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Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas will arrive in Doha today.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani will discuss
bilateral relations with the
Palestinian President and the latest
developments of the Palestinian
Minister hails national
curriculum framework
The Saudi government yesterday
said it hopes a nuclear deal
between Iran and world powers
can bolster Middle East peace and
end interference in Arab affairs. A
statement after the weekly cabinet
meeting chaired by King Salman
said Saudi Arabia “hopes the
agreement will reinforce security
and stability in the region and
the world”. But it insisted security
hinged on “the respect of the
principle of good neighbourly
relations and non-interference in
Arab affairs,” said the Saudi Press
Agency. The statement was issued
on the 12th day of Saudi-led air
strikes against Shia rebels in Yemen
who Riyadh says are backed by
Iran. Page 8
Vol. XXXVI No. 9685
April 7, 2015
Jumada II 18, 1436 AH
www. 2 Riyals
The project delivery of the 4.1sq
km Ras Bufontas special economic
zone will occur in phases
QATAR | Education
Iran deal must ensure
Arab security: Saudi
Palestinian President
due in Doha today
REGION | Politics
QATAR | Visit
There is a chance of light rain
at some places today, the Qatar
Meteorology Department has
forecast. Slight dust is forecast
both inshore and offshore, while
strong wind and high seas could be
expected offshore. The minimum
and maximum temperatures will be
22 and 35C, respectively.
Investors to
receive Ras
land by 2016
In brief
Chance of light
rain forecast
he R
bl TA 978
A 1
Q since
Dust-covered towers
QATAR | Weather
Latest Figures
HE the Minister of Education
and Higher Education, and
the Secretary-General of the
Supreme Education Council (SEC)
Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali
al-Hammadi praised the general
framework of the national
curriculum for Qatar, which was
developed by a national team of
education experts. In this context,
the minister suggested developing
an implementation plan in order
to achieve the goals, objectives,
principles and values contained
in the national framework, and
to become a road map of the
educational work in the future, and
enhance the harmony of all the
components of the educational
system especially the agencies and
institutions involved in education,
evaluation and quality assurance.
Industrial sector
growth to attract more
investments to Qatar
Prince Ali vows
to end Blatter’s
reign at FIFA
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
Many buildings in Qatar are covered with a layer of dust following a sandstorm that lashed the country last Wednesday.
Dusty weather has prevailed, though in a milder form, over the subsequent days. The forecast for today is slight dust and
chance of light rain. Picture shows buildings in Doha’s West Bay area yesterday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
Al Rayyan Stadium design
to be revealed on April 22
he Supreme Committee for
Delivery & Legacy (SC) will
reveal the new design for Al
Rayyan Stadium at a special ceremony on April 22 at Ali bin Abdullah Fort in Al Rayyan. The redesigned Al Rayyan Stadium will be
the fifth proposed host venue for
the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar to
be unveiled by the SC.
Al Rayyan Sports Club’s new stadium will accommodate 40,000
spectators in tournament mode,
with capacity being reduced to
20,000 in legacy mode and those
additional seats being sent to nations in need of sporting infrastructure. The precinct surrounding the stadium will also include a
range of facilities which will cater
to the needs of the people of Al
Yousef al-Musleh, Al Rayyan
Stadium Project Manager at the
SC, said: “Al Rayyan Sports Club is
closely linked with Qatar’s football
history and is one of the most popular clubs in Qatar. That is why we
have chosen Ali bin Abdullah Fort
- one of Al Rayyan’s historic land-
Ali bin Abdullah Fort in Al Rayyan
marks - to host the design launch of
Al Rayyan Stadium.
“The launch of the future home of
Al Rayyan Sports Club will highlight
the legacy it will leave for the club
and its fans, as well as the city and
its people after 2022.”
The deconstruction of the previous Al Rayyan Stadium was completed in March 2015. In line with
the SC’s commitment to sustainability, at least 90% of the materials
are going to be reused to build the
new stadium on the same site, in addition to other sports facilities.
The design launch coincides with
more positive news for Al Rayyan
fans this week, as their club was
promoted back into the first division.
anateq, Qatar’s developer
and operator of special economic zones, is expecting
to hand over land in its Ras Bufontas
project to local and international investors by the first quarter of 2016,
Manateq CEO Fahad Rashid al-Kaabi
told Gulf Times.
The project delivery of the 4.1sq km
Ras Bufontas special economic zone
will occur in phases with phase one
operations expected to start in 2017,
he explained.
The land for the first and second development phases would be delivered
to investors in the first quarter of 2016,
but Manateq will start receiving applications for land allocation from investors by June or July this year.
“We will be happy to receive all the
requirements from both local and international investors before handing over the land to them in the first
quarter of 2016,” said al-Kaabi, on the
sidelines of the launching of the “Invest in Qatar Forum” yesterday at the
Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) headquarters.
“The economic zone projects
in Qatar contribute highly
in attracting local and
international investments from
various sectors, which helps
boost the industrial sector and
in achieving economic growth,
diversification, competitiveness,
and job opportunities”
Al-Kaabi stated that Manateq’s
participation in the GOIC-initiated
“Invest in Qatar Forum,” to be held on
April 27-28 at the St Regis Doha, would
help the company tap potential investors and encourage them to locate in
Qatar’s special economic zones.
“The forum is a very important
event, which is why almost everybody
is trying to participate in order to create business opportunities in the near
future, especially for the industrial
“We decided to participate in this
forum to encourage local and international investors to bring their businesses to Qatar, and inform them of
the necessary regulations and requirements needed to invest in the country,
especially in the economic zones being
run by Manateq,” al-Kaabi stressed.
The world-scale Ras Bufontas was
Manateq CEO Fahad Rashid al-Kaabi
during the launching of the “Invest in
Qatar Forum” yesterday.
the first special economic zone to be
developed by Manateq. Its proximity
to the Hamad International Airport
makes it an ideal location for Qatar’s
advanced technology and logistics
The zone will consist of facilities
and services that are ideal for clean
manufacturing, supply chain and
service activities in high value added
sectors such as information and communications technology (ICT), electronics, alternative energy, healthcare,
building systems, and aviation.
It would also provide opportunities
for third party and specialised logistics, including air freight, perishable
and product distribution. For light industrial, the Ras Bufontas will be ideal
for product warehousing and office
based service activity.
In addition, Ras Bufontas will incorporate residential and commercial
sectors, including a global marketplace offering showrooms and wholesale and retail space for duty-free
The total project area is divided
into ICT, 1.4%; healthcare, 0.3%; energy and environment, 0.5%; logistics,
0.3%; global warehouse, 0.5%; and
high-tech, 0.3%.
Aside from Ras Bufontas, Manateq
also has two other special economic
zones under its wing: the 33.52sq km
Um Alhoul, which broke ground last
month, and the 48sq km Al Karaana,
the largest of the three zones.
“The economic zone projects in
Qatar contribute highly in attracting local and international investments from various sectors, which
helps boost the industrial sector and
in achieving economic growth, diversification, competitiveness, and
job opportunities,” al-Kaabi stressed.
Business page 1
Delays in clearing foodstuff trucks lead to price rise
rices of many essential food
items, in particular dried stuff,
including pulses and grams, have
started shooting up in recent weeks in
the local market, it is learnt.
Traders attribute the rising prices
to the “inordinate delay” in clearing
trucks carrying such items at the country’s land border at Abu Samra.
Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday,
some of the representatives of foodstuff suppliers said “several trucks
carrying foodstuff from across the
border are held up for long intervals,
mostly between three and eight days
and sometimes even more at the border
check post.”
In sharp contrast, a goods truck
could return to the UAE in three days
after unloading the supplies in Kuwait,
it is found.
More than 90% of the foodstuffs are
believed to be reaching Qatar through
Abu Samra from either the UAE or Saudi Arabia.
“Truck operators from Dubai are no
longer keen on transporting goods to the
country by road owing to the chances of
being held up at the Abu Samra border
for long periods,” a supplier said.
Local traders said a 15kg bag of
Masoor Dal, which used to be supplied
at prices between QR50-55 some two
months ago now costs at least QR10-
File photo of trucks coming to Qatar from other countries are seen parked in the
Truck Park, Barwa Al Baraha, in the Industrial Area. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
15 more. Similarly, at retail groceries
Masoor Dal now costs about QR7-7.50 a
kilo. A month ago, the maximum retail
price was QR6/kilo.
Toor Dal costs about QR9/kilo at retail outlets while it was at least QR1 less
a month ago, a supplier said.
Suppliers fear that the retail price
may go up further in the months ahead.
Inquiries found that while trucks
from Dubai used to levy around
QR2,600 plus mandatory border
charges for transporting goods to Qatar, they are now demanding between
QR4,500 and QR4,750/per journey. “As
a result, we are forced to effect hike in
the retail rates of most foodstuff,” said
a supplier on the Street 38 of the Industrial Area.
Importers point out that they have
no option other than depending mainly
on Dubai for food imports as there is no
facility in Qatar to house large vessels,
carrying such goods. They said importing dried foodstuff through air cargo
would lead to higher retail prices and
hence they are relying mostly on ships
coming to Dubai from different import
Some of the retailers said it is next to
impossible presently to procure goods
locally as most suppliers are running
out of stocks owing to the delay in truck
clearance at the land border.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Darfur peace process discussed
In brief
Condolences conveyed
Finance Minister
leads team to
Kuwait meetings
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah bin
Zaid al-Mahmoud holding talks with the adviser at the Supreme Council of Decentralised
Governance in Sudan Brigadier Bakhit Abdul Karim Abdullah Jumaa (Dabajo) in Doha yesterday.
Brigadier Bakhit is also the chairman of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement and member
of the Sudanese Supreme Committee for the Follow up of Peace in Darfur. During the meeting
they discussed the peace process in Darfur and progress towards the implementation of the Doha
agreement signed between the Justice and Equality Movement and reviewed steps for turning the
movement into a political party in accordance with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
HE Sheikh Thani bin Hamad al-Thani conveyed the condolences of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani and HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani to the Representative
of the President of the UAE Ahmed Khalifa al-Suwaidi on the death of his wife Mouza bint Abdullah
bin Ahmed Khalaf al-Otaiba, in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
HMC holds workshop on
future of autism services
o commemorate World
Month, Hamad Medical
Corporation (HMC) recently organised activities to show support for children and families
affected by autism and highlight
the need to provide a better quality and more socially integrated
way of life through the development of collaborative services.
HMC actively participated
in the ‘Autism Speaks: Light it
Blue’ initiative by illuminating
its major hospital buildings in
blue for two nights to show support for local autistic children
and their families.
Also, HMC in partnership
with Sick Kids, the Hospital
for Sick Children - Canada, recently led a multi-organisation
workshop, focusing on the future of autism services in Qatar.
It is hoped that the outcomes of
the workshop, entitled: ‘Autism
Services for Children in Qatar:
Challenges, Opportunities and
the Way Forward,’ will contribute to the development of a national plan for autism care in the
The workshop was organised
to coincide with World Autism
Awareness Day by Dr Haitham
El Bashir, senior consultant and
head of Children Rehabilitation at HMC, in collaboration
with HMC’s Office for Corpo-
Dr Haitham El Bashir
Women’s Hospital of HMC lit up in blue for autism.
rate Child Health.The workshop
brought together international
and local expertise, including collaborators from Holland
Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Sick Kids
Hospital, Canada, alongside
representatives from numerous
healthcare, education and rehabilitation services from across
Qatar. Local autism groups and
parents of children with autism
also attended on the day.
Dr El Bashir said his depart-
ment receives over 200 children
with autism yearly and that various medical and rehabilitation
services are offered by HMC to
children of all ages. The services
include occupational and speech
therapy, special education, family education and psychiatric
services, as well as rehabilitation
and treatment interventions.
In discussing the public perception of autism, Dr Bashir
explained that it is often misinterpreted as bad behaviour
in children and the condition
is generally misunderstood; it
carries a social stigma. Raising
public understanding should be
a key part of any future plan.
He added: “Autism is usually evident in the early years
of a child’s life, before the age
of three. Parents who are concerned that their children are
displaying signs of autism
should seek medical advice, as
early detection is linked to better
WISH lends support to World Health Day
Innovation Summit for Health
(WISH), a global initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), is
lending its support to the World
Health Organisation’s ‘World
Health Day’, taking place today.
World Health Day is a global
awareness day celebrated every
year providing a vital platform
for drawing attention to major global health concerns. This
year highlights the significance
of food safety, aiming to prevent
the many illnesses and suffering
that can result from consuming
contaminated and ill-prepared
Over 200 diseases are caused
by unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses,
chemical substances and is
linked to the deaths of some 2
million people annually, mostly
children. Changes in food production, distribution and consumption; the environment;
new and emerging pathogens;
and antimicrobial resistance all
pose challenges to food safety
WISH is spearheaded by Qatar
Foundation to inspire and diffuse healthcare innovation and
best practice. It remains closely
aligned to the vision and mission
of QF to unlock human potential
and reinforces Qatar’s pioneering role as an emerging centre for
healthcare innovation.
(AMR) was a focus of research
undertaken by WISH and presented in Qatar in 2013. An area
of huge medical concern as
growing numbers of bacterial
and viral infections are now resistant to antimicrobial drugs.
Al-Rumaihi meets Scottish minister
HE the Assistant Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi met
Scotland’s Minister of European and International Development Hamza Yousaf who is currently
visiting Qatar. They discussed bilateral relations and means of developing them, and exchanged
views on matters of mutual concern.
Prof the Lord Darzi of Denham, executive chair of WISH
and director of the Institute of
Global Health Innovation at Imperial College of London, said:
“WISH and our community of
health experts believe that good
health is an essential human
right and a cornerstone of sustainable development and global
security. Our WISH policy reports provide recommendations
for policymakers to implement
much needed change in how
global healthcare is financed and
Sidra to host
conference on
breast cancer
idra Medical and Research Center (Sidra)
that it will be hosting the first
international conference on
breast cancer immunotherapy
on April 13 and 14.
Led by international and local
experts, the Breast Cancer Immunotherapy Conference (BRECIS) will focus on immunobiology and immunotherapeutic
developments in breast cancer.
It is being held in partnership
with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), the
leading society in the field.
“We are proud to bring the
world’s top researchers in
breast cancer immunotherapy
to Doha, several of whom are
going to present their exciting
data on recent findings as well
as discuss the first clinical trials
demonstrating the use of immunotherapy in breast cancer,”
said Davide Bedognetti, director
of Tumor Biology, Immunology
and Therapy Section, Sidra.
“In view of recent successes
of immunotherapy in cancers
such as melanoma and kidney
cancer, breast cancer immunotherapy is becoming a key
focus for cancer researchers
around the world, including
here at Sidra.”
Immunotherapy uses a person’s own immune system to
kill cancer cells by stimulating
the immune system. It is currently considered a groundbreaking treatment for cancer.
While immunotherapy has
been effectively used in the
treatment of melanoma and
prostate cancer, it is still considered highly experimental in
breast cancer treatment.
Other topics on the agenda
at BRECIS include the genetic
risk factors of breast cancer
in Arab populations; breast
cancer control in Qatar; the
prognostic and predictive role
of immune biomarkers of re-
Dr Davide Bedognetti
sponse to cancer immunotherapy; and the description
of novel immunotherapeutic
Breast cancer represents almost 30% of all cancer cases
diagnosed in Qatari women,
and is the most common cancer in the country. While the
incidence of breast cancer in
GCC countries is lower than
in countries such as US and
Europe, it is rising fast. Recent
findings indicate that there is a
unique pattern of the disease
amongst the Arab population.
“The research team at Sidra
is actively studying the immunobiology of breast cancer
with the ultimate goal of developing more effective and
personalised treatment. Along
with other teams across the
world, we are interested in understanding why and how immunotherapy works in some
patients and not in others,”
concluded Dr Bedognetti.
BRECIS will feature experts
from Sidra, Hamad Medical
Corporation (HMC), WeillCornell Medical College in Qatar, Qatar Computing Research
Institute, along with researchers from prestigious institutions such as John Hopkins
University, Memorial Sloan
Kettering, Heidelberg University, Jackson Laboratory, New
York University and the University of Washington.
Katara launches art exhibition
Katara, the Cultural Village Foundation, has launched “Fingers that love arts” exhibition at the
headquarters of Qatar Photographic Society (QPS) with the participation of 10 Qatari female
artists. The exhibition is considered the outcome of a workshop that was conducted by the Girl’s
Creativity Centre in co-operation with QPS. The 10 artists have each contributed two paintings. Dr
Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, the general manager of Katara, pointed out that the exhibition clearly
displays the development of the techniques of such Qatari artists.In the meantime, the
participating artists were honoured at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.
HE the Minister of Finance Ali
Sherif al-Emadi will lead a highlevel Qatari delegation to the
joint annual meetings of Arab
financial institutions which open
in Kuwait today.
The high-level delegation
includes HE Governor of Qatar
Central Bank Sheikh Abdullah bin
Saud al-Thani.
Arab finance and economy
ministers and governors of
central banks along with Arab
funds and financial institutions
will participate in the two-day
meetings which are a follow-up
to meetings that had addressed
many important issues and
The five Arab institutions are
the Arab Fund for Economic and
Social Development, the Arab
Monetary Fund, the Arab Bank
for Economic Development in
Africa, the Arab Authority for
Agricultural Investment and
Development, and the Arab
Investment and Export Credit
Guarantee Corporation.
Advisory Council
holds meeting
The Advisory Council held
yesterday its weekly meeting
presided over by Speaker HE
Mohamed bin Mubarak alKhulaifi.
The council discussed a
report by the Financial and
Economic Affairs Committee
on the commercial companies
law and decided to send its
recommendations to the
Meanwhile, Advisory Council’s
Financial and Economic Affairs
Committee met under its
Rapporteur Mohamed Ajaj alKubaisi yesterday.
The committee resumed its
study of a draft law on the
issuance of a law regulating
tenders. The committee
decided to invite Finance
Ministry officials to attend its
next meeting to give a briefing
on the Ministry’s views on the
draft law.
The Advisory Council’s Cultural
and Information Affairs
Committee also met yesterday
under its acting rapporteur
Hadi Said al-Khayareen.
The committee resumed its study
on a draft law regulating private
schools and decided to continue
study a future meeting.
ties reviewed
President of the Comoros Iklil
Zanin met Qatar’s ambassador
to Moroni Mubarak bin
Abdurrahman al-Nasr yesterday.
Talks dealt with bilateral relations
and means of developing
them. Ambassador al-Nasr also
attended the inauguration of the
Dr Hussein Abdou, speaker of the
federal parliament.
Serbian minister
meets Qatar envoy
Serbian Minister of Trade,
Tourism and Telecommunications
Rasim Ljajic met Qatar’s
ambassador in Belgrade Sheikh
Mubarak bin Fahad al-Thani.
They discussed bilateral relations
and means of enhancing them
especially in the economic and
trade fields.
Farm worker wins
The Court of Cassation has
directed a farm owner to pay
a compensation of QR25,500
to a worker who had been
arbitrarily dismissed from work,
local Arabic daily Arrayah has
The worker had filed a lawsuit
requesting that he be paid a sum
of QR41,500 as end-of-service
dues and compensation for
arbitrary termination, the daily
In his lawsuit, the worker said
he was working in a farm owned
by the defendant, who failed to
pay his dues. A Primary Court
had directed the employer
to pay a sum of QR25,500 in
addition to bearing the cost of
an air ticket.
The plaintiff appealed against
this judgment, but the Court of
Cassation rejected the plea and
confirmed the verdict of the
Primary Court.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Qatar, Georgia sign cultural co-operation pact
HE the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi holding talks with
Nepalese Minister of Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung in Kathmandu yesterday.
Qatar, Nepal discuss ways to
boost labour sector relations
E the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdullah Saleh
Mubarak al-Khulaifi briefed
Nepalese Minister of Labour
and Employment Tek Bahadur
Gurung on the latest legisla-
tion by the Qatar to guarantee
the rights of Nepalese workers.
During the talks which took
place in Kathmandu yesterday,
they also discussed co-operation between Qatar and Nepal
in the labour sector.
Minister al-Khulaifi highlighted Qatar’s keenness
on the stability of Nepalese
workers and praised their role
in the development in the
Al-Khulaifi also met Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Nepal’s President Ram
Baran Yadav. During the two
separate meetings, relations
between Qatar and Nepal and
means of developing them were
atar yesterday signed a
agreement with Georgia
providing for the enhancement
and support of cultural relations between the two countries
through the exchange of expertise and visits between intellectuals and innovators.
HE the Minister of Culture,
Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad
bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari and
the Georgian Minister of Culture and Monument Protection
Michael Giorgadze signed the
The agreement provides for
the organising Qatari activities
and cultural weeks in Georgia
and Georgian cultural weeks in
The activities feature movie
and theatre shows, book fairs,
manuscripts and visual arts exhibitions, as well as folkloric
shows, music and poetry nights,
intellectual symposiums and
workshops in all fields of innovation.
HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari and the Georgian
Minister of Culture and Monument Protection Michael Giorgadze signing the agreement.
‘Teach Me’ campaign kicks off
Msheireb Properties supports green building conference
atar Green Building
Council (QGBC), a member of Qatar Foundation
for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has
welcomed Msheireb Properties
as the official platinum sponsor
for its upcoming inaugural Qatar
Green Building Conference.
The conference, taking place
at Qatar National Convention
Centre on April 27 and 28, will
support QF’s commitment to
promote green best practice
and environmentally sustainable infrastructure towards the
successful long-term delivery of
Qatar National Vision 2030, according to a statement.
Msheireb Properties, a real es-
tate development company, is a
subsidiary of Qatar Foundation,
The Qatar Green Building
Conference is committed to
bridging the gap between theory
and practical implementation of
sustainability efforts. It will address major environmental challenges around multiple themes,
including future sustainable
cities, Passivhaus in the Middle
East and North Africa region and
measuring carbon footprints.
Meshal al-Shamari, director
of QGBC, said: “We are delighted to have Msheireb Properties
join us as our latest and foremost sponsor for our upcoming
conference. Leading national
and international organisations’
overwhelming support for the
inaugural Qatar Green Building
Conference is indicative of the
wider interest and care for sustainability and a greener Qatar.”
“Partnering with QGBC was
a natural fit for us and we
are proud to be affiliated
with organisations that
serve to elevate industry
standards and raise
the benchmark for best
practice regionally and
“These organisations are joining an expansive network of
QGBC stakeholders who actively
further the sustainable develop-
ment goals set out in Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Abdulla Hassan al-Mehshadi,
CEO of Msheireb Properties,
said: “Msheireb Properties believes in a culture of partnership.
We are fundamentally collaborative in our approach to business
as experience has taught us that
only through working in collaboration with leading organisations
here at home, and around the
globe, can we truly foster knowledge transfer around topics that
are close to our heart such as
sustainability and innovation in
design and construction.
“Partnering with QGBC was
a natural fit for us and we are
proud to be affiliated with or-
ganisations that serve to elevate
industry standards and raise the
benchmark for best practice regionally and internationally.”
Qatar Green Building Conference is supported by several
other organisations, including
Vodafone Group Qatar, Construction Development Company and tiered sponsors Astad
Project Management as the official gold sponsor, Qatar Electricity and Water Company as
silver sponsor and Qatar Cool as
bronze sponsor.
Those interested in being a
part of the conference, which is
free to attend, should register on
the conference website at www.
‘Teach Me’ global campaign
that aims to spread awareness
on providing 58mn children
with no access to primary
education was launched
yesterday in Doha.
Educate A Child (EAC), a
programme of Education
Above All (EAA), and Qatar
Charity (QC) announced the
It draws attention to the
issue of millions of children
worldwide who are denied
basic primary education
because of poverty, conflict,
natural disaster, and
Launched in 2012, EAC aims
breakthrough in providing
quality primary education to
such children. Through EAC
supported programming,
children overcome barriers
to educational access and
retention, EAA said.
The joint campaign follows
the Memorandum of
Understanding QC and EAA
signed in 2014. The EAC is a
global initiative that HH Sheikha
Moza bint Nasser launched to
support out-of-school children
EAA Deputy CEO Fahad
al-Sulaiti said, “We hope that
this joint initiative with Qatar
Charity will be a step towards
making a difference to out-ofschool children.”
The one-year campaign,
will focus on fundraising for
educational projects and
activities, in countries where
children suffer from hard and
extreme conditions.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
QDF announces 10%
discount to UnionPay
atar Duty Free (QDF)
has announced that
cardholders will benefit from
a 10% discount when they
shop at QDF in Hamad International Airport (HIA)
until July 20.
Passengers who are
holders of a UnionPay card
can claim their discount
on a variety of products
across QDF’s portfolio of
more than 70 stores located within the airport’s
shopping area.
“Following our extremely
popular Chinese New Year
promotion at Hamad International Airport, we are
delighted to continue our
support for our Chinese
clientele by offering UnionPay cardholders a 10%
discount until July 20,” said
Keith Hunter, senior vice
president of QDF. “China
is an extremely important
market for us and we are
pleased to recognise this
by offering something back
to our Chinese passengers
in the form of this exciting
the world’s second largest source for global tourism, we are catering to the
ever-increasing individual
and in-depth tours that
have become more popular
to continuously enrich our
global cardholder privilege
system,” said Dong Li, chief
branding officer of UnionPay International. “Airport
duty-free shops are must-
visit shopping sites for many
during their travels, and we
wish to provide our cardholders with better card-using experiences at airports
around the world by rolling out the latest privilege
This promotion, which is
titled “Travel Your Way –
Enjoy the World Your Way”,
will benefit passengers flying to or through HIA from
destinations such as Beijing,
Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Passengers from these three
destinations generate a significant percentage of an-
nual sales at HIA and QDF
is proud to partner with
and offer something back to
these dedicated customers,
according to a statement.
At HIA, QDF offers
40,000sqm of combined
retail, food and beverage
More than 70 retail outlets offer a selection of designer labels, fashion, electronics, gourmet foods and
more. In addition, more than
30 cafés and restaurants offer a selection of global and
local cuisine.
Safari Hypermarket begins promotion
he “10, 20, 30” shopping promotion got
under way at Safari
Hypermarket yesterday.
Customers can avail of
the promotion at Safari Mall
Abu Hamour, Safari Hypermarket Salwa Road and
Safari Shopping Complex
Umm Salal Mohamed.
The promotion includes a
wide range of combo offers
on products such as food,
household items, car accessories, stationery and cosmetics, among others.
The hypermarket has also
lined up a number of en-
tertainment activities for
shoppers. A road show from
tomorrow until April 10, led
by famous Voice of Kerala
radio presenter Reji Mannel,
will be one of the attractions.
A set of game shows,
question-answer sessions
and entertainment shows
by artistes from Tunes Doha
are also lined up at Safari
Mall Abu Hamour from 6pm
to 10pm to attract shoppers.
Besides, visitors can enter
a Nissan Patrol lucky draw
on every QR50 purchase
they make.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
QMIC presents Connected Vehicles
platform at testing event in Helmond
he Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre (QMIC) has
successfully participated in
this year’s Co-operative Mobility
Services (CMS) Interoperability
Testing event, for the fourth consecutive year.
The event was organised by
the European Telecommunications
(ETSI), in partnership with
ERTICO-ITS Europe, in March
hosted by TASS International in
Helmond, the Netherlands.
Nearly 100 experts from over
40 organisations from all over the
world, came together to test the
interoperability of the vehicle-tovehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems known
also as Connected Vehicles. Connected Vehicles will change intelligent transportation as we know
it by enabling wireless commu-
nication among vehicles and infrastructure in a seamless manner
and using a common standard or
This will enable the realisation
of next generation Road Safety
Systems and is considered a key
enabler for future autonomous and
self-driving vehicles. Studies by
the US Department of Transportation show that Connected Vehicles,
if fully implemented, could mitigate up to 80% of road accidents.
In the past, the main focus has been
on how to survive accidents; Connected Vehicles aims to avoid them
completely, as well as enhancing
our daily driving experience, as a
Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya, chief
executive officer, QMIC, said,
“Connected Vehicle (V2X) technologies represent a key element
of QMIC’s leading and integrated
road safety innovations portfolio.
It nicely complements our leading Masarak traffic and telematics platform and our Salamtek
distracted driving solutions. Our
successful participation in the
recent plugtests event solidifies
our regional leadership position
in this emerging area.”
The QMIC team was led by Dr
Hamid Menouar, product manager of the Connected Vehicle programme and R&D expert
represented QMIC in this event.
QMIC’s Connected Vehicles
platform has been successfully
tested against platforms of other
international organisations who
participated in the event which
helps QMIC to put its platform
at a competitive international
position. In addition, this intensive testing also provides an early
chance to validate the conform-
Connected Vehicles platform on display at QMIC.
ance against the first release of
the ETSI TC ITS standards.
The ETSI TC ITS standards
have matured significantly allowing more complex features
to be tested in this year CMS
Plugtests. To demonstrate the
level of progress and maturity of
standards, the total number of
planned test cases reached 340
this year compared to 49 test
cases last year. There was also a
notable growth in participants
this year.
Migrants to the UK to
pay health surcharge
ationals from outside
the European Economic Area (EEA),
coming to the UK for longer
than six months, are now
required to pay a health surcharge when they make their
immigration application, the
British embassy in Doha said
in a statement yesterday.
work, study or join family
members currently receive
free medical treatment
under the UK’s National
Health System (NHS) in the
same way as a permanent
The changes, which came
into effect yesterday, will
ensure that migrants make
an appropriate financial
contribution to the cost of
their NHS care, according
to the statement.
Non-EEA nationals visiting the UK on a tourist visa
or any other visit visa will not
be required to pay the health
surcharge, but will continue
to be fully liable for the costs
of any NHS treatment at the
point they receive it.
The surcharge also does
not apply to those making applications for settlement and those who are not
subject to UK immigration
control such as accredited
diplomats and their dependants, who will continue to
enjoy free access to the NHS.
The health surcharge will
be £200 per year and £150
per year for students, payable up-front and for the total period of time for which
they are given permission
to stay in the UK. In setting
the surcharge levels, the UK
government has considered
the wide range of free health
services available to migrants alongside the valuable contribution they make
and the need to ensure that
the UK remains attractive
to the brightest and the best
from around the world, the
statement points out.
The money collected by
the UK Home Office will be
passed to the health departments in England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland. “The surcharge levels
are lower than the cost of
medical insurance required
in some of our competitor
nations and, for overseas
students, the surcharge
represents only 1% of the
total cost of studying in
the UK for a three-year
undergraduate course,” the
statement adds.
Having paid the surcharge, migrants will have
the same access to the
NHS as a UK permanent
resident while their stay in
the UK is lawful. The surcharge will apply to immigration
where payment is made on
or after April 6 and is made
at the same time as the
immigration application.
Mozaic TV launches
new OSN packages
oredoo has announced the launch
of three new OSN
packages on its Mozaic TV
launched packages - OSN
Premier Plus HD, OSN Entertainment Extra and OSN
Family - have been designed
to fulfil the entertainment
needs of every family member in the home and include
a comprehensive range of
channels, according to a
The OSN Premier Plus
HD package includes movie
channels such as OSN Movies HD, OSN Movies Action
and OSN Movies Comedy,
plus a strong Arabic language channel line-up, including OSN Yahala HD,
OSN Yahala, Shabab and
OSN Yahala Drama, and a
wide range of sports, factual
and entertainment channels.
The new channels will
bring a variety of international programming and
up-to-date Arabic content
to Qatar, offering viewers
more choice on Ooredoo’s
network, the statement
OSN Premier Plus HD
leads the trio with over
80 channels, half of them
available in HD quality for
QR310 a month.
For children, the bundle
also includes family favourites such as Nickelodeon,
Disney Junior, Disney XD,
Jim Jam and Nick JR.
Next Generation Mozaic TV packages start from
QR250 per month and offer
a large range of content in
HD picture quality in Qatar,
with on-demand features,
including Pause and Record
Live TV and a Catch-up
TV facility, so viewers can
see programmes they have
already missed.
The expansion of Mozaic
TV’s OSN packages comes
as the latest in a series of
moves to enhance the user
experience and broaden
viewers’ choices, the statement points out. Last year,
Mozaic TV signed a content
deal with GMA to offer Filipinos in Qatar access to the
latest Pinoy news, public
affairs and entertainment
programmes, as well as a
multi-year deal with The
Walt Disney Company.
Customers who do not
already have Mozaic TV
can enjoy free installation
and free Mozaic TV equipment when they subscribe.
Customers with Mozaic TV
need to press the blue button on their remote control
to subscribe to one of the
new OSN packages.
Weather turns
normal for fishing
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter
ost of the fishermen who were
forced to stay away
from the sea for the last
five days owing to adverse
weather conditions will
resume fishing from today.
A group of fishermen told
Gulf Times that almost 95%
of their boats remained
berthed along the fishing
harbours in Doha, Wakrah, Dukhan, Ruwais and
Al Khor since Wednesday
when an unprecedented
sandstorm lashed Qatar.
“The latest forecast from
the meteorology department is that weather would
be somewhat normal in the
coming days and no caution is served specifically
for the fishermen,” said a
clamped a restriction of a
maximum of three trips per
month per fishing vessel,
in view of the onset of the
breeding season. A fishing boat cannot stay in the
sea for more than four days
during each trip, according
to the directive.
Free recall for Honda City and Jazz
The Ministry of Economy
and Commerce has
launched a free recall
campaign for the
Honda City and Jazz
manufactured in 2004
to repair a defect in
their front passenger
airbag. The campaign is
conducted in association
with Domasco, Honda
vehicles dealer in Qatar.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Saudi policeman killed in shootout
A Saudi policeman was killed in a gunfight
with “terrorists” in a town populated by
minority Shias in the east of the kingdom,
the interior ministry said.
Three other policemen as well as a Saudi
and a foreign resident were wounded
in the incident on Sunday in Awamiya,
according to a ministry statement
published by the official SPA news
It did not identify the foreigner.
The shootout erupted when police forces
launched a raid on several hideouts in the
town based on “evidence they were being
used by terrorists”, it said.
During the search, they came under
fire from a nearby building. The police
responded and arrested four Saudis
suspected of involvement.
They seized automatic weapons,
ammunition, and communication devices,
the ministry said.
Awamiya, just west of Dammam city
on the Gulf coast, has been the scene
of clashes between security forces and
protesters from Saudi Arabia’s Shia
Muslim minority.
Protests erupted in Eastern Province
in February 2011 after an outbreak of
violence between Shia pilgrims and
religious police in the holy city of Madinah
in western Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of exploiting
the Shias to incite unrest.
Obama reassures
Israel on Iran deal
New York
S President Barack Obama
has said that a weakened Israel would be a “fundamental
failure of my presidency”, affirming
solidarity with the long-time ally despite recent differences over the Iran
nuclear deal.
Obama said while Israel has reason
to be concerned about Iran, he defended the framework agreement on
Iran’s nuclear programme that negotiators drew up last week.
Obama made the comments to The
New York Times in a 45-minute video
interview on Saturday that was posted on Sunday.
“I would consider it a failure on
my part, a fundamental failure of my
presidency, if on my watch or as a
consequence of work that I’ve done,
Israel was rendered more vulnerable,”
Obama said.
He said he would consider it “not
just a strategic failure, I think that
would a moral failure,” adding that no
disagreements between Israel and the
United States can break their bond.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has repeatedly denounced
the agreement between Tehran and
world powers as a bad deal, arguing
it will leave Iran with a large nuclear
The two leaders have also clashed
over the Middle East peace process,
with Israel opposing the creation of
a Palestinian state, while the White
House is seeking a “two state” solution to the conflict.
“Even in the midst of the disagreements that I have had with Prime
Minister Netanyahu both on Iran as
well as on the Palestinian issue, I have
been consistent saying that our de-
Obama: sending a “very clear message to the Iranians”.
fence of Israel is unshakable,” Obama
The US president also defended
the Iran nuclear deal, which paves the
way for Tehran to curtail its nuclear
activity in exchange for relief from
punishing economic sanctions.
“There is no formula, there is no
option, to prevent Iran from getting
a new weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative
and framework that we put forward,
and that’s demonstrable,” he told the
But Obama said Israel was “right to
be concerned” about Iran, and sent a
strong message to enemies of Israel.
“What we will be doing as we enter
into this deal is sending a very clear
message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anyone messes with
Israel, America will be there,” he said.
On the Iranian negotiations,
Obama said that Iran’s Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is “a
pretty tough read” and “deeply suspicious of the West”.
But Obama added: “He does realise that the sanctions regime we put
together was weakening Iran over the
long term, and that if in fact he wanted to see Iran enter into the commu-
nity of nations, there would have to be
Washington made clear yesterday
that it would only agree to sanctions
on Iran being phased out gradually as
Tehran complies with a final deal to
curb its nuclear programme.
“You can’t start talking about relieving sanctions until we’ve reached
agreements about how we’re going to
shut down every pathway they have
to a nuclear weapon,” White House
spokesman Josh Earnest said at a
news briefing.
“It has never been our position
that all of the sanctions against Iran
should be removed from Day One,”
he said.
The White House is working aggressively to convince US lawmakers and other critics to embrace the
framework agreement reached on
Thursday between Iran, the United
States and five other major powers.
The framework was a major step
toward a final deal but did not include an agreement on the timing and
scope of sanctions relief. Many other
issues also must be hammered out
before the end-of-June deadline for a
final accord.
Iran’s top negotiators have interpreted the outline differently, saying
sanctions relief would not occur in
phases but would be lifted immediately once a nuclear accord is signed.
Earnest said Washington would
want to see sustained compliance by
Iran as it begins to lift sanctions.
He said Iran would be more likely to
comply if its leaders knew economic
sanctions would be reapplied if they
violated the agreement. The United
States could foresee a point at which
sanctions could be dismantled, but
only after “sustained compliance
over a long period of time”, Earnest
Israel minister proposes
nuclear accord changes
srael’s intelligence minister yesterday proposed terms for a final nuclear accord with Iran which he said
would be an improvement on the outline
drawn up last week.
Yuval Steinitz told journalists that
US President Barack Obama’s pledge to
back Israel’s security was appreciated,
but it did not outweigh the potential
threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
“If Iran will produce nuclear weapons, this is an existential threat to Israel,” Steinitz said.
“Nobody can tell us that backing and
assistance are enough to completely resist or to neutralise such a threat”.
Steinitz proposed that the emerging deal between Iran and world powers should incorporate a total halt to
research and development on a new
generation of centrifuges, a cut in the
number of existing centrifuges and closure of the Fordow facility for enrichment of uranium.
He also proposed that Tehran detail
its past nuclear arms research and allow
international inspectors to make spot
checks “anywhere, anytime”.
If such terms were accepted, Steinitz
said, “it will not be a good agreement
but it will be a more reasonable agreement.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and his government fiercely oppose the
draft agreement announced on Thursday after marathon talks in Switzerland.
“Israel will not accept an agreement
which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons,
period,” Netanyahu said in response.
Steinitz said that since Thursday’s
announcement officials have studied
the proposals carefully.
“A comprehensive analysis of the
Lausanne framework reveals the extent
of the irresponsible concessions given to
Iran and makes clear how dangerous the
framework is for Israel, the region and
the entire world,” he said.
“We are going to do an additional effort to convince the US administration,
to convince Congress, to convince Britain and France and Russia not to sign
this bad deal, or at least to dramatically
change it and fix it.”
Steinitz said Israel preferred a diplomatic solution to the issue but it re-
Russia sees ‘no reasons’ for arms race
An interim agreement between six world
powers and Iran on Tehran’s nuclear programme will not lead to a new arms race,
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
said in remarks published yesterday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a final agreement based
on the terms reached in the Swiss city of
Lausanne would threaten his country’s
survival and increase the risk of nuclear
proliferation in the Middle East.
But Lavrov, whose country took part in
the talks in Lausanne, said: “There are no
reasons for an arms race.”
“Iran will be the most checked and in-
28 men and women sentenced over
‘sin’ party aboard yacht in Dubai
Twenty-eight men and
women have been fined
or jailed for attending an
alcohol-fuelled sex party on
a yacht in Dubai, reports said
The Court of Misdemeanours
sentenced two men and
three women to one year
each in prison for having sex
outside of marriage, Khaleej
Times reported.
According to the 7 Days
newspaper, the two men
were policemen.
All the defendants were
fined 2,000 dirhams each
for “getting together while
unrelated in a way that would
lure them into committing acts
of sin”, the Khaleej Times said.
served the right to take military action
against Iran if necessary.
“It’s still on the table, it’s going to remain on the table,” he said.
“It’s our right and duty to decide how
to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence
are under threat.”
zThe leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah
said yesterday that the framework nuclear agreement between Iran and world
powers rules out the spectre of regional
“There is no doubt that the Iranian
nuclear deal will be big and important
to the region,” Hassan Nasrallah said in
an interview with Syria’s Al Ikhbariya
“The agreement, God willing, rules
out the spectre of regional war and
world war,” he said.
Nine were fined an
additional 2,000 dirhams
each for consuming
alcohol without a licence
at the party on the yacht
anchored in Dubai Marina
in October, according to the
Police raided the party after
a tipoff and seized about
110 bottles of alcohol as
well as bedsheets and other
evidence for forensic tests,
it said.
The 15 men, aged between 21
and 43, were from the UAE,
Iran and the Comoros, while
the women, aged between 20
and 36, were from the UAE,
Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia
and Morocco.
spected country if the principles agreed
in Lausanne are transferred into the
language of practical agreements,” he
said in an interview with Dmitry Kiselyov,
head of state news organisation Rossiya
In excerpts of the interview published
by Russia’s RIA news agency, Lavrov
blamed the United States and Europe for
delays in securing the framework deal
last week.
He also said the lifting of sanctions
would help Russia because it would allow
Iran to pay in full for deals with Russia’s
nuclear agency, Rosatom.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
UN warns of
disaster due
to conflict
Supporters of the separatist Southern Movement stand on a tank in Aden yesterday.
Yemen clashes kill more
than 140 as aid delayed
The Red Cross has appealed
for an immediate truce to
facilitate aid deliveries and
has called for all land, air and
sea routes to be immediately
ierce clashes raged yesterday between rebels and
loyalists in southern Yemen, leaving more than 140 dead in
24 hours, as the Red Cross faced
delays to urgently needed aid deliveries.
Relief workers have warned of
a dire situation in the impoverished state, where a Saudi-led
coalition is waging an air war
on the Iran-backed Houthi Shia
The bloodiest fighting occurred between rebels and loyalists of President Abd-Rabbu
Mansour Hadi in the main southern city of Aden, officials said.
More than a third of those slain
in the past 24 hours - 53 - were
killed as rebels tried to seize a
port in the city, which sits on an
extinct volcano jutting out into
the sea.
At least 19 Houthis and 15
pro-Hadi militiamen were
killed overnight in the town of
Daleh, north of Aden, officials
said, and seven other people
died in the southern province of
Pro-Hadi fighters have laid
siege in Abyan to the base of a
renegade army brigade loyal to
ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh,
who is accused of backing the
Ten rebels were killed in
coalition air strikes that hit Al
Anad airbase near Abyan and
a military camp in Lahj, while
many more died in Shabwa
Hadi, considered by the UN
to be Yemen’s legitimate leader,
took refuge in Aden in February
after the Houthis, who hail from
the mountainous north, seized
power in Sanaa.
Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia last
month as rebels advanced on his
southern stronghold, prompting the military campaign by the
Saudi-led coalition, now in its
12th day.
Yemen, strategically located
near key shipping routes, is sinking deeper into a multi-sided
civil conflict.
The fighting has drawn in an
array of armed groups including
the Houthis, pro-Hadi militia,
army units loyal to Saleh, southern separatists, Sunni tribes and
Al Qaeda militants.
The Red Cross has appealed
for an immediate truce to facilitate aid deliveries and has called
for all land, air and sea routes to
be immediately opened to allow the delivery of 48 tonnes of
medical supplies the organisation has ready to treat up to 3,000
The situation is particularly
dire in Aden, where some neighbourhoods have had no electricity or water in days.
The Red Cross has been trying to fly emergency supplies into
Sanaa but the plane is still stuck
on the tarmac.
“We have a cargo plane with
medical supplies which is ready
to go,” said Sitara Jabeen, a
spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red
“We have the permission for
this plane but we have logistical
problems for the landing. There
are less and less planes landing in
Yemen. We are trying to solve the
logistic problems,” she said.
The Red Cross is also trying
to deploy a team of surgeons to
Aden, but says it is still awaiting
authorisations from all sides in
the fighting.
But the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition, General Ahmed
Assiri, said the Red Cross had
evacuated 11 staff members from
Sanaa airport.
It was unclear if they were to
be redeployed elsewhere in Yemen or replaced.
Russia has urged the UN Security Council to push for a humanitarian pause in the strikes.
On Monday an Indian vessel
evacuated 450 people from the
western Hodeida port, while 100
others boarded a Chinese vessel
to safety. France evacuated 63
foreigners from the eastern port
of Balhaf.
Jordan said it had evacuated
almost 300 nationals since the
conflict began and an AFP photographer said three Indian aircraft and one Russian plane landed yesterday in Sanaa to evacuate
their citizens.
Pakistan said it had been asked
by Saudi Arabia to contribute aircraft, ships and ground troops to
Operation Decisive Storm.
Despite close ties with Riyadh, Pakistan has so far held
back from joining the offensive, saying it does not want to
get involved in any conflict that
would inflame sectarian tensions.
Iran has strongly criticised the
intervention in Yemen and has
rejected accusations of arming
the Houthis.
Its foreign minister, Mohamed
Javad Zarif, is due to visit Islamabad tomorrow to discuss the
In Riyadh, the Saudi cabinet
reiterated the kingdom “is not
seeking war” and that the offensive was to “rescue a neighbouring country... and its legitimate
Pilot, trainee killed in crash
A Jordanian pilot and an Iraqi trainee were killed when a light
training aircraft crashed during a routine military excercise
yesterday, the Jordanian army said.
A T67 “Firefly aircraft crashed Monday morning, killing a Jordanian lieutenant colonel and his Iraqi trainee, during a routine training excercise”
said Colonel Mamdouh al-Amiri, spokesman for the Jordanian military.
He said the crash occurred over Jordanian soil but did not
elaborate on the cause of the accident or its location.
The Jordanian military regularly trains Iraqi pilots as part of
defence agreements between the two countries, Amiri said.
Local media reported that the crash took place some 70 to
90km north of the capital Amman.
In September, Jordan joined the US-led coalition of Arab and
Western countries carrying out air strikes against the Islamic
State group, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria.
In February, it extended air strikes against IS to Iraq after the group
released a video of downed F-16 pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh being
burned alive.
emen’s conflict is driving an already impoverished country towards
humanitarian disaster, displacing tens of thousands of families and exposing many more to
the threat of disease and malnutrition, the United Nations
children’s agency Unicef said
The Arabian Peninsula’s
poorest state has endured years
of unrest, but nearly two weeks
of war between rebel Houthi
fighters and pro-government
forces has put millions of people in danger.
Unicef’s Yemen representative Julien Harneis said “many,
many children” had been killed
in the fighting. Hospitals have
been shelled and schools taken
over by combatants.
Fuel shortages threaten to
disrupt child immunisation
programmes - which need vaccines to be kept refrigerated and government cash handouts
to the poorest third of the population have been suspended.
At the same time the cost of
water has risen, as generators
pumping the water become
more expensive to run, and
prices of increasingly scarce
food have gone up as people’s
incomes fall.
The huge displacement of
people, with families fleeing
the worst-hit cities, also means
deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and possible
spread of disease.
“We are rushing to a humanitarian disaster,” Harneis
Unicef and the International
Committee of the Red Cross
are both trying to fly aid shipments into Yemen today to start
addressing the dire conditions,
but say they have struggled to
find planes which will fly into
the conflict zone.
“Our main focus is going to
be water and sanitation, and
medical (aid),” Harneis said by
telephone from Jordan.
Unicef said at least 62 children were killed in the last week
of March in Yemen. Harneis
said the figure was likely now to
be “much, much worse”.
In part that may be because
of the large proportion of children fighting in the ranks of
Yemen’s many armed factions.
Harneis said child recruitment was widespread. “All of
those more tribal type groups
... up to a third of them are children.”
On Thursday, the United
Nations put the overall death
toll from two weeks of fighting
in Yemen at more than 500.
Scores more have died since
then, including 60 people
killed on Sunday in fighting
for the port district of Mualla
in the southern city of Aden,
residents and eyewitnesses
Central Aden has endured
some of the worst of the conflict, with residents complaining that water and electricity have been cut off in some
neighbourhoods for days.
A Reuters correspondent
in the city saw a refuse truck
yesterday ferrying around 10
corpses, piled on top of each
other, towards one of the city’s
In the Houthi-controlled
capital, Sanaa, residents have
also been caught up in the
fighting. A local rights group
said 29 civilians were killed in
an air strike near the airport on
the first day of the Saudi-led
In the longer term, the fighting threatens to reverse steps
in health and education which
Yemen made despite political
turmoil since 2011 street protests, inspired by the broader
Arab uprisings, and tribal and
provincial unrest.
“We’re expecting a real peak
in malnutrition,” Harneis said.
Yemen is just one of a handful of Arab countries including Syria, Iraq and Libya which
show many signs of failed
statehood, as armed insurgencies erode central authority.
But even before the latest conflict, it was more fragile than
“It doesn’t have the oil resources of Iraq. It didn’t have
the infrastructure of Syria. So
it’s already a very vulnerable
society,” Harneis said. “On top
of this you are adding a layer
of intense conflict in the south
and bombardment and destruction of the infrastructure
in the north.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Security Council demands aid access to Yarmuk
United Nations
he UN Security Council yesterday demanded
humanitarian aid access
to help thousands of refugees
trapped in Syria’s Yarmuk camp
after it was partly seized by the
Islamic State group.
The 15-member council called
“for the protection of civilians in
the camp for ensuring a humanitarian access to the area including
by providing life-saving assistance”, said Jordan’s ambassador
Dina Kawar, who chairs the council this month.
IS fighters have captured large
swaths of the Palestinian refugee
camp near Damascus in an offensive launched on April 1 and
hundreds of families have been
Kawar said the council expressed deep concern over the
“grave situation” for the 18,000
refugees in the camp and demanded safe passage for the
evacuation of civilians.
The council is ready to consider
“further measures to provide necessary assistance”, said Kawar, but
she did not provide details.
The council received a report
from Pierre Krahenbuhl, of the
Unrwa relief agency for Palestinian refugees, who described the
situation in the camp as “more
desperate than ever”.
Krahenbuhl told reporters that
he appealed to countries with influence in Syria to act “for civilian
lives to be spared and for humani-
tarian access to be given.”
IS militants first attacked the
camp, just 7km from central Damascus, on Wednesday.
A Palestinian official said in
Ramallah yesterday a delegation
was heading to Damascus for talks
on helping residents in the camp.
Ahmed Majdalani, an official
with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the delegation would focus its efforts on
providing security and assistance
to the camp.
“We will discuss with a number
of Syrian officials securing the
relief corridor opened yesterday
to deliver humanitarian aid and
getting civilians out so they won’t
become human shields for the
terrorist Daesh group,” he said,
using an Arabic acronym for IS.
The delegation will also hold
meetings with various Palestinian
factions to discuss how to counter
IS threats, said Majdalani, who is
heading the group.
Majdalani accused IS militants
of “seeking to control the whole
camp” and to use it “as a spring-
board for attacks on the Syrian
capital Damascus because of its
strategic location”.
He said the visit comes after
talks with officials in several Arab
“We have an Arab and international plan to stop the violence
perpetrated against our people,”
Majdalani said.
In a statement, the PLO called
for “all sides to immediately agree
to protect the camp from efforts to
turn it into a battlefield”.
