitive energy
prices,” he said.
According to Johansen, Qatalum
produced 612,000 tonnes of aluminium
in 2014. This year, the company’s goal is
to optimise processes to reduce cost.
“What we have been doing since 2011
was to optimise our processes by using
this production system called the
‘Qatalum Improvement Programme,’
which was started in 2013 and aims to
reduce cash costs by $150 per tonne, and
that’s a lot.
“By the end of 2014, we have already
reached $124 per tonnes in cost
improvement. So, we are trying to
improve our cost position, utilise creep
capacity, and increase volume slowly,”
Johansen said.
Corporate sector digitisation presents opportunities, challenges: Vodafone official
Vodafone Qatar’s Simone Eliantonio speaks at the 2nd Entrepreneurship in Economic Development Forum.
corporate sector,
sustainability of a country’s economy, is both
an “opportunity and
threat”, according to Vodafone Qatar.
“We firmly believe
digitisation of corporate
entities of any size ensures the sustainability
of a country’s economy,”
Vodafone Qatar head
(Strategic Projects and
Eliantonio told the 2nd
Economic Development
Forum, which concluded here yesterday.
He explained how the
adoption of digital enablers can help increase
the reach and optimise
investments in communications channels.
“Digitisation is an enabler that helps any kind
of business to thrive and
prosper. It is both an opportunity and a threat:
if you don’t use digital
solutions to enable your
business — in any industry — some competitor
will soon come and be
more competitive that
you can be and drive you
out of business,” he said.
As a telecom provider,
Vodafone Qatar needs
more digitally enhanced
companies in its ecosystem as digital awareness
creates further demand
for telecom services, he
said, adding the company can bring considerable value not only by
providing services but
also by generating new
trends in the country
with thought leadership.
“A true and effective
digital transformation
framework should touch
upon three key pillars to
reach its full potential
and these are customer
operations and business
model,” he said.
The Damen ASD 2810, 28 metres long with a beam of 10 metres, has
a bollard pull of 45 tonnes and can travel at a speed of 12.6 knots.
Banks urged to finance
innovative ideas into
successful projects
he 2nd Entrepreneurship in Economic Development Forum, which
concluded yesterday suggested
“financial support from banks
to convert innovative ideas into
successful projects”.
A13-point suggestion which
include new laws to protect
from bankruptcy, renewed academic-industry cooperation,
more foreign investors’ contribution to national cause and
encouragement to entrepreneurship was agreed upon by
Qatar University and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
The 2nd Entrepreneurship
in Economic Development Forum, which was held at the
Sheraton Doha, also recommended investment in human
competences to develop skills
and build partnerships around
the world to exchange experiences and ideas, and encourage
the use of scientific research to
support entrepreneurs.
The forum, organised by Qatar University School of Business and Economics, with the
help of the economy ministry
and Interactive Business Network (IBN), also suggested
finding solutions for entrepreneurs by providing lands and
continuously encourage investors to create an environment
suitable for entrepreneurs and
focusing on removing constraints such as rising rents and
procedural bottlenecks facing
entrepreneurs’ especially in the
start-up phases.
The forum also highlighted
the need for promoting passion towards business ideas
and the ability to take risks and
accept failure to reach to success, use of technology, big data
and business analytics in ventures since they contribute to
the success and development
of businesses, and encourage
the use of scientific research to
support entrepreneurs as well
as include entrepreneurship
awareness in education curriculum since childhood.
“Throughout, the message
that was clearly sent across by
all the speakers at the forum is
that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship are vital components in any economy’s move
towards a more sustainable
growth and development,” said
Raed Chehaib, IBN chief executive officer.
A panel discussion in progress at the 2nd Entrepreneurship in
Economic Development Forum, held at the Sheraton Doha.
NBA | Page 7
Jack’s jumper
pushes Nets
past Curry
and Warriors
to defend
WRC2 title
out to sink
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Jumada I 13, 1436 AH
Amla hits ton
as South Africa
power past Irish
Page 2
Alonso to
miss opening
race of season
Mohamed Husain (R) of Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr fights for the ball with Youssef Msakni of Qatar’s Lekhwiya during their AFC Champions League soccer match at
Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha yesterday.
Lekhwiya draw
despite own goal,
missed penalty
The Qatar champions were beaten by Iran’s Persepolis last week
n own goal by Mohamed Musa and a strike by
Vladimir Weiss saw Qatari
champions Lekhwiya and
Saudi Pro League winners Al Nassr
share the spoils in a lively encounter
in Matchday Two of Group A at the
Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium yesterday
The away side took the lead in the
46th minute when defender Musa diverted a Mohammed al-Sahlawi cross
into his own net, but Lekhwiya equalised five minutes later when Weiss
neatly finished following good work
from Youssef Msakni down the left.
Weiss and al-Sahlawi both missed
penalties in a frantic last 30 minutes
but despite being reduced to 10 men
following Khaled al-Ghambi’s dismissal for a second bookable offence,
Al Nassr secured an away point to
make it two draws from two after a 1-1
tie with Bunyodkor last time out.
Lekhwiya, who suffered a 3-0 reversal away at Persepolis on Matchday One, got off to the better start and
nearly took the lead in the 10th minute
when midfielder Nam Tae-hee struck
the bar from a narrow angle.
Five minutes later the Saudi side
could have gone in front after forward
Wila Armando cut in from the lefthand side, only to fire his shot wide
from eight yards with only keeper
Yahia al-Shehri (L) of Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr and with Ismaeil Mohamed of
Lekhwiya battle for the ball.
Amine Lecomte to beat.
The home side almost opened the
scoring five minutes before the interval after a scramble in the Al Nassr
box, but when the ball rebounded to
Msakni, he saw his close-range effort rebound off the top of the bar and
And it was the Saudis who went in
front just a minute after the restart
when midfielder al-Sahlawi’s cross
from the right side was diverted into
his own net by Musa.
But Lekhwiya struck back in the
51st minute after Msakni skipped
passed a defender on the left side before cutting the ball back to Weiss,
who controlled the ball neatly before
tucking home from eight yards.
And the home side should have
taken the lead on the hour mark after
Weiss burst into the box before being
brought down by al-Ghambi. Referee
Mohanad Qasim immediately pointed
to the spot, but the Slovak’s weak
penalty to goalkeeper Abdullah alEnezi’s right was easily saved.
In an end-to-end game, it was the
away side who could have grabbed a
second in the 72nd minute, but substitute Ahmed al-Fraidi’s header from
inside the six-yard box was brilliantly
saved by Lekhwiya custodian Lecomte.
The Saudis were then awarded a
penalty with 10 minutes to go when
defender Khaled Muftah brought
down al-Sahlawi, but his spot kick
was superbly saved once more by Lecomte.
And with just minutes remaining, Al Nassr were reduced to 10 men
when Al Ghamdi received his second
yellow card for a foul on Weiss.
Despite the one-man advantage,
though, Lekhwiya were unable to grab
a winner in the closing stages and the
game ended level.
Meanwhile, a first half penalty
scored by skipper Mohamed Noori
helped Iran’s Persepolis clinch a tight
1-0 win over Uzbek side Bunyodkor in
Tashkent, a result that helped them
stay atop Group A.
Noori slotted home from the spot
after forward Mehdi Taremi was
fouled in the 20th minute as Persepolis won their second match on the trot
following their 3-0 drubbing of Qatar
champions Lekhwiya last week.
In Tehran, Al Ain drew their second
successive match, this time a 1-1 draw
with Naft Tehran.
Substitute Siamak Kooroshi put the
Iranians ahead in the 49th minute,
while last year’s highest scorer Asamoah Gyan equalised 10 minutes
wo-time Formula One world
champion Fernando Alonso will miss 2015’s opening
Grand Prix in Australia after
suffering concussion in a crash, his
McLaren team said yesterday.
Doctors recommended that the
33-year-old Spaniard sit out the race
as he recovers from the smash during
testing in Barcelona on February 22.
Jenson Button and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen will get the
McLaren Honda cars for the March 15
race in Melbourne.
“It will be tough not to be in Australia, but I understand the recommendations. A second impact in less
than 21 days ‘NO’,” Alonso wrote on
his Twitter account alongside the
hashtag countdownMalaysia.
McLaren remain hopeful that
Alonso will be cleared to race in the
second Grand Prix of the season in
Malaysia on March 29.
The Spaniard crashed into a wall
when he ran wide on the final day of
the second pre-season test.
He had to be airlifted to hospital
under sedation and spent three nights
there. Alonso sat out the final test
session in Barcelona last week to rest
and recuperate at home in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo.
A team statement said Alonso’s
doctors recommended that after the
concussion, “for the time being he
should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors
that could potentially result in his
sustaining another concussion so
soon after his previous one.”
McLaren said it was normal procedure for athletes to “minimise the
chances of second impact syndrome.”
“Fernando has understood and
accepted that advice, and the two
McLaren-Honda cars will therefore
be driven in Australia by Fernando’s
team-mate Jenson Button and the
team’s test and reserve driver Kevin
“Fernando’s doctors acknowledge
that he feels fit and well, and that he
regards himself as ready to race, and,
that being the case, they are comfortable with the fact that he has already
recommenced physical training, with
a view to preparing for a return to the
cockpit of his McLaren-Honda car
for the Malaysian Grand Prix meeting on March 27th, 28th and 29th,”
McLaren’s statement continued.
“Indeed, his doctors are supportive
of that ambition, satisfied as they are
that he sustained no damage whatsoever during his testing accident on
February 22nd.
“All at McLaren-Honda fully support Fernando’s decision in respect of
his doctors’ advice.”
The 33-year-old has only just begun his second spell with the Woking-based team after an ill-fated oneseason stint in 2007 when McLaren
were expelled from the constructors’
championship and fined a record
$100 million for spying on confidential technical information from Ferrari.
On top of Alonso’s crash, McLaren
have endured significant reliability
problems in testing with their new
Honda-powered MP4-30 car.
The team’s racing director Eric
Boullier admitted on Saturday that it
may take until the fifth Grand Prix of
the season in Barcelona for McLaren
to be realistically competitive at the
front of the grid.
Qatar’s Dahlan
re-elected Asian chief
Singapore: Qatar’s Dahlan al-Hamad has been re-elected as president
of the Asian Athletics Association,
the continental track and field body
announced yesterday.
Dahlan, the president of the Qatar
Athletics Federation, was elected unopposed and will be at the helm until
2019.Dahlan is also a Vice-President
of the International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF), the
sport’s global governing body.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Power-packed South Africa
too strong for weak Ireland
Amla and Du Plessis hit centuries, while Steyn shone in his 100th ODI, as
South Africa showcased their prowess with a 201-run rout of Ireland
ashim Amla and Faf du
Plessis hit centuries,
while Dale Steyn shone
in his 100th one-day international, as South Africa showcased their prowess with a 201-run
rout of Ireland in the World Cup
Amla scored 159 off 128 balls to
become the fastest man to reach 20
ODI centuries and Du Plessis made
109 as the Proteas piled up a massive 411 for four after taking first
strike at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.
Steyn put aside worries of mountain fires near his home in Cape
Town as he bowled a hostile opening spell to wreck Ireland with two
wickets in his first three overs.
The fast bowler, who had grabbed
just three wickets in South Africa’s
first three pool matches, finished
with two for 39 and Kyle Abbott
grabbed four for 21 as Ireland were
bundled out for 210 in 45 overs.
The Irish were reduced to 21 for
three by the fifth over and slipped to
48 for five by the 11th before Andy
Balbirnie (58) and Kevin O’Brien
(48) led a late revival by adding 81
for the sixth wicket.
South Africa’s third win in four
matches brought them level on six
points with defending champions
India, who have played one less
match, in Pool B.
Ireland have four points from
three games.
Amla and Du Plessis put on 247
off 217 balls for the second wicket to
lift South Africa to the second highest total in World Cup history, just
two runs behind India’s record 413
for five against Bermuda in 2007.
It was the second successive
400-plus total for the Proteas in
the current tournament, following
their 408 for five against the West
Indies in Sydney last week in which
skipper AB de Villiers hammered
162 off 66 balls.
With victory almost assured, De
Villiers used eight bowlers—including himself—ahead of tougher
Amla smashed 16 boundaries and
four sixes, while Du Plessis contributed 10 fours and a six in a scintillating display of attacking batting
on a dry, run-laden pitch.
Both batsmen were dismissed in
the space of three overs, but Rilee
Rossouw hit an unbeaten 61 off 30
balls and David Miller chipped in
with 46 not out as South Africa
hammered 131 runs in the last 10
Prior to Amla and Du Plessis’s
stand, Ireland were initially in the
game when seamer John Mooney,
whose first two overs were maidens,
had Quinton de Kock caught behind
for one.
South Africa would have been
in further trouble when Kevin
Ireland left to rue the one that got away
Ireland got an early and painful reminder
of what a fickle mistress cricket can be in
their 201-run defeat at the hands of South
Africa in their third World Cup match on
The Irish, who came into the contest at
Manuka Oval with a burgeoning reputation
and two victories under their belts, had
already removed South African opener
Quinton de Kock when Kevin O’Brien came
on to bowl in the sixth over.
De Kock’s partner Hashim Amla, who had
scored 10 runs, clipped the first delivery to
Ed Joyce at mid-wicket only for the former
England batsman to put the catch down on
the Manuka Oval turf.
Some 44 overs later and Amla had 159
runs next his name on the scoreboard and
Ireland were chasing a nigh on impossible
target of 412 for victory.
“Obviously it was a big chance there and
he obviously made us pay,” said Ireland
captain William Porterfield.
“He’s a fantastic player, we’re not going to
get too many chances off him, especially in
such a good wicket.
“But that’s cricket, we’ve got to move on
from that.”
Ireland’s run chase also started badly as
South Africa’s pacemen Dale Steyn and Kyle
Abbott combined to reduce them to 42 for
four in the ninth over.
Andrew Balbirnie and O’Brien stopped the
rot with a 81-run partnership, however.
Stiff Irish resistance kept the contest alive
until the 45th over and avoided the embarrassment of the heaviest defeat in more than
four decades of one-day internationals.
“When you are four down coming out to
10, you are going to struggle,” Porterfield
“All credit to the lower order, there was
some pretty aggressive bowling out there
but they stuck at it.
“I was very pleased the way we kept going
on the field, as well, coming down the back
end. Just a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of
energy shown then.
“It was quite easy to drift away, but no one
really shied away from the task of either
taking the ball or in the field, which was
Irish pride may have taken bit of a dent but
their hopes of a quarter-final spot are still
very much alive, with Saturday’s match
against Zimbabwe in Hobart looming as a
crunch game.
