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Al-Attiyah expects oil around $60 by year-end

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SPORT | Page 1
Ooredoo Group
posts net profit
of QR2.1bn
sweep to
win over
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim
bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday
issued Law No 2 of 2015 on the
state’s financial system. “The law
stipulates for the extension of the
General State budget for the fiscal
year 2014/2015 to December-end
this year, in accordance with the
principles set by the Minister
of Finance,” the official Qatar
News Agency (QNA) said. “The
law provides that the Finance
Minister shall issue decisions
necessary for the implementation
of the provisions of this law and
the annexed law, and until those
decisions shall be issued, existing
decisions are effective in a way that
shall not conflict with the provisions
of this law and the annexed law,”
QNA said.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani receiving German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs and
Energy Sigmar Gabriel at the Emiri Diwan yesterday. They reviewed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them. They also
discussed a number of issues of joint interest. Page 8
Qatar to double migrant worker
numbers ahead of World Cup
atar will more than double the
number of migrant labourers in the country to 2.5mn
by 2020 ahead of hosting the World
Cup, a leading businessman said yesterday.
Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman
bin Nasser al-Thani told a business
conference in Doha that the number
of workers would reach “2.5mn within
three to five years”.
The new arrivals will work on major
projects in the run up to the football
World Cup being held in the country
in 2022.
Sheikh Nasser is the chairman of
Daruna, a company that specialises in
building migrant labour housing.
He was speaking at the Meed “Qatar Projects” conference, a two-day
event that brings together business
leaders, consultants and government
figures from the infrastructure, transport and energy sectors.
Sheikh Nasser also yesterday unveiled proposals for a new accommodation centre for migrant labourers
in Qatar, which he said would greatly
improve housing standards.
“We are offering our guest workers
a living standard of the highest Qatar
has ever seen,” he said.
Qatar is spending over $200bn over
the next decade on a number of huge
infrastructure projects, including a
metro system for Doha, developing
the country’s roads, and building a
new port.
The city of Lusail which will house
the stadium where the World Cup final will be played is also being built
and the country’s main airport, Hamad International, is being upgraded.
In recent weeks, Qatar has announced a major reform of the labour
market to implement an electronic
payment scheme which should ensure thousands of workers are paid on
The change, long championed by
rights groups, should mean workers
get paid at least once a month and, in
some cases, every fortnight.
Campaigners have called on the Qatari government to do more, including
addressing the“kafala” sponsorship
system which enables employers to
prevent foreign workers from changing jobs
Other areas where campaigners
have called for change include the
confiscation of passports by employers, workers not being issued an exit
visa so they can leave Qatar, and migrant labourers having to pay recruitment fees.
Meanwhile, visiting German Vice
Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has called
for better conditions for those constructing the sites for the 2022 Football World Cup, but he said that people should also treat Qatar fairly.
“We know there were considerable
violations in the past,” Gabriel, who is
also German’s economy minister, said
during a visit to a major construction site in Lusail, some 15km north of
However, he said the West should
acknowledge that Qatar had greatly
improved the conditions for the construction workers.
Vol. XXXVI No. 9658
March 11, 2015
Jumada I 20, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
expects oil
around $60
by year-end
QATAR | Pledge
Qatar has confirmed its guarantee
of freedom of religion or belief
of non-Muslims by establishing
buildings for worship such as
the Religious Complex, widely
known as “Church City”. It
also confirmed that it had
strengthened the constitutional
protection of freedom of religion
or belief through adopting several
legislations and the establishment
of many institutions at both
government and non-governmental
level. Page 9
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
Iran’s Shura Council
speaker in Doha visit
‘Commitment to
freedom of religion’
Qatar will be able to manage with
oil price around $60 a barrel, says
QATAR | Tour
Iran’s Shura Council speaker
Dr Ali Larijani arrived in Doha
yesterday on a two-day official
visit to Qatar. Dr Larijani and his
accompanying delegation were
greeted upon arrival at Hamad
International Airport by Advisory
Council speaker HE Mohamed
bin Mubarak al-Khulaifi, council
general secretary HE Fahd bin
Mubarak al-Khayareen and Iranian
ambassador Dr Mohamed Jawad
Emir issues law on
state financial system
QATAR | Economy
he R
bl TA 978
A 1
Q since
In brief
Latest Figures
Emir meets German vice chancellor
E Abdullah bin Hamad alAttiyah, president of the
Administrative Control and
Transparency Authority, expects to
see oil price around $60 a barrel by
the year-end.
“We may not see a higher price…
say $70 or more. It will take a few
years,” al-Attiyah told Gulf Times
Asked whether the era of $100
or more has ended, al-Attiyah, the
former deputy premier and minister of energy and industry, said: “We
should forget it for the time being.”
Al-Attiyah said Qatar would be
able to manage with oil price around
$60 a barrel.
“We can live with $60…this is because our production cost is low. All
our projects that have been built over
many years are paying back - completely. In my opinion, we can live
with $60. But it means some costcutting… some budgetary reforms.
“In the nineties, we have lived with
below $9 a barrel. Obviously, $60 is
better than $9. And in the 90s, we
had only one commodity – oil… and
we were a small producer as well.
“Now we have different products
– oil, LNG, GTL, chemicals, helium,
steel, aluminium and fertiliser. We
export to some 98 countries around
the world. Our basket is very well
diversified with products and export
While producers always want higher price, consumers obviously look
for cheaper price, he said.
“Higher oil price is not good for
producers or consumers. At the end
of the day, I need reasonable price for
my product and a healthy consumer,”
al-Attiyah said.
“From our experience, I can say
very high oil price is not always favourable to us. Remember, when oil
was trading at $110 a barrel, we had
to deal with an inflationary environment. Everything was expensive
- material costs were high and same
was the case with land and real estate.
“Globally, there is a sharp reduction in construction costs consequent
on the oil price decline. This trend is
likely to continue.
“If the price stays at $60, I can assure you we may have better returns
than from a high price environment.”
He said the debate on price indexation would continue because consumers never had a consistent stand
on this.
“When the oil price is low, they
want oil indexation. And when the
price goes up, they are averse to oil
indexed pricing.”
Earlier, speaking at the Gulf Intelligence Doha Energy Forum, al-Attiyah, also a former president of the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said he believed Opec
would not change policy at its next
meeting unless other producers cut
“I don’t advise Opec to have an extraordinary meeting without having a
concrete decision to change policy,”
said al-Attiyah, who was associated
with Opec at different capacities for
about 40 years.
Opec is scheduled to meet in Vienna in June, seven months after deciding to maintain output levels and
protect market share. Opec’s next
regular meeting is scheduled for June
Brent crude, a benchmark for
more than half of the world’s oil,
has dropped 26% since Opec’s decision on November 27, according to a Bloomberg dispatch.
Business page 20
Deal on labour accommodations
Daruna Development, a provider of
“advanced” workers’ accommodations in
Qatar, has signed a QR800mn management contract with Wasita Qatar (Isnad), a
subsidiary of the Wasita Group of Companies. The agreement covers the development of 12,000 workers’ accommodations
over the next 36 months. It was signed
on the sidelines of the Meed conference.
Daruna will maintain ownership of the
accommodations while Wasita will operate and manage the workers’ housing to
include: housekeeping, catering, laundry
and maintenance functions. Through their
agreement with Wasita, Daruna Development will be able to rapidly market the
permanent workers’ accommodations in
full compliance with all international and
Qatari legal standards.
The Daruna designs are the first in Qatar
to be certified as compliant by Qatar
Foundation according to their Standards
for Workers’ Welfare guide published in
2013. Wasita Group operates in the UAE,
Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya
and Turkey.
HE al-Attiyah at the Gulf Intelligence Doha Energy Forum yesterday.
PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Strong league to fuel Qatar’s Asia ambition, says chief
Hani Taleb Ballan: Qatar Stars League
chief executive.
atar’s soccer league chief hopes
a close alliance with the national team can help the country
improve its international performance
following a disappointing Asian Cup
this year.
“It’s very important for us to become
a consistent football force in Asia,
which we’re really striving to be,” Qatar
Stars League chief executive Hani Taleb
Ballan told Reuters.
“Until now we haven’t achieved that,
so it’s normal to see us sometimes lose.
We as a league should be a strong tool to
support the national team.”
Ballan said Qatar’s aim was to be
among Asia’s top four from its current
13th position.
He hopes the league’s innovations
can support that ambition, with all 11
starters in Qatar’s final Asian Cup group
match playing for domestic teams. Six
of those were foreign-born.
The league claims to be the only
domestic competition to provide
free Prozone performance analysis to
clubs, while club licences require them
to have at least four youth teams, a reserve team and highly-trained coaches.
“We’re trying to improve the professionalism by supporting clubs techni-
cally,” said Ballan. “Coaching is quite
independent, but we can control certification of coaching.”
Qatar qualified for FIFA’s 2015 under-20 World Cup after winning last
year’s Asian under-19 championship
and Ballan hopes the bulk of this side
will be turning out in 2022.
“It’s a good team ... there are players in the under-17 team with very good
potential and a mixture of the two will
be a great combination,” he said.
Qatar’s clubs have struggled in the
Asian Champions League. Al Sadd lifted the trophy in 2011, but the country’s
clubs have reached the quarter-finals
just twice this decade.
After two games of this year’s competition, Lekhwiya lie bottom of Group
A, while Al Sadd top Group C on four
“I’m very optimistic Al Sadd and Lekhwiya will qualify for the next round,”
added Ballan.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, met
yesterday with the First Lady of Albania, Odeta Nishani. During the meeting, which took place at HH Sheikha Moza’s office in
Education City, they discussed prospects for co-operation in education and health. PICTURE: AR al-Baker/HHOPL
Albanian president
hails QF’s projects
lbanian President Bujar Nishani
and his accompanying delegation yesterday paid a visit to Qatar Foundation, where they were given
a presentation outlining QF’s history,
vision and objectives.
The Albanian president was briefed
on Qatar Foundation’s various projects,
social programmes and scientific research programmes.
They were shown a documentary
film on QF, its initiatives and future
plans in the area of sustainability and
environmental conservation, and its
green buildings. Nishani expressed
his admiration for the QF’s projects
and programmes, hoping it has admitted a large number of Albanian
students as it houses a number of
world’s prestigious educational institutions.
He looked forward to the teaching
of history and culture of ancient Albanian culture and Pacific culture in
this great scientific edifice, wishing
that the QF’s idea be transferred to all
For his part, QF president Saad Ebrahim al-Muhannadi said QF’s mission
was aimed at launching human potential
in general and youth in particular, supporting the State’s growth and achieving
the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Al-Muhannadi noted that the
Foundation, including Qatar National
Library, contains thousands of books
and manuscripts that highlight all
cultures and civilizations in addition
to Translational Research Institute.
At the end of their visit, President
Bujar signed the guestbook and was
handed a commemorative souvenir by
the QF president.
The Qatari Ambassador to Albania
Youssuf bin Hassan al-Sae accompanied Nishani and delegation accompanying during their visit to QF along
with Albanian Ambassador to Qatar
Edmond Chasha and QF president alMuhannadi.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
QTA seminar
gives tips on
By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter
he Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) yesterday
launched its first regional
seminar for congress organisers
aimed at providing specialised
training for people who are involved in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (Mice) industry.
Dubbed as “Delivering Professional Congress Organisation: Engaging All,” the two-day
event has gathered professional
conference organisers, destination management companies,
convention and visitor bureaus,
travel agencies, venue operators and exhibition management
companies, among others.
Speaking at the start of the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers
(IAPCO) regional seminar yesterday, QTA director of exhibitions Hamad al-Abdan said the
participants will get invaluable
insights on the latest methods
and trends in organising international events and meetings.
He said the seminar is a “golden opportunity” for QTA stakeholders and industry colleagues
Hamad al-Abdan
across the region to obtain internationally-recognised accreditation from IAPCO in their field
of expertise.
“We believe this activity will
allow stakeholders from the
private and public sector to exchange views with decisionmakers and event organisers,”
al-Abdan said. “It is one of our
most important initiatives for
the private sector.”
QTA organised the seminar as
part of its efforts to support the
Mice sector which contributes to
Qatar’s sustainable tourism.
IAPCO has more than 114
members from 40 countries
which provide consulting and
organisation services for clients to the highest standard. It
also organises more than 6,760
meetings worldwide every year,
which translates to about 19 per
day, according to al-Abdan.
Al-Abdan said the seminar
covers a range of issues such
as financial planning, budget
and cashflows; how to integrate
the planning of an exhibition
and congress; bidding process; familiarisation trips and
sites inspection; and a session
on “marketing a congress using traditional and tomorrow’s
communication tools.”
IAPCO has designed the programme to give participants
both an overview and detailed
organisational and operational
elements of managing international association meetings with
tips, trends and current planning which is incorporated into
all sessions.
IAPCO president Michel Neijmann sees Qatar as a “terminus
for future international meetings and an important destination in the conference field.
This was echoed by its Training Academy chair Andre Vietor
who said: “This seminar is an
endorsement of the future vision
of the meetings industry of Qatar, recognising that education
is the route to quality and excellence and the pathway to successful meetings, both bidding
and winning, and the delivery.”
Land registry
services to
be digitised
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani writes
in the visitors’ book at the museum. Below: The Prime Minister meets Algerian National People’s
Assembly Speaker Mohamed al-Arabi Ould Khalifa.
Minister of Justice Dr Hassan
Lahdan Saqr al-Mohannadi
yesterday signed a contract with
Ebla Computer Consultancy to
digitise land registry services.
The project is part of Qatar
e-Government 2020 strategy.
The project aims to connect
electronically all state
components related to the land
registry process.
The minister said the project
will result in a qualitative leap at
the ministry and the services it
provides to the public.
He added that the project was in
line with the directives of HH the
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad
al-Thani to facilitate services to
The project also contributes to
Qatar National Vision 2030.
He thanked young Qataris who
worked on the planning phase of
the project.
Electronic land registry will
have smart phone applications
so citizens have a safe and
accurate data of their real estate
Ties reviewed
PM visits Algiers museum
E the Prime Minister
and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah
bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani
yesterday visited the Mujahid
Museum in Algiers.
The prime minister was given a detailed explanation about
the history of Algeria in different eras, especially the stages
of the National Liberation War,
as well as paintings, sculp-
tures, photographs, weapons
and documents that were used
at the time.
Earlier, the Prime Minister
met Speaker of the Algerian
National People’s Assembly
Mohamed al-Arabi Ould Khalifa.
They reviewed bilateral cooperation and means to enhance them.
On Monday, Sheikh Abdul-
lah bin Nasser held talks with
Algerian Minister of Interior
Tayeb Belaiz.
The Prime Minister also
met the Commander of the
Algerian National Gendarmerie Major General Ahmed
Members of the official delegation accompanying the
Prime Minister attended the
Albanian President Bujar Nishani
yesterday met at the St Regis
Doha Hotel Speaker of the
Advisory Council HE Mohamed
bin Mubarak al-Khulaifi. The
meeting dealt with ways of
enhancing parliamentary
relations between Qatar
and Albania. The meeting
was attended by the general
secretary of the Council Fahd bin
Mubarak al-Khayareen, Qatar’s
Ambassador to Albania Yousef
bin Hassan al-Saai, and Albanian
Ambassador to Qatar Edmond
Meanwhile, HE the Minister’s
Assistant for International
Co-operation Affairs Sheikh
Mohamed bin Abdulrahman
bin Jassim al-Thani met with
Albania’s Deputy Minister Selim
Belortaja, who is in Doha as part
of a delegation accompanying
the Albanian president. They
discussed bilateral relations and
the means to enhance them.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
QU launches computing contest
Stretch of Othman Bin Affan street closed
Qatar University has launched its 8th annual
computing contest (QUCC), organised by the
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
(CSE) at the College of Engineering (CENG).
The competition requires students to programme a
robot that will perform tasks within a limited time.
As in previous years, the contest is based on logic
programming of the sensor inputs of a Lego-based robot.
This year, students will use the Lego EV3 kit and in
an added engineering component, they will compete
in the final day on May 9, to demonstrate the time it
takes for their robots to complete tasks.
The first place winner will be awarded QR10,000 and
a scholarship to study at CSE, while QR6,000 and
QR4,000 will be awarded to the second and third
place winners respectively.
A total of 58 students and 19 teachers from 58 schools
attended the launch ceremony. In his opening remarks, CENG
dean Dr Rashid Alammari thanked the sponsors Qapco,
Dolphin Energy and ExxonMobil Qatar for their support.
“This contest is in line with the CENG’s goal to
produce graduates who are experts in computer
science and engineering,” he stated.
ExxonMobil president and general manager Alistair
Routledge said the contest challenges students
and teaches them important life skills, such as
commitment, teamwork and leadership.
A stretch of Othman
Bin Affan street
between Al Waab
street intersection and
Saeed Bin Al Aas street
in East Aziziya area
will remain closed for
eight months from
tomorrow, Ashghal
has announced.
The closure is part
of work on building
better physical
infrastructure in the
To facilitate
movement of vehicles
a temporary road has
been constructed
along the area
and traffic to both
directions would
be diverted using
the carriageway.
Residents and
owners could reach
their premises through Al Aziziya Street
(as shown of the attached map).
Ashghal has advised the road users to
abide by the speed limits to help ensure
their safety and follow the instructions
displayed in the area.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Hamad Abdulla al-Mulla and Saeed Abdulla al-Amer al-Kaabi at the signing ceremony.
Katara Hospitality to run
Saraya Corniche Hotel
atara Hospitality has
announced that it
will manage the new
Saraya Corniche Hotel under Murwab Hotel Group,
its recently relaunched
standalone operating arm.
Hamad Abdulla al-Mulla,
CEO and board member of
Katara Hospitality, signed
the management agreement
for the new property with
Saeed Abdulla al-Amer alKaabi, president of Sphinex
Hotels & Resorts.
Saraya Corniche Hotel is
the second property owned
by Sphinex Hotels & Resorts, which will be operated by Katara Hospitality’s
Murwab Hotel Group. The
partnership with Sphinex
Hotels & Resorts was first
announced in December
2013 for the management
of The Avenue, a Murwab
Hotel, located on Jawaan
Street in Al Sadd.
Saraya Corniche Hotel is
currently in the final stages of development and is
scheduled to open later this
year. Located on the Doha
Corniche, the hotel overlooks the Arabian Gulf and
the Museum of Islamic Art.
The property will feature 221 rooms and suites,
equipped with the latest
technologies and amenities
required by business travellers on the move, while
restaurants, meeting and
banqueting space as well
as recreation facilities will
complement the overall
guest offering, according to
a statement.
Saraya Corniche Hotel is set
to become a true symbol of
Arabian hospitality, offering authentic experiences to
affluent travellers,” said alKaabi. “Katara Hospitality,
with more than 40 years of
outstanding hospitality experience, is well-positioned
to manage the hotel at high
international standards.”
“We are pleased to welcome Saraya Corniche Hotel
to our fast-growing portfolio of distinguished hotels in
Qatar as we expand the operator side of our business,”
said al-Mulla. “Our partnership with some of the
world’s best international
operators has allowed us a
depth of expertise and confidence to become a trusted
hotel management company. 2015 will see the Murwab
Hotel Group become a key
focus for our organisation
alongside our core expertise
of hotel asset management.”
The Murwab Hotel Group
represents a collection of
independent, upscale properties offering contemporary hospitality inspired by
the unique cultural heritage of the locations they are
situated in. Murwab Hotel
Group will operate a portfolio of hotels both under
its Murwab Hotels brand
and independent hotel
Future Murwab Hotelbranded properties will include the Grand Murwab
City Center, The Avenue, a
Murwab Hotel and Simaisma, a Murwab Resort. Independent properties will include Saraya Corniche Hotel
and City Gate Hotel.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
German private sector keen
to invest in Qatar: minister
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
erman Vice Chancellor and
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy
Sigmar Gabriel has lauded Qatar’s
efforts to develop and promote the
use of renewable energy to spur
economic development.
“Germany wants to diversify its
gas supply sources and transport
routes, and share its high-level of
expertise in renewable energies.
We, therefore, welcome the supply agreements that have been set
up between companies in Germany and Qatar,” said Gabriel, who
was speaking at Qatar Chamber’s
two-day “1st SMEs Conference,”
which concludes today at the Four
Seasons Hotel.
He also stressed that Germany
welcomes Qatar’s strides to integrate “green technologies” in the
construction of stadiums and other facilities to be used in the 2022
FIFA World Cup.
“We see no contradiction in
using oil and gas while promoting the use of renewable energies;
there are many channels to explore
in the areas of infrastructure and
Qatar is making great strides in
its preparations for the 2022 FIFA
World Cup.
“And Germany welcomes the
fact that Qatar is endeavouring
to make the World Cup a zerocarbon emission event,” Gabriel
Citing its broad experience
in the areas of vocational training, engineering, and renewable
energy, Gabriel said many German small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) are looking
to Qatar to explore investment
opportunities here.
He added that since most German SMEs are family-owned,
German Vice Chancellor and
Federal Minister for Economic
Affairs and Energy Sigmar
“they intend to forge longlasting partnerships with their
international counterparts.”
“The German business community is a competent and reliable sector, and this is also especially true for German SMEs. The
strengths of our small and mid-
sized economy are based on their
commitment to engage in longterm investments,” Gabriel said.
According to Gabriel, SMEs
serve as “the backbone of German economy and drivers of
Gabriel said that SMEs in Germany cannot afford to hire lawyers
and waste money on bureaucracy.
“SMEs need a stable framework,
as well as a long-term perspective,
clear jurisdiction, and transparent
tax system. They are more focused
on the business unlike the bigger
companies that are able to employ
many lawyers thus, making them
capable of investing in international markets,” he elaborated.
He added, “So, if you convince them that your economy
is stable, with a clear framework, fair, and has a transparent
administration, then you will be
able to convince them to come
and invest in your country.”
Gabriel said more than 140
players from Germany’s private sector have expressed “keen
interest” to invest in Qatar.
“Our SMEs are ready to enter
international levels of co-operation. German SMEs offer ideal
investment opportunities to investors from Qatar and you are
welcome partners for Germany,”
Gabriel emphasised.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani
said the “1st SMEs Conference”
aims to promote entrepreneurship,
stimulate services for local SMEs,
to support diversification, and
create employment opportunities
for the national workforce.
“Our projects have proven their
ability to balance the domain of
business and development and to
generate employment and to boost
the wheel of development of the
country,” Sheikh Khalifa added.
Patient commends HMC
kidney transplant team
The Swedish delegation with Minister of Environment al-Humaidi and Ambassador Polano.
Swedish food security firm
delegation visits Doha
Swedish food security company Plantagon International has
visited Doha, the Swedish
embassy said in a statement.
The Stockholm-based
Plantagon International is
active in urban agriculture,
and specialises in vertical
farming and food security.
“The company has attracted interest from cities on all continents for
the construction of the
Greenhouse, a vertical
industrial urban farm,”
Swedish Ambassador Ewa
Polano said.
The delegation com-
prising Plantagon International CEO Hans Hassle,
senior adviser and former
minister Mats Hellström,
and chief architect Dr
Alessio Boco, visited the
Al Sulaiteen Agricultural
and Industrial Complex
and had a meeting with
chairman Abdullah Salem
al-Sulaiteen and senior officials.
The also met with HE
Ahmed Amer Mohamed
al-Humaidi, the Minister
of Environment, and officials from Qatar National
Food Security Programme,
Qatar National Research
Fund, Supreme Committee
for Delivery and Legacy,
Qatar Financial Centre and
faculty members of Qatar
symbiotic industrial system, which will transform
spillage, waste products
and CO2 into commercial
viable goods.
“A large scale food production building like the
would be a landmark not
only for Swedish technology but also for FIFA 2022
as well, especially as the
building would contribute to the goal of hosting
the first carbon emission
neutral football world
championship in Qatar
in 2022,” the ambassador
Qatari patient who
underwent full kidney transplant at
Hamad General Hospital
(HGH) has commended
Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) transplant
service, stating that it
“I decided to undergo
the transplant in Qatar at
HGH, because I had heard
very good things about the
standard of doctors here,”
said Saad al-Rumaihi, who
initially thought of getting
the surgery done abroad.
“From my experience,
I can say that the organ
transplant team at HGH is
really among the world’s
best when it comes to
technique, experience and
knowledge. During my
time at the hospital, I had
access to the best possible
care both pre- and postoperation. Doctors on rotation came to check up on
me about five to six times a
day after the surgery and I
felt very well looked after. If
I had had my surgery over-
The kidney transplant team along with the patient.
seas, I don’t believe I would
have been tended to more
than once a day – from what
my colleagues have informed
me following their own experiences in other countries.”
He said Dr Riyadh Fadhil,
director of Qatar Organ Donation Centre at HMC, was
very helpful and explained
the entire procedure to him
before the surgery.
According to al-Rumaihi,
prior to the surgery he was
afraid but, once in the operating room, his fear van-
ished as soon as he heard the
anaesthesiologist say: “In
the Name of Allah, in Him
we entrust.”
The kidney that al-Rumaihi received was from a
deceased organ donor, who
had registered with Hiba
during his lifetime to donate
his organs in the event of
his death. The donor’s second kidney was given to an
Indian patient and his liver
was donated to an Egyptian
patient, all of whom have
recovered excellently.
Almuftah Group officials and guests at the inauguration of the new showroom.
Group opens
new showroom
Almuftah Group, a leading
multi-business group in
Qatar, has inaugurated a
new showroom for tyres
and electronic products on
Airport Road.
Managing director Ibrahim
Almuftah, VIP guests,
executives and managers
were present on the occasion.
Tyre brands such as Toyo,
CEAT, BKT, Silverstone,
CEPSA lubricants, and the
latest home electronics
from Sharp, Daewoo, Black
& Decker, Pigeon, Pyrex and
others are available at the
new showroom.
“Our aim is to continually
improve the shopping
experience for customers,
especially in terms of
convenience,” Almuftah said.
“Daewoo is the latest brand
which has joined the family of
major brands being carried by
Almuftah Group,” he added.
The present product line-up
includes refrigerators, airconditioners, commercial
freezers, and washing
HMC conducts
over 2,400 ENT
surgeries every year
By Joseph Varghese
Staff Reporter
he ENT department
of HMC conducts
more than 2,400 surgeries every year, while approximately 27,000 patients
visit the ENT outpatient
clinics annually, an HMC
official said yesterday.
Dr Abdulsalam alQahtani, senior consultant, said that Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)
has some of the most sophisticated methods in
conducting the surgeries.
“On average, we are seeing
about 10 to 15 cases daily.
We conduct minor to major surgeries for inpatients
as well as daycare ones.”
He added, “We have
several specialties and
conduct different surgeries such as head and
neck surgery. The department is conducting all
kinds of head and neck
surgery with very high
success rate.”
He pointed out that the
main reason for head and
neck surgery is cancer
which can be benign or
“We have a team to conduct surgeries related to
ear. Skull-based surgery
team is working along
with the neurology team.
Dr Abdulsalam al-Qahtani:
“On average, we are seeing
about 10 to 15 cases daily.”
We also have a unit to look
into snoring problems,” he
Dr al-Qahtani said that
robotic surgery was used
in some special cases. “We
work along with the Qatar
Robotic Surgery Centre. It
is used in highly selected
cases. It is used on areas
where surgeons cannot
get proper access such as
the base of the tongue. We
also have an agreement
with an Italian team who
come here frequently to
perform surgeries.”
The official remarked
that snoring can be dangerous only when people
find difficulty in getting
air. “Normal snoring is
fine and there is nothing
abnormal about it even if
people make loud sounds.
But when a person is sucking in air and faces difficulty in getting proper
breath, then there is some
problem which needs to be
taken care of.”
Conference on head and neck surgery
Hamad Medical
Corporation (HMC) will host
second Qatari and 11th GCC
International Conference
on Otolaryngology, Head
and Neck Surgery (ORLHNS) from tomorrow to
March 14.
The conference, organised
by the ORL-HNS (ENT)
department at Rumailah
Hospital, will shed light on
latest advances, innovative
surgical procedures, and
cutting-edge research in
the field of otolaryngology,
head and neck surgery.
Discussions will be centred
on many different topics
such as hearing assessment
and screening, swallowing,
speech disorders, nasal
disorders, cancer in the
head and neck, otology and
ear disease.
Dr Abdulsalam al-Qahtani,
conference chairman,
senior consultant, said
the conference will bring
together over 300 local
and international ORL-HNS
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Abu Issa Marketing
wins award
eiersdorf Middle East, owner of leading skin care brands
Nivea, Eucerin, Labello, Hansaplast and 8X4, awarded
its Qatar distributor Abu Issa Marketing and Distribution (AIMD) with the ‘Highest Overall Performance – Partner
of the Year Award’ for 2015. AIMD is winning the award for the
second year in a row . It was presented at Beiersdorf’s 30th Annual Partner’s Conference for the Mena region in Dubai. Andreas
Hornung, Beiersdorf managing director for Mena said the award
demonstrates AIMD’s excellent and consistent performance year
over year across a broad range of set key performance indicators in
2014. “This award is an important achievement for our company
and we are really proud to have won it once again,” added Fawaz
Idrissi, senior vice president, AIMD.
Members at yesterday’s session.
‘Affordable homes are
solution’ to partitioning
garbage disposal and the drainage system.
Besides, they argued that unauthorised
partitioning and the practice of several
families sharing the same villa could also
have undesired safety, security social and
even ethical implications.
Meanwhile, CMC member Hamad Lahdan al-Muhannadi argued that such a
practice was a normal consequence of the
shortage of adequate and suitable units in
apartment blocks.
“Most buildings in the country follow
the two- or three-storey system, producing
a limited number of units. Consequently,
people resort to such practices. We need to
find practical and valid alternatives before
taking any measures against this practice.
The urban planning authorities should
adopt more open strategies and give licences for higher apartment blocks in different
parts of the country. When the units are
available, the situation will ease,” he said.
CMC chairman Saud al-Hinzab pointed
out that the council had issued various rec-
By Ayman Adly
Staff Reporter
ore affordable housing solutions
should be provided to cater to the
requirements of the growing expatriate population so that people do not
resort to illegal partitioning of villas, it was
observed at a meeting hosted by the Central Municipal Council (CMC) yesterday.
At the meeting, the CMC hosted officials from the Ministry of Municipality
and Urban Planning (MMUP) and Qatar
General Electricity & Water Corporation
(Kahramaa) to discuss the phenomenon of
making unauthorised divisions in residential villas to create smaller housing units so
as to accommodate several families.
CMC members argued that the practice had various negative implications,
including putting an additional burden
on public utilities and facilities such as
parking lots, roads, water, electricity,
ommendations on authorising an increase
in the height of buildings in various parts
of the country, including C-Ring Road,
New Salata and other places in Doha and
Al Rayyan. However, these were rejected
by the MMUP as they involved putting extra load on public services, which were not
designed for such usage.
Both Kahramaa and MMUP stressed
that they were not authorised to enter
family-inhabited residential villas and
inspect them without permission from
the owner and legal entities in the country. This was usually done in response to a
properly filed complaint. Also, Kahramaa
would not enhance power supply for a
house unless an authorisation was given
by the municipality concerned.
CMC member Mohamed bin Zafir alHajiri suggested that the Ministry of Interior could play a vital role in curbing such
practices by tying the residency permit
to the Kahramaa number, so that the system does not accept the same number for
QIB officials and dignitaries at the opening.
QIB opens new branch
at Medina Centrale
atar Islamic Bank (QIB) has
opened a new branch at The
The opening is part of the bank’s
expansion strategy to provide better
services to customers and comes as
QIB seeks to attract new customers in
all vital areas and strategic locations
throughout the country, according to a
The new branch is located in Medina
Centrale, Al Hamra Street, Gate 9, the
town centre of The Pearl-Qatar and a
hub for high-end amenities and facilities.
The branch at The Pearl-Qatar will
be open from Sunday to Thursday, 11am
to 6pm. Customers will be able to open
a variety of bank accounts, apply for
a suite of financing, debit and credit
cards, discuss a host of Takaful services
and consult on other Islamic banking
services with a specialised team of staff.
The new branch is designed with
customer convenience as a standout
feature. The open-plan layout provides
more welcoming space, while the use of
colours adds to a modern business experience, according to the statement.
The branch comes with an ATM.
The opening of the branch at The
Pearl-Qatar brings the number of QIB’s
local branches to 30, backed by over 165
ATMs all over the country. The expansion of the branch network is accompanied by advanced electronic services
provided by QIB, such as online banking and the mobile banking application
available on all smartphone platforms
(iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows), as well as the QIB call centre
operating round the clock.
D Anand, general manager of QIB’s
Personal Banking Group, explained
that the opening of the new branch
goes hand in hand with Qatar’s substantial growth, which has prompted
QIB to expand in the local market to
offer banking services to its customers
regardless of their location.
“The new addition will allow us to
better serve our customers and enhance our strategic vision in terms
of offering comprehensive banking
services to people from all walks of
life. Those services, coupled with our
continuous investment in alternative
channels, such as online banking, our
mobile banking application, our call
centre and IVR, help QIB provide a
seamless banking experience and offer
premium services to customers,” said
Qatar ‘committed to freedom of religion’
he State of Qatar has confirmed
its guarantee of freedom of religion or belief of non-Muslims
by establishing buildings for worship
such as the Religious Complex, widely
known as “Church City”.
It also confirmed that it had
strengthened constitutional protection of freedom of religion or belief by
adopting several legislations and establishing many institutions at both government and non-governmental level,
including Doha International Center
for Interfaith Dialogue which was set
up in 2008, with the aim of promoting
and spreading the culture of dialogue,
acceptance of others and peaceful coexistence of different religions.
This came in a speech delivered yesterday by HE the Director of the Human Rights Department of the Minis-
try of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Khalid bin
Jassim al-Thani, at the 28th session of
the Human Rights Council (interactive
dialogue with the special rapporteur on
religion or belief) in Geneva.
He added thatQatar had continued
hosting international conferences and
forums on human rights issues and the
promotion of a culture of peace, where
the state hosts the annual Conference
on interfaith dialogue “.
The previous conferences had discussed topics such as the role of religions in human civilisation; role of
religion in building human and spiritual values and world peace; religious
values and respect for life and human
solidarity; role of religion in the upbringing of generations; social media
and interfaith dialogue; and role of
youth in promoting the values of dialogue, he noted. He also said that Qatar annually hosted the the US-Islamic
World Forum.
It also hosted the Fourth United Na-
tions Forum of Alliance of Civilisations
in 2011. It also hosted in March last year
the executive meeting of the Istanbul
Initiative 16/18 entitled “promoting
religious freedom through co-operation among religions”.
Qatar has underlined that the promotion and protection of the rights
of persons with disabilities in accordance with the rights-based approach is
among the priorities of the state policy
and where the promotion and protection of human rights is a strategic
choice, as was emphasised in the Qatar
National Vision 2030 and the National
Development Strategy (2011-2016).
This came in Qatar’s speech delivered in Geneva yesterday by the researcher in the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Noemi al-Hajri, at the 28th session of
the Human Rights Council Regulation
(interactive dialogue with the special
rapporteur on the rights of persons
with disabilities).
multiple individuals. However, some CMC
members saw this as impractical, with the
issue remaining unresolved because of the
high and uncontrolled rents of apartments.
CMC vice-chairman Jassim al-Malki said
the practice of partitioning villas has created
a lucrative business for many expatriates,
who sub-let such units to others and earn big
profits. Similarly, other members said some
locals help in this by leasing their property to
people who engage in such activities.
Law No 4 of 1985 regarding the organisation of buildings bans any unlicensed
modifications to the approved design of
a building or altering its stated purpose
without the approval of the authorities
concerned. A fine of QR250-500 for each
square metre is levied on the violator besides having to restore the place.
Recently, the MMUP conducted a campaign against partitioned villas, but it was
limited to those occupied by single expatriate workers and villas that had plywood
At the awards ceremony.
Restaurant explosion
hearing deferred
Doha Criminal Court yesterday postponed to April
7 the hearing into the case
over the gas explosion at Hala
Istanbul Restaurant. The postponement is to hear from another
witness and some of the injured
to produce medical certificates in
Arabic regarding the percentage
of disability they sustained.
Hala Istanbul Restaurant was
located inside the Q Mart Petrol Station at Duhail and adjacent to the Landmark Shopping
Mall, where the explosion killed
11 expatriates and injured 35,
including a Qatari, on February 27, last year. The gas explosion damaged other buildings
in the vicinity too apart from
wrecking a number of vehicles.
The four accused in the case attended yesterday’s hearing accompanied with their lawyers.
Earlier, the public prosecution charged an Egyptian (a general supervisor at the Qatargas
Group), an Indian (a supervisor at Woqod), and two Turkish
men (a baker and an accountant)
at Hala Istanbul Restaurant.
The four persons were
charged with negligence in undertaking their work duties,
which caused the loss of lives,
severe injury to many, risked
the safety of others and caused
destruction of material assets.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Qatar to begin
1,000 homes
in Gaza Strip
Some 130,000 homes
damaged or destroyed in Gaza
war; aid slow to arrive in Gaza
Gaza City
Qatari official visiting
a Gaza neighbourhood
heavily bombed in last
summer’s war with Israel said
yesterday the Gulf Arab state
had begun a project to rebuild
1,000 homes as part of a $1bn aid
Mohamed al-Amadi, head of
the Qatari Committee to Rebuild
Gaza, said that earlier in the day
Israel had allowed four truckloads
of cement into the Gaza Strip so
that the planned construction of
the dwellings could begin.
The Israeli military agency that
oversees policy related to civilian supplies to the Hamas-ruled
Palestinian enclave said such
shipments are handled by the
Palestinian self-rule body under
“a joint mechanism for reconstruction” established jointly by
the UN, Israel and the Palestinian
“Today we are starting the $1bn
(effort),” Amadi told reporters as
he stood in the rubble of a hospital
destroyed during the 50-day Gaza
Palestinian and UN officials
said 130,000 houses had either
been demolished or damaged,
largely by Israeli air strikes and
shelling, in the densely populated
coastal territory.
“We want more countries to
come and build Gaza. Gaza suffered from previous wars,” Amadi
At a donors’ conference in Cairo in October, some two months
after the latest conflict ended in
an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire,
Qatar said it would provide $1bn
in reconstruction assistance for
In all, some $5.4bn was pledged
at the meeting, but little of that
has reached the Gaza Strip.
UN officials have said internal Palestinian divisions have
blocked oversight by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, Hamas’s rival, of the import of
building materials.
Israel also tightly limits the
flow of concrete, cement, iron
bars and other materials into
Gaza, calling them “dual use”
items that could have a military
purpose if they were seized by
Hamas to rebuild tunnels used to
launch attacks.
The solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Muscat airport in Oman early yesterday, as it heads to Ahmedabad in India on the
second leg of its epic bid to become the first plane to fly around the world powered solely by the sun.
All systems go as solar plane
completes Oman-India leg
A Palestinian woman sits near her house, that was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last
summer, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, yesterday. Qatar has begun a project to rebuild 1,000
homes as part of a $1bn aid pledge.
Workers stage rare strike in Dubai
undreds of foreign construction workers staged
a rare protest in Dubai
yesterday, defying the law against
going on strike.
They blocked a road near the
famed Burj Khalifa, the world’s
tallest building at 828m (2,716ft).
Police quickly intervened and
the dispute between the workers
and their employer was resolved,
the government’s press service
Police said on Twitter they had
“co-ordinated with the employer
to resolve the issue of the work-
ers, affirming that their rights
will be preserved”. The Abu Dhabi
daily, The National, reported
that the dispute was about overtime working hours, not salaries,
which the company paid on time.
Dubai police chief Khamis alMazyana said on Twitter the dispute was resolved in less than an
solar-powered aircraft
attempting to fly around
the world without using
fossil fuel landed safely in the
Indian city of Ahmedabad yesterday after a 1,465-km journey.
Swiss aircraft Solar Impulse
2 took off from Muscat, the
capital of Oman, and landed in
Ahmedabad, the principal city
of India’s Gujarat state, after
a flight of a little more than 15
hours and 30 minutes, the aircraft’s longest flight to date.
The carbon-fibre aircraft
weighs as much as a car and has
a larger wingspan than that of a
Boeing passenger jet.
Promoters of the Solar Impulse project want to spread the
message of the need for clean
technologies for a better tomorrow.
During the next five months,
Solar Impulse 2 will skip from
continent to continent and
cross both the Pacific and the
Atlantic oceans as it attempts to
circumnavigate the globe.
It completed its first flight on
Monday on a 400-km trip from
Abu Dhabi to Oman, which took
more than 12 hours.
Bertrand Piccard, 57, was at
the controls yesterday while
Andre Borschbeg, 62, is scheduled to take over piloting duties
The aircraft has been described as an airborne laboratory. Its wings are covered by
Andre Borschberg (left), one of the two pilots of the solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2, giving the
farewell to his colleague Bertrand Piccard before taking off from Muscat for Ahmedabad yesterday.
more than 17,000 solar cells. For
flights at night four Lithium-ion
batteries store the solar energy.
The aircraft can fly up to an
altitude of 8,500m at speeds
ranging from 50 to 100kph.
The next stop is the Indian
town of Varanasi where the air-
craft is expected to hover above
the river Ganges to spread the
message of cleanliness and
clean energy, IANS news agency
The plan is to continue from
India onward to Myanmar, China, the US and either Southern
Civil Defence holds mock drill
he General Directorate of Civil Defence conducted
a mock drill at Al Bidda
tower, the headquarters
of Supreme Committee
for Delivery and Legacy
The operations started as the Civil Defence
centre received information about the outbreak of mock fire at the
32nd floor of the building. The fire rescue team
in Wadi Sail rushed to
the scene with all equipment and managed to
control the fire.The em- Evacuation during the mock drill.
ployees were evacuated
from the building and
guided to the assembly
point through emergency exits.
The rescue team
started search operation for missing or injured persons and found
three persons “injured”.
The ambulance team
and Al Fazaa Police also
took part in the operation.
The mock drills were
conducted as part of the
GDCD’s plans to create
awareness about safety
measures and train the
people on how to address risks during a fire. An ‘injured’ person is carried to an ambulance during the mock drill.
Europe or North Africa, depending upon weather conditions.
The aircraft is expected to
arrive back in the Gulf around
July or August after flying more
than 35,000km and making 12
Iran to hold
nuclear talks
on March 16
ranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif will hold
talks with his counterparts
from Germany, France and Britain
next week in Brussels as part of the
bid to hash out a deal on Tehran’s
nuclear programme, the European
Union announced yesterday.
Iran has been holding a flurry
of meetings with world powers recently, with just weeks left
until an end-of-March deadline
for the two sides to agree on a
framework deal that would limit
Tehran’s nuclear programme in
return for sanctions relief.
The details of the deal are then
supposed to be fleshed out by the
end of June.
Former EU top diplomat
Catherine Ashton has traditionally represented Britain, China,
France, Germany, Russia and the
US in the nuclear talks with Iran,
but recent negotiations have taken place in a variety of formats.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will host the new
meeting on March 16 in Brussels
“as part of the ongoing nuclear
negotiations with Iran,” her office
said in a statement.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Graphic torture photos from Syria on show at UN
United Nations
atar, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, Turkey and
the United States are
holding an exhibit at the United
Nations of graphic photos
taken in Syria by a former
military police photographer
that show what appear to be
evidence of brutal torture.
About two dozen of some of
the 55,000 photographs taken
- some showing eye gougings,
strangulation and long-term
starvation - went on display at
UN headquarters in New York
this week as the conflict in Syria
enters its fifth year.
Former war crimes prosecutors have described the pictures
as “clear evidence” of system-
atic torture and mass killings in
Syria’s three-year-long civil war.
The photographer has been identified by the code name “Caesar.”
The pictures were smuggled out
of Syria between 2011 and mid2013.
Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark
Lyall Grant said the aim of the exhibit was to raise awareness of the
human rights abuses that President Bashar al-Assad’s troops
have been accused of committing
against the Syrian people.
“As the conflict in Syria enters
its fifth year, the number of those
killed and displaced has reached
220,000 and 7.6mn, and over
3.8mn have been forced to flee
the country,” Lyall Grant said.
“We hope that this exhibition
will serve as a reminder of the
imperative to pursue a political
solution to the conflict with ut-
most urgency to end the suffering
of the Syrian people,” he said.
Syrian’s UN Ambassador
Bashar Ja’afari was not immediately available for comment on
the photo exhibit.
Caesar was a senior sergeant in
Syria’s army who spent 13 years
working as a forensic photographer, say former war crimes
prosecutors who examined the
photos. Lawyers acting for Qatar
commissioned the examination
of the evidence.
Between September 2011 and
August 2013, Caesar worked at a
military hospital, taking photos
of bodies from three detention
centres in the Damascus area. He
smuggled copies of those photos
out of the hospital on memory
sticks hidden in his shoe.
The UN Security Council
viewed the photos during an in-
Troops retake
strategic town
north of Tikrit
Al-Alam, Iraq
raqi troops and militias drove
Islamic State insurgents out
of the town of Al-Alam yesterday, clearing a final hurdle before a planned assault on Saddam
Hussain’s home city of Tikrit in
their biggest offensive yet against
the ultra-radical group.
The power base of executed
former president Saddam’s clan,
Tikrit is the focus of a counteroffensive against Islamic State
by more than 20,000 troops and
Shia Muslim militias known as
Hashid Shaabi, backed by local
Sunni Muslim tribes.
If Iraq’s Shia-led government
is able to retake Tikrit it would
be the first city clawed back from
the Sunni insurgents and would
give it momentum in the next,
pivotal stage of the campaign - to
recapture Mosul, the largest city
in the north.
A Reuters photographer saw
dozens of families, who earlier
fled Al-Alam to escape Islamic
State rule, return to the town,
celebrating and slaughtering
sheep for the victorious forces.
“I announce officially that the
town is under the total control
of security forces, the Hashid
Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation)
units and local tribal fighters,”
said local mayor Laith al-Jubouri.
“We rejoice in this victory
and we want Al-Alam to be the
launchpad for the liberation of
Tikrit and Mosul,” he told Reuters by telephone.
Mosul in the far north is the
largest city held by the ultra-
radical Islamic State.
But the ultra-radical group
over the past few months has
gradually lost ground in Iraq to
the army, Shia militias and Kurdish peshmerga forces, backed by
air strikes carried out by a USled coalition of mainly Western
and allied Arab states.
The US says Baghdad did not
seek aerial backup from the coalition in the Tikrit campaign.
Instead, support on the ground
has come from neigbouring Iran,
Washington’s longtime regional
rival, which backs the Shia militias and has sent an elite Revolutionary Guard commander to
oversee part of the battle.
The Iraqi army and militias
now control the two towns to the
north and south of Tikrit along
the Tigris river and appear ready
to move on the city itself.
Amman city
cleaners to
bin orange
A picture taken on February 21, 2015 shows city cleaners in their orange jumpsuit uniforms
working on cleaning snow from the streets of Amman. The Jordanian capital is replacing the
orange jumpsuits because of their similarity to those of hostages murdered in Islamic State
group videos.
Salman vows to create
jobs for young Saudis
audi Arabia’s King Salman said
he would diversify the economy
and create jobs for young Saudis in his first big speech since taking
power on January 23.
His speech, carried on state television, focused on the need to create
private sector jobs for young Saudis,
a main policy goal for many years as
Riyadh strives to meet a looming demographic challenge while controlling
public spending.
Addressing the chaos around the region, he said no one would be allowed
to tamper with Saudi Arabia’s security
or stability.
He said Saudi foreign policy would
be committed to the teachings of Islam
and spoke of a move towards greater
Arab and Islamic unity to face shared
threats, as well as a continued focus on
working with other countries against
He also pledged to maintain the
kingdom’s Sharia Islamic law, emphasising its central place in the kingdom.
King Salman also reassured Saudis
about lower oil prices, noting the historically high revenues of recent years
and saying the government would
reduce the impact on development
projects and continue to explore for oil
and gas reserves.
Over the second half of last year the
global price of crude oil dropped by
about half, from above $100 a barrel.
Yet the kingdom in December announced a 2015 budget that included a
slight rise in spending to $229.3bn with
a projected fall in revenue to $190.7bn.
Sweden ends military ties with Saudi
Sweden announced yesterday it will
not renew a military co-operation
agreement with Saudi Arabia,
effectively ending defence ties due
to mounting concerns over rights
“It will be broken off,” Prime Minister
Stefan Loefven said on public radio
of a 2005 Saudi-Swedish agreement.
The Social-Democrat premier spoke
a day after Sweden’s Foreign Minister
Margot Wallstroem accused Saudi
Arabia of blocking her speech at an
Arab League meeting.
Those numbers leave the country with
its first budget deficit since 2011.
Saudi Arabia is the Arab world’s largest economy and much of its spending
is on health, education and social services as well as infrastructure.
Officials have said the kingdom’s
reserves, estimated at $750bn, enable
it to withstand the global crude price
Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest
crude exporter and oil makes up about
90% of government revenue.
Addressing himself to young Saudis
of both sexes, he said the state would
do all it could to help develop their education, sending them to prestigious
universities, to help them get jobs in
either the public or private sector.
King Salman added that he had directed the government to review its
processes to help eradicate corruption,
a source of dissatisfaction among many
Saudis, alongside concerns about expensive housing and joblessness.
Salman delivered his wide-ranging palace address in front of Crown
Prince Moqren, Deputy Crown Prince
Mohamed bin Nayef, provincial governors, the top cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh
Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, other religious
leaders, the Shura Council which advises the king, military officers and
Libya oilfield attack blow to UN peace talks
n attack by Islamist militants
on a Libyan oilfield where they
beheaded security guards and
kidnapped foreign workers underlines
the difficulties facing UN-sponsored
peace talks due to resume this week.
Libyans have become accustomed
to chaos, with their country split between two rival governments each
allied to heavily armed groups that
have been fighting for control of the
oil-producing nation since the fall of
Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
But last week’s attack on the alGhani oilfield in central Libya marks a
new departure. The attackers did not
seize it to make financial or political
demands as armed groups often do.
Instead, they mounted a show of
force that appeared in line with warnings that the Islamists are bent on exploiting Libya’s turmoil to extend their
“They came to burn the facilities and
kidnap or kill the workers and guards,”
said Ali al-Hassi, a spokesman for an
oilfield security force. “Then they left.”
The militants have not yet made a
statement on the attack but officials
have blamed Islamic State, which has
in the past boasted of its ability to kill
soldiers or civilians in Libya.
The UN special envoy for a Libya,
Bernardino Leon, said last week that
Islamic State militants would “stop at
nothing” to strengthen their presence
in the country.
The violence illustrates the challenge facing the UN which has been
hosting talks between rival parties
with the aim of forming a national unity government.
formal meeting last April. Russia
and China vetoed a bid in May
to refer the situation in Syria to
the International Criminal Court
for possible prosecution of war
crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the
civil war.
“These photos make clear the
need for justice for the Syrian
people,” said a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Libya is divided between the internationally recognised government, which
has been based in the east since a faction called Libya Dawn seized the capital in August, reinstated the old assembly and set up a rival administration.
The UN had planned to resume
talks today but the elected parliament,
which is also based in the east, asked
late yesterday for a one-week delay to
study a roadmap proposal to form a
national government, a parliamentary
spokesman said.
There was no immediate reaction
from the UN and the Tripoli-based rival parliament.
The UN has invited moderate leaders
to join the talks, which have been going
on since September. But analysts see
little chance of success as the country
is fracturing, with small armed groups
increasingly calling the shots, as in the
oilfield attack.
ordan’s capital Amman said yesterday
it is replacing the orange jumpsuits
worn by its city cleaners because of
their similarity to those of hostages murdered in Islamic State group videos.
The jumpsuits - believed to be meant
as a symbol of the US detention facility
at Guantanamo Bay - have been worn by
hostages killed by IS in grisly videos, including a Jordanian pilot burned alive last
Starting from March 20, Amman’s
more than 6,000 street cleaners will trade
in their orange jumpsuits for turquoise
uniforms, city authorities said in a statement.
The decision was taken at the request
of city residents and the brother of Maaz
al-Kassasbeh, the deceased pilot, because
“the colour orange is now associated
with the terrorist practices of Daesh,” the
statement said, using an Arabic acronym
for IS.
Turquoise was chosen after a poll conducted on the city’s website and though
social media, the statement said.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Botswana wary of elephant
deaths ahead of summits
Kenya policeman arrested
with illegal rhino horn
Guinea presidential vote
set for October 11
Zambia prosecutor faces
probe over graft charges
Independent panel to
assess Ebola response
Botswana has warned that elephants are being
killed at an “unsustainably high” rate as it prepared
to host conferences on poaching of the animals.
“Although statistics show a levelling off of poached
animals, the numbers are still unsustainably high
and could result in elephants becoming extinct in
much of their range,” said environment, wildlife and
tourism minister Tshekedi Khama. “The number of
elephants killed exceeds the ability of the animals
to reproduce, leading to concerns that populations
are in decline.” Botswana is hosting two major
wildlife conferences: the African Elephant Meeting
on March 23 and the Kasane Conference on the
Illegal Wildlife Trade two days later.
A Kenyan police officer has been arrested
with a piece of illegal rhino horn worth tens
of thousands of dollars on the black market,
wildlife officials said yesterday. Corporal Henry
Mokua Onsongo allegedly threatened to shoot
the arresting officers from the Kenya Wildlife
Service before being overpowered and taken
into custody with two other suspects on Monday
night. “The man was arrested with a piece
of rhino horn weighing 600gm,” said KWS
spokesman Paul Muya. Rhino horn is estimated
to be worth around $65,000 per kilogramme on
the black market in Asia where it is believed by
some to cure cancer and hangovers.
A presidential vote will be held in Ebola-hit Guinea
on October 11, the election commission said
yesterday, after doubts over the timing of the
poll. There had been uncertainty over the date
because of the deadly Ebola epidemic and a dispute
between the government and the opposition over
local elections, which must be held before the
presidential vote. Election commission head Bakary
Fofana told AFP the first round would be held on
October 11. President Alpha Conde became head
of state in the country’s first-ever democratic poll
in 2010. But political tensions are mounting, with
opposition activists staging mass rallies demanding
“anyone but Alpha” be returned to office.
Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has suspended the
chief prosecutor and set up a tribunal to investigate
him for alleged misconduct, reviving a case that
had been thrown out by the courts. Zambia’s High
Court in February stopped the arrest of Mutembo
Nchito over accusations of graft, saying the lower
court which issued the warrant had no authority
to hear the case. A private citizen had accused
Nchito of forgery and other crimes alleged to have
been committed between 2008 and August 2013.
The presidency said in a statement yesterday that
Lungu had appointed a four-member tribunal to
look into the alleged misconduct and alleged acts of
impropriety by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The World Health Organization (WHO), criticised as
being slow and poorly co-ordinated in its response
to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, has commissioned
an independent expert panel to assess its handling
of the deadly epidemic. The Geneva-based UN
health agency was sharply criticised for failing to
heed repeated warnings by the medical charity
Medecins Sans Frontieres in the early days of
the epidemic, which quickly grew to become the
largest in history. The independent panel will be
chaired by Barbara Stocking, formerly head of
the British arm of the international charity Oxfam
and currently president of a college at Cambridge
University, the WHO said in a statement.
Simone Gbagbo jailed
over post-poll strife
court in Ivory Coast yesterday
sentenced former first lady Simone Gbagbo to 20 years in prison
for her role in a 2011 post-election crisis in which around 3,000 people were
killed, her lawyer said.
Gbagbo, who is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was
tried with 82 other allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo in a case that has
reopened divisions in a nation still recovering from years of political turmoil and
General Bruno Dogbo Ble, who headed
the elite republican guard, and former
navy chief Admiral Vagba Faussignaux
were also each jailed for 20 years, their
lawyer said, while others including the
ex-president’s son Michel got shorter
Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, whose
refusal to acknowledge his defeat by
Alassane Ouattara in elections in 2010
sparked a brief civil war, claimed the trial
was politically motivated.
Simone Gbagbo’s lawyer Rodrigue
Dadje told Reuters she had been found
guilty of crimes including disturbing the
peace, organising armed gangs and undermining state security.
He said they would appeal against the
verdict by the end of the week, adding:
“She is keeping her morale up since she
was more or less expecting this.”
Her sentence, handed down early yesterday by a six-member jury after nine
hours of deliberations, was longer than
the 10 years requested by the state prosecutor. Her civil rights will also be suspended for 10 years, Dadje said.
Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the
ICC accused of crimes against humanity.
Ivory Coast refused to transfer Simone
Gbagbo to The Hague to face similar
charges, arguing that she could receive a
fair trial in a domestic court.
An ICC spokesman said her conviction in Ivory Coast would not affect the
case before the world court, which he said
A February 23, 2015 file photo of former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo waving to supporters at the Court of Justice in Abidjan.
would continue to seek her extradition by
Ouattara’s government.
“Ms Gbagbo was convicted only of
crimes against the Ivorian state, not for
the killings, rape and crimes against humanity for which she is to be tried by the
ICC,” New York-based rights campaigner
Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
Pascal Affi N’Guessan, president of
Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party
and seen as a potential candidate to challenge President Ouattara in elections this
year, was handed an 18-month sentence.
But, credited with time served, he was
freed, as were nine ex-government ministers and four journalists who had been
among dozens of Gbagbo’s allies arrested
after the violence in 2011.
Simone Gbagbo had said on Monday
that prosecutors had insulted and humiliated her while failing to prove her guilt.
“I’m prepared to forgive. I forgive because, if we don’t forgive, this country
will burn,” she said.
Though praised for his stewardship of
Ivory Coast’s post-war recovery, Ouat-
tara has been accused by human rights
groups of pursuing one-sided justice
against his former rivals while ignoring
abuses committed by his own supporters.
In the commercial capital Abidjan, reaction was divided, with some calling for
the release of Simone Gbagbo and the
other defendants as a gesture towards
national reconciliation.
However, others welcomed the verdict. “Everyone responsible for what
happened in 2011 must pay,” said Gilbert
Kouakou, an auditor.
Hundreds protest in north Mali against draft peace deal
undreds of people rallied yesterday in the northern Malian town
of Kidal to protest against a preliminary, UN-brokered peace deal signed
by the government and not yet accepted
by Tuareg rebel groups in the north, residents said.
The protests, which organisers said drew
several thousand demonstrators, came
ahead of a meeting in Kidal on Wednesday
of representatives of rebel groups involved
Boko Haram
again attacks
in the recent peace talks in Algiers to discuss the terms of the proposed deal.
The West African country’s government signed the agreement on March 1 in
hopes of tackling decades of Tuareg-led
uprisings in northern Mali.
In an interview with Reuters, Foreign
Minister Abdoulaye Diop urged separatist
rebels to quickly follow suit to differentiate themselves from a wave of Islamist
violence in Mali. The rebels, however, had
demanded more time to consult with their
supporters in the sparsely populated desert
north of Mali, a region they call Azawad.
On the streets of Kidal, a dusty desert
town and stronghold of Tuareg separatists, demonstrators chanted slogans
against the deal and carried banners calling on their leaders not to sign.
“The people of Azawad will not sign
their own death warrant,” read one banner, while other protesters waved the red,
green, black and yellow flag of their notional state. “There are more than 1,000
demonstrators shouting slogans against
the accord and calling for autonomy,” a
resident said, adding that they had gathered near an airstrip outside town.
Representatives of the separatist groups
- including the National Movement for the
Liberation of Azawad and the Arab Movement for Azawad - had been due to meet
in Kidal yesterday but postponed their
talks by a day due to logistical difficulties,
a source involved in the discussions said.
A 2012 uprising by armed Tuareg separatists prompted a military coup in the
capital Bamako in the south, plunging
Mali into chaos that allowed Al Qaedalinked Islamist rebels to seize control of
the northern two-thirds of the country.
A French-led military campaign in 2013
shattered the Islamists’ grip on northern
Mali but isolated cells survived and continue to carry out attacks on UN peacekeepers.
he Nigerian city of Maiduguri came under attack
again yesterday, just days
after Boko Haram bombings
killed 58 people, as the government dismissed the militants’
link to the Islamic State group.
Twin blasts ripped through
the northeastern city’s crowded
Monday Market, which has been
repeatedly hit by suicide bombers, including on Saturday, as
well as a nearby street.
But there was no immediate
word on casualties or the cause
of the explosions, as the location
was shut down.
The latest attacks came after
the government in Abuja described the militants’ pledge of
allegiance to IS as a sign of weakness in the face of growing military pressure from Nigeria and
its allies.
National security spokesman
Mike Omeri called it “an act of
desperation and comes at a time
when Boko Haram is suffering
heavy losses”.
He added: “Boko Haram is on
the way to being eliminated.
“No foreign extremists can or
will change this fact - as long as
the Nigerian military continues to receive co-operation and
commitment from its citizens
and allies.
“There will be no Islamic State
in Nigeria, the only state that will
exist is the united Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Omeri’s tough talk come as
Boko Haram is being squeezed
out of captured territory in three
northeastern states of Nigeria by
a regional coalition of Nigeria,
Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The armies have claimed a series of successes in recent weeks,
with the operation designed to
secure and stabilise the northeast so that elections can take
place on March 28.
The Nigerian army said yesterday it had foiled a Boko Haram
attack on the town of Gombi,
in Adamawa state, on Monday
evening, seizing heavy weaponry
and ammunition.
That followed a Chadian and
Nigerien offensive on Monday
to retake the Borno state town
of Damasak, which fell into rebel
hands last November.