It also called for civilians to
have access to relief corridors and
to humanitarian and medical assistance.
Since the militant advance began, regime forces have pounded
the camp with shells and barrel
bombs, according to the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights,
a Britain-based monitoring
Dozens of Hamas and Islamic
Jihad supporters meanwhile protested in Gaza yesterday to demand an end to the violence in
Syria talks in
Moscow start
with hopes of
progress low
Despite seemingly positive
noises over the conflict there
seems little prospect of any
breakthrough at the talks
alks on ending the war in
Syria began yesterday in
Moscow but the absence
of key opposition groups meant
there was little hope of progress
in resolving the conflict.
Syria’s ambassador to the
United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari, is heading the government
delegation for the meetings
with members of the domestic “tolerated” opposition, the
National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change
But the main Western-backed
exiled Syrian opposition National Coalition stayed away, and
another leading domestic opposition activist remains under a
travel ban from Damascus.
The discussions, which run
until April 9, are expected to
focus on humanitarian issues and plans for future talks,
while also serving as a way for
Russia, a main backer of the
Syrian regime, to build its profile as a potential mediator in
the conflict.
A source in the Syrian government delegation said the opposition would spend yesterday
and today meeting with Russian
mediators before the two sides sit
down together tomorrow.
“The main idea this time is
to agree on a precise agenda for
further negotiations,” the source
Russia’s Foreign Minister Ser-
gei Lavrov played down hopes for
any breakthrough saying Moscow was disappointed by the decision of the National Coalition
not to attend.
“We are not setting any final
deadlines given that so much
blood has been shed in Syria and
that there have been so many
false starts in this process,” Lavrov said.
The talks follow a similar
round of meetings between the
government and officially tolerated opposition in Moscow in
late January that failed to make
any concrete progress towards
resolving the deep-rooted conflict.
The meeting is the first since
some of the key international
players in the crisis thrashed out
an outline deal over Iran’s nuclear programme and US Secretary
of State John Kerry refused to
rule out speaking to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
But despite the seemingly
positive noises over the conflict
there seemed little prospect of
any breakthrough at the Moscow
Ahead of the meeting a source
close to the Syrian government
delegation said the delegations
“will only discuss ‘soft’ subjects
on which agreement might be
“You cannot say that these
consultations will have any major results,” Russian Middle East
expert Boris Dolgov said.
“It is just one step, albeit important, on the path towards
stopping the crisis in Syria.”
Dolgov said that by hosting
the talks Moscow was looking
to boost its standing as a potential mediator while also seeking
to curb the threat that radical
groups such as Islamic State pose
to its national security.
The opposition National Coalition, however, accusing Russia of seeking to use the talks to
bolster Assad, has declined to attend, and finds itself increasingly
sidelined by powerful regional
Another opposition figure
Louay Hussein, who heads the
Building the Syrian State party,
said Damascus barred him from
attending the meeting by refusing to lift a travel ban imposed
following his release on bail in
February after three months in
Most of Syria’s opposition in
exile has made it clear that Assad must step down in any deal to
end the conflict that began with
demonstrations against his rule
in March 2011.
An Arab diplomat following the developments said that
one proposal now being floated
would see Assad stay in power
for two or three more years to
prepare a transition, particularly
given Russian and US fears about
the consequences if his regime
collapsed suddenly.
“This solution would allow all
the parties to save face,” one opposition member involved in the
discussions said.
The window for any such
agreement is fairly small, with
Washington reportedly insisting
that any deal be signed before
campaigning for the 2016 presidential election begins in earnest
in the autumn.
“Washington is ready to let
Moscow hold as many meetings
as it needs, but any deal must
be signed... before the autumn,
otherwise it will be too late,” the
opposition member said.
Two Syrians die from H1N1 swine flu
Two Syrians died of H1N1 swine flu last month and six
others were suspected of carrying the infection, Syria’s
state news agency Sana said yesterday.
The World Health Organisation has warned that the
collapse of Syria’s health system during its four-year civil
war has led to the spread of disease. Typhoid, hepatitis
and the polio virus have taken hold in the country.
Sana said the two men were from the southern province
of Sweida, where government forces and rebels have
clashed. Their deaths were reported by the head of the
Communicable and Chronic Diseases Department in
Sweida, it said.
Electric cables and Islamist flags hang over a street dominated by Islamist factions in the refugee camp of Ain al-Helweh, near the southern
Lebanese city of Sidon.
Lebanon camp turns into
safe haven for extremists
Ain al-Helweh, Lebanon
ebanon’s Ain al-Helweh
camp has long provided a
stable, if destitute, bolthole
for Palestinian refugees, some of
whom have lived within its walls
since fleeing their homes more
than six decades ago.
But the war in neighbouring
Syria has transformed parts of
the southern camp into a safe haven for jihadists travelling to fight
there, creating districts where
even Palestinian security forces
fear to tread and raising tensions
among residents.
In Taware district, the black
flag of the Islamic State extremist
group flutters in the wind.
A photograph of IS leader Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has proclaimed a “caliphate” in parts of
Iraq and Syria, is plastered on the
walls of a small kiosk, alongside
a picture of slain Al Qaeda chief
Osama bin Laden.
Abu Hajer, a Palestinian from
Ain al-Helweh who fights with
Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front
in Syria, uses the camp as a rearbase in between fighting.
“The first time, I spent three
months in Syria, then I went back
to the camp after I was wounded,”
he told AFP by Skype from Syria.
“This is how it is every time, I
go and I come back,” the man in
his twenties said.
Wanted by Lebanese security
forces, he crosses government
checkpoints at Ain al-Helweh’s
entrances with a fake ID and
“small adjustments to my appearance”, like shaving his long beard.
“It’s jihad in the path of Allah,
who I hope will end my fighting with
the martyrdom that I love,” he said.
Lebanon’s security forces say at
least 46 men have left Ain al-Helweh to fight in Syria’s four-year
war, in addition to a number who
“come and go”.
Major General Mounir al-Maqdah, head of Palestinian security
forces in Lebanon, said many of
the fighters were no older than 17.
“They’re from a new generation that is very reckless,” he said.
Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee
camps offer few employment opportunities. Lebanese law bars their
residents from several professions.
Under a decades-old agreement, state security forces do not
enter the camps, leaving them
under the control of Palestinian
militant groups.
But even they are afraid of entering the three neighbourhoods
of Ain al-Helweh that have come
under the control of extremist
One of these groups, Shabab
al-Muslim (the Muslim Youth),
was established in Ain al-Helweh
as hardliners rose to prominence
in Syria. It includes militants accused of bombings and assassinations in Lebanon.
Jamal Hamad, a cleric and leading official in Shabab al-Muslim,
called the group a “mosaic” of jihadists.
“There’s empathy in the camp
with jihadist groups... There’s
empathy with Al Nusra Front, and
there’s some empathy with the
Islamic State group,” Hamad said.
He said neither group had an
“official” presence in the camp,
but supporters were galvanised by
sectarian rhetoric.
“It’s alright for the Shia Muslims to come from Lebanon to
fight in Syria, and it’s not alright
for Sunnis to empathise with the
Sunni people being killed,” complained Hamad.
Syria’s conflict began in March
2011 with anti-government protests but spiralled into an armed
conflict that has killed more than
215,000 people.
The Sunni-led opposition has
significant support among Sunnis in Lebanon, while President
Bashar al-Assad’s government
is backed by Lebanon’s Shia
Hezbollah movement, which
has dispatched forces to Syria to
bolster his regime.
More than 61,000 Palestinian
refugees live in Ain al-Helweh,
including 6,000 who recently fled
the war in Syria.
The rundown alleyways are
filled with potholes, and electricity wires dangle perilously above
residents’ heads.
Posters of Palestinian leaders
adorn the walls, and armed men
patrol the streets.
At the camp’s entrance, Lebanese soldiers search all those entering and leaving, with female
officers searching women wearing
the veil.
The rise of jihadists in Ain alHelweh has worried camp authorities, who are stepping up cooperation with the army.
They want to prevent a repeat of the 2007 battles between
Lebanon’s army and Palestinian
Islamists in the northern Nahr
al-Bared refugee camp that left
dozens dead.
“There’s an understanding
with the army that the issue of
wanted persons will be resolved
calmly,” said Maqdah.
Palestinian security official
General Sobhi Abu Arab played
down the concerns, insisting only
“a minority” of residents were involved in the conflict in Syria.
He said many of those had returned because “they weren’t convinced by what they were doing.”
Insurgents kidnap then release 300 Kurds
slamist insurgents have released
300 Kurdish men in the country’s
north who were taken captive on
Sunday, a Kurdish official said yesterday.
Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for the
Kurdish PYD party in Europe, said by
phone that the “men were released by
the Islamist militant groups who were
holding them”.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which
tracks the conflict from Britain, also
said the Kurds had been released.
However, it said around 200 had been
held, taken at several checkpoints
over the past two days.
Khalil and another Kurdish official
reported earlier yesterday that the
men were taken on Sunday evening.
Idris Nassan, an official in the Kobani canton, said they were kidnapped
by Al Qaeda’s official Syrian wing, Al
Nusra Front, as they were travelling
from the town of Afrin, which is under
Kurdish control, to the cities of Aleppo
and the capital Damascus.
“They left women and children but
they kidnapped 300 men and young
people,” he said.
“They captured them in Tuqad village, 20km west of Aleppo and then
they moved them to Al Dana town
in Idlib province,” he said. Al Nusra
Front was part of an alliance of militant groups that captured Idlib city
last month.
Al Nusra has not claimed the kidnapping. Syrian state media did not
report the incident.
Kurdish militia and Islamist militants have fought territorial disputes
in Syria during the four-year civil war.
Some hardline Syrian Islamist militants consider Kurds heretics.
The Observatory also reported yesterday that insurgents from Jaish alMujahideen had traded 25 kidnapped
women and children in exchange for
one of their commanders.
The incident is not the first mass
kidnapping in Syria, where large
groups of Kurds and Christians have
been held, mostly by Al Nusra’s extremist rival, the Islamic State group.
IS fighters are accused of kidnapping over 200 Assyrian Christians
from Hasakeh province, and last year
held more than 150 Kurdish schoolchildren kidnapped in Aleppo province.
Al Nusra has also been implicated
in kidnappings.
It has been accused of holding journalists and aid workers and in 2013
kidnapped a group of 13 nuns who
were later released in a prisoner exchange.
More than 215,000 people have
been killed in Syria since the conflict
began in March 2011 with anti-regime
protests that spiralled into a bloody
civil war after a government crackdown.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Canada glaciers to shrink by 70% by 2100: study
he glaciers of western
Canada, one of the world’s
most picturesque mountain regions, are likely to largely
melt away over just three generations, scientists said yesterday.
By 2100, the glaciers of Alberta
and British Columbia are set to
shrink by 75% in area compared
to 2005 levels, and by 70% in volume, according to predictions.
But in two out of the three
regions that were studied, the
decline could be even more dramatic – over 90%.
The loss will hit many sectors,
from agriculture, forestry and
tourism to ecosystems and water
quality, the investigators warned.
The study, published in the
journal Nature Geoscience, was
headed by Garry Clarke, a professor at the University of British
Columbia in Vancouver.
“The disappearance of (the)
glaciers ... will be a sad loss for
those who are touched by the
beauty of Canada’s mountain
landscapes,” Clarke told AFP.
“When the glaciers have gone, we
lose the important services they
provide: a buffer against hot, dry
spells in late summer that keeps
headwater streams flowing and
cool, and sustains cool-water
aquatic species.”
The team used a computer model that combined four
well-known scenarios for global
warming this century, with data
about three glacier-covered regions and dynamics of ice melt.
Even at the lowest projected
warming, most of the glaciers are
essentially doomed, according to
their forecast.
“Few glaciers will remain in
the Interior and Rockies regions,
but maritime glaciers, in particular those in northwestern British
Columbia, will survive in a diminished state,” the investigators
The study’s four warming
scenarios, called Representative
Concentration Pathways (RCP),
are those used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC).
Under RCP 2.6, the lowest scenario, global average temperatures over this century are likely
to rise by 0.3-1.7 degrees Celsius
(0.5-3.1° Fahrenheit).
Under RCP 8.5, the highest
scenario, which is based on current trends in carbon emissions,
warming would be in the approximate range of 2.6-4.8°C.
For the Interior and Rockies
regions, glaciers would lose more
than 90% of their volume and
area compared to 2005 levels, in
all scenarios except for RCP 2.6.
The Coast region, more resistant, would see 75% area loss and
70% volume loss, with a margin
of error of 10%.
The regions studied by
Clarke’s team cover 26,700sq km
(10,308sq miles) – an area almost
the size of Belgium and bigger
than the glacial Himalayas, and
with an ice volume of 2,980 cubic
kilometres (715 cubic miles).
Climate scientists say they
have a good overall view of how
glaciers respond to global warming, but the picture at regional
level is far more prone to error.
One concern is that computer
models at this scale are usually
based on very broad assumptions
– they presume, for instance,
that above a certain altitude, a
glacier will be stable, whereas lo-
cal topography and the physics of
ice dynamics could mean it is in
fact vulnerable.
The new model seeks to overcome this, using 3-D simulation
to a resolution of just 200m and
taking into account factors that
delay or accelerate glacier melt.
Run-off from the melting
ice will peak between 2020 and
2040, the study said, pointing to
another risk.
Mountain glaciers currently
contribute about 0.7mm in sea
level rise each year, roughly
equivalent to the combined runoff from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, according to
the IPCC.
By 2100, the IPCC says, moun-
Accused Boston bomber
‘wanted to punish’ US
tain glaciers could raise sea levels
by 39cm.
UN members have set a goal
of limiting warming to 2°C over
pre-industrial levels, and have
set a conference in Paris in December as the place to seal a pact
to achieve this.
The RCP scenarios do not include warming up to the start of
the 20th century from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
“Glaciers respond to climate,
not weather, and their shrinkage
signals that climate change is real
and its consequences are serious,” said Clarke. “It is not too
late for good behaviour to be rewarded, but the longer we delay
the worse things get.”
Jeb Bush
on Florida
voter form
ikely Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush,
who was popular among
Spanish-speaking voters while
Florida governor, marked himself as “Hispanic” on a 2009
voter registration application,
the New York Times reported.
The newspaper posted a fuzzy
copy of the form, which it said it
obtained from the Miami-Dade
County Elections Department.
The circle marked “Hispanic”
was checked. The next circle said
“White, not Hispanic” and was
not checked.
“My mistake! Don’t think I’ve
fooled anyone!” Bush wrote on
Twitter yesterday, responding
to a message from his son calling
him an “honorary” Latino.
A Bush spokeswoman said it
was unclear how the error was
“The governor’s family certainly got a good laugh out of it,”
spokeswoman Kristy Campbell
said. “He is not Hispanic.”
Carolina Lopez, a spokeswoman for the county elections
department, did not immediately return calls from Reuters.
The brother of former president George W Bush and son of
former president George HW
Bush, Bush is exploring a presidential bid and is considered a
front runner in the crowded field
of possible Republican candidates. He was born in Texas.
ccused Boston Marathon
bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “wanted to punish
America” when he killed three
people and injured 264 with a
pair of homemade bombs at the
2013 race, a federal prosecutor
said yesterday.
In closing arguments before
a jury decides whether Tsarnaev, 21, is guilty of the April 25
bombing and of fatally shooting
a police officer three days later,
Assistant US Attorney Aloke
Chakravarty described the attack as deliberate and extremist.
“The defendant thought that
his values were more important
than the people around him.
He wanted to awake the mujahedeen, the holy warriors,”
Chakravarty said. “He wanted to
terrorise this country. He wanted to punish America for what it
was doing to his people.”
Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen
who moved to the United States
about a decade before the attack,
could be sentenced to death if
the jury that heard 16 days of
testimony against him finds him
His lawyers opened the trial
a month ago with a blunt admission, that “it was him” who
carried out the attack. But they
contended that Tsarnaev did so
not out of his own ideological
anger but out of a sense of subservience to his older brother,
This handout image, courtesy of the US Department of Justice/US
Attorney’s Office – District of Massachusetts, presented to jurors
on March 23, shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev entered as evidence in the
Boston Marathon bombing trial.
Members of Tsarnaev’s legal defence team walk pass death-penalty protesters on the way to the John
Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse before the beginning of closing arguments in the Boston
Marathon Bombing case.
26-year-old Tamerlan, who
prosecutors say was his partner
in the attack.
Chakravarty took that argument head on yesterday, describing Tsarnaev’s reading of Al
Qaeda’s Inspire magazine.
“These were political choices,” he said of Tsarnaev’s actions. “He was making a statement, ‘an eye for an eye’.”
Tamerlan died early on April
19, 2013, following a gunfight
with police that ended when
Dzhokhar sped off in a car, run-
ning his brother over in the
Dzhokhar later found a hiding spot in a boat in a backyard,
where he wrote a note suggesting the attack was an act of retribution for US military campaigns in Muslim-dominated
Tsarnaev’s attorneys will deliver their closing argument
Yesterday’s closing statements could be a preview of the
arguments each side plans to
make during the next phase of
the trial, when the same jury will
hear a fresh round of witness
testimony before determining
whether to sentence Tsarnaev to
life in prison without possibility
of parole, or to death.
Yesterday the jury viewed
video of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
standing with a backpack in the
crowd at the marathon’s finish
line minutes before the blasts
that killed restaurant manager
Krystle Campbell, 29, Chinese
exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23,
Rolling Stone magazine apologises,
retracts college ‘gang rape expose’
olling Stone magazine has
withdrawn and apologised for a discredited
story about a gang rape on a US
college campus, publishing a review of the debacle that found
“avoidable” failures in basic
journalism practices.
An 8,000-word report into
the article by the Columbia
Journalism Review found lapses
in journalism standards at the
pop-culture magazine from
start to finish of the purported
expose on rape which prompted a police investigation and
sparked public outcry when first
published in November.
Investigators probing the allegations said last month they
found no evidence to support
the explosive claims of a violent
gang rape at a college fraternity
in Virginia.
Questions were raised almost
immediately after the article
was published and Rolling Stone
had all but retracted its story after apologising in December.
The magazine that has a reputation for its investigative work
said it was wrong to have trusted
the alleged victim’s version of
what happened in September
2012 at a University of Virginia
frat house.
Despite the shrinking editorial staff at Rolling Stone, the
Virginia fraternity chapter to sue Rolling Stone
The University of Virginia fraternity chapter at the centre of Rolling
Stone magazine’s retracted article A Rape on Campus said yesterday
that it planned to sue the magazine for what it called “reckless” reporting that hurt its reputation.
The chapter of Phi Kappa Psi said in a statement that it would pursue all
available legal action, a day after a team from the Columbia University
Graduate School of Journalism concluded that the magazine failed to
follow basic journalistic safeguards in publishing the story.
“Clearly our fraternity and its members have been defamed, but more
importantly we fear this entire episode may prompt some victims to
remain in the shadows, fearful to confront their attackers,” Stephen
Scipione, the president of the fraternity chapter in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a statement.
Rolling Stone did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for
The magazine is owned by Jann Wenner, who founded it in 1967 primarily to cover music and culture.
review found the failures for the
article were ones of judgment
and not due to a shortage of resources.
The article’s reporting is “a
story of journalistic failure that
was avoidable. The failure encompassed reporting, editing,
editorial supervision and factchecking”, the review said.
Journalists at Rolling Stone
failed to identify problems and
discuss them at the magazine,
according to the review.
The author of the article,
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, issued an
apology on Sunday, saying that
she “did not go far enough” to
verify the story, according to US
The controversial article at-
tempted to show a dramatic
example of sexual assault on a
college campus and the struggles victims face afterwards, a
problem at universities across
the United States.
But reporters and editors were
so focused on publishing the
harrowing example that “basic,
even routine” reporting standards were not followed, according to the report.
They also failed to fully check
claims made by the alleged victim, who was not identified in
the story, it added.
With the publication of the
harsh review of the handling of
the article on its website, Rolling Stone said it has officially retracted the controversial story.
“This report was painful
reading, to me personally and to
all of us at Rolling Stone,” a note
from Rolling Stone managing
editor Will Dana said at the top
of the review.
Despite the sharp criticism of
those involved in the story, Dana
told the New York Times that no
one would be fired.
“Dana said that the report
was punishment enough for
those involved,” the newspaper
The report “was not the result
of patterns in the work of these
people”, he told the newspaper.
Published on November 19,
the story prompted protests and
the suspension of fraternities at
the college and sparked a national debate about sexual violence on US campuses.
Police in Charlottesville, Virginia said last month that the
purported victim, whom Rolling
Stone called “Jackie”, had met
several times with investigators,
but did not discuss the alleged
gang rape.
The city’s police chief stated
that the case would be suspended, not closed, leaving the door
open to further investigation if
other evidence emerged.
Dozens of US colleges are under federal investigation over
their handling of sexual violence
complaints, and the problem of
sexual assault at college is one
President Barack Obama has
and eight-year-old Martin Richard.
Tsarnaev is also accused of the
fatal shooting of Massachusetts
of Institute of Technology police
officer Sean Collier, 26.
Richard’s parents, William
and Denise; dancer Heather Abbott, who lost both legs in the
blast, and former Boston police
commissioner Ed Davis were
among the people in the courtroom for closing arguments.
The defendant sat quietly in
court yesterday, dressed in a
white shirt, dark jacket and no
tie. He did not speak.
But if he is found guilty, he
may testify during the sentenc-
ing phase of his trial, legal experts said.
The surveillance video viewed
by the jury shows a bomb, which
the defendant is charged with
leaving in front of the Forum
restaurant near the finish line,
going off with a blinding flash,
killing Richard and Lu.
The jury also saw video taken
by a man injured in the blast.
The graphic video captures
the chaos of the immediate aftermath, with one responder
yelling that he was worried
about the possibility of an additional blast and another voice
screaming: “We’re on fire here.
We’re on fire.”
Hit to the head of state
US President Barack Obama gets hit on the head by a rebound while playing basketball yesterday as
part of the annual Easter Egg Roll event at the White House in Washington.
US man accused in global online child sex exploitation case
A federal grand jury has handed down new child
sexual exploitation charges against a California man
who investigators now suspect obtained sexually
explicit images of more than 300 underage victims
from the United States and worldwide.
Blake Robert Johnston, 41, of Martinez, was charged
in October 2014 with traveling to another state with
intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor,
the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
said yesterday.
New charges lodged against him last week by a
grand jury in Oakland include transporting a minor
with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity,
online coercion, sexual exploitation involving a
minor, and production of child pornography, it said.
A study of Johnston’s computers and mobile devices
led to the identification of 31 possible underage
victims in 12 states and overseas, the ICE said in
a statement, including three underage girls who
allegedly had physical contact with him.
“Based on the analysis ... investigators now estimate
there could be more than 300 other potential
underage victims in this case, both domestically and
worldwide,” it said.
The ICE said it is working with authorities in foreign
countries including Australia, Ireland and Britain.
Investigators believe Johnston used multiple mobile
applications to communicate with underage victims,
including Kik, Skype, Omegle, ooVoo and Facebook,
the ICE said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Phuket tourism hit
arrest 17 for
terror plot
Kuala Lumpur
A Thai street vendor waits for customers at Patong beach in Phuket, one of Asia’s premier resort islands. The rouble’s sharp decline is exacting a toll on Southeast Asian
tourism as Russians think twice about doubling their budgets for their next beach holiday in Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia.
Aussies on death row
lose their last appeal
The Indonesians are likely to carry out
the sentence at any time now
n Indonesian court yesterday dismissed an appeal by two Australian
drug smugglers facing imminent
execution, and the country’s legal chief
said the pair have now exhausted all legal
attempts to avoid the firing squad.
Following the ruling lawyers for Andrew
Chan and Myuran Sukumaran vowed to
take the case to the constitutional court —
but Indonesia’s attorney-general accused
the legal team of “playing with justice”
and said the move would not delay the executions.
In its ruling yesterday the state administrative court in Jakarta upheld a decision
that it does not have the authority to hear
a challenge to president Joko Widodo’s rejection of the Australians’ pleas for clemency.
Chan and Sukumaran, the ringleaders of
the so-called “Bali Nine” drug trafficking
gang, were sentenced to death in 2006 for
trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.
Widodo recently rejected their mercy
pleas, typically the final chance to avoid
execution. They are expected to be executed soon along with other drug convicts,
Judge Ujang Abdullah listens as the verdict
on two Australian convicts is read out.
including foreigners from France, Brazil,
the Philippines, Nigeria and Ghana.
Jakarta has said it will wait for all legal
appeals to be resolved before putting the
group to death at the same time. Some
other convicts have lodged Supreme Court
appeals, which could take weeks to resolve.
The Australians’ legal team has mounted
several attempts to halt the executions. In
the latest, they called for the State Administrative Court to hear an appeal against
Widodo’s clemency rejection, saying that
he failed to properly assess their rehabilitation or give reasons for his decision.
The court refused to accept the application in February, and the Australians’ lawyers appealed that decision.
At a hearing yesterday presiding judge
Ujang Abdullah upheld the original decision that the court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter.
After the decision, a lawyer for the Australians, Leonard Aritonang, told reporters
they respected the ruling but added: “This
is not over yet.”
He said lawyers would file an application to the constitutional court to review
the laws relating to presidential clemency.
“We are still hopeful... they are part of
a successful rehabilitation programme,” he
said, referring to the claim from the men’s
supporters that they have been successfully rehabilitated during years in prison.
“It’s a shame that they have to die in the
end. What encourages us to keep going
through all the options is that, although
they have been convicted, in this country
every person has the right to life and to defend his life.”
However, authorities have repeatedly
insisted that a death row convict’s final
chance to avoid the firing squad is through
presidential clemency and that further
appeals are futile.
Asked about the planned challenge to
the constitutional court, attorney General
Muhamad Prasetyo said there would be no
more delays to the executions.
“The legal process is already done,” he
“This proves that they are simply trying
to buy time. We can say they are playing
with justice.”
Jakarta originally planned to carry out
the executions in February, but following
an international outcry agreed to let legal
appeals run their course.
A Filipina among the group recently lost
an appeal to the supreme court, while a
Frenchman and Ghanaian last week lodged
appeals with the court.
Australia, Indonesia’s neighbour and
traditionally a key ally, has mounted a
sustained diplomatic campaign to try to
stop its citizens being put to death, while
France and Brazil have also stepped up
diplomatic pressure on Jakarta.
But Widodo, who has taken a hard line
against drugs offenders, has not been
swayed. He has vowed there will no mercy
for traffickers, saying Indonesia is facing
an “emergency” due to rising narcotics
Jakarta in January put to death six drugs
offenders including five foreigners, sparking a diplomatic storm as Brazil and the
Netherlands — whose citizens were among
those executed — recalled their ambassadors.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in
February refused to accept the credentials
of the new Indonesian ambassador. A second Brazilian, Rodrigo Gularte — whose
family say he is mentally ill — is scheduled to be put to death in the next batch of
drugs offenders.
Indonesia resumed executions in 2013
after a five-year hiatus. It did not put anyone to death in 2014.
Russian premier in Vietnam
alaysia’s police chief
said yesterday that
17 people, including
two who recently returned
from Syria, had been arrested
on suspicion of plotting terror attacks in the capital Kuala
Authorities in the Muslimmajority country have expressed increasing alarm over
the threat of Muslim militancy in the wake of the Islamic
State (IS) group’s bloody jihad
in Syria and Iraq.
“Seventeen people were
planning terror activities in
Kuala Lumpur. Two of them
had recently returned from
Syria,” national police chief
Khalid Abu Bakar said in a
Twitter post.
Khalid said the arrests took
place Sunday.
No other details, including
the suspects’ nationalities or
specifics of the alleged plot,
were mentioned.
AFP was not immediately
able to reach anti-terrorism
officials for comment.
The tough-talking Khalid
was also quoted by local media saying he “will never allow Malaysia to be a transit
point or hideout for any terror
Malaysia has traditionally
observed a moderate form of
Islam, and authorities keep a
tight lid on militancy.
But the government has
increasingly warned that Malaysian recruits to the IS cause
could return home with the
group’s radical ideology.
Police said in January they
had arrested a total of 120
people with suspected IS
group links or sympathies, or
who had sought to travel to
Syria or Iraq.
They also said 67 Malaysians were known at the time
to have gone abroad to join
IS jihadists, and that five had
died fighting for the movement.Last week, the government introduced a new antiterrorism bill to counter any
potential threat.
The bill allows authorities
to detain terrorism suspects
for potentially unlimited periods without trial, according to
its critics.
The political opposition,
legal organisations, Human
Rights Watch, and others
have urged the government to
withdraw the proposed new
law, calling it oppressive.
The law “would reintroduce
indefinite detention without
trial or judicial review and violate due process rights in the
name of preventing terrorism,” Human Rights Watch’s
deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said in a statement.
The subject of security laws
is controversial in Malaysia,
whose government is frequently accused of using them
to silence political opponents.
A previous draconian internal security law that allowed
detention without trial — and
was repeatedly used against
opposition politicians — was
scrapped in 2012 amid public
pressure for political reform.
Last August, police said
they had foiled an IS-inspired
plot to bomb pubs, discos and
a Malaysian brewery of Danish beer producer Carlsberg,
arresting more than a dozen
A string of other suspected
IS-related arrests have been
announced since then.
But the opposition complains the authoritarian regime has shared no details of
its claimed arrests, nor did it
consult the opposition on the
anti-terror legislation.
TV station apologises
for smoking report
station issued an apology and suspended a
production team for a broadcast that showed students
in school uniforms smoking
shisha pipes, local media reported yesterday.
The production team neglected to blur the identities
of the young persons during the feature report that
aired Friday, managers of
state-controlled VTC said
in a broadcast the following
Shisha pipes, also known as
hookahs, have long, flexible
tubes that connect to containers in which the smoke of
strongly flavoured tobacco or
other substances is cooled as
it passes through water.
Concerns have been raised
in Vietnam about the health
risks of shisha smoking, with
shisha tobacco readily available in many shops that sell
tea and coffee.
VTC operates under the
auspices of the state’s ministry of information and communications.
Vietnamese law does not
restrict advertising of shisha
tobacco, which is only considered illegal if it was illicitly
Thai resort island
cancels all parties
he Thai island of Koh
Phangan has cancelled
all parties except its
famous Full Moon Party, a report said late Sunday.
Koh Phangan has banned all
other festivals on the island,
including the Dark Moon Party, the Half-Moon Party and
the Jungle Party.
Authorities cited local complaints over noise and rowdiness as the major reasons for
the cancellations, according
to Post Today newspaper.
The governor of Surat Thani province ordered
the ban and said that violators would face legal action.
There have been bans before,
but those were eventually rescinded.
The Full Moon Party will
continue due to its popularity with tourists, said Wannee
Thaipanich, president of the
Koh Phangan Tourism Promotion Association.
That party generates more
than 7bn baht per year ($216)
for the local economy, the
newspaper report said.
Six killed as bus collides with lorry
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reviews the guard of honour with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung during a ceremony at the presidential palace
in Hanoi yesterday. Medvedev is in Hanoi on a three-day visit to Vietnam.
Six people were killed and 26 others injured when a bus carrying
a wedding party hit a lorry in Indonesia’s Aceh province, media
reports said yesterday. The bus was overtaking another vehicle
when it collided with the lorry in Bireuen district on Sunday, news website said. The dead victims include two
toddlers, the report said. The groom and the bride are not believed
to be among the victims.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
South Korea leader mulls
salvaging sunken ferry
Taiwan reviews military
discipline after scandals
Japan ponders increasing
nuclear power generation
Forest fire rages on in
southern China province
N Korea declares no-sail
zone, may launch missile
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye yesterday
promised to consider raising the Sewol ferry
that sank a year ago with the loss of more than
300 lives, in response to an emotional protest by
victims’ relatives. “I will actively consider salvaging
the ship after accepting the opinions of relatives
of those still missing and experts,” Park’s official
website quoted her as saying during a meeting with
senior aides. The official response to the disaster
was widely criticised for being slow, unco-ordinated
and unfocused, and prompted President Park
to vow a complete overhaul of national safety
standards. More than 50 people have been put on
trial on charges linked to the disaster.
Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has ordered
a thorough review of military discipline after
scandals that sparked a public outcry. Meetings at
military units this week will review current codes
of conduct on issues ranging from visits to military
bases, the use of smartphones in bases, the
prevention of sexual abuse and the management
of firearms, the defence ministry said. “President
Ma has asked the defence ministry to adopt
concrete measures to tighten the discipline of the
military so as to restore the public’s faith in it,” Ma’s
spokesman Charles Chen said. Taiwan’s armed
forces have been cut to about 215,000, but are still
relatively large for a population of 23mn.
Japan is considering boosting the proportion
of nuclear energy to 22% of the electricity
generation in 2030 despite public opposition.
The Industry Ministry is also considering more
than doubling the proportion of renewable
energy such as solar and wind power to
up to 25% in 2030, from 10.7% in 2013, the
Nikkei business daily reported. All 48 nuclear
reactors remain offline since the 2011 triple core
meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that
was triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami.
Regulators have so far green-lighted the restart
of four nuclear reactors - two in central Japan
and two in Kyushu - under updated regulations.
A forest fire raged yesterday in southern China’s
Guangxi autonomous region for the second
day, reports cited local authorities as saying.
The blaze broke out in a forest in the Youjiang
district of Baise City Sunday evening, according
to the official Xinhua news agency. The fire had
drawn dangerously close to a petrol station
due to strong wind but firefighters were able
to extinguish it near the station by Sunday
evening. The burned area of the forest reached
up to 20 hectares as of yesterday afternoon,
according to Xinhua. More than 50 firefighters
were working to put out the blaze. The report
gave no details of the cause of the fire.
North Korea has declared a no-sail zone for its
ships off its east coast, South Korean media
reported yesterday, suggesting more missile
launches are possible before the US defence
chief visits Seoul this week. It was not clear
if the latest warning for ships to stay clear
of an area off the Korean peninsula’s east
coast was a direct indication of an imminent
missile launch. “There are no signs of peculiar
movements,” South Korean defence ministry
deputy spokesman Na Seung-yong told a media
briefing in Seoul. He said a no-sail warning had
not been sent to Seoul or the International
Maritime Organisation.
S Korea slams
new Japanese
history books
outh Korea yesterday condemned Japan’s approval of
textbooks that it said distorted
history by claiming disputed islands,
summoning Japan’s ambassador and
warning that the approval was a sign
Japan was prepared to repeat its colonial wartime past.
The strongly worded protest came
just over two weeks after the foreign
ministers of the neighbours and China
pledged to improve ties and overcome
tension over history and territory, and
to try to work for a summit meeting of
their leaders soon.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said the
book approval was “yet another provocation that distorts, reduces, and omits
clear historic facts to strengthen its unjust
claims to what is clearly our territory”.
“The Japanese government is in effect saying it will repeat its mistakes
of the past when it injects distorted
historical view and territorial claims
based on that to a generation of Japanese who are growing up,” it said in a
South Korea controls the disputed
islands, called Dokdo in Korean and
Takeshima in Japanese, which have
been the focus of a long dispute. South
Korea sees Japan’s claims as stemming
from its colonial past.
Japan colonised the Korean peninsula from 1910 until Japan’s World War
II defeat in 1945. Koreans remember
Japanese rule with bitterness, saying
many people were conscripted into
forced labour and women were forced
into military brothels.
Flight of fancy!
Top Chinese official to visit Tokyo this week
A senior official from China’s National
People’s Congress will be in Tokyo this
week, Japan’s lower house said yesterday, the highest-profile Chinese visitor
since 2012 as a thaw in relations sets in.
Ji Bingxuan, a vice-chairman of the
National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, will lead a delegation
from the Chinese parliament from tomorrow through Saturday, a parliamentary spokeswoman said.
The visit is the latest sign that
relations between Asia’s two biggest
powers are getting back on an even
keel after three years of squabbling
over their bitter shared history and the
ownership of disputed islands.
Japan and China held security talks
last month, their first such dialogue
since January 2011.
Tokyo and Beijing are at loggerheads
over the sovereignty of an island chain
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency
said Japan’s education ministry had
approved the geography textbooks
that made a direct territorial claim
over the islands.
Hakubun Shimomura said all textbooks would have references to the islands as being part of Japan’s territory.
“It’s only natural that we want to
teach children correctly about their
country’s territory,” he told reporters
in Tokyo.
Japan’s ties with South Korea and
China have long been marred over
what South Korea and China see as
Japanese leaders’ reluctance to atone
for its wartime past.
in the East China Sea that Japan administers as the Senkakus, but China claims
as the Diaoyus.
Relations soured in 2012 when the
Japanese government nationalised
some of the islands.
Beijing subsequently halted most
high-level contacts with Tokyo, and ships
and planes from the two sides have
shadow-boxed in the area ever since.
The diplomatic ice was broken last
November when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President
Xi Jinping shared a frosty handshake
on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum.
This week’s delegation was invited by
Japan’s House of Representatives, the
lower house of parliament.
Ji is expected to hold talks with lower
house speaker Nobutaka Machimura
during the stay, the spokeswoman said.
But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe has tried to ease tension.
Japan and China also have a dispute
over East China Sea islands known as
the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in
Japan-China ties remain cool despite Abe meeting Chinese President
Xi Jinping for the first time last November. South Korean President Park
Geun-hye has yet to have a two-way
summit with Abe.
Leaders of the three countries have
not met for what had been an annual
three-way summit since May 2012 but
their foreign ministers met last month,
raising hope for better relations between the economic powers.
Centenarian swims to a world record
A Japan Masters Swimming Association handout photo of Mieko
Nagaoka celebrating her win in Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture.
100-year-old Japanese woman has become the world’s first centenarian to
complete a 1,500m freestyle swim, 20
years after she took up the sport.
Mieko Nagaoka took just under an hour and 16
minutes to finish the race as the sole competitor in the 100-104-year-old category at a short
course pool in Ehime, western Japan, on Saturday.
“I want to swim until I turn 105 if I can live that
long,” the sprightly Nagaoka told Kyodo News.
Her achievement is expected to be recognised
by Guinness World Records, the agency reported.
Admirable though it is, Nagaoka’s time is a
little off the global pace; 18-year-old American
Katie Ledecky holds the women’s world record
for the 1,500m freestyle, having clocked just 15
minutes 28.36 seconds.
Nagaoka, who published a book last year entitled ‘I’m 100 years old and the world’s best active
swimmer’, is no stranger to the 1,500m race, having completed the distance at the age of 99 in an
Olympic-sized pool.
Nagaoka only took up swimming when she hit
80, one of the growing number of elderly Japanese who are enjoying longer and healthier lives
as the country ages.
There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in September last year, government figures
show - which means 46 out of every 100,000
people is 100 or over.
Among them are several who remain physically active long after many people have given up
the ghost.
They include sprinter Hidekichi Miyazaki,
who was 103 when he bagged the world record
for the 100-metre dash in the 100-104 age category, clocking up a respectable 29.83 seconds.
His late-blooming athletic prowess has seen him
dubbed ‘Golden Bolt’ - a reference to Jamaican
sprinter Usain Bolt.
Kite enthusiasts take part in an international kite festival in southwest China’s municipality of Chongqing, where
teams from 13 countries are showing off their kites and their flying skills.
Opposition grows over plans to ditch
Union Jack from Pacific flags
By Cheryl Norrie, DPA
ew Zealand Prime Minister
John Key and Fijian leader
Voreqe Bainimarama are calling for their nations to adopt new flags,
saying the current designs reflect their
colonial past rather than their current
Fiji’s pale blue flag with a union jack in
one corner and a coat of arms featuring
bananas, sugar cane, a lion and a dove,
was adopted when the country gained
independence from Britain in 1970.
Bainimarama has announced that
the country will begin flying a new
flag at Independence Day celebrations
on October 10. “The shield on our flag
has the British lion and the cross of St
George - a British patron saint. What
does this have to do with us?” Bainimarama said.
Citizens of both countries have been
invited to submit designs for new flags
to national committees.
In Fiji, which has had four military
coups since 1987, the parliamentary
opposition has branded the decision
to change the flag undemocratic and is
calling for a referendum on the issue.
Opposition legislator Ratu Isoa
Tikoca says the symbols on the current
flag reflect Britain’s historic contribution to Fiji’s development.
“What symbols can we use that
would truthfully reflect our history of
military takeovers? Should we include
guns, handcuffs (and) truncheons?”
The New Zealand government has
set in motion plans for a NZ$26mn
(US$19.7mn) two-stage referendum
to change the country’s flag.
Voters will be asked late this year to
select their favourite alternative from a
shortlist of three or four designs, and
to then choose between the preferred
design and the current flag, which features the Union Jack and the stars of
the Southern Cross, in an April 2016
Prime Minister Key says he favours
changing to a flag featuring a silver
fern, a motif which features on the kit
of national rugby team the All Blacks.
But military veterans have voiced
strenuous opposition to changing the
flag under which they served, particularly as they begin commemorating the
centenary of World War I.
“In World War I alone, 59,000
New Zealanders were either killed or
wounded under that flag and the connection to that is very powerful and to
have it just cast away, quite frankly on a
whim, is crazy,” said David Moger, chief
executive of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association.
“People say you serve the ideals, not
the flag. Well actually the flag is what
you wear, the flag is what is draped
over the coffins when they are brought
home, the flag is the final symbol that
is placed over the coffin at the final
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie
Bishop mentioned the strong connection that her country’s military had
with the flag when she told the BBC
last year that the government had no
plans to change it.
“It’s not an issue that actually draws
much attention in Australia,” she said.
Moger said adopting a new flag is
also not much of an issue in New Zea-
land, with a 2014 poll finding 72% of
people opposed to change.
Key has distanced the debate over
the flag from any move towards New
Zealand becoming a republic, and royalists are staying out of the debate.
“We have members on both sides
of the flag issue,” said Sean Palmer,
chairman of Monarchy New Zealand.
Of the 15 countries outside Britain
over which Queen Elizabeth reigns as
constitutional monarch, only three
have the Union Jack on their flag: Australia, New Zealand and the tiny island
nation of Tuvalu.
Lobby group Change the New Zealand
Flag is campaigning for a design that
better reflects the nation’s multicultural
society, and one which is more easily
distinguished from the Australian flag.
“The current flag simply represents
people who are of British descent and
that becomes problematic when you
look at the fact that we are a multicultural society,” spokesman Lewis
Holden said.
He said he personally favours a design
featuring the silver fern and the stars of
the Southern Cross constellation.
Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed a flag for the
country when he became a New Zealand citizen in 1983, featuring a Maori
koru design of unfurling fern frond,
but Holden said he has not heard many
people advocating its adoption.
“A lot of people have had their (favourite designs) made up into actual flags and they are out there flying
them, so it is going to be an interesting couple of years because you will
see more and more of those alternative
flags flying around the place.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Ukip leader battling for his future at elections
arely photographed without a drink in hand, Nigel
Farage has turned the UK
Independence Party into a national force but is battling for his
future at the May 7 election.
Anti-Brussels and anti-political correctness, Farage reminds
Ukip’s base of older, white, blue
collar voters of a bygone era when
the economy felt stronger, immigration was lower and Britain was
The charismatic 51-year-old,
who once compared ex-European
Council president Herman Van
Rompuy to a “damp rag”, led Ukip
to victory in last year’s European
elections and third place in opinion polls before May’s vote.
Once dismissed by Prime Minister David Cameron as a party
of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet
racists”, Ukip is now defending
two House of Commons seats and
looks set to take thousands of votes
nationwide from the main parties.
But while his “people’s army”
looks likely to win a handful of
seats nationally, this is unlikely
to be enough for them to call the
shots over a referendum on Britain
leaving the European Union.
And Farage, a former commodities trader, says he will
step down as party leader if he
does not win his own seat in the
seaside constituency of South
Farage was born in 1964 to an
affluent family in Kent, southeast
England. His father was a stockbroker and an alcoholic and his
parents divorced when he was five.
He was educated at one of England’s top private schools, Dulwich
College, where he says his headmaster saw him as “bloody-minded and difficult”.
Rather than attending university, he followed his father into the
City of London, where he says that
12-hour boozy lunches were the
Having supported the Conservatives since his school days,
he joined Ukip in 1993 as a founder
member and was elected to the
European Parliament in 1999, aged
Farage became Ukip’s leader
in 2006 before standing down in
2009 and then being re-elected
the following year, when Ukip’s
ascent really began.
He has survived a string of personal misfortunes - a serious car
accident, testicular cancer and a
plane crash as he was campaigning
during the 2010 general election.
Farage is married to a German
woman and has four children. His
interests include cricket and fishing.
Despite his wealthy background,
he prides himself on keeping up
with the concerns of ordinary
people in the “pubs, coffee mornings and yes, even the golf clubs of
Labour asks
Scotland not
to turn to SNP
out of anger
Guardian News and Media
he Scottish Labour leader
urged voters not to abandon his party out of anger
and protest but imagine the positive change an Ed Miliband government could bring.
Jim Murphy claimed disaffected
former supporters are being lured
into supporting the Scottish National party on a wave of apathy
and a rise in cynicism.
Faced by a continuing surge in
SNP support, leaving Labour trailing heavily in the polls, Murphy
launched a new pledge card promising a Labour government will
produce substantive change, at
an event in his East Renfrewshire
“We can vote out of anger, as a
protest, or we can vote with hope,
for change,” Murphy said. “It is
easy to ride a wave of anti-political
feeling, to tell scunnered (weary)
voters that they are all the same.”
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, will hope
to build on her acclaimed performance in last week’s leaders’
debate with the launch of a new
policy for pensioners, which
SNP MPs would press for at
With the polls suggesting the
SNP could win more than 40 of
Scotland’s 59 seats - potentially
making it as the third largest group
at Westminster, Sturgeon campaigned in the LibDem target seat
of East Dunbartonshire outside
Glasgow, currently held by the
junior employment minister, Jo
Sturgeon said: “Our pensioners
have contributed hugely to society,
and are entitled to get a fair deal in
their retirement in return.
“A strong team of SNP MPs
holding the balance of power will
ensure that the contribution older
people have made throughout
their lives is recognised - and will
deliver a new and better deal for
pensioners in Scotland.”
Murphy, insisting that another
Labour government with Gor-
don Brown as prime minister and
Alistair Darling as Chancellor
would have been quite different
than the five years just seen under
David Cameron, agreed Scots are
desperate for change.
He added: “We know Scotland
cannot afford another five years of
Tory government. But anyone can
tell you what is wrong. This election can’t just be about that. It has
to be about how we put it right,
who has the best plan, and who is
best placed to deliver that change.”
The Labour pledge card - a further repeat of the device first introduced by Tony Blair’s new Labour
in 1997, will offer 10 policy promises that will effectively serve as a
mini manifesto.
It will offer:
• An extra 1,000 nurses paid for
by the mansion tax
• More powers for the Scottish
parliament, particularly on benefits
• A guaranteed job or training
for young people
• A £1,600 grant for young people without a job, training or college place
• Raising the minimum wage to
over £8
• Guaranteeing the Treasury’s
Barnett formula to support public
• Increasing the poor-student
bursary by £1,000
• No tuition fees for Scottish
• Banning zero-hours contracts
• £175mn to help end dependence on foodbanks.
Murphy has struggled to
close a substantial 17-point gap
at national level between the
SNP and Labour despite unveiling a series of heavily funded
new policies, including one that
Scotland will see more than
£1bn in extra public spending if
Labour wins.
But Labour is hoping that these
pledges will help the party match
and overtake SNP support in its
40 constituencies, where polling by ComRes for ITV last week
suggested the gap between the
two parties was much closer, at six
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins residents for tea at the Westerton Care Home in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday.
‘Disenchanted’ Tory
candidate joins Ukip
ne of Prime Minister
David Cameron’s parliamentary candidates
yesterday said he had fallen
out with the Conservatives
and was switching his support
to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (Ukip) before a May
7 election.
The move by Mike Whitehead,
until last week the Conservative
candidate for the seat of Hull West in
northern England, is a morale boost
for Ukip, whose support in some
opinion polls has dipped after a series of racism and sexism scandals.
Ukip, which wants an immediate British withdrawal from
the EU and sharply lower immigration, hailed the switch as
a “hammer blow” to the Conservatives, who said they had
sacked Whitehead last week
over an internal party disagreement.
His defection is unlikely to
cause a political upset, however,
as the area is comfortably held by
the opposition Labour Party, and
neither the Conservatives nor
Ukip are expected to win it.
Whitehead, who is also a sitting Conservative local councillor,
said he had changed parties after
becoming disenchanted with local
Conservative politicians.
“I believe as a member of Ukip, I
will be able to speak up for the residents,” he said in a statement. “The
Conservative Party at national level
has declined to get involved in what
it sees as a remote internal squabble.”
Seeking to cast itself as a challenger to Cameron’s party in
southern England and to Labour
in northern England, Ukip said
ritain faces a crisis of political leadership because
voters believe that party
leaders across the board are failing to understand how the world
is changing “in the blink of an
eye”, a leading member of the
shadow cabinet has warned.
As political parties say they are
encountering high numbers of
undecided voters on the doorstep,
the shadow social care minister,
Liz Kendall, said that voters believe
“politicians don’t understand it,
don’t get it”.
In an interview with the Guardian, Kendall said: “There are lots of
people who are undecided. People
are worried about the future. They
don’t feel confident about their
incomes, or their kids’ chances
or their public services. They are
worried about what is going to
happen and they are looking for a
positive message that they can do
better and the country can do better.
“There are so many people who
are undecided because they see the
world changing so fast, because
they think politicians don’t understand it, don’t get it, don’t mean
what they say.”
Kendall, 43, who was elected
to parliament in 2010 as MP
for Leicester West, has been
marked out as a future modernising leadership candidate
for the Labour party, after
some thoughtful interventions
in which she called for a major
devolution of power. “The reason we want to devolve power is
I believe it as a matter of principle: people should have as much
power and control over their
lives as they can,” she says.
But such thinking often fails to
strike a chord on the doorstep as
Kendall encounters a challenge
faced, she believes, by politicians
of all stripes: unease about the
future and therefore uncertainty
about the political class as a whole.
In a day of campaigning in East
Anglia, Kendall met a series of undecided voters in the marginal seat
of Norwich North - a classic aspirational seat which easily fell into
the hands of New Labour in 1997
but which slipped from the party
in a 2009 by-election.
In a tour of a modern housing
development, where each property
had its own special features and
many boasted the sort of conservatories identified by New Labour
as a sign of a classic aspirational
voter, Kendall repeatedly heard
one word: undecided. One woman,
whose 20-year-old son works on a
zero hours’ contract, parroted Ed
Miliband’s thinking on the controversial contracts. But then the
voter said was undecided about
how she would vote on May 7.
Kendall understands why people
are so unsure. She told the Guardian: “When you can see companies
moving jobs, change in the blink of
an eye people rightly know what
on earth can any politician do to
address that.”
But the shadow cabinet minister
believes that Labour understands
this challenge and is responding
in two key ways that will pay off
on May 7. The party is engaging in
conversations with voters, rather
than blitzing areas as it did under
New Labour, and it is fashioning
policies to rebalance the economy.”
for Cameron to get re-elected.
Farage predicted on Sunday that
several lawmakers from Cameron’s
party would join Ukip’s ranks if the
prime minister renewed a coalition
with the pro-EU Liberal Democrats after next month’s election.
Two Conservative lawmakers
defected to Ukip last year, causing Cameron political embarrassment.
Whitehead will not become
Ukip’s parliamentary candidate
for the Hull seat because the party
already has one there, but he will
seek re-election as a councillor for
Labour attacks
Tories over tax plan
Voters believe politicians
‘don’t understand them’
Guardian News and Media
Whitehead’s defection proved its
strategy was working.