“Every game throughout is a two-pointer
for us, and Hobart is no different,” said
“Now we’ve got to take what we can from
this game and move forward to there, and
obviously two points up for grabs, and it’s a
pretty big two points for us.”
Hashim Amla c Joyce b McBrine .............159
Q. de Kock c Wilson b Mooney ...................... 1
F. du Plessis b K. O’Brien .............................. 109
AB de Villiers c N. O’Brien b McBrine ..... 24
D. Miller not out ................................................. 46
R. Rossouw not out ......................................... 61
Extras: (b1, w7, nb3) ........................................ 11
Total (4 wkts, 50 overs) .............................. 411
Did not bat: Farhaan Behardien, Dale
Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran
Tahir Fall of wickets: 1-12 (de Kock), 2-259
(du Plessis), 3-299 (Amla), 4-301 (de Villiers).
Bowling: Mooney 7-2-52-1 (2nb, 1w);
Sorensen 6-0-76-0 (1nb, 6w); K. O’Brien
7-0-95-1; Dockrell 10-0-56-0; Stirling 10-068-0; McBrine 10-0-63-2;
W. Porterfield c du Plessis b Abbott ...... 12
P. Stirling c de Kock b Steyn ......................... 9
E. Joyce c Amla b Steyn ...................................0
N. O’Brien c Amla b Abbott ......................... 14
A. Balbirnie c Rossouw b Morkel ............. 58
G. Wilson lbw b Abbott .....................................0
K. O’Brien c Rossouw b Abbott ................ 48
J. Mooney b de Villiers ....................................8
G. Dockrell b Morkel ...................................... 25
M. Sorensen c De Kock b Morkel .............. 22
A. McBrine not out.............................................. 2
Extras: (lb3, w9) ..................................................12
Total (all out, 45 overs) ................................ 210
Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Stirling), 2-21 (Porterfield), 3-21 (Joyce), 4-42 (N. O’Brien), 5-48
(Wilson), 6-129 (Balbirnie), 7-150 (Mooney),
8-167 (K. O’Brien), 9-200 (Sorensen), 10210 (Dockrell)
Bowling: Steyn 8-0-39-2; Abbott 8-0-21-4
(1w); Morkel 9-0-34-3 (3w); Tahir 10-1-50-0;
Behardien 2-0-13-0; Rossouw 2-0-13-0; Du
Plessis 4-0-30-0 (5w); De Villiers 2-0-7-1;
Result: South Africa won by 201 runs
South Africa’s Hashim Amla celebrates his century during the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between
Ireland and South Africa in Canberra.
O’Brien, who became Ireland’s
most-capped player yesterday with
87 ODI appearances, came on in
the sixth over and nearly claimed a
wicket with his first ball.
Amla, then on 10, flicked uppishly to short mid-wicket where
Ed Joyce, normally a safe catcher,
dropped the ball after getting both
hands to it.
Ireland paid dearly for the lapse
as seamer Max Sorensen conceded 24 runs in one over, with Amla
smashing him for two sixes and a
four and Du Plessis lofting him for
In the second powerplay, Amla
took 26 runs off one Mooney over
with a sequence of two, four, four,
six, four, six. An additional run
came off a no-ball. Amla’s careerbest century, in his 108th innings,
was a new record, with India’s Virat Kohli being the next fastest to
reach 20 ODI hundreds in 133 innings.
South Africa next play Pakistan
in Auckland on March 7, while Ireland take on Zimbabwe in Hobart
the same day.
We do it our way: SA skipper De Villiers
Leading batting and bowling
figures at the 2015 World Cup as
of yesterday:
“Our strength is in the maturity
in the side. We do things our way.
We are not trying to follow any
unique strategy or someone else’s
strategy. We stick to our game
plans and what works for us”
Leading run-makers
Kumar Sangakkara (SRI) ..... 268
Chris Gayle (WIS) ....................... 258
Hashim Amla (RSA) ................. 257
Lahiru Thirimanne (SRI) ........ 256
Faf du Plessis (RSA)................... 250
AB de Villiers (RSA) ................... 241
outh Africa captain AB de Villiers yesterday backed his team
to go far in the World Cup following a 201-run romp over
hapless Ireland in Canberra to record
their third win in Pool B.
The Proteas are often regarded as
the best team never to have won cricket’s showpiece event, having fallen in
the knock-out rounds after cruising
through the league stage.
But De Villiers was confident history
could be re-written this time, but preferred not to look too far ahead.
“Look I have believed for the past
year that we can win the World Cup,
but we are taking it pretty much match
by match,” De Villiers.
“I have told the boys to try and not
watch other games, just focus on what
we have to do. The focus now is to play
Pakistan in Auckland on Sunday.
“When we reach the quarter-finals
we will think of the opposition and give
it our best shot.”
South Africa’s third win in four
matches brought them level on six
South Africa’s AB de Villiers celebrates with teammates after taking a wicket during the match against Ireland.
points with defending champions India, who have played one less match.
Ireland were left with four points
from three games.
De Villiers said he was very happy
with the performance against Ireland,
especially the batting in which they
piled up 411 for four and then bowled
out the rivals for 210.
The charge was led by Hashim Amla
and Faf du Plessis, who hit centuries
during a 247-run stand for the second
Amla scored 159 off 128 balls to become the fastest man to reach 20 ODI
centuries—in 108 innings—and Du
Plessis made 109 in a scintillating display of attacking batting on a dry, runladen pitch.
South Africa’s total was the second
highest total in World Cup history, just
two runs behind India’s record 413 for
five against Bermuda in 2007.
It was the second successive 400-
plus total for the Proteas in the current
tournament, following their 408 for
five against the West Indies in Sydney
last week.
“The guys stuck to their game plan
pretty well,” said De Villiers.
“There was a great partnership between Ash (Amla) and Faf (du Plessis).
“When you get a partnership of 200plus in an ODI, you always get yourself
in a good position. We found ourselves
in a good position going into the last 15
overs, which gave us a lot of freedom to
express ourselves.
“We ticked lot of boxes today. You
can never be exceptionally happy with
a performance. But I am very happy the
way we did the basics and played a fine
game of cricket.
“Our strength is in the maturity in
the side. We do things our way. We are
not trying to follow any unique strategy
or someone else’s strategy. We stick to
our game plans and what works for us.”
Best performances
Chris Gayle (WIS) ........................ 215
AB de Villiers (RSA) .....62 not out
Tillakaratne Dilshan (SRI) 161 n.o.
Hashim Amla (RSA) .................. 159
Lahiru Thirimanne (SRI) ...39 n.o.
Leading wicket-takers
Tim Southee (NZL) ..................... 13
Trent Boult (NZL) .......................... 10
Imran Tahir (RSA) ............................ 9
Josh Davey (SCO) ............................ 9
Morne Morkel (RSA) ..................... 9
Jerome Taylor (WIS) ..................... 9
Best performances
Tim Southee (NZL) ................. 7/33
Mitchell Starc (AUS) ............. 6/28
Trent Boult (NZL) .......................5/27
Mitchell Marsh (AUS) ............. 5/33
Imran Tahir (PAK) .................... 5/45
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Misbah hopes
Pakistan handle
flights and fights
Pakistan’s Wahab
Riaz aims to become
genuine all-rounder
‘You don’t get rhythm as you have to play in different conditions and weather but you
can’t change that. We have to put this aside, handle it and this is the only way out’
File picture of Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz playing a shot during the 2015
Cricket World Cup Pool B match against Zimbabwe.
File picture of Pakistan’s captain Misbah-ul-Haq (left) reacting as he takes a break with teammate Haris Sohail during their World Cup match against Zimbabwe.
akistan captain Misbah-ulHaq hopes his team’s exhausting trans-Tasman flight schedule won’t undermine their
World Cup hopes as they prepare to
tackle the amateurs of the United Arab
Emirates today.
“The next six days are going to be very
tough for us with flights and three games
but that’s how it is,” said Misbah.
Pakistan flew to Brisbane from
Christchurch last week to play Zimbabwe
and then hopped back to New Zealand to
play UAE at Napier Park on Wednesday
and then South Africa in Auckland on
March 7.
Their pool stage games end in Adelaide
against Ireland on March 15.
Misbah said the long gaps between
games break the momentum of prepa-
ration after Pakistan’s opening game
against India in Adelaide on February 15
was followed by a meeting with the West
Indies in Christchurch six days later.
“You don’t get rhythm so it’s tough for
any team as you have to play in different
conditions and weather but you can’t
change that. We have to put this aside,
handle it and this is the only way out.
“These are very important games. We
have to travel almost after every game so
that could be really challenging but we
have to do that.”
Misbah said confidence was on the rise
after the narrow 20-run win over Zimbabwe, their first in the World Cup on
Sunday which gave them two points in
three outings.
“Of course a win is always good for
confidence and everybody is feeling
good and looking forward to tomorrow’s
game,” said Misbah, who admitted the
“Cricket is a game of uncertainties,
you get four five poor innings and
suddenly you have a hundred”
fight for a quarter-final place was tough.
“This pool is open. Anything can happen and every game is important in this
pool, all the teams are still interested in
making the quarter-finals.
“We are also fighting for the quarterfinals. We have to go out there and improve our performance. We have to do it
if we want to go into the next round and
perform tomorrow, then against South
Africa and then against Ireland (March
15) and if we are unable to perform in one
game then we are out of the tournament.”
Ireland, who were facing South Africa on Tuesday, have four points in two
games while the West Indies have four
points in four. Title holders India and
South Africa are favourites to take the top
two slots in Pool B.
If teams finish on equal points, they
will be separated on number of wins
and then net run-rate, something which
Misbah said his team will look to boost
against the UAE.
“I think that net run-rate is another
question,” said Misbah, whose team
stands at -1.37 after 76-run and 150-run
losses in their first two matches.
“It all depends on how we start, if you
have a good start we can capitalise. We
couldn’t get a good start and struggled
to beat Zimbabwe so if we have control
over the game on Wednesday then we can
push for the net run-rate.”
Despite the top order failure Misbah
stressed opener Nasir Jamshed, who has
a duck and one in the last two games, will
keep his place.
“Nasir has played just two innings, not
nine or ten so we have to look at it then
and decide. Cricket is a game of uncertainties, you get four five poor innings
and suddenly you have a hundred. Our
top order batsmen are capable of that.”
UAE not afraid of Irfan: Javed
nited Arab Emirates
allrounder Amjad Javed
said his batsmen will
not fear facing giant
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan in today’s World Cup
match in Napier.
Irfan, international cricket’s
tallest-ever player at a towering
7 feet one inch, tore apart Zimbabwe in Pakistan’s first win of
the tournament in Brisbane with
figures of 4-30, bowling a series
of fierce, short-pitched deliveries in a 20-run win.
But Javed said the UAE are
already familiar with the Irfan
challenge having come across
him during club games in the
“Irfan played in Dubai seven
years back,” said Javed of the
paceman who featured in domestic one-dayers in the UAE
before breaking into the Pakistan team in 2010.
“If you have faced a bowler
in a domestic match in Dubai
before, then it’s okay. If you
United Arab Emirates (UAE) cricketer Amjad Javed.
have not faced anyone, like Dale
Steyn, that’s a different matter,”
said Javed of the South Africa
spearhead who the UAE will face
in Wellington on March 12.
Javed said head coach Aaqib
Javed and batting coach Mudassar Nazar, who both played for
Pakistan at international level,
were advising the players on how
to negotiate the Irfan threat.
“We are ready for Irfan and
are not scared, Aaqib is helping
us, batting coach (Mudassar) is
helping us.”
Pakistan start as favourites
and will also look to boost their
net run-rate to increase their
chances of qualifying for the
The top four from each of the
two pools of seven teams will
qualify for the last-eight.
Pakistan have only one win
from three while the UAE have
lost all their three matches but
Javed insists that the amateurs
will not roll over against the
1992 champions having already
been brushed aside by India by
nine wickets last time out.
“If you saw our first two games
we almost upset Ireland and Zimbabwe, we are here to upset some
good teams and we will try to do
that again,” said Javed.
Javed scored 25 and took one
wicket in UAE’s four-wicket
defeat against Zimbabwe while
he hit 42 and took 3-60 against
Ireland who scraped a twowicket win.
Javed said the fact that nine of
the 15 Emirati players were either
born in Pakistan or have Paki-
stani roots will not affect team’s
“I think we are representing
UAE,” said Javed, who was born
in Dubai to Pakistani parents. “It
doesn’t matter if we are Pakistani and playing against Pakistan,
we will give hundred percent.”
Javed said every defeat is
helping the UAE learn new lessons about the game at the top
“Every loss makes you learn
and after every game we learn
some things so we go back and
plan and hope that our batting
doesn’t collapse against Pakistan, like it did against India,”
said Javed of the game in which
they were bowled out for 102 in
just 31.3 overs.
Like every other Associate
or non-Test side, Javed feels
the UAE needs more exposure
against the major nations.
“You have to keep playing the
big teams after the World Cup.
This World Cup will give us good
exposure and a big boost and after this event the ICC (International Cricket Council) should
give us more matches with the
major teams.”
akistan paceman Wahab
Riaz is aiming to become
a genuine all-rounder
after starring with both
bat and ball at the World Cup.
The 29-year-old smashed his
maiden one-day half-century
besides taking four for 45 in Pakistan’s hard-fought win over
Zimbabwe in Brisbane on Sunday, their first victory of this
World Cup.
Riaz helped skipper Misbahul-Haq (73) to lift Pakistan from
a precarious 155 for six during
their 47-run stand for the seventh wicket
He then reduced Zimbabwe,
along with fellow left-arm paceman Mohammad Irfan (four for
30), to 215 all out, chasing 236,
as Pakistan won by 20 runs after
Pool B defeats by both India and
the West Indies.
“It was my best innings,” Riaz
told reporters ahead of Pakistan’s
fourth pool match against the
United Arab Emirates in Napier
“It was much-needed so I had
to give support initially and then
hit out at the end. I am happy
that I played my part in both batting and bowling.”
Riaz said he wanted to become
an all-rounder but that this
would take time.
“Obviously, I cannot become
an all-rounder overnight and
with one or two good innings.
The team management has
worked really hard on me and I
am encouraged to bat in the nets,
so I am trying to achieve that
with resolve and determination,”
said Riaz.
Riaz’s career has suffered due
to injury problems and a lack
of consistency since he took an
impressive five wickets during Pakistan’s defeat by eventual champions India in the 2011
World Cup semi-final at Mohali.