Security analysts have said
Boko Haram leader Abubakar
Shekau’s pledge of allegiance
to his IS group counterpart Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi may only have
propaganda value in the short
But they did not rule out possible closer links in the future.
The bomb attacks in Maiduguri - and a spate of others across
the wider north - have underscored the fragile security in the
run-up to the elections, which
Shekau has vowed to disrupt.
The Boko Haram conflict,
which began in 2009, has claimed
more than 13,000 lives and left
some 1.5mn homeless, with refugees spread across Nigeria and
neighbouring countries.
The International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday
warned of an increasingly dire
situation for the displaced in
the strategic Lake Chad region,
where Nigeria meets Niger, Chad
and Cameroon.
“There is a full-blown humanitarian crisis around this lake, not
only in Nigeria, but also in the
surrounding countries,” ICRC
spokesman Jean-Yves Clemenzo
told reporters in Geneva.
The organisation said it had
stepped up its efforts in the region, providing food, household
items, sanitary facilities and assistance to help cope with the influx of casualties.
But the head of the ICRC delegation in Nigeria, Karl Mattli,
said: “It’s not enough. More has
to be done.”
The vast numbers of displaced
people - many of whom have
flocked to Maiduguri - has been
a nagging question in the run-up
to the vote, at which President
Goodluck Jonathan is seeking reelection.
The region is a main opposition stronghold but with many
voters unable to return home
to cast their ballots, the validity of the overall result may be
questioned if they are disenfranchised.
Nigeria’s electoral commission is scrambling for a solution
to the issue, including temporary
voter ID cards.
Zimbabwe opposition activist abducted
imbabwe’s main opposition party said yesterday one of its activists was abducted, blaming long-ruling President Robert
Mugabe’s government.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Itai Dzamara was seized by unidentified men on Monday.
“We heard he was abducted from a hair salon and driven away in an
Isuzu vehicle by five unknown men,” Tsvangirai said at a
news conference in the capital. “We are in no doubt as to
the perpetrators of this abduction. We hold Mugabe and
his regime responsible for this morbid and senseless act.”
Tsvangirai called for a full investigation and for the arrest of the culprits behind the kidnapping.
Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba could not comment on the case.
Tsvangirai, who was once part of a power-sharing government with Mugabe, said his party feared “the worst” as
previous activists who were reported kidnapped were later
found dead. “The circumstances of Dzamara’s abduction
are very familiar to the MDC family, which has lost many
cadres in similar circumstances,” he said.
He said that ahead of the troubled southern African nation’s 2008 elections, “many MDC activists were maimed,
raped or murdered and seven years later, no single arrest
has been made in connection with the crimes”.
“In an almost similar script, Dzamara is abducted in
broad daylight and that is why we fear the worst.”
A former journalist, Dzamara last year staged sit-in
protests in Harare’s main public square demanding the
resignation of long ruling Mugabe, whom he accused of
destroying Zimbabwe.
The veteran leader, who turned 91 last month, has ruled
since the country overthrew white minority rule in 1980.
During one of Dzamara’s protests, he was beaten up by
activists from Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.
“We all know that Dzamara has been leading public but
constitutional protests against the government, for which
he has previously been brutally attacked by state security
agents,” Tsvangirai said.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
govt pushes
Parliament is taking the lead in a drive to prevent
terror attacks
anada’s government yesterday fended off sharp
criticism of a new anti-terror law that would grant
Canada’s spy agency sweeping powers in the aftermath of two deadly attacks last October, and pressed for
quick passage.
“Canada is not immune from terrorism,” public safety
minister Stephen Blaney told a parliamentary committee
reviewing the bill after second reading in the House.
“Currently, CSIS (Canada’s spy agency) can detect security threats but is unable to take action, unlike (what) most
of (our) allies are doing,” he said.
The government has hammered away at this message,
pointing to a lone gunman’s October 22 killing of a ceremonial guard and storming of parliament, and the hit-and-run
murder of another soldier in rural Quebec the same week.
Blaney said it is crucial that authorities be given a mandate and the tools to track suspected extremists “at home
and abroad” who would do harm to Canadians.
With this in mind, the government is seeking to pass the
‘Anti-terrorism Act, 2015’ before parliament breaks in June,
giving the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) increased powers to thwart terror plots.
CSIS’s chief Michel Coloumbe was also scheduled to
appeared before the committee over the coming eight days
of hearings. He warned senators on Monday that the Islamic State group — which has made video threats against
Canada — was spreading from Syria to Libya, Afghanistan
and Pakistan, making a case for expanding CSIS’s reach
Until now, CSIS has handed off cases to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to investigate and make arrests.Under its new mandate, the spy agency will actively
seek to disrupt threats and start working outside of Canada
for the first time.
As part of that new mission, it could interfere with financial transactions, prevent a suspect from boarding a plane,
intercept weapons or conduct “online counter-messaging”,
for example, by hacking a Twitter account used to recruit
Three quarters of Canadians support the proposed antiterror measures, according to the latest polls.
But Canada’s privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien,
said the bill “goes too far”.
He said it would give 17 government departments and
agencies “almost limitless powers to monitor and profile
ordinary Canadians”, and 14 of them are not subject to independent oversight.
“While the potential to know virtually everything about
everyone may well identify some new threats, the loss of
privacy is clearly excessive,” Therrien said in a recent open
Therrien is among 48 witnesses scheduled to testify at
the hearing, including supreme court justices and Maher
Arar, an engineer who was arrested by US officials in 2002
on a tip-off from the RCMP who suspected him of terrorism. He was deported to Syria and tortured for one year, before being cleared by Canadian authorities.
The leader of the New Democratic Party, Thomas Mulcair, voted against the act at the first reading, saying it was
lacking in oversight and a danger to Canadians’ constitutional rights.
Prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives “are going too far in eroding our way of life with their new antiterrorism law”, said the NDP.
Other critics include four former Canadian prime ministers, and former top judges including Louise Arbour who
was also UN high commmissioner for human rights.
Justin Trudeau, the leader of the third-ranked Liberals,
has also criticised Harper over the bill, but will support it.
Monday evening, he accused the prime minister of fomenting an atmosphere of “fear” for political gain.
“It is always a short path to walk from being suspicious of
our fellow citizens to taking actions to restrict their liberty,”
he said in a speech.
Others such as Amnesty International, meanwhile, expressed concerns that the bill could be used against the
government’s political opponents, including environmental
and aboriginal activists.
The bill “leaves open the possibility that the act and increased police and CSIS powers could be used against First
Nations and environmentalists engaging in non-violent
protests against pipelines or other environmentally destructive projects”, said the David Suzuki Foundation, an
advocacy group.A cabinet minister even took the unusual
step of citing the Holocaust as a reason parliament.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney spoke a day after
Justin Trudeau, leader of the opposition Liberals, also cited
the Holocaust era in a condemnation of the Conservative
government’s immigration policies toward Muslims.
Clinton’s e-mails to go
online after review
he US state department will
make Hillary Clinton’s e-mails
publicly available on a website
after a review that is expected to take
months, a department spokeswoman
said yesterday.
The public release of those e-mails
from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of
state will follow procedures for the
public release of government information and be redacted accordingly, state
department spokeswoman Jen Psaki
told reporters at a daily briefing, referring to the Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA).
The review, involving some 55,000
pages of electronic correspondence,
is expected to take months, Psaki said.
Controversy has surrounded Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential contest, over her use of private, rather
than government, e-mail during her
tenure as secretary of state for President Barack Obama.
Clinton is expected to address her email use in a press conference.
Psaki said she did not have a cost
estimate for the review but that media
reports that it would cost millions of
dollars were overstated.
The e-mails would be released “in
one batch” at the end of the state department’s review, Psaki said, adding
that it would release information on
the actual website that will be used
soon. The release also will include 300
reviewed e-mails requested by and already sent to the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on
a US diplomatic facility in Libya, she
They will be redacted using FOIA
standards, she added, blocking any information related to national security,
personal privacy, privilege and trade
Psaki said the department would
soon release the text of its letter sent
to other former secretaries of state,
including Condoleezza Rice and Colin
Powell, both of whom served under
Republican president George W Bush.
Medical marijuana bill introduced
S senators yesterday introduced
the most comprehensive legislation on medical marijuana
ever brought before Congress, a bipartisan effort aimed at ending federal restrictions on the increasingly accepted
Twenty-three states already allow
the use of cannabis to treat medical
conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS)
and epilepsy, but federal law still exposes users of the drug to potential investigation and arrest.
“Highly-trained officials in our
country — doctors and scientists, medical personnel — are unable to prescribe
and recommend drugs that could alleviate the pain and suffering of their
patients,” Senate Democrat Cory Booker
told reporters.
“Today we join together to say
enough is enough,” he added. “Our federal government has long overstepped
the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence and compassion with its
marijuana laws.”
The Compassionate Access, Research
Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would remove federal penalties and restrictions for producing,
distributing and possessing marijuana
for medical purposes, provided there is
compliance with state law.
It would give military veterans access
to medical marijuana in states where it
is legal, and it would crucially allow financial institutions to provide banking
services to marijuana businesses.
It would also reclassify marijuana
from “Schedule I” to “Schedule II”,
eliminating current barriers to research
and recognising the acceptable medical
use of the drug.
Senator Rand Paul, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, pointed to the “tens of thousands of people
in our country who have diseases that
are incurable and that would like to seek
palliative treatment”.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said current law was “clearly a case of ideology
getting in the way of scientific progress”.
The New York Democrat highlighted
the case of constituents whose sick
children were in desperate need of
treatment unavailable through traditional medications.
Under current law, people who travel
to states where medical marijuana is legal would be subject to arrest for crossing state borders and returning home
with the drug.
Perfect start
A cross country skier at dawn on a snow covered lake in the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario.
Unarmed black man
shot dead in Georgia
white policeman in the southern US state of Georgia shot
dead an unarmed black man
who was possibly deranged and lunged
at the officer while naked, authorities
It was the latest in a series of fatal
police shootings of unarmed black men
and youths that have ignited criticism
and scrutiny of police tactics in minority communities in the United States.
The incident occurred Monday in
DeKalb County, Georgia after police
responded to a call about a naked man
acting erratically, banging on doors
and dragging himself on the ground,
county police chief Cedric Alexander
told reporters.
The police officer confronted the
naked man in a parking lot and the victim charged the officer.
“The officer called him to stop while
stepping backwards, drew his weapon
and fired two shots. The male was
struck and died at the scene,” the police chief said.
The man was identified in local media as 27-year-old Anthony Hill.
He was not armed so the county asked
the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to
conduct a probe and suspended the officer.
“What I have requested here is the
result of what is going on currently
across this country as it relates to police shootings,” Alexander said. “We
just want to be as transparent and fair
as we can.”
The shooting comes a week after
the US Justice Department said it
would not prosecute a white policeman whose fatal shooting of black
teen Michael Brown in Ferguson,
Missouri in August sparked protests
and nationwide outrage.
On Friday, an unarmed 19-year-old
black youth was shot dead in Madison, Wisconsin by a police officer
responding to a call about a disturbance.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Cooling off
Towelette washed up
in Australia ‘unlikely
from MH370 aircraft’
Women stand in a fountain during hot weather in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Malaysia is experiencing hot and dry weather, with minimal rain, till April due to the equinox
phenomenon, when the sun crosses directly over the equator, a Meteorological Department spokesperson said.
Police arrest scores in
student rally crackdown
yanmar arrested 127
protesters when batonwielding police dispersed a student rally yesterday,
as the second crackdown in days
deepens fears that authorities
are returning to the repressive
reflexes of the junta era.
Two large truckloads of protesters were taken away after
riot police violently broke up the
rally in the central town of Letpadan, according to an AFP reporter on the scene, ending over
a week of stalemate between the
authorities and students calling
for education reforms.
Government spokesman Ye
Htut defended the police after
yesterday’s violence, saying they
were forced to react to provocation by the protesters.
“After many warnings that
were not followed, police had to
use force to disperse the protest
because (protesters) attacked
them and tried to destroy barricades,” he said in a post on his
Facebook page.
He said 127 people were arrested, including 65 students,
while some 16 police and eight
protesters were injured in the
Police clash with student agitators during a protest in Letpadan yesterday.
clashes. The crackdown has
intensified concerns that authorities are resorting to the
repressive tactics of the previous authoritarian regime, as the
nation stumbles towards a general election scheduled for the
end of this year that many see
as the measure of its democratic
It also comes just days after
authorities used violence to end
a supporting rally in the commercial hub of Yangon, prompt-
ing condemnation from rights
Criticising the use of “excessive force” in Letpadan, Phil
Robertson of Human Rights
Watch said the “disguise has
come off and we are back to the
bad old Burma of yesteryear,” referring to the country by its previous name.
The European Union, which
has run several training programmes with the Myanmar police, issued a statement saying it
was “deeply concerned” about
the use of force and called for a
swift investigation.
The US embassy in Yangon
also took to Twitter urging “patience, compromise and restraint” on Myanmar’s path to
government, which replaced
outright military rule in 2011,
has ushered in a number of major
reforms that have lured foreign
investment back into the isolated nation. But observers fear
democratic reforms are stalling.
The students have for months
been demonstrating for reform
in Letpadan, but plans by a core
group to march to Yangon were
halted on March 2 when police
surrounded some 150 activists
near a monastery in the dusty
central town.
Tempers frayed early Tuesday when demonstrators tried
to push through the security
blockade after authorities apparently reneged on an agreement to allow them to continue
their march. “The police beat
us,” one student protester, requesting anonymity, told AFP by
telephone as he took shelter with
some 70 other demonstrators in
a monastery.
Student campaigners have
Frenchman on death row
leaves prison for appeal
Frenchman on death row
in Indonesia was yesterday transferred under
heavy police guard from a prison
island, the day before he starts a
last-ditch court bid to avoid the
firing squad.
Serge Atlaoui has been detained on the island of Nusakambangan in Central Java,
known as Indonesia’s “Alcatraz,”
since he was sentenced to death
in 2007 on drugs charges.
He is among a group of drug
convicts, including nationals
from Australia, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana and Nigeria, who
face imminent execution after
recently losing their appeals for
presidential clemency.
Atlaoui was released yesterday evening from one of Nu-
Sabine Atlaoui (centre), wife of French death row prisoner Serge Atlaoui,
waits for a boat to visit her husband in Nusakambangan prison island
located off central Java island yesterday.
sakambangan’s maximum security prisons and taken by ferry to
Cilacap, the Javanese port town
that is the gateway to the island,
according to an AFP reporter at
the scene.
He was transferred in handcuffs to a waiting vehicle, where
heavily armed police escorted
him in a convoy from the port.
A French embassy official
confirmed to AFP that Atlaoui,
51, was being transferred ahead
of his case.
He will travel overland to a
court more than 400 kilometres
away in Tangerang, an industrial city just west of the capital
Jakarta. Today, a court in Tangerang will hold an initial hearing into his request for a judicial
review of his sentence.
Atlaoui had his appeal for
clemency rejected in January
by Indonesian President Joko
Widodo, a vocal supporter of
capital punishment for drug offenders. A request for presidential clemency is typically the
final chance to avoid the firing
The Frenchman had never
lodged a judicial review of his
sentence until this year, when
the sudden execution in January
of six prisoners — including five
foreigners — prompted his family to begin urgent legal action.
The father-of-four was arrested near Jakarta in 2005 in
a secret laboratory producing
been at the forefront of several of
Myanmar’s major uprisings, including a huge 1988 demonstration that prompted a bloody military assault under the former
junta. The government has also
defended its crackdown Friday
on an unauthorised rally in Yangon from accusations that police
and men in civilian clothes beat
unarmed protesters with batons.
Police swiftly descended on a
fresh rally in central Yangon on
Tuesday, but there were no reports of violence.
Students have demonstrated
sporadically since November
2014 against a new education
law, demanding changes to the
legislation to decentralise the
school system, teach in ethnic
languages and allow the formation of student unions.
The government, which has
held several rounds of talks with
student representatives, has
agreed to rethink the controversial law.
A special parliamentary committee is currently debating the
proposed changes, with input
from experts.
But the students themselves
pulled out of the discussions last
week in response to the police
blockade of their main protest
group in Letpadan.
Malaysia Airlines moist
towelette that washed
up on a Western Australian beach four months after
MH370 vanished is unlikely to
be linked to the missing plane,
investigators said yesterday.
Flight MH370 disappeared
on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board and no sign of the
aircraft has ever been found. It
is thought to have gone down in
the Indian Ocean off Australia’s
west coast.
It emerged yesterday that a
towelette — a wet wipe usually
served on board with drinks or
meals — with the Malaysia Airlines logo was found on a beach
at Thirsty Point, some 200 kilometres north of Perth.
The Australian Transport
Safety Bureau (ATSB), which
is leading the underwater search for the plane, has
previously looked at items
washed up on beaches in Australia’s west but none have
ever shed light on what happened —and it said the towelette was no different.
“A 6cm x 8cm moist towelette in wrapping branded
with the Malaysia Airlines logo
was found at Thirsty Point on
July 2, 2014. It was handed
in to the Western Australian
police,” the bureau said in a
statement after the discovery
was reported by Australian
“It is unlikely, however, that
such a common item with no
unique identifier could be conclusively linked with MH370.”
One year on, mystery continues to surround the fate of
the Boeing 777-200 aircraft
that disappeared from air traffic control radar after taking off
from Kuala Lumpur on a flight
to Beijing.
Analysis of satellite data later revealed it flew for more than
six hours after contact was lost,
and suggested it crashed into
the southern Indian Ocean after running out of fuel.
Malaysia’s handling of the
disaster has been criticised
from the start and an interim
investigation report released
Sunday uncovered a dud beacon battery and more potential
missed opportunities to track
the plane.
However, the airline said the
battery on the separate cockpit voice recorder — good for
30 days once activated — was
up-to-date and would have
transmitted a signal once it hit
Australian officials have expressed cautious optimism
that the plane would eventually be found, and Deputy
Prime Minister Warren Truss
said Canberra, along with
Malaysia and China, remained
committed to the search.
So far more than 26,000
square kilometres — over 40%
— of the priority zone of the
seabed where the plane likely
went down has been searched
using specialist equipment.
“Having spent time with
the Australian families over
the past few days, I share
their sense of helplessness at
not knowing what happened
to the aircraft,” Truss said on
“The families deserve answers and we are doing all we
can to get them.”
Searchers hope to have
completed the designated underwater search area by May.
Cambodian woman
denies running
organ trafficking ring
Phnom Penh
denied charges of running an organ trafficking
ring to wealthy patients in Thai
hospitals, a news report said
Nhem Sinuon, 29, said in
court Monday she only set up
meetings between potential
kidney donors desperate for
money and recipients.
“I did not contact them,
but they came to contact me
directly because they lacked
money to help their families,”
she was quoted as saying by the
Cambodia Daily. Nhem Sinuon
was arrested in July after donors went to police complaining they were underpaid.
She was charged with human trafficking and faking
documents showing donors
and recipients were related, as
required by Thai law. Her stepfather and brother-in-law are
accused of assisting her. The
police named three victims
aged 18 to 26.
“The (agreed) price for the
kidney was 12,000 dollars,”
one of them, Nhem Sinuoun’s
cousin, was quoted as telling
the court, “and I only received
Presiding judge Keo Mony
said it was unlikely the victims
could have contacted the recipients without assistance.
A police spokesman said in
July that the suspect said she
received tipoffs regarding possible recipients from translators in the Thai hospitals.
of Health Service Support
pledged last year to investigate
all of the 26 hospitals certified
for transplants following the
Indonesians collect coins in protest
against Aussie tsunami comments
ndonesian demonstrators
yesterday delivered bags of
coins to the Australian embassy, saying they were handing
back tsunami aid money after
Canberra sought to use the issue to pressure Jakarta into
halting the execution of two
Shouting “Shut Abbott’s
mouth” and “Abbott, say sorry”, they trampled on a poster
bearing a picture of Australian
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
with tape plastered over his
mouth, as they handed over the
Abbott last month said Jakarta should remember the $1bn of
assistance sent from Australia
in the aftermath of the 2004
Indian Ocean tsunami, which
killed around 220,000 people.
His remarks were aimed at
persuading Jakarta to halt the
An Indonesian demonstrator steps on a portrait of Australian Prime
Minister Tony Abbott during a protest outside the Australian embassy
in Jakarta yesterday.
impending execution of the
Australian ringleaders of the
so-called “Bali Nine” heroin
smuggling gang, Andrew Chan
and Myuran Sukumaran, who
are expected to be put to death
But the bid backfired and
caused great offence in Indonesia, where groups of protesters
started a campaign to collect
coins to pay back the Australian aid.
At the latest protest in front
of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in recent weeks, a group of
about 30 students handed over
seven plastic bags of coins and
bills to embassy personnel, totalling about 7mn rupiah ($535).
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
UN brushes off Abbott’s angry asylum-seeker response
he UN’s special rapporteur on torture yesterday
brushed off Australia’s
“intemperate” response to his
finding it had violated the rights
of asylum-seekers, saying at
least it stirred debate.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
on Monday lashed out at the
criticism of his government’s
detention of asylum-seekers
on Papua New Guinea’s remote
Manus Island and the small Pacific state of Nauru.
“I really think Australians are
sick of being lectured to by the
UN,” Abbott told reporters.
Special rapporteur Juan Mendez, whose report to the UN’s
Human Rights Council was
critical of Australia’s detention
of children, violence in offshore
us off or don’t respond at all, so
I’d rather get an intemperate response than no response.”
Australia has been sending
asylum-seekers arriving by boat
into offshore detention and refusing them resettlement in
Australia since 2013, under policies condemned by refugee and
rights advocates.
Abbott’s conservative government, which also turns back
boats carrying asylum-seekers
centres and changes to maritime
laws, said he was not concerned
by the comment. “No, I don’t
feel disappointed,” Mendez told
the Australian Broadcasting
“At least we are getting a robust debate in Australia and
that’s more important to me
than the initial reaction of government.
“In many other cases we get
governments that either brush
where possible, argues the hardline policy has “stopped the
boats” bringing would-be refugees on the dangerous voyage to
its shores, preventing deaths at
sea. In his report, the UN rapporteur found there was substance to the allegations that
Australia failed to provide adequate detention conditions, end
the detention of children and put
a stop to escalating violence and
tension at Manus.
As such, it had violated the right
of the asylum-seekers to be free
from torture or cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment, it said. “I’m
sorry that he considers what we
do lecturing,” Mendez said.
“We treat every country the
same way and we just try to uphold international standards as we
understand them.”
Mendez said there was no
doubt that Australia behaved in
a humanitarian way on the high
seas and rescued those in peril.
“But that does not detract from
the use of prolonged arbitrary detention of people just because of
the status,” he said.
In response Abbott said Australia had “stopped the boats” and
the UN’s representatives would
have “a lot more credibility if they
were to give some credit to the
Australian government for what
we’ve been able to achieve in this
Japan marks
of Tokyo
US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert (centre) waves as he leaves Severance hospital in Seoul yesterday, following treatment for a knife attack.
US envoy leaves Seoul
hospital after knife attack
he US ambassador to
South Korea left hospital yesterday following
treatment for a knife attack,
saying the incident was “scary”
but would not change his “open
and friendly” approach to the
Mark Lippert, 42, underwent
surgery to treat deep gashes to
his cheek and hand after he was
slashed by a knife-wielding nationalist at a breakfast function
in central Seoul last Thursday.
Hospital officials said that
after five days of treatment the
US diplomat had now had all 80
stitches from his face removed
and the pain in his left wrist had
“I feel pretty darn good, all
things considered,” a smiling
Lippert said before he was discharged, speaking to journalists
with part of his face covered
with clear adhesive bandages.
“It was obviously a scary
incident but I am walking,
talking, holding my baby,
hugging my wife. So I just feel
really good,” the new father
said, adding he would get back
to work “as soon as possible”.
Lippert, whose popularity
among South Koreans has only
grown since the attack, expressed gratitude at the “outpouring of support” he and his
family have received.
“We have made it our mission to be open and friendly.
And that will not change,” he
“The bottom line is that this
incident has only strengthened our love and affection for
this country and our belief in
the unbreakable bond that exists between the US and the
Republic of Korea.”
The assailant, Kim Ki-Jong,
was formally charged with attempted murder on Friday,
despite his pleas that he never
intended to kill the ambassador.
Asked if he had carried out
the assault on the orders of
North Korea, Kim insisted he
acted alone.
Kim, 55, has a previous conviction for hurling a rock at
the then-Japanese ambassador in 2010.
Activists have described
him as a loner whose behaviour became increasingly erratic, forcing his friends and
colleagues to shun him.
Kim has visited the North
seven times since 1999, and
once tried to erect a memorial
in Seoul to the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il after
his death in 2011.
Pyongyang has rejected accusations that it may be behind the attack as a “vicious”
smear campaign by Seoul.
“What is ridiculous is its
attempt to link the case with
the DPRK (North Korea),” the
North’s official KCNA news
agency said Tuesday in a commentary.
“No wonder, such a guy was
attacked as he worked hard to
realise the sinister design to
stifle the DPRK and spoil the
North-South relations at any
cost,” it said.
Kim has said he attacked
Lippert as a protest against
ongoing South-US army drills,
which he blamed for souring
inter-Korean relations.
apan yesterday marked the
70th anniversary of the firebombing of Tokyo by US
forces, a night that left an estimated 100,000 people dead in
one of the bloodiest episodes of
World War II.
On the night of March 9-10,
1945, American planes rained
incendiary bombs on Tokyo’s
“Shitamachi” area — an old
neighbourhood packed with
wooden houses.
Tens of thousands of civilians
died in the scorching flames,
with many more succumbing to
horrific injuries over the following days and weeks.
The shocking death toll was
higher even than the number of
people who died in the atomic
bomb attack on Nagasaki the
same year, where approximately
70,000 lives were lost.
The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima killed around 140,000
Despite the terror the night
engendered, the firebombing
has been little talked of in Japan,
and Tuesday’s ceremony in the
capital was the first attended by
a sitting prime minister.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
was among several hundred
people who gathered at a mausoleum where the dead are hon-
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows to Prince Akishino (left) and
Princess Kiko (second left) during the Tokyo firebombing memorial
service at Tokyo Memorial Hall.
oured. “We will humbly face
the past and will do our best to
contribute to the world’s eternal peace by keeping the lessons
from the tragic war in our heart,”
Abe told the ceremony.
The ashes of thousands of unnamed victims are kept at the
The names of more than
80,000 people are inscribed on
a list of victims held by the Tokyo Metropolitan government.
Abe’s attendance at the ceremony — and a rash of newspaper articles and television
pieces about the raid — come
as attention focuses on how
Japan will mark the 70th an-
niversary of its defeat in WWII.
Abe, who is intending to make
a statement later in the year,
is among the leading lights of
Japanese conservatives who are
advocating a more sympathetic
view of the country’s war.
Some on the right believe
Tokyo has been unfairly judged
for its actions, with a conservative tranche insisting Japan
fought a just war aimed at liberating Asia from Western occupation.
They say the firebombing of
Tokyo, along with the nuclear
attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are evidence of the injustices Japan suffered.
Govt lifts ban on ‘Ashley
Madison’ adultery website
outh Korea yesterday lifted
a ban on the Korean version of the global adultery
hook-up site Ashley Madison
following a landmark court decision to strike down a controversial adultery law.
The Korea Communications Standards Commission
(KCSC), a state watchdog, said
it has allowed access to the Korean site of the Canada-based
company, which uses the slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair”. “A decision was made today to allow access to the site,
because the commission has no
legal grounds to restrict it,” a
KCSC spokeswoman said.
The commission blocked access to the site in April last year,
only weeks after it went online
in South Korea and garnered
tens of thousands of subscribers, citing a 1953 statute that
criminalises adultery.
The law, which had made
South Korea one of the few
non-Muslim countries to regard marital infidelity as a
criminal act, was aimed at
protecting traditional family
values. But South Korea’s Constitutional Court last month
struck down the statute, which
for more than 60 years had seen
adulterers jailed for up to two
“Our move was in line with
the court’s decision, but the
commission will keep monitoring Ashley Madison’s operation
to see if it violates a law prohibiting sex trafficking,” the
spokeswoman said.
Launched in 2001, the website
operates in more than 20 countries worldwide.
AirAsiaX flight makes emergency landing
An AirAsiaX flight made an emergency landing in Australia yesterday
after the aircraft developed a problem with its map navigation display,
regulators said. The flight, listed on tracking websites as an Airbus A330,
left Sydney en route to Kuala Lumpur but turned back and landed in the
southern Australian city of Melbourne. “They had some kind of problem
with their map navigation display system in the cockpit,” a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said. The long-haul, low-cost
Malaysian airline confirmed the diversion but was unable to immediately
say how many people were on board the flight. “There was a technical
difficulty,” an airline spokesman said.
Police probe threat to poison
New Zealand infant formula
uspected environmental
activists have threatened
to contaminate infant
formula in New Zealand, the
world’s largest dairy exporter,
in an attempt to halt the use of
an agricultural poison on pests
such as rats and possums.
New Zealand police said yesterday letters were sent to the
national farmers’ group and
dairy giant Fonterra in November accompanied by packages
of infant formula laced with
1080, demanding that use of
the toxic pesticide be stopped
by the end of March.
The announcement pushed
the New Zealand dollar to a
six-week low over concerns
about the possible impact on
the country, which depends
on dairy products for about a
quarter of its export earnings.
Trading in New Zealand’s
dairy companies and futures
was halted for a while following
the second milk-safety scare to
hit the country over a two-year
Police said no traces of the
poison resembling salt crystals were found in any products
in factories. The Ministry of
Primary Industries (MPI) also
sought to assure consumers,
saying the chances of contamination were extremely low.
“We are confident that New
Zealand infant and other formula is just as safe today as
it was before this threat was
made. People should keep using it as they always have,” said
MPI Deputy Director-General
Scott Gallacher.
“We can fully assure
our customers and
consumers that
all of our milk and
products are safe and of
high quality, and
our supply chain
continues to be secure
and world-class”
Security of production facilities and the supply chain had
been increased, the police said.
“Whilst there is a possibility that this threat is a hoax, we
must treat the threat seriously
and a priority investigation is
underway,” said Police Deputy
Commissioner Mike Clement
in a statement.
He said no further letters had
been received after the initial
batch and the matter was being treated as blackmail rather
than terrorism.
Fonterra, which controls
nearly 90% of the country’s
milk supply and collected
roughly 14bn litres of the liquid last year, said in-house
tests conducted since January
had not found any traces of the
poison in its dairy products including infant formula powder.
“We can fully assure our
customers and consumers that
all of our milk and products are
safe and of high quality, and
our supply chain continues to
be secure and world-class,”
Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings
said in a statement.
“We have taken immediate and decisive steps to give
our customers and consumers
added confidence — including
increased testing and security
The poison 1080 is extremely toxic and is used extensively
in New Zealand, including
in national parks and around
the Milford Sound, one of
the country’s biggest tourism
draws, to control pests such as
stoats, rabbits, deer, rats and
While these non-native species cause damage to the native
flora and fauna, conservation
groups have long criticised
the use of 1080 because of the
unintended impact on native
wildlife, and there have been
occasional protests against its
use and unsuccessful campaigns to have it banned.
The latest threat to the
country’s dairy industry, which
exported $11bn in milk products in 2014, follows a contamination scare in 2013, when a
botulism-causing bacteria was
believed to be found in one of
Fonterra’s products.
The incident prompted a recall of infant formula, sports
drinks and other products in
China, its biggest buyer, and
other countries before the discovery was discovered to be
Dairy products make up
more than 7% of New Zealand’s
gross domestic product.
The New Zealand dollar fell
yesterday to as low as $0.7278,
its weakest since early February, following the announcement, and analysts were bracing for any economic fallout
from the incident.
“It’s just a threat and at this
stage it hasn’t been carried
out,” ANZ agricultural economist Con Williams said.
“It’s really the reputational
issue given the sensitivity
about food safety issues, and
those things are impossible to
China jails two
for selling
military secrets
China has jailed two men for selling
military secrets, including hundreds
of photos of the country’s lone
aircraft carrier, to foreign spies, state
media reported on Friday, without
saying which countries were buying them. The state-controlled Dalian
Daily said foreign intelligence services
paid the men to send thousands
of photos of military targets and
projects, as well as recordings and
other information. Both were young,
“ordinary workers” who used their
access to military bases in Dalian, in
the northeast, the paper said. One of
the men, surnamed Han, was lured
by a person posing as a journalist on
a popular mobile chat application.
Bomb threat forces
HK jet landing
A bomb threat to a Hong
Kong-bound flight with nearly
300 people on board forced
the jet to make an emergency
landing in China yesterday,
Hong Kong Airlines said. “Hong
Kong Airlines was notified of a
suspected bomb threat onboard
its flight HX337 from Beijing to
Hong Kong, after the plane had
taken off,” a spokeswoman from
the airline said. The captain of
the Airbus A330-200 decided
to divert “in order to ensure the
safety and security of the passengers and crew” and landed
the plane at around 2:30 pm
local time (0630 GMT) in Tianhe
International Airport in the central city of Wuhan, she said.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Cable hints at backing
Gatwick expansion plan
Gangster sentenced
to 20 years in jail
Billionaire’s wife denies
scratching neighbour’s car
Presenter Clarkson
suspended: BBC
Conservatives’ poll lead
at ‘biggest in three years’
Business Secretary Vince Cable has given a
strong hint that he would back expansion
at Gatwick airport instead of Heathrow. He
said he believed Heathrow could not get a
third runway because it lacked cross-party
backing, even if the Davies Commission
recommends it. But he said Gatwick was
well-placed to go ahead if Sir Howard Davies
picked it for expansion instead and added:
“If it recommends Gatwick I suspect it will
happen because only a 20th of the number
of people are affected by it.” Cable also told a
debate hosted by the London First group that
Heathrow would lose because of “the Boris
Johnson wing of the Tory party”.
A gangster who shot two rivals with a handgun
later used to kill a 15-year-old girl has been jailed
for 20 years. Andrew Gordon, 26, blasted two
men with the Birevetta 7. 65mm pistol at pointblank range through their car window as they
sat in traffic. Afterwards, the gun was handed
to a junior member of his gang for safekeeping.
The 15-year-old boy was showing off the
weapon to girlfriend Shereka Fab-Ann Marsh
in his bedroom when it went off, firing a bullet
into her neck. At the Old Bailey last year, the
boy was jailed for nine years. Now Gordon has
been put behind bars after being found guilty
of two counts of attempted murder and one of
possession of a prohibited firearm.
The wife of a billionaire entrepreneur has
appeared in court accused of scratching a
wealthy neighbour’s £120,000 Bentley in
a “parking rage” incident near her £21mn
Knightsbridge home. Stephanie Thapar, 50, of
Cadogan Place, is charged with causing £4,150
of criminal damage to the two-door black
Continental GT Coupe V8, owned by neighbour
Michael Connor. Mother-of-two Thapar is the
second wife of Indian-born Gautam Thapar, 54,
an engineering and paper entrepreneur with
an estimated net worth of £1bn. German-born
Stephaine spoke only to confirm her name, age,
address and enter a not guilty plea when she
appeared before magistrates in Hammersmith.
The BBC yesterday said it had suspended
Jeremy Clarkson, the controversial host of
popular motoring programme Top Gear,
after he became involved in a fracas with
a producer. Top Gear is the most popular
factual television programme on the
planet, with 350mn viewers per week in
170 countries. “Following a fracas with a
BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been
suspended pending an investigation,” said
a statement from the broadcaster. “No one
else has been suspended. Top Gear will not
be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be
making no further comment at this time,” the
statement added.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives
have a four percentage point lead over
Labour, according to a YouGov opinion survey
published yesterday, the largest lead the
pollster has recorded for his party in over three
years. Ahead of the May 7 general election, the
YouGov poll published in The Sun newspaper
put the Conservatives on 35% of the vote and
Ed Miliband’s Labour Party on 31%. That lead
was the largest in a YouGov poll since January
20 2012, according to YouGov data. The poll,
carried out on March 8 and 9, comes days after
Cameron drew accusations of cowardice from
rivals for ruling out a head-to-head televised
debate with Miliband.
Speaker in
hot water
for remarks
against MP
London Evening Standard
peaker John Bercow has
been criticised for comparing Employment Minister
Esther McVey to a “washing machine” that keeps going when it
appears to have stopped.
McVey was answering questions in the Commons when the
Speaker made the remark, which
prompted MPs to question whether he should be likening a female
minister to a domestic appliance.
He intervened as the former
GMTV presenter and Wirral West
MP gave her 14th response during a work and pensions session.
The question was about mental
To the surprise of MPs, Bercow
interjected: “I am reminded of
the feeling when one thinks the
washing machine will stop — but
it does not!”
It led Labour’s Stephen Pound,
MP for Ealing North, to say: “A
washing machine metaphor for a
woman minister is seldom a good
idea. Let’s see how he spins his
way out of this one!”
Angie Bray, Conservative MP
for Ealing Central and Acton,
also voiced consternation about
the Speaker’s comment. “That’s
unnecessarily rude,” she said.
“I’m not sure it’s for him to criticise the style in which she chooses to answer her questions.”
Bercow regularly urges ministers and MPs to keep their contributions in the chamber short
so as many as possible can have
their say.
McVey appeared to take the
Speaker’s comment to heart.
When SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford asked the next question, on
claims the Tories are planning to
cut 30,000 jobs from the department for work and pensions if they
win the election, the minister simply replied: “For the sake of brevity
and clarity, those figures are not
true at all.” The Speaker added:
“That was exemplary brevity and
clarity, I must concede.”
It is not the first time Bercow
has been at the centre of controversy since being appointed
Speaker in 2009.
He has long been viewed with
suspicion by some Tory MPs, who
have accused him of partisan interventions favouring Labour.
In 2010 MP Simon Burns called
him a “stupid, sanctimonious
dwarf” after an altercation in the
The following year tensions between Bercow and his former Tory
colleagues exploded in spectacular
fashion when a senior MP reportedly told him: “You’re not royalty.”
The Speaker is said to have infuriated Mark Pritchard, then the
secretary of the Tory backbench
1922 Committee, with an apparent
request to get out of his way as he
and his entourage made their way
through Parliament.
Bercow has defended his controversial record by arguing his
moves to modernise the Commons have got parliament “off its
McVey has risen through the
Tory ranks to attend Cabinet after
being elected an MP in 2010.
The speaker made his washing
machine comment after McVey
responded to a question from Sutton & Cheam Liberal Democrat MP
Paul Burstow on mental health.
She said: “We know that if
people are on ESA (employment
and support allowance) and if
they have mental health conditions, over 99.4% of the total are
not sanctioned, as I said, so only
0.6% are.
“Again, we look to see how we
work with people; and for very
vulnerable people there is clear
guidance on what counts as good
cause, so they would know how
and why they would not be sanctioned. We always know we need
to do more. We have various pilots going on that seek better to
understand people with mental
health conditions.”
Commonwealth Day receptions
Queen Elizabeth II speaks with guests during a reception to mark Commonwealth Day at Marlborough House in central London yesterday. This annual reception
traditionally takes place on Commonwealth Day at Marlborough House, the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
3,000 skeletons dug
up from London site
rchaeologists in London
have begun digging up
some 3,000 skeletons including those of victims of the
Great Plague from a burial ground
that will become a new train station, the company in charge said.
A team of 60 researchers will
work in shifts six days a week over
the next month at the Bedlam
burial ground to remove the ancient skeletons, which will even-
tually be re-buried at a cemetery
near London.
Crossrail, which is building a
new east-west train line in London, said the dig near Liverpool
Street station was being carried
out on its behalf by the Museum
of London’s archaeology unit.
The company said in a statement
that the bones would be tested to
“shed light on migration patterns,
diet, lifestyle and demography” of
Londoners at the time.
“Archaeologists hope that
tests on excavated plague victims
will help understand the evolu-
tion of the plague bacteria strain,”
Crossrail said.
The Bedlam ground was used
between 1569 and 1738 - a period that spanned Shakespeare’s
plays, the Great Fire of London
and numerous plague outbreaks.
The excavation is also expected
to further uncover the remains
of an ancient Roman road, where
Crossrail said that several artefacts
such as horseshoes and cremation
urns have already been found.
The area was London’s first
municipal burial ground and was
named after the nearby Bethlem
rufts played down reports
that several more dogs
were suspected to have
been poisoned at the dog show,
after the death of a prize-winning Irish Setter sent shockwaves
through the breeding world.
An investigation was launched
after the owners of Thendara
Satisfaction, or Jagger, claimed
he was fed poisoned beef at the
show, a British institution that
has run since 1891 and that concluded on Sunday.
Claims that as many as five
more dogs were suspected to
have been poisoned at Crufts
were splashed across the front
pages of newspapers yesterday.
“We must stress that these
are at this stage just rumours,” a
Crufts spokeswoman said, adding that no vets at the event had
raised concerns and no official
complaints received from owners.
“There are any number of
reasons why a dog may display
symptoms such as sickness... As
with any international competition rumours of sabotage do occasionally surface.”
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that a West Highland white terrier, an Afghan
hound and a Shih Tzu became ill
after the four-day event in Birmingham.
Owner Mylee Thomas said her
multi-award winning Shetland
sheepdog Myter Eye to Eye was
poisoned along with another top
dog moments before they were
due to enter the competition
“When I got back from the loo
she had been violently sick in her
cage. I got her out and she carried on being sick,” Thomas told
newspaper the Daily Telegraph.
“The top dogs were both taken
ill minutes before they were due
to compete... It can only be to
knock them out of the competition. It’s rivalry, people’s desire
to win.”
Thomas said she believed the
incident was not linked to the
death of Jagger, who she described as “randomly targeted”.
Jagger, who is co-owned by a
British and Belgian team, collapsed and died after returning
from Crufts to Belgium.
The dog’s British co-owner
told reporters that she believed
that her dog was the victim of
a random attack and said urged
for dog shows not to become “a
ground of finger-pointing and
“I need you all to know that
we can’t and we won’t think that
this was the act of another exhibitor,” Dee Milligan-Bott said.
“If we thought this we couldn’t
go on, and the last 30 years of
breeding and showing beautiful
dogs would have been a complete
The Kennel Club, which runs
Crufts, said it was awaiting the
results of a toxicology report to
shed light on Jagger’s death.
It has said that anyone caught
attempting to sabotage the performance of a competitor would
face “severe disciplinary action”
that could include a ban.
hall for Crossrail’s Liverpool
Street station.
“The Bedlam burial ground
spans a fascinating phase of
London’s history, including the
transition from the Tudor-period
City into cosmopolitan earlymodern London,” said Jay Carver,
Crossrail lead archaeologist.
Nick Elsden, a project manager
from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), said: “There
are up to six metres of archaeology on site in what is one of the
oldest areas of the city, so we
stand to learn a great deal”.
World War II pilot’s
ring returned to kin
Crufts plays down more
dog poisoning rumours
Royal Hospital or “Bedlam” - the
world’s oldest psychiatric institution, which has since relocated
outside London.
The burial ground was used by
Londoners who could not afford a
church burial or who chose to be
buried there for religious or political reasons.
Members of the Levellers, a
17th-century political grouping
that advocated popular sovereignty and religious tolerance, are
believed to be buried there.
Following excavation, constructors will build a new ticket
Dorothy Webster, 92, the sister of flight engineer Sergeant John
Thompson, wears his wedding ring and holds a box containing
the remains of his Halifax bomber during a ceremony held at the
ministry of defence in Tirana, Albania.
he wedding ring of a British airman who disappeared during World War
II was returned to his family 70
years after his plane crashed in
the mountains of Albania.
Aeronautical engineer John
Thompson’s Royal Air Force
plane vanished in October 1944
and for decades his family, including his bride, knew nothing
of his fate.
“Today, my brother came
home,” Dorothy Webster, 93,
said through tears at a ceremony
at Albania’s defence ministry.
She held a small box containing her brother’s ring, a stone
from the crash site as well as a
piece of the plane’s wreckage.
“We just knew he was serving
somewhere in Libya or Italy but
nothing more. One day he came
to us presenting his bride and he
soon left again,” said Thompson’s nephew Alan Webster, 63.
The airman’s wife Joyce, who
remarried two years after he disappeared, died of cancer in 1993
at age 70. The couple had only
been married six months when
Thompson, from Derbyshire in
northern England, went missing.
His Royal Air Force Halifax
bomber crashed in the mountains near Martanesh, some
60kms southeast of Albania’s
capital Tirana. Its seven crew
members were never heard from
The fate of the aircraft and
crew remained a complete mystery until the summer of 1960.
At the time a villager named
Jaho Cala, from the area where the
plane went missing, was chopping wood and found a finger and
a ring bearing the initials J&J, his
son Xhemil Cala, 63, said.
“A bit further away there were
some parts, probably of a plane,
but we did not dare to talk (about
it), it was the period of dictatorship” of late communist leader
Enver Hoxha, Cala added.
“My father carefully kept this
ring and before dying begged me
to find its owner.” Cala was faithful to his father’s last wishes,
which led him to contact the British embassy and start the process
that led to the return of the ring.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Tories blocking hike in teacher pay scales, say LibDems
iberal Democrats have accused Conservative coalition colleagues of risking
a recruitment crisis in schools
by blocking a 2% hike in teacher
pay scales.
Government responses to recommended salary boosts for the
military, doctors, prisons and oth-
er public sector staff are expected
to be published this week.
But LibDem sources said “ridiculous and unfair” Tory opposition could see a decision on many
teachers’ pay stalled - possibly
until after the general election.
Downing Street denied there
was a row, insisting the recommendation of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) was “being dealt with in the normal way”
and pointing out that the minister
with lead responsibility for the
issue was a LibDem - Treasury
Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.
The STRB wants the upper end
of the main pay range raised by
2%, while the minimum goes up
1%, allowing schools to reward
their best teachers with a bigger
At present the ceiling in England and Wales outside of London
is £32,187 and the floor £22,023.
LibDems said opposing the
change was “particularly nonsensical” as the STRB believed that
rises could be made from within
existing school budgets, meaning
no additional cost to the taxpayer.
A senior party source said Alexander and Schools Minister David
Laws were “ fighting tooth and
nail” to secure agreement.
Chancellor George Osborne,
rather than Education Secretary
Nicky Morgan, is believed to be at
the centre of the alleged dispute.
first duet
from space
Guardian News and Media
Singer Sarah Brightman poses for pictures during a photocall in London yesterday.
Minister acts on
rail station chaos
London Evening Standard
ail chiefs are to rush in
plans within days to
avoid further chaos at
one of London’s busiest stations after being “read the
riot act” by the government.
Rail Minister Claire Perry
held a crisis meeting with
Network Rail and train companies yesterday to address
and “barrier rage” at London Bridge station, which has
been hit repeatedly by service
Union bosses also warned
that station staff have suffered physical and verbal
abuse from passengers, with
hot coffee thrown over some.
Staff have also been spat
at, threatened and sworn at
by angry and frustrated commuters.
RMT leader Mick Cash yesterday lodged a formal written
complaint with Network Rail
ers if the Conservatives win a majority.
“The pay review body haven’t
recommended pay increases for
the sake of it but because of the
very real difficulty being experienced in recruiting and retaining
high quality teachers. If the Tories
continue to ignore this very sensible recommendation, there is the
very real risk of a teacher recruitment crisis.”
A Number 10 spokesman said:
“All the pay review body reports
are being dealt with in the usual
way. There is no coalition disagreement and the chief secretary
is the lead minister on this issue.”
The NASUWT teaching union
said teaching had already been
made a far less attractive career
choice by a series of coalition
freezes and caps and had urged
the pay body to recommend a “
substantial above-inflation pay
Latvia govt
over ‘forced
inger Sarah Brightman
yesterday said she was
planning a duet when she
becomes the first soprano to
board the International Space
Station later this year after paying a $52-million ticket.
The singer, who has been learning Russian and survival skills for
her trip, said that she was working
with ex-husband Andrew Lloyd
Webber on the song to be performed with a singer on Earth.
“We’re working on the music at
the moment,” she said at a press
conference in a hotel in central
“It’s finding a song that suits
the idea of space and something
that is incredibly simple,” said the
singer, who scored a British top 10
hit with I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper in 1978.
She admitted that her space
flight - the first “space tourist” trip
since 2009 - seemed “unrealistic
and crazy”, but said that watching
the first Moon landing in 1969 when
she was nine years old had been “a
pivotal moment” in her life.
The soprano, known for her
starring roles in West End musicals composed by Lloyd Webber,
is due to spend 10 days in space in
September after paying a reported
$52mn to become the eighth space
tourist in a flight arranged by US
firm Space Adventures.
In January she began training at
the legendary Gagarin cosmonaut
training centre in Star City outside
In pictures of the survival course
released by the training centre,
Brightman is shown in a snowy forest of fir trees, lashing tree trunks
together to make a shelter while
wearing waterproof jacket and
trousers and a winter hat.
Brightman, 54, is in training
with cosmonauts and astronauts
from Nasa, the Russian space
agency and the Japanese space
agency, as well as with a Japanese
businessman who will take over
as her replacement on the space
flight if she has to drop out.
“This one could run and run.
Danny will announce the other
pay settlements this week but
teachers will be conspicuous by
their absence,” the source said.
“The LibDems will not sign off
a lower pay settlement for teachers than is being recommended by
the independent review body. Unless the Tories change their position, this could be left to the next
government to sort out, which
would be very bad news for teach-
and the three train companies
using the station — Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink
— demanding major changes
and staffing improvements to
control the crowds.
“All it would take in the
crush we have seen last week
and Monday is for one person
to lose their footing and the
threat to life and limb is only
too obvious,” he said.
Ministers want the new
contingency plans to be ready
by Friday, to deal with incidents such as trains breaking
down, signal failures and intruders on the line.
They are expected to include moves to bring in more
“travel champion” staff, similar to those used during the
London Olympics, to warn
commuters of problems at the
station and offer them advice, including on alternative
routes, before they reach the
One senior management
“commander” is expected to
take charge during times of
disruption and get a more coordinated response from Network Rail and train companies.
There are also expected to
be more information screens
and much more “immediate,
dynamic use of them”.
Staff are set to be given more
iPads with better Wi-Fi coverage to ensure they have good
information to pass on to passengers, and operational procedures will be improved.
London Bridge, which handles 54mn passengers a year,
has experienced overcrowding problems since work began in December to boost capacity by two-thirds, creating
a street-level concourse and
extending platforms.
After the meeting at London Bridge station, Perry told
The Standard: “Passengers
rightly expect to be able to
travel without facing constant
disruption. We are investing
record amounts in the network
to improve services for tomorrow, but this cannot be at the
expense of today’s services.”
atvia’s parliament has
formally complained to
the House of Commons
that children of Latvian descent
are being illegally and forcibly
adopted by British families.
The extraordinary intervention by foreign MPs in the way
social services take children into
care comes as the Baltic state has
been granted permission to give
evidence during an appeal over
the case of a six-year-old girl
who has been removed from her
mother. It is due to be heard this
Other eastern European countries have also raised concerns
about British adoption procedures, sometimes in cases where
children have been born to mothers who have been trafficked into
the country for the purposes of
prostitution. In one case, Nigeria
also expressed concern.
The child at the centre of
Latvia’s intervention was first put
into care in 2012 after being found
at home alone, aged 21 months.
Both her parents are Latvian; her
father remains in their homeland.
The mother, according to an
earlier judgment, had previously
been found drunk, walking barefoot with her daughter in a buggy
in the middle of a road in the south
London borough of Merton.
The mother disputes the local
authority’s assessments and the
allegation that she was inebriated;
she is now challenging the adoption of her child. Her lawyers have
complained that the six-year-old
was put in non-Russian speaking
Russia threat warning
foster care which has delayed her
language development.
The child’s mother wants
to have the case transferred to
Latvia, to have her daughter returned to her and to be allowed
to maintain contact in the meantime. She argues that “forced
adoptions” are not permitted in
Latvia and that decisions about
her have been made “behind
closed doors”. Her supporters
have argued that she deserves a
second chance.
The Latvian parliamentary letter was sent last month to John
Bercow MP, the speaker of the
Commons. It was signed by the
chair of the human rights committee and the deputy chair of the
the social and employment committee of the Saeima - Latvia’s
national assembly.
There is “insufficient crossborder co-operation,” the letter
states, “in relation to the UK’s
national procedure of placing
Latvian citizens up for adoption
without parental consent”.
The Lavtians said they were
aware of “several cases in which
UK authorities have acknowledged that obligations (to inform
other countries) … stipulated by
international treaties and EU legislation have not been fulfilled”.
The Saeima representatives
also complained of cases where
British officials had “failed to examine the option of involving
Latvian counterparts in order to
ensure, wherever possible, placing a child in the custody of family
members or relatives in Latvia”.
Failure to do so was a breach of
the UN Convention on the Rights
of the Child, they said, which recommended preserving a child’s
MP O’Brien named
UN aid chief
Russia potentially poses the greatest threat to the United
Kingdom so British spy services are stepping up intelligence
gathering about President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Foreign
Secretary Philip Hammond said yesterday. “We are now faced
with a Russian leader bent not on joining the international rulesbased system which keeps the peace between nations, but on
subverting it,” Hammond said in a speech in London.
“belonging to his/her national
identity and cultural background”.
In the case of the six-year-old,
according to the Latvian politicians, social services had breached
both international and EU law. It
was “unacceptable that between
2010 and 2014, UK authorities
failed to inform” Latvia about decisions in regard to this “underage
Latvian citizen”.
The Liberal Democrat MP John
Hemming, who campaigns on
family law issues, met the Latvian
justice minister last week. Hemming told the Guardian: “The
Latvians are concerned because
we are taking Latvian children and
they are quite happy to look after
them themselves.
“When a foreign national is
taken under state control, the embassy is supposed to be notified
straight away and that applies to
children being taken into care.
“An application has been made
to the court of appeal in this case
and permission has been granted
to appeal. The Latvian (government) has been allowed to be
party to it. The Latvians are saying
there’s a systematic problem in
England and Wales. Other eastern
European countries say so, too.
It’s significant … that a foreign
parliament has (alleged) that our
parliament is not doing its job.”
The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has
commented on the sharp rise in
care proceedings involving children from other European countries. He has called for “transparency and openness” between
UK courts and foreign consular
officials, with a presumption that
they should be permitted to be
present at private hearings.
N chief Ban Ki-moon
has appointed British lawmaker Stephen
O’Brien as the UN’s humanitarian aid chief tasked with
leading global relief efforts at
a time of worsening conflicts.
O’Brien will replace Valerie
Amos, who served as under-secretary-general for humanitarian
affairs and emergency relief coordinator for the past four years,
earning high praise for her commitment in one of the UN’s most
demanding posts.
The 57-year-old Conservative politician served as Prime
Minister David Cameron’s envoy
for the Sahel since 2012 and was
parliamentary under-secretary
of state for international development from 2010 to 2012.
The announcement was one
of the most closely-watched
appointments at the United
Nations in recent years.
O’Brien will be tasked with
leading a struggling relief effort in Syria along with major
aid operations in South Sudan,
Iraq, the Central African Republic and a dozen other trouble spots.
International organisations
have been critical of UN efforts
in Syria, where 210,000 people
have died in the four-year war
and close to 12mn have been displaced.
In announcing Ban’s choice,
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric made clear expectations
were high.
“O’Brien is expected to bring
innovative and strategic ideas as
a strong humanitarian advocate
with more than 20 years of experience in international development and health care,” Dujarric
Humanitarian aid groups
expressed concern in a letter to
Ban in December that a political
appointee would be chosen for
the top job over a qualified official with strong humanitarian
Non-governmental organisations had raised alarm following reports that Cameron was
pushing for the appointment of
Andrew Lansley, who is known
for a failed health care reform in
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Two dead in severe
Bulgaria snowstorms
Former foes join forces to
protect tombstones
‘Polish soldiers should face
prison for killing Afghans’
Man tricks ex-girlfriend
into having an abortion
Court throws out case of
‘blasphemous’ opera
Two men have died in heavy snowstorms in Bulgaria
that have left tens of thousands of people without
electricity for days, authorities said yesterday. The
frozen body of an elderly man was found near a
bus stop in the southern region of Krumovgrad
while another man died from a heart attack while
clearing snow in the central Stara Planina mountain
range. More than 600 small towns and villages in
southern Bulgaria were without power for a fourth
day as ice and fallen trees cut electricity lines.
The roads to about 100 villages in the region of
Smolyan in the southern Rhodope mountains were
completely cut off, with volunteers braving 2m
snowdrifts to deliver vital supplies.
Four former Yugoslav republics, torn apart by war
in the 1990s, expect success in their unprecedented
joint bid to win UN protection for thousands of
medieval tombstones that are part of their shared
heritage, a minister said yesterday. Known as
‘Stecci’, the tombstones date to the 12th century
and are revered in the Balkans for their unique
decorative symbols and carvings, often linked to
the medieval Kingdom of Bosnia. Around 60,000
have been found in Bosnia, and nearly 10,000 in
neighbouring Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. “We
expect Unesco to add Stecci to the World Heritage
list and place them under its protection,” Bosnian
Civil Affairs Minister Sredoje Novic said.
The military prosecutor in Warsaw yesterday
demanded that four Polish soldiers receive
prison sentences of five to 12 years in their
retrial for civilian deaths in a 2007 attack on an
Afghan village. The soldiers, former members
of the Nato-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF), shot six wedding
guests, including three children, in the Afghan
village of Nangar Khel in August 2007. The
soldiers have claimed innocence in the case,
saying that they had heard shots from the
village at the time and thought that they were
being attacked by Taliban fighters. It is not yet
clear when the court will reach a verdict.
Norwegian prosecutors said yeterday they
were seeking a seven-year sentence for a
man accused of slipping abortion pills into his
ex-girlfriend’s smoothie. The man is charged
with twice having his former partner ingest a
mixture of abortion drugs he had purchased on
the Internet. After his second attempt, in March
last year, the 20-year-old woman lost the baby
in her 12th week of pregnancy. “He tried several
times to convince me to have an abortion but it
was not an option for me,” the woman testified
in the western city of Trondheim, according to
reports by public broadcaster NRK. He pleaded
guilty on both counts.
A Russian judge yesterday threw out a case
against two men accused of desecrating the
image of Jesus Christ with their staging of a
Richard Wagner opera. The director of the
controversial ‘Tannhauser’ production and the
head of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk’s State
Opera and Ballet Theatre, where it was staged,
went on trial last week. The judge who dismissed
the case said no crime had been committed.
Russia opened the controversial case after a
senior Orthodox cleric wrote to prosecutors. The
original opera follows the hero Tannhauser as he
dallies with love goddess Venus before finding
redemption through the Catholic Church.
Turkish PM
denies rift
over return
of spy chief
urkey’s prime minister
yesterday denied a rift
with President Tayyip Erdogan over the fate of the country’s intelligence chief after the
top spy was hastily restored to
the job he had quit to stand in
June elections.
Opposition parties said Prime
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s reappointment of Hakan Fidan late
on Monday as head of the MIT
intelligence agency was a result
of pressure from Erdogan, who
had opposed his decision to run
for a parliamentary seat.
Seen as a potential foreign
minister, Fidan is one of Erdogan’s closest confidants. But had
he gone through with his plan to
enter parliament, he could have
become a powerful ally to Davutoglu and a potential check on
Erdogan’s influence.
“Pressure was exerted and he
said ‘I’ll return to my duties’,”
main opposition CHP leader
Kemal Kilicdaroglu told a par-
liamentary meeting. “Everyone
should know Hakan Fidan’s return is not right. The government is under tutelage.”
The nationalist MHP party
also saw the reappointment as a
move by Erdogan to consolidate
his power.
“It is clear that President Erdogan is moving towards the goal
of making MIT in the full sense
his back garden, using it for his
political interests,” MHP General
Secretary Ismet Buyukataman
said in a written statement.
The MIT under Fidan appeared
largely beyond the influence of a
Muslim cleric rival, Fethullah
Gulen, whom Erdogan accused
of infiltrating police and judiciary in a bid to discredit him with
graft accusations. Gulen denied
such ambitions, but a power
struggle continues within the
Erdogan is required by the
constitution to remain above
party politics, but his opposition
to Fidan’s resignation as intelligence chief signalled a possible
rift between him and Davutoglu
over election plans.
Elected president in August
after a decade as prime minister,
Erdogan wants the AKP to secure
a stronger majority in June and
make constitutional changes introducing a presidential system
in Turkey, where the prime minister holds more power.
Speaking to reporters in parliament, Davutoglu played down
tensions with Erdogan and defended Fidan’s position. “There
is absolutely no difference of
opinion between me and the
president on this subject. We always consult,” he said.
Jonathan Friedman of global
risk consultancy Stroz Friedberg said Fidan’s climb-down
suggested that Erdogan - prime
minister for more than a decade
before winning the presidency
last August - felt insecure in his
current role, trying to maintain
influence over government without the constitutional mandate.
“He’s in a moment of real vulnerability, he’s overstepped his
constitutional powers,” Friedman
said. “He’s planning to legalise everything after elections, but in the
meantime it’s a delicate period.”
Members of the Finnish punk band Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (from left) Kari Aalto, Sami Helle, Toni Valitalo and Pertti Kurikka pose for a
picture in their rehearsal room in Helsinki.
Disabled Finnish punks
set to rock Eurovision
By Jussi Rosendahl and
Attila Cser, Reuters
ertti Kurikka, 58, wants to make it perfectly clear that while he and the other
members of his Eurovision contestant
Finnish band have disabilities, they know
how to rock.