“His move to Ukip just underlines
that today, the real party of opposition to Labour in the north is Ukip.
It is another hammer blow to Tory
pretensions in the north of England,”
said Nigel Farage, Ukip’s leader.
Labour said the move was “another huge blow for David Cameron’s authority.”
Though Britain’s first-pastthe post electoral system means
Ukip is unlikely to win more than
a handful of seats, its popularity
threatens to split the right-wing
vote in particular, making it harder
Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg and
Liberal Democrat candidate Ed Davey hammer in an election banner while
campaigning in Surbiton, Kingston on Thames yesterday. Campaigning
is under way by the political parties ahead of the forthcoming general
election on May 7.
abour has accused Conservatives of planning a
secret tax cut for millionaires after the general election,
as the two parties traded blows
on the eighth day of campaigning.
Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the first day of the tax
year as “money-back Monday”,
as changes including a married
couples’ tax break, a rise in the
state pension and an increase to
£10,600 in income tax thresholds put more cash in voters’
But Labour insisted that voters have lost an average £1,100
each due to tax and benefit
changes under the coalition, as
“millions are paying more while
millionaires pay less”.
Speaking in Leeds, shadow
chancellor Ed Balls predicted
that a Conservative government
would hike VAT - something
Cameron has explicitly ruled out
- and cut the top rate of income
tax for earnings over £150,000
from 45p to 40p.
But Treasury Minister David
Gauke hit back with an accusation
that Labour has a secret plan to
boost revenues by dragging more
workers into the 40p higher rate
of income tax and increasing national insurance contributions.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick
Clegg blasted Labour’s policies as “economically illiterate”,
but also warned that Chancellor George Osborne was “a very
dangerous man” because of his
plan to balance the books by
spending cuts alone.
Cameron and Osborne, who
cut the top rate of income tax
from 50p to 45p in his 2012
Budget, each refused to rule out
a further cut to 40p in comments
on Sunday. They are expected to
come under further pressure on
the issue during campaigning.
Balls said: “We know that is
their secret plan - another big
tax cut for millionaires.
“How can it be fair when
families here in Leeds and across
the country are struggling and
£1,100 a year worse-off?
“How can it be fair to have a
tax cut for the very richest when
our NHS is in crisis and going
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Man dies after
stabbing at house
Hundreds of razors found
dumped in Thames river
Mills races to a
ski world record
Man arrested after
Toys R Us rampage
People forced to flee house
as family dog starts fire
A man has died after being attacked at a
house in Greater Manchester. The 52-year-old
suffered stab wounds and died in hospital,
shortly after police were called yesterday
to the house on Claybank Street, Heywood,
Greater Manchester following reports two
people had been assaulted. A 37-year-old
woman who was also at the house suffered
facial injuries. Enquiries to trace the offender
are ongoing, Greater Manchester Police
(GMP) said. Detective chief inspector John
Harris of GMP, said: “A man has tragically
been killed and we are working hard to locate
the offender.”
Thames river users have been urged to
take care after more than 500 razor blades
were found dumped in the water. The
discovery, made by a member of the public
on the foreshore in the Isleworth area of west
London, came as a group of schoolchildren
were taking part in a wildlife project nearby.
While most of the blades have now been
collected there may be some still out there,
Jon Beckett from the Port of London Authority
warned. “We are advising river users and
members of the public generally to take extra
care when they are near the foreshore of the
Thames in this area.”
Model-turned-entrepreneur Heather Mills has
claimed a new title - the fastest disabled woman
on skis. Mills, who lost the lower half of her left
leg and crushed her pelvis after she was knocked
down by a police motorcycle in 1993, set the new
world record last week in the Alpine resort of Vars
cheered on by a tight-knit team of supporters.
The 47-year-old told Hello! Magazine she was
“amazingly proud” after she hurtled down the
French mountain at 103.6mph. Mills carried a
good luck charm from her 11-year-old daughter
Beatrice - a small heart-shaped pebble, saying:
“She found it on one holiday in Long Island and
she gave it to me as a charm to keep me safe.”
A man who allegedly crashed his car and then
ran naked through a toy shop with a cricket
bat has been detained by police. The incident
happened at about 2.35pm on Sunday at the
Toys R Us store in Kingsway West, Dundee.
A female sustained a facial injury during the
disturbance and required medical attention.
Police confirmed the man was in “a state of
undress” at the time and are also investigating
a collision outside the premises prior to the
incident. Police Scotland said: “Anyone who
remembers seeing anything suspicious in or
around the store is asked to contact Police
Scotland immediately.”
A family dog sparked a huge fire at his
owners’ home by turning on the cooker. Leo, a
Staffordshire-Boxer cross, managed to burn down
the kitchen after switching on the hob at the
house in Peckham, south London. The owner’s
son and his girlfriend were forced to flee the
house and rescued Leo in the process. Following
an investigation, London Fire Brigade yesterday
announced that the blaze started when Leo
jumped up to the cooker and flicked a knob on the
front, which controls the hob. A child’s car booster
seat which was resting on the hob then caught fire.
Two fire crews were called to the blaze and it took
them 30 minutes to get it under control.
could kill
says govt
Basking in the sunshine
Prince Harry
in Australia
for spell
with military
p to 80,000 people could
die in an outbreak of a
drug-resistant infection
because of new superbugs, a government forecast has warned.
The report estimates that a
total of 200,000 people would
be expected to be infected by a
widespread bacterial blood infection that could not be treated
effectively with existing drugs.
Over the next two decades the
number of infections complicated by superbugs are expected to
rise significantly, according to a
Cabinet Office document.
The National Risk Register
of Civil Emergencies, which
provides guidance on potential
threats such as terror, flu and
natural disasters, notes that routine medical treatments could
become “high-risk” because of
the growing resistance to antibiotics.
The report states: “ An increasingly serious issue is the
development and spread of
AMR (anti-microbial resistance), which occurs when drugs
are no longer effective in treating infections caused by microorganisms.
“Without effective antibiotics, even minor surgery and routine operations could become
high-risk procedures, leading to
increased duration of illness and
ultimately premature mortality.
“Much of modern medicine (for
example, organ transplantation,
bowel surgery and some cancer
treatments) may become unsafe
due to the risk of infection.
“In addition, influenza pandemics would become more
serious without effective treatments.”
The assessment, which was
published on March 27, continues: “The numbers of infections
complicated by AMR are expected to increase markedly over the
next 20 years. If a widespread
outbreak were to occur, we could
expect around 200,000 people to be affected by a bacterial
blood infection that could not
be treated effectively with existing drugs, and around 80,000 of
these people might die”.
Two women take a selfie under cherry blossom in St James’s Park, central London,
yesterday as England basks in higher-than-expected temperatures on Easter Monday.
Asbestos exposure risk
at schools highlighted
arents should be aware
that children can still be
exposed to asbestos in
schools, a union has warned.
Many teachers do not know
whether their school contains
the substance - which can
cause a slow-developing cancer, mesothelioma.
Recent figures obtained
through freedom of information requests suggest that
around 86% of school building
contain asbestos, according to
the National Union of Teachers
(NUT) with those built between
1945 and 1975 most likely to be
A small-scale poll conducted
by the union found that 44% of
members questioned said they
do not know if their school or
college contains asbestos - often found in ceiling and floor
tiles, or window and door
frames, while 46% said they
had been told that it does and
about 10% said they had been
told that it did not.
One teacher said the first
they knew about the substance in their classroom was
when a caretaker came in with
a pot and paintbrush and said
he was sealing the asbestos
Another said: “Someone
drilled a hole in (the asbestos)
to put a clock up.”
Figures suggest that between
200 and 300 former schoolchildren die of mesothelioma
each year, along with rising
number of teachers, NUT
deputy general secretary Kevin
Courtney said.
He added that 22 teachers
died from the disease in 2012,
up from three in 1980.
Sarah Lyons, the NUT’s lead
on asbestos, said that questions
over asbestos in schools should
be asked, particularly because
children are more vulnerable
as they have more life ahead of
“Mesothelioma is a cancer
that develops over a long period
of time, 30 to 60 years, so the
younger you are when you’re
exposed, the more at risk you
Asked if parents should
ask their schools about the
issue, she agreed that they
“As a union we are equally
concerned for children as we
are for teachers and support
staff, but the dangers for children are more acute because
they’ve got more life ahead of
Lyons added that the issue
has always been a concern, but
added: “The asbestos that’s in
our schools now is getting older
and older, so it’s deteriorating
and if it’s in a poor condition
then it’s in a more dangerous
The poll also found that 20%
of teachers were aware that
children are more at risk than
adults, due to the long latency
period for developing mesothelioma.
The NUT poll questioned 201
members in March.
rince Harry reported for
duty with the Australian
army yesterday to begin an
“authentic” experience featuring bush patrols and indigenous
engagement, as he prepares to
retire from the British military.
Hundreds of well-wishers
turned out to see the 30-yearold prince at the National War
Memorial in Canberra - the one
scheduled public event of his
visit - before he met with the
head of the Australian Defence
Force (ADF), Air Chief Marshal
Mark Binskin.
Wearing a white dress uniform, he reported for duty at
Duntroon Military College, delivering a letter to Binskin from
Queen Elizabeth II in which she
wrote her grandson would “benefit greatly from spending time
with the Australian diggers”.
After jetting in from Sydney,
Prince Harry arrived to cheers
from the crowd of some 1,000
people at the war memorial in
Canberra where he laid a wreath
on the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier and toured galleries on
World War I and Afghanistan.
The energetic royal then
waved off the option of an umbrella and spent time greeting
the crowd outside despite drizzling rain.
As some chanted “Harry, Harry,
Harry”, the prince made his way
around the barricades, and spoke
to a ginger-haired child with a
poster reading “Redheads Rule”.
“He said that I was fabulous
in making the sign and it’s awesome to be a redhead,” a delighted Ethan Toscan, 12, told
Gearing up for the race
Prince Harry reacts after shaking hands with kids holding up a
sign reading ‘Red Heads Rule’ during a visit to the Australian War
Memorial in Canberra yesterday.
Australian Associated Press.
“I’m over the moon - it’s just
wow! I got to shake his hand!”
During his time Down Under,
Captain Wales, as he is known in
the British army, will be embedded with Australian army units
and regiments in Sydney, Darwin
and Perth.
“He is expected to take part
in a range of unit-based activities and training exercises,” the
Australian Defence Force said in
a statement announcing his arrival last week.
“These will include urban
training exercises, regional bush
patrols, flight simulation and
aviation activities, joint fire exercises and indigenous engagement activities.”
The prince, who has flown
Apache helicopters for Britain,
has reportedly also asked to fly
choppers in Australia. A defence
official has said checks would
need to be carried out first.
Building on Prince Harry’s interest in veterans affairs, oppor-
Ex-US envoy warns
over defence cuts
The Oxford Men’s rowing team pass under Putney Bridge
as they take part in a training session on the Thames river
in London yesterday.
tunities to meet with wounded,
injured and ill service personnel
will also be provided while in
The Australian military said
it hopes to provide the prince
with “an authentic military experience in the Australian army”,
adding that it will include routine activities, such as physical
training, first aid training and
pack marches.
The Australian army attachment comes as Prince Harry, a
graduate from the elite Sandhurst military academy who
served twice in Afghanistan, has
announced his departure from
the British Army.
“After a decade of service,
moving on from the army has
been a really tough decision,” he
said last month, revealing he will
quit in June.
“The experiences I have had
over the last 10 years will stay
with me for the rest of my life.
For that I will always be hugely
uts to Britain’s defence
spending are emboldening Washington’s adversaries on the global stage, John
Bolton, former US ambassador
to the United Nations, said in
a newspaper article yesterday,
calling for a sharp rise in London’s military capabilities.
staunch US ally, is in the process of reducing its armed forces
by around a sixth to help cut a
large budget deficit. The reforms
will leave the army with 82,000
soldiers in 2018, its smallest size
since the Napoleonic Wars, and
down from 102,000 in 2010.
Ahead of an election on May 7,
Prime Minister David Cameron
and the opposition Labour Party
have refused to guarantee London will continue to spend 2%
of its gross domestic product on
Bolton, who served as UN
ambassador in the Republican
administration of then president George W Bush, said Brit-
ain’s stance risked hurting the
“Our mutual adversaries immediately assume, all too accurately, that a weakened Britain
reflects a weakened America,
and they are emboldened,” Bolton wrote in the Daily Telegraph
Citing the direction of Russia and China and the situation
in the Middle East, Bolton said
Britain’s defence cuts and proposed cuts “could not come at a
worse time, politically and militarily.”
Bolton’s intervention is the
latest in a series of warnings
from US politicians and military
figures. Senior former and serving British military commanders
have made similar pleas.
Cameron has rejected US
criticism in the past, saying the
country is engaged in a “massive” investment programme
that will deliver new aircraft
carriers, nuclear submarines,
destroyers and frigates.
A spokeswoman at the ministry of defence said she could not
comment because it was a political matter.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Poland plans six
towers at border
Poland will build six watchtowers
to survey its 200km border
with the Russian enclave of
Kaliningrad, the police said
The six towers will be up to
50m high and ready in June for
round-the-clock surveillance,
the spokeswoman for Poland’s
border police told the PAP news
They will cost more than 14mn
zloty (€3.7mn, $3.8mn), Miroslawa
Aleksandrowicz said, adding that
75% of the amount would come
from an EU fund for external
Kaliningrad is near the Baltic Sea,
sandwiched between Poland and
Lithuania, both EU members.
Lithuania’s President Dalia
Grybauskaite said last month that
Russia had sent nuclear-capable
Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad,
which could “reach even Berlin”.
Russia’s seizure and annexation
of Crimea, support for separatists
in eastern Ukraine and steppedup military drills have caused
unease in the Baltic states and
Poland, which lay behind the Iron
Curtain a quarter of a century
More than 3mn Russians and an
equal number of Poles passed
through border posts to heavily
militarised Kaliningrad last year.
Russia expands
defences in Arctic
Russia is expanding its military
presence in the Arctic by
stationing surface-to-air missile
systems, Major-General Kirill
Makarov told local media
MiG-31 fighter jets will also be
deployed in the mineral-rich
region, along with a new radar
station on the island of Novaya
Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean, he
The Russian military has
increased its foothold in the farnorth in recent years as Moscow
has made claims to large swathes
of the Arctic seabed with the aim
of securing lucrative oil and gas
The Arctic has become more
navigable due to melting sea
ice, which has led to contesting
territorial claims from countries.
Blast at Microsoft
offices in Athens
A small bomb exploded outside
the Athens offices of software
giant Microsoft yesterday,
causing damage but no injuries,
the Athens News Agency said.
No group claimed responsibility
for the early morning incident,
which damaged the building’s
It is the second time in three
years that Microsoft’s offices
in the Greek capital have been
In 2012, the anarchist group
calling itself Informal Anarchist
Federation International
Revolutionary Front, drove a
minivan packed with explosives
into the entrance.
Turkey blocks Twitter,
Facebook and YouTube
urkey has blocked access
to Twitter, Facebook and
YouTube over the publication of images of a Turkish
prosecutor killed by leftist militants during a hostage stand-off
last week.
The online sites were inaccessible for many users in Turkey,
with the Hurriyet newspaper
saying that service providers
got an order from prosecutors to
block those three Internet giants
as well as other websites.
The authorities had set a
deadline of four hours for the offending content to be removed.
Tayfur Acarer, head of country’s telecommunications authority (TIB), told Hurriyet that
only Facebook had complied
with the deadline and access to
the social network was restored
accordingly. ran the text of a
court ruling on its site, saying an
“administration measure” had
been implemented by TIB.
The ban on Twitter was later
lifted after Twitter complied
with Turkey’s request to remove
the photographs.
“Twitter has agreed to shut
down accounts and remove images relating to last week’s hostage-taking. The website will
reopen to access very shortly,” a
senior official said. “Users across
Turkey will be able to access the
site within the hour.”
Hurriyet said the order
blocked a total of 166 websites
which published the images, including those three.
Publication of any material
related to the hostage stand-off
amounted to “terrorist propaganda” inciting people to “hatred and violence” and disturbing the public order, the court
ruling read.
The ban was widely circumvented as well as mocked by
many of Turkey’s almost 12mn
Twitter users, with one user
named @BinaShah writing:
“Come Turkey, and disconnect
(possible new tourism slogan).”
Twitter also wrote on its @
policy account: “We are aware
of reports of interruption of our
service in #Turkey and we are
working to restore access for our
This file picture taken on March 21 last year shows an error message when access to Twitter was
users as soon as possible.
The hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey quickly made
it to Twitter’s top world trending topics.
Prosecutor Mehmet Selim
Kiraz and his two captors linked
to the Marxist Revolutionary
People’s Liberation Party-Front
(DHKP-C) were killed after a
shootout at a courthouse in Istanbul last Tuesday.
The DHKP-C had published
pictures showing one of the
militants – his face concealed
by a scarf with the group’s red
and yellow insignia – holding a
gun to the hostage’s head in the
prosecutor’s offices.
The images were circulated on
social media while the siege was
going on and were published by
several Turkish newspapers as
well as news websites.
A day after the stand-off,
Turkish prosecutors launched a
probe into four newspapers for
disseminating “terrorist propaganda” after they published the
controversial images.
Turkey’s presidential spokes-
man Ibrahim Kalin said yesterday that the bans were “to do
with the publishing of the prosecutor’s picture”, describing it as
“What happened in the aftermath is as sad as the incident itself ... There is no such freedom
anywhere in the world,” he told a
news conference in Ankara.
Kalin said that a prosecutor had demanded the block
because some media organisations had acted “as if they were
spreading terrorist propaganda”
in sharing the images of the hostage-taking.
“This has to do with the
publishing of the prosecutor’s
picture. What happened in the
aftermath is as grim as the incident itself,” Kalin said. “The
demand from the prosecutor’s
office is that this image not be
used anywhere in electronic
“The wife and children of
prosecutor Kiraz have been
deeply upset. The images are
everywhere,” the Turkish official
earlier said.
Vatican City
Francis: (The victims of
attacks) are our martyrs of
today, and they are many.
ope Francis has called on
the world to give tangible
help to persecuted Christians, highlighting the plight of
people he described as modern
“martyrs” after nearly 150 people
were killed by Islamist militants
in Kenya.
Addressing crowds in bright
sunshine at Saint Peter’s Square
in the Vatican after four days of
special Easter services, the Pontiff listed the evils inflicted on
people for their faith and exhorted the international community
to act.
“These are our martyrs of today, and they are many. We can
say that there are more of them
now than there were in the early
centuries. I hope the international community does not look
on, mute and inert, at such an
unacceptable crime,” Francis
In Kenya on Thursday, gunmen
from the Al Qaeda-aligned group
Shebaab targeted Christians for
execution after storming the
Garissa University College campus, some 200km (120 miles)
from the Somali border.
Kenyan churches have responded to the attack by hiring armed guards, as the massacre resonated throughout the
church’s weekend commemoration of Jesus’s crucifixion.
Francis has expressed alarm
about the targeting of Christians
for their faith, and decried incidents including the decapitation
Germany to boost embassy security
he German government
plans to spend millions
of euros on boosting security at its embassies and consulates in crisis regions to provide greater protection from the
threat of attacks by militants,
Spiegel Online reported yesterday.
It cited an internal paper from
the foreign ministry as saying
that the security situation for
German representations abroad
had recently worsened.
The document also said that
the situation in Iraq was “dramatically” coming to a head
European Parliament member Marietje Schaake of the
Netherlands took to Twitter to
condemn the ban as “another
disproportionate response restricting press freedom”.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had caused controversy
after he revealed that he had
personally denied accreditation
to the funeral of Kiraz for media
organisations who had used the
and also mentioned the consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s
Kurdistan region.
The German foreign ministry did not give any immediate
comment when contacted by
Spiegel Online cited the
document as saying that increasing dangers meant that it
was necessary to adjust security arrangements and that the
country’s representative offices
abroad urgently needed improved protection.
It said new threats, such as
attacks where suicide bombers
clear the way to well-secured
buildings and are then followed
by armed groups and attacks
using unmanned drones, had
been identified as additional
challenges that required immediate action.
An advisory mission from the
foreign ministry should quickly
review the safety of embassies,
it said.
The Spiegel Online article
said that the foreign ministry
had also asked the police and
the BKA federal crime bureau to
come up with measures to provide protection from potential
drone attacks.
The investment programme
to increase security is already
underway in some locations, the
article said.
It said the German embassy
in Baghdad was being remodelled and fitted with improved
protection at a cost of €12mn
($13.20mn), while the consulate
in Erbil was getting a more robust exterior wall.
German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier is also
planning to provide greater protection for employees when they
are out and about in crisis areas,
the article said, adding that new
armoured vehicles for the most
dangerous areas, such as Kabul
and Erbil, would be paid for out
of an investment fund worth
around €200mn.
The report also said that the
foreign ministry wanted to invest millions of euros in new
technology to provide improved
encryption for electronic communications.
image of the captive prosecutor.
“Freedom of the press is as
important as mourning and respect. Freedom of the press is as
important as not playing into the
hands of terrorist propaganda,”
the prime minister said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP) have
been repeatedly criticised for
using court orders to block critical websites, topping a Google
table for content removal requests.
Last year the search engine
also accused Turkey of intercepting its Internet domain, redirecting users to other sites.
The government blocked
Twitter and YouTube in March
2014 after they were used to
spread a torrent of audio record-
ings implicating Erdogan – then
premier – and his inner circle in
an alleged corruption scandal.
Turkey’s parliament last
month approved legislation to
tighten the government’s control over the Internet by allowing it to block websites without
prior judicial authorisation,
sparking outrage both at home
and abroad.
Erdogan has also made no
secret of his disdain for social
networks, comparing them to
a “murderer’s knife” and once
famously vowing to “eradicate”
Turkey filed over five times
more content-removal requests
to Twitter than any other country in the second half of 2014,
data published in February by
the micro-blogging site showed.
Head of Turkish grid operator resigns after massive power cut
The head of Turkey’s national grid operator has resigned after a crippling nationwide power cut, Energy
Minister Taner Yildiz said yesterday, blaming the
company for having taken “too many risks”.
“We have found out that five power distribution lines
as well as the lines between the east and the west
were disabled within microseconds,” Yildiz told a news
conference in Ankara a week after Turkey’s worst
power outage in 15 years.
He added that human error in addition to a technical
fault had caused the blackout and that Kemal Yildir
had resigned “after holding himself responsible”.
Several of the company’s staff have also been sacked,
the minister said, adding that “our friends might have
taken too many risks”.
Pope calls on world to defend Christians
Spain’s PM Rajoy
seeks re-election
Spain’s conservative Prime
Minister Mariano Rajoy said
yesterday that he will seek reelection in this year’s national
“I’d like to be a candidate again
and try and become prime
minister again,” Rajoy told public
radio RNE.
This is the first time Rajoy – the
head of the governing Popular
Party who has been in power
since 2011 – clearly stated he
would be running in November’s
general election.
Erdogan: has famously vowed to ‘eradicate’ Twitter.
of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya in
During yesterday’s address,
the Pope called for “concrete
participation and tangible help to
defend and protect our brothers
and sisters who are persecuted,
exiled, killed, beheaded, solely
because they are Christians”.
The leader of the world’s 1.2bn
Catholics has said the international community would be justified in using military force as
a last resort to stop “unjust aggression” perpetrated by Islamic
State militants.
The Vatican’s official preacher,
Father Raniero Cantalamessa,
said on Friday that there was a
“disturbing indifference” among
world institutions and in public
opinion to the killing of Christians.
Lufthansa was ‘not
obligated’ to report
Lubitz’s depression
Lufthansa said yesterday that it
was not required to inform German aviation authorities about
Andreas Lubitz’s former depression because he qualified as a
pilot before stricter reporting
rules went into effect in 2013.
Lubitz, a co-pilot at Lufthansa’s
budget division Germanwings,
is believed to have deliberately
crashed his Germanwings plane
into the French Alps and killed
150 people.
The question of what Lufthansa
knew about any psychiatric
problems may be a factor in its
liability in the crash.
The Luftfahrtbundesamt (LBA),
the relevant German authority,
on Sunday said that it had “no information at all” before the crash
about Lubitz’s depression.
The power company’s chief Yildir had told reporters
after his resignation that his staff had acted without
his authority, causing what he described as an accident.
The day-long cut – the worst since the earthquake of
1999 – deprived most of the country of electricity last
Tuesday, hitting some 50 provinces of the country’s
81 provinces, from the Greek border to those in the
southeast neighbouring Iran and Iraq.
The power cut halted metro services in Turkey’s
major cities, including Istanbul and the capital Ankara,
created huge traffic jams and inflicted losses on businesses.
The authorities had said all possible causes were
under investigation, including terrorism.
Ukraine far-right
leader appointed
military adviser
he controversial leader
of Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist Pravy Sektor
paramilitary group, which is
fighting pro-Russian rebels
alongside government troops,
was made an army adviser yesterday as Kiev seeks to tighten
its control over volunteer
Dmytro Yarosh, 43, a hate
figure in Moscow who was
elected to Ukraine’s parliament
last year, was named adviser to
the army chief of staff Viktor
Muzhenko, the defence ministry said.
“Dmytro Yarosh will act as
a link between the volunteer
battalions and the General
Staff,” armed forces spokesman Oleksiy Mazepa told AFP.
“We want to achieve full unity
in the struggle against the enemy, because now our aim is
the co-operation and integration of volunteer battalions in
the armed forces.”
Dozens of Ukraine militia groups have been fighting
on both sides of the frontline
since the war began a year ago
this week, with those loyal to
the government more or less
under Kiev’s control.
Pravy Sektor, or Right Sector, are highly-trained and
known for their tough discipline and ban on drinking alcohol.
The group dates back to the
street fights of the Maidan
protests in Kiev and has sent
units to some of the hottest
flashpoints on the frontline in
Ukraine’s year-long war.
Yarosh is widely reviled in
the separatist east and Russian
media as a far-right bogeyman
and is wanted by the authorities in Moscow on an international warrant for “incitement
to terrorism”.
He was injured in January in
fighting around Donetsk airport, which finally fell to the
separatists after months of
A spokesman for the nationalist hardliner told AFP that
Pravy Sektor would remain
“autonomous” from government control but would now
receive funds from the defence
“Our combatants will be
well-armed from now on as up
until now equipment was supplied by volunteers,” said Artem Skoropadskiy.
Pravy Sektor, which includes
a political party that was
founded in March last year as
well as its military battalions,
“is nationalist not fascist”,
Yarosh told AFP in an interview.
It rose to prominence during the Maidan protests and
claims roots in the controversial legacy of Ukraine’s World
War II nationalists, who have
been accused of collaboration
with the Nazis.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Fraudsters misusing
my name, says Hazare
Four held for killing
ex-gangster in Gurgaon
Fabindia store manager
gets anticipatory bail
Modi greets BJP on
party’s foundation day
Congress condemns
remarks by minister’s wife
Social activist Anna Hazare yesterday blew the
whistle on what he termed as “fraudsters” misusing
his name for personal gains. “I have got many
complaints about some people misrepresenting
themselves as my workers and cheating the
people...,” Hazare said in a statement. Claiming to
be part of the anti-corruption movement, these
elements contend that they have been appointed
on various state, district or sub-district committees
as Hazare’s representatives, the 77-year-old leader
said. “I wish to inform the public that since the past
two years, all committees of the anti-corruption
movement have been dissolved and nobody
has been nominated to any official government
committees,” Hazare said.
A 21-year-old gangster has been arrested in
Gurgaon along with his three accomplices for
killing one of their former gang members who
had become a rival. Police said yesterday that
Akash Yadav, 21, who had also gunned down
his schoolmate in Gurgaon nearly eight years
ago, was arrested for another murder along
with his accomplices. Yadav alias Ashu, Manish
alias Goga, Manjeet alias Monu and Ashok alias
Mental, all in the age group of 19-25, have been
arrested for killing Manish alias Bihari on March
24. Bihari,23, once used to be a friend of the
main accused Yadav. But he turned Yadav’s rival
and was allegedly shot dead by Yadav and his
A Goa court yesterday granted anticipatory bail
to Chaitrali Sawant, manager of a Fabindia outlet,
where federal minister Smriti Irani on Friday found
a CCTV camera suspiciously placed near the
trial room. Sawant has been missing since a local
Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, on the instructions
of Irani, filed a First Information Report blaming
Fabindia for setting up the intrusive CCTV. While
granting Sawant anticipatory bail, the Judicial
Magistrate First Class in Mapusa town asked her
to co-operate with the investigation. Four junior
employees of the Fabindia store were arrested on
Friday and released on bail the following day, even
as the company - while denying any wrongdoing issued an apology to the minister.
More than 10 months after he led the Bharatiya
Janata Party to a sweeping election victory,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday
greeted party activists on its 35th birth
anniversary. “On the BJP’s ‘Sthapana Diwas’,
my greetings to all the BJP ‘karyakartas’ and
well-wishers,” the prime minister said in a
tweet. “BJP’s phenomenal growth is due to the
efforts and hard work of generations of selfless
‘karyakartas’ who devoted their lives to our
nation,” he said. The BJP, which now rules the
country, would “leave no stone unturned to
fulfil people’s aspirations and create an India
that is strong, developed and inclusive,” Modi
The Congress yesterday criticised the wife of
Goa cabinet minister for her comments that
Western culture causes rape and imploring
Hindus not to send their children to convents.
The comments were made by Lata Dhavalikar,
wife of Minister for Factories and Boilers
Deepak Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi
Gomantak Party, which is a part of the alliance
government headed by the Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP). “This is a clear attempt to divide
the state and country on religious lines. Linking
rape to the Western culture and exhorting
parents against sending their wards to convent
schools reveals a sick mentality,” Congress
spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said.
CBI seeks
details of
Many nurses
in Yemen not
ready to come
back: minister
he Central Bureau of Investigation,
the multi-billion rupee
Saradha chit fund scam, has sent
a notice seeking details of the accounts of West Bengal’s ruling
Trinamool Congress.
In the notice addressed to Trinamool general secretary Subrata
Bakshi, the CBI has sought details
about the party’s income and expenditure since 2010, asking him
to reply within seven days.
Trinamool secretary general
Partha Chatterjee said the party
would reply after receiving the
“Every day we get thousands
of letters and we reply to those
which we find are worthy of a reply. If we come across such a notice and it deserves a reply we will
do that,” Chatterjee said iterating the party’s stand that the CBI
was working at the behest of the
Bharatiya Janata Party.
The notice comes days after
the Trinamool got a phone call
from the agency, prompting the
party to cry foul.
“The CBI has lost all credibility. It is acting at the behest of a
political party before the civic
elections. We announced a protest programme against the land
bill on April 8. Shortly after that,
the CBI called up our office,”
Chatterjee had said on April 2, the
day it got the phone call.
The agency had earlier sent
the notice to sidelined Trinamool leader Mukul Roy who was
the general secretary of the party
before his eventual removal from
the post in February.
Roy, a Trinamool Rajya Sabha
member, had reportedly asked
the CBI to contact Bakshi over
the issue as he was no more the
general secretary.
On March 18, Bakshi wrote to
Roy asking for documents and
statements relating to the party’s
communications with the state
and central election panels and
original copies of the party’s
audited accounts among other
Replying to Bakshi’s letter, Roy
on April 3 gave details of the party’s audited accounts from 2005
to 2014.
Kerala urges central
government to ensure that all
flights that come into Mumbai
are re-directed to Kochi
A woman evacuated from Yemen hugs her son after arriving at the Mumbai international airport
Motorcycle rider beaten to
death in Delhi road rage
New Delhi
motorcyclist was beaten
to death by five people in
a case of road rage even as
his sons, who witnessed the incident, unsuccessfully tried to get
police to intervene. One of the accused was arrested yesterday.
Shahnawaz, a resident of Mata
Sundari Road in central Delhi,
was returning home from a family
function with his two sons, when
his motorcycle was hit by a car
near Turkman Gate in Daryaganj,
police said.
The incident took place around
11.30pm on Sunday. Shahnawaz
owned an electrical shop on Mata
Sundari Road while his parents
lived near Turkman Gate in the
old quarter of Delhi, barely a few
metres from the scene of the accident.
Alleging police inaction, nearly
300 members of Shahnawaz’s
family, relatives and neighbours,
sat on protest on the busy road
demanding action against the ac-
cused, who they alleged were local builders.
Soon after the incident, the
family members and relatives
gathered and protested against
the authorities.
They also set on fire some vehicles near the home of the accused
in Turkman Gate area hours after
the incident.
Fearing escalation of tension
yesterday, police stepped up security in the area.
Delhi Police Commissioner B
S Bassi said one person has been
“Mohamed Wasim has been
arrested and the hunt for the other four is on,” he told reporters.
The five men were in the car
which slightly bumped into
Shahnawaz’s bike from the side
on Sunday night.
Witnesses said the driver of the
car told Shahnawaz to move his
bike, but when he said he was unable to do so due to heavy traffic, a
heated argument ensued.
The car’s occupants then came
out and started beating him.
Shahnawaz’s sons Fahad, 13
and Kaif, 9, who were riding pillion, tried to rescue their father
but were pushed aside and also
They pleaded with other motorists for help but no one came to
their rescue.
Seeing their father being beaten
up, the two rushed to the police
post situated across the road.
The family alleged that the boys
pleaded with two policemen there
to help but to no avail.
The children then went running to their grandparents’ house
and told them about the incident.
The victim’s 50-year-old
mother Noorjahan said by the
time the family reached the spot,
it was too late.
The family members rushed the
heavily bleeding Shahnawaz, who
was lying on the road, to the nearby Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Hospital
where he was declared dead. The
accused had fled by that time.
Crying bitterly, Noorjahan
said: “I fed him food minutes before they killed him... those cruel
people killed my son. They should
be arrested soon.”
ery few Kerala nurses in
violence-hit Yemen want
to return to India, a minister said here yesterday.
“There are 45 Kerala nurses
working in Yemen’s Mabar area.
I got a call from them. They said
only 10 are willing to return,”
Minister for Diaspora K C Joseph
Joseph was speaking after a
meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy with representatives of those who have
returned from Yemen.
“Our request to all Keralites in
Yemen is that they should use the
evacuation arrangements and return. Things could change for the
worse and later things might become difficult,” Joseph said.
Joseph said he had spoken to
Indian ambassador in Yemen on
Sunday night about the situation
in that country.
“Every day there are four
flights that evacuate Indians
from Sanaa airport to Djibouti.
And from there Indians are being
flown to Mumbai and Kochi.
“We have now requested the
central government to see that
all flights that come into Mumbai be re-directed to Kochi,” said
“They are returning after a
lot of hardships. These flights
should at least be extended to
Kochi so that they are not distressed further,” the minister
Film shoot
Some organisations in Yemen,
mainly hospitals, are refusing to
return the passports and allow
employees to leave. Indian diplomatic mission in Yemen is in
touch with these employers and
ensure their release.
Joseph said 180 nurses struck
in Al Kuwait University Hospital of Sanaa had appealed to the
chief minister for immediate
They said their passports were
with the hospital authorities and
they had not received their salary for over three months. “They
do not have any money to even
reach the airport.”
The minister denied reports
that Saudi Arabia had given a
five-day deadline for Indians to
leave as the humanitarian crisis
was worsening.
Yesterday a batch of 574 people was evacuated from Yemen’s
capital Sanaa by Air India, and
the massive co-ordinated efforts
launched by various ministries,
including the external affairs
ministry, got a pat on the back
from Prime Minister Narendra
Modi who took to Twitter to express his appreciation.
spokesman Syed Akbaruddin
tweeted: “Exceeding previous
efforts. Evacuation by Air India
today from Sanaa was highest
thus far. 574 persons head from
Yemen to Djibouti.”
India has evacuated over 3,000
of its nationals from Yemen so far
by air and sea.
India also received requests
from 23 countries, including
Bangladesh, France, Germany,
US and Sri Lanka, to help evacuate their citizens from strifetorn Yemen, which is witnessing continuing fighting between
Police hunt for terror
suspects in Telangana
Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, face covered in a hood,
waves towards fans as he leaves after finishing the
on-location shoot for a film in Mumbai yesterday.
the Shia Houthi rebels and the
Saudi Arabia-led coalition of 10
nations, which has launched air
strikes in the country.
Prime Minister Modi in a series of tweets praised the repatriation efforts as well as that of
his two ministers, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and
Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh.
“Salute the services of our civilian & defence officials & organisations in helping evacuate
our citizens from Yemen. Continue your efforts!
“Seamless co-operation between organisations- MEA,
Navy, Air Force, Air India, Shipping, Railways & State Govts
greatly helped in rescue work.”
“Colleagues @SushmaSwaraj
& @Gen_VKSingh (who has been
on the ground for days), have coordinated evacuation efforts in
an exemplary manner.”
He said the evacuation efforts
in Yemen “reflect willingness to
serve our people & readiness to
help others in distress, which is
India’s ethos.”
“I am also glad that India has
rescued several non-Indian citizens from Yemen,” the prime
minister said.
Swaraj also tweeted: “Twenty
three countries have requested
India to evacuate their citizens
from Yemen.”
On Sunday, Swaraj tweeted
that India would evacuate all
Indian nationals from Yemen.
“Nobody will be left behind for
want of travel documents.”
She also said all Indian nationals have been evacuated from the
southern Yemeni port of Aden.
“The evacuation from Aden is
complete - thanks to Indian
olice in Telangana yesterday continued combing operations for one more terror
suspect believed to be holed up in
Nalgonda district, where two operatives of the banned Students
Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
were killed in a gunfight on Saturday.
Six police teams and personnel of the elite anti-Maoist force
Greyhounds are participating in
the large-scale operations at different places in Nalgonda districts and also a part of neighbouring Warangal district.
Armed policemen were seen
checking vehicles on the roads
and frisking people at different
places especially around Arvapally where the two assailants
were thought to be hiding after
gunning down two policemen at
Suryapet town on April 2.
The attackers were killed in a
gunfight with police on April 4
at Janakipuram. A policeman was
killed and two officers were injured.
Police suspect that a third suspect may still be hiding in the
area. The suspicion grew stronger
after Delhi-Hyderabad AP Express train ticket was found on
the body of one of the two SIMI
operatives. The ticket indicates
that a suspect reached Hyderabad
by the train on April 2.
Police were trying to find out
if a third suspect joined the two
a day after the firing at Suryapet.
It is not clear if the same suspect
was killed in the gunfight or he is
still at large.
Since two suspects were seen
carrying laptops and other articles at Suryapet and only two
mobile phones were found on the
bodies on Saturday, investigators
are also trying to find out if they
managed to hand over the items
to the third suspect.
Officials of the Intelligence Bureau and National Investigation
Agency (NIA) have also joined the
The Telangana government had
initially denied that the assailants
had any links with terrorists but
the police have confirmed that
they were indeed operatives of
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
India can never
become a tax
haven: Jaitley
New Delhi
ndia will neither promote tax
terrorism nor can it become
a tax haven, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said yesterday, pledging a fair compliance
window to those with ill-gotten
money overseas to come clean,
and a moderate tax regime to obviate such practices.
Addressing the annual session
of the Confederation of Indian
Industry (CII), the finance minister also promised to introduce a
bill on pan-India goods and services tax in the ensuing parliament
session and a recast of laws that
were preventing decision-making process in bureaucracy.
“A very reasonable
compliance window
will come for those
who indulged in such
misadventure in the past”
In the speech that addressed
a host of issues pertaining to the
corporate sector, as also some of
the contemporary matters faced
by his government, Jaitley conceded that the present Companies Act was posing irritants and
that the previous law proposed
on land acquisition was antirural India.
“We’re not a tax haven. We
don’t expect to be one. India
isn’t so vulnerable that every demand is termed tax terrorism,”
Jaitley said with his comments
coming in the wake of tax notices served on foreign funds for
periods before 2012-13 and on
companies for acquisition deals
made overseas.
On the issue of black mon-
ey stashed by Indians abroad,
the finance minister said even
though the Undisclosed Foreign
Income and Assets (Imposition
of Tax) Bill of 2015 had been tabled by him in the Lok Sabha
last month, there was room for
changes and welcomed suggestions on it.
“A very reasonable compliance
window will come for those who
indulged in such misadventure in
the past.” The new bill calls for
300% penalty on the amount of
black money abroad along with
rigorous imprisonment of up to
10 years for perpetrators.
At the same time, the bill
also has some amnesty provisions to bring such money back
from abroad, allowing people
to declare such assets within a
prescribed time period, pay tax
on it and retain the remaining
It provides for tax to be
charged at 30% of the undisclosed assets outside India and
also a penalty of 100% of such
tax, taking the effective rate of
tax and penalty to 60%, leaving
room for people to retain 40% of
such declared assets.
Jaitley said India has also
agreed to become a signatory to
the US global tax evasion law Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act of 2010 - that seeks to
deal with evasion by its nationals
wherein authorities and institutions on both sides will share information on money laundering.
The minister also spoke about
the proposed new bill to facilitate acquisition of land for
development and said the one
proposed in 2013 by the previous United Progressive Alliance
(UPA) government was clearly
anti-rural India.
India can lead world
in climate battle: PM
Modi launches new air
quality index, which will
enable people to track the
quality of air they breathe
New Delhi
rime Minister Narendra
Modi yesterday suggested
the country’s “age-old
traditions” could be used to ease
its choking smog, as he launched
a new air quality index for the
world’s most polluted capital.
Modi proposed making every Sunday “bicycle day” and
switching off street lights during a full moon, amid growing
public concern over the impact
of air pollution on the health of
India’s 1.2bn people.
“There can be green solutions
in our age-old traditions,” he
said in a speech at a conference
of environmental policymakers
in New Delhi.
“What if our city governments... decided not to switch
on the street lights during a full
moon?” he said.
“It is only a small thing, but
you can imagine how much energy could be saved and emissions could be cut if all the
street lights were switched off
during a full moon.”
The government said the
new index would initially cover
10 cities - Delhi, Agra, Kanpur,
Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad,
Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad - each of
which would have monitoring
stations with Air Quality Index
display boards.
The government is under in-
Militants kill three cops
uspected rebels shot
and killed three unarmed police officers
yesterday after ambushing
their vehicle in Jammu and
Kashmir, shortly after a separate incident left another
officer critically injured, officials said.
The police officers were
travelling to Amshipora
village, 60km south of
the main city of Srinagar,
to probe a local land dispute when the ambush occurred.
The militants, dressed in
army fatigues, first released
unharmed two civilians who
were travelling in the vehicle along with the driver
before firing on the officers,
Inspector General of Police
Javid Gillani said.
“They (police officers)
were going for an investigation when their vehicle
was ambushed. All the three
were killed. They were unarmed,” Gillani said.
Police and the army have
launched a hunt for the militants, whose attack came an
hour after another police officer was shot and injured in
a separate incident further
After boarding the bus
travelling on a highway in
Pattan, the suspected rebels
noticed the officer, who was
from a special counter-insurgency group of the state
police force, was among
those onboard.
The rebels tried to hijack
the bus before abandoning
the move and shooting the
officer, a police officer said
on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to
speak to media.
“The militants fled after
shooting the police officer
when the bus stopped in
a traffic jam,” the officer
Several rebel groups have
been fighting Indian forces
since 1989 which has left
tens of thousands dead,
mostly civilians.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a sapling from Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar during
the inauguration of the Environment and Forest Ministers conference in New Delhi yesterday.
tense pressure to act after the
World Health Organisation last
year declared New Delhi the
world’s most polluted capital.
At least 3,000 people die
prematurely every year in the
city because of air pollution,
according to a joint study by
Boston-based Health Effects
Institute and Delhi’s Energy Resources Institute.
Modi also signalled that India
would not bow to foreign pressure on tackling climate change,
ahead of UN-led talks late this
year in Paris on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The world guides us on climate change and we follow
them? The world sets the parameters and we follow them? It
AI pilots
over fight
in cockpit
New Delhi
tate-run carrier Air
India has grounded
two of its pilots after
a fight erupted between
the pair just before takeoff, reports said yesterday.
The co-pilot allegedly
assaulted the captain inside the cockpit as they
were preparing the passenger plane for takeoff
from the tourist city of
Jaipur to New Delhi on
Sunday night, the Hindustan Times newspaper
The co-pilot was irritated by his superior’s request to write down critical information for the
flight, such as the number
of passengers on board,
take-off weight and fuel
uptake, the Times Of India reported.
“The co-pilot took offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain,”
the newspaper said, quoting unnamed sources.
“In the larger interest of
the airline the commander decided to go ahead
with the flight and flew to
Delhi,” the daily added.
The airline denied any
violence took place, saying there was only a verbal argument between
the pair, according to the
Press Trust of India.
“There were only heated
exchanges between the
commander and co-pilot
over some issue. We have
already derostered the two
pilots pending an enquiry,”
an Air India spokesman
told the news agency.
The carrier could not be
reached for comment.
Air India - which has
not reported an annual
profit since 2007 - has
been hit by a string of
technical glitches and
other embarrassing incidents, including staff
turning up late for flights.
is not like that... India can lead
the world,” he said.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the new
index could drive efforts to ease
air pollution. But he gave little
indication of what the government would do except to promise new rules on disposing of
construction waste.
The dust from India’s thousands of industrial and construction sites adds to the
fumes from millions of vehicles
to create the toxic cocktail that
city-dwellers breathe. Many
experts were unimpressed.
“Monitoring pollution is
not a solution to stop pollution,” said ecologist Vandana
Shiva, adding Modi’s campaign
to attract foreign companies
to manufacture in India would
only exacerbate the problem.
“It’s like finding a very sick
person and instead of treating
him, you hand him a thermometer. You have to take strict policy action, not launch symbolic
Greenpeace welcomed the
new index but said it had expected the government “to address the issue with more rigour
and responsibility.”
“Delhi is facing a public health
emergency and an air quality
index needs to be matched with
actionable plans on how to bring
the pollution levels down,” said
campaigner Aishwarya Madineni in a statement.
“This is merely (a) band-aid
on a wound that needs stitches,
the bleeding is going to continue.”
A WHO study of 1,600 cities
released last year showed Delhi
had the world’s highest annual
average concentration of small
airborne particles known as
PM2.5 - higher even than Beijing.
These extremely fine particles of less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter are linked with
increased rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart
disease as they penetrate deep
into the lungs and can pass into
the bloodstream.
India disputed the WHO’s assertion, but has conceded that
air pollution in the capital is
comparable with that of Beijing.
An air quality index compiled
by the US embassy in Delhi yesterday registered a PM2.5 reading of 175, which is considered
The reading from the US
embassy in Beijing was just 53,
which is considered moderate.
A new government website
for the index, which will provide colour-coded air quality
rankings ranging from “good”
to “severe,” went live yesterday
morning, but could not be accessed. Officials said it had likely
collapsed under high demand.
The aim is for the index to
eventually cover 66 cities.
The government gave few
details about the new rules on
construction waste. Delhi generates up to 4,000 tonnes of
construction debris every day,
according to a 2014 study by the
Centre for Science and Environment.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Search continues for missing workers in Mexico oil rig fire
exico’s state-run energy firm Pemex says it is
still searching for three
workers who went missing after
a fire at an offshore oil platform.
Four people were killed in last
Wednesday’s fire, the cause of
which is unknown,
More than 300 workers had to
be evacuated from the rig in the
Gulf of Mexico.
Daily production in the area
fell from 650,000 barrels to
430,000 barrels, a company official said, losing Pemex close to
$10m (£6.7m) a day.
Pemex’s director of exploration and production said it was
difficult to restore production
because of the large number of
pipelines which had been affected. The fire broke out at the Abkatun A-Permanente complex
in the Campeche Sound. One
survivor described how workers
had “jumped into the sea out of
desperation and panic”. It took
eight firefighting boats to quell
the blaze.
Mexican President Enrique
Pena Nieto said there would be
a thorough investigation into
what had caused the fire. Pemex
said that while the accident had
caused some oil to run off into
the sea, a “considerable oil spill”
had been averted.
In 1979, a blowout at a Pemex
well in the Campeche Sound led
to one of the worst oil spills in
history. It took Pemex more than
nine months to stop the leak,
during which time the oil travelled as far as the Texas shoreline.
Uruguay expresses
concern over rights
abuses in Venezuela
Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa
has called on Caracas to allow
the International Committee
of the Red Cross to visit its prisons
and report on conditions there
A dummy of US President Barack Obama is burnt as the “Burning of Judas”, during an Easter celebration, at
El Valle shantytown in Caracas, Venezuela.
Mexico’s Easter tradition
gets a political colour
Mexico City
uring Holy Week in
Mexico there are always
processions and prayers,
traditionally observed by worshippers across the country.
But lesser-known traditions
also persist, such as burning Judas figures as a means of overcoming evil.
Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, gets what’s coming to him in this bit of faithinspired Easter street theatre:
giant papier mache Judas figures — they can cost as much as
$4,000 to make — are hung over
crowds who light giant sparklers
that hiss and crackle as the bad
guy goes down in flames.
“This has been handed down
from generation to generation,”
said Leonardo Linares at the
capital’s Sonora marketplace,
among a clutch of Judas figures
getting ready to be torched.
“This really is where you
learn tradition, we have kept it
up all this time because we have
seen everything that this art has
brought, felt it being handed
from parents to children.”
One quirky Mexican twist:
what started as a symbol of rage
against a biblical traitor has expanded to the political realm.
Anybody who is particularly
unpopular could be in line,
such as President Enrique Pena
Nieto. A figure in his likeness
disappeared into flames before
cheering crowds at this weekend’s Easter celebrations.
“If people don’t like them,
if they did something wrong,
they’ll be here,” said Leonardo’s son, Luis Pablo Linares,
warning that it’s open season
for anyone deemed roast-worthy.
The 24-year-old has been
making Judas figures for sacrifice his whole life.
Pena Nieto has come under
fire over his wife’s purchase of
a mansion from a government
contractor. His finance minister also bought a house from
the same contractor, which
has won lucrative government
projects. Others have criticised
his response in the case of 43
missing students in Iguala presumed dead.
Though Pena Nieto’s followers might not approve of
his Judas-style torching at this
Easter tradition, his detractors
consider it a healthy way to
vent frustrations.
In Venezuela, meanwhile,
similar anger was on show as
President Nicolas Maduro and
US President Barack Obama
made this year’s cut as Judases
worthy of a burning.
The towering figures made
of cloth, cardboard and old
clothes were labelled traitors
by revellers.
“You burn a traitor. And we
decided in this case to burn
Obama for his infamous decree
against our sovereignty and
freedom,” said housewife Gladys Bolivar, 63.
The US president on March 9
called Venezuela’s political situation an extraordinary threat
to US security.
Maduro has said the animosity is a sign the US wants
to invade to get control of the
world’s largest proven crude oil
The Venezuelan president,
also torched, is facing rockbottom approval ratings as the
country’s mostly state-run
economy continues to tank.
Shortages are common, and inflation is the region’s highest.
ruguay expressed concern yesterday over the human rights situation
in Venezuela, citing reports of torture, arbitrary detentions and an authorisation for the military to use lethal weapons
against protesters.
Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa
called on Venezuela to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit
its prisons and report on conditions there.
Nin’s comments on a local radio show
come just days before an April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama expected to
focus in part on the situation in Venezuela
under leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
At least 43 people were killed in protests
that swept Venezuela last year amid growing public discontent over widespread
shortages of basic goods, soaring inflation
and rampant crime.
Maduro has angrily rejected criticism of
his government’s arrests of top opposition
leaders and its use of other hard-line tactics
to squelch the protests, while blaming the
country’s mounting economic woes on a USbacked campaign against his government.
Uruguay currently holds the presidency of
Unasur, a regional security bloc that has made
intermittent attempts to foster a political
dialogue in Venezuela but has so far refrained
from criticising the Maduro government.