“I think after Mohali we have
played most of our cricket in the
UAE,” said Riaz of the Gulf state
which has staged most of Pakistan’s ‘home’ matches since the
country became a “no go” area
for international sides following
a terror attack on the Sri Lanka
team bus in Lahore in 2009.
“In the UAE, spinners did well
and we had Saeed Ajmal as the
number one spinner.
“Ajmal is not here, so we each
have more responsibility and
everyone is trying to play his
part,” said Riaz.
Ajmal was suspended over an
illegal bowling action in September and was only cleared after
Pakistan announced their World
Cup squad last month.
Riaz added having legendary
paceman Waqar Younis as head
coach had been a boost to Pakistan’s attack. “Waqar was a great
bowler and having him as coach
has helped a great deal as he
shares his experience with all the
bowlers,” said Riaz.
No disciplinary
action against Moin
akistan’s chief selector Moin Khan will not
face further disciplinary action after being
sent home from the World Cup
for visiting a casino on the eve
of a crucial clash, the country’s
cricket chief said yesterday.
Khan said he had gone to the
casino in the New Zealand city
of Christchurch for dinner with
friends and family. But he apologised after his actions offended
cricket fans in a country where
gambling is viewed as taboo.
Speaking to reporters in Lahore yesterday, Pakistan Cricket
Board chairman Shaharyar Khan
said the matter had been investigated and no further action
would be taken against Moin.
“He has admitted his fault.
It was inappropriate for him to
have dinner at the casino,” Shaharyar Khan said. “The matter is
now closed.”
Moin Khan, a former wicketkeeper and captain, had visited
the casino on February 20, a day
before the team’s Pool B game
against the West Indies which
they went on to lose by 150 runs.
Pakistan are currently in second to last place in their pool
following victory over Zimbabwe on Sunday.
Khan’s expulsion from the
World Cup was not a first for Pakistan at a mega-event.
Shoaib Akhtar was sent home
from the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 after he hit fellow fast bowler Mohammad Asif with a bat.
Coach Phil Simmons’ West Indies move “not a
done deal”, says Ireland
Cricket Ireland has refused
to comment on speculation
that their coach Phil Simmons
may be heading home to the
Caribbean after the World Cup
to coach the West Indies, saying
nothing had been finalised yet.
Media reports over the past
few days have suggested that
Simmons is one of the top
contenders for the West Indies
coach’s job which is lying vacant since the sacking of Ottis
Gibson last August.
The West Indies are being
coached at the World Cup by
Stuart Williams and Andre
Coley with former captain
Richie Richardson serving as
The Irish team said neither
Simmons nor the board will
comment on the coach’s future
till the tournament was over.
“It is not something we want to
talk about when the tournament is on,” Cricket Ireland’s
media manager Barry Chambers told AFP during the Pool B
match against South Africa at
the Manuka Oval in Canberra
on Tuesday.
“Nothing has been finalised. It is
definitely not a done deal.”
Simmons, who turns 52 next
month, has enjoyed considerable success in his eight years
with Ireland, taking the non-Test
playing nation to three World
Cup and four World Twenty20
His contract will run out in December, but it is unlikely Cricket
Ireland will stand in the way if
Simmons is offered the job with
the West Indies, who plan to
have a new coach before the
home series against England
starting next month. Now to see
if this gets confirmed.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
We were nervous
against the Kiwis,
says Johnson
‘We knew the ball was going to swing. We knew what to expect, we just didn’t play
our game out there in the middle. I think the moment probably got a bit big for us’
Clarke avoids talks
of Lehmann fall-out
Australian captain Michael Clarke (centre) stretches with teammates.
ichael Clarke shrugged off suggestions
he was at loggerheads with Australia
coach Darren Lehmann by telling
reporters yesterday: “You won’t
get headlines out of me”.
In the aftermath of the onewicket loss to New Zealand at
the weekend, Clarke’s observation that Australia had failed to
prepare for the swinging ball was
seen as thinly-veiled blast at Lehmann for an apparent lack of
But when asked yesterday
what input Lehmann had provided for today’s crunch World
Cup pool game against Afghanistan in Perth, Australia captain
Clarke refused to take the bait.
“We’ve trained really well in
preparation for this game. You
guys will get no headlines out of
me,” said Clarke, who returned to
the team for the first time since
November for Saturday’s defeat
in Auckland, having been sidelined with a hamstring injury.
“’Boof’ (Lehmann) made it
pretty clear to us today that
he wants us to stay focused on
what’s right in front of us this
game, and we’ll worry about
Sunday (when Australia face Sri
Lanka in Sydney) after tomorrow’s game.”
Australia had a scare in the
WACA nets yesterday when
batsman Steve Smith was struck
on his left hand while batting but
after ice treatment the 25-yearold returned to practice.
Paceman Pat Cummins won’t
play after injuring his left side
during the loss to New Zealand
but all-rounder James Faulkner
is ready to return against Afghanistan.
“Smithy got hit on the hand
facing a spinner, and he went
back in the nets, so I think he’s
fine,” Clarke said.
“I just spoke to (selector) Rod
Marsh, and he wants to see how
everyone pulls up after training
before he selects the eleven.”
Josh Hazlewood will likely replace Cummins, leaving either
Shane Watson or Mitch Marsh
to be dropped to accommodate
Afghanistan go into the game
having won their first World Cup
match against Scotland last time
out following losses to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Clarke refused to predict a
comprehensive win for Australia
even though Afghanistan’s batsmen are expected to struggle on
the fast, bouncy WACA wicket.
“I think they’ve shown the
world they’ve got a really good
team that can perform at this
level against the best,” Clarke
“I think this is great for the
game. I’ve always been a believer
in the more countries that we can
get involved in the game of cricket, the better.”
Australia’s Mitchell Johnson throws the ball during a final training session ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool A match between Australia and Afghanistan in Perth.
Australia paceman Cummins out of Afghanistan match
erves got the better of Australia’s batting lineup in their
dramatic World Cup loss to
New Zealand at the weekend
and they may have been overawed by the
occasion, Australian paceman Mitchell
Johnson said.
New Zealand skittled Australia’s batsmen for 151 runs in 32.2 overs before holding on for a nerve-jangling one-wicket
win at a packed Eden Park on Saturday.
Players and pundits have struggled
to explain Australia’s batting flop, with
some blaming the team’s lack of match
practice in the two weeks since their
opener against England.
Captain Michael Clarke suggested the
team had not trained hard enough on
dealing with swing bowling after New
Zealand’s seamers cut a swathe through
their innings.
But Johnson said there was no lack of
preparation. “I think we trained really
well, to be honest,” Johnson told Sydney
Australia paceman Pat Cummins has
been ruled out of today’s World Cup
match against Afghanistan, captain
Michael Clarke confirmed.
The 21-year-old Cummins suffered a
slight side strain in Australia’s one-wicket defeat to New Zealand but had been
cleared of serious injury.
“At this stage, Pat is unavailable for
selection for tomorrow’s game,” Clarke
told reporters in Perth yesterday.
Selectors have yet to decide on the
11 to take on non-test playing nation
Afghanistan, Clarke added, saying they
needed to see how the team recovered
from yesterday’s training.
radio station 2UE. “I just think we were
probably a little bit nervous through that
middle period.
“We trained and we knew what to
expect. We knew the ball was going to
swing there.
“We knew what to expect, we just
didn’t play our game when we got out
Batsman Steven Smith was struck on
the hand in the nets yesterday, but
returned for another bat and was available for selection, Clarke added.
Cummins’ injury opens the door for
Josh Hazlewood to join left-armers
Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson on
the WACA’s fast and bouncy wicket.
The 24-year-old Hazlewood was replaced by Cummins after going wicketless in the big win over England in their
World Cup opener in Melbourne.
Fast-bowling all-rounder James Faulkner has also declared himself fit for his
first World Cup match after recovering
from a side strain
there in the middle. I think the moment
probably got a bit big for us.”
Though Mitchell Starc took a brilliant
6-28 to give Australia an unlikely sniff of
victory, fellow left-armer Johnson was
torched by ‘Black Caps’ skipper Brendon
McCullum early and finished wicketless
for 68 runs from just six overs.
“He’s a great player,” two-time ICC
cricketer of the year Johnson said of McCullum. “He took me apart, I haven’t
been belted like that for a long while.”
The loss to New Zealand is unlikely to
affect Australia’s hopes of making the
knockout rounds, though it may eventually cost the team top spot in Pool A,
meaning a potentially trickier quarterfinal opponent.
Non-test playing side Afghanistan
can expect to feel the full brunt of Johnson and Australia’s frustrations when the
teams meet in Perth on Wednesday on the
WACA’s famously fast and bouncy wicket.
The WACA has been one of Johnson’s
happiest hunting grounds, a venue where
his left-arm deliveries collude with a dependable afternoon sea-breeze to swing
into batsmen.
Starc will team up with Johnson again
but third seamer Pat Cummins is likely
to be rested after sustaining a side strain
against New Zealand.
Faulkner may return from a side strain of
his own against Afghanistan for his first
match at the World Cup.
Not scared of Australia: Nabi
Mohammad Nabi has
insisted his side are
“not scared” of Australia heading into today’s World
Cup clash in Perth.
“We are not scared of them,
but we respect them because
they have good attacking bowlers and good quality batsmen
and fielders as well,” Nabi told
reporters yesterday.
Afghanistan have provided
one of the most compelling stories of this World Cup, with their
thrilling one-wicket win over
Scotland in Dunedin last time
out one of the highlights of the
competition so far.
But the pace and bounce of
the WACA pitch has troubled far
more experienced overseas batsmen than are in the Afghanistan
line-up and Australia have the
fast bowlers to make the most of
the conditions.
International Cricket Council
Afghanistan’s captain Mohammad Nabi at a press conference.
chief executive David Richardson
warned last week that the four
non-Test or Associate countries
taking part in the tournament
had yet to face their toughest assignments at the World Cup.
They don’t come much harder
than playing Australia in Perth
but Nabi was heartened by the
way his side had improved since
their lone previous one-day international meeting.
Three years ago, Australia
beat Afghanistan by 66 runs in
Sharjah, a match where Nabi
made 46 before being bowled
by left-arm quick Mitchell
“We played against Australia
in Sharjah. They scored 272 and
we scored 206,” said Nabi.
“It was a quite good experience against them. Our team
now is better from that time.”
Amid much debate about
the ICC’s plans to reduce the
number of teams taking part at
the 2019 World Cup in England
to 10, Australia captain Michael
Clarke insisted teams such as
Afghanistan were worth their
And Nabi said his side were
no longer star-struck when they
came up against the world’s best
players. “When you’re first playing with the big teams and also
with the big names, we got really
excited,” he said. “Now we’re
used to with them.”
Afghanistan assistant coach
Peter Anderson said Wednesday’s match gave the tourna-
ment newcomers a chance to
showcase their talent.
“We’ve come off a win against
Scotland, so that’s given the
boys a lot of confidence,” said
“We know we’re up against
one of the best teams in the world
and certainly arguably the best
pace attack,” added Anderson,
who played Australian first-class
cricket as a wicketkeeper for
Queensland and South Australia.
“It’s a shot for us, it’s an opportunity for us to show the
cricketing public of the world
what talent we have in Afghanistan, and I know the boys will do
themselves very proud.”
Afghanistan’s task is made all
the harder by the fact Australia
have still to secure a quarterfinal place and come into this
match on the back of a dramatic
one-wicket Pool A defeat by
fellow tournament co-hosts
New Zealand in Auckland last
“They’ll be up to redeem
themselves from the New Zealand situation,” said Anderson.
Pacer Hassan head
over heels with
Flintoff inspiration
fast bowler Hamid Hassan wants to rip through
Australia today, using England
Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff as
his inspiration.
Hassan had become a cult
figure at the World Cup with a
bandanna in his country’s colours wrapped tightly around his
head and tiny Afghanistan flags
painted onto his cheeks.
His team’s remarkable rise
through the cricket hierarchy
faces its toughest challenge
yet in Perth where 27-year-old
Hassan is eager to test his pace
on the WACA’s famously fast
The seamer now wants to follow in the footsteps of Flintoff
who sparked England’s defeat
of Australia in the 2005 Ashes
where he claimed 24 wickets.
“There are a lot of fast-bowlers I love to watch, but the one
guy I was very inspired by was in
the Ashes series in 2005 ... when
I saw Andrew Flintoff,” Hassan
“He played like a hero in that
Ashes series. He bowled really
well, bowled fast and quick, got
24 wickets and got some runs in
batting. I wish I could bat like
him but I’m not a good batsman.
“He inspired me a lot with
the way he played, the way he
bowled, the way he batted, his
celebrations and everything. He
was amazing.”
Afghanistan go into today’s
Pool A game having won their
first ever World Cup clash
against Scotland, which followed
defeats by Bangladesh and Sri
Lanka, and they remain in quarter-final contention with further
“There are a lot of fastbowlers I love to watch,
but the one guy I was very
inspired by was in the Ashes
series in 2005 ... when I saw
Andrew Flintoff,” Hassan
Afghanistan’s Hamid Hassan
games to come against New Zealand and England.
Afghanistan have faced Australia only once, losing by 66
runs in Sharjah in 2012 but Hassan missed that game with a knee
If he manages to send back any
of Australia’s leading batsmen
on Wednesday then he is certain
to celebrate with another cartwheel, which greeted his dismissal of Sri Lanka star Kumar
Sangakkara in Dunedin.
“I didn’t know what I should
do so I just went for it,” Hassan
said of his celebration which
ended with him taking a tumble
in his follow through.
“I was just enjoying that wicket because everyone knows that
Sangakkara is the number one
batsman in the world.
“I feel very proud that I got
him and also then (Mahela) Jayawardene later on. I was very excited, I didn’t know what to do and
it just happened. It was amazing.”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Dan calls for more
freedom for players
‘We have a different system. It’s a kind of old fashioned system’
in Dan, widely regarded
as the greatest men’s
singles player in badminton history, marked
his return to the All-England
Open with an appeal for his fellow professionals to be given
more freedom.
The Olympic champion from
China said yesterday he wants
professional players to be allowed more choice in where
and when they play, something
which might have been regarded
as an anathema in his country
only a short time ago.
“Athletes are a crucial part
of the sport,” said Lin, who has
reappeared at the world’s oldest
event here in preparation for a
bid to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
“We should lower the barriers
to entry for professional players
so they can sign up (for tournaments) themselves.
“That might help younger
players come through as well as
prolong older players’ careers,”
added Lin.