“It is nice that we are gaining popularity. But we are no softies. We are straight up
punk rockers,” he said, demonstrating with
an “air guitar” how hard he intends to play at
the popular Eurovision song contest in May.
Kurikka, Kari Aalto, Sami Helle and Toni
Valitalo play together in a band called Pertti
Kurikan Nimipaivat - which means Pertti
Kurikka’s Name Day in Finnish.
Many say the nomination has given a
much-needed voice to disabled people.
“In some European countries, disabled
people are kept hidden and attitudes are not
as open as here,” Finnish Disability Forum
Secretary General, Pirkko Mahlamaki, said.
Drummer Toni has Down’s syndrome,
singer Kari has Williams syndrome, bass
player Sami has a minimal brain dysfunction
syndrome, and Pertti, on guitar, has been diagnosed with slight intellectual disabilities.
Last month they won a popular vote to
represent Finland in the Vienna finals and
have since been touted as one of the favourites to follow Austrian drag queen Conchita
Wurst’s triumph last year.
“The whole band is a little bit in shock.
We are going to Vienna and that’s going to be
a really big step for us because it’s going to
Berlusconi had ‘dragon’s passion’
for young girls: prosecutor
Renzi makes progress
on charter reform
n Italian prosecutor yesterday described Silvio Berlusconi as having a “dragon’s passion” for teenage
girls as the country’s top court considered
whether to confirm the former prime minister’s acquittal in his “bunga bunga” sex case.
Berlusconi, 78, was convicted in 2013 of
paying for sex with an under-age dancer
known as “Ruby the heart stealer” and then
abusing his power as premier to cover it up.
The conviction, a seven-year prison term
and a lifetime ban from public office were
overturned on appeal last year, triggering a
counter-appeal by prosecutors to the Court
of Cassation. The court met yesterday for a
hearing that could make or break the media
tycoon’s aspirations to return to the frontline of Italian politics.
The AC Milan owner has always denied
paying for sex with the then 17-year-old
Ruby and says he only tried to help the Moroccan national when she was later arrested
because he thought she was a niece of former
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Prosecutor Edoardo Scardaccione told the
court such claims deserved contempt. “The
Mubarak’s niece episode was worthy of a
Mel Brooks film,” he said. “The whole world
was laughing at us behind our backs.”
Scardaccione insisted all charges against
the ageing party lover should be reinstated,
saying “he had a dragon’s passion for minors”.
Berlusconi was not present at yesterday’s
hearing in Rome, which lasted for three and
a half hours before the judges retired to consider a verdict expected by the end of the
If his acquittal is upheld, Berlusconi will
be free to spearhead opposition to landmark
Berlusconi … in the eye of the storm
political reforms Prime Minister Matteo
Renzi is trying to guide through parliament.
If the ruling goes against him, a fresh appeal
trial will have to take place, an outcome analysts say would further diminish the billionaire’s authority over his Forza Italia (FI) party.
“For Berlusconi’s immediate future, the
outcome is quite crucial,” said Giovanni
Orsina, an academic at the LUISS business
school in Rome and an expert on the media
magnate’s impact on Italian politics.
Orsina believes Berlusconi’s legal woes he has just completed a community service
for tax fraud - have helped Renzi dominate
the political landscape.
“Berlusconi’s clarity of mind basically
disappeared (with the tax conviction),” he
argued. “Since then he has been uncertain,
unclear and politically ineffective.
“But if the case goes his way - and my
feeling is that it is likely to - then he remains
a very powerful man. As long as he has the
votes in parliament he can damage Renzi.”
Renzi relied on support from Berlusconi to
steer landmark labour reforms through parliament late last year.
But their alliance collapsed last month after Renzi successfully backed an actively anti-Berlusconi candidate, Sergio Mattarella,
to become Italy’s new president.
The Forza Italia leader has since vowed
to fight proposals to effectively abolish the
Senate and adopt a new electoral law designed to produce governments with working parliamentary majorities.
Even if Berlusconi shakes off the Ruby
case, he could yet face further sanction
by the courts over charges that he paid off
many of the young women who attended his
famous soirees in return for false testimony
in the Ruby trial.
Also outstanding is a charge that he paid
a senator 3mn euros ($4mn) in 2006 to join
his party and destabilise a centre-left government. That case has come to court but is
widely expected to time out under the statute of limitations later this year before any
verdict is reached.
be so many people over there,” 41-year-old
Sami said at the band’s studio, which is in
a workshop for disabled people. “If we win
then we win, if we lose then we lose, but it’s
going to be fun!”
The band members have made several
recordings and toured Britain, the US and
Germany since they got together at the
workshop six years ago. Their songs often
comment on life in an institution and call for
human dignity. The Eurovision entry song
“Aina mun pitaa” (Always I must) lists things
one must do, like sleep and eat well and see a
doctor, and things one might not be allowed
to do, like eating sweets and watching TV.
“Our message is: Believe in yourselves.
That’s the only thing because if you don’t
believe, then you can’t do anything. Follow
your dreams.”
talian Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi yesterday
moved one step closer to
passing a constitutional reform aimed at streamlining
the lawmaking process, as
divisions within opposition
leader Silvio Berlusconi’s
party widened.
The lower house of parliament voted 357 to 125, with
seven abstentions, to pass a
constitutional change that
will reduce the size and powers of the Senate.
Under the lengthy procedures required for constitutional changes, both houses
of parliament now must
pass the reform again at least
once. It will probably then
face a national referendum
and so is unlikely to become
law before next year at the
If passed, the law would
return to Rome some powers
now held by the regional governments, and the support of
the upper house, the Senate,
would no longer be needed
to form a government or pass
most laws.
Renzi has said the measure is central to his push to
modernise Italy. He lauded
the vote in a Tweet, saying
it would make the “country
more simple and just”.
Though Renzi ran into
some trouble with left-wing
members of his own Democratic Party (PD), eight of
whom voted against the bill,
it easily passed even without
votes from Berlusconi’s Forza
Italia party, which had supported the reform during a
previous vote in the Senate.
But Renzi has a narrower
majority in the Senate, and so
may need Berlusconi’s support if he is to ultimately pass
this reform, together with a
planned change to the electoral law, in coming months.
The 78-year-old Berlusconi last year sealed a pact with
Renzi to change the constitution and draft a new electoral
But the media magnate
and four-time premier declared the pact dead last
month after Renzi backed
constitutional judge Sergio
Mattarella to become the
country’s new president, refusing to concede to Berlusconi’s demands for another
Berlusconi yesterday ordered his party members
to vote against the reform
and though only one of his
lawmakers disobeyed him,
18 others said they held the
party line only out of their
personal “affection” for Berlusconi.
In a letter, the lawmakers said the party was “not
united nor in agreement”
in abandoning the reform,
which Berlusconi himself has
repeatedly said is needed.
They called for the party to
adopt a more democratic
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Le Pen claims EU probe
is politically motivated
Turkey gives poor families
free access to ‘useful’ sites
‘Made in Germany’ condoms
must be made in Germany
Poland all set to choose
missile defence supplier
Spain arrests two ‘jihadists’
in North Africa territory
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen yesterday
accused opponents of “political manipulation”
after the European Parliament launched a fraud
investigation into her National Front party. She
said the decision was orchestrated by France’s
socialist prime minister Manuel Valls and EU
parliament president Martin Schulz, a German
socialist. The European Parliament announced
on Monday that Schulz had formally notified the
European Anti-Fraud Office to possible financial
irregularities committed by the party over
salaries paid to the assistants of euro MPs. “It’s
a huge political manipulation,” Le Pen, who is
herself an MEP, told reporters in Strasbourg.
Turkey’s development ministry said yesterday
it will give low-income families free Internet
access, although they’ll have to pay for
websites not approved by the government.
The announcement on state-run Anatolia news
agency came amid growing concerns over
what critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
describe as a crackdown on online freedoms.
The development ministry said it planned to give
priority to families with school-aged children
in a bid to expand online access. However,
beneficiaries of the new government scheme will
only be given free access to websites deemed
“useful” by the authorities, Anatolia’s report said.
Condoms that are sold as ‘Made in Germany’ must
indeed be made in Germany, the Federal Court of
Justice decided yesterday. The court was making a
decision in a case where condoms manufactured
in Asia but packaged and tested in Germany were
being sold under the Made in Germany label. The
case was brought by a condom manufacturer
against a competitor which was having the
condoms manufactured in the Far East, then
adding moisture and packing and sealing them
as well as testing them for leak tightness and tear
strength in Germany. The complainant in the case
said that this could confuse consumers and the
court decided in their favour.
Poland plans to choose the supplier for its mediumrange missile defence system within the next few
weeks, Deputy Defence Minister Czeslaw Mroczek
said yesterday. “In the next few weeks we will
make the decision regarding the supplier for this
system,” Mroczek told reporters. Last year, Poland
short-listed US firm Raytheon and a consortium
of France’s Thales and European group MBDA in
its tender for a mid-range missile defence system,
which is estimated to be worth about $5bn. Poland,
a Nato member since 1999, had accelerated the
process to select a supplier for the missile system
after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine prompted
concern among Nato members in eastern Europe.
Police yesterday arrested two suspected
jihadists in Spain’s north African territory of
Ceuta, accusing them of belonging to a group
“prepared” to launch attacks in Europe, the
government said. The two are suspected of
following instructions issued online by the leader
of the violent extremist group calling itself
Islamic State, which controls parts of Syria and
Iraq. “Police carried out an anti-terrorist operation
which led to the detention of two suspected
jihadists,” the interior ministry said. The two were
linked to four other arrests in Ceuta on January
24, when police arrested two pairs of brothers
who were Spaniards “of Moroccan origin”.
German far-right rally
forces mayor to quit
enior German politicians
yesterday warned that basic
freedoms were threatened after a mayor in an eastern town resigned saying local authorities had
failed to stop a far-right protest
outside his house.
Markus Nierth, the elected and unpaid mayor of Troeglitz, said on Monday he feared for his family’s safety
after the National Democratic Party
(NPD) announced the rally against his
plans to house asylum seekers.
“If an elected mayor does not
feel protected from a brown mob in
our democracy, all alarm bells must
be ringing,” Greens co-leader Cem
Oezdemir told the Berliner Zeitung
daily, using a phrase referring to the
brown uniforms of Hitler’s followers.
The incident has underlined concerns that the far-right could gain
support amid a debate on rising
numbers of asylum seekers in Germany. Numbers increased by about
60% last year, according to the Federal Statistics Office.
Nierth wrote on Facebook he was
“stunned and disappointed” that civil
servants in the district administrator’s
office had decided against banning the
march, and had not consulted him.
Markus Nierth talks to journalists after he resigned as mayor of Troeglitz, eastern Germany.
“It’s about my children and my
wife fearing the arrival of truckloads
of neo-Nazis ... their kind, peaceful
faces looking through our windows
Dutch ruling party
under fire over deal
with drug boss
utch Prime Minister
Mark Rutte’s party was
in the eye of a storm
yesterday after his justice minister quit for misleading parliament over a compensation
payment to a drug trafficker.
Dutch media said the ruling
People’s Party for Freedom and
Democracy (VVD) suffered a
heavy blow days ahead of key
provincial elections after Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and
his deputy Fred Teeven’s shock
“Opstelten and Teeven’s
departure... shakes the coalition’s very foundations,”
popular Dutch daily tabloid
Algemeen Dagblad said referring to the VVD-Labour Party
The Labour Party has been
very critical of the two men,
who resigned late on Monday.
broadcaster NOS called it a
“hard blow” for Rutte’s liberals, whose integrity is being
brought into question.
Both the unflappable Opstelten and Teeven are seen as
key figures in the fight against
crime - a central pillar of
Rutte’s political appeal.
The minister and his deputy
quit hours after their ministry
revealed it had found evidence
that a convicted trafficker,
identified as Cees Helman, was
paid 4.7mn guilders ($2.6mn)
as part of a compensation deal
in 2000.
It is a much higher amount
than Opstelten had told parliament previously. Last year he
also said there was no evidence
of the dubious deal when questioned by MPs following media
reports on the affair.
“The investigation failed to
find bank statements or other
documents but I have indeed
digital proof that the 4.7mn
guilders was transferred to
Cees H,” Opstelten said late on
Authorities seized Helman’s
Luxembourg bank accounts in
1993 as part of a drug trafficking probe.
But when prosecutors could
not prove all the cash came
from crime, Teeven - without
the knowledge of his superiors - authorised the pay out to
Opstelten and Teeven’s departure could prove to be a
boost for far-right populist
Geert Wilders, whose Party
for Freedom (PVV) also takes
a strong stance on the issue of
security, local media said.
The Netherlands is a week
away from polls in which 12
provincial councils will be
elected, who in turn will elect
members to the Senate, or the
upper house of parliament.
Although the Senate has no
law-making abilities, it approves or rejects proposals
from the lower house and requires a majority for bills to be
Rutte’s ruling coalition has
a minority in Senate and is dependent on the goodwill of socalled “friendly” opposition
parties for support.
“If the result of provincial
polls on March 18 goes badly, everything’s going to fall
apart,” the Algemeen Dagblad
daily warned.
Teeven however defended
his decision 15 years ago, saying “there is nothing wrong”
with the deal. Helman ran an
international drug trafficking
network in the 1980s and 90s.
The agreement saw the
money paid back without
tax authorities being notified, which Dutch media said
amounted to money laundering.
and ... letting us hear their loving
slogans,” Nierth wrote on Facebook.
Polls show most Germans think
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s govern-
ment is paying too little attention to
worries about immigration.
The NPD had already held several marches to protest against Ni-
erth’s plans for Troeglitz, in Saxony
Anhalt, to take in about 40 asylum
seekers, similar to plans in many
other towns.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a
member of the Social Democrats
(SPD) who share power with Merkel’s conservatives, said it was a
“tragedy for our democracy” when
an elected mayor had to resign because of such hostility.
Many Germans were embarrassed
by the anti-immigrant Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) group in
Dresden which has held demonstrations, feeding off fears about being
overrun by Muslims.
Although its popularity has
waned and counter demonstrations
took place across Germany, Pegida
provided a platform for anti-immigrant sentiment and Germany
has seen a large number of protests
against refugees from southern Bavaria to Berlin.
“If people like this mayor quit, it’s
worse than a Pegida demonstration
with ugly slogans. There was and is
resistance to Pegida. The mayor was
left alone,” wrote the Sueddeutsche
Anetta Kahane, head of the antiracism Amadeu Antonio Foundation, said Nierth’s resignation was
a “catastrophe for local democracy”.
Poland, Latvia
sceptical over
EU army idea
olish and Latvian officials yesterday voiced
scepticism over calls for a European Union
army to counter a militarily resurgent Russia.
“It’s a very risky idea,” Polish Foreign Minister
Grzegorz Schetyna told Poland’s private Radio Zet
in reaction to Sunday’s proposal by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister,
called for the creation of an EU army following rising tensions with Russia, saying the force could
help counter new threats beyond the bloc’s borders
and defend European values.
“First of all we have to ask where to raise money
to finance such an army, how the combat units will
work, who will be in charge of training them,” Schetyna said. His sentiments were echoed by Latvian
Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.
“There is a possibility it could be discussed in
July at the European Council, but it’s important to
check whether this might be duplicating Nato,” she
told Latvian public broadcaster LTV on Monday
Ex-communist Poland joined Nato in 1999 ahead
of the three former Soviet-ruled Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which joined in 2004.
They have all urged the alliance to boost its presence in the region since Russia annexed Ukraine’s
Crimean peninsula last year.
General Stanislaw Koziej, a security adviser
to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, said
Juncker’s idea was an impractical “dream”.
“These days, nobody in Europe, no single country is contemplating giving up its sovereignty,” said
“To have an army, you need first of all a political
decision-maker who would deploy such an army,”
added the general, urging further political integration of Europe first.
Bat cave
Bats hang from
the roof of a cave
in Mikulov, Czech
Republic. Up to
600 bats spend the
winter here in the
Chameleon’s colour magic revealed
umans have long been
fascinated by chameleons changing colour to
dazzle mates, scare rivals and
confuse predators.
Yesterday, scientists said they
uncovered the mechanism of the
feat, and that the results of their
investigation astounded them.
Rather than use pigments to
switch colour, nanocrystals in
the lizards’ skin are tuned to alter the reflection of light, they
“We were surprised,” Michel
Milinkovitch, a biologist at the
University of Geneva told AFP.
“It was thought they were
changing colour through... pig-
ments. The real mechanism is
totally different and involves a
physical process,” he added.
Colour-switching in chameleons is the preserve of males.
They use it to make themselves
more flamboyant to attract mates
and frighten off challengers, or
duller to evade predators.
The mature panther chameleon used in the study, for example,
can change the background colour of its skin from green to yellow or orange, while blue patches
turn whitish and then back again.
In most other colour-changing
animals, the pigment melanin alters
a colour’s brightness by dispersing
or concentrating within cells called
melanophores, thus changing colour intensity but not hue.
This process had long been
thought to explain chameleons’ col-
our change as well, the team said. But
that theory turned out to be false.
Skin analysis revealed that the
change is regulated by transparent
nano-objects called photonic crystals found in a layer of cells dubbed
iridophores, which lie just below
the chameleon’s pigment cells.
Iridophores are also found in
other reptiles and amphibians
like frogs, giving them the green
and blue colours rarely found in
other vertebrates.
In chameleons, however, nanocrystal lattices within the
iridophores can be “tuned” to
change the way light is reflected,
the university said in a statement.
“When the chameleon is calm,
the latter (crystals) are organised
into a dense network and reflect
the blue wavelengths” of incoming light, it said.
“In contrast, when excited, it
loosens its lattice of nanocrystals, which allows the reflection
of other colours such as yellows
or reds.”
The team used biopsies of chameleon skin, pre- and post-excitement, combined with optical
microscopy and high-resolution
videography to study the phenomenon.
They also discovered that chameleons have a second, deeper
layer of iridophore cells.
These contain “larger and less
ordered” crystals that reflect infrared wavelengths from strong
sunlight - in essence, a clever
heat shield.
“The organisation of iridophores in two superimposed layers constitute an evolutionary
novelty,” the team said.
“It allows the chameleons to
rapidly shift between efficient
camouflage and spectacular display, while providing passive
thermal protection.”
Other reptiles have only one
type of iridophore cell which
cannot be used to change colour,
the researchers said.
Next, scientists would like to
figure out the mechanisms that
allow chameleons to tune the
crystal lattice.
The groundbreaking findings
were published in the independent
journal Nature Communications.
Discoveries in the animal
world have spawned a field called
Engineers often seek to replicate wonders of
evolution such as spider’s silk
and gecko feet for products with
commercial or military use.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Maruti recalls 33,098
cars for door glitch
Swine flu toll in
Telangana rises to 65
Plea against income
disclosure rules dismissed
Speed up chit fund scam
probe, BJP tells CBI
Jet to launch Doha flights
from more Kerala airports
Passenger car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki
yesterday announced a proactive inspection
and replacement of the ‘right hand door
latch assembly’ of 33,098 cars manufactured
between December 8 and February 18, 2014-15.
According to the company, the cars are 19,780
units of Alto 800 and 13,318 units of Alto K10.
The company said its dealers in the domestic
market will contact owners of all the affected
cars. “The dealer workshop technicians will
inspect the condition and carry out the necessary
replacement, free of cost,” the company said in
a statement. “The problem was noticed on the
basis of internal quality checks undertaken by the
Swine flu has claimed two more lives in Telangana,
taking the toll to 65, officials said yesterday. There
was no let up in new cases as 41 more people tested
positive for the H1N1 virus since Monday. According
to a bulletin issued by the health department
yesterday, two deaths were reported since Monday.
This took the toll to 65 since January 1. The bulletin
said 106 samples were tested for the H1N1 virus on
Monday and out of them, 41 were found positive.
The authorities have screened 5,728 samples
since January 1, and out of them 1,843 were found
positive. Officials said enough stocks of medicines
have been made available at all teaching, district
and area hospitals. They advised people to take all
The Delhi High Court yesterday dismissed
a plea challenging the Supreme Court rules
requiring an advocate and litigant to cite their
annual income and PAN number while filing a
public interest litigation. A division bench of
Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw
dismissed the plea, saying it does not appreciate
the petitioner rushing to the high court without
even making any representation to the Supreme
Court, where the matter is pending. Lawyer
M L Sharma filed the petition challenging the
Supreme Court’s 2013 rules and sought their
quashing. The plea has said the rule on income
disclosure was “arbitrary and illegal” and against
public interest and justice.
The Bharatiya Janata Party yesterday staged a
demonstration in Bhubaneswar, urging the Central
Bureau of Investigation to speed up an investigation
into the multi-billion rupee chit fund scam in Odisha.
The BJP submitted a memorandum to CBI chief
Anil Kumar Sinha, asking him to expedite the probe
in the scam in which several politicians and many
officials are allegedly involved. The memorandum
said there was rising discontent among the public
over what was perceived as the CBI going slow in
the investigation. The “inherent weakness” in the
CBI charge-sheet has also led to the accused getting
bail, the memorandum said. “We demand the CBI
expedite the investigation,” said BJP leader Bhrugu
Jet Airways has announced six new weekly flights
from two more Kerala airports to Doha, an official
said yesterday. The official said the inaugural flight
from Thiruvananthapuram will take off for Doha on
March 15 morning from and the same evening from
the Kozhikode airport. “From Thiruvananthapuram,
we will be operating thrice a week (Sunday,
Monday and Tuesday) and from Kozhikode it will
be on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On both
these flights, there will 12 business class and 156
economy class seats,” said the official. Jet Airways
already flies to Doha from the Cochin international
airport. The airline operates from Kerala’s three
international airports 63 flights a week to 11
destinations in the Middle East.
VS demands
Mani’s ouster,
arrest over
bribe charge
Trailer release
tour shows
priorities: PM
By Ashraf Padanna
erala opposition leader V S
Achuthanandan attacked
Finance Minister K M
Mani in the assembly yesterday,
prompting him to react angrily.
The Communist Party of India
(Marxist) leader, facing disciplinary action in his own party, began his speech reading out from
a written text and calling him
“bribery Mani” three times.
He alleged that Mani, the longest serving legislator and minister in Kerala who is preparing to
present his 13th annual budget
in the assembly tomorrow, had
been taking bribes for the past 50
The 92-year-old former chief
minister was referring to allegations of a hotelier who lost
licence to sell liquor in many of
his hotels in the city due to the
government’s policy of a phased
Biju Ramesh has alleged that
the finance minister took bribes
to issue licences but later refused to oblige demanding more
He came up with fresh allegations yesterday that the minister’s son Jose K Mani, a two-time
lawmaker elected from Kottayam
to the parliament, had offered
Rs100mn to hush up the case under investigation.
Mani’s resignation and arrest.
“Mani, you have been a corrupt
person all through your life and
it’s not just in the bar scam case
that you have done this,” said the
veteran leader.
As soon as he concluded his
speech, Mani was on his feet saying Achuthanandan’s speech was
like the devil giving a sermon.
Ramesh Chennithala rejected
the allegations and said investigation in the case was progressing in a ‘judicious and impartial’
Chennithala asserted that
Mani would present the budget.
New Delhi
Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan pose for a photograph during the
launch of the trailer of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s maiden Hollywood venture Broken Horses, in
Mumbai yesterday. It is the first Hollywood film that has been written, directed and produced
by an Indian.
rime Minister Narendra
Modi yesterday embarked
on a three-nation tour of
Indian Ocean islands, including
a visit to neighbouring Sri Lanka
aimed at reinvigorating ties with
the new government.
Modi’s first stop will be the
Seychelles followed by Mauritius and then Sri Lanka on Friday,
where he will travel to the wartorn Tamil heartland of Jaffna,
becoming only the second foreign
leader to visit the region.
Modi said he hoped to strengthen India’s “important relationship” with the three countries.
This will be the first bilateral
visit by an Indian prime minister
since 1981 to Seychelles, located
3,800km away closer to Africa,
and the first since 1981 to Sri Lanka, separated from India by a narrow strip of sea.
“I am keenly looking forward to
my tour ...,” Modi said in his departure statement.
“We have a strong, multifaceted and important relationship
with each (country) and they all
occupy a very important place in
our foreign policy.
“My visit to the three Indian
Ocean Island countries reflects
our foreign policy priorities in
India’s immediate and extended
“India attaches paramount
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to officials before boarding the
plane as he embarks on a three-nation tour, in New Delhi yesterday.
importance to strengthening relations with this region, which
is vital for India’s security and
progress,” he said.
In the Seychelles, Modi will get
a unique Gujarati-style welcome
from the non-resident Indians in
that country.
Modi said: “India’s relationship
with Seychelles has been built on
the foundation of mutual trust
and shared values.
“I am keenly looking forward to
my meeting with President James
Michel, a great friend of India.”
In Mauritius, he will be the
chief guest at the Independence
Day celebrations tomorrow. He
will also speak at the national assembly of Mauritius.
“I will be participating in the
joint commissioning of Indiabuilt Offshore Patrol Vessel Barracuda, and in the beginning of
construction work for the building of World Hindi Secretariat.”
On the last leg, Modi will be
in Sri Lanka on March 13 and 14
when he will hold talks with President Maithripala Sirisena and
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose government took
office in January.
“My visit to Sri Lanka will be
the first standalone prime ministerial visit to Sri Lanka since
1987,” the year India and Sri Lanka
signed a pact to end Tamil separatism. Indian troops then took on
the Tamil Tigers.
After being quietly supportive
of Sri Lanka’s efforts to militarily
crush the Tamil Tigers, who were
vanquished in 2009, India-Sri
Lanka relations went into a spin
after then president Mahinda Rajapakse began building up multifaceted ties with Pakistan and
In an oblique reference to India,
Rajapakse alleged an international
conspiracy after he was defeated in
the January presidential election
that brought Sirisena to power.
What’s more shameful - rape or rape documentary?
or its trendsetting founding principles coupled with
its economic and military
might, the US of America is often
described as the greatest democracy in the world. Indians - leaders and hoi polloi alike - are happy
to add their bit: if the US of A is
the greatest, India is the biggest
democracy and, by extension, a
strong one.
But the ultimate touchstone of
democracy is freedom in its many
hues. Of all this, perhaps the most
imperative is the freedom of expression because man, we know,
does not live by bread alone.
But the biggest democracy in
the world is feeling threatened by
as simple and harmless a weapon
as a documentary film. Politicians
who could spit venom on the basis
of religion and caste, lawmakers
who are eager to forgive rapists
because “boys will be boys” and
a government that has misread
the message of holding a mirror
to all Indians have come together
to ban a moving, chilling account
of what has come to be termed as
the biggest single social upheaval
in independent India.
Aptly named India’s Daughter,
the BBC-sponsored documentary, to my mind, does not qualify
to be a great work of art. Perhaps
it was never intended to be one.
But what it does is to try and understand the mind of a rapist and
in the process throw up the larger,
more uncomfortable question of
why it is that one half of humanity gets treated so badly at the
hands of the other half. For, from
birth to death women the world
over have instances to quote of
being discriminated against because of their gender. It may be
about a full glass of milk for the
brother against half a glass for
the sister in the Third World and
of much bigger stakes at the work
place in the First. (The International Labour Organisation says
it will be another 70 years before women get the same salary
as men for the same job). So it is
discrimination alright and Leslie
Udwin’s 60-minute documentary can well be interpreted to show
up this inequality.
But that is for those who persevere to look beyond the mundane.
For others, including a majority
of India’s lawmakers and at least
one national television channel
anchor who thinks he speaks for
all India every time he opens his
mouth, the documentary is either
scandalous or just voyeuristic.
Apart from the remorseless nay, even contented - recounting
that one of the four convicts in
the December 16, 2013 rape and
murder of Jyoti Singh in a moving
bus in the Indian capital gives on
camera, the film also reveals the
mindset of the two lawyers who
are apparently defending the indefensible. General opinion here
is that at least one of them should
join the convicts inside the prison
and never be allowed to come out
for the rest of his life.
While Jyoti is the heroine in
absentia, her parents, especially
Delhi Diary
By A K B Krishnan
her mother, pose questions to the
authorities - politicians, judiciary, police et al - that apparently
none of these worthies is capable
of handling.
To the judiciary, no less than
the highest one in the land, she
asks why her daughter’s case,
supposedly on fast track, has been
languishing for more than a year
under its watch when every evidence, including an open confession by the convicts, has proved
the case beyond any reasonable
doubt. (The lynching of a rape accused in Nagaland’s Dimapur is a
direct fallout of delayed justice).
To the police she asks what they
would do in the face of the challenge thrown by Mukesh Singh,
the convict interviewed by Udwin, that if he and his co-convicts
were hanged, future rapists would
make sure to kill their victims to
destroy evidence.
To the politicians she asks why
something serious and even drastic is not being done to provide
freedom and safety to the daughters of other mothers.
The Modi government apparently thinks such appeals are not
worth listening to. It does not
want other mothers, or for that
matter anyone else, to even hear
such appeals. It feels that tourists would stop coming to India if
they heard such appeals. It is convinced that if the media can keep
quiet, rapes will simply stop happening in India.
So it bans the film. And in the
process gives it added publicity.
At last count more than 2mn Indians, including yours truly, have
watched it on the Internet. They
block it on one platform and it appears on another. A tech-savvy
Modi should know that his government is attempting to do the
What next? A case against all
those who watched it? Mea culpa!
AAP indeed
different in
many ways!
As far as implosions go this was
an explosive one. An explosive
implosion is, of course, an oxymoron, but since what is happening in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
these days is beyond imagination
and new figures of speech will
have to be invented to describe
them, an oxymoron would do for
Whoever said “a week is a long
time in politics” should have also
told us what it would be like in,
say, three weeks. But since Harold
Wilson is no more with us today,
we can turn to Arvind Kejriwal
to enlighten us on the passage of
time and its impact on affairs on
party politics.
At least some of the leaders of
the Bharatiya Janata Party, shellshocked after the Delhi assembly
polls, must be rubbing their hands
in glee after seeing what is happening to the “upstart”. But even
the most ardent/virulent BJP activist could not have predicted the
ouster of two of the most senior
and respected AAP leaders.
Kejriwal has always been an
enigma wrapped in a mystery.
Some of his friends from college
union days have been quoted as
saying that the only thing predictable about Kejriwal is his unpredictability. He has taken up
several causes, most of them noble, one might add, only to leave
them midway for other equally
meaningful campaigns. Even
Anna Hazare, who Kejriwal recognises as his mentor par excellence, has had to suffer the bitter
experience of being left alone in
his anti-corruption campaign.
Be that as it may, the question that is uppermost in the
minds of most Delhi residents is
what prompted Kejriwal to sack
Yogendra Yadav and Prashant
Bhushan from the parliamentary
affairs committee (PAC) of the
Theories and conjectures have
been flowing like the polluted
water in the Yamuna for the past
week. While some put it down to a
lack of communication among the
top leadership of the party, others
were of the view that Kejriwal was
forced to take the extreme step
because he feared that the two
ideologues would upstage him in
party affairs as he himself would
be concentrating all his energies
on running Delhi.
Still others saw this as Kejriwal’s revenge on Yadav for trying to
prematurely attempt a pan-India
power base for the party and on
Bhushan for asking some very inconvenient questions about party
funding and selection of candidates for the Delhi elections with
“winnability” as the sole criterion. “Imagine the fall in standards.
In the last assembly elections
(in 2013) we put the candidates’
names online and allowed public comments. This time even the
PAC members were being kept
in the dark,” said one AAP leader
who refused to be named for fear
that the Kejriwal axe may find his
neck next.
The day after the two leaders
were shown the door, as it were,
another AAP ideologue, Kamal
Mitra Chenoy, wrote in Hindustan
Times newspaper: “Another matter was the one-man one-post
principle. Though Arvind Kejriwal is the undisputed leader of AAP
and the national convener, there
was discussion that he should
perhaps concentrate on one position. This was a product of some
But the very next day Chenoy
was going hammer and tongs on
national television against the
very same “undisputed leader”
saying the party supremo has
veered far, far away from one of
its main founding principles of
maintaining an anti-VIP, procommon man culture. Mayank
Gandhi, another senior leader of
the party, commented in his blog:
“Last night I was told that disciplinary action would be taken
against me if I revealed anything
(concerning the meeting which
decided to dismiss Yadav and
Bhushan from the PAC). So be it my first allegiance is to the higher
And he went on to reveal what
exactly transpired at the meeting and who all voted for and who
against the motion.
Political parties of long standing have witnessed revolts and rebellions and have, in most cases,
come off the better for it. But for
a party that is just about two years
old and has just got the first taste
of real power to be thrown into
such chaos is something unique
for AAP, perhaps in all of world
history. Is this what Kejriwal
meant when he insisted that the
AAP is different in every which
way from other political formations? If so, one is tempted to
quote that quintessential Yankee:
“You ain’t seen nothin yet!”
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
LS approves
land bill amid
protests by
New Delhi
he Lok Sabha yesterday
passed the contentious
land acquisition bill amid
a walkout by opposition parties
even as the government moved
nine amendments to address
concerns raised by farmers and
civil society activists.
The proposed legislation removes the need for obtaining
the consent of landowners and
carrying out Social Economic
Assessment (SIA) for acquiring
land under certain categories precisely the provisions which
had raised the heckles of critics.
Rural Development Minister
Birender Singh, who took potshots at the Congress, his former
party, moved nine amendments,
which were adopted by voice vote.
Two fresh clauses were also
added to the bill, which will now
be taken up by the Rajya Sabha
where the government is in minority.
The Congress, which had
moved a number of amendments - all were negated - demanded that the bill be sent to
the Standing Committee. When
this was not accepted, its members walked out even before the
voting. Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party
of India and Samajwadi Party
members did the same.
“They have not accepted even
a single amendment proposed by
us. This bill is anti-farmer. So we
are walking out,” said Congress
leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
The Biju Janata Dal, which
withdrew the amendments moved
by its members, also walked out
minutes before the voting.
The Right to Fair Compensation, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement
Bill, 2015 faces a tough call in the
Rajya Sabha, the upper house.
Opposition leaders in the upper house have already hinted
that they would try and send the
bill to a Standing or Select Committee.
The government has an option
of calling a joint session of both
houses to pass the bill, which the
opposition says favours corporates at the cost of farmers whose
land will be taken away for business and infrastructure projects.
The bill replaces an ordinance
promulgated by the government
in December last year which
amended the earlier law passed
by the Congress-led government
in 2013.
Civil society and farmers’ organisations staged a major protest here in the last week of February against the bill.
Apart from the Congress, the
Trinamool Congress and the
CPM also demanded that the bill
be sent to the Standing Committee. But this was voted out.
The nine amendments proposed included one that the government will undertake a survey
of its wasteland, including arid
land, and maintain a record containing details of such land.
Another amendment said land
will be acquired up to only 1km
on both sides of designated railway lines or roads for industrial
Hitting out at the opposition,
mainly the Congress, Birender
Singh said certain parties opposing the land bill have been
selective while espousing farmers’ causes.
Amid uproar by opposition parties, he said: “You don’t have the
courage to say the right things.”
“When farmers are being looted in Haryana, then it doesn’t
matter,” he said, in an apparent
refernce to the time when the
state was ruled by the Congress.
“This can’t go on.”
“The party which has created the biggest ruckus over this
bill ruled the country for nearly
50 years. During this time, the
number of people dependent on
agriculture went down from 7080% to 60%,” he said replying to
the nearly eight-hour-long debate in the lower house.
RulingBharatiya Janata Party
member Prahlad Singh Patel
earlier said: “Whatever issues
were there, we have corrected it
with amendments. We should all
ensure that poor farmers don’t
lose anything.”
Gaurav Gogoi of the Congress
said the bill passed in 2013 ensured equal rights to everyone.
“If there was anybody who
was walking shoulder to shoulder with farmers, it was Rahul
Gandhi... You sacrificed farmers’ interests for corporates. The
amendments are just cosmetic
changes,” he said referring to the
Congress vice president.
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi wants to overhaul a land
acquisition act passed by the last
government which, his backers
say, has tied up billions of dollars
in infrastructure and industry
investments in red tape.
Modi issued an executive
order in December to exempt
projects in defence, rural electrification, rural housing and
industrial corridors from provisions of the 2013 law requiring
80% of affected landowners to
agree to a deal.
He also scrapped the need for
companies to conduct a social
impact study for such projects,
a process requiring public hearings that can drag on for years.
Protest against separatist’s release
Members of rightwing Hindu organisations stage a demonstration against the release of Kashmiri separatist leader Masrat Alam, in Amritsar yesterday. Alam was
accused of inciting youth during unrest in which at least 112 people were killed in bloody clashes between unruly mobs and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
AAP crisis deepens
amid new allegations
Yadav, Bhushan wanted
party to lose in Delhi, say
Kejriwal loyalists
New Delhi
he crisis in the Aam Aadmi Party deepened yesterday, with four leaders known to be close to Delhi
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accusing senior colleagues
Yogendra Yadav and Prashant
Bhushan of having attempted
the party’s defeat in the February 7 assembly polls.
The allegation was made in
a statement by Deputy Chief
Minister Manish Sisodia, minister Gopal Rai and two other
AAP leaders Pankaj Gupta and
Sanjay Singh.
It prompted Yadav to say he
hoped the charge would lead
to an “open, transparent dialogue” for the truth to prevail.
Bhushan said: “Time has
come for the country to know
the whole truth about the matter and the truth will come out
In a joint statement, the four
leaders yesterday said the AAP
National Executive decided on
March 4 to “release” Bhushan
and Yadav from the political
affairs committee (PAC) - the
party’s highest decision-making body - and assign them new
“While all workers were
struggling to ensure the party’s victory, the trio - Prashant
Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and
Shanti Bhushan - were making
all-out efforts for the party’s
defeat (in Delhi),” the statement
“The PAC did not publicise
the reasons behind the move as
it could affect the senior duo’s
reputation,” it said, in reference
to Prashant Bhushan, an AAP
founder member and a senior Supreme Court lawyer, and
Yadav, widely seen as a leading
political expert.
Shanti Bhushan is Prashant
Bhushan’s father and also a
leading advocate.
“But the manner in which an
atmosphere has been created
that the National Executive was
undemocratic and irresponsible, and the questions raised in
the minds of the AAP activists,
we are compelled to give this
explanation,” the statement
The statement further said
that not only did Prashant
Bhushan openly support AAP’s
breakaway group which maligned the party with the backing of the BJP, he threatened to
sabotage the party’s poll prepa-
Maharashtra beef ban
to boost chicken sales
oultry firms expect demand to pick up after a
ban on beef in Maharashtra, with other states ruled by
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
Bharatiya Janata Party also aiming to toughen laws on livestock
India is the world’s second
largest beef exporter and fifth
biggest consumer, although
its majority Hindu community views cows to be sacred,
and the BJP is pushing for legal
steps to “protect and promote
the cow.”
Maharashtra, which has a
population of about 110mn,
widened its ban this month to
cover meat from bulls and bullocks. The northern states of
Jharkhand and Haryana, also
ruled by the BJP, are looking for
ways to discourage slaughter of
Such curbs, which critics call
the outcome of Modi loyalists
pushing a Hindu agenda, will
cost jobs and hit India’s exports,
but spell good news for many
poultry farms. India consumed
2.3mn tonnes of beef last year
until October - higher than for
the whole of 2013 - while exports
were 1.95mn tonnes in the same
“We are expecting chicken
consumption to increase
in Maharashtra after a
month, as it is a direct
alternative to beef”
“We are expecting chicken
consumption to increase in Maharashtra after a month, as it
is a direct alternative to beef,”
said Prasanna Pedgaonkar, deputy general manager at chicken
processor Venky’s.
Pedgaonkar expects the measure to push up sales 5% for his
firm, which owns the English
football club Blackburn Rovers, from a daily figure of 1,500
tonnes now.
Overall consumption in the
state could rise 5-8% within a
month, said Dinesh Bhosale, the
South Asia sales head of AB Vista, an animal feed supplier based
in Britain.
Even without a ban on beef,
which is particularly popular
in the southern and northeastern parts of India and tends to
be cheaper than mutton and
chicken, India’s poultry output
has been scaling annual records,
as higher incomes boost demand
for meat in the world’s secondmost populous country.
Broiler production will hit
a new high of 3.9mn tonnes in
2015, the US Department of Agriculture estimated in October.
Owners of Mumbai shops
that sell chicken say the effect
of the beef ban has yet to show
up in prices, although demand
is starting to pick up despite the
onset of summer, when consumption usually slows.
“Usually (demand and prices)
drop during summer months,
but this year they may not, due
to the ban on beef,” said Abdul
Azar, as he cleaned his small
chicken shop.
ration by holding press conferences.
The statement came after
Maharashtra AAP leader Mayank Gandhi, in his blog, questioned the wisdom of sacking
Yadav and Prashant Bhushan
from the PAC when they were
ready to leave with an honourable exit route.
Gandhi later said he was being targeted over his remarks.
Yadav, welcoming the four
AAP leaders’ statement, said
he hoped that it would “end all
“I welcome the statement by
the four colleagues. Begins the
possibility of open, transparent
dialogue. Truth shall prevail,”
Yadav tweeted.
“Hope this statement ends all
slander, planting of allegations.
Hope no more coercion of party
functionaries and Delhi MLAs
on this issue,” he added.
Yadav said he hoped that
his and Prashant Bhushan’s
responses would also be
duly publicised by the party
“Hope the party’s website
will be opened for all volunteer
responses,” he said in another
Meanwhile, another AAP
leader Ashutosh said: “No organisation will survive if it does
not observe minimum discipline. Individuals are important
but organisation is bigger and
the rule is for all.”
AAP secured a sweeping win
a month ago, winning 67 seats
in the 70-member Delhi assembly. The BJP got only three
AAP’s National Council
meeting is slated to be held on
March 28 where several raging
issues are likely to be discussed,
a party leader said.
Ex-MP sentenced
to life for murder
Mafia don-turned-politician D P Yadav (right) arrives at the CBI
court in Dehradun yesterday.
afia don-turned-politician D P Yadav was
yesterday sentenced to
life imprisonment by a court for
his involvement in the murder of
former Dadri legislator Mahendra Singh Bhati.
Yadav surrendered to the
Central Bureau of Investigation
court on Monday but excused
himself from the proceedings
yesterday, citing ill health.
Yadav’s three aides Pal Singh,
Pranit Bhatti and Karan, who
had surrendered on February 28,
have also been sentenced for life.
The court also imposed
fines varying from Rs45,000 to
Rs117,000 on the convicts.
Three other convicts were
present in the courtroom when
the sentence was pronounced.
Prior to his surrender, Yadav had tried to evade the court
hearing on medical ground.
But after finding him guilty, the
court asked the CBI, which has
probed the murder, to arrest and
bring him before the court.
The CBI conducted three raids
at his Ghaziabad residence but
could not trace him. Yadav surrendered in the trial court on
Bhati was peppered with bullets in broad daylight in what
was believed to be a part of the
gang wars in the western Uttar
After an initial probe into the
murder, the case was handed
over to the CBI on September 10,
Yadav began his formative political innings under former Uttar
Pradesh chief minister Mulayam
Singh Yadav but later parted ways
with him. He was also in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and also
was a member of the Bharatiya
Janata Party for a day, before
being fired after a media furore
on his entry into the party that
claimed to be “different”.
Yadav has been a member of
the state assembly four times
from Sahaswan and Bulandshahr
in western Uttar Pradesh and
also served as an MP, both in the
Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.
His son Vikas Yadav was convicted of the murder of Nitish
Katara, a bureaucrat’s son, and is
currently in jail.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Rubbish covers the banks of Cunha channel,
which flows into Guanabara Bay. A press tour
was organised by biologist Mario Moscatelli,
to call attention to pollution in the waters of
Guanabara Bay, where the Rio 2016 Olympic
Games sailing events will take place.
Court releases
vigilante leader
Mexico urged to help
in child custody fight
Police hunt for ‘missing
woman’ who did not exist
Cuban doctors sent
to work in Bahrain
A judge in the violent Mexican state of
Michoacan has ordered that a jailed vigilante
leader involved in a firefight late last year that
killed 10 people should be freed, a spokeswoman
for the state judiciary said. Hipolito Mora and his
followers clashed in mid-December with a band
led by Luis Antonio Torres, alias “El Americano,”
a former vigilante leader turned rural police
commander. The shootout took place in La
Ruana, a town about 240km from Morelia, the
state capital. Both men and 35 others were
arrested in January and they have been behind
bars ever since. Mora’s son was among the 10
killed in the shootout.
A human rights body urged Mexico to help
a French woman see her children in a bitter
custody battle with her ex-husband, an influential
former Mexican governor. The Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights called on Mexican
authorities to immediately implement measures
to allow Maude Versini to visit her three children
without restrictions, said her lawyer, Jaime
Aparicio. The commission, an autonomous body
of the Organisation of American States, called on
Mexican authorities to move quickly to resolve
the custody case, Aparicio said. Arturo Montiel,
a ex-governor of Mexico state, is considered a
political mentor of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Argentinian police who mobilised hundreds of
officers to look for a missing teenager discovered
she did not exist. The alert had been raised by
fireman Luciano Benitez, 18, who had gone to the
bus station to meet his girlfriend who had not
turned up. He contacted local media, and posted
the girl’s pictures on a Facebook page. But officers
found the information about her appeared to be
fake. The boyfriend admitted he had never met the
girl in person, and had conducted his relationship
with her for a year via Facebook and telephone.
The phone number was registered to another girl,
who turned out to be a friend of the fireman. She
was arrested after confessing to the con.
A contingent of Cuban health professionals has
arrived in Bahrain to begin work under a deal
forged last year, the government said yesterday.
“The first group of medical professionals has
arrived... in Manama,” Cuba’s Foreign Ministry
said in a statement published on its website.
“The agreement forms the basis for cooperation in the areas of medical services and
biotechnology, as well as medical research and
other areas of mutual interest,” the ministry said.
A photo accompanying the statement showed
about 15 people in this first group of medical
experts, who have been assigned to work at a
hospital in Muharraq, Bahrain’s third largest city.
warns on
violence as
demos loom
razilian President Dilma Rousseff warned she
would not tolerate violence as the continent-sized
Latin American country, convulsed by a graft scandal involving dozens of politicians, prepared for a new spate of protests.
Brazil saw unprecedented
demonstrations in mid-2013
through to last year’s World
Cup as citizens protested transport fare increases and the cost
of staging major sports events,
with some $12bn spent on the
soccer extravaganza.
Fresh protests are set within
the coming days, with the the
Supreme Court having given the
go-ahead for investigations into
47 politicians, chiefly allies of
Rousseff ’s ruling coalition, over
a huge corruption scandal at
state oil firm Petrobras.
Rousseff, re-elected in late
October to a second term, noted
that while demonstrating is a
democratic right, she would not
tolerate violence.
“The fact that Brazil is developing and guarantees the right to
demonstrate is something we all
value,” she said.
“But what we cannot accept
is violence,” said Rousseff, a
former urban guerrilla detained
and tortured under the 19641985 military dictatorship.
Rousseff opponents, notably
in business hub Sao Paulo, said
on social media that they are
planning a raft of protests in dozens of cities
against her rule.
Some vocal opponents of the Workers
Party (PT) leader are
demanding her impeachment over
the scandal,
with politicians said
to have
creamed off billions of dollars
in kickbacks from inflated contracts with private contractors
chasing lucrative deals.
Rousseff, who beat social democratic candidate Aecio Neves in
an October run-off election, said:
“The election is over. There cannot be a third round... short of a
break with democracy.”
Rousseff is not being investigated over the Petrobras affair, even though she chaired
the firm’s board for much of the
decade when the corruption is
alleged to have flourished.
Investigators calculate some
$3.8bn was funnelled to politicians in all.
The scandal involving Petrobras, Brazil’s largest corporation,
has wiped hundreds of billions of
dollars off the company’s market
value, dragging down the stock
market and undermining confidence with the economy already
tanking amid pallid growth and
rising inflation.
The government has responded by announcing a package of
spending cuts, but the economic
climate and Petrobras affair are
fuelling popular unrest.
The PT website indicated
unions and pro-government
groups would organise their own
marches “to defend democracy,
social gains (made under 12 years
of PT rule), Petrobras and workers’ rights.”
Earlier, Rousseff approved a
new law on “feminicide” - the
killing of a woman because of
her gender in a country where
50,000 women lost their lives
through violence over the
past decade, official figures show.
Rousseff, Brazil’s first
female leader, said 15 Brazilian women are killed
every day through domestic violence and
urged women
not to see such
treatment as
Nicaraguan cowboys
A man rides a bull during festivities to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the town of Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua.
Cuba backs Venezuela
as row with US grows
uba rallied behind Venezuela yesterday, offering
its closest ally “unconditional support” after US President Barack Obama authorised
new sanctions against officials
of the turbulent South American oil producer.
The Cuban reaction marked
its first public confrontation
with the US since the two countries began discussions in December on fully restoring diplomatic relations.
Cuba joins other leftist regional governments in closing
Oil price fall hits
Colombia economy
Puerto Gaitan, Colombia
s fewer and fewer oil
trucks roll through the
streets of Puerto Gaitan,
Mario Romero crunches the
numbers. Unless crude prices
pick up and Colombia’s oil firms
invest again in exploration and
production, his hauling company will soon go bust.
Just six months ago, Transportes Paraiso Regional had 320
drivers moving oil, machinery
and personnel around Colombia’s booming energy industry.
Now, his 16 remaining drivers are
looking for jobs.
“I told my staff we can hold
out two months, and if things
don’t improve, I’ll let them
go,” said Romero, 49, in Puerto
Gaitan, the nearest town to oilfields operated by Pacific Rubiales and other producers.
Romero is far from alone. In a
town until recently awash with
cash to pave roads and host pop
stars like Marc Anthony and
Daddy Yankee, many businesses
are now shuttered.
The mayor’s office says Puerto
Gaitan, home to 45,000 people
and set along the lazy Manacacias River in central Colombia,
will see oil royalties fall by about
two-thirds this year.
“I told my staff we can hold
out two months, and if
things don’t improve, I’ll let
them go”
The entire oil industry chain
- from drillers and engineers
to geologists and hotels - is in
trouble, threatening consumer spending, tax revenue and
broader economic growth.
Colombia is not a major producer - it has less than seven
years of reserves - but oil is its
largest export and typically accounts for about 20% of government revenue. Security gains
against Marxist rebel groups
drove a decade-long boom as areas previously too dangerous to
operate in were opened up.
The industry pulled in
$34.6bn of foreign direct investment in the last 10 years, up from
just $3.1bn in the previous decade, and oil output doubled to
about 1mn barrels per day.
That helped fuel economic
growth at or above 4% in all but
two of the last 10 years.
Latin America’s fourth-largest economy probably grew at
least 4.5% in 2014 but a 50%
plunge in oil prices since June
has taken a toll and economists
expect growth to drop as low as
3.3% this year and 2.6% in 2016.
Producers like state-run Ecopetrol and Canada-based Pacific
Rubiales are Colombia’s biggest
source of tax and export revenue
but have had to slash investments, stall exploration projects,
lay off thousands of contract
workers and tell employees their
jobs may not be safe.
Union leaders estimate as many
as 25,000 jobs, or 20% of the industry, could be lost in coming
months. Ecopetrol has cut overall spending by 26% to $7.9bn for
2015 and Pacific Rubiales has reduced its by 27% to $1.1bn.
ranks with Caracas in the deepening US-Venezuela row.
An official statement published in the island’s state-run
media called Obama’s executive
order implementing the sanctions “arbitrary and aggressive.”
“Cuba again reiterates its unconditional support and that
of our people for the Bolivarian
Revolution, the legitimate government of President Nicolas
Maduro, and the heroic brotherly people of Venezuela,” the
statement said.
As Venezuela’s economy spirals and Maduro cracks down
against dissent, friendly nations
said they would not tolerate foreign interference.
Ecuador’s foreign minister
warned Monday that the Southern American bloc Unasur would
not allow foreign intervention or
a coup in Venezuela.
The European Union said
yesterday it has no plans to follow the US lead and impose
sanctions on Venezuela.
In Caracas, an irate Maduro
pushed back against the new
Shortly after they were announced he recalled his envoy
to Washington and late Monday
he denounced the US action as
“the most aggressive, unjust and
harmful blow against Venezuela.”
Maduro called the sanctions
a “rude outburst” from Obama
Wired for success
while surrounded by dozens of
ministers and military leaders at
the presidential palace.
“You have no right to attack
us and declare that Venezuela
is a threat to the people of the
US. The threat to the American
people is yourselves,” he said in
the speech that lasted over two
Venezuela’s economy is in
crisis, with soaring inflation
and many basic goods unavailable or out of reach of most
pocketbooks on the black market. Maduro has responded by
stepping up a crackdown on
dissent, arresting opposition
figures and frequently speaking
of coup plots.
Peru first lady denies
taking campaign cash
London 2012 Olympic Games judo bronze medallist Rafael
Silva of Brazil gets electrodes applied in his body at the Sleep
Institute in Sao Paulo yesterday. According to the Brazilian
Confederation of Judo, Silva and others athletes of Brazil’s
national judo team are undergoing polysomnography tests
to enable better sleep and performance for the upcoming
Brazil 2016 Olympic Games.
In activating the sanctions,
Obama called the situation in
Venezuela “an extraordinary
threat to the national security”
of the US.
The sanctions targeted Venezuelan officials who the US
said were linked to human rights
abuses, including a crackdown
on anti-government protests
last year that left 43 people dead.
US bank accounts and property of seven officials, including
a police chief and intelligence
chief, were frozen by the sanctions.
They extend and implement
other penalties against the Venezuela adopted by the US Congress last year.
eru’s first lady Nadine
Heredia, who heads the
ruling party and is touted
as a possible presidential contender, has denied that Venezuela’s late president Hugo
Chavez funded her husband’s
Opposition leaders have
regularly accused Heredia and
her husband, left-wing President Ollanta Humala, of taking
Venezuelan oil money to fund
their Nationalist Party’s campaigns for the 2006 and 2011
The first lady, a popular
politician in her own right,
denied the claim after a recent
poll found 58% of Peruvians
believe it.
“That’s false. There have
been so many rumors since
2005, but there’s nothing to
them. We totally reject them,”
she told journalists, in rare public comments on the matter.
“That funding came from
the efforts of our compatriots.”
Heredia after she declared a
reported $200,000 in income
from a Venezuelan news publication, but failed to find any
Heredia says the money was
a consulting fee.
Prosecutors opened a new
investigation in February into
money-laundering allegations
against Heredia - drawing an
angry reaction from Humala,
who accused them of playing
politics with the justice system.
Chavez, the socialist firebrand who led oil-rich Venezuela for 14 years before his
death in 2013, publicly backed
Humala’s 2006 presidential
bid, which the Peruvian leftist lost to former leader Alan
In the 2011 race, which he
won, Humala distanced himself from Chavez somewhat,
saying his political models
were more moderate leftists
like Brazil’s President Dilma
Rousseff and her predecessor
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Heredia is tipped as a likely
candidate for the race to succeed her husband in 2016.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Moratorium on death
penalty entirely lifted
The decks have been cleared for
Qadri’s execution
akistan has lifted its moratorium on
the death penalty in all capital cases,
officials said yesterday, after restarting executions for terrorism offences in
the wake of a Taliban school massacre.
The interior ministry has directed provincial governments to proceed with
hangings for prisoners who have exhausted all avenues of appeal and clemency, a
senior official told AFP.
Another government official confirmed
the news.
Pakistan has hanged 24 convicts since
resuming executions in December after
Taliban militants gunned down more than
150 people, most of them children, at a
school in the restive northwest.
The partial lifting of the moratorium
only applied to those convicted of terrorism offences, but officials said it has now
been extended.
“The government has lifted the moratorium on the death penalty,” the senior
interior ministry official told AFP.
“The interior ministry has directed the
provincial home departments to expedite
the executions of all condemned prisoners
whose mercy petitions have been rejected
by the president.”
The official said there are around 1,000
condemned prisoners around the country whose appeals and clemency petitions
have failed.
The home secretary of southwestern
Baluchistan province, Akbar Hussain Dur-
Pakistani Islamists and supporters of Mumtaz Qadri call for his release in Lahore
rani, confirmed to AFP the government
had issued instructions to resume executions.
“We have received a letter from federal
government asking to expedite all death
penalty cases for executions whose mercy
petitions have been rejected,” Durrani told
AFP in provincial capital Quetta.
Until December’s resumption, there had
been no civilian hangings in Pakistan since
Only one person was executed in that
time — a soldier convicted by a court martial and hanged in November 2012.
Rights campaign group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more
than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most
of whom have exhausted the appeals process.
Supporters of the death penalty in Pakistan argue that it is the only effective way
to deal with the scourge of militancy.
The courts system is notoriously slow,
with cases frequently dragging on for
years, and there is a heavy reliance on witness testimony and very little protection
for judges and prosecutors.
This means terror cases are hard to
prosecute, as extremists are able to intimidate witnesses and lawyers into dropping
Human rights campaigners and the European Union have been highly critical of
the resumption of executions.
Sarah Belal of the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) rights group condemned the
move to extend executions as “irresponsible”, saying it put the lives of vulnerable
citizens at risk.
“We’ve seen time and time again that
there is immeasurable injustice in Pakistan’s criminal justice system, with a rampant culture of police torture, inadequate
counsel and unfair trials,” she said in a
In the latest case, an anti-terrorism
court in Karachi on Monday issued death
warrants for two men convicted of murder
during a house robbery.
The two men, Mohamed Afzal and Mohamed Faisal, are due to be sent to the gallows on March 17.
Yesterday’s announcement could also
pave the way for the execution of Mumtaz
Qadri, a former police bodyguard who shot
dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer in Islamabad in 2011.
On Monday a court in Islamabad upheld
the death sentence passed on Qadri for
the attack, which he said he carried out to
punish Taseer for questioning the country’s strict blasphemy laws.
But the judges also cancelled Qadri’s
conviction terrorism charges, which before yesterday’s announcement made it
unlikely he would be hanged.
Lahore vista
kills seven
Laskhar Gah, Afghanistan
even people were killed
and 28 others including five police were
wounded yesterday when a
suicide bomber blew himself
up in his car outside the capital of Helmand in southern
Afghanistan, a provincial official said.
Deputy governor Mohamad Jan Rasoulyar told Reuters the attack happened at a
checkpoint set up by police
on the outskirts of the capital
city Lashkar Gah after they
received intelligence of an
impending attack.
“The suicide bomber blew
himself up in his car among
other civilians waiting to get
searched,” Rasoulyar said.
claimed responsibility for the
Afghan security forces
have been struggling to defeat the insurgency as most
US and foreign troops withdrew at the end of last year.
Helmand saw some of the
heaviest fighting between security forces and Taliban insurgents in 2014, with Afghan
army and police suffering the
country’s highest number of
casualties in their bid to prevent the militants from taking over key districts.
In January, an Afghan policeman shot and killed his
commanding officer and a
district governor in Helmand, after the Taliban said
the policeman had defected
to their ranks.
At least 20 Taliban militants and five troops of the
Afghan National Army were
killed in western Afghanistan, the defence ministry
said yesterday.
“Insurgents attacked several army outposts in Bala
Buluk district of Farah province on Monday,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Three Taliban commanders were among the dead,
and twelve others were also
wounded,” it said.
Foreign insurgents including Uzbeks have been reported in clashes with security
forces in Farah and nearby
volatile provinces, and local media have reported that
dozens of Uzbek fighters have
moved to the province with
their families.
Pakistan and Afghanistan
have agreed to work together
to uproot militancy in the region.
The understanding came
at a meeting between a visiting Afghan delegation led by
minister for refugees Hussain
Almi Balkhi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor Sardar
Mehtab Khan Abbasi and
chief minister Pervaiz Khattak in Islamabad, Radio Pakistan reported.
The two sides also discussed the issue of repatriation of Afghan refugees to
their homeland.
The Afghan minister said
that guidelines have been
prepared to create a model
project for rehabilitation of
Afghan refugees.
The KPK governor acknowledged the Afghan government’s efforts for repatriation of refugees.
The Afghan minister appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices in sheltering their Afghan
$1.535bn in debt
servicing paid
akistan’s external debt
servicing increased by
$76mn, or 5.20%, in the
second quarter of the current
fiscal year, a recent data of the
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)
showed, putting the balance
of payments position of the
country at risk.
The country paid $1.535bn
as debt servicing to the external creditors from October to
December 2014/15, including
$1.014bn as principal amount
and $325mn as interest payment.
Servicing of external debt
amounted to $1.459bn during
July to September FY15. The
external debt and liabilities
stood at $65.6bn during FY14.
Debt servicing was mainly
on account of public guaranteed debt. These loans were
obtained from multilateral
and bilateral donors.How-
Sunset in Lahore yesterday.
ever, the remaining payment
was made to the International
Monetary Fund (IMF).
Economists said external
debt servicing had always
been a much concern for the
economy due to an unprecedented rise in the volume
of foreign loans since 2008,
which was largely dominated
by the IMF.
Pakistan paid $874mn in
debt servicing to the IMF during the first half of the current
fiscal year. The central bank’s
figures showed that external
debt serving reached the level
of $6.996bn in FY14.
“There is less pressure on
the foreign exchange earnings
of the country in the shortterm, but the debt serving
burden of the country will
rise in the next five years,” said
Hafiz A Pasha, ex-finance
The maturity of 10-year
Eurobonds issued in FY06
($500mn) and FY07 ($750mn)
is due in FY16 and FY17.