Nin said, however, a recent Amnesty International report on Venezuela detailing
the shooting deaths of demonstrators by
police and pro-government groups, torture
and sexual abuse of detainees, and arbitrary
detentions was “enormously concerning.”
He expressed particular concern over a
defence ministry measure authorising the
armed forces to use firearms or other lethal
weapons to suppress protests.
“Clearly it is excessive,” he said.
Nin likened the human rights situation in
Venezuela to that in Uruguay 30 years ago
under a military dictatorship that launched
a campaign of repression against the political left after taking power in 1973.
“We had to go to the world to ask for
help,” Nin said, noting that human rights
is the one issue where the principle of noninterference in another country’s internal
affairs does not apply.
“This is why we ask that the International
Red Cross go into Venezuela’s jails and draw
up a report,” he said.
The foreign minister said such a Red
Cross mission had been proposed to Maduro
at a recent Unasur summit in Quito and “the
response was silence.”
“We will continue insisting on this,”
he said.
Brazil gets new education minister
Brazil’s new Education Minister Renato Janine Ribeiro delivers a speech during his inauguration, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia yesterday.
Ribeiro took up the post replacing Cid Gomes.
Cuba says Obama’s steps to
ease embargo ‘insufficient’
People observe the “Burning of Judas”, during Holy Week, at the La Merced neighbourhood in Mexico City.
uba’s trade minister
said yesterday that
US President Barack
Obama’s moves to ease the
five-decade embargo on the
communist island are “incomplete and insufficient.”
With Obama heading toward a potentially historic
meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro this week,
Trade and Foreign Investment
Minister Rodrigo Malmierca
criticised the US leader’s limited steps to ease the crippling
trade and financial embargo
the US has maintained on
Cuba since 1962.
After the old Cold War foes
announced a historic rapprochement on December
17, Obama loosened several
components of the embargo,
allowing more travel from the
US to Cuba, raising the limit
on cash remittances to the island and easing restrictions on
certain kinds of trade, among
other measures.
“The measures Obama ordered are incomplete and insufficient, and do not change
the essence of this unilateral measure taken by the US
government against Cuba,”
Malmierca told state newspaper Granma.
He said the measures were
a “step in the right direction”
but did not go far enough toward ending the embargo.
Obama “has vast prerogatives — far beyond the measures approved last January
— that he could use to make
substantive steps toward normalising bilateral relations,”
he said.
He called on Washington
to allow Havana to use dollars
for international transactions
and clear the way for Cuban
exports to the US beyond the
small quantities of rum and
cigars that Obama allowed
travellers to bring back from
the island.
“Beyond traditional goods
like rum and tobacco, there are
others of excellent quality that
can be included in this possible exchange, such as biotechnology products,” he said.
Obama and Castro will
cross paths at the Summit of
the Americas in Panama on
Friday and Saturday, which
could yield the first substantive meeting between US and
Cuban leaders in half a century.
The two men shook hands
briefly at the memorial service
for Nelson Mandela in South
Africa in December 2013.
To lift the full embargo,
which Havana says has cost it
$100bn, Obama would need
the blessing of the Republican-controlled Congress.
Toll in Chile
rises to 26
he death toll from flash
floods that devastated
Chile’s normally arid
north has risen to 26 and could
increase further, with another
120 people still missing, officials
The Atacama region and the
neighbouring city of Antofagasta
were deluged by heavy rains on
March 24 that swept away thousands of homes, leaving thick
layers of muck and tens of thousands of devastated residents in
their wake.
The National Emergency Office
said in its latest update Sunday
night that more than 2,500 people
remained in emergency shelters,
with more than 6,000 homes badly damaged and more than 2,000
completely destroyed.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Pakistan, China may sign
prisoner exchange treaty
Transgender gang-raped,
two killed in Pakistan
WWF to assess Indus River
dolphin populations
Nine killed by bombs
targeting Afghan police
Pakistan and China are likely to sign a prisoner
exchange treaty enabling both the countries
to transfer convicted prisoners on a reciprocal
basis. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected
to arrive in Islamabad this week to sign several
bilateral agreements. The accord for the
exchange of prisoners would be signed by the
two countries during the visit of the Chinese
president, officials who prepared the draft of the
proposed “Exchange of Prisoners Agreement”
“We have already sent the final draft of the treaty
to the foreign affairs ministry,” a senior officer of
the interior ministry said.
Armed men in northwest Pakistan abducted and
gang-raped a transgender person yesterday
after killing two others in a pre-dawn incident,
police said. The incident took place in the Yar
Hussain neighbourhood of Swabi district, where
a group of transgenders was returning home
after performing a music and dance show at a
wedding party. Sajjad Khan, district police chief
of Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said
the men were waiting for them in a field and
tried to abduct all of them but they refused.
“The attackers opened fire after the refusal. One
transgender and one drummer died on the spot
while another was wounded,” Khan said.
“The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFPakistan) is set to embark upon an extensive
survey to assess Indus River dolphin
populations,” said project co-ordinator Uzma
Noureen yesterday. She said the Indus River
dolphin was a threatened river cetaceans living
in five sub-populations in a 1,000km stretch of
the river’s main channel. She said an in-depth
survey was a regular practice taken up every five
years since 2001.
The last survey was completed in 2011. She said
in 2001, 2006 and 2011, the dolphin population
was recorded at 1,200, 1,600, and 1,452,
At least nine people were killed yesterday in two
separate roadside bombings targeting Afghan
police vehicles, highlighting an uptick in attacks
against security forces before the Taliban’s
expected spring offensive. In the deadlier of
the attacks, four policemen and two civilians
were killed when a bomb ripped through a Ford
Ranger pickup truck north of Kabul. “Today
morning a police patrol vehicle hit a roadside
bomb blast in Qarabagh district near Kabul city,
killing six people,” General Mohammad Farid
Afzali, Kabul police criminal investigation chief,
said. The interior ministry confirmed the attack
and blamed it on the “enemies of Afghanistan”.
Saudi seeks Pak jets,
ships and troops
Pakistani politicians debate
joining Saudi coalition
in Yemen; Riyadh asked
Islamabad to join its coalition
against mostly Shia Houthi
rebels in Yemen
audi Arabia has asked Pakistan for military aircraft,
warships and soldiers, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said yesterday, at the
start of a parliamentary debate
on whether Pakistan should get
involved in a Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to join a Saudi-led military
coalition that began conducting
air strikes last month against
largely Shia Houthi forces in
Sharif has hedged his bets. He
has repeatedly said he will defend any threat to Saudi Arabia’s
“territorial integrity” without
defining what threat, or what
“Saudi Arabia has asked for
combat planes, warships and
soldiers,” Asif said, without
specifying where Saudi wanted
them deployed.
Arif Rafiq, a Washingtonbased adjunct scholar with the
Middle East Institute, said earlier Pakistan was hoping to satisfy
Saudi expectations at a “minimal” level.
“They’re unlikely to be part
of any meaningful action inside
Yemen,” he told Reuters. “Maybe
they will reinforce the border.”
Sharif owes the Saudis. Endemic tax dodging means Pakistan needs regular injections of
foreign cash to avoid economic
meltdown. Last year, the Saudis
gave Pakistan $1.5bn. Saudi Arabia also sheltered Sharif after he
was overthrown in a 1999 military coup.
But joining the Saudi-led coalition could inflame a sectarian
conflict at home where about
a fifth of the population is Shia
and attacks on Shias are increasing, further destabilising the
nuclear-armed nation of 180mn
Pakistani intervention would
probably also anger Shia power
Iran, which shares a long and
porous border in a region roiling
with its own separatist insurgency.
Pakistan’s other main borders
are with arch enemy India and
Afghanistan, where Pakistani
troops are conducting anti-militant operations. The Iranian foreign minister will visit Pakistan
this week.
In the debate yesterday, Aitzaz
Ahsan, Senate leader of opposition, demanded Sharif clarify his
“What does [defence minister] Khawaja Asif mean by the
violation of sovereignty of Saudi
Arabia and the strong response
from Pakistan?” he asked. “If
the government wants to send
troops to Yemen or Saudi Arabia,
what will their exact mandate
The session also saw stormy
scenes as a major opposition
party, the Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf, ended a seven-month long
boycott of parliament.
PTI boycotted parliament and
occupied part of the capital during months-long street protests
last year over alleged election
rigging. They are firmly opposed
to sending troops.
Pakistan has a long record
of contributing troops to UN
peacekeeping missions but public opinion seems largely against
intervention in any Saudi-led
action in Yemen.
“Pakistan is not Saudi Arabia’s
handmaiden, doing its bidding at
the flick of a wrist,” the Express
Tribune said in an editorial.
Many analysts say the military, which has ruled Pakistan
for more than half its existence
since independence, has the final call. The generals have been
Pakistan has nearly 1.5mn active soldiers and reserves, but
about a third of those are tied
up with operations along the
Afghan border. The bulk of the
remaining forces face off with
nuclear-armed India. Others are
executing the government’s new
counter-terrorism plan.
Even though Saudi Arabia is
a “special friend” of both the
government and the military,
Pakistani intervention in Yemen
might be unwise, said retired
Major General Mahmud Ali Dur-
IS militants kill
3 soldiers in first
Pakistan attack
unmen linked with the
Islamic State militant
group killed three soldiers, officials said yesterday,
in the first attack in Pakistan
by the jihadists, based in Syria
and Iraq.
Several dozen gunmen
armed with grenades and assault rifles attacked an army
convoy in the Orakzai tribal
district on Saturday night,
military officials told dpa on
the condition of anonymity.
A soldier was killed in the
battle and two more succumbed to their injuries at
a hospital later, the officials
A spokesman for the Islamic
State group claimed responsibility and said it would continue targeting the military.
“We killed the soldiers,
torched army vehicles,” Shahidullah Shahid said. “We will
continue that.”
It was the first known attack
in Pakistan by the Islamic State
group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.
The group has been seeking influence in Pakistan and
Afghanistan, the region that
was dominated by Al Qaeda
and the Taliban for more than
a decade.
A spokesman for the group
said this year that Hafiz Saeed
Khan, a disgruntled leader of
Pakistani Taliban in Orakzai,
was leader of the group for the
Afghan Border Police display bullets which were
recovered from suspected militants in Helmand
province yesterday. Afghan Border Police seized
explosives and other materials after a clash with
the militants.
Pakistan devising
its own wish-list
over Yemen issue
Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks on the phone as he leaves parliament after the start of a
special parliamentary debate on whether to join the Saudi-led military intervention against Shia Houthi
rebels in Yemen in Islamabad yesterday.
fter senior Saudi officials
in Riyadh requested a
high-powered Pakistani
delegation both ‘material and
manpower’ to tackle Houthi
rebels attempting to gain control of Yemen, the government
of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
is mulling over what to ask Saudi
Arabia in return.
The request was made during a two-day visit that ended
on April 1. Pakistan’s wish list
would be shared with Saudi authorities in the next round of
talks, sources privy to the development said.
While the top civil-military
leadership of Pakistan is said to
have decided joining the regional alliance along with Turkey to
support the Saudi-led Operation
Decisive Storm, the Nawaz-led
government is trying to work out
how the country could benefit
from the alliance.
On a day-long visit to Turkey
on Friday as part of his consultations with the brotherly countries on the Yemen conflict, Nawaz and his Turkish counterpart
Ahmet Davutoglu said they were
willing to work together for a
peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Sources said both the premiers also discussed the possible outcomes of their decision
to join the Saudi-led military
Saudi Arabia, the biggest
buyer of Al-Khalid tanks, which
were jointly developed by Pakistan and China, would be offered
more materials for sale, said the
sources. The Pakistan Air Force
is also expected to negotiate a
deal on combat aircraft JF-17
Regarding the Saudi request
of gaining control of a swathe of
land in Yemen and holding it until peace is restored in the country, the sources said the civilmilitary leadership has decided
to join the military operation and
not to take control of any single
Regarding the Special Services Group’s support to Saudi
forces, the sources said the
duration of their deployment
would be for a short span, between two and three years,
adding that if their services are
required for a longer period of
time, relevant conditions would
be incorporated in the draft that
Pakistan would put before the
Saudi authorities.
About economic benefits for
the country, the sources said
the Pakistani authorities were
interested in receiving sureties
from Saudi Arabia at the forum
of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) on some important issues.
They said that if Pakistan joins
the Saudi forces, then the GCC
should ensure that when Pakistan feels threatened by India,
then the GCC would not only
slap restrictions on Indian employees working in the region
but also support Pakistan on
many fronts.
67 Pakistanis from Yemen reach Karachi
Pakistani opposition leader and head of the Tehreek-i-Insaf political party Imran Khan talks to media
after the start of a special parliamentary debate on whether to join the Saudi-led military intervention
against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen in Islamabad yesterday.
would be foolhardy.
“Either way, it is an absolutely
terrible choice to be made for
A Pakistan International Airlines
(PIA) aircraft carrying 67
Pakistanis stranded in Yemen’s
capital city of Sanaa landed at
Karachi’s Jinnah International
Airport yesterday.
Flight PK-7006 first landed at
Islamabad airport with a total
137 evacuees earlier on Sunday
night, Geo News reported
adding that 70 people got off at
Two Canadian and two
Sudanese nationals were also
on board.
Minister for States and Frontier
Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir
Baloch and Special Assistant
to Prime Minister on Aviation
Shujaat Azeem, besides foreign
ministry officials, received the
returning Pakistani nationals.
Before the Houthi takeover of
Sana’a in September 2014, there
were about 3,000 Pakistanis
living in different parts of
Yemen, the Pakistani foreign
office said.
Over 500 Pakistanis were flown
back to Pakistan on March 31.
Yemen has been mired in deep
political conflict since 2011.
The situation worsened
when Shia Houthis rebels
seized power in February
this year and President AbdRabbu Mansour Hadi fled
subsequently to Aden.
rani, a former national security
“If it was to defend Saudi Arabia against aggression, in spite
of our commitments, I think we
would stretch to sending troops,”
he said. “To send our troops to
a third country - I think that
10 killed as
jets bomb
Tirah valley
Over 3,200 schools issued
notices for poor security
he police inspected 4,058
educational institutions
in the provincial capital
of Peshawar under the National
Action Plan and issued notices
to 3,239 others for inadequate
security, an official said.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police has been directed to inspect
the security arrangements in and
around public and private sector
educational institutions to avoid
Army Public School-like attack
in future.
Special committees of the
representatives of police, district administration and Education Department have been constituted to visit schools, colleges
and universities in their areas.
“The police have inspected
1,280 educational institutions in
t least 10 suspected
militants were killed
and many others injured when the Pakistan
Army’s jet fighters launched
an air strike in the northwest
tribal area of Khyber Agency
on Sunday.
The jets pounded five militant hideouts in Tirah valley,
along the Afghanistan border, Radio Pakistan reported.
In September 2014, the
army had announced an
armed offensive “Operation
Khyber 1” against militants
which successfully came to
an end this month.
Now the military is carrying out “Operation Khyber 2”
in the area and Sunday’s offensive was part of it.
the limits of city, 1,080 in cantonment and 1,698 schools, colleges and universities in the rural
“Over 1,200 of these institutions in city, 967 in cantonment
and 974 in rural areas were issued notices to improve security,” Senior Superintendent of
Police (SSP), Operations Peshawar, Mian Saeed Ahmad said.
The KP Police bosses had
ordered to appoint additional
station house officers in all the
urban police stations for inspection of schools.
Schools management were
also directed to enhance security on their own to avoid any
APS-like attack. As many as 150
people, including 135 kids, were
killed in the worst attack in the
history of the country on APS on
December 16 last year.
Thousands of schools have
raised the height of their
boundary walls and others
erected barbed wires on the directives of the policemen. Majority of the public and private
sector schools, however, have
failed to adopt standard security measures as directed by the
government following the APS
“The police have inspected
1,280 educational
institutions in the limits of
city, 1,080 in cantonment
and 1,698 schools, colleges
and universities in the rural
There were still hundreds of
schools, almost all the in the
public sector in remote districts
that don’t have boundary walls
and are more prone to attacks.
Apart from buildings, thousands
of buses and vans transporting
millions of children from and
to schools are more vulnerable
for having no security arrangements.
Several buses and vans carrying schoolchildren were attacked in the past years. The
provincial government has announced to allow teachers in the
public and private sector schools
to carry guns for security.
Eight women teachers of a
government college were imparted one-day training in
weapon handling at the Malik
Saad Shaheed Police Lines as
part of improving their self-defence skills.
The decision had to be taken
back after it was widely criticised for having negative impact
on education of millions of kids
all over the province.
The government had to issue directives not to train other
female teachers since it earned
widespread criticism.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Sultanate of Sulu
flays govt over
report on Sabah
Manila Times
US and Filipino soldiers during a joint mock beachfront assault on the shore of Ulugan Bay on Palawan island.
US, Philippines set
for larger war games
American involvement may be critical
in deterring Chinese expansion
Both police, rebels
‘violated ceasefire’
he United States and the Philippines
will double the size of their annual
war games this month, with some
exercises to be staged close to a South China Sea flashpoint, the Filipino military said
The 10-day exercises between the longtime allies will be held as fears grow in the
Philippines that China is seeking to take
control of the strategically vital and resource-rich sea.
Nearly 12,000 soldiers will be involved
in this year’s edition in several locations
in the Philippines, including a naval station directly facing the disputed waters,
military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel
Harold Cabunoc said.
That number, which includes 6,600
American troops, compares with a total
of 5,500 soldiers who participated in last
year’s Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder)
exercises, Cabunoc said.
He emphasised the expanded war games
highlighted the deepening military alliance between the Philippines and its
former colonial ruler.
“The higher strength of Balikatan 2015
for this year only reflects the Philippines’
and the United States’ growing commitment to enhance our capability to conduct
joint military and non-military activities,”
Cabunoc told AFP.
He said the decision to expand the numbers involved in the games was not directed at China, which claims nearly all of
the South China Sea, even waters and reefs
close to Southeast Asian nations and far
from its nearest major landmass.
However, part of the exercises will be
held from Zambales naval base, which is
he Sultanate of Sulu has
criticised the Philippine
government for reportedly offering to downgrade
its claim over Sabah (North
Borneo) in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its legal
battle against China over the
disputed islands in the West
Philippine Sea (South China
Sea) before the United Nations
Abraham Idjirani, spokesman for the Sultanate of Sulu,
told The Manila Times that the
Philippine government cannot
treat the Sabah claim as “bargaining chip” with Malaysia to
gain support to resolve its territorial conflict with China.
“There is the United Nations
where the Philippine government had taken already a step,”
Idjirani said in an interview
over the weekend.
According to Idjirani, both
countries [the Philippines and
Malaysia] cannot extinguish
the proprietary ownership and
authority of the Sultanate of
Sulu legally recognised by Malaysia by continuing to pay the
annual rental payment to the
Sultan of Sulu and his heirs.
Vera Files, in an article published on March 30, claimed
that the department of foreign
affairs (DFA), through the note
verbale, has offered to downgrade its claim to Sabah in exchange for Malaysia’s support
for its case against China before the United Nations.
The DFA, however, denied
the report, saying what the
note included were only clarifications on Malaysia’s maritime claims to the disputed
territories in the South China
According to Idjirani, the
note verbale are acts of serious
betrayal to the Muslims in the
Sulu archipelago and the nation.
and the department of foreign
affairs must be the first to show
the people that it observe the
“rule of law” since the Sultanate of Sulu already withdrew in
1989 and the 1962 special authority given to the Philippine
government,” he said.
The Sultanate of Sulu also
asked the Aquino government to explain to the Filipino people the motives aside
from making the Sabah claim
a “sacrificial lamb” in order
to get the concurrence of Malaysia to support the country’s
territorial conflict with China.
Meanwhile, the Sultanate of
Sulu also said that it will reject
the passage of the proposed
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL),
which aims to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao,
because it believes that the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) would drop the sultanate’s Sabah claim in exchange
for Malaysia’s support for a
Bangsamoro government.
Malaysia also acts as an international mediator between
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and
the MILF for the creation of a
Bangsamoro government.
Children watch the USS Peleliu as it arrives in Subic Bay.
located 220km east of Scarborough Shoal
in the South China Sea.The shoal is a rich
fishing ground within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone but has been controlled by China since 2012.
The Balikatan exercises, which start on
April 20, will also be held on the central
island of Panay, Palawan in the southwest
and a former American airbase north of
Cabunoc said the exercises involved
maritime security and disaster response
drills, as well as civic projects.
Spokespeople for the US and Chinese
embassies in Manila were unavailable for
comment yesterday.
The Philippines has repeatedly protested at China’s increasingly assertive
actions in the South China Sea and has
sought closer military ties with the United
States in an effort to counter it.
The US and Philippines signed an agreement last year that will allow a larger American military presence in the Philippines.
However it has not yet been implemented, as the supreme court is hearing challenges to it from anti-US groups.
Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam,
Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have
competing claims to parts of the South
China Sea.
According to the Manila Times. in the
Command Post Exercise (CPX) event, the
scenario will focus on Marine Security
(MARSEC) with Combined Arms Live Fire
Exercise (CALFEX) to demonstrate the
capability of the AFP National Maneuver
Force. Selected US and ADF staff mem-
bers will form a Joint Liaison Group (JLG)
to support the capability development at
each staff.
Field Training Exercises (FTX) which
involves the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Navy
(PN), Philippine Marine Corps (PMC),
AFP Special Operations Force (SOF), United States Army (USAR), United States Air
Force (USAF), US Navy (USN), US Marine
Crops (USMC), and US SOF will be held
in Crow Valley Gunnery Range (CVGR) in
Tarlac, Basa Air Base, Floridablanca and
Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Marine Base Gregorio
Lim in Ternate, Cavite, Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite and
at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantiouqui in
San Antonio, Zambales.
monitors have found
that both the Philippine police and Muslim rebels
were at fault for violating a
ceasefire in a January clash in
which 65 people were killed,
the government’s chief negotiator said yesterday.
Forty-four police commandos, 17 rebels and four civilians were killed in the January
25 clash that has put at risk a
peace process with the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front after
lawmakers suspended work on
a law creating an autonomous
area for Muslims.
The bungled police operation
has also become president Benigno Aquino’s biggest political
crisis with opinion polls showing sliding popularity ratings
over his handling of the affair.
“Both sides appeared to
have accountability,” government negotiator Miriam Ferrer told reporters a day after
the 60-member International
Monitoring Team (IMT) reported its findings on truce
The government had said
the clash was a mistake which
occurred as police hunted for
two wanted Islamist militants.
The rebels said they acted in
self-defence when police entered their zone.
Both the police and guerrilla leaders had no immediate
comment on the IMT report.
Malaysia has brokered peace
talks between the Philippine
government and the MILF to
end a 45-year conflict that
has killed 120,000 people,
displaced 2mn and stunted
growth in one of the resourcerich regions in the Philippines.
Aquino has called for the
peace process to go ahead and
has urged legislators to push
on with the law granting Muslims autonomy in part of the
south of the largely Christian
“The peace deal remains, it
is still in effect despite the incident,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer said the monitors
found that the police violated
the truce when they fired the
first shot and for not coordinating their mission with the
rebels. Four sleeping rebels
had been summarily executed,
she said, citing the IMT report.
The rebels had violated the
truce when they pursued the
police and for endangering civilian lives, she said.
Defence official ‘brains’ behind chopper deal
Manila Times
senior official of the department of national
defence (DND) who attempted to rush the delivery of
21 refurbished UH-1 helicopters
from a “favoured” American bidder by getting the US Air Force
into the picture has been named
as the brains behind the controversial deal.
The DND official got the US Air
Force involved on the pretext that
the aircraft will be used for relief
and rehabilitation operations in
areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in November
2013, a source told The Manila
The source, who wanted to be
identified as “Joey”, claimed that
DND undersecretary Fernando
Manalo was the “author” of the
deal because he knew from the
very start that Rice Aircraft Serv-
ices was going to acquire the helicopters from Germany.
The source added that although a notice dated March
25, 2015 showed that eight units
were delivered, only seven were
actually shipped.
“Only seven units have been
turned over to PAF. Defence secretary Gazmin is working for the
delivery of another unit because
the more units that are paid,
the bigger the commission,” the
source said.
In a letter dated November
27, 2013 and addressed to the US
secretary of state through the US
ambassador in Manila, Manalo
reiterated his request “to have
the most number of helicopters
delivered at the soonest possible
time to augment the air assets
being used in the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims
of the recent super typhoon that
struck the provinces in the Central Philippines”.
Manalo signed the letter, a
copy of which was obtained by
The Manila Times, in his capacity
as chairman of the special bids
and awards committee 1. The letter was shown to colonel Rocky
L Carter, chief of the Joint US
Military Assistance Group (Jusmag) based in Camp Aguinaldo
in Quezon City.
Interestingly, Manalo kept
mentioning that the deliveries
would involve “UH-1H” choppers. The negotiated contract,
sealed with Rice Aircraft Services Inc. (RASI) and its Canadian
partner, Eagle Copters Ltd, was
for the delivery of “UH-1D” helicopters that were manufactured
by the defunct Dornier of Germany.
“In the letter dated November 15, 2013, this department requested for [sic] your assistance
in facilitating the immediate
delivery of available refurbished
UH-1H helicopters, through the
US Air Force, in the event that
the declared lowest calculated
responsive bidder will be from
any of the four US companies
who signified to compete for the
project,” Manalo said.
The DND official who, according to informed sources had a
previous engagement with RASI
involving a Philippine Air Force
helicopter bearing “tail number
122”, followed up his “presumptive” letter with the information
that “On November 21, 2013, the
Joint Venture of US Companies
(RASI) and Eagle Copters Limited
was declared as the Single Calculated Bidder during the bid opening of 21 refurbished helicopters.”
“With the said declaration,
this department will negotiate with RASI and Eagle Copters
Limited to expedite the processing of the documents and the
helicopters due for delivery,”
Manlao told the US officials.
“In this regard, we are reaffirming our request for your support for the speedy delivery of
the UH-1H helicopters. These
aircraft are very much needed in
alleviating the sufferings of our
typhoon victims as well as in
delivering the basic services to
speed up the recovery of the typhoon-devastated areas,” he said.
The DND official got the US
Air Force involved on the
pretext that the aircraft
will be used for relief and
rehabilitation operations
in areas devastated by
Super Typhoon Yolanda in
November 2013
The P1.26bn negotiated deal
with RASI was sealed in late December 2013, or a month after
Manalo sent his request to US officials. Despite the DND official’s
attempts to have the helicopters
delivered early, the aircraft were
shipped in mid-2014. So far, nine
helicopters have been paid for
but only two could actually fly.
These two, however, have issues
concerning safety and capability.
Gazmin “partially terminated” the contract with RASI on
March 25 and gave the company
seven days to justify why the deal
should not be fully terminated.
The DND is yet to issue an official statement on the fate of the
controversial deal that began in
2012, when Gazmin attempted to
secure the approval of the Government Procurement Policy
Board (GPPB) to acquire the 21
helicopters through a negotiated
The GPPB, under Executive
Order 645, should approve a negotiated deal as an alternative
form of procurement for projects
worth P500mn and above.
The board, through a resolution issued on October 25, 2012,
only approved negotiated deals
for the procurement of 10 attack helicopters and three naval
helicopters. The same resolution
affirmed the GPPB’s earlier decision dismissing the request of
the DND to acquire the 21 Hueys
through negotiation. Last week,
budget secretary Florencio Abad
said he will look into the details
of the GPPB deliberations concerning the Hueys.
Abad heads the GPPB, the
highest policy-making body in
government procurement as
mandated by Republic Act (RA)
9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and Executive Order (EO) 645.
DND insiders said officials
may have violated RA 9184 and
EO 645 when they insisted on
acquiring the helicopters despite
repeated warnings by the GPPB
in 2012.
A source of The Manila Times
at DND claimed that the officials
involved in the procurement of
the helicopters were reviewing
taped SBAC deliberations on the
deal that may be subpoenaed by
the lawmakers once congressional inquiry into the controversy is launched before the end
of April.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Jamaat man
loses final
plea against
leader lost his final appeal yesterday against a
death sentence for overseeing
a massacre during the 1971 independence war, sparking protests by his supporters that left
one dead.
Kamaruzzaman, the third most senior
figure in the Jamaat-e-Islami
party, could now be hanged
within days or even hours for
the slaughter at the so-called
“Village of Widows”.
His lawyer Shishir Manir
said authorities have asked
Kamaruzzaman’s family to
meet him at Dhaka’s main jail
later yesterday “on an emergency basis”.
“It seems the authorities are
making preparations to execute
him,” Manir said.
In the southern coastal town
of Noakhali, police opened fire
on around a dozen Jamaat supporters after they took to the
streets to protest at the court’s
“We fired in self-defence after they hurled rocks at us,” local police chief Anwar Hossain
said, adding that the protester
was killed during the live firing
and another was injured.
Supreme Court Chief Justice
S K Sinha ruled that a review
petition filed by Kamaruzzaman’s lawyers had been dismissed and a death sentence
passed in 2013 should stand.
The 62-year-old’s only
chance of avoiding the gallows
will be if he is granted clemency by President Abdul Hamid.
But analysts say the prospect
of clemency is remote because
the ruling effectively confirms
allegations that he was one of
the chief organisers of a proPakistan militia which killed
thousands of people.
Law Minister Anisul Huq
Mohammed Kamaruzzaman
told reporters that Kamaruzzaman “will be executed as soon
as possible” if he refuses to
seek presidential clemency.
Kamaruzzaman would be
only the second Islamist so far
to be hanged for war crimes,
even though several are under
sentence of death.
Another Jamaat leader, Abdul Quader Molla, was executed in December 2013, just
hours after his review petition
was rejected by the Supreme
A controversial domestic
war crimes tribunal convicted
Kamaruzzaman in May 2013 on
charges of torture, abduction
and mass killings in his role as
a leader of the Al-Badr militia
during the war.
The conflict led to the creation of an independent Bangladesh from what was then East
Prosecutors said Kamaruzzaman presided over the massacre of at least 120 unarmed
farmers who were lined up and
gunned down in the remote
northern village of Sohagpur.
Three women who lost their
husbands testified against him
in one of the most emotive of
all the war crimes trials.
-Kamaruzzaman’s lawyers had
tried to convince the Supreme
Court there were “serious discrepancies” in the witness
Jamaat, the country’s largest
Islamist party, is an ally of the
main opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP), whose
leader Khaleda Zia is trying to
topple Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina’s secular government.
Jamaat’s members have
been accused of being behind a
number of deadly firebomb attacks since the start of the year,
including on buses.
The party branded the ruling a “government conspiracy
to murder” its leader and called
a nationwide strike today and
tomorrow in protest.
Jamaat and the BNP have
previously charged that the
war crimes trials are mainly aimed at silencing Hasina’s opponents rather than
delivering justice.
Hasina’s government says
the trials — which lack any
international oversight — are
needed to heal the wounds of
the conflict.
Widows and relatives of the
Sohagpur victims welcomed
the verdict, along with secular
“Our only demand is that he
is executed in the quickest possible time. There should be no
mercy for him,” said Mohammad Jalal Uddin, a Sohagpur
farmer who lost seven members of his extended family in
the killing.
“I’ve spoken to the widows. Thirty-two of them are
still alive. They are very happy
hearing the news of the verdict,” said Uddin, who leads a
charity supporting the widows.
Bangladesh suffered its
deadliest chapter of political
violence in 2013 after the war
crimes court handed down a
series of death sentences on
Jamaat leaders for their role in
the 1971 conflict.
Hasina, whose late father
was regarded as the leader of
the independence movement,
says 3mn people were killed in
the war, although independent
experts put the death toll much
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, top right, and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, top centre, witness the signing of an agreement
in Islamabad yesterday.
Lanka, Pakistan sign N-deal
ri Lanka and Pakistan
signed six agreements
including one on atomic
energy yesterday, the two countries’ leaders said, as the strategically important island looks to
build its first nuclear plant.
Details of the agreement were
not immediately available but
it comes after Sri Lanka signed
a pact with India in February to
build its atomic energy infrastructure, including training of
Sri Lanka’s new president
Maithripala Sirisena swept
to power in January, ending
a decade of rule by Mahinda
Rajapakse, and has moved to
reduce China’s influence in
his country, which had irked
His arrival in Pakistan on
Sunday for a three-day state visit has been watched by observers
for clues over any further changes in Colombo’s foreign policy.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have
traditionally enjoyed strong
ties, particularly over defence,
with Islamabad providing military assistance during the war
By Mizan Rahman
angladeshi actress Naznin
Akhter Happy’s allegation
of rape against cricketer
Rubel Hossain was not proved
by the forensic test done in this
connection at Tejgaon Victim
Support Centre, according to a
probe report.
Halima Khatun, an inspector
at Tejgaon Victim Support Centre, submitted the probe report
to the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court in Dhaka yesterday.
The next hearing on the case is
scheduled for April 13.
The report mentioned that
the allegation of rape against
Hossain has not been proved
by the forensic test, Hossain’s
lawyer told reporters after the
submission of the report.
He also noted that Hossain
is expected to file a petition for
acquitting him of the charge
brought against him by appearing before the court in person on
April 13.
On December 13 last year, actress Happy filed the case against
Hossain under the Women and
Children Repression Prevention
Act 2000.
The High Court (HC) on December 15 granted Hossain
death toll
rises to 41
DEMAND FOR RELEASE OF TAMIL ACTIVISTS: Relatives of Tamil activists hold placards demanding the
release of their loved ones held in detention without trial for long periods during a demonstration in
Colombo yesterday. Sri Lanka’s government is yet to deliver on promises to free hundreds of Tamils
incarcerated by the previous administration using tough anti-terror laws.
between the majority Sinhalese
and minority Tamil community
after the war ended in 2009.
Lands previously held by the
military and political prisoners
have already been released.
However, the new government remains under international pressure to credibly investigate allegations
of war crimes and thousands
of people who were reported
co-operation,” he added.
Pakistan currently has three
operational nuclear plants generating a total of around 740MW
of power and has begun work
on two more, including a 2,200
megawatt station to be built
with Chinese technical assistance on the Arabian Sea coast at
Paradise Beach, 40km (25 miles)
west of Karachi.
Earlier Sharif had spoken of
his desire to improve trade and
economic relations.
Sirisena will also meet Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain during his visit and is due to
leave today.
Rape charge against
cricketer found false
Govt to set up welfare centre
for thousands of war widows
he Sri Lankan government will set up a welfare
centre to assist thousands of women widowed due
to the country’s three-decadelong war, the Prime Minister’s
Office said yesterday.
The National Centre for the
improvement of the Households headed by women will
be set up in Kilinochchi, the
former stronghold of Tamil Tiger militants, the PMO said in a
statement, Xinhua news agency
the decision on a request
made by the people of the
country’s Northern Province
to establish the centre in the
area since many women, who
lost their husbands, live in
that region.
“In the north alone, there
are nearly 50,000 families that
are headed by women. They
are made destitute due to their
inability to provide food, accommodation and educational
needs to their children,” the
statement said.
The new government came
into power in January pledging to promote reconciliation
against Tamil Tiger guerrillas
that ended in 2009.
Speaking at a press conference with Pakistan’s Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sirisena
said: “At critical moments in
our post-independent histories
we have stood in solidarity with
each other,” adding he was “profoundly grateful for the strong
support in the fight against
terrorism” by Pakistan.
“We discussed regional and
international agreements and
signed six agreements in the
fields of disaster management,
sports, shipping, atomic energy
... and in narcotics and academic
missing during the war.
In 2014, the UN Human
Rights Council (UNHRC) initiated a probe into the allegations.
The preliminary report will be
presented in September.
he death toll from high
winds and heavy rain
lashing northern Bangladesh rose to 41 after police and
officials reported 17 more deaths
in the past two days in storm
damage, police and officials said
Most of the deaths were in
the north, 19 of them in the
Bogra district, 230km (145 miles)
from Dhaka, said Shafiqur Reza
Biswas, Bogra’s chief district administrator.
The main causes of death
were collapsing walls, falling
trees, boats capsizing, lightning
and electrocution, officials said.
More than 200 people were injured while thousands of mud
houses were damaged.
Officials said the storm also hit
other parts of the country and
could spread further.
“They died mostly after they
were hit by falling trees or collapsed houses and walls,” he said,
adding that authorities have sent
emergency relief to thousands of
In neighbouring Rajshahi district, at least five people were
killed and 27 injured as the storm
hit a large stretch of low-lying
land, another administrator said.
an anticipatory bail for four
weeks as he surrendered to it
seeking bail.
On January 6, the HC summarily dismissed a writ petition filed by Happy seeking the
removal of the pacer from the
Bangladesh National Cricket
team squad.
On January 8, a metropolitan
magistrate court here sent the
national cricketer to jail on his
surrender, rejecting his bail plea
in the rape case.
On January 11, responding to
a fresh bail plea filed by the accused, acting metropolitan session’s judge K M Imrul Kayes
granted him the bail until sub-
Rubel Hossain
mission of the police report on
the case.
According to the first information report (FIR) submitted
by the actress to the police, Hossain had been involved in physical relationship with the actress
for eight months. It also said
Hossain had promised to marry her and thus developed the
physical relationship.
As Hossain reportedly backtracked, Happy filed the case
alleging that the cricketer raped
her several times at his flat.
Hossain was first picked for
the national team in 2008.
Rally against SC verdict
Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, centre,
along with senior leaders of various Maoist parties, takes
part in a protest rally in Kathmandu yesterday. According
to the local media reports, Maoist parties took out a rally
against the Supreme Court verdict that disallowed providing
mass amnesty to those facing accusations for crimes during
civil war. Almost a decade has passed since the end of a
civil war that pitted Maoist guerillas against the state and
killed more than 17,000 people. Nepal’s political parties have
repeatedly missed deadlines to write the new republic’s first
constitution. At the heart of the dispute is disagreement
over creating new provinces based on ethnicity, a move
backed by the former rebels.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Chairman: Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah
Editor-in-Chief : Darwish S Ahmed
Production Editor: C P Ravindran
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[email protected]
Telephone 44350478 (news),
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Bold decision
by Tiger to
play Masters
Tiger Woods’ decision to return to competition at this
week’s Masters after a two-month break is unquestionably a
bold one, considering his recent run of troubles.
The former world number one has been woefully out of
form in his only two tournament appearances this year and,
though he feels he is now ready to compete again, he will
face a daunting test on the fast, sloping greens at Augusta
Yes, Woods is a four-times champion at the Masters and
he knows the famed par-72 course as well as anyone else in
the field, so he will certainly enjoy a huge comfort factor on
his return to the year’s opening major.
On the downside, though, his short game has been
pathetic in his last two competitive starts, prompting
several pundits to say he is suffering from the chipping
If Woods does indeed have the yips, which is an
involuntary movement of the muscles, then Augusta
National would be one of the most challenging venues for
him to make a PGA Tour comeback.
In January, Woods played in only his second event in
five months—at the Phoenix Open—after enduring back
problems for much of last year.
What followed shocked the golfing world as a player once
revered for his sublime short game struggled badly with his
chipping, hitting shots fat
or thin while occasionally
resorting to a putter or a
bump-and-run approach
He ended up posting
the highest score of his
professional career, an
11-over-par 82, to miss
the cut by nine shots
at the Phoenix Open,
then withdrew from the
Farmers Insurance Open
the following week after 11 holes because of tightness in his
Woods then announced on his website that he
would return to the PGA Tour only when he felt he was
“tournament-ready”, a decision he finally reached on Friday
after playing his second practice round at Augusta National
in four days.
However, “tournament-ready” is a far cry from, “I only
tee it up if I believe I can win,” which was the Woods mantra
during his glory days from 1997 to 2008 as he piled up 14
major victories.
Woods, whose ranking has plummeted to 104th, has a
remarkable record at Augusta National with 13 top-10s in
his last 17 Masters starts, and he tied for fourth there in 2010
after not playing competitive golf for five months.
He took an indefinite break from the game in late 2009, as
his private life spectacularly unravelled, to try to repair his
marriage amid revelations about his extra-marital affairs.
Yet that 2010 Masters performance came after he had
triumphed six times on the PGA Tour the previous year
before going on to clinch victory at the Australian Masters
in mid-November.
Heading into the this year’s Masters is a very different
story with Woods withdrawing twice and missing three cuts
in just six starts on the US circuit over the past 12 months.
His only finish was 69th place at the 2014 British Open.
Woods has such an aura about him that writing him off
completely would be a complete mistake.
The fact that he has made the decision means he still feels
reasonably confident. Making the cut would be certainly an
achievement with anything above that a bonus.
But what if he goes on to win the Masters for the fifth time?
That certainly will have the world singing paeans to him again.
Rifts, public pressure push
Greek PM into tightrope act
Greek PM refuses to budge
on red lines like pensions,
layoffs; lenders say
confusion over govt
position on key issues
By Deepa Babington and
Renee Maltezou/Reuters
irst it was for sale, then the
deal was scrapped, then the
sell-off was back on and now
it is to be a joint venture, or
maybe not.
Few issues sum up the confusion
of leftist Greek Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras’s first two months in
office better than the bewildering
saga of the country’s biggest port,
Piraeus, a bastion of militant trade
His government’s first declaration
in January was to say the asset sale
- a key part of Greece’s privatisation
programme agreed with international
creditors - had been cancelled.
Athens then appeared to change
heart: on a trip last month to China,
which is a bidder and already runs part
of the port, the deputy prime minister
said the sale would go ahead.
Three days later, the economy
minister appeared on television to
insist the sale remained halted and
that a joint venture would be agreed
instead. The same day, Greece sent
its lenders a list of reforms that cited
the Piraeus port sale as among the
privatisations going ahead.
Whether the port is actually open
for bidders is anybody’s guess. Indeed,
it is not clear if the government
itself knows, given the multitude
of contradictory statements that
has come to characterise Tsipras’s
The message is equally confused in
talks with foreign creditors that affect
the financial survival of the cash-
starved Greek state, one European
diplomat involved in talks said.
“It is as cacophonic as it seems,” the
diplomat said.
Inability to agree - much less
implement - a common line on
privatisations underscores the
challenges Tsipras faces to convince
lenders his government is committed
to reform and worthy of financial aid.
With Athens weeks away from
running out of cash, Tsipras has
called for an “honest compromise”
and held a series of fence-mending
meetings with European leaders
that have helped lower the tone of
acrimony with the eurozone and
But the novice prime minister has
to juggle divergent voices within his
own Syriza party and has little room
to offer major concessions without
undermining support from the public,
his party’s far-left flank and his rightwing coalition partner.
Losing any of the three could
bring a government collapse. As if
to underscore the point, Panagiotis
Lafazanis, the outspoken head of
Syriza’s far-left faction, warned
this weekend that any retreat from
anti-austerity and anti-bailout preelection promises would be suicidal.
“The government will stand firm
on its pledges in the face of vile
blackmail and disorienting dilemmas
not because of party pressure but
because such a retreat would be a
real ‘Waterloo’ for the government,”
Lafazanis, who is energy minister, told
the Agora newspaper, invoking the fall
of French Emperor Napoleon.
In an early sign of dissent, about 30
out of 149 Syriza lawmakers voiced
doubts at a closed-door meeting about
a Feb. 20 agreement with lenders that
averted a banking collapse, though
only a handful opposed it in the end,
Syriza officials say.
A fresh impasse with lenders and
internal rifts are spurring media
speculation that Tsipras may have to
call early elections or a referendum
to avoid caving to lenders’ demands,
though his government denies any
such plan.
Even as Greece teeters closer to the
financial abyss, there is scant public
debate about what might come next.
Almost no one publicly advocates
defaulting on Greece’s 240bn
euro debt to the eurozone and the
International Monetary Fund.
Polls show Tsipras enjoys support
from a stunning 78% of Greeks,
but that could quickly evaporate
if austerity-weary voters see him
reneging on the pledges that won him
election to end painful spending cuts
but stay in the eurozone.
Keeping the public on side is
important for Tsipras, who often refers
to his “popular mandate” as the key
weapon the pro-bailout opposition
Addressing parliament last week,
he defined the government’s red
lines as avoiding pension cuts and
mass layoffs, reversing labour market
deregulation and retaining state
control in key asset sales. He appealed
for opposition support to defy lenders.
“These are our red lines. I want
to make clear we won’t back down
no matter how much they blackmail
us or put pressure on us,” Tsipras
said. “These are not just Syriza’s red
lines but the red lines of the Greek
people, and of Greece during tough
negotiations which we all believe will
be effective.”
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis
has gone further, saying Athens has
made clear how far it can go with
its latest reforms list that focuses
on cracking down on evasion and
blocking early retirement, and that it
is up to the lenders now.
“We won’t condemn the country to
long-term asphyxiation as previous
governments did,” he told Monday’s
Naftemporiki daily. “The real question
is, what does the other side propose?
The negotiations will come closer to a
conclusion when there is an answer to
this question.”
Flip-flopping on issues such as
Piraeus has undermined trust with
foreign lenders and bred confusion
over who is in control and what the
government’s position is, sources close
to the talks said. Some paint a picture
of a chaotic state stumbling towards
One source close to talks said
foreign negotiators faced a quandary
because lower-level officials would
say they did not have the authority to
talk about policy while senior figures
spoke only in broad terms without the
figures to underpin their arguments:
“In the end you don’t know who is in
The appearance of two different
technical negotiators Giorgos
Chouliarakis and economics professor
Nikos Theoharakis in talks with
lenders has fuelled speculation of a
tug of war within the cabinet. The
former is said to be close to Deputy
Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis, the
latter to Varoufakis.
The government denies any such
rift between the officials.
Varoufakis has been at the centre
of speculation since he dropped out
of sight after weeks of whirlwind
travel and sharp-tongued attacks on
austerity and the European Central
Bank that made him a media darling
but infuriated EU and IMF lenders.
After staying home during Tsipras’s
key trips to Brussels and Berlin, the
outspoken economist reappeared in
Washington on Sunday to reassure
IMF chief Christine Lagarde that
Athens would repay an IMF instalment
on time this week.
Despite the cacophony, some
Syriza officials privately say the leftist
party is proud of a tradition of letting
members debate openly and that
ultimately the party line will hold. The
government has also become more
vocal in underlining that it is not split
on core issues like negotiations with
“The Greek delegation is one, tight
like a fist, and acts united in line with
the government’s commitments to the
people,” the finance ministry said in a
Woods has a
record at
National with
13 top-10s in his
last 17 starts
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A zero-sum game of Indian corruption
The zero-rupee notes
currently circulating may
shame a few bribe-taking
bureaucrats, but will they
really make a dent on Indian
By Craig Jeffrey
New Delhi
oney talks, especially in
the bustle of an Indian
bazaar. But what would
you do if someone thrust
a note in your hand that on close
inspection turned out to be worth
nothing at all? Astonishingly, but for
good reason, there are now millions
of zero-rupee notes in circulation in
But what on earth is the point of
a zero-rupee note? What are they
used for? Who printed them and
what do they mean? In fact, these
apparently frivolous notes turn out to
be a key weapon in the fight against
Anti-corruption is a major
enterprise in India today. In 2009
the social reformer Anna Hazare
spearheaded a huge anti-corruption
movement across the country. Hazare
called on the Indian government to
introduce a lokpal - a type of public
ombudsman committee - with the
legal power to investigate government
There have also been numerous
village-level and regional movements,
using public interest legislation and
the 2005 Right to Information Act to
counter corruption where it occurs.
But campaigners are also getting
creative. In 2007 an NGO called
5th Pillar came up with the idea of
printing bank notes with a value of
zero . They look a lot like the 50-rupee
notes: They carry a picture of Gandhi
and are a similar colour. But they are,
literally, not worth the paper that
they’re printed on.
When an official demands a bribe,
a citizen can present the zero-rupee
note as payment. The note carries
the warning: “I promise neither to
accept nor give a bribe.” In theory,
officials will be compelled to reflect
on their actions when presented with
the note, and they will be shamed
into recognising the illegality of their
The NGO’s website carries
numerous examples of where this
tactic has been effective: even
hardened bribe-takers are sometimes
persuaded to change their practices.
By August 2014 there were reputed
to be 2.5mn zero-rupee notes in
circulation. So successful has the note
been that it is now being adopted in
places as diverse as Nepal, Ghana,
Benin, Mexico and Yemen.
But will this initiative bring about
real change? During the past 20 years
I have been carrying out research
in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where
corruption is intense, varied and
entrenched. Most of my friends say
that the zero-rupee note movement
will have little effect, “Corruption is
corruption,” they say, “no one will be
put off by getting a zero-rupee note.”
In the past two decades senior
officials have appropriated vast
sums in Uttar Pradesh, and more
broadly in India, in everything from
second-generation mobile phones
and cricket’s Indian Premier League
to rural healthcare. According to some
estimates, the opportunity costs of
corruption in terms of lost investment
growth and jobs are $50bn in India
every year.
At the ground level, bribery is
a daily ritual for many Indians.
Government bureaucrats demand
payment for providing services that
should be free. They embezzle money
earmarked for development projects.
And police officers routinely demand
“tips” - known euphemistically as
“money for water and tea”.
A portion of the money collected on
the ground is passed up through state
hierarchies and on to politicians, who
use the funds to finance elections. In
this system, it is very difficult to avoid
becoming corrupt.
Many anti-corruption organisations
themselves become corrupt. Just
a few days ago the AAP - the Aam
Aadmi, or “Common Man”, party - a
motley assortment of activists and
intellectuals vigorously opposed to
corruption - became mired in rumours
of favouritism and power-grabbing .
Corruption may actually be
getting worse. Economic growth in
Uttar Pradesh has led to spiralling
corruption. Rising inequality has
increased frustration, especially
among low-ranking government
officials and the unemployed. People
are more pragmatic now than they
were in the 1990s. “It is all right to
be corrupt,” they sometimes say. “As
long as you avoid fraud.” “Corruption”
refers to the ordinary system of
kickbacks and bribes; “fraud” is where
an official takes a bribe and still does
not act.
Zero-rupee notes may be having
an effect, however marginal. But
Salman Rushdie’s aphorism remains
as true as ever: “Indian democracy:
one man, one bribe”. - Guardian
News & Media
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Relearning to love the bomb
The NPT has been the single
most crucial factor in
limiting the world’s
nuclear-armed states to the
current nine, rather than the
20-30 widely feared
a generation ago
By Gareth Evans
Washington, DC
he shocking thing about
nuclear weapons is that
they seem to have lost their
power to shock. While the
nuclear deal that was just reached
with Iran in Lausanne might suggest
otherwise and is very good news, that
effort should not obscure the bad news
elsewhere. The momentum toward
a nuclear-weapon-free world driven
by US President Barack Obama’s
landmark 2009 speech in Prague,
having faltered for the last few years,
has now gone into sharp reverse.
When Russia annexed Crimea
last year, President Vladimir Putin
announced his readiness to put
Russian nuclear forces on alert, and
even signalled plans to “surprise the
West with our new developments in
offensive nuclear weapons.” The world
barely stirred. Meanwhile, China and
India are steadily increasing the size
of their nuclear arsenals, and Pakistan
is doing so even faster, even spelling
out plans to combine battlefield nukes
with conventional weapons. Again,
the world shrugs.
For its part, the US plans to spend
$355bn upgrading and modernising
its vast nuclear arsenal over the next
10 years. Far from moving toward
disarmament, the intention seems
to be to maintain and enhance every
component of America’s current land,
sea, and airborne nuclear capability.
There was more amusement than
alarm at a conference of 800 nuclear
specialists in Washington, DC, in
March, when a senior Air Force
general, eerily channelling George C.
Scott in “Dr. Strangelove,” offered a
nostrils-bared defence of “an ability to
allow no adversary to have sanctuary
anywhere in the world.”