The Chinese superstar believes the longevity of great
players, such as Lee Chong
Wei, the reigning All-England
champion from Malaysia, and
two other former world number
ones, Peter Gade of Denmark,
and Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, may have delayed the onset
of a new wave.
Lin’s opinions were supported by Gade, who believes most
players will only be able to make
their own decisions when supported by their own organisation.
“Badminton is different from
tennis and golf in that it doesn’t
have its own professional players’ organisation,” said Gade.
“We have a different system.
It’s a kind of old fashioned system. I know that the BWF and
all the associations around the
world are doing the best they
can. But we have to put the bar
as high as we can and work together. If we do that the sport
we love has huge potential.
“We have huge stars like
Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei.
Hopefully we will see new stars
emerge and older ones who still
want to contribute. I don’t see
many sports where bigger stars
are active in this way. I really
hope badminton will take advantage of this.”
Meanwhile the focus upon
Lin has rarely been greater, as
badminton’s biggest star prepares his bid to qualify for the
2016 Games, at which he would
be trying for a third successive
gold medal at the age of 32.
“It is for me to realise my
value and put in the effort to
win big tournaments,” said Lin,
whose tournament appearances
have been scarce in the past
two years. Lin denied that he
was aiming for another Olympics because great rival Wei had
changed his mind about retiring
after narrowly missing a gold
Wolff test
illiams test driver
Susie Wolff will
compete in practice
at three Grand Prix,
as well as other testing, during
the 2015 season, the Formula
One team confirmed yesterday.
The Scottish 32-year-old has
already recorded 86 laps in the
new Williams Mercedes FW37 at
February pre-season testing on
the Circuit de Catalunya.
The season begins with the
Australian Grand Prix on March
15. Wolff, will also take part in
practice at the Spanish GP, Austrian GP and British race at Silverstone.
In 2014, she became the first
woman in 22 years, to take part
in a Formula One weekend at the
British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“Our focus this year is to build
on the success of 2014,” Wolff
told the Williams website after
the team finished third in the
constructors championship last
“I’ve been training hard all
winter and I am physically in the
best shape I’ve ever been, so I am
ready for the season ahead.
“As Official Test Driver I will
have additional time in the FW37
and by correlating this with my
work in the simulator, the team
can ensure we are getting the
best from the car and check how
updates are performing,” added
Wolff, who has raced in British F3, British Formula Renault
and most recently the DTM, the
German Touring Car series until
2012 before joining Williams.
“All of us drivers on the Williams roster have been working
closely together on this and we
are ready to give everything we
can to the 2015 season.”
The Williams team have a
strong female presence with
Claire Williams, daughter of
team founder Sir Frank, as Team
Principal and another young test
driver Alex Lynn amongst their
ranks. “Last season Susie impressed with her performances
during FP1 at Silverstone and
Hockenheim and we were keen
to give her another chance to test
in 2015,” said Claire Williams.
“She knew the FW36 well and
with the FW37 being a gradual
evolution, we were keen to utilise this knowledge and get her
in the car to help assess and
validate the approaches we have
France’s Pape loses 10-week ban appeal
medal at the London Olympics.
“This is a goal I wanted to
pursue myself and it is a great
honour to represent my country,” he said.
Lin made clear the connec-
tion between playing at this
week’s All-England and getting
to the Olympics.
“My goal is to accumulate
as many (qualifying) points as
possible (for the Olympics) -
and then fight for my sixth (All
England) title,” he said.
Lin was also questioned about
what the All-England meant
to him, which he has not competed in since 2012. “Of course
I know that the All-England is a
100-year-old tournament,” he
said. “I have played 12 times and
won (the title) five times. When
I see top players here, for me it is
very special.”
France lock Pascal Pape has lost his appeal against a 10-week ban
he received after kneeing Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip during their Six
Nations clash, the tournament’s committee announced yesterday.
The 34-year-old, Stade Francais forward’s appeal, against the foul in
France’s 18-11 defeat at Lansdowne Road a fortnight ago, was heard
in London.
“The Appeals’ Commission have rejected this appeal and as a result
the initial 10-week sanction is maintained,” the tournament’s committee said in a statement.
Heaslip suffered three fractured vertebrae as a result of the foul
with the committee saying last week only Pape’s “expressions of
remorse” had saved him from a longer ban. Pape, who has 59 caps,
is now ruled out for the rest of the Six Nations and can only to return
to club and international duty on May 18, the committee added.
The former French captain is set to retire from the international
game after this year’s World Cup.
Tokyo’s Olympic stadium to host 2019 WC final
apan’s proposed new national stadium,
which will form the centrepiece for the
2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, has also
been selected to host the final of the 2019
rugby World Cup.
At a news conference in Dublin on Monday,
World Rugby officials revealed the 12 cities that
had been selected to host matches at the first
rugby World Cup in Asia, the sport’s biggest
emerging market.
The 80,000-seat National Stadium in Tokyo,
which is still to be constructed, will stage the
opening match on Sept. 6, as well as the final on
Oct. 20, in what will double as a dress rehearsal
for the Olympics the following year.
“This is an important milestone for the tournament,” rugby World Cup chairman Bernard
Lapasset said.
“Now we know exactly where the matches will
be staged in Japan and, more importantly, the
people of those cities and fans around the world
can start planning for the big event.”
The International Stadium in Yokohama,
which hosted the 2002 soccer World Cup final between Brazil and Germany, also made the
The other 10 were: Sapporo Dome (Sapporo), Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium
(Kamaishi), Kumagaya Rugby Ground (Kumagaya), Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium
(Shizuoka Prefecture), Toyota Stadium (Aichi
Prefecture), Hanazono Rugby Stadium (Osaka), Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium (Kobe),
Hakatanomori Football Stadium (Fukuoka),
Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium (Kumamoto), Oita Stadium (Oita Prefecture).
World Rugby officials said the venues had
been chosen across the length and breadth of Japan to give as many locals as possible the chance
to see matches live, with venues varying in size
from 15,000 to 80,000. The successful cities,
chosen from 15 candidates, included Kamaishi,
a small city on the Pacific coast that was badly
damaged by the 2011 tsunami.
Residents from the city gathered at a hotel
to watch Monday’s live televised announcement with the tournament executive Akira Shimazu telling the NHK national broadcaster: “I
hope this will be even a little useful in helping
the people who have suffered this huge tragedy
Japan was awarded the World Cup in 2009
after the sport’s officials, who had been criticised for rotating rugby’s biggest spectacle
amongst the game’s traditional powers, voted
to go to a developing market.
“It will be a wonderful tournament,” Lapasset said.
“And as it’s the first time rugby World Cup
will take place in Asia, it will be an important
milestone for us as we continue to make good
on our commitment to grow the global game.”
Ranger returning to New Zealand from France
Hard-running back Rene Ranger is returning
to New Zealand from French club Montpellier
early and looking to break back into the All
Blacks squad, officials said yesterday.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said the 28-year-old
had secured an early release from Top 14 club
Montpellier to return later this year and play
Super Rugby with the Auckland Blues next
year. While NZR said family reasons were the
main motivation for Ranger’s return, he also
wanted to push for All Blacks selection and add
to the six caps he earned from 2010-13.
“He’s a classy player with the ability to surprise
and that makes him a favourite of fans,” NZR
chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement.
Ranger said he hoped his experience in France,
where he has scored six tries in 15 games for
Montpellier, would make him an asset for the
Blues, who are winless this year after three
rounds. “They are a quality side, but execution
is letting them down so far,” he said “Hopefully
I can play a positive role because backs get
excited with the sort of front-foot ball the Blues
are getting. “I will come home a better rugby
player. I am mentally stronger and I’ve learned
a lot that I can bring back into the Blues environment.”
Ranger joined Montpellier in November 2013
on a two-year contract. He is likely to return to
New Zealand in mid-2015.
Saracens have signed versatile Italy back-row
forward Samuela Vunisa from Celtic League
side Zebre, the English Premiership club announced on Tuesday. The 26-year-old Fiji-born
player, who can operate at number eight or
flanker, has won three international caps.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Al-Attiyah begins
defence of WRC2
title in Mexico
This year’s event has attracted one of the strongest entries ever
File photo of Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah in action during the Qatar International Rally.
By Our Correspondent
Leon, Mexico
he 12th Rally Guanajuato Corona
takes place in central Mexico this
weekend and marks the first of six
successive gravel rallies that will
go a long way to deciding the outcome of
the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship.
An unofficial thirty-three cars and drivers from 22 nations will tackle 21 timed
special stages in the mountainous areas around Leon, Silao and Guanajuato in
what has become one of the most popular
and challenging rounds of the world series
since it joined the calendar for the first
time in 2004.
This year’s event has attracted one of
the strongest entries ever, with 15 World
Rally Cars and 14 Priority 1 drivers set to
line up at the ceremonial start, which takes
place in front of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas in the historic city of Guanajuato
from 19.00hrs on Thursday evening.
Many of the international competitors
have been to Rally Guanajuato Corona on
numerous occasions, but even some of the
most experienced entrants have to enter
the event for the first time.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah returns
to defend his WRC2 title this season in a
Ford Fiesta RRC and begins that defence
here in Mexico with the French co-driver
with whom he won the Dakar Rally in January and the Qatar International Rally in
February. Matthieu Baumel has replaced
Giovanni Bernacchini this season and, although the Frenchman has competed all
over the world, this will be his first taste of
rallying in Mexico.
“Everything here is completely new to
me,” enthused Baumel. “The people have
been fantastic, the scenery is stunning and
I have been impressed with what I have
seen of the stages so far. I am sure it will be
a fantastic event.”
Volkswagen Motorsport start as firm
favourites to continue their domination of
the sport this year, having won the opening two rallies in Monte Carlo and Sweden. Their two-time FIA World Champion
Sébastien Ogier won the last two events
in Mexico and claimed victories on the
opening two rounds of this year’s championship.
“The past two rallies in Mexico have
shown how comfortable I feel here,” said
Ogier. “Our Polo R WRC has coped superbly with the thin air at high altitude.
We can only wait and see if our powerful
engine can compensate for our early starting position this year.”
Hyundai Motorsport claimed a first ever
WRC podium finish in Mexico last year
and Belgian driver Thierry Neuville has
been an integral part of the Korean manufacturer’s rapid rise through the ranks
to being a competitive force in the WRC.
Neuville narrowly missed out on outright
victory in Sweden last month and arrives
in Leon determined to improve on last
year’s third overall.
“This has been one of my favourite rallies in recent years and the scene of some
great results,” said the Belgian. “The team
is pushing hard to develop the Hyundai i20
WRC and there are more improvements
Hyundai is planning to introduce an
engine upgrade to cope with the higher
altitude on the Mexican stages, where
some of the sinuous gravel tracks reach
heights of 2,700 metres above sea level.
The i20 WRC will feature a modified fuel
injection system, which team management are confident will eliminate power
loss at altitude.
The Hyundais to be used by Neuville,
Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo were
aims for
aula Creamer ended a
four-year title drought
when she drained a
monster 75-foot eagle putt on the second playoff
hole at the 2014 HSBC Women’s Champions event and the
American was keen to recreate a
little bit of history on her return
to Singapore.
Back at the scene of one of her
finest professional triumphs,
Creamer was playing a practice round on the lush Serapong
Course and could not resist
dropping a few balls down on
the 18th green to see if she still
possessed the Midas touch.
“I played the back nine yesterday and I went and putted it
a couple times to see,” Creamer
told reporters yesterday, recalling the moment she claimed her
first title since the 2010 US Open
when she edged Spain’s Azahara
Munoz in that playoff.
“The golf course is in different shape than it was last year.
The greens were a little bit faster
and the fairways weren’t quite
as wet as they are right now,” the
28-year-old added.
“I putted to about three, four
feet and I’m thinking, I remember this last year, trying to hope
that it would just stay on the
“It was neat to see the plaque
on the 18th fairway, and go up
there and kind of look at the
green and just remembering the
moment of that going in.
“Those are replays I will never
tire of seeing.”
Creamer, who is working on
‘I putted to about three,
four feet and I’m
thinking, I remember
this last year, trying to
hope that it would just stay
on the green’
improving her game after a recent change of equipment, admitted she would gladly take a
“tap-in” to defend a title that
she ranks as “up there with the
US Open triumph” due to the
drama that surrounded her victory.
“I hadn’t won for so long, and
that drought and the fashion
that it went down, just a playoff, and that long (putt), the
reaction, everything that came
about,” she added.
“It was definitely a moment
that I will remember, more in a
personal way. My US Open was
just great golf. There’s obviously
every win that you have is a little
bit different but this one was so
big to overcome and the mental
block, as well.”
Creamer tends to save some of
her best golf for Singapore with
her victory last year coming after a host of top-three finishes,
a success she puts down to her
love of visiting the country and
a course that suits her game.
“I feel great, I really do. I’ve
always played well at this golf
course. I think it sets up really well. You’ve got to hit good
golf shots and make some good
putts,” she said.
“I’m really looking forward to
Thursday. I think that it will be a
good week but I’m not going to
sit there and put tons of pressure
on myself to go against my plan
of what I want to do on the golf
fine-tuned at a recent test session in Spain
and underwent extra adjustments at the
team’s European headquarters in Germany. Both Neuville and Hyundai currently
hold second places in the Drivers’ and
Manufacturers’ standings after the recent
Rally Sweden.
The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World
Rally Team has endured a difficult start
to the new season and Kris Meeke and
Mads Østberg realise the importance of
achieving good results in Mexico. “I was
disappointed with my first two results in
Monte Carlo and Sweden, despite winning
stages,” admitted Meeke. “I have to eliminate the mistakes to score points and turn
my speed into results. I’m going to run my
own race and I think our starting position
will be an advantage.”
The duo will benefit from the latest
2015-specification DS3 WRCs, fitted with
upgraded engines, transmission, chassis
and suspension. “If we have a good feeling at the shakedown on Thursday, we will
have to take advantage of that and push
hard right from the start,” said Østberg.
Today, crews complete their reconnaissance of the timed stages that will decide
the outcome of this year’s Rally Guanajuato Corona 2015.
Wie targets American Dream
of competing at Rio Olympics
ichelle Wie enjoyed a breakthrough year in
2014 when she captured her first major title and the American will spend the next 18
months chasing another dream—competing
at a Summer Olympics.
A teen prodigy, Wie was thrust into the limelight a
decade ago when she competed against the men on several PGA Tour events but missed the cut in all of them
and struggled to make an impact on the ladies tour after
turning professional in 2005.
The 25-year-old finally fulfilled her potential with a
first LPGA Tour title in 2009 and steady improvement
over the years culminated in a two-shot US Open triumph at Pinehurst last June.