Opiate abuse among adults rises alarmingly
he International Narcotics Control Board’s 2014 report, issued
last week, has serious warnings
for Pakistan on account of the major
growth in opiate abuse among adult
Pakistanis, alarmingly high number of
HIV-positive drug addicts and drug
Not only has the annual prevalence
of opiate abuse among adult Pakistanis grown by almost 40% during recent
years, but the number of HIV-positive
people who inject drugs in Pakistan is
estimated to be 37%.
The INCB 2014 report says: “The annual prevalence of opiate abuse among
adult Pakistanis aged 15-64 years has
grown from 0.7% in 2006 to 1% in 2013,
concurrent with increases in trafficking
of opiates via Pakistan.”
For narcotics trafficking, Pakistan
continues to be a problem for other
countries. The report says that tons
of shipments of cannabis resin is supplied to Western countries from Pakistan.
According to the INCB Report: “The
United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime indicates that while there is no
evidence of cannabis resin from Afghanistan being trafficked along the
Balkan route, there have been reports
of multi-tonne shipments of cannabis
resin being transported by sea from Pakistan directly to Western and Central
The report added that seizures of
cannabis herb increased by two thirds
in Greece from 2011 to 2012, with indications that the country may be developing into a trafficking hub for cannabis herb; a large decrease in cannabis
cultivation was seen in that country in
The report indicates that the South
Asia region, owing to its location between the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan and Pakistan) and the Golden
Triangle (Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand), continued to be particularly vulnerable to
the trafficking of opiates and heroin.
In addition, widespread trafficking
of cannabis, synthetic drugs and new
psychotropic substances persisted in
The report says that nearly 20% of
the world’s opiate abusers reside in
West Asia, as increasing production
of opium in Afghanistan has resulted
in greater abuse of opium and heroin, primarily in that country and in
neighbouring countries located along
the recently-expanding trafficking
“For example, the annual prevalence
of opiate abuse among adult Pakistanis
aged 15-64 years has grown from 0.7%
in 2006 to 1% in 2013, concurrent with
increases in trafficking of opiates via
In addition to Pakistan, UNODC estimates the current annual prevalence
of opiate abuse among adults to be
highest in Afghanistan (2.3-3%), Azerbaijan (1.3-1.7%) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (2.3%).”
It added that the spread of disease
through unsafe injecting practices,
such as the sharing of used injecting
equipment, continues to be a significant problem in several countries in
West Asia.
“The annual prevalence of opiate
abuse among adult Pakistanis
aged 15-64 years has grown
from 0.7% in 2006 to 1% in 2013,
concurrent with increases
in trafficking of opiates via
“The prevalence rates for opiate
abuse by injection among the general
population in Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Pakistan are among
the highest in the world, estimated to
be 1.5% of the adult population in those
three countries,” the report said.
It added: “Countries with a high
prevalence of opiate abuse tend to have
an elevated prevalence of people who
inject drugs and are also living with
HIV. For example, 28.8% of people
who inject drugs in South-West Asia
were estimated to be HIV-positive,
more than double the global prevalence among people who inject drugs,
which was estimated to be 13.1 per cent
in 2012. The prevalence rate for SouthWest Asia largely reflects the high prevalence of HIV-positive people among
people who inject drugs in Pakistan,
estimated to be 37.”
According to the report, trafficking of
heroin to the European Union along the
so-called “southern route” is increasing, with heroin trafficked south from
Afghanistan, via the Near and Middle
East and Africa, as well as directly from
Belgium and the Netherlands, the
report said, continue to be used for the
transit of opiates trafficked along both
the Balkan and southern routes.
For example, opiates from Afghani-
stan arrive in the United Kingdom,
mostly from Pakistan, but also via
Belgium (where seizures of heroin increased sharply in 2013) and the Netherlands. The entire heroin trafficked by
passenger aircraft to Belgium in 2013
arrived from East Africa.
Lochan Naidoo, President International Narcotics Control Board, said
in the report that in tackling the world
drug problem, all countries face shared
challenges and have a common purpose
in promoting the health and welfare of
their peoples and, together, of humankind.
To this end, he added, the international community will continue to
count on the drug control treaties,
international instruments that have
withstood the test of time and remain
relevant to addressing future challenges.
All that is required is the continued
commitment of all states to act in concert in the effective implementation of
those instruments.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
House urged to probe massive
tuition fee hike plan at varsity
By Neil Alcober
Manila Times/TNS
By Ritchie A Horario
Manila Times/TNS
epresentative Terry Ridon
of Kabataan party-list
yesterday called on the
House Committee on Higher
and Technical Education to
summon Polytechnic University
of the Philippines (PUP) President Emmanuel De Guzman to
explain the reported 1,600%
increase in tuition and other
school fees being proposed by
his administration.
Documents provided by
the Central Student Council
showed that the state-run PUP
is proposing a new schedule of
fees where incoming senior high
school (Grades 11 and 12) students for academic year 20162017 will be charged a flat rate
of P16,000 in tuition and other
school fees.
Jess Ferrera, PUP Central Student Council president, said the
new schedule of fees was approved by the PUP Executive
Committee on Sept 4, 2014 and
is now up for deliberation by
the PUP Board of Regents, the
school’s highest policy-making
De Guzman earlier denied the
reported tuition hike, explaining that the new fee schedule
reflects the breakdown of expenses per student for PUP’s
plan to absorb 10,000 high
school students under the kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-to12)
programme next school year.
Ridon expressed concern that
the new schedule of fees will
also be imposed on all PUP students in the future.
At present, a freshman pays
an average of P1,500 per semester while a high school student
in the PUP laboratory school
relief as
rates to fall
A view of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
pays an average of P1,000 per
The P12 per unit rate has remained despite numerous attempts at increasing the cost of
education in the state university.
“Congress should swiftly step
into this issue as this is already
the second time that the PUP
administration has attempted to
increase tuition rates under De
Guzman’s watch,” Ridon said.
In March 2013, the university planned to introduce a new
standardised tuition rate of
P1,500 per unit. However, PUP
students strongly opposed the
plan, forcing De Guzman to stall
and subsequently deny the proposal. The lawmaker also called
on the House panel to look into
reports that the PUP administration under De Guzman has
been systematically siphoning
off millions of pesos from the
Student Trust Fund.
All collections from PUP students for various school fees go
to the Student Trust Fund.
Ridon said he will flesh out all
allegations against De Guzman
in a House resolution he will file
this week.
The PUP student council on
Monday lambasted De Guzman
for denying the proposed tuition hike.
“Don’t insult us. You can’t
make fools out of the students,”
Jess Ferrera, PUP Central Student Council President, said.
Students held assemblies and
noise protests yesterday morning to denounce the proposed
fee increases. In the afternoon,
participants converged at the
main university gate where they
tore their registration forms
to express their resolute stand
against the 1,600% tuition hike.
The protests are held in preparation for the campus walkout
as the PUP Board of Regents
meets to discuss the proposal to
increase school fees.
“We will fight for our right to
education. We will not let the
PUP admin railroad the 1,600%
tuition increase,” Ferrera said.
onsumers are likely to
heave a sigh of relief, at
least for now, after distribution utility Manila Electric Co
(Meralco) announced yesterday,
that this month’s power rates
will go down.
Despite warmer temperatures that could lead to high
demand for electricity, Meralco
said overall rates went down by
P0.095 per kilowatt hour (kWh)
compared to February 2015 rates.
For a typical household consuming 200 kWh, this is equivalent to a decrease of around P19
in its electricity bill.
Meralco said the decrease in
power rates was caused by lower
cost of generation that resulted
from a decrease in Power Supply
Agreement (PSA) rate and other
charges such as distribution,
system loss and subsidies.
According to the utility, generation charge, or the portion
of the bill that goes to the generation companies or power producers, decreased by P0.029 per
kWh from P5.238 to P5.209.
This was driven by a 30-centavo reduction in the average
rate of Meralco’s PSAs for the
February supply month, owing
to higher dispatch of the plants
under the PSAs.
“PSAs’ share to Meralco’s total power requirements went up
from 49% to 54%,” the company
This reduction, however, was
dampened by an increase of
P1.14 per kWh in average price of
the Wholesale Electricity Spot
Market (WESM) and P0.18 per
kWh in the case of Independent
Power Producers (IPPs).
Prayer time
A woman visits Our Lady of Guadalupe Station of the Cross to pray in Buraguis, Albay, in observance of the Lenten season.
Call for investments to create
jobs and control population
By Mayvelin U Caraballo
Manila Times/TNS
Issued in Public Interest by
rivate analysts said the key to reducing poverty in the Philippines
is in the hands of the government
and must use it to unlock more inclusive growth: control the rise in population, reform government agencies and
enhance the climate for investment
that creates jobs.
Last week, the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) released by the
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
revealed that poverty incidence in the
country worsened to 25.8% in the first
half of 2014 from 24.6% a year earlier.
The government said increases in
consumer prices last year and the impact of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) raised the poverty level in the
“The equation is rather simplistic
but it tells of the story-higher prices,
stagnant wages, many jobless (people)
and an increasing population base.
If you translate all those into actual
numbers, then the tendency is really
for poverty incidence (as a percentage
of the population) to increase,” Justino
Calaycay, analyst at Accord Capital
Equities Corp, said.
Calaycay said, however, the government could still be on target in its poverty alleviation advocacy if it beefed up
its efforts in terms of population control, investment and reform.
“Then again, government should address population growth-hopefully the
Reproductive Health law will be a crucial hinge to doing so — and of course,
generate more employment through an
investment — and business-friendly
economic policy environment, including the reforms this government has
put in place,” he told Manila Times.
Meanwhile, the effect of higher prices seen in the first half of 2014 on overall poverty highlights the vulnerability
to inflation of the lives of majority of
Filipinos, according to Nicholas Antonio Mapa, associate economist at the
Bank of the Philippine Islands.
“A slight uptick in prices, especially
in the basic commodities like food,
can have a very adverse impact on the
poor,” he said.
Mapa recognised that the government has made strides in trying to alleviate poverty not just in the short term
but in the long run as well, given their
reliance on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) system. However, he said the
government must continue to improve
the provision of safety nets to ensure
that the poor and vulnerable sectors
are protected against spikes in inflation
and natural calamities.
“The government can continue its
anti-poverty programmes such as the
CCT but it must also ensure that inef-
ficient agencies, sometimes headed by
political allies, are reformed so as not
to let the most vulnerable of our citizens bear the brunt of the suffering,”
he added.On the other hand, Victor
Abola, economist at the University of
Asia and the Pacific, said that what the
country needs to do to alleviate poverty is improve irrigation systems that
will increase rice output in the country, as well as encourage expansion in
job-creating industries.“For the irrigation systems, history has already
adequately shown that if they are kept
in government hands, maintenance is
poor and non-payment of irrigation
fees become rampant,” he said.
Abola suggested that irrigation systems in the country should be turned
over to the private sector for operation
and maintenance under a public-private partnership scheme.
For job creation in industries, Abola
said the government needs to have a
more positive attitude toward business, which is the real job generator.
Currency valuation must also be improved, he added.
“It’s lack of respect for contracts and
previous biddings, especially in utilities,
tollways, etc., has discouraged investors
in general. Besides, job creation is not
that fast despite rapid growth because
of an erroneous foreign exchange policy
that allows the significant appreciation
of the peso,” he concluded.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Sirisena meets Britain’s PM
Envoy caught with
gold asked to leave
he North Korean diplomat, who was caught
with 27kg of gold at
Bangladesh’s Shahjalal International Airport, was on Monday asked to leave the country.
North Korean ambassador Ri
Song Hyon was summoned to
the Bangladeshi foreign ministry on Monday and the decision
was communicated, according
to a report.
Authorities recovered 170
gold bars, weighing 27kg, from
North Korean first secretary
Son Yung Nam at the airport
last Friday.
He was arrested, but let off
under diplomatic norms.
The accused diplomat was
asked to leave Dhaka within 72
hours. Ambassador Ri, however, informed that the diplomat had left Dhaka on Sunday
night itself.
Son was asked to leave because, according to the Vienna
Convention, he could not have
been prosecuted in a Bangladeshi court unless his government waived his diplomatic
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron meets with Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena at 10 Downing Street in London yesterday.
Court frees Tamil activist
jailed without charges
Tamil activist was freed
on conditional bail by a
Colombo court yesterday,
almost one year since her arrest.
Balendra Jeyakumari was arrested by police after a Tamil Tiger suspect was allegedly found
in her house in the north of the
country, reports Xinhua. She
was, however, never charged
over the crime.
Human rights groups in Sri
Lanka and abroad called for
her release as she was being
for Nasheed
quit over
‘biased’ trial
awyers for former Maldives
president Mohamed Nasheed have quit in protest
against what they call a biased
trial aimed at destroy his political
career, the party said yesterday.
The four-member legal team
has withdrawn from the trial
which began three days after his
February 22 arrest on charges of
terrorism, Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party said in a
statement released in Colombo.
“President Nasheed’s legal
team withdrew their counsel...
stating that inherent biases in
Nasheed’s trial mean it is impossible to mount a proper defence,”
the statement said.
The statement added that
Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader, was being denied medical attention.
He was arrested over the detention of criminal court judge
Abdullah Mohamed in 2012, when
Nasheed was still president.
The US and India have voiced concern over the charges, which carry a
jail sentence of more than 10 years.
The controversial trial comes
amid growing opposition to the
government of President Abdulla
Yameen who has denied that the
move to prosecute Nasheed was
politically motivated.
Hundreds of supporters have
been protesting in the capital island Male on a regular basis since
Nasheed’s arrest.
Nasheed resigned as the Maldives’ leader in February 2012 after a mutiny by police and troops
that followed weeks of protests
over the arrest of judge Mohamed on corruption allegations.
detained without any charges.
She cannot, however, leave the
country as part of the strict bail
conditions given to her by the
Colombo magistrate court on
Jeyakumari and her daughter
Vidushika had actively participated in several protests in the
Northern Province by families
of those who disappeared during
the dragging ethnic conflict that
ended in 2009.
Jeyakumari’s two sons were
killed in the war against the
Tamil Tigers and the third went
missing after she allegedly
handed him over to the military
in May 2009. Vidushika is her
only remaining child.
The move by the court to release Jeyakumari came a week
after the Sri Lankan government
said it had decided to review the
illegal arrests of suspects in recent years and those cleared of
charges would be set free.
Several people had been arrested by police without charges
following the end of a 30-year
war between the Tamil Tigers
and the military which ended in
May 2009.
Sri Lanka’s main Tamil Political party, the Tamil National
Alliance (TNA), had also sought
the release of the Tamil detainees as part of an agreement to
support the new government at
the last presidential elections.
will help Sri Lanka’s new government to restore democracy
and heal “fragile ethnic tensions”, a senior American official
said yesterday.
Addressing a two-day seminar in Kolkata, US Department
of State Regional Affairs’ deputy director Neil Kromash said:
“Positive developments have
taken place in Sri Lanka where
the January elections brought
a new government, overthrow-
ing a longstanding autocratic
“The US will do all it can to
support the new government in
restoring democracy and heal
fragile ethnic tensions,” he said.
Maithripala Sirisena became
Sri Lanka’s new president in
January after defeating Mahinda
Rajapakse, who had been ruling
the island nation since 2005.
The Rajapakse regime has
been accused of killing thousands of innocent Tamils during
the end stages of the ethnic conflict that ended in 2009 when
the military crushed the Tamil
The Bangladesh foreign
ministry, however, asked
the ambassador to convey to
Pyongyang that Dhaka wanted that the first secretary be
brought to justice in his own
The ambassador was also
asked to inform Bangladesh
about the actions the North
Korean government took
against the diplomat, a senior
official told
Bangladeshi authorities recovered 170 gold bars from the
diplomat’s hand baggage as he
returned to Dhaka from Singapore after what he claimed
was an “official tour”.
He, however, could not produce any document to substantiate his contention.
Smuggling gold has become
a regular phenomenon at Dhaka and Chittagong airports,
particularly in the last two
years. Some analysts attribute
it to the rising tariff in India.
Smugglers are known to use
this route to reach the Indian
market as Bangladesh and India
share a largely porous border.
However, this was the first
time that a serving diplomat
was caught with a such a large
quantity of gold.
Dhaka names second
citizen held in Libya
identified a second citizen among a group of
foreign workers taken hostage
last week by the Islamic State
militant group in an attack on
a Libyan oilfield.
Foreigners have increasingly
become targets in Libya’s turmoil, where two rival governments are battling for control
and Islamist extremists have
grown in the chaos that followed Muammar Gaddafi’s
ouster four years ago.
Up to 10 foreign workers
were missing after the attack
on the Al-Ghani oilfield south
of the city of Sirte, Czech and
Libyan officials have said.
There has been no sign of
the oil workers from Austria,
the Czech republic, Bangladesh, the Philippines and at
least one African country who
went missing, an Austrian foreign ministry spokesman said.
Bangladesh’s foreign ministry
yesterday identified the second
abducted citizen as Mohammad Anowar Hossain, a resident of Noakhali, about 165km
(103 miles) southeast of Dhaka,
the capital. He had mistakenly
been identified as a Sudanese
national with a similar name at
first, the ministry added.
“However, Anowar’s identification was confirmed by
a Bangladeshi working in a
neighboring oilfield,” it said in
a statement.
Opposition relaxes
shutdown after
cricket victory
he Khaleda Zia-led opposition
Bangladesh relaxed the
nationwide shutdown for 12
hours yesterday to celebrate
over England in the cricket
World Cup.
The announcement came
hours after Bangladesh beat
England by 15 runs at the Adelaide Oval in Australia on
Monday to reach the knockout
stages of the cricket World Cup
for the first time, bdnews24.
com reported.
The shutdown was relaxed
from 6am to 6pm yesterday
as the 20-party alliance celebrated the win, said Nazrul
Islam Khan, standing committee member of the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP), which
leads the opposition alliance in
the country.
would be taken out across
Bangladesh to mark the victory,
he added.
The indefinite countrywide
transport blockade would,
however, remain in effect, the
BNP leader said in his statement, adding that the shutdown would, however, come
into effect from 6pm on Tuesday and continue until 6am on
This is the first time that the
BNP-led alliance has decided
to relax the shutdown it has enforced since February.
The opposition coalition has
not been paying any heed to the
calls from the government to
withdraw the shutdown considering the safety of the students who are sitting for various
The BNP and its allies have
been enforcing the shutdown
only on working days, forcing
the authorities to hold the examinations on weekly holidays.
and BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s
20-party opposition alliance,
which boycotted the general
election held on January 5 last
year, has also enforced a nonstop nationwide blockade since
January 5, demanding fresh par-
Bangladesh cricket fans cheer after the national team defeated England in the International Cricket
Council (ICC) World Cup game in Dhaka on March 9.
liamentary polls under a nonparty caretaker government
More than 100 people have
been killed so far in the ensuing political violence and most
of them have been killed in fire
bomb attacks on public vehicles.
Frequent bomb blasts, arson
attacks and numerous strikes
have crippled normal life in
IMF cuts economic forecast for Bangladesh
he Bangladesh economy
will grow by about 6%,
less than previously forecast, in the year to end-June if
political violence persists, the
International Monetary Fund
said yesterday.
More than 120 people have
died since protests surged on
January 5, the first anniversary
of contested national elections. Transport blockades and
strikes, led by the main opposition party, the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party, and aimed at
toppling the government, have
disrupted business in the impoverished South Asian nation
of 160mn people.
“The economy may grow
around 6% in the current fiscal year of 2014/15 instead of
government-targeted growth
of 7.3% if current political unrest and violence continue,”
said IMF mission chief Rodrigo
The IMF visit, which began
on February 25 and ended yesterday, was to review a threeyear Extended Credit Facility,
currently worth about $890mn,
which is due to end next month.
Cubero told reporters the
unrest was taking its toll on the
economy and warned of more
economic damage if the protest
violence persists.
He said lower food prices had
eased inflation but with strong
import growth and the unrest
disrupting exports, Bangladesh’s current account was expected to swing into deficit.
“Nevertheless, foreign exchange reserves have continued to increase. Should calm
be restored and uncertainty
abate, growth should strengthen to 6.5% in the fiscal year of
2015/16,” Cubero said.
Bangladesh’s annual inflation rate rose in February, after declining since August, as
renewed unrest sent food and
non-food prices higher despite
lower global commodity prices.
Consumer prices in February rose 6.14%, up from 6.04%
a month earlier, the statistics
office said yesterday.
“There is every possibility
that inflation will climb further
due to ongoing political unrest,”
a statistics official said.
The highest economic policy-making body of the Bangladesh government has slashed
the allocation for its Annual Development Programme (ADP)
by 6.61% in the current fiscal
(July 2014-June 2015).
The ADP allocation was
slashed at a meeting of the
National Economic Council
(NEC), chaired by Prime Min-
ister Sheikh Hasina yesterday,
Xinhua news agency reported.
The NEC meeting approved
the revised ADP fund to 750bn
taka (over $9.6bn).
In the budget in June last year,
the size of the ADP for 2014-15
fiscal was set at 803.15bn taka
with power and communications sectors getting the biggest
Sources said the ADP allocations were downsized after taking
into consideration the latest accumulated spending and purchase
plan till June this year.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
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How best to keep tabs
on jets? No solution
one year after MH370
In a world where Google can track your whereabouts
and keep tabs on your shopping habits, and police use
simple mobile phone technology to pinpoint locations of
emergency calls, how can a high-tech aircraft designed to
deal with all possible emergencies just fall off the grid?
The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370
on March 8 last year has proven to be one of the most
confounding aviation mysteries in history. All that
investigators know for now is this: whoever was operating
MH370 went to great lengths to avoid being detected by
shutting off the plane’s transponder and a text-to-ground
messaging system before turning the Boeing 777-200 off its
course to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 227 passengers
and 12 crew on board.
As the needle-in-haystack search for the missing flight
is already the longest in modern commercial aviation
history, the unprecedented disaster has exposed serious
communications gaps and technology shortcomings at
35,000ft cruising altitude.
MH370 had an underwater locator beacon whose battery
had expired in December 2012, according to an interim
report on March 8. The flight was also carrying 221kg of
lithium-ion batteries that didn’t undergo the routine
security screening, the 584-page report said.
On the face of it, the solution might seem simple: extend
the use of modern technology to track airliners. A year
after MH370 disappeared
over the Indian Ocean,
however, regulators,
safety advocates and
the airline industry
can’t agree on what is
best. The US National
Transportation Safety
Board has recommended
tamper-proof devices
to transmit the
location of crashes
with enhanced flight
data for investigators.
But proposals under
consideration, at least initially, don’t include that.
With the exception of MH370, no passenger airliners
have completely disappeared since 1962. And there are few
examples to show beefed up tracking would have helped
locate wreckage, let alone prevented the crashes. It took two
years to find an Air France flight that crashed in the Atlantic
Ocean in 2009. Some airlines are now questioning whether
the first disappearance of a passenger flight in more than 50
years justifies the exorbitant cost of a technology overhaul.
There are other pressing safety issues too, for sure.
There were 72 fatal accidents killing 3,986 people on large
airliners from 2004 through 2013, according to Boeing
data. More than 80% of the deaths involved pilots losing
control, striking the ground during routine flight or botched
takeoffs and landings. And globally, 2014 could be the worst
for passenger fatalities since 2005, according to air-safety
consultants Ascend Worldwide.
“If we spend a significant amount of money for each
of the operators for tracking, is it at the expense of more
needed safety initiatives?” asked John Cox, chief executive
officer of aviation consulting company Safety Operating
Sonar-equipped submersibles have swept through more
than 26,000sq km of the ocean floor where MH370 is
believed to have crashed. So far, they have found no trace
of the wreckage. Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia,
which has been leading efforts to locate debris in some of
the deepest and most remote parts of the Indian Ocean,
said last Sunday he’s reasonably confident the plane would
eventually be found.
But for the families and friends of the missing passengers
and crew, it’s just been an agonising wait. No one knows for
sure if it will end.
Japan mulls sensitive
military normalisation
Article 9 of Japan’s
constitution, which was
adopted in 1947 under US
occupation, prohibits the
country from
maintaining armed forces
or using force to settle
international conflicts
By Jamie Metzl
New York
oon after the Islamic State’s
brutal murder in January of
the Japanese hostages Haruna
Yukawa and Kenji Goto,
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called
for the country’s “biggest reform” of
its military posture since the end of
World War II.
Abe wants Japan to become a
“normal” country again, with the
capacity to defend its interests and
citizens wherever they are threatened.
But how should his government go
about it?
Even for a Japanese public that still
generally supports their country’s
post-war pacifism, the hostage crisis
was unsettling, not least because
it highlighted Japan’s military
impotence. Unlike Jordan, which was
able to consider a rescue mission for
its own hostage and launch a powerful
military response after he was killed,
Japan’s constitution left it no options
for rescue or retaliation.
Article 9 of Japan’s constitution,
which was adopted in 1947 under US
occupation, prohibits the country
from maintaining armed forces or
using force to settle international
conflicts. Though interpretations
of Article 9 have liberalised over
the years, and Japan now maintains
a very capable self-defence force,
constitutional constraints continue
to impair Japan’s military capabilities
and posture considerably.
To be sure, Japan’s treaty alliance
with the United States provides for its
security. But the risks that Japan faces
– including an increasingly assertive
China, a nuclear North Korea and an
Islamic State that has threatened to
murder Japanese citizens abroad –
have raised legitimate questions about
whether the country needs greater
latitude to defend itself.
achievements since
the end of WWII
count for a lot
This could be achieved in several
ways. For example, Japan could simply
continue to increase the defence
budget, reinterpret the existing
constitution and strengthen collective
security; the capacity of Japanese
special forces could be expanded; or
Article 9 could be repealed altogether
by a vote in both houses of the Diet,
followed by a national referendum.
Regardless of the specific route
taken, Japan deserves to be able to
protect its territory and population,
just like any other country.
But any boost in its military
capabilities will meet strong
opposition, particularly from China
and the Koreas, which continue to
insist that Japan’s alliance with the
US provides it with all the security it
Moreover, they argue that Japan
has yet to come fully to terms with its
colonial and wartime record.
Japan has indeed benefited
enormously from US protection. But
there can be no guarantee that the
US will continue to defend Japan’s
interests indefinitely, particularly in
any clash with China.
Questions, justified or not,
about America’s ability to retain its
dominant position in Asia’s security
architecture in the medium to long
term – together with the rise of
isolationist sentiment within the US
– have spurred its regional allies and
partners, including stalwart friends
like Australia, to hedge their strategic
bets. It is only logical that Japan would
share such concerns.
Likewise, though Japan’s behaviour
before and during WWII was
undeniably atrocious, its record since
1945 – including championing the
United Nations and other multilateral
institutions and providing guidance
and assistance to developing countries
– has been exemplary.
It strains credulity to argue, as
China and North Korea have, that
a normalised Japan would threaten
regional stability any more than
China’s massive military buildup
and territorial aggression, or North
Korea’s bellicosity and nuclear
weapons, already do. In fact, it is far
more likely that a normalised Japan
would enhance regional security
by playing an important role in the
balance-of-power system that China
is steadily advancing with its unilateral
Nonetheless, if Japan chooses to
move toward military normalisation, it
must demonstrate more convincingly
that it has come to terms with its
history – or risk seeing that effort
undermined unnecessarily.
Though Japan has made significant
efforts to atone for its past – by issuing
repeated apologies, for example, and
providing development assistance
– revisionism and insensitivity
by some of its leaders lately have
revived historical tensions with its
neighbours. That should stop.
For starters, Japan’s leaders should
either forswear visits to Tokyo’s
controversial Yasukuni shrine, or find
a creative way to have the souls of
the 14 Class A war criminals that it
honours moved elsewhere.
Likewise, instead of refuting claims
about the extent of sexual slavery
during the war, Japan’s government
should build a monument in central
Tokyo – possibly even on the Imperial
Palace grounds – commemorating
the “comfort women” from Korea
and elsewhere who were forced to
provide sexual services to the Japanese
Imperial Army.
The authorities could even
establish an annual conference
to bring together world leaders to
find ways to help protect women in
conflict zones.
Finally, rather than protesting
the way Japan’s WWII activities
are described in US textbooks or
squabbling over the number of
people murdered during the Nanjing
massacre, Japan should seek to help its
own citizens understand and process
their country’s wartime record.
Other countries, particularly China,
may have strong domestic political
motives for their anti-Japanese
propaganda, but Japan’s more
sensitive treatment of its history could
at least stop adding fuel to the fire.
Japan’s achievements since the end
of WWII – including its enormous
contribution to global peace and
security – count for a lot. But, unless
Japan makes more sensitive treatment
of its history a cornerstone of its effort
to change its military posture, the past
could well become an impediment to a
more secure future. -Project Syndicate
zJamie Metzl, senior fellow of the
Atlantic Council and author of Genesis
Code, served on the US National
Security Council and in the US State
Department during the Clinton
With the
exception of
MH370, no
airliners have
since 1962
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and German Chancellor Angela Merkel bowing towards the national flags as they review honour guards before their talks at the
prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo on Monday. Merkel was on a two-day visit to Japan this week. To be sure, Japan’s treaty alliance with the United States
provides for its security. But the risks that Japan faces have raised legitimate questions about whether the country needs greater latitude to defend itself.
Franco symbols live on in Spain
By Ingrid Bazinet
our decades after the death
of dictator Francisco Franco,
Spain has not completely
turned the page on his
dictatorship as dozens of monuments
honouring his regime are still
scattered across the country.
“It would be inconceivable to see a
statue of the Fuhrer in Germany or of
Il Duce in Italy,” said Eduardo Ranz,
a 30-year-old lawyer who is leading
efforts to have the Franco symbols
“It would be like if in Germany a
victim of Nazis saw a swastika in the
streets. It’s unthinkable.”
But in the Spanish city of Melilla,
bordering Morocco, a bronze statue
of the dictator who ruled Spain
with an iron fist from the end of the
country’s Civil War in 1939 and his
death in November 1975 is still on
Ranz filed a lawsuit on February 11
to demand that 38 mayors from across
the country remove the 86 symbols of
the Franco dictatorship that are still on
display at their public spaces.
That date marks the anniversary of
the proclamation of the First Spanish
Republic in 1873.
The mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella,
wife of former conservative prime
minister Jose Maria Aznar, is among
those targeted by the lawsuit.
Just over 113,000
civilians disappeared
during Spain’s civil
Another lawsuit is to be filed
on April 14, the anniversary of the
proclamation of the Second Spanish
Republic in 1931, targeting Franco
symbols linked to religious schools
and Spain’s Catholic Church, which
was close to the dictatorship.
“The goal is to restore dignity to the
victims of the Franco regime, to stop
us from being humiliated as a country,
to improve our history as a nation and
homeland, and respect the law,” said Ranz.
He was referring to a 2007 law that
mandates removal of all remaining
Franco symbols from public buildings,
with some exceptions allowed for
works of particular religious or artistic
There have been other lawsuits
against Franco-era symbols but this
is the first time that so many mayors
have been targeted at once, said Ranz.
After Franco died in 1975, Spain’s
transition to democracy included an
agreement among political parties to
put the war and the Franco era behind
them in the interest of unity and
Both sides in the conflict - Franco’s
Nationalists and the Republicans of
the leftist government he ousted committed atrocities but under a 1977
amnesty, no war crimes trials were
Addressing this dark chapter of
Spanish history has been largely taboo.
“We have arrived at the paradoxical
situation of seeing victims of the
Franco era pay with their taxes for
the upkeep of the dictator’s tomb,”
said Emilio Silva, the founder and
president of the Association for
the Recovery of Historical Memory
(ARMH), which represents victims of
“This does not happen in any other
democratic country in the world,”
added Silva, whose grandfather was
shot by Franco’s forces in 1936 near
Leon in northwestern Spain.
Silva was referring to the Valley of
the Fallen, a huge mausoleum to the
late dictator just outside of Madrid
that was built largely by prisoners
drawn from the forces Franco had
defeated in the civil war.
The 50m high Victory Arch
of Madrid, built in the 1950s to
commemorate the victory of Franco’s
forces, is another disturbing leftover
from the regime, said Silva.
“It is located 800m from the official
residence of the prime minister and
none of them in these 40 years has
taken steps to remove it or change its
meaning,” he said.
“It is public recognition for people
who participated in the assassination
of 100,000 civilians,” he added.
Just over 113,000 civilians
disappeared during Spain’s civil war
and the early years of the Franco
dictatorship that followed, according
to Silva’s association.
Of these only the remains of around
6,000 victims of Franco’s forces have
been found, mainly in mass graves,
and given a proper burial, Silva said.
Other Franco-era symbols that
remain in Madrid include a plaque in
the Royal Palace of El Pardo where
Franco lived and two stone shields in
the Palace of the Holy Cross, home to
Spain’s foreign ministry.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
A year of global action on gender equality
No society can develop –
economically, politically, or
socially – when half of its
population is marginalised
By Mary Robinson, Christiana
Figueres, and Amina J Mohammed
New York
wenty years ago, the adoption
by 189 governments of the
Beijing Declaration and
Platform for Action marked
a turning point in the history of
women’s rights. This progressive
blueprint remains a powerful source of
inspiration in the effort to realise equal
opportunities for women and girls.
But while much progress has been
made in the intervening decades,
much more remains to be done to
ensure that women and children are
guaranteed healthy lives, education
and full social inclusion. In just
42 countries do women hold more
than 30% of seats in the national
legislature, and girls still do not have
the same educational opportunities as
boys in Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania
and western Asia.
Gender equality is not just the
concern of half of the world’s
population; it is a human right,
a concern for us all, because no
society can develop – economically,
politically, or socially – when half of
its population is marginalised. We
must leave no one behind.
This is a year of global action.
Governments will adopt a new set
of Sustainable Development Goals,
work together to draft a meaningful
climate agreement and craft a
framework to provide the financial
resources needed to deliver on a global
sustainable development agenda.
Those participating would be wise to
remember that inclusive sustainable
development can be realised only
when all human rights – including
Women taking part in a parade marking International Women’s Day in Paris on March 8. The implications of not providing girls with equal voices, choices and
opportunities affect not just their lives, but the future of the planet.
gender equality – are protected,
respected and fulfilled.
The three of us – each from
different continents – support
these international processes. We
share a common motivation for our
work: protecting our planet for our
children and grandchildren and
ensuring the development of a world
where all people – regardless of their
gender, race, religion, age, disability,
or sexual orientation – have an
equal opportunity to achieve their
It is critical that we continue
to engage men and boys actively
in the fight against gender-based
discrimination and violence. We have
an opportunity to secure a better
future and raise a new generation
of girls and boys who respect one
another and work together to protect
the rights of all people.
The implications of not providing
girls with equal voices, choices
and opportunities affect not
just their lives, but the future of
the planet. Efforts to promote
inclusive sustainable development
and fight climate change are
inextricably linked. If we care about
development, we must care about
the consequences our greenhousegas emissions are having around the
world. And if we do not take urgent
action, we will irreparably damage
the natural systems on which life
This is not a threat that we can
set aside until we have eradicated
poverty worldwide. Nor is it a
problem that we can leave to
future generations to address. Left
unchecked, climate change – along
with other unsustainable patterns of
development – could wipe out the
gains of recent decades. All countries
– developed and developing – have a
role to play in ensuring a stable world
for our children.
Women are among those most
vulnerable to the impacts of
unsustainable practices and climate
change, because they often have no
independent income or land rights.
In many countries, women are
responsible for the provision of water
and food for their families. And when
the usual sources of these resources
are disrupted, women are forced to
travel farther and spend more time
working for less return. Scarcity
requires them to make difficult choices
like pulling children out of school or
deciding which family member can
afford to skip a meal.
In many homes around the world,
women are at the heart of the
household’s nexus of water, food,
and energy – and thus often know
firsthand about the challenges and
potential solutions in these areas.
In our conversations with women
around the world, we hear about
their struggles, but also their ideas,
many of which, if applied, could
facilitate change. Women are the most
convincing advocates for the solutions
that they need, so they should be at
the forefront of decision-making on
sustainable development and climatechange mitigation.
Over the coming weeks, during the
59th session of the Commission on
the Status of Women in New York,
the international community will
take stock of the progress that has
been made toward achieving what
was pledged 20 years ago in Beijing
and assess where more efforts are
This year will be crucial. With
the Financing for Development
conference in July, the Special Summit
on Sustainable Development Goals
in September, and the UN Climate
Change Conference in December,
we have the opportunity to integrate
gender equality and women’s
empowerment fully into the effort to
promote sustainable development and
fight climate change.
The three of us wake up every
morning thinking about how to make
this happen. Everyone should. We call
on all women and men to join us in
making their voices heard loudly and
in seizing this opportunity for a just
and equitable future for all.- Project
zMary Robinson, a former president
of Ireland and UN high commissioner
for human rights, is president of
the Mary Robinson Foundation and
the UN secretary-general’s special
envoy on climate change. Christiana
Figueres is executive secretary of the
UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change. Amina J Mohammed is the
UN secretary-general’s special adviser
and has served as assistant-secretarygeneral on Post-2015 Development
Planning since 2012.
Weather report
Three-day forecast
The MH370 flight
mystery lingers
Dear Sir,
The greatest aviation mystery
continues to baffle the world, one
year on. Malaysia Airlines flight
MH370 vanished a year ago, without
any trace. The interim 584-page
report issued by the Malaysia
ministry of transportation offers no
explanation on the fate of this tragic
MH370 left the Kuala Lumpur
International Airport at 12.41am on
March 8 with 227 passengers and an
all-Malaysian crew of 12. The plane
was supposed to land in Beijing at
6.30am the same day but it never
It is known that some Boeing 777
aircraft have suffered from potential
weakness in the fuselage section.
This was identified by the US Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) four
months before the disappearance
of MH370 which was a Boeing 777.
An FAA directive had warned of a
potential weak spot which could lead
to the “loss of structural integrity
of the aircraft”. This could lead
to a situation where the fuselage
was affected, leading to rapid
An inspection on a particular 777
revealed a 16-inch crack under the
crown skin of the fuselage. The plane
was 14 years old with approximately
14,000 total flight cycles. On 42 other
777’s that were between six and 16
years old also, local corrosion was
It is possible that a slow
decompression from a small hole
could have gradually impaired and
confused the pilots before cabin
pressure warnings were sounded. This
scenario explains why another pilot
some 30 minutes ahead of MH370
heard mumbling and static sound from
the MH370 pilots when he tried to
contact them.
The interim report rules out a
possible battery fire. But lithium-ion
batteries have caused 140 mid-air
incidents in the last 20 years. One
cargo plane crashed in 2010 after
attempting an emergency landing. The
safety report said the battery caught
fire and filled the flight deck with
A self-extinguishing fire probably
could have overcome the crew and
passengers of MH370, which allowed
the plane to fly on auto pilot for five
hours. A self-sustaining fire would
have broken up the aircraft.
These are all speculations, however.
The truth will emerge only when
MH370 is found. Let there be no
doubt, this plane will be found. If not
today, tomorrow.
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Fishermen’s forecast
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to editing, should have the
name of the writer, address
and phone number. The
writer’s name and address
may be withheld by request.
Farouk Araie
[email protected]
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Problem is not storage, but management
By Oliver Burkeman
New York
nformation: there’s a lot of
it about. In his new book The
Organised Mind, psychologist
Daniel Levitin notes that we
consume five times as much as we did
in 1986.
He also puts it like this: if you took
one person’s share of all the humancreated information in the world,
wrote each byte of it on an index card
and spread them out, you’d blanket
Massachusetts and Connecticut.
(Don’t actually do this – you’d cause
But then he drops his bombshell:
we’re not really suffering from
“information overload” at all. Your
brain is incredible at storing data;
some neuroscientists believe almost
everything you’ve ever experienced is
in there somewhere. Which is a relief.
I don’t need to worry that my ability
to recall the lyrics to Joseph And The
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in
their entirety means I’m using up
space needed for something else.
But that’s little solace if it feels like
you’re drowning in e-mails and to-do
lists. Levitin agrees we have a problem
– just not one of storage, but retrieval
and management.
The challenge is recalling the right
stuff at the right time, while not
being distracted by the rest. And it’s
getting worse: “The information age
has offloaded a great deal of the work
previously done by people we could
call information specialists on to all
the rest of us.”
Travel agents, salespeople and
typing pools have been replaced by…
well, you, whose job it is to find flights,
figure out which fridge to buy, and
answer e-mails. This distinction –
between an overload problem and an
information management problem
– matters, because each entails a
different solution.
It’s not that we need to limit the
information we consume (by quitting
social media, taking digital sabbaths,
for instance) but that we need better
systems for organising it.
The trick, says Levitin, is to
“shift the burden of organising from
our brains to the external world”.
Presidents and celebrities employ
people to “narrow the attentional
filter”, making sure they only see the
stuff they need to see. But if you can’t
afford an entourage, use the physical
environment instead.
Levitin’s specific tips might not blow
your mind. One is to leave items you
need to take to work on the doormat, so
you’ll see them on leaving; another is to
keep stacks of index cards for stray ideas
and to-dos, then designate a time to
gather and process them.
A third is Oliver Sacks’ trick
of working on different writing
projects in different rooms, even
different computers. (Merely having
the opportunity to multitask is
distracting, some experts suggest,
even if you don’t succumb.) These
aren’t revolutionary.
Yet it’s intriguing to think of
them not as one-off fixes for
absent-mindedness but part of a
comprehensive plan to structure how
information flows through your life.
We’re called upon, in short, to
be “information architects”: not to
retreat from technology but to realise
that “technology” means more than
iPads and inboxes; it means adapting
the world beyond your body to serve
your goals. It’s not that there’s too
much information to keep track of, but
that you need to design better tracks.Guardian News and Media
Around the world
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Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Internet use has grown among Qatari women: survey
s many as 80% of participants of a recent online
survey, State of the Net
2014, conducted in Qatar said
they spend three hours or more
per day on the Internet, as compared to 78% last year.
Internet usage has grown significantly among Qatari women,
with 91% of Qatari female respondents specifying that they
spend three or more hours per
day on the Internet, a substantial
increase from 69% in 2013.
While home computers still lead
in the field of device preference, it
did experience a decline in usage of
3% points from 2013, while smart-
phones grew 14% points, equalising home computers at 78%. “This
tendency may suggest that by the
end of 2016, or perhaps even sooner, smartphones will take the lead
as the preferred device to access the
Internet in Qatar,” observed Hussein Fakhri, CEO of TripleTwo, the
advertising and communications
agency that conducted the survey.
91% of Qatari female
respondents said they
spend three or more hours
per day on the Internet
While Facebook is still the
most popular social media chan-
Transport Minister
attends GCC Traffic
Week celebrations
E the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed
al-Sulaiti was among the
prominent visitors on Monday at
the exhibition held as part of the
GCC Traffic Week celebrations.
Besides touring the pavilions
at the exhibition, HE the Minister also appreciated the efforts
of the organisers in spreading the
message of safety driving among
the country’s road users and
HE al-Sulaiti hoped that road
users, in particular children, would
learn considerably about issues
such as the safety and security of
road travellers, which are prominently themed at the exhibition.
school students visited the expo
at Darb Al Saai, the main venue
of the celebrations. More than
1,800 students from 40 schools
toured the pavilions on the first
day and the response was equally
encouraging yesterday as well.
Students were also provided
with opportunities to take part
in games, entertainment and
other competitions held as part
of the exhibition.
While expressing happiness
at the expo, Ft Lt Abdullah bin
Aboobacker al-Dahab, head
of the delegation from Oman,
lauded the event’s conduct. He
said the annual traffic week in
the GCC states have played a
key role in raising awareness
among the people and reducing
traffic incidents.
An all-woman delegation led
by Capt Hind al-Zawadi has arrived from Bahrain. It is understood that it is the first time the
neighbouring state is sending a
team consisting only of women.
The UAE team leader, Maj
Khalfan Saeed al-Naqbi, said the
annual traffic week has helped a
lot in sharing and exchanging the
experiences between member
countries to access top-level security measures on roads. He said
besides helping prepare statistics
and strategies on traffic-related
issues, the event has also helped
the authorities understand the
initiatives that each other has
made to reduce road accidents.
In partnership with Abdullah Abdulghani & Bros Co, the
distributors of Toyota vehicles,
HE the Transport Minister Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti and others at one of the pavilions at the exhibition.
nel, the findings show a decline in
its usage from 91% of respondents in 2013 to 82% in 2014.
“This might be due to the fact
that just 38% of Qatari participants use Facebook, while Instagram and Whatsapp are their top
choices, followed by Twitter and
Snapchat,” Fakhri explained.
There are two surprise findings
from this year’s survey. Firstly,
the quick rise in the popularity of
Snapchat, a relativity new video
communication channel, particularly among Qataris, which has
grown up to 54% in usage.
Secondly, cinema has also increased in popularity with 30%
of Qatari respondents answering that they go to cinema every
week, while 55% Qataris do so at
least once a month.
Another key finding is the increase of Internet shopping in Qatar with almost 50% of respondents
indicating they have bought online,
which is a 12% growth from 2013.
Mowasalat showcases
training tools, equipment
owasalat has showcased
some of its training
tools and equipment at
an exhibition being held as part
of the GCC Traffic Week celebrations at Darb Al Saai grounds.
The expo held under the theme
“Your decision determines your
destiny” has attracted the participation of a number of government departments.
In a statement yesterday,
Mowasalat said the company’s
participation in the event is
with the main aim of creating
more awareness among people
on safety and protection of their
lives on the country’s roads.
Mowasalat, it said, aims to
motivate the public to be careful
while driving and the company
wants to deliver through its simulators a practical professional
experience that enhances trainees’ alertness and attention.
The Karwa driving school of
the company is equipped with
training tools, including the
seatbelt convincer, rollover simulator, correct head positioning
Mowasalat CEO Khalid al-Hail explains the functioning of one of
the equipment to a guest as director-general of Traffic Brigadier
Mohamed Saad al-Kharji looks on.
equipment and special glasses
that warn drivers against vision
obstacles. All these are showcased at the expo as well.
Specialised trainers are available to explain to the public the
functioning of each equipment.
Mowasalat has also showcased a model school bus. It
is equipped with security and
safety features, which occupants (students) need to follow.
Further, Mowasalat is distributing brochures and leaflets of
traffic guidelines and related
The transport company has
also showcased its achievements
in the areas of training, driving
and public transportation.
Jaidah Automotive launches new
traffic safety awareness campaign
Elderly motorists who were honoured on the occasion.
the organisers also honoured
“the country’s best drivers”.
AAB are the golden sponsors of
the celebrations.
The honouring ceremony was
held under the aegis of the General Directorate of Traffic, which
felicitated five drivers who have
no history of accidents or traffic
violations. AAB official Hisham
Mohamed Ismail said the campaign to honour accident-free
drivers would continue for the
next nine weeks and a total of 45
drivers would be honoured.
Schoolchildren at the Traffic Week celebrations.
aidah Automotive - the exclusive dealer of Chevrolet
vehicles in Qatar, along with
the Traffic Department, has announced the launch of a yearlong
road safety campaign at the ongoing GCC Traffic Week.
Jaidah Automotive has also
gifted the Traffic Department
two Chevrolets - a Tahoe and an
Impala - which are to be branded
by the department.
The campaign, titled “Why
Risk It”, is designed to take a new,
fresh approach in an effort to
spread awareness among drivers and pedestrians in Qatar, according to a statement.
Mohamed Jaidah, Group executive director of Jaidah Group,
said: “We’re excited to launch
such a worthy campaign with an
original and fresh twist. We’d like
to thank Qatar’s Traffic Department for implementing the campaign; their support is essential
in helping us fulfil our objective
of creating safer roads in Qatar.
“We hope that the new Tahoe
and Impala will convey a new
attitude and approach when it
comes to safety importance on
the road.”
The positive tone is reflected in
the main mascots of the campaign,
Officials at the launch of the campaign.
where each character is inspired by
one of the three traffic light colours
- red, orange and green. With each
colour intended to represent a set
of skills and personality traits, the
campaign aims to deliver categorised safety messages to the public,
the statement adds.
The campaign will place the
mascots along busy main roads
around the city, depicting them
as going on adventures while
highlighting various safety messages in a humorous and playful
manner. The categorised messages that will tackle safety issues
include pedestrian safety, use of
the mobile phone while driving,
speeding ramifications and the
importance of safety belts.
Jaidah Automotive hopes that
the new campaign approach will
be effective in reaching out to a
wider audience and raise awareness among the country’s youth.
A special booth has been set
up for the Traffic Week at Darb Al
Saai to promote the campaign’s
debut. The booth includes a
range of entertaining and educational activities for children and
adults alike.
‘Create, collaborate and ensure local relevance’
reating content for the Arab
world might not have a one-sizefits-all formula, but industry experts at a special session of the Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q)
Qatar Media Industries Forum held at
Qumra offered a practical “to-do” list to
meet the demand for regional content.
Their recommendations can be
summed up in five key tasks, which
are relevant as much for emerging entertainment content creators as for industry stakeholders. These are - create
more content, collaborate to improve
quality, polish your storytelling, ensure
local relevance and build alternative
spaces for content appreciation.
Addressing the audience, Doha Film
Institute (DFI) CEO Fatma al-Remaihi
said: “The entertainment industries in
the Arab region are at various stages of
development – some countries have
established healthy local industries
while others, like Qatar, are still in their
infancy. We believe that it is vital to
understand the beliefs and opinions of
people in the region in order to accurately inform all those who play a part
in paving the way ahead. That is why
we partnered with Northwestern University in Qatar last year to undertake
the Entertainment Media Use Survey,
a first-of-its-kind study for our region.
“By coming together through gatherings like Qumra, we are able to continue
the dialogue around content for and
about the Arab world. I thank our colleagues at NU-Q for their ongoing partnership and commitment to the development of the film and media industries.”
Welcoming the audience, Mary
Dedinsky, director of the Journalism
Programme and associate professor in
residence at NU-Q, said: “A core part
of our mission is to produce research
that provides a better understanding of
the region’s media consumers, creators
and the industry as a whole. A good example of that research is the study discussed at our panel.”
Introducing the session, moderator Joe Khalil, associate professor in
residence at NU-Q, highlighted the key
findings of a six-nation survey across
the Middle East and North Africa region
on Entertainment Media Use in the Middle East conducted by NU-Q and DFI.
He pointed out that “two-thirds of the
respondents prefer to watch films that
portray their own culture and would like
more entertainment to be based on their
culture and history”, and sought the expert view on why the industry falls short
in meeting the people’s aspirations.
DFI CEO Fatma al-Remaihi addressing
the special session.
“People aren’t putting up (content),”
observed Khalifa al-Haroon, founder of
the iLoveQatar Network. “They are not
making it; maybe they do not have the
confidence.” His advice, therefore, was
to just “put it up” and people would
watch. His own experience of creating
YouTube content about “Qatari culture
for expats in English” has gained over
1mn hits with just 38 episodes. But the
key, he said, “is to create locally relevant content”.
The view was reiterated by Mohamed
Makki, director and showrunner of the
(From left) Selim El Azar, Mohamed Makki and Fadi Ismail at the session.
“Takki” series, who said: “Today’s audience is smart and to reach them, do
not seek what they want but start from
inside. Write where it hurts; what is bad
for the heart is good for art.”
Makki also attributed his success in
finding an “alternative space” to take
his content to the people.
Creating alternative spaces is what
Hania Mroue, director of Metropolis
Cinema, does. About 10 years ago, realising the demand for indie and arthouse
films, Metropolis was set up as an alternative venue. But it is a long road to
take, she explained.
Fadi Ismail, general manager of O3
Productions (MBC Group), pointed
out that television continues to be the
mass media leader, and in this space,
dramas and films dominate. He said
there is a profusion of local content and
“the worst Arabic drama series will get
higher ratings than the best US series”,
but the challenge lies in the quality of
the productions.
Selim El Azar, CEO of Qatar-based
distributor Gulf Film, said ultimately
it all comes down to “storytelling.” He
explained that despite speaking one
language, the Arab entertainment market is fragmented led by cultural sensitivities and viewer preference for the
dialect used. What works in one market, therefore, does not have acceptance in another.
Ismail added that the region faces a
deficit in creative storytelling because
there is less collaboration. “Collaboration is the most important thing. The
content creation industry in the Arab
world is chaotic and the practical way
for storytelling to develop is through
writing rooms.”
Now in its sixth edition, the NU-Q
Qatar Media Industries Forum is a biannual gathering of industry leaders. On
April 15, NU-Q will release findings from
the 2015 edition of their annual media use
survey, which will place special emphasis
on news, information and social media.
Qumra, a new event by DFI, concludes today.
NEW RULES | Page 4
ASIA PUSH | Page 18
Japan’s banks
venture into
Islamic finance
Credit Suisse
nets Prudential’s
Thiam as CEO
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Jumada I 20, 1436 AH
Qatar to establish
first yuan clearing
and settling centre
in the Middle East
Ooredoo posts QR2.1bn 2014 profit
Board of directors recommends
cash dividend of 40% of nominal
share value; translates into
QR4 per share; recommendation
to be placed before general
assembly for approval
riven by higher data revenue,
Ooredoo Group has posted a
net profit of QR2.1bn in 2014,
a year that also saw the company’s
customer base touch 107mn.
The net profit, however, was down
17% compared to QR2.5bn in 2013.
Earnings per share (EPS) stood at
QR6.66 in 2014 compared with
QR8.05 in 2013.
The results announced last
night showed last year’s data revenue represented 25% of the group
revenue, driven by Ooredoo’s
strategy to increase smartphone
penetration, deliver innovative
new bundles and data offers for
The growth in Ooredoo’s global
customer base to 107mn, up 12% on
2013 was driven by its markets in In-
donesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Myanmar and
Ooredoo Qatar’s net profit for
2014 jumped 40% to QR1.9bn due
to higher EBITDA and sale of investments.
Ooredoo Qatar continued to pursue an “ambitious” programme of
network enhancement, becoming
the first operator in the group to
launch 4G in December 2014, offering speeds of up to 225 Mbps, almost
double the average 4G speed.
In addition, Ooredoo Qatar had
more than 200,000 fibre customers by December 2014 and undertook a fibre speed upgrade programme. By offering the biggest,
fastest fixed and mobile networks,
supported by a diverse range of
“smart” prepaid and postpaid
services, Ooredoo Qatar is able to
meet the nation’s rising demand
for data services and protect its
market- leading position.
Ooredoo said its strategy to become a data-centric business made
significant progress following the
investment the business has made
in its broadband networks and data
infrastructure to drive smartphone
Ooredoo now has 4G deployed
across five out of its nine markets.
Algeria, Iraq, Qatar and Tunisia
are all markets where Ooredoo is
the market leader in data customer
Ooredoo invested in technology modernisation across its global
footprint during the year to enhance
its customers’ experience and to create cost synergies.
Commenting on the results Ooredoo Group chairman HE Sheikh
Abdulla bin Mohamed bin Saud
al-Thani said, “Ooredoo is rapidly
positioning itself at the heart of
the digital future of our customers.
Mobile infrastructure is an essential enabler of a country’s economic
prosperity, particularly in developing markets.
“Our financial results for 2014,
despite the challenges we have faced
in some of our markets, demonstrate
how Ooredoo is increasingly playing
its role in supporting the economic
growth in our markets. Our networks, services and investments into
new growth opportunities in Myanmar and next generation networks in
Iraq, Qatar and Algeria all demonstrate the transformative power of
Ooredoo for our customers and their
communities. These investments
into new technologies and future
business will ultimately benefit our
shareholders as well.”
Group CEO Dr Nasser Marafih
said, “Ooredoo made significant
progress against its strategy during
2014 despite facing sustained, high
levels of competition, adverse currency movements and the current
security situation in Iraq.
“We continue to invest in our infrastructure to target market leadership by offering the best network
experience. Data revenue continues
to grow and now represents a quarter of Group revenue. The acceleration of our strategy execution during
2014 puts Ooredoo in a good position to generate and capture value
for our shareholders and our more
than 107mn customers.”
Ooredoo Qatar has continued to pursue an “ambitious” programme of
network enhancement, becoming the first operator in the group to launch
4G+ in December 2014, offering speeds of up to 225 Mbps, almost double the
average 4G speed
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Gulf markets remain sluggish
Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt stalled
yesterday after rising for three days in a row, while
most Gulf bourses remained sluggish and banks
dragged down Oman as its central bank advised
several lenders to reduce cash dividends.
The main Saudi benchmark slipped 0.1% to 9,613
points after meeting strong technical resistance
near the 200-day average of 9,662 points.
Telecommunications firm Mobily dropped 4%
after surging 21% in the previous three sessions on
hopes that it would recover following a shock 2014
earnings revision.
The petrochemicals sector fell 0.6% as Brent crude
dipped 1.7% to $57.51 per barrel and the oil market
remained hobbled by oversupply and weak
Saudi International Petrochemical Co
(Sipchem) fell 0.8% after specialist news agency
Polymerupdate reported, citing a source, that the
firm’s methanol plant was operating at 80% of
production capacity.
Saudi British Bank, which will register shareholders
for a dividend payout tomorrow, edged up 0.5%.
Alinma Bank, which has gone ex-dividend, fell
Dubai’s index was flat as most stocks gained but
heavyweight Dubai Islamic Bank tumbled 5.9%;
its shares no longer carried the 0.40 dirham 2014
Union Properties surged 5.9% after proposing
a 3%, or 0.03 dirham per share, cash dividend
and a 5% bonus share issue for 2014. It would be
the company’s first cash dividend since 2002,
according to Thomson Reuters data. Union
Properties last issued bonus shares for 2013, a 5%
Islamic insurer Takaful Emarat surged 14.2% on its
highest trading volume in more than a year after
the firm said on Monday its board had decided
to “discuss the decision on profit dividend during
the annual general meeting” to be called soon,
although it made no concrete proposal for a
Takaful Emarat has never paid dividends since
listing in 2008, according to Thomson Reuters
data, and 2014 was its first profitable year.
Abu Dhabi fell 1.4% because of large lenders Abu
Dhabi Commercial Bank and First Gulf Bank which
dropped 4% and 3.8% respectively.
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company dropped
2.7%. The firm is due to report fourth-quarter
earnings this month and its profit is likely to take a
hit from oil’s plunge late last year.
Qatar’s benchmark edged up 0.2% and Ezdan
Holding was the main support. The firm said
yesterday its shareholders had approved a
decision to treat investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as locals, meaning
that the 49% limit on foreign ownership in the
company will no longer apply to them.
Property firm United Development dropped 4.1%
as it went ex-dividend.
Oman’s bourse fell 0.9% as most banking stocks
declined. National Bank of Oman and Bank Muscat
fell 3.4% and 2% respectively, while Bank Sohar
lost 2.4%.
Sohar and non-banking financial firm Taageer
Finance Co said this week that they had reduced
proposed cash dividends for 2014 on the advice
of the central bank. After yesterday’s close, Bank
Dhofar also said it had cut its proposed cash
dividend for 2014 to 5% from 10% based on the
recommendation of the central bank.
The bank did not explain the reasoning behind the
recommendation, but said it would increase its
bonus share issue to 15% from 10%. Oman’s central
bank has not released a statement on its policy
towards dividends but it may be concerned that
low oil prices and the government’s budget deficit
could start to tighten banking system liquidity
later this year, making it important for banks to
keep cash reserves.
Egypt’s market closed nearly flat after gaining 2.7%
in the previous three sessions. Most stocks pulled
back and Telecom Egypt dropped 4.4%, having
reported a 31.4% slump in profit for 2014.
But property developer SODIC edged up 0.1%
after announcing it had acquired 100 feddans (42
hectares) of land on the country’s Mediterranean
north coast to build the company’s first coastal
Arabian Cement climbed 0.8% after posting a 58%
increase in fourth-quarter profit on Monday.
An Omani investor follows share values at the
stock exchange in Muscat. Oman’s bourse fell
0.9% yesterday as most banking stocks declined.
Qatar bourse gains
on realty, telecom
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
eal estate and telecom stocks yesterday
propelled the Qatar Stock Exchange
in higher trajectory with its key index
inching near the 12,300 mark yesterday.
Domestic institutions’ net buying support lifted the 20-stock Qatar Index (based
on price data) for the fourth consecutive session by 0.23% to 12,264.38 points amid lower
trade volumes.
The index that tracks Shariah-principled
stocks was seen gaining faster than the other indices in the bourse, which is, however,
down 0.17% year-to-date.
However, selling pressure was seen strong
among foreign retail investors and institutions in the market, where realty, banking and
telecom stocks together cornered more than
71% of the total trading volume.
Market capitalisation expanded 0.3% or
QR2bn to QR665.48bn with large and small
cap equities gaining 0.31% and 0.27%; even
as micro and mid caps were down 0.33% and
0.12% respectively.
The Total Return Index rose 0.35% to
18,778.48 points, All Share Index by 0.32% to
3,238.06 points and Al Rayan Islamic Index
by 0.47% to 4,428.19 points.
Realty stocks surged 1%, telecom (0.86%),
industrials (0.27%), transport (0.22%),
banks and financial services (0.21%) and
consumer goods (0.17%); while insurance
fell 0.75%
About 74% of the stocks extended gains
with major movers being QNB, Mazaya Qatar, Barwa, Ezdan, Vodafone Qatar, Mesaieed
Petrochemical Holding, Commercial Bank,
Masraf Al Rayan and Milaha, while Qatar
Islamic Bank, Dlala, Salam International Investment and United Development Company
bucked the trend.
Domestic institutions turned net buyers to
the extent of QR36.72mn against net sellers of
QR11.8mn the previous day.
Qatari retail investors’ net buying fell
to QR2.93mn compared to QR24.73mn on
March 9.