Spooked by Russia’s incursions
into Ukraine, North Korea’s erratic
intransigence, and China’s new
foreign-policy assertiveness, US allies
and partners in East Asia and Europe
have rushed back to unthinking
embrace of Cold War assumptions
about the deterrent utility of nuclear
weapons and their central importance
in security policy.
As my colleagues and I put it in
our book-length report Nuclear
Weapons: The State of Play 2015,
launched in Geneva, Vienna, and
Washington in February: “On the
evidence of the size of their weapons
arsenals, fissile material stocks, force
modernisation plans, stated doctrine
and known deployment practices, all
nine nuclear-armed states foresee
indefinite retention of nuclear
weapons and a continuing role for
them in their security policies.”
All of this has serious implications
for the five-year review conference of
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT), scheduled to begin in New York
in late April. The NPT has been the
single most crucial factor in limiting
the world’s nuclear-armed states to
the current nine, rather than the 2030 widely feared a generation ago. But
its credibility now hangs by a thread.
The NPT, after all, is based on a
bargain: states that do not possess
nuclear weapons promise not to
acquire them, in exchange for a pledge
by those that do to move seriously
toward eliminating their arsenals.
And recent developments have once
again jeopardised that bargain, with
many states again asking why, if the
US, Russia, and others need nuclear
weapons, they do not.
Given such sentiments, it will
prove almost impossible at the review
conference to build a consensus
in favour of further necessary
strengthening of the non-proliferation
regime, with improved safeguards,
export controls, security disciplines,
and sanctions against withdrawal from
the treaty. The irrationality of such
resistance is not likely to weaken it.
Not all the news is bleak. Aside
from the Iran negotiations, other arms
control co-operation is continuing,
including between the US and Russia
over the New START treaty to reduce
strategic deployments, and over
chemical weapons in Syria. Despite
lack of any visible progress toward
ridding the Middle East of weapons
of mass destruction, the signs are
encouraging that Egypt and others in
the region want to keep trying, and
will not use the issue of a WMD-free
zone to blow up the review conference,
as had been feared.
Most encouraging of all, a major
Getting most seats doesn’t mean you win
new international movement is
gathering pace to focus policy
attention on the horrific humanitarian
consequences of any use of nuclear
weapons, and to create the conditions
for a treaty to ban them once and for
all. Since 2012, major conferences
have been hosted by Norway, Mexico,
and Austria, and more than 155 states
have pledged support for appropriate
action, with only the nuclear-armed
states and their allies and partners
dragging their feet.
The nuclear-armed states will not
sign on any time soon to any treaty
that bans the use of their weapons
under all circumstances. They will
resist even more strongly the outright
elimination of their weapons, given
that the world is probably still
decades away from devising sufficient
verification and enforcement
But if the NPT review conference
is not to end in tears, with all the
accompanying risks for world order that
failure would entail, the five nucleararmed states that are NPT signatories
can and must be prepared to bring more
to the table than they have so far. Baby
steps – improving their transparency in
reporting, or agreeing on the meaning
of technical terms like “strategic,”
“deployed,” and “reserve” – will not
begin to satisfy the many NPT countries
that have been appalled by the recent
re-emergence of Cold War mindsets and
The nuclear-armed states can and
should make serious commitments
to dramatic further reductions in the
size of their arsenals; hold the number
of weapons physically deployed and
ready for immediate launch to an
absolute minimum; and change their
strategic doctrines to limit the role and
salience of nuclear weapons, ideally by
committing to “no first use.”
Most important, they should agree
on indicative target dates – from five
to 15 years – for achieving all of these
initial objectives. Deadlines have
been indispensable for achieving
sustainable-development and carbonreduction goals: saving the world from
the threat of nuclear annihilation is
hardly a less urgent and important
objective. - Project Syndicate
zGareth Evans was Foreign Minister
of Australia 1988-96, co-chaired the
International Commission on Nuclear
Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
2009, and is co-author of Nuclear
Weapons: The State of Play 2015.
Weather report
Three-day forecast
By Tim Bale
magine this. It’s Sunday 18 June
1815 near a little-known place
called Waterloo. Battle lines are
drawn when word comes down
the line that Napoleon Bonaparte is
to be declared the winner without
a shot being fired. He, after all, has
about 73,000 soldiers at his disposal,
making his army larger than the one
commanded by Wellington, who
can only boast 68,000 (a sizeable
proportion of whom aren’t even
British). Never mind that Blucher’s
Prussian force, supporting Wellington,
is some 50,000-strong. The French,
as the largest single contingent, have
every right to run the show.
Absurd, no? Yet, if we fast forward
200 years, this is exactly the argument
that’s being made to support the
idea that, should the Tories emerge
as the largest party in another hung
parliament after May 7, they are
somehow entitled to govern the UK
for another five years or, at the very
least, to get first go at trying to form a
coalition or a minority administration.
This might be the common wisdom.
But it is nonsense, nonetheless. As
Napoleon found to his cost, you may
have more troops than your nemesis;
but if he’s managed to put together
an alliance that outnumbers you then
you will end up the loser, even if, to
quote Wellington, it turns out to be a
damned nice thing - the nearest run
thing you ever saw in your life”.
Numbers count. Of course they
do. But when it comes to forming
David Cameron (left), Ed Miliband
governments, physics always trumps
maths. Who gets to govern depends
on what force they exert within
the system, singly and collectively.
Clearly, having large numbers of MPs
helps. But so too does being (to use
the political science jargon) pivotal capable of deciding, by virtue of your
ability as a party to jump either way,
which one of a number of potential
combinations can actually govern.
That is why, even though they
underplayed their hand woefully in
the ensuing negotiations, the Lib
Dems were actually in a very powerful
position in 2010, especially once
they’d decided they wanted to be
in government rather than merely
support one from the outside.
That is also why the Lib Dems
(along with, if the polls are correct,
the SNP and also the DUP) may well
be in an equally (if not more) powerful
position in 2015 - even if, this time
around, they end up with only half the
seats they won then.
But, some purists will cry, what
about the constitution? Wasn’t
Stanley Baldwin, with 258 MPs,
allowed to “face the House” in
1924 before giving way (after losing
a confidence vote) to a minority
Labour government, led by Ramsay
MacDonald, with just 191 MPs?
Well yes, but what of it? For one
thing, Baldwin was playing a highly
sophisticated game, having already
made up his mind that it would be
in the long-term interests of the
country, as well as the Conservative
party, to allow “the Socialists” their
first crack at government under
controlled conditions. For another,
it was all a very long time ago - a
precedent, maybe, but hardly a
convention that can bind 21stcentury politicians.
To think that those same
politicians will be bound by the civil
service’s cabinet manual is equally
absurd. The manual is not holy
writ. It can suggest but it cannot
prescribe. Ultimately (to use the polsci jargon just one more time) it’s a
case of freestyle bargaining. Coming
out of the election with more MPs
than any other party doesn’t grant
you any special rights, even if you’re
the sitting prime minister. Those
outraged by all this may come up
with one last argument, namely that
the UK’s proverbial sense of fair play
will be offended if the party with the
most seats doesn’t get to govern, or
at least get first go.
But why, either inherently or
rhetorically, would that be any less fair
than handing power to a party with
what would still be less than half of
the seats in the House of Commons
and only just over a third of the votes
in the country?
Right now, those most determined
to create a self-fulfilling prophecy (or
at least a degree of momentum) in
favour of the largest single party are
Conservatives - presumably because
they believe they will be that party.
It is perfectly possible, however, that
Labour will finish just ahead of the
Tories - and perfectly possible, as the
result of choices made by the “minor”
parties, that Ed Miliband might
nevertheless be unable to wrest the
keys to No 10 from David Cameron’s
patrician grasp.
The UK’s first-past-the-post
electoral system, it seems, is no longer
able to prevent either its party system
or its parliament from looking more
European. So we need to realise,
as they do on the continent, that
sometimes those who “win” elections
can still end up on the losing side.
-Guardian News & Media
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Fishermen’s forecast
Wind: NW 06-16 KT
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Wind: NW-NE 05-15/23 KT
Waves: 1-2/3 Feet
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Live issues
All it takes is a little better to win big
By Ahmed al-Akber
t is said that
experts believed
that the human
body was not
capable of running a one-minute
mile. It was dangerous and simply
impossible. In the 1940’s the record
was brought to 4:01, where it stood
for nine years. Had the human body
reached its limit? Most people had
believed so, so there it remained for
nearly a decade.
Then along came Roger Bannister in
1954 who broke the record at 3:59.4.
While that was an amazing feat at the
time, what was even more incredible
was that the four-minute mile was
broken again six weeks later. And
then more and more people started
breaking the four-minute mile, until
it became routine. Now even athletic
high-schoolers break the four-minute
mile all the time – it’s not that big of
a deal.
What has changed? The human
body certainly hasn’t. It’s the human
mindset that has. You see, once you
believe you can achieve something
with a level of intensity that makes it
certain within your own mind, then
opportunities open up that help you
achieve it.
What goals do you have that
currently seem unachievable
that you wish to achieve? Does
your business want to achieve
something great but is being held
back due to negative mindsets?
Imagine breaking through your
own four-minute mile, whatever
challenge it may be. It sounds
daunting now, but imagine how
easy it will seem once you’ve
actually achieved it.
If something seems too difficult
to achieve, or if your mindset is not
in the right place, use the following
1) Visualise achieving success.
Repeated experiments have shown
that visualisation physically changes
the way your brain is wired, leading
you to be better prepared for the event
you are visualising.
2) Emulate other successful
people that have done what you
want to achieve. They can show
you how to do it quicker and with less
effort. Pay them for the advice if you
have to, but this is a must if you want
to achieve big goals.
3) Change a little at a time.
A successful plastic surgeon once
commented that the difference
between a woman that is ugly and
one that is beautiful is only 2mm.
Small changes can make a big
difference. Affecting even small
change now can have a big impact
in the long run. Look for that lowhanging fruit in your own business
or your life that can be easily turned
into successes in the long run.
zAhmed al-Akber is the managing
director of ACK Solutions, a firm
that helps companies to improve
their marketing and sales results by
offering more effective ways attracting
customers and significantly better
products and services. Ahmed has
worked internationally in marketing,
sales, and strategic planning at
companies such as the Coca-Cola
Company, Philip Morris International
and Dell. Questions or comments
can be sent to Ahmed on ahmed@
Around the world
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Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Traditional architecture in focus at Souq Waqif exhibition
The ‘Souq Waqif’ exhibition featuring the works of Qatari artist Dr Nadia al-Mudahkah has opened at
Souq Waqif Arts Centre. The launch was attended by a number of dignitaries, artists, critics and art
lovers, including prominent Qatari entrepreneur HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani and celebrated
artist Yousef Ahmed, among others. The exhibition will continue for a month and includes 21 paintings
inspired by the traditional Qatari architecture, with a focus on the various perspectives of Souq Waqif.
Dr al-Mudahkah said she would display the paintings in Belgium in May.
Qatari artists in fashion collaboration
ontinuing the legacy of
Qatar UK 2013 Year of
Culture and Fashion Exchange, top Qatari artists Amal
al-Aathem and Noor Abuissa
have joined forces with Belfastbased UK label, Art On Fashion, to create a Ready to Wear
women’s collection and luxury
The collaboration, which will
use the artists’ creations as digital prints, is to be launched this
summer in Qatar through leading high-end retailers. Plans are
under way to create exclusive
designs for each of the retailers to
provide greater options and convenience for customers who want
to own “unique wearable art”.
The collection is being designed by a team in the UK led by
Celine Magill, creative director
and founder of Art on Fashion.
The Ready to Wear collection will
feature the art of Amal while the
scarves are exclusively designed
by Noor.
Describing the women in Qatar
as sophisticated buyers accustomed to the best quality products and brands, Magill said the
clothes will be produced in Europe with the scarves printed and
manufactured in Italy.
“We have received a fantastic
response from popular retailers
who are eagerly waiting for the
collections and will select their
preferred designs,” Magill stated.
Amal, one of the most prominent Qatari artists, has won
critical acclaim internationally
through exhibitions of her work
in the region and different parts
of the world, including her recent exhibition at the Istanbul
Art Fair.
The collection will feature her
art from Moon Dialogue, Woman’s Journey and Faces, among
others, where the central focus
is on spirituality and women. “As
a Qatari artist, it is inspiring to
creatively merge the east and the
west and what a more beautiful
way than to create beautiful and
stylish clothes for all women,”
Amal said.
“This art collaboration transcends boundaries and sends a
powerful message that we can
unite through our shared passions… in this case, art and fashion.”
Noor, considered the rising
star on the Qatari art scene, recently exhibited at the Al Riwaq
Gallery as part of Qatar Brazil
2014 Year of Culture. She graduated from Central Saint Martin’s
College of Art and Design with a
BA in Fine Art.
She has created her artistic
Noor Abuissa
language by adapting Islamic geometric design into contemporary art. Noor subsequently applies it in painting, sculpture and
furniture design to respectively
Amal al-Aathem
highlight its most unique values:
power of colour, simplicity in
form and undeniable beauty.
“Islamic geometric design,
when fused with contemporary
colour schemes, becomes relatable to an international audience. The collaboration with
Art On Fashion allows such a
large audience to own and wear a
piece of our culture,” Noor said.
Fashion Exchange was the
platform for dialogue and collaboration between Qatari and
UK fashion designers during the
Year of Culture in 2013 featuring emerging Qatari designers
Wadha al-Hajri, Fathea al-Jaber,
Elham al-Ansari and Hessa alMannai alongside Philip Treacy,
Asprey, Nicholas Kirkwood,
Jones, the late L’Wren Scott and
royal jewellers Robinson Pelham.
Safiya al-Hajjari, head of
Strategic Cultural Projects at
Qatar Museums, described the
Years of Culture as a fantastic
way to encourage greater cultural understanding and facilitate creative collaborations
between Qatar and the participating countries.
“We are very pleased to see
these collaborations developing
into successful commercial endeavours,” she added.
Martin Hope, director of the
British Council in Qatar, said:
“These partnerships are a great
example that we can achieve successful results and better cultural
understanding through a common platform.
“Fashion Exchange was one
of the popular elements during Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture both in London and Doha.
British Council is proud to have
supported these partnerships
and see them come to fruition as
commercial alliances.”
Students of Military
College attend forum
Sheikh Thani bin Saud al-Thani with students of Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College.
group of 47 students of
Ahmed Bin Mohamed
Military College were introduced to new legislations in
commercial arbitration in Qatar during a forum organised by
Qatar International Centre for
Conciliation and Arbitration
(QICCA) at Qatar Chamber (QC).
The students were informed
about the role of QICCA and QC
in the business community in
the country.
Sheikh Thani bin Saud alThani, deputy chairman of
Qatar Lawyers Association and
QICCA board member, said
the Qatari arbitration law will
be issued soon as an independent and comprehensive legislation covering all the issues and
topics related to commercial
He pointed out that the draft
law has been endorsed by the
cabinet and waiting to be approved by HH the Emir.
Sheikh Thani expected that
this law will usher in a new phase
that supports and promotes
commercial arbitration in the
Greece eyes
deal with
India stock
index up
244 points
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Jumada II 18, 1436 AH
Combined fortunes
of Arab world’s
richest 100 top $174bn
Qatar’s oil prices average $83.6/b until March in fiscal 2014/15
By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter
Qatar’s oil price averaged $83.6 a barrel
in the financial year 2014/15 up to March,
official data show.
Qatar’s budgeted average oil price was
$65 a barrel in 2014/15, which indicates
that the country has generated a budget
surplus so far in the financial year despite
the slump in global oil price.
Qatar’s budget year has been changed
to a calendar year, starting from 2016 in
place of April-March, hitherto.
Law No 2 (2015) on public finance stipu-
lates that fiscal 2014/15 will be extended
until December, 2015, “prior to harmonisation” of the fiscal year with calendar year
from January 2016.
Consequently, the next nine months
(until December, 2015) would be considered as an extension of the 2014/15
budget, and that the current fiscal year
would cover a period of 21 months.
At the beginning of the current financial
year (April 2014), the Qatari oil fetched an
average $106.03 per barrel.
The average price in the following
months is as follows; May ($107.25), June
($109.75), July ($107.54), August ($102.45),
September ($95.95), October ($85.70),
November ($75.28), December ($59.25),
January, 2015 ($44.60), February ($54.80)
and March ($54.38).
Although Qatar has recorded budget
surplus so far in the current financial year,
it remains to be seen whether this pace
can be maintained.
This is because the oil price currently
remains lower than the budgeted average
of $65 a barrel.
The government has already made it
clear that the budgeted average oil price
in the remaining nine months of the extended financial year (until December)
would remain at $65 per barrel.
The pro-rata extension of expenditure
for the coming nine months, despite the
dip in energy prices in global markets,
demonstrates the government’s commitment to continue executing its extensive
development programme.
The government announced that
it would allocate QR65.6bn for major
projects during the next nine months. The
total allocations for major projects during
the 21-month fiscal period will thus reach
Recently, the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) said Qatar’s budget outlook
appears “sustainable” as the country
has “accumulated” substantial financial
buffers and “started budget reforms” al-
ready before the oil prices began to fall.
But IMF mission chief (Qatar) Martin
Sommer suggested that the country’s
policymakers need to consider additional
saving measures over the medium term
to make sure that Qatar saves sufficient
resources for future generations.
IMF has cautioned that lower oil prices
could finally catch up with Qatar and lead
to a substantial deterioration of the country’s fiscal and external balances.
In a recent interview with Gulf Times,
Sommer said Qatar’s GDP growth would
remain strong in the near term. Growth
could accelerate to about 7% this year
as public investments gather pace and
the Barzan field begins natural gas
production. “Lower oil prices should not
have much impact on growth this year
because budget spending will not be affected in the near term. Next year, growth
could still be robust at 6.5%,” Sommer
But, Sommer said it was useful to keep
in mind that these high growth rates were
driven by big public investments and a
strong inflow of foreign workers.
“Both are temporary factors. The
effect of lower oil prices will also be felt
over time. As a result, Qatari GDP growth
could slow down to around 4% over the
medium term,” the IMF economist said.
UAE, Bahrain
Islamic banks
product range
GOIC secretary-general Abdulaziz bin Hamad al-Ageel (3rd from left) speaks during the launch of the “Invest in Qatar Forum.” PICTURE: Thajudheen
Industrial sector growth to attract
more investments to Qatar: GOIC
By Peter Alagos
Business Reporter
Remarkable growth” in Qatar’s
industrial sector is expected to
attract more investments to the
country, in addition to the construction boom and key infrastructure
mega-projects driven by the country’s
hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022,
a Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC) official said.
GOIC secretary-general Abdulaziz
bin Hamad al-Ageel made the statement during the announcement of the
launching of the “Invest in Qatar Forum” slated on April 27 and 28 at the
Saint Regis Hotel in Doha. “This event
aims to bring in more investors to Qatar
by introducing key investment opportunities in various sectors. The upcoming forum would be the first edition,
and we plan to hold it on an annual
basis,” al-Ageel told Gulf Times on the
sidelines of the event.
He explained that the forum will
focus on Qatar’s “broad investment
space” and opportunities in the following areas: pharmaceuticals, food,
green building materials, recycling,
petrochemicals, and aluminium.
“Qatar has strong, promising, and
encouraging economic prospects in
the coming years, and by focusing on
investment opportunities, this forum
would help strengthen the country’s
level of competitiveness in the region
and abroad,” al-Ageel stressed. Al-Ageel
said the value of local investments in
joint industrial projects was $29.2bn or
35.4% of the total cumulative investments in manufacturing industries.
Cumulative investments of joint
Gulf factories were valued at $2bn or
2.4% of the total industrial investments, while Arab non-Gulf investment shares were valued at $141.5mn
only, he also said.
“Moreover, joint foreign industrial
ventures were valued at $16.4bn in 2014
or 20% of the total investments in manufacturing industries,” al-Ageel added.
Al-Ageel said the forum is supported
Qatar could consider levying 5%
VAT and broaden CIT ambit: IMF
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
atar could consider levying
5% value added tax (VAT) and
broaden the ambit of corporate
income tax (CIT) by including domestic and the Gulf companies, which together have the potential to enhance
the non-oil gross domestic product
(GDP) by 3.5%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“In such a macro-fiscal environment as in Qatar, a low rate, for example 5%, VAT could be considered,”
IMF said in its Article IV consultation
report on Qatar.
The suggested 5% VAT is estimated
to yield 1.5% of non-hydrocarbon GDP,
it said.
A broad-based consumption tax
such as VAT would not only raise revenue proceeds at a low efficiency cost
but also ensure that its equity implications would be “relatively insignificant” and tax administration would
receive a significant and positive boost.
VAT is generally viewed as the most
stable revenue source, which has the
least detrimental effects on investments, the report said.
However, IMF said, the progress in
this area depends on how soon VAT
frameworks are agreed within the GCC
(Gulf Cooperation Council), which are
committed to implement a VAT in the
medium term.
The GCC policy framework sets
out the basic parameters under which
countries are to develop their VAT, including for intra-GCC trade, but considerable flexibility is left to countries
in the policy and administrative design
of their national VAT. Each country is
expected to enact its own VAT legislation.
Highlighting the need for parallel efforts to raise non-oil revenues to
strengthen sustainability and intergenerational equity; the Breton Woods
institution said a broader coverage of
(10%) CIT could be achieved by including Qatari (and GCC) companies,
which would be seen as more equitable
by foreign investors.
“In addition, a broadened CIT, if
applied to unincorporated companies,
could provide some progressivity in
taxation and would lessen the need to
introduce a general income tax on individuals,” it said, adding this measure
is estimated to yield 2% of non-hydrocarbon GDP.
Stressing that fees and charges for
government-provided services should
not be seen as a substitute for taxes;
IMF said if fees are lower than the cost
of government goods and services
(other than public goods and services),
raising those fees would be a welcome
Raising fees for revenue generating purposes could, however, become
a complex and inefficient process, it,
however, cautioned.
Highlighting several relevant shortcomings of such a move, it said fees not
only distort supply and demand by encouraging government to keep supplying
goods and services it is not efficient at
producing but they are also inequitable
and not transparent. Besides, fees are
generally more expensive to administer.
by the Ministry of Energy and Industry
and other partners such as QNB, Manateq, Qatar Development Bank (QDB),
and Qatar Industrial Manufacturing
Company (QIMC).
He also explained that the forum
is part of GOIC’s mandate and role in
helping expand and form development
opportunities for GCC industries.
“The event is not only limited to
GCC industries but it is open to other
countries like China, Turkey, Germany,
among others. We are looking forward
to initiate match-making sessions between these countries and investors
from the GCC,” al-Ageel emphasised.
In a speech, QIMC CEO Abdul Rahman al-Ansari said, “There are a lot of
opportunities in the manufacturing
industry that can be invested in the region, specifically in the field of aluminium. The Gulf region is seeking to focus
on the industry and take advantage of
promising opportunities in this sector.”
Aside from attracting more investors, al-Ansari also emphasised the importance of sustainable development,
especially the value of recycling.
“We need to take advantage of existing technologies in recycling in order to
overcome issues related to environmental protection. The government sector
should increase its awareness campaign
on the importance of using ‘green’ materials, especially in the building and
construction industry,” al-Ansari said.
he only two central banks
in the Gulf with products
that allow Islamic lenders
to make short-term investments
are expanding their offerings as
demand for cash-management
tools rises. Bahrain’s central bank
started a seven-day Islamic deposit facility last month, and the
United Arab Emirates broadened
the range of collateral Shariahcompliant lenders can use for
overnight lending effective April 1.
“You can’t ignore Islamic
banks within the region and the
central banks have to regulate
these practices,” Hatim El Tahir,
director of the Islamic finance
group at Deloitte & Touche, said
by phone from Bahrain on Sunday. “Islamic banks have been
calling for” these tools, he said.
Forty years after Dubai Islamic
Bank, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council’s first Shariah-compliant lender, opened in
the UAE, banks that comply with
the religion’s ban on interest have
fewer short-term liquidity-management tools than their conventional counterparts. The UAE’s
Shariah-compliant banks are
growing more than twice as fast
as conventional lenders, Ernst &
Young estimates, and Bahrain is
home to the largest number of Islamic lenders in the region.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
QSE snaps 2-day bull run on sell pressure
in transport, industrials, banking stocks
By Santhosh V Perumal
Business Reporter
elling pressure – especially in the
transport, industrials and banking
equities – yesterday dragged the
Qatar Stock Exchange, after two days of
bullish run.
The Gulf Co-operation Council
(GCC) institutions sought to book profits, driving the 20-stock Qatar Index
down 0.27% to 11,731.64 points as trade
volumes also fell.
Micro cap stocks witnessed the maximum selling pressure in the bourse,
which is down 4.51% year-to-date.
The index that tracks Shariah-principled stocks was seen melting bit faster
than the other indices in the market,
where realty and banking stocks accounted for more than 64% of the total
trading volume.
Market capitalisation fell 0.29% or
about QR2bn to QR633.79bn with micro, mid and large cap stocks losing
1.36%, 0.48% and 0.42% respectively;
while small caps were up 0.18%.
The Total Return Index shed 0.27%
to 18,230.05 points, All Share Index by
0.26% to 3,137.99 points and Al Rayan Islamic Index by 0.28% to 4,315.06 points.
Transport stocks shrank 0.75%, industrials (0.65%), banks and financial
services (0.49%) and consumer goods
(0.22%); whereas telecom gained 0.71%,
real estate (0.66%) and insurance
About 67% of the stocks were in the
red with major losers being Industries
Qatar, Aamal Company, Gulf International Services, Mesaieed Petrochemical
Holding, Qatar Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank, International Islamic, Alijarah Holding, Barwa and Nakilat; even
as Ooredoo, Ezdan Holding and Mazaya
Qatar bucked the trend.
The GCC institutions turned net sellers to the tune of QR2.54mn against net
buyers of QR19.15mn the previous day.
Local retail investors’ net profit booking sunk to QR4.81mn compared to
QR7.63mn on Sunday.
The GCC individual investors’ net
The QSE’s market capitalisation fell 0.29% or about QR2bn to QR633.79bn with micro, mid and large cap stocks losing 1.36%, 0.48% and 0.42% respectively; while small caps
were up 0.18% yesterday.
selling weakened to QR0.68mn against
QR1.51mn on April 5.
Non-Qatari institutions’ net profit
booking sunk to QR1.5mn compared to
QR1.77mn the previous day.
turned net buyers to the extent of
QR4.35mn compared with net sellers of
QR8.29mn on Sunday.
Non-Qatari individual investors’
net buying strengthened to QR5.17mn
against QR0.03mn on April 5. Total trade
volume fell 10% to 6.15mn shares, value
by 24% to QR200.27mn and transactions by 5% to 3,744.
The insurance sector’s trade volume
plummeted 76% to 0.1mn equities,
value by 74% to QR4.77mn and deals by
68% to 64.
The transport sector saw its trade
volume plunge 47% to 0.1mn stocks and
value by 17% to QR6.28mn, while transactions gained 12% to 112.
There was 43% decline in the indus-
trials sector’s trade volume to 0.65mn
shares, 47% in value to QR37.1mn and
23% in deals to 874.
The banks and financial services sector reported 24% slippage in trade volume to 1.22mn equities and 19% in value
to QR56.93mn but on 4% rise in transactions to 1,026.
The telecom sector’s trade volume
tanked 16% to 0.66mn stocks, while
value expanded 48% to QR18.22mn
and deals by 5% to 500. However, the
consumer goods sector witnessed 28%
surge in trade volume to 0.68mn shares
and value by less than 1% to QR19.09mn,
even as transactions were down 5% to
The real estate sector saw its trade
volume add 27% to 2.74mn equities but
on 6% fall in value to QR57.88mn. Deals
gained 14% to 815.
In the debt market, there was no trading of treasury bills and government
Al Watania
plans stock
market float
Saudi Arabia’s Al Watania Poultry, one of the largest producers
of chickens in the Middle East,
has invited banks to pitch for
the financial adviser role on its
stock market flotation, three
sources aware of the matter
said yesterday.
Bankers will make formal presentations to the company this
month and Al Watania will decide
on who will advise it on its Saudi
listing by the end of May, according to one of the sources.
Al Watania couldn’t be reached
for comment. The sources spoke
on condition of anonymity as the
information isn’t public.
Based in the Qassim region in
the centre of the kingdom, Al
Watania produces 1mn eggs
and 575,000 chickens per day
which are sold in Saudi and six
other countries in the region,
according to its website.
Its chairman is Sulaiman bin
Abdulaziz al-Rajhi, who helped
found Al Rajhi Bank and served
as its chairman until November
2014. He continues to be the
largest individual shareholder
in the Islamic bank, through his
endowment fund, with 14.79%,
according to bourse data.
Food firms in the kingdom are
attracting significant interest
from investors, who see the
sector as a way to tap into the
growing wealth of a predominantly young local population.
Private equity firms TPG Capital
and Abraaj have agreed to buy
a majority stake in the Kudu
fast-food chain, L Capital Asia
bought a stake in gourmet date
firm Bateel, while Levant Capital
and The Rohatyn Group have
appointed Moelis to advise
them on the sale of a controlling
stake in Al Raya Supermarkets.
Middle East Paper Company and
Saudi Company for Tools and
Hardware (Saco) are both selling
shares to the public in April.
Property firms buoy Dubai as
Saudi rallies and Egypt slides
Delay in US rate hike pleases
Dubai property investors; Damac
continues sharp rise after London
project news; oil rebound only
boosts Saudi slightly; low Saudi
turnover shows market technically
weak; poor March PMI adds to
pressure on Egypt
eal estate-related shares led Dubai’s stock market higher yesterday while Saudi Arabia rose
modestly because of higher oil prices.
Heavy profit-taking, fuelled by weak
economic data, continued to weigh on
The Dubai stock index climbed
1.2%, buoyed in part by last week’s
poor US jobs data, which appeared to
reduce chances that the US Federal Reserve would hike interest rates anytime
Gulf economies will probably imitate US monetary policy because of
their currency pegs, and a delay to
tightening is positive for the interest
rate-sensitive real estate firms which
are weighted heavily in Dubai.
Union Properties climbed 7.9%, Deyar rose 4.4% and the biggest property
firm, Emaar, added 1.7%.
Damac, which surged 8.0% on Sunday after saying it would consider taking an equity stake in a project to build
a 50-storey mixed-use tower in central
London — its entry into Britain’s property market — added a further 6.6%.
Saudi Arabia’s stock market rebounded, although it closed well off
its highs and turnover was the lowest
since November, suggesting the market remains technically weak.
The stock index had sunk 1.7% on
Sunday because of the prospect of
lower oil prices after world powers
reached a preliminary nuclear deal
with Iran, which could lead to a lifting
of sanctions on Tehran and more Iranian oil supplied to the market. Brent
oil plunged nearly 4.0% on Thursday.
Brent rebounded 3.3% to $56.75 a
barrel yesterday, encouraging cautious
buying-back of Saudi stocks. Saudi
Basic Industries, the biggest petro-
chemical firm, rose 1.2%. Egypt’s index, which tumbled 3.2% on Sunday
as a three-week spate of heavy profittaking continued, fell a further 1.2%
The Egyptian index has plunged 15%
from February’s multi-year peak and is
down 4.7% year-to-date, though it is
still up 25% from the end of 2013.
One reason for the pull-back has
been disappointing economic data;
the non-oil private sector shrank in
March for the third month in a row,
though at a slower pace than the previous month’s contraction, a purchasing
managers’ survey showed on Sunday.
Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding was the most heavily traded stock yesterday after shareholders approved proposals including
plans for the company to expand into
new sectors such as power, transport
and logistics. The stock ended flat at
1.04 Egyptian pounds.
Elsewhere, the Kuwait index inched
up 0.1% to 6,213 points, the Oman index edged up 0.2% to 6,297 points and
the Bahrain index climbed 0.6% to
1,441 points.
Almarai upbeat on growth after 12% profit rise
Saudi Arabia’s Almarai, the Gulf’s largest dairy firm, said
yesterday it expected to continue its profit growth in
coming quarters after reporting a 12% rise in first-quarter
net profit on higher sales.
The company made a profit of 306.5mn riyals ($81.7mn) in
the three months to March 31, up from 273.6mn riyals in the
year-earlier period, it said in a statement.
The profit was above a forecast from AlJazira Capital but
below one from NCB Capital. They had expected the dairy
firm to make a net profit of 297.5mn riyals and 323mn riyals
Its earnings were boosted by an 11.7% year-on-year
increase in first-quarter sales, which rose to 3.04bn riyals
helped by strong growth in its poultry and dairy and juice
“Barring unforeseen events, the company should continue
its profitable growth for the next quarters,” Almarai said in
the earnings statement.
The firm said it spent 969.4mn riyals in the first quarter on
expanding its business, including improving its production
capabilities, distribution, and the number of places it
operates. It did not provide a comparative figure.
Food companies in the kingdom are attracting significant
interest from investors, which see the sector as a way to
tap into the growing wealth of a young local population.
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said in an April 2 note
Almarai was strongly placed to benefit from the higher
growth rates in the healthy foods category in the Middle
East and North Africa region, highlighting it as one of its
two top picks in the health and wellbeing sector.
The company said on March 26 it had received a 250mn
riyal payment from an insurer in compensation for a fire
at one of its bakeries, which would be booked in its firstquarter earnings.
It did not state in yesterday’s earnings statement if the
payment had been booked.
Almarai in February hired a new chief executive after
the previous CEO resigned to become Saudi Arabia’s
agriculture minister.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Greece eyes deal with
lenders on April 24
Minister says will not
accept terms that suffocate
economy; has not
considered quitting; German
conservative says Greece
‘wasting time’
Reuters, AFP
reece must reach an
outline funding agreement with its lenders at
a meeting of eurozone finance
ministers on April 24, its finance
minister told a Greek newspaper
“At the Eurogroup (meeting) of April 24 there must be
a preliminary conclusion (of
the talks), as per the Eurogroup
accord on February 20,” Yanis
Varoufakis told daily Naftemporiki.
Greece offered a new package
of reforms last week in the hope
of unlocking remaining funds
from its bailout programme, but
its EU and IMF lenders have yet
to sign up to the proposals.
Gerda Hasselfeldt, a senior
member of German Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s conservative
allies in Bavaria, was quoted in
a separate newspaper interview
as saying Athens had “wasted
precious time” since Germany’s
Bundestag lower house approved an extension of Greece’s
bailout in February.
She told Die Welt the question of a third aid programme for
Greece did not arise, adding: “If
the (Greek) plans are not made
more concrete, I don’t see any
leeway there.”
Athens has not received bailout aid since August last year
and has been hard pressed to
cover payments amid a cash
crunch, resorting to measures
such as borrowing from state
entities to tide it over.
A source with knowledge of
the issue told Reuters last month
that Greece had enough funds to
last it until April 20.
Varoufakis said on Sunday
following a meeting with International Monetary Fund
chief Christine Lagarde that
Greece intended to meet all
obligations to all its creditors,
moving to quell fears of a possible default ahead of a 450mn
IMF euro loan repayment later
this week.
He told Naftemporiki the new
leftist-led government, confronted with a liquidity squeeze,
wanted negotiations to be concluded “as soon as possible” but
would not accept terms that suf-
Battered by euro’s
swings, European
firms unpick global
production model
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is surrounded by members of the media as he comments on the “informal discussions” he had
just concluded with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, in Washington on Sunday. Varoufakis said the meeting was “fruitful
and productive”.
focated the economy. “We are
not going to condemn the country, as previous governments
did, to a long-term asphyxiation,” Varoufakis told the paper,
suggesting the EU/IMF lenders
had treated the previous conservative-led government more
“The negotiations will end
when we reach an honourable
agreement, which will give the
Greek economy the prospect of
real stabilisation and substantive
growth,” Varoufakis said.
Asked whether he had thought
of quitting the job, said: “Not for
one minute.”
IMF chief Christine Lagarde
said late on Sunday that Varoufakis had pledged to make the
payment on time in a meeting
“Minister Varoufakis and I
exchanged views on current developments and we both agreed
that effective co-operation is
in everyone’s interest,” Lagarde
said in a statement.
“We noted that continuing
uncertainty is not in Greece’s
interest and I welcomed confirmation by the minister that payment owing to the Fund would
be forthcoming on April 9th.”
Announced barely a day in
advance, Varoufakis’ meeting with Lagarde had added to
speculation that Greece and its
new hard-left government was
finding it increasingly difficult
to raise money to pay its debts.
A Greek government source
yesterday acknowledged that
“the crucial phase in which relations between Greece and its
creditors find themselves” made
such a meeting necessary.
However, the source downplayed more serious concerns.
“An initial high-level meeting
between the new government’s
finance minister and the IMF director was expected,” the source
There was speculation ahead
of the visit that Athens might
fail to meet the instalment if
forced to choose between paying
the IMF and paying government
Athens though wants the IMF,
the European Commission and
the European Central Bank to
recast their massive financial aid
to the country as it tries to turn
its economy around.
Last month, Greek Prime
Minister Alexis Tsipras had
warned German Chancellor An-
Bristol-Myers to invest in uniQure
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said it would invest in
Dutch biotech uniQure, joining other big drug
makers who have moved to gain a foothold in
the promising gene therapy market.
UniQure’s shares jumped more than 55%
yesterday after Bristol-Myers said it would
pick up a 4.9% stake in the company.
UniQure’s gene therapy drug, Glyberan, went
on sale last year priced at €1.1mn.
Glyberan fights the ultra-rare genetic disease
lipoprotein lipase deficiency, which clogs the
blood with fat. Investor interest in the field
of gene therapy has grown in the past 18
months, with Bluebird Bio Inc, uniQure and
Spark Therapeutics all staging successful
floats on the Nasdaq.
Bayer struck a gene therapy deal with
Dimension Therapeutics in June, while
France’s Sanofi has a long-standing tie-up
with Oxford BioMedica. Bristol-Myers will
invest about $100mn in uniQure, including
$33.84 per share, or at least $32mn in total,
for a 4.9% stake, the companies said. The
purchase price per share is at a 48% premium
to uniQure’s on Thursday close and values
the company at about $595.4mn, based
on its outstanding shares as of February 9,
according to Thomson Reuters calculations.
Bristol-Myers will acquire an additional 5%
stake in the Amsterdam-based company
before December 31 at a 10% premium.
The companies will collaborate on 10 targets,
including uniQure’s proprietary gene therapy
program for congestive heart failure, S100A1.
gela Merkel in a letter that Athens would not be able to service
its debt without more financial
help from the European Union.
Varoufakis’ ministry however
reiterated after his meeting with
Lagarde that the Greek government intended to meet all its financial obligations.
It also called the meeting
“productive” and said it was
held in a “particularly positive
Greece has not received the
remaining funds in its €240bn
European Union-IMF rescue
package as Brussels has demanded to first approve Greece’s
revised reform plan.
Lagarde said she appreciated Varoufakis’ commitment to
continued talks on its economic
plan in Brussels — which were
to resume later yesterday — and
to supporting the work of lenders’ technical teams reviewing
Greece’s progress.
“The Fund remains committed to work together with the authorities to help Greece return to
a sustainable path of growth and
employment,” Lagarde added.
Varoufakis was also due to
meet US Treasury officials later
yesterday as well as Caroline
Atkinson, an aide to President
Barack Obama.
Athens is betting on this
week’s Euro Working Group
meetings to give it some relief
from its creditors.
Eurozone deputy finance
ministers will meet on April 8
and 9 in an attempt to reach an
agreement on the Greek reforms
needed to unlock the last tranche
of its bailout package.
While the tone has been more
conciliatory in recent days, differences persist and time is not
on Athens’ side.
Beyond the IMF payment,
“there is a liquidity problem
and the discussions must lead to
the end of water torture,” Labor
Minister Panos Skourletis told
Greek radio yesterday.
Since 2010, Athens has received two successive loans from
the EU and the IMF totalling
€240bn in exchange for tough
austerity measures and sweeping economic reforms.
The government that took
power in January however has
engaged in difficult negotiations
with European leaders to continue receiving support while easing the austerity requirements in
order to boost economic growth.
Cyprus lets eurozone’s
first capital controls go
Cyprus freed capital flows yesterday, ending two years of
controls that set an unwanted precedent for the eurozone
at the height of the bloc’s debt crisis.
The Mediterranean nation became the first and, to date, the
only eurozone member to impose controls, acting to stem a
flight of capital from its banks in March 2013.
But with an incremental relaxation over the past 18 months,
banks reported no unusual activity yesterday.
“It was just an ordinary day. Absolutely nothing out of the
ordinary was noted,” said a source at lender Hellenic Bank.
Bank of Cyprus also said activity was normal.
The last controls to go were regulatory approval to move
more than €1mn ($1.1mn) out of the country, and a traveller’s limit of €10,000 per trip. “The controls that were in
place until this week were sufficiently loose to have been
essentially non-binding,” said Sofronis Clerides, associate
professor of Economics at the University of Cyprus.
Announcing the abolition of controls last week, Cypriot
President Nicos Anastasiades said banks were largely
immune to the troubles of neighbouring Greece, still
struggling to unlock remaining funds from its bailout
One condition imposed by international lenders on Cyprus
for €10bn in aid was severing its long-time banking links
with Greece in 2013. “The Cypriot government has — quite
rightly — made a point of distancing itself from Greece,”
said Clerides, who said financial ties had been reduced
significantly. “The complete abolition of capital controls
is another step in that direction. The Cypriot government
is taking a calculated gamble that the removal of capital
controls reduces the possibility of contagion from Greece
should things deteriorate there,” he said.
Bank of Cyprus was forced to seize a portion of clients’ uninsured deposits and convert it into equity to recapitalise in
2013, while the second-largest bank at the time, Laiki, was
wound down. Yet months later, Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic
successfully raised capital from international investors.
“The economic damage from the restructuring of the
financial sector did not prove as severe as initially feared,”
Michalis Florentiades, chief economist and head of investment research at online forex broker, told Reuters.
dramatic fall in the euro
has created an opportunity for European manufacturers to enjoy cheap production costs at the bases from
which they can supply world
But after months of sharp
shifts in foreign currencies,
many of these companies are
strategy in the hope that by
the time of the next sudden tilt
they will be operating in more
diverse local markets around
the world.
Sweden’s Volvo Cars is
one such firm embracing regionalisation. Last month it
announced plans to build a
$500mn plant in the US, looking past the dollar’s current
strength to build in a longerterm protection.
“We’re eliminating shortterm currency fluctuations,
which are never good for longterm commitment to customers in different regions, and
we’re creating a natural hedge,”
explained Volvo chief executive
Hakan Samuelsson.
“Natural hedges” occur
when a business’s structure
protects it from exchange rate
volatility, such as when suppliers, factories and customers
operate in the same currency.
That kind of model is typical
for makers of perishable food
and drinks that need production bases close to their delivery addresses, but it’s less common for manufacturers of more
durable goods like automobiles,
electronics or clothing that often prioritise cheap labour and
economies of scale — at least
until recently.
In recent months their model
has been challenged by big
moves in the euro and the dollar as the European Union and
the US’ economic outlooks
diverged sharply. Last October the US Federal Reserve announced it would halt the massive bond-buying programme
launched five years ago to prop
up its battered financial system,
because an economic recovery
was on track. But in January the
European Central Bank kicked
off its own programme of socalled quantitative easing in an
attempt to revitalise the zone’s
moribund economy.
As a result the dollar and euro
currencies sharply diverged
too, and in the last nine months
the cost of hedging against fu-
ture volatility between them
has roughly tripled. While that
means far more players in the
$5tn a day market have been actively guarding against swings
in currencies, it also shows it is
three times more expensive to
do so.
“When an exchange rate is
particularly volatile it can become too expensive to hedge
financially,” said Brandon Leigh,
chief financial officer of soap
manufacturer PZ Cussons. Cussons’ biggest market is Nigeria,
where the naira has lost 18%
of its value over the past nine
months as a result of a plunge in
crude oil prices that hammered
Africa’s biggest oil producer.
Thus, while “natural” hedging has long been popular in
some areas of business, “clearly with more volatility in FX
markets it makes even more
sense now than ever,” said
Robert Waldschmidt, a consumer goods equity analyst at
British online fashion retailer Asos, which has been hurt
by the strong pound, said this
month it had decided to start
sourcing garments for the euro
zone in euros and those for the
US in dollars.
“Our ultimate aim here is to
capture the maximum natural
hedge available to the business,”
said Asos chief operating officer
Nick Beighton. “Our panacea
would be to match currency receipts, currency outflows, hold
product in that currency and
price in that currency.”
Sourcing locally has other
benefits, especially in emerging markets like Africa, where
using local suppliers can fuel
economic development — and
buying power — of the communities in which manufacturers
Food and drink makers including Nestle, SABMiller and
Unilever have all worked to
develop local suppliers, which
also helps to secure supply and
make products more affordable.
Nestle Russia CEO Maurizio
Patarnello cited local sourcing
as part of the reason his business was only minimally impacted by last year’s ban on imports of many Western goods
in retaliation for sanctions over
the crisis in Ukraine.
“Of course there are certain
things that we will never be able
to localise, like coffee or cocoa,”
Patarnello told reporters last
month. “For the rest, there is
a continuous effort to develop
new suppliers.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Ventas buys Ardent for $1.75bn to expand hospital business
New York
Ventas Inc, a healthcare real estate
investment trust, is buying Ardent
Medical Services Inc for $1.75bn to
expand its hospitals business at
a time when more Americans are
seeking healthcare services under the
Affordable Care Act.
Ventas’ shares rose as much as 6%
yesterday after the company also said
it would spin off its portfolio of skilled
nursing facilities.
Privately held Ardent runs 14 hospitals
in the US, with most of them in Texas,
Oklahoma and New Mexico - states
where enrolments in federal health
insurance programmes have been
high. US hospitals are getting a
stronger-than-expected benefit from
an influx of low-income patients whose
bills are paid by the government’s
Medicaid programme.
The $1tn US hospital market is also
benefiting from increasing emergency
room visits and an ageing population,
Ventas said in a statement.
Ventas said the Medicare Payment
Advisory Commission has
recommended a 3.25% increase in
Medicare reimbursement rates to
service providers for acute-care
services for fiscal year 2016.
Nashville, Tennessee-based Ardent’s 10
hospitals in Texas, Oklahoma and New
Mexico are expected to account for 6%
of Ventas’ net operating income after
the acquisition, Chief Executive Debra
Cafaro said on a call.
While New Mexico expanded
its Medicaid offering to include
Affordable Care Act health benefits,
Texas and Oklahoma have seen
higher enrolments even without the
Under the deal, Ventas will split
Ardent’s real estate portfolio from
its hospital operations, and sell the
hospitals to a new company owned by
Ardent’s management and other equity
Ventas will retain up to 9.9% of the
new company. The deal is expected
to add 8-10 cents to Ventas’ funds
from operations per share in the first
year after the transaction closes. The
deal is expected to close in mid-2015.
Ventas, which owns senior housing
Vivendi offers $275mn for
Orange’s Dailymotion
il futures climbed more
than $1 a barrel yesterday, after Saudi Arabia
raised its prices for crude sales
to Asia for the second month
running, signalling improved
demand in the region.
Brent regained ground after
tumbling as much as 5% on
Thursday when Iran reached a
preliminary deal on its nuclear
programme with six world powers. More Iranian oil could enter
global markets if that is followed by a comprehensive deal
by June.
But expectations of an immediate increase in supply
have been tempered as analysts
warned a ramp-up in exports
could take months and would
likely not happen before 2016.
International benchmark
Brent regained ground
after tumbling as much as
5% on Thursday when Iran
reached a preliminary deal
on its nuclear programme
with six world powers
A sign hangs outside the headquarters of Vivendi in Paris. The firm has made a $275.80mn offer for French online video group.
of the site to Yahoo but the French government
scuppered the deal over concerns about a promising start-up getting snapped up by a US giant.
Dailymotion counts 128mn unique visitors
per month compared with 1bn for Google’s
YouTube, and achieves less than 100mn euros
($110mn) in annual sales.
Vivendi is currently facing pressure from US
hedge fund P Schoenfeld Asset Management
to increase the company’s planned payout to
shareholders from a €35bn cash pile amassed
from a series of disposals.
Record gasoline output to curb biggest US oil glut in 80 years
Refiners are poised to make gasoline at a record
pace this year, keeping the biggest US crude glut
in more than 80 years from overflowing storage.
They’re enjoying the best margins in two years
as they finish seasonal maintenance of their
plants before the summer driving season. They’ll
increase output to meet consumer demand
and they’ve added more than 100,000 barrels
a day of capacity since last summer, when they
processed the most oil on record.
Booming crude production expanded inventories
this year by 86mn barrels to 471mn, the highest
level since 1930. Analysts from Bank of America
Corp to Goldman Sachs Group Inc have said
storage space may run out. What looks like an
oversupply to banks is turning into an all-you-caneat buffet for those making gasoline and diesel
“A lot of the excess crude we’ve been sitting on
is going to get chewed up quickly,” Sam Davis,
an analyst for energy consulting company Wood
Mackenzie Ltd, said in Houston April 2. “We’re
Oil price
rises over
$1 after
price hike
to Asia
ivendi has made a €250mn ($275.80mn)
offer for French online video group Dailymotion, owned by telecoms group Orange, Le Monde reported yesterday.
The Le Monde report followed a statement
from Hong Kong conglomerate PCCW that it
had ended talks to form an alliance with Dailymotion, citing the French government’s desire
to see the video-sharing site remain in European hands.
“The French government’s preferred search
for a European solution discourages international companies’ participation,” PCCW said in
a statement explaining its decision.
Vivendi declined to comment and no one at
Dailymotion was immediately available to comment.
Le Monde said Vivendi’s offer would be discussed at a board meeting today. “Vivendi’s ambition is to make Dailymotion a world size player,” Le Monde quoted an unidentified source as
Orange has been looking for a partner for over
a year to help Dailymotion expand internationally to try to compete with much larger rival
Google’s YouTube.
The French government, Orange’s biggest
shareholder with a 25% stake, said on Monday it
was never hostile to the talks but had asked Dailymotion to not enter into exclusive discussions
with PCCW before contacting all interested
parties. “Orange pursues discussions and works
towards submitting to the board in due time
solutions that are being considered,” France’s
economy ministry said.
Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said
last Thursday that Orange should look at all offers for Dailymotion as France was seeking to
promote a strong European digital sector.
In 2013, Orange was in talks to sell all or part
communities, medical office buildings
and hospitals, also said it would spin off
its portfolio of skilled nursing facilities.
The spinoff, which is expected to be
completed in the second half of 2015,
will create one of two healthcare real
estate investment trusts focused on
running skilled nursing facilities.
The other company is Ensign Group
Inc, which spun off its real estate
business to focus on running skilled
nursing facilities.
going to move from a stock build to a stock draw.”
Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have said
storage builds are increasing the risk of breaching
storage capacity, sending prices tumbling.
West Texas Intermediate oil, the US benchmark,
already has lost more than half its value since
June as growing US shale production led to a
global oversupply. WTI for May delivery added
$1.17 to $50.31 a barrel in electronic trading on the
New York Mercantile Exchange at 7:56am local
Inventories surged as US output rose 71% over
the past five years as drillers used techniques like
horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to tap
previously inaccessible oil in shale rock layers.
In Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI
futures, supplies have more than tripled since
early October to a record 58.9mn barrels.
Last July, refiners processed 16.5mn barrels of
crude a day, the highest level in monthly Energy
Department data going back to 1961. Refining
margins in March have averaged $28.09 a barrel,
the most since March 2013.
Refiners typically schedule maintenance
shutdowns in the spring and fall, reducing oil
demand during that time. US refiners increased
crude runs by an average 1.1mn barrels a day in
April through July over the past five years. During
that period, US crude inventories have fallen an
average of 24.7mn barrels from the end of May
through September.