Wie is targeting more major success this season but
her main goal will be to tee off at the Rio Games in 2016,
competing at an event she helped ensure became a reality as part of the team lobbying for golf’s inclusion as an
Olympic sport six years ago.
“Oh, yeah, I was actually in Copenhagen with the golf
committee... people associated with the golf associations and we worked hard to get golf into the Olympics
and we were very successful,” Wie told reporters in Singapore on Tuesday ahead of this week’s HSBC Women’s
Champions event.
“So since then, I’ve been working really hard and it’s
definitely a big goal of mine to make the U.S. Team.”
The top 60 players in the world, with a maximum of
four per country, on July 11, 2016 will be eligible to compete in Rio and with Wie currently sixth in the global
rankings, the Hawaiian is on target to qualify for Brazil.
However, fellow Americans Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thomp-
son, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr, Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford and Paula Creamer are all ranked in the top
30 and will be gunning for one of the few spots available.
Wie knows the competition will be tough but remains
hopeful that she can play at an event she, as a child, never thought would be possible.
“Growing up, I always watched the Olympics and
thought it would be so cool to represent my country but
I was also very sad because I would never have the opportunity,” she added.
“Now that I have the opportunity it’s definitely one of
my biggest goals, one of my biggest dreams is to compete
in Rio. So I’m going to be working hard and hopefully I’ll
get it.”
Creamer, the defending champion in Singapore, is
also driven to make the US Team and regards it as her
“number one goal”.
“That is everything that I have ever wanted, to represent my country in the Olympics,” she said. “I have a little bit over a year to kind of get my butt back into shape
and get into that—make that team.
“There’s only a couple of girls that get that opportunity to do it and to play, and that is something that I would
love to do. I would be honoured to do that and I think it’s
great for golf in general that it’s in the Olympics.”
Paula Creamer
QR2mn for
Islamic Triathlon
By Sports Reporter
As part of the Active Qatar Campaign, Qatar will host the International Islamic Triathlon on March 14.
The event includes shooting, swimming and equestrian. Competitions will be staged in Sealine area. Valuable prizes have been
dedicated to the event this year reaching a total of QR2mn.
The International Islamic Triathlon is organised this year as part
of the Sport Sector Strategy projects (2011-2016). The campaign
comprises of up to 30 activities across the months of the year.
They include sport and recreation activities targeting all sections
of society, including for people with special needs.
The previous edition of the International Islamic Triathlon saw
the participation of 70 competitors. In the senior category, the
winner was Mohamed Zayed Abu al-Haj from Qatar, while Khalid
Sanad al-Naimi finished second and Qatar’s Mhana Mohamed
al-Dosari finished third. In the youth category, Sami Abdulghani
al-Wajeh from Yemen came first, followed by Mohamed Salem
Mohamed al-Marri and Rashed Mohamed al-Naimi of Qatar.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Jack’s jumper pushes
Nets past Curry and
Golden Warriors
‘I knew it was a tie ballgame and the shot clock was off’
Brooklyn Nets guard Alan Anderson (No 6) shoots
over Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes
(No 40) during the first quarter at Barclays Center.
Los Angeles
arrett Jack rescued the
Brooklyn Nets from
Stephen Curry’s late
scoring spree.
Jack drained the gamewinning jumper with just 1.1
seconds remaining Monday,
sending the Nets to a dramatic
110-108 victory over the travelweary Golden State Warriors.
“I knew it was a tie ballgame
and the shot clock was off,” said
Jack, who finished with nine
points against his former teammates. “I was just making sure I
got the last shot.”
Quiet through three quarters,
top MVP candidate Curry awoke
with 18 of his 26 points in the
final quarter, including a tying
basket with 69 seconds left that
pulled the West-best Warriors
(46-12) out of a 10-point hole
with four minutes remaining.
Golden State had a chance to
go ahead but an Andrew Bogut
cross-court pass intended for
Curry sailed out of bounds, setting the stage for Jack’s heroics.
After a timeout, Jack dribbled
from the right side of the court
to the middle before splashing
in his 17-foot jumper over Curry
for his fourth career differencemaker. “That was a layup for
him,” said Nets centre Brook
Lopez, who had a game-tying
26 points.
There was time for one last
play but after a timeout Curry
couldn’t get a reverse layup
up in time as the final buzzer
sounded, and the Nets had their
second straight impressive win
after Saturday’s road victory
over the Dallas Mavericks.
Deron Williams netted 22 and
Alan Anderson 16 for Brooklyn
(25-33), which jumped past idle
Indiana for the eighth spot in
the East playoff race.
“I’m glad we were able execute on one of the final possessions to win the game,” Nets
coach Lionel Hollins said.
“We had our chances but
couldn’t and they kept coming
and making shots. Ultimately,
Jarrett hit a big shot win the game
and we go home happy.”
Bogut had a season-high 16
points but All-Star Klay Thompson finished with just seven on
3-of-17 shooting for Golden
State, which finished 3-3 on their
season-long road trip that included four games in five nights.
“I’m really proud of our guys. It
was a great effort particularly
with all this travel and the schedule being what it is,” Warriors
Kershaw to
start Dodgers
By Dylan Hernandez
Los Angeles Times
he news that emerged
spring-training facility
Monday wasn’t as much
news as it was confirmation of
the obvious: Clayton Kershaw
will be the Dodgers’ openingday starter.
“That’s our plan,” Manager
Don Mattingly said.
The Dodgers open the regular
season April 6 against the San
Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
“Now I’ve got a goal and date:
April 6,” Kershaw said. “Get
ready to go.”
The National League’s most
valuable player and Cy Young
Award winner last season, Kershaw will be making his fifth
consecutive opening-day start.
The streak is the second longest
in Dodgers history, trailing only
Don Sutton’s run of seven from
1972 to 1978.
Four Dodgers pitchers have
made five opening-day starts:
Sutton (seven), Don Drysdale
(seven), Fernando Valenzuela
(six) and Ramon Martinez (five).
Sandy Koufax made only one
opening-day start in his Hall of
Fame career, in 1964.
“Any time you get associated
with those names, it’s pretty cool,”
Kershaw said. “The Dodgers have
a huge history of pitchers and to
be a part of that, to do something
they did, is pretty cool.”
Kershaw is 3-0 in openingday starts and has given up only
one run in 25 2/3 innings, a 0.35
earned-run average. The only
time he wasn’t credited with a
victory was in 2012, when he left
a game in San Diego after only
three innings because of flu-like
symptoms. The Dodgers won
that game, too.
“Opening day is fun, you
know,” Kershaw said. “It’s a fun
time for everybody. The fans, the
stadium, all the hoopla and everything, they treat it like a playoff game even though it’s not, so
it’s pretty fun.”
Kershaw’s most memorable
opening-day start was in 2013.
In addition to beating the San
Francisco Giants, 4-0, at Dodger
Stadium, he hit an eight-inning
home run to end a scoreless tie.
Last year, Kershaw pitched the
Dodgers’ season opener in Australia, a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kershaw
strained a back muscle in that
game and was sidelined for the
entire month of April.
Kershaw threw a bullpen session Monday and is scheduled to
start Thursday against the Chicago White Sox in the Dodgers’
second Cactus League game.
The rain that canceled most
of the Dodgers’ workout didn’t
prevent Hyun-Jin Ryu and Joel
Peralta from throwing scheduled
bullpen sessions.
Ryu and Peralta said they
didn’t experience any physical
problems. Ryu sat out a couple
of workouts last week because of
tightness in his back and Peralta
hadn’t thrown off a mound in
camp because of shoulder discomfort. Adrian Gonzalez said
he supports the new pace-ofgame rules, which will start to be
implemented in spring training.
“It’s a TV-driven game, at least
the financials of it,” Gonzalez
said. “TV wants the game to end
in three hours. Everything that’s
going on with increased payrolls
is because of TV. We have to be
OK with that.”
Gonzalez said players who
are complaining about the new
regulations should have spoken
up sooner.
“I think it’s funny for me to
hear players complain about
not liking the fact they can’t get
out of the box, but every spring
training we have the players’ association come in and give us all
the tools so we can be plugged in
and be involved,” Gonzalez said.
“If you don’t like something, you
can voice your opinion.
“The fact this got through and
the players’ association signed
off on this means the players
weren’t against it. Now, people
are speaking against it? Why
weren’t they speaking before?”
Short hops
Former first-round pick Zach
Lee and left-hander David Huff
will start the Dodgers’ splitsquad exhibitions Friday. ...
Nonroster left-hander Erik Bedard will start the exhibition
opener Wednesday against the
White Sox at Camelback Ranch.
Scheduled to pitch in that game
after Bedard are Carlos Frias,
Juan Nicasio, Sergio Santos,
Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin.
coach Steve Kerr said of his tired
troops. “We were right there. We
had our chances.”
LA Clippers 110, Minnesota Timberwolves 105:
Chris Paul had 26 points with
14 assists, league top rebounder
DeAndre Jordan pulled down 18
and the visiting Clippers (4021) held the T-Wolves without
a basket for the last 10:18 for
their seventh win in the last
nine games. Spanish star Ricky
Rubio recorded his fourth career
triple-double with 18 points, 12
rebounds and 11 assists for Minnesota (13-46), which made an
abyssal one-of-14 fourth-quarter field goals but 16-of-17 from
the free throw line.
Miami Heat 115, Phoenix
Suns 98: Tyler Johnson erupted for a career-high 26 points,
Slovenian Goran Dragic added
21 against the team that traded
him last month, and the Heat
(26-33) beat the visiting Suns
for the 10th straight time.
The contest was marred by
three ejections and six players were whistled for technical
fouls. Suns’ Markieff Morris
was tossed early in the third
quarter for committing a fla-
grant foul 2 on a Dragic breakaway layup attempt.
Miami’s Hassan Whiteside
and Phoenix’ Alex Len were also
ejected in the period after tackling each other under the basket
following a Whiteside dunk.
PJ Tucker had 20 points with
14 rebounds, while Eric Bledsoe
also netted 20 for the Suns (3130), losers in 10 of their last 13
Toronto Raptors 114, Philadelphia 76ers 103: DeMar
DeRozan poured in a seasonbest 35 points, Lou Williams had
21 and the visiting Raptors (38-
22) stopped their five-game slide
after beating the Sixers (13-47)
for the eighth straight time.
Dallas Mavericks 102, New
Orleans Pelicans 93: Monta
Ellis scored 20 points, Richard
Jefferson added a season-high
16 in place of small forward
Chandler Parsons (left ankle
sprain), and the Mavericks (4022) snapped the visiting Pelicans’ five-game success.
Norris Cole had 19 points off
the bench, Eric Gordon added
18 for the Pelicans (32-28), who
were outscored 26-13 in the pivotal third period.
Zuccarello helps Rangers win in Yandle’s debut
By Steve Zipay
aybe this is what a
team looks like when
management signals
“we’re all in.”
Enthusiastic and energized
by the contract extension given
to top-six right wing Mats Zuccarello and the acquisition of
All-Star defenseman Keith Yandle before the trade deadline, the
Rangers earned a 4-1 victory over
the Nashville Predators — who
lead the NHL with 89 points —
Monday night at Madison Square
The Rangers, relieved that the
deadline had passed, launched
39 shots at Predators goalie Pekka
Rinne. Cam Talbot, who was
particularly sharp in the third
period, made 25 saves to earn his
13th victory.
Rick Nash registered his 38th
goal of the season, an empty-
San Jose
NY Rangers
5 Carolina
4 Montreal
4 Nashville
netter with 44 seconds left, after
Dom Moore scored on a rebound
to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead at
5:51 of the third.
Zuccarello, who looked distracted by contract negotiations
during Saturday night’s loss to
Philadelphia, played with verve,
assisting on goals by Marc Staal
and Chris Kreider that gave the
Rangers a 2-0 lead early in the
second period.
The Rangers (39-17-6, 84
points) moved back into a tie with
the Islanders for first place in the
Metropolitan Division. The Blueshirts have two games in hand.
Yandle had three shots in 19:41 in
his debut.
“I’m just here to play,” said the
defenseman, who downplayed
Coyotes general manager Don
Maloney’s opinion that he could
be the missing piece to a Rangers
Stanley Cup. “Gotta get my feet
Yandle, who was drafted by
the Coyotes in 2005 and began
playing for them in the 2006-07
season, said that in Arizona, you
can “fly under the radar a little
bit, but it’s MSG. You can’t hide
from the lights here.
“These guys have a heck of
a team,” said the Boston-born
Yandle, who once idolized
former Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch.
“It was a tough situation in
Arizona. It’s a new day.”
Staal said of the trade deadline, “Every year, doesn’t matter what team you’re on, for a
few days before, you’re thinking about it, and when it’s over,
you get excited for the group you
have to go to the end of the season and the playoffs with. You
get a talent like that [Yandle]
in your lineup going down the
stretch, you get excited to try to
make a run.”
Said Derek Stepan, “With the
deadline past, and you see the
players who came in, everyone
was real excited to be here. We
know here comes the push next.
You’ve got to be ready to play.”
In a fast-paced first period,
Mike Fisher fell in the neutral
zone and Dan Boyle found Derick
Brassard up ice.
His pass to Zuccarello was
tipped toward Nash on the left
side, but Staal grabbed the puck
and fired past Rinne’s glove at
The Rangers made it 2-0 at
4:14 of the second period. After Carl Hagelin took a lead
pass from Kevin Hayes and hit
the crossbar from the left circle, Kreider scored his 17th
goal, streaking to the net to deflect Zuccarello’s pass. Brassard
matched Zuccarello with his
second assist of the game.
Keith Yandle (R) and Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers celebrate their 4-1 victory over the Nashville
Predators at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AFP)
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Barcelona out to
sink Villarreal’s
Copa final dreams
‘I am concentrating on the game against Villarreal, it doesn’t matter if it is the most difficult
month. We will do what we have to do and that is, focus on the opponent in front of us’
Barcelona have
beaten Villarreal in all
three of their previous
meetings this season
‘Tired’ Monaco
seek PSG upset
aris Saint-Germain
are gunning for an unprecedented domestic treble as they host
Monaco in the French Cup
quarter-finals today.
PSG are currently second in
Ligue 1, one point behind leaders Lyon after being held to a
frustrating 0-0 Sunday draw by
Monaco, a team they meet for
the second time in four days.
But PSG know the way to the
Stade de France as they already
booked their ticket for the
French League Cup final next
month against Bastia.
PSG face a tough challenge
as they take on one of the few
top flight sides remaining.