Non-Qatari individual investors’ net sell-
An investor monitors share prices at the Qatar Stock Exchange. The 20-stock Qatar Index rose
0.23% to 12,264.38 points yesterday on domestic institutions’ buying support
ing surged to QR22.27mn against QR7.71mn
on Monday. Foreign institutions’ net profit
booking strengthened to QR17.37mn compared to QR5.18mn the previous day.
Total trade volume was down 6% to 9.5mn
shares, value by 12% to QR418.67mn and
transactions by 11% to 4,702.
The market saw 78% plunge in the insurance
sector’s trade volume to 0.09mn stocks, 69% in
value to QR7.46mn and 76% in deals to 70.
The transport sector’s trade volume plummeted 46% to 0.25mn equities but value rose
42% to QR23.47mn. Transactions fell 51% to
There was 22% shrinkage in the real estate’s
trade volume to 2.99mn shares, 32% in value
to QR104.93mn and 18% in deals to 1,028.
The banks and financial services sector’s
trade volume tanked 4% to 2.18mn stocks but
value rose 10% to QR133.92mn. Transactions
were down 14% to 1,187.
However, the telecom sector’s trade volume shot up 40% to 1.6mn equities, value by
33% to QR35.1mn and deals by 16% to 741.
The market witnessed 23% surge in the
consumer goods sector’s trade volume to
0.96mn shares but on 23% fall in value to
QR26.88mn and 10% in transactions to 407.
The industrials sector saw its trade volume
soar 15% to 1.42mn stocks, while value lost
12% to QR86.91mn but deals gained 13% to
In the debt market, there was no trading of
treasury bills and government bonds.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Nakilat shareholders approve 12% cash dividend
Nakilat shareholders yesterday approved the 12% cash dividend and net profit of QR895mn for 2014 at the annual general assembly. “The expansion and consolidation of our shipping activities have been major achievements for Nakilat in 2014,”
managing director Abdullah Fadhalah al-Sulaiti said in the presence of chairman and Energy Minister HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada and other board members. Nakilat outlined its liquefied natural gas vessels at 61 by mid 2015. Nakilat Daman
Shipyard Qatar also finalised the delivery of 19 new-build vessels to Milaha and delivered two new workboats as part of a seven-vessel order, and continues to work on the construction of the first two superyachts ever to be built in Qatar.
Bank Asya swings to $336mn net loss in 2014
urkish Islamic lender
Bank Asya, whose management was taken over
by regulators earlier this year,
swung to a net loss of 877mn
lira ($336mn) in 2014 on
shrinking loans and deposits.
The bank, in which Turkish banking regulators seized
a small stake last week over
an alleged illegal share sale,
had reported a net profit of
180.6mn lira in 2013.
amounted to 1.45bn lira in
2014, almost half of which
came in the final quarter, the
bank said. Bank Asya wrote off
943mn worth of loans in 2014.
Loans and deposits con-
tracted 24% and 12% respectively in the fourth quarter.
Bank Asya was founded by
followers of cleric Fethullah Gulen. It has been caught
in the crossfire after President Tayyip Erdogan ramped
up efforts to wipe out Gulen’s
movement, which he accuses
of plotting to force him from
Depositors in Bank Asya, including state-owned firms and
institutions, last year withdrew several billion lira from
the lender, amounting to about
20% of its deposits, according
to media reports.
Regulators last month took
over the management after the
government said it had failed
to meet some legal criteria.
The banking watchdog said
last week that Turkey’s Sav-
ings Deposit Insurance Fund
had seized preferred shares in
Bank Asya held by a publishing
company and a construction
firm, citing irregularities in
the sale of their parent company, Kaynak Holding, to a Dutch
firm in January.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Morocco lures Shariah cash with first full-fledged bank plan
Morocco is poised to have its first full-fledged
Islamic bank as early as September as the only
North African country rated investment grade
seeks to tap the $1.8tn industry.
Dar Assafaa, an affiliate of the country’s largest
lender AttijariWafa Bank, will probably become
the nation’s first wholly Shariah-compliant
financial institution when the central bank
approves its switch, according to the Moroccan
Association of Participative Financiers. The
country introduced a law in January to regulate
Islamic financial products and allow local and
foreign banks to set up units that comply with
the religion’s ban on interest.
“By September or October the first Shariahcompliant bank will start,” Said Amaghdir, the
chairman of the Casablanca- based association,
said by phone on March 6. “Morocco’s financing
needs are huge, especially in project finance,
and the stability we enjoy here will act in favor
of Morocco.”
Political stability relative to neighbours has
helped Morocco progress in an industry
that’s stalling elsewhere in North Africa.
Shariah-compliant finance in Egypt was
derailed after Mohamed Mursi’s Islamist
government was overthrown in 2013,
while Libya has slipped into political chaos
following the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in
2011. Even in Tunisia, which directly elected
its president for the first time in November,
a debut sukuk sale has been delayed at least
three times.
Morocco is rated BBB- at Standard & Poor’s, the
lowest investment grade, while Egypt is B-, six
levels into junk. Tunisia is rated Ba3 by Moody’s
Investors Service, three levels below investment
grade. Algeria and Libya aren’t rated.
The country’s Islamic finance bill, which came
into force on January 30, also allows for the
formation of a centralised Shariah board to
oversee Islamic banks.
The Moroccan Association of Participative
Financiers estimates total investment in
Shariah-compliant products in the country will
reach $7bn by 2018. About $1.8bn in assets are
held by Islamic financial institutions worldwide,
according to S&P.
“Islamic finance may account for as much
as 10% of the total banking assets within 10
years,” Mohamed El Kettani, the chief executive
officer of AttijariWafa, said in an interview in
Casablanca on February 19. “We are already a
market leader and we aim to stay the leader
under the new law.”
Morocco’s logistics and infrastructure
development will require at least 140bn dirhams
in investment by 2020, according to Moroccan
Association of Participative Finance. The Energy
and Mining Ministry said last month it’s seeking
bids to build a $2.6bn coal-fired power plant in
the Mediterranean port city of Nador, poised for
production in 2019.
The country has some catching up to do to
Tunisia in its drive to boost Shariah-compliant
lending. The Islamic Corp for the Development
of the Private Sector said this month it’s helping
convert Tunisia’s El Wifack Leasing into an
Islamic bank as early as August, according to
Mohammed Maher Mannai, ICD’s programme
lead for Islamic financial institutions. It will be
the nation’s third Shariah-compliant lender, he
Tunisia now plans to sell sukuk in the third
quarter, the central bank governor said in
January. Moroccan Finance Minister Mohamed
Boussaid said in November his country will not
sell sukuk before 2016.
Islamic finance was derailed in Egypt when
Mursi, whose administration pledged to expand
the industry, was removed from power. The
country is revising a new sukuk law. In Libya,
which passed a law in 2013 to ban non-Shariah
compliant banking by this year, successor
governments to Gaddafi have been unable to
assert full control over the country, which now
has two rival governments and parliaments.
The International Monetary Fund last month
said Morocco can boost its growth to as much
as 5.5% in the medium term from the fund’s
4.4% forecast in 2015 with economic reforms,
including by enhancing transparency and
“There’s political will with the government
adopting this law and preparing for the sukuk
issuance,” Montasser Khelifi, a Dubai-based
senior manager at Quantum Investment Bank
Ltd, said by phone on March 8. “With Tunisia
suffering from the Arab Spring, North Africa was
relatively unattractive, while Morocco remains
attractive for European investors.”
Japan banks venture deeper
into Islamic finance business
By Arno Maierbrugger
Gulf Times Correspondent
apan, which has become a lot more
Muslim-attentive in the recent
past, mulls issuing regulations that
would allow Japanese banks to provide
Islamic financial products on the domestic market for the first time.
The move comes after Japan’s Financial Service Agency, the country’s
financial market regulator, allowed major banks as early as in 2007 to offer Islamic finance services at their branches
abroad, an opportunity that has been
seized by some of the largest financial
service companies and lenders.
The first sukuk was issued by Aeon
Credit Services in Malaysia in 2007,
followed by a US dollar sukuk issued
by Nomura Investment Company in
2010. Toyota Capital Malaysia sold
two US dollar sukuks in 2012, and
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in September last year issued its first sukuks
under a multi-currency programme
in Malaysia, including the world’s
first-ever yen-denominated sukuk.
The bank, Japan’s largest, as well as
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, will
also start offering Shariah-compliant
deposit and loan services at its Dubai
branches this year. Another lender,
Mizuho Financial Group, plans to
make its London branch its operational centre for Islamic finance in
the Middle East.
As for domestic Islamic banking
services, the Financial Service Agency
posted a statement on its website where
it is asking for public comments until
March 27 and said it would release the
results of an internal consultation by
the end of April. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ is reportedly expecting a
“positive” outcome that will lead to a
further relaxation of the rules.
While Japan with its 127mn people
does not have a large Muslim population that would make Islamic retail
banking worthwhile – estimates suggest a Muslim population between
70,000 and 100,000, of which prob-
Saudi shipper
Bahri plans
3.9bn riyal,
10-year sukuk
A customer walks past a Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ branch in Tokyo. The bank, Japan’s largest, in September issued its first sukuk under a multi-currency programme
in Malaysia, including the world’s first-ever yen-denominated sukuk. It will also start offering Shariah-compliant deposit and loan services at its Dubai branches this year.
ably 90% are resident foreigners and
the rest native Japanese –, the country is the largest bond market in Asia
which would likely give the sukuk
business in East Asia an enormous
boost and would also threaten Malaysia’s current role as Asia’s largest market for Islamic bonds.
According to Camille Paldi, CEO of
the Dubai-based Franco-American
Alliance for Islamic Finance, a consultancy firm servicing clients in Islamic
banking, finance and takaful, “Japan
is an emerging Islamic finance powerhouse and East Asian hub for the trillion-dollar Islamic finance industry.”
She added that she is “confident that
Japan can become a major player in the
Islamic finance industry” because “in
addition to the Japanese government,
the Japanese business conglomerates,
or keiretsu, are interested in issuing
sukuk to raise capital for Japanese businesses and to increase their competi-
FAQs on Agency
„ Is it a condition that a price be agreed upon by
at least one of the two principals and that these
instructions be given in advance?
The setting of the price for an agent in a sale or a
purchase is not a condition to the validity of the
agency. However, if the principal does specify a
price and the agent exceeds it, the rulings pertaining to the relevant agency agreement will apply,
i.e. the transaction will go through but be binding
on the agent and not the principal. If the agent
sells the merchandise at a price lower than the
one specified by the principal, the transaction will
remain suspended and conditional upon the approval of the principal.
„ Is the agent responsible for merchandise for
as long as it remains in his possession before
selling it?
An agent is not considered a guarantor except in
cases of shortcoming or transgression. Merchandise in his possession is considered a trust.
lease of their property, the cost of maintenance
and repairs, administration of legal matters in
addition to expenses such as postage, phone
calls, faxes, telegraphs etc?
It is permissible for the bank to charge its clients an
agency fee for managing their property that would
include all the mentioned costs and expenses.
„ Is it lawful for an agent to be a surety as well?
If the contract of agency is inclusive of both
delivering goods and collecting the money paid for
them, it will be lawful for the agent to be a surety
as well. If the contract is limited to transacting, with
no agency to collect payments on behalf of the
principal, then it will be unlawful for the agent to
act as both agent and surety.
„ Is it permissible for the bank to alter its agency
rates represented in its schedule or to add new
rates for new services?
It is lawful for the bank to alter agency rates
and make them effective from the date they
are changed on the condition that the client is
informed in advance. The client has the right to
dispute any such changes within a fixed number
of days based on which the bank exercises the
right to either accept the client's objection or to
invalidate its contract with him.
„ Is it lawful for the intermediary agent to buy
and sell without informing either the buyer or the
seller about the party from which the merchandise is bought and the party to which it was sold?
It is lawful for the agent to not disclose to the
buyer or the seller the identity of the party from
which the merchandise is bought and the party
to which it is sold. It is essential however, that the
agent does not transgress the limits of his agency
either. If the agent sells at a price lower than the
one specified by the principal, the transaction will
be suspended and remain conditional upon the
principal's approval. If the agent buys at a higher
price than the one specified by the principal, the
transaction will go through but will be binding on
the agent and not the principal.
„ Is it permissible for the bank to charge its
clients an agency fee for the management and
Source: Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance via
tiveness in domestic and global financial markets.”
Paldi’s opinion on the so-called “Jsukuks” is echoed by RAM Ratings,
Malaysia’s largest homegrown credit
rating agency.
“There is a growing role for Japan in
the development of the Islamic finance
market, the agency said at a recent
Islamic finance conference in Kuala
Lumpur. Tax reforms introduced in
2011 have also helped facilitating the
issuance of “J-sukuks,” RAM Ratings
With Islamic bonds, Japanese banks
want to tap funds and investors mainly
in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle
East. Bond issues in yen are also seen
to attract more interest from investors
seeking securities with high liquidity
and good ratings (Japan’s Standard &
Poor’s rating for sovereign debt is currently AA-, one notch higher than Malaysia’s A-).
ational Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia
(Bahri) plans to sell tenyear sukuk worth 3.9bn riyals
($1.04bn) by the end of March to
repay debt and for general business purposes, a company executive gas said.
Bahri became the sole provider of very large crude carrier (VLCC) crude oil shipping
services to Saudi Aramco after it
purchased the marine unit of the
oil giant in a deal first announced
in 2012 but which was completed
last year.
The purchase of Vela made
Bahri the world’s fourth-largest
owner of VLCCs and was backed
by shares in itself and a 3.18bn
riyal bridge loan, which it said
last June would be replaced by
long-term, Shariah-compliant
financing within 12 months.
The financing looks set to
be its debut sukuk issue, with
the firm choosing HSBC Saudi
Arabia, JP Morgan and Samba
Capital, the investment banking
arm of Samba Financial Group,
to arrange the transaction, Mohammad Alotaibi, vice chief executive officer for finance, told
reporters on the sidelines of a
marine conference in Dubai.
Bahri hopes to get a better interest rate on the sukuk than it
has been paying for the bridge
loan, which was agreed in February 2013 with the three banks
and signed in June 2014, Alotaibi
said, declining to provide more
He added that the company
was open to more acquisitions
in the future. “We are reviewing our strategy. We are inclined
more to acquiring ships (than
other companies),” he said, adding that the dry bulk market had
very low prices currently, which
offered potential opportunities
for buyers.
Luxembourg sees Shariah
finance tonic for ‘LuxLeaks’
slamic finance offers a path
toward greater transparency
for Luxembourg after confidence in the country’s tax regime was undermined last year,
according to Finance Minister
Pierre Gramegna.
The reliance on asset-backed
deals in Shariah-compliant finance fits the approach now being
considered by the Grand Duchy,
he said in an interview in Dubai
last week. As part of this, Luxembourg has vowed to rein in sweetheart tax deals.
“The safety that collateral gives
is one way of having a financial
system that’s built on confidence
and transparency,” Gramegna
said. “It really fits that strategy.”
Thousands of leaked documents at the end of last year, the
so-called LuxLeaks revelations,
showed some international companies effectively lowered their
tax burden to less than 1% of
profit in Luxembourg through so-
called tax rulings. The country,
one of the smallest economies in
the 28-member European Union,
also introduced new tax measures
this year.
“LuxLeaks has shown that
there is a need to adjust tax systems worldwide,” Gramegna said.
The country also plans to sell
its second sukuk, which adheres
to the Shariah ban on interest, in
the first half of next year, he said.
The nation of about half a million
people raised €200mn ($223mn)
of five-year Islamic bonds in September.
Luxembourg’s second Shariah-compliant bond offering will
probably be structured through
property-related investment vehicles, Gramegna said.
“It’s part of the strategy of our
international financial centre,” he
said. “It’s not only diversifying
our way of financing, our budget,
but it’s also a way to diversify the
products that you offer in the financial centre. Obviously I think
sukuk has put us on the map.”
Luxembourg is rated AAA at
Moody’s Investors Service and
Islamic finance offers a path
toward greater transparency
for Luxembourg, says Finance
Minister Pierre Gramegna.
Standard & Poor’s, the highest investment-grade ranking.
Landlocked between Germany
and France, the country has reinvented itself as a business and
finance hub, softening the blow
as traditional industries, such as
steel, decline.
Still, not all Islamic finance
products are immune to risks, according to Rizwan Kanji, a Dubaibased partner at law firm King &
Spalding, which helps structure
Shariah- compliant deals.
“Not every Islamic finance
structure has a collateral,” Kanji
said by telephone. “Ninety percent of the world’s sukuk issuances are asset-based, and there’s
no recourse to the collateral or the
underlying asset.”
Asset-backed sukuk typically
transfer ownership of underlying
assets if the borrower is unable
to repay, while holders of assetbased sukuk have no claim to the
assets used to structure the debt.
For Gramegna, Islamic finance is part of the approach to
strengthen the system and address wider concerns about the
risks of conventional finance.
Increasing interest in Islamic
finance “comes when the markets are demanding more security,” Gramegna said. “Complicated products proved to be quite
dangerous in the past. Islamic
products are very much down to
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Egypt to
Qatar Airways acquires
Sheraton Skyline in UK
atar Airways has purchased the
Sheraton Skyline hotel in the UK,
one of the “best-located” hotels
for travellers using Heathrow Airport and
a “perfect base” for a trip into central London or the rest of England. The hotel will
continue to be managed by Starwood under the Sheraton brand.
The Sheraton Skyline is the first hotel
to be bought by Qatar Airways outside
Qatar, where it owns the five-star Oryx
Rotana Hotel in Doha and runs the new
Hamad International Airport Hotel, which
includes squash courts and a swimming
The Sheraton Skyline, a four-star property situated in Bath Road and just a short
shuttle journey from all of the terminals
at Heathrow Airport, has 350 guest bedrooms, including Club Rooms with access
to the Sheraton Club featuring complimentary breakfast and high-speed Internet access.
All of the bedrooms (which have the
largest size in hotels around Heathrow)
are fully soundproofed and feature LCD
flat-screen TVs. Car rental is also available
from the hotel for travel to/from Heathrow. The 300+ car park offers “Park & Fly”
facility, for the convenience of travellers.
One of the Sheraton Skyline’s bestknown features is the Sky Garden, a
“spectacular” social space, where families can relax by the swimming pool or
where business meetings can be held – in
a tropical setting that is unique amongst
all hotels around Heathrow. The tropical
setting of the ‘Sky Bar’ is a perfect place
to unwind with a cocktail. The hotel also
The Sheraton Skyline hotel near London Heathrow.
has a choice of dining venues ranging from
casual dining at the Sports Bar & Grill to
the renowned Indian cuisine of Madhu’s
Qatar Airways has embarked on a strat-
egy to expand into the hotel business, “delivering five-star quality” to guests staying
in hotels as well as travelling on its modern
fleet. The purchase of the Sheraton Skyline
is part of that strategy which is expected to
include further hotels in North America,
the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive
Akbar al-Baker said, “The Sheraton Skyline hotel is an excellent addition to our
travel offering, complementing our fivestar hotel the Oryx Rotana in Doha, and
making it easy for passengers who wish to
spend some time in London before travelling further.”
Telecom Egypt plans to
spend more than $400mn
this year mainly on building a fibre network in the
country after the fixed-line
monopoly reported a 31%
fall in 2014 profits.
Chief Executive Mohamed
Elnawawy said the company planned capital expenditure of 3.428bn Egyptian
pounds ($449.28mn) in
2015, which he said was a
record high for capex.
Net profit for the year fell
to 2.03bn Egyptian pounds
($266mn) from 2.96bn
pounds in 2013, Telecom
Egypt said, citing several
one-off and operational
costs related to license fee
payments and tax liabilities.
Telecom Egypt’s landline
market has come under
pressure as more Egyptians
use services provided by
the country’s three mobile
phone companies, Vodafone
Egypt, Etisalat and Mobinil.
Last year, Egypt opened the
way for Telecom Egypt to
offer mobile services, while
the government also took
steps to allow the three
mobile companies to enter
the landline market.
Telecom Egypt agreed last
year to pay 2.5bn pounds
for a unified licence for
mobile and landlines which
would allow it to compete
with the mobile operators.
Qatar economy to keep up Brent expected to trade at $60-70 by 2015 end
bullish momentum: QNB B
rent crude oil prices are expected
to trade in the $60-70-a-barrel
price range by end-2015 and international oil companies (IOCs) are likely
to maintain their production targets
despite crude prices have fallen around
50% from last summer’s highs, an industry survey conducted at The Gulf Intelligence Doha Energy Forum has found.
According to the survey, conducted
yesterday among more than 160 Qatari
and international leaders from government, academia and the energy industry,
42% of the respondents expressed the
view that Brent crude was expected to
trade in the $60s-a-barrel range at the
end of the year, while 38% thought prices were more likely to be at $70s at that
point. Only 6% predicted Brent would
trade above $80 a barrel by year-end.
Brent crude prices slumped below
$50 a barrel in January, having fallen off
the cliff from highs above $110 in June
before recovering to levels around $60
a barrel in February. Brent was trading
below $58 a barrel yesterday. Crude
il prices are expected make gradual recovery in the
coming years and Qatar’s economy is expected to
keep up its bullish momentum powered by nonhydrocarbons, whose share in the economy is expected to
go up to about 69% by 2017, according to QNB. Oil prices, which were hovering around $100 a barrel in 2014, is
expected to fall to $56 this year, after which it is poised to
reach $64 in 2016 and $69 by 2017, QNB CEO Ali Ahmed alKuwari told the MEED conference.
He said oil prices fell due to weakening global demand
and rising global supply (mainly the US shale oil).
Despite the current low oil prices, QNB expects economy to grow faster due to the ongoing investment programme with real GDP growth expected at 7% (6.7% in
non-oil and 0.3% in hydrocarbons) this year, after which
it is slated to grow at 7.5% (6.9% and 0.6%) by 2016 and to
7.9% (7.2% and 0.7%) by 2017.
He asserted that the project spend would continue despite
the current trough in crude, which is expected to make recovery once the excess supplies in the world market subsides.
“Qatar has ample external and fiscal buffers to withstand
the temporary drop in oil prices,” he said, adding therefore,
the investment programme is unlikely to be impacted by
lower oil prices.
The public investment led diversification strategy is to
further propel Qatar, which has the highest per capita hydrocarbon GDP and reserves.
To drive this diversification, government has embarked
upon a mammoth public investment spending, which is
slated to grow at a compound annual growth of 5.8% during
2014-17 to total more than QR260bn in four years.
“This diversification drive is expected to raise the share
of non-hydrocarbons to 68.5% of GDP by 2017”, up from
39.6% during 2000 to 42% by 2005 and 47.4% in 2010, he
said, adding the investment programme is focused on the
construction and transport sectors through a multitude of
Kuwait: Opec to
continue policy
Ali Ahmed: Optimistic.
projects. Construction sector is expected to corner about
49% of the project spend for 2014-18, followed by transport
(29%), utilities (11%), oil and gas (9%), petrochemicals and
industrials (1% each).
The continued economic growth and high investment
in Qatar should augur well for the banking sector, he said,
adding total assets are expected to grow 11%, deposits by
12% and loans by 10% during 2014-17.
Opec is likely to maintain its production policy at a meeting in June,
Kuwait’s Opec governor
said yesterday in the
first public comment on
what would be a crucial
decision to determine
the direction of global
oil prices in the second
half of the year.
Many Opec oil ministers including Saudi
Arabia’s Ali al-Naimi
have defended the
organisation’s November decision not to cut
production but instead
defend market share
and curtail the output
of more expensive producers such as the US.
The accord sent oil
prices below $50 per
barrel, extending a sharp
decline that began in
June amid a global glut
of crude.
The Organisation of the
Petroleum Exporting
Countries has said it believes the oversupply, as
much as 1.5mn barrels
per day, will evaporate
as oil demand picks up
and US oil production
growth slows, with companies drilling fewer
However, should US oil
producers prove more
resilient than Opec
expects, the glut could
persist and even be
further aggravated if
Western powers and
Iran reach a nuclear
deal allowing Tehran to
increase its oil exports.
prices have declined on the back of new
supplies hitting markets, in particular
from shale oil production in the US,
and slower global economic growth,
including in Asia.
The survey also found that 33% of
respondents expected IOCs to maintain production targets through greater
operational efficiency, even with lower
capital expenditure, despite oil prices
trading in the current price range and
the resulting volatility on the development of new energy capacity over the
short to mid-term.
As many as 29% of those surveyed
thought that prices and volatility
would cause US shale oil producers
to stop new capacity additions and
lead to a decline in existing shale oil
Gulf Intelligence’s Sean Evers (right) and Marcus George leading an ‘audience
interactive survey’ during a session of the 5th Gulf Intelligence Doha Energy
Forum yesterday. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
A tap on
brakes for
China car
sales in ’15
China inflation rebounds,
but worries endure in Feb
Dow Jones
hina’s consumer inflation rebounded in February from a
more-than-five-year low, official data showed yesterday, but a plunge
in factory gate prices added to persistent concerns about deflation in the
world’s second-largest economy.
The 1.4% increase in the consumer
price index (CPI) compared with a gain
of 0.8% in January, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) figures.
The result, which exceeded the median forecast for a 1% gain in a survey
of analysts by Bloomberg News, came
largely due to higher prices for food and
services surrounding China’s annual
Lunar New year holiday, which economists largely saw as a one-off.
In contrast the producer price index
(PPI) – a measure of costs for goods at
the factory gate and a leading indicator
of the trend for CPI – declined for the
36th straight month in February.
The PPI fell 4.8% year-on-year, the
NBS said, more than the 4.3% decline
recorded in January, and the worst result since October 2009.
Moderate inflation can be a boon to
consumption as it encourages consumers to buy before prices go up, while
falling prices encourage shoppers to
delay purchases and companies to put
off investment, both of which can hurt
“We continue to expect inflation to
remain relatively low and still see disinflationary pressures in the economy,”
Nomura economists said in an analysis
of the February data.
“To offset headwinds to economic
growth, we expect monetary policy to
be loosened further,” they added.
China’s benchmark stock market fell
yesterday, with the Shanghai Composite Index closing 0.49% lower at
Economists are increasingly worried that China – a key driver of global
growth – is heading for a debilitating deflationary spiral, such as that which has
plagued Japan for years, citing consistently weak CPI figures as well as accelerating falls in factory prices. The People’s
Bank of China cut benchmark deposit
and lending interest rates in February for
the second time in three months, citing
“historically low inflation”, as the economy expands at its slowest annual pace
A man walks past a seafood stall in Qingdao, Shandong province. China’s consumer inflation jumped to 1.4% in February, rebounding from a more-than-five-year low, but
worries persist, official data showed yesterday.
in nearly a quarter of a century. “The
weak inflation profile suggests that
further monetary policy easing will be
needed to fight against rising deflation
risk,” ANZ economists Liu Li-Gang and
Zhou Hao said in a report, adding that
despite the rate cuts “the easing effort
so far has been limited.”
They expect the PBoC to further cut
the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) –
the amount of cash banks must keep
on hand – “to lower the funding costs
for the real economy”. Cutting the RRR
theoretically frees up more cash for
They also expect a further 0.25 percentage point cut in the deposit interest
China’s gross domestic product
(GDP) expanded 7.4% last year, its
worst result since 1990, as authorities seek to transform the Asian giant’s
growth model to one in which consumer
spending takes over as the key engine.
And last week leaders lowered their
2015 GDP growth target to “approximately 7%”, while the CPI objective for
was set at “around 3%”.
Consumer prices rose 2% last year.
Senior NBS analyst Yu Qiumei said in
a statement regarding the February CPI
data that fresh food demand rose during
the holiday, “leading prices to rise by
large margins”.
Yu added that transport and tourism prices also increased, while labour
shortages prompted by migrant workers
returning home also pushed up costs
for services such as nannies and housekeepers, which rose 6.3% from the previous month.
Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, said the fall
in the PPI “reflects the broader weakness in global commodity prices, which
has pushed down the price of the industrial inputs” that make up a heavy portion of the indicator.
He added that despite the rebound
in the CPI in February the outlook in
coming months was for consumer price
rises to weaken back below the 1% level,
though he was sanguine on the prospect.
“This should not be cause for concern as we expect it to be driven by
lower import prices for key agricultural
commodities which will leave Chinese
consumers better off,” he wrote in an
India’s current account deficit near 2014 high
ndia’s current account deficit held
near the widest since the quarter through June 2013 as falling
oil prices were insufficient to offset a
drop in exports.
The October-December shortfall
in the broadest measure of trade was
$8.2bn compared with $10.2bn the
previous quarter, the Reserve Bank
of India said in a statement yesterday. While that was smaller than
the $11.15bn median estimate in a
Bloomberg survey of 12 economists,
the gap amounts to 1.6% of gross domestic product, wider than the central bank’s forecast of 1.3% for the
year through March.
“The outlook for exports” is still
quite bleak, Aditi Nayar, a senior
economist at ICRA said in interview
Australia business confidence
drops despite interest rate cut
Dow Jones
A surprise interest-rate cut at
the beginning of February failed
to lift the spirits of Australia’s
company managers, with
confidence falling to its lowest
level since the middle of 2013.
The National Australia
Bank business confidence
index dropped to zero in
February from 3 in January,
while business conditions
were steady at 2 points.
Confidence is now at its lowest
level since just before the
election in September 2013
of the conservative coalition
The fall in confidence fanned
market speculation that the
Reserve Bank of Australia may
need more rate cuts this year
than expected, and eroded
support for the Australian dollar
which approached its lowest
level in six years.
The central bank cut its cash
rate target last month to a
record low 2.25% from 2.50%,
its first cut in 18 months, hoping
to spur activity outside of the
country’s dominant resources
industry. Australia’s economy
has slowed in the past year as
commodity prices have fallen
sharply. The price of iron ore,
the country’s biggest export, is
down 50%, falling to its lowest
level in six years this week.
Reserve Bank of Australia
Governor Glenn Stevens said
the cut was made due to
concerns that economic growth
was too weak to prevent a rise
in unemployment this year.
“The Reserve Bank’s 25 basispoint cut to interest rates in
February did not appear to
have the desired effect on firms
animal spirits, with confidence
actually deteriorating in the
month,” said Alan Oster, chief
economist at NAB.
Political uncertainty was
identified as a key factor
weighing on confidence. Prime
Minister Tony Abbott narrowly
defeated an attempt by some
of his parliamentary colleagues
to replace him as leader last
month. While Abbott’s support
in national polls has risen,
speculation about his future
as leader continues. “The fall
was relatively broad based,
suggesting common factors
such as political and economic
uncertainty, are driving this
result,” Oster said.
to Bloomberg TV India. “At this point
in time certainly we do expect a substantial improvement in the current
account deficit going ahead but that
primarily predicates on commodity
prices remaining low and not some
inherent improvement in Indian exports.”
The 46% drop in oil prices over
the past year is capping import costs
for the Asia’s third-largest importer
while a global slowdown damps de-
mand for the nation’s exports. A predicted pick-up in growth to the fastest pace among major economies risks
spurring demand for overseas products.
The rupee briefly extended losses in
the offshore market to the day’s low
of 63.31 a dollar soon after the data,
before trading at 63.26 as of 12:35 pm
in London. Local markets had shut
earlier. India’s trade deficit widened
to $39.2bn during the quarter from
the previous three months as exports
fell 7.3% while imports declined 4.5%.
Gold shipments are seen surging after
the government last month refrained
from raising a record tariff.
About $13.2bn was added to India’s
foreign exchange reserves, almost
double the accretion in the preceding
quarter but lower than the year-ago
figure that was bolstered by a special deposit facility for Indians living
abroad and foreign borrowings.
hina’s car sales growth at
the start of the year slowed
from a year ago, weighed
by the cooling economy.
In the first two months of this
year, a total of 3.43mn passenger
vehicles including sedans, sportutility vehicles and minivans
were sold in China, up 8.7% from
the same period in 2014, the government-backed industry group
China Association of Automobile
Manufacturers said yesterday.
The growth compared with
an 11% year-over-year rise in
January-February 2014. Looking at total January and February
sales helps eliminate distortions
caused by shifts in the timing of
Lunar New Year holidays, which
fell in mid-February this year and
in late January in 2014.
The overall auto industry,
which includes both passenger
and commercial vehicles, saw a
4.3% sales increase to 3.91mn vehicles in the first two months of
this year, said the auto-manufacturers’ group.
China’s slowing economy will
weigh on its auto market, the
world’s largest by sales, over the
course of the year, industry participants say.
The auto sales report came
after China last week lowered
its economic growth forecast to
about 7% for 2015 from the 7.4%
pace the economy notched last
BMW AG last week said it
targets high single-digit sales
growth in China this year, compared with a 17% gain in 2014. A
spokeswoman for General Motors
said in a recent email that 2015
will be a “challenging year” for
the broader car industry in China.
She said GM forecasts China’s
auto industry will grow between
6% and 8% this year.
Major car makers have already
reported slower growth over January and February. GM’s sales in
China were almost flat compared
with the year-earlier period. Audi
AG saw its China car sales growth
slow to 10.5% from 13% in the
year-earlier period. Honda Motor
Co reported a 7.6% decline in its
China sales from a year earlier.
By contrast, some of Chinese
domestic manufacturers posted
stronger year-over-year growth
thanks to low sales in the same
period last year. For the first two
months of this year, Geely Automobile Holdings, a sister company of Swedish brand Volvo Car,
recorded a 77% surge in car sales
while Great Wall Motor Co posted
a 22% rise in sales of sedans and
crossovers, their statements filed
with stock exchanges show.
The combined share of Chinese
domestic car brands rose to 43%
of China’s passenger-vehicle
market in the January to February
period, from 38.4% in the same
period of last year, according to
the auto-manufacturers’ group.
Apple Watch to hit China market on April 24
pple Inc had China front and centre at the San Francisco launch of
its smart Apple Watch, trumpeting a new store in Hangzhou city and
demoing hit Chinese messaging app
Also, the new Apple Watch will go on
sale in China on April 24, the same day as
the US – unlike the iPhone 6, which hit
Chinese stores almost a month after the
US. But even in this Apple-crazed country
– the second-biggest iPhone market after
the US – it seems too early to say whether
the curved wristpieces from Cupertino
will command that must have cachet for
millions of middle-upper-class Chinese.
Beyond the is-it-fashion-or-is-itgadget argument, the Apple Watch carries a hefty price tag in China. The cheapest Sport model will sell at a little below
3,000 yuan ($479), including tax, versus
$349 in the US, while the top-end luxury
Edition will set buyers back more than
145,000 yuan ($23,157), against $17,000
in the US.
That’s a lot to pay for a luxury digital
product that could be swiftly outdated if
Apple does what it does with its smartphones, and brings out a new version
each year.
There may be other practical drawbacks, too, for Chinese users – from the
screen size to the lack of any ‘killer app’.
“It’s almost impossible to send WeChat messages when staring at such a
small screen,” said Huang Hongwen, 46,
a freelancer in Shanghai. “I’d rather buy
a traditional luxury watch at the same
price,” she said of the luxury Edition.
Also, Chinese haven’t taken to personal health-related consumer technology
in the same way as Americans have on
wearable devices.
“For health-related products in China, most consumers buy them because
they’re cheap,” said Bryan Wang, vice
president of Forrester Research in Beijing. “How many are buying those? Not
many,” he said.
Wang predicts that most early adopters of the Watch, likely tech and Apple
fans, will opt for the mid-range standard
version rather than the Sport or luxury
Apple is launching its smart timepiece
into a Chinese market where President Xi
Jinping’s austerity and anti-graft campaign has stigmatised ostentatious giftgiving and conspicuous consumption by
officials – who make up a sizeable part of
the luxury market.
Many recall ‘Watch Brother’, the online
monicker given to a provincial official
handed a 14-year jail sentence for corruption in 2013 after pictures surfaced on
the Internet of him wearing more than a
dozen different expensive watches.
Luxury goods sales in mainland China slipped 1% last year to 115bn yuan
($18.7bn), with watches, menswear and
Apple Watches are seen on display during a media event at the Yerba Buena Centre
for the Arts in San Francisco. The new watch will go on sale in China on April 24, the
same day as the US.
high-end luggage hardest hit, a Bain &
Co study showed.
But Zhou Ting, the Shanghai-based
dean of the Fortune Character Institute,
a membership club for Chinese elite, said
the new Apple Watch will be a draw for
urban Chinese who increasingly shun bejewelled Rolexes or thick gold bracelets as
signs of ‘tuhao’ – or the uncultured rich.
“The Chinese wealthy want to show
discernment, their taste,” said Zhou.
“They’re constantly searching for the
newest experience, something different.
Apple can satisfy that.”
Apple laid the groundwork in China
prior to launching its Watch, turning to
social messaging and entertainment giant Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group
Holding, the world’s largest e-commerce
While Tencent’s WeChat messaging
service, ubiquitous in China, featured at
the San Francisco launch, Alibaba has developed an app for its online marketplace
Taobao, and its online payment arm has
customised its Alipay Wallet app for the
Watch – which will be sold online by both
Alibaba’s and rival Inc.
A spokesman for Baidu Inc said the
Internet search leader is experimenting
with its own potential products for the
Apple Watch.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Company Name
Company Name
Zad Holding Co
Widam Food Co
Vodafone Qatar
United Development Co
Salam International Investme
Qatar & Oman Investment Co
Qatar Navigation
Qatar National Cement Co
Qatar National Bank
Qatar Islamic Insurance
Qatar Industrial Manufactur
Qatar International Islamic
Qatari Investors Group
Qatar Islamic Bank
Qatar Gas Transport(Nakilat)
Qatar General Insurance & Re
Qatar German Co For Medical
Qatar Fuel Co
Qatar Electricity & Water Co
Qatar Cinema & Film Distrib
Qatar Insurance Co
Ooredoo Qsc
National Leasing
Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Dev
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdi
Al Meera Consumer Goods Co
Medicare Group
Mannai Corporation Qsc
Masraf Al Rayan
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
Industries Qatar
Islamic Holding Group
Gulf Warehousing Company
Gulf International Services
Ezdan Holding Group
Doha Insurance Co
Doha Bank Qsc
Dlala Holding
Commercial Bank Of Qatar Qsc
Barwa Real Estate Co
Al Khaleej Takaful Group
Aamal Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Saudi Hollandi Bank
Al-Ahsa Development Co.
Al-Baha Development & Invest
Ace Arabia Cooperative Insur
Allied Cooperative Insurance
Arriyadh Development Company
Fitaihi Holding Group
Arabia Insurance Cooperative
Alabdullatif Industrial Inv
Al-Ahlia Cooperative Insuran
Al Alamiya Cooperative Insur
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Dev
Al Babtain Power & Telecommu
Bank Albilad
Alujain Corporation (Alco)
Aldrees Petroleum And Transp
Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & C
Alinma Bank
Alinma Tokio Marine
Al Khaleej Training And Educ
Abdullah A.M. Al-Khodari Son
Allianz Saudi Fransi Coopera
Almarai Co
Saudi Integrated Telecom Co
Alsorayai Group
Al Tayyar Travel Group
Amana Cooperative Insurance
Anaam International Holding
Abdullah Al Othaim Markets
Arabian Pipes Co
Advanced Petrochemicals Co
Al Rajhi Co For Co-Operative
Arabian Cement
Arab National Bank
Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co
United Wire Factories Compan
Astra Industrial Group
Alahli Takaful Co
Aseer Trading Tourism & Manu
Axa Cooperative Insurance
Basic Chemical Industries
Bishah Agriculture
Bank Al-Jazira
Banque Saudi Fransi
United International Transpo
Bupa Arabia For Cooperative
Buruj Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Airlines Catering Co
Methanol Chemicals Co
City Cement Co
Eastern Province Cement Co
Etihad Atheeb Telecommunicat
Etihad Etisalat Co
Emaar Economic City
Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insu
United Electronics Co
Falcom Saudi Equity Etf
Filing & Packing Materials M
Wafrah For Industry And Deve
Falcom Petrochemical Etf
Gulf General Cooperative Ins
Jazan Development Co
Gulf Union Cooperative Insur
Halwani Bros Co
Hail Cement
Herfy Food Services Co
Al Jouf Agriculture Developm
Jarir Marketing Co
Jabal Omar Development Co
Al Jouf Cement
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co
Knowledge Economic City
Kingdom Holding Co
Saudi Arabian Mining Co
Malath Cooperative & Reinsur
Makkah Construction & Devepl
Mediterranean & Gulf Insuran
Middle East Specialized Cabl
Mohammad Al Mojil Group Co
Mouwasat Medical Services Co
The National Agriculture Dev
Najran Cement Co
Nama Chemicals Co
National Gypsum
National Gas & Industrializa
National Industrialization C
National Shipping Co Of/The
National Petrochemical Co
Rabigh Refining And Petroche
Al Qassim Agricultural Co
Qassim Cement/The
Red Sea Housing Services Co
Saudi Research And Marketing
Riyad Bank
Al Rajhi Bank
Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Saudi British Bank
Sabb Takaful
Saudi Basic Industries Corp
Saudi Cement
Saudia Dairy & Foodstuff Co
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co
Al Sagr Co-Operative Insuran
Saudi Advanced Industries
Saudi Arabian Coop Ins Co
Salama Cooperative Insurance
Samba Financial Group
Sanad Cooperative Insurance
Saudi Public Transport Co
Saudi Arabia Refineries Co
Hsbc Amanah Saudi 20 Etf
Saudi Re For Cooperative Rei
Saudi Cable Co
Saudi Chemical Company
Saudi Ceramic Co
Saudi Electricity Co
Saudi Fisheries
Al-Hassan G.I. Shaker Co
Dur Hospitality Co
Arabian Shield Cooperative
Saudi Investment Bank/The
Saudi Industrial Development
Saudi Industrial Export Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Securities Group Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co Ksc
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
Mena Real Estate Co
National Slaughter House
Amar Finance & Leasing Co
United Projects Group Kscc
National Consumer Holding Co
Amwal International Investme
Jeeran Holdings
Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C
Nafais Holding
Safwan Trading & Contracting
Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate
Gulf Finance House Ec
Energy House Holding Co Kscc
Kuwait Slaughter House Co
Kuwait Co For Process Plant
Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K
National Ranges Company
Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser
Al-Themar Real International
Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
Warba Insurance Co
Kuwait United Poultry Co
First Dubai Real Estate Deve
Al Arabi Group Holding Co
Kuwait Hotels Co
Mobile Telecommunications Co
Al Safat Real Estate Co
Tamdeen Real Estate Co Ksc
Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co
Kuwait Cement Co Ksc
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Kuwait Portland Cement Co
Educational Holding Group
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Kuwait China Investment Co
Kuwait Investment Co
Burgan Bank
Kuwait Projects Co Holdings
Al Madina For Finance And In
Kuwait Insurance Co
Al Masaken Intl Real Estate
Intl Financial Advisors
First Investment Co Kscc
Al Mal Investment Company
Bayan Investment Co Kscc
Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae
Coast Investment Development
Privatization Holding Compan
Kuwait Medical Services Co
Injazzat Real State Company
Kuwait Cable Vision Sak
Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Aviation Lease And Finance C
Arzan Financial Group For Fi
Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co
Manafae Investment Co
Kuwait Business Town Real Es
Future Kid Entertainment And
Specialities Group Holding C
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Al-Dar National Real Estate
Kgl Logistics Company Kscc
Combined Group Contracting
Zima Holding Co Ksc
Qurain Holding Co
Boubyan Intl Industries Hold
Gulf Investment House
Boubyan Bank K.S.C
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Al-Safat Tec Holding Co
Al-Eid Food Co
Qurain Petrochemical Industr
Advanced Technology Co
Ekttitab Holding Co S.A.K.C
Kout Food Group Ksc
Real Estate Trade Centers Co
Acico Industries Co Kscc
Kipco Asset Management Co
National Petroleum Services
Alimtiaz Investment Co Kscc
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Kuwait Reinsurance Co Ksc
Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport
Human Soft Holding Co Ksc
Automated Systems Co
Metal & Recycling Co
Gulf Franchising Holding Co
Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co
National Mobile Telecommuni
Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc
Housing Finance Co Sak
Al Salam Group Holding Co
United Foodstuff Industries
Al Aman Investment Company
Mashaer Holdings Co Ksc
Manazel Holding
Mushrif Trading & Contractin
Tijara And Real Estate Inves
Kuwait Building Materials
Jazeera Airways Co Ksc
Commercial Real Estate Co
Future Communications Co
National International Co
Taameer Real Estate Invest C
Gulf Cement Co
Heavy Engineering And Ship B
Refrigeration Industries & S
National Real Estate Co
Al Safat Energy Holding Comp
Kuwait National Cinema Co
Danah Alsafat Foodstuff Co
Independent Petroleum Group
Kuwait Real Estate Co Ksc
Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc
Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind
Al Nawadi Holding Co Ksc
Kuwait Finance House
Gulf North Africa Holding Co
Hilal Cement Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Voltamp Energy Saog
United Finance Co
United Power Co
United Power/Energy Co- Pref
Al Madina Investment Co
Taageer Finance
Salalah Port Services
A’saffa Foods Saog
Sohar Poultry
Shell Oman Marketing
Shell Oman Marketing - Pref
Smn Power Holding Saog
Al Shurooq Inv Ser
Al Sharqiya Invest Holding
Sohar Power Co
Salalah Beach Resort Saog
Salalah Mills Co
Sahara Hospitality
Renaissance Services Saog
Raysut Cement Co
Port Service Corporation
Packaging Co Ltd
Oman United Insurance Co
Oman Textile Holding Co Saog
Oman Telecommunications Co
Sweets Of Oman
Oman Orix Leasing Co.
Oman Refreshment Co
Oman Packaging
Oman Oil Marketing Company
0Man Oil Marketing Co-Pref
Oman National Investment Co
Oman National Engineering An
Oman National Dairy Products
Oman Medical Projects
Oman Ceramic Com
Oman Intl Marketing
Oman Investment & Finance
Hsbc Bank Oman
Oman Hotels & Tourism Co
Oman Holding International
Oman Fiber Optics
Oman Flour Mills
Oman Filters Industry
Oman Fisheries Co
Oman Education & Training In
Oman & Emirates Inv(Om)50%
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
Oman Europe Foods Industries
Oman Cement Co
Oman Chlorine
Oman Chromite
Oman Cables Industry
Oman Agricultural Dev
Omani Qatari Telecommunicati
National Securities
Oman Foods International Soa
National Pharmaceutical-Rts
National Pharmaceutical
National Packaging Fac
National Mineral Water
National Hospitality Institu
National Gas Co
National Finance Co
National Detergents/The
National Carpet Factory
National Bank Of Oman Saog
National Biscuit Industries
National Real Estate Develop
Natl Aluminium Products
Muscat Thread Mills Co
Muscat Insurance Company
Modern Poultry Farms
Muscat National Holding
Musandam Marketing & Invest
Al Maha Petroleum Products M
Muscat Gases Company Saog
Majan Glass Company
Muscat Finance
Al Kamil Power Co
Interior Hotels
Hotels Management Co Interna
Al-Hassan Engineering Co
Gulf Stone
Gulf Mushroom Company
Gulf Invest. Serv. Pref-Shar
Gulf Investments Services
Gulf International Chemicals
Gulf Hotels (Oman) Co Ltd
Global Fin Investment
Galfar Engineering&Contract
Galfar Engineering -Prefer
Financial Services Co.
Flexible Ind Packages
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Financial Corp/The
Dhofar Tourism
Dhofar Poultry
Aloula Co
Dhofar Intl Development
Dhofar Insurance
Dhofar University
Dhofar Power Co
Dhofar Power Co-Pfd
Dhofar Fisheries & Food Indu
Dhofar Cattlefeed
Al Batinah Dev & Inv
Dhofar Beverages Co
Computer Stationery Inds
Construction Materials Ind
Cement & Gypsum Pro
Marine Bander Al-Rowdha
Bank Sohar
Bankmuscat Saog
Bank Dhofar Saog
Al Batinah Hotels
Majan College
Areej Vegetable Oils
Al Jazeera Steel Products Co
Al Sallan Food Industry
Acwa Power Barka Saog
Al-Omaniya Financial Service
Taghleef Industries Saog
Gulf Plastic Industries Co
Al Jazeera Services
Al Jazerah Services -Pfd
Al-Fajar Al-Alamia Co
Ahli Bank
Abrasives Manufacturing Co S
Al-Batinah Intl Saog
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
National Takaful Company
Waha Capital Pjsc
Union Insurance Co
Union National Bank/Abu Dhab
United Insurance Company
Union Cement Co
United Arab Bank Pjsc
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 11, 2015
Company Name
Exxon Mobil Corp
Microsoft Corp
Johnson & Johnson
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
General Electric Co
Jpmorgan Chase & Co
Procter & Gamble Co/The
Pfizer Inc
Verizon Communications Inc
Chevron Corp
Coca-Cola Co/The
Walt Disney Co/The
At&T Inc
Visa Inc-Class A Shares
Merck & Co. Inc.
Intel Corp
Intl Business Machines Corp
Home Depot Inc
Cisco Systems Inc
United Technologies Corp
Boeing Co/The
Unitedhealth Group Inc
3M Co
Mcdonald’s Corp
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Nike Inc -Cl B
American Express Co
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 Ag-Di
Travis Perkins Plc
Tesco Plc
Taylor Wimpey Plc
Standard Life Plc
Standard Chartered Plc
St James’s Place Plc
Sse Plc
Sports Direct International
Smiths Group Plc
Smith & Nephew Plc
Sky 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
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
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 Land Co Plc
British American Tobacco Plc
Bp Plc
Bhp Billiton Plc
Bg Group Plc
Barratt Developments 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
In London, the European single currency yesterday sank to $1.0722 at the close, its lowest level since mid-April 2003.
Euro tumbles close to
12-yr low versus dollar
he euro tumbled yesterday towards a 12-year low against the
dollar, hit by eurozone stimulus,
growing US rate hike speculation and
Greek debt concerns, dealers said.
In London, the European single currency sank to $1.0722 at the close—its
lowest level since mid-April 2003. The
region’s stock markets also retreated,
with London’s benchmark FTSE 100
index dropping 2.52%.
The shared eurozone unit continued
to flounder one day after the European Central Bank launched its €1.1tn
($1.2tn) quantitative easing (QE) stimulus “bazooka”.
The dollar neared an eight-year high
against the yen as dealers bet on an
interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve after bright US payrolls data.
The greenback surged in Asian trading hours to a high of ¥122.03, a level
not seen since July 2007. It closed at
121.21 yen in London.
Meanwhile, the yield on German,
Italian and Spanish 10-year government bonds fell to new record lows on
the ECB bond-buying programme to
combat deflation and boost growth.
The rate of return to investors on 10-
year German government bonds fell to
0.230% from 0.312% on Monday.
The yield on 10-year Italian government bonds fell to 1.219% from 1.280%
and those of Spain to 1.231% from
Europe’s main stock markets fell into
the red, mirroring losses in Asia, as concerns lingered over Greek debt talks,
while official data showed fresh weakness in economic powerhouse China.
“Sentiment has been hit by a
number of factors, not least the return
of ‘Grexit’ fears after the troubled nation was accused of time wasting,” said
Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at
“The consensus is that it will eventually be able to gain access to part of
its remaining bailout funds (but) any
further delay in the negotiations will
undoubtedly unnerve some traders,”
he said.
London’s FTSE lost 2.52% to
6.702.84 points, while in Paris the CAC
40 fell 1.12% to 4,881.95 points.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index slipped
0.71% to 11,500.38 points after setting
a new record high on Monday.
“Global equity markets came under
renewed pressure in today’s session as
ongoing concerns regarding the European QE programme and the strong
rally in the US dollar weighed heavily
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
on market sentiment and limited risk
appetite,” said Myrto Sokou, senior research analyst at Sucden Financial.
Greece has agreed to start urgent
technical talks today on extending its
crucial bailout after its eurozone partners accused debt-stricken Athens of
wasting time in previous negotiations.
The main talks will be in Brussels but
teams from Greece’s creditors will also
be on the ground in Athens, Eurogroup
chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said, despite
the new left-wing government’s earlier
insistence that they should not return.
The announcement came after a
meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday, at which
the Greek government outlined the
reforms demanded by lenders in exchange for further cash.
“Athens is dragging its heels over
reforms and patience is running low in
Brussels,” said IG analyst David Madden.
“The Greek government is pushing the envelope with its creditors and
the market is scared by the prospect of
another long drawn-out debt negotiation.
“The ECB’s government bond-buying scheme is being overshadowed by
Greece, and if Athens keeps pushing its
creditors around it may receive a rap on
the knuckles.”
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 11, 2015
Fidelity tech fund trounces all rivals without holding Apple
New York
The best performing technology fund
since the peak of the dot com boom
did it all without owning Apple, whose
soaring stock price has pushed the
Nasdaq near a new record high.
The $941mn Fidelity Select IT Services
fund has returned an average of 10.9%
a year since March 10, 2000, when the
Nasdaq Composite hit its record high,
according to Lipper data.
That’s more than double any other
technology fund tracked by Lipper, and
trounces the 0.1% a year generated over
the same period by the PowerShares
QQQ ETF, the most popular exchange
traded fund tracking the Nasdaq.
“This is a fund that doesn’t have Google,
doesn’t have Microsoft.
This is a wholly different subset of
technology than most investors are
familiar with,” said Todd Rosenbluth,
director of mutual fund research at SP
Capital IQ.
The fund invests at least 80% of its
assets in firms that provide day-to-day
services such as payment processing
and web hosting, rather than looking
for those with zooming growth, said
Kyle Weaver, 38, who has been lead
portfolio manager of the fund since
The fund has largely kept the same
investment approach since its
inception, he said.
“We’re looking for companies that
have a high degree of recurring
revenue that aren’t very glamorous
and operate in the background of our
lives instead of front and center,” he
Instead of Apple and other big
household names of the Nasdaq,
Weaver owns large positions in
companies that few lay investors have
heard of, such as Vantiv, a payments
processing company, and data analytics
company Cognizant Technology
Solutions Corp.
Still, the size of the bets the fund takes
on companies may give investors
pause, Rosenbluth said.
“This is a very concentrated fund and
while it has companies like IBM that
people have heard of, it has a mixture of
small and mid-cap companies that will
fly below the radar for most investors,”
he said.
The fund charges 83 cents per $100
invested, a level that Morningstar
considers below average.
Its top holdings are Visa Inc and
Mastercard, both of which are up
more than 220% over the last five
years. Together, the companies make
up about 26% of the fund’s assets.
Neither is the top holding in any
other technology fund, according to
Morningstar data.
These “names we know but don’t
always associate with technology” have
“been on a tear over the past three
years,” said Jeff Tjornehoj, head of
Americas Research at Lipper. Outside
of its bets on Visa and Mastercard,
the fund has profited more from
its positions in medium and smallsized companies than from the large
companies it holds. International
Business Machines, for instance, is up
just 27% since the fund purchased it in
early 2010, compared with a 130% rally
in the broad Nasdaq Composite over
the same time.
Weaver splits his portfolio roughly
evenly between large and small
He recently added to positions in
Vantiv, a $7bn market cap payment
processing company, as well as Alliance
Data Systems Corp, a $17bn market
cap company that operates customer
Startup firm challenges
dominance of big banks
in derivatives markets
New York
new trading exchange for derivatives is loosening the stranglehold
that the world’s biggest investment banks have on the multi-trillion
dollar market in a crucial test of financial
reforms that attempt to reduce systemic
The year-old trading venue, trueEX
Group, surprised many on Wall Street
when it had nearly 20% of the trades in
exchange-traded interest rate swaps in
the US for the week ending February 20.
Though it has not matched those numbers
since, its 9% market share so far this year
marks significant inroads for a startup vying against rivals backed by the most powerful banks, investors and traders said.
Interest-rate swaps allow investors, companies, and banks to hedge risk
against future interest rate movements,
and to bet on those movements. They
are the most common type of derivative,
usually involving a party who is paying a
floating interest rate, swapping that payment for a more predictable fixed interest
rate with another party, sometimes over
the course of many years.
Many of the top derivatives dealers, including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank,
Citigroup, Barclays, Bank of America
Corp, and Morgan Stanley, have declined
to use trueEX. Other new exchanges have
also struggled to get traction with major
The banks declined to comment publicly for this article.
TrueEX offers trading features, such as
anonymous trading, that regulators and
traders at funds say will encourage smaller banks and other players, such as hedge
funds, to enter the market as dealers. That
will help increase competition, reduce
prices for customers, and decrease risk in
derivatives markets, these people said.
Until now, a handful of too-big-to-fail
banks have dominated the market, potentially raising the risks that the failure
of one party could send major shocks
through the financial system, analysts
said. The exception among the big banks is
JPMorgan Chase & Co, one of the world’s
top swaps dealing banks, which has joined
trueEX, along with 12 smaller banks. JPMorgan also declined to comment.
If trueEX continues to build market
share it could hack away at the substantial profits the top banks can currently
make from derivatives trading. The top
The headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. Many of the top derivatives dealers, including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs,
Citigroup, Barclays, Bank of America Corp, and Morgan Stanley, have declined to use the new trading exchange trueEX.
banks combined make $3bn-$4bn a year
dealing US dollar interest rate swaps on
exchange-like platforms, similar to trueEX’s, according to Will Rhode, Head of
Capital Markets Research at the Boston
Consulting Group.
In other derivatives markets, banks’
efforts to keep new exchanges out have
drawn scrutiny from regulators and enforcement agencies. In 2013, the European Commission accused 13 of the world’s
largest investment banks of colluding to
keep new exchanges out of the credit derivatives market. The US Department of
Justice has also launched a probe into alleged collusion in those markets.
The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform
law requires many kinds of derivatives to
trade on exchanges. But the banks’ refusal
to deal with a startup platform is a potent
weapon, because market players want to
trade on exchanges where there is high
volume. Together, the big banks control
over half the liquidity in the market, giving them the power to decide which platforms survive, and which die.
Last year, when a swaps exchange run
by GFI Group said it would allow anonymous trading, several banks threatened to
pull their business off the platform, ac-
cording to people familiar with the matter.
GFI reversed course.
“The big banks want desperately to preserve the status quo,” said Tod Skarecky,
vice president of Clarus Financial Technology, a data and technology firm specialising in derivatives markets. “This is
disrupting their whole business model.”
Senior bank executives said their decisions about which exchange to use are
based on demand from clients. Senior
bank officials said their clients prefer to
trade openly with big banks because it
is more efficient and is part of a broader
relationship with a bank that customers value, including access to investment
products and free research.
“If we had a bunch of clients coming saying they want to use trueEX, then
we’d use trueEX,” said one senior bank
executive. “We just give clients what they
TrueEX CEO Sunil Hirani said 62 buyside firms, such as investment and hedge
funds, have signed onto his platform.
“Clearly the buyside demand is there,”
he said. All the other swaps trading platforms, which have long dominated the
market with the banks’ blessing, including Tradeweb, which is owned by Thom-
son Reuters and 11 banks, and Bloomberg’s
swap execution facility, require participants in swaps deals to disclose their
identities after they trade, giving dealer
banks and other market participants potentially valuable information about the
trading patterns of big investors.
“Anonymous trading is the obvious
solution. It’s fantastic,” said Michael
O’Brien, director of global trading for Eaton Vance Corp, a Boston-based investment fund manager. “I don’t want to show
the size of my trades, I don’t want people
to know how I’m trading. Information is
the most valuable asset we have.”
New participants, like trueEX, leads to a
more efficient, transparent, and fair marketplace for all participants, said a senior
hedge fund executive who uses trueEX.
A spokesman for Bloomberg declined to
comment. Lee Olesky, CEO of Tradeweb,
said in a statement that Tradeweb’s 34%
market share so far in 2015 demonstrated
it was providing the desired features to
“The current trading protocols in play
have worked well in supporting swaps
trading without disrupting traders’ ability to access liquidity, and this is reflected
in our leading market share,” Olesky said.
loyalty programmes and branded credit
cards. These companies that operate
in the background tend to have more
profitable niches and trade at less
expensive valuations than average, said
Vantiv, for instance, trades at a forward
price-to-earnings ratio of 15.6, below the
20.7 multiple for the Nasdaq as a whole,
while Alliance Data Systems trades at a
forward P/E ratio of 16.3. Vantiv’s shares
are up 16% over the last 12 months,
while shares of Alliance Data Systems
have slipped 1.3%.
“Apple is the biggest stock in the
Nasdaq and everyone knows why,”
Weaver said. “But I bet very few people
know if ADP or Paychex cut their last
raise funds to
build war chest
ietnam’s big brokerages, flush with profits
from a banner year, are
busy amassing a financial war
chest for investment in Asia’s
fastest-growing stock market
and in preparation for a wave
of borrowing from local margin traders.
The main VN index has risen 33% in the past two years,
supported by Vietnam’s low
inflation, economic growth,
promises of finance reforms
and plans to “equitise”, or privatise, hundreds of state firms.
The gains have rewarded the
top 12 brokerages, which posted an average 81% jump in net
profit last year.
Nine of the 12 brokerages
that Thomson Reuters spoke
to have either raised funds
through stocks and bonds or
are planning to venture into
the capital markets in the
months ahead.
They will likely raise a total of $340mn in the two
years ending this December,
according to company estimates compiled by Thomson
Reuters. “Our goal is to stay
in the top 10 and to increase
our market share. We also expect liquidity to be solid,” said
Nguyen Hoang Thien Truc,
general manager of Maybank
Kim Eng Securities in Vietnam. Vietnam’s brokerages
are racing to secure a bigger
foothold in the highly competitive sector as the government moves to upgrade the
stock market to emerging
from frontier status, lift restrictions on foreign holdings,
and merge the Ho Chi Minh
Stock Exchange and the far
smaller Hanoi Stock Exchange
to attract foreign investors
and boost liquidity. As of early
March, Vietnam had made
the most gains among Asian
bourses this year, up more
than 10%.