Companies like Enterprise Products Partners LP
and TransCanada Corp have increased pipeline
capacity from Cushing to the Gulf Coast to more
than 1.5mn barrels a day from nothing at the
beginning of 2012.
Shippers may use more of that space in April after
differentials between crudes on the Gulf Coast
and Cushing widened to the highest level since
January 2014.
Light Louisiana Sweet averaged a $6.60 premium
to WTI in March, according to data compiled by
Bloomberg. Uncommitted shippers would have
to pay between $5.11 and $6.58 a barrel to ship on
pipelines from Cushing to St James, Louisiana,
where LLS is priced, according to regulatory
Higher refinery runs and pipeline flows might not
be enough to reduce inventories in Cushing, said
Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates
LLC in Houston. WTI is in a contango market
structure, with futures contracts for April 2016
selling for $10.84 a barrel more than April 2015
when that contract expired on March 20. That
encourages traders to keep crude in Cushing to
profit on the trade, Lipow said.
“There’s an incentive to fill up Cushing and hold it
there,” he said.
Kinder Morgan Inc planned to run its
50,000-barrel-a-day Houston splitter at full rates
by the end of March, company spokeswoman
Melissa Ruiz said last month. Another unit of the
same size is scheduled to come online later this
summer. A splitter processes an ultra-light form
of crude known as condensate that is plentiful in
shale regions.
Delek US Holdings Inc and Marathon Petroleum
Corp are expanding the capacity of refineries
to run domestic crude. MDU Resources Inc and
Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP plan to
start up a new 20,000-barrel-a-day refinery in
North Dakota in the second quarter.
“There are a few incremental expansions that are
going to help out and everyone else should be
running full out, margins are saying to do that,”
said John Auers, executive vice president at
Dallas-based energy consultant Turner Mason &
Co “That will help drain Cushing.”
Oil traders work in the crude oil futures pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Booming crude production expanded inventories this year by 86mn barrels to 471mn, the highest level since 1930.
“While clearly a bearish
headline, a final deal and full
lifting of sanctions still faces a
number of obstacles,” Morgan
Stanley analysts said in a note.
“Even if a final deal is reached,
we do not expect any physical
market impact before 2016,” the
analysts said.
Brent crude for May delivery touched a high of $56.90 a
barrel and was up $1.24 from
Thursday at $56.19 by 1304
GMT. US crude for May delivery
was $1 higher at $50.14 a barrel,
after earlier touching $50.97.
There was no trading in either
Brent or US crude futures on
Friday as markets were closed
for the start of the Easter holiday.
The world’s top exporter
Saudi Arabia kept output steady
and cut its official selling prices
(OSPs) sharply late last year in a
fight for market share during a
global supply glut.
Its ability to raise prices for
April and May suggests its
strategy is working, although
competition has kept its flagship Arab Light at a discount to
Oman/Dubai quotes, analysts
It is unclear exactly when
sanctions on Iran would be lifted if a deal is reached in June.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, said on Saturday that UN sanctions would be
lifted immediately after a deal,
but the US released a fact sheet
on Thursday saying that sanctions would be lifted as Iran
demonstrates compliance with
the terms of a deal.
“Both sides will describe the
deal differently,” said Olivier Jakob of Swiss-based consultancy
“What has been agreed will
fall in between,” he said.
Despite the sanctions on Iran,
China’s imports from the Opec
producer are set to rise from
August as a Chinese state trader
has signed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company to
buy more condensate.
Concerns over fighting in
Yemen also supported prices,
as fighting between a Saudibacked coalition and Shi’ite
Houthi forces continued in the
port city of Aden, which overlooks a major shipping lane
between Europe and the Arab
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Once over $12tn, world’s
reserves now shrinking
he decade-long surge in foreign-currency
reserves held by the world’s central banks is
coming to an end.
Global reserves declined to $11.6tn in March
from a record $12.03tn in August 2014, halting a
five-fold increase that began in 2004, according to
data compiled by Bloomberg. While the drop may
be overstated because the strengthening dollar reduced the value of other reserve currencies such
as the euro, it still underlines a shift after central
banks – with most of them located in developing
nations like China and Russia – added an average
$824bn to reserves each year over the past decade.
Beyond being emblematic of the dollar’s return
to its role as the world’s undisputed dominant
currency, the drop in reserves has several potential implications for global markets. It could make
it harder for emerging-market countries to boost
their money supply and shore up faltering economic growth; it could add to declines in the euro;
and it could damp demand for US Treasury bonds.
“It’s a big challenge for emerging markets,”
Stephen Jen, a former International Monetary
Fund economist who’s co-founder of SLJ Macro
Partners in London, said by phone. They “now
need more stimulus. The seed has been sowed for
future volatility,” he said.
Stripping out the effect from foreign-exchange
fluctuations, Credit Suisse Group AG estimates
that developing countries, which hold about twothirds of global reserves, spent a net $54bn of this
stash in the fourth quarter, the most since the global financial crisis in 2008.
China, the world’s largest reserve holder, together with commodity producers contributed to
most of the declines, as central banks sold dollars
to offset capital outflows and shore up their currencies. A Bloomberg gauge of emerging-market
currencies has lost 15% against the dollar over the
past year.
China cut its stockpile to $3.8tn in December
from a peak of $4tn in June, central bank data
show. Russia’s supply tumbled 25% over the past
year to $361bn in March, while Saudi Arabia, the
third-largest holder after China and Japan, has
burned through $10bn in reserves since August to
The trend is likely to continue as oil prices stay
low and growth in emerging markets remains
weak, reducing the dollar inflows that central
banks used to build reserves, according to Deutsche Bank AG.
Such a development is detrimental to the
euro, which had benefited from purchases in re-
The euro has declined against 29 of 31 major currencies this year as the European Central Bank stepped up monetary stimulus to avert deflation.
cent years by central banks seeking to diversify
their reserves, according to George Saravelos,
co-head of foreign-exchange research at Deutsche Bank.
The euro’s share of global reserves dropped to
22% in 2014, the lowest since 2002, while the dollar’s rose to a five-year high of 63%, the International Monetary Fund reported on March 31.
“The Middle East and China stand out as two
regions that are likely to face ongoing pressures to
run down reserves over the next few years,” Saravelos wrote in a note. The central banks there “need
to sell euros,” he said.
The euro has declined against 29 of 31 major
currencies this year as the European Central Bank
stepped up monetary stimulus to avert deflation.
The currency tumbled to a 12-year low of $1.0458
on March 16, before rebounding to $1.0990 at 8:14
am yesterday in New York.
Central banks in emerging nations started to
build up reserves in the wake of the Asian financial
crisis in the late 1990s to safeguard their markets
for periods when access to foreign capital dries
up. They also bought dollars to limit appreciation
in their own exchange rates, quadrupling reserves
from 2003 and boosting their holdings of US
Treasuries to $4.1tn from $934bn, data compiled
by Bloomberg show.
The reserve accumulation adds money supply to the financial system – each dollar purchase
creates a corresponding amount of new local currency – and helps stimulate the economy. An-
nual monetary base in China and Russia grew at
an average 17% in the decade through 2013, data
compiled by Bloomberg show. The expansion rate
tumbled to 6% last year.
While central banks have other ways of pumping cash into the banking system, such moves
without the backing of increased foreign reserves
could end up weakening their currencies further –
an outcome they may want to avoid.
“The swing in global foreign exchange reserves
is one key measure of the global liquidity tap being turned on and off,” Albert Edwards, a global
strategist at Societe Generale SA, wrote in a note
on March 6. “When a regime of loose money suddenly ends,” emerging-market asset prices “are
usually one of the first casualties,” he said.
China sets
on IMF’s
Dow Jones
Groucho Marx once
famously said he didn’t
want to belong to any club
that would accept him as a
member. China clearly holds
a different view.
For China’s policymakers, if
there’s a club, they probably
don’t want to pass up the
chance to join it – from
the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation Forum and the
Caribbean Development
Bank to the Group of 77 and
the Zangger Committee.
When that’s just not enough,
Beijing looks to start its own
clubs – such as the Shanghai
Cooperation Organisation,
or more recently, the Asian
Infrastructure Investment
Bank. Beijing now has
its eyes on yet another
elite grouping – the IMF’s
Special Drawing Rights
– an exclusive collection
of global currencies that
form a special reserve
asset. Every five years the
International Monetary
Fund is supposed to review
the composition of the
basket, which is currently
comprised of the dollar, the
euro, the yen and the pound
Chinese officials have been
pressing their case that
the yuan ought to be part
of this arrangement. They
see inclusion in the SDR
as something that would
expand the yuan’s role as a
currency for international
trade and investment.
Beijing hopes that ultimately
the yuan will be a reserve
currency that rivals the
dollar, and it has become
more open about stating its
ambitions of late.
The yuan has already taken
on an expanded role in
global trade.
Rajan credibility on inflation wins over UBS
Rajan: Winning investors’ trust.
hatever India’s central
bank governor does
with monetary policy
today, global investors look likely to give him the benefit of the
Overseas funds poured a
record $26.9bn into rupee-denominated debt in the fiscal year
ended March 31, data compiled
by Bloomberg show. BNP Paribas Wealth Management credits
Raghuram Rajan with lowering
inflation expectations, while UBS
Global Asset Management says
the Reserve Bank of India has
built more credibility under him.
JPMorgan Asset Management
lauds Rajan for curbing swings in
India’s currency.
Since taking office in September 2013, Rajan has won
investors’ trust by leading the
rupee’s turnaround from unprecedented lows, slowing what
was then Asia’s fastest consumer inflation and building record
foreign reserves to shield local
markets from external shocks.
The former International Monetary Fund chief economist cut
benchmark interest rates twice
this year, adding to the allure of
“The central bank under Rajan
has built in a lot of confidence
among investors and his presence has been a very big positive
for Indian markets,” Nandkumar
Surti, chief executive officer at
the local unit of JPMorgan Asset in Mumbai, said in a March
30 phone interview. “If you can
reasonably look at the inflation
trajectory going forward, you can
also possibly look into what the
central bank’s action will be. For
Tuesday, there’s a 50-50 probability of a rate cut.”
While 19 of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect Rajan to leave the repurchase rate
unchanged at 7.50%, five expect
a cut to 7.25%, adding to similar
reductions in January and March.
Rajan started easing policy as
plunging crude oil prices improved the nation’s trade balance
and slowed consumer-price gains
to 5.37% in February from as high
as 8.60% in January 2014. He was
also encouraged by the government’s resolve to narrow the fiscal
deficit to an eight-year low.
“Declining inflation, improved
current account, stable-to- improving fiscal deficit provide a
better picture than previously,”
Ashley Perrott, the Singaporebased head of pan- Asia fixed income at UBS Global Asset, said in
a April 1 phone interview. “Also,
the RBI has built pretty solid
credibility.” He is overweight on
Indian government bonds. Global
funds added $6.8bn to their holdings of Indian debt in the January-March period, the secondbest on record. Sovereign bonds
capped a fifth quarterly advance
on March 31, with the 10-year
yield dropping 12 basis points, or
0.12 percentage point, to 7.74%.
The rupee gained 0.9% in the period to 62.4975 a dollar, ending
three quarters of losses.
The yield fell three basis points
to 7.71% as of 9:30 am in Mumbai
yesterday, the lowest since March
5, while the rupee gained 0.5% to
62.2050 a dollar. Local debt and
currency markets were shut on
April 1-3.
The rupee has rebounded 10%
from a record low of 68.8450 in
August 2013 as Rajan took steps
to boost the supply of dollars, including a concessional currencyswap facility for banks, and raised
the benchmark rate three times to
rein in inflation. India’s foreignexchange reserves climbed to
an unprecedented $341bn as of
March 27.
Rajan also got India’s government to formally agree on an
inflation target with the central
bank this year, the biggest revamp
of the RBI’s mandate in its 80year history.
“Because of a clear and more
credible central bank, inflation
expectations in India are coming
down for the first time in a long
time,” Stefan Hofer, chief investment strategist in Asia for BNP
Paribas Wealth, a private bank
with the equivalent of $335bn in
assets at the end of 2014, said at
a March 25 briefing in Hong Kong.
He sees a further 25 to 50 basispoint reduction in the benchmark
rate in 2015 and predicts rupee
will strengthen to 60 a dollar in 12
An increase in US borrowing
costs poses a risk to capital flows
into India and will limit the RBI’s
room to cut rates this year, Raj
Kothari, a fixed-income trader
at Sun Global Investments Ltd in
London, said in a March 31 phone
interview. The rupee’s plunge to
a record in 2013 was triggered by
capital outflows in the wake of the
Federal Reserve’s signal to end its
unprecedented monetary stimulus.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde
said on March 17 a strengthening
dollar and normalisation of US
monetary policy pose a challenge
for India’s economy. The Fed last
month indicated it will raise borrowing costs at a relatively slow
India’s foreign-exchange reserves and fiscal position make it
better prepared for the Fed, Rajan
said on March 18.
Bond risk in India has declined
in the last 12 months. Credit-default swaps insuring the notes of
State Bank of India, a proxy for
the sovereign, against non-payment for five years slumped 66
basis points in the period to 156
as of March 31, according to data
provider CMA.
“We continue to stay with our
overall positive view on rupeedenominated government bonds
and credit,” Neeraj Seth, the Singapore-based head of the Asian
credit team of BlackRock Inc, the
world’s largest asset manager,
said in an April 2 interview. “We
believe that the RBI’s monetary
policy will be guided by inflation
data and trajectory in India over
the coming months and quarters, with potential for one or two
more cuts in rest of the year.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Company Name
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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
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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
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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
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Company Name
Securities Group Co
Viva Kuwait Telecom Co
Sultan Center Food Products
Kuwait Foundry Co Sak
Kuwait Financial Centre Sak
Ajial Real Estate Entmt
Gulf Glass Manuf Co -Kscc
Kuwait Finance & Investment
National Industries Co Ksc
Kuwait Real Estate Holding C
Securities House/The
Boubyan Petrochemicals Co
Al Ahli Bank Of Kuwait
Ahli United Bank (Almutahed)
National Bank Of Kuwait
Commercial Bank Of Kuwait
Kuwait International Bank
Gulf Bank
Al-Massaleh Real Estate Co
Al Arabiya Real Estate Co
Kuwait Remal Real Estate Co
Alkout Industrial Projects C
A’ayan Real Estate Co
Investors Holding Group Co.K
Markaz Real Estate Fund
Al-Mazaya Holding Co
Al-Madar Finance & Invt Co
Gulf Petroleum Investment
Mabanee Co Sakc
City Group
Inovest Co Bsc
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing
Al-Deera Holding Co
Alshamel International Hold
Mena Real Estate Co
National Slaughter House
Amar Finance & Leasing Co
United Projects Group Kscc
National Consumer Holding Co
Amwal International Investme
Jeeran Holdings
Equipment Holding Co K.S.C.C
Nafais Holding
Safwan Trading & Contracting
Arkan Al Kuwait Real Estate
Gulf Finance House Ec
Energy House Holding Co Kscc
Kuwait Slaughter House Co
Kuwait Co For Process Plant
Al Maidan Dental Clinic Co K
National Ranges Company
Kuwait Pipes Indus & Oil Ser
Al-Themar Real International
Al Ahleia Insurance Co Sak
Wethaq Takaful Insurance Co
Salbookh Trading Co K.S.C.C
Aqar Real Estate Investments
Hayat Communications
Kuwait Packing Materials Mfg
Soor Fuel Marketing Co Ksc
Alargan International Real
Burgan Co For Well Drilling
Kuwait Resorts Co Kscc
Oula Fuel Marketing Co
Palms Agro Production Co
Ikarus Petroleum Industries
Mubarrad Transport Co
Al Mowasat Health Care Co
Shuaiba Industrial Co
Kuwait Invest Co Holding
Hits Telecom Holding
First Takaful Insurance Co
Kuwaiti Syrian Holding Co
National Cleaning Company
Eyas For High & Technical Ed
United Real Estate Company
Kuwait & Middle East Fin Inv
Fujairah Cement Industries
Livestock Transport & Tradng
International Resorts Co
National Industries Grp Hold
Marine Services Co
Warba Insurance Co
Kuwait United Poultry Co
First Dubai Real Estate Deve
Al Arabi Group Holding Co
Kuwait Hotels Co
Mobile Telecommunications Co
Al Safat Real Estate Co
Tamdeen Real Estate Co Ksc
Al Mudon Intl Real Estate Co
Kuwait Cement Co Ksc
Sharjah Cement & Indus Devel
Kuwait Portland Cement Co
Educational Holding Group
Bahrain Kuwait Insurance
Kuwait China Investment Co
Kuwait Investment Co
Burgan Bank
Kuwait Projects Co Holdings
Al Madina For Finance And In
Kuwait Insurance Co
Al Masaken Intl Real Estate
Intl Financial Advisors
First Investment Co Kscc
Al Mal Investment Company
Bayan Investment Co Kscc
Egypt Kuwait Holding Co Sae
Coast Investment Development
Privatization Holding Compan
Kuwait Medical Services Co
Injazzat Real State Company
Kuwait Cable Vision Sak
Sanam Real Estate Co Kscc
Ithmaar Bank Bsc
Aviation Lease And Finance C
Arzan Financial Group For Fi
Ajwan Gulf Real Estate Co
Manafae Investment Co
Kuwait Business Town Real Es
Future Kid Entertainment And
Specialities Group Holding C
Abyaar Real Eastate Developm
Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate C
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Al-Dar National Real Estate
Kgl Logistics Company Kscc
Combined Group Contracting
Zima Holding Co Ksc
Qurain Holding Co
Boubyan Intl Industries Hold
Gulf Investment House
Boubyan Bank K.S.C
Ahli United Bank B.S.C
Al-Safat Tec Holding Co
Al-Eid Food Co
Qurain Petrochemical Industr
Advanced Technology Co
Ekttitab Holding Co S.A.K.C
Kout Food Group Ksc
Real Estate Trade Centers Co
Acico Industries Co Kscc
Kipco Asset Management Co
National Petroleum Services
Alimtiaz Investment Co Kscc
Ras Al Khaimah White Cement
Kuwait Reinsurance Co Ksc
Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport
Human Soft Holding Co Ksc
Automated Systems Co
Metal & Recycling Co
Gulf Franchising Holding Co
Al-Enma’a Real Estate Co
National Mobile Telecommuni
Al Bareeq Holding Co Kscc
Housing Finance Co Sak
Al Salam Group Holding Co
United Foodstuff Industries
Al Aman Investment Company
Mashaer Holdings Co Ksc
Manazel Holding
Mushrif Trading & Contractin
Tijara And Real Estate Inves
Kuwait Building Materials
Jazeera Airways Co Ksc
Commercial Real Estate Co
Future Communications Co
National International Co
Taameer Real Estate Invest C
Gulf Cement Co
Heavy Engineering And Ship B
Refrigeration Industries & S
National Real Estate Co
Al Safat Energy Holding Comp
Kuwait National Cinema Co
Danah Alsafat Foodstuff Co
Independent Petroleum Group
Kuwait Real Estate Co Ksc
Salhia Real Estate Co Ksc
Gulf Cable & Electrical Ind
Al Nawadi Holding Co Ksc
Kuwait Finance House
Gulf North Africa Holding Co
Hilal Cement Co
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Voltamp Energy Saog
United Finance Co
United Power Co
United Power/Energy Co- Pref
Al Madina Investment Co
Taageer Finance
Salalah Port Services
A’saffa Foods Saog
Sohar Poultry
Shell Oman Marketing
Shell Oman Marketing - Pref
Smn Power Holding Saog
Al Shurooq Inv Ser
Al Sharqiya Invest Holding
Sohar Power Co
Salalah Beach Resort Saog
Salalah Mills Co
Sahara Hospitality
Renaissance Services Saog
Raysut Cement Co
Port Service Corporation
Packaging Co Ltd
Oman United Insurance Co
Oman Textile Holding Co Saog
Oman Telecommunications Co
Sweets Of Oman
Oman Orix Leasing Co.
Oman Refreshment Co
Oman Packaging
Oman Oil Marketing Company
0Man Oil Marketing Co-Pref
Oman National Investment Co
Oman National Engineering An
Oman National Dairy Products
Oman Medical Projects
Oman Ceramic Com
Oman Intl Marketing
Oman Investment & Finance
Hsbc Bank Oman
Oman Hotels & Tourism Co
Oman Holding International
Oman Fiber Optics
Oman Flour Mills
Oman Filters Industry
Oman Fisheries Co
Oman Education & Training In
Oman & Emirates Inv(Om)50%
Oman & Emirates Inv(Emir)50%
Oman Europe Foods Industries
Oman Cement Co
Oman Chlorine
Oman Chromite
Oman Cables Industry
Oman Agricultural Dev
Omani Qatari Telecommunicati
National Securities
Oman Foods International Soa
National Pharmaceutical-Rts
National Pharmaceutical
National Packaging Fac
National Mineral Water
National Hospitality Institu
National Gas Co
National Finance Co
National Detergents/The
National Carpet Factory
National Bank Of Oman Saog
National Biscuit Industries
National Real Estate Develop
Natl Aluminium Products
Muscat Thread Mills Co
Muscat Insurance Company
Modern Poultry Farms
Muscat National Holding
Musandam Marketing & Invest
Al Maha Petroleum Products M
Muscat Gases Company Saog
Majan Glass Company
Muscat Finance
Al Kamil Power Co
Interior Hotels
Hotels Management Co Interna
Al-Hassan Engineering Co
Gulf Stone
Gulf Mushroom Company
Gulf Invest. Serv. Pref-Shar
Gulf Investments Services
Gulf International Chemicals
Gulf Hotels (Oman) Co Ltd
Global Fin Investment
Galfar Engineering&Contract
Galfar Engineering -Prefer
Financial Services Co.
Flexible Ind Packages
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
Financial Corp/The
Dhofar Tourism
Dhofar Poultry
Aloula Co
Dhofar Intl Development
Dhofar Insurance
Dhofar University
Dhofar Power Co
Dhofar Power Co-Pfd
Dhofar Fisheries & Food Indu
Dhofar Cattlefeed
Al Batinah Dev & Inv
Dhofar Beverages Co
Computer Stationery Inds
Construction Materials Ind
Cement & Gypsum Pro
Marine Bander Al-Rowdha
Bank Sohar
Bankmuscat Saog
Bank Dhofar Saog
Al Batinah Hotels
Majan College
Areej Vegetable Oils
Al Jazeera Steel Products Co
Al Sallan Food Industry
Acwa Power Barka Saog
Al-Omaniya Financial Service
Taghleef Industries Saog
Gulf Plastic Industries Co
Al Jazeera Services
Al Jazerah Services -Pfd
Al-Fajar Al-Alamia Co
Ahli Bank
Abrasives Manufacturing Co S
Al-Batinah Intl Saog
Lt Price
% Chg
Company Name
National Takaful Company
Waha Capital Pjsc
Union Insurance Co
Union National Bank/Abu Dhab
United Insurance Company
Union Cement Co
United Arab Bank 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
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Company Name
Apple Inc
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
Walt Disney Co/The
Coca-Cola Co/The
Merck & Co. Inc.
Visa Inc-Class A Shares
Intl Business Machines Corp
Home Depot Inc
Intel Corp
Cisco Systems Inc
Unitedhealth Group Inc
United Technologies Corp
Boeing Co/The
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
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
Hikma Pharmaceuticals 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
Yes Bank Ltd
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
Itc Ltd
Infosys Ltd
Indusind Bank Ltd
Idfc Ltd
Idea Cellular 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
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
Box Inc, an online data storage provider, had the biggest IPO in the latest quarter, raising $201.2mn. It began trading on the
New York Stock Exchange on January 22.
Venture-backed US IPOs hit
lowest levels in two years
New York
S initial public offerings by
venture-backed companies fell
to a two-year low in the first
quarter of 2015, according to data from
the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters.
About 17 venture-backed companies raised $1.43bn in the three months
ended March, compared with 37 that
raised $3.40bn in the same period a
year earlier, according to the report.
The last time the number fell below 20 was in the first quarter of 2013,
when eight venture-backed companies
raised $716.9mn.
Box Inc, an online data storage provider, had the biggest IPO in the latest quarter, raising $201.2mn. It began
trading on the New York Stock Exchange on January 22.
Life sciences companies dominated
the IPO market, with 13 of the 17 offer-
ings coming from the sector.
The average amount raised was
$84.3mn, down from $92mn in the first
quarter of 2014.
Among venture-backed mergers and
acquisitions, only 16 of the 86 during the quarter reported deal size. The
average deal size was $128.1mn, compared with $245.8mn a year earlier.
Meanwhile, US stocks rose yesterday
as expectations the Federal Reserve will
push any interest rate increases further
into the year offset concerns over faltering economic growth spurred by a surprisingly weak jobs report on Friday.
Labour Department data showed US
employers last month added 126,000
jobs, the lowest in more than a year and
well below expectations.
Yesterday, New York Fed President
William Dudley said the central bank
will need to determine whether that
jobs report foreshadows a more substantial slowing in the labour market,
adding he expects the path of rate hikes
to be “relatively shallow.”
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
Ck Hutchison 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
“That’s why they took it as dovish,”
said Jim Paulsen, chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management in
Minneapolis, of the market reaction
to Dudley’s words. “Traders are taking advantage of headlines to move the
market around.”
In other economic news, ISM data
showed the pace of growth in the US
services sector fell in March to its
lowest level in three months, while a
measure from Markit showed the sector expanded in March at its fastest
pace since August.
Investors are concerned that a recent
spate of soft economic data, including
jobs, factory activity and consumer
spending, may point to more than a
weather-related slowdown and could
indicate a loss of momentum in the US
Still, the lacklustre data also eased
some concerns over the US dollar continuing to strengthen and pressure the
earnings of companies with international exposure.
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
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
M&T to miss
Hudson City
deal deadline
after delay
New York
Steam rises from Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp’s Kimitsu works in Kimitsu City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, and (right) the headquarters of Techint stands in Milan, Italy. A spat over control of Brazil’s
second-largest steelmaker Usiminas is opening the door for minority shareholders such as billionaire Lirio Parisotto and Grupo BTG Pactual to gain a seat on the board, and possibly choose a chairman.
Tokyo-to-Milan steelmaker spat
opens door for Brazil tycoon
Rio de Janeiro
hat started as an alliance to
bring balance and direction
to Brazil’s second-largest
steelmaker has become a feud spanning three continents that’s diluting the
company’s efforts to navigate a global
commodities rout.
On one side is Japan’s Nippon Steel
& Sumitomo Metal Corp, with more
than 50 years’ experience quietly steering through the perilous waters of Brazil’s businesses elites. On the other is
Techint, an Italian-Argentine group
with the track record and motivation to
return the company to profitability and
recoup an investment of almost $3bn.
Just three years after Nippon and
Techint agreed to jointly control Belo
Horizonte, Brazil-based Usiminas, the
union is in disarray. Dozens of lawyers
and advisers are helping wage a battle
for boardroom power that’s seen voting shares almost triple in the past six
months, the world’s best steel-stock
performance, even as non-voting
shares slump along with the industry’s
prospects. The spat is opening the door
for minority shareholders such as billionaire Lirio Parisotto and Grupo BTG
Pactual to gain a seat on the board, and
possibly choose a chairman, at a meeting later yesterday.
“When you have a crack in the controlling group, you are making space for
minorities,” Ricardo Kim, an analyst for
XP Investimentos in Sao Paulo, said by
telephone. “It doesn’t resolve the issue because the two controllers are still
Nippon’s involvement in Usiminas dates back to the late 1950s, when
Brazil’s industrialisation push led the
government of Juscelino Kubitschek to
team up with Japan in a steel venture.
The 2012 agreement with Techint,
owned by the billionaire Rocca family,
whereby the Italian group would name
a chief executive officer and Nippon
would propose a chairman, brought
hopes of an operational U-turn as
management focused on cutting costs,
boosting efficiencies and selling assets.
The stock had slumped to 6.57 reais
on July 24, just six months after Techint
paid 36 reais per voting share through
subsidiaries including Ternium SA.
The Italian group’s hands-on approach
started to bear fruit and in the first half
of 2014 Usiminas posted its best earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortisation in four years, even
with Brazilian economic growth grinding to a halt.
Disharmony between the two controllers was unveiled in late September.
In a heated board meeting that lasted
several hours, Chairman Paulo Penido
cast a tie-breaking vote to fire CEO Julian Eguren and two other Techint-appointed officials over alleged financial
misconduct. The executives deny any
wrongdoing and have since taken legal
action against Penido seeking damages
in a Sao Paulo court. Penido said in emailed comments that the dismissal
followed board rules.
The fate of the dismissed executives
continues to be a stumbling block for
reconciliation. When Techint’s Paolo
Rocca met with Nippon CEO Kosei
Shindo in Moscow in October during
a World Steel Association conference,
talks broke down after Rocca sought
the reinstatement of the fired trio, according to people with knowledge of the
matter, who asked not to be identified.
Ternium is challenging the dismissal in
Brazilian courts.
The premium of Usiminas voting
shares over preferred stock, which don’t
allow holders to cast a ballot on corporate policies, widened to a record 18.14
reais on March 24 as the controller battle heated up before Monday’s meeting.
In the two years through June 2014 the
shares traded at an average discount of
94 centavos, according to data compiled
by Bloomberg. The preferred shares average more than five times more trading
volume than the voting stock, the data
Billionaire Andre Esteves’ Grupo BTG
Pactual, Brazil’s only publicly traded
investment bank, is also vying for influence at Usiminas, or Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, after nominating Marco Antonio Bologna as its
board candidate. BTG wants to contribute to the development of Usiminas and
Bologna’s management experience will
be decisive for that, the bank said in an
e-mail response to questions.
“In the last few months, BTG Pactual
bought ordinary shares of Usiminas, directly and through an exclusive investment fund, with the goal of capturing
their valuation potential,” the bank said.
Both Usiminas and Techint declined
to comment for this story. Nippon Steel
didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking
Ternium scored a legal victory in late
February when an appeals court judge
in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais
ruled in favour of reinstating Eguren as
CEO. Two other judges in the case asked
for more time to study the request and
a crucial ruling is expected later this
While people close to the companies
don’t rule out a last-minute accord
to present a consensus candidate for
chairman in the assembly, the controllers were arguing over the meeting’s
rules in filings on April 2.
Parisotto, who is worth $1.6bn according to the Forbes billionaire ranking, has been put up as director by
some minority shareholders after his
Geracao L Par fund built a 5.2% stake
in Usiminas preferred shares and 1%
of voting stock. He didn’t reply to a request for comment sent by e-mail via
an adviser.
As of April 2, director Marcelo
Gasparino was the only chairman
candidate after a nomination by asset
manager Tempo Capital Gestao de Recursos Ltda, Usiminas said in a filing.
Tempo also nominated Mauro Cunha,
president of Brazil’s association of
minority shareholders Amec, as board
The controller dispute coincides with
an adverse outlook for the steel industry
in Brazil where a stagnating economy
signals weak demand.
“One thing is to be on a ship in the
middle of a storm with someone controlling the ship and very different is
being in the middle of the storm with no
one in charge,” Artur Losnak, an analyst
at Fator Corretora in Sao Paulo, said by
telephone. “We will still have a lot of
problems ahead.”
&T Bank Corp said that
regulators won’t be
able to complete a review of its proposed acquisition
of Hudson City Bancorp by April
30, and that the deal will miss its
latest deadline.
M&T was notified of the delay by the Federal Reserve late
Friday, the Buffalo, New Yorkbased bank said yesterday in a
statement. M&T said that it remains committed to the merger,
while Hudson City said it needs
time to review the deal.
“Given the unexpected notice
of delay over a holiday weekend,
the board of Hudson City needs
more time to understand the
nature and timing of the delay
and its potential impact on the
transaction before the board can
determine its course of action,”
Denis Salamone, Hudson City’s
chief executive officer, said yesterday in a separate statement.
The lenders didn’t set a new
The agreement, announced in
2012 for $3.7bn, has been repeatedly stalled amid a Federal Reserve review of M&T’s moneylaundering controls. The delay
has exacerbated a slowdown in
deal-making among the nation’s
largest lenders.
Both banks had taken steps
in recent weeks to prepare for
completion of the deal. Paramus, New Jersey-based Hudson City notified participants in
its employee stock-ownership
and incentive-bonus plans last
month that a blackout period
was expected to begin on April
21, limiting transactions involving the shares. M&T had notified
Hudson City shareholders of a
deadline to decide between stock
and cash payment in the merger.
The election process has been
suspended, M&T said in Monday’s statement.
“We continue to believe that
M&T’s merger with Hudson City
would be beneficial to both institutions,” M&T CEO Robert G
Wilmers said in the statement.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Hedge funds increase bullish oil bets by most in 4 years
New York
Hedge funds increased bullish oil
bets by the most in four years as
negotiators worked overtime to reach
a deal over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Speculators boosted their net-long
position in West Texas Intermediate
crude by 21% in the seven days ended
March 31, US Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data show, the
biggest percentage increase since
March 2011. Short positions dropped
by the most in three months.
Iran and world powers extended talks
past a March 31 deadline to reach a
preliminary agreement that brings
the Gulf nation closer to increasing
oil exports. WTI rose 13% from a sixyear low in March as US production
growth slowed and demand from
refineries climbed, signalling
stockpiles that have reached the
highest since 1930 are poised to
“We’ll have to wait and see what really
happens,” Phil Flynn, senior market
analyst at the Price Futures Group
in Chicago, said by phone on April 2.
“Some of the bears started to throw
in the towel because of the inability
of the market to follow through to
the downside, even with supplies
continuing to build.” WTI futures
gained 9 cents to $47.60 a barrel on
the New York Mercantile Exchange
in the period covered by the CFTC
report. Prices increased 2.7% to $50.46
a barrel at 9:16am yesterday.
The agreement, which sets an outline
for further negotiations over the next
three months, will set a schedule for
the Iran’s enrichment of uranium,
limit it to a single site and allow
international monitoring over the
next quarter-century. The US and
European Union will lift the economic
sanctions that have crippled the
Islamic Republic’s economy, once
inspectors verify its compliance.
“The Iran deal has probably already
been priced in,” said Michael Lynch,
president of Strategic Energy &
Economic Research in Winchester,
People realised that there will be no
flood of Iranian oil into the market.”
Crude inventories rose by 4.77mn
barrels to 471.4mn as of March 27,
Energy Information Administration
data show. Stockpiles at Cushing,
Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI
contracts, climbed to a record 58.9mn.
Production slipped for the first time
in eight weeks, dropping 36,000
barrels a day after rising just 3,000
barrels the previous week.
Net-long positions in WTI gained
28,410 to 163,367 futures and options
in the week ended March 31, CFTC
data showed. Short positions dropped
19,065, while longs gained 9,345.
In other markets, bearish wagers on
US ultra low sulfur diesel fell 915 to
25,983 contracts. The fuel climbed
0.7% to $1.7179 a gallon in the report
week.Net-short bets on US natural
gas doubled to 70,353, the most in
data compiled by Bloomberg going
back to 2010. The measure includes
an index of four contracts adjusted to
futures equivalents. Nymex natural
gas dropped 5.2% to $2.64 permn
British thermal units during the
report week. Bullish bets on gasoline
declined 12% to 24,185 contracts.
Futures declined 1.1% to $1.78 a gallon.
The US average retail price of regular
gasoline slipped 0.4 cent to $2.395
a gallon on April 3, the lowest since
February 26, according to Heathrow,
Florida-based AAA, the nation’s
biggest motoring group.
US refineries used 15.7mn barrels
a day of crude, up 615,000 from
a month earlier. Plants are set to
boost rates further as seasonal
maintenance ends.
“People are expecting stronger
demand,” Lynch said.
stocks dip
after weak
US data
Virtu Financial expects
$2.6bn valuation in IPO
New York
lectronic trading firm Virtu Financial is expecting a valuation of up to $2.6bn in its initial public offering, a year after the company
postponed its first attempt to go public amid a furore over high-frequency trading.
Virtu Financial said yesterday its offering of
16.5mn Class A shares is expected to be priced
at between $17 and $19 per share, raising up to
The company is a market-maker in equities,
fixed income, currencies and commodities. It
earns money through “spreads” – the difference
between what buyers and sellers are willing to pay
or accept in a trade.
Virtu Financial’s decision to postpone the IPO
last year followed the release of Michael Lewis’
book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt”, which
questioned whether markets were rigged in favour
of high-frequency traders.
The company also caused a stir when it revealed
last year that it had only one day of trading losses
in five years. The detail was meant to show the
firm’s profitability but critics of high-frequency
trading pointed to it as a sign that high-speed
traders have unfair advantages. Founder Vincent
Viola, a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, will control the company after the offering though his ownership of Class D
shares, which have more voting power than ordinary shares.
The company’s revenue rose 8.8% to $723mn in
2014, while net income rose 4.3% to $190mn, the
company said in a filing.
Virtu Financial’s competitors include large
broker-dealers such as Bank of America Merrill
Lynch and Citigroup, as well as niche players such
as Citadel, KCG Holdings, Timber Hill and Wolverine Trading.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission
proposed last month that high-speed stock trading firms that execute transactions away from
exchanges should be subject to greater regulatory
Apart from Virtu Financial, the plan is expected
to affect firms such as Jump Trading and Tradebot.
The SEC intensified its review of high frequency traders following the “flash crash” in 2010, in
which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged
700 points before rebounding sharply.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase &
Co and Sandler O’Neill + Partners LP are among
the underwriters for Virtu Financial’s offering.
Sensex climbs 244 points; rupee gains 30 paise
ndian stocks rose yesterday, sending the benchmark index to more
than a two-week high, as property
developers and healthcare companies
climbed amid speculation the central
bank may cut reserve requirements at
its policy meeting today.
DLF increased the most in three
weeks, driving up a gauge of real-estate companies by the most in three
months. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, the most valuable drugmaker, and
Aurobindo Pharma surged to records.
Oil & Natural Gas Corp had the biggest jump in five months as Brent crude
The S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.9%
or 244.32 points to 28,504.46, after
changing direction at least 12 times
in the first half of the session. While
30 of the 34 economists surveyed by
Bloomberg see the Reserve Bank of India holding the cash reserve ratio, one
expects a 25 basis point cut and three
expect a 50 basis points reduction.
“Stocks rallied on speculation of a
cut in the CRR,” said Rikesh Parikh,
vice president at Motilal Oswal Securities in Mumbai. A reduction “could
release liquidity, boosting real estate,
infrastructure and financial stocks,” he
State Bank of India, the largest lender, last month said the central bank
must cut reserve requirements to help
bring down loan rates as two rounds
of monetary easing have failed to lower funding costs. The bank estimates
a half percentage point reduction in
the reserve ratio, which has been 4%
since February 2013, will free Rs457bn
($7.3bn) for lending. SBI’s base rate, below which it can’t give loans, has been
at 10% since November 2013 even as
the central bank cut its main rate by 50
basis points to 7.5 this year.
DLF jumped the most since March 13.
Housing Development & Infrastructure
surged 24%, the most since May 2009
and Unitech rallied 8.3%.
Sun Pharmaceutical surged 8.2%,
taking this year’s gains to 41%, the
most on the Sensex. Aurobindo Pharma
rallied 6.2% and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories added 4.1%.
Foreigners bought a net $183.2mn of
shares on March 31 and April 1, taking
this year’s inflows to $6.1bn, the most
among eight Asian markets tracked by
Bloomberg. The market was shut on
Thursday and Friday for holidays.
The Sensex has gained 3.7% this
year and trades at 15.9 times projected
12-month earnings, compared with the
MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s multiple of 12.1.
Meanwhile, the rupee ended higher
by another 30 paise to 62.19 against the
American currency yesterday on sustained selling of dollars by banks and
exporters on hopes of foreign capital
inflows in view of strong equity market.
The local currency has now gained
48 paise or 0.77 per cent in the last two
A weaker-than-expected US jobs
data released last week has led to investors expecting a delay in the rate hike
by the Federal Reserve, hoping foreign
funds to continue invest.
A view of the Bombay Stock Exchange. Indian stocks yesterday rose to more than a two-week high amid speculation the
central bank may cut reserve requirements at its policy meeting today.
okyo shares ended lower
yesterday while the yen
climbed against the dollar
following a worse than expected
US jobs report seen as making an
early US rate rise more unlikely.
Oil prices rose on expectations
that any new exports from Iran
would not likely come on the
market for some time, despite
the initial nuclear agreement.
With several major markets
shut for public holidays and Wall
Street closed on Friday, trading
was thin with few catalysts to
spur business.
Tokyo fell 0.19%, or 37.10
points, to 19,397.98 and Seoul
was flat, edging up 1.01 points to
close at 2,046.43.
Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei, Sydney and Wellington were closed.
The dollar fell to 119.03 yen
yesterday from 119.62 yen in
Tokyo on Friday, while the euro
climbed to $1.0971 from $1.0879.
The single currency was at 130.57
yen from 130.16 yen.
Oil prices rose because Tehran’s nuclear deal with the
West has still to be finalised,
meaning sanctions will stay in
place for now. US benchmark
West Texas Intermediate was
up $1.21 cents at $50.35 while
Brent added $1.17 to $56.12. Oil
was also supported by news that
major producer Saudi Arabia
raised prices for all May sales
to Asia, saying demand was improving.
However, Sanjeev Gupta,
who heads the Asia-Pacific Oil
and Gas practice at professional
services firm EY, said prices are
likely to resume their downtrend
as traders digest the impact of
the agreement between Iran and
the US-led western powers.
“We anticipate stronger negative reactions to the benchmark
prices this week,” Gupta said.
Gold fetched $1,219.54 against
$1,200.50 late Friday.
In other markets, Manila
closed 0.76%, or 60.65 points,
higher at 8,053.74; Jakarta ended up 0.43%, or 23.63 points,
at 5,480.03; Kuala Lumpur
gained 8.42 points, or 0.46%,
to close at 1,842.94 and Singapore fell 0.02%, or 0.84 points,
to 3,452.91.
Big oil firms bracing for worst quaterly results
Dow Jones
New York
Exxon Mobil’s cash flow fell to its lowest level since the financial
crisis in 2009 as oil prices plunged to about half of its 2014 peak.
The world’s big oil companies and their
investors are bracing for some of the worst
quarterly financial results in recent memory
as the first three months of the year closed
with oil trading at about half of its 2014 peak.
The final quarter of 2014 was bad enough.
British giant BP announced its biggest
quarterly loss since the Deepwater Horizon
spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Exxon
Mobil Corp’s cash flow fell to its lowest level
since the midst of the financial crisis in 2009.
The year-end carnage was for a three-month
period in which a barrel of oil traded at $77.
In the latest quarter, the Brent international
oil benchmark averaged $55.13 a barrel.
“It’s going to be ugly,” said Jason Gammel, an
analyst at Jefferies. “It’s going to be a really
bad quarter.”
Most of the world’s biggest oil companies
have already slashed spending, with many
of them cutting jobs.
Underscoring the severity of the oil-price
pressure, they have also turned to investors
to help them preserve cash.
Eni SpA of Italy cut its dividend in March, a
dramatic move within a group of companies
that holds as almost sacred the ability to
maintain steady payments to shareholders.
Royal Dutch Shell and French giant Total
recently said they would offer investors the
option to receive their dividend in shares, a
move that could bolster the companies’ cash
In February, Exxon said to cut costs it would
reduce first-quarter spending on share
buybacks by two-thirds from the preceding
quarter to $1bn. Chevron has suspended its
buyback program altogether.
After a quarter of even lower oil prices, Big
Oil is likely to continue to impose measures
of austerity and negotiate better deals with
contractors. Consultancy Wood Mackenzie
estimates that by next year exploration
costs will be driven down by about a third
compared with 2014.
Companies are also working to cut
operating costs, said Andrew Mackenzie,
chief executive of BHP Billiton Ltd, the
Anglo-Australian mining giant that also has a
sizable oil-and-gas arm.
“It’s going to be tightening the supply chain
and sharing the pain,” Mackenzie said in a
recent interview. Some cost cutting may
show up when oil companies start reporting
results later this month, providing some
relief. BP and Shell are among the first big
companies to report first-quarter earnings,
on April 28 and April 30, respectively.
“I think you’ll find that when BP and Shell
report results there will be quite a sharp
revenue drop, but costs will have also fallen,”
said Paul Mumford, a senior fund manager
at Cavendish Asset management, which
holds small stakes in both companies.
BP, Shell and Exxon referred questions to
previous statements about how they are
managing the weaker price environment.
Chevron also noted previously announced
plans to cut costs, reduce spending and
pursue assets sales, while adding that
it remains confident of its long-term
business plans and its ability to manage the
Spending cuts are a Catch-22 for oil
companies caught in a relentless race to
replace the oil reserves they draw down
every year. Reduce exploration spending
too much, and companies run the risk of
failing to line up new supplies to bolster
their oil reserves, a closely watched metric
for energy investors. And if they cut
development costs too deeply, production
suffers, affecting cash flow.
The pressure is acute. Chevron chairman
and chief executive John Watson told
analysts in March that the company’s
negative returns for shareholders in
2014 were “unacceptable” and outlined
“significant cost-reduction programs under
way.” The company is rebidding contracts
and negotiating reductions with suppliers,
even as it works toward production growth
of 20% by 2017.
To meet their substantial costs amid the
price drop and fall in cash flow, companies
have been piling on debt in recent months.
According to Morgan Stanley, large
integrated oil companies led by Exxon, Total,
Chevron and BP raised $31bn in debt in the
first two months of the year, beating the
previous quarterly record of $28bn amassed
at the height of the financial crisis in early
2009. Loading up on debt isn’t necessarily
a problem in the short term. Big integrated
oil companies generate billions of dollars in
cash each year and have substantial refining
and trading arms that provide some cover in
a low-price environment.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Residential and commercial buildings are seen in Jakarta. Indonesia’s new-home prices climbed 5.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, following a 6.3% gain in the final quarter of last year, according to a February survey by the nation’s central bank.
Indonesia ‘best place to buy’ property shares
alling interest rates, an expanding population and a government-sponsored building boom
are turning Indonesia into the world’s
favourite place to buy property stocks.
Developers on the Jakarta stock
exchange, including PT Lippo Cikarang and PT Alam Sutera Realty, have
the highest average analyst ratings
among global peers and the most buy
recommendations of any industry
group in Indonesia, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg. The Jakarta
Construction, Property & Real Estate
Index has advanced 25% over the past
12 months, twice as much as the nation’s benchmark index.
Indonesia’s central bank cut borrowing costs in February for the first
time in three years, improving the
outlook for Southeast Asia’s largest
economy as President Joko Widodo
seeks to lift growth to 7%. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and Indonesia’s state pension system are
both increasing investments in the
nation’s property market as Widodo
boosts infrastructure spending and
the world’s fourth-biggest population keeps expanding.
“We are overweight on the property sector and continue to be positive,” said Arief Wana, a director at
PT Ashmore Asset Management Indonesia in Jakarta, which oversees the
equivalent of $690mn, including the
nation’s top-performing equity fund
in 2014.
The firm added Alam Sutera to the
top five holdings of its Dana Progresif
Nusantara fund in December.
The Jakarta property gauge rose
0.1% yesterday.
Alam Sutera gained 0.8% while
Lippo Cikarang rose 0.4%.
The average consensus rating on
Indonesian property companies with
at least five analyst recommendations
is 4.32, on a scale where 5 equates to
a unanimous buy rating. That compares with 4.13 in the US and 4.1 in
China. Shares in the Jakarta property
index will probably climb 14% over
the next 12 months, according to price
targets compiled by Bloomberg.
The gauge is valued at about 13.9
times estimated earnings.
That’s an 11% discount versus the
broader Jakarta Composite Index,
compared with an average premium
of 11% since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 2006.
probably climbed 5.7% in the first
quarter from a year earlier, following
a 6.3% gain in the final quarter of last
year, according to a February survey
by the nation’s central bank.
Property companies will be beneficiaries of Widodo’s infrastructure
spending plans, estimated at $433bn
through 2019, CLSA Ltd wrote in a
March 31 report. They’re also among
the biggest winners from the central
bank’s interest-rate cut as financing costs fall, according to Ashmore’s
“This is the best time to be in the
property business in Indonesia,”
Rainier Gunawan, a principal for re-
altor Ray White Indonesia in Jakarta,
said in an interview.A rising supply
of property may weigh on the market,
according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc,
a Chicago-based property brokerage.
About 1,500 new condominium units
may open up in 2015, subduing rents,
while office vacancy rates will probably rise into “double-digit territory”
in 2015 as more than 260,000 square
metres (2.8mn square feet) of GradeA office space enters the market, the
firm estimates.
Indonesia’s property stocks still
have room to rally, according to Steven Gunawan, an analyst at PT Batavia Prosperindo Sekuritas in Jakarta.
His buy recommendations include
Alam Sutera. GIC Pte, Singapore’s
sovereign wealth fund, and a partner
agreed in November to invest $500mn
Mizuho to hire 200 RBS staff
izuho Financial Group
plans to hire as many as
200 people from Royal
Bank of Scotland Group in the
US as part of its deal to buy loans
from the British lender, a person
with knowledge of the matter
Japan’s third-biggest bank by
market value is in talks to take on
130 to 200 employees from RBS’s
US unit, including fixed-income
and loan staff members, the person
said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private.
Mizuho said in February that it
will buy the loans for about $3bn
to gain access to corporate clients
in North America. The portfolio
consists of $36.5bn of loan commitments to about 200 investment-grade companies, of which
$3.2bn has been drawn.
The transaction underscores an
expansion abroad by Japan’s biggest lenders as a declining population and near record-low interest rates hamper loan income at
home. RBS, which was bailed out
by the UK government during the
global financial crisis, is shrinking its global footprint to focus
on consumer banking in its home
market following seven years of
losses. Mizuho has started negotiations with the RBS employees
and the number it will hire depends on the outcome of the talks,
the person said. Riichirou Tanaka,
a Tokyo-based spokesman for
Mizuho, declined to comment, as
did Atsuko Yoshitsugu, a spokeswoman for RBS in Tokyo. Reuters
reported details of the recruitment plans earlier.
Mizuho could hire RBS staff including loan officers and debt capital markets bankers, Shuji Matsuura, a deputy general manager
in the international coordination
division, told reporters when the
Japanese bank announced the deal
to buy the loans on February 26.
That agreement allowed RBS
and Mizuho to explore the transfer of capabilities such as coverage banking as well as debt capital markets and syndication, the
Edinburgh-based bank said in a
statement in February.
Purchasing the loans and hiring
RBS employees give Mizuho a way
to expand in the US after Chief
Executive Officer Yasuhiro Sato
in property projects in Indonesia, focusing on Jakarta’s central business
BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, Indonesia’s
state pension fund, said last month
it plans to increase its investment in
affordable housing by fivefold to fulfil
demand from low-income workers.
The population of Jakarta is forecast by the government to climb to
12.5mn by 2030, from about 9.7mn
now. The urban growth rate in Indonesia, which has a total population
of around 250mn, is the third-fastest
among emerging Asian economies after Thailand and China, according to
the World Bank.
“The size of our population, combined with the urbanization rate, will
keep demand for property strong,”
Batavia’s Gunawan said.
Toshiba drops
most in a year
on plan to probe
accounting flaws
A pedestrian walks past the logo for Mizuho Bank in Tokyo. Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value is in
talks to take on 130 to 200 employees from RBS’s US unit.
said in December that buying a regional bank there wouldn’t be viable. Mizuho is among the top 20
bond underwriters and syndicated loan arrangers in the country
this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The lender
follows larger peer Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group in developing its
US business. Mitsubishi UFJ in-
tegrated its US operations under
a single holding company last
year as it seeks to become a top10 bank there. It’s also Morgan
Stanley’s largest shareholder.
oshiba Corp fell the most in more than a year after
the company said it would appoint a committee to investigate possible problems with its accounting. The
maker of nuclear reactors, chips, appliances and electronics
dropped 4.9%, the most since January 31, to close at ¥487
in Tokyo.