And Monaco love nothing
more than to live up to their giant-killer reputation, as Arsenal
learnt the hard way last week in
Champions League action.
The French Cup has been
identified as a priority by Paris
president Nasser al-Khelaifi
as the Ligue 1 giants have yet
to lift the trophy in the Qatarfuelled era.
PSG, however, seem to be in
a tight spot with the return leg
of their Champions’ League
clash against Chelsea looming
on March 11 while the Ligue
1 leaves Laurent Blanc’s men
with little room for error.
Injuries to Thiago Motta
(calf), Yohan Cabaye (thigh),
Serge Aurier (thigh) and Lucas (adductor), on top of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s two-game
suspension, make things even
harder for the capital club.
In this context, Monaco
could appear as firm favourites. But coach Leonardo
Jardim played it down.
“We will try to have a good
game. We are more tired than
PSG and our squad isn’t as big.
We have 18-19 players and two
keepers. In the back, we have
two players injured and two
others who are suspended. We
will have to find a solution but
we’re working on it,” the Por-
tuguese explained.
“This game will be different. We will have fans backing us up and we’ll have to
recover,” PSG’s Blaide Matuidi
responded in accord. “The
fresher team can certainly
come out on top.”
Six-time winners SaintEtienne head to Boulogne-surMer, who ply their trade in their
third-tier. The Ligue 1 side are
seeking to revive former glories to end a title drought in the
tournament stretching all the
way back to 1977.
And, as coach Christophe
Galtier vowed, Les Verts, will
take the encounter seriously.
“The Cup is important, it’s
been too long since SaintEtienne reached a semi-final.
It’s part of the club’s DNA”, he
The tie will be significant too
for Boulogne ‘keeper Jody Viviani. Now 33, Viviani spent four
years with Saint-Etienne as
their backup shot-stopper, appearing 40 times for the club.
“It’s always nice to face
Saint-Etienne. I know quite a
few guys over there, including Loic Perrin and Moustapha Bayal Sall whom I played
with,” he recalled before denying rosy memories would
cloud his judgement.
“We certainly must not stop
to watch Saint-Etienne play.
We’ll have to make all the efforts to stay united and play
together to match our opponent,” Viviani added. “We are,
after all, just two games away
from the Stade de France.”
In other games, title holders Guingamp, who slumped
to a third defeat in a week after
their 1-0 loss against Nantes,
travel to neutral site Lorient
where they play fourth-tier
Concarneau, while Brest take
on Auxerre in a Ligue 2 classic.
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Playing Today: Paris SaintGermain v Monaco (2000)
Playing Tomorrow: Brest v
Auxerre (1800); Concarneau v
Guingamp (2000)
(Qatar is 3 hours ahead of GMT)
English FA wants British
team at Rio Olympics
arcelona have one eye on a potential treble when they take a 3-1
lead into the second leg of their
Copa del Rey semi-final against
Villarreal today.
The Catalans have their La Liga fate
back in their own hands thanks to Villarreal holding Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw on
Saturday and seem well set for the last
eight of the Champions League after beating Manchester City 2-1 away in the first
leg of their last 16 tie last week.
The next month will go a long way to deciding the fate of Luis Enrique’s men as City
visit the Camp Nou on March 18 before Madrid make the same journey four days later.
However, Enrique is determined his
star-studded squad do not take their eye
off the ball at El Madrigal despite their
healthy advantage in the tie.
“I am concentrating on the game
against Villarreal, it doesn’t matter if it is
the most difficult month. We will do what
we have to do in every game and that is,
focus on the opponent in front of us.”
The former Barca captain did though
admit that his team selection may be affected by the fact the on-form Luis Suarez
and Javier Mascherano are one booking
away from missing the final.
“It is something to bear in mind,” he
added. “A final is in play and it is interesting but it doesn’t condition the game.
To be able to play the final you have to get
through the semi-final.”
Villarreal have enjoyed a fantastic season so far as they too are still involved on
three fronts.
The Yellow Submarine lie sixth in La
Liga, progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League with a 5-2 aggregate victory
over Red Bull Salzburg last week and now
have a first Copa del Rey final in their history within reach.
Yet, they have been beaten by Barca in
all three of their previous meetings this
season and Enrique expects a more offensive threat from the hosts today.
“The Villarreal I have seen in the league
isn’t the Villarreal that have faced us in
three games. I think they play with the ball
less when they play against us.
“I think tomorrow we will see a more
offensive version than we have seen in
the three games this season and they have
nothing to lose.”
Villarreal boss Marcelino was insistent
after Saturday’s draw at the Bernabeu that
his decision to make seven changes from
the side that started in Salzburg had been
A host of first-team regulars including
top-scorer Luciano Vietto and on-loan
Madrid winger Dennis Cheryshev will return against Barca and Marcelino believes
they can score the goals needed to pull off
a huge upset.
“We are capable of causing Barcelona
problems,” he said.
“We hit the post against them three
times earlier this season and lost.
“I hope that this time luck and our play
allow us to get to the final, but, like against
Real Madrid, we are playing against the
best in the world.”
In the other semi-final, Espanyol hold
the upper hand as they host Athletic Bilbao with the cushion of an away goal after a 1-1 draw in the first leg three weeks
A combined British soccer team could take part in next year’s
Rio de Janeiro Olympics after the English Football Association signalled its intent to enter the qualification process. At
London 2012, Britain fielded a unified soccer team managed
by the FA, after a 52-year absence, although at the time it was
seen as a one-off move to mark the home Games.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) said yesterday that
the FA had confirmed its desire to send a team to Brazil.
“We have received confirmation from the FA of their intention to enter into the qualification process for Rio 2016 for
both men and women’s tournaments,” a BOA spokesman said.
The qualification process for men’s is this year’s Under-21
European Championship with the four semi-finalists sealing a
place. The top three European sides at the women’s World Cup
will also enter the Olympics. World soccer’s governing body
FIFA would still have to sanction a British team. Debate has
raged over a British soccer team, with the Welsh, Scottish and
Northern Irish FAs concerned that agreeing to unite for the Olympics would jeapordise their independent status within FIFA.
Magpies result could define our season: Rooney
anchester United skipper
Wayne Rooney has insisted that the trip to Newcastle today signals the start of
a period that could define their season.
The Red Devils travel to St James’
Park hoping to hang on to their place in
the top four as they push for a return to
the Champions League later this year.
After visiting the North East, Louis
Van Gaal’s team play Arsenal in the FA
Cup quarter-final, before league matches against Tottenham and Liverpool—
two clubs also chasing a top-four berth.
“It’s the start of a big three weeks for
us,” Rooney said. “We have done OK
in the big games this year, we could do
better, but it is exciting for us with these
big games that you want to be involved
in. We can’t look past Wednesday.
Newcastle away is always a tough game
and we have to try to make sure we come
away from there with three points.”
Much has been made of how Rooney
has been used by Van Gaal this season.
The Dutch coach has often opted to use
the 29-year-old in midfield, instead of
his usual position as a centre-forward.
Rooney played in attack on Saturday
and rewarded his manager’s decision
with both goals in a comfortable 2-0
victory over Sunderland.
The double took Rooney’s tally to
11 for the season and moved him one
goal ahead of fellow striker Robin van
Persie. The England international,
however, says he is happy to play in either role. “Everyone knows I’ve played
midfield for the majority of the season
but my record shows that I score goals,
so I’m not worried about that at all,”
said Rooney.
“I was pleased the manager played
me up front and am delighted to get the
two goals, but the victory was the main
thing because after last week it was
important we bounced back.
“Where I play is down to the manager. It’s his decision where he sees
me playing and I respect wherever he
wants to play me.
“I’ve played up front throughout
my career so, obviously, I know how to
play up front. So I’m ready to play there
if and when he wants me to do it.”
United will again be without the
injured Van Persie for match against
Newcastle but Michael Carrick could
start after returning from his longterm absence to take a place on the
bench on Saturday.
Van Gaal must also decide whether
to start Adnan Januzaj after his impressive display when he came on in
be available for selection.
Top-scorer Papiss Cisse secured
the win over Villa with his 11th goal of
the season, and the Senegal international is confident Newcastle can improve their unimpressive home record
against United.
They’ve beaten the Old Trafford club
just once in the last 11 visits, and Cisse
said: “The Villa win was an important
victory, and sets us up nicely for Manchester United. “It’s a game we need to
be ready for. Every player in the squad is
up for this game and it’s just been a matter of getting as much rest as possible
since the weekend to be at our best.”
Cisse has been playing despite a persistent knee problem. The 29-year-old
is hopeful of making the starting lineup in midweek, and caretaker head
coach John Carver revealed: We’re
having to manage Papiss’ situation,
and we will see what he is like over the
next few days.”
Today’s Fixtures
place of the ineffective Angel Di Maria
for the second half against Sunderland.
Mid-table Newcastle hope to record
back-to-back victories after Satur-
day’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa all-but
secured another season of Premier
League football on Tyneside.
Midfielder Jack Colback serves
the second of a two-match ban after
reaching 10 bookings. Massadio Haidara, the defender carried off with a
knee problem at the weekend, hopes to
Manchester City vs Leicester City
Newcastle vs Manchester United
Queens Park Rangers vs Arsenal
Stoke City vs Everton
Tottenham Hotspur vs Swansea City
West Ham United vs Chelsea
Liverpool vs Burnley
(All games start 22:45 Qatar time)
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Past sins put German clubs in doping spotlight
erman football was thrown
into turmoil after a doping
commission said the use of
banned substances in the
sport as well as in cycling in the 1970s
and 80s was more than just individual athletes stepping over the line.
For decades the country sought
to investigate East Germany’s systematic doping before the fall of the
Berlin Wall in 1989 but there were
indications doping was also present
in West German sports.
Those indications are now in part
substantiated, says the evaluation
commission on Freiburg University’s doping past with evidence
pointing to cycling and football.
The 60-page report itself has not
been published yet but Monday’s
two-page statement released by one
of the commission members and
confirmed by the commission, was
enough to cause a furore.
Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart,
who won the league in 1984, and
Freiburg, in the second division at
the time of the claims, said they had
yet to see the report which goes back
decades, making cross-referencing
information difficult.
Some former players, including
Germany international Karl-Heinz
Foerster, who played for Stuttgart,
were quick to reject them.
Germany’s cycling federation
(BDR) was reserved in its reaction
on Tuesday.
“For the last 10 years, the German
cycling federation has positioned
itself clearly in the fight against
doping and through prevention and
information contribute to a new
generation that sees manipulation
for what it is. Cheating,” said BDR
General Secretary Martin Wolf yesterday.
Germany’s sacred cow—the Bundesliga football league—has never
seen such allegations with only a
handful of positive doping tests in
the past several decades.
All of these were quickly dismissed as the fault of individuals
rather than a network of organised
doping, keeping its drugs-free image intact.
But it must now face the most
serious allegations yet, with the
commission saying Stuttgart and
Freiburg players used banned substances in the 1970s and 80s. German cycling also saw widespread
doping between 1975-80.
The German Football Association (DFB) and the Football League
(DFL), contacted by Reuters, did not
comment on the findings.
At the heart of the issue is former
Freiburg University’s sports trauma
unit chief Armin Kluemper, who allegedly provided athletes with anabolic steroids.
Evaluation commission member Fritz Soergel said, especially
for football, it was time to confront
these allegations.
“The DFB has been confronted
with this since yesterday,” Soergel
told German ZDF television. “After these revelations... and because
football is the people’s sport, the
most popular sport, no stone should
be left unturned.”
He did, however, say current
anti-doping tests in football made
drawing parallels with the 1970s irrelevant. “The past is a completely
different chapter than now. Footballers experimented with that, taking stimulants and even combining
them with alcohol,” Soergel said.
VfB Stuttgart is one of the teams that's been accused of widescale doping in the 1970s and 80s.
Juventus tighten
grip on top spot
‘In games like this we know it can come down to dead ball situations and in fact
that’s how both goals were scored. We were down to 10 men and a goal down so
to come back into the game like we did in those circumstances showed character’
Celtic eye
title charge
ary Mackay-Steven
believes Celtic can go
through the season
unbeaten as the Scottish champions look to press
home their top of the table advantage in today's match.
The Hoops took a major step
towards their fourth consecutive Scottish Premiership title
when they thrashed Aberdeen
4-0 at Parkhead on Sunday
and they could open up a ninepoint lead if they defeat St
Johnstone in their rearranged
home fixture.
Mackay-Steven, who scored
in Sunday’s win, has settled
well into life at the Glasgow giants since his January transfer
deadline day move from Dundee United.
And the winger believes the
manner of their victory against
Aberdeen was a statement of
intent to the rest of the league
as the Hoops look to close in on
a domestic treble.
“Can we go unbeaten for
the rest of the season? I don’t
see why not. Aberdeen are
second and we’ve just run out
4-0 winners against them,”
Mackay-Steven said.
“There is no reason why we
can’t go on a run now and really get first place nailed down,
maintain that lead at the top.
“I think it was a big state-
ment. Every game for Celtic is
big but this was a top-of-thetable clash, Aberdeen started
the day only three points behind us. So, it’s obviously a big
“Aberdeen have been pushing us hard in second place,
they’ve had a great season so
far. So, it was important to
get the win. And, if we win
on Wednesday, that’s us nine
points clear.
“Aberdeen have been on a
great unbeaten run and they’re
second for a reason - it’s been a
great season. But we know the
quality in the dressing room
and we showed that.
“The club is used to winning, there is definitely a winning mentality in the dressing
room. Second best is no use
at Celtic. There is plenty of
the season left—we’re only in
March - but so far, so good,”
The Hoops, who have won
eight consecutive matches in
the league, could strengthen
their grip on the Scottish Premiership trophy if they can
complete their third victory of
the season against St Johnstone.
Tommy Wright’s side have
been struggling for form in recent weeks and have won just
once in their past six outings in
the league.
Their last match saw them
held to a goalless draw by Kilmarnock, but a shock win in
Glasgow would see the Perth
side climb into the top six.
Spurs & Scot great
Mackay dies aged 80
Juventus' Argentine forward Carlos Tevez scores off a free-kick during the Italian Serie A match against AS Roma at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Monday. (AFP)
eydou Keita salvaged a point for
10-man Roma in a 1-1 draw with
Juventus on Monday that saw the
champions retain their nine-point
lead at the top of Serie A.
Carlos Tevez curled a free-kick over
the Roma wall for his 15th league goal of
the season that took him top of the Serie
A scoring charts. But Malian veteran Keita
equalised in the 78th minute as Roma set
club record sixth straight home draw.