All of this comes with a
health warning. An illiquid
market driven by margin lending exposes shares to sharper
declines in the event of an external shock. Retail investors
missing their margin calls risk
sinking into debt.
Retail investors also account for most of the market’s
deals, and they have tended
to be shorter-term investors,
selling shares quickly at the
first sign of trouble.
This means brokerages are
vulnerable to volatility in
earnings. Foreign investors
are not necessarily enamoured by the market either.
When state-controlled Vietnam Airlines launched its
initial public offering late last
year, barely any foreign investor came forward.
UK watchdog to keep close eye on bond market liquidity
A visitor exits the offices of the Financial Conduct Authority in London. The FCA
said yesterday that a low liquidity in corporate bond markets, which could create
volatility in times of stress, needed careful monitoring.
ritain’s financial regulator said
yesterday that a low liquidity in
corporate bond markets, which
could create volatility in times of
stress, needed careful monitoring.
But trying to improve liquidity by
relaxing strict new capital requirements imposed on banks since the financial crisis was not an option, the
regulator said.
Investors have poured money into
corporate bonds since the crisis to
boost returns but this has prompted
concerns that some markets do not
have enough liquidity to cope with a
rush for the exits when interest rates
start to rise.
Commentators have warned this
could result in fire-sale prices and extreme volatility in markets.
The liquidity issue has also arisen
at a time when the European Union is
looking to build a “capital markets union” to plug gaps in corporate funding
left by banks that have reined in lending. Edwin Schooling-Latter, head of
market infrastructure at the Financial
Conduct Authority (FCA), told a FIX
Trading conference that the state of
the secondary corporate bond market,
where bonds are traded after they have
been sold to investors, was on the regulatory agenda.
“There is enough evidence that low
liquidity relative to previous years does
warrant careful regulatory monitoring
of market developments and careful
consideration of what could be done to
improve levels of liquidity,” he said.
“We don’t see a single silver bullet.”
Morgan Stanley has said that the
average number of dealers per trade
in the bond market has dropped to 3.2
in January this year from nearly 9 in
2009. This reflects the new capital requirements banks have to meet which
banks say has made bond trading more
Schooling-Latter said that before regulators themselves intervened they must
ask if there is a market failure. “We would
certainly be interested in views from
market participants if that is the case.”
“The focus of policy makers’ attention is
not on reversing new prudential requirements,” Schooling-Latter said.
Enhancing price transparency was
one option under consideration as a
way to make investors more willing to
trade, he said. Other ideas included
improving trading platforms, more
retail participation, greater standardisation of bond issuance and making
the allocation of initial issuance more
transparent, Schooling-Latter said.
Bond issuers also have a key role to
play such as encouraging platform
trading in their bonds at the outset to
reach a wider range of investors, he
added. He said it was timely to review
primary market regulation such as
easing EU rules on prospectuses for issuers, a step Brussels is already looking
at to boost market-based financing.
Separately, industry bodies like the
French and Dutch asset management
associations, Britain’s The Investment
Association, as well as investment
groups such as BlackRock and Aviva,
have proposed changes to planned
EU bond market transparency rules
known as MiFID II.
They said it was “highly challenging” to apply the MiFID II rules to less
widely traded bonds without crimping
market efficiency. “To deliver sustainable economic growth in the EU, the
starting point for MiFID II ... needs
to be the interests of Europe’s saving
and investing citizens and companies,”
they said in a letter, seen by Reuters, to
the EU securities watchdog ESMA.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Hungary brokerage
troubles widen with
Quaestor clampdown
he National Bank of Hungary suspended the licence of brokerage
Quaestor yesterday, citing regulatory shortcomings, and said the firm
may also have issued many more bonds
than permitted under its issuance programme.
Quaestor is the third Hungarian brokerage to face regulatory action within
weeks. Hungary’s forint fell 1% versus
the euro from its Monday closing level
and dealers said the brokerage troubles
had played into the falls.
State news agency MTI cited central
bank spokesman Istvan Binder as saying
a supervisor had taken charge of Quaestor’s brokerage as clients queued in front
of a branch in Budapest.
Quaestor, which has been operating
for 25 years, also provides banking, savings, investment and travel services to
over 200,000 clients, according to information on its website.
Binder told Reuters there was suspicion Quaestor may have issued up to
150bn forints more in bonds than the
60bn forints permitted under its bond
issuance programme.
“It is too early to speak about financial damage, as we don’t know if the
value of assets covers the value of bond
issuance,” Laszlo Windisch, a vice governor of the National Bank of Hungary,
said yesterday.
The ruling Fidesz party said the
government would discuss a possible
strengthening of the central bank’s supervisory rights and parliament could
pass any necessary amendments urgently.
Earlier this month, the central bank
revoked the licence of brokerage BudaCash and four small banks linked to it,
saying the brokerage could not account
for about 100bn forints ($354mn) of client cash.
Last week, the bank also revoked the
People wait in front of the Quaestor brokerage office in Budapest. The National Bank of Hungary has suspended the licence of
brokerage Quaestor due to unspecified violations of regulations, it said yesterday, making it the third brokerage to face regulatory
action within weeks.
licence of smaller brokerage Hungaria
The central bank said Quaestor could
close open financial market positions,
but clients’ access to securities and other
assets had been suspended pending the
Quaestor said in a statement one of its
units, Quaestor Financial Hrurira, filed
for bankruptcy protection after clients
tried to redeem bonds in large quantities
following the collapse of Buda-Cash.
It said redemptions exceeded the
liquid financial assets of the Quaestor
“It is impossible to raise all the money needed to repay the bonds only with
market tools,” it said. “Like several large
banks, insurance firms and bond issuers
in the world who had to ask for state help,
we have done the same.”
The government will discuss the issue
Quaestor Financial Hrurira launched a
70bn forint bond issuance programme in
November for the 2014-2015 period, according to its prospectus on its website.
Denmark lifts euro-peg
‘tsunami warning’ as
speculators quit
sees the latest currency
flow data as evidence
speculators have been beaten
back in their efforts to break the
krone’s peg to the euro.
“The tsunami warning is
off,” Economy Minister Morten
Oestergaard said in an interview
in Copenhagen. Policy makers
in Denmark are “very confident
that we have the upper hand in
this little bout” of exchange-rate
turbulence, he said.
Denmark has spent the past
eight weeks fighting back conjecture it would follow the Swiss
and abandon its ties to the euro.
The attack against the Danish
currency regime has provoked an
unprecedented package of measures designed to deter investors
from hoarding AAA rated krone
assets. The main deposit rate is
now minus 0.75% and reserves
have soared two-thirds to about
40% of gross domestic product.
Central bank Governor Lars
Rohde said in a February 5 interview there’s no limit to how far
he’s willing to cut interest rates or
raise reserves to defend the peg.
He’s also agreed with the government to suspend debt sales to
drive down longer-dated yields
and reduce the supply of krone
assets that speculators can buy.
The measures look to be
succeeding. Denmark’s biggest commercial pension fund,
PFA A/S, said in February that
the appeal of holding kroner is
waning. London-based hedge
fund LNG Capital said the same
month it had abandoned its bet
against the peg. Denmark’s biggest fund, ATP, says it hasn’t
bothered putting up any hedges
against the peg because the scenario of the regime failing is unthinkable.
The latest central bank reserve data suggest it “hasn’t had
to intervene as much” to prevent the krone strengthening,
Oestergaard said. The Economy
Ministry has also cut back on the
number of meetings it holds with
the central bank as the situation
normalises, he said. When Switzerland sent its franc into a free
float on January 15, Oestergaard
was in New York to meet with
Standard & Poor’s and discuss
the AAA rating that has attracted so many investors into Danish
assets. He sees Denmark’s status
as a haven for investors as something positive that economic
policy should seek to support.
Hedge funds expecting Denmark to follow Switzerland
need to understand the context
in which the krone peg exists,
Oestergaard said.
The cap Switzerland imposed on the franc in 2011 was
always intended to be temporary, whereas Denmark’s regime
has existed for more than three
decades, first against the deutschmark and since 1999 against
the euro.
The Danish central bank’s only
job is to target 7.46038 against
the euro in a 2.25% official tolerance band. In practice, it only
allows swings of 0.5%. One euro
cost 7.4507 kroner as of 9:06am
in Copenhagen. That compares
with as strong as 7.4327 on January 15.
“You probably can’t find a single politician in parliament who
will argue we should leave the
peg,” Oestergaard said. “That’s
the strongest mandate the central bank can have.”
And while Denmark’s peg is
built into the country’s economic foundation, Switzerland’s
temporary currency regime was
a “political tool introduced to
handle a crisis,” he said.
Denmark can’t yet assume
that pressure on its currency regime won’t return, according to
“I’ve seen the reports interventions have come down,” he
said. “We’re still not in a place
where we can just shrug it off.”
While speculators may have
been deterred from taking bets
against the peg, demand for
krone assets is also coming from
Denmark’s own pension industry. Oestergaard said the government has no reason to believe the
country’s biggest institutional
investors are betting against the
currency regime.
Prudential’s annual net profit surges 65% to £2.216bn
€929mn the poll and €896mn in 2013. The company predicted net income would fall to around
€875mn in a “challenging” reinsurance market in
2015, assuming that major losses did not exceed
the long-term average of €690mn budgeted for the
year and that gross premiums would either stay flat
or grow slightly.
The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, is due to
report 2014 results today after flagging last month
that it would raise its dividend for 2014 by more
than expected.
British insurance giant Prudential, whose boss
Tidjane Thiam is leaving to join Swiss bank Credit
Suisse, yesterday posted soaring annual profits and
Net profits surged 65% to £2.216bn ($3.34bn,
€3.1bn) last year, from £1.346bn in 2013, Prudential
said in a results statement.
Operating profit, or earnings before tax and interest
payments, advanced 14% to £3.2bn on a constant
currency basis.
Total sales grew 15% to £60.1bn, while the group
also hiked its final shareholder dividend by 10% to
36.93 pence per share.
Despite bumper earnings, Prudential shares slid
1.20% to 1,643.50 pence on London’s FTSE 100
index, which was down 0.21% at 6,862.06 points.
“Insurer Prudential is leading the decline in early
trade off the back of news that the CEO is to depart
and this has eclipsed some stellar earnings data,”
noted analyst Tony Cross at trading firm Trustnet
Hannover Re
German reinsurer Hannover Re is to pay an extra
dividend on the back of record full-year earnings,
joining other reinsurers in handing cash to shareholders that they cannot put to work in an insurance market where prices are under pressure.
The world’s third largest reinsurer said it would
pay a special dividend of €1.25 ($1) per share on
top of an unchanged regular dividend of €3 per
share following a year where the company’s capital
reserves increased as there were fewer big payouts
for natural catastrophes.
“Special dividends are more in the foreground in
the current market situation,” Hannover Re Chief
Executive Ulrich Wallin told a news conference.
The top three global reinsurers Munich Re, Swiss
Re, and Hannover Re are trying to maintain pricing
power in a reinsurance market where the arrival
of new players has put pressure on prices. The
big three are giving money back to shareholders
via dividends or share buybacks rather than sell
reinsurance at loss-making prices.
“I would really prefer it if the market would change,
so that instead of paying a special dividend, we
could raise our profit more strongly,” Wallin said.
Analysts on average had expected a dividend of
€3.32 in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages.
Hannover Re’s total payout of €4.25 or 52% of net
profit matched the highest forecast in the poll.
The extra dividend helped to push Hannover Re
shares up 5.5% to a record high of €92.02.
Hannover Re said it would stick to its long-term
plan to pay 35-40% of net profit as a dividend, but
did not rule out another special dividend payment
for this year if its capitalisation remained at a comfortable level.
For 2014, Hannover Re’s net profit rose 10% to
€985.6mn ($1.1bn), above an average forecast of
Belgian bank Belfius has sharply reduced the risky
assets inherited from its former parent Dexia and
was likely to remain state owned for the next two
years, its chairman said yesterday.
Belfius is the successor to the Belgian banking
arm of stricken group Dexia which was bailed out
by Belgium, France and Luxembourg in 2011. It
financed Dexia’s short term liquidity needs of about
€56bn ($60.2bn) at the time it was nationalised.
It has since greatly reduced this exposure and said
Dexia, which lives on as a portfolio of bonds and
loans being wound down, had completely weaned
itself off Belfius financing in February 2015.
Belfius said its net profit from its banking and
insurance business increased by four% to €462mn
($497mn) in 2014, after using €118mn to make
provisions for a legacy portfolio of bonds and loan
While Belfius will not pay a dividend to its owner,
the positive results are good news for the government, which hopes to one day recover a €4bn
investment made in 2011.
The state finances of France and Belgium are
heavily exposed to Dexia as they guarantee its borrowings of about €70bn, with Belgium responsible
for just over half.
A sale of Belfius was not an issue for the immediate future and it would likely remain state-owned
in the next two years, Chairman Jos Clijsters told
reporters, though he added that this decision was
ultimately one the government had to take.
“I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to go too
quickly,” Clijsters told reporters at the group’s headquarters in central Brussels.
A management overhaul and restructuring helped
G4S to beat profit forecasts in 2014, marking
progress for the world’s largest security group after
a series of setbacks.
The British firm, trying to recover from contract
problems including a high profile failure at the London Olympics in 2012, said yesterday underlying
operating profit rose 7.9% to £424mn ($637mn) last
year, ahead of a consensus forecast of £414mn.
Under CEO Ashley Almanza, who took charge in
2013, G4S has shaken up its management and begun cutting costs in areas like IT and procurement.
It has also axed weak businesses to help feed
growth in more profitable emerging markets, where
2014 revenue rose 8.9% and helped offset weaker
trade in continental Europe and Britain.
Almanza maintained a cautious tone on the outlook
for a company which runs services from transporting cash to protecting ships from pirates.
“There remains much to be done to realise the full
potential of our strategy,” he said.
The profit rise was helped by 3.9% revenue growth
and cost savings that pushed margins up slightly.
“The group’s turnaround continues to progress,”
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman
“Underperforming businesses are being sold
or discontinued, contract retention rates have
stayed strong, whilst exposure to both expanding emerging markets and the recovering North
American economy is proving beneficial.”
G4S hit the headlines in 2012 when it failed to
provide enough security guards for the London
It had to repay over £110mn last year to the British
government after it was found to have charged for
electronically monitoring criminals who were dead,
in prison or had not been tagged at all.
The tagging errors led to a ban on new British
government work, which has since ended, and also
sparked an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, which remains ongoing.
RWE, Germany’s second-biggest power supplier, said
yesterday that its earnings were hit by falling electricity prices last year. RWE said in a statement that
its recurrent net income—from which the dividend is
paid—fell by 44.6% to €1.282bn ($1.38bn) in 2014.
Underlying or operating profit fell by 9.8% to
€7.131bn and sales were down 7.5% at €48.468bn,
the statement said. RWE said it would propose an
unchanged dividend of €1.0 per share for 2014.
The “crisis in conventional power generation continues,” said chief executive Peter Terium.
“In spite of this, we will focus once more on growth
opportunities in the future, but without losing sight
of the need for strict financial discipline.”
Germany’s expansion of renewable energy has
dragged down electricity prices, eroding the profitability of groups such as RWE which operate coal,
gas and nuclear generation plants.
Looking ahead to the current year, RWE said it
expects “a further decline in earnings, despite its
continuing efficiency improvements and the effects
of its growth measures.” The group was targeting
underlying profit of €6.1bn to €6.4bn and recurrent
net income in the range of €1.1bn to €1.3bn for the
whole of 2015.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Corporate earnings
bottom out as Modi
plan boosts Sensex
The Bombay Stock Exchange building is seen in Mumbai. The biggest drop in Indian profit forecasts since September 2013 is
bottoming out, adding support to the world’s second-biggest equity rally as interest rates fall and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
boosts infrastructure spending.
to higher earnings growth via rising investment spending, more productive capex,
long-term reduction in taxes,” Gaurav
Patankar, an emerging markets portfolio
manager at The Boston Company Asset
Management, which oversees $50bn, said
by e-mail on March 1. “Investors should be
pretty satisfied on that count.”
Indian shares may retreat because valuations have climbed too high, according to
Kotak Institutional Equities. At 20.3 times
reported earnings, the Sensex is twice as
expensive as the MSCI BRIC Index of the
four-largest emerging markets.
The Sensex declined 0.5% to 28,709.87
at the close in Mumbai yesterday.
The latest results from Indian companies show profits were still declining as of
December. Earnings per share for Sensex
Emerging currencies
plunge as dollar rises
Emerging currencies sold off
further yesterday with Turkey’s
lira and South Africa’s rand hitting
multi-year lows against a stronger
dollar as expectations of a US
interest rate hike compound domestic fiscal and political woes.
Buoyed by sturdy US economic
growth and a gradual end to the
Federal Reserve’s easy monetary
policy since mid-2014, the dollar
index has risen to its highest in
almost 11 years.
Many developing markets have
meanwhile seen investors grow
increasingly cautious as wilting economic prospects have
prompted central banks to cut
interest rates.
“We are seeing the largest weaknesses in some of the familiar
emerging markets like South
Africa, Turkey and Brazil,” said
William Jackson, senior emerging markets economist at Capital
Economics. “Politics seems to be
playing a role.”
Protracted periods of dollar
strength have been rare during the 40 year-era of floating
exchange rates, but have tended
to trigger problems in emerging
markets when they have happened. Most notably, in 1997/98,
many Asian countries and Russia
were forced to dramatically devalue their currencies, with some
defaulting on debt.
Because emerging market
governments and companies rely
disproportionately on dollar borrowing, greenback appreciation
makes repaying their loans more
expensive, sometimes sowing
he biggest drop in Indian profit
forecasts since September 2013 is
bottoming out, adding support to
the world’s second-biggest equity rally
as interest rates fall and Prime Minister Narendra Modi boosts infrastructure
S&P BSE Sensex index earnings projections have edged up by 0.4% since February 19, after a 2.3% drop from their January 4 high, data compiled by Bloomberg
show. Analysts project profits will climb
25% in the next 12 months, more than
three times the rate of MSCI Emerging
Markets Index companies.
Equity analysts are shifting focus from
a decline in earnings during the quarter
ended December to the prospect of faster economic expansion after the central
bank cut interest rates for the second time
this year and Modi outlined plans to spend
more on railways, roads and power plants.
Faster growth will spur further gains in
stocks after a 34% jump in the Sensex over
the past year sent valuations to the highest since December 2010, according to
HDFC Asset Management Co.
“The profit growth outlook is going to
be quite good,” Prashant Jain, the chief
investment officer at HDFC Asset Management, which oversees $24.4bn as the
nation’s largest fund manager, said in an
interview with Bloomberg TV India on
March 2. “There is room for price-toearnings multiples to move up.”
Jain and India’s three other biggest
money managers have voiced support
for the government after it proposed on
February 28 a wider fiscal deficit to make
room for Rs700bn ($11.2bn) of additional
spending on infrastructure in the year
starting April 1. Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley also promised a cut to corporate
tax rates and lower levies on raw materials
for local manufacturing to bolster Asia’s
third-largest economy.
Earnings growth will be led by the utility and capital- goods industries, analyst
estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.
Profits in the S&P BSE India Power Index are forecast to soar 97% in the next 12
months, versus 81% for the S&P BSE India
Capital Goods Index. Earnings at energy
companies are projected to rise less than
1% after a 43% slump in oil prices over the
past 12 months.
“The budget does many things to point
India stocks
decline to
1-month low;
rupee falls
seeds of default and contagion.
Yesterday, the Brazilian real
dropped to its weakest level in
over a decade, while South Africa’s
rand plunged to a 13-year low
against the dollar and Turkey’s lira
traded within sight of a record low
it hit last Friday.
Investors in Brazil are fretting over
a corruption scandal at statecontrolled oil company Petrobras
and the government’s ability to
consolidate public finances. In
South Africa, chronic electricity
shortages, labour unrest and a
gaping current account deficit
have cast a cloud.
Doubts meanwhile prevail over
the independence of Turkey’s central bank, which has come under
intense pressure from President
Tayyip Erdogan to cut rates. And
there could be more weakness
ahead, said Jackson.
“If you’re looking at the risk of a
crisis, the key thing to look at is
what kind of vulnerabilities exist
in these economies and how
exposed they are particularly to
dollar debt,” he added.
Currencies in Asia followed the
pattern, with South Korea’s won
skidding to fresh 1-1/2 year lows as
offshore funds sold their positions
while the Singapore dollar and
Malaysian ringgit hit multi-year
Eastern European currencies were
weaker against euro across the
Both Romania and Hungary
reported inflation data on Tuesday
that was higher than expected,
though overall levels were still
well below target.
The currency weakness spread to
other assets, with emerging market stocks trading 1.3% lower.
companies declined 2.5% in the December quarter, the first drop since the three
months through June 2013, according to
data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Valuations are just not looking good,”
Sanjeev Prasad, the Singapore-based
co-head and senior executive director at
Kotak Institutional, said in an interview
with Bloomberg TV India on Monday. The
Sensex may drop as much as 5% as the
positive macroeconomic indicators are
“still not translating into investments and
earnings numbers,” he said.
The prospect of accelerating economic
growth is luring new investors to Indian
stocks, including UniSuper Management Pty, an Australian pension fund that
manages more than A$50bn ($39bn). The
fund is considering investing as much as
A$200mn through a money manager or
exchange-traded funds, Chief Investment
Officer John Pearce said in an interview in
India’s economy is projected to expand
as much as 8.5% in the next fiscal year,
according to the latest Finance Ministry
estimates. The Reserve Bank of India is
seeking to keep the inflation rate in a band
between 2% and 6%, with a target of 4%.
It was 5.11% in January.
“The Indian market is undervalued if
it is going to achieve 7% to 8% growth
with low inflation,” Adrian Mowat, the
chief Asian and emerging market equity strategist at JPMorgan Chase &
Co in Hong Kong, said in an interview
on March 2. “We are very upbeat about
earnings growth.”
ndian stocks fell for the second day, with the benchmark
index sliding to a one-month
low, on concern the recent rally
may have exceeded the outlook
for earnings growth.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, the largest drugmaker by
market value, declined from a
record. Housing Development
Finance Corp, the biggest mortgage lender, dropped the most in
two months.
Aluminum maker Hindalco
Industries retreated for the
fourth day, the longest run of
losses in three months.
The S&P BSE Sensex lost 0.5%
to 28,709.87 at the close, after
changing direction at least 15
The index slumped 2.1% on
Monday after data showing
strength in the US labour market
fuelled speculation the Federal
Reserve may raise interest rates
sooner than forecast.
The Sensex had its fourth
weekly advance after the central
bank on Wednesday cut borrowing costs for a second time this
“We are due for a slight corrective phase and that would be
very healthy for the market as
we’ve had a long, sustained period of gains,” Arvind Sethi, chief
executive officer at Mumbaibased Tata Asset Management,
which manages $4bn in assets,
told Bloomberg TV India today.
“Given that it will take some
time for earnings to pick up, the
next few months will be a period
of consolidation.”
The Sensex trades at 16 times
projected 12-month profits, compared with MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s multiple of 11.5. Earnings per share for the 30 Sensex
companies slid 2.5% in the quarter ended December quarter, the
first drop since the three months
ended June 2013, data compiled by
Bloomberg show.
Earnings projections for the
Indian gauge have edged up by
0.4% since February 19, after a
2.3% drop from their January 4
high, the data show. Analysts
project earnings will climb 25%
in the next 12 months, more than
three times the rate of MSCI
Emerging Markets Index companies. Sun Pharmaceutical fell
1.6%, the most since February 26. Housing Development
tumbled 4.1%, the steepest
drop since January 6. The stock
climbed to a record on Thursday.
Hindalco decreased 2% in a
fourth day of losses, the longest
streak of losses since December
10. Tata Steel lost 1.4%, while
Sesa Sterlite fell 0.8%.
Hindustan Unilever, the biggest home-products maker, slid
the most in a month. The stock
trades at 44.2 times its 12- month
earnings, the most expensive
among the 50 companies in the
CNX Nifty Index, data compiled
by Bloomberg show.
Telecom companies rallied
amid reports the government’s
auction of mobile-phone airwaves was nearing conclusion
earlier than anticipated.
Bharti Airtel jumped 7.1%, the
most since September 2013. Idea
Cellular rose 3.3%, while Reliance Communications added
Eight carriers have been bidding for spectrum since March
4. The auction, which had been
expected to go on for at least 10
days and was seen as crucial for
uninterrupted services at the
four largest operators including
Vodafone Group, will end soon,
Bloomberg TV India reported.
Global investors bought a net
$226mn of local shares on March
5, taking this year’s inflows to
$5.2bn. They bought $16bn of
stocks last year.
Meanwhile the rupee fell
at 62.64/65 per dollar, off its
lowest level in more than two
months, on dollar selling by foreign banks. Most of the Asian
currencies weaker as the dollar
rises to a 12-year high against the
euro. The Indian rupee ended at
62.55/56 on Monday.
The benchmark 10-year bond
yield steady at 7.74%, as traders remain cautious amid lack
of immediate cues on interest
rates. Economists polled by Reuters give only a one-in-three
chance that the RBI would act
again in April.
Wall St gain fails to lift Asia markets
sian shares brushed off a
positive lead from Wall
Street to mainly retreat
for a second straight day yesterday, as official data pointed
to further weakness in China’s
The euro continued to flounder against the greenback a day
after the European Central Bank
launched its stimulus “bazooka”, while the dollar pushed
towards an eight-year high
against the yen as dealers bet on
a US interest rate hike.
News that China’s consumer
price inflation rebounded in
February from a more-thanfive-year low was overshadowed by a steep drop in consumer prices, indicating more
softness down the line.
Shanghai fell 0.49%, or 16.34
points, to 3,286.07 and Hong
Kong lost 0.94%, or 226.07
points, to 23,896.98.
Tokyo fell 0.67%, or 125.44
points, to 18,665.11 and Seoul
shed 0.40%, or 8.05 points, to
end at 1,984.77.
Sydney was flat, edging up
2.9 points to 5,824.2.
In other markets, Taipei
fell 0.28%, or 26.45 points, to
9.536.53; Acer eased 2.29% to
Tw$21.35 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co
slipped 1.03% to Tw$144.0.
Wellington slipped 0.16%,
or 9.21 points, to 5,887.75;
telecom giant Spark slipped
1.82% to NZ$3.24, Mighty River
Power lost 3.24% to NZ$3.29
and Auckland Airport was off
0.44% at NZ$4.53.
Employees prepare to work on the trading floor of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Japanese stocks closed
down 125.44 points to 18,665.11 yesterday.
Manila edged up 0.10%, or
8.19 points, to 7,828.48; toptraded Metropolitan Bank
gained 0.27% to 94.10 pesos.
Ayala Corp advanced 1.23% to
741pesos, while Philippine Long
Distance Telephone inched up
0.26% to 3,092pesos.
Kuala Lumpur closed down
0.11%, or 2.01 points, at
1,789.73; Sime Darby lost 1.82%
to 9.17 ringgit, British American
Tobacco went down 1.20% to
67.72 ringgit, while Tenaga National rose 0.27% to 14.66 ringgit. Jakarta closed up 0.34%,
or 18.29 points, to 5,462.93;
consumer goods Unilever rose
0.80% to 37,800 rupiah, while
mining company Adaro Energy
fell 0.51% to 985 rupiah.
0.19%, or 6.31 points, to
3,398.26; commodity traders
Noble Group declined 6.50% to
Sg$0.94 while United Overseas
Bank fell 0.39% to Sg$22.80.
Bangkok closed down 1.84%,
or 28.67 points, to 1,531.04; telecoms giant AIS dipped 1.28%
to 231baht while Siam Cement
also fell 2.65% to 514baht.
Bumrungrad Hospital bucked
the day’s trend, up 1.99% to
The losses came despite a
positive day in New York, with
the three main indexes ending
higher after Apple launched its
long-awaited watch, while GM
announced a $5bn share buyback.
The Dow rose 0.78% and the
S&P 500 gained 0.39%. The
tech-rich Nasdaq advanced
In China, the National Bureau of Statistics said consumer
inflation hit 1.4% in February,
well up from 0.8% the previous
month and much better than
the 1.0% forecast.
However, the NBS also said
the price of goods at the factory
gate slumped 4.8%, the worst
result since October 2009, driven by falling energy prices.
The indicators were released
after authorities cut interest
rates in November as well as last
“Today’s data showed that
China is in danger of deflation,” said Christopher Wong, a
Singapore-based senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management.
“The economic situation
there is very tough while the re-
laxation of its monetary policy
is still behind the curve.”
Tokyo’s Nikkei was Asia’s
best performer in early dealing
as exporters were supported by
the weakening yen.
In Tokyo, the greenback
briefly surged to a high of
¥122.02, around levels not seen
since July 2007. It later settled
back to ¥121.68.
The greenback continued to
rally after Friday’s blistering US
jobs report fanned speculation
the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates as soon as June.
“The US economy is moving
in the right direction, and expectations of a rate hike should
continue until the Fed’s meeting next week, which means the
yen could continue to weaken
against the dollar,” said Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist
at SMBC Friend Securities in
The euro was hovering
around 11-year lows on the dollar. The single currency slipped
to $1.0797 from $1.0854 in
US trade, and to ¥131.39 from
The ECB kicked off its 60bneuro-a-month
scheme Monday hoping it will
fend off deflation in the eurozone and also kick-start economic growth.
However, there remain worries about Greece’s bailout extension as it starts technical
talks this week with its regional
partners. Oil prices were lower.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate eased 25 cents to
$49.75 while Brent dipped 39
cents to $58.14.
against $1,174.98 late Monday.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Mike Wells
in line to
replace Thiam
as chief exec
Credit Suisse poaches Thiam
of Prudential for Asia push
Long-standing CEO Dougan to step
down in June; Thiam expected
to cut investment bank; new CEO
may put more focus on Asia wealth
management; signals bank’s efforts
to boost wealth management arm
Prudential Plc, Britain’s largest
insurer, is due to name Mike
Wells as chief executive officer,
succeeding Tidjane Thiam, who
is set to run Credit Suisse Group,
a person with knowledge of the
matter said.
The company plans to make an
announcement once the UK regulator has approved the choice,
chairman Paul Manduca said on a
conference call yesterday, without
commenting further. Wells has
been CEO of London-based Prudential’s Jackson National Life US
unit since 2010.
“He is well respected and has
done a good job in the US,” Oliver
Steel, a Deutsche Bank analyst,
said in a note to clients yesterday.
“We think the market will be content with this appointment.”
Wells joined Jackson in 1995 in the
marketing and distribution arm
and helped develop the firm’s first
variable annuity products. Since
he was promoted to CEO, the
company has grown to become
the largest seller of variable annuities in the US, surpassing companies such as MetLife, according
to data from trade group Limra.
He has been in the insurance
industry for 29 years and has a
bachelor of science degree from
San Diego State University. His
selection as Prudential’s CEO was
reported earlier by Sky News.
Prudential fell 2% to 1,630 pence by
9:59am in London, trimming the
stock’s advance this year to 9.2%.
Thiam, 52, has run Britain’s largest
insurer by market value since
2009, tripling its stock price
while betting on Asia to drive up
profit. He was named yesterday
to replace Brady Dougan as CEO
of Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s
second-largest lender.
Prudential reported yesterday a
14% increase in group operating
profit before the effect of currency swings to £3.2bn ($4.8bn)
from a year earlier. It raised the
final dividend 10%. Jackson
National Life reported a 21% jump
in full-year operating profit to
Prudential has no relation to
Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential Financial.
Zurich/London/Hong Kong
redit Suisse has swooped on
Prudential boss Tidjane Thiam
to replace chief executive Brady
Dougan — seen to have failed in reforming the Swiss bank fast enough
— in order to push into wealth management of a growing multi-millionaires
club in Asia.
Thiam, 52, has driven Prudential’s
expansion into the same region since
2009 and its success in selling insurance products there has trebled the
firm’s share price. Although the former
Ivory Coast government minister has
never run a bank, his experience of
dealing with financial regulators is also
seen by shareholders and analysts as an
advantage given the raft of new rules
that have been introduced post-financial crisis.
Dougan, 55, had been criticised for
not paring back Credit Suisse’s investment bank enough after the introduction of global regulation that forced
banks to hold more capital in the event
of future problems ate into the business’s returns.
The American is leaving after 25 years
at the bank and eight as CEO, when he
was one of the world’s highest-paid
bankers with his salary topping 90mn
Swiss francs ($91mn) in one year. More
recently, he had embarked on several
rounds of cost-cutting.
“Thiam has no banking experience
but it could be that an outsider can
make some of the decisions they were
not able to make internally,” said one
investor in Credit Suisse, who asked
not to be named because she was not
authorised to speak to the press.
Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner
said Dougan was stepping down at the
end of June and would be replaced by
Thiam, who became the first black CEO
of a FTSE 100 company when he moved
to the top job at Prudential from insurer
Originally from Ivory Coast, Thiam
left in his early 30s after a coup there
and joined consulting firm McKinsey &
Outgoing Credit Suisse chief executive Brady Dougan arrives before a news conference to present the bank’s full-year results in Zurich on February 12. Dougan is being
replaced by Prudential head Tidjane Thiam. Right: Thiam speaks during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in this January 24,
2014 file photo.
Co in Paris — making him now the third
ex-McKinsey member on Credit Suisse’s 10-person executive board. People who have worked with him said he
has a sharp intellect and deals well with
regulators and colleagues.
Investors pushed Credit Suisse
shares up 7% by midday. Though Thiam failed in his attempt to take over
Asia-focused insurer AIA in 2010 after
a shareholder rebellion, he is still seen
as having brought value to Prudential by focusing on Asia as a key profit
That also spurred an expectation that
he will cut the investment bank hard,
finally. Credit Suisse’s European rivals
like UBS have been faster to shrink this
part of their business and focus instead
on other areas of strength.
“Thiam’s background in insurance
and asset management suggests Credit
Suisse’s focus is moving increasingly
away from investment banking,” said a
UK-based fund manager, who declined
to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the press. The fund
manager was reviewing his position
after selling the bank’s shares on concerns about capital requirements.
Rohner said Thiam’s international
experience, particularly in wealth and
asset management and developing new
markets, laid the foundation for his appointment, which was reported overnight by various news outlets including
“With Tidjane Thiam, a strong and
distinguished leader with an impressive track record in the global financial
services industry will take the helm of
our bank,” Rohner said.
Credit Suisse has battled several
problems under Dougan, who also
faced calls to quit last year when
the bank reached a $2.5bn settlement with US authorities for helping Americans evade taxes via secret
bank accounts.
The bank’s board backed him over
that deal — under which Credit Suisse
pleaded guilty to criminal charges but
kept its New York licence and its legally protected client data — but he
was criticised by some politicians and
media in Switzerland. The Illinois na-
tive was also criticised for sticking
with an investment banking strategy when regulators and politicians
viewed that business as too risky and
Swiss regulators imposed tougher
capital rules on their banks than other
Dougan, whose departure leaves JP
Morgan’s Jamie Dimon and Goldman
Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein as the only two
global CEOs still in place since the financial crisis, said on Tuesday he had
“tremendous respect” for his replacement.
Sally Yim, vice-president at Moody’s
Investors Service, said before Thiam’s
appointment was confirmed that Credit Suisse needed someone with “with a
diverse background (who) could look at
its strategy with a fresh pair of eyes.”
Thiam is not a typical financial industry CEO.
He lists ‘The Brothers Karamazov’
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky as his favourite
book and his top song is Tadieu Bone by
Ismael Lo, a Senegalese guitarist. He
also chose tracks by Stevie Wonder and
Frank Sinatra when he appeared two
years ago on BBC Radio’s Desert Island
Discs — a popular programme where
guests imagine themselves as castaways with only a few choices of music and a single luxury. His was a solar
powered ice cream maker.
Asked on that show how he felt leading people, Thiam said: “It’s a bit like
walking a tightrope because you feel all
these expectations around you and it’s
rarely comfortable. If you really believe
in what it is you are trying to achieve
it helps you go through a journey and
walk without looking down.”
Prudential, Britain’s largest insurer
by market value, confirmed Thiam’s
departure as it reported a 14% rise in
operating profit in 2014.
The firm said a successor has been
identified and would be announced
after the regulatory approval process.
Thiam is expected to remain in place
until after first quarter results are released in May. The insurance group
declined to comment on media reports
that its US business head Mike Wells
would get the job.
Prudential shares fell 1.9%.
Dougan latest leader to go as
Thiam’s appointment seen
Europe’s banks search for profit signalling a strategy shift
Credit Suisse Group’s decision to replace
Brady Dougan as chief executive officer with
Prudential’s Tidjane Thiam caps a series
of management shuffles that promise to
reshape Europe’s banking industry.
Standard Chartered and Barclays are among
at least eight European banks that made
changes in senior leadership in the past six
Seven years after the global financial crisis
began, Europe’s largest financial firms
are still seeking the right business model
to prosper in an era of higher capital
requirements, record-low interest rates and
skyrocketing fines for bad behaviour.
“Recent management changes arose from
one of two factors or the combination of
both: regulatory issues or litigation matters
and shareholder pressure toward a backto-basic strategic approach focused on
core businesses,” said Antonio Guglielmi,
a London-based analyst at Mediobanca.
“The winning management team will be the
one succeeding in simplifying the business
model, reducing leverage and reversing
Dougan, 55, an American who led the Zurichbased bank since 2007, took an incremental
approach to scaling back the investment
bank that wasn’t rewarded by shareholders.
The second-largest Swiss bank also suffered
a record US fine last year for helping
Americans evade taxes. The stock dropped
17% in the 12 months through Monday.
Thiam, 52, an Ivory Coast-born French
national, has led Britain’s largest insurer by
market value since 2009. While he has never
run a bank, Prudential’s stock price almost
tripled during his tenure as he focused on
Asia to boost profit.
“The main challenge for banks nowadays
is how to grow, how to be profitable and, of
course, to deal with the regulation, so new
management profiles are wanted,” said
Arturo Bris, a professor at the Lausanne, sed
IMD business school.
Seven years after the global financial
crisis began, Europe’s largest
financial firms are still seeking the
right business model to prosper in an
era of higher capital requirements,
record-low interest rates and
skyrocketing fines
Below are some of the recent leadership
changes at Europe’s biggest banks:
* Barclays hired John McFarlane as chairman
to help overhaul its culture in the wake of
a series of scandals. He will replace David
Walker after the annual shareholder meeting
on April 23. McFarlane, 67, will step down as
chairman of Aviva and FirstGroup to take
the job.
* Standard Chartered named former
JPMorgan Chase & Co investment bank cochief Bill Winters to replace Peter Sands as
CEO last month as it seeks to reverse faltering
earnings growth and a slump in shares.
Chairman John Peace will leave in 2016.
* Royal Bank of Scotland Group named
former regulator Howard Davies to replace
Philip Hampton as chairman starting
September 1, as the taxpayer-owned lender
works to shrink its investment bank after
seven straight annual losses. Davies, 64, was
a former chairman of the now defunct UK
Financial Services Authority.
* Credit Agricole chose Philippe Brassac,
head of the federation of regional banks that
controls Credit Agricole, to become CEO
on May 20, replacing Jean-Paul Chifflet, 65,
who’s retiring.
* Societe Generale, France’s second-largest
bank, named former European Central Bank
board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi chairman,
as it separated the post from that of CEO. Bini
Smaghi, 58, will take up the post at the end of
May. Frederic Oudea, 51, is relinquishing the
chairman role and remains CEO.
* BNP Paribas Chairman Baudouin Prot
stepped down as of December 1, and was
replaced by Jean Lemierre. Prot spent 31
years at BNP, including eight as CEO, helping
build the French lender into one of the
world’s largest banks. He left months after
BNP was hit with a record fine for violating
US sanctions against countries including
Sudan and Iran.
* At Banco Santander, Spain’s largest-bank,
chairman Ana Botin took over from her late
father Emilio in September and two months
later ousted CEO Javier Marin, promoting
Jose Antonio Alvarez into that role.
redit Suisse Group’s appointment of Tidjane
Thiam as chief executive officer boosted shareholder
expectations that the firm will
shift away from investment
banking toward its more profitable money management businesses.
Brady Dougan, the investment banker who has led Switzerland’s second-biggest lender
since 2007, has contended with
pressure to reduce the focus on
the securities unit as rules that
demand higher capital hurt returns and weakened the company’s buffers. The switch to
Thiam, who has spent the past
decade running insurance businesses, is a signal that the firm
may follow competitors including UBS Group AG in making
deeper cuts to the investment
“Dougan, the dyed-in-thewool investment banker, is being replaced by an expert on
wealth and asset management
and insurance,” Andreas Brun,
an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank. “This could also give
rise to a paradigm shift.” Credit
Suisse shares gained 7% at
12:30pm in Zurich trading after
Credit Suisse said Tuesday that
Dougan will step down at the
end of June.
Thiam, a dual citizen of
France and Cote d’Ivoire, joins
from Prudential, Britain’s largest insurer by market value,
whose stock has more than tripled during his tenure as CEO.
Dougan, who steered the
company through the financial
crisis, has been criticised for
not cutting the capital intensive
businesses at the investment
bank enough, as Credit Suisse’s
balance-sheet strength trails
that of competitors.
While the firm has increasingly focuses on wealth management, cuts at the trading
businesses have come bit by bit
in recent years.
businesses that Credit Suisse
intends to keep has more than
twice the risk-weighted assets
that UBS allocates to its securities businesses, for example.
Credit Suisse is the fourthbiggest wealth manager in the
world, according to the annual
ranking by Scorpio Partnership.
Dougan “was on a good track
for a while, during the crisis,”
said Peter Stenz, who helps
manage 53bn francs at Swisscanto Asset Management. “A
little less so afterwards. He
may have held on to investment
banking a bit too long.”
Capital remains the key issue
at Credit Suisse. The bank holds
less capital relative to riskweighted assets than its peers,
data compiled by Bloomberg
Intelligence show. Dougan has
been trying to rebuild capital ratios, which were battered
last year by US fines for helping
American clients evade taxes.
The bank showed a common equity ratio of 10.1% at the end of
December after restating earnings because of higher provisions for mortgage-related litigation.
Cutting back the investment
bank more should boost the
firm’s profitability as measured
by its return on equity, Goldman
Sachs Group analysts wrote in a
note to clients.
Thiam’s experience in Asia,
an important growth market for
Credit Suisse’s wealth management business, may also lead
the firm to expand in the region,
analysts at Berenberg said in a
Substandard payday lenders face closure, says British watchdog
orrowers in arrears are not being treated properly by many
so-called payday lenders and
some of these high-cost credit providers could be forced to leave the market,
Britain’s financial watchdog said yesterday.
The Financial Conduct Authority
(FCA) said it had completed a year-long
review of the market that offers shortterm loans to tide over borrowers until
they are paid and has been criticised by
lawmakers and the Church of England
for causing misery among customers
on low salaries.
“We found unacceptable practices
from many lenders, including failure
to recognise customers in financial dif-
ficulty; failure to direct people to free
debt advice; and firms offering inflexible repayment options,” the FCA said.
The Consumer Finance Association,
which represents payday lenders such
as Quick Quid, The Money Shop and
Payday UK, said it was early days for a
young industry to adjust to new rules.
“But short-term lenders are on a
clear path of improvement, with the
worst lenders leaving the market and
the FCA acknowledging that the lenders they reviewed are demonstrating a
real commitment to change,” CFA chief
executive Russell Hamblin-Boone said.
In 2013 the market had 1.6mn customers, who took out 10mn loans worth
a total of £2.5bn ($3.76bn), but the
amount lent dropped 35% by August
last year as tighter rules began to bite.
Michael Ruck, an enforcement specialist at law firm Pinsent Masons, said
the review may be considered the death
knell for a large number of payday lenders.
The review found companies engaging in misleading practices to get more
money from customers in arrears, forcing the regulator to intervene. “In some
cases our investigations are ongoing
and we will consider what further action to take in due course,” the watchdog added. Most firms were making
changes such as new senior management and better training, but none of
those reviewed met the required standard and could end up having to close.
“The real test for these lenders will
be FCA authorisation where they will
have to demonstrate exactly how much
progress they have made if they want
to remain in the market,” said Tracey
McDermott, the FCA’s director of supervision.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
France gets third
extension to cut
its budget deficit
EU nears deal on
€315bn plan to tackle
drop in investment E
EU guarantee, EIB money
to create €21bn capital for
fund; proposal to also go to
EU parliament, seek to avoid
U finance ministers agreed
the details of a €315bn
($338bn) investment plan
yesterday to help revive the European economy without piling up
more debt, and now aim to get the
first projects going by the end of
the year.
EU lawmakers must now approve the fund.
“The plan is the answer we need
to confront the main handicap of
the European economy: the lack
of investment,” said Pierre Moscovici, the EU economics commissioner, adding that investment had
fallen by 15 to 20% since 2008.
The four-year plan fleshes out
a call by European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker to
back riskier projects from airports
to railways and to confront the fall
in investment since the financial
Setting up the European Fund for
Strategic Investments (EFSI) has
been sensitive, with EU governments fearful of not having their
projects chosen from a list of almost
2,000 projects worth €1.3tn that
countries put forward.
Some EU lawmakers are wary
of favouritism towards western
European countries over poorer,
eastern European members.
Another problem has been that
the Commission wanted countries
to stump up money for the fund,
insisting that it would not be included in debt and deficit calculations.
That idea flopped because countries had no guarantee that their
projects would be chosen. Instead,
countries such as France, Spain
and Germany said they would help
fund projects in their country via
national development banks, and
Italy yesterday promised to contribute €8bn to the Italian projects
chosen, via its national promotional bank.
There are also doubts whether
the plan will attract enough private money, however. Juncker’s
goal is to have €315bn of largely
private new investment by provid-
European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici (left) talks to Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis during an
European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday. Moscovici said the new €315bn ($338bn) investment plan is the answer
to confront lack of investment.
ing €21bn in capital and first-loss
guarantees from the EU budget and
the European Investment Bank.
Under the plan agreed by ministers, the plan will run for four years
but will be reviewed after three
years to see if it is working.
A steering board made up by the
European Commission and the
European Investment Bank will
oversee the fund, while an eightmember investment committee
will choose the projects.
The list submitted in December,
which officials stress is not definitive, includes plans for housing regeneration in the Netherlands, a
new port in Ireland and a €4.5bn
fast rail connection between Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Other ideas involve refuelling
stations for hydrogen fuel cell
vehicles in Germany, expanding
broadband networks in Spain and
making public buildings in France
more energy-efficient.
HBO standalone
service coming to
Apple devices
San Francisco
HBO’s standalone streaming service
will launch on Apple devices next
month in time for the season
premiere of hit series Game of
Thrones, the network said yesterday,
a move to reach millions of viewers
who do not subscribe to pay
television packages.
The new HBO Now service will cost
$14.99 a month. It will include the
network’s past, present and future
series plus its lineup of Hollywood
movies, HBO chairman and chief
executive officer Richard Plepler said
at an Apple event in San Francisco.
It is the first time the premium
network will be available to people
with Internet access who shun
traditional TV bundles with dozens
of channels. Other media companies
including CBS Corp and Dish
Network Corp also are taking steps
to reach those audiences.
“This is a transformative moment
for HBO,” Plepler said after an
introduction by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The move by Time Warner’s HBO
could threaten the video businesses
of cable and satellite companies,
which are fighting to keep customers
from dropping their TV packages.
It also amps up competition with
streaming services such as Netflix.
HBO’s library of hits includes The
Sopranos and Sex and the City.
Starting in early April, HBO Now
will be available through the Apple
TV box and on iPhones, iPads and
the iPod touch. The fifth season of
“Game of Thrones” premieres April
Apple will be the exclusive digital
provider of HBO Now for three
months. The network also is
aiming to convince traditional TV
distributors to offer the service as
early as April.
Plepler, in an interview, said HBO
Now offers pay TV distributors
the chance to package it with
broadband-only or smaller TV
bundles and improve retention. The
distributors also would get a share of
the monthly revenue.
“That’s an enhancement and a
turbocharge to their own business,”
he said.
Verizon Communications, AT&T
and Dish had no comment. Other
distributors could not immediately
be reached.
HBO Now is separate from the HBO
Go streaming service for customers
who subscribe through TV packages.
Apple also said it was cutting the
Apple TV’s price to $69 from $99.
Time Warner shares rose 1.3% to
$85.20 on the New York Stock
Exchange. Shares of Netflix fell
1.9% to $445.63, while Apple shares
climbed 0.4% to $127.14. Both trade
on Nasdaq.
Varoufakis unsettles Germans with
admission Greece won’t repay debts
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has
described his country as the most bankrupt in
the world and said European leaders knew all
along that Athens would never repay its debts,
in blunt comments that sparked a backlash in
the German media yesterday.
A documentary about the Greek debt crisis on
German public broadcaster ARD was aired on
the same day eurozone finance ministers met in
Brussels to discuss whether to provide Athens
with further funding in exchange for delivering
“Clever people in Brussels, in Frankfurt and
in Berlin knew back in May 2010 that Greece
would never pay back its debts. But they acted
as if Greece wasn’t bankrupt, as if it just didn’t
have enough liquid funds,” Varoufakis told the
“In this position, to give the most bankrupt of
any state the biggest credit in history, like third
class corrupt bankers, was a crime against
humanity,” said Varoufakis, according to a
German translation of his comments.
It was unclear when the programme was
Although strident criticism of the way Greece
has been treated is typical for Varoufakis, a
Marxist economist, the remarks caused a stir
in Germany where voters and politicians are
increasingly reluctant to lend Greece money.
Bild daily splashed the comments on the front
page and ran an editorial comment urging
European leaders to stop providing Greece with
ever more financial support.
uropean Union finance
ministers gave France two
more years yesterday to cut
its budget deficit to within EU
limits, extending the deadline for
the third time since 2009 as Paris
struggles to enact reforms.
The eurozone’s second biggest
economy has repeatedly missed
deadlines and budget consolidation targets and, under EU budget rules sharpened during the
sovereign debt crisis, was facing
fines of up to €4bn ($4.3bn) by
late last year.
But the European Commission, which prepares the ministers’ decision, recommended an
extension of the deadline to 2017
from 2015 to give Paris more time
to implement reforms and cut
spending at a time of weak economic growth and low inflation.
“The two-year extension in
the excessive deficit procedure
for France is approved,” an EU
official said.
The Commission recommendation sparked controversy
among some smaller eurozone
countries and within the Commission itself, because many
policy-makers see it as undermining the credibility of the
rules set out in the EU’s Stability
and Growth Pact.
European Central Bank Executive Board Member Benoit
Coeure told the Financial Times
the eurozone should not create
a perception that it was unravelling its own rules or that laws
were applied differently for big
and small countries.
“We would not create trust in
the eurozone if we were to create
the perception that what has already been decided is being unravelled,” Coeure told the paper.
“It is always extremely important... to avoid a situation,
or even to avoid a perception,
that large countries are treated
in a more benevolent way ... than
smaller countries,” he said.
But the eurozone’s economic
powerhouse Germany is quietly
backing the lenient approach to
France so as not to further weaken already unpopular French
President Francois Hollande.
The recommendation was
initially discussed at a meeting
of eurozone finance ministers
on Monday, where it triggered a
discussion on the application of
EU budget rules. It was formally
approved by all 28 EU ministers
In a statement on Monday, the
eurozone finance ministers said
France must do more to comply
with the rules and that they expect Paris to deliver on a promise
to cut its structural deficit by an
additional 0.2% of GDP in 2015.
That would take the overall
reduction this year in the structural deficit, which strips out the
effects of the economic cycle, to
the minimum 0.5% required by
the EU.
Michel Sapin, speaking to reporters,
commitment to meet this year’s
structural deficit target and to
take more measures to do so,
blaming the below-target consolidation so far on very low inflation.
Sapin, who has said in the
past that France deserved special treatment because of its size,
said Paris was working hard to
respect the rules.
“We’ve done a good job. We
have a good trajectory now. It has
been about dialogue with Europe. Europe is there to help us. It
is not there to punish us,” he said
after the meeting.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin has reiterated France’s
commitment to meet this year’s structural deficit target and to take
more measures to do so, blaming the below-target consolidation so
far on very low inflation.
Apple CEO embraces technology,
luxury to win in smartwatches
pple Inc is betting that its first new gadget in
five years, a smartwatch costing from $349 to
more than $10,000, will offer the right blend
of technology and luxury to lure even more customers
and boost sales.
Apple Watch has a customisable face and will run
18 hours with typical use, chief executive officer Tim
Cook said at an event in San Francisco on Monday. He
was making the case for why consumers would want
to add another digital product to their daily lives,
highlighting the watch’s ability to track health, send
notifications and serve as a status symbol.
“Apple Watch is the most personal device we have
ever created — it’s not just with you, it’s on you,” Cook
said. “Since what you wear is an expression of who
you are, we designed Apple Watch to appeal to a whole
variety of people with different tastes and different
The watch will be available for preorder on April 10
and will reach consumers in Australia, Canada, China,
France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and US
on April 24. It comes in two sizes, with the Sport model priced at $349 and $399 and the midrange version
starting at $549. The high-end Apple Watch Edition
starts at $10,000.
The watch will be available for preorder on April 10.
With the smartwatch, Cook is pushing Apple into
a new product category that seeks to further immerse
users into the company’s digital universe. As a health
and fitness tracker, the watch opens new possibilities
in the health industry. It also expands the number of
devices that work with Apple Pay, the company’s new
mobile-payments system. To fully work, the watch,
which has a color touchscreen, needs to be paired with
an iPhone running the latest software, iOS 8.2, which
Apple Watch has a customisable face and will run 18
hours with typical use, chief executive officer Tim
Cook said in San Francisco on Monday.
was released yesterday. The device shows text messages and e-mails, and offers features called “digital
touch” that enable watch-to-watch communication.
It can also track health and fitness information and
send reminders.
Earlier at the event, Apple unveiled its thinnestever MacBook personal computer, weighing 2 pounds
(900 grams) and measuring 13.1 millimetres high. The
notebook, which includes new technologies behind
its keyboard and track pad, runs on an Intel Corp chip,
and comes in silver, gray and gold with a 12-inch retina display. Apple will ship the new PC on April 10 and
prices start at $1,299.
Cook also announced an exclusive Apple TV partnership with Time Warner Inc’s cable channel HBO
for its stand-alone service. HBO’s subscription service will be available outside of a traditional pay-TV
package starting next month. Apple also cut the price
of Apple TV to $69. HBO’s streaming channel will cost
$14.99 a month.
Cook also said Apple Pay, the company’s mobiletransaction service, is now supported by 2,500 banks.
New applications for health and medical research
were also unveiled, including diagnostic tools that can
help patients with Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.
Apple Watch, first revealed in September, marks
the first new gadget to be released since Cook became CEO in 2011. The new product, plus new largerscreened iPhones, have helped boost optimism about
Apple’s growth, sending its shares to a record high in
recent weeks.
Apple’s Watch sales this fiscal year may reach almost 14mn, according to the average estimate of five
analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The global market
for all smartwatches may rise to 28.1mn units this year
from 4.6mn, with Apple capturing 55% of the market,
according to researcher Strategy Analytics.
The sophistication of the applications available will
be key to wooing Apple Watch buyers. Just as the App
Store has been a key reason for the iPhone’s success,
tools for Apple Watch will help determine how customers use the gadget and whether it will be a sales
A watch feature called glances, unveiled yesterday,
provides a way to quickly check messages, calendar
items, weather and what music is playing. New communication tools let users send drawings sketched on
the watch to another Apple Watch owner.
The watch sends reminders if you have been sitting
too long.
Health is a main focus for the watch. The device
tracks daily movements and sends reminders if you
have been sitting too long. At the end of the week it
will send a report about how you did toward your goals
and set new targets for the coming week.
“It’s like having a coach on your wrist,” Cook said
at the event.
Demonstrating Apple’s push in to fashion, the Cupertino, California-based company showed a video
of model and maternal-health advocate Christy Turlington Burns using the watch while running a halfmarathon in Africa.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Qatar to establish Mideast’s first yuan clearing and settling centre
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
Qatar will establish next month the
Middle East’s first centre for clearing
and settling Chinese currency, paving
way for greater bilateral trade between
the two countries and also lessen the
dependence on the US dollar.
Moreover, Qatar’s commercial banks
will be able to convert their representative offices in China into full-fledged
branches and the country’s Islamic
banks could establish their presence in
the vast Chinese market.
“The (clearing and settlement) centre will be opened next month,” Qatar
Central Bank (QCB) governor Sheikh
Abdullah bin Saoud al-Thani told the
Meed Qatar Projects conference, which
got underway in Doha yesterday.
Industrial and Commercial Bank
of China’s Doha branch was last year
appointed as the clearing bank for the
Chinese currency deals in Qatar.
QCB had signed a memorandum of
understanding and a swap agreement
with the People’s Bank of China (PBC)
in November 2014 during the visit of
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad
al-Thani to China.
The MoU establishes the framework
for a centre for renminbi (RMB) clearing
and settlement in Doha, Qatar. The
yuan is the basic unit of RMB.
Under the MoU, the central banks
will jointly review the implementation of the necessary arrangements
for the RMB businesses in Qatar and
co-operate on related supervisory
The signing of the MoU and the
appointment of the RMB clearing bank
will increase the strong ties between
China and Qatar and position Qatar as
the regional centre for the RMB clearing
and settlement, Sheikh Abdullah said.
The central banks also agreed to
extend the RQFII (Renminbi Qualified
Foreign Institutional Investor) pilot
to Qatar with an initial quota of 30bn
Chinese yuan. The RQFII quota will be
available to asset managers licensed in
Qatar by the QCB, the Qatar Financial
Markets Authority or the QFC Regulatory Authority.
Sheikh Abdullah said another agreement with South Korea will pave way
for better financial co-operation and
exchange of information, expertise
and training. These pacts are part of its
strategy to engage with regional and
international financial centres.
QCB had also signed an agreement with PBC to establish a reciprocal 3-year currency swap line with a
value of RMB35bn. The swap line will
facilitate RMB trade and investment
and provide liquidity and support for
financial stability.
In another session, Qatar Chamber
CEO Remy Rowhani elucidated how Qatar, despite being a small country, was
able to steer the Doha Round of WTO,
which was on a limbo for more than a
decade, to victory at the Bali Ministerial
Col Abdul Rahman M K al-Sulaiti,
director (Strategic Planning), Ministry of
Interior, said Qatar was ranked top in the
security and safety indicators in the Middle East and this itself prompted more
foreign investments into the country.
Qatar has now embarked on a
sustainable economic development
in line with National Vision 2030 to
knowledge-based economy, diversifying away from hydrocarbons.
All the indicators point to strong
advancement, he said, adding the country’s economy grew 7.3% in 2014.
Sheikh Abdullah addressing the Meed conference in Doha yesterday.
China, India drive global
energy needs: Al-Attiyah
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
he global energy industry
has seen huge demand
from two fast-growing
major economies — China and
India — even as consumption
dropped in Europe, said HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah,
president of the Administrative
Control and Transparency Authority (ACTA).
“These two countries have
launched themselves to a high
growth zone,” al-Attiyah told
Gulf Times yesterday.
“For example, take the case
of India. From a very classical
agrarian-based economy with
just textile exports to highlight,
India has become a giant in industry, IT and many sectors. India has changed drastically over
the last 20 years. This is not the
India we have seen in the 60s
and 70s,” al-Attiyah said on the
sidelines of the 5th Gulf Intelligence Doha Energy Forum 2015
in Doha.
He said China and India would
need huge amounts of energy to
achieve their growth targets.
“I therefore believe a consumption drop in Europe will be
made up by growing demand for
energy in China and India,” alAttiyah said.
Earlier, at a one-on-one session, al-Attiyah said he did not
think the relevance of Opec was
“Opec has always been and is
still relevant.”
Al-Attiyah, also a former
president of the Organisation of
Petroleum Exporting Countries,
said he believed Opec would not
change policy at its next meeting
unless other producers cut first.
“I don’t advise Opec to have
an extraordinary meeting without having a concrete decision to
change policy,” said al-Attiyah,
who was associated with Opec
at different capacities for about
40 years.
Earlier in his welcome note,
Alistair Routledge, president
and general manager of ExxonMobil Qatar, said, “Forecasting
long-term energy trends be-
QSE all set to see
4 ETFs, spate of
listings, says CEO
HE al-Attiyah in a one-on-one at the 5th Gulf Intelligence Doha Energy Forum 2015. He dealt with the topic “how to keep Opec together under
shrinking market share” at the session, moderated by Gulf Intelligence’s Dyala Sabbagh. PICTURES: Jayan Orma
gins with a simple fact — people need energy. Over the next
few decades, population and
income growth — and an unprecedented expansion of the
global middle class — are expected to create new demands
for energy and thus we see global energy consumption rising by about 35% from 2010 to
Asia’s impact on world energy demand and global energy
security in the 21st century was
among the critical industry topics to be debated at the 5th Doha
Energy Forum, which will include ConocoPhillips and Maersk Oil Qatar amongst the forum’s other industry partners,
with Texas A&M University at
Qatar engaging as the forum’s
Academic Partner.
Meanwhile, at the 5th Gulf
Intelligence Doha Energy Forum
2015 panellists and delegates addressed the accelerating pace of
change and competition in the
global industry and what impact
these developments might have
on the GCC countries.