Toshiba will form a panel to examine the “reasonableness
of estimates” when using the percentage-of-completion accounting method for some projects, it said on Friday after
the market closed. The effect on earnings hasn’t been determined, according to the Tokyo-based company’s statement.
“The announcement doesn’t give us a good impression of
Toshiba,” said Yukihiko Shimada, an analyst at SMBC Nikko
Securities Inc.
“A sense of uncertainty will spread about the credibility of
the company’s accounting.” Toshiba got about 11% of operating income from its power and social infrastructure business in the year started April 1, 2013. The investigation will
take about a month, the company said. “Some items in the
accounting method for work completed needed to be re-examined,” Naomi Furuya, a spokeswoman for Toshiba, said on
Friday. “This was discovered in March in a routine accounting survey.” She declined to give further details.
New foreign trade policy and India’s competitiveness
By Amit Kapoor
New Delhi
The Indian government, on first day
of fiscal 2015-16, released the foreign
trade policy (FTP) that will run till
March 31, 2020. Overall the regime has
been revamped and the policy calls for
the “enhancement of the entire trade
The FTP will help boost India’s export
sector and more importantly improve
competitiveness with respect to peers
over the next five years. The success of
the policy will depend on strengthening
linkages between the FTP and other
programmes of the government like
Make in India, Digital India and Skills
India. Some if its distinct points are
worthy of mention.
First, there is an integrated look at the
trade policy. The FTP acknowledges
that trade cannot be formulated and
implemented by a single department or
government. For a successful FTP and
implementation, mainstreaming the
state governments will hold the key. The
policy thus talks about taking a “whole
of government” approach and working
with state governments to increase
competitiveness. The approach in this
is to rationalise non-essential imports
and promote exports that will help build
resilience and competitiveness.
Second, the government has set an
ambitious goal, part of which is to
increase exports over the next five years
– to $900bn from the 2013-14 levels
of $465.9bn thereby almost doubling
these over the next five years. The plan
is also to increase India’s share in world
exports from 2% to 3.5%. Achieving
export competitiveness is aimed at
assuming a position of leadership in
the international trade discourse. It
augurs well, but much will depend
on the implementation capability of
government and business.
Third, the focus is on bettering the trade
ecosystem. This includes simplifying
administrative procedures and reducing
transaction costs for business and
government alike. Towards this, the
Directorate General of Foreign Trade
(DGFT) is already providing a facility
of online filing of various applications
under FTP by the exporters/importers.
Such steps are aimed at promoting
ease of doing business for export
promotion and will further bolster trade
Fourth, the policy distinctly focuses on a
market strategy and a product strategy
for trade. The market strategy includes
bettering India’s present engagement
with the key economies of the world and
strengthening the trading engagement
over the next five years. These include
the Indo-US, Indo-European, Sino-Indian,
Indo-East Asian, Indo- Australian and
Indo-New Zealand, Indo-South Asian,
Indo–WANA (West Asia & North Africa),
Indo–Latin American & Caribbean, IndoCIS (Commonwealth of Independent
States) and finally, Indo-African trade
engagements. The strategy will help
provide respite against the two megaregional trading agreements (MRTA) of
which India is not a part.
The product strategy seeks a
movement up the value chain for a
variety of goods and services. In the
context of the manufacturing sector,
in particular, the engineering goods,
electronics and pharmaceutical
sectors, the removal of regulatory
hurdles along key economic markets
will hold the key. Other sectors that
feature prominently for exports are
the labour intensive areas that include
leather, textiles, gems and jewellery,
agriculture, plantation crops, marine
products and iron ore exports.
The strategy here is to increase
realisations by focusing on valueaddition and producing goods that
are environmentally friendly. Another
product strategy entails leveraging the
MSME sector by focusing on hi-tech
products. The policy also talks about
the “India” branding that will aid in
greater value realisation in export
markets. These steps are again are
well intentioned, but results will finally
depend on swiftness and agility in
engagement and implementation.
Fifth, the policy also brings in some
institutional changes like merging the
earlier export promotion schemes
under two plans – namely MEIS
(Merchandise Exports from India
Scheme and SEIS (Services Exports
from India Scheme). The MEIS aims at
exports of specified goods to specified
markets. The rate of rewards ranges
from 2-5%. The SEIS is for an increase
of notified services, and select services
will be given rewards of 3-5%. SEIS shall
apply to “service providers located
in India” instead of “Indian service
providers”. Another institutional
change in line with the WTO agreement
on trade facilitation is the proposal
to set up a National Committee on
Trade Facilitation for easing customs
procedures and reducing transaction
costs for traders. Also, being set
up is the Centre for Research in
International Trade for strengthening
India’s research capabilities in the
area of international trade. These are
great steps for developing research
capability and preparedness to deal
with foreign trade challenges.
All these points are crucial for boosting
India’s export competitiveness.
Subsidies alone cannot and should
not be the basis for achieving
export competitiveness. Removal
of infrastructure bottlenecks,
reduction in high transaction costs,
and simplification of procedures
will hold the key to enhancing
export competitiveness from an
internal country’s perspective. Also,
business sectors will have to focus
on better value and better quality as
defining features to become globally
With respect to the external sector,
leveraging trade relationships,
especially since we are not part of two
out of the three-major MRTAs, will hold
the key. The fact that the commerce
secretary is out to Tehran for a two-day
visit which began yesterday speaks
of the quick movement on the part
of Indian government to strengthen
bilateral ties. More such visits will be
necessary to secure and strengthen
trading relationships that will aid
in meeting the target that the FTP
envisages. Ultimately, success in
meeting the target will depend on some
good luck and lots of hard and smart
work, taking into account the challenges
and opportunities that emerge out of
the changing global trade scenario.
Amit Kapoor is chairman at the Institute
for Competitiveness and Editor of
Thinkers. The views expressed are
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Combined fortunes of
Arab world’s richest
100 top $174bn in ’15
espite plunging oil prices,
the world’s top 100 Arab
tycoons have continued
to build their fortunes, amassing
a combined wealth of $174.37bn,
a $8.3bn increase on 2014, according to Forbes Middle East.
The number of billionaires has
risen too; some 49 feature this
time around — four more than
last year — with shared wealth of
$155.1bn, up $7.4bn on the previous year.
In fact, some 56 of the 100
billionaires and millionaires in
this year’s list recorded an increase in their overall wealth
and the 15 newcomers to the
2015-list indicate that there is
more to come.
But while prosperity is rising,
in many respects, this year’s list
of affluent Arabs also represents
certain continuity, serving as
a reminder of the dominance
of an elite group now synonymous with success. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
al-Saud tops the ranking yet
again, with an estimated fortune of $22.6bn, while Joseph
Safra occupies second spot with
The top 10 this year also hint
at the continued strength of
family ties, with members of
the UAE’s Al Ghurair family and
Egypt’s Mansour and Sawiris
clans all retaining top spots.
Entries from the UAE and
Egypt rank alongside business
moguls from a total of 12 Arab
Saudi Arabia tops the list
where both volume of entries
and total wealth are concerned,
accounting for 41 out of the top
100 fortune-fuelled names.
But Forbes Middle East’s ranking does more than showcase
wealth; it provides insight into
the lay of the business land as
well as the sectors, industries and
geographies that make it tick.
For instance, its research reveals that Saudi wealth this year
stems overwhelmingly from the
retail sector, with some 14 names
that include the kingdom’s biggest gainers for 2015: Fawaz, Abdul Majeed and Salman Alhokair,
who have accrued an estimated
$1.4bn each from their string of
shopping centres and apparel
Retail of a more delicate nature is the focus of Forbes Middle
East’s English edition cover this
time around, with newcomer to
the list, Robert Mouawad, shedding light on a legacy of jewelry
and watchmaking prowess. The
Lebanese diamond connoisseur
has also diversified into real estate and holds estimated wealth
of $1.5bn.
Meanwhile, another Lebanese family steals the limelight,
with Mohamed Hariri, CEO and
chairman of BankMed featuring
on the cover of the Arabic edition. Hariri is not ranked this
year, but four of his family members make the list, with combined wealth of $6bn.
Forbes Middle East’s top 100
richest Arabs builds on Forbes
US’ recent billionaires list,
which features a total of 1,826
names with an aggregate net
worth of $7.05tn.
In the Middle East, amidst all
the talk of gainers and indeed
losers — 23 Arab names have
witnessed a drop this year too
— dollars by the billion are falling through the cracks in a region where privacy reigns. While
cognizant that the ranking represents only the tip of the Arab
iceberg, in the name of transparency and fairness, Forbes Middle
East has considered only publicly
held shares recorded as of February 13. 2015. Where appropriate,
audited documents and other
official, verifiable information
available in the public domain, or
received directly from the source,
have also been considered.
Al-Abdulla: Continued success.
Qaiser: Proud achievements.
Ezdan Mall celebrates
2nd anniversary with
‘retail excellence awards’
Ezdan Mall has announced
the celebration of its second
anniversary with the staging
of the “Ezdan Mall Retail
Excellence Awards 2014,” the
company said in a statement.
During the gala dinner, Ezdan
Mall will distribute awards to
top-performing brands based
on the retailers’ sales density.
The award categories include
‘Best retail group 2014’, ‘Best
retail store’, and ‘Best retail
brand’ for different categories
such as footwear, children,
ladies, and restaurant and food
court outlets.
It will also include the Best
Performing Anchor Stores
award, which is based on
footfall contribution to the
mall. Moreover, the event will
include external organisations
that will receive a special
award from the management
for best community
programmes such as Best
Social Responsibility Islamic
Initiative and Best Educational
Ezdan Holding Group Deputy
CEO Nasser Mohamed alAbdulla said the anniversary
celebration is a continuation of
the successful and dedicated
work the mall has achieved in
two years.
“The mall managed to achieve
a prominent position in Qatar’s
shopping malls industry within
a short period. The awards
ceremony aims to encourage
all brands to achieve advanced
rank in the retail business” alAbdulla stressed.
Ezdan Shopping Malls general
manager Malik Qaiser said,
“We are proud of what we
have achieved in the last two
years, and we would like to
celebrate it with our retailers,
who created the perfect brand
mix with their performance,
offerings, and contributions.”
“We were able to create a
unique shopping experience
for our guests by offering high
standards of services. Ezdan
Mall also constantly improves
the shopping experience
of guests based on their
feedback on social media
platforms,” Qaiser added.
In 2014, Ezdan Mall achieved
99% occupancy rate through
tenant mix planning where
brands are selected to cater to
the target segment. Also, the
mall’s average sales density for
the same period was $530 per
square foot or a 40% increase
over the previous year.
The mall also introduced more
than 65 new brands out of 152
stores in the Qatari market,
creating new shopping
choices and “redefining
luxury” through guest service
With 14 restaurants and coffee
shops, Ezdan Mall offers a wide
variety of food selections from
Sushi Minto and Wagamama
for the Japanese cuisine;
steaks and burgers from
Buffalo’s, Fuddruckers, Chili’s,
and Johnny Rockets; and
international food at Linas,
Turkish food in Mado, Indian
cuisine from Royal Tandoor,
and Pakistani dishes from
GCC petchem production up 4.5% in 2014: GPCA
etrochemicals production
in the GCC rose by 4.5%
in 2014, the second highest growth region in the world,
shows a Gulf Petrochemicals and
Chemicals Association (GPCA)
Regional growth in chemicals
production is largely attributed
to a surge in plastic production,
which grew by 6% in 2014, nearly
twice the worldwide average,
GPCA said in its annual report
2014. Meanwhile, global production of chemicals rose by 2.8%
last year, a similar figure from
“This development is tes-
tament to that the ambitious
growth plans of the Arabian
Gulf’s chemicals industry is
based on solid fundamentals,”
said Dr Abdulwahab al-Sadoun,
GPCA secretary-general.
“The region has grown nearly
60% over the global average, an
achievement that is made all the
more significant when you consider that this progress was made
despite continuing economic
uncertainty in Europe and recent
slowdown in China.”
In Qatar, major developments
were focused on research and
development: Qapco, a joint
venture by Industries Qatar and
Total, signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) with Materia to study the development of
next generation petrochemicals
from the country’s existing feedstock.
Furthermore, Qapco also
partnered with local and international universities on more
than a dozen projects in the field
of polymers and advanced materials.
“While production growth
is certainly a positive development, GCC chemicals producers
must not rest on their laurels.
The petrochemicals sector is tied
into global economic trends and
demographic demand, meaning that we in the Arabian Gulf
could be affected by developments from around the world,”
al-Sadoun said.
“However, what we are seeing
in the GCC is that local producers
are not only growing but evolving
differentiated products — Qapco,
for example, signalling that national companies are looking into
developing more than just commodities and towards high- value petrochemical products.”
Now in its 9th edition, the annual report provides an overview
of the major developments of
the GCC petrochemicals indus-
try from across the region. Published by the GPCA, it represents
a key facet of the thought leadership activities of the association,
which has grown from 60 members in 2006 to 240 now.
“Along with advocacy and
networking, the GPCA has grown
into a body that provides consistent, reliable and transparent
information about the region’s
petrochemicals industry. With
this report, we hope to provide
a snapshot of developments
within the last year, in a way that
makes sense to both seasoned insiders, as well as casual readers,”
al-Sadoun added.
A view of the Ezdan Mall facade in Doha.
Al-Raisi and Proctor with the Commercial Bank team after winning the prestigious “Best retail bank in Qatar” award at The Asian Banker’s Excellence in Retail Financial Services 2015 Awards ceremony, held in Singapore.
Commercial Bank wins ‘Best retail bank in Qatar’ award
ommercial Bank has won the
prestigious “Best retail bank
in Qatar” award at The Asian
Banker’s Excellence in Retail Financial
Services 2015 Awards ceremony, held in
Commercial Bank was crowned “Best
retail bank in Qatar” based on its wideranging achievements over the past
three years and ambitious plans for 2015.
The Asian Banker is an authoritative
provider of strategic business intelligence to the Asian financial services
community. Applicants for the award
were subject to a rigorous three-month
evaluation process involving 37 differ-
ent criteria, with judging conducted by
prominent global bankers, consultants
and academics.
Commercial Bank CEO Abdulla
Saleh al-Raisi said, “We are delighted
to receive this award confirming Commercial Bank’s position as the leading
retail bank in Qatar and our commitment to our valued customers. Commercial Bank is proud to be a Qatari
bank serving Qatari and expatriate
customers. “It is an honour to be recognised by international organisations
for our market leading and innovative
retail products and services that meet
the needs of our customers. I would
also like to extend my gratitude to the
Board for their continuous support,
especially during this year in which we
celebrate our 40th anniversary.”
Commercial Bank executive general
manager & chief, Consumer & Private
Banking, Dean Proctor, who received
the award said, “Commercial Bank has
continued to lead the market in customer service, innovation and product offerings, together with launching
exciting initiatives for our customers
such as exclusive partnerships with
Manchester United and IKEA. This
award is a result of the dedication and
commitment of my Commercial Bank
colleagues and it was a proud moment
to collect the award their behalf.
“Most importantly, I would like to
extend sincere thanks to all our Commercial Bank customers; your patronage is highly valued and we will continue to strive to serve your needs with
distinction at all times.”
Creating a positive customer experience and delivering exceptional
customer service remains central to
Commercial Bank who are constantly
introducing solutions and services to
both sustain and upgrade the level of
service provided to the bank’s valued
personal customers.
Commercial Bank’s Internet and
Mobile Banking services are regularly
upgraded with new and easy to use
functionality to enable customers to
bank round-the-clock, and the bank’s
first-to-market “Life in Qatar” proposition has provided thousands of newto-Qatar customers with an easy online
account opening process and useful
information for relocating. Commercial Bank’s already comprehensive rewards programme for cardholders has
been enhanced with the introduction
of ‘FlyMiles’ and more recently enabled
customer redemption online.
This financial quarter, Commercial
Bank is set to launch “highly attractive” customer offers across a whole
range of products including personal
and vehicle loans and mortgages, and
the bank’s “Life in Qatar” proposition
has recently been enhanced through
an exclusive partnership with Ooredoo.
Commercial Bank is currently rolling
out first-to-market and technologically advanced mobile point of sale devices, which will greatly assist small
and medium sized businesses with card
payments, and during this dividend period, the bank continues to offer highly
competitive products and rates to savings customers.
TENNIS | Page 6
Clay season
may be a
short-term fix
for Nadal
the hero as
Barca edge
past Celta
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Jumada II 18, 1436 AH
Rory and Tiger
get Masters
sessions with
Augusta ace
Page 5
Prince Ali
vows to end
reign at FIFA
Qatar handball team poses with Qatar Handball Association President Ahmad Mohamed al-Shaabi (centre) after winning gold at the 2nd GCC Beach Games
at Gharafa court in Doha yesterday.
Hosts outplayed Bahrain 18-12, 15-12 for their fourth successive win in the event
By Sports reporter
Qatar team celebrate their victory.
aving gone into the match assured of gold medal, Qatar‘s
handball team signed off in
style by beating Bahrain to seal
their supremacy at the 2nd GCC Beach
Games yesterday.
At the Gharafa court, Qatar outplayed
Bahrain 18-12, 15-12 for their fourth successive win in the event blazing ahead
of the rest of the field with eight points.
Oman beat Bahrain in another match to
clinch silver, while Bahrain, which lost
all their four matches, had to be content
with bronze.
There was no doubt that Qatar’s
handball team is in a different league in
the region. They have made a series of
achievements at the continental and international levels in recent years.
Qatar came third in the World Championship held in Brazil last year, and the
fourth in the World Games held in Colombia in 2013.
They are also Asian champions in
the last two editions of the Asian Beach
Games held in Haiyang, China in 2012
and in Phuket, Thailand in 2014.
Sheikh Sultan bin Humaid al-Hossaini, the Chairman of Handball Organizing Committee at the GCC handed over
the gold medals to Qatar team.
Despite being guaranteed a gold medal
regardless of the result of their match
against Bahrain, Qatar did not let their
guard down yesterday. The hosts jumped
into 12-8 lead in the first half and were
in control of the match throughout. If
not for some splendid saves from Bahraini goalkeeper Mohsen Yafei the scored
could have been much bigger.
In the second half, the teams were on
even keel at 4-4 but Qatar went ahead
and scored three points on the trot to
take a 10-4 lead. Bahrain did make a
comeback to reduce the deficit to 12-10
but the hosts scored back-to-back to win
the set and the match.
Qatar Handball Association General
Secretary Mohammed Jaber al-Mulla
praised the team and said the results
showed the nation’s dominance in handball. “I congratulate the team for their
wonderful performance. This achievement confirms the superiority of our
handball team in various competitions.
This result is due to combined effort of
everyone involved, including player and
officials. We hope to achieve more in the
forthcoming tournaments, especially
in next month’s Asian Championship in
Oman, in which want to qualify for the
World Cup,” Mulla said.
In the sailing competition which began yesterday at Katara Beach, Zakarixa
al-Wahabi of Oman jumped into lead
after three rounds in Optimist Class. Abdullah al-Bishr of UAE was second and
Oman’s Marwan al-Jabri third. Qatar’s
Ghanim K al-Sewaidi was in fourth spot.
In Laser 4.7 Class, Oman’s sailor
Khamis al-Wahaibi was in top position,
ahead of Hamza al-Ali of UAE and Abdulrahman Ajinah of Qatar.
In Laser Radial Class, Bahrain’s Jassim Showaiter took an early lead. Qatar’s
Faris al-Bakri was close second, followed
by Saeed al-Zaidi of UAE.
In the football competition at Al
Gharafa Club, Qatar was languishing at
the bottom of the table after the hosts
lost 0-3 to Oman yesterday. UAE continued to top the table with two wins from
as many matches. Oman is at second
place. In another match yesterday, Kuwait thrashed Bahrain 6-1 and to be in
the standings.
IFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin alHussein accused Sepp
Blatter of turning the
presidency into a personal fiefdom as he unveiled his manifesto for the role yesterday.
Ali, FIFA vice-president for Asia,
told AFP in a phone call from
Cairo, where he is attending the
Confederation of African Football congress, that an unfair
system of patronage had taken
root under Blatter.
“National associations have to
feel that it’s not a matter of an
executive president going and
supporting national associations on an ad hoc basis, but
that they have their rights, they
own this association and that
they should get the support
they need across the board in a
case-by-case fashion,” said the
Jordanian royal.
Ali, Dutch football federation
chief Michel van Praag and
former Portugal winger Luis
Figo are all vying to unseat
79-year-old Blatter, who will
seek a fifth term in office in the
May 29 election in Zurich.
Ali’s manifesto contains several
thinly veiled swipes at Blatter, including claims national
associations have become
dependent on his “personal
approval” and a charge that
World Cup revenues have been
distributed “at the whim of the
FIFA president”.
He also warns that “drastic
action” is required to restore
the world governing body’s
When he launched his campaign in February, Ali spoke
of a “culture of intimidation”
within FIFA and he believes the
fear of losing favour may yet
influence national association
representatives when they vote
in the election.
“Obviously there is that fear. I
have to be honest about that,”
he said.
“The reason being is that many
national associations around
the world really depend specifically on FIFA funding, even
though I don’t believe it’s where
it should be in any case.
“Their fear is that there may be
punishments in that respect
even down to confederations
levels, where all of a sudden
things are not going very well
for them.”
Ali, president of the Jordanian
Football Association, added:
“When it comes down to the
election, we also need to discuss with the electoral committee how things are conducted,
that it’s a proper, secret ballot.
“I do have my concerns about
the system that’s in place right
now, where possibly people
could know who the voter is at
the end of the day.”
Figo’s manifesto included
proposals to increase the size
of the World Cup to up to 48
teams, but Ali, 39, believes
that all stakeholders should be
consulted before any changes
are brought in.
“I’m a bit surprised because
promises are being made to
increase the number of participating countries in the World
Cup and at the same time, in
2022, to shorten the actual
time of the World Cup,” he said.
“To me it doesn’t seem like
there’s a practical study of how
things should be done and we
owe it to the whole footballing
world to do things in a responsible manner.”
The 14-page manifesto outlines
Ali’s vision for a “virtuous circle
of development, football and
commercial success supported
by a FIFA that is a service organisation and a model of good
His proposals include increased
investment in women’s and
youth football, as well as a
pledge that every member
association will have “a national
stadium worthy of that title”.
He also wants to overhaul
FIFA’s international ranking system, describing it as “flawed”,
and calls for “a full and open
debate” on the introduction of
video technology.
Blatter is the overwhelming favourite to win the election, but
Ali said he was not yet thinking
of withdrawing from the race
in order to throw his support
behind Van Praag or Figo.
“I can’t predict what will happen before May 29 and I’m just
focused on national associations, on talking to them, on
learning from them and if I’m
elected president, on delivering on the promises made,” he
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Rayo next in firing line for free-scoring Real
eal Madrid continue their
pursuit of Barcelona in the La
Liga title race away to Rayo
Vallecano tomorrow, fresh
from a 9-1 thrashing of Granada.
Cristiano Ronaldo registered a fivegoal haul for the first time in his distinguished career as Madrid bounced
back from losing a potentially-decisive
clash against Barcelona before the international break.
Moreover, coach Carlo Ancelotti has
almost a fully fit squad to choose from
for the first time in five months with
centre-back Pepe the only doubt for
the trip across Madrid. Playmaker Isco
is available once more after missing out
through suspension against Granada,
but Ancelotti insisted he is reluctant
to make too many changes after such a
stunning return to form.
“The team is very fresh. Resting players for the sake of it doesn’t make sense.
The players will rest when they are tired
and there is a risk of injury,” said the
Italian. “We are in great form. We have
never been in this physical shape before, especially at this time last season.”
Rayo come into the game in fine form
themselves on the back of three victories
to take them into the top half of the table. Manucho was the match winner for
Paco Jemez’s men in a 2-1 win at Eibar
on Friday and the former Manchester
United striker is confident of springing a
surprise against their city rivals.
“With the enthusiasm we have in
the team and how we are playing at the
moment, we think we can beat Madrid,” he said.
Rayo’s main threat will be a wellknown one to Madrid fans as former
Real youth product Alberto Bueno’s 16
La Liga goals have made him the highest scoring Spaniard in the division.
Barca maintained their stranglehold
on the title race in less dramatic fashion with a hard-fought 1-0 win over
Celta Vigo on Sunday to remain four
points clear at the top of the table.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who struck five goals in Real Madrid's 9-1 rout of Granada on Sunday,
would be the one to watch when his side takes on Rayo Vallecano tomorrow. (AFP)
However, the Catalans will be confident of a more comfortable evening at
home to managerless Almeria.
The Andalusians sacked Juan Ignacio
Martinez at the weekend after a 4-1 defeat to Levante left them in the relegation zone with Miguel Rivera set to take
temporary charge, just as he did in a 4-1
defeat to Real Madrid earlier in the season after Francisco had been fired.
Champions Atletico Madrid can
strengthen their position in third and
move to within six points of the leaders
when they host David Moyes’s Real Sociedad at the Vicente Calderon today.
Atletico lead Valencia by a point in
the race to secure automatic qualification for the Champions League next
season, but will face a stern test in a
Sociedad side that has lost just once in
their last eight La Liga games.
However, in contrast to Ancelotti,
Atletico boss Diego Simeone said he
plans to use every resource available to
him with a Champions League quarter-final between the two Madrid giants just a week away.
“It doesn’t matter if it is 10, 20 or 60
minutes, the important thing is to do well
when you get your chance because we
think we have a strong squad,” said the
‘Celta were better in the first half, but the important thing is we took the three points’
Barcelona's French defender Jeremy Mathieu celebrates after scoring against Celta de Vigo in their Spanish league match at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on Sunday. (AFP)
late 1-0 win on Sunday at midtable Celta Vigo maintained
Barcelona’s four-point lead
atop the Spanish Liga.
Barca needed a goal 16 minutes from
time from defender Jeremy Mathieu—
who headed in a free-kick from supersub
Xavi—to break the spirited resistance of
well-drilled Celta.
The hosts were the better team in the
first half but were foiled by Barca goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, then had two good
penalty claims turned down.
Barca took control in the second
half and should have gone ahead when
Neymar had a goal disallowed for what
looked like a non-existent offside.
Celta had midfielder Fabian Orellana
sent off three minutes from time for unsporting behaviour.
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Playing Today: Atletico Madrid vs Real
Sociedad (1800), Levante vs Sevilla
(2000), Eibar vs Malaga (2000)
Playing Tomorrow: Barcelona vs Almeria
(1800), Deportivo la Coruna vs Cordoba
(1800), Granada vs Celta Vigo (2000),
Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid (2000)
Playing on Thursday: Athletic Bilbao
vs Valencia (1800), Elche vs Getafe
(2000), Villarreal vs Espanyol (2000)
Mathieu the hero
as leaders Barca
scrape past Celta
Argentine. “When you get to this stage of
the season, when there are a lot of games,
we have to have internal competition and
enthusiasm between the players for the
minutes that the coach gives you.”
Valencia slipped back to fourth after
being held to a 0-0 draw by Villarreal
on Sunday and face another tricky fixture when they travel to Athletic Bilbao
on Thursday.
Fifth-placed Sevilla could be level
with Los Che by the time they kick off in
the Basque country as the Europa League
holders now trail Valencia by just three
points and they visit Levante today.
“It was a very complicated match.
Things are always difficult after the
break for the international matches,”
Mathieu said.
“Celta were better than us in the first
half, but the important thing is that we
took the three points. It was wonderful to
score the winning goal.”
Celta striker Nolito said: “We really
should have taken the lead in the first
half, then it would have been a very different game.
“We let them off the hook, and against
a team of their quality that is something
that you just cannot do.”
Barcelona’s outlay of 20 million euros ($22 million) on Mathieu last July
prompted plenty of criticism but the
France centre-back has been worth his
weight in gold in the La Liga leaders’ last
two outings.
After scoring the opener in Barca’s
2-1 win over second-placed Real Madrid
in the ‘Clasico’ two weeks ago, it was
Mathieu again who scored the only goal
in Sunday's laboured win.
Mathieu, who was signed to strengthen a defence that repeatedly let the club
down last season, also put in an accomplished performance alongside Gerard
Pique at the back as Barca kept their 16th
clean sheet in 29 La Liga games this term.
“I scored two important goals, I am
pleased,” Mathieu said. “Sometimes you
have to suffer when you win,” added the
31-year-old, who joined Barca after a
five-year stint at Valencia.
“It was a very tough match. After the
international break it’s more difficult as
your rhythm always drops a bit.”
Luis Enrique’s side are also through to
the last eight of the Champions League
to face Paris St Germain and will play
Athletic Bilbao in the King’s Cup final at
the end of May.
Victory in all three competitions
would match the club’s unprecedented
treble in 2009 under Pep Guardiola.
“It could be that we are fresher because a lot of players (in the squad) are
used here,” Mathieu said. “That is very
important for the final stages of the season. We are on the right track and now we
have to think about the next match.”
Barca have La Liga games at home to
Almeria and away at Sevilla before they
play at PSG in their quarter-final, first
leg on April 15.
Sunday's win left Barca with 71 points
from 29 games, four more than secondplace Real, who earlier crushed hapless Granada 9-1 as Cristiano Ronaldo
notched the first five-goal match of his
illustrious career.
Real are five points above third-place
Atletico Madrid, who beat bottom team
Cordoba 2-0 Saturday.
Valencia are a point below Atletico in
fourth place, after a disappointing 0-0
draw at home to sixth-place Villarreal.
Also on Sunday, midtable Getafe beat
struggling Deportivo Coruna 2-1.
for Nigerian
and SA clubs
disastrous weekend for
Nigerian and South African clubs in the CAF
Champions League ended with all four representatives
eliminated at the last-32 stage.
Nigerians Kano Pillars fell to
Moroccans Moghreb Tetouan
despite a 2-1 second-leg victory
through a late Rabiu Ali goal.
Tetouan took a four-goal advantage into the return match
and Mouhcine Iajour was the
star of the tie, scoring a hat-trick
in Morocco and another goal in
Two-time champions Enyimba clung to a one-goal first-leg
lead against Egyptians Smouha
in Mediterranean port Alexandria until five minutes from time.
But relentless pressure on a
Nigerian outfit reduced to 10 men
by the red-carding of Kingsley
Sokari eventually told and they
conceded two late goals.
Hani Al-Egeizi converted a
penalty and Hermann Kouao
snatched the tie-clinching second goal in the final minute for
the Champions League newcomers.
Early exits are becoming uncomfortably common for both
clubs with Pillars making a preliminary-round departure last
year and Enyimba joining them
on the 2014 scrapheap after the
last-32 stage.
South Africans Mamelodi
Sundowns were also unable to
defend a one-goal advantage on
foreign soil, as they crumbled
3-1 at Democratic Republic of
Congo giants TP Mazembe.
Goals from Zambian Rainford
Kalaba, Tanzanian Mbwana Samata and Ivorian Roger Assale
gave Mazembe control just before
the hour mark in Lubumbashi.
And the nationalities of the
scorers illustrated the multicountry make-up of a Congolese
side bankrolled by mining mag-
nate Moise Katumbi.
Substitute Percy Tau scored
six minutes from time for Sundowns, another club led by a
mining billionaire.
Ighodaro Osaguona bagged a
brace to earn Moroccans Raja
Casablanca a 2-0 home win over
Soweto outfit Kaizer Chiefs.
Tall, thin and sporting a mohican haircut, Osaguona punished the tiring South Africans
with a goal after 87 minutes and
added another four minutes into
stoppage time.
Early exits are becoming
uncomfortably common
for both clubs with Pillars
making a preliminaryround departure last year
and Enyimba joining them
on the 2014 scrapheap after
the last-32 stage
A 50,000-plus flag-waving,
singing crowd in the Stade
Mohamed V created a wonderful
atmosphere, but there was little
goalmouth action during a cagey
clash. Osaguona also scored the
only first-leg goal and is joint
leading Champions League scorer this season with Iajour on five.
Ghanaians Asante Kotoko disappointed for the second successive season, losing 2-1 at home to
Algerians El-Eulma after forcing
a goalless first-leg draw.
Having struggled to fund the
trip to Congo Brazzaville, Kenyans Gor Mahia bowed out after
a second 1-0 loss to AC Leopards
with Cesaire Gandze scoring in
both legs.
Zambians Zesco United offered brave resistance against
Guineans Kaloum in Bamako
before losing a penalty shootout
when Jackson Mwanza fired his
spot-kick wide.
Both Cameroonian clubs fell
with Cosmos Bafia and Coton
Sport suffering two-goal defeats
away to Tunisians Esperance
and Congolese Sanga Balende
African football body accepts
CAS ruling on Morocco ban
he Confederation of African Football (CAF) has
accepted the lifting of
a ban on the Moroccan
football federation competing
in the next two African Cup of
Nations tournaments following
a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
CAF said in a statement on
Sunday it was “committed to
implementing the decisions
and will comply with this ruling
despite the contradictions observed in the CAS decision.”
The CAS on Thursday
granted an appeal by the Moroccan federation, which had
been banned by CAF for failing
to organize the 2015 Africa Cup
of Nations.
Morocco had wanted the
tournament to be postponed
following the Ebola epidemic in
some West African countries. The
event in January and February
went ahead in Equatorial Guinea.
In its decision on Thursday,
the Lausanne-based CAS said
its panel upheld the appeal by
the Royal Moroccan Football
Federation (FRMF) “in a large
The ruling means Morocco
will be able to take part in the
2017 and 2019 tournaments.
“The sanctions imposed by
the CAF on the FRMF have
been set aside, with the exception of the fine, which is however reduced to $50,000 (from
1 million),” a statement said.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
PSG rally to down
spirited Marseille,
reclaim top spot
‘We’ll savour the victory but we paid an expensive price because we lost two
players. That is a problem but we are very happy to have won here at Marseille’
PSG’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic
(left) vies with Marseille’s French defender
Benjamin Mendy, during their French L1
match in Marseille on Sunday. (AFP)
QSL helps lucky
fans travel the world
By Sports Reporter
atar Stars League,
the highest professional league in
Qatari football, has
awarded 10 lucky winners with
one million Qmiles each, courtesy of Qatar Airways.
The competition is part of
the Qatar Stars League Football
Rewards loyalty programme
which encourages everyone in
Qatar to attend their favourite
team’s matches and rewards
fans with once in a lifetime
prizes in partnership with Qatar Airways plus discounts from
other partners around Qatar.
The 10 winners of one million Qmiles each are: season
card holders Meethale Aslam,
Mark Mead, Marilyn Lilly and
Ghanim Alhamadi; Al Sadd
fans Hassen Alkhayat and
Samseer Arakkal; Qatar Sports
Club fans Amine Elidrissi
and Michael Scallon; Merilee
Patrick, an Al Wakrah fan; and
finally Muharrem Dayioglu, an
Umm Salal fan.
Each winner attended a
number of games during the
competition and hail from
countries around the world including Qatar, Canada, India,
Malaysia, Morocco, Turkey
and the United Kingdom.
Khalifa Saleh al-Haroon,
Executive Director of Marketing & Communications, said:
“This promotion was a big
success and I am delighted
that our lucky winners can
now travel the world with Qatar Airways!
“The Qatar Stars League
is going from strength to
strength and initiatives such
as Football Rewards play an
important part in inspiring
the next generation of football fans in Qatar to support
a local team. We look forward
to launching many more great
opportunities like this in the
future, so watch this space!”
Launched earlier this year,
the competition was open to
anyone purchasing a ticket
online at
and attending a match between February and March.
As well as the chance to win
Qmiles, winners of the fantastic opportunity to fly out
with a friend on Qatar Airways
to an FC Barcelona match at
Camp Nou in Barcelona were
announced earlier this month.
Qmiles winner Merilee Patrick receives her prize from Meshaal
Abdulaziz al-Emadi, Head of Corporate Sponsorship, QSL.
Juve, Lazio face
uphill SF battles at
Fiorentina, Napoli
aris Saint-Germain must now
be considered favourites to win
a third consecutive Ligue 1 title
after coming from behind to beat
fierce enemies Marseille 3-2 in ‘Le Classique’ at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday.
Marseille held a 2-1 lead at the interval
thanks to Andre-Pierre Gignac’s brace
either side of a Blaise Matuidi beauty, but
two goals in the first six minutes of the
second half swung the match decisively in
the capital club’s favour.
Marquinhos equalised and then Jeremy
Morel’s own-goal in the 51st minute allowed PSG to claim a seventh consecutive
victory against OM in all competitions as
Laurent Blanc’s side moved back to the
top of the table, a point above Lyon.
“Unfortunately tonight (Sunday), we
lost two players which is worrying for the
upcoming matches,” Matuidi told Canal
Plus tv in reference to injuries picked up
by David Luiz and Thiago Motta.
“Overall, we played a great match but it
wasn’t easy against a good Marseille team,
but I think the best team won.
“It’s up to us to fight to the end and
we’ll do everything to win a maximum
of trophies,” added Matuidi with PSG in
the hunt for the league title, Champions
League, French Cup and League Cup.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc was happy with
the win but disappointed with the injuries.
“We’ll savour the victory but we paid
an expensive price because we lost two
players. That is a problem but we are very
happy to have won here at Marseille,” said
the former Bordeaux and France coach.
“To have won is a very, very good job
done tonight (Sunday).
“(Blaise) Matuidi was amazing with his
physical game and he worked hard this
week to try and score a goal because we
were winding him up a bit. He hasn’t had
much success in front of goal,” added the
former Marseille defender.
Marseille are now five points off top
spot in third, which will surely prove fatal
to their title chances.
Not only that, but Bielsa’s team—who
had Andre Ayew red-carded after the final
whistle—are hanging onto the third and
final Champions League qualifying berth,
with fourth-placed Monaco only three
points behind with a game in hand.
There was an intimidating environment
for Paris, whose team bus was struck by
missiles—including a golf ball that smashed
a window—en route to the ground.
It was Marseille who opened the scoring
on the half-hour mark, Gignac switching the
play to Dimitri Payet on the right and then
outmuscling Marquinhos to head home his
team-mate’s cross at the back post.
When Paris lost David Luiz to a hamstring injury, it looked like it would not be
their night, but Matuidi silenced the Velodrome in the 35th minute with a magnificent curling strike into the far top corner
of the net on his weaker right foot.
However, Marseille reclaimed the lead
two minutes before the interval. Alaixys
Romao hounded Pastore out of possession
in midfield and suddenly Gignac found
himself through on goal with just Salvatore Sirigu to beat.
His finish for his 18th goal of the season
was cool, and the home support greeted
the half-time whistle as though they had
won the game.
But PSG drew level on 49 minutes, Marquinhos firing into the roof of the net after
a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free-kick struck Rod
Fanni inside the box and broke to the Brazilian defender.
And two minutes after that they scored
again, Morel turning a Pastore ball from
the left into his own net under pressure
from Ibrahimovic.
They are in pole position with seven
games of the season remaining, although
they saw Thiago Motta limp off injured
late on and Lyon remain very much in
contention after winning 3-1 at Guingamp
on Saturday.
Monaco came from behind to draw 1-1
with Saint-Etienne on Friday, and while
they have a game in hand to play against
Montpellier today, their sole focus now is
on securing a top-three finish.
Elsewhere on Sunday, an injury-time
goal by substitute Nicolas Maurice-Belay
gave Bordeaux a 2-1 home victory against
relegation-threatened Lens.
Mariano had given Bordeaux the lead
only for Pablo Chavarria to equalise for
the visitors, who are bottom.
Caen moved six points clear of the relegation zone after coming from behind to
win 2-1 at Nantes.
Alejandro Bedoya put the Canaries
ahead early on but Emiliano Sala levelled
with a penalty 10 minutes from time and a
Thomas Lemar free-kick evaded everyone
to end up in the net in stoppage time as the
Normandy side claimed a first win in four.
uventus are sailing
smoothly towards a
fourth straight Serie A
title, but face a big hurdle in the Italian Cup when
they visit Fiorentina today in
the return of the semi-finals.
La Viola’s Egyptian ace Mohamed Salah scored a brace to
seal a 2-1 win in the first leg on
March 5 at the Juventus Stadium, where the Bianconeri
had last crashed 2-0 to Bayern
Munich in April 2013.
Salah, 22, has scored seven
goals since arriving on loan
from Chelsea in early February
as part of a deal that brought
Fiorentina 33 million euros
(36.2 million dollars) for the
sale of Juan Cuadrado.
His latest goal on Saturday
helped Fiorentina beat Sampdoria 2-0 to go fourth in the
Serie A, but coach Vincenzo
Montella has told his team that
nothing is achieved yet.
“Now, however, we must
be clever in not stopping and
celebrating. We are still competing on three fronts and it is
good to see what is happening
in a moment when the team is
growing,” he said.
Juve also won 2-0, against
Empoli, to stay 14 points clear
of second-place Roma with
nine games left. Now they
also hope to stay alive in the
cup despite the uphill battle of
having to win in Florence.
Trophy holders Napoli, who
beat Fiorentina in last year’s final, host Lazio after a 1-1 draw
in Rome, and are also still alive
in the Europa League where
they face Germany’s Wolfsburg. The Naples side lost 1-0
against Roma Saturday to slip
in sixth position and out of the
Europa League zone.
The mood could not be
brighter at Lazio after a 3-1 win
at Cagliari kept the Rome side
third, one point behind Roma
and six ahead of Fiorentina.
Bayern face difficult Bayer trip in quarters
undesliga leaders Bayern Munich face a difficult quarter-final trip
to Bayer Leverkusen
tomorrow as they aim to remain
on course towards a record third
straight German Cup title.
Pep Guardiola’s men are coming off a 1-0 Bundesliga victory
at Borussia Dortmund, a result
that did not help Dortmund’s
ambitions of getting a place in
Europe via the league.
However, the German Cup
title on May 30 in Berlin brings
with it a Europa League berth,
and Dortmund will not want that
hope end today at home against
The last eight in a German
Cup season with not too many
upsets include the top four
in the Bundesliga, as number
two Wolfsburg meet Freiburg
Borussia Moenchengladbach visit
third-division leaders Arminia
Bielefeld in the other games.
Number four Leverkusen beat
Munich in their last German
Cup duel, 4-2 in the 2009 quarters, but have won only two the
next 12 league matches against
mighty Bayern.
Munich were delighted with
the win in Dortmund thanks to an
unusual defense-first game plan
in the absence of Arjen Robben,
Franck Ribery and David Alaba.
They will now hope to have Bastian Schweinsteiger fit from an ankle problem in tomorrow's game.
“Winning is a boost. We’ll have
to see if we can carry the momentum with us to Leverkusen,” goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.
Forward Robert Lewandowski
who scored the winner against his
former team Saturday, said: “It’s a
crucial month, every game matters. We want to win them all.”
Munich are closing in on a
third straight domestic double as
they rank 10 points clear atop the
Bundesliga. Another treble as in
2013 is also not out of the question as they are in the Champions League quarters where they
meet Porto. The Champions
League decider is also in Berlin’s
Olympic stadium, a week after
the German Cup final.
But Leverkusen like their
chances as well after a 4-0 demolition of SV Hamburg. “It doesn’t
hurt to go into such a game knowing about your strengths. We are
in good shape. And we can even
beat Bayern if we are in top form,”
coach Roger Schmidt said.
Dortmund, meanwhile, must
end a scoring drought of almost
four hours on home ground if
they want to advance over Hoffenheim. “We can still achieve a
lot in the cup. This is the competition where we have played our
best football so far. We want to
continue doing this,” left-back
Marcel Schmelzer said.
Hoffenheim on Saturday
crashed 4-1 at home against
Moenchengladbach who for
their part are big favourites in
Bielefeld although the hosts
have knocked out Bundesliga
clubs Hertha Berlin and Werder
Bremen in the past two rounds.
German Cup QF fixtures
Playing Today: Wolfsburg v
Freiburg, Dortmund v Hoffenheim
Playing Tomorrow: Arminia
Bielefeld v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen v
Bayern Munich
Dortmund target Europa spot via Cup triumph
Borussia Dortmund aim to win
this season’s German Cup to
keep alive their hopes of European competition next season
ahead of today’s quarter-final
against Hoffenheim.
Borussia’s 1-0 league defeat
at home to Bayern on Saturday
left them 10th in the table and
effectively ended their hopes
of a fifth year in the Champions
League next season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are now 15
points from qualifying with a top
four finish following a dire set
of results earlier in the season
which left them bottom of the
Bundesliga in February.
But the 2012 German Cup
winners could yet claim a Europa
League berth, either by winning
this year’s final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium or a top six finish in
the Bundesliga table.
“The German Cup game is
now very important for us. Going
to Berlin is still a major goal for
the season,” said Dortmund’s
director of sport Michael Zorc.
“And although it is still far away,
it is of course a way to get back
into international competition.”
Dortmund have to rediscover
their scoring touch at home after
failing to claim a single goal in
any of their last three games at
Borussia’s Westfalenstadion in all
“We can give ourselves a big
boost for the rest of the season
with a good result and performance against Hoffenheim,” said
Germany midfielder Sven Bender.
But Dortmund will need to
improve on their Bayern defeat
which left captain Mats Hummels ruing their “inefficiency”
after failing to convert their 15
chances as Bayern’s ex-Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski headed the winner against
his former club.
Holders Bayern have fresh
injury woes for the key tie of the
round in Leverkusen with Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger
the latest on their casualty list.
Bayern are already missing a trio
of injured stars in David Alaba,
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
The German Cup semi-finals
will be played on April 28 and 29
with the final in Berlin on May 30.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Rory and Tiger get Masters
sessions with Augusta ace
‘I’m playing in the Masters. I’ve worked a lot on my game and I’m looking forward to competing’
op-ranked Rory McIlroy and 14-time major
winner Tiger Woods,
each seeking a milestone
Masters victory next Sunday,
appear to have a key advisor in
common—Augusta National ace
Jeff Knox.
Should either golf superstar
capture the green jacket next
weekend, McIlroy to complete a
career Grand Slam and win his
third major in a row or Woods for
a fifth time to end a seven-year
major win drought, he might just
owe some thanks to 51-year-old
Knox, who set the Augusta National members course record of
61 in 2003.
McIlroy was famously outplayed by non-competing marker Knox in last year’s Masters
third round, the Northern Ireland star shooting 71 to Knox’s
And Woods played his practice round Friday at Augusta
National with Knox, according
to a Golf Channel report Sunday,
just before announcing that he
would play in the Masters, ending a layoff that began February 5
when he withdrew after 11 holes
at Torrey Pines.
Woods, 39, has been nagged
by back injuries for much of the
past year, his quest simply to
complete 72 holes becoming a
soap opera sideshow.
“I’m playing in the Masters,”
Woods said. “I’ve worked a lot
on my game and I’m looking forward to competing.”
McIlroy, 25, has won last year’s
British Open and PGA Championship and has established himself as the world’s top player, but
yearns for the only major crown
to have eluded him.
“It’s a matter of being prepared and not over-thinking it,”
McIlroy said.
Knox, already the envy of the
golf world for his role as a marker
if an odd number of players make
the Masters cut, was deeply
praised last year by McIlroy.
“Jeff is a great player,” McIlroy said at the time. “He obviously knows this place so well
and gets it round. I don’t think
I’ve ever seen anyone putt the
greens as well as he does. He was
really impressive. He played like
Top-ranked Rory McIlroy (right) and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods are seeking a milestone Masters victory next Sunday.
he should have been playing in
the Masters.”
Rory picks Knox’s brain
McIlroy said that he planned
to seek out Knox last month
when he visited Augusta National for practice rounds.
“Playing with Jeff, it was a
treat for me to see how he played
the course, see someone that has
played it a lot more than me,”
McIlroy said six weeks ago.
“Even though everyone said,
‘Oh, you got beat by an amateur,’
not many amateurs can shoot 71
off the Masters tee at Augusta.
A lot did come out of it. I picked
his brain a little bit on the way
around ... it did turn into quite a
positive for me.”
Australian Jason Day hopes to
find positives after near misses,
the two-time US Open runnerup having come second at the
2011 Masters and shared third
two years ago.
“Preparation is huge on this
golf course and I try to do as
much of it as I can,” Day said.
“All I’m trying to do is tune up
a few things and tune them up
while it is still early.”
Reigning US Open champion
Martin Kaymer of Germany was
among those who arrived at
Magnolia Lane early to watch the
Drive, Chip and Putt youth skills
contest finals Sunday at Augusta
“You can see the passion,”
Kaymer said. “Last year they
inspired me a little bit. They
got me fired up. There’s a natural untouched beauty about
the passion. We play this every
week. Sometimes we forget.”
No bigger field since ’66
This year’s Masters field of
99, including 54 non-US players, equals the 2011 lineup for
the largest since 103 players
teed off in 1966. The Masters
record of 109 players competed
in 1962.
Augusta National chairman
Billy Payne said in 2011 that
99 starters is “difficult” and “a
borderline to be able to present
the kind of competition that we
“There is a maximum number
of competitors for which we can
give the experience that we want
them to have and do it in a way
that’s manageable - 100 pushes
that limit quite significantly.”
Lincicome wins first major J.B. Holmes wins
of year in extra holes
Houston Open in
three-way playoff
claimed her second
major championship
by parring the third
playoff hole at the ANA Inspiration tournament Sunday to
defeat fellow American Stacy
Lincicome hit a brilliant approach shot on the final extra
hole then tapped in to take the
first major championship of the
2015 LPGA Tour season and snap
an almost four-year winless
“Super emotional right now,”
Lincicome said. “I am standing
here shaking like a leaf. It is over
and I am still shaking. It is just
how nerves get to you.”
Lincicome also won this event
in 2009 for her only other major
title. She set the table for both
victories by making an eagle
on the 72nd hole of the tournaments at the Mission Hills
Country Club.
Lincicome shot a three-under
69 in the final round to finish
tied with Lewis at nine-under
Lewis made a furious charge
of her own coming from behind
on the back nine to chase down
Brittany Lincicome poses with the Dinah Shore Trophy after winning
the ANA Inspiration on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at
Mission Hills Country Club on Sunday in Rancho Mirage, California.
and surpass third-round leader
South Korean rookie Kim SeiYoung. Lewis shot a two-under
70 Sunday.
Morgan Pressel finished solo
third at eight-under par while
Kim tied for fourth with two
others at seven-under, two shots
back of the leaders.
Lincicome and Lewis returned
to the tee on the par-five 18th for
the playoff, not once, but three
‘Super easy’
“Gosh, we played that hole so
many times,” said Lincicome,
whose last win came at the 2011
Canadian Open. “The first time
we played that hole, it was fairly
easy, except that I was so far out
of this tournament, that I never
had a chance.
“So, hitting that five-iron into
the hole the first time, was super
Lewis, who was in the final
group, missed a birdie putt to win
on the final hole of regulation.
Both missed the fairway with
their tee shots on the first playoff
hole, and reached the green with
their third. Lincicome two-putted
for her par, then watched as Lewis’
birdie effort slid by the edge.
It was the same story on the
second playoff hole. Both players
reached the green in three with
Lewis five feet closer and on the
same line. Lincicome’s putt narrowly missed on the left edge.
Lewis, who won this event four
years ago, also just missed her
birdie try on the same side.
“It’s getting a little colder and
it’s a little bit into the wind out
there and the only club I could
have hit was three-wood and
that was going to go over the
green, and my wedges have been
so good all week that I was kind
of hoping I could wedge it up
there close and make the birdie
then, but I didn’t,” said the longhitting Lincicome about why she
didn’t go for the green in two on
the second extra hole.