Roma welcomed the Bianconeri to the
Stadio Olimpico desperate for the win
that would maintain their unlikely title
Rudi Garcia’s men had drawn six of
their last seven league games but had never drawn six times consecutively at home,
until Monday.
Under the circumstances, Roma—who
have been ravaged by injuries to key players and only recently welcomed back
Ivorian striker Gervinho from the Africa
Cup of Nations—would be happy with a
Garcia told Sky Sport: his side had
shown “character” to fight back into the
game. “In games like this we know it can
come down to dead ball situations and in
fact that’s how both goals were scored. We
were down to 10 men and a goal down so
to come back into the game like we did in
those circumstances showed character.”
However Juventus remain unbeaten
against Roma this season and with a ninepoint advantage look to have one hand on
what would be a fourth consecutive title.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri said his
side had “taken a step forward,” but told
Sky Sport “The season is still long.”
He added: “We played well up until 70
minutes and then we stopped playing. We
need to keep our concentration for the entire game.”
Roma started with influential midfielders Radja Nainggolan and Juan Iturbe on
the bench while Juventus were without
Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba—two of their
most creative players—as they sought to
make it two wins from two over the Giallorossi following a bad-tempered 3-2 win
in Turin early in the campaign.
After an insipid first half without clearcut chances, the hosts suffered a blow just
after the hour when Vasilis Torosidis saw
red for a second bookable offence.
In the absence of free-kick specialist
Pirlo, who is out for three weeks with a
calf injury, Tevez stepped up shot over the
Roma wall with Morgan De Sanctis rooted
to the spot.
It sent the Argentine back to the top of the
Serie A scorers ahead of compatriot Mauro
Icardi, of Inter Milan, who has netted 14
times. Tevez almost had a second minutes
later but Kostas Manolas’s boot blocked the
Argentine’s half-volley to the right of goal.
Despite their disadvantage, Roma
pressed for the equaliser and almost found
the breakthrough when Claudio Marchisio caught the heel of Miralem Pjanic on
the left flank.
Alessandro Florenzi, who came on for
Adem Ljajic just after Torosidis’s sending-off, crossed the ball to Manolas whose
glancing header forced Gianluigi Buffon to
tip the ball to safety down low.
Roma’s insistance finally paid off.
Juan Iturbe won a free kick to the right
of the area after a solid challenge from
Giorgio Chiellini. The Colombian’s free
kick found Keita at the back post and the
Malian’s header bounced over the line
past the foot of Marchisio.
Iturbe should have done better minutes
later when he was set up on the edge of
the area but somehow bundled a mishit
shot wide.
ave Mackay, described by Tottenham Hotspur as one
of their greatest ever
players and the heartbeat of
their Double-winning team of
1961, has died aged 80.
The barrel-chested midfielder won 22 caps for Scotland and was a Footballer of
the Year at home and in England, winning 10 major honours including three FA Cups
with Spurs.
He had a glittering playing
career at Spurs, Hearts, where
he won every domestic Scottish honour, and Derby County, where he later returned as
manager and took them to the
English League title in 1975.
He also had stints managing
Swindon Town, Walsall, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham
City as well as managing sides
in Kuwait, Dubai and Egypt.
But it is as a player for Spurs
in their golden era of the early
1960s that he is best remembered. He formed a formidable
midfield with Danny Blanchflower and Maurice Norman as
Spurs became the first club in
the 20th century to win the FA
Cup and League Double.
In their statement Spurs said:
“He was one of our greatest ever
players and a man who never
failed to inspire those around
him. He was a superb player
who possessed all the technique, passing ability and talent
to be the complete footballer.
“He was the heartbeat of our
1961 ‘Double’ side, was then a
key member of the team that
retained the FA Cup the following season and, although
injury kept him out of our 1963
European Cup Winners’ Cup
final triumph, he had played a
vital role in getting us there.”
The late Bill Nicholson, who
signed him from Hearts in 1959,
wrote of Mackay in his autobiography: “He was my best ever
signing. He did more than anyone to forge a team capable of
winning the Double”.
After leading Spurs to a third
FA Cup win in seven seasons
in 1967, Brian Clough signed
Mackay for Derby in 1968 and
he was named joint Footballer
of the Season the following year
after leading the Rams back to
the top flight after a 16-year gap.
His death after a long illness
comes just two months after
that of Ron Henry, another stalwart of the Double team, who
died also aged 80, in December.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Qatar-inspired GCC
Sport Day a step
closer to reality
GCC NOCs heads give go-ahead; proposal now forwarded to GCC higher authorities
Qatar Olympic Committee secretary general Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and other GCC National Olympic Committee officials at a press conference yesterday.
By Yash Mudgal
atar’s proposal to host a unified Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) Sport Day for promotion
of sports and healthy lifestyle
has been accepted by the representatives
of the GCC National Olympic Committees (NOCs) yesterday.
The GCC Sport Day will be celebrated
on the second Saturday of February every
The decision was one of several major
recommendations that were given a goahead by the executive committee of the
GCC NOCs heads on the third day of their
Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC)
secretary general Sheikh Saoud bin
Abdulrahman al-Thani made the announcement at a press conference in the
presence of GCC assistant secretary general Abdullah bin Juma al-Shibli and GCC
Environment Supreme Council chairman
Dr Adel al-Zayani.
Sheikh Saoud said, “Saturday is a part
of the weekend in the entire region so it
can ensure big participation from the
people. We’re confident that it would get
positive response and raise awareness
in the communities living in the region
about health and fitness.”
The decision to organise the unified
Sport Day was inspired by widely-appreciated Qatar’s National Sport Day, which
is held on the second Tuesday of February
every year.
This year, the event was witnessed by
GCC NOCs office bearers last month and
it was decided to implement it at a regional level.
“The proposal will now be forwarded
to the higher authorities of the GCC to
finalise the details regarding the day. After that, it will be decided like where and
when the first GCC Sport Day will take
place,” al-Shibli said.
Sheikh Saoud said a lot of attention
was being given to promote activities that
would harness the power of youth of the
“Physical Education classes have been
made compulsory for the students at
each level. The UAE have suggested that
all schools must dedicate one-hour to
physical activities for students, which
will make them active and healthy.
“The UAE has also offered to host the
first GCC Youth Games and their request
has been approved as well. The details
about the dates and number of sports
the GCC Youth Games would be declared
later, though the plan is to host the event
as soon as possible,” he added.
Talking about the Schools Olympic
Program’s success, Sheikh Saoud said,
“Five of the GCC states have already
started the SOP and they will soon get
the benefits of having a good talent base
at grass-root level. Kuwait has also said
to launch the programme to activate the
talent at the schools level.”
The plan to launch a sports court in
Bahrain has also been cleared yesterday.
“It will deal with the legal problems
arising on the sports field or related with
sports persons. A jury will be set up within six months and hearings will be done in
Bahrain. Sports laws will also be enacted
and declared soon,” Sheikh Saoud said.
The Gulf region has been controlling 13
sports bodies in Asia and Sheikh Saoud
said it reflected the region’s growing influence at the continental level besides
showing the trust and co-operation
among the member states.
“There are 28 different organising
committees under the GCC umbrella. All
of them are working with utmost dedication, seriousness and mutual cooperation. This has helped us head 13 Asian
sports bodies.”
GCC assistant secretary general alShibli also thanked the QOC and Sheikh
Saoud for making extensive preparations
for the important GCC NOCs meeting.
“I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to the QOC and Sheikh Saoud for
mounting elaborate arrangement for this
important GCC NOCs meeting.
“Qatar is always active about playing its bit in the progress of the region.
We hope that the recommendations that
have been accepted in the meeting would
be implemented soon with the consent of
the GCC higher authorities,” he added.
Quality award
for Supreme
Committee for
Delivery & Legacy
ritish Ambassador to
Qatar, Nicholas Hopton, yesterday presented
a certificate to the Supreme Committee for Delivery &
Legacy’s (SC) Programme Management Office (PMO), acknowledging its achievement of the
prestigious quality management
award, ISO 9001:2008.
The ISO 9001 is an internationally-acclaimed award from
the British Standard Institute
(BSI) which acknowledges the
successful implementation of
a quality management system.
The complete system ensures
consistency in planning, control,
quality assurance and quality
improvement, and is implemented through a series of standards
which are applied to an organisation’s structure, policies, procedures, processes and resources.
Delivering the keynote speech
at the award ceremony, Hopton
said: “On behalf of the British
government, I’d like to congratulate the PMO on this major
achievement. The SC is already a
world-class organisation, so it is
a privilege and a delight that the
PMO has now been recognised
by the British Standard Institute.
This is a prestigious award which
can only be achieved by the successful completion of a rigorous
implementation process, but,
in the long term, this will be regarded as effort well spent as it
will help the SC create a sustainable legacy in terms of project
management and expertise – not
just for the country, but also for
the region. The British government continues to fully support
the SC every step of the way, especially with the expertise that
we gained from our London Olympic Games in 2012.”
Abdullah al-Attiyah, PMO
acting executive director, said:
“This is an outstanding achieve-
ment for the PMO and the SC,
given that the BSI is worldrenowned and that the award
has so much credibility. The
BSI challenged us a lot, but we
greatly benefited from it as we
continue to oversee and contribute towards the successful
delivery of the whole programme
for 2022. Quality and continuous
improvement are at the core of
what we do, and now we’ve been
given a head start by being able
to send a message to everyone
that, like safety, delivering quality needs to be a habit, and not a
Mark Basham, Group MD,
EMEA, British Standard Institute
(BSI), said: “The quality management system which has now
been deployed by the PMO will
give it the framework to deliver
excellence, so I applaud the PMO
for the leadership it has shown.
This is the first project to come to
fruition between the SC and the
BSI, and this milestone should be
viewed as a statement of intent
that the PMO is committed to
applying the very best practices
and frameworks to allow consistency in quality. We are excited to
be partnering with the SC on this
journey, and look forward to future discussions around applying
a similar approach to the rest of
the SC, in a similar way to how
we helped London and Beijing
deliver excellence at the Olympic
Games in 2012 and 2008.”
The ambassador also mentioned that there is a growing
push in the UK to invest in Qatari businesses. He commented:
“The drive on this front has to
come from the private sector –
but with the full support and
backing of the British Embassy –
and particularly in those sectors
where the UK has a lot of expertise, such as construction, design
and project delivery.”
British Ambassador to Qatar Nicholas Hopton presents the ISO
9001:2008 certificate to Abdullah al-Attiyah, acting executive director
of Supreme Committee’s Programme Management Office.
Pacquiao down to work for ‘fight of my life’
Los Angeles
anny Pacquiao (pictured) called his boxing showdown with
“the fight of my life” as he got
down to work pounding the streets
and gym in Los Angeles.
The eight-division world champion cranked into serious preparations for the May 2 fight after flying in for his training camp from
his native Philippines.
On Monday, Pacquiao ran two
miles (3.2 km) and shadow-boxed
for two rounds, followed by abdominal work and breakfast of
steamed rice, scrambled egg, fish
and chicken broth.
Then he napped until noon and
had lunch before heading to trainer
Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym,
which is strictly off-limits to fans
and media during Pacquiao’s sessions.
“I will prepare hard for this fight
to give the boxing fans the kind of
entertainment they want. This is
what I consider the real fight of my
life,” said Pacquiao, 36.
Pacquiao (57-5 with two drawn
and 38 knock-outs) will face Mayweather (47-0 with 27 knockouts) in Las Vegas in a fight long
craved by boxing fans.
Reports say they will split about
$200 million from the welterweight clash between two men
considered the best “pound-forpound” boxers of their generation.
Pacquiao has plunged into
training after arriving from the
Philippines, where his distractions
include playing professional basketball and a seat in the national
He apologised for ducking a
crowd of journalists at LA airport after immigration officials
whisked him out of a back door on
“The head of the immigration in
LA led us to the backdoor. So I was
not aware that many journalists
were already waiting for us outside,” Pacquiao said. “My heartfelt
apology to all of them.”
The devout Christian attended a
Bible service on Sunday before beginning his training in earnest the
following morning.
Pacquiao’s preparations are
under way without Roach, who is
in Macau for Chinese fighter Zou
Shiming’s world title shot on Saturday.
Conditioning coach Justin Fortune and assistant trainers Buboy
Fernandez and Flash Fernandez are
present, along with others including
Pacquiao’s younger brother Bobby.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
People feel I can beat
the mark, that’s my
motivation: Barshim
Top seed Wozniacki
survives first round
in Malaysia
Even as the Qatari high-jumper keeps improving with every passing effort,
Javier Sotomayor’s two decade-old record hogs quite a bit of spotlight
By Mikhil Bhat
ead to Mutaz Barshim’s Twitter page and the cover photo
screams ‘What Gravity Huh?!!’.
The 23-year-old knows a
thing or two about beating gravity; he has
made an occupation out of flying faceup a couple of metres off the earth and is
rather good at it.
So good in fact, that every time the Qatari lines up for his jump, the anticipation
of Javier Sotomayor’s record biting the
dust more than two decades after it was
created rises to stratospheric levels.
So far, Barshim may have not been able
to get past the Cuban’s record, but he has
been getting close to it. Last month, he
broke the 2.40m barrier twice indoors,
lifting the Asian record to 2.41m at Athlone in Ireland.
He has won a medal at the last three
major competitions — bronze at London
2012, silver at 2013 Moscow Worlds and
gold at 2014 Indoor Worlds in Sopot, Poland.
When the outdoor season begins and
meanders through the World Championships in Beijing in August, the clamour
around Sotomayor’s mark will only increase.
One can only wonder about how the
23-year-old Qatari feels about the attention the record gets, even as his personal
performance has only improved year after year.
“It’s a world record after all. It’s normal
for people to talk about it,” Barshim said
after signing a one-year deal with beIN
Sports and becoming the channel’s brand
ambassador yesterday.
“I feel people want me to do it [beat the
mark]. They feel here’s a guy who can do
it. So I treat it as a motivation.”
Asked to elaborate, he added, “It might
happen, it might never happen. But as
long as I am healthy, I push myself and
try to improve and do my best… if I do it,
good, if I don’t, I tried.”
Barshim has a busy season ahead.
While many of his rivals are resting in
preparation for the important outdoor
season, he has already participated in
four indoor competitions.
“I don’t care (about what the rivals are
doing),” said Barshim, who will begin his
season in Shanghai given that High Jump
won’t feature at the opening event in
Doha. “I am thinking about me. For me, if
I think I am bored, I would want to go out
and participate in some competitions. So
I did that.