ExxonMobil is the ‘Title partner’ of the commemorative fifth
edition of the Gulf Intelligence
Doha Energy Forum, which was
founded in 2009 under the Patronage of HE al-Attiyah.
The forum features global
thought leaders from the International Energy Agency, the
Russian Academy of Sciences,
the International Gas Union and
the World Energy Policy Summit
amongst others, alongside the
leadership of the Qatar national
energy industry.
QSE expanding scope of SLB programme
The Qatar Stock Exchange is expanding the
scope of securities lending and borrowing
(SLB) programme as part of its multi-pronged
approach to enhance liquidity in the market.
“We are working with the regulators to further
expand availability (of SLB) to professional
investors, allowing them to gain additional
income through lending their shares,” QSE CEO
Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori said on the sidelines of
MEED Qatar Projects conference.
Expanding the scope of SLB will also result in
an increase in the market free-float and provide
additional trading opportunities for the licensed
investors, he said.
Currently, securities lending and borrowing is
allowed only for delivery versus payment (DVP)
processing and liquidity provision (LP). So far
the facility was used as an alternative pool
of securities by liquidity providers that have
committed to make markets on the QSE.
The bourse had in 2013 launched SLB scheme,
enabling the settlement of securities sold
He said initial public offerings are the fuel for
liquidity but it depends on the issuer and the
market conditions but from the exchange’s
side, the bourse is introducing new tools
and products like margin trading and LPs to
improve liquidity.
With the introduction of margin trading,
al-Mansoori said investors will be given the
opportunity to increase the size and scope of
their portfolios without having to tie up more of
their capital and this will also improve market
“We continue to develop and implement
initiatives, in particular the LP regime, which
have contributed to significant improvements in
liquidity for certain stocks,” he said, referring to
agreement between The Group Securities and
Mannai Corporation last year, which resulted in
a ten-fold jump in average turnover of Mannai
This is particularly significant because Mannai is
not one of the companies included in the MSCI
(Morgan Stanley Composite Index) emerging
markets index and yet with this LP arrangement
in place has been able to attract significant
liquidity, according to him.
“We are expecting a number of similar deals with
other listed companies to be announced soon”,
he added.
Liquidity provider is an underwriter or market
maker that is a sizable holder of a given security
or that facilitates the trading of the security,
providing greater price stability and distribution
of the securities to both retail and institutional
Routledge giving the welcome address at the conference.
he Qatar Stock Exchange, which is awaiting another upgrade
from the FTSE, is all set to see
four exchange-traded funds
(ETFs) and a spate of listing
from Qatar Financial Centrebased entities.
“We are now in discussions
with FTSE regarding a potential upgrade in their rankings,
which will add further liquidity
to the market,” QSE CEO Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori told Gulf
Times on the sidelines of MEED
Qatar Projects conference,
which got underway yesterday.
The index is maintained by
the FTSE Group, a now wholly
owned subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange, which
originated as a joint venture between the Financial Times and
the London Stock Exchange.
The FTSE100 quarterly reviews are implemented at the
close on the third Friday of
the four months: March, June,
September and December, and
it is likely that the Qatar’s review is expected in September.
Highlighting that the upgrade to ‘emerging’ market status by both MSCI and Standard
and Poor’s has led to “significant” increases in the trading
activity and market depth; he
said the average daily turnover
increased by 160 % during 2014
compared to that in 2013.
The average daily trading volume jumped from
QR300mn during the last ten
years to QR900mn as an average daily trading during 2014.
“On one of the days, we even
touched QR4bn when emerging market classification was
effected,” he said.
In the first quarter of this
year alone, average daily trading volume was to the tune of
QR550mn, which is substantially higher than that in the
year-ago period.
He also disclosed that four
ETFs are on the anvil — two
Shariah-based, one 20-stock
Qatar Index based and one that
tracks bonds.
Doha Bank had recently an-
Al-Mansoori: Significant growth.
nounced it is launching the
20-stock Qatar Index-tracking
ETF in association with Amwal
Investments; while there have
been reports that Masraf Al
Rayan is also slated to launch
the Islamic-index based ETF.
“We are working towards
launching a number of ETFs,
which will provide access to
emerging market debt and equities,” he said, adding “we are
also panning the introduction
of ETFs that will allow investors
to invest in all of the components of the QSE 20 index with
a single trade.”
In addition to ETFs, we are
also working with the regulators to list real estate investment funds as the QSE recognises that real estate is integral
part of many investment portfolios in the region.
“These products will significantly add to the size of the
market and allow us to attract
new investors, further enhancing liquidity,” according to him.
On the listing of entities
from QFC, al-Mansoori said
the exchange was ready to list
any company from the centre
but it is for the companies and
regulator as to when will they
There are several QFC companies that have applied to the
regulator and it is in the process with the regulator to finalise
their listing, he said.
The bourse now has 43 listed
companies with 12 in the banks
and financial services, nine in
the industrial, eight in the consumer goods and services, five
in insurance, four in real estate,
three in transport and two in
telecom segment.
Many SMEs are expected to
foray into QSE by year end
he first batch of several
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is expected
to foray into the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) by the end of this
year, its top official said.
“From the technical and regulatory framework we are ready.
We are working with the regulator
(the Qatar Financial Market Authority) and QDB (Qatar Development Bank) to have the first batch
by the end of this year,” QSE CEO
Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori said,
when asked about the update on
the junior bourse Venture Market.
There are number of companies
that have applied through QDB,
he said, adding “we have a fund to
sponsor those companies and we
are hoping to see them go live by
the end of this year.”
He disclosed that the bourse is
presently working with a short-list
of companies who have appointed
advisers and hopes that, subject to
the approval of the regulators, they
would form the launch candidates.
“The bourse is presently
working with a short-list
of companies who have
appointed advisers and
hopes that they would form
the launch candidates”
One area of additional interest
and concrete progress has been its
association with QDB in assisting
the Qatari SMEs with some of the
fees associated with listing.
In January 2012, the bourse
established a separate standalone ‘Venture Market’, stipulat-
ing eased entry norms as well as
lower capital base and shareholders, but made mandatory liquidity
provider and perpetual services of
listing adviser.
“Together we offer individual
candidate companies help with
the fees payable to listing advisers of up to $100,000 and we
encourage you to investigate this
option,” al-Mansoori urged the
SMEs at a conference yesterday.
The QFMA has stipulated
SMEs with a track record of one
year and a minimum subscribed
capital of QR5mn (50% paid) to
be eligible for listing compared
to three years and a higher capital
base of QR40mn (50% paid) for
those in the main market.
No minimum market capitalisation has been mandated but
the QFMA stipulated a minimum of 20 shareholders and a
minimum float of 10% for SMEs
against 100 shareholders and
20% free float in the case of
main market.
QSE had last year inked agreement with Enterprise Qatar to
launch an SME subsidy programme whereby each successful
applicant will be eligible to receive a percentage of the fees payable to their listing advisor.
As per the framework agreement, any Qatari company which
meets both the Enterprise Qatar
SME criteria and the QSE/QFMA
rules for listing on the Venture
Market will be eligible to apply
for assistance through the programme which will be limited in
CRASH | Page 9
FORMULA 1 | Page 7
NBA | Page 8
French sports
stars killed
in helicopter
Red Bull’s
ready for
home pressure
Hot Hawks
crush Kings,
pick up 50th
win of season
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Jumada I 20, 1436 AH
Wenger thrilled as
Welbeck proves
point against United
Page 11
India ease past Ireland to
notch 9th straight WC win
Chasing 260, Dhawan scores his second century of the tournament with an 85-ball 100 as India triumph by eight wickets
W. Porterfield c Yadav b Sharma
................. 67
P. Stirling c Rahane b Ashwin
...................... 42
E. Joyce b Raina
.................................... 2
N. O’Brien c Yadav b Shami
A. Balbirnie c Shami b Ashwin
K. O’Brien c Dhoni b Shami
.......................... 1
G. Wilson c Rahana b Jadeja
S. Thompson run out
............................. 2
J. Mooney not out
................................. 12
G. Dockrell c Dhoni b Yadav
A. Cusack c Yadav b Shami
........................ 11
Extras: (lb2, w9)
..................................... 11
Total: (all out; 49 overs)
....................... 259
Fall of wickets: 1-89 (Stirling), 2-92 (Joyce), 3-145
(Porterfield), 4-206 (Balbirnie), 5-208 (Kevin
O’Brien), 6-222 (Wilson), 7-226 (Niall O’Brien),
8-227 (Thompson), 9-238 (Dockrell), 10-259
Bowling: Yadav 4-0-34-1 (1w), Shami 9-0-41-3
(5w), Mohit Sharma 6-0-38-1 (3w), Jadeja 7-045-1, Ashwin 10-1-38-2, Raina 10-0-40-1, Rohit
Sharma 3-0-21-0
R. Sharma b Thompson
....................... 64
S. Dhawan c Porterfield b Thompson
V. Kohli not out
..................................... 44
A. Rahane not out
Extras: (b4, lb2, w13)
................................ 19
Total: (for two wkts; 36.5 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-174 (Rohit Sharma), 2-190
Did not bat: S. Raina, M. Dhoni, A. Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Mohit Sharma, U. Yadav
Bowling: Mooney 6-0-44-0 (4w), Cusack 8-0-430 (1w), Thompson 6-0-45-2 (8w), Dockrell 5-0-440, Stirling 5-0-36-0, K. O’Brien 6.5-0-42-0
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin (second left) celebrates with teammates after dismissing Ireland’s Paul Stirling during the Cricket World Cup.
Hamilton, New Zealand
hikhar Dhawan hit an aggressive century as defending champions India recorded their fifth victory in a row at the
2015 World Cup with a thumping eightwicket win over Ireland in Hamilton yesterday.
Chasing a modest 260-run target, Dhawan
notched his second century of the tournament
with an 85-ball 100 as India lost only two wickets in 36.5 overs on a batting-friendly Seddon
Park pitch. This latest victory meant India, yet
to lose at this World Cup and already into the
quarter-finals, were guaranteed to finish on top
of Pool B ahead of their last group game against
Zimbabwe in Auckland on Saturday.
Ireland, meanwhile, will likely need a win
against Pakistan in their last Pool match in Adelaide on Sunday to reach the last eight. “We
have put in a lot of yards in the last few weeks. It
is all about being fresh for Pakistan. If you can’t
get up for these games you won’t be up for any,”
said Ireland captain William Porterfield.
Pakistan, Ireland and South Africa, who all
have six points in five matches, will vie with the
West Indies (four points) for the three remaining
quarter-final spots on offer from Pool B.
“Our bowlers are really doing the job for us,
they’ve stepped up -- not just the three fast
bowlers, the spinners are complimenting them
and when we’ve used part-timers they’ve done
well,” said India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Ireland’s Niall O’Brien scored a run-a-ball 75
while Porterfield made a solid 93-ball 67 in Ire-
land’s 259 all out in 49 overs. India proved their
strength in batting yet again as Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (64) put on their team’s best World
Cup opening stand of 174 against a struggling
Irish attack.
Dhawan, who stroked 137 in the win over
South Africa, completed his eighth one-day
international hundred with a single off Kevin
O’Brien to square leg. He reached three figures
off just 84 balls. But one ball later Dhawan fell
to a loose shot off Stuart Thompson. In all, Dhawan hit 11 fours and five sixes.
Rohit was dismissed when he played on to
Thompson after hitting three sixes and as many
boundaries off 66 deliveries. India’s previous
best opening stand in a World Cup was the 163
shared by batting great Sachin Tendulkar and
Ajay Jadeja against Kenya at Cuttack in 1996.
Virat Kohli (44 not out) and Ajinkya Rahane
(33 not out) wrapped up the chase with a 70run unbeaten stand for the third wicket to give
Dhoni his ninth straight win in the World Cup,
a run that started with the team’s march to the
2011 title on home soil.
Australia’s Ricky Ponting holds the record for
the most consecutive World Cup wins as captain
with 24, while Dhoni and Clive Lloyd, who led
West Indies to victory in the first two editions in
1975 and 1979, have nine apiece.
Earlier, Ireland failed to capitalise on a good
solid start. Batting first after winning the toss,
Ireland were 89 without loss in 15 overs, with
Paul Stirling (42) giving good support to skipper
Stirling hit four boundaries and two sixes
during his 41-ball knock before holing out to
off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who finished with two for 38. Part-timer Suresh Raina
bowled Ed Joyce for two before Porterfield and
Niall O’Brien added a valuable 53 for the third
But once Porterfield fell, caught off paceman Mohit Sharma, Ireland slumped from 206
for three to 259 all out in 49 overs. Mohammad
Shami grabbed the key wicket of dangerman
Kevin for only one run to finish with figures of
three for 41.
Niall O’Brien completed his 14th ODI halfcentury with a six off Ashwin but fell to a soft
dismissal off Shami when Ireland needed him
to stay till the end. Andy Balbirnie, one of Ireland’s most successful batsmen in the tournament, made 24 before he swept Ashwin straight
to Shami at square-leg.
Actress drops allegation against Bangladesh’s Rubel
Bangladeshi actress who filed
a rape case against cricket
star Rubel Hossain said yesterday she was withdrawing
the charges against the fast bowler, a
day after his match-winning heroics
at the World Cup. Naznin Akter Happy,
19, made the rape allegation earlier this
year after claiming 25-year-old Rubel
had reneged on a promise of marriage
that he made while they were having an
“intimate affair”.
The allegation had threatened to
scupper Rubel’s chances of appearing
in the World Cup after he was remand-
Actress Naznin Akter Happy, 19, made
the allegation earlier this year.
ed in custody by a court in Dhaka.
But he was later granted bail until the end of the World Cup in view
of “national interest” as he was a key
member of Bangladesh’s team.
In the latest twist of a saga which
has gripped the conservative Muslimmajority country, Happy said she had
decided to forgive her former boyfriend
who starred in a dramatic win over England on Monday. “I’ve forgiven him.
I am not going to continue the case
against him,” Happy said. “I am not going to give any testimony or evidence
against (him). And if I don’t carry on
with the case, then there is no case.”
Her move came hours after her lawyer, Debul Dey, said he would no longer
represent Happy as he did not want to
put Rubel under pressure while he was
representing his country in Australia
and New Zealand. Rubel took four for
53 in the win over England in Adelaide,
which enabled Bangladesh to qualify
for the World Cup quarterfinals for the
first time Although victims of alleged
rapes are usually entitled to anonymity, police waived reporting restrictions
after Happy told the Bangladeshi media that she would drop the allegations
if Rubel agreed to marry her.
Rubel has consistently rejected the
allegation of rape or claims that he had
offered to marry Happy, instead accusing her of “blackmail”. Happy became
a household name for her debut movie
Kichu Asha Bhalobasa (Some Hopes,
Some Loves) in 2013.
Bangladesh pacer Rubel Hossain (left)
had been granted bail until the end of
the World Cup. (Reuters)
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Captain Dhoni hails
rejuvenated Dhawan
The Indian opener had also smashed 137 in the win over South Africa
“Overall the difference I’ve seen
in his batting is once he gets a
start he sees it as an opportunity
to turn that start into a big innings,
and right from the first game that’s
what he’s done. He’s not someone
who is happy getting a 50. He
knows that the team needs him
to score big runs. So once he gets
to his 50, he hits the next milestone
which is a hundred”
India’s Shikhar Dhawan celebrates after scoring a
hundred against Ireland during their Cricket World Cup
match in Hamilton yesterday. (Reuters)
The Indian skipper insists his team will
remain motivated in their last pool game
against already-eliminated Zimbabwe in
Auckland on Saturday despite it having no
consequence for either side.
“We’re highly motivated. We have qualified for the next stage (before today), but
still it was a challenge in itself because of
the travelling issue that we had. A lot of
boys didn’t get enough sleep before this
game because of the time we landed and
the travelling that we have to do.
“So every game pushes you to do something special. The next game will be the
last before we get into the knock-out stages, so we’ll keep improving every game.”
Dhoni said the milestone of equalling
West Indian great Clive Lloyd’s nine con-
hree heart attacks
haven’t stopped Pakistan cricket fan Mohammad Bashir from
following his team around the
world. And if they are not in
action, the Chicago-based Bashir, 62, is more than happy to
watch arch-rivals India.
The proof came in the usually sedate surroundings of
transformed into a riot of colour and noise by India’s Swami
Army of supporters for the
reigning champions World Cup
Pool B match against Ireland
Bashir, who has become a
friend of India ‘super fan’ Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary, is a
huge admirer of India batting
great Sachin Tendulkar. “I love
you Dhoni,” shouted Bashir.
“Dhoni is my heart and I hope
his team reached the final and
play against Pakistan.”
Bashir said he had no problems supporting India when
not watching a Pakistan match.
“My wife Rafia is from Hyderabad Deccan, India. I love Dhoni. He is my hero. I have joined
Indian supporters for this
match and hope I support both
the teams (India and Pakistan)
when they play the final.”
number ten shirt in honour of
Tendulkar, said he was excited
to be in New Zealand. “It’s a
wonderful country blessed
with nature and I am enjoying
the tour with India looking so
solid in their title defence,” said
Chaudhary, who has reportedly cycled over 15,000 miles
to watch India play at various
cities at home, Bangladesh and
Lahore in Pakistan.
Wearing their team’s blue
kit and holding the tri-colour
national flag, the Swami Army
ndia captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni
saluted Shikhar Dhawan’s return to
form after the opener smashed his
second World Cup hundred in yesterday’s eight-wicket win over Ireland.
Dhawan hit an 85-ball 100 with five
sixes and 11 boundaries to anchor India’s
260-run chase in 36.5 overs at Seddon
Park in Hamilton. That gave India a fifth
straight win to ensure top spot in Pool B
and a quarter-final match-up against the
fourth-placed finishers in Pool A, a position currently occupied by Bangladesh.
Dhawan, who also smashed 137 in the
win over South Africa, had suffered a
wretched bout of form at the tri-nations
series leading up to the World Cup, scoring just two, one, eight and 38.
“It is important to back your players,”
said Dhoni. “We try to do it and I felt that
though he had a tough series, I felt we had
put a lot of effort into him. We always believed in him. But the final step that needs
to be taken is from the individual, and I felt
he prepared well for these ODIs, and it obviously takes time.”
Dhoni said Dhawan was capitalising
on his good starts in the five World Cup
matches where the defending champions
have barely broken sweat. “Overall the difference I’ve seen in his batting is once he
gets a start he sees it as an opportunity to
turn that start into a big innings, and right
from the first game that’s what he’s done.
“He’s not someone who is happy getting
a 50. He knows that the team needs him to
score big runs. So once he gets to his 50,
he hits the next milestone which is a hundred.”
Dhoni stressed all of his players need to
contribute at the tournament. “I think the
crucial part is for everybody to score runs
to get wickets and to bowl well. Because
ultimately in the knock-out stages you
don’t really know who you may need, so
it’s important that everybody gets a bit of
confidence going,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni also praised key off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who took 2-38 to check
Ireland’s progress. “Ashwin is someone
who I always love to have, the reason being I always push him to bowl in the power
plays and even have used him whenever
I’m in difficult situations. So he is really
confident about his bowling,” said Dhoni.
Swami Army
sweeps up
Pakistani recruit
secutive World Cup wins—second behind
Australia’s Ricky Ponting’s 24 -- doesn’t
matter to him. “The most important thing
is winning the game for your country. It
doesn’t really matter what the milestone
is. Definitely it’s something that every
player will be proud of. At the end of the
day, we play a team sport, and everybody
needs to enjoy it.”
Pakistan’s Mohammad Bashir (second right), India fan
Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary (second left) and Ireland supporters
cheer in Hamilton yesterday. (Reuters)
Ireland rue lack of exposure after loss
kipper William Porterfield believes a lack of exposure against
the bigger teams was hurting
Ireland after they lost by eight
wickets to defending World Cup champions India in Hamilton.
The defeat leaves Ireland possibly
needing to beat Pakistan in Adelaide
on Sunday to make the last-eight while
India ensured top spot in Pool B after a
fifth successive win. “I think exposure
is a big thing,” said Porterfield, after his
team’s second defeat with the first at
the tournament coming against South
Africa. “You probably heard me say it
a thousand times, we’ve played nine
ODIs against the top eight of the top ten
teams in the last four years in between
World Cups, which is not a lot when you
consider a lot of countries are playing
25, 30 plus a year.
“So that’s disappointing from our
point of view to not get that experience
and get those games under our belts,”
said Porterfield, whose team shocked
the West Indies in their opening game.
Indian bowlers led by paceman Mohammad Shami (3-41) and spinner
Ravichandran Ashwin (2-38) pegged
back Ireland, who won the toss and batted, after a solid start of 89.
“I think the skill factor is also there.
You have to give a bit of credit to Ashwin. We lost a couple of quick wickets
and that slowed us down slightly. Every
time we started to pick up a bit of momentum we managed to lose a wicket
which kept us back from kicking on to
were out in force. The green,
orange and white flags flew
in large parts of the stadium,
while fans were also displaying
“won’t give it back” placards,
referring to the World Cup trophy which India won on home
soil four years ago.
Some people brought traditional Dhol drums, banging
them to the screams of “Jeetay
ga bhai jeetay ga, India jeetay ga
(India will win) from the stands
in a festive atmosphere. “I have
brought a group of around 550
fans from various parts of India
and its a two-in-one pack for
me as I earn as well as watch
the match on tour,” said Manas
Kolay, who had travelled from
the holiday resort of Goa.
Arun Goyal lives in Hamilton
and any cricket match involving India brings back memories
of his native country. “I come
to watch this match to remember India,” said Goyal, born and
brought up in Mumbai. “It’s an
atmosphere which reminds me
of the Wankhede Stadium in
“I miss my country but for
the last two days I am hosting
some friends from Mumbai
and cricket has given me some
A handful of Irish fans were
also at Seddon Park, cheering on the non-Test side, who
still have a shot at the quarterfinals but were not expected to
beat India.
But don’t tell that to Ireland
supporter Anthea Graham.
“I am following Ireland from
Nelson to Hamilton,” she said.
“My team is the best in the
world and they will beat India
to go into the quarter-finals.
“From here me and my husband will go to Adelaide and
remind Pakistan how good we
are as a team, having beaten
them before,” Graham added,
referring to Ireland’s shock
win over Pakistan in the 2007
World Cup in the Caribbean.
Ireland’s Stuart Thompson is run out during the
Pool B Cricket World Cup match against India
at Sedden Park in Hamilton. (AFP)
what would have been a competitive total and that is disappointing.”
Ireland lost their last seven wickets for just 53 runs after being well set
at 206-3. That included the wickets of
Porterfield on 67 and Niall O’Brien’s
run-a-ball 75. In reply, Indian openers
Shikhar Dhawan notched an 85-ball 100
and Rohit Sharma a 66-ball 64 during
a 174-run opening stand—India’s best
in all World Cups. Porterfield admitted
Ireland did not have the bowling attack
to cut through the world’s best lineups. “Look, we don’t have the lads at
the minute coming in bowling 90mph
(135km/h), which a lot of sides do.”
Porterfield backed out of form allrounder Kevin O’Brien, who was out for
one. O’Brien hit the fastest World Cup
century off just 50 balls in 2011 against
England but has struggled with bat and
ball this time round. “I think he’s shown
glimpses in the tournament. He came in
and got 50 out of 20 balls early on in the
competition, and he got a quick 20 the
other night. He only faced two, three
balls today, and that can happen.
“With the ball, we’re playing on a flat
pitch so you haven’t got much margin
for error. Tonight I don’t think he was
too far off what he can do.”
Porterfield vowed his team will do
their homework for their last match
against Pakistan who are still to confirm
their place in the quarter-finals. “We’ll
take a look at things now moving on to
Adelaide, we’re focused on each game
as it comes and we’ll have everything
behind the scenes ready and it’s just
a matter of getting things right from
there. So we’ll look at Adelaide once we
touch down there.”
Leading atting and bowling
figures at the 2015 World Cup
Leading run-makers
Kumar Sangakkara (SRI)
Shikhar Dhawan (IND)
AB de Villiers (RSA)
Brendan Taylor (ZIM)
Hashim Amla (RSA)
Best performances
Chris Gayle (WIS)
David Warner (AUS)
AB de Villiers (RSA)
T Dilshan (SRI)
Hashim Amla (RSA)
Leading wicket-takers
Trent Boult (NZL)
Tim Southee (NZL)
Mitchell Starc (AUS)
Daniel Vettori (NZL)
Mohammed Shami (IND)
Best performances
Tim Southee (NZL)
Mitchell Starc (AUS)
Trent Boult (NZL)
Mitchell Marsh (AUS)
Imran Tahir (PAK)
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Punchbag Misbah rises above trouble and strife
hat’s the toughest job in
sport? Managing the Brazil or England football
team or coaching England’s cricket squad, for that matter?
For Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq,
the answer is simple—it’s his position
as captain of a team already dubbed
“predictably unpredictable” by a rival
coach at the World Cup.
As well as two heavy defeats in their
opening games in Australia and New
Zealand, eight Pakistan players were
fined for breaking a curfew, there were
claims of a training ground bust-up
while chief selector Moin Khan was sent
home for visiting a Christchurch casino.
Then there are the team’s millions of
demanding fans back home.
Frustrated by the absence of international cricket in the country because
of the 2009 attack on the touring Sri
Lanka team, and then embarrassed by
the jailing in England of three players
for corruption in 2011, the captain is
the punchbag of the Pakistan team.
But in his five years in charge,
40-year-old Misbah has become Pakistan’s most successful Test captain.
In one-day internationals, he has
overseen victories over arch-rivals
India—in India—and South Africa on
their home turf.
But if he scores runs and the team
fails, he is the go-to target. If he doesn’t
score and the team does well he is still
the target.
When Pakistan lost their opening
games at the World Cup to India and
West Indies, effigies of Misbah were
burned in Lahore while, in the southeastern city of Multan, a mock funeral
was held for the team.
“It’s one of the top five toughest jobs
in the sporting world,” Misbah said.
“There are lots of expectations and
when they are not fulfilled you get criticised, at times unnecessarily.
“Every other day you suffer and it has
a negative effect on the team as players
get hurt, their families are affected and
the team’s focus is distracted.”
Captaining the Pakistan cricket
team has always appeared to be mission impossible.
When Javed Miandad was appointed
captain in 1980 he faced a revolt from
senior players who complained they
had been over-looked. The same fate
befell Wasim Akram in 1994.
Even Imran Khan, born in the same
Punjab city of Mianwali as Misbah, was
forced to leave after leading Pakistan to
their one and only World Cup title in 1992.
In 1998, Aamer Sohail didn’t even
turn up on the morning of a Test after
differences with the Pakistan Cricket
Board (PCB). Saeed Anwar was replaced as captain mid-way through a
series two years later.
The pre-World Cup period was
the toughest for Misbah, as his form
slumped so badly that he withdrew
from the third one-day international
against Australia last October.
Despite the PCB’s support—announcing him captain until the World
Cup—there were doubts over whether
or not Misbah would lead Pakistan at
the tournament.
“That was the toughest period of
all,” recalled Misbah. “I wasn’t scoring
runs and then I got injured.”
Misbah’s position was threatened by
the more popular Shahid Afridi, who he
had replaced as one-day captain in 2011,
a year after his appointment as Test
skipper in the post spot-fixing saga.
That calamitous episode, on Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, saw Test
captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers
Mohamed Asif and Mohamed Aamer
Injury-hit Lanka
seek Scottish balm
Sri Lanka, who have already seen all-rounder Jeevan Mendis and batsman Dimuth
Karunaratne depart from the tournament due to injuries, suffered another blow
when Dinesh Chandimal was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury
Sri Lankan cricketers warm up during a training session at the Bellerive Oval ground in Hobart, ahead of today's World Cup Pool A match against Scotland. The Islanders, who
have won three of their five matches so far, will likely take third place in Pool A behind co-hosts New Zealand and Australia should they beat the World Cup minnows today. (AFP)
ri Lanka will look to tie up some
loose ends ahead of the World Cup
quarter-finals when the former
champions take on winless minnows Scotland in their last group match in
Hobart today.
The Islanders, who have won three of
their five matches, will likely take third
place in Pool A behind co-hosts New Zealand and Australia should they win at the
at the Bellerive Oval.
Angelo Mathews’ side return to action
just three days after going down to Australia by 64 runs in Sydney despite a heroic run chase led by remarkable veteran
Kumar Sangakkara.
The 37-year-old left-hander smashed
104 to become the only batsman to score
three successive centuries in a World Cup
and is the leading run-scorer in this edition with 372 runs at an average of 124.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, 38, is fifth
in the list with 291 runs, but former skipper Mahela Jayawardene’s lean patch on
banned for five years. All were jailed.
“I have always tried to avoid conflicts. After the spot-fixing fiasco, we
needed stability and to avoid controversies. Obviously every player has his
own mindset and a captain needs to
be flexible to deal with that,” Misbah
“We needed solutions rather than
leaving things unresolved and making
them more complicated. My cool nature helped me otherwise it was tough
to survive just for two days.”
Apart from Misbah’s captaincy style,
his slow batting in one-dayers once
earned him the mocking nickname of
“tuk-tuk” (the Urdu phrase for the
sound made when the ball comes off the
bat when a defensive stroke is played).
“I needed to stay at the wicket so I
didn’t play to my strengths. Whenever
I went in to bat the team was under
pressure,” said Misbah.
The perception of Misbah as a pragmatic batsman was shattered with his
56-ball hundred in a Test against Australia in October—equalling the record
for the fastest hundred.
either side of a match-winning century
against Afghanistan will be worrying.
Jayawardene, 37, fell for zero in the
tournament opener against New Zealand, did not get to bat against Bangladesh
and England, before being run out for 19
against Australia.
Sri Lanka will need the three senior pros
to fire if they are to repeat their 1996 triumph after losing the last two World Cup
finals in 2007 and 2011.
The batsmen have so far made up for a
wayward bowling attack which has leaked
runs in the final overs to allow rivals to
plunder big totals.
New Zealand took 134 runs from the last
14 overs, England garnered 148 from 15 and
Australia smashed 200 in the last 16 overs.
“We have got to improve our bowling and
fielding,” said Mathews. “If we can keep the
opposition to 300, we can chase it down.”
Sri Lanka, who have already seen allrounder Jeevan Mendis and batsman Dimuth Karunaratne depart from the tournament due to injuries, suffered another
blow yesterday when Dinesh Chandimal
was ruled out of the tournament with a
hamstring injury.
Chandimal retired hurt after making a
24-ball 52 against Australia and has been
replaced by left-hand batsman Kusal Perera, who has played 41 one-day internationals and scored 839 runs with one century.
With a week to go before the quarter-finals, Sri Lanka may look to rest tired limbs
and test their bench strength against Scotland, who are lying at the bottom of the group
with five defeats from as many matches.
Sri Lanka have played the non-Test
side just once in a one-day international,
winning easily by 183 runs in Edinburgh
in July 2011, and another one-sided game
appears likely.
Statistics reveal the wide gulf between
the two sides.
The combined ODI appearance total
of the entire Scotland squad is 332—114
fewer matches than Jayawardene’s 446
ODIS, 70 below Sangakkara’s 402 and just
20 more than Dilshan’s 312.
Scotland have yet to win a match in
three World Cups, and with the International Cricket Council planning to reduce
the number of teams involved from 14 to
10 in 2019, today’s fixture could be their
last in the showpiece event.
Kyle Coetzer needs 29 runs to
become the third player to score
1,000 ODI runs for Scotland.
Richie Berrington is 78 runs short of
the landmark.
Against Australia, Tillakaratne
Dilshan became the fifth Sri Lankan
to score 1,000 World Cup runs.
No other team has more than
three players with 1,000 runs in
World Cups.
Lasith Malinga has bowled 44
yorkers in the tournament, 18 more
than any other bowler.
Suranga Lakmal has had the
most catches dropped off his bowling in the tournament—six.
Coetzer has scored 268 runs at
an average of 53.6 in his last five ODI
innings against Test-playing nations.
(The Sri Lanka-Scotland game starts
at Bellerive Oval at 06:30 Qatar time)
Don’t destroy your
lives, Aamer urges
Pakistan youngsters
ormer Pakistan pace
Aamer yesterday urged
young players to be
careful of the company they
kept to avoid “destroying” their
lives, as he prepared to make his
return from a spot-fixing ban.
The 22-year-old was due to
begin his first game back in domestic cricket on Monday but
the first two days in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, not far
from Islamabad, were cancelled
due to a waterlogged pitch.
Aamer was one of three Pakistanis banned from all cricket for at least five years for arranging no-balls to order in a
Test against England at Lord’s
in 2010.
He urged young players to
learn from his mistakes and
concentrate on the game.
“If you want to achieve
something in life you need to
be very focused in your goals,”
he said between fielding drills
at the army cricket ground in
Rawalpindi. “In these five years
I’ve learnt you need to make good
friends in life, have good company, don’t destroy your life.”
Aamer, fellow quick bowler
Mohamed Asif and then Pakistan captain Salman Butt were
jailed in Britain over the spotfixing scandal in 2011.
Aamer’s ban was originally
due to expire on September 2,
but the International Cricket
Council (ICC) used discretionary powers to allow him to
return to domestic cricket early, citing his early admission
of guilt and cooperation with
anti-corruption authorities.
Looking more muscular
than when he last played competitively, Aamer said he had
been working hard on his fitness and had not lost any of
the zest that saw him become
the youngest bowler, at just 18,
to take 50 Test wickets.
“I haven’t played competitive cricket so far—when you
play in the rhythm of a match
you know what speeds you’re
bowling at when you’re at a
good ground wearing spikes,”
he said. “I feel in my practice
that my pace hasn’t gone down,
it’s going to be the same.”
Aamer’s comeback match
for the Karachi-based Omar
Associates team against the
Army in Pakistan’s Grade-II
cricket league—one rung be-
low first-class—was washed
out for the second consecutive
day yesterday following torrential rainfall last week.
But he said he was hopeful of getting match practice
today, with the next game due
to start in Rawalpindi on Friday, as he works on his goal of
eventually returning to the national team.
With Pakistan’s bowling attack finally appearing to click
in a key World Cup victory
over South Africa at the weekend, Aamer’s swift return to
the side is far from assured.
But he heaped praise on his
former teammates, terming
their performance “outstanding” and congratulating the
team for its “fighting spirit”.
Aamer singled out South
Africa’s Dale Steyn and Australia’s Mitchell Starc, who has
so far taken 12 wickets at an
average of 10 during the World
Cup, as his top bowlers at the
He is mindful too that
thanks to the influence of
Twenty20 cricket, tactics have
moved on in his absence and
he acknowledged he will need
to adapt his game to emulate
Steyn and Starc.
The once-deadly yorker is
no longer the killer weapon it
once was, with batsmen like
South Africa’s AB de Villiers
willing to attack the delivery.
“Yorkers are generally best
in the death situation, but perhaps not for someone like AB
de Villiers,” Aamer said. “But
not everyone is an AB who
can reverse sweep a yorker! It
all depends on the situation
whether you should be bowling yorkers or slow bouncers.”
His return has been eagerly awaited by most fans in
cricket-mad Pakistan, though
some notable critics, including former captain Rameez
Raja, have argued he should
not be given a second chance
in the sport.
Aamer said he would do his
best to prove his detractors
wrong and show he had turned
over a new leaf.
“I am trying my best and I
did video messages with the
ICC aimed at youngsters—
don’t take shortcuts, be focused on your goals,” he said.
“I would not wish the five
years I went through on my
worst enemies. Work hard with
good intentions and leave the
rest to Allah, at the end of the
day Allah will respect that.”
Mohamed Aamer
during a training
session in Rawalpindi
yesterday. (AFP)
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
English debacle no surprise to long-suffering fans
By Toby Chasseaud
nd so we’re out. Still in the
group stages, and with one
match left to play, England
have already crashed out of
the 2015 cricket World Cup, losing to
Bangladesh by 15 runs. The nation that
invented cricket is left trailing in the
one-day version of the game.
The reasons for England’s abysmal
showing are many. There was Kevin
Pietersen’s very public falling out with
the team. There was Alastair Cook’s
failure to score more than a few runs
and subsequent sacking as one-day
captain just weeks before this tournament began. (He said this was our best
chance of winning a World Cup but we
didn’t believe him)
Yes, there is lack of variety in our
bowling attack. But is there a more
underlying reason? Is there something
rotten at the heart of the English game?
Of course, this isn’t the first time we
have witnessed what might be described
as England cricket’s “darkest hour”.
The Ashes’ name is derived from an
obituary for English cricket published in
the Sporting Times when England first
lost to Australia on home soil in 1882.
The obituary stated that English cricket
had died, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.
Piers Morgan’s Daily Mirror blasted
the England cricket team on the front
page in 1999 for losing a home Test series
to New Zealand. At the end of the series,
England dropped below Zimbabwe in
the ICC world rankings and in a moment
of black humour, English fans were heard
singing: “We’ve got the worst team in the
world” to the tune of the hymn “He’s got
the whole world in his hands”.
Since then we have had the introduction of central contracts, and
more money in the game, but still we
struggle—in 2013-14 England were
whitewashed 5-0 by Australia in Tests,
blown away by the pace and hostility of
Mitchell Johnson.
English cricket fans are good at taking such body blows in our stride. I
toured Australia in 2002-03 when, despite England losing the series 4-1, the
Barmy Army was in good voice, always
looking on the bright side.
We may have been thrashed by the
Aussies on the pitch, but at least we
outsang them in the stands.
Yet, surely we can do better than
be good losers? In Australia, one of
this World Cup’s co-hosts, cricket
is the national sport but in the UK it
lags way behind football. Even Ireland
have performed better in this World
So here’s my three-point manifesto
to improve English cricket:
Return cricket to terrestrial TV
I remember during the school holidays being able to while away the
hours watching the game on the BBC,
and then later on Channel 4, but England’s historic 2005 Ashes victory was
the last to be shown on free-to-air TV.
Now you need a bank-breaking Sky TV
subscription to watch any more than
the highlights of England matches.
Cricket is a complicated game—it’s
difficult to know your silly mid-off
from your long leg—but with a bit of
time and some good commentary,
you’re well on your way.
Without this induction, I wonder
whether many youngsters these days
know what cricket is. Falling participation at grassroots level can probably
be partly explained by this absence of
live cricket from TV screens. Some
844,000 people played cricket in 2014,
compared with 908,000 in 2013.
Bring cricket back into schools
The writer and former cricketer
Ed Smith has documented how state
schools are once again dominated by
private schools. In 1987-88, of the 13
players who represented England on a
tour of Pakistan, only one had attended
a private school. By contrast, in 2012
more than two-thirds of the team were
privately educated—a situation that
has not improved in the last couple of
years. We have now reached a point
where we are in danger of never seeing a great state-educated player of the
likes of Ian Botham or Andrew Flintoff.
This player drought is partly because of
the selling off of playing fields and partly
because of the pressures of the national
curriculum. To improve participation re-
quires more investment in state schools
and greater flexibility in education.
Ban innovation
The ECB should lobby the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ban any
sense of adventure from the game.
Ramp shots, reverse hits and mystery balls should be eradicated and
bonus points should be awarded for
persevering with a bowling attack of
right-arm, medium-pace trundlers.
Likewise, leaving any ball outside off
stump ought to be rewarded with five
runs. Actually forget that last bit.
It was a silly point (if you’ll excuse
the pun). Cricket ought to be about
invention as much as it is about tradition. But to fulfil our potential on the
world stage, we must tap talent from
the whole population, not from the
privileged few. Let’s hope we can do
better in 2019.
Sweeping changes need
of the hour for England
England batted as if their own shadows would have given them the jitters—they were, or at least looked,
totally scared of failure, knowing what the consequences would be. This was not a batting side blazing
away in an effort to show their dominance and at the same time trying to advance their run rate
Five ways forward for England
England’s Moeen Ali (left)
and captain Eoin Morgan
congratulate Bangladesh
on their win in their World
Cup match in Adelaide on
Monday. (Reuters)
The shockwaves from the 5-0 Ashes defeat to Australia are still
being felt and the resulting regime of the coach Peter Moores
and the managing director Paul Downton looks stalled already.
With the ECB under new stewardship in the form of the chief executive, Tom Harrison, and the incoming chairman, Colin Graves,
the onus is on the leadership team to breathe fresh life into England rather than accept failure as part of a rolling and seemingly
never-ending cycle of so-called development.
Power has been at the forefront of this World Cup, with Australia’s
Glen Maxwell, scorer of the second fastest century in the tournament’s history, a prime example of how Twenty20 is throwing up
players whose ability to strike the ball outweighs fears over their
technical ability. It is telling that England have dithered over Alex
Hales, despite two years of sitting in the top three of the Twenty20
rankings and a star showing at the World T20 last April, but were
more than happy to parachute Gary Ballance into the World Cup
side on the back of a successful summer in the Test arena.
With 18 teams to accommodate across three formats, the Royal London Cup, when it comes to the priorities of a club, naturally comes
third behind the exhaustive but prestigious County Championship
and the commercially more successful NatWest T20 Blast. The
lack of intensity on display in the tournament, it could be argued, is
therefore failing to equip players for when they take the step up to
international level, irrespective of how many overs are being played.
Going into the World Cup it seemed every nation—bar England—recognised how the fielding restrictions would lend themselves to 35
overs of high intensity but relatively risk-free batting, followed by a
late surge. The result? Monster scores. Sticking 100-plus runs on the
board in the last 10 overs has far outweighed the benefit of getting
off to a flyer, and yet in the spirit of Sri Lanka circa 1996 England have
sent Moeen Ali out over the top with the instructions to attack with
full impunity, an approach that paid off only once against Scotland.
If England’s inglorious group stage exit in 2015 has taught us anything, it is that previous inept World Cup campaigns were not, as
we were told, caused by the gruelling Ashes series that preceded
them but rather a fundamental failure to grasp the evolution of
the 50-over game. Now, we are being told by Downton that inexperience is the real reason why Eoin Morgan’s men failed. Don’t
believe it. In the four years between the World Cups, England
have played the same number of one-dayers as Australia, using
nine fewer players. England also boast six players who played in
the previous World Cup, compared with Australia’s four.
By Mike Selvey in Adelaide
n practice, on those occasions
when they have not been in the
nets and have had the use of a fullsized ground, the England team
have undertaken what they describe as
“game-day-scenario practice”.
This is what us old timers might,
with a sneer, call middle practice, but
rather than just a simple bat against
ball, they do attempt to create hypothetical situations, say 50 from 25 balls
or something like that. To this end,
276 from 50 overs might have been a
worthwhile exercise.
Anyway, during these sessions, the
bowlers have at times become particularly narked, on account of the batsmen running down the pitch and belting the living daylights out of the ball.
“Why the hell don’t you do that in
matches?” is the thrust of their ire, to
which the correct response from the
batsmen would be: “Because we have
proper bowlers coming at us.”
In truth, the bowlers have a point
and it was never better illustrated than
in the insipid way the England batsmen were subdued and ultimately
conquered by Bangladesh bowling that
adhered largely to the old fashioned
principle of hitting a good length consistently and hitting the deck hard.
A question to be asked then is this—
would England have batted in such a
meek manner, had they already qualified for the quarter-finals? The answer,
one suspects, is that they would have
been uninhibited, or at least less restrained, knowing that whatever happened it would not affect their overall
progress. With that sort of pressure
removed comes a freedom.
England batted as if their own shadows would have given them the jitters—they were, or at least looked,
totally scared of failure, knowing what
the consequences would be.
This was not a batting side blazing
away in an effort to show their dominance and at the same time trying to
advance their run rate in order to compensate for possible weather interruptions to what is now their final match
in Sydney this Friday.
Eoin Morgan was caught on the fence
but beyond that each of the dismissals
had an element of feebleness, starting
with the dozy run out of Moeen Ali,
and the entire middle order deciding
to play with half a bat in trying to run
the ball to third man (as if using the full
face, to hit the ball in front of square,
was too easy), and edging catches.
Even Jos Buttler, who at least gave
it a go, perished in a manner that had
him hanging his head as he had just
done likewise with his bat. It was, by
the way, the second time since they
have been in this country that Buttler
has resurrected an innings that looked
dead and taken them to the point where
a win was possible.
The first time England won, and on
this occasion they lost, the point being
that on neither occasion was Buttler
able to see them over the line himself
as MS Dhoni would have managed; it
takes time to learn and he will get there.
Of course, in collectively playing like
that, the consequences of which England were so afraid have duly started to
arrive. First, there will be management
repercussions, although quite who is
accountable to whom is intriguing.
Thus it would be Moores who agreed
his coaching staff but Paul Downton
who employed Moores. Who, though,
employed Downton?
If Moores decides that he needs to
change his coaching staff (which will
happen anyway, as David Saker had
already handed in his statutory six
months’ notice to terminate his contract) but Downton then decides to terminate Moores’ contract, what then?
And what if Downton sacked Moores
(despite his stated backing) but was
himself sacked?
It is all quite fun actually, but the answer has to be that first and foremost
the man at the very top is accountable
for all that happens below. Everything
that happens is contingent on Downton’s position, so there is unlikely to be
any action on anything of that nature
until this tournament is over.
By then, the England selectors, of
which Moores is one, will have chosen their party for the three-Test
tour of the Caribbean that starts next
month. It would be perfectly possible
for Moores to be given gardening leave
during that tour pending a decision on
his future and, say, for Paul Farbrace
to take temporary charge in much the
same way as Andy Flower did in the
Caribbean after Moores was sacked
before. This, though, seems unlikely.
What is absolutely certain is that
James Whitaker, the national selector,
will insist that far from resting supposedly key players before a particularly challenging nine months, England will now take the strongest squad
they can muster, of which not the least
intriguing aspect will be whether this
includes Jonathan Trott, who insists
he is fully restored to health in body
and mind.
As for the one-day side, the whole
template will now be torn up and the
process will start anew from the first
ODI of the summer.
It will begin by making a judgment,
not on who could be an integral part
of the next four years up to the 2019
World Cup in England, but on who will
not be around then.
This will almost certainly include
Jimmy Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart
Broad and Ravi Bopara, and possibly
also Eoin Morgan, whose captaincy,
despite having been handed a hospital
pass at the start of the year, is under
question along with his decline in performance.
The next time England take the field
in coloured clothing, none of these
players should be seen. It will not bring
instant results but it will be a start.
In Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Jos Buttler,
Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Alex Hales
and James Taylor there is a nucleus of
batsmen from the next generation already in place, with others—Jason Roy,
Sam Billings, James Vince, for example
—coming up on the rails.
Bowling will be the problem.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Walsh and Mullins enjoy Ruby Tuesday
rainer Willie Mullins and
jockey Ruby Walsh won
the Champion Hurdle
with unbeaten Faugheen
as the pair dominated the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.
Irishman Mullins saddled a
1-2-3 in front of over 60,000
racegoers as Faugheen, the 4-5
favourite, stormed home ahead
of stable mates Arctic Fire (20-1)
and twice winner Hurricane Fly
(8-1) in the big race.
Mullins and Walsh also combined to win the opening two
Grade One races of the four-day
Festival—Douvan (2-1) in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle quickly
followed by Un De Sceaux (4-6)
in the Arkle chase.
After Faugheen had brought
up the hat-trick, Annie Power
looked set to give the MullinsWalsh combination another
winner but the hot favourite fell
at the last fence when leading
the Mares Hurdle.
Horse and jockey were unhurt, leaving another Mullins’
raider—Glens Melody (6-1) - to
squeeze home in a tight finish
by a head for another Irish rider,
Paul Townend.
While bookmakers counted
the cost of Mullins’ first three
winners, Annie Power’s fall at
least saved them from further
Dustin Johnson keen to avoid a repeat of his blunder five years ago
when he returns to the shores of Lake Michigan for the US PGA
Championship in August.
ustin Johnson holds
bitter memories of
Whistling Straits and
has promised to avoid
a repeat of his blunder five years
ago when he returns to the shores
of Lake Michigan for the US PGA
Championship in August.
The 30-year-old American
won the elite WGC-Cadillac
Championship at Doral on Sunday, his first victory since taking
a six-month break from golf to
seek help for “personal challenges”, to climb to seventh in
the world rankings.
Johnson’s triumph has given
him the belief he can go on to secure a breakthrough first major
title, after unluckily losing out to
eventual winner Martin Kaymer
of Germany at the 2010 US PGA
“I played well five years ago
at Whistling Straits but I won’t
be grounding my club anywhere
I shouldn’t be grounding it,” he
told reporters in Miami.
The Wisconsin venue has
more than 1,000 bunkers, several of which would normally
be deemed ‘waste areas’ where
a player can ground his club, but
a local championship rule states
that all sand areas should be
played as hazards.
Johnson was leading by one
shot at the US PGA when he was
handed a two-stroke penalty for
grounding his club in a waste
area at the 72nd hole.
“Standing there over my second shot at 18 on that Sunday I
didn’t think I was standing in a
sand trap,” he said.
“There was just so much spectator rubbish in that bunker like
candy wrappers, a Gatorade bottle, beer cans and all kinds of stuff
including plenty of foot prints.
“Generally on a tournament
golf course people should not be
standing in a sand trap but then I
just happened to miss the memo
that said all sand was deemed as
a bunker,” added Johnson.
Wales unchanged
for Ireland game
‘Ireland are the form team in Europe, and we know it is going to be a huge battle’
ales will field an
unchanged starting lineup for the
Six Nations showdown with Ireland in Cardiff on
Coach Warren Gatland was
pleased with his side’s 20-13
win over France in Paris which
kept alive their hopes of winning the tournament and had no
problem giving the same 15 men
a vote of confidence.
Flanker Sam Warburton, who
went off after taking a blow
to his knee during the French
clash, has regained his fitness
and will be able to break Ryan
Jones’ record when he captains
Wales for the 34th time at the
Millennium Stadium.
The only two changes to the
Paris lineup are due to injuries
and come on the bench.
Uncapped Scarlets prop Rob
Evans replaces Bath loosehead
Paul James, who suffered a fractured thumb during the France
game, while lock Jake Ball takes
over from Bradley Davies.
A win for Wales would see
them stay in the Six Nations title shake-up, while Ireland are
chasing a a record 11th successive Test win against all opponents, and they have only lost
twice in Cardiff since 1983.
Gatland has seen his side rebound strongly from an opening day loss to England in Cardiff with wins away to both
Scotland and France, and he is
confident of more success in the
remaining games against the
Irish and away to Italy.
“We return to the Millennium Stadium after two tough
away trips with two victories,
and we will be looking to build
on that,” he said.
“We saw an improvement
against Scotland, and then saw
another step up against France,
and we know we will need to
do the same against Ireland on
Flanker Sam Warburton is on the threshold of breaking Ryan Jones record when he captains Wales for the 34th time at the Millennium Stadium.
“Ireland are the form team in
Europe, and we know it is going
to be a huge battle. The changes
on the bench mean Rob Evans
gets an opportunity.
“We have been impressed
with him for his region and
at training, and our strength
in depth in the second-row is
highlighted again as Jake (Ball)
comes back into the squad.”
Gatland also paid tribute to
his skipper Warburton ahead of
his record-breaking appearance
on Saturday.
“Saturday is a fantastic
achievement and honour for
Sam,” he said.
“He has developed into the
role fantastically and is a mod-
ern-day professional. He is a
role model who will continue to
get better.”
The Wales team, announced
yesterday to play Ireland in a
Six Nations match in Cardiff on
Saturday:Leigh Halfpenny; George
North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie
Roberts, Liam Williams; Dan
Biggar, Rhys Webb; Taulupe
Faletau, Sam Warburon (capt),
Dan Lydiate; Alun-Wyn Jones,
Luke Chareris; Samson Lee,
Scott Baldwin, Gethin Jenkins
Hibbard, Rob Evans, Aaron
Jarvis, Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric,
Mike Phillips, Rhys Priestland,
Scott Williams
Open legends back for Champions
Challenge at St Andrews
Five-time winners of the British Open—Tom Watson and
Peter Thomson—will join other
former champions in a special
challenge match the day before
this year’s tournament starts
at St Andrews on Thursday
July 16.
The Champion Golfers Challenge will consist of a four-hole
team-based shootout on the
fabled Old Course.
Australian Thomson will
mark the 60th anniversary
of his win in The Open at
St Andrews in 1955 while
Watson will be playing on
the 40th anniversary of his
debut in The Open in 1975
when he won the first of his
five Claret Jugs at nearby
Joining them will be current
tle horse, a fine horse. He was
awkward at the second last but
pinged the last and saw it out
“He’s got such a good turn of
foot though. This is probably
the best feel I’ve ever had from
him—it was certainly his biggest
challenge facing all these good
Paying tribute to the training
performance of Mullins, Walsh
added: “It’s a great place to work
and the man’s a genius. He has
a great team of staff around him
and it’s brilliant to be part of it.”
Tony McCoy, riding at his
last Festival before the 19-times
champion jockey heads into retirement, finished fourth on last
year’s winner Jezki.
won’t repeat
blunder on
Straits return
Ruby Walsh on Faugheen celebrates winning the 15.20 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy during the
Cheltenham Festival yesterday.
carnage and huge payouts on accumulator bets.
“You could not write the
script,” Mullins told Channel
Four Racing.
“All spring the horses have
been going really well, today was
going to be a really good day or a
blow out.”
Walsh had opted to ride
Faugheen instead of 2011 and
2013 champion Hurricane Fly,
winner of a jump racing world
record 22 grade one races, and
his faith was justified as the seven-year-old made it nine wins
from nine.
“It was a massive decision
not to ride Hurricane Fly,” said
“This is an incredible lit-
Sexton fit for Ireland against Wales
world number one Rory McIlroy, who will be defending the
title he won last year at Royal
Golf fans will also be delighted
to see three-time Champions
Gary Player, Nick Faldo and
Tiger Woods playing in the
event alongside the 1963 and
1969 Champions, Bob Charles
and Tony Jacklin, and more
recent winners such as Phil
Mickelson, Ernie Els, Darren
Clarke and Padraig Harrington.
Among the other champions
confirmed so far are Louis Oosthuizen, who won The Open in
2010, the last time it was played
in St Andrews, Stewart Cink,
David Duval, Paul Lawrie, Mark
O’Meara, Justin Leonard, John
Daly and Sandy Lyle.
Ireland Fly-half Johnny Sexton
reland Fly-half Johnny Sexton has been cleared to play
against Wales in Saturday’s
Six Nations showdown with
Wales in Cardiff after passing a
fitness Test yesterday.
Irish Assistant coach Richie
Murphy confirmed that the onform playmaker had trained fully
yesterday, after recovering from
hamstring trouble.
The news was a huge boost
for the unbeaten Irish following
previous injury all-clears given
for Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien
and Jared Payne.
Number eight Heaslip has
been on the comeback trail from
a fractured vertebrae in his back,
while O’Brien and Payne have
both proved their fitness after
“Johnny took full part in training this morning, he has done all
the team stuff and trained well,”
said Murphy.
“Everyone else has come
through, Jamie trained Monday and Tuesday so he’s fit and
healthy and ready to go.
“And the two boys, Jared and
Sean O’Brien both passed their
return to play protocols.
“They have done contact today so as long as there’s no reaction over the next 24 hours they
are both fit and ready to go
“It looks like a full deck to pick
from, and everyone is very upbeat, everyone enjoyed that session this morning, the intensity
was right up there.
“Having everyone fit and
healthy is a massive thing for the
squad because it puts pressure
on everyone. “The environment
gets a nice little buzz off that.”
Sexton has been widely hailed
as the world’s form fly-half as
Ireland have swept to a recordequalling run of 10 consecutive Test victories, including
their opening three Six Nations
The 29-year-old limped out of
the closing stages the 19-9 victory over England in Dublin on
March 1, with doubts over his
fitness still rife on Monday.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Federer’s goal
is another title
at Wimbledon
‘I’m more focused on me than on them’
Roger Federer speaks during a press conference ahead of the BNP Paribas Showdown with Grigor Dimitrov in New York City. (AFP)
New York
oger Federer is proud of all his
Grand Slam singles titles, but if
the Swiss master could add just
one more to his record men’s haul
of 17 it would be at Wimbledon.
“It would be my favorite choice if I had a
choice right now,” Federer, 33, told reporters on the eve of BNB Parabas Showdown
exhibition at Madison Square Garden
against 23-year-old Grigor Dimitrov.
“I’d love to win Wimbledon. I think it’s
possible, and I think if I win Wimbledon
it’s more cool for me personally, and my
team and Swiss people and my fans.”
Another singles title at the All England
Club would give Federer a record eighth
Wimbledon crown, breaking his tie with
Pete Sampras and W C Renshaw of the late
19th century.
It would also make him the oldest Wimbledon men’s winner, eclipsing Arthur
Ashe, who was 31 when he won in 1975.
Federer said he is not consumed by a
quest to add breathing room to his record
total with Rafael Nadal sitting on 14, six
ahead of world number one Novak Djokovic, who lost to the Swiss in the final at Dubai on Feb 28.
Del Potro turns down Indian Wells
wildcard; comeback delayed
Buenos Aires: Juan Del Potro on Monday turned down a singles wild card into
the Indian Wells Masters, which begins
this week, with the Argentine hinting
that his surgically repaired left wrist is
still not quite ready to go nearly a year
after his operation.
“If I’m good, maybe I can start in Miami
(the week of March 23),” said the Argentine who supported his Davis Cup team
in a 3-2 Davis Cup win over Brazil which
Federer said Nadal could charge past
him, but felt Djokovic was a longshot.
“Who knows? Rafa has the best shot if
he wins the French Open a few more times
and if I don’t win anymore he can catch me
“I guess Novak is still a long shot but it
really depends on how dominant his next
years are going to be,” said Federer, whose
wife and two sets of twins travel with him
around the globe.
“They have to be very dominant because
Rafa and me, we both are still playing. It’s
not like we’re both retired or anything.
spilled into this week.
The 2009 US Open winner officially withdrew from Indian Wells as a result. He
finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal two
years ago. Del Potro made an unsuccessful return attempt in January in Sydney
but then pulled out of the Australian
Open. Del Potro had been due to play
doubles in Indian Wells with another
injury returnee hoping to test himself, US
Open champion Marin Cilic.
“I’m more focused on me than on them.
I hope to make it more difficult on them but
at the end of the day records are there to be
Federer, whose last grand slam triumph
came at the 2012 Wimbledon, made it clear
that setting the all-time record meant a
great deal to him.
“I was very happy to get the grand slam
record at Wimbledon in 2009,” he said
about surpassing Sampras’s total of 14. “It
was a dream come true and it was a huge
motivation to get to that after Pete had set
that record.”
among three
elected to
Hall of Fame
New York: Former world
number one Amelie Mauresmo of France, Australian
wheelchair star David Hall
and industry leader Nancy
Jeffett were announced
Monday as 2015 inductees
into the International Tennis
Hall of Fame.
The trio will be enshrined
July 18 during a ceremony at
an ATP grasscourt tournament outside the Hall of
Fame in Newport, Rhode
Island, after receiving at least
75 percent support from a
Hall selection committee.
“Amelie and David were
both inspiring and highly
accomplished competitors
on the professional tours,”
Hall of Fame president Stan
Smith said.
“Nancy’s commitment to tennis has been integral to the
growth of the sport and will
leave a permanent positive
impact on tennis for years
to come. We look forward
to celebrating their many
Mauresmo won the 2006
Wimbledon and Australian
Open titles, each time defeating Justine Henin in the final.
She also made a remarkable
run to the 1999 Australian
Open final as an unseeded
player, ousting world number
one Lindsay Davenport and
two other seeds on the way.
The 35-year-old Frenchwoman, who spent 39 weeks on
top of the rankings, was the
Olympic women’s runnerup in 2004 at Athens. She
won 35 WTA titles and went
545-227 for her career before
retiring in 2009. Mauresmo
is now a coach, counting
Britain’s Andy Murray among
her charges, and has helped
guide others, notably former
world number one Victoria
Azarenka and compatriot
Marion Bartoli during her run
to the 2013 Wimbledon title.
“I’m honored and humbled to
be selected,” Mauresmo said.
“Tennis has been my passion
for as long as I can remember. I extend my gratitude
to the selection committee
for recognizing my career in
this way. It’s an extraordinary
honor to have my career celebrated alongside the greatest champions of our sport,
people who I have admired
so greatly all my life.”
Hall, a six-time Paralympic
medallist, is the fourth wheelchair tennis player inducted
into the Hall of Fame. Hall,
45, from Sydney, lost his legs
after being struck by a car at
age 16. He won Paralympic
Games singles and doubles
gold medals in 1996, 2000
and 2004. His career singles
record before retiring in
2006 was 632-111.
Jeffett was elected in the
contributor category in recognition of her commitment
to the sport’s development
at the junior and women’s
professional levels.