The third time around both
players laid up with their second shots, but Lewis’ ball landed
in a divot. She came up short
of the green with her approach
then Lincicome dropped her approach inside 10 feet. Lewis then
bungled her chip shot.
Humble, Texas
ong-hitting J.B. Holmes completed a perfect
Masters tune-up when
he won the Houston
Open in a three-way playoff on
Holmes came from six
strokes behind in the final
round with a sizzling eightunder-par 64 that included
nine birdies in the first 12 holes
at the Golf Club of Houston in
Three hours after posting a
16-under 272 total, he made a
tap-in par at the second extra
hole, the par-four 18th, to outlast fellow American Johnson
Wagner, who missed a five-foot
par putt.
Overnight leader Jordan Spieth was eliminated at the first
extra hole.
Holmes collected $1.188mn
for his fourth PGA Tour victory.
The 33-year-old had already
qualified for the Masters, the
first major of the year starting
on Thursday. He has played the
J.B. Holmes congratulates his caddie after winning the Shell
Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston on the second hole of a
playoff on Sunday in Humble, Texas.
tournament once.
“It was just a great day for
me and it ended good too,” Holmes told reporters. “I didn’t tee
off expecting to win today. It’s a
nice surprise. I started out with
five birdies. After that I thought
I had a chance.”
Wagner, who played on a
sponsor exemption, needed to
win to punch his ticket to Augusta, and he gave himself a
chance when he sank a 25-foot
putt at the 72nd hole to join the
“Birdieing 18 to even get
into the playoff was pretty incredible,” he said. “I’m pretty
bummed right now, but a lot of
good stuff going on.”
Spieth missed a chance to
enter the Masters as the world
number two, but remained the
hottest player in the game, after finishing first, second and
second in his past three starts.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Kristoff looking to
emulate Norwegian
great Hoshovd
Clay season may
be a short-term fix
for Rafa’s slump
Oudenaarde, Belgium
Now ranked 5th, success at French Open is vital for Nadal to restore his confidence
By Ben Rothenberg
The Guardian
afael Nadal (pictured) is heading back to the terrain on which
he is most comfortable, but with
a shakier foundation than he has
had in a decade. A scan of yesterday’s
rankings tell the story in one bare fact: the
once unstoppable Nadal is now ranked
fifth in the world.
Nadal has long been at his best in the
spring European clay court swing, dominating from Monte Carlo in April to the
French Open in June. But despite winning
his ninth French Open title, Nadal’s performance in that stretch last year was the
second-worst of his career since his first
French Open title in 2005, earning 3,870
ranking points.
With time missed due to various injuries and illnesses, as well as a multitude of
stunning losses to players against whom
he would normally dominate, Nadal
sputtered, and earned only 1,385 ranking
points in the nine-month stretch after
the 2014 French Open. That total is tied
for just 22nd in the ATP over the time period, and gives Nadal little cushion as he
heads back onto the clay.
After a quarter-final loss at Indian
Wells and a third-round loss in Miami,
Nadal has fallen to No 5 in this week’s ATP
rankings, his worst in two years, having
been passed by Andy Murray and supplanted in the top four by Kei Nishikori.
Perhaps more tellingly, he is less than 200
points ahead of No6 Milos Raonic; Nadal
has not been ranked outside the top-five
since before winning his first French
Open title, almost 10 years ago.
Nadal, rarely enamored with his own
greatness even at the height of his career,
has acknowledged his recent slide bluntly. At Indian Wells in early March, thenthird-ranked Rafael Nadal was asked
what it meant that he, Novak Djokovic,
Roger Federer, and Murray once again
occupied the top-four spots in the ATP
“I’m not going to be in the top four
soon,” he replied, smiling. “No worries.
That’s going to change. I defend a lot of
points until Roland Garros, so it’s a big
chance that I will be out of that top four.
But I hope to be back.”
But as relaxed as he’s been about his
slide in the abstract, Nadal on-court
has been uncharacteristically tense and
unsteady this year. As he feels his body
and game regaining strength, his mental
toughness has lagged behind.
“It’s not the question of tennis,” Nadal
said after his third round loss in Miami. “The thing is the question of being
enough relaxed to play well on court. One
month ago or one month and a half ago,
I didn’t have the game. Today my game
in general improved since a month and
a half. But at the same time, still playing
with too much nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments, still playing with a little bit of anxious on that moments.”
Nadal admits that these more frequent
mental struggles are something foreign to
his game.
“It’s something that didn’t happen a
lot during my career,” he said. “I have
been able to be under control, control my
emotions during, let’s say, 90 percent, 95
percent of my matches of my career. It’s
something that today is being tougher to
be under self-control. But I am going to
fix it. I don’t know if in one week, in six
months, or in one year, but I am going to
do it.”
Clay would seem to be the obvious
elixir for what ails Nadal, having been the
undisputed king of the surface for a decade now. But with Djokovic having swept
the three biggest tournaments of the year
so far, and more intent than ever to capture an elusive first French Open title, he
may find this his most challenging clay
swing yet. But Nadal’s struggles may also
make life more difficult for Djokovic; if he
is not ranked inside the top-four, Nadal
could face Djokovic at the French Open
as early as the quarter-finals (Djokovic is
0-6 against Nadal at the tournament).
Having said that, Nadal and Djokovic
are separated by less than a year in age,
but appear now as players at starkly different stages of their careers.
Nadal, 28, has been winning major titles for nearly a decade, at least one a year.
He won his first as an 18-year-old superhuman force of torque and muscle never
seen before in the sport, and the years
have put inevitable wear and tear on a
powerful engine. It was always difficult to
imagine Nadal could sustain himself with
such a high octane for so long.
Djokovic, 27, started out in tennis all
too mortal, felled by asthma and other
frailties which undercut his chances of
reaching the sport’s pantheon. But time
has only made him stronger, vulcanizing
his rubber physique and establishing him
as the undisputed No 1 in the world.
Both men have now spent exactly 141
weeks at the top spot in the rankings, but
it’s easy to believe now that Nadal’s count
may never increase while Djokovic might
just be getting started. Nadal’s confidence will improve as his results do, but
it’s hard to see him matching the yearround, uninterrupted excellence of his
younger, healthier days in order to ascend
over the peaking Serb.
Having said that, facing Nadal on clay
is still an awesome proposition. “Hopefully the clay helps,” said Nadal. “It’s obvious that if I am able to win my matches
on clay, to feel my game confident there,
then the doubts are less.”
Considering the absurdity of the double-digit French Open haul he is hoping
to achieve this year, he has kept the stakes
at this moment of his career firmly in perspective.
“I don’t have nothing to lose,” he said.
“At this point of my career I won enough
things to say I don’t need to win more.
“But I want to do it. I want to keep
competing well. I want to keep having
the feeling that I can be competing for
every tournament I gonna play, and I have
the motivation to do it. Obviously clay is
[the] surface that I had some success on,
and I hope to be ready for it again.”
lexander Kristoff humbly played down comparisons with compatriot Thor Hushovd
after making history by becoming the first Norwegian to win the
Tour of Flanders.
It was Kristoff ’s second victory in a ‘Monument’ race following success at Milan San-Remo
last year and he is rapidly making a name for himself as both a
sprinter and a Classics specialist.
It was his third straight top
five finish in Flanders while he
won Milan-San Remo last year,
was second this year and eighth
in 2013.
He also won two stages at last
year’s Tour de France and took
bronze in the Olympic road race
in 2012.
But he says he has a long way
to go to overtake Hushovd, who
in 2010 was the first ever Scandinavian to win the World Championships road race.
“Now I have won two ‘Monuments’ so I’m getting closer, but
he delivered for many years,” said
Kristoff, who rides for Russian
outfit Katusha.
“If I keep putting results together, maybe I will get closer.”
Hushovd retired at the end of
last year at 36 years of age having set a number of records for
a Scandinavian cyclist: He was
the first winner of the World
Championships in 2010 and won
a record number of Grand Tour
stages — 14, including 10 at the
Tour de France.
He was also the first Norwegian to wear the Tour’s fabled
yellow jersey in 2006, wearing it
again in 2010.
Hushovd, though, was a specialist sprinter, as well as a handy
time-triallist, and never won a
Monument race.
The closest he came was a second place finish at Paris-Roubaix
in 2010, although he finished
third the previous year and was
twice third at Milan-San Remo—
ironically his greatest successes
coming in the same two races
that favour Kristoff.
Hushovd did win the GentWevelgem cobbled classic in
2006 and the semi-classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2009.
But Kristoff, 27, wants to concentrate more on the Classics,
believing that will help him extend his ability to win big races.
“I wanted to be good in the
Classics and not only a sprinter,”
he said.
“To win Flanders is proof that
I’m good in the Classics. This
is where I can make results. As
you get older, you get slower and
maybe sprinting will be more
difficult, but at the Classics maybe I’ll get better because you can
handle long distances better.”
The key to success in a race like
Flanders, which is 264km long
and tackles 19 short but brutal
and often cobbled climbs, is to
go on the attack, according to
“In Flanders you must have an
attacking mind because usually
it is a small group coming into
the finish,” he said.
“I saw this in the last years and
I was already set for this.”
Next up comes Paris-Roubaix
on Sunday but Kristoff says he
doesn’t have the same feeling for
the third of the Monuments—
the other two being Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of
Lombardy—as he does the first
“I struggle more on the flat
cobbles. I’ve only finished it
three times but I’ll try to finish in
the top 10,” he said.
Team Katusha rider Alexander Kristoff of Norway celebrates his win in
the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. (Reuters)
Abendanon sends England World Cup reminder
ick Abendanon’s outstanding form for Clermont in Top
14 and European Champions
Cup action has sent out a
timely reminder to England coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of this year’s World
The 28-year-old South African-born
full-back won two caps for England,
against the country of his birth and
France, way back in 2007.
His performances for Bath, with
whom he played more than 200 matches over eight seasons between 2005-14,
and subsequent fleet-footed form for
Clermont have led many pundits to ask
why he hasn’t featured more.
After helping Clermont to a 37-5 rout
of Northampton in the European Champions Cup quarter-final on Saturday
- his try-scoring performance winning
him the man-of-the-match accolade,
Abendanon admitted to feeling aggrieved
at his lack of international honours.
“There’s been no communication so
I’ve just got to keep working here and if
Clermont keep playing well then maybe
I’ll be called up to the World Cup training squad but we’ll see,” Abendanon
“Deep down I’m still upset that over
the last 10 years I’ve only had two caps
and I’ve always wanted to play more for
But Abendanon faces an uphill
struggle, not only because of the form
of incumbent Mike Brown and favoured deputy Alex Goode, but also
because Lancaster selects players
solely plying their trade in the English
“It’s about timing, Mike Brown has
been in great form for the last six or
seven years and Alex Goode has also got
that utility that England like - Browny
never seems to get injured either!”
Abendanon told Sky Sports.
“At times it is waiting for an injury or
an opportunity. It helps when you play
in a winning team and unfortunately
when I was at Bath we were in the middle of the pack for a few seasons.
“I’m not really worrying about England. If I keep playing well there may be
dispensation but that’s not at the front
of my mind at all.
“In the back of my head I’ve always
wanted to play more for England. To
maybe get that opportunity for a World
Cup in England would be a dream come
Certainly Abendanon’s stand-out
performance against the runaway English Premiership leaders lit up social
media, with many questioning whether
he might be left to one side like Toulon
flanker and reigning European player of
the year Steffon Armitage.
[email protected]_abendanon staking a claim
that he could, like @Magicsteffo7, be a
potential wild card for higher honours
later this season?!?” Toulon’s Spring-
Nick Abendanon won two caps for England,
against South Africa, which is the country of his
birth, and France, way back in 2007.
bok winger Bryan Habana tweeted.
Ex-England full-back Iain Balshaw,
who also sparkled when he joined Biarritz, responded to Habana: “No doubt.
That “playing abroad” policy is a load
of b******* !!”
Abendanon, however, insisted he had
no regrets over his move to France, saying he was relishing the freedom he was
being given in the Clermont side.
“This is one of the reasons why I have
come to one of the best clubs in Europe,
to play in the big games here - it’s an incredible experience,” he said.
“Our coaches have basically said ‘if
you’re on the front foot, you have the
licence to play, you’ve got the licence
to do whatever you want’. That suits me
down to a tee because my first instinct
is to attack with the ball.”
Clermont coach Franck Azema was
full of praise for Abendanon after the
Northampton rout.
“He mixes up his game very well,”
he said of the full-back. “The first two
times he touched the ball he kicked!
“He’s very determined in everything
he does and his teammates know how
to respond around him, to adapt themselves to his angles of running.”
Clermont hooker Benjamin Kayser is
one of the handful of French players in
a team that featured eight nationalities
against Northampton, and he said the
likes of Abendanon and Wales centre
Jonathan Davies were playing their best
rugby at the club.
“The club has been doing great for
the last few years, targeting some great
players,” said Kayser.
“And players like Jonathan Davies
and Nick Abendanon, everyone knows
they’re great players, but they’ve applied themselves properly here.”
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Djoko out to make
most of his moment
‘...this cannot go forever. There is going to be eventually a change of generations’
Williams extends
lead, Suarez
Navarro in top 10
into the top 10 for the first time
in 10th place thanks to reaching
the Miami final, up from 12th.
WTA top 10
1. Serena Williams (USA)
2. Maria Sharapova (RUS) 7,890
3. Simona Halep (ROU)
4. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
5. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 4,675
6. Ana Ivanovic (SER)
7. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 4,122
8. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 3,420
9. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
10. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
erena Williams (pictured below) increased
her lead in the women’s
tennis rankings issued
yesterday by the WTA in the
wake of an eighth Miami title and
rival Maria Sharapova eliminated
in the first round of that Masters
event in Florida.
Williams has 9,981 points to
Sharapova’s 7,890, with Simona
Halep third on 7,571.
Carla Suarez Navarro broke
Japanese centenarian notches
up world swim record
Novak Djokovic poses at Crandon Park after winning the Miami Open final against Andy Murray on Sunday. (AFP)
ovak Djokovic, entering the
141st week of his career at
number one in the world and
fresh off a milestone fifth Miami
Masters title, just wants to keep up the
pace as long as he can.
“I’m trying to enjoy the moment and
also utilize this time of my career. I’m
feeling confident and physically fit,”
Djokovic said Sunday after a gritty threeset triumph over Andy Murray in the Miami final.
“I’m trying to use that. That’s what
I’m thinking about right now,” added the
27-year-old Serb, who goes into the European claycourt season highlighted by
the French Open having won the three
biggest tournaments of the first quarter
of the year: the Australian Open and both
the Indian Wells and Miami Masters.
“I am aware that this cannot go forever,” Djokovic said. “There is going to be
eventually a change of generations, some
players that are going to start playing
better and be stronger.
“But until that time comes, I’m going
to try to stay as long as I can on the top
and fight for the biggest titles.”
With 4,000 points separating him
from Federer at number two in the world,
Djokovic is poised to finish at number one
in the world for the fourth time in five
His 22nd ATP Masters victory is just
one short of Roger Federer’s 23 on a list
led by Rafael Nadal’s 27.
Djokovic became the first player to
sweep the back-to-back titles at Indian
Wells and Miami for a third time.
It’s the kind of achievement that he
says fuels his ambition.
“Of course I do pay attention of that,”
he said. “Any kind of achievement that
goes into history books I’m hugely proud
of and I appreciate it very much, because I
work hard for it and I do cherish it.”
Djokovic’s victory in Melbourne was
his eighth Grand Slam triumph and his
first since becoming a father and husband
last year.
He says having a family had added a
new dimension to his successes on court.
A rigorous fitness regime allows him
to play at a high level tournament after
tournament, while coach Boris Becker
has helped him hone his mental game.
He needed all of his physical reserves
in punishing heat and humidity against
But after a second-set dip in his energy
level he roared back for a 7-6 (7/3), 4-6,
6-0 triumph—his seventh straight win
against the Scot.
“I managed to, again, rely on the energy supply that I have in my legs and
my fitness to basically hold on and make
it all the way through the match (to) play
the third set the way I have played, like I
haven’t really been exhausted too much
even though we played over two and a
half hours.”
But fitness isn’t everything, Djokovic
said, especially on the game’s biggest
“Obviously tennis is an individual
and very complex sport,” he said. “It requires a right balance between the physical preparation and mental strength and
emotional, I would say, calmness and
“You kind of holistically need to approach it and be at your top.”
Tokyo: A 100-year-old Japanese woman has become the world’s
first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20
years after she took up the sport.
Mieko Nagaoka took just under an hour and 16 minutes to finish
the race as the sole competitor in the 100-104-year-old category
at a short course pool in Ehime, western Japan, on Saturday.
“I want to swim until I turn 105 if I can live that long,” the sprightly
Nagaoka told Kyodo News.
Her achievement is expected to be recognised by Guinness
World Records, the agency reported.
Admirable though it is, Nagaoka’s time is a little off the global
pace; 18-year-old American Katie Ledecky holds the women’s
world record for the 1,500-metre freestyle, having clocked just 15
minutes 28.36 seconds.
Nagaoka, who published a book last year entitled ‘I’m 100 years
old and the world’s best active swimmer’, is no stranger to the
1,500-metre race, having completed the distance at the age of 99
in an Olympic-sized pool.
Nagaoka only took up swimming when she hit 80, one of the
growing number of elderly Japanese who are enjoying longer
and healthier lives as the country ages.
There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in September
last year, government figures show—which means 46 out of
every 100,000 people is 100 or over.
Among them are several who remain physically active long after
many people have given up the ghost.
They include sprinter Hidekichi Miyazaki, who was 103 when he
bagged the world record for the 100-metre dash in the 100-104
age category, clocking up a respectable 29.83 seconds.
His late-blooming athletic prowess has seen him dubbed “Golden
Bolt”—a reference to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.
Murray must work harder if he is ever to end Djokovic torture
By Kevin Mitchell
The Guardian
othing in tennis matters more to Andy
Murray than beating Novak Djokovic,
although seeing off Tomas Berdych
comes close. So a 10th defeat by the
world No1 in 11 matches on the court a short
drive from his second home, in Miami, surely
leaves a scar that will take some healing.
For the second time in their past three matches
Djokovic - in great shape to do the Grand Slam this
year - did not allow Murray a game in the concluding set. The finish of the Miami Open was a nightmarish re-run of the Australian Open final, when
the Serb also shut out the Scot.
That four-setter, which Murray knows he
could have won, took three hours and 39 minutes; this championship decider lasted two
hours and 46 minutes, and the first two sets also
could have gone either way before the dispiriting denouement.
The champion celebrated his 7-6, 4-6, 6-0
victory on Sunday as humbly as was required.
Murray also honoured his obligations.
“I’d like to congratulate Novak,” he said
courtside, but if anyone detected gritted teeth
they probably would have not been far from the
actuality. “I have to keep working hard and hope
it will come.”
Well, yes.
But there is no denying the gap in ATP points
and titles. Djokovic, 8-2 up in majors, is more
Andy Murray’s (left) Miami Open final loss was his 10th in 11 matches against Novak Djokovic. (AFP)
than 8,000 points clear of Murray in the rankings, with Roger Federer, rising 34, closest and
a good 3,000-plus behind the champ. Rafael
Nadal left Florida mentally shot and clearly
there is something amiss with the Spaniard,
who is sliding south in the rankings at a worrying clip, also trailing by a confidence-squashing
8,000-plus points.
Murray, though, has much of his career in
front of him. And he positively hungers for vic-
tory over the rival he knows better than he does
any of his contemporaries, because their lives
and their careers have run along such uncanny parallel lines since they met in the south of
France when 11 years old. And, given their talent, they mostly only meet at the end of tournaments; every encounter is significant.
On Saturday in his home town, Dunblane,
Murray marries his long-time partner Kim
Sears. In a little over a month he turns 28; Djokovic, who married his long-time partner Jelena
Ristic after winning Wimbledon last year, will
celebrate his 28th birthday exactly a week after
Murray. They are umbilically linked, a blessing
as much as a curse, because such propinquity
serves up constant comparison.
Whatever the public pretence by Djokovic
that theirs is a relationship of mutual warmth,
however, they are what Murray so aptly described a couple of years ago as no more than
“professional friends”.
While there were many moments to savour in
this final - some of Murray’s recovery work from
behind the baseline defied description - consistency eluded him. His smash was a liability,
his propensity to squander easy winners disturbing. No other player brings so much of both
the best and the worst out of Murray.
It is difficult to gauge the psychic damage
Djokovic has inflicted on Murray over the years.
In winning 18 of 25 encounters overall Djokovic
has always prevailed if he has won the first set, a
statistic so chilling in its baldness it is impossible to ignore the debate as to why it should be so.
One reason the discussion fascinates seasoned observers is that Murray cannot hide
his suffering; he is a psychoanalyst’s delight, a
tightrope walker wearing greased shoes.
In a weird first set Murray won eight more
points on Djokovic’s first serve, 13, than when
receiving his second - which is utterly perverse:
blowing the easier chances after grinding it out
at the first time of asking. That, surely, is a concentration problem.
“So much good tennis,” his old coach Miles
Maclagan said on Sky.
How about so many blown opportunities at
key moments, or how to make life unnecessarily
difficult for yourself?
Djokovic, forever the Serbian panther,
stretched his elastic body almost as much as
Murray’s patience. This was more about Murray losing it than Djokovic grabbing the game by
the throat. When Murray dumped a backhand
into the net in the tie-break to hand Djokovic
the first set, the Scot suddenly had the weight of
their past on his shoulders.
The torture continued, of course, in the second set. Murray, favoured by the serving cycle,
had to save four break points to hold from 15-40
and hold a 2-1 lead and struggled to shed the impression of vulnerability that was giving Djokovic heart.
The first time they met in Miami - in the semifinal eight years ago - Djokovic allowed Murray
one game in the first set, none in the second. As the
loser said on Sunday night, he still has work to do.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Wainwright, Cardinals
spoil Lester’s Cubs debut
‘If you allow him to establish his rhythm and what he’s trying to do, then it’s going to be a long day’
By Mark Gonzales
Chicago Tribune (TNS)
pening night at Wrigley Field
started promisingly Sunday
with the unveiling of the new
video board and a tribute to
the late Ernie Banks.
But fans went home disappointed after a 3-0 loss to the rival Cardinals that
the Cubs and newcomer Jon Lester can
use as a learning tool.
Lester showed signs of rust, and the
woes that plagued the Cubs in 2014 resurfaced.
As for Lester, 31, whom the Cubs
signed to a six-year, $155 million contract in December, there will be plenty
of chances to redeem himself after coping with a “dead arm” two and a half
weeks ago.
Lester seemed to warm up for longer
than usual during the Cubs’ lengthy
pregame ceremony. But he didn’t use
that as an excuse for lasting only 41/3
innings and 89 pitches, regretting that
he couldn’t give the fans a better showing.
“I feel my warm-up was good,”
Lester said. “I felt I was in a good spot
with good rhythm and good shape to
my pitches -- stuff that I look for in my
warm-up. I don’t look at the location
or results so much. But the rhythm and
tempo was good in the pen.
“I didn’t carry it over too much into
the game for whatever reason.”
Lester threw 84 pitches in a minorleague game on Thursday but hadn’t
pitched against major-leaguers since
March 16.
“It’s still getting the ball down in the
zone, regardless of who you’re pitching
against,” said Lester, who allowed eight
hits. “I didn’t do that. I’ll get back at it
on Tuesday. The biggest thing is getting
that (arm) angle. It was there at times.
I threw some cutters that weren’t really good, really flat that can’t happen.
We’ll make the adjustment and get back
to work in the next one.”
Manager Joe Maddon also took note
of the fact that Lester didn’t keep Cardinals baserunners close, which allowed them to advance from first to
third base twice on singles and steal
three bases.
“I’m sure people are going to talk
about that a little bit,” Maddon said.
“It’s up to us to make sure it’s not a
problem. Jon worked diligently in camp
working against that. I believe in Jon
Lester also was victimized by a lack
of run support as the Cubs, who ranked
14th in the league with a .223 batting
average with runners in scoring position last season, were 0-for-13 in that
situation against ace Adam Wainwright
and three relievers.
“(Wainwright) is so good,” Lester
said. “You don’t get to him early, it’s like
a lot of the great pitchers. If you allow
him to establish his rhythm and what
he’s trying to do, then it’s going to be a
Players lineup during introductions before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals on the Opening Day game in Chicago on Sunday. (UPI)
St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Holliday hits an RBI single. (USA Today Sports)
long day. We made him work at times.
We had some chances, but that’s what
makes him so good. He’s able to combat that and make pitches and keep us
After Tommy La Stella hit a single in
the third, Wainwright retired 12 of the
final 14 batters he faced.
The Cubs had their share of fielding
issues as Jorge Soler bobbled a single
by Matt Holliday in right that allowed
Jason Heyward to score easily with the
first run in the first.
Maddon’s “Respect 90” slogan also
was put to the test in the second when
Mike Olt didn’t run all the way to first
base after striking out and was tagged
out by All-Star catcher Yadier Molina.
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright in action during the MLB game against Chicago Cubs. (UPI)
Pirates know the importance of
getting off to fast start this season
By Rob Biertempfel
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TNS)
inishing two games behind the St.
Louis Cardinals kept the Pirates
from winning the NL Central
crown last year. Two wins cost
them a chance to host the five-game division series instead of being thrust into the
winner-take-all wild-card game.
Those two extra wins could have
come at any point during the six-month
season. It might have been easiest to
find them in April, the only month in
which the Pirates had a losing record.
Coming off their breakthrough 2013
season, the Pirates were full of confidence coming out of spring training last
year. But they staggered through April,
going 10-16 against a slate of division
They lost eight of the final 10 games
before flipping the calendar to May.
That stretch included a pair of 1-3 series
against the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers.
“We would never have anticipated
that we’d struggle as much in April as
we did,” second baseman Neil Walker
said. “Maybe we set expectations too
high and thought it was going to be easy.
We just didn’t play real well. It was a
Pittsburgh Pirates fell short by two wins against St Louis Cardinals from winning the NL Central Crown.
wake-up call for us.”
The last time the Pirates had winning
April records in consecutive seasons
was 1990-92. They ended up with 95-
plus victories and won the NL East in
each of those three years.
In 2013, the Pirates went 15-12 in
April. They wound up winning 94
games and reached the playoffs for the
first time in two decades.
“For us, that was bigger than big -it was historic,” manager Clint Hurdle
said. “But if you want to become elite,
you have to continue to do it. We’ve got
to continue to be hungry.”
It took the Pirates until June last year
to rediscover their appetite and surge
toward the top of the division standings. This season, they realize the importance of getting off to a strong start.
“It felt like (spring training) camp
was different this year,” shortstop Jordy
Mercer said. “There are more expectations now.
“We know we’ve still got a lot of work
to do. We haven’t won the division yet,
and that’s huge for us. That’s more important than anything, and that’s what
our camp was all about. We want to win
the division, get to that five-game (division) series and see what can happen.”
This year’s April schedule does not
seem especially daunting. Thirteen of
22 games are against NL Central foes.
Their only opponent that had a winning
record last year is the Detroit Tigers,
who play a three-game set at PNC Park.
“This is when we start creating separation,” pitcher Jeff Locke said. “You’ve
got to do it early. You hear people talk
about meaningful games in late August
and September. Well, opening day is
pretty meaningful. The second game is
pretty meaningful. They all count the
same in the end.”
Padres acquire
Kimbrel, Upton Jr
from Braves
The San Diego Padres made
another move to improve their
roster ahead of their season
opener when they acquired
closer Craig Kimbrel (pictured
above) and Melvin Upton Jr. in a
trade with the Atlanta Braves on
The Padres sent outfielders
Carlos Quentin and Cameron
Maybin, two minor leaguers and
a draft pick in exchange.
San Diego have already landed
power-hitters Matt Kemp, Wil
Myers and Justin Upton, Melvin’s
brother, along with catcher
Derek Norris and third baseman
Will Middlebrooks.
Ace pitcher James Shields also
arrived from Kansas City.
Kimbrel is a four-time National
League All Star who saved 186
games in five seasons for the
San Diego are set to begin the
season on Monday against the
Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Ballance eager to impress and
get critics off Moores’ back
With an Ashes series looming on the horizon this summer, a victory against the West Indies is important for England
By Chris Stocks in Basseterre
The Guardian
f any member of England’s touring party in
the Caribbean can be forgiven for having a
World Cup hangover it is Gary Ballance. The
25-year-old batsman was parachuted into
the team, at the key position of No3 no less, on
the eve of the team’s opening match of the tournament against Australia in the bear pit of the
MCG. It would have been a tough ask of anyone,
let alone a relative international rookie who had
only just overcome a fractured finger.
Ballance duly bombed, his sequence of scores
reading 10, 10, 10 and six before he was dropped
for the penultimate group match against Bangladesh in Adelaide, where defeat consigned
England to the most ignominious of early World
Cup exits. However, a new tour promises a fresh
start and Ballance can console himself with a remarkable set of statistics in Test cricket.
The Zimbabwean-born batsman averages
60.75 across eight matches and has three centuries and three fifties to his name. So the reasons for optimism are there and he is keen to
play them up. “It’s been a tough winter but you
have to move on,” Ballance said. “Test cricket
has gone well for me, so I have to look at what I
did well last summer and take that into this series. We’re obviously disappointed with how the
World Cup went but you can’t really dwell on it
too much. You have to learn from what you did
badly and try to get better. That’s what we’re
doing. It’s a change of format and we’ve won
our last three Tests so you have to take those
positives into this series. We have to look at last
summer, when we beat India, and produce the
same kind of cricket in this series.”
The position of Peter Moores, England’s
coach, has come into sharp focus following the
World Cup. With an Ashes series looming on
the horizon this summer, Moores knows victory
against West Indies is paramount to preserve his
own position. England start their tour in earnest on Monday with the first of two two-day
matches against a St Kitts & Nevis Invitation
XI at Warner Park. With confidence in short
supply, a good start will be essential for both
Moores and Alastair Cook, the Test captain,
who can now be thankful for being stripped of
the one-day captaincy on the eve of England’s
departure for the World Cup.
Ballance owes Moores much, the Lancastrian’s faith in putting the Yorkshire batsman at
three in England’s Test order being repaid with a
series of outstanding performances during last
summer’s 3-1 series win against India.
“For me he’s been brilliant,” said Ballance after being asked about the speculation over the
coach’s future. “Since I started working with
him I’ve scored a few runs in Test cricket so I’ve
“It’s been a tough winter but you have to
move on. Test cricket has gone well for
me, so I have to look at what I did well last
summer and take that into this series.
We’re obviously disappointed with how
the World Cup went but you can’t really
dwell on it too much. You have to learn
from what you did badly and try to get
better. That’s what we’re doing ”
Gary Ballance averages 60.75
across eight matches and has
three centuries and three
fifties to his name. (Reuters)
only got good things to say about him. He’s been
brilliant with me and everyone else – he’s been
very good. He’s definitely helped me on a personal level and in a team sense he’s been good.”
The team are behind him too, despite the
awkward persona Moores transmits in public.
“Yes, from what I’ve seen then yes, definitely,”
he said. “Everyone’s behind him and everyone’s
behind Cooky and we’re focusing on winning
this series and not looking too far ahead.”
Colin Graves, who takes over as chairman
of the England and Wales Cricket Board next
month, has written off West Indies as ‚“mediocre” and threatened “inquiries” if Moores’ team
do not beat them. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly,
not a view shared by anyone in the England
camp, many of whom still remember the 1-0
defeat here in 2009.
“Well, I don’t think they’re a pushover,” Ballance said. “They’ve got some quality players in
their bowling attack and with the bat so we’re
not taking them lightly. We’ve worked hard the
last few days and we go in with confidence from
the last series but we’re going to have to start
well and put in a good performance at the start
of the Test series. You can’t dwell on the past or
look too far ahead. You’ve got to look at the next
game and do what you can to win that.”
Despite the trauma of this winter, England
should still have enough to win the Test series,
which starts in Antigua on Monday. “You could
say that,” Ballance said, “but it’s also in the West
Indies, it’s their home series and they had a good
result last time here against us. If we start well
and get on the front foot early on we can look to
win that first game and push on from there.”
So no inquiry will be needed then? “Let’s
hope not,” replied Ballance, who perhaps captured the sentiment of everyone who has an interest in the health of English cricket.
Pietersen hits out at Graham Bailey not expecting to
Gooch’s role in 1982 rebel tour be full-time ODI captain
Chris Stocks
The Guardian
ngland are doing their best to move
on from their embarrassing World
Cup campaign but even the Atlantic
is not wide enough to get away from
the Kevin Pietersen soap opera.
While Peter Moores and his team were
preparing for their opening warm-up match
of the Caribbean tour in St Kitts, Pietersen’s
latest social media row was breaking, this
time the exiled batsman laying into England’s
former batting coach Graham Gooch.
Gooch’s crime in Pietersen’s eyes was to
give an interview in which he deigned to suggest England needed to win their three-Test
series against West Indies to banish talk of
you-know-who. Pietersen’s response, via
Twitter, saw him call out Gooch – still England’s leading runscorer in Tests – for captaining a rebel tour of apartheid South Africa
in 1982.
“Graham Gooch – you captained a rebel
tour of SA, got banned & then returned to
the England team. I don’t think I’ve done
anything as bad!” Pietersen tweeted, perhaps
forgetting his spite-ridden book released last
October that was the most spectacular example of bridge burning one is likely to see.
He later added that, “He [Gooch] should be
saying there is always a way back!!!”
Pietersen has been given hope of an
unlikely international recall by Colin Graves,
the incoming chairman of the England and
Wales Cricket Board.
Graves, speaking in March, more than two
months before taking office, said England
“can’t ignore” Pietersen if he scores a mountain of runs in county cricket.
It is understood Pietersen has since spoken
to both Graves and Tom Harrison, the ECB’s
new chief executive, about a possible recall.
Moores has also privately told Graves and
Kevin Pietersen (left) and Graham Gooch.
Harrison he could work with Pietersen again
despite the pair’s spectacular falling out in
2009, which saw the batsman lose his job as
captain and Moores sacked in his first incarnation as coach.
In response to these positive signals, Pietersen has re-signed for Surrey this summer
and committed to playing first-class cricket
for the first time since in 16 months.
The prospect of a second integration remains remote but it is a possibility. It is perhaps why the 34-year-old is so touchy about
the subject, his response to Gooch’s comments an overreaction in anyone’s book.
Gooch, speaking to the BBC, had said of
Pietersen: “He is box office and still good
enough – it is whether he has the will and appetite to go to these places and turn it on for
“Ever since he was disposed of by England,
I think him and his media team have wiped
the floor with the ECB. He has won the media PR battle, his name is up in lights and he
is looked at as the saviour of English cricket.
We need to get our cricket right. Alastair
Cook needs to lead from the front – he has
had three months off and is refreshed and has
been working hard.
“It is a great media story to get Kevin back
in but I think if he doesn’t get a call-up he will
be off to the Caribbean Premier League midsummer.”
ustralia middle-order batsman George
Bailey, who has skippered the One-Day
International (ODI) team more than
anybody else over the past two years,
yesterday said he’s not expecting to be handed
the captaincy on a permanent basis.
The 32-year-old’s last appearance was in the
World Cup opener against England on February
14, where he scored an important 55 with the bat
as Australia won by 111 runs. Michael Clarke - the
then regular skipper - returned to the side after
the England game to guide them to a fifth World
Cup title. However, Clarke’s retirement from
ODIs has not only opened the door for Bailey to
resume his place in Australia’s middle order, it’s
also raised the possibility that he will take on the
captaincy full-time.
But with Test captain-in-waiting Steve Smith
having secured his place at the No 3 batting position in the side, Bailey is expecting to be overlooked as captain for Australia’s next ODI assignment, against England in September.
“If I wasn’t in the team for this last six weeks
then I can’t imagine I would (be skipper),” Bailey
was quoted as saying by “I would
love to remain part of (the team). I certainly feel
like I’ve got a number of good years of cricket
left in me, and hopefully a number of them are in
Australian colours.”
Sri Lanka fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara
equalled the world record for the most economical four-over spell in the short history of Twenty20 cricket.
Playing for Tamil Union in Sri Lanka’s domestic league, Welegedara finished with incredible
figures of four wickets for two runs from four
overs which included two maidens.
The left-arm pacer equals the record set by
South African Chris Morris last year, who took
George Bailey
2/2 from four overs with three maidens while
playing for Highveld Lions against Cape Cobras,
reports Cricket Australia (CA).
Defending 142, Tamil Union -- captained by
Welegedara -- routed the Sinhalese Sports Club
for just 97 to secure the win with 4.3 overs to
spare. Welegedara first removed Minod Bhanuka
halfway through the fifth over of the innings and
then bowled Thilina Kandamby two balls later.
He got rid off Sachithra Senanayake with the
first ball of his next over before trapping Charith
Jayampathi leg before with the fourth ball of the
11th over. The 34-year-old has played 21 Tests
and 10 One-Day Internationals (ODI) for Sri
Lanka and played his only two T20 Internationals
back in 2010.
List of the most economical four-over spells in
T20 cricket: Chanaka Welegedara 4-2-2-4; Chris Morris 4-3-2-2; Zulfiqar Babar 4-2-3-2; Shoaib Malik 4-2-3-1
Sunil Narine 4-1-3-0.
Gulf Times
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Rajasthan geared up
for another royal show
In the last edition, Royals finished fifth and are hungry to improve upon that
Hussey wants
to emulate
ormer Australia and
current Chennai Super
Kings (CSK) batsman
Michael Hussey said yesterday that he would love to have
captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s
composure at the end of the innings. “I would like his power
(laughs). I would love to have his
composure at the end of the innings. Dhoni is just fantastic to
bat with at the end of the innings
because he is so cool and he has
got it all planned out,” Hussey
“While I sometimes get nervous thinking, ‘Oh we’re falling
behind the rate’, he is very positive all the time saying, ‘No need
to worry, we are right on target’ very assured and very confident
throughout,” he said.
After a season with Mumbai
Indians, the 39-year-old is now
back with Chennai, a team he
has had immense success with in
the Indian Premier League (IPL)
over the years. “It is amazing to
be back here. I have a lot of great
friends here and so many incredible memories,” Hussey said.
The former Australian middle-order batsman said he hasn’t
had a specific chat with the CSK
management yet but whatever
role is set for him, he is happy to
accept it. “I haven’t had a specific chat with the management
about that yet but whatever role
they set for me, I am happy to
play it. I know it will be in accordance with my own skills and
in which I can serve the team the
best,” he said.
Speaking on the calm coachcaptain pair of Stephen Fleming
Rajasthan Royals mentor
Rahul Dravid and skipper
Shane Watson (right).
ajasthan Royals, who won the
inaugural Indian Premier League
(IPL) title, have always been
a side that punches above its
weight and it will not be any different in
the eighth edition that gets underway tomorrow.
Rajasthan boasted of some of the
smallest profiles of cricketers but went on
to clinch the title in 2008 under spin legend Shane Warne’s mercurial leadership.
Since then, even though they are yet
to capture their second title, they have
always played the game with the fighting
spirit coupled with the ability to surprise
- features that are hallmark of the outfit’s
mentor Rahul Dravid.
Dravid, along with head coach Paddy
Upton have made utilization of talent a
key agenda and in the process they have
created stars out of the blue - Ajinya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson and
Pravin Tambe being the prime examples.
The team has struggled in the second,
third, fourth and fifth editions of the
tournament. But in 2013, Dravid inspired
the team to a play-off berth that enabled them to play in the 2013 champions
League T20 where they ended up being
the runners-up.
In the last edition, they finished fifth
place and this time they must be hungry
to improve upon that.
However, off-field issues have often
marred them. IPL’s murkiest scandal the alleged spot fixing by three Rajasthan
players -Ankit Chavan, S.Sreesanth and
Ajit Chandila shamed them. It followed
with the team’s co-owner Raj Kundra being found guilty of betting on IPL matches when the Supreme Court announced
its landmark judgment in January.
Moreover, due to the ongoing legal tangle between now axed Rajasthan Cricket
Association (RCA) president Lalit Modi
and the Board of Control for Cricket in
India (BCCI), the team will not be able to
enjoy its home advantage of playing at the
Sawai Mansingh Stadium (SMS) in Jaipur.
They have one of the best records of
winning maximum number of home
matches but now they won’t have that
advantage. Last year, they played their
home matches at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. This year along
with Ahmedabad, the Brabourne Stadium
in Mumbai will host some of their home
matches, denuding the “home” advantage to a greater extent.
Going by the players in the team,
Rajasthan possess a weaker collection of
Indian players than other franchises. Ace
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will
captain the side and will have his compatriot Steven Smith as his deputy.
No IPL side had as many representatives in Australia’s World Cup-winning
squad as Rajasthan - skipper Watson,
Smith and James Faulkner and they will
be crucial for the Royals.
Ajinkya Rahane, Kerala’s wicketkeeper-batsman protege Sanju Samson,
Karun Nair, Watson and Smith are expected to score much of the runs. A strong
core of Indian all-rounders like Stuart
Binny, Rajat Bhatia and Abhishek Nayar
will provide stability to the squad.
In this year’s auction, they bagged
South African medium pacers Chris Morris and Rusty Theron. Apart from the duo,
New Zealand’s World Cupper Tim Southee, Australian Ben Cutting and Dhawal
Kulkarni are other pace bowling options.
These five pacers along with Watson,
Faulkner and Binny make Rajasthan a
strong bowling line-up. Last year’s find —
leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, 40, will be the
leading spinner.
Going by the arsenal they possess and a
shrewd and thinking management behind
them, Rajasthan must be hungry to emulate 2008 heroics.
Indian Players: Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya
Rahane, Ankit Nagendra Sharma, Deepak
Hooda, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dishant Yagnik
(wicketkeeper), Karun Nair, Pravin Tambe,
Rahul Tewatia, Rajat Bhatia, Sanju Samson
(wicketkeeper), Barinder Singh Saran, Dinesh
Salunkhe, Sagar Trivedi, Pardeep Sahu,
Stuart Binny, Vikramjeet Malik.
Foreign signings: Shane Watson (captain),
Ben Cutting, James Faulkner, Steven Smith,
Tim Southee, Chris Morris, Juan Theron.
and Dhoni, Hussey said: “They
both have very astute cricketing
brains and they think very clearly
under pressure. As far as their
relationship goes, it is very good
for them and the team because
it is very open and honest. They
communicate very clearly with
each other and the players.”
Since retiring, Hussey has
taken up commentary of late and
said the experience has given
him a different perspective of
the game. “It has made me realize how hard the game is to play.
From a commentator’s point of
view, the game looks so easy from
up there. There is no pressure
and no expectations up there.
In the commentary box you do
get a better view and can see
some things on the field that you
wouldn’t as a player. But most of
the action happens between the
22 yards and from up there you
cannot feel it,” he added.
Hussey also took up mentoring role during the World Cup
with the South African team and
said he was something looking it as a career option in the
long run. “Yes, possibly. I really enjoyed that role. It was a
great opportunity to be invited
into the South African dressing
room. And I learnt a lot. I learnt
so much watching some of their
guys prepare and listening to the
things they talked about in the
team meetings. It was a real eyeopener for me. It is definitely
something I would consider doing in the long run. I enjoy building up rapport with players and
building relationships based on
cricket. I love understanding different players’ and teams’ philosophies on cricket and passing
on some of mine as well,” the
Australian said.
After a season with Mumbai
Indians, Michael Hussey is
now back with Chennai.
Home matches in Ahmedabad: vs Mumbai
Indians (April 14), Chennai Super Kings
(April 19), Kings XI Punjab (April 21), Royal
Challengers Bangalore (April 24), Royal
Challengers Bangalore (May 13), Chennai
Super Kings (May 16),
In Mumbai: vs Delhi Daredevils (May 3),
Sunrisers Hyderabad (May 7), Kolkata
Knight Riders (May 16).
Away matches: vs Kings XI Punjab (April 10),
Delhi Daredevils (April 12), Chennai Sunrisers
Hyderabad (April 16), Kolkata Knight Riders
(April 26), Royal Challengers Bangalore
(April 29), Mumbai Indians (May 1), Chennai
Super Kings (May 10).
2008-champions; 2009-6th; 2010-7th;
2011-6th; 2012-7th; 2013-play-offs; 2014-5th.
Spinners will play key role in IPL, says Daredevils’ Tahir
New Delhi
outh African leggie Imran Tahir, who
will turn up in Delhi Daredevils colours
this season in the Indian Premier League
(IPL), believes spinners have a key role
to play in the Twenty20 tournament which
starts tomorrow.
“It’s hard obviously, especially T20 cricket.
But we have a key role to play. There is still a
lot we bring to the table. Having variety is very
important. If you don’t have variations you are
not going to survive, especially in India as the
Indian players are so good against spin,” Tahir
was quoted as saying by
Tahir said he needs to adjust quickly to the
conditions after the 50-over World Cup which
just got over at the Antipodes. “I have to adjust
to the conditions very quickly. It’s big difference
from T20 to 50-over cricket. (But) if you back
yourself, you can do well,” said Tahir.
The 36-year-old feels the T20 format is a big
challenge for spinners but added that tweakers
with courage and a strong will can be successful. “A lot of left-arm spinners from India have
had a lot of success (in T20s). All type of spin-
ners have a big role to play. T20 is a good challenge but you need to go there with a big heart
and that’s the only thing I can say about it,” said
the South African.
“It’s not like you are going to give flight to the
ball and the batsman is going to defend. If you
give flight then it is going to go for six here. Even
in Test cricket, you can’t be a classical spinner
like you were 20 years ago. So your pace needs
to be very good for all the formats.”
of things giving a few tips to the youngsters and
the bowlers at the net.
Akram then went on to inspect the Eden strip
and was joined by South African great Jacques
Kallis. Gambhir too joined in the act and seemed
satisfied with the wicket after spending a few
minutes near it. The Mumbai Indians practice
session was, however, hampered by rain which
made the team go indoors for their training.
Member of Parliament Rajeev Shukla was appointed the new chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council, a Board
of Control for Cricket in India release said.
Shukla resigned from the post of IPL chairman in June, 2013, following a scandal over
corruption and spot-fixing in the tournament.
Shukla, a former senior vice-president of the
BCCI, had lost in the recent Board election.
He replaces Ranjib Biswal who was the interim chairman of the council. Biswal conducted
the 2014 IPL in collaboration with former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who was appointed
as the BCCI interim president by the Supreme
Court of India. Former India captain Sourav
Ganguly and current team director Ravi Shastri
were also named in the governing council.
A day after being cleared by the Board of
Control for Cricket in India of suspect bowling action, Kolkata Knight Rider’s spinner Sunil
Narine bowled for close to 40 minutes in the net
session held at the Eden Gardens yesterday.
The West Indies spinner bowled with his
usual run-up to the KKR batsman who found it
quite difficult to pick him in the nets too.
All the members of the squad were present at
the practice along with skipper and left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir who batted for 45
minutes, belting away a few from right-arm
pacer Morne Morkel. The latter used his height
to good effect digging in a few short ones every
now and then.
Bowling coach Wasim Akram was in the thick
Imran Tahir
feels the T20
format is a big
challenge for
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Bassem makes Qatar proud
with 2nd place finish in Miami
‘This has been a glorious start for the season which is the best possible preparation for the World Cup in Las Vegas’
HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani applauds Qatar’s
Bassem Hassan Mohamed after he finished second in
the Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix
in Miami on Sunday.
atar’s Bassem Hassan Mohamed came
up with a sterling
performance to finish a grand second behind World
number one Scott Brash in the
Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix in Miami.
Course designer Uliano Vezzani played it out perfectly with
his testing course seeing only
twelve of the forty six starters achieving a clear in the first
round. Having cut the field down
by almost a quarter in terms of
those coming forward for the
second round carrying zero penalties it was then only a third of
those that managed to achieve
yet another clear and guarantee
a third and final jump off.
The arena looked absolutely
stunning with Miami beach as its
backdrop and packed on every side
with spectators, many of whom
were still in their beachwear, enjoying the incredible competition
that was being played out before
them. Also in attendance were HE
Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar Equestrian Federation
president Hamad bin Abdulrahman al-Attiyah and many Qatari
As the first of the four riders
came forward for this four-way
fight which would finalise how
the $600,000 prize fund was
going to be awarded the atmosphere was electric.
Qatar’s Bassem Hassan Mohamed astride Palloubet D
Halong set the standard with a
clear round stopping the clock
at 39.74 seconds. Having put the
pressure on from the outset the
three to follow knew that they
not only had to jump clear but
also be fast if they were to claim
the lead that had been set.
Roger Yves Bost and Nippon
D’Elle set off through the start
making it obvious that they were
going to cut as many corners as
they could, however a turn back
to a vertical was just a stride too
tight for Nippon D’Elle who put
in a stop resulting in four penalties being accrued plus a time
fault when they stopped the
clock at 47.33 seconds.
Reigning GCT title holder for
the second consecutive year,
Brash came into the arena with
the incredible Hello Sanctos on
whom he won a Team Gold at the
London 2012 Olympic Games.
Having jumped brilliant clears
in the first two rounds, Sanctos looked incredibly fresh and
pleased to be back competing
having enjoyed a rest recently.
Making the enormous fences
look effortless he stepped up
the pace as he twisted his way
around the course to leave all the
fences standing just over a second faster than Bassem in a time
of 38.57 seconds.
Qatar’s Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani and Concordija had
earlier finished second in the
American Invitational, a five star
event to make it a double delight
for Qatar. QEF president Hamad
bin Abdulrahman al-Attiyah was
delighted with the success of the
Qatari riders at the global event.
“My congratulations to Bassem
and Sheikh Ali for their impressive
performances in a field that had
the world’s best riders taking part.
This has all been possible due to
the support of HH the Emir Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and
the directions of HE Sheikh Joaan
bin Hamad al-Thani.”
“This has been a glorious start
for the season which is the best
possible preparation for the World
Cup in Las Vegas. The Qatar team
has been doing well and we are
confident that they will bring
more Laurels to the country.”
Bassem Hassan Mohamed in action during the Global Champions Tour of
Miami Beach Grand Prix in Miami.
Qatar’s Bassem Hassan Mohamed (L), Scott Brash (C) celebrate on the podium.
Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani in action during the American Invitational, a
five star event. He finished second in the event.
QFA opens tickets sales for Emir Cup Final
By Sports Reporter
atar Football Association (QFA) yetserday opened online tickets sales
for HH The Emir Cup 2015 final
The tickets are avaialiable online on QFA
The online tickets are officially made available to the public yesterday so the fans can
purchase the tickets before the prestigious
championship kicks off on April 24 at Al Arabi
Commenting on the launching the online
ticket sales, Hamad Abdullah al-Kuwari, Director of Marketing and Communications at
QFA said: “It is our pleasure to announce the
release of the first batch of tickets for the final
match of the Emir Cup on our website. We are
releasing the online ticket sales for the final
match well in advance to allow the fans to buy
their tickets at an early stage and not have to
wait until the last minute.
“Our aim is to save our fans the time consuming process of going to the malls to buy
their tickets like they previously did in the past
He added: “Our interest in the tournament
is increasing year after year, especially since
this tournament is a celebration that has a
great sentimental value for QFA, fans, participating teams, sponsors, and local organisations.
“We are focusing all our efforts on provid-
ing a unique championship at all levels.”
It is worth mentioning that the Emir Cup is
the last tournament of the season and is one
of the most prestigious tournaments in the
The final match will take place on
May 23 and will be held at Al Gharafa Stadium. The Emir Cup will be played from from
April 24 to May 23 and matches are played in
five stadia — Al Arabi Stadium, Qatar Sports
Club, Lekhwiya Stadium, Al Sadd Stadium
and Al Gharafa Stadium.
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