“I am healthy, which is important. I
know it is going to be a long season, especially for me. I have four more competitions, including the Arab Championship
and the Gulf Championship. It is important to stay healthy.
“I don’t want to do anything stupid.
This year, there is the World Championship, and next year the Olympics. We will
see, I will sit down with my coach and the
team and see what’s best for us.”
Barshim’s deal with beIN Sports will
focus on special coverage for him in addition to the financial support.
“He is not only an ambassador for us,
but also an iconic athlete for all Arabs,”
said beIN Sport’s executive director of
Human Resources and Financial Affairs
Kuala Lumpur
Wozniacki (pictured)
atoned for a first-round
exit last year by cruising
past China’s Wang Yafan yesterday at the WTA Malaysian Open.
For the second straight year,
Wozniacki opened the tournament against an unseeded Chinese challenger who had to go
through qualifying to make the
tournament, but the outcome
was different this time.
The Danish world number five
dropped just four games in defeating Wang 6-3, 6-1.
A year ago she was bundled out
in three sets by qualifier Wang
Qiang in the first round.
Her title chances got a fur-
ther boost yesterday with thirdseeded Australian Casey Dellacqua’s early exit at the hands
of Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei, who
won 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Otherwise, seeded competitors advanced in Kuala Lumpur,
with Austrian fourth-seed Jarmila Gajdosova beating Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 7-5, 6-4.
“Buyukakcay played really
well today and she had a solid
game,” said Gajdosova.
“I hit a lot of balls back to make
her run and I attacked her serve
whenever I could as I was bent
on playing aggressively to stay
Klara Koukalova of the Czech
Republic got past Patricia MayrAchleitner of Austria in straight
sets while Germany’s Julia
Goerges did the same against
Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia.
Sadd crush Wakrah
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim has won a medal at the last three major competitions — bronze at London 2012, silver at 2013 Moscow Worlds
and gold at 2014 Indoor Worlds in Sopot, Poland.
Barshim (left) and beIN Sport’s executive director of Human Resources and Financial Affairs Tareq Zainal at a press conference
announcing the Qatari high-jumper as the channel’s brand ambassador yesterday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
Tareq Zainal yesterday.
“He is an ideal example of a young athlete, who is able to represent our brand
values and mission. Through this role, he
will, no doubt, be a role model to other
youth like him.
“We will support him in his career and
we will celebrate with him his achievements. We believe that having Barshim
as a brand ambassador will not only promote beIN Sports, but also contribute to
recognising State of Qatar as a sporting
hub for the region.”
Asked to talk about his new association, Barshim said, “For all my financial
support, training camps, treatment, my
team, etc., Olympic Committee takes
care of that. There are a lot of partner-
ships out there but I don’t find being used
properly. We had been looking for the
right partnership.
“We are like family, we support each
other in the right way. I am happy to sign
here. beIN Sports works the same way as
we want. I would want to be with people
who believe in what I do and I really like
that here.”
Al Sadd’s Abdi Khalid Suliman (left) and Al Wakrah’s Hassan
Ahmad Mahmoud in action during their Qatar Basketball
League match at Al Gharafa Sports Club yesterday. Al Sadd’s
Rashad Woods scored a whopping 47 points in his team’s 105-59
win. PICTURE: Anas Khalid
QSBK, Qatar Challenge rounds at Losail circuit this weekend
By Sports Reporter
osail International Circuit
(LIC) will host the fifth round
of Qatar Superbike (QSBK) and
the sixth round of Qatar Challenge (QCH) this weekend. Both the
races will be hosted under floodlights.
Qatari rider Mishal al-Naimi leads
the championship with 157 points and
hopes to increase the gap over Alex
Cudlin, who is second with 134 points.
In the last two rounds, Moto2 rider
Anthony West raced to four victories
and is third in the standings with 100
points. German rider Nina Prinz is
fourth, also with 100 points.
Supersport category is led by Lebanese rider Mahmoud Tannir with 161
points. Qatar’s Jassim al-Thani is second with 149 points.
In the last round, the winner was
Saudi rider Abdulaziz Binladin, who is
fourth with 100 points.
For the Losail Asian Road Racing Series, it will be the last round of
the season. Hungarian rider Victoria
Kis leads the championship with 160
On Friday, QSBK free practices
will be at 4pm and at 6:15pm, with
the qualifying practice at 8:15pm.
The Superpole will be at 9:35pm. The
two races are scheduled for Saturday,
March 7, at 7:35pm and 10:10pm.
Going into the sixth round of QCH,
Mark Holroyd has a good grip in the
championship, with a 111-point lead
over Peter de Vido (66 points).
Free and qualifying practices are
scheduled for Friday at 7pm and 9pm
respectively. The race is on Saturday
at 8:45pm.
Grandstand is free for the public.
Mishel al-Naimi (left) leads the Qatar Superbike standings, while Mark Holroyd (right) has a 111-point lead in the Qatar Challenge.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Brusewitz, Eccles reign
supreme in vaulting
‘It feels good to be up in the leaderboard but still we have the freestyle. I am excited
and quietly confident about tomorrow. Hopefully I can win the championship’
World Equestrian Games gold medallist
Joanne Eccles of Great Britain, achieved the
highest score of the day leading the field of
twelve on 8.045, beating leader Anna Cavallaro from Italy on 7.954. Eccles vaults with
Bentley for the past 16 years and has her father John Eccles at the lunge.
“It has been good so far. Yesterday was
not as quite as good as today. The technical was great for me and it has almost
been a perfect day. Anything can happen
tomorrow, but we are confident with our
freestyle. We are going into the event with
a positive attitude and hope for the best,”
Eccles said.
Austria’s Jasmin Lindner and Lukas
Wacha reigned supreme in the Pas de Daux
competition with a tally of 8.820 with Bram
and lunger Klaus Haidacher. Great Britain’s
Hannah Eccles and Joanne Eccles partnered for the second place with 8.307, while
Theresa Thiel and Stefan Csandl paired for a
third place finish with 8.165 points.
Team Switzerland were a clear leader with
7.929 in the Squad competition. Team Italy
with 7.018 and team Sweden with 6.611 were
second and third respectively.
By Chris Hoover
ermany’s Thomas Brusewitz and
Great Britain’s Joanne Eccles
reigned supreme with brilliant
performances to take the lead in
the Vaulting International Championship
during the CHI AL SHAQAB 2015 competition at the sprawling Al Shaqab indoor arena
Brusewitz was in great flow along with his
wonder horse Airbus as he maintained the
lead in the compulsory and technical tests
in the individual male competition. The
German achieved the top score of 7.636 in
the compulsory and 7.190 in the technical to
keep his hopes alive for a title finish in the
freestyle today.
“Today was okay but I did make a few
mistakes. The technical moves were pretty
good and I am overall happy with my performance. The technical is quite difficult
as we have two new moves, which is really
tough. We have not had that much training
with regard to technical. It is being introduced for the first time and we have to get
used to it,” Bruzewitz told the Gulf Times.
“It feels good to be up in the leader board
but still we have the freestyle. I am excited
and quietly confident about tomorrow.
Hopefully I can win the championship but
I am sure there will be a stiff competition.
This championship has been really great
and to participate in such a wonderful arena
is simply amazing. It brings out the best in
us,” Brusewitz added.
Germany’s Erik Oese remained in contention while finishing second in the compulsory and third in the technical. Oese with
horse Down Under, garnered 7.451 points in
compulsory and finished third in the technical with a tally of 7.126.
Austrian Stefan Csandl ranks third on
7.432 in compulsory and a surprising fifth
on 7.003 in the technical. Though the Austrian had dropped a place in the rankings, he
was confident of a bold show in the freestyle
and a tilt at the championship.
“Though I have slipped a place in the
ranking in the individual championship, I
am still confident of making a strong comeback tomorrow. I made only one mistake
which has put me back but still I am quite
happy where I am.
“Last year I was eighth at the same time
but recovered to finish third. If I do it perfectly in the free style, who knows I could
win the championship. It is not going to be
easy though. There are 12 brilliant vaulters in the championship who are capable of
coming back strongly.”
Stefan later paired with Theresa Thiel in the
Pas De Deux competition to finish third with
a tally of 8.165. The Austrian was delighted
Team Sweden perform
during the Freestyle Vaulting
competition. The finished third.
Airbus lends safety to
its vaulter Brusewitz
By Sports Reporter
e is one of CHI Al Shaqab’s special personalities.
Horse “Airbus” is 24 years old while his vaulter
Thomas Brusewitz is only 20. “He has more
experience than any of us and he gives me security,” says the vaulter who just came second at the World
Cup final in Graz,Austria.
The pair—or the trio with lunger Irina Lenkeit—placed
third in Doha at CHI 2014. Airbus has competed for Germany at three World Equestrian Games, two world and two
European championships. The World Equestrian Games in
France in 2014 were meant to be his last championship.
“But Doha is always a nice trip”, said Lenkeit who is also
the owner of the 1,82 metres gelding called “Jumbo” at home.
Brüsewitz, the younger of two brothers competing in
Doha, tends to show nerves during competition and therefore Airbus is the perfect partner for him.
“During the training Jumbo is sometimes lazy, but at
competitions he is totally there. It is always special to
compete with him.” After an unplanned take-off during the
freestyle last year, he hopes for a better outcome this year.
“I want three steady rounds.”
Airbus should help him to achieve that. Following the compulsory on Monday and the Technical Programme yesterday,
Brüsewitz plans to show his Freestyle from the World Championship, vaulting to the musical theme of “Dream On”.
Advanced age is no limitation for a vaulting horse.
HW Bentley, going for sisters Joanne and Hannah Eccles,
is 21 years old and involved with the sport of vaulting since
16 years. Joanna Eccles from Great Britain is today’s most
successful vaulter and “Henry” was her partner for all the
titles, World champion, European champion and No 1. in
the world ranking list. In Doha for the first time, a win at
CHI Al Shaqab 2015 could follow soon.
Results (Vaulting CVI3)*
with his performance and looked forward to
an improved performance today. “The routine
went very well for both of us. We had trained
together yesterday and today it all came to-
gether. Theresa and me work brilliantly together which is the most important part in any
competition. We will do our very best tomorrow and hope for the best result.”
Individual male (technical)
1. Thomas Brusewitz – Germany (horse Airbus 1,
lunger Irina Lenkeit) T-7.190 + C-8.082 (total 7.636)
2. Erik Oese – Germany (Down Under, Andreas Bassler) T-7.126 + C-7.776 (7.451)
3. Stefan Csandl – Austria (Nolan, Marjo
Sneekes) T-7.003 + C-7.860 (7.432)
4. Viktor Brusewitz – Germany (Rockard H,
Winnie Schluter) T-7.121 + C-7.647 (7.384)
5.Nicolas Andreani – France (Fabiola W, Alexandra Knouf) T-7.168 + C-7.509 (7.339)
Individual female (technical)
1. Joanne Eccles – Great Britain (WH Bentley,
John Eccles) T-8.019 + C-8.070 (8.045)
2. Anna Cavallaro - Italy (Harley, Nelson
Vidoni) T-7.624 + C-8.284 (7.954)
3. Simone Jaiser – Switzerland (For Ever du Chalet CH, Margrit Blieske) T-7.280 + C-7.960 (7.620)
4. Corina Knauf – Germany (Fabiola W, Alexandra Knauf) T-6.949 + C-7.972 (7.461)
5.Hannah Eccles – Great Britain (WH Bentley,
John Eccles) T-7.238 + C-7.457 (7.348)
Pas de Deux (Freestyle 1)
1. Jasmin Lindner & Lukas Wacha – Austria
(Bram, Klaus Haidacher) 8.820
2. Hannah Eccles & Joanne Eccles – Great
Britain (WH Bentley, John Eccles) 8.307
3.Theresa Thiel & Stefan Csandl – Austria
(Bram, Klaus Haidacher) 8.165
Team (Freestyle 1)
1. Team Sui/Lutisburg – Switzerland (Will Be
Good, Monika Winker-Bischofsberger Fr8.152 + C-7.706 (7.929)
2. Team CIM Italy – Italy (Andokan, Laura
Carnabuci) Fr-7.493 + C-6.542 (7.018)
3. Team Svea Vaulting – Sweden (Achim,
Ronja Persson) Fr-6.713 + C-6.509 (6.611)
Team Suisse
perform during
the Squad
Anna Cavallaro of Italy
came second in individual
female competition
Klaus Haidacher, Jasmin Lindner and Lucas Wacha after winning the Pas de Daux event
Qatar Airways Cargo transports
world-class horses for CHI Al Shaqab
By Sports Reporter
Horses ready
for transport
in one of the
designed stalls
onboard a
Qatar Airways
Cargo flight
atar Airways is a proud sponsor of the
third edition of CHI Al Shaqab, a unique
six-day international equestrian competition currently taking place in Doha.
The event runs till March 7 at Al Shaqab.
Following the success of CHI Al Shaqab over the
past two years, approximately 200 of the world’s
best national and international riders, as well as
200 horses from more than 33 countries are in
Doha to vie for a total prize purse of more than one
million Euros.
The elite riders from all around the world will
have the opportunity to showcase their skills in
five disciplines: Dressage, Vaulting, Show Jumping, Endurance and, for the first time in the Middle
East and Asia, Para Dressage.
As the official airline partner for CHI AL
SHAQAB 2015, Qatar Airways Cargo is providing
transportation services for the horses participating in the competition. The horses, among them
revered Olympic winners, arrived in Doha via
three dedicated Qatar Airways Cargo freighters
that is striving to ensure a smooth and comfort-
able journey for these world-famous horses.
Ulrich Ogiermann, Qatar Airways Chief Officer
Cargo, said: “Qatar Airways Cargo is delighted to
once again offer its support to this world-class
equestrian event. We take great pride in providing
five-star services on the ground and in the air for
these amazing animals, and we are committed to
ensuring that they are handled with the utmost
care by our team, just as we do with everything
that we transport.”
Qatar Airways Cargo transports numerous
types of animals in accordance with International
Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animal
Regulations. Unlike other small pets such as cats
and dogs, horses cannot be transported in the
lower deck of regular passenger planes and must
be flown on dedicated freighters. The horses are
loaded into “air stables” or “horse stalls” which are
special containers that can fit up to three horses
side by side, providing safe and secure transport
while on the aircraft.
CHI AL SHAQAB was launched in 2013 under
the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Mohamed
bin Hamad al-Thani and Her Excellency Sheikha
al Mayassa bint Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani. The
event, which is supported by Qatar Foundation, is
the first of its kind in the Middle East and Asia.
Economy and Finance
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