World Schools C’ship
A player in action during the ISF Tennis 2015 World Schools
Championship at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash
Complex yesterday. Boys from England continued their dominance with a 6-0 demolition of Chile yesterday. On Monday,
they had blanked Belgium DG, who yesterday fared slightly better yet fell 2-4 against Australia. Hosts Qatar slumped to their
second 1-5 defeat yesterday. Qatar lost to Germany after their
loss to Italy on Monday. Girls from England too matched their
male counterparts with a 6-0 drubbing of Italy yesterday. On
Monday they had blanked out Thailand. PICTURE: Mamdouh
Results and standings
Group A
England beat Chile 6-0
Australia beat Belgium DG 4-2
P W L Pts
1. England
2 2 0 4
2. Australia
2 2 0 4
3. Belgium DG 2 0 2 0
4. Chile
2 0 2 0
Group B
Chinese Taipei beat Brazil 5-1
Scotland beat Belgium FC 6-0
P W L Pts
2 2 0 4
Chinese Taipei 2 1 1
Belgium FC
2 1 1
2 0 2 0
Group B
England beat Italy 6-0
France beat Thailand 5-1
P W L Pts
2 2 0 4
2 2 0 4
2 0 2 0
2 0 2 0
Group C
Turkey beat South Africa 5-1
France beat China 4-2
P W L Pts
2 2 0 4
2 2 0 4
South Africa
2 0 2 0
2 0 2 0
Group C
Australia beat South Africa 5-1
China beat Belgium FC 4-2
P W L Pts
2 2 0 4
2 2 0 4
South Africa
2 0 2 0
Belgium FC
2 0 2 0
Group D
Italy beat Thailand 4-2
Germany beat Qatar 5-1
P W L Pts
2 2 0 4
2 2 0 4
2 0 2 0
Group D
Belgium DG beat Brazil 5-1
P W L Pts
Chinese Taipei 1 1 0 2
Belgium DG
1 1 0 2
2 0 2 0
Group A
Germany beat Chile 6-0
P W L Pts
1 1 0 2
1 1 0 2
2 0 2 0
Lee doping hearing
set for April 11
Ahli win big against Wakrah; Arabi down Khor
By Sports Reporter
Al Ahli (in green) and Al Wakrah players in action during their Qatar Basketball League at Al Gharafa Sports Club yesterday. Al
Ahli won the match 90-52. PICTURE: Othman al-Samaraee
yronne McNeal and Temi Soyebo led
Al Ahli to a massive 90-52 win over Al
Wakrah in the Qatar Basketball League
at the Al Gharafa Sports Club yesterday.
McNeal amassed 26 points while Soyebo
had 21 points to his credit as Ahli ensured that
Wakrah never even sniffed the lead in the entire
McNeal 12 two-pointers and two free
throughs besides 12 rebounds to his name, while
Soyebo had eight two-pointers and dunked a
three-pointer apart from 13 rebounds.
Others to get into double digits for Ahli were
Consteveous Jefferson and Jocef Fajilagot with
15 and 12 points respectively.
In reply, Al Wakrah only had two players in
double digits with Donald Singleton scoring 17
points and Mohamed Abdulrahman 14 points.
Singleton had seven two-pointers and three
free-throws to his name.
In the other match of the day, Al Arabi beat Al
Khor 68-60.
Oumar Seck was the top-scorer for Al Arabi
with 22 points and was ably supported by Tanguy Ngombo and Hassino Ndoye who scored 17
and 15 points respectively.
For Khor, Shavon Coleman was the top-scorer with 20 points, while Mame Ndour added 17
points and Kevin Bridgewaters pitched in with
Today, El Jaish will take on Al Rayyan in the
first match of the day at 5pm, followed by Al
Sadd’s clash with Al Gharafa at 7pm. Matches
are being held at Al Gharafa Sports Club.
Kuala Lumpur
he Badminton World
Federation (BWF) has
set April 11 for the longawaited doping hearing
involving Malaysian badminton
ace Lee Chong Wei, a top official said yesterday.
The former world number one
is temporarily barred from competition after failing a drugs test
at last year’s World Championships, and could face a careerending two-year ban.
Lee tested positive for the
banned anti-inflammatory drug
dexamethasone at the worlds last
August in Copenhagen, where he
lost to China’s Chen Long in the
Lee, 32, who said he received
dexamethasone during stem cell
treatment for a thigh injury last
July, has maintained that he will
retire if he is banned for two years.
Badminton Association of
Malaysia general manager Kenny
Goh told AFP that the hearing
will be held in Amsterdam, where
Lee’s lawyer will submit documents to a three-man panel.
“I hope friends and supporters
will remain patient and continue
to provide the moral support to
Chong Wei,” he said.
The BWF earlier said that Lee
was suspended “due to an apparent anti-doping regulation
violation” while the panel considers whether he has committed
an offence.
The popular Lee, Malaysia’s
most prominent sportsman,
had previously voiced fears he
will never realise his dream of
becoming world and Olympic
Despite topping the rankings
for years and reaching five world
and Olympic finals, the fatherof-one has never been able to
win either of badminton’s two
major titles.
Lee is now the world number
three while rival Chen Long
of China has risen to world
number one.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Ricciardo ready for home pressure
ed Bull number one Daniel
Ricciardo insisted yesterday
he can cope with the pressure
at his home Grand Prix, but
played down his chances of winning
the opening race of the season.
The Australian goes into Sunday’s
race at Albert Park in Melbourne as
the team’s top driver after four-time
world champion Sebastian Vettel
moved to Ferrari.
Ricciardo was still something of
an unknown quantity at last year’s
Australian Grand Prix but proved his
mettle during a stellar 2014, finishing
third in the drivers standings behind
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico
He has been the focus of intense
media interest since his arrival in Melbourne this year, but maintains it will
make little difference when he gets behind the wheel.
“Once I’m in the car, the helmet’s
on... and the engine starts I could be
anywhere in the world,” he told reporters.
“That’s when I’ve got a job to do and
I think the pressure gets levelled out
no matter where I am. I don’t feel any
more pressure than last year—that was
already a pretty big step for me.”
Ricciardo famously started the 2014
season by finishing second in Melbourne, only for officials to disqualify
him over a technical infringement.
He shrugged off the disappointment
to win three races—in Canada, Hungary and Belgium.
“Coming into a top team everyone
was asking questions of me. Can I
be up to Seb’s pace? Can I get on the
podium? I feel like I answered a lot of
those questions,” he said.
“I think I’ve proved what I’m capable of and it’s just a matter of hoping
we’ve got the equipment.”
Ricciardo is pleased with how his
Red Bull performed in testing, racking
up a lot of miles and overcoming some
reliability issues. But he admits that
with Mercedes improving both their
chassis and engine, Hamilton and
Rosberg remain the drivers to beat.
“For sure, (my car) is an improvement, but the thing is everyone improves,” he said.
“It’s really a question of how much
have we improved and if we’ve improved enough to close the gap on
“Testing has shown us that Mercedes are still really strong, I don’t
want to be pessimistic at all, but they
seem to be the team to beat at the moment.
“Behind them I think it’s pretty
close with us, Ferrari and Williams—
we all look to be next in line.
“I think if we put it all together we
can definitely fight for at least that last
spot on the podium this weekend and
try to apply as much pressure to the
Mercs as possible.”
Ricciardo’s new Red Bull partner
this year is Russian Daniil Kvyat, who
has switched from Toro Rosso.
Five rivals to oust Hamilton
Ecclestone confident
as ever as F1 season
gears up for start
Eccelstone is in confident mood despite some teams continuing to fret over money to pay the bills
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone at the paddock
prior the 2014 Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the
Sakhir circuit near Manama, Bahrain. (EPA)
he Formula One season
begins with the Australian
Grand Prix in Melbourne
on Sunday and Bernie Ecclestone - still the dominant figure
in the sport - is confident the campaign will run smoothly.
“I haven’t really got any (concerns),” the 84-year-old told dpa
in an interview. But despite the
huge amounts of money circulating in the sport, funding remains a
major worry for some of the smaller
teams. Caterham and Marussia
failed to complete the race calender
last year having been hit with financial difficulties. And only the
latter will present themselves, reborn as Manor, in Australia.
“This is all commercial and it’s
all been dealt with,” Ecclestone
insisted when asked if he believed
all teams would complete the 2015
calender. “So there’s nothing for
anybody to be concerned about.”
A handful of teams including world champions Mercedes,
Red Bull and McLaren have little
cause for worrying about money.
But even Force India, who finished
sixth last year, have been vocal in
calling for change. That is something Ecclestone refuses to concede is needed. He sees no reason
for the bigger teams to dip into
their pockets to ensure the smaller
outfits can remain on the grid.
“People enter the championship,
they know exactly what the terms
and conditions are and they enter
because that’s what they think that they can comply with those
conditions. So it’s up to them. It’s
not up for people to help them.
“We comply to exactly what our
agreements are. We pay something
in excess of 900 million dollars to
the teams to perform. Which is as
much as we can do.”
Despite his advanced years, Ecclestone shows no sign of releasing
his hold on the sport he has known
for so long. But while no one goes
on for ever, he does not see a heir
to his throne. “I don’t think there’s
anything natural about it (a successor). It will happen sooner or
later, but there’s nothing natural
about who it would be.
“If I’m not doing what I do then
maybe two or three other people will do what I do. And they’ll
probably do it in a different way.
Whether it would be better or
worse we’ll have to wait and see.”
Ecclestone did acknowledge
that the situation in Germany,
where confusion surrounds the
Grand Prix scheduled for the
Nuerburgring in July, was not
ideal. But he said neither he nor
anyone else could identify why
After missing out on claiming a maiden drivers’
title last year when Hamilton’s end of season form
enabled him to snatch glory from the jaws of a
series of setbacks, Rosberg has to lift his game to
match the Briton’s and not only seize the initiative,
but retain it this season without being distracted by
any intra-team politicking or his teammate’s actions.
His commendable cool temperament will help, as
will his calm technical approach to his work, but in
the heat of on-track battle he may also have to find
some fire when required. At 29, and just a few months
younger than Hamilton, the German-born son of the
original flying Finn Keke Rosberg knows the size of
the task better than anyone, having been his karting
teammate as a teenager and a friend and close rival
ever since. This year, he has to make that knowledge
pay by repeating his superb form in qualifying - he
outpaced Hamilton last season - and finding a way
of outwitting the Englishman in the races. Mercedes
have improved their car in all areas and another year
of tense rivalry between the two should be expected
with Rosberg baring his teeth more often.
The Australian with F1’s most dazzling grin and sunniest disposition stunned many observers last year
with his speed and race-craft in his first season at Red
Bull alongside four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
He did so well, out-performing the German comprehensively with unexpected speed and consistency,
that Vettel’s glossy reputation lost its lustre and he
was soon lining up his exit to replace Alonso at Ferrari. This season will be a bigger test for Ricciardo as
he has a fast new threatening teammate in Russian
Daniil Kvyatt to contend with and carries the responsibility of being team leader at the tender age of 25.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner has described
the Russian as “the real deal” and in the first season
of the post-Seb era it may be difficult for Ricciardo to
repeat his impact of last year without being a little
more serious and a bit less smiley. His underlying
competitive streak, however, will emerge again and if
the Renault engine can supply the power, he could be
a challenger at the tracks where Adrian Newey’s car
performs well.
Much is expected of the one-time baby-faced assassin
now he has followed the trail blazed by compatriot
and mentor Michael Schumacher and joined Ferrari.
Just as Schumacher made the move after establishing himself a champion with two titles at previously
unsung Benetton, so Vettel has switched from Red
Bull after winning four with an unfancied team that
sprung to glory from an industrial suburb of Milton
Keynes courtesy of the energy-drink manufacturer’s
backing and the design genius of Adrian Newey. Last
year’s new regulations ended that domination and
exposed both Renault and Vettel’s marginal weaknesses, but that should not detract from recognition
that he remains one of the greatest drivers of his
generation - and one of the fastest. He will need to
go some to emulate Schumacher, who won five titles
with Ferrari, but can at least be expected to inspire
a revival for the scarlet scuderia who are in desperate need of a first win since Alonso last triumphed in
Spain in 2013.
Last year’s nearly man and one of the fastest and
most exciting spectacles to behold when he has the
bit between his teeth, the latest in a line of impressive
speedsters from Finland is ready to take the final step
and confirm he is a race winner and future champion.
But it will need the Williams team, powered by Mercedes, to maintain their upwardly mobile progress
and continue to deliver threatening pace if he is to
take his first victory. Many believe that his maiden
triumph, when it comes, will be the first of many and
Hamilton has, already, duly noted that potential. It will
surprise nobody if Bottas emerges as a serious threat
to the two Mercedes men and upsets the equilibrium
expected. Bottas has not only the speed, but the daring and elan to achieve his and Williams goals.
the country was seemingly falling
out of love with F1. “I don’t know
why the public in Germany are not
and haven’t, even in the last couple or three years, been supporting. Maybe the fact that everyone
misses Michael (Schumacher).
Maybe that’s the reason.”
The drift has been all the more
curious given the strong performance from German driver Sebas-
tian Vettel in winning four consecutive drivers’ titles from 2010-13
and Nico Rosberg pushing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton
all the way to the championship
in 2014. Ecclestone is hoping for
others to challenge the pair in 2015
but, unsurprisingly, is not worried
if this does not happen.
“During the period of Formula
One there’s been teams that have
dominated. For example Michael
won all those championships one
after the other ... I think the racing
last year was very, very good.
“Obviously if we could have Ferrari and two or three other teams
competing with Mercedes it’d be
great. But otherwise if the two
Mercedes drivers are racing each
other that’s fine as well.”
Mercedes are currently negoti-
ating a new contract with Hamilton which could be the last of the
Briton’s career. What is a world
champion worth?
“As much as someone wants to
pay and as much as he’s prepared
to accept. These are the deals
that people do. “What’s anything
worth? You know. I’ve always
thought people don’t know the
value of anything in the world.”
Absent for the opening race, engulfed in rumours and
innuendo about his physical and mental health and
facing a mountain of pressure and expectation, the
33-year-old Spaniard has the ability not only to revive
McLaren, in their back-to-the-future partnership with
Honda, but also to emerge as a title candidate himself.
But that statement of intent has to be coupled with a
proviso - if he regains full fitness after his curious accident in testing in Spain last month where, depending
on whose reports are believed, he may have suffered
severe memory loss as well as concussion, or even
been hurt by an electrical malfunction. Twice a champion with Renault, Alonso toiled in vain at Ferrari and
may see his return to McLaren, where he experienced
a torrid year in 2007, as his last opportunity to take
a third championship. He has the talent, but will the
team give him the car?
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Hot Hawks crush Kings,
pick up 50th win of season
‘It’s good to see the ball in the basket because it’s been a couple of tough weeks for me’
Los Angeles
he Atlanta Hawks turned
50 and showed no signs
of slowing down.
Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll scored 20 points
apiece Monday and the hot
Hawks picked up their 50th win
of the season, with a 130-105
crowning of the visiting Sacramento Kings.
“Just a good offensive performance,” said Hawks coach
Mike Budenholzer. “The ball
movement was good, the passing
was crisp and we were able to get
a rhythm going.”
Korver was one of three players rested in Saturday’s surprising 92-84 road loss to lowly
The night off seemed to benefit the struggling 3-point specialist, who got back on track,
hitting 6-of-8 triples as the
Hawks set a franchise-record
with 20 from behind the arc in
the beat-down.
“A couple of guys started hitting and it snowballed for us,”
Korver said. “It’s good to see the
ball in the basket because it’s
been a couple of tough weeks for
Jeff Teague had 18 points with
13 assists, Germany’s Dennis
Schroder added 12 off the bench
as East-best Atlanta (50-13) shot
a sizzling 60% from the field,
posted an NBA season-best 42
assists en route to its highest
scoring game of the year.
“That’s everything as far as
the way we wanted to play,” said
Hawks centre Al Horford, who
added 18 points. “We wanted
to have high assists and that’s
Hawks basketball.”
Carroll set the tone pouring
in all his points in the opening
half as Atlanta raced to a 76-54
lead. The Hawks carried a 10582 cushion into the fourth quarter en route to their 13th straight
win in the series.
Elsewhere, Memphis star
Marc Gasol scored a game-high
23 points and outshone brother
Pau in a sibling rivalry matchup
of Spanish big men as the Grizzlies beat Chicago 101-91 Monday.
Jeff Green added 19 points for
Memphis while Zach Randolph
scored 16 and pulled down nine
rebounds for the Grizzlies, who
improved to 45-18, the thirdbest record in the NBA.
Memphis, two games ahead of
Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague drives past Sacramento Kings guard Ray McCallum in the third quarter at Philips Arena on Monday.
Houston atop the Southwest division, closed the game on a 17-3
run and avenged a home loss to
the Bulls earlier this season.
Tony Snell scored 21 points
to Chicago, 11 of them in a 23-6
run to put the Bulls ahead 8884 around the mid-point of the
fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies scored the next
11 points to start their closing
run to victory.
“We had to get aggressive
defensively,” Marc Gasol said.
“They had space and it creates a
lot of lanes. We were able to read
ic had 18 points and 12 rebounds
off the bench for Chicago.
The Bulls updated the injury
status of Derrick Rose, who said
he expects to return this season
from a right knee injury.
“I feel good, in a positive space
right now,” Rose said, adding
of a return before the playoffs,
“That’s the plan. Whenever I feel
right, that’s when I’ll step back.”
Rose has been nagged with
knee injuries over the past several seasons but has taken an
optimistic turn about the latest
“This time could be a blessing
in disguise, give me time to work
on all the little injuries I had this
season,” Rose said.
Anthony Davis matched the
highest scoring performance of
his NBA career with 43 pounds
and also grabbed 10 rebounds
Monday as the New Orleans
Pelicans won 114-103 at Milwaukee.
Davis also added six assists
and blocked two shots for New
Orleans, which improved to 3529 and pulled within one loss of
Oklahoma City for the eighth
and final Western Conference
playoff berth.
Eric Gordon added 16 points
for the Pelicans, who had 13
points and six assists from
Tyreke Evans before he suffered
a left ankle injury in the third
quarter. He was helped off the
court and did not return.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a careerbest 29 points for the Bucks, who
also had 25 points from Michael
Carter-Williams, his best performance since being obtained
at the NBA trade deadline.
The Bucks suffered their seventh loss in nine games and fell
to 33-30, sixth in the Eastern
New Orleans
Golden State
NY Knicks
Texans drop top
receiver Johnson
after 12 seasons
New York
Kassian’s third-period goal lifts
Canucks over Ducks 2-1
ndre Johnson was
released by the Houston Texans on Monday, ending the star
receiver’s 12-year tenure with
the National Football League
club after no trade deal could
be made.
The 33-year-old pass catcher would have cost the Texans
$16.1mn next season in the penultimate year of his contract,
but his release frees up more
than half that amount in salary cap space on the eve of the
start of 2015 free agency signings.
“After exhausting all options of a possible trade, we
informed Andre Johnson that
he would be released,” Texans
general manager Rick Smith
said. “Andre is a Hall of Famecaliber player and we appreciate his years of service and
contributions to our team.”
Johnson was selected third
in the 2003 NFL Draft and the
longest-tenured player on the
Texans, who have managed
only four winning seasons
what they were doing and make
some shots and were able to pull
out a win.”
Marc Gasol scored 15 points in
the fourth quarter.
“I was open. My teammates
found me. I was able to make
some shots,” Marc Gasol said.
“To win by 10 here was not easy.
We put together a good game.”
Pau Gasol had 13 points and 11
rebounds for the Bulls, who suffered their third loss in a row in
falling to 39-26.
Aaron Brooks added 15 points
for the Bulls while Nikola Mirot-
since their 2002 debut. Houston’s only playoff wins came
in first-round games against
Cincinnati in the 2011 and 2012
Johnson has 1,012 career receptions for 13,597 yards and
64 touchdowns in 169 appearances for the Texans, including 85 catches for 936 yards
and three touchdowns over 15
games last season.
The Texans told Johnson he
would no longer be a featured
receiver in the team’s offensive
schemes next season and he
had wanted to be released, but
the team tried in vain to swing
a trade deal.
Only two other NFL receivers, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis
Colts, had more career catches
while playing for only one
he last time the Vancouver Canucks beat
the Anaheim Ducks in
regulation, Eddie Lack
was in the minors, and Bo Horvat
hadn’t been drafted. Both played
an integral part in snapping that
long losing streak on Monday.
Horvat opened the scoring in
the first period before taking a
key faceoff on a 6-on-4 penalty
kill late in the third, and Lack
made 29 saves as the Canucks
held on for a 2-1 win over the
“I thought the whole team
played really well,’’ said Horvat,
a 19-year-old rookie, who has
gained the trust of coach Willie Desjardins. “The whole team
was contributing tonight - goaltending all the way through.
We were doing the little things,
playing well defensively.
“That was a huge win for us.
We need those points.’’
Zack Kassian scored the winning goal with 3:59 left in the
third for Vancouver, which is in
second place in the Pacific Divi-
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack makes a save on the
line against a shot by the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at
Rogers Arena on Monday. The Vancouver Canucks won 2-1.
sion, three points up on the Calgary Flames.
Emerson Etem had tied it for
Anaheim at 8:40 of the final period.
“I think it showed the character of our team,’’ said Kassian,
who scored his 10th of the season. ‘’We bounced back, and our
hardest push was in the third.’’
The Canucks hadn’t beaten
the Ducks in regulation since Jan.
13, 2013. Vancouver also handed
Anaheim its first one-goal loss in
regulation this season.
“I’m feeling good right now,
I’m not going to lie,’’ Lack said.
“It’s fun playing right now, play-
ing these hard games, tough
games. I feel like everyone is
standing up for each other. It’s a
huge team game right now.’’
Vancouver had just 10 shots
through two periods, and managed six more in the third on
Frederick Andersen, but the Canucks made their few chances
“They’re a tough team. I think
we played hard all night,’’ Desjardins said. “You just don’t generate a whole lot against them. I
thought the guys were focused
right from the start. I thought we
had lots of energy.
“I think whenever you play
them you’re going to have a battle. You look at all their onegoal games, that’s just how they
Meanwhile, Tommy Wingels
scored on the backhand in the
eighth round of a shootout to
give the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 win
over the Pittsburgh Penguins on
Melker Karlsson was the only
other Shark to beat Penguins
goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the
Sharks goalie Antti Niemi
stopped seven of eight Pitts-
burgh shooters, including Steve
Downie on the visitors’ final attempt.
Matt Nieto netted for San
Jose (33-26-8) in the first period
while Sidney Crosby converted
his 23rd goal of the season in the
third to tie it for Pittsburgh (3818-10).
Predators winger James Neal
banged in a rebound from defenseman Seth Jones’s shot with
2:15 left in overtime, and goalie
Pekka Rinne made 27 saves, as
Nashville snapped a season-high
six-game losing streak. Predators beat the Coyotes 2-1.
The win stretched Nashville’s
lead over St. Louis in the Central
Division to four points, but the
Blues have two games in hand.
The Predators (42-19-7) also
pulled into a tie with Anaheim
for the Western Conference and
NHL lead with 91 points.
NY Islanders
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
French stars Muffat,
Arthaud, Vastine die
in helicopter crash
The whole of French sport is in mourning because we have lost three huge champions
Florence Arthaud (left), Camille Muffat (centre) and Alexis Vastine (right) have all died while filming a reality TV show in Argentina.
Buenos Aires/Paris
stars - Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat,
yachtswoman Florence
Arthaud and boxer Alexis Vastine
- were among 10 people killed
when two helicopters collided in
Argentina on Monday during the
filming of a reality TV show.
Authorities said it was still
unclear what caused the accident in the rugged western
province of La Rioja, near the
Andes Mountains.
French media citing Argentinian sources said the helicopters
were flying through clear skies at
an altitude of about 100 meters
when they hit each other around
5.15 pm local time (2015 GMT).
Amateur footage showed dozens of people rushing through
heavy undergrowth toward the
helicopters’ burning wreckage.
“The sudden death of our fellow French nationals is a cause of
immense sadness,” French President Francois Hollande’s office
said in a statement.
Preparations were being
made to recover the bodies from
the mangled wreckage, said local mayor Andres Navarrete.
He described flying conditions
at the time of the accident as
“Some of the bodies can be
seen and others are buried under the charred mass of metal,”
Navarrete said, speaking by telephone from the crash site.
Two pilots and several members of the ALP-TV production
Arthaud enjoyed success at sea and life to the full
Tough-talking French sailor Florence Arthaud, who died in a helicopter crash Monday, was not only one of the finest sailors of her
generation, but she opened up solo, long-distance racing to women
in a rugged male-dominated sport.
Arthaud became a household name in France after navigating to
victory in the brutal, solo Atlantic-crossing Route du Rhum race in
1990, and had many a brush with death during a colourful life.
Her sheer determination and navigational skills brought her countless trophies as she criss-crossed the globe from the 1970s, with her
inspiration being the legendary Breton yachtsman Eric Tabarly, who
disappeared in the Irish Sea in 1998.
She also opened the way for the likes of Ellen MacArthur, who ruled
the waves for women in February 2005 when she broke the world
record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe.
During the 1986 Route du Rhum, which was her third edition of the
gruelling race, Arthaud answered a mayday call and doubled back
in search of struggling countryman Loic Caradec.
She found his upturned catamaran, but Cadarec himself was never
seen again.
As recently as October 2011 she herself actually had her life saved
by a helicopter after falling overboard off the Corsican coast, and
was only plucked from the sea hours later after calling for help from
company involved in filming
the adventure show “Dropped”
for private TV station TF1 were
among the dead, officials said.
As part of the show, other
contestants were standing blindfolded on the ground a few hundred meters from the helicopters’
flight path, French media reported. They ran to the crash site but
could not extinguish the fire, a
contestant’s assistant told French
broadcaster RFI.
“The whole of French sport
is in mourning because we have
lost three huge champions,”
Thierry Braillard, junior minister for sports, town and youth
affairs, told RTL radio.
“Florence Arthaud - we all
knew her as the ‘Fiancee of the
Atlantic’,” he said, referring to a
nickname she earned through
her many daring voyages including a 1990 record for the
fastest solitary crossing of that
body of water. TF1 issued a
statement expressing solidarity
for the victims’ families. French
media said filming had been
suspended and the crew and
other contestants were heading
back to France.
“We have no details on the
exact circumstances at the moment,” TF1 Chief Executive
Nonce Paolini said. “All I can
say at the moment is that we are
in a state of complete shock.”
“Dropped” involves contest-
a waterproof mobile phone. “It wasn’t my day, it was a real miracle,”
she said later, after the helicopter had fished her out of the sea,
conscious but suffering from hypothermia.
Born in the Paris suburbs in October 1957, her father ran a publishing house. Her first brush with death came in a car wreck at 17 that
left her in a coma, and she was known for a riotous lifestyle that saw
her arrested in 2010 for drunk driving and admitted to heavy-drinking in her worst moments.
When remembering her finest hours in an interview with AFP in
October last year the 57-year-old expressed little regret for the way
she lived her life.
“We had nothing to our names, we didn’t have a house, we lived
on our boats. We were a group of mates and we were all family,”
she said. “I had my daughter when I was 36. I hadn’t had a typically
woman’s life before that. I had a riotous and adventurous life.”
After her Route du Rhum win in 1990 she won that year’s French
“Champion of champions” award, which is akin to the BBC’s Sports
personality of the year award.
Olympic gold medallist swimmer Camille Muffat and Olympic boxer
Alexis Vastine were also amongst the ten people killed when two
helicopters filming a survival series smashed into each other in rugged mountains of Argentina.
ants being left in the wilderness
and using their skills to find
their way back to civilisation.
The collision was the second
time in two years that a reality
show produced by ALP for TF1
had been hit by tragedy.
In April 2013 the doctor
charged with looking after contestants in the long-running
“Koh-Lanta” endurance show
committed suicide after one of
the competitors died following
one of the tests, complaining
of heart pains. Arthaud, 57, was
one of the first women to carve
a place for herself in the top levels of sailing. She had a brush
with death in 2011, when she fell
off her boat into the Mediterra-
nean. Rescuers whisked her out
after she called her mother by
mobile phone. Muffat, 25, won
400 meters freestyle gold at the
2012 London Olympics. Vastine,
28, won bronze at the Beijing
2008 Olympics.
“I am sad for my friends,
I’m shaking, I’m horrified, I
can’t find the words,” Sylvain
Wiltord, an ex-footballer for
English Premier League club
Arsenal and fellow cast member
tweeted. The victims included
the helicopters’ two pilots, both
of whom were military-trained,
according to Argentine daily La
Nacion. “There were no survivors,” La Rioja’s security chief,
Cesar Angulo, said.
IOC ‘shocked’
by death of
he International Olympic
Committee (IOC) yesterday mourned the death of
three French sports stars,
including two Olympic medallists, in a helicopter accident during the filming of a reality show.
Olympic swimming champion
Camille Muffat, bronze medallist boxer Alexis Vastine and
yachtswoman Florence Arthaud
were among 10 people killed
when two helicopters collided in
Argentina on Monday.
The International Olympic Committee announced in a
statement that its Olympic flag
would fly at half-mast for three
days at the IOC headquarters to
honour the “great champions”.
“We are shocked by this sad
news,” the IOC said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with
the families and friends of these
great athletes who have left us.”
“With them, the world of sport
and the Olympic family have lost
three of their key members. They
were all not only champions in
their sport but also contributed
greatly as role models.”
Arthaud, 57, was one of the
first women to carve a place for
herself in the top levels of sailing
with a 1990 record for the fastest
solitary crossing of the Atlantic.
Muffat, 25, won 400 metres
freestyle gold at the 2012 London Olympics and silver in 200
metres as well as a 4x200 metre
freestyle relay bronze. Vastine,
28, won bronze at the Beijing
Games four years earlier. The
IOC said the Olympic flag would
be flown at half-mast for three
days at its headquarters.
Other athletes paid tribute
on social media. “An enormous
thought for Camille, Alexis and
Florence and the others. Tragic.
They made France and their
sport grow,” said France’s Laure
Manaudou, who won the same
gold as Muffat at the 2004 Athens Games.
“She (Muffat) succeeded me, we
shouted for her, cried for her victories, we cry for her tragic disappearance. We shared strong moments, publicity campaign photos,
we boxed, danced, laughed and
now we are mourning.”
Former British swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who won two
golds at the Beijing Games and
took 400m freestyle bronze
behind Muffat in 2012, remem-
bered her as “genuine and gracious”.
“Every athlete who wins a
gold medal at the Olympics is on
cloud nine, but I could tell with
Camille how much it meant to
her,” she added. “She couldn’t
stop smiling and when I wished
her good luck for her 200m later
in the week she smiled and just
said it didn’t matter anymore as
her dream had come true.
“Camille was only a year
younger than myself, she was
only 25. She was very inspiring, a
tough competitor, extremely talented and friendly person. She
will be missed by many.”
Swimming’s ruling body FINA
tweeted: “To Muffat’s family and
friends and to the entire Aquatic
community in France, FINA expresses its deepest condolences.”
“It is with dismay that French
swimming learned of the death
of the Olympic swimming
champion Camille Muffat,” the
French Swimming Federation
FFN said in an issued statement.
“With the passing of this great
champion, this strong, humble
and determined person is torn
from her family, her friends, her
admirers. Our sadness is immense, deep, violent.
“All our thoughts are with
family. The pain is shared with
the people and athletes who died
alongside Camille. Iconic champions, people torn from life.”
Four-time Olympic swimming gold medallist Janet Evans
of the United States added in a
tweet: “Shocked and saddened
to hear of Camille Muffat’s passing. An incredible athlete and an
inspiration to us all.
Bill Furniss, British Swimming’s head coach, also reached
out to express his sorrow, saying: “Camille was someone who
commanded respect as both a
great competitor and as a person.
Rebecca and her had some tremendous battles over the years
and she will be sadly missed. I
would like to offer my condolences to her family, friends and
all at French Swimming.”
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) reached out
to express its sadness at the
loss of Vastine. “My thoughts
go out to the family & friends
of Alexis Vastine, a world class
boxer & Olympic Champion. A
huge loss to boxing community
#RIP,” tweeted Karim Bouzidi,
the AIBA’s deputy executive
This picture taken on March 9, 2015 in the Argentine province of
La Rioja shows the three French sports stars (from L) Champion
sailor Florence Arthaud, Olympic gold medallist swimmer Camille
Muffat, and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine, moments before they
enters a helicopter that crashed while filming a reality TV show.
Arthaud, Muffat and Vastine were among 10 people killed when two
helicopters filming the survival series ‘Dropped’ smashed into each
other in the rugged mountains of La Rioja province. (AFP)
Germany’s Greipel takes stage win in Paris-Nice
Greipel won a sprint
finish to the second
stage of Paris-Nice
yesterday with Polish world
champion Michal Kwiatkowski
holding onto the leader’s yellow
In what was a largely straightforward 172-kilometre run down
from the ZooParc at Beauval near
Paris, the only breakaway bid
came from Frenchman Arnaud
Gerard. He kept the lead for 134
kilometres, but was easily reeled
in by the peloton setting up the
sprint finish.
Greipel dominated that to take
the win ahead of Frenchman Ar-
naud Demare, with another German cyclist John Degenkolb taking third place ahead of Michael
Matthews of Australia.
“Paris-Nice is a big race and
it usually has quite a few top
sprinters,” Greipel said. “I hadn’t
competed in it for several years,
so I am delighted.
“I was feeling sick for a few
days but made a quick recovery
because I was already doing well
in the Tour of the Algarve (February).”
Kwiatkowski said that he had
been surprised there had not
been more attacks in the race so
far but was delighted to be able
to hold onto the lead.
The Race to the Sun continues
today with a 179 kilometre stage
from Saint-Amand-Montrond
to Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule.
Contador staying at Tinkoff-Saxo till 2016
Stage winner Germany’s Andre Greipel celebrates on the podium after
winning the second stage of the 73rd edition of the Paris-Nice cycling
race between the Beauval zoo in Saint-Aignan and Saint-AmandMontrond yesterday. (AFP)
Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador yesterday announced that he would extend
his contract for a further year with the TinkoffSaxo team.
The Spaniard’s current contract with the team
expires at the end of this season, but the 32-yearold will ride for an extra season before retiring.
“Hello all, happy to anounce that in 2016 will
continue being rider of tinkoff saxo.!!!,” Contador
wrote on his official Twitter account.
“I’m very happy that Alberto will lead TinkoffSaxo in 2016 as well, because I truly believe he is
the best cyclist in the world and I am convinced
he will continue to be so for a few more years,”
said the team’s owner Oleg Tinkov in a statement. “Unfortunately, he decided he would retire
at the end of next year which means he will race
with my team for two full seasons. I would have,
obviously, preferred him to stay longer but that
was his personal decision.
“However, I am very proud that Alberto’s impressive career will conclude in my team and I hope
he takes the Tinkoff-Saxo colours to the top step
of the Tour de France podium in 2015 and 2016.”
Climb specialist Contador, who has won all three
major tours, is due to take part in this week’s
Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in Italy which starts
His main rivals in that will be reigning Tour de
France champion Vincenzo Nibali and Giro
d’Italia champion the Colombian climber Nairo
Quintana, while Contador won the Tour of Spain
last season. Contador is among the favourites for
the 2015 Tour de France, which begins on July 4
in Utrecht. He previously won cycling’s biggest
prize in 2007 and 2009 as well as the Tour of
Spain in 2008, 2012 and 2014 and the Tour of
Italy in 2008.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
PSG seek revenge
against Chelsea in
Champions League
‘We’re in an unfavourable situation because they scored that famous goal that meant
Paris didn’t reach the semi-finals for the second year in a row. But we have to do the
same thing as them. If we’re as clinical as Chelsea were, I’ll take it’
Bayern prepare
to walk tightrope
against Donetsk
Bayern Munich’s headcoach Pep Guardiola (left) speaks with defender
Holger Badstuber during a training session.
File picture of Paris Saint-Germain’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrating after scoring a goal during the French L1 match against Lens in Paris.
leven months on from their
last visit to Chelsea’s Stamford
Bridge, Paris Saint-Germain return today looking for confirmation of their place among the Champions
League elite.
In last season’s quarter-finals, PSG
came to London with a 3-1 lead from the
first leg and with a huge 13-point advantage at the Ligue 1 summit, only to crash
out after Demba Ba’s 87th-minute strike
took Chelsea through on away goals.
This season, a round earlier, the tie is
even more evenly-balanced at 1-1, and it
is Chelsea who are dominating domestically, five points clear in the Premier
League with a game in hand, while in
France, PSG trail Lyon by a point.
But in contrast to last season’s London trip, PSG have Zlatan Ibrahimovic fit
and in form, with the giant Swede having scored his third goal in four games
and provided a delightful assist for Javier
Pastore in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat of Lens.
Laurent Blanc’s side have now gone 14
games without defeat in all competitions
and despite their failure to recapture last
season’s heights, they remain in contention
for an unprecedented four-trophy haul.
“Of course we have belief against
Chelsea,” said Blanc. “We’re in an unfavourable situation because they scored
that famous goal (Ba’s goal) that meant
Paris didn’t reach the semi-finals for the
second year in a row.
“But we have to do the same thing as
them. If we’re as clinical as Chelsea were,
I’ll take it.”
With PSG’s owners, Qatar Sports Investments, having taken over at the
Parc de Princes eight years after Roman
Abramovich first brought his roubles to
Stamford Bridge, the French champions
have had to face the barrier of Financial
Fair Play (FFP), which Chelsea did not
have to worry about when Jose Mourinho
was building the first great team of the
Abramovich era.
Bayern Munich vs Shakhtar
Chelsea vs Paris SG
The FFP sanctions that PSG were hit
with last year restricted their close-season transfer activity, but they were nonetheless able to splash out an astonishing
50 million euros ($54.5 million) to sign
David Luiz from Chelsea.
The Brazil centre-back aimed a tonguein-cheek barb at Mourinho earlier this
week, responding to a question about
what made the ‘Special One’ so special
by saying: “But he’s special for you, not
for me!”
Luiz deputised in defensive midfield
for the first leg, but with Thiago Motta fit
again after a calf injury, he is expected to
return to central defence alongside Thiago Silva, who was rested against Lens.
In Lucas Moura’s absence, Pastore
has been tipped to get the nod to line
up alongside Ibrahimovic and Edinson
Cavani—who cancelled out Branislav
Ivanovic’s opener in the first leg—in
Blanc’s three-pronged attack.
Only John Mikel Obi is definitely out
for Chelsea, with Nemanja Matic expected to return after a two-match domestic suspension despite hurting his ankle
during the celebrations that followed the
2-0 League Cup final victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea have had over a week to prepare for the game, having not played at
the weekend, and centre-back Gary Cahill says they have left no stone unturned.
“We’ve been able to really work on
specific things in preparation for it,” the
England defender, whose side hope to
reach the last eight for the fourth time in
five years, told the Chelsea website.
“We know the quality of PSG and the job
that lies ahead of us. It’s going to be like a
final, a big one-off game, and we’ll be ready
to go out there and give it everything we
have to get us into the next round.”
ayern Munich are 11
points clear at the top of
the Bundesliga but the
German giants welcome
Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League round of 16 second
leg today in a game which could
define their season.
“We always have a duty to
progress,” goalkeeper Manuel
Neuer said Monday. “Especially
in the early phases of the knockout stage.
“We know that we have to
concentrate and control the
counter-attacks. Essentially we
want to win every game. Now we
are obliged to win. We like such
After drawing the first leg 0-0
in Lviv, Bayern are in a good position but without an away goal,
they are far from guaranteed to
“We’ll need a top performance
because it’ll be a very, very tough
game (against Shakhtar),” sport
director Matthias Sammer said.
“But we’re ready.”
Sammer, himself a Champions League winner as a player in
1997, has previously made it clear
he believes the team is ready to
repeat the Champions League
victory from 2013.
“The mix of this team is exceptional and must, in my opinion,
once again lead to winning the
Champions League this season or
next,” Sammer said previously.
This season or next includes
the final year of coach Pep Guardiola’s contract in 2016. And the
Spanish coach, despite his impressive array of titles, knows
what a challenge he faces.
“It is a big task for me to maintain the level of Jupp Heynckes,”
he has said in reference to the
coach which led Bayern to a
historic 2013 treble which saw
the league and cup added to the
Champions League title.
Bayern strolled to the Bundesliga last season under Guardiola
and added the German Cup after an edgy final against Borussia Dortmund. But Munich were
crushed in the semi-finals of the
Champions League by Real Madrid.
That defeat, a 5-0 humbling
over two legs, did not just knock
Bayern out of a competition but
caused outsiders to question
Guardiola’s philosophy of patient tiki-taki possession football. Real, showing no desire to
keep the ball for the sake of it,
dismantled Bayern by breaking
at lightning pace and utilising set
Improvement on the continental stage is widely considered
a requirement despite Guardiola’s frequent pleas that the bread
and butter of the Bundesliga is
his main focus.
Guardiola’s honours as coach
of Barcelona include the Champions League crowns in 2009
and 2011. And having the likes
of Neuer, in addition to fellow World Cup winners Philipp
Lahm, Jerome Boateng and Bastian Schweinsteiger, and further
stars such as Franck Ribery and
Arjen Robben is why Sammer is
able to demand that the coach
secure another victory in Europe.
Pogba strike sends
Juve 11 points clear
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring.
Spotlight on Matic-Motta duel
n Nemanja Matic and Thiago Motta, today’s Champions League clash between
Chelsea and Paris SaintGermain pitches together two
examples of a central component in the Jose Mourinho trophy-winning formula.
Tall, left-footed holding players, Chelsea’s Matic and PSG’s
Motta excel both with and without the ball, fulfilling the principal criteria that Mourinho has
come to look for in the ‘number
six’ defensive midfield position.
The Chelsea manager first
encountered Motta during his
time as Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Barcelona, where the future Italy international arrived
as a 17-year-old from his native
Brazil in 1999.
Ten years later they were
reunited at Inter Milan. Motta
joined from Genoa and played an
important role in the team that
Mourinho led to glory in Serie A,
Chelsea’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho attends a training
session at Chelsea’s training ground.
the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in 2010, although
he missed the European final after being sent off against Barcelona in the semi-final.
Signed by PSG in 2012, he has
again become a fulcrum, affording midfield partners Marco
Verratti and Blaise Matuidi the
freedom to drive forward in
coach Laurent Blanc’s 4-3-3
“The position he plays in is
perfect for his qualities and for
Paris’s philosophy,” Mourinho
said last year.
“They want the ball and in
their championship, they have
it. In his role, he constructs, organises and sets the tempo.”
In building his teams, Mourinho has often used the number
six as a cornerstone.
At Porto he had Costinha,
another wiry, combative player,
and the scorer of the goal against
Manchester United during the
2003-04 Champions League
that sent Mourinho sprinting
down the Old Trafford touchline
and into the wider football consciousness.
At Chelsea there was Claude
Makelele, the tip of the inverted
midfield triangle with which
Mourinho swamped the central
midfield pairings that prevailed
in England at the time.
After Motta, at Real Madrid
came Xabi Alonso, whose elegance was often supplemented
by the brawn of Pepe for matches against major rivals.
Mourinho believes it is wrong to
think of the defensive midfielder
as a purely destructive player.
“To me, attacking football happens when Makelele gets the
ball and passes it to the central
defender, who passes it to the
right-back, who comes forward
and judges the situation,” he
explained in the 2006 book The
Italian Job.
“If he can do something, he
passes forward or runs with the
ball. If not, he gives it back to
Makelele, who builds the attack
again. That is attacking football.”
Both Matic and Motta are
formidable tacklers, with Matic
averaging six per game in this
season’s Champions League—
more than any other player—and
Motta 3.6. But they play crucial
roles in possession as well, with
both featuring among the top six
players in the competition’s pass
completion rankings. Motta also
assumes setpiece duties for PSG,
as he did on Saturday when he
made his return from a calf injury in a 4-1 defeat of Lens.
rench midfielder Paul
Pogba struck late as Serie A leaders Juventus
boosted their bid for a
fourth consecutive title with
a 1-0 win over Sassuolo that
stretched their their lead over
Roma to 11 points on Monday.
Juventus looked to be heading for their first scoreless draw
at home this season after being
frustrated by Sassuolo’s defensive tactics throughout an intense encounter in Turin.
But Pogba saved the Italian
champions’ blushes in the 82nd
minute when he latched on to
Simone Pepe’s perfect delivery
to beat Andrea Consigli with a
dipping half-volley inside the
’keeper’s near post.
Juve’s 18th win of the campaign took their lead over misfiring Roma to 11 points with 12
games remaining.
But Pogba was quick to play
down his role, telling Sky Sport:
“I don’t feel like the one who’s
decided the title. We won a difficult game that is important for
our title chances.”
Roma, who suffered their eighth
draw in nine games in Sunday’s
stalemate at Chievo, now look
out of the title race and with Lazio
and Napoli only four points adrift,
they will be concerned about
their chances of holding on to the
league’s second automatic Champions League spot.
But Juve coach Massimiliano
Allegri said nothing is won yet,
telling Sky Sport: “Things are
purring along but there there are
still plenty of games to play.
“Winning the title is our main
objective this season and the
Champions League is a dream.”
Allegri left Spaniard Fernando
Llorente on the bench with Alvaro Morata partnering Carlos
Tevez up front.
But both strikers were frustrated throughout as Sassuolo’s
defence, and ‘keeper Consigli
battled to keep a clean sheet.
Tevez fired just over from
Morata’s cutback amid a crowd
of players on 21 minutes and after
Giorgio Chiellini headed over the
bar from a corner, the Argentinian saw a long-range snap shot
punched out by Consigli.
Pogba came close minutes after the restart when he pounced
on a poor clearance to slam a daisycutter towards goal that Consigli had covered at his near post.
Gulf Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Wenger thrilled as
Welbeck manages
to prove a point
‘He focused on his game and didn’t do anything special, just played like you want him
to play. He has shown mental strength, because it’s not always easy to deal with that’
Bahrain and Brunei
back Prince Ali for
FIFA president
ahrain and Brunei are
backing Jordan’s Prince
Ali bin al-Hussein to
oust incumbent Sepp
Blatter as president of world soccer’s ruling body FIFA, the Jordanian news agency Petra reported
It said Bahrain’s King Hamad
and Brunei’s Prince Sufri had
met Prince Ali, the FIFA vicepresident for Asia, in Manama
to discuss the May vote and both
men had assured Prince Ali of
their countries’ support.
The Bahrain News Agency
stopped short of saying the
monarch had endorsed the candidacy, however, reporting that
King Hamad had commended
the Jordanian’s work with FIFA
and wished him “every success”.
Four candidates are standing
for the top job in world soccer
at the May 29 election, including Blatter who is celebrating his
79th birthday on Tuesday.
The other two are Michael
van Praag, President of the
Dutch governing body KNVB,
and former Portugal winger Luis
The South American Football
Confederation CONMEBOL has
signalled it will back Blatter, who
is favourite to win a fifth term in
office, although observers noted
there was no public endorsement
of the Swiss at their recent congress.
Blatter is expected to sweep up
most of the votes from Asia, Africa and South America. UEFA,
which has 53 of the 209 votes,
has yet to declare a favoured candidate.
UAE promises new
stadium, fans for
Asian Cup
Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck celebrates scoring their second goal during the FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
rsenal manager Arsene Wenger
said that Danny Welbeck had
been motivated by a desire
to prove Manchester United
wrong after he knocked his former club
out of the FA Cup.
A Manchester-born United academy
graduate, England striker Welbeck left
for Arsenal in a £16 million ($24.2 million, 22.3 million euros) deal last September after falling out of favour under new
manager Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman claimed Welbeck was
not good enough to hold down a starting place at Old Trafford, but his words
returned to haunt him as the 24-yearold earned holders Arsenal a 2-1 win on
Monday that set up a semi-final meeting
with either Reading or Bradford City.
“We want all to do well when we play
against our former club to show that
we are a great player, but it’s not easy to
deal with the mental situation of it,” said
Wenger, whose side had not won at United since September 2006.
“But he focused just on his game and
didn’t do anything special, just played
football like you want him to play. I think
he has shown mental strength, because
it’s not always easy to deal with that.”
Wenger added: “He wants to win. He
is a team player. What I like with Danny
is he’s intelligent, he wants to do well for
the team, he’s a great talent and recently
has done extremely well for the national
Welbeck was moved on at United partly to accommodate Radamel Falcao, who
signed from Monaco in a reported £6
million loan deal with a view to a £43.5
million transfer.
The Colombia star has failed to impress in Manchester, scoring only four
goals in 20 appearances, and Van Gaal offered an unconvincing justification of his
motives for bringing him in at Welbeck’s
When it was put to him that Falcao was
struggling, he told a journalist: “He has
scored four goals and has three or four
assists, so that is his contribution. He
stimulates also the other players, so that
is an aspect of the profession.
“But it is now easy for you to say that.
You are very happy to say that. I see that
in your face.”
To the suggestion that four goals was
a meagre return for a world-renowned
striker, Van Gaal replied: “I cannot
change that. I cannot change facts and
you know that, but you can continue
Welbeck’s 61st-minute goal saw him
seize on a back-pass from Antonio Valencia before rounding David de Gea to
score, and he celebrated by clenching his
fists in an apparent show of vindication.
It came after Nacho Monreal’s 26thminute opener had been cancelled out
by a flying header from United captain
Wayne Rooney.
Angel di Maria provided the assist for
Rooney’s goal, but the Argentine’s night
ended in disgrace as he was booked for
diving and then sent off after tugging
referee Michael Olivier’s shirt in protest.
Oliver also booked United substitute
Adnan Januzaj for diving and Van Gaal
admitted he could have no complaints
over Di Maria’s dismissal.
“I know of course and also Angel di
Maria knows that he doesn’t have to
touch the referee, so that is not so smart
of him,” he said.
“But to control emotion is not so easy
in such a match, but I have mentioned it
also before (to the players) ... because I
know that in these kind of matches a red
card is easily given.”
United now have only Champions
League qualification to aim for, with Arsenal one of the teams competing with
them for a top-four finish in the Premier
League, and Wenger said his side’s victory would give them extra belief.
“Every win makes you stronger,” he
said. “We have won at Man City and that
helped us to deal with another big game.
he United Arab Emirates promised a fitting
spectacle complete with
a glittering new stadium
and plenty of fans yesterday after winning hosting rights for
the 2019 Asian Cup.
UAE Football Association
chief Yousuf al-Serkal told AFP
the Gulf state could host the regional showpiece “next week” if
it had to, but that it planned to
build a new venue in Dubai.
Games will be played in Dubai, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and possibly Sharjah, in an event which
comes just three years before
neighbouring Qatar hosts the
2022 World Cup.
But al-Serkal said the UAE,
whose national team finished
an impressive third at this year’s
Asian Cup in Australia, had no
plans to bid for a World Cup of
its own.
“Now that Qatar is hosting in
2022, it will be a long period of
time to rotate and come back to
this part of the world,” he said in
a phone interview.
“We will leave it to the coming
UAE, chosen ahead of Iran by
the Asian Football Confederation’s executive committee, has
a tough task in following Australia where the total attendance
soared to 650,000 and games
sold out in all five host cities.
But al-Serkal said UAE drew
fans in 1996, when it first hosted
the Asian Cup, and that it successfully held both the 2003
U20 World Cup and the 2013 U17
World Cup.
“We managed to fill the stadiums on that occasion (1996),
I think we can do the same
(again),” he said. “It will not be a
He added: “If we needed to
host the competition starting
next week we could still host it
“The infrastructure is there,
we have enough stadiums, we
have enough facilities, training
fields. Everything is there.”
The wealthy state also has some
of Asia’s most exciting young
players including dazzling midfielder Omar Abdulrahman and
Ali Mabkhout, the Asian Cup’s
top-scorer with five goals.
Free-flowing UAE beat Qatar
and Bahrain, and then ousted
defending champions Japan in
the quarter-finals before losing
in the semis to eventual winners
Al-Serkal said UAE would
continue to invest in its team as
it seeks to match Australia by
winning the Asian Cup for the
first time on home soil.
“I’m sure from now until then
the team will not just remain as
it is with the same players,” he
“The majority of players will
remain but we’re investing in
this team regardless of whether
we’re hosting the Asian Cup or
Whether UAE can win the
tournament or not, the Asian
Cup will shine a light on football
in the Middle East, which has
lagged advances elsewhere in
Asia and further afield.
That spotlight will intensify
three years later when Qatar,
knocked out of the Asian Cup
at the group stage, host the
globe’s best teams at the 2022
World Cup.
Echoes of Moyes as Van Gaal grasps at straws
But there was no disguising the bare
facts, following a night that ended with
Angel di Maria being sent off after reacting to a yellow card for diving by
petulantly plucking referee Michael
Oliver’s shirt.
There will be no first-season silverware for Van Gaal, who has habitually
been quick to make an impression at his
former clubs, while United will go two
seasons without a significant trophy for
the first time in 26 years.
Elsewhere, reaction to United’s failure was less sugar-coated, with former
captain Roy Keane branding the defending that led to Arsenal’s opener
“disgraceful” and warning it would be
a “disaster” if they now failed to qualify
for the Champions League for a second
season running.
or Manchester United’s fans,
manager Louis van Gaal’s attempts to explain their team’s
shortcomings may be beginning
to carry faint echoes of the reign of his
doomed predecessor, David Moyes.
United’s regression under Moyes
was spectacular, but it was his continued insistence that progress was being
made—despite stark evidence to the
contrary—that particularly irked supporters.
Fans could just about countenance
the team slipping back after the departure of Alex Ferguson, but hearing
Moyes claim that his side should aspire
to play like Manchester City or that
Liverpool were travelling to Old Trafford as “favourites” was impossible to
With United still on course for
Champions League qualification, Van
Gaal’s stock has fallen no way near as
low as Moyes’s did, but the defence he
mounted after Monday’s FA Cup elimination by Arsenal raised more than a
few eyebrows.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal (left) with assistant manager Ryan Giggs.
Asked whether he regretted his decision last September to sanction the departure of Danny Welbeck, who scored
Arsenal’s winner, in order to make room
for the misfiring Radamel Falcao, Van
Gaal’s justification was unconvincing.
Falcao, he explained, had “scored
four goals” and provided “three or four
assists”, while the Colombian’s presence, he said, “stimulates” his teammates.
The Dutchman also identified Anto-
nio Valencia as United’s best player, despite the fact that, having been caught
out of position for Nacho Monreal’s
opener, it was the Ecuadorean’s underhit back-pass that allowed Welbeck to
run through and settle the tie.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Henry
Winter said: “Van Gaal is a highly respected manager, boasting one of the
best CVs in the game, but he has not got
the defence organised or midfield and
attack joined up enough.”
According to Oliver Kay of The
Times, for all Van Gaal’s insistence that
his philosophy is taking root, United
continue to resemble “an expensive
jigsaw with several pieces missing and
others in the wrong place”.
Currently two points above fifthplace Liverpool and a point below
third-place Arsenal in the race for a
top-four finish, United now face a formidable month of fixtures that will define their season.
Their next five league games include
home matches against Tottenham Hotspur and champions Manchester City
and trips to in-form Liverpool and
league leaders Chelsea.
“It’s a massive, massive last two
months of the season for them,” former
defender Phil Neville told the BBC.
“The results have been OK, but the
performances have got to improve.”
Van Gaal, though, declared that his
team would emerge stronger from their
FA Cup elimination, which saw Arsenal
end a run of 10 games without victory
at Old Trafford.
“We have to recover of course and we
are sportsmen, so you have to recover,
but I cannot say that the motivation of
my team was bad,” he said.
“No, it is always good. We have
showed a fantastic fighting spirit.”
Now to translate that into results.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Lekhwiya squander
two-goal lead to
draw with Wakrah
So does Al Sadd... against Al Sailiya
AFC holds
in Doha
PICTURE: Anas Khalid
By Sports Reporter
Lekhwiya’s Sebastian Soria (left) vies for the ball with Al Wakrah’s Ismail Belmaalem during their Qatar Stars League match yesterday. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
By Sports Reporter
oth Lekhwiya and Al Sadd
squandered two-goal advantages
to drop points against Al Wakrah
and Al Sailiya respectively in the
Qatar Stars League yesterday as the title
race approaches the business end.
A 92nd minute penalty conceded
by Lekhwiya proved their undoing as
Mouchine Moutouali scored from the
spot to give basement side Al Wakrah an
unlikely 2-2 draw.
Sadd had led 2-0 courtesy an impressive free-kick by Hasan al-Haydos and a
volley from just outside penalty area by
Yusef Ahmed but a timely header by Issam Jemaa ensured Sailiya went into the
break on a high.
Twenty minutes into the second half
Abdulrahman al-Hurazzi scored the leveller and neither of the teams was able to
break the deadlock.
With yesterday’s draw Sailiya moved
Results and standings
Al Wakrah 2 Lekhwiya 2
Al Khor 0 El Jaish 0
Al Sailiya 2 Al Sadd 2
1. Lekhwiya
2. Al Sadd
3. El Jaish
4. Qatar SC
5. Al Ahli
up a spot to eighth position.
Al Wakrah are placed 13th in the 14team tournament with just 17 points from
21 matches, with Al Shamal languishing at
the bottom on just seven from 20 games.
Lekhwiya, who were four clear of Sadd
before yesterday’s match with 48 points,
appeared to have consolidated their grip
on the title after Sebastian Soria and Mohamed Razaq had given them a two-goal
6. Al Gharafa
7. Umm Salal
8. Al Sailiya
9. Al Khor
10. Al Arabi
11. Al Kharaitiyat
12. Al Shahaniya
13. Al Wakrah
14. Al Shamal
cushion by the time the match was 35
minutes old.
But after Ahmed Kaheel had pulled one
back in the 39th minute and Lekhwiya
had missed quite a few chances in the
second half, the holders saw their campaign suffer a hiccup when Mohamed
Abdullah handled the ball while trying to
thwart a dangerous situation in secondhalf injury-time.
Moutouali, who took the shot, easily beat the Lekhwiya goalkeeper to give
them their fifth draw as they struggle to
avoid relegation.
There was no doubt about Lekhwiya’s
superiority, though. They stamped their
class on the match quite early and were
rewarded in the fifth minute through a
simple header by Soria who nodded the
ball in off a cross by Korean Nam Taehee.
Lekhwiya’s second goal, however,
came in a slightly dramatic fashion. Wakrah goalkeeper Hassan Idriss Dicko failed
to grab a routine shot cleanly in the 35th
minute and Razaq stabbed the ball comfortably home.
The match looked settled for Lekhwiya, but Wakrah hit back through a goal by
Ahmed Kaheel four minutes later before
the late penalty gave them a rare draw.
Third-placed El Jaish also earned only
a point from their match against Al Khor
which ended in a goalless draw. While the
draw made no difference to Jaish’s position,
Khor moved up a place to ninth position.
he Qatar Stars League
(QSL) in conjunction
with the Qatar Football
Association & the Asian
Football Confederation (AFC)
hosted a regional competition
workshop yesterday. The event
was held at the Intercontinental
hotel Doha was an opportunity
for the confederations from West
Asia to learn best practice in
match competition and football
facilities management.
Speaking at the launch of the
workshop Shin Mangil Director
of National Team competitions
AFC said; “It is a great pleasure
to be working in conjunction
with the QSL on this workshop.
Qatar is known as a sports centre
in Asia and has a rich history in
running tournaments, this made
Qatar the best possible location to run the workshop for the
The workshop will cover three
key areas of infrastructure regulation, match operations and safety
and security. With representatives
from West Asian football associations listening to speakers of both
AFC and UEFA originations, will
give a much more worldly view on
competition governance for the
“The event in Doha is important for the West Asia region.
Here we have the opportunities
to talk about match organisation
and security. Which are important issues when looking to develop a national league organisation. The aim of this workshop is
to improve the overall standard in
the region.” Noted Shin Mangil,
who has been working as director
for National Team competitions
at the AFC since 2009.
Commenting on the workshop Ahmad al-Harmi, the
QSL’s Executive Director of
Competition & Football Development, said; “Hosting this
prestigious workshop in Qatar
with the AFC has allowed us to
improve our knowledge of our
infrastructure and match regulation. It gives the opportunity
for the QSL to interact with
senior officials from West Asia,
AFC & also UEFA. This can only
improve the quality and delivery
of our national league and cup
Looking at the overall aims of
the QSL backed event al-Harmi
said. “This workshop is helping Qatari officials to prepare for
the next local and international
events, such as the under 23
Asian cup in 2016, eventually we
are looking long term to prepare
a solid team to manage the World
Cup in 2022.”
HH the Emir Qatar Shooting and Archery Cup 2015
Qatar SC to face
Shamal today
By Sports Reporter
Oleg Engachev on the podium with Konstantain Maltsev and Mohamed Hasan al-Tamimi after winning the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol in HH the Emir Qatar Shooting and
Archery Cup 2015 yesterday.
ven as Qatar SC coach
Radhi Shenaishil spoke
of his intention of winning all the remaining Qatar Stars League games,
he said they were not taking
the team’s today’s opponent Al
Shamal, who are in the relegation
zone at 14th position, lightly.
“We are playing Shamal who
are in the relegation zone and
they need points desperately,”
Shenaishil, whose team is placed
fourth in the standings, said at
the press conference yesterday.
“The competition is very
strong. We are trying to do our
best in order to keep our place.
But we also need to be careful
because we have some teams
who can win against the better
He added: “We are playing
four games in two weeks and that
will be difficult for us and the
other teams too. Against Jaish we
were missing a few key players
but my players gave their maximum and got the win. We are
now in the last part of the league
and we need to focus on winning
all our games.”
Shamal coach Dragan Cvetkovic said the team’s focussed on
getting their first win of the season.
He said, “Teams that are relegated need to prepare themselves for two situations - to play
in the second division and come
back quickly. One victory will be
good for everybody. And we want
to give our maximum and more
than that we want to get our first
win of the season.”
In the day’s other matches, Al
Shahaniya, who are spot above
the relegation zone at 12th position in the standings, will take
on mid-table Al Gharafa, while
Al Kharaitiyat will face off with
Al Ahli.
In a mid-table battle, Umm
Salal, who are in seventh position, will take on Al Arabi, who
are in the tenth spot.